Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Charlton put to the plough at Ipswich

With Gomez brought in as a late change following a hamstring problem, it looked like a 3-5-2 formation for Charlton at Portman Road. Charlton made an attack in the first minute but Cousins was unable to find the target.

Ipswich won their first corner after Cousins failed to intercept, followed by a second. Etheridge gathered the header. Murphy put in a shot but Solly got his body in the way at the expense of a third corner.

Ipswich got a free kick off Bikey in a dangerous position. McGoldrick’s effort went of the post and Bikey cleared.

Vetokele spotted Gudmundsson, but he couldn’t quite get on the end of it. Gomez had to give away a corner. Vetokele dealt with the corner well, but Ipswich got a fifth corner, followed by a sixth with Charlton under pressure.

Gudmundsson put in a powerful shot which wasn’t far off target. Ipswich won their seventh corner after 20 minutes. Buyens put in a forceful challenge.

Ipswich won their eighth corner as the half hour mark was passed and the ball went out for a ninth. Chambers had a free header , it hit Jackson, Etheridge tried to control it but Smith who had space put it in the back of the net.

Charlton mounted an attack which had to be cleared off the line. The Addicks kept up the pressure but to no avail. Solly put in a cross, but Tucudean fired over.

The Addicks conceded their tenth corner. Ipswich then won a free kick which hit the post and then went out for a corner.

Charlton were under the cosh for long periods of the half, but there was a good response after the goal.

HT: Tractors 1, Addicks 0

Ipswich started the half with another corner. Gudmundsson put in a shot but it went straight into the arms of the keeper. Gomez put the ball into Vetokele but the flag was raised. McGoldrick got a yellow card for trying to take out Gomez.

Charlton put in a good move as they got into the game more. Solly had to defend at the expense of a corner, followed by yet another. The ball came off the crossbar from a McGoldrick header (he may have been offside) and Murphy put it in to make it 2-0. The home fans woke up.

A shot from McGoldrick went over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Charlton won their first corner of the game. A shot from Gudmundsson led to a save from the keeper and another Charlton corner.

Bulot came on in place of Jackson. After good work on the right, Charlton won a corner. Bulot couldn’t get the ball under control.

Ipswich won another corner. A shot from Gudmundsson took a deflection leading to a corner, their fifteenth. Smith brought Vetokele down. Charlton won another corner. Tucudean got a yellow card. McGoldrick burst through and made it 3-0. Bikey thought there was offside by Hunt and got a yellow card. Ben Haim had to defend well to stop it becoming 4-0. There had to be some good defending to stop a fourth.

I filled in my predictions for the second half of the season for the West Sussex competition this morning and put this down as 2-0 to Ipswich, so the defeat was no surprise, but still disappointing, especially for the 1,023 Addicks who made the journey on this cold night. Unfortunately, our marking at set pieces let us down.


Monday, 29 December 2014

Charlton fans as seen in the looking glass

An Ipswich fan has put together a lengthy compilation of views culled from the Charlton fans about the club's recent performances and their players: Forum views

Some fans are saying that we are already showing relegation form which speaks volumes about the extent to which it is possible to be pessimistic about one's own team. 11th doesn't look like a relegation position.

Optimists argue that the play off places are not out of reach, which of course they are not. However, this looks like a mid-table season to me, the unresolved question is whether we will be upper or lower mid table.

Well-informed commentators point out that the club's position is not sustainable in the Championship with losses of £5 million a year. Unless we can get promoted, the options are relegation or administration (or perhaps both). Even a year in the Premiership would give us around £120m (less additional spending on players) which would set us up in the Championship for a few years, not to mention the generous parachute payments. It's a strange world where you can have a strategy of getting promoted to get relegated to stay afloat.

Pardew for Palace?

There has been widespread speculation that Alan Pardoo may fill the managerial vacancy at Crystal Palace. Possibly he sees South London as the scene of former triumphs.

