Now the dust has settled I thought I'd do a bit of an appraisal of the season just gone.
All in all it was a typically Charlton roller coaster ride containing some truly dreadful displays, some fantastic and spirited wins, some of the best football to grace the Valley pitch for many years during the third quarter of the season revival. Charlton supporters up in arms at the poor handling of Luzons appointment, a public meeting, then a great winning streak. Tony Watt gaining almost instant legend status. Freddie Bulot scoring some goals AND actually putting in some good performances. Gudmunnson eventually finishing as top goal scorer.
When you think of all of the above, Charlton could not be accused of not providing some value for money to their supporters. All be it due to the topsy Turvey and at time controversial nature of the way the season unfolded.
Guy Luzon seems like a pretty genuine guy. At first I thought his touch line antics were all part of some weirdly childish display mimicking what he has seen a variety of big name and character managers doing over the years, however having spoken to someone who (ahem) knows someone within the club, he is apparently quite the eccentric and a wee bit of a fruitcake. But well liked.
Now a quick overview of each area of the playing staff.
Henderson missed 15 games through injury, of those games he missed we only managed just one win. This I think tells us all we need to know about his importance to the team as a whole for next season. With the exception of Pope, who may well be on his way to Bury next season anyway, none of the back up keepers are in anyway up to the job. Either as cover or providing competition to Henderson.
Ben Haim and Bikey-Amougo spent the early season as the shoed in central defensive pairing. Both did okay during the opening phase of the season. Ben Haim being a cultured ball playing centre back, who occasionally had a rush of blood to the head and made surging forward runs. I'm not really sure why Bikey fell out of favour. Maybe I'm missing something but Johnson just seems a wee bit of a thuggish centre back, very much old school and I did not think he played any better than Bikey. However he was always very vocal and very competitive. Big congratulations to him for finally being able to lose the 'Relegation' Roger nickname that has followed him over his last two stints at different clubs.
The big plus for me in defence has been the emergence of Fox and Gomez. The latter we can hopefully keep hold of. A future England star in waiting it would be good to see him in a Charlton shirt and starting place for the next few seasons. Fox grew into the team at a much steadier pace, but as cover did a more than adequate job.
Solly had a quiet season by his standards, struggling with injury his recovery seems to have been slow. Hopefully with a full close season we will see him back at his best next time out.
Difficult to say much about Wiggins, spending over half the season in two spells out injured.
Despite a lack of depth, one of the biggest plus points of last season was the midfield. Cousins establishing himself as a key element of the team. Playing wherever required across the middle four. The real engine of the midfield/whole team, pitching in with a couple of goals and performing consistently throughout. I can honestly say I did not see him not put a shift in. A worthy player of the year.
Jackson struggled with injuries, and due to this never really had a long enough run in the side to get fully into the swing of things. Still an absolute legend and again like Solly, with a good close season I hope to see him competing for his place next season.
Buyens was the definition of inconsistent. When he decided to turn up a gem of a player, when not a waste of time.
Luzon seemed to manage to bring the best out of Bulot. Up until his arrival I felt Bulot was a waste of space. He seems very much a confidence player.
Gudmunnson is a quality act. His incisive runs and spectacular goals were a joy to watch. One of the few players who did not seem to have his head on his holidays for the last few weeks of the season once our Championship status had been secured.
Late comers Diarra and LePoint could not have been any more polar opposite to each other. Diarra doing everything that was asked of him, even nearly being the man to give us our first win over Millwall in a very long time. LePoint (what was the point?) really just making up the numbers when he was played.
Difficult to say much about Moussa. Crocked for much of the season and pretty uninspiring on the occasions he did play.
On the missing list is Callum Harriott. Tried by Big Bob as a striker (we should have seen that as an early warning sign). Fallen way down the pecking order, I won't be surprised if he is one of those who depart in the close season. We could well see him reacquainting himself with Scott Wagstaff at Bristol City.
Vetokele burst onto the scene, scoring great goals for fun early season. A combination of injury, confidence and being 'found out' by opposition defenders mean that petered out somewhat. In his defence up until the arrival of Watt he was pretty much playing up front on his own, supported by partners who simply put we're just not up to the job. Church, Moussa, the hapless Tucadean and even Callumn Harriot. It must have been hard work.
Tony Watt, Watt, Watt. Quality player.
The previously mentioned four strike partners who were pre Tony Watt I would hope will all be on their way in the close season. (I understand Church has already departed, an honest player, but not good enough for this division).
Finally Chris Eagles. For someone who hadn't had much game time prior to joining The Addicks he acquitted himself well. Scored an important goal and gave everything whilst on the pitch. Another of the players I hope to see again in a Charlton shirt, with a good close and pre season under his belt.
If we can keep the Crown Jewels that are Henderson, Gomez, Solly, Cousins, Gudmunnson, Watt and Vetokele AND importantly add some quality and depth to the squad. An additional striker who will actually offer some competition from the bench, an experienced quality centre back and a good playmaking central midfielder then I think we will see an improvement next season, maybe even a push for a play off place. Importantly we need to see these additions to the squad as permanent additions and not loanees.
Enjoy the summer.