Sutherland & Varney’s Chat

If you are a Charlton fan of any age at all, go and spend a couple of hours listening to Steve Sutherland’s podcast interviews with Peter Varney at

It’s a fantastic listen, full of interesting and amusing anecdotes from the last 20 years or so. We can only hope that Thomas Sandgaard also listens and takes note from the brilliant work done by Peter and Steve and rebuilds on many of the great initiatives that characterised their time at the club.

It is such a shame that so much of the momentum has been lost but it was built once before and we must do it again.

Lacking Legs in the middle

If you look back to the team that got us promoted 2 seasons ago we had Cullen ( 32 apps) and Bielik (34 apps) and Lapslie ( yes him !) ( 32 Apps) controlling the middle and some other young legs with Morgan (16 Apps), Fosu (30 Apps), Aribo ( 39 apps). We had youth and energy.

Thinking about the current midfield, it doesn’t compare does it? I like Watson, he is the quarterback or conductor of the team but he is old and the rest of the midfield isn’t that great, Levitt has proved a disappointment and we’ve let Lapslie go, Morgan seldom plays and whilst I like JFC and Williams, I don’t think either of them would have been first choice in 2018/19. We lack real energy and midfield control and therefore invite pressure onto our current ageing back 4.

We are certainly missing Famewo and Innis and had they been available we would have been in the Top 2 by now because the Division is so poor.

Apart from the lack of another proven striker, we need a younger energetic central midfielder. We are still in a very good position and hopefully the window will be fruitful

Angry Albury

I switched off my Valley Pass on 80 minutes at 2-1 up and said to my wife – we’ve just decided to bring on more defenders – it never works – we will drop 10 yards, invite pressure and concede an equaliser from a penalty, corner or free kick. I then tuned into LiveScore at 16.57 to witness the inevitable.

Swindon were truly awful in every respect and will make a swift return to Division 4, but we still couldn’t find a way to beat them. I’m definitely not Nostradamus but if I can see it , I’m not sure I understand why Lee decides to defend deep when a) we don’t need to and b) it never seems to work.

I really don’t buy this thing about ‘anyone can beat anyone in this division’ nonsense. Basically that’s only true because the teams are all so awful. There isn’t a team in the Division this year who are anywhere near as good as Luton, Barnsley and our team when we went up together. Nevertheless, we struggle to beat even the poorest teams in this division.

Given that apparently we cant really change the team apart from the arrival of Ronnie Schwarz to replace Omar Bogle ( how on earth did he miss that chance before half time) and we don’t yet know if Schwarz is any good, then we will need to smarten up on the tactics with the same squad if we are to get in the Top 6.

As an aside, I don’t think Ive ever seen a footballer who is as one sided as Maddison. He only does left and nothing but left, his left foot is a wand but his right side is purely for swivelling on. He is very talented but predictable. He wouldn’t be a starter in my team.

East Stand Block F Abusers

Ive been going to Charlton for over 50 years and it was lovely to get back there yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed the game. What I didn’t enjoy was a bloke and his ‘lady’ sitting close by, probably Row T, who spent the entire game ( and I mean the entire game ) abusing the Wimbledon goalie and the referee and the odd Wimbledon player. I totally understand that football is an emotional release for people, particularly in the current hyper stress times and over the years Ive thrown a few F’s around at Charlton games and I’m not averse to industrial language particularly with my mates or in the pub.

BUT, these two were unable to string a sentence together that didn’t have f—k or c—t or indeed other derivations that ended in —ing or —-ed . In truth, there weren’t really any other words in their sentences apart from f—k or c—t . Somewhat incredibly, the Wimbledon goalie who had been their principal target for his time wasting all game remained on their swear list even after he’d kindly shipped 5 goals earning rants like ‘ not wasting time now you f—king, c—ting c—t’

I guess the irony of it all is that neither the Wimbledon goalie or the ref would have heard any of this tedious bile but we had it rammed in our ears for 94 minutes.

I suppose I am a bit old fashioned in this respect but women swearing and regularly using the c—t word wouldn’t be on my list of ladies I’d want to take home to meet mum ? Thankfully I didn’t notice any small kids around us yesterday but if I was taking my wife or son or daughter or grandchildren I would have been horrified.

