Sunday 31 December 2017

Goodbye 2017 and hopefully it would seem the regime...e

I can’t belive it’s been so long since I’ve posted here. But life and work commitments have a tendency to slow us down sometimes.

2017 has been as frustrating a year as any under the last four years of Belgium rule in SE7.

A bit like swimming in mud. For me return to The Valley after a seasons boycott has been on the whole enjoyable. We may be a bit of a ‘one trick pony’ tactically, but when our key players have performed it’s been a joy to watch. And a much improved atmosphere in the ground. I think CARDS decision to not have match day protests this season was the right one. The trump card of threatening to launch a political party in RD’s home town perhaps being the catalyst at last for change.

I was elated when the news at KM’s departure (which happens today, even more reason to celebrate) filtered through. For me a sure sign that our deluded owner must be on the verge of a deal and committed to exiting stage left like the preverbial pantomime villain.

To add to this a full match run out for the ledge that is Jonnie Jackson a great end to the year I’m sure for all Addicks out there.

There are those out there murmuring ‘be careful what you wish for’. The reality is that the Starpix era at Charlton ripped the soul out of the club, a community club not a corporate machine of the Premiership, and will leave whoever takes over with a long long road to navigate. Not to get the club back to the ‘promised land’ of the Premier League, but back to the credible club that was the envy of many. Plucky, quirky, full of character and characters. Sometime punching above it’s weight and always in most quarters respected and liked by supporters of many opposing teams.

In this instance, whether it’s Varney, the Aussies or a n other, change will be a welcome and good thing in my opinion. The start of rebuilding the wreckage that we have been left with.

I’m doubtful everything will happen in time for a big transfer window impact. And fully expect for RD to cash some of his chips in during the transfer window. Likewise I don’t have high expectations of a return to the Championship at the end of this season.  But just for this nightmeir to be at its ending stages is enough for me to look forward to the second half of the season with optimism for a better future and us all finally getting our Charlton back.

I raise a glass to 2018 and also Katrien Meir. Good riddance you imbecile.

Monday 25 September 2017

the blip continues...

I’m guessing a few people out there maybe thinking ‘I told you so’. Having witnessed the Northampton and Swindon wins, and enjoyed the positive atmosphere at The Valley, I bit the bullet and bought a season ticket.

Despite the recent run of two losses and a draw I’m still confident that we won’t have anything as bad as last season. However we do need to come up with a viable tactic to revert to when we come up against savvy managers who’ve worked out pressing us up the pitch basically nullifies the attacking way we set ourselves up.

Saturday also showed what a crucial player Ricky Holmes is to us. Him missing showed that we do lack creative flair and aggressive attacking prowess elsewhere on the pitch.

We can only hope that once Reeves and Marshall are fit the burden of creativity will be shared a bit more.

It’s critical we get something out of the next two away games, 2 or 3 points to keep us in touch with the top six. Walsall and Fleetwood will provide tough opposition so Robinson will have to make sure he has the team prepared fully and a well planned game plan in place.

Saturday 12 August 2017

Double Devon delight...

Charlton play their second successive game in Devon this afternoon, having seen a young side come from being to despatch with Exeter City.

A bit of a dilemma in selection upfront for Robinson. With no target men available and Watt not really looking upto it I wonder how the attacking end of the team will line up. Maybe Reeves and Sharpe playing behind Ahearne Grant. It's difficult to call.

Plymouth have list both of their opening games on in the League and the hokey cokey cup, so will be looking desperately to get some points on the board.

If we carry the spirit and attacking mentality we showed against Bristol Rovers into this game I can't see us losing.

Plymouth 1 Charlton 2, and hopefully finishing the game with eleven Charlton players on the pitch.


Monday 7 August 2017

Charlton win the right way...

A crowd of 12,968, swelled by a decent number of travelling Bristolians saw Charlton get off to a winning start despite playing much of the game with only ten men following Novaks early sending off.

