Thursday, 31 January 2008

Sunderland swap confirmed

The move of Andy Reid to Sunderland for £4m, although not all of that is up front, has been confirmed while right back Greg Halford comes in the opposite direction on loan for the rest of the season. The 23-year old is known for his long throw-ins, possibly giving Pards another weapon in his armoury.

However, the Charlton supremo was somewhat qualified in his welcome: 'He's coming here on loan and I think he's got a lot to prove. It didn't work out for him at Reading, it didn't work out for him at Sunderland, so I think he needs to be a success here.'

It has been questioned why we need a right back with Moutaoukil on form, but we have limited cover and Halford is more of a utility defender.

The departure of Reid has clearly come as a blow to many of the Addickted, but perhaps the extent of the club's financial plight is perhaps now sinking in. If a finger of blame is to be pointed it should be at the manager of relegation threatened Coventry City. Who knows, having sent Palace down on the last day of the season, we might do the same for the Sky Blues and their manager.

Cook signs for Addicks

Charlton have signed on loan until the end of the season 25-year old Lee Cook, a 5 ft. 9 ins. left winger who has been struggling to break in at Fulham. Cook is a fanatical Super Hoop and gave Rangers his quarter of a million pound signing on fee when he left them to join Fulham. He was originally a Duck, but he left Aylesbury United for Watford.

Read a full profile here: Cook

Reid on his way

Charlton captain Andy Reid is his on his way to Sunderland for a fee of about £4m and Premiership wages. A disappointed Alan Pardew said: 'It was a difficult decision, but we have to look at ourselves and say "are we going to let this affect us or will this make us stronger?" Hopefully, the latter will happen. I feel we've coped well without him since he has been injured - he is still carrying an injury - but it was a tough call for all parties, and also Andy himself.'

The £1m profit on his sale was clearly a factor in the sale. Pards said, 'I still think there are benefits to this deal for us as well as negatives, and the security of the club is key. It's a tight situation when you get relegated. The board laid out heavy investment when we went down and we're paying the price. You never want to lose good players but that doesn't mean it's the end of our campaign.'

I don't think it is. When Reid played too much of our game went through him. It worked well in a 4-5-1 format but I am not sure it would work as well in the 4-4-2 we are now favouring. Often Reid tended to slow the game down. He is also injury prone.

What this does show once again is how limited the club is by its current financial basis. It has been ever thus: in the 1950s we were known as a selling club. The present board have provided great leadership and substantial financial help, but we are increasingly surrounded by clubs that have benefited from a substantial injection of outside capital.

However, the word from the agm is that there is unlikley to be any substantial external investment and the existing directors will be required to dig into their pockets again through a share issue.

Reid offer increased

Sunderland have apparently increased their offer for Andy Reid to £4m which will be difficult for the board to refuse. Charlton have been getting results without him, although it could be argued that it would have been easier to unlock Stoke with him on the pitch.

Chris Dickson has apparently injured his hamstring in a training ground incident (which according to one account allegedly involved Lloyd Sam's shorts) and will be out for the rest of the season.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Transfer talk

The Express and Star - the paper for those with Black Country dialects - is linking Darren Ambrose with a possible move to the Baggies. There is also speculation about a possible move to the Tractors. Ambrose's inconsistency can be infuriating at times but I am far from sure that we want to sell him to promotion rivals at this stage of the season. Like many other former players, he could well come back to haunt us.

Having failed to lure Stephen Hunt away from Reading, Sunderland are now said to be targeting Andy Reid. The reported offer of £2.5m is paltry and the offer of a Sunderland cast off in exchange is even less attractive. Although there are some uncertainties about how he will slot back into the side when he returns from injury, I would not want to sell him.

One goal, three points

In a hard fought match at The Valley last night a goal by Lloyd Sam gave Charlton three points. A two goal win would have put Charlton ahead of their opponents Stoke City rather than level on points with them. I thought the match would be a tight one and selected 1-0 in the pub jackpot beforehand.

From early in the game it was evident that Stoke were out to defend and to employ time wasting techniques to help them. Their keeper approached goal kicks as if he was contemplating the fact that the ball was a spherical object for the first time in his life, while throw ins involved elaborate wiping of the ball.

Ambrose managed to give the ball away, but Sam was able to recover. Charlton were able to exert some pressure. On ten minutes a Stoke throw in led to a corner, but it was unproductive.

Gray won Charlton a corner and a header came in that was just wide. An effort by Sam was deflected for an Addicks corner which was taken short. Ambrose put in a shot, but it was fiercely booted out by a Stoke defender. Addicks reject Ricardo Fuller put in an effort that was just over the bar.

A free kick led to a Charlton corner, but Ambrose put in a poor corner. Ambrose won Charlton a corner and for a moment I thought the ball had crossed the line. The referee awarded a second corner when arguably the ball was in play or had crossed the line.

Weaver had to make an excellent save on the goal line. The referee added on three minutes. Charlton were awarded a free kick but instead of playing it forward Ambrose hoofed it over the bar.

Half time: Addicks 0, City 0

Nicky Weaver had to make a save early in the half. Iwelumo was manhandled to the floor. Ambrose won a throw in by the corner flag. Fuller was given space to advance on goal and put in a dangerous angled shot that went just wide of the far post. Gray advanced on goal but shot straight at the keeper. A Charlton ball went across the front of the Stoke goal, but no one was able to connect.

Iwelumo was replaced by Varney. Stoke won a couple of corners in succession. Darren Ambrose came off in favour of Jerome Thomas. A Charlton corner was taken by Thomas. Luke Varney was one on one with the keeper but hesitated and lost the opportunity. There was a penalty call when Zheng Zhi was fouled in the box.

It looked as if Luke Varney had lost control of the ball by the goal line, but somehow he was able to get it across to Sam who headed it into the net to deliver the long awaited goal. He was taken off shortly afterwards and replaced by Semedo. Carl Dickinson was taken off by Stoke and replaced by Jon Parkin.

The referee added four minutes on. Following a Stoke throw in, Weaver had to make a superb save to deny Stoke an equaliser. After a nice move by Youga, a blatant foul was executed (I'm not sure by which charm merchant from the Potteries) and the referee finally got his book out. There was some afters with McCarthy running up the pitch to express his views and Fuller was spoken to by the referee.

This was a gritty, determined performance by Charlton against a very physical side who would be torn apart in the Premiership. Our final ball still disappoints and I would like us to be a bit more confident in front of goal and hesitate a little less. This was an important win.

My cup runneth over as Leamington went to Staffordshire and inflicted a 2-0 defeat on FA Cup heroes Chasetown who are serious title rivals.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Nicky Weaver for two vital saves that ensured that Charlton got the three points. Paddy McCarthy once again put in a solid performance. Bougherra made one error which gave Fuller a goal scoring opportunity, but also made a good run on goal. Youga was very much in evidence, going forward well, although he seemed to be hanging back more in the second half. Moutaoukil had some excellent touches and shared his delight at the result with the fans afterwards. Holland had an excellent workrate, although perhaps tiring towards the end. He did have some half chances to shoot which he should have taken but hesitated. Ambrose once again had a rather disappointing game. His corners were generally disappointing. Sam deserves all credit for the goal, but to up to then had had a rather mixed game, sometimes failing to get forward enough to create opportunities. Zheng Zhi was very active but his contribution was somewhat limited. The partnership of Gray and Iwelumo does not seem to work too well, too often they were in the same space. Of course Iwelumo was subject to the usual shirt tugging and fouling with no intervention from the referee. Whether Gray is a natural goal scorer remains to be seen.
Varney made a difference when he came on, not least in terms of creating the winning goal. Thomas had some runs forward, but did not make a decisive impact. Semedo looked as impressive as ever when he came on.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to gutless referee Mark Harwood. Until this season he was refereeing in Leagues 1 and 2 and it is a shame he didn't stay there. He failed to deal with the early time wasting tactics of the visitors, although he and his officials were alert to foul throws. Above all, he failed to stamp down on constant fouling, only awarding one yellow card late in the game.

Crowd rating: The Addickted were in excellent voice. 8/10.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

McLeod turns down Leeds loan move

Addicks striker Izale McLeod has turned down a loan move to Leeds. The South London Press reports that the League One high-fliers made the approach last week, but the 23-year-old rejected the switch because he wants to fight for his place at The Valley.

On one level, this is very heart warming. But the loan system provides an opportunity to play more first team football and hence hone one's skills - which, as a raw talent, is something that McLeod needs.

Thank you Palace

Charlton went back to their customary 5th position in the Championship last night without kicking a ball. Crystal Palace's 1-0 defeat at Leicester meant that the Addicks went ahead of them in the table, not on goal difference but on goals scored.

