Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Charlton beat league leaders

Charlton beat Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road tonight through a captain's goal by Johnnie Jackson on 86 minutes. It was a deflected shot from 25 yards out.

The Addicks were under the cosh for much of the match, with possession 61-39 in Norwich's favour, but rallied in the last ten minutes. They then had to hang on through over five minutes of time added on.

Norwich put the ball in the net for the first half, but the goal was disallowed for a foul on Henderson. In the second half Norwich had a penalty shout but it was judged to be ball to Bikey's arm.

Henderson made some great saves. He was first called into action on three minutes when he had to make a smart near post save to deny Lewis Grabban. Vetokele tested Ruddy in the first half with a low drive.

On 68 minutes Redmond forced Henderson into a parry, Hoolahan picked up the rebound and Wiggins had to clear off the line.

Ben Haim was stalwart in defence. Gomez had a great game, but had to go off after picking up an injury, hopefully nothing too serious. Ahearne-Grant came on as a substitute to make his debut and looked lively.

Charlton are now 7th in the table, but have the same number of points as Wolves and Ipswich and are only one point behind Derby in fourth place and are only two points off the top spot. It was the first away win of the season for the Addicks who remain unbeaten.

A complaint has been lodged with Norfolk Police that a smash and grab raid took place on Carrow Road last night involving eleven men dressed in red shirts and directed by a Belgian master mind. It is also alleged that they were aided and abetted by a man in black, but this has been denied on the grounds that he was too busy issuing cautions to the raiders.'

Derek from Dymchurch says, 'I came up from campaigning in Clacton expecting to see that Belgian geezer get his come uppance. But you've got to hand it to him, he has a way of pulling victory from the jaws of defeat. It's a long time since we had such a lucky manager.'

However, Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt commented on Twitter, 'This is what is called earning your luck.'

Monday, 29 September 2014

Norwich manager confident he can cope with Charlton

Neil Adams, manager of table topping Norwich City, admits that they are there to be shot down but is confident he can cope with 'whatever' game plan Bob Peeters comes up with for Tuesday night: Canaries

The odds favour the Canaries: Norwich 1/2, Draw 13/5, Charlton 9/2. However, we have drawn our last two away games with Norwich at this level and won the two before that, which admittedly takes us back into the 1990s.

Norwich are unbeaten at home this season, while the Addicks have drawn all their away matches. This probably means it won't be a draw.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Charlton remain unbeaten draw specialists

Whilst it was no bore draw, there seems to have been more excitement at the Charlton Moscow game

Charlton remain the unbeaten draw specialists of the Championship following today's 0-0 draw at The Valley with Middlesbrough. The Addicks remain 8th in the table.

The game started with both teams taking a cagey approach to each other. However, Charlton seemed hesitant and had difficulty retaining the ball and Boro had the better of the game. It has to be said that Boro had a good defence that was difficult to penetrate.

The injury to Gudmundsson just before half time was a blow, as he had been one of the livelier players, but the arrival of Moussa as substitute after the break seemed to add some sparkle to Charlton's performance. Bulot managed to hit the post for the Addicks.

However, their best play came in the closing ten minutes or so after Boro charm merchant Admomoah had been sent off for a high foot, earning a second yellow card. Charlton pressed for a winner and substitute Lawrie Wilson drew a save from the keeper. From the resultant corner, George Tucudean's header was cleared off the line.

Possession was 54-46 in Charlton's favour, but each side had only one shot on target.

There was a curious incident at the end of the game when a fan ran the length of the pitch with what appeared to be the corner flag. He tried to join his fellow Boro fans, but was caught and hauled away by security. It has been suggested that he might have consumed an illegal substance.

Match analysis

My man of the match was Chris Solly. Tireless in tracking back and going forward, he showed real precision in his passing. Henderson didn't really have a lot to do, the header going just wide from a corner when they should have scored. However, once again he looked in command of his area, although his kicking out is a bit like that of Deano's. I thought that Ben Haim had an excellent game, some really good interventions. Bikey attracted the ire of the Boro supporters after a collision with one of their players, but their boos when he got the ball were drowned out by Charlton cheers. Interesting that he was positioned up front at the end of the match. Wiggins had a better game than of late.

Buyens was a disappointment, he was very one paced. Jackson really lacks pace and was eventually substituted. Cousins was more effective once he was moved into the middle after Jackson went off, he then contributed to a better last twenty minutes. Gudmundsson made some good runs before he was injured, it didn't look good.

Bulot looks very promising. Vitokele was energetic, but sometimes got muscled off the ball. Moussa was quite effective when he came on. Wilson livened things up with his appearance. Tucudean looked better coming on as a substitute.