The atmosphere at The Valley was nothing like that which i rarely enjoyed last season.  There was a real coming together throughout the stands, promoted no doubt by the recent silence from our Belgium owners and CEO and improved communications overall from the club staff on the ground.

The positive performance must also be commented on. Despite only having ten men this Charlton side continuously surged forward looking to add that second goal.  Ricky Holmes did not disappoint, and showed why it was so important to our chances this season that we retained his services.

Kashi was awesome in the midfield general role, and again will prove to be a pivotal part of any success this squad achieve over the coming month's. Dasilva looked comfortable as both a defensive and attacking full back.  All in all a great day at the office.

The only player not to come out looking at full marks was Tony Watt.  He didn't look at all sharp and certainly not match fit.

The issue we have for the next couple of weeks, until Magennis returns, is who plays up front. I don't think either Watt or Ahearne Grant could play that holding up target man type of role that the former two mentioned can, pulling in Sharpe, Fosu and Holmes into attacking play. Perhaps Robinson will tweak tactics until Magennis is available again.

Happy with the direction things look to be taking so far.

Man of the Match: Ricky Holmes

Could do Better: Tony Watt

Friday 4 August 2017

A change in Regime policy...

So a line is drawn under our Preseason preparation with the signing of Ben Reeves.

To be honest it's been completely different to any of the recent build ups under this regime. Some good additions to the squad, rebuffing bids for Ricky Holmes and giving him the reward of a new contract. All of this combined with Kashis return to fitness and the squad leave me feeling confident ahead of tomorrow's big kick off.

Even Robinson is growing on me. He may have a motor mouth but he does seem to be the man in charge and looks like he actually understands what Charlton is all about.

Bowyer and Jackson as his bench buddies could be inspired and present us with a young and dynamic management team.

It all reminds me of both the 85 86 promotion Preseason and that of Sir Chris Powell's League One championship campaign.

There are however some very strong sides competing for in League One this season. I don't think we're quite up to speed for an automatic place but believe the top six and a triumphant trip to Wembley is well within our sites.


Match Prediction: Charlton 3 Bristol Rovers 1

Monday 10 July 2017

Charlton win and Ricky signs...

An important day was yesterday. Not just for my potential reengagement with the club, but also for loyalty of players and perhaps a small adjustment in regime policy.

Ricky Holmes became the first player of the year under Duchalet tenure not to have been cashed in on. Equally the player chose at least another season playing in front of under 10,000 crowds in tier three over Championship football and what would have been crowds closer to 20k in Sheffield. A major win for club loyalty, something that is scarce in today's game.

I get the impression, for whatever motive, the club is intent on having a concerted push for promotion this term. Watch out for further signings.

On the playing front a decent run out for the whole squad in Crumlin last night. I caught intermittent bits of the action on CAFCTV and YouTube.

I watch on in anticipation,  could we about to embark upon an 'ordinary football season' under RD?

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Tentatively Looking Forward to the New Season...

I'd kind of been holding off making my first post for the 2017-2018 season until there is some resolution over Ricky Holmes.

On the face of it the new backroom line up seems to be Karl Robinson driven; whether the trio of Robinson, Jackson and Bowyer (sounds like a firm of Estate Agents or Solicitors) have what it takes remains to be seen?  But it is none the less refreshing to see a line up devoid of network employed additions, and I believe all three will be turning up with the right attitude and wish to earn their money.

The signings so far, although not plentiful look decent enough for this level. Clarke and Marshall have already played together and know what it's takes to finish top six in this division.  The guy from Reading sounds to have promise.

In Robinson's words we do however need a good 5 or 6 quality additions to bolster the squad and provide some much needed competition.  One notable requirement is a Goalkeeper.

The newly launched website, is in my opinion, even worse than the old generic football league one. Difficult to navigate, childish in it's content (think kick off magazine versus the old football monthly or four four two) and very much twitter driven.

