Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Will third takeover bid be made?

With the future of the Roland Duchatelet bid uncertain, there is increasing interest in a third, European based party that may make a bid. Rick Everitt provides an informed overview of the obstacles to a takeover: Takeovers

Happy New Year to all readers, here's hoping that we get something at Ipswich tomorrow.

How 2013 was for us

Some interesting data here on the relative performance of clubs in 2013. We finished 40th out of 66 among Football League clubs: Performances

What has characterised 2013 has been rumours of takeovers which have come to nothing. The proposed takeover by Belgium's 18th richest man was the only one to be announced on the official site, but rumours are now circulating that the deal has collapsed. I have no reliable information one way or the other, but I would have thought that if a deal was not announced in the next 24 hours, the chances of it being completed are receding.

This would be serious news as we really need investment in the squad in the transfer window if we are to be sure of staying up. According to Richard Cawley, a number of signings are lined up to come in quickly if it happens.

At the moment, we are effectively top of the Relegation League. My hunch is that Barnsley and Yeovil will go down, but we don't want to be the third team.

According to Richard Cawley of the SLP, Palace were watching Dale Stephens on Sunday, so perhaps just as well that he was played out of position.

At least we have some good news today: congratulations to Jason Morgan for his well deserved MBE reflecting the work he had done in the community for the club.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Leeds in for Stewart

Leeds are interested in acquiring Cameron Stewart who is regarded as having no future at Hull: Stewart

Chris Powell had been interested in a loan extension and perhaps an eventual acquisition. For me, Stewart's performances in the last few games have been disappointing, but perhaps he is anxious to avoid injury while his future is decided.

Contract talks a priority says Sir Chris

Contract talks for him and his players are the priority if the Belgian takeover of Charlton is completed says Chris Powell: Chris Powell

Sir Chris says that he has had a good relationship with the existing owners. What the new owners would do remains to be seen. The 'Powell out' crowd see it as a chance to get rid of Sir Chris. My ideal scenario would be to give Sir Chris some money in the transfer window. If the deal is going to be done, it will be completed by then. If it, or another deal is not done, we are in serious trouble.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

How dull is my Valley

Given Sheffield Wednesday's record as away draw specialists, I expected this match to be a draw and gave a forecast of 1-1 in my preview. Admittedly, I rarely get these forecasts right, but I thought it would be hard for Charlton to beat the Owls at home. When I heard that Chris Solly and Rhoys Wiggins (his wife was apparently having a baby) were not playing, I thought that 1-2 could be the outcome and we came perilously close to that. But this is our third match unbeaten, Wednesday have been denied two points, and Millwall remain below us.

The first half was as dull a period as I have seen at The Valley this season. I took very few notes because there were so few incidents. I was much more entertained at the non-league game I went to yesterday.

The game livened up immediately after half time when Dale Stephens scored an unexpected but well-taken goal. However, it was going to be difficult for Charlton to hold on to their lead with the visitors threatening down the right and so it proved. In the last ten minutes we were under constant pressure, although Church missed a golden opportunity to score the winning goal in a counter attack.

What was striking was what a bad state the pitch was in and this undoubtedly affected the quality of the play. There were very few highlights in the first half. Yann Kermorgant made a good run down the right. Stephen McPhaIl got a yellow card for a foul. Sheffield Wednesday won a couple of corners, but it was 37 minutes before we won one. Alnwick was called on to make a save towards the end of the half.

Half time: Addicks 0, Owls 0

An early effort by Yann Kermorgant was well wide. Then Lawrie Wilson put in a long throw to Stephens who evaded his marker and made it 1-0 on 46 minutes. A Wednesday corner led to a worrying spell of play, but the ball went over the bar eventually. Wednesday made a double substitution, but whether this made them more of a threat is difficult to say.

On 57 minutes Wednesday foraged down the right and Connor Wickham had a relatively straightforward scoring opportunity to make it 1-1. Liam Palmer got a yellow card for throwing the ball away: why do players do this even if they are frustrated?

Charlton made their double substitution and a Charlton free kick led to an unproductive corner. Morrison rather clumsily conceded a corner and the ball had to be cleared off the line. Church won Charlton a corner. It was rather weakly taken by Green, but Semedo conceded a second which was unproductive. Evina got a justified yellow card. Charlton were under a lot of pressure and had difficulty clearing their lines.

In the four minutes added on Church blasted over when he was one on one, he should have passed the ball. The referee got fed up with Green and gave him a yellow card.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Richard Wood who was stalwart and skilled in defence. Ben Alnwick was not at fault for the goal and he is prepared to come out and claim the ball with more confidence than Hamer. However, his kicking out needs improvement. No particular complaints about Morrison although I didn't see his positioning for the goal. Evina was a disappointment. It shows how much the runs forward of Wiggins contribute. Wilson is better in a more advanced position than as right back. The programme assured us that the stats show that the team does better when Jackson is playing. No discussion of the difference between correlation and cause and effect. The problem is that he lacks pace which was shown more than once day. Cousins was busy and effective and one of the better players on the day. Stewart ran about quite a lot, but generally to no great effect. We saw the best and the worst of Stephens: a good goal and some purposeful play, but also surrendering possession needlessly and trying to regain it through a foul which led to a potentially dangerous free kick. Kermorgant Put in some skilled passes, but never came close to scoring. Church tries hard, but he lacks the qualities needed in a striker at this level. One of the problems is that he plays too close to Kermorgant. Green tried hard, but made no noticeable difference when he came on. I wasn't quite sure why Dervitte was brought on, but in any event he did not contribute much.

Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the rather irascible referee, Frederick Graham, whose decision-making was suspect.

The financial woes of Richard Rufus

The Sunday Times has a feature article this morning on the financial woes of Richard Rufus who was declared bankrupt in October. It claims that he was in line for the 2002 World Cup squad before he was injured.

Rufus is being pursued by a Pentecostalist church for losses of £5m. In 2004 he became a minister and trustee at the Kingsway International Christian Centre. Between 2009 and 2011 Rufus was given funds of £5m to invest by KICC. The gains were initially in line with Rufus's predictions, but in 2011 he was served with a bankruptcy petition by the Financial Services Authority. [It is possible that the difficulties with the investments were the result of the global financial crisis which hit returns from what had looked like promising investments]. The church did recover £1.7m, but took the lead in the recent bankruptcy petition.

At the time of the original petition his assets included a £1.9m property in Surrey, but the mortgages on five properties were greater than their value. [This would reflect the general slump in house prices]. His assets were worth £778,000.

Rufus is still pursuing a libel action against Paul Elliott who he alleges wrongly accused him of leaking information to the press.

The Sunday Times tries to make something of his induction into the Charlton hall of fame this year, but that reflects his services to the club over 288 appearances, including a vital goal at Wembley. My wife was his main shirt sponsor for many years and it is sad to see him face these difficulties. Many footballers find the adjustment to life outside the game difficult.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Away draw specialists head for Valley

Sheffield Wednesday are something of away draw specialists, having drawn six games on the road, the latest being the 0-0 at Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day. However, they have improved somewhat under caretaker manager Stuart Gray, winning two of their last five matches. Before Boxing Day, they were ahead of Charlton in the form table.

Before the draw at Blackburn they lost 1-2 at home to Bournemouth. As Gray admitted in his post match interview they were caught out by sloppy defending for both goals. Keeper Damian Martinez was beaten at the rear post for the second goal but not helped by the defence. One time Addick Miguel Llera was particularly poor, struggling to cope with Grabban's pace and was wasteful in possession.

When the Owls were promoted from League 1 with Charlton they became media darlings and it was predicted that they would go straight through to the Premiership in one season. Instead, they ended up 18th, but continued to attract the crowds, with the second highest average attendance in the division (24,078). This season so far that figure has dropped by 3,000.

This is the 50th meeting between Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday in all competitions. Charlton have won 17, Wednesday have won 20 and there have been 12 draws so far. Sheffield Wednesday completed a League double over Charlton in the Championship last season, winning 2-1 at the Valley after a 2-0 win at Hillsborough. There has never been a 0-0 draw between the teams at The Valley, though there was a 3-3 draw in 1958-59 and a year before that a 4-4 draw in 1956-57.

Johnnie Jackson is available for the Addicks after suspension, but may start on the bench.

Charlton often play at their best against better teams and they may find it hard to secure a back to back home win. I am going for a 1-1 draw.

Charlton to become Belgian owned club?

It is being reported that Charlton are to become (I think) the first Belgian owned club in the Football League. Belgian Television has announced that Standard Liege owner Roland Duchatelet has concluded the acquisition of the club: New owner . A Belgian source can be found here: Quel surprise

The possibility of a deal being done has been greeted with scepticism by most Charlton fans, but this is the first bid to be acknowledged on the club website The statement reads: 'The club are happy to confirm that negotiations are taking place for Roland Duch√Ętelet to take over Charlton Athletic Football Club. Chairman Michel Slater has confirmed that: "Very constructive discussions are ongoing which we hope to conclude soon.”A further announcement will be made in due course.' This will presumably be in English, French and Flemish.

Normally reliable sources are indicating that there is more than one deal on the table, but the fact that it is payday on Tuesday may help to focus minds.

The price is reported to be a bargain basement £14m, given that alleged ultimate owner Kevin Cash is no longer to prepared to fund the club. Duchatelet was estimated to be worth €500m in 2011.

How seriously can we take these reports given that there have been many disappointments before? I don't have any independent verification, but it probably has more substance to it than reports that Acworth was about to conclude a deal with a consortium of Albanian pyramid selling magnates.

Duchatelet has been a controversial figure at Standard Liege, which he acquired for £35m in 2011, provoking street demonstrations by fans after he sold the club's best players. However, they are now top of the Belgian Pro League.

Duchatelet made his money in microelectronics. A larger than life character, he founded his own political party, reflecting his progressive liberal views, although this subsequently merged with another party. He is a member of the Belgian Senate: Duchatelet

Charlton have had links with clubs in Belgium before, but generally in the more economically dynamic Flemish-speaking part of the divided country. Liege is in French-speaking Walloon Belgium and was once a centre of heavy industry.

Duchatelet has interests in quite a few clubs. An informative English language article from a Belgian source here: Ownerships

Thursday, 26 December 2013

'We're winning at home'

That's what the Covered End Choir sung as Charlton tore up the form book and beat Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 at The Valley this afternoon in front of a crowd of 17,704 with the Jimmy Seed almost full. The Addicks are now 19th in the table, ahead of Millwall who lost 4-0 at Watford. Manager Steve Lomas has been sacked.

