Valley of Fun

I never leave football games early – well apart from that game at Brighton in the 70’s when we were 7-0 down with 20 minutes to go – a comeback seemed unlikely then.

Isn’t football just a fantastic game ? The 2nd half and added on time on Saturday entirely encapsulated what football is all about for both sets of supporters. Joy, despair, misery and elation depending on who you were supporting. Wonderful stuff.

Bringing Chuks and CBT on is like bringing on your specialists in American football. They are both pretty much unplayable. When defenders are tired and those two come on, the opposition look at them and panic immediately. I particularly liked Chuks half nelson throw on the centre half for our first goal.

Its such a shame that we didn’t keep Washington or at least replace him with another pacey striker to give Stockley some support. Kirk is clearly not the answer- probably to any question and Ladapo showed on Saturday what proper strikers can do.

Anyway, Zynex share price has risen by 30% in recent days giving it a market capitalisation of $400m which means that Sandgaard’s ‘paper’ worth is back to c $160m – Thomas can you dip into it and buy us a decent striker and another central defender and then at least the 2nd half of the season we could have a proper go at a play off position.

Encouraging (at last)

We played really well last night and pretty well on Saturday too. All the pairings seemed to be working properly now, Egbo and Sessegnon, Inniss and O Connell, Fraser and Dobson and hurrah we started playing two up front with Leaburn and Stockley on Saturday and Kirk and Stockley last night.

We get the ball forward quicker, reduce the tippy tappy fannying around and we start scoring goals and winning matches. I like Ben Garner, he is articulate, sensible and appears to be a calming individual. The contrast with watching Klopp and Guardiola the other night, harrassing officials and winding the crowd up- frankly they should both be ashamed of themselves.

Nevertheless, I have been blogging about the need to play 2 up front and get the ball forward quicker for weeks, especially at The Valley. I think if Garner had twigged that earlier we would have had at least 6 more points.

Anyway, it was fun to watch and lets hope we can keep up the momentum now. Charlie Kirk has lovely delivery and his ball through for CBT’s goal was great, however, away from home at places like Shrewsbury , I’m not sure he is the guy to play alongside Jayden. That’s where Ben will need to earn his money.

Takeover the Academy ?

As it appears that Thomas has lost patience with funding an underperforming Division 3 football club which has now filtered through to significant cuts to the youth set up at the club with coaches leaving and not providing kit for the kids etc. Given that SE London is a hotbed of footballing talent, cutting in this area seems misguided ( at best ) or just stupid ( most likely)

How about this as an idea – a bit like horse racing syndicates – as fans we agree to provide some funding to the academy ( let’s say 20-30% of the annual costs) and in return when someone gets sold – think Mason Burstow and Miles Leaburn next, we get a 20-30 % share of the profit. We could have all sorts of level of contribution. We would be even more personally invested in supporting the youngsters and their careers. Maybe we would influence their contracts to the extent that the minimum number of games they play for the first team before they get sold – lets say 50- so that they can properly impact 1st team performance before they exit.

OR – If we could recruit some of the higher rollers – John Hayes are you still out there – maybe we could try and fund 100% , run it as a completely commercial venture and take responsibility for the whole academy and providing players to the first team and the overall football market generally. Maybe its a Peter Varney project ?

We might even make money out of it !! – I don’t actually think the current ownership would know how to run a British sweet shop so with the talent amongst the fans at our disposal, surely we could make a success of it.

Thomas needs to go now

I think Thomas rescued the club from the ESI crooks and has dumped more than £10m on trying to be successful. We can only thank him hugely for that. Unfortunately it has proved to be a catastrophic failure. I am sure he has been well meaning but he has made bad mistakes which have found him out. Not appointing a proper CEO, spending money on under performing players, e.g Ronnie Schwarz, DJ, Charlie Kirk, trying to prescribe a football philosophy without providing the manager with the players to play that way, not recruiting a striker in the summer when it was obvious to everyone that we needed one, appointing his son to the recruitment team, using his partner as the de facto CEO, over promising and under delivering. The academy is the only area of the club that is successful – incredibly our U18’s beat Liverpool 8-1 yesterday, so the news today that further cost cutting is about to hit the Academy staff is very depressing.

I have no idea how much money Thomas is able to devote to the Charlton project but the change from aiming for European football in 5 years to looking to break even in Division 3 is frankly ridiculous and completely unrealistic. With the current squad and lack of goals ( which are needed to win games!!) 4th division football in front of 5,000 level crowds next season is a likely outcome.

He needs to organise an ‘elegant exit’ for himself now. I know owning football clubs is a mission for mad people only and to make Charlton successful again will probably take £30-50m, assuming that Thomas cuts his losses now and walks away for nothing.

We are still a London club with a good tradition and a decent catchment area and fan base, maybe there is someone out there with deep enough pockets , but sadly its not Thomas

Jake Forster Caskey

Ben Garner must be completely bonkers if he is not playing JFC when he is fit and available. Inevitably the guy will be rusty and will need to be reintegrated to the team carefully because he’s had a serious injury, but he is still only 28 and probably the only player in this squad capable of playing at Championship level. We are desperately short of quality all over the pitch, need goalscoring progressive midfielders ( because we forgot to buy a striker ?) and he’s not even getting in the squad.

Its just a very poor decision.

442 and tippy tappy football

If you have players with unbelievable quality like Manchester City or Liverpool, in fact, half the Premiership teams, you can play the ball around the back as long as you like. In fact, if you are Man City it doesn’t really matter what formation you play or what the tactics are, you’ve got the best players and therefore they do what they want.

It’s a bit different at Charlton , isn’t it. We’ve filled the team with solid League 1 and 2 players plus the odd loanee and maybe one or two who could play in the Championship if I’m being generous. Consequently, the slow build up from the back ( in my opinion) is doomed to failure because we haven’t got the quality on the pitch to make it successful. This is compounded by the catastrophic failure to secure a 2nd striker to play along Stockley. We should all be praying he doesn’t get injured because if he does, we will be relegation candidates for sure.

I’m boringly repetitive about this but I absolutely don’t care how we play so long as we get results. I differ from the owner on this point who obsesses about pretty football but hasn’t resourced the manager to get close to it.

Basically, teams score goals when they get the ball in the opposition’s box which is what we need to do more quickly and more often. You cant score from your own half or just over the half way line.

In order to do this , we should revert to a conventional 442 and let Leaburn and Stockley bully defenders together

You know it makes sense ……….