I thought that the referee was over fussy, e.g., getting Henderson to move a free kick back a couple of yards. He was also inconsistent, penalising an offence then doing nothing about the same offence a few minutes later. The Bloke Behind Me kept up a stream of grumbling throughout the match.

Derek from Dymchurch has been at the UKIP conference in Doncaster.

Some fans have asked me, 'Is it possible to support Charlton without being exposed to Acworth? I am afraid that the answer is "No". Acworth is on of the downsides of being an Addick. The only way I can stop him clogging him up my comment columns is by stopping comments altogether and I don't want to do that. I have encouraged Acworth to set up his own blog for his insights.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Bring on the Boro

After their penalty shoot out marathon at Liverpool on Tuesday, Middlesbrough are looking to win their fourth game in a row and end Charlton's unbeaten run tomorrow: Boro

Addicks captain Johnnie Jackson is worried about Charlton's tendency to invite pressure on to themselves in the second half. Charlton have scored only one second half goal in five matches. This perhaps suggests that there are issues about fitness, along Bob Peeters is not slow to make substitutions when he thinks they are needed.

Last season we lost 0-1 at home to Boro and the season before 1-4.Middlesbrough are unbeaten in the last eight meetings in all competitions, winning six. Charlton's last win was 2-1 at The Valley in the Premier League in March 2006. Middlesbrough are unbeaten in the last four meetings at The Valley in all competitions, winning the last three. Odds are: Charlton 13/5, Draw 9/4, Middlesbrough 6/5.

With a presenter pulling out at the last minute I was on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. this morning and managed to mention Charlton a couple of times.

Rick Everitt's gnomes and elves will be selling the latest Voice of the Valley outside the ground before the game: Pringle Special

Monday, 22 September 2014


I think the CAS Trust is doing a good job given the constraints they face, but it is evident from conversations that some supporters are still suspicious of them. It is difficult to see what alternative representative structure there is or might be. I suppose some fans might say they don't want to be represented by anyone, but then it is difficult to see how the club can have any kind of dialogue with fans.

Some of the difficulties that can arise in that relationship are evident in Richard Murray's remarks at the Trust annual general meeting which can be read here: Richard Murray

The latest Trust News was also very good value, particularly considering it was given out free! I particularly enjoyed the article on how the Second World War affected the club.

The interview with Katrien Meire was also very interesting, not surprising that she came across as charming but steely. It was interesting to learn that she had approached Roland about a job, given her love of football, and that he had already certain her a number of e-mails on the day of the interview, which shows that he is very 'hands on'.

Interesting also that she is a competition law specialist, an area of law that has particular relevance for football and has brought about many changes in the game, e.g., the Bosman decision. However, given that, I am a little surprised that she and Roland place so much faith in financial fair play delivering a more level playing field for clubs like Charlton.

I am not a lawyer, let alone a sports lawyer, but I have talked to a number of them and read some of their papers and they are doubtful whether the Uefa scheme as drafted is compatible with European Union law, and by extension whether the Football League scheme has also has a sound legal basis. QPR may, of course, mount a court challenge, but one could also be initiated by a player, as in the case of Bosman.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Draw specialists

Charlton got their fifth draw of the season with a 1-1 at Rotherham today, having led 1-0 through a Gudmundsson goal on 27 minutes at half time. The Addicks have dropped out of the play off places to seventh.

Charlton took the lead when Gudmundsson cut in from the right and curled a shot low into the far corner, with a deflection off the foot of Rotherham midfielder Paul Green taking the ball wide of Loach's dive.

Rotherham's equaliser came as Becchio headed in a cross from fellow substitute Ben Pringle after 69 minutes.

Both sides had chances to snatch all three points in the closing minutes. Scott Loach saved smartly on the line from Frederic Bulot before Joe Skarz's close-range header was tipped round a post by Henderson.

Possession was 53-47 in favour of the home side and they had six shots on target to Charlton's four.

Derek from Dymchurch says, 'We can't keep sitting back when we have a lead and inviting on pressure. And we have to stop making defensive errors. We should have beaten Rotherham. We've stuttered along but, mark my words, our bad run starts next Saturday.'

'We're not going down 0-3 to Charlton by half time'

Rotherham United manager Steve Evans, who presided over two promotions with Crawley, has has pledged that his 19th place side will not go down 0-3 to Charlton by half time at the New York stadium today. Evans says that there will be none of the gung ho attacking style that characterised the team last season. Instead, the new team bus will be parked in front of the goal. One can expect them to adopt a physical approach and it will be interesting to see how the Addicks cope with that.