However, up in Newcastle they are more sceptical. They reckon that Pardew is playing a rather risky power game with Mike Ashley and also point out that Ashley would demand massive compensation to release Pardew from his eight year contract and even if the Glaziers cashed in all their Nectar points they couldn't afford it: Pardew

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Delort rumours are probably false

Reports that Andy Delort will after all come to Charlton on loan probably have no real basis often than the speculations of journalists seeing the world through a post Christmas alcoholic haze.

Delort is certainly unhappy at Wigan where he feels that he has not been given enough opportunities. However, he wants to return to France and that does not mean a French-speaking dressing room in SE7. Indeed, Montpellier and Lens are said to be interested.

Elsewhere Neil Warnock has been sacked as Palace manager after they slipped into the relegation places: Warnock

The last three Palace managers have barely had time to build up their Nectar points as they have all lasted less than a year. A no doubt false Alan Curbishley account has tweeted 'Hey, Palace, I'm available!

Friday, 26 December 2014

Harriott sent off

It was Etheridge in goal with Vetokele on the bench and Tucudean up front as Charlton faced Cardiff City at The Valley this afternoon. Gomez was playing at left back. Cardiff won an early corner. Ben Haim cleared and Charlton tried to break.

Cardiff took the lead after 11 minutes from a dead ball, Etheridge having no chance as the ball went into the far right-hand corner. Etheridge dived at the feet of Jones to deny him, but it was offside anyway.

Harriott put in a good cross, but the defender got to it and did not reach Tucudean. Ben Haim put in great work, but the ball was too far in front of Tucudean.

After 26 minutes good work by Harriott got Charlton their first corner.

Callum Harriott got the red card on 32 minutes. It was difficult to criticise the decision. It was frustration after a poor first touch.

Tucudean put in a shot from a tight angle after good work by Charlton on the right hand side and Marshall in the Cardiff goal had to make a good save. The Addicks were not able to make anything of the corner.

HT: Addicks 0, Bluebirds 1

Cardiff piled forward early in the second half as they tried to make the most of their numerical advantage, but Gunnarsson had his shot saved. The hosts responded as Johann Berg Gudmundsson won a corner when his effort was pushed behind, leaving Johnnie Jackson to hit the post from the resulting set piece. Kenwyne Jones and Noone continued to put the Charlton defence under pressure, but were unable to increase Cardiff's lead ahead of the hour mark. Igor Vetokele came off the bench despite carrying a knock to try to salvage a point for Charlton, and he forced a save after latching on to a rebound once Gudmundsson had been denied.

Adeyemi tried to put the result beyond doubt for the visitors, but the goal-scorer's finish from the middle of the box was straight at the keeper.

Charlton produced a spirited second-half display, with George Tucudean's back-heel hitting a post and Gudmundsson shooting against the woodwork. Tucudean's flick was then cleared off the line by Sean Morrison before Gudmundsson's stunning strike deservedly levelled with two minutes left. Charlton are 12th in the table.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Cardiff fans disenchanted

Cardiff fans are disenchanted with their club. Of course, this is partly to do with the rebranding of the club, but it also reflects recent performances. With one point from the last three games, the Bluebirds are prone to lose possession of the ball in midfield (sounds a bit like Charlton really): Cardiff City

Cardiff fans are stepping up their campaign to play in blue again with new protests planned: Bluebirds

Owner Vincent Tan has, however, dismissed the protests and insisted that Cardiff will stay red (but presumably not at The Valley): Charm merchant

The last time we met Cardiff at The Valley it was the great fight back which led to the 5-4 win. Games before that ended 3-0 and 2-2.

There is an outside chance of Johnnie Jackson returning from his calf injury, but Henderson, Wiggins and Moussa are all unavailable.

Odds are: Charlton, 15/8; draw, 23/10; Cardiff, 7/5.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Katrien Meire interview

The full text of the Katrien Meire interview with the BBC can be found here: Katrien

No real revelations and surprises, but still interesting. She and Roland think that Charlton can be a little bit bigger than it is.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Pritchard's picks

Former Charlton midfielder Bradley Pritchard chooses a number of former Charlton team mates in his Dream Team in this week's Football League Paper.