It is most likely where Charlton will be after tonight's game. The Addicks would have to beat Stoke by a substantial margin to go above them in the table. Only if Ipswich won at home and Charlton lost would they overtake the Addicks.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Curbs gives Stoke training facilities

Stoke City are training at West Ham ahead of tomorrow's nights clash at The Valley. City expect to name an unchanged side: City

I think this is going to be a tough challenge for the Addicks. We have played better this season against footballing sides rather than more physical teams like Stoke.

Given the nature of the opposition, I would expect Pards to start with Iwelumo and Gray up front.

It will be a late return for me from The Valley tomorrow night, so a report will not be posted until some time on Wednesday.

Stoke on their way back to big time

Stoke City are on their way back to being a big club - or at least that's what their fans believe. Let's hope it's not a case of Charlton passing them in the other direction: Stoke

Our referee tomorrow is Mark Haywood from West Yorkshire who is on the committee of the Referees' Association. Little is known about him as last year he was refereeing in the lower reaches of the Football League, but such reports as are available suggest that he generally has good judgment.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Rangers interested in Bent (Marcus)

Carthorse turned ace goal scorer Marcus Bent has attracted the interest of Glasgow Rangers. Bent would come up against the three clubs a year rule, but reports suggest that Rangers might be sufficiently interested to appeal to Fifa. In any event, their interest might persuade Wigan to make his move to them permanent, releasing some much needed cash for the Addicks.

Saturday, 26 January 2008


A goal by substitute Stuart Herlihy secured a point for Leamington today at home to Willenhall Town in front of a crowd of 603. It was an unimpressive performance ahead of Tuesday's tough trip to Chasetown.

In the first 45 minutes Leamington were constantly forced back into their own half by a Willenhall side sprinkled with ex Football League players as the away fans managed an occasional and rather weak chant of 'Come on you Reds.' Leamington looked at their brighest in the last five minutes with a header from a corner going not far wide.

Leamington applied some pressure with a corner kick which led to a second early in the second half, but it was hardly against the run of play when the visitors went ahead on 58 minutes through Barnett.

Brakes started to accelerate when Dutton was taken off by Herlihy, followed shortly afterwards by the replacement of the below par Thompson by new signing from Alvechurch, Keith Rustall. Even so, Mozza in the home goal had to make an excellent save after Willenhall broke away.

Willenhall's keeper Danny Woodhall may at one time have been Manchester United's No.41 and a Milk Cup finalist, but he was unable to keep out an excellent strike from Herlihy on 74 minutes which caused special delight in the Sheepside where WAG Dawn Herlihy was sitting. See the goal here: Herlihy

Substitute Marcus Jackson came close to scoring shortly after coming on, but the shot was deflected for a corner. After that Brakes had no real chances, having difficulty in retaining possession. A chance from a free kick in the D was wasted after a weak shot from Jamie Towers while lively Robbie Beard shot over the bar from distance.

If the substitutions had been made earlier it might have been a different story, but these points lost could be vital at the end of the season.

Why Rams takeover is relevant for Charlton

The impending takeover of Derby County by an unidentified American consortium is another example of a club of around Charlton's size attracting foreign investment. No acceptable offers have apparently come in for Charlton despite the appointment of Seymour Pierce as advisers on a takeover or an injection of new capital.

It would seem that investors see more potential in 'stand alone' clubs where there are no rivals in a city or its hinterland. Interestingly, the likelihood is that the new backers include San Francisco-based investment banker Jerome Simon, who was linked with previous unsuccessful bids to buy into Millwall and Manchester City. So the Spanners interested him, but Charlton did not.

If Derby are relegated, as seems likely and if Charlton are not promoted, their financial firepower will be far outweighed by that of the Rams, increasing the importance of getting back to the Premiership this year.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Cadzy swoops in transfer market

There hasn't been much transfer news from The Valley, but Brakes supremo Jason Cadden has been very active. The signing of Robbie Beard was an instant hit with Brakes fans when he ran to the Harbury Lane End faithful after scoring the winning goal on Tuesday night and the man with the moustache is expected to start in tomorrow's fixture at The New Windmill Ground against Willenhall Town.

Now Cadzy has swooped again to sign Keith Rostill who has averaged over 30 goals a year with Alvechurch at Lye Meadow. He has also signed Sheay Morgan as back up, the ex Villa trainee having played in a FA Youth Cup final.

Brakes beat Willenhall 2-1 away earlier in the season, but the Black Country side has been strengthened since then. Leamington will be without Josh Blake tomorrow who could be out for a month with a hamstring problem. Captain Aaron Parkinson is also doubtful after he limped off on Tuesday evening.

The latest issue of the Windmill Wonderland fanzine will be on sale and contains a special feature on three of the Brakes wags: sales manager Katy MacVarish (partner of keeper Mozza); training coordinator Dawn Herlihy (married to much liked defender Stuart Her-li-hy); and Emma Wright ( a dental nurse and the partner of former Coventry City first team striker Ben Mackey).

Addicks linked with Portuguese defender

Charlton's links with Portugal may increase if the Addicks firm up their interest in Tiago Valente, a defender at Pacos De Ferreira. The 22-year old started with the club as an Academy player and broke through to the first team in 2004, although he has had loan spells at other clubs. Portuguese sources are claiming that Charlton are prepared to make a bid of £1.5m.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

All square against Glaziers

Charlton's reserves drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace at Bromley's ground, retaining their place at the top of the Pontin's Holidays Combination league. However, much of the interest was in the two trialists on display.

It was a bit dour and bleak, writes Clive Richardson. I don't think we made their keeper make a save, other than clearing a few corners, but Randolph had a few finger-stingers.

Monteiro [Portuguese trialist but currently playing in Romania] looked good, about 6ft 3 or 4, if 'lean', but commanded the middle along with Aswad Thomas, and distributed well. Racon and Semedo ran the midfield second half, when Sam Long replaced Chrissy Powell and Basey moved back to full-back. Wagstaffe impressive wide right, but Yussuf didn't quite match his performance in the Youth Cup last week. Not much service for Dicko and Ademola [trialist from Croydon Athletic], though the latter wasted a good chance first half, blazing wide when clean through, with Wagstaffe a better option for an easier shot on goal.

Shelvey came on for Yussuf mid-second half and Danny Uchechi for Ademola, and we had loads of possesion but not many shots. Palace had pace but not much craft going forward, other than Freedman posing his usual threat.I don't think the muddy, bobbly pitch helped much!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Faye move back on?

Uefa appear to be making encouraging noises about Amdy Faye moving from Rangers to Blackburn, so the move - and the possibility of some dosh - for us could be back on:

Addicks linked with Barry Robson

Burnley are trying to splash some of the cash they got from the sale of Andy Gray on a £750,000 bid for Dundee United captain Barry Robson, but the Scottish press are also linking Charlton with the 29-year old midfielder along with Ipswich.

Robson has spent his entire football career to date on his native heath, starting as a youngster at Rangers before a spell of over five years at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, followed by his move to Tayside. Wherever he moves he is unlike to find a club where the shirt colour matches his ginger hair as is the case with the Tangerines.

Dundee United have quite serious financial problems which are not helped by the fact that their owner's health is deteriorating. See Tangerines

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

The Beardless One!

New signing Robbie Beard (who doesn't have one) was the hero of the hour at the New Windmill Ground tonight when he came on as a substitute to score the only goal in Leamington's clash with Cinderford Town, enabling them to maintain their challenge for the BGB Midlands Division title.

Up to then Leamington had had great difficulty in felling the Foresters. With the break in games resulting from last Saturday's postponement leading to a lack of their usual sharpness, they had difficulty in finding their rhythm, while Cinderford were a more useful side than their position in the table suggested. The Brakes also missed Josh Blake, although where his whereabouts were uncertain: perhaps he had had a long trip on the removal van or maybe it was squad rotation.

The best chances for Brakes in the first half came in the last five minutes with Ben Mackey blasting over from a one on one with the keeper and Vijay Sidhu firing straight at the keeper from a similar situation.

A series of corners early in the second half gave Leamington hope, but the resultant melées in front of goal saw Cheltenham and Villa product Craig Tait not give way. Finally, the anxieties of the crowd of 451 were laid to rest by Beard's far from classic goal - but it was enough.

It was a frustrating and somewhat dour game, but sometimes you have to grind out results to win a title.

James Walker hit by heart problems

Addicks striker James Walker has heart problems and will have to take a three month break from training and football. Full story here courtesy of the Chard and Ilminster News: Walker

The Chase Is On

Now able to concentrate on the league after their FA Cup exploits, Chasetown signalled their intent with a 4-0 win over lowly Malvern Town on Saturday. If they win all their games in hand they can topple Leamington from their place at the top of the BGB Midlands Division.

