12 days left to avoid the drop ?

There are 12 days left in this transfer window and let us all be clear if we do not get at least 3 or 4 quality new signings in during the period we are very likely to be relegated. I am not a doomsayer, I am expressing a rational position. Our odds on being relegated have shortened to 7/4 and our odds on finishing bottom given our recent run have also shortened to 12-1. The bookies do not work on emotion or sentiment, they price up on statistics and form.

Everyone in football, including us fans, know that acquiring quality players in this window is very difficult but ESI would have known that when they bought the club and I’m sure ( at least I hope) that they would have built in an extra contingency fund for paying over the odds for players in this window. It doesn’t mean that they would have to continue paying over the odds in the summer. I have to say it is a bit worrying when Matt Southall ( who has so far played a PR blinder) told CAST that we didn’t do a deal for a player because he wanted an extra £1k a week. If the bloke had been identified to improve the team it seems like a ‘fiddling at the margin’ decision when the ship’s on fire.

I know we still have Cullen, Taylor and Bonne to return, but injuries are a part of football and you can guarantee that when they come back someone else will be out. Imagine an injury to Phillips, Pratley or Lockyer at the moment. It would be one step forward and one step back. We cant rely on the teams below us continuing to lose.

We all recognise that the club was left in a poor state by Roland and the new owners are universally welcomed but ESI paid a lot of money for the club and if they want to stay in the Championship they are going to have to dig deep financially over the next 12 days or ( God forbid) we will be planning for a return trip to Rochdale next season.

Perpetual Pratley

I don’t know how many Shredded Wheat Darren Pratley tucks away every morning but on the basis of his performance yesterday its got be in double figures.

He was immense yesterday, leadership at its finest. Football, it seems to me, is increasingly a younger and younger mans game. Inevitably our team has been peppered with kids, but its a wider trend too. However, a few like Darren buck the trend and thank  God he does.

The overall performance yesterday was full of fight and resilience, the kids all played their part, Davison in particular bulldozed his way through the Goliath WBA defence. The result felt like a win at full time.

But Darren was my hero- he was absolutely magnificent.

Dynamic Determined Devastating Darren – Take a bow son…

The game no one wants to win

Firstly it would be remiss of me not to at least reference the long awaited departure of the mad Belgian. If Dominic Cummings is really looking for misfits and weirdos, the mad old duffer has now got at least 2% of his time available to do something else. Great credit is due to those who ran and organised CARD, WAR and those committed individuals who took the campaign to Belgium.

Anyway, let’s move on now and a big SE London welcome to the ESI team, in particular to His Excellency Tahnoon Nimer from Abu Dhabi who is providing the funding.

January is a vital month for the club if relegation is to be avoided. The team has to be strengthened with quality players. Although the general mood now is overwhelmingly positive and Bow is managing to get blood out of water, our current form is terrible.

Tomorrow’s game against WBA is going to be a competition to see who can rest the most players ( one we will surely win) and a further competition to try and lose the game  (another one we will surely win)

Neither clubs really want another fixture but I fancy us to be more highly motivated and debilitated in order to avoid Round 4 of the FA Cup.

Running on fumes

I note some of the criticism on twitter of the team/tactics/formation etc but frankly it is a bit ridiculous to blame anything other than the fact that we have totally run out of players.

Out of the finishing 11, Josh Davison, Ben Dempsey, Alfie Doherty, Albie Morgan are all totally inexperienced players who are at Conference level or in Albie’s case maybe League 1.

Chris Solly and Ben Purrington are no longer the first choice full backs. Darren Pratley is great but totally knackered, Deji Oshilaja is solid but not a first team player. Macauley Bonne was playing Conference last year. Lyle Taylor is not fully fit. We have to be honest with ourselves – effort and motivation is great but it will be almost impossible to win further games with this current team. Superhuman effort from the players and continuing fanatical support at The Valley will be vital for survival.

We are in desperate need of 5 or 6 new, fit , Championship level players NOW.

Tahnoon Nimer’s ambition for CAFC

Watching the Sky game tonight from Tottenham’s magnificent new stadium, I really hope that Mr Nimers ambition for our club extends to a significant increase in stadium capacity. If funding is available then there could be no bigger sign of ambition than to immediately revive the plan to increase capacity at The Valley to 36,000.

I know we desperately need to retain Championship status this year but more than that we need an owner who has real ambition for the club. This has been lacking for more than a decade now since Peter Varney and Richard Murray worked together in happier times.

If it were me, I’d be looking at a 10 year plan to capitalise on the huge catchment area and demographic increase in South East London and Thames Gateway.

Such an opening statement of ambition would be matched by fan commitment.

Let us hope our new owner has the finance and vision. Build it and they shall come.

Roland’s Right

In the last 4 years I don’t think I’ve ever said that but Roland is right that the EFL need to pull their collective fingers out and approve the Charlton takeover.

Apparently it’s OK to rob every man woman and child in Eastern Europe and get to own a football club but because you are related to someone else who owns another club that’s more of a problem.

How can there not be a definitive timescale to approve the transaction – they should set one now and tell all parties what it is.

The supporters, potential new owners and dare I say it – even Roland -deserve confirmation of a drop dead date from the EFL

 

Heartfelt thanks to Richard Murray

Heartfelt thanks are due to Richard for getting this deal done and acting as the intermediary between Roland and the new owners. Thank God that period of my life is over. If only Roland had employed a proper intelligent football CEO at the start and not that useless muppet, Katrien Meire we might have spent the last few years in the Premiership and he would not have lost millions. The biggest single mistake he made was employing Katrien who was unqualified, inexperienced and incompetent and pretty much all the misery stemmed from that one catastrophic decision.

To my mind CARD have done a good job, I think Rick Everitt is a fantastic incredibly committed and valuable supporter. I also love Charlton Life which is generally a really informative and interesting forum.

But most of all, I want to thank Richard for getting this deal over the line which I know he has been working on for months and for his tireless work for the club.

He has done great things for the club and given of his time freely and sunk huge amounts of money generously.  I have been going for 50 years and the only really decent team we’ve ever had in that time was the young fish costa fortune – Stuart , kinsella, Parker, Jensen, johanssen , Bartlett, Kiely , Pringle, Kishishev, Murphy, Smertin,Holland ,Hreidarsson, Perry, Lisbie- the list is fairly long and it was a fantastic time. Those great years were created by Richard and Curbs and Peter Varney who was a brilliant CEO , but every other period has been pretty rubbish by comparison. We are due and deserving of a new era.

The guy has stepped down now from the Board but unlike pretty much every other financial backer we have ever had, he will still be there at matches because amazingly despite all the ridiculous and unwarranted abuse he has received , he is a passionate supporter like us.

Let us all hope that with our new owners we have ushered in a new golden age for Charlton and that in my twilight years I can forget Rochdale and Walsall away and look forward to a night at the Nou Camp before I drop dead.

Oh to dream again – how lovely.

Come on all you Addicks ……………peace and love to all , see you tomorrow and let’s start planning for European football ……