I have to admit long gone are the days I eagerly anticipate the launch of a new kit, however you would have thought they would have released it by now, if for no other reason to get some much needed revenue from pre-orders.

Silly Katreins silence has been wonderful.  Long may that continue.

The general spirit among the squad during this weeks training camp in Ireland does fill me with some optimism, not that we are going to romp to the league title, but that we are now beginning to see a unified team of players, who god forbid, may even want to start playing for each other, for the fans and for the shirt.

I retain an open mind and will be there come our first home game to cheer on the Addicks.

Mind you it is a long time between now and the big ko, so lets see how things work out.

Tuesday 28 February 2017

...Chose the wrong time to 'get back in the game'...

Following on from my return to The Valley on Saturday and another disastrous result. You score three goals away from home you really should be bitterly dissapointed to not be taking anything away from the game.

I feel for the excellent Ricky Holmes, far to good a player for both Northampton and Charlton (under RD's stewardship).

I'd been prepared to give Karl Robinson the benefit of the doubt, but having read his post match comments this morning have to agree with some other of my fellow bloggers, the phrase 'he's got more waffle than Belguim' springs to mind.

The stark reality is that unless this run of poor form is turned around we could see ourselves bang in the middle of the relegation carve up by the end of March.

Charlton supporters have spent the last 30 years fighting for the club's future at various points, both intelligently and successfully,  let's hope those making the trip to Belguim have more success than Big Karl has of late.

Saturday 25 February 2017

...Customer satisfaction - mmmmm?

So the I have now experienced Charlton Athletic circa 2016-2017 under the Duchalet regime.

The day started with me and my boy enjoying a couple of decent pints of beer for me and then a couple of cokes for the boy with two packets of crisps and all for less than a tenner in my local 'Spoons'.

Then we hit the ground. I've always been in the West or East Stands (or the East Terrace back in the day) so elected to go in the family stand for a change. Co joined to the North Stand for refreshments.

Prior to going into the stadium we popped into Crossbars for a pre match drink. To be honest the staff were friendly and helpful (as you would expect), and there was no techno house dj which disappointed me a tad. (Not). A choice of Fosters or Heineken was uninspiring (Bartrams served Amstel last season which was a decent pint).

The catering area behind the North Stand offered a better atmosphere than that I've experienced in the West Stand for many years.  I bought my boy the most stagnant pitiful tray of chips for £3 and had a chicken balti pie for myself. (I do love a balti pie).

Then up into the stadium itself.  A decent little area, good enough view.

The atmosphere itself was what really struck me. Nothing as negative as I'd experienced last season. I was surprised by the complete lack of 'we want Roland out' songs. There's a film you may have seen, day of the dead, where a bunch of survivors escape to a shopping mall which isd by zombies.  The apparent reason the zombies all congregated at the mall is that it had been such a important hub and part of there life before they were zombified they just found themselves drawn back there. It kind of reminded me of that today.

The game itself, and performance gave me more concern than anything else. On the face of it we have some very good players. You'll excuse my lack of current playing staff knowledge but it comes from my detachment from the club over the last few months and the fact that today was the first time I've ever seen them.

Holmes and the young kid from Arsenal were a cut above the rest. The real problem for me today was despite some of the talent within the squad there just looked to be absolutely no cohesion.  It was like watching a bunch of footballer in a ore season friendly who hardly new each other.

It's not panic stations yet, but we are only eight points off of the relegations places and having lost at home to both Oxford and Bury I can't see us taking anything away to Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.

That eight point gap could disappear quicker than you'd imagine and we could end up doing a Portsmouth and finding ourselves in the fourth tier of the league for the first time in our history.

Karl 'Manager' Robinson could be forgiven for being worried about his position with RD's track record. Looks likely that we will come out of February winless. Other Managers under this regime have been given their P45 for less. They played an interview with him on the big screen before the game. I could hardly understand a bloody word! Maybe it's the team talks that are the problems? Who knows?