The New Windmill Ground has been rocked by the departure of imposing striker Russell Dunkley to Southern Premier outfit Brackley Town where it is rumoured that he may have doubled his wages. Brakes supremo Jason Cadden has been looking for a replacement, and last night signed Robbie Beard (who appears to be clean shaven) in a reverse move from Brackley who it is hoped can play tonight. This may no longer mean a step up to the starting line up for 'Clunesie' (Martin Thompson) who has turned down a move to Bedworth United.

Tonight sees the Brakes take on Cinderford Town at Harbury Lane. (In case you didn't know Cinderford is a small town in the Forest of Dean: I didn't). Leamington should be able to take three points off them, but no match can be taken for granted as last year's surprise defeat by the 'Mikes' (Boldmere St. Michael) showed.

We confidently predict that we will be the only Charlton blog carrying a match report this evening.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Sankofa out on loan

Addicks right back Osei Sankofa has gone out on a month's loan to Brentford. Pards has been frank about looking for a loan for Sankofa, as well as Racon who has not yet been placed.

Grant Basey benefitted greatly from his stint at Brentford, but Sankofa is at a different stage of his career development, having even appeared for the Addicks in the Premiership. However, Moutaoukil looks as if he is making the right back berth his own, whilst Basey has yielded to Youga (with a recovering Ben Thatcher waiting in the wings).

Dickson unfazed by Gray challenge

Chris Dickson is unfazed by the arrival of Andy Gray at The Valley. And why should he be? Gray is there to replace Todorov as a player who can hold up the ball. It is McLeod and possibly Iwelumo who should be concerned.

Read a full interview here: Dickson

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Glaziers linked with McLeod

The News of the World is linking Crystal Palace with a £1m bid for Izale McLeod. They are daft, but not that daft. With Gray signed and Dickson back, a League 1 loan signing (Gillingham?) sounds a more likely destination.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Hornets barrack Bougherra in score draw

As the Addickted gathered at Vicarage Road for the evening match at Watford they heard that Palace had gone above Charlton in the table after beating Bristol City 2-0 at Selhurst Park. Stoke beat Preston 3-1 at home while the Baggies fought back from being 1-3 behind at home to Cardiff City to draw 3-3. Watford could get within a point of the Baggies if they won, writes Erith Addick Paul May.

Varney and Big Chris started up front. New signing Andy Gray was on the bench. Watford created an early chance with a cross after Youga was beaten but Francis put the ball over the bar under some pressure from the Addicks defence. Ambrose was booked as he fouled Smith after he broke down the right. The Hornets free kick was poor.

Moutaoukil took a knock. Watford broke on the right again, after Youga slipped on the wet pitch, but McCarthy headed clear. Charlton seeming to be alternating passing the ball on the ground and using the long ball to Iwelumo. The striker was asked to leave the leave of field of play as he had blood in his face.

A shot by Ambrose led to the first corner for Charlton and the Addickted burst into a chant of 'Come On You Reds'. Watford were awarded a free kick from the corner as Lee was judged to have been fouled.

The referee spotted something off the ball and spoke to Mouataoukil about his reaction. Sam tried to put in a cross, but Lee made an easy catch and Watford counter attacked, but Holland got back well. After slipping, Youga did well to deal with Smith on the wing.

Ellington put in a cross for the Hornets, but no one was able to connect. Iwelumo put in a half volley from distance but it went over the top of the near post. Weaver made a catch from Ellington after the Watford player had got past McCarthy.

Doyley put in a long throw, Francis got the header in, but Weaver was able to deal with it. A ball in by Doyley was headed clear by Bougherra. Smith continued to look a threat on the right and seemed to have the measure of Youga who was finding the slippery surface difficult. Iwelumo put in a volley that was well wide.

The Addicks had a good chance, Sam ran in behind the defence but put it fractionally wide. After a run by McAnuff, Watford got their first corner. Matt Holland put the ball out for a second corner. This time the ball was headed away and Moutaoukil tore into the Watford half.

Moutaoukil challenged McAnuff from behind and got a yellow card. McAnuff had set him up for it. Varney got the ball down by the corner flag, Ambrose put in a good ball to the far post, but a disappointing header from Iwelumo went out for a goal kick.

Holland forged forward well down the right and got in behind the full back, he provided a good ball along the ground, Ambrose had a great chance eight yards out, but his side footed shot was poor and went wide. It was Charlton's best chance and it was wasted. From a Youga free kick, Iwelumo laid it off to Ambrose, but he took time to make his shot and it went straight to Lee in the Watford goal.

Watford applied a little pressure, Ambrose managed to get the ball away, but Iwelumo clattered into Williamson and gave away a free kick. It was headed down by Henderson, but Weaver was able to save. Travelling journeyman and towering hulk Callum Davenport went down flat on his back after being hit by one of his own players when he jumped, hitting the ground with a mighty thump. In the coinfusion, Bougherra stepped on Davenport, but it was accidental. The stretcher came on, although the player was conscious of the fact that he was at Vicarage Road and not Upton Park. There was a long hold up in play while he was strapped up on the stretcher and carried down the tunnel. Adrian Mariappa came on in his place.

Four minutes of time were added on. Charlton got a free kick after Varney was fouled, but it was an easy save for Lee from Ambrose. Youga got in a dangerous position, but his ball was blocked by Lee. A ball in from Henderson was cut out by Bougherra. Sam turned well in the centre circle, Varney put in a good ball, but DeMerit defended well. Ambrose put in a strike, but he sliced it well wide, ruining another good chance. Charlton had had their chances, but failed to take them.

Half time: Hornets 0, Addicks 0

Charlton got an early corner in the fine rain in front of the crowd of 17,214. It was a decent corner, Lee failed to collect, Watford managed to clear, but Mariappa was down with a head injury but was soon up again. McCarthy picked up a knock to the head in a challenge with Henderson.

Watford were awarded a corner taken by Stewart. The Addicks were able to head clear.
Iwelumo was given a warning by referee Marriner for what was seen as an unfair challenge. Charlton put together some nice passes, but Varney's cross drifted behind the ball. McAnuff tried to set up a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box, but sliced it wide. However, it woke up the occupants of the local cemetery who seemed to make up the bulk of the home support.

Youga went forward well, he turned provider for Ambrose and Lee had to turn his shot round the post for a corner. Lee then saved from a Lloyd Sam header from the corner. Sam and Zheng Zhi combined well, the keeper was beaten, but the Sam's strike hit the outside of the post.

Charlton continued to look more of a threat. Francis managed to win the ball off Zheng Zhi, but Bougherra was able to snuff out the counter attack. Varney was caught offside. Bougherra was being booed by the Watford fans.

It had been all Charlton, but 13 minutes into the second half from nowhere Ellington, in the side for Marlon King, buried it into the bottom corner of the net from eight yards to score his first goal for Watford. The goal gave the Hornets a boost and Weaver had to palm a cross from Smith over the bar.

Charlton applied some pressure but were unable to pose a real threat. Watford launched a counter attack, good defending from McCarthy at the expense of a corner stopped it being 2-0 from a free header from Henderson. Mariappa's header was wide.

Charlton raced forward but Francis made a cynical heavy challenge on Holland and he got a yellow card. Ambrose hit the ball over the crossbar from the free kick. New signing Andy Gray was brought on to replace Iwelumo who had not been involved that much in the second half. Holland urged his teammates to make the best of the last 20 minutes. Mariappa was taken off by Watford and 19-year old midfielder O'Toole came on.

Bougherra intervened at the expense of a corner, drawing loud boos from the Hornets. Holland put in a good header to defend the corner. McAnuff outwitted Motaoukil and Watford had the ball by the corner flag. The Watford shot was blocked and Charlton got a throw in. Zheng Zhi put the ball into the box, but Varney put it out wide for a goal kick, holding his head in frustration.

With the clock ticking, Watford were taking their time over throw ins. Ambrose put in a poor and unnecessary tackle, conceding a free kick. Youga headed the free kick clear. McAnuff fouled Sam who was away down the right and got a deserved yellow card. Varney was caught again by the offside flag, although it was a marginal decision.

Gray found Sam who made a little run, but Williamson was able to get the ball away. Ambrose put in a shot from 25 yards out, Lee made a bad mistake and palmed it into his own net. Andy Gray put in a header but it was straight at the keeper. Moutaouakil gave the ball away, but McCarthy cleared. Bangura, who had been threatened with deportation to Sierra Leone, came on for Ellington. Chris Dickson came on to replace Sam.

Dickson troubled DeMerit, but then gave away the free kick. Charlton applied good pressure through Gray and Dickson. Dickson broke down the right, Varney was behind him, but he went for a straight cross which was easily intercepted rather than laying it back to Varney. Dickson broke through one or one, tried to take it round the keeper, but Lee was able to save.