Glaswegian Evans is a somewhat controversial figure having been banned for using abusive language and convicted for his part in a tax scam. However, his sides are hard to beat.

Rotherham striker Jordan Bowery came off the substitutes' bench to score in their last two matches and is pushing for a starting place. Igor Vetokele suffered an arm injury against Wolves but is expected to be fit for selection. Gudmundsson (groin) and Chris Solly (knee) could return after overcoming their respective injury problems. Former Addick Richard Wood is not available after knee surgery.

The Millers have lost their last two home games and last won at Millwall on August 23rd. The last meeting between the two clubs was in 1983 when Rotherham won 1-0 at their old ground by a scrap yard, but current chairman Tony Stewart does not lack ambition.

Odds are Millers 11/10, draw 23/10, Charlton 5/2. The referee is the dread Darren Deadman.

Derek from Dymchurch writes, 'This will be the game when the wheels come off and Peeters is found out.' I am going for a 2-2 draw.

Friday, 19 September 2014

'Fringe' Hampsters out on loan

Sam Allerdyce is contemplating letting 'fringe' players Diego Poyet and Ravel Morrison go out on loan to Championship clubs: Poyet loan

After his enthusiastic embrace of West Ham, Poyet is regarded by many Charlton fans as not much better than 'Judas' Defoe. Morrison might be of more interest, but the question is would he fit in with our style of play, and in particular with Igor?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Harriott discusses lack of starts with Big Bob

Callum Harriott has knocked on the office door of Big Bob Peeters to discuss his lack of starts this season: Unhappy bunny. You have to admire his guts as I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of Big Bob who showed at the Wigan game that he is capable of flying off the handle (nothing wrong with that in football).

When Harriott has come on, he has hardly been a game changer. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, 'He can't score goals and he can't create goal scoring opportunities for others.' I am sure that Harriott has potential, but I sometimes wonder if his approach is sufficiently disciplined, notwithstanding flashes of brilliance.

Anyway, I am sure that Big Bob offered him some wise words. No doubt Acworth will add his own insights.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Peeters scoffs at Bent rumours

Big Bob Peeters has scoffed at rumours that Darren Bent or Danny Graham might come on loan to The Valley. He says that he nothing about these reports himself. He also points out that the Addicks have a wages policy that does not permit them to bring in expensive players on loan: The rumour mill

Admittedly, sometimes bigger clubs will continue to pay part of the wage bill themselves. However, the rumour mill has got a bit out of control in these cases. It also seems that the good start to the season has inflated expectations among Charlton fans who before the season started would have been pleased to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight.

Charlton remain unbeaten

Charlton remained unbeaten in the league this season after their 1-1 draw at The Valley last night, but surrendered their 100 per cent home record. They remain 5th in the table. It should be borne in mind that a number of our games have been against teams challenging for promotion. The comments that we were rubbish fail to acknowledge that Wolves were good.

The visitors started with a patient passing game which was a little dull to watch. However, Henry started to be a tricky threat down the wing, the former Millwall player also doing his fair share of whingeing to the lino and referee.

Wolves looked as if they were getting on top, but midway through the half Bikey scored with a volley from a Cousins corner. At first it didn't looked as if it had gone in and not everyone got to their feet, but the celebrating players told us what we needed to know.

Tucudean then had a great chance to put the Addicks 2-0 ahead and effectively put the game beyond the reach of Wolves, but he failed to take it. Wolves then hit the post.

After the break, Wolves came out of the traps full of energy and the game was played at a high tempo. Eventually their pressure told and captain Danny Batth scored from a corner, Henderson failing to hold on to the ball.

One of the disappointments in this phase of the game was that we put in some good tackles, but then failed to hold on to the ball. Overall, however, a draw was a fair result.

The referee was serenaded as an Onanist by the Covered End at the end of the game. I don't know what they put in the water in Bedfordshire, but he wouldn't give us anything. He also let play go on when Vitokele was fouled and injured. The Angolan was pointing to his leg at the end of the game and I hope that he will be all right for Saturday. (It subsequently emerged that he had no feeling in his arm, but this is thought to be due to a cut: it is not broken). Admittedly, none of the referee's decisions were costly in a game changing sense, but they were still poor.

I was amused to see Wolves fans at the station swapping business cards and explaining which financial institution they were now working for.

Attendance at under 16,000 was disappointing given a strong Wolves contingent. It was a good, end-to-end game.

Player ratings

With our canine match analysts retired, the surplus supply of Silver Bones has been dispatched to Rick Everitt's elves for melting down in his workshop, but I don't think anyone really qualified last night. This suggests a poor performance, but I think we were still tired after our gruelling performance against Watford. Even so, we were able to grind out a result.