Brighton went ahead in the game after a build up that included a foul ignored by the referee. Charlton equalised before the break through Lawrie Wilson. Brighton applied sustained pressure after the break, but it was Charlton that went ahead through that man Wilson. A excellently executed free kick by Kermorgant then gave the Addicks a two goal margin. This was lost in time added on through a goal that had more than a suspicion of offside.

Thanks are due to Deutsche Bahn (trading as Chiltern Railways) for putting on a Boxing Day service that allowed me to get to the game: South-Eastern please note. I had a smooth journey, a bus arriving just as I got to the stop at North Greenwich (where announcements implored us to use the Dangleway).

We started the game quite brightly, although we often do. A free kick led to a Charlton corner but it was unproductive. A good spell of possession ended when the ball was surrendered by Stewart. Kermorgant was felled. Morrison deserves credit for having a go, but his shot was blocked.

Then Brighton went ahead on 22 minutes after Ulloa pounced on a loose ball and put in a low drive. We thought that Church had been fouled in the build up by being pulled back. A Charlton attack ended with Stewart putting the ball wide. A Stephens free kick sailed over the bar. Wood put in some good defensive work.

Kermorgant provided the assist that enabled Wilson to equalise. Brighton won a corner, but it was unproductive. Kermorgant had a word with Stewart about his contribution to the game. Sallor got a yellow card for manhandling Solly. Wiggins put in a great run. Alnwick claimed a threatening cross well.

Half time: Addicks 1, Seagulls 1

Brighton took charm merchant Saltor off after the break and replaced him by Calderon. Cousins put in some good work. A Charlton corner was caught by the keeper. El-Abd got a yellow card for halting a threatening Charlton attack with a professional foul. The free kick was played to Solly. Wilson pounced on a loose ball to score.

The ball was headed off by a Brighton player, but the referee failed to award a corner. A Brighton corner led to a shot that went over. Charlton actually got two free kicks off the referee, who was perhaps realising that his efforts to prove that he was not a homer were overstepping the mark. Bolton won two corners in succession and the ball had to be cleared off the line by Wood. Charlton won a free kick in a dangerous position and we agreed that this looked like Kermorgant's range and indeed it was as he put the ball in the top corner of the net to make it 3-1.

The Covered End choir started their chant of 'How **** must this lot be if we're winning at home.' A Brighton corner led to a free kick but the move petered out in a throw in. The Seagulls then saw the ball come off both posts in quick succession. Brighton won a couple more corners and we made our defensive double substitution. This attracted some criticism from those who think that the most effective form of defence is all out attack. The Addicks had a penalty call: either it was that or a yellow card for diving. Once again the referee's decision was baffling.

A Brighton corner was claimed by Alnwick. In the four minutes added on Ulloa scored again from a goalmouth scramble, but we had no real difficulty in hanging over for the three points. An intense and entertaining match which gave the Addickted some festive cheer.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone to Lawrie Wilson for two well taken goals. Just before he scored the first, a bloke a couple of rows in front of me was screaming 'You're useless Wilson. Take him off!' I wouldn't particularly blame Alnwick for the two goals, as I think that he was unsighted. He did make a couple of good saves, but Brighton did not put him under that much pressure. Morrison showed some really good skill and once again I wouldn't blame him for not scoring. Wood once again showed his skill as a defender. The presence of Solly makes a real difference to our side, for one thing it frees up Wilson for a midfield role to which he is well suited. Wiggins had a good game, apart from one piece of poor ball control and made a surging run down the left. Stephens had a bit of an off day. Cousins displayed some good skill and had a solid game. Stewart attracted a lot of criticism in the first half from those around me, most of it justified. He lost control of the ball and then made a foolish tackle which left him limping. He seems reluctant to get stuck in. However, he did improve as the game went on, becoming more of a threat. Kermorgant got very much involved, as was evident from the state of his kit, and his free kick was first rate. Church showed plenty of effort, including one great run, but never really threatened. Dervitte was brought on later on to shore up the defence, as was Evina but neither made a great impact. Pritchard came on in time added on and did get involved.

Rescue Cat Reg did think of giving the Hiss of the Match to referee Mick Russell, but made allowance for the fact that he had not yet been able to use the Specsavers voucher he was given for Christmas. Instead, the award went to south coast clogger Bruno Saltor. He eventually got a yellow card for his fouls and the Brighton bench had the sense to take him off at the break before he got a deserved red card.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas present for Curbs

It's a specially happy Christmas for Alan Curbishley as he lands a job within the M25. He is joining Fulham as first team technical coach: Curbs

Curbs will be joining former Charlton players Darren Bent and Scott Parker.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Testing time for Addicks

Charlton face a testing time over the festive period with two crucial home games, first against Brighton and Hove Albion on Boxing Day at 12.30 p.m. and then with Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

Brighton are currently 8th in the table and 4th in the form table. They have lost just one of their last ten matches in the Championship. They have only lost two games away from home, winning four and drawing four. They have achieved this by scoring just eight goals on their travels, but they have conceded just six, the lowest total in the Championship. If it wasn't for their home form, they would be higher up the table.

The last three meetings between the teams have all ended in draws, including both matches between them last season. A 2-2 draw at The Valley was followed by a goalless draw on the South Coast in April. Brighton have won on two of their last three visits to The Valley, including a 4-0 win there in 2010-11 when both teams were in League One. Charlton's last home victory against Brighton was in a Division Two meeting in October 1991.