Smith tried to break down the right, but Zheng Zhi made the challenge. Watford put Charlton under some pressure, but it ended in a throw in for the Addicks. Then Charlton had to engage in some desperate defending and Bougherra had to put the ball out for a corner, but Weaver hit him in the head as he came out, meaning that there was no Magic on the pitch when the corner was taken. Charlton made the smart move of getting Fortune on to replace Bougherra. A shot from Williamson from 16 yards out went wide as the crowd vented their fury on the departing Bougherra.

Four minutes were added on in the swirling rain. Watford were awarded a free kick. It was headed out by Moutaouakil. Charlton got a free kick in a dangerous position, effectively a short corner just a yard outside the penalty area. Ambrose took it, Zheng Zhi tried to sidefoot it in but got it wrong and Watford had a goal kick.

Watford came forward and won a corner but the delivery by McAnuff was poor, but they managed to win a second corner. Henderson pushed a defender, the referee spotted it and awarded a free kick. Watford were denied their first win since mid-October and Charlton were level on points with Palace, although I am not sure whether goal difference allowed them to occupy their customary 5th place. Charlton had the better chances, but were not always able to take them.

(Charlton remain 6th as their goal difference is +8 compared with +9 for the Glaziers - Wyn).

Thomas on his way?

Jerome Thomas could be on his way out of The Valley. He is a subject of a bidding war between 'Boro and Derby County, but usually reliable sources close to the club suggest a deal with Middlesbrough for £1.5m. This would cover the initial payment for Andy Gray.

Thomas is clearly a player with potential but has often looked sulky rather than silky at The Valley.

The same sources suggest that Marcus Bent may be on the verge of securing a permanent deal with Wigan, generating further cash for the club.

Today's Bones v. Brakes clash is off because of a waterlogged pitch at Rothwell Town - and after they offered to serve hot food in their ballroom. It's a wonder they aren't sponsored by Mecca Dancing.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Fee for Gray could reach £2m

Gray challenges a future team mate when Burnley played Charlton at The Valley

Burnley have reluctantly agreed to the transfer of striker Andy Gray to Charlton. A Pards target for some time, he is now travelling to The Valley to agree personal terms. The basic fee will be £1.5m but could reach £2m with add ons:

He is the son of the former Scotland defender Frank Gray and nephew of Leeds United legend Eddie Gray. He has been capped twice for his native heath. He started his career as a midfield player but later moved into a forward position. He has had two stints in the Premiership, including one at Sunderland.

Have Hornets lost their sting?

Not so long Watford fans were ringing up 606 and asserting that they would do better in the Premiership next time and claiming that the main issue was how and when they strengthened their squad for Premiership football. I always thought that the wheels would come off and they have.

Now they have sold Marlon King to faltering Fulham for £5m, although they have got Collins John in return, a player I always thought had something to offer at Championship level.

Although one wouldn't have said this a few weeks ago, the defensive line up looks predictable: the inspiring Youga, the magical Bougherra, the reborn McCarthy and the stimulating Moutaouakil.

Up front will Pards revert to a 4-5-1? I think he will go for a win with a 4-4-2, but the question is who will start? McLeod's many defenders say that he is a raw talent with much promise, but we have limited time to experiment with a striker who seems to have difficulty finding the net. Varney is less than perfect, but I think that he shows more potential than McLeod. I would start him.

Who should be alongside him? There is a case for Dickson, but I would still go with the much abused Iwelumo so that we can once again see him in partnership with Varney. To the 'what he has done for us?' crowd I would say that he has scored goals, is a serious nuisance to big defenders and hence could create space for Varney to use his pace, and is useful at defending against set pieces where we tend to be suspect.

Midfield is more difficult. Despite a somewhat disappointing performance at The Hawthorns, Zheng Zhi is a must. I would also include the reliable Matt Holland. Ambrose is another much criticised player, but he had a hand in all four goals on Saturday. Thomas has been looking sulky rather than silky, but Sam has also been something of a disappointment, although I think that is in part a confidence problem and a goal would work wonders for him. So I would leave Thomas to brood on the bench.

Irrational exuberance leads me to predict a 2-1 victory for the Addicks, the scorers being Ambrose (assist Sam) and Varney (assist Iwelumo). Don't put any money on it!

Erith's Paul May will be bringing his inimitable match report from Vicarage Road tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Bid for Tonge rejected

It is reported that the Addicks have had a £1.5m bid for Blades midfielder Michael Tonge turned down (I thought the spelling was Tonge but the reports says Tongue):

So no one in yet, although we do have one of the larger squads in the Championship, but seemingly not one good enough for an automatic promotion place.

Addicks put in new Gray bid

Charlton are improving their bid for Clarets striker Andy Gray from £1.3m to £1.5m:

Youth team's storming win

The Charlton Under-18's beat Sheffield United 6-0 last night to storm into the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup. Moreover, this was achieved with two of the best younger players out on loan.

Clive Richardson writes, 'The game was a great advert for our youth team- flowing football, good strike power, etc....Uchechi, Wagstaff, Yussuff, Godfrey, Shelvey...and good full-backs in Solly and Long.' It's at times like this that I wish I lived nearer The Valley.

There was a crowd of 1,369, although apparently they had some trouble getting in because of a lack of turnstiles open for cash and an insistence on giving out tickets. (Oi, you're sitting in my seat).

Congratulations to Sir Chris Powell on greeting the young players by the tunnel as they came off.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Shrimpers in for Dickson

Southend are seeking to extend their collection of Charlton strikers by offering £400,000 for Chris Dickson, usually reliable sources are claiming.

In my view Dickson has too much potential to be let go for such a sum. Indeed, in my view he is not for sale and even if they threw in Southend Pier we wouldn't be interested.

Faye move hits new snag

The move of Amdy Faye from Rangers to Blackburn has hit a new snag, even before his silky skills have been displayed on the training pitch. The Evening See You Jimmy reports: 'On-loan midfielder Amdy Faye could see a move to Blackburn scuppered by red-tape. He has played for Charlton and Rangers already this season and would need a successful appeal to Fifa to be allowed to feature for a third club under their registration rules.'

His appearances for the Addicks were very brief - but rules are rules (unless West Ham are involved).

Gray deal close?

The South London Press which acts as a kind of Pravda for the club is reporting that a deal to prise striker Andy Gray from Burnley may be close: Gray

Gray is a proven striker at this level and hence the kind of player we need, although it would affect the position of other players in the pecking order.

Sky Sports News are reporting that Burnley have rejected a Charlton offer: Latest . Reference to a substantial seven figure offer does not mean that we were offering seven fat blokes in exchange.

We are also being linked again with Freddy Eastwood and Wolves might well be prepared to let him go as he has been something of a disappointment for them, plus they have signed an attacking midfielder who claims he can score goals. However, I think Eastwood is both less desirable and less likely than Gray.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Valiant struggle at The Hawthorns

Heavy rain greeted the Addickted at The Hawthorns producing a greasy surface, writes Erith's Paul May. Alan Pardew named the same starting team as the one which beat Blackpool 4-1 at The Valley on Saturday in front of a crowd of 12,691.

Portuguese centre back and charm merchant Pele put in a rather nasty challenge on McLeod. Charlton won the first corner after four minutes after taking advantage of a Dean Kiely clearance that was picked up by Sam. The Baggies got a free kick after Bougherra put his header in. Youga looked lively in the opening period.

McLeod made an attempt but it looped over the angle of post and crossbar, Varney having got himself into an offside position. Zheng Zhi was brought down by Miller, receiving a rather different reception from Downing Street, and the Addicks were awarded a free kick just inside the opposition half. When Charlton should have got a corner, the Baggies were given a free kick for a supposed foul by McLeod.

Charlton continued to make most of the running, although a fussy referee kept breaking up play. But then the Baggies got a throw in a dangerous position and they scored from their first attack through Bednar on 14 minutes, Ambrose ensuring that he was not offside. Charlton should have stopped the cross coming into the far post.

Gera brought Youga down and received a yellow card. The Baggies got a free kick 30 yards out, leading to a corner for them. It was headed away and Zheng Zhi eventually managed to clear.

A shot by McLeod was deflected over the bar to give the Addicks a corner. Ambrose's effort went wide. Varney turned provider for McLeod with an excellent header, but McLeod's effort went straight at Dean Kiely.

Miller forged forward and the Baggies produced some pressure, but the offside flag went up against them. McLeod was one on one with Dean Kiely in an excellent opportunity, but he wasn't able to control the ball and Deano was able to smother it.

Charlton forged forward, McLeod failed to see Varney running at speed and Mouto2 was offside. A really good breakaway was wasted. Weaver had to punch the ball away to clear his lines.

Miller put in a left footed shot from the edge of the D but it went wide for a goal kick. The Baggies were getting a lot of possession. McCarthy had to concede a throw in near the corner flag.

Charlton were in danger, with Bednar threatening again, but McCarthy defended well at the expense of a corner. The corner was taken short and headed away and dropped on the edge of the penalty area and a Morrison drive hit the edge of the woodwork with five minutes to go.