Stephen Henderson made more than one save that stopped the ball going in the net, including one that he tipped round the post with an outstretched arm. However, perhaps he should have been able to hold on to the ball when the goal was scored. Bikey-Amougou took his goal well and shows that he is not just a robust defender. However, he gave away fouls in dangerous positions and eventually got a yellow card. Ben Haim withstood the onslaught well. Gomez generally had a good game and he is clearly a great prospect. However, there was the occasional error which is to be expected. Wiggins was getting outsmarted by charm merchant Henry. Wiggins has never been as good as he was before his injury.

Wilson is perhaps better as an impact sub and it was his turn to be substituted last night. He tried to get forward, but he often had a torrid time. Buyens was not at his best, with a tame shot on goal, but then Jackson once again disappointed. He did have a chance to score after being given a perfect pass (I think from Igor), but he put it just wide. Steve from Petts Wood commented that two years ago he would have scored. There were flashes of excellence, but at times he disappeared from the game. Indeed, this was not a good game for the midfield. Cousins had his name omitted from the programme, but I thought that his corners were better than they were on Saturday, not least the one that led to the goal.

Tucudean is a worry. He missed two good chances to score and gets muscled off the ball too easily. Vetokele was tireless and even helped out in defence, but he needs better support from the midfield. Moussa huffs and puffs to no great effect. This was a game where I would have brought on Church. The appearance of Bulot was one of the highlights of the night for me. He looks very promising.

Glass Half Empty

Derek from Dymchurch writes: 'We were shown up last night. If it was not for the fact that ladies read this page, I would describe our performance using a four letter word. That Belgian geezer is being found out. We have now used up our supply of luck for the season. Mark my words, we'll be in a relegation scrap by Christmas.'

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Playing Wolves

When I first started supporting Charlton, one of the most feared visits was that of Wolves. This was understandable because in 1953/4 they became champions for the first time and were then runners up the following year. This was the era of Billy Wright, their skipper and right half, who had clocked up 54 international appearances by 1953 and was the England captain. He joined Wolves straight from school and he was nearly turned down because he was so small.

It is common these days for footballers to have celebrity partners, but Wright pioneered this trend by marrying Joe Beverley of the Beverley Sisters. With their saccharine style, they were big in the 1950s.

I have the programme for their visit on 21st November 1953, a match which we lost 0-2. Wolves had three other internationals in their team, wing forward Hancocks scoring one of the goals.

The programme described Wolves 'as strong representatives from the Midlands whom we have always associated with all that is best in the game. Before World War II in the Major Buckley era, Wolves were prominent in big transfer deals, and at one period fielded the youngest team in the First Division. Between 1935 and 1939 Wolves received £110,658 in transfer fees - a colossal sum when it is considered that top prices of that period were nothing like as high as they are today.' According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, that would be £6,577,484 in today's prices.

I am looking forward to the game tonight which will be a big test of what Charlton can expect to achieve this season with Wolves one point and two places ahead of the Addicks. Away from home, they have won one, drawn one and lost one. Odds are 19/10 Charlton, draw 9/4, Wolves 6/4.

Solly is likely to be rested and Gudmundsson is likely to be unavailable. I would consider playing Joe Gomez at right back and having Lawrie Wilson further up field.

Yoni Buyens pays tribute to Bob Peeters as a coach here: Buyens

Saturday, 13 September 2014

One is enough - after 100 minutes

The Watford fan on the train complained, 'We conceded a penalty in the first two minutes, we bossed it for the next 88, but we couldn't score.' Part of the problem for Watford was that some chances were thrown away through wayward shots, but credit must also go to the Addicks for resolute defending. The Hornets complained that they were denied a penalty of their own, but it was difficult to get a clear view from where I sit. Having looked at it on television from behind, there was contact, although not a lot so it was easily missed.

After Buyens had dispatched the penalty, Watford came back into the game, but increasingly resorted to blatant fouls as their efforts got them nowhere. The referee was keen to dish out yellow cards, although the Addicks got their share in the second half.

The Hornets came out of the traps determined to score in the second half and for a while we lost our shape and composure. Deeney did score, but it was rightly ruled offside. However, I thought that we recovered somewhat towards the end of the game. Even so, possession was 62-38 in Watford's favour. But then last season we would have capitulated to such an onslaught.

On the way into the ground, a long-standing fan expressed the view that the David Whyte commemoration had gone over the top, albeit it with the best of intentions. However, I thought that the applause on the 10th minute was very appropriate and went well.