In their 0-0 draw with Huddersfield at the weekend, the Seagulls wasted numerous chances. Nevertheless, Huddersfield boss Mark Robins said after the game, 'This is the best side we've played this season, without a doubt. The way they play the ball is brilliant and they are steelier than they were last year.'

Liam Bridcutt was the best player for Brighton, a tireless runner on and off the ball. Threatening up front, he often dropped back in support. David Lopez also caught the defence out with his movement. The defence looked very solid.

Ben Alnwick got a rare score of 9 from the Football League Paper for two superb saves on Saturday. Hamer is still not fit, but Alnwick has made a case for staying on when he is. Fortunately, Chris Solly is back and Yann Kermorgant is fully fit, so I wouldn't write this off as three easy points for the Seagulls.

Odds: Charlton 9/5; Draw 12/5; Brighton 7/5.

Chiltern Railways are running a Boxing Day service from Bicester North (please note South Eastern) so I hope to make the game. In the meantime, a happy Christmas to all my readers.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Charlton linked with McAnuff move

Charlton are one of four Championship clubs being linked with a transfer window move for Reading's Jobi McAnuff whose contract with the Royals expires at the end of the season. Earlier in the career he spent two years at Palace. Millwall are one of the other clubs said to be interested: McAnuff

The Times this morning forecasts that Yann Kermorgant will attract interest in the transfer window because of Charlton's financial woes.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Away point for Addicks

Charlton secured an away point at Bolton today in front of 327 Addicks with a 1-1 draw despite having only 38 per cent of the possession. Kermorgant put the Addicks ahead on 11 minutes, but McNaughton equalised for Bolton on 45 minutes.

The Addicks took the lead when Rhoys Wiggins raided down the wing and lifted a cross into the penalty area for Kermorgant who fired home on his left foot. Charlton should have doubled their lead minutes later when Cameron Stewart fired a ball into the box and it fell kindly at the feet of Lawrie Wilson, but he could only scoop his effort over the bar.

Bolton came back into the game as Chris Eagles for the ball on the edge of the area and beat two men before launching a shot at goal, which was well turned away from goal by Ben Alnwick. The Trotters got their equaliser right on the stroke of half time as McNaughton collected a cross on the right and cut inside and out before firing a right-footed shot into the top corner.

After the break, Joe Mason went close as he headed at goal from a cross from the right but Alnwick made a great save to manage to get the ball clear. Kermorgant almost handed Charlton the lead again as he made contact with a looping volley which looked destined for the top corner but Andy Lonergan managed to tip the ball over the bar. The Addicks threatened again as Stewart raided down the left and lifted a cross into the area where Chris Solly met the ball but he volleyed his effort past the post.

Below us Sheffield Wednesday and Yeovil both lost, but Barnsley drew at Leeds.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Signs not good for Reebok

Charlton badly need at least one point and hopefully three from tomorrow's game against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok, but the signs do not look good. Currently 16th, Bolton will be looking to push up the table. After a poor start to the season, Bolton had climbed to 6th in the form table by last weekend while Charlton were third from bottom. Four Four Two had the former Premiership side finishing second in their start of the season forecasts.

Charlton have not won at Bolton since a Premier League victory there in August 2002. They have not won on any of their subsequent five visits. Five of the last six meetings between the clubs have been won by the team playing at home. Bolton won this fixture 2-0 last season, David Ngog scored twice in six minutes to seal the three points.

However, Bolton have lost three of their last four Championship matches including a 3-2 defeat at Wigan last Sunday. Bolton have won only two of their 10 home matches played in the Championship so far - both wins coming in the last three home matches. Bolton have lost all three home matches in which they have failed to score.

Charlton have not won any of their last four matches and won just one of the last seven. Only Watford are on a longer current winless run in the Championship. The Addicks have won only two of the 11 matches played away from the Valley in all competitions, winning at Blackburn and Birmingham, both by a 1-0 scoreline. This contrasts with the good away form which bolstered their finishing position last season.

Odds are: Bolton Evens, Draw 23/10, Charlton 14/5.

Blast from the past

One time Addick Jamie Stuart has joined Margate as player-coach: Jamie Stuart

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Sordell cannot play at Bolton

On loan striker Marvin Sordell cannot play at Bolton on Saturday. What is more it appears that Bolton are unlikely to recall the off the bench and lack of impact player in January as they are allowed to do under the terms of the loan deal: Sordell

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

'Unforseen circumstances'

It's a bit much the FA Youth Cup game at Nottingham Forest being postponed at a late stage for 'unforeseen circumstances', a phrase which leaves everything unexplained but often means 'we've screwed up and don't want to say why.' If there was a late outbreak of illness among the Forest squad, why not say so? As it was, not only had the squad prepared, but I understand that they had also travelled.

Keeping upbeat

To me the highlight of the dismal day on Saturday was the enthusiastic and joyous appearance of the Charlton Upbeats on the pitch at half time. Here is a well illustrated article about their day: Upbeats

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Valley of Despair

I didn't feel like posting last night after another home defeat. I thought we actually played quite well, but at the end of the day what is essentially a League 1 squad with what the Football League Paper described as the 'Championship's tamest attack' was overcome by promotion chasing Derby who do play some neat football. The first goal was the result of a dubious free kick and took a deflection. The second came when we were trying to get an equaliser and had taken our right back off.

