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.

Thomas Sandgaard is a Proper Bloke

I did the 9.5 mile Upbeats walk on Saturday with a couple of lifelong mates and it was great fun. The weather was kind, the company was great, we had loads of laughs and at the end of it all we raised a fair few quid for the Upbeats. We took a slightly extended trip at the end to finish at The Rose of Denmark rather than The Valley which seemed sensible ……..Walking is good for the body and soul !

We all know that the most important thing in running a football club is getting results on the pitch and this has certainly been a difficult season of under performance. I guess its no consolation that other big clubs like Portsmouth and Sunderland and big spenders too Ipswich have also struggled regardless of fan expectations. Thomas will need to be planning with his team for a much better performance next season.

However, when we reached the half way point of the walk on Saturday, outside Charlton Lido, who is there handing out the water bottles – its our owner, Thomas Sandgaard with his partner,Raelynn. You have to give the guy credit, he is a proper bloke who embraces every aspect of the club and is putting lots of hours and money and personal goodwill into running the football club. He is to be applauded and thanked for that.

He knows that he will only be in real credit with the fan base if he gets us out of this terrible division. But he is trying hard and he cares a lot. Let’s hope we get a better squad for next season with fewer injuries and the club gets a bit of luck because we’ve had a long fallow period and we deserve it and so does Thomas. As the kids say – Respect !

Contrasting Style of the U23’s

I was fortunate enough to watch both games yesterday and was obviously delighted with both results.

The thing that struck me was the contrast in playing style between the U23’s and the 1st team. The U23’s were in fantastic form against Cardiff winning 6-1 and in all honesty it could have been 10. I know that its more about passing and with less physicality at that level but they played a lot through the middle with Karoy Anderson in particular pulling all the strings well supported by Santos and Agyemang. There were hardly any long balls. It was a real joy to watch.

I know I am a broken record on this, but the biggest problem with our 1st team is our midfield where we don’t have enough possession, creativity and strength in the middle of the pitch. Its great that we won but it was largely achieved by bypassing the midfield. It’s not very pretty to watch and it won’t get us promoted next season.

I guess the other rather strange thing is that whilst Cambridge opted to take a look at a few of their fringe players, making 7 changes, JJ opted for his strongest team. Maybe he is on a bonus based on league position finish. I suppose there probably aren’t that many feasible alternatives because most of the potentially talented U23’s are out on loan , but it would certainly have been nice to have given Henry a run out in the middle if his loan terms with Wealdstone allow that.

It would be nice to finish with a win at The Valley on Saturday and lets hope Thomas and his team have a few good signings ready to roll for next season.

Morecambe and Wise

If I’m honest, I can’t get very worked up about the results now. There was a bloke behind us in the East Stand yesterday who was apoplectic about the teams performance and how ashamed they should all be to be playing in the worst Charlton team in living memory. He had a point, but do you know what -who cares – the season has been a write off for weeks and I just enjoyed a couple of pints in Crossbars followed by a nice hour and a half in the sunshine watching a game of football. The trouble was that quite a few of our players looked like they were enjoying the same afternoon as me.

I’ve been saying this for weeks but the biggest problem in this team is the midfield which Dobson apart is largely weak and missing, regardless of who else is playing there. Have a look at yesterdays 2nd Morecambe goal after our centre halves win the ball and it drops on the edge of the box. They get no help from the midfielders.

Morecambe exploited our wing back formation and although we dominated possession, whenever they broke forward they looked very dangerous. Their manager Derek Adams had a point when he said they they got their tactics just right – he didn’t add that his team were basically hopeless but he really should have done because they really were.

Anyway, roll on next season so we can all have a rest.

I’ve renewed my season tickets and Im doing the fantastic inspiring Upbeats Walk next Saturday with my mates. Get your sponsorship cash out !!!

Come on You Addicks.

Twelve Million Reasons to avoid Football Club ownership

The news that Thomas has so far provided £12m of funding into Charlton in a relatively short period of ownership highlights the capacity of football clubs below the Premiership to eat up wealth.

I find it rather depressing that there is always a vocal minority of supporters who criticise everything he does. The vast majority of supporters recognise that he rescued us from the morass of the ESI Nimer/ Southall fraudsters. The club was in a complete mess and completing a transaction with both the fraudsters and the geriatric miser Duchatelet was incredibly complex and no doubt incurred disproportionate legal fees.

There were some other potential bidders but it was a very small list. We seem to fool ourselves that we are an attractive proposition for buyers but decades of disappointment should tell us something about that and Thomas had both the funds and incredible persistence to make it happen.