Sam got a yellow card and the free kick created more danger for Charton, the free header just arcing right of the upright. One minute of time was added on as the rain poured down. McLeod pinched the ball off Pele some forty yards from goal. He burst through and turned provider for Varney, but with the goal gaping from eight yards out he put it over the bar. What a half of missed chances!

Half time: Baggies 1, Addicks 0

Mouto2 was pulled back by Teixeira to give Charlton a free kick. The Addicks built an attack, but it ended in a Baggies free kick. Charlton started brightly and a free kick led to a Charlton corner on the 50th minute. Holland's effort was blocked and the Baggies broke away, Zheng Zhi was in position but made an error, Teixeira set up Morrison went for goal and a desperate drive by Weaver was unable to stop the Baggies making it 2-0. This was gut wrenching after a bright start to the half. Big Chris started to warm up.

Gera put in a shot but Weaver made the save. McLeod tried to latch on to a forward ball, he was brought down and fouled, the Addicks got a throw in but not a free kick. Youga covered well as the Baggies came forward and won the ball. Ambrose put a curved pass towards the far post, but no one was there.

Charlton played fluently and won a corner which was taken short. West Brom eventually managed to break again, Charlton won the ball back, but there was an offside decision against McLeod as he forged forward.

Chris Iwelumo came on for the Addicks and McLeod went off. With a move starting from a free kick, there was confusion in the Baggies defence, Iwelumo forced Kiely to punch it into the path of Ambrose who scored to make it 2-1 on 64 minutes. Gera shaved the crossbar as he tried to respond.

Youga did well in defence to ensure that the Baggies could not trouble Weaver. Luke Varney turned provider for Lloyd Sam who won a corner for the Addicks, but it led to a Baggies goal kick.

A mistake by Kiely put the Baggies under heavy pressure, but eventually they were somehow able to clear. Ambrose made way for Thomas who had his gloves on. A free kick created an opportunity for the Baggies, but Iwelumo cleared and then Bougherra got it away. The Baggies came forward again, but Youga got hold of the ball.

West Brom made two substitutions with Gera and Teixeira coming off. Sam put in a drive that was just wide with fifteen minutes left. Thomas and Youga combined well, but the move ended in a Baggies free kick.

Iwelumo was bundled over by Greening and the Addicks got a free kick three yards outside the penalty area, but the effort by Thomas was headed away. The referee awarded a free kick against Youga on the edge of the penalty area. It was a harsh decision. Brunt's effort took a deflection off a well organised wall at the expense of the corner.

Chris Dickson came on to replace Matt Holland with less than eight minutes to go. West Brom took off Miller and brought on MacDonald. A free kick was awarded for a foul on Luke Varney after the referee tried to play advantage. Youga dealt with a Baggies attack. MacDonald missed a chance with a free header.

The Baggies started to stream out confident that they had won, but Charlton tried for one of their late goals in some frantic play. Sam won a throw in near the corner flag. On the stroke of 90 minutes Charlton equalised with Chris Dickson getting the final touch to score his first goal for the Addicks after a cross by Zheng Zhi helped on by Lloyd Sam.

With three minutes added on, Charlton kept up the pressure, but the Baggies also applied pressure. The whistle blew for extra time in the heavy rain. Youga had been outstanding.

Full time: Baggies 2, Addicks 2

Portuguese poser Pele gave the ball away to Lloyd Sam, allowing Charlton to keep the pressure on. Both teams were going all out for what could be a decisive goal. West Brom got a corner kick, but McCarthy dealt well with an excellent delivery by danger man Brunt.

Dickson won a corner for Charlton, the Baggies back line again looking uncertain. The corner by Thomas was headed away, it was played back in, but the Baggies were awarded a free kick. Bednar curled it towards MacDonald, but Weaver made a superb save at the expense of a corner. Bougherra needed some treatment for cramp. The corner was cleared.

West Brom forged forward but McCarthy defended well at the expense of a Baggies corner. Zheng Zhi was able to clear. Chris Dickson seemed to be struggling as the result of a boot with the studs showing from Greening.

At the end of the first period of extra time it was still 2-2. Charlton started to ask the Baggies a few questions. Dickson hit the side netting as Kiely came off his line. Dickson was pushed over and the referee awarded a free kick, but the effort by Thomas was cleared.

Thomas dribbled into the penalty area. Dickson sliced his shot and the Baggies went on the attack, but Bougherra was able to put the ball out for a throw in. Bougherra got in the way of a Baggies drive. West Brom were starting to tire and the Addicks looked dangerous in the counter attack.

Dickson got away from Pele, but the ball bounced off Kiely. Weaver punched clear as the Baggies responded. Bougherra blocked a cross.

Charlton had done well to fight back from 2-0 down and, for all the criticisms that are made of him, Iwelumo made a difference, putting the two big central defenders under pressure.


Varney took the first penalty in front of the stand shared by Addicks and Baggies. It was a powerful shot but he put it over the crossbar. Brunt put it past Weaver to make it 1-0 to the Baggies. Then it was the turn of Chris Dickson who made it 1-1 with a good penalty under conditions of pressure. Baggies captain Greening stepped up and Weaver made the save to keep it at 1-1. Thomas was next in line and made it 2-1, sidefooting it into the bottom corner, even though Kiely went the right way. Weaver could not save off Corran and it was 2-2. Zheng Zhi was next, he looked more nervous than waiting for Gordon Brown at Downing Street, Dean Kiely saved to his right, giving the Baggies the advantage. Morrison drilled it into the top corner of the net to make it 3-2 to the Baggies. Bougherra had to take the crucial penalty and he rolled it into the back of the net. 3-3. Bednar put it past Weaver and West Brom won 4-3 on penalties and go on to face Peterborough. It was a great fight by Charlton, what a way to go out.

'Flop' Bent up for sale

Spurs are prepared to make a loss on Darren Bent and accept offers of around £12.5m, although there don't seem to be too many takers: Bent

Before anyone asks, I don't think taking him back on a loan for the rest of the season is an option. Spurs are not looking for a loan deal as they are hoping to fund other purchases and we probably couldn't afford his current wages. As various wags have pointed out, he would also have to fight for his place in the squad.

Quite how this affects our instalment payments from White Hart Lane I'm not sure, but we have sold on the Spurs debt anyway (see earlier story).

Precarious finances

I am grateful to another Addick who knows more about how to read a set of accounts than I do for the following analysis of the club's financial position:

Additional concerns / confirmations of how precarious the finances were in June / are now, are as follows :-. Charlton now have gone from net Funds of 204k at the end of June 2006 to a net debt of 23.35m at the end of June 2007. The cash balances in the bank have reduced from 8.9 million to 34k. So in short, in one season they went from a position of having a significant balance in the bank to next to nothing in the bank, and went from a position of no overall debt to a situation where the club has debts of 23.35 MILLION. This new debt includes a 9.2 million overdraft with the banks and 6 million of new loans from directors, the 6m of directors loans were scheduled to be repaid in Sept 2007. The overdrafts are paid back in instalments upto 2013.

Sky revenue was 3.4 million lower than 2006 and match day ticket revenue 2.1 million lower. Last season Charlton's revenues were 35.9 million in total and the payroll bill was 34.3 million compared with 41.9 and 34.2 in the previous year. So in short last season we went from being a "prudent" well financed premiership club to a debt ridden relegated Championship club.

Repayment of the Directors' loans has been delayed until June 2008. The loans will be paid back plus with Interest of Base Rate + 3.5%. So the Directors are getting in the region of 8.75% interest, which is a good rate of return and are secured against The Valley. The directors have also pledged a further 4 million if required. The club have sold on the Darren Bent debt to receive a smaller balance but get the cash straight away rather than waiting for Spurs to pay in dribs and drabs. Player transfers during this season have generated about 1 million profit.

Baggies up for Cup match

West Bromwich Albion are determined to lay to rest what they perceived to be a sloppy performance at The Valley by putting on a show at The Hawthorns tonight:

Zheng Zhi meets PM

A pinstriped suited Zheng Zhi is prominently featured in photographs with the Prime Minister in the China National Daily. See them here: Zhi

Zheng Zhi was able to discuss the prospects for the season with the prime minister who was not able to offer any specific forecasts other than it was a time of positive change for the club.

The magic of the Cup

The lack of significance attached to tonight's cup replay at The Hawthorns is demonstrated by the fact that none of the Black Country papers have yet chosen to preview it, although we hope to bring you something later in the day.

From the Charlton perspective, the main interest is in the team that Pards will field. One option is already unavailable with the news that a loan berth is being sought for midfielder Racon.