Of Chris Solly he says, 'He's a club hero at Charlton. I probably remember 20 minutes of one game against Middlesbrough where he struggled but, apart from that, no one has ever come close to dribbling past him on a regular basis. He's got the footballing brain to play in the Premier.'

Ben Hamer qualifies 'because he has the best distribution of any keeper I've played with. He could hit half-volleys with incredible accuracy. He has the body of a postman, though.' [What does this mean?]

'I have to go for my ex-room-mate Cedric Evina, purely because people need a bit of humour to concentrate on the pitch and he was a real character. One of the key things the year Charlton went up from League One was our team spirit and he was one of the guys that created that atmosphere.'

Dale Stephens 'was certainly one of the best midfielders I've ever played with, he was just a complete player. He was outstanding in Charlton's promotion year. His distribution was superb and I think he's Premier quality.'

Danny Hollands: 'The year Charlton went up I think he got eight goals and he's fantastic on a night out as well. He definitely helps with the team spirit. A lot of memories I have of Charlton are off the field and Danny is one of the major protagonists in those.'

Bradley Wright-Phillips had to be included 'after the year he's had with New York Red Bulls. You could see he was a quality finisher and a good guy to have around the place. After all he did to get Charlton into the Championship, it was good to see him get the recognition he deserves at Red Bulls.

Tony Watt to join Charlton?

It is being reported that 20-year old striker Tony Watt is to leave the mother ship and join Charlton: New signing?

Admittedly his career has been stuttering in Belgium, but I still think he could be what we need.

Interesting report here on 'one of the most talented young Scottish players of his generation: Tony Watt

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Very few positives

The 318 Addickted who made the trek to Ewood Park today will have seen very few positives to comfort them on the long journey south. The 2-0 defeat by Blackburn Rovers sends the Addicks down to 12th. It was all effectively over within twenty minutes after two strikes by Jordan Rhodes. It was a poor first half by Charlton with something of a recovery in the second.

The home side got off the mark in the sixth minute when Jordan Cousins was robbed by Shane Duffy and the ball fell to Marshall, who teed up Rhodes for a cool finish. They could easily have fallen further behind in the ninth minute after the jittery Pope inexplicably dropped a cross at the feet of Rudy Gestede, whose effort would have hit the back of the net had it not hit the head of Morgan Fox and flew over. Rudy Gestede's header created another opening for Rhodes, who got to the ball ahead of outstretched goalkeeper Nick Pope and poked in for the second.

Unmarked Igor Vetokele could have pulled one back for the Addicks before the interval, but the ball glanced off his head and went wide of the post. When Callum Harriott was presented with the ball by Grant Hanley, he dragged it wide.

After the break, Charlton tested Jason Steele for the first time, through Johann Berg Gudmundsson, before Vetokele went closer still with a downward header from a corner. André Bikey had Charlton's best chance in the second half, but he sent his header over the bar. Bob Peeters brought on Joe Pigott for Callum Harriott at the break and Charlton increased the pressure on the home team, but they rarely threatened to discomfort the Blackburn defence.

Chris Powell on Sky

Chris Powell was on Fantasy Football Club on Sky last night. He talked a lot about his Charlton days including where his celebration after home victories came from, how much he is looking forward to playing us and the times he had both as a player and manager.

He cited Curbs as giving him his best advice as a manager (to get into the ear of a player), said Curbs and Pardew were the best at joining in on training etc. In picking his best 11 players of those he actually played with - five had worn our shirt -Deano (Chris said although he had roomed with him for 5 years he did not know what Paul Merson told him i.e. that Deano used to work on the roads), Rufus, Parker, Barnes and Di Canio. You can see a clip of him selecting his favourite players here: Powell's 11

After just three months at Huddersfield, Chris Powell is now the 72nd longest serving manager in the Football League.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Rovers have defensive weaknesses

My abiding memory of Ewood Park is when we got a 1-1 draw there to secure our return to the Premiership with the likes of Andy Hunt in the team.

