Thursday, 30 June 2011

And number nine is...a defender!

Hooray. At last another defender signs. And it would seem a good one at that. And, apparently choosing us over Championship Watford!

It's been an extremely exciting few weeks. The board and Chris Powell really showing that they mean business making the types of young signings they have, with one eye on the championship in a years time.

I would assume we will see a couple more defenders signed once the 1st July passes, and get a better idea of who's staying and who's going.  The real icing on the cake would be along with the announcement of whose on their way out, Semedo signing a new contract and reverting to his original position of Central Back. (Would potentially be more cost effective than signing a defensive player of a similar calibre).

I think the quote from new boy Wiggins sums up how I'm feeling at the moment.

 "The vibe I got from the place is of a club on the way up. I'm looking forward to what lies ahead."

Lets hope so.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Signings number seven and eight arrive

So two more, albeit expected, but still exciting signing’s rolling into The Valley today.
As most have mentioned, not a great deal really known about Dale Stephens. Born in Bolton and played much of his fledgling career in the North West.  He spent the latter part of last season on loan at Southampton playing six times for the saints.

Danny Green has been much lauded by Charlton supporters, anticipating his arrival, as an exciting prospect. He is proven to both be able to get forward and score and make goals from the midfield.

Scoring 14 times and setting up 13 in 2009-10 season and then in League One scoring 11 times and creating 12 goals.  All of this over the course of 49 and 43 league appearances respectively.

What has struck me about all of Sir Chris’s signings during the pre season is the relative youthfulness of the players, over previous recent seasons signings have generally had the look of a quick fix. With the hope of a quick and fast impact.  This looks much more like there is a longer term game plan.

Pretty exciting!

Without wanting to be a damp squib though if you take a look at who we have brought in,

Hayes, Striker

Danny Holland’s, Alonsohohohoh, Danny Green, Dale Stephens and Bradley Pritchard, All midfielders.

And John Sullivan. 

It suddenly becomes very apparent the almost desperate need to bolster and improve the backline.

When you look at what we may or may not have currently. Full backs are Francis, Youga, the other new boy, Evina and Solly.

One would guess that Youga may well not be staying and his career may well be on the out due to his long term injury.  Whilst Jackson can play, and indeed was originally signed to cover, left back – if he does stay I’d rather see him in the (now pleasantly crowded midfield).

In the centre of defence we are potentially left with Llera, Doherty, Fortune, Mambo and Dailly. General consensus tends to point to Doherty and Dailly being released (not the end of the world as both are now almost certainly too old to have a major impact on a promotion challenge). Fortune it looks unfortunately is out of contract, injured long term, so can be ruled out. Again this leaves us a bit thin on the ground with Llera (this could be the season I think he really shines) and Mambo as the only two current out and out centre backs.

I fully expect two full backs and two centre backs to be delivered by the management and board in due course.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A Striker, a midfielder, and an attacking fullback sign

Phew, a busy day on the Charlton player front.

I was encouraged when we signed Hollands, Pritchard and Sullivan. I'm even more so now we've secured the signatures of Hayes, Alonso and Evina.  Unlike last season when we had to go out and find players, on the cheap, to put the shirt on and replace all of those who left after the play off defeat. These are all players who bring something different to the side, and enough comparable quality to create a bit more competition for places.

Hayes is proven at this level.  From what I can gather an intelligent player, who can hold the ball up and bring other players into the game. Evina has impressed, and must have had something about him to be involved at Arsenal earlier on in his fledgling career.  He is described as an attacking fullback, which would make sense if Youga has not managed to get his fitness back to the required levels.

Despite being a bit of a punt, Alonso, if nothing else has a great name, that I'm sure the North stand will enjoy creating some new songs for. And we do need to mix things up in the midfield after too many stagnant displays last season.

All in all a good day and three good signings.  Chris Powell said the side needed freshening up. When a group of players get the 'losing mentaility' we have suffered for too many seasons now, sometimes the best thing is for them to move on and make way for some fresh and optimistic faces.  Racon going to Millwall is probably the best thing for him and Charlton.  As, dare I say, could Semedo moving on as well.  Both were signed to help spearhead our return to the Premiership.  Both became part of the spectacular free fall that See's us anticipating our third season in the third division and all dreaming of a return to the sort of winning mentality we all enjoyed when we won The Championship all those years ago.

Key player sneaking out

So the first of the decent out of contract players sneaks out of The Valley heading off towards his new home over in New Cross.

I've mixed feeling about Racon leaving really. On his day he can be a real handful for any opposition. Having said that he has been part of Charlton's historically worst and most unsuccessful squad to date. 113 appearance yielding 12 goals for the club. For a player who is viewed as more creative than the defensive Semedo not a great return.  Always seemed to blow a bit hot and cold for me.

I can certainly understand if he's going to get the same money or more to play in the Championship. (I'm kind of doubting this due to the Millwall chairman's rather sensible salary cap he has in place at The New Den). And he (Racon) is apparently well settled in the area.  Good luck to him i suppose.