I don't know what went wrong at Charlton Station, but there was a long wait for trains and I was lucky to get on one at 5.30. My train from Marylebone had a noisy group on it who turned out to be dentists who had been to a course on botox which they had found 'very draining'. I found the match quite draining in an edge of the seat way, but it was absorbing and in no way like drawing teeth.

Charlton remain unbeaten and are 5th in a table that is tightly packed at the top. Wolves on Tuesday will be a crucial test. Home games are juts like buses: you don't get one for a month and then they come along in pairs.

As Steve Claridge said on The Football League Show, 'The sign of a good manager is doing the best with what you've got and there's no doubt that Bob Peeters is doing that.'

Derek from Dymchurch writes, 'That Belgian geezer can't go on riding his luck. As I've said before, the wheels are coming off. And, no, Acworth is not my long lost cousin.'

Match analysis

Stephen Henderson was my Man of the Match, not just for his saves, but also for his command of his area. One save in the first half required him to spot the ball through a crowd of players. In the second half he made two outstanding saves to keep us in the game. Bikey made a few errors in distribution, but I wouldn't like to face him if I was on the pitch. Ben Haim came close to giving away a penalty, but he also stood up to the onslaught. Solly had a good game, some nice skill and touches. Wiggins foraged forward a few times, but is perhaps not up to the standard of last season.

Buyens took the penalty very well. He made some errors going forward. Cousins didn't seem that involved a lot of the time and some of his corners were poor. Jackson looks a bit off the pace a lot of the time. Playing Gudmundsson when he had picked up an injury on international duty was probably a mistake. It must have been a disappointment for the two Iceland supporters in front of me to see so little of him. Tucudean has a good work rate, but got muscled off the ball too easily. Vetokele didn't seem to be too affected by his recent return from Africa, although he did have a chance to score in the second half.

I am a great fan of Wilson and he did managed to get forward when others didn't, but it wasn't the best performance by the player described in the programme as 12th on the head coach's list. Dyer managed to get round him to create a goal scoring opportunity, but fortunately his shot was dire. Moussa has energy and enthusiasm, but he squandered opportunities a couple of times by failing to pass the ball when he forged forward. Harriott couldn't score and he couldn't help anyone else to score.

If I was still doing Hiss of the Match I would give it to charm merchant Troy Deeney who seemed to think that his role as captain was to try and intimidate the referee.

Friday, 12 September 2014

David Whyte, Whyte, Whyte

Reproduced by kind permission of Rick Everitt

We will be commemorating David Whyte's contribution to Charlton in various ways tomorrow and this Voice of the Valley cover recalls how important his goals were in keeping the club afloat in the mid 1990s.

The article by Corinna Huxley

In the September 1997 issue of Voice of the Valley Corinna Huxley wrote a special tribute to Whyte following his departure (the first ever colour cover featured Clive Mendonca). She noted that the player's relations with Alan Curbishley were not of the best, something that was also evident from Curbs's ghosted autobiography. Apparently he swore at Curbs when he was taken off in a home game against Oxford.

Corinna started supporting Charlton in 1989, so she missed out on Killer's glory days. Of Whyte she wrote: 'He was always my hero, the name I first looked for on the teamsheet.' She pointed out that as well as scoring goals, Whyte scored them for other people. She argued, 'The fact that he ended up joint top scorer despite being dropped and injured indicates to me that he had an excellent goals-to-game ratio.'

Recalling a classic Whyte goal (one that he scored on my 50th birthday), she wrote: 'The last goal we will probably see from Whyte was the opportunist strike he made against Reading in January at Elm Park. The goalie fluffed a pass back from a defender, Whytie pounced on the mistake, went round the keeper and slotted the ball nonchalantly from about 20 yards, neatly bisecting two defenders on the way to the net. Oh how I jumped up and down after that goal! It was classic Whyte.'

'My favourite Whyte goal came two seasons ago at The Valley against Watford. A midfield player passed the ball forward, leaving the flat Watford defence in disarray. Whyte ran on to the pass and chipped the ball over the keeper from about 35 yards into the top right-hand corner of the Covered End. Fantastic.'

His later life was often troubled, but it is moments like that we will recall as we applaud his memory tomorrow.

Big Bob can spend in January

Bob Peeters can spend in the transfer window if Charlton are challenging for promotion. However, those who hoped to sign Messi are going to be disappointed as Roland has made it clear there will be no Manchester United style splashing the cash: which is as it should be.

Read the full Sub-Standard report here: Going for promotion

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Katrien: we want a share of QPR fine

If the new financial fair play regulations are enforced and not challenged in the courts, they should benefit clubs like Charlton who have managed their finances prudently.