Despite talk of Charlton showing relegation form, they are 13th in the form table while Rovers are 18th. They lost at home to Sheffield Wednesday and were then beaten away at Brentford.

They certainly have defensive weaknesses, having failed to keep a clean sheet in eight games. These defensive concerns will be compounded by the fact that they have now been placed under a transfer embargo. However, their defensive weakness is offset by a potent strike force. Moreover, Rovers look as if they could be at their strongest for two months: Players return .

Those inclined to award a #clueless hashtag to Bob Peeters might like to reflect on the limited materials at his disposal. Vetokele badly needs an effective strike partner and has faded a bit himself with all the responsibilities placed on him.

Charlton have won the last two meetings at Ewood Park. Blackburn's last win at home was 4-1 in the Premier League in April 2007.

Hopefully, Charlton may able to take advantage of weaknesses in the Rovers defence. Even so, this could be yet another draw. But that would be better than a pointless long trek back from what looks like being a cold day 'oop north.

Odds: (Coral) Blackburn 8/11, Draw 11/4, Charlton 15/4.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ipswich hunting Fox

Ipswich Town are reported to be interested in signing Morgan Fox in the January transfer window as a replacement for Tyrone Mings who may be heading for the Emirates: Morgan Fox

I'm not sure how far Wiggins is off fitness, but such a move would leave us without cover at left back, even given that Solly can play there at a stretch.

Morro signs for Blues

Michael Morrison, as anticipated, has signed a permanent deal with Birmingham City: Morrison

Coincidentally, I just had a Birmingham City supporter in the house (doing a television interview) and he reckoned that Morrison had given them just what they wanted.

Problem is, would you play him in front of TBH and Bikey? I doubt whether he was happy with being cover.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Kevin Nicholls remembers

One time Charlton midfielder Kevin Nicholls has a double page spread on his career in this week's Football League Paper. It was of particular interest to me as my late wife was one of his kit sponsors.

Nicholls recalls going to Charlton 'when I was about 14 or 15 after being scouted by Lee Bowyer's dad, Dave Bowyer, and it just went from there. I was coached by John Cartwright, Neil Banfield, who is now part of the Arsenal set up, Keith Peacock and Alan Curbishley.'

'It was a very good family club and I'll always owe them for giving me my first pro contract and making me a professional footballer.'

Nicholls recalls going as a sub at Roker Park aged 17 and coming up against Kevin Ball: 'He just steamrollered me and gave me a lesson in the physicality of the game.'

Nicholls had to retire from the game at the age of 31 through injury and now works for the Elite Management Agency.

One of my memories of Nicholls is of him scoring an early and perhaps rather lucky goal in a match against (I think) Sheffield United.

New time for Football League show

It looks as if the Football League Show is going to shift to a new time at 9 pm on Saturdays, before Match of the Day. Channel 5, it is reported, has secured a three year contract taking the programme away from the BBC: Football League Show

The present late night timing has been inconvenient for many, although there has been a repeat on Sunday mornings. This will continue.

Whether Charlton will get more than the customary thirty seconds to one minute remains to be seen.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Valley of disappointment

Igor Vetokele reminded us before the game that we shouldn't read the results off the table. Even so, it was a disappointing performance by Charlton at The Valley today. Having let Blackpool go 1-0 ahead, we drew level through a Buyens penalty and went ahead through a golden goal by Cousins, but then a mistake by Pope allowed the Seasiders to draw level.

I wasn't quite sure what the formation was in the first half, but whatever it was it wasn't working. We failed to use the width of the pitch which Blackpool did more effectively. They seemed to be getting too much space. Our passing was patient and accurate, but it was a disjointed performance and we simply didn't push forward quickly enough.

Whatever Peeters said at half time had some effect and we started to play with more urgency. However, once we got the second goal, the search for a third which would have put the match beyond reach was unsuccessful and one knew that Blackpool were going to seize their chance.