It would now be quite nice if we start to see some of the deals for new players that have been touted coming to fruition.  In fact I'd say it's pretty vital.  That alongside the confirmation of some key personnel staying put and signing new deals.  I'm afraid that if we don't, and end up with only a couple of new faces and some of the less desirable moving up the pecking order due to departures like this one, next season may be long and hard.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Interesting fixtures 2011-2012

So the fixtures for next season have arrived.

I've taken the time to have a nose through them and see if I can spot any of particular interest. (Difficult in the third division).

I suppose to state the glaringly obvious the first thing I spotted was that we start and finish the season with exactly the same games as last term. (Lets hope that's where the similarities with 2010-2011 season end).

In the first two months of the season we play 4 of the sides expected to be vying for promotion. (Colchester away, Scunthorpe at home, Sheffield Wednesday at home, and FC Franchise away).  I think this will let us know nice and early what type of season we are likely to enjoy/endure. And should also either cement Sir Chris Powell's position as manager or see a new one incoming.

London derbies are sparse and rather uninspiring again this season. The first not coming until November when we entertain Brentford, who we then play at home on New Years Bank Holiday Monday. We play away to Leyton Orient on New years Eve, and then at home on 31st March.

The business end of the season, from February onwards will see me making the post work mad dash to the Valley for floodlit games no more than 4 times.  The really interesting one will be the MK Dons game, which is set for Valentines day. (Best get that conversation out of the way with the missus now).

The April run in looks on paper quite favourable.  Preston away being the only potential 6 pointer in my eyes. Having said that in Oldham, Wallsall, Carlisle, Wycombe and Hartlepool we may well be playing teams that are all fighting for their third division lives.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

History repeating itself (up the M6) ?

Who can forget the fateful day when Agent Dowie the Mad Rocket Scientist was appointed manager of Charlton Athletic.

It would seem, apparently, that history is in fact repeating itself up in the midlands.

The parallels are uncanny. Manager of side valiantly relegated from The Premiership, resigns position for personal/principal reasons. Then rocks up over the road at bitter rivals. Bitter rival supporters are not too happy, ex club serve a writ for breach of contract or tapping up in this case.  We all know what could happen next over the ensuing season. (Through bitter experience!) Another similarity is they're both ginger and ugly. (Not that gingerness and ugliness always go hand in hand).

At 25-1 for Villa to get relegated, might be worth a tenner.

The Carling Cup draw was a bit of a dissapointment. I really fancied Palarse in the cup, and the odds were pretty decent with the new regionalised seeding system. But alas, we end up playing a team we play only a couple of weeks earlier. At least it should enable us to concentrate on the league campaign nice and early.

Monday, 13 June 2011

An interesting week ahead in SE7

Hopefully an interesting few days ahead in SE7 for us Addicks. The Carling Cup first round draw on Thursday, followed by the league one fixtures being released on Friday.

I'm hoping both events will precipitated by a couple or more signings.

There have been lots of names bandied about. Hayes and Wiggins are two names that are being repeatedly linked, but have been for a few weeks.

With our first pre season friendly a little less than a month away I hope the squad begins to take shape soon. With those going gone, and those incoming arrived and ready for business.

As far as the opening day fixture goes, I'd like it to be a home game against one of the fancied sides. Get it out of the way, a fresh team starting off, and a confidence boosting win. Sheffield Wednesday or United would do me.

The idea of an away day to Stevenage or one of the other new boys would fill me with dread. A team used to winning against what they would view as a major scalp. I'd much rather we had gathered some momentum before we have to face these types of banana skins.

I'm certain there will be plenty to talk about over the coming five days.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Double exit ?

So unsurprisingly Jenkinson has now joined Arsenal. I hope the compensation is reasonably decent.  Not too miffed about it.  A great oportunity for the youngster (perhaps) and we still have Chris Solly, who I think has more to offer.

More worrying is the (perhaps) imminent departure of Jose Semedo to Sheffield Wednesday.

Providing we bring in plenty more players, not the end of the world, but I think it does show Wednesdays intent to mount a serious promotion challenge this time round. And its never good to sell one of your better players to a direct competitor.  I am surprised that it's not a Championship level club he's talking to.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Worrying management structure developments?

I've just read the news of Paul Harts arrival at the Valley as part of a new management structure.

Paul Hart arriving as Academy Director with Jeff Vetre now officially on board as Technical Director with Keith Peacock now titled 'football advisor'.

What to make of all this, I just don't know.  There's no denying Hart has a wealth of experience (  If it's a genuine appointment, going forward it is a good idea to have someone with such experience driving development of the young players.

Interestingly this will be followed up by Slater and Varney giving a live interview on Radio Kent tomorrow.  I guess to further explain the latest developments at the Valley.

I shall be listening.  It's certainly not going to be anything like a quiet close season.