Chris Powell makes some mistakes (I wouldn't have started Pritchard and I wouldn't have taken Wilson off) but the 'Powell out' crowd need their head examined. What would you say to a new manager? 'This is largely the squad that got us out of League 1 and we haven't got the money to reinforce it. Oh, and by the way, we are trying to sell the club, but don't expect anything to happen on that front because we aren't charging a realistic price.'

Approaching The Valley I was greeted by the sight of elves selling Voice of the Valley. This issue focuses on the peninsula stadium issue and one thing I learnt was that transport links at the proposed stadium site are nowhere as good as I supposed (it is three-quarters of a mile to the tube). 'Morden Wharf Road' doesn't have the ring of 'Valley Floyd Road', even if we would be nearer the Thames for mist creeping in. Chief Elf Rick Everitt was also there selling copies, although he was distracted by trying to extract his cut out and keep Christmas Chris Powell decoration from the programme. If you missed this or earlier issues you can get them from Rick's workshop at: Voice of the Valley

I thought that we made a positive start to the game in what were very windy conditions. Pritchard won a free kick for the Addicks on the right which led to a Charlton corner. It was cleared, but Morrison protested vociferously to the referee about a hand ball which received a stony faced response from the charm merchant in black. Morrison forced a save from Lee Grant in the Derby goal with a shot from 25 yards out.

The Rams were given a free kick which was fortunate to say the least but the move ended in a goal kick. Stewart put in a good cross but Stephens put the ball over. A Rams shot went just wide and then another attempt went over after dithering by Morrison had let them through. Alnwick had to make a save on the line. Derby charm merchant Keogh got a free kick for a cynical foul on Kermorgant which he protested vigorously. Green's free kick nearly dipped into the goal by the angle of the bar and the upright and Grant had to push the ball out for a Charlton corner which was unproductive.

The Rams were given a free kick in front of the 'D' for an alleged foul by Dervitte. Ward's shot took a deflection and Derby were ahead against the run of play on 32 minutes. Alnwick had to dive to his left to keep out Bryson's angled drive just before the break, Charlton having meanwhile suffered from a harsh offside decision when they had broken through the Derby defence.

Half time: Addicks 0, Rams 1

The exuberance of the Downs Syndrome team on the pitch at half time was a joy to watch. Charlton started the half vigorously and Stephens was just wide with an attempt after good work by Wilson. Stephens got a yellow card and Derby were awarded a dubious free kick which led to a corner, the move eventually ending in a Charlton free kick. Kermorgant won Charlton a corner but it was unproductive.

On 60 minutes Martin got to the byline and cut the ball back to Ward, but his effort came off the crossbar. Chris Powell made a double substitution, taking off the hapless Pritchard and Green (a decision which some booed because of his work rate), bringing on Church and Harriott. On 72 minutes Kermorgant put in a cross into the box, but Morrison put it just wide. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, 'At least he was there.' Kermorgant got a yellow card for dissent. Cousins put in a poor effort. Wilson was taken off and replaced by Sordell. With three minutes left Derby combined well to put Bryson one on one with Alnwick and it was 0-2 and effectively game over, despite four minutes added on.

Match analysis

The Silver Bone has been awarded by Ivy the Terrible to Lawrie Wilson who made some good runs forward and put in some good crosses.

Alnwick made a crucial save just before half time, but perhaps could have done better with the second goal. Wiggins dealt well with Ward and got forward well. Morrison didn't take his scoring opportunities, but then he is not a striker. Dervitte gave away too many free kicks, but some of these were harsh decisions by the referee. Green provided some good set pieces and he was better than his usual standard, but that is still not good enough to compete with teams like Derby. Stewart had a below par performance and he looked dejected at the end of the match as well he might. Cousins had a great dribble early on and plays the simple ball which is often the best one. Stephens was another player who was not up to his highest standards. Pritchard had a poor game. Not only does he lack technical skills, but he was muscled off the ball too often. Steve from Petts Wood remarked that Kermorgant has looked less sharp since his return from injury and I think that is right. He was often isolated up front, but did win a lot of aerial challenges. Harriott showed some nice touches when he came on, but nothing that was game changing. Church is simply not an impact player you can bring on from the bench. Sordell managed to make contact with the ball once which says it all.

It might seem that the referee is a clear candidate for the Hiss of the Match. Certainly there were shouts of 'cheat' from the rows behind me. He did make some wrong decisions, they all do, but I don't think he was biased. It might go to the person in the north-west who started trouble with the Upper North, but that is a Facebook report and I didn't see it myself. Instead Rescue Cat Reg has given it to Virgin Trains for bafflingly run diesel Voyagers to and from Coventry, one of them just five coaches, rather than Pendolinos, hence Reg's evening meal was delayed.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Ram raid

Charlton face an on form Derby County at The Valley tomorrow. The Rams currently top the Championship form table, having won their last five matches. They have the best away record in the league, having won six matches and lost just two. Away from home, they have scored twice as many goals as they have conceded (twenty against ten). In contrast, the Addicks have scored just seven goals at home and conceded nine.

Last Saturday, the Rams demolished Blackpool 5-1, albeit that once again the temperamental Tangerines had a player sent off and had a make shift defence with two central defenders suspended for earlier offences. Chris Martin scored a hat trick for the home side. John Eustace was judged to be a 'midfield dynamo' who kept the Rams ticking over in the middle. Craig Bryson was also strong in an impressive midfield display.