Will Pards revert to 4-5-1 with Iwelumo up front or will he use the relatively rare combination of Iwelumo and Varney in a 4-4-2? Or will McLeod be deployed to use his energy running up and down the pitch to no great effect? Considering that the defenders may also be rotated, the number of possible combinations is considerable.

Should we win, it will be presented as a great triumph, albeit against what is likely to be a weakened West Brom side. A defeat will be shrugged off with the mantra that we can now concentrate on the league with a major fixture at faltering Watford on Saturday. So much for the magic of the cup.

I am uncertain who Pards will play. I think there are two likely outcomes to the match. Either we get soundly beaten 3-0 or 2-0. Or we will take it to extra time and penalties and might even win the prize of a trip to Peterborough.

If you are going, enjoy the game. Unfortunately, a combination of a minor bout of ill health, difficult train connections and work commitments are going to keep me from a game in my own backyard.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Blackburn in for Faye

Blackburn are interested in Amdy Faye as a replacement for Robbie Savage (if there can be a replacement). There could be a fee of £1m which, together with the money for Walker, would start to give us a half decent transfer kitty.

Unfortunately, the latest word is that he is going to have a week's trial at Ewood Park while they run the rule of him, so that looks like the end of that deal. It also appears that if there is a deal, it will be a loan.

'Chinese Becks' to meet Gordon

The Daily Mirror is calling him the 'Chinese Becks' and Charlton's Zheng Zhi is to meet prime minister Gordon Brown today: Zhi

Perhaps Gordon will wear his Charlton shirt for the occasion? Probably not as we all know he is Raith Rovers through and through.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Walker sold to Shrimpers

The Southend United website is confirming that Charlton striker James Walker has been sold to them for £200,000: Walker

Walker had been on loan with Yeovil Town. It's a tidy sum, but hopefully the deal includes a sell on clause.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

We kick sand in someone else's face

After a procession of teams coming to The Valley from lower down the table and taking one or all three points, Charlton's poor home form was put into reverse with a 4-1 win over Blackpool. With a 4-4-2 formation and Varney and McLeod up front, the Addicks were more willing to play the ball along the ground and were 2-0 up within the quarter hour from Bougherra and Varney. The Seasiders then replied to make it 2-1, but Zheng Zhi made it 3-1 within the half hour. Zheng Zhi got his second in the second half to make it 4-1.

Some chances were missed in the second half and the score could have been higher. All credit to Blackpoool for not giving up and for playing football rather than trying to clog us out of the game. The fact that only one yellow card was awarded reflects the spirit in which the game was played, helped by sensible refereeing.

Deptford Creek was about half full when we came over it so I did not know what to make of that as an omen for the game. The Bloke Beside Me forecast a 4-1 win and I could not believe that would be possible. In any event he said that he was determined to 'enjoy the game' (copyright P.Varney).

McLeod weaved through the opposition players well to create an early Charlton corner. The corner kick taken by Ambrose led to a second and Bougherra headed into the back of the net. Charlton had scored from a corner!

Four minutes later Varney made it 2-0 with a shot he drilled along the ground. Casualness in the Charlton defence then allowed Burgess to break through and put in a dipping shot that went just over Weaver's head to make it 2-1.

A Blackpool corner was cleared by Matt Holland. Darren Ambrose went forward with a good ball, but former Addick Rachubka in the Seasiders' goal was able to deal with it. McLeod put in a 'shot' that ended up near the corner flag. Ambrose then provided some good work on the wing, Varney put in the cross and Zheng Zhi made it 3-1 on 24 minutes.

Matt Holland drew a save that led to a Charlton corner. Blackpool were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, but Varney was able to block the ball. Charlton won a free kick but Rachubka was able to grab the ball. The only yellow card of the game was given to Hoolahan for kicking the ball away after he disagreed with a free kick decision.

Youga created some danger by failing to clear his lines. Bougherra cleared the ball from the goalmouth. McCarthy defended well. A Blackpool corner led to a second but it ended in a shot that went way over the bar.

With two minutes of time added on, McLeod burst through, but hesitated in front of goal and lost the opportunity.

Half time: Addicks 3, Seasiders 1

McLeod tried his best, but lost the ball. A sizzling free kick by Darren Ambrose meant that the keeper had to push the ball over the bar, leading to a Charlton corner. From this Bougherra hit the post and Zheng Zhi was able to tap the ball in the net to make it 4-1.

Blackpool did not give up and they had quite a lot of pace. Their midfield was quite impressive, it was their defence and finishing that let them down. Nevertheless, they drew a good save from Nicky Weaver. Luke Varney shot past the post. Zheng Zhi made a good tackle to deal with danger in front of the goal.

Blackpool took off Faeroe Islands international Claus Jorgensen and Scott Vernon and brought on David Fox and new signing Stephen McPhee. Moutaouakil had to defend well to prevent a one-to-one situation in front of goal. Blackpool got a corner and Lloyd Sam was replaced by Jerome Thomas.

Luke Varney won Charlton a corner and Bougherra's effort was just over the bar. Blackpool took off Michael Flynn and brought on Andy Morrell in a last throw of the dice. Three Addicks players had a chance to make it 5-1 including Luke Varney. The ball finally went to Thomas who was in the best position but he put it over.

On 76 minutes Pardew withdrew the striking partnership of Varney and McLeod and brought on Iwelumo and Dickson. Blackpool won a corner. Weaver had to make a save by pushing the ball out with both hands.

Dickson put the ball into the side netting. Matt Holland drew a save and then another which led to a Charlton corner. The Addicks were evidently not going to get the Old Five and the early leavers were able to go with a clear conscience.

Elsewhere, Leamington won 1-0 at Stourport Swifts to resume their leadership of the BGB Midlands Division so it was a good day all round.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Zheng Zhi not just for his two goals, but for excellent work in defence and attack. Weaver was not troubled too much, but he did make some good saves. Bougherra took his goal well and came close to scoring on one occasion. He was also prominent in defence. McCarthy was solid, did not make any serious mistakes and provided some good clearances. Youga had the East Stand chanting his name at one time. He got forward well, was stalwart in defence and made some excellent clearances. He just needs to avoid over elaborate play in front of goal. Moutaouakil showed some good pace and foraged forward well. He just needs to be careful about being caught out of position. Holland played above his usual standard and showed some really nice touches, including a couple of attempts on goal. Sam was possibly the most disappointing player on the pitch, getting outfoxed more than once. Ambrose my initial comment was that contributed more than he has on some occasions. After looking through my notes, I thought this was rather harsh as he had contributed quite a lot. McLeod still does not look the finished article and needs to show more confidence in front of goal. Varney was excellent in the first half, but faded a little in the second. Thomas was more sulky than silky. Iwelumo tried hard when he came on, but did not make a lot of difference. Dickson got forward well but was unable to get the ball in the net.

Hiss of the Match This placed Juneau the Soccer Cat in something of a quandry as the officials were exellent and the opposition played fairly. While she scratched, washed and reflected on the matter, she did think of giving a bad taste award to the Seasider who was wearing a full length tangerine coat and cowboy hat, but decided that their fans were such a friendly lot that would be unfair. Eventually, she gave the award to whoever it was who unduly delayed fans getting on to the station after the game, overloading the special to London Bridge.

Crowd rating Peter Varney's injunction in the programme to make some noise was repeated by the crowd announcer but, as the team did their talking with their feet, the Addickted need no artificial encouragement to get behind them. 7/10.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Your referee on Saturday

It's Jarnail Singh who was in charge at the Charlton v. Norwich game and awarded the Addicks two penalties.

Read his story here: Referee

Wright to return to Barnet

Midfielder Josh Wright looks set to return to Barnet for a further loan spell. Given that he is unlikely to break into the Charlton team, this is probably the best thing for his career development. Barnet is, of course, the club Alan Pardew joined as a player after leaving Charlton.

More here: Wright

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Sunderland swoop for Reid

Unconfirmed reports (in the Irish Independent) state that Sunderland are engaged in talks with Charlton about signing Andy Reid. I hope that there is no substance to this. Reid is one of our few Premiership quality players and was always a likely target, but there were hopes that his injury would protect him from interest.

Some of the Addickted think this story might have legs as Sunderland are looking for a left-sided player, having found Stephen Hunt a dead end. Reid did, of course, agree to stay until at least the end of the season.

There are also rumours that we are interested in Greg Halford, so a swap deal may be in the offing. But do we need another right back? It is arguable that Halford looked good at Colchester, but has struggled at Reading and Sunderland.

And how much would we get for Reid? Halford plus £2m would only buy us one player and we would lose our most creative player.

Exciting times at Selhurst Park

Sorry if you have been looking for this but I had to temporarily delete it owing to comments from a low life Palace fan (at least I hope he was Palace):

Monday, 7 January 2008

Christensen off to Holland

The club's E mail bulletin reports:

'Promising Charlton winger Martin Christensen has joined Dutch side Heracles Almelo on loan for the rest of the season.

