Welcome McGrit

Of all my moans over the last season, my biggest and most consistent one has been -barring the excellent Dobbo- our lack of fight and energy in the midfield. It’s where you get the platform to play and all too often we were outfought and outrun.

The arrival of Conor McGrandles is a very welcome signing. He is a proven League 1 player with excellent reviews from fans of his previous club, he’s a good age and a good height and he’s signed a 3 year deal.

Lets hope he becomes the linchpin for our march to the glorious sunlit uplands of Championship football.

Dogs Dinner behind the scenes at Charlton

Rick Everitt who can be a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to the goings on at Charlton called it exactly right at the beginning of TS’s ownership at Charlton when he criticised the decision not to appoint an experienced CEO to run the club. I wasn’t certain he was correct because there are lots of different successful business models these days without necessarily having to be that traditional. I was wrong.

Thomas has made a series of senior appointments that have worked out badly, notably Ged Roddy, Wayne Mumford and now Brian Jokat who barely lasted long enough to locate the coffee machine.

He has appointed his son to a senior role which regardless of Martin’s talents is never a good idea and he has now got the very fragrant Raelynnn performing a who knows what role of HR assassin in chief.

However successful and brilliant Thomas has been in the past, the right way to run the football club would be to appoint a sensible and competent CEO, working full time at the club and let them get on with it providing financial resource and acting as a sounding board and mentor. He can’t run the club as a quasi CEO from Colorado.

Football clubs are unique in the variety of noisy stakeholders that have to be managed effectively. Zynex Medical may have customers, shareholders, staff and the financial community to deal with, but a football club has all of those in spades plus a bunch of customers( sorry fans) who also think they own the club and have a huge variety of passionately held and sometimes bonkers ideas about how THEIR business should be run.

With regard to ticket and hospitality sales, the biggest influence on that will be who we sign and fans expectation of success on the pitch. Increasing the marketing effort and the volume of cold calling staff will have a negligible effect if its not part of a coordinated campaign (preferably driven by a sensible CEO) which includes fan engagement. Running a football club is not like running Zynex where putting more sales reps on the road increases sales.

So far, we have made some encouraging player acquisitions who look useful but we’ve lost one of our best players in Connor Washington and need to be realistic because all 3 newbies have been League 2 out of contract players so its not exactly an avalanche of great new talent. We’ve also replaced our relatively inexperienced manager with another one.

We are Charlton fans so we have to keep hoping that a new sunlit dawn is arriving soon but the jury remains firmly out until we see the shape of the full team line up.

Ball Players come to Charlton

Welcome to Charlton to our 2 new signings, Eoghan and Mandela. They both look like very useful additions and the reshaping of the squad is gaining momentum. I think the policy of bringing the best players from a lower level, in this case, Swindon & Rochdale is generally a better plan than bringing in players from the Championship, think Watson, Gunter, Arter even Famewo.

I don’t think the quality gap is as great as generally thought and this way we get players who are on the way up with a point to prove rather than those who think League 1 is a step down and a bit below their level of ability. I’m all for a tough centre half from Rochdale – lets all hope that he comes up against Lyle Taylor at some point and converts him into Row Z.

This whole narrative about our new style utilising ball playing players is a bit of a hoot. It makes you wonder what our previous professional footballers did with the ball. I certainly wouldn’t want to build a team of non ball playing footballers.

Roller Coaster Tactics for Charlton

Great news that we’ve finally got a new manager. He’s young and has a decent track record so we can only hope he gets the right ammunition in new players to be successful.

You have to chuckle a bit about this desire to play out from the back, high press, attractive possession football. It all sounds lovely but frankly I couldn’t care less how we play – 3 big blokes up front and missing out the midfield completely would work for me – IF it gets results. Winning is the only thing that matters.

You can imagine the scene as Ryan Inniss gets caught for the 2nd time dribbling out of his own box to allow Accrington to go 2-0 up at The Valley after 10 minutes. Hopefully that won’t happen but it won’t take very long for the tactical geniuses in the crowd to be clamouring for our defenders to stop fannying around and hoof the ball forward.

We might have a few 4-3 or 5-4 results next year. It could be fun but I suspect crowd patience will be needed and we aren’t exactly renowned for that are we ?

Bob the manager, bob the player

Charlton appears Mary Celeste like to be continuing to sail but with noone actually on the ship.

The owners still own the ship but there is no captain and hardly any crew. The latest news is that the ship will be sailing to Spain on June 16th for pre season training. Sam Lavelle will be wearing Number 2,3 5 & 6, whilst George Dobson will be 4, 7 and 10. Jayden Stockley will be wearing 8,9 and 11.

All other positions including training cones will be occupied by Bob, our new training, coaching and management dummy. Bob is an expert in the low block.

Welcome and Good Luck Ben

Last night when I read Rich Cawley’s tweet about the appointment of Ben Garner, I was quite angry and my first headline was just ’Underwhelmed’ – but I’ve learnt that when you are angry, its best to sleep on it first before posting. Having slept on it, I think he is a perfectly acceptable new manager.

Ben is relatively young, he performed miracles at Swindon last year on no money and they played decent football ( if I’m honest I don’t really care how we play so long as we win , but generally unless you are Stoke the two go hand in hand). He must have a good knowledge of the best lower league players where we will need to fish given our position and likely budget. He is generally highly regarded in the game, his spell at Bristol Rovers excepted and he will have learnt tons from that.

The most important factor will be our recruitment of players, not our choice of manager. If TS manages to recruit some really good League 1 players, any decent manager will do well.

I always think that Lee Bowyer was overrated because I could have got a team with a midfield of Aribo, Cullen, Bielik, Williams, Fosu, Pratley, Lapslie and Morgan promoted. Thats not to mention a Back 5 that included, Bauer, Sarr, Pearce, Phillips and Djksteel. We should have gone up automatically !