Charlton will be without suspended skipper Johnnie Jackson.

Somewhat surprisingly, Derby haven’t won at Charlton since a Premier League victory in September 1998 with the last two encounters ending in draws:

  • Charlton Athletic 1-1 Derby County (December 29, 2012) – Jamie Ward’s 72nd minute penalty cancelled out a first half strike from Danny Haynes as the teams shared the points.
  • Charlton Athletic 2-2 Derby County (December 15, 2008) – Derby escaped with a point as Nathan Ellington scored in the last minute to level the scores. Ellington also scored Derby’s first goal, converting a penalty.
  • Charlton Athletic 1-0 Derby County (January 29, 2002) – Chris Bart-Williams scored the decisive goal for Charlton in this Premier League clash on a Tuesday evening. The Addicks side contained current manager, and former Ram, Chris Powell. Malcolm Christie and Fabrizio Ravenelli failed to score for Derby. John Gregory was appointed as the new Derby manager the next day.
  • Charlton Athletic 2-1 Derby County (January 30, 2001) – Youl Mawene scored an own-goal and Scott Parker got on the scoresheet as Derby fell to defeat at this Tuesday evening game. Craig Burley scored the Rams’ goal. Caig had to come on as substitute goalkeeper after Kiely picked up an injury and did a good job.
  • Charlton Athletic 1-2 Derby County (September 12, 1998) – Paulo Wanchope and Francesco Baiano scored a goal each to help Derby to all three points at the Valley. The Rams did pick up five yellow cards during the match, with Igor Stimac and Stefanio Eranio amongst the names in referee Mike Reid’s book. Sir Clive Mendonca scored a penalty for Charlton in the 89th minute.

Odds: Charlton 11/5, Draw 13/5, Derby 6/5.

One might think that it was not worth making the journey from Warwickshire with the cards stacked against the Addicks. However, Charlton are sometimes at their best when their backs are up against the wall. Having said that, I fear an away win.

Rick Everitt's elves will be out and about selling Voice of the Valley around the ground before the game. The theme of this issue is the Greenwich Peninsula stadium.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

American takeover bid withdrawn

The South London Press has reported that the American takeover bid for Charlton has been withdrawn, apparently over a failure to agree over price: Takeover .

Suggestions that the acquisition of Asset of Community Value status for The Valley by the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust have no basis. A well informed Addick has stated, 'I can confidently say "no" to that because directors have a direct line to Trust people including me, and none of them have ever raised ACV as an issue with any of us, at any time during the lengthy process of getting it. Indeed I was told that the whole Peninsula issue is a red herring regarding any takeover.' Once again the issue would appear to be one of realistic pricing.

Nothing more has been heard of the British property company, so that was also supposedly interested, but this always looked a less attractive offer in terms of the sums of money likely to be available and the suspicion that it was a property play.

The squad badly needs strengthening in the transfer window to avoid a relegation battle, but we continue to lose money (as do most Championship clubs).

Monday, 9 December 2013

Match fixing raid in Abbey Wood

Former Addick Sam Sodje and his brother Stephen were arrested at their home in Abbey Wood yesterday in relation to match fixing allegations: Police raid. Their home is also the headquarters of the Sodje Sports Foundation which displays a Charlton badge on its web page: Sodje Foundation .

Television news programmes last night gave prominence to tapes which purported to show Sodje having deliberately got himself red carded when a Portsmouth player and also allegedly offering to fix a match with an Oldham Athletic player.

Sodje, who was born in Greenwich, played for Charlton on loan in the 2007-8 season and returned on a free transfer in 2009-10 when he scored four goals. He won one Silver Bone for his performances.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Morro pleads for help for strikers

Michael Morrison has pleaded in the Football League Paper this morning for help for Charlton's struggling strikers. He calls for reinforcements up top if the Addicks are to avoid a relegation scrap this season.

Morrison said, 'Church has had to play up front on his own quite a bit this season but Yann is back now and we are going with two up top which has and will make us stronger going forward. There have been glimpses of that but hopefully it will be something that gets solved sooner rather than later.'

'Having a permanent partner for Simon - him being able to link up with somebody and moving the two centre halves and running in behind rather than being the man who does the day's work - will help him. I think they will click soon enough and they will be a great partnership, though. [This implies that they haven't been up to now and often they do seem to play some way apart].'

Morro concluded, 'Simon has got goals in him when he has that partner up front. We maybe could have had a bit more quality in the final third.'

The FLP concludes that 'the answer to Charlton's prayers' may be American billionaire Josh Harris. Nothing more has been heard on that front recently, but that doesn't mean that there is no possibility of a takeover.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Agony at Huish Park

Jackson started in place of Evina at Huish Park. Charlton won the first corner of the game against Yeovil. The ball was headed clear, but the Addicks tried to keep up the pressure. Church got caught offside as Stephens tried to pick him out.

Kermorgant went down holding his ankle after quite a nasty challenge from behind, but he recovered. Wiggins failed to connect with Kermorgant after a free kick following a foul on Church. Nevertheless, Charlton were taking the game to Yeovil and were looking inventive and positive. Yeovil were defending well, but losing possession going forward.