The Denmark U21 international, who turned 20 two days before Christmas, spent December training with the Eredivise side.

The right winger officially joined the club on January 1st when the transfer window opened, and will strive to help the team currently third from bottom in the Dutch top flight move away from danger.'

So if he is promising and good enough to help a Dutch top flight escape relegation, why isn't he good enough for the bench at Charlton? Do we buy too many 'promising' players and then find we can't play them. Or is loaning them out a deliberate system? I suppose going out on loan worked well for Youga.

Posh draw

Should Charlton be able to beat West Brom at The Hawthorns (by no means impossible) they will be away to Peterborough United, managed by Darren Ferguson, in the 4th round of the FA Cup. The inimitable Barry Fry is the owner and 'director of football'.

Posh manager Darren Ferguson was happy with the draw, saying: 'We fancy our chances and it will be a good football match.'

Initial feedback from Posh fans is that either West Brom or Charlton should be beatable on the day, but they prefer Charlton, particularly as Aaron McLean could then 'show them what he is all about.'

I can't remember when we last played the Posh, but it must be some time ago.

Pards disrespected me, says Deano

Dean Kiely feels that Alan Pardew disrepected him at Saturday's match: Deano

Another version, but emphasising complaints by Pardew about the fans (which could be read as ironic) can be found here: Fans

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Transfer talk

There's a veritable flood of transfer speculation involving Charlton today, although whether any of it will end in a signing is another matter.

Let's start with the strikers. Pards is already said to have bid £1m for Burnley's Andy Gray who at 30 is the No.3 striker in the Championship. However, the Clarets have no particular need to sell and Cardiff and Ipswich are also after him, offering a cash plus players deal. Certainly we would have to offer more than £1m to land him.

Then there is Joe Garner at Carlisle who cost them £140,000 two years ago. However, Carlisle supremo John Ward thinks he is 'too young and raw' to appear at a higher level. Sounds like another McLeod to me.

Then we have been linked with two non-league strikers. Stuart Fleetwood at Forest Green Rovers who has scored 26 goals this season and is supposedly valued at £250,000. Then there is Steve Morison at Stevenage but apparently Colchester are after him as well. I don't know why we just don't sign some players from Leamington, only one of them is under contract.

The one midfielder that has been mentioned is Matt Spring who was at Watford, but was signed by Luton for £200,000. There's a fire sale going on at Luton and no doubt the guy would be glad of a regular wage instead of being paid less than one week in three. However, Palace are also in the frame.

We have also been linked with Paul Connolly who is a right back at Plymouth, but with Mouto2 improving, I wouldn't have thought that was our priority.

Joe the Saint tells me that a new offer has come in for Southampton, so once again the money is going elsewhere in the Championship.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Charlton earn replay

Charlton earned a replay at The Hawthorns in a 1-1 draw at The Valley in the 3rd round of the FA Cup this afternoon. They might have hoped for more, having secured 11 corners as against three for the Baggies. The Addicks had 18 shots on goal of which 13 were on target, the figures for the Baggies being seven and three respectively.

Many of the Addickted in a thin crowd of 12,682 got their wish when Varney and McLeod started up front with Iwelumo, the subject of much criticism from a section of the support, staying on the bench. Youga also started.

Zheng Zhi put Charlton ahead just one minutes and four seconds from the game's start with the fastest goal of the day. Lloyd Sam put in a good cross to the far post, Ambrose headed the ball back across the goal to the Chinese captain who turned on the edge of the six-yard box and put his shot past Deano in the West Brom goal to make it 1-0.

Miller levelled for the visitors on 34 minutes in what was really their first effective attack of the game. Chris Brunt, who tormented Charlton in the league game at The Haswthorns, put in a low cross and the Manchester City loanee was able to tap it home past Weaver, Randolph not featuring in goal as some reports had suggested might happen.

McLeod had a shout for a penalty when he was blocked in the area, but referee Keith Woolmer was having none of it.

After the break Varney should have done better with an assist from Mouto2 but his shot looped up and Deano was able to palm it clear. Then, with the unmarked Varney shouting for the ball, McLeod decided to go for glory and Deano was able to save easily. Kiely had to make further saves from Varney and McLeod, but Weaver had to keep out a fierce shot from Sherjill MacDonald (of the 'which clan is he from?' shouts at The Hawthorns).

Chris Dickson felt the Valley turf beneath his feet in a match for the first time when he came on on 77 minutes as part of a triple substitution. Pards had evidently decided that he had enough of the experiment with the two former lower division strikers who were both taken off. Iwelumo and Basey also came on with Ambrose also being withdrawn.

Dickson had his chance of glory minutes from the end, but Deano was able to dive at his feet to grab the ball and stop him scoring the winner. It was probably the result that neither team wanted.

Sizzling Sidhu

Two goals from Vijay Sidhu helped Leamington to a 3-1 victory over Barton Rovers at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon had Brakes had gone 0-1 behind.

In form Barton looked impressive in the first half with a defence that was hardly to break down and ex Addick Frazer Toms proving a problem as he foraged forward from midfield. On the half hour mark Mozza in the Brakes goal had to make a good save from a free kick, tipping the ball over the bar. Minutes later PE teacher Martyn Patching had to make an excellent save on the line for the visitors. Ben Mackey took a somersault of delight when he thought he had scored but the linesman had raised his flag some time before.

Tony Thorpe was signed by Fulham for £1m from Bristol City, having previously played 164 games for Luton Town and the danger man pounced a minute after the break to put Barton ahead. There was some talk of offside, but lineswoman Ms S Garratt was correct in ruling that it was not. It looked as if Leamington had equalised but the ball was cleared off the line and then on 55 minutes the former Sky Blue made it 1-1.

His second goal on 62 minutes was a great one, combining real pace and a great strike. You can see it here: Sidhu With a risk that he might score his hat-trick, Sidhu was withdrawn and replaced by former Warwick University student James Husband who made it 3-1 on 85 minutes.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Addicks after Harewood, Rigters

Charlton are one of three clubs seeking a loan deal with Aston Villa for Marlon Harewood who has not started a league game this season. The other clubs in the frame are Derby and Middlesbrough and Villa are said to be keen to hang on to Harewood. Likelihood: 2/10

Charlton are also interested after Dutch striker Maceo Rigters' agent said he may become available on loan from Blackburn. Ewood Park boss Mark Hughes is currently weighing up the future options for the Dutch Under-21 star to leave on loan in the January transfer window. However, Blackburn have injury problems with their strikers and may not be willing to let Ritgers go out on loan. Celtic are also in the frame should he become available. Likelihood: 3/10.

Cadzy announces squad rotation policy

Jason Cadden

Ahead of tomorrow's clash at Harbury Lane with 10th placed Barton Rovers, Leamington manager Jason Cadden has announced a squad rotation policy. In a statement issued by club supremo David Hucker from the New Windmill Ground, it is revealed that ace striker Josh Blake and Liam Reynolds will be rested tomorrow ahead of Tuesday's FA Trophy match against the Shaymen at their Halifax ground. In the case of removal man Blake it is not that he is out on his van which sometimes happens on a Saturday.

The decision will give a chance to recent signings from Coventry City Vijay Sidhu (who looks a real handful in front of goal) and Dale Jones. Nevertheless, the policy has provoked some discussion among fans who point out that the Brakes are not going to win the FA Trophy but could win the BGB Business Midland Division.

Danny Mills Ram raided

The second period that Danny Mills has spent at Charlton has ended with a loan move to Derby County for the rest of the season following his enforced Christmas break. Apparently he is ready to 'roll up his sleeves and dig in'. Let's hope it doesn't mean a surreptitious dig of the elbow at an opposition player. More here:

So the picture of me with Danny Mills will have to be moved to a less prominent position again. Although not quite as fast as he once was, he was able to contribute something distinctive at The Valley. Unfortunately, this was not always footballing skill and determination, but also avoidable bookings and sending offs.

Do we want a cup run?

Reading's Dave Kitson has stirred up some controversy with his remarks about the FA Cup:

'We are not going to win the FA Cup and I do not give two s***s about it, to be honest,' was Kitson's pithy observation ahead of Reading's third round meeting with Tottenham.

'I care about staying in the Premier League, as does everybody at this club. Our Premier League status is not protected by winning the FA Cup and it is as simple as that.'

In the past I have faithfully turned out for home cup ties even when Charlton have faced lower league opposition, sometimes sponsoring the match or the match ball. But I won't be going tomorrow.

Why? A secondary reason is that there are no trains into Marylebone, making a long journey even longer. Also, I saw us turned over by the Baggies a few weeks ago. OK, there may be a few changes in the line up tomorrow, Dickson coming off the bench, a start for Youga and Mouto2, but not enough to stimulate my appetite.

