CARD should be applauded

All the people I know who have decided not to come to Charlton this season are doing it because they can’t stand the current owner and CEO. The reason that they take this view is because of the lack of any vision, ambition for the club or indeed understanding of the fanbase.

It is not because of any of the activities of CARD, who I believe they generally support. There seems to be a view, notably taken by Michael Tucker, who posts under Vital Charlton that CARD are part of the problem rather than the solution.

Yesterdays protest was non violent, received huge sympathetic media coverage and the analogy of the flying pigs was suitably intelligent.

Sensing that they have been comprehensively out thought by CARD, the Supporters Trust and every other sensible respresentative fan body, the club has employed a PR company to respond to the barrage of criticism. I suspect that a fair amount of the social media which purport to oppose CARD are actually from imaginary people.

Anyway, whether CARD is likely to achieve its objectives is open to debate, but I applaud them for trying.

We currently sit 15th in the 3rd division of English Football, we have an owner who has attended one game in 4 Years and a CEO who thinks that the club should promote its image by featuring a couple engaging in copulation on the centre circle.

Criticism of CARD is ridiculous by comparison.

Don’t blame the manager

I keep on reading that our squad is good enough for Top 6 in this divsion . We will all have our different views on this but I am firmly in the camp that our playing squad was never going to be good enough for anything better than a mid table or relegation battle in this division. You have to look at the players that form our midfield and attack. JJ, Crofts and Foley are all at the end of their careers. Ulverstadt arrived 5 mins before the season started , has virtually no English league experience, think Ba , Ceballos etc. Magennis is OK but let’s face it he was playing for Kilmarnock , Ajose had one good season at Swindon, Novak was available on a free. Our 2 best players , Lookman is 18 years old and Holmes was playing in League 2 last year.

My biggest criticism of Slade would be that he seems to think it’s about commitment and ‘ choices in the final 3rd’ when it’s really about lack of quality on the pitch – but I guess he can’t say that.

I don’t think Mourinho would be getting results with these players. Anyway we can’t change much before January. It looks like being a very long and bleak Autumn. I wouldn’t be surprised if we are bottom at Xmas.

Player recruitment has been a complete shambles since Roland and his cronies arrived. They lurch from one half arsed strategy to another.

The problem is exacerbated because neither the owner or the chief executive know anything about football and so in the land of the completely blind the one eyed Thomas Dreisen is king.

Heaven only knows when the pain will end. A new manager will make no difference at all.


If we could turn back time

Mega wealthy Belgian businessman, Roland Duchatelet arrives at The Valley in January 2014 . His first action is to spend several hours discussing football and what resources are needed to drive Charlton back up the league, given that the club, although bottom of the Championship, having played all season on an unsuitable quagmire pitch are in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup with 4 games in hand.

After the meeting with ex England international and successful,experienced manager, Powell, he immediately extends the contracts of Charlton’s best players, Kermogant , Stephens,Morrison, Solly and Hamer and rehires Peter Varney, the experienced and successful previous CEO to drive the club forward. At the same time, he commits to invest in a new pitch and a complete renovation of the clubs Sparrows Lane Training facility.

Duchatelet comments that with the nucleus of an excellent team already in place together with the talented youngsters coming through, Harriot, Cousins, Poyet and Gomez, further sensible investment in the team of around £10m should see the club challenging for promotion to the Premier League within 2 seasons.

In Season 2014/15, Charlton are promoted back to the Premier League led by Captain Kermogant and Duchatelet  reaps the reward of £100-£150million in TV revenues per annum. Capacity crowds of 27,000 fill the Valley every week and Duchatelet authorises Peter Varney to progress the extension of the ground to a capacity of 35,000.

It wasn’t really very difficult was it ?

It would have been much cheaper than losing £8m a year for a decade which will be his outcome.

Charlton make Oldham look like Barcelona

Charlton were completely outplayed last night by Oldham who really should have won by 2 or 3 clear goals. No disrespect is meant to Oldham, but I suspect at the end of the season they will still be near the relegation zone. That doesn’t augur well for us , does it ? For the last 20 minutes last night, Oldham had all the possession, pinned us back in our half and created numerous chances.

Comparisons between seasons and teams is always very difficult, but I am struggling to recall a worse Charlton team in the last 50 years. It is true that we have some talented players. Last night, for example young Konza demonstrated why he and Lookman will both will be leaving soon.

Bauer , Holmes & Magennis look OK. The biggest problem that anyone can see is that the central midfield of Jackson, Crofts, Foley , Ulvestadt is completely lacking in creativity, power, pace and energy. Lookman excepted , the goal threat up top is also almost non existent.

So with no goals from midfield, not much of a goal threat up front, virtually no link up play, we resort to kicking it long to the big man who has no support.