Kermorgant lost out to an offside decision. Yeovil threatened for the first time, but Wilson defended well. The Glovers put in a shot from a tight angle by Lundstrum from distance which went not too far over the crossbar. Miller fired in a shot but Alnwick made the save.

Wilson got a yellow card for a professional foul, giving Yeovil a free kick in a dangerous position. Yeovil kept up the pressure, but Alnwick claimed the ball confidently. The referee failed to play advantage when the Addicks might have had a goal scoring opportunity through Stewart and gave Charlton a free kick instead.

Wiggins put in a good ball over the top, but the defenders and keeper did well. Yeovil won a corner off a rather poor cross. Charlton defended the corner well and Wiggins dealt with the return ball. A decent shot came in from Ayling but Alnwick held on to the bouncing ball well.

Yeovil were getting into the game more and were getting shots in. Stewart put in a great drive on 28 minutesbut it was saved well by Dunn. Kermorgant went down on his ankle again. He got up, but was limping heavily. A Jackson corner was headed clear and Yeovil counter attacked with a hopeful shot from 40 yards out which Alnwick controlled with his chest.

The cider drinkers (the match was sponsored by Thatchers Cider) screamed for a free kick on the edge of the box, but the referee was not impressed. Stewart fired in the shot from the edge of the area into the bottom right-hand corner to put the Addicks 1-0 ahead on 37 minutes. The move started from a quick throw out by Alnwick and Stewart made a great run.

Stewart advanced well after receiving the ball from Dervitte and Jackson scored with a header. Yeovil won a late corner. Alnwick came out well to claim the ball.

HT: Glovers 0, Addicks 2

Yeovil made two substitutions after the break with Hayer who is a striker coming on The Addicks won an early corner through good work by Church. Yeovil managed to scramble the ball up field. A soft free kick for Yeovil was defended well.

Edwards put in a shot for Yeovil that was over the top of the crossbar. Hayter went down in the box, but the referee waved it away. Cousins put in a shot from 25 yards that went just wide of the target. Yeovil advanced again, but Morrison and Dervitte stood up well. Yeovil made their third substitution.

A nasty tackle from behind was put in on Church who could have been through on goal and the yellow card was produced. Charlton continued to look defensively strong, but Hayter did manage to get in a shot which was well wide.

Church put in an overhead kick but it was claimed by the keeper. Every time Stewart got the ball there were now two Yeovil players on him. Jordan Cousins, who may have taken a knock, went off and Andy Hughes came on with 20 minutes to go. Kermorgant got a yellow card for a 50-50 challenge as the Yeovil fans shouted for a red. From the fortunate free kick the ball deflected into the net off Morrison to make it 1-2.

Yeovil won a corner, but Alnwick was commanding. The referee gave a penalty after Miller was brought down in the box and Alnwick got a yellow card for dissent. Miller found the target to make it 2-2 with 15 minutes to go. The two goal lead had gone in a couple of minutes.

Jackson was sent off for a two footed tackle. How a match can change. Miller tried to get his shot away, but Morrison blocked the ball and Miller went down again. Solly came on for the first time since mid-August in place of Church. Yeovil won a free kick for handball. A shot came in, but it was comfortable for Alnwick. Another shot came in from Miller but it was just wide of the target as Alnwick froze.

Charlton were trying to slow the game down. They won a corner from a free kick. Yeovil cleared the corner and counter attacked, but Wiggins put in a great tackle as the last man and he came away with the ball.

In excellent work Alnwick plucked a cross out of the air. Charlton defended well through Dervitte, but Yeovil won a corner. Alnwick claimed the ball brilliantly. Wiggins managed to play the ball off Dawson to relieve the pressure. Alnwick punched the ball clear. He then won a free kick as he went down under pressure. Charlton won another free kick as the game petered out.

In the end we had to be satisfied with an away point to keep us out of the bottom three and two points ahead of Yeovil. Next we face a rampant Derby at The Valley.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Sir Chris's new role in fighting cancer

Today's Times has a one page feature article on Chris Powell's new role as an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK. Sir Chris's message is aimed specifically at black men, who are particularly susceptible to the disease. One in four black men will develop the disease.

He says, 'I recognise how the football club is the focal point of people's lives. They listen to the players, they listen to the manager and I need to represent them. People do take notice of what the manager says and what he writes about.'

Sir Chris believes it is important to educate the teenagers he works with at Charlton: 'I have a duty of care for all my players in the squad, and the youth team squad. It doesn't matter what colour they are, but if we are talking about young black men, they need to know.'

Six pointer at Yeovil

The Addicks face a real six pointer at Yeovil tomorrow with the Glovers only two points behind Charlton in the table. The Somerset side have hit something of a run of form. Even before the midweek win against Blackpool they had moved one place above the Addicks in the form table.

First they demolished Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road last Saturday, albeit it was the fourth successive defeat for the Hornets. Yeovil played a new look side with three new signings featuring. Ishamel Miller scored a second half goal that was the highlight of an impressive debut. The Notts Forest player has been an instant hit at Huish Park and it is hoped to extend his one month loan. Liverpool youngster Adam Morgan had a more difficult debut and he was outmuscled at times. John Lundstram also performed well, although he tired in the second half. In goal Chris Dunn provided a steady display as he continued to cover for the injured Marek Stech.