Earlier this week Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire was on a panel on the business side of football in Manchester. She put the case for clubs like Charlton to receive a share of any fine imposed on QPR which could be as much as £2m for the Addicks: Fair Play. She estimated that Charlton had lost £12.8m in its effort to get back to the Premier League: quite a conservative figure in my view given the money that was wasted on players who didn't deliver.

At the moment the money is destined to go to charity, but perhaps it could be shared between charities and the clubs.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

David Whyte

I was saddened to hear confirmation of the death of David Whyte, a player I particularly enjoyed watching. A number of his fellow players have already paid their tributes: David Whyte

I hope that we can mark his passing at Saturday's game. I gather that his life after leaving football was not that easy.

I will write my own tribute at a later date.

Proflle of Katrien

In a recent Voice of the Valley article, I suggested that Katrien should be given a higher profile in the media. I am sure my article had no effect, but I am pleased to see her profiled by the BBC with whom she has had a very informative interview: Katrien

A lifelong football fan, she was shocked by how much power managers have in the English game, a very different situation from mainland Europe.

Addickted in optimistic mood

Charlton supporters are in a good frame of mind as the season gets under way. This is the overall finding of our online survey. I would like to thank the 401 fans who responded, the best response I have had to a survey.

Fans are clearly warming to Roland's regime. Asked how their views of the Belgian had changed since the takeover, 58 per cent said that it had improved considerably and another 33 per cent chose the improved slightly, giving overall positive ratings of 91 per cent. 8 per cent chose no change and 1 per cent said their opinion had deteriorated.

It's early days for Bob Peeters, and opinions could change if we start losing matches, but 26 per cent of respondents gave him an excellent rating and 65 per cent chose the good option, giving him the same overall positive rating as Roland, 91 per cent. 6 per cent said fair, two per cent said poor and 1 per cent didn't know.

Katrien has also made a good start as chief executive with overall positive ratings of 74 per cent, 22 per cent excellent and 52 per cent good. The don't know category was unsurprisingly higher in her case and 19 per cent said 'fair'.

Fans are clearly pleased with the summer signings, with an overall positive rating of no less than 97 per cent. When it came to strengthening the squad, the overwhelming preference was for a striker, 83 per cent. 5 per cent wanted a defender, 4 per cent wanted a keeper, 4 per cent wanted a central midfielder and 1 per cent another midfield position (3 per cent don't know). I included the central midfielder option because there has been quite a lot of talk among fans about this position, but it is clearly not seen as the priority.

51 per cent of fans thought that we would finish just below the play offs, 21 per cent in the play offs and an optimistic 3 per cent thought we would get automatic promotion. 22 per cent chose mid-table and just three per cent lower mid-table. Relegation is clearly off the agenda, the odd Millwall or Palace fan aside. This distribution of figures pretty much matches what would be my estimates of possible outcomes.

The answers to the question about this blog confirmed what I know from 'hits'. The news service is what is really valued, especially during the transfer season. I will probably drop match previews and slim down the match reports, keeping the match ratings provided by our canine analysts. I still hold to my view that a dog can do as good a job as the average football journalist.

As far as news stories are concerned, I clearly need to do more checking of sources to avoid repeating a recent error. In that connection fans will be aware of stories circulating on the internet regarding former striker David Whyte. They appear to have a solid source, but until there is confirmation I cannot write an appropriate story.

Detailed comments on Roland

  • Since the end of last season he has made big improvements on and of the pitch.
  • Had to be better than the last lot. I was optimistic and respectful of his ability to improve the club from day one.
  • Never really had a problem with him.
  • It is clear he has ambitions for the club that coincide with those held by the majority of supporters.
  • Hard-headed investment in key areas.
  • Strategy unclear then, still not clear. Opinion went down in months after takeover, gone back up slightly.
  • Owing to an influx of better quality players.
  • He's not perfect but I could grow to love him.
  • It was good initially.
  • Sceptical at first but quite like the vision he appears to have for our club.
  • I do not think we can fault him.
  • Given that I was never a rabid disapprover.
  • SO far we haven't been pillaged for the Mother Ship.
  • He rescued a sinking ship.
  • I had an open mind, and continue to have. Still early days really...
  • Investing in the stadium and players shows long term commitment.
  • I like what he's done with the valley pitch and it's surroundings. Also like he's backed the manager in transfer market and has helped the team to improve on and off the pitch.
  • Backed him from day 1.
  • He appears to be interfering less.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Rob Elliot's frustration

After winning a second cap with Ireland (playing for half of Ireland's 2-0 friendly victory over Oman), former Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot returns to Newcastle to resume his place on the substitutes bench. He is finding this frustrating, even though it gives him a ringside seat as Alan Pardew displays his silky coaching skills.

