Saturday, July 23, 2005

This blog is on holiday

I'm away in Eastern Europe for the next couple of weeks. It will be the first time for ten years or so that I haven't been to any pre-season friendlies, but I am not sure they give much indication of what will happen in the season proper.

We've made some good signings over the summer without busting the bank, although one more striker would not go amiss. And without a tiring pre-season tour to China, but rather a focus on locations like Watford and Brentford, there shouldn't be an early season blip. But I bet the moment we lose a match, or even draw one, the moaners will be out in force.

Compare Charlton's situation with Leamington, newly promoted to the Midland Alliance, and facing a tough open away fixture against Boldmere St.Michaels. The Brakes have not had much luck in the transfer market over the summer, although they did land ex-Wolves player 36-year old Morton Titterton from Solihull Borough. But they have found it difficult to compete with the wages offered by clubs spending 2K a week on players.

Now they have suffered a further blow after rivals Racing Club Warwick received a cash bonanza from Manchester United. The Jockeys sold their keeper to Stoke City a couple of years ago with a sell on clause. Now the Salford Red Sox