However, the real reason is that I am not sure we need a cup run (remember that for us a 'run' means getting to the fifth or sixth round). Of course, 'concentrating on the league' has a rather hollow sound after our recent performances. But there is still time to pull it all together. We may not be very good, but neither are most of the other teams, as is reflected in the way in which our indifferent run has not changed our position in the table.

The one plus would be that it would give the club some much needed funds. Our poor cup performances last year cost us £1.5m. But the money wouldn't be available for use in the transfer window anyway and often the value in the January window is poor.

It's been looking recently as if I have been copying Killer's forecasts, but I agree with him that a draw is the most likely outcome tomorrow (in which case I will try and get to the replay at The Hawthorns). But I am favouring a 2-2 draw rather than 1-1.

And remember - this will be the only Charlton site bringing you coverage of Leamington's game against Barton Rovers tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Addicks in for Ribeiro?

Charlton are being linked with 18-year old Bristol City right back Christian Ribeiro. The Welsh Under-21 international is a product of the Bristol City academy system and has not played for the first team yet.

Links with Birmingham City striker Rowan Vine seem unlikely. Queen's Park Rangers are ready to splash some of their cash on the player who was on loan at Loftus Road for the first part of the season.

Baggies concentrating on the league

West Bromwich Albion see promotion as more important than a cup run and may field a changed side on Saturday (or that's what they might like Charlton to think):

All the indications are that Alan Pardew will also make a few changes on Saturday.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Youga recalled - but unhappy

Kelly Youga has been recalled to give Charlton more options at left back and will go straight into the squad for Saturday's cup game against the Baggies. However, if he is not given a chance by Charlton to show what he can do, he would like to return to Scunthorpe:

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Super Kevin Lisbie

That was the chant of the U's supporters as he scored two goals, one from a penalty, in Colchester's 2-1 defeat of Charlton at The Valley. This was an atrocious performance by the Addicks. I haven't looked at what people are saying on the lists, but no doubt they are arguing that we should use this player or that formation.

That overlooks the fact that as a team Charlton are not good enough. Their play is far too disjointed. They cannot pass effectively and they cannot keep hold of the ball. And they seem to have very few creative ideas about how to penetrate the opposition, other than runs down the wings, and even fewer about how to create goal scoring opportunities.

Coming over Deptford Creek on the train the tide was very low which I always take as a bad omen. I then made another error in the light of subsequent events, using some vouchers in the club shop to buy, among other things, a Zheng Zhi mug.

I felt less than optimistic when I took what the annoying pitch announcer described as my 'ringside seat'. Any team, even the bottom one, that comes to The Valley can do so with confidence because of our appalling home record. And so it proved. Whereas we started the game very tentatively and with no clear plan, Colchester looked confident.

Nicky Weaver had to make an early save. Thomas won Charlton a corner which he took but was caught by the keeper. A U's corner was cleared by Holland. A shot saved from Iwelumo was saved.

Bougherra lost the ball in midfield, ending in a crumpled heap on the ground. McCarthy pulled back a Colchester player in the box and the referee awarded a penalty. I have no complaints against the officials (which means there is no scapegoat there!) There was some delay in the penalty being taken as a stretcher had to be summoned for Bougherra, although in fact he came back on the pitch. Keven Lisbie took the penalty calmly and dispatched it past Weaver into the corner of the net to make it 0-1.

The U's continued to look threatening with a ball flashing across the front of goal. The U's worn a corner which Weaver had to punch out. A Charlton free kick was unproductive. One of the things that struck me about Charlton was that they were too slow, often losing the ball while they were dwelling on it and not moving forward quickly enough so that the U's consolidated their defence.

A Charlton corner was played in again, but Iwelumo's header was wide. Then Kevin Lisbie made it 0-2 with an overhead kick, giving Charlton a mountain to climb. The quality of the Charlton response was demonstrated when Zheng Zhi blasted over.

Pardew realised that something needed to be done and withdrew McCarthy, who had received a yellow card at the time of the penalty, and brought on Luke Varney. Semedo moved to right back in a reshuffle of positions. However, Charlton continued to have problems. Zheng Zhi lost possession in midfield. Lloyd Sam lost the ball by trying to do it all himself, suggesting that the players felt that there was a need for heroics when calm, disciplined teamwork was what was required.

A Charlton corner led to a Charlton throw in. Then Luke Varney made use of a low cross from Sam to blast the ball in the net and make it 1-2. Shortly afterwards the ball was once again in the net, but the lino flagged, I think for a foul on the keeper.

Half time: Addicks 1, U's 2

Charlton came out for the second half very early, but I am not sure this did anything for them as they were as disjointed as ever. The U's took off Kevin McLeod and brought on Kemal Izzet who was once a household name of a kind.

The U's won a free kick, the ball was played in again, but Lisbie put it over the bar. Shortly afterwards, there was once again danger in front of the Charlton goal. The U's were not sitting back but going for a third which they might well have got. Charlton were getting more possession, but to little effect and the U's alwauys threatened. They won another corner, but their effort went over.

Nicky Weaver threw out a long ball rather than hoofing it in the air and Sam was able to connect well and win a corner. Although I always worry about opposition corners and feel little optimism about Charlton ones, this one was well taken, but Iwelumo somehow failed to connect two yards out from goal.

Bougherra conceded an unnecessary corner to the U's and Weaver dealt with it less than confidently, punching it high in the air. Semedo, who had been having a decent game, was taken off and replaced by Mouto2, presumably to have a natural right back on the park and it did have some positive effect. Lisbie won a corner for the U's, but it was caught by Weaver. The U's had a penalty shout and some of those around me thought that they had a case.

Sam won Charlton a corner, but somehow it ended up with the one Colchester player up the park (Mark Yeates). Lisbie went off to warm appluase and was replaced by Jamie Guy. Powell was taken off and replaced by Ambrose.

Luke Varney won Charlton a free kick in a potentially promising position, and it was well taken, but the action in front of goal ended with a U's free kick. A Charlton free kick was played through to Zheng Zhi, but he missed. In the four minutes of time added on, Ambrose had a chance which he should have taken, but he sent the ball wide. We did have our chances but we failed to take them.

I noticed Pardew gesticulating wildly during the game, as well he might. A despairing Charlton caller on 606 got the response from Spoony that we were still in 5th position which was not a bad place to be at this time of the season. True, and it does in part reflect how poor and inconsistent the other teams in the division are.

A QPR caller came on to say that with the money now had they would soon be in the Premiership and the only question was how soon they would be one of the top teams in Europe. QPR as Real Madrid is giving it a bit large, but Ipswich, just below us, now have plenty of money. Our problem is that we don't have much money and in any case it is difficult to get value in the January transfer window.

But, more fundamentally, the team is failing to play as a unit. Of course, the absence of Reid hurts more than I had realised it would and the suspension and probable departure of Sodje has not helped. Nevertheless, the problems are deeper than that. Next Saturday's cup game does at least provide an opportunity to try out some different tactics and players, not least Dickson.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible wanted to award the Silver Bone to Kevin Lisbie, but senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch has come from his Long Itchington home to Leamington and ruled that the coveted award cannot be given to an opposition player even if they formerly played for Charlton. He has also ruled that the unusual step will be taken of withholding the Silver Bone.

Weaver was not to blame for the two goals, and had very little otherwise to do. I wish he would not send his goal kicks soaring into the air, but maybe he is under orders to do that in the hope that the ball will land on Iwelumo's head. On one occasion when he threw the ball out it was much more effective. Bougherra's error led to the first goal. I think that after the knock he picked up then, he was less than fully effective. Certainly he failed to impress. Powell was probably one of the less bad players on the park. Certainly he didn't do much wrong. At his best Fortune is a competent defender. Today he was not at his best. For McCarthy it was from hero to zero. Having conceded the penalty, he was the first player to be withdrawn. Semedo had a reasonably effective game until he was withdrawn. Holland could be seen trying to urge on the Charlton tem to greater efforts. His performance was again one of honest competence. Zheng Zhi had an awful game. His passes never found anyone and he never looked liked scoring. Sam was quite effective, but I noticed in the second half that he sometimes hung back too much rather than moving forward so that he would be in a position to receive a pass. Thomas was probably the best Charlton player and was the only one consistently able to open up the opposition. Iwelumo roamed around up front to little effect and missed one chance to score from a few yards out. Varney lifted the team at the end of the first half, but in the second half he was anonymous. I'm still not convinced that he is as good as many of the Addickted think he is. Moutaouakil made his presence felt when he came on and looked as if he wanted to be involved. Ambrose was largely ineffective when he came on, missing one chance to score.

Hiss of the Match This has been directed by Juneau the Soccer Cat at the whole team for a sub-standard performance.

Crowd rating: The Addickted were understandably rattled by what they saw in front of them, but made some effort to lift the team. 6/10.