Elliot moved to Newcastle in 2011 on a five year contract. Now 28, he has made just 12 first team appearances. Ahead of him is Holland international Tim Krul.

Elliot apparently adores Geordieland, but he told The Times 'I've wanted to play - I don't want to just get the tag of being a No.2 keeper. I think, after this season, depending on how many games I get, I'll have to look at it and see what happens.'

Monday, 8 September 2014

Coyle set to replace Riga

Owen Coyle is being lined up to replace José Riga at Blackpool: Blackpool. Coyle must be desperate to get back into management given the state of affairs at Blackpool.

Coyle is out of the frame, but Gary Rowett has now turned down the job although Riga has not actually been sacked: Rowett

Oyston has now criticised Riga for his 'unprofessional attitude' in returning to Belgium, but he should perhaps consider how professional he has been as an owner: Oyston

Riga hasn't had the best of years, to say the least. He was respected at Charlton and deserved better. Blackpool fans also deserve a better owner. Quite what owner Karl Oyston's strategy is remains unclear, but at this rate ambitious neighbours AFC Fylde will be passing the Tangerines as they go down the Football League.

When I was in Lancashire at the weekend, I was told Fylde is bankrolled by someone who wanted to buy Blackpool with a business partner who put his money into Fleetwood Town.

I was in area of strong Morecambe support (yes, really) and was chatting to one or two of their fans. I can't remember ever playing them. One thing they have in common with us is that football magazine Four Four Two forecast they would be relegated. They are currently in the automatic promotion places.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

New survey

Please complete our new survey about the club by clicking on the link: New survey. Results will be reported sometime next week - and are now available. New responses will not be counted.

I have included one question about this blog. We started in the 1990s as an informal match reports page, trying to give something of the atmosphere of the game as well as saying something about what happened in the match. You can get an idea of what it looked liked and contained here: 1997-8 diary

Over time better match reports have been available and we have sought to provide more of a news service, while retaining the match reports. However, it is proving quite difficult to keep up the volume of coverage while still finding time to do things that earn me some money. This transfer window was quite demanding because of the need to read reports in French which often meant a resort to my old school dictionary!

We have taken one or two shortcuts recently which have led us to fall below the standards we would like to aspire to. I therefore need to re-assess what the blog can realistically offer to fans (given that there are many other excellent blogs).

Friday, 5 September 2014

Danny Graham on the radar

The number nine shirt is currently vacant at The Valley. Last season's incumbent, Simon Church, and Igor Vetokele were keen to take the number but it was reserved for Delort who went to Wigan.

One player thought to be on the radar for a loan switch to the Addicks is Sunderland's much travelled striker, Danny Graham. The Gateshead born 29-year-old has made league appearances for Middlesbrough, Darlington, Derby, Leeds, Blackpool, Carlisle, Watford, Swansea, Sunderland and Hull. He would be well placed to take over Michael Portillo's Great Railway Journeys programme.

Charlton were interested in Graham several years ago when he was at Carlisle, but he moved to Watford instead, where he enjoyed the best spell of his career, scoring 37 goals in 91 league appearances. He moved from Watford to Swansea, then returned to his native north east with a big money move to the Stadium Of Light.

For whatever reasons, Graham's move to Sunderland has not worked out and he has so far failed to score for the Black Cats. It may well be that the Championship is the level where Graham is at his most effective.

The South London Press are reporting that the club would be willing to let Michael Morrison go on a free transfer. Morrison only penned a new deal in the summer but Tal Ben Haim and Andre Bikey are Bob Peeters' preferred central defensive pairing.

Whether he would initially go out on loan, or agree to have his contract cancelled so he could sign a permanent deal as a free agent, remains to be seen. Big Bob would probably prefer a more technical player than Morrison, who is a traditional no frills British defender.

I think Morro has worked hard for us and I would be sorry to see him go, but I understand that he may feel that he needs to pursue his career elsewhere rather than languishing on the sidelines at Charlton.

Well done Igor!

Igor Vitokele has been named Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month: Vitokele . He is currently on international duty with Angola, so Bob Peeters accepted the trophy for him.

He has quickly established himself as a favourite with Charlton fans, offering a challenge to the belief that no decent players will be brought in under the regime of Roland.

I just hope that being Player of the Month doesn't bring the bad luck that often afflicts the Manager of the Month (Kenny Jackett from Wolves this time).

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Have Watford lost their identity?