I don’t know who is responsible for this mess. I like Slade, he seems to be honest and straightforward and at least he doesn’t speak in riddles like Luzon/Riga/Fraeye. I hope that he stays and turns it around, but with the midfield playing staff currently available to him , it seems unlikely. The club knew that we were going to lose Cousins and Gudmundson and in the event we also lost Diarra and Harriot. Kashi is injured and Ba is out of favour which means that our midfield picks itself with 3 or 4 guys , none of whom will be playing for us next season.

Since we cannot get players in until January, it looks like a very bleak Autumn is in store unless a Regan Charles Cook or someone else from the Under 23s steps up like Poyet did a couple of years ago.

Target 20k a big success

There can be no doubt that having achieved season ticket sales of c6,500 this year that Target 20k has pretty much achieved its goal of having lost, alienated and disaffected around 20,000 fans

As we speak , Katrien and her fabled SMT team are working closely with a tiny quisling band of helpers to see if they can target 25k next year so that we will only have c 1,500 season ticket holders .The signs are promising.

Honestly, I guess there must be some members of this target 20k focus group who actually think they are doing something useful by collaborating with the ownership, but it is not helpful at all. The owner couldn’t care less , the CEO can’t tie her own shoelaces without help, the meetings are subject to some kind of ridiculous masonic level of secrecy  – the club cannot progress in any shape or form until the owner and his useless bunch of puppets and sycophants are gone.

Any kind of support to the current regime is pointless and misguided.

We will only make progress when we are rid of them.


Mid Table Fare

After the holiday delights of Cornwall and France, it was back to the home of football in SE7 yesterday. My first game of the season and a chance to see the new recruits in the flesh.

We looked OK and Russell certainly has them trying hard . Holmes is the best player by a mile,but it’s difficult to run the game when the opposition know you are the only real threat. I don’t think there are enough goals or creativity in either Bolton or Charlton to go up automatically, although as ever we are waiting on tenterhooks for a couple of 11.59 reinforcements. As every fan knows,we are woefully short of creativity and energy in the middle. Personally, I would have given El Hadji Ba a chance this season. He is young and has the legs – last year when he played at Fulham when Cousins was injured he was our best player. A noble shout out for Chris Solly here, who frankly can play anywhere on the pitch and still be one of our best players. The poor bloke really deserves better than a one club career !

We had a couple of decent chances in the first half, both Ajose and the BFG should have scored, but the second half was woeful and apart from the Lookman goal, we created nothing. Charlton fans seem to love the BFG and he certainly  looks the part, but yesterday as at Brighton and Reading last year, he made an awful mistake, allowing the forward to turn him, which put Bolton straight through on goal. It was a Bobby Zamora moment all over again.

The news in the Belgian press that our owner,Dr Strangelove, takes football and transfer advice from his very own football Rasputin,Thomas Dreisen,a twenty something year old fan of St Trudien will not be surprising to any Charlton fans.

Lets hope young Thomas has been combing the Dutch,Belgian and French leagues for another Reza or Anil Koc

Best Wishes & Thanks to Richard Murray

I was very sorry to read the news about Richard Murray’s ill health . As I have mentioned on a number of occasions on here, in my 50 years of watching Charlton, he is really the only Chairman to have delivered us a consistently successful team.

Our 2 promotions to the Premier League were delivered under his Chairmanship and we had the joy and privilege of watching 11 or more international players in a Charlton team, playing at the highest level in English Football  – who would have ever thought that ?

I think that as a Chairman, and I have done it myself, there is a danger of staying too long in the role and a shake up in the Charlton Board Room now would be a good thing, particularly if it resulted in the appointment of a new CEO who knows how to run a business.

As an aside, If I was the CEO and I had just lost 4,000 paying season ticket customers, rather than inventing vacuous new forums and pretending to interact with supporters, I would be focussed on phoning every single lost customer individually, as well as calling as many as possible myself.  Two decent call centre people for a month would cost c £3k ( one weeks wages for Josh Magennis)  and could contact about 1200-1500 ex customers in a month. I’m not saying they will all renew and that some won’t be abusive !, but its the right thing to do and sometimes in business thats just what you need to do. As everyone in business knows, its a lot easier keeping existing customers than finding new ones. To give but one example, I failed to renew my car park pass and one of my 3 season tickets. Thats £1200 of revenue and noone from the club has bothered to call me to ask why or persuade me to renew either. Its just basic common sense, isn’t it ?  

Anyway, rant over, back to Richard who is a true Charlton fan , he goes to support the team every week and he has ploughed lots of his hard earned into the club with little or no return. Thank you Richard for the Premiership, the Wembley Play Off and the best Charlton team I have ever seen. I wish you a speedy recovery and a quick return to the Valley, and if you don’t fancy the Directors box, come over and sit with us in the East Stand – the language is quite restrained and we have a laugh !!!!