Bikey had a chance to make it 3-2 in time added on, but put the ball way over. But he's a central defender not a centre forward.

Charlton had moved up one place to tenth, but are now five points off the play offs.

Ramsgate resident Rick Everitt reflects on the return of the boo boys in a balanced and interesting piece: The view from Ramsgate. Rick will be personally signing copies of his book Battle for the Valley at the open day for the museum on December 21st. His gnomes need more room in his workshop to make special Christmas themed Charlton toys, so buy a book if you can.

Given the inevitable assertions that we are now displaying relegation form, it might be worth noting that we are 13th in the form table. I have also seen the first 'Peeters out, clueless' post, but I assume (or hope) it was a joke.

Player ratings

Nick Pope got a big splash in the programme, but this was not his day. He did make a good save from Murphy's free kick early on, but he was arguably at fault for the first goal where he was flailing around and certainly responsible for the second. The rumour mill suggests that Henderson will be out for a long time and Etheridge is an unknown quantity. A reliable goalkeeper is the foundation of success.

Ben Haim had a very solid game and dealt with a number of threats in an accomplished fashion. Bikey performed his defensive duties well enough. Gomez put in a good performance and it is easy to forget that he is 17. Fox needs to get forward more, but lacks confidence. Not having Wiggins is a big problem.

Solly was named as captain, but didn't look too comfortable playing in midfield. One forgets what Jackson adds until he isn't there. Gudmundsson was anonymous in the earlier part of the game, but became more involved as time went on. Buyens took is penalty in a cool and confident fashion. Cousins had a bit of a hesitant start, like a lot of the team, but his 25 yard strike as real quality. Harriott had a couple of attempts on goal which weren't too far off, but that was about it.

Vetokele was being roundly abused as 'useless' by the young Bloke Behind Me who is even more irritating than his older companion. He does seem to have lost his shooting boots, but he did win the penalty. Tucudean added nothing when he came on. Vetokele badly needs an effective partner.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Blackpool hoping for first away win

Blackpool are hoping for their first away win of the season at The Valley tomorrow or at the very least a draw, as they seek to continue their three match unbeaten run: Only Way Is Up

The last four Charlton games against Blackpool have ended in two wins for the Addicks and two draws.Charlton are unbeaten in the last seven meetings at The Valley in all competitions, winning five. Blackpool's last win there was 2-1 in the old Division Two in November 1976.

Odds are: Charlton 10/11, Draw 12/5, Blackpool 16/5.

According to the rumour mill, 20 year old striker Jack McBean from LA Galaxy is training with us. He is the youngest player to sign for the MLS club in its history and has a Scottish father: Career details

Morro wants to stay at Brum

Michael Morrison says that there is no future for him at Charlton. He wants to extend his loan at Birmingham and stay there permanently if possible: Morrison

He did a good job for us and I shall be sorry to see him go, but it is probably inevitable.

Buyens could start against Blackpool

With Johnnie Jackson out injured, Yoni Buyens could start against Blackpool as he returns to full fitness: Line Up

We often wonder what Jackson contributes until he goes off and then something seems to be missing, perhaps the spaces he fills as he reads the game are then unoccupied. Buyens impressed me at the start of the season, but then seemed to fall away.

Selection problems increased with the news that Francis Coquelin has been recalled to Arsenal to ease a defensive crisis: Coquelin. Radio 5 seemed to think he was on loan at Leicester.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How are we doing?

Below are some thoughts on our progress published on the Glynne Jones list. They represent good sense and I thought that they were worth reproducing.

Our record of Won 6, Drawn 11 and Lost 3 is respectable and we sit in 11th place, three points from the play offs and eleven points from third from bottom. I would have taken that before the start of the season. Also some of the football played has been a big improvement on last season however I take into account the new pitch as a contributory factor. The laying of the new pitch is the best thing RD has done for us so far, the quality of football in the matches not only by us but by the opposition as well is much better. This leads to better quality matches.