This interesting blog post by a Watford fan challenges a suggestion by yet another lazy journalist that the club has lost its identity under the ownership of the Pozzo family: Watford

This resonates, of course, with a recent debate at Charlton. My view is that the identity of a club rests with its fans. Owners and managers come and go, but the fans (well, most of them) remain constant.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Chris Powell to become Huddersfield manager

According to the BBC, Chris Powell has been offered the manager's job at Huddersfield Town: Chris Powell. Alex Dyer will be joining him as assistant. (The BBC has just confirmed that the appointment has taken place). The announcement on the official Huddersfield Town site can be found here: Chris Powell

A round of second interviews were held with three candidates. As well as Chris Powell, they were thought to include Coventry City manager Stephen Pressley and possibly caretaker manager Mark Lillis.

When Chris returns to The Valley with his new side, Charlton fans will want to show their appreciation of his efforts for the club. I am pleased that he has found a new post so that he can develop as a manager.

Given the number of meetings there have been between the two clubs in recent years, the Terriers should already be quite familiar to their new manager.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Here come the Charlton Cherubs

When Roland said he wanted to enhance the match day experience at The Valley, I feared that this might mean cheerleaders and if we are to believe the Greenwich Visitor we are going to get them in the form of the Charlton Cherubs (a naff name if there ever was). They are students at the University of Greenwich.

As it so happens, one of my granddaughters is in to cheerleading and it suits her extrovert personality. I am sure it's fun for the girls themselves. However, it doesn't seem very Charlton to me, a bit American. The fact that it happens at Palace is a recommendation not to do it at The Valley.

If it happens, I'll just let them get on with it and read the programme. What would really put me off is naff goal music or, even worse, music when we win a corner (which rarely leads to anything).

No deadline day mayhem

Despite reports alleging that Darren Bent had been seen at the training ground and that the Archangel Gabriel had been spotted hovering over The Valley, there were no deadline day signings for Charlton. This should not be a cause for complaint (Derek from Dymchurch please note).

As one knowledgeable Charlton supporter commented on Facebook: 'Why is it that some people seem to feel that because the transfer window is open we have to sign players? We have a very good infrastructure in place for scouting potential players throughout the whole year. Especially on the last day prices and demands can go through the ceiling because Clubs assume that people in the market to buy are desperate. Why pay inflated prices for average players when chances are we already have someone who is better?'

The club has stated that there were negotiations right up against the deadline, but they were not successfully concluded: Deadline day . As a number of fans have commented on social media, this is a welcome example of good communication by the board.

The august Sevenoaks Chronicle has revived speculation about Darren Bent coming in on loan. I know that as high an authority as Acworth has said this is going to happen, but I still think it is very unlikely. If you look at the story it has no substance beyond a 'meltdown on Twitter', i.e., speculation building on speculation: Dream on

I am satisfied with the acquisitions we have made over the summer. Ideally one might have liked a central midfielder, but the arrival of Bulot should allow Cousins to move to the centre. If one of our strikers sustains a serious injury, we might have to look at a loan.

After all the media predictions of a relegation battle, we have made a decent start to the season, unbeaten in the league. I think that Roland and his team have done a good job. The players arriving from the network are much better than the notorious 'January Six' which looks like a decision based on inexperience. However, it's water under the bridge now, although doubtless some fans will never forgive Roland for the departures of Kermorgant and Chris Powell.

It's been a hectic transfer window and has probably taken up more of my time than it should have done. I even had to turn down some work for the Evening Standard and whenever you do that, they tend not to come back. However, in the case of the Sub Standard that's probably no bad thing.

I will devise a new questionnaire to see whether attitudes towards Roland have changed during the international break. Now that Folkestone & Hythe has been deemed a winnable seat for UKIP, Derek from Dymchurch will be kept busy. I think I might have a modest celebration with that famous dish Boulets a la Liègeoise, otherwise known as meatballs and fries.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Transfer day interest in Gomez

Unconfirmed reports state that Liverpool and Newcastle United are expressing transfer deadline day interest in Joe Gomez. The stated policy of Roland is to try and hold on to such promising players, but it can be difficult for a player to resist the blandishments of Premiership clubs. Both clubs are believed to offer luxury coaches for their development squads, and heated substitutes' benches.

I am so happy to be in Wigan

It has now been confirmed that Andy Delort is going to Wigan. The picture above shows him joyously celebrating the move.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle (which has suddenly become a font of wisdom on Charlton) is claiming that we may sign Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. This is a little more plausible than some stories as he is a free agent looking for a club and wouldn't cost too much. I do think that he has something left in the tank.