I will be back for the rest of the season however, as one of the afflicted. Despite everything else it was good to be back in the new old routine.

Friday 24 February 2017

...'The Customer Experience'

My plans to visit the Valley for the Fleetwood game didn't transpire at the beginning of the month.

However following my decision to step away from managing my Son's junior football team (it's not the children, it's some of the parents that seem to suck the fun out of kids football, but that's a completely different story) I now find myself with a lot more time on my hands at the weekend for all of my family and dare I say it? for Charlton.

My Dad first took me to The Valley in 1981 and I've been hooked ever since.  My Son started coming with me and his Nan during the promotion season and was even a match day mascot not long before Duchalet bought the club and began to quite royally bollocks things up.

At the end of last season we decided as a collective not to renew our season tickets and haven't been to The Valley since.

The atmosphere by the end of last season had become pretty horrible.  I've heard and read of further division between Charlton supporters over the course of this season.

Despite all of this I find myself pulled back to the club.

This is for two reasons really. One, apathy aside (something that has afflicted my historical love for the club over recent monthes), regardless of results for some reason I want to walk up the stairs and out into the stadium, looking at the pitch and the vastness of the Valley (albeit quite empty these days.)  The anticipation before kick off, a few beers with people I've not seen for far to long.  And two, to ensure the legacy of Charlton supporters continues within my family.  Duchalet is 70 years old now - so blatantly won't be around for ever.  The idea of my Son becoming a Chelsea/Arsenal/Spurs plastic does not appeal to me at all.

With the exception of the heady premiership years and our briefer spell in the old first division in the late eighties we have always been a second/third tier club (mainly second) during my time as a supporter.  So I don't see why my boy can't enjoy that in the same way I did throughout much of the eighties and nineties.

We are going to try a stand we've not been in before and I have undertaken, that whatever the result, we will be supporting the team, reconnecting with some old and making some new football friends for the rest of this season.

I will be interested to see what the 'match day experience' has become like, and will try and report how I viewed it after the game.


Monday 9 January 2017

A return to The Valley...

It's been a while since my last post, but not as long as it is since I've attended The Valley, having been boycotting in protest of Meire and Duchalets stinking regime.

He's further indeered himself to the Charlton faithful by referring both us and SCP as being stupid. What a mug!

However, like many addicktions (do you like what I did there?), I'm finding myself pulled back towards The Valley. It's a combination of things really. Don't get me wrong I'm not about to suddenly become a regime apologist. It's just for a combination of reasons that spark seems to becoming re-igniting.

We've seen both Fox and Lookman sold on, Foley (who I never got to see) released.

Initially I was not a fan of Robinson as manager. Bit of a rent a gob was my initial opinion. However his apparent passion seems to be having a contagious effect upon me. Results have picked up marginally. But I've been going to Charlton for over thirty years so am by no means a glory hunter driven by results.

We won't fully get our Charlton back until Duchalet departs. To be honest when he does go we may find ourselves with someone even worst. (Difficult to imagine I know). I'm not sure we'll ever get back to those wonderful Curbishley days, that is unless Varney is in charge of putting a takeover together. Now there's a man who understands what Charlton is all about.

We've seen the return of Watt, and some interesting signings, a move away from the usual network jetsam and flotsam and out of contract journey men.

I understand the atmosphere at The Valley is still, if not more toxic, than it had become last season. Which was a major contributing factor to me not renewing my season ticket.

It's my birthday weekend when we host Fleetwood so I have decided to take my whole troop, wife included (a Liverpool supporting scoucer) for a birthday day out. I won't be giving Roland's chosen catering contractor my money but will probably go to the all you can eat buffet at the O2 and then find a family friendly pub for a few beers before kick off. (Any suggestions, could be closer to Greenwich than the Valley).

I'll probably regret it come 4.45 on the fifth, but can't help these itchy feet.