Then in midweek they beat fourth placed Blackpool 1-0 at home through a Lundstrum goal, albeit by the end of the match the Tangerines were left with just eight players, former Addick Ricardo Fuller collecting a straight red. Before that win the Glovers had only won once at home, scoring just four goals and suffering six defeats. Nevertheless, they have now scored fourteen goals in total, the same number as Charlton. They have, however, conceded 24 against our 20, suggesting that we need to press them hard.

Odds: Yeovil 8/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/8

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Late fightback does not save Addicks from defeat

Cedric Evina was brought in for the game at Reading in place of Johnnie Jackson to provide a more natural left-sided player. The 836 Addickted made plenty of noise as the game started with chants of ‘Red Army’. Pogrebynyak posed an early danger, but Dale Stephens was able to cover for Charlton.

A Reading counter attack led to their first corner. The header from Gorkss came off a Charlton defender for a second corner which led to a goal kick. The Addickted started a vigorous chorus of ‘Valley Floyd Road’. Stephens set up Church well but the cross from Evina went out of play. Church went down in the area and the referee took a long look before deciding against a penalty. There was little protest from the Charlton players at the decision.

Evina and Wiggins were combining well on the left. The ball broke to the edge of the penalty area after Stephens lost possession in midfield and Reading went ahead after 14 minutes through a low effort drilled past Alnwick by the green booted Sharp scoring his first goal for the Royals.

Cousins advanced well, but suffered from a marginal offside decision. Pogrebynyak had an effort from 35 yards, but Alnwick dealt with it. The Reading forwards were getting too much space. For the Addicks, Stewart was not getting much of the ball at this stage of the game.

Kelly got a yellow card for a foul on Evina. Charlton had a good build up with an excellent ball from Cousins, but Stewart’s cross was claimed by the keeper. Stewart then picked up the ball from deep and ran at the Reading players.

Reading won a corner from one of their speedy counter attacks, but it was unproductive. Evina was fouled and required treatment. A free kick was awarded against Church when he was fouled first. Stephens had a try from the edge of the area but the ball went well over.

Church had an opportunity in the three minutes added on after an excellent flick from Dale Stephens, and a through ball by Cousins, but the ball was put out for a corner by McCarthy in the Reading goal. The corner was a good one and the keeper had to stretch to claim it.

Half time: Royals 1, Addicks 0

Reading hit the post just after the break after McCleary got the better of Wiggins.

Stephens shot from distance, but it went wide. Reading applied some pressure and looked threatening. The home fans livened up a bit after being quiet despite being listed as 13 on the team sheet.

Stewart won a corner for Charlton, but a free kick was awarded for a foul on the keeper. Wiggins made a rash challenge on Sharp, but did not receive a card. The free kick went straight to Alnwick.

Wiggins put in a hit and hope ball when he should have put it out to Evina on the left who could have put in a cross.

The tempo was increasing, but both sides were making more mistakes. Akpan came on for Reading in place of Williams. Then Robson-Kanu came on in place of Sharp. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box to the Addicks. The ball was headed away for a corner. Charlton made a triple substitution with Sordell replacing Church, Green replacing Stephens and Jackson replacing Evina. Stewart moved to the left.

Green and Sordell linked up and Gorkss received a card for a foul on Green. The ball drifted out wide from Green’s delivery. Gorkss committed a cynical foul, but didn’t even get a word. Reading counter attacked, but Alnwick gathered the ball.

Charlton applied some pressure, but the final quality was lacking. A shot by Wiggins went off the offside Sordell. Charlton were asking some questions of Reading. The ball was cleared after a Charlton corner.

Charlton won a corner through Green which led to a second. In the ensuing play there was panic defending by Reading, but the throw in was given to Reading when it was clearly a Charlton throw. Jackson dragged a shot wide.

Wilson and Green combined well on the right. Wilson defended well against the counter attack. An effort by Wiggins was blocked for a corner.

Reading had a chance, but dragged the shot across the goal. The home side made their third substitution. An effort from Danny Green from 25 yards out went over when he should have passed the ball.

Charlton’s late fight back had been fruitless. The quality up front was not there.

Tough test for Addicks

Charlton face a tough test this evening against a Reading side that are currently fifth in the table and have not been beaten at home all season. What was particularly worrying on Saturday was our lack of creativity in breaking down the Ipswich defence and setting up scoring chances. We also need to get out of the blocks quicker: 71 per cent of our goals have been scored in the second half, a league high.

Reading's confidence will have been boosted by their 3-2 win at Notts Forest on Friday, the winner being scored by Reading academy product Jonathan Obita.

Charlton have won only one of their last fifteen away games against the Royals, although we did manage to draw six of them and that is probably the best we can hope for tonight.

Over 800 tickets have now been sold in the away end and tickets are available on the night. Remember it is a 20.00 kick off.

Reading are without full-backs Chris Gunter and Chris Baird through suspension and injury respectively. Royston Drenthe and Mikele Leigertwood could feature after returning to fitness.

Odds: Reading 5/6, Draw 5/2, Charlton 10/3.

It is being reported that Charlton skipper Johnnie Jackson is being chased by Leeds and Bolton.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Blackburn chase Kermorgant

Blackburn Rovers are reported to be interested in Yann Kermorgant: Kermorgant. The Breton would prefer to stay at The Valley and sign a new long-term contract. However, he recognises that no negotiations can begin until the takeover of the club is completed which may be a few weeks yet.