Anyway, lets give Ben our vocal backing and lets hope TS, Steve Gallen and co find the players.

Its funny, I was thinking how the appointment of Lennie Lawrence would have gone down with supporters in the age now of Twitter and social media. Just imagine, Charlton promote a coach who was recently a schoolteacher in Croydon. Imagine the abuse that would have generated for the owners.

Anyway, he turned out to be a bloody genius and led us back to the Premiership in 1986 after 29 years in the wilderness.

Just maybe Ben will be our Lennie for the 2020’s

Keep the faith – COYA

Grandad Albury

I became a grandad for the first time last night- we welcomed a baby boy into the family –

Our wedding day 36 years ago ( still happily married today) was the day Robert Lee equalised against Sheffield Weds on the opening day of our first Div 1 season in 29 years – where has that time gone ?? Now apparently I’ve become a grandad

Life has flown by.

Anyway when my son was preparing for the big event he was told in his pre natal classes that if you sing a song like twinkle twinkle little star to the unborn child that it will respond to that when it pops out – so he has been diligently singing ”Valley Floyd Road” to the unborn one. As he was handed the new born last night he gently sang it again.

Obviously, we are all very happy.

Already we have the Charlton baby grow, the bibs and anything else I can lay my hands on – we have another little Charlton supporter ( other teams need not apply !)

Its a family thing

Yours Chuffed of Albury

Warriors required for promotion

I’m disappointed that the club have let Jason Pearce go – I think it’s a mistake. To get promoted from any division you need a couple of warriors in your team. We had Pearce and Pratley in recent years, not long ago we had Andy Hughes. Rotherham got promoted with Richard Wood at the heart of their defence.

Much as I like Stockley and Dobson, neither of them are in the same league as Pearcey in terms of his capacity to intimidate the opposition and win individual battles, think his battle with Mitrovic at Craven Cottage.

Whoever the new manager is and however many young skillful players we get in I hope that the selection team ( whoever that comprises !! – and hopefully the new manager gets a big say and its not just ’Moneyball’ based or we are in big trouble) get at least 1 or 2 real warriors in otherwise we won’t go up.

For heaven’s sake calm down

Some of our supporters are completely bonkers. Let’s look at some facts

  1. We have an owner who saved us from oblivion and has shovelled in £16m so far, there wasn’t a queue of people offering to do the same. The Andrew Barclay interest was a mirage because Roland was never going to sell the ground for a fair price. Noone knows for certain , but there is a very high probability we’d have gone bust without Sandgaard. Give the guy the credit he is due and show some respect.
  2. The recruitment last summer was poor and too slow. We lost Millar (underrated), Aneke, Schwartz and the centre half position has been a problem for the last 2 seasons. Add to that the under performance of Gilbey and Morgan, its been a poor season. However, we made a few good signings, notably Stockley, Dobson , Clare and CBT and would have hoped that Kirk would replace Millar and given that we finished the previous season out of the play offs on goal difference, its not surprising that Sandgaard and Adkins were over confident about this season. We all get it wrong sometimes and football is a very difficult business.
  3. When people start moaning ( including ex players) about an owner who shouldn’t be talking about the ‘ high press and the low block’ – what a load of cobblers – of course he can. The low block might be more of a mystery but we all know what he’s talking about with the high press and if we start playing more like we did against Plymouth and Ipswich when we employed the high press I’m all for it !
  4. Anyone who has watched JJ for the last 12 years will love him and he may well have had a good season next year with a proper pre season and some decent add ons to the squad. However, the team have looked lacking in any discernible style over the period of his tenure. Teams have to play to their strengths and it may be a struggle to employ the high press next season if we are playing with Stockley as our target man ( although I think he’s a very good player) but I’m definitely open to giving it a go.
  5. It is vital this summer that Sandgaard and his team gets the recruitment of both a new manager and new players right. I am sure he knows just like we do that it is only results in football that matters. If we have a good season next year, he will be a hero. Supporters are both passionate and fickle.
  6. Finally , look – its just football, I know its important to us and it affects our mood on a Saturday but in the grand scheme of things its not that important – think Ukraine for starters.

The moaning minority need to give our owner a break, he’s still miles in credit with me and I’m sure with the vast majority of supporters. I can’t be hypocritical about social media because Ive enjoyed writing this blog for 10 years now, but some of the people who write crude and insulting messages about the owner on Twitter should be ashamed of themselves. Its embarrassing.

Johnnie’s Gone

Firstly, I’d like to say a massive thank you to JJ for the pleasure he has given us in watching him over the last 12 years. There have been many many highlights but the free kicks against the Sheffield teams in our League 1 promotion year were fantastic and I will never forget the way he single handedly beat Cardiff 5-4 at The Valley or his injury time headed winner against QPR to help us stay up in the Championship. The bloke was a bloody good player and an inspirational captain and a thoroughly decent man.

Now, if I put myself in Thomas’s shoes, I would have sacked him too. Firstly Thomas is an American businessman and whether you like it or not Charlton is a business and it has failed this season. Results are everything and they were not good enough. My experience of American businesses is that they are very quick to hire and fire, sentiment forms no part of their DNA.

Secondly, having invested c £16m so far and in all likelihood about to shovel another £8m this season, I would want my man at the helm. OK, so Adkins was my man and it didn’t work, but JJ was never my first choice but I had no option after the first 6 games went so well.

When JJ said a couple of weeks ago that he had no idea what was going on with player contracts, I told my mates that he was going because it didn’t make any sense otherwise. I suspect this decision was made a while ago and TS already has a manager lined up. As a complete guess and since Thomas is an avid admirer of Brentford, I think we could get a foreign manager, possibly even from the American league and I don’t think we will be waiting long.