With some investment in the forward line and attacking midfield in January could see us making a bid for the play offs although I am happy for measured progress and if you can get better players on better deals then the long term deals will need to wait until the summer. However we will need in my opinion a decent striker either on loan or short term signing to support Vetokele in January.

I don't think our squad has the quality in depth to make a sustained challenge at the top although we have a good quality first 16 with some promising young players as well.

I can understand some peoples frustration that if we had more up top and scored more goals turning draws into wins then we could be top six. However considering everything the club are in a better position than twelve months ago and the outlook good if RD invests a reasonable amount in the squad. Also I think he needs to consider Bob Peeters contract which was only for one year and for stability and planning I'd like to see him be given another two years. He has made errors but is learning the English game and he could be really good for us. I think going just from year to year is too short term a vision.

I think it's fair to say that not everyone has bought into the RD vision and some need persuading. I'd be fibbing if I said I was 100% sure that RD was perfect for us, for me, it is still too early to tell but it is promising. Our attendances are a bit disappointing and not showing much sign of increasing. The lack of goals recently at The Valley hasn't helped and a quality forward signing in January leading to more goals and wins especially at home could well boost the numbers. Time will tell on that one.

Overall I am satisfied with the progress made, we are higher up the table than I thought and not looking too nervously at the bottom three. The football is better and we have the best forward we have had at the club for quite a few years in Vetokele. Young players like Cousins and Gomez promise to achieve great things and I hope the crowd get behind Harriott as I think he has the talent to be a good player for us. His confidence seems very fragile but when confident he is a real handful.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Draw specialists

Charlton confirmed their reputation as draw specialists with a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest today which saw them fall to 11th in the table. At least they didn't go down 1-5 at home like Millwall.

Callum Harriott scored for the Addicks in the 10th minute, taking advantage of a pass from Jordan Cousins. Forest had more of the game in the second half with Tesche equalising with a volley on 59 minutes.

When Johann Berg Gudmundsson had picked out Harriott 20 yards from goal, the Charlton forward still had work to do, but he shaped up swiftly to hit the ball and delivered a crisp shot that, with the aid of a slight deflection, found the bottom corner of the net, beyond the reach of Karl Darlow.

Charlton would have held a two-goal advantage if not for the efforts of the Forest keeper, who showed good reactions to parry after Igor Vetokele had connected powerfully with a diving header at close range, with Eric Lichaj alert enough to block substitute Lawrie Wilson's attempts to drive home the rebound.

Wilson had been introduced in the 20th minute, following an injury to Addicks skipper Johnnie Jackson.

Harriott was then presented with a chance to restore Charlton's lead after Tesche scored but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Darlow. Forest pushed for a winner in the final quarter of the match and they almost found one when Jamie Paterson shot from distance but it narrowly cleared the cross bar, while Nick Pope had to be alert to stop Dexter Blackstock's header sneaking in.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Teams seek to overcome faltering form

Neither Nottingham Forest nor Charlton have been showing particularly good form recently with the two teams next to each other in the form table at 16th and 17th.

A headache for Forest is the one match suspension of striker Britt Assombalonga. Stuart Pearce may give Dexter Blackstock his first start of the season or get winger Michail Antonio to play further forward.

Charlton have, of course, plenty of injury worries of their own, notable absentees being Rhoys Wiggins and Stephen Henderson.

Charlton won the last meeting 1-0 at the City Ground in March - their only win in the last eight meetings in all competitions. Nottingham Forest have won two of the last five meetings at the City Ground in all competitions, drawing two and losing one. Forest lost 2-1 at Birmingham last Saturday, after winning their previous two games. They won their last home game 2-1 against Norwich on 8 November - their only win in the last five games at the City Ground.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bid for Standard Liege?

Unconfirmed reports have appeared in Belgian media that Roland is considering a €60m bid for Standard Liege. The bid is thought to come from the Middle East. It should be noted that there have been bid reports about SL before which have come to nothing.

In any event Roland's strategy towards Charlton is determined by financial prudence rather than a lack of ready cash.