Obviously results have been very disappointing and the current team is probably the poorest bunch I have watched in 50 years but our owner deserves our support. He (and us) deserve a bit of luck in our summer recruitment which will be crucial. Last summer’s recruitment was poor and cannot be repeated. We need to give getting out of this division a bloody good go next season and we will need a core of 4 or 5 new quality signings to give us a chance. We have got some fantastic prospects coming through the youth teams and if we can get to the Championship in the next year or two, we will have a bright future.

Non Striking Strikers

We had enough decent chances to score 6 today and apart from Lincoln’s 2 goals I cant remember them having any other shots.

I know we all get very disappointed when we lose,particularly to low level opposition like Lincoln but we weren’t that bad today.

If we are going to challenge next season we need at least one predatory striker because both Stockley and Washington miss too many chances. CBT is a real bright spark and is talented enough to go both outside and inside his man. He has real potential.

The return of JFC was great and he showed enough in the last 20 minutes to highlight what we have been missing. He is an excellent player at this level. I’m still worried about the other ‘attacking’ midfielders. I’m not a fan of any of Gilbey, Morgan or Fraser. I think you can throw a blanket over all 3 of them for the difference they make.

We really have to hope they improve hugely next season.

Lots of work to be done in the summer to be competitive but I will be renewing my season tickets because I’m a Charlton supporter and that’s what we do !

Morons who boo their own players

How on earth can anyone boo Harry Maguire in an England shirt is beyond my comprehension. He has been absolutely outstanding for England and helped set up 2 of the 3 goals last night. The people who did it last night are just thick morons and unfortunately every club has a sizeable section of them.They are literally like sheep, one thicko starts it up and it spreads like COVID amongst the others who are incapable of thinking for themselves.

I don’t actually understand why any ‘supporter’ boos anyone on his own team- its just stupid and counter productive if the collective will of all of us supporters is to get the players to play better, it just makes them feel resentful.

Its great to see Miles Leaburn scoring a hatrick for the U23’s yesterday, playing well above his own age range. However, it put me in mind the abuse his Dad used to get when he played for us. He was an excellent player, focal point for attacks, unselfish, brave and scored his share of goals. However, he was tall and could look lumbering and ungainly at times and a section of the crowd expected him to combine his strength with the grace of someone 6 inches shorter. Miles is 6 foot 5 inches tall now and Charlton will need to be very careful with how quickly they bring him on.

Supporters are supposedly more patient with home grown talent – except they aren’t, Nick Pope, Morgan Fox, Kevin Lisbie and Karlan Grant are just a few of the talented youngsters who got a hard time from the ‘home supporters’.

I well remember standing behind a guy at Selhurst who used to spend the whole game shouting at and berating Robert Lee as useless and he went on to play for England.

Deluded Football Club Owners

I continue to be very supportive of Thomas Sandgaard and grateful that he rescued our football club.

Nevertheless, Its always alarming when football club owners talk about their clubs as businesses that should be operating as break even or profitable entities. With the exception of a very few Premier League clubs this is an impossible dream. Thomas is burning cash – this year its £8m and it will be a similar amount next year. Its a very expensive hobby for very rich people. On a bigger scale its like owning Boats or Racehorses. Unless you get a ’bluebird’ result every couple of years ( think Lookman for £13m or a Derby winner) its going to be a huge cash drain. Whilst I admire Thomas’s chutzpah for thinking that there are huge untapped revenue earning opportunities at Charlton, it smacks of American businessman bullshit to me and anyone who has worked with US companies will recognise the patter.

The only thing that will bring revenue paying (not free) customers to watch Charlton is a successful winning team. Results are the only thing that matters. Supporters don’t even really care about playing good football , they just want to win and 1-0 every week would work just fine. Im sure Thomas realises that and I hope that he doesn’t fall for the stupidity of Roland’s mantra that we all just go for a community day out.

We need to create an athletic, tough, tall and physical team for next season to compete at the top end of the 3rd division. No more flaky, tippy tappy, ghosty overrun disappearing midfield ( Dobson excepted).

I’m not going on Saturday because to be brutally honest – particularly with what’s going on in Ukraine I can’t face more depression. It’s difficult to see any other result than a convincing win for Sunderland and it will make for another angry atmosphere and that’s not fun or entertainment.

Finally, I hope that there is some recognition in the club that the current policy of trying to fill the ground EVERY week with free tickets is not entirely welcome. I’m totally supportive of doing it for some games and more games than in previous seasons, but as a 35 year season ticket holder I’m getting a bit fed up of sitting next to deafening primary school kids who keep getting up to go to the toilet or in front of an abusive enraged nutter – maybe its just old age !

The events in Ukraine serve to remind us all that life is very precious and short and we should be kinder to each other so don’t be too nasty to Jermaine Defoe ( unless he scores)