Anyway, I really hope they go back to wherever they came next time and not Block F or they shut the F—K UP

How do Charlton escape the Gordian Knot ?

Lee Bowyer reaffirmed the point today that even though we now have proper financial backing, we aren’t allowed to use it because of the League 1 salary cap. Only at Charlton can we manage to get ourselves relegated from the Premiership the season before they hugely increased the TV money and the Parachute payments and now we are stuck in League 1 with the money to escape but without the chance of using it.

Recognising that in my lifetime it has always taken us 3 seasons to get out of this Division, even though that is 2 seasons too long, we have generally done that by buying better players than the other teams and now we can’t even do that. The disadvantage will be amplified next season because whoever gets relegated from the Championship will effectively have an immediate ‘parachute’ type advantage with a squad of higher paid ((and therefore probably better players). If you combine that with one of the newly promoted from Div 2 teams having a real winning momentum – think Lincoln or Wycombe before them, it further reduces our chances of promotion.

Presumably next season we will have to reshuffle the pack again but rely once again on free transfers, young player loans and the odd academy breakthrough. I am grateful for Thomas’s takeover and I still feel generally optimistic but despite our new found financial stability, I’m not sure our chances of getting promoted have increased at all.

Finally, I am astonished that the players union, the PFA, actually allowed the salary cap to go through without protest. They have effectively allowed the EFL to limit what their members earn despite the opportunity provided by clubs like Charlton with bigger crowds and better resources to pay more. Jimmy Hill who broke the maximum wage regulations will be turning in his grave.

Calm Down

I know we haven’t looked great the last few games and I know it is only the 3rd division , but for heavens sake everyone, we drew a game away from home today and we are 6th in the table with a game in hand.

Without doubt the biggest problem we have is the lack of firepower up front and I’m sure Bow, JJ and Gallen know that too. I know its a big if in terms of the difficulty in acquiring a decent striker in the window, but I’m sure they are on it. When I watched the Fleetwood game a couple of weeks ago, if Lyle had been playing, he would have scored 5. Not getting that Danish guy at the last minute was a big blow.

Let’s get a proper centre half pairing back like Famewo and Pierce or Inniss and today was a good step. To be fair, I think this whole squad rotation thing in the midfield is wrong. I’d rather play Watson, Shinnie, Morgan and Williams every week if fit. I love Darren Pratley but he ought not to be first choice now and Gilbey and Maddison haven’t shown enough so far.

Up front we have no width without Smyth and whilst Washington, Bogle and Aneke all add something, none of them are going to score 20 goals this season.

As it stands we aren’t good enough to go up automatically, but its a very poor division this year, so play offs ought to be a shoo in

Scott Fraser looked like Maradona

Whilst the Burton game reminded us all of Scunthorpe away, last night reminded me of a cold night at The Valley a few years ago against Oldham where we made them look like Barcelona. We lost 1-0 then and I think Oldham still got relegated and we reached the play offs. So let us not despair, we are still in a good place in the table and if we can get a regular centre half pairing back, such as Famewo and Pearce and or Inniss that will make a huge difference. There also seems to be radio silence on JFC who was playing the best football of his career and whose midfield energy last night would have been a big help. We were overrun and dominated last night in the middle of the park.

As it was, that Scott Fraser from MK was absolutely brilliant. He completely ran the game and frankly, if they had some decent strikers MK would have won the game comfortably.

It is impossible not to worry about our strikers. I know Bow tries to big them up because what else can he do and that’s his job but its obvious that we seriously lack firepower. Omar reminds me very much of Izale Mcleod, which I’m sorry to say isn’t a good thing. Izale’s big problem was that when the ball went up to him and he tried to trap it, it bounced off a part of his body in the wrong direction and he surrendered possession. Unless Omar can improve his hold up play and control, I cant see him having a role in the team past January.

Lastly, Lee has always been very sure footed in his PR with the fans but he well and truly put his foot in his mouth last night with the comments about the fans. I’m not sure that Lee is a bloke who does apologies but I think it would be sensible if he did. The people who went last night were the absolute diehards, apart from risking a dose of COVID when they could have stayed safe at home, they also risked hypothermia from sitting in the freezing cold for up to 4 hours. They were rewarded with a dreadful performance. I’m sure we all realise the players were trying hard and didn’t mean it to be terrible …….but Lee, mate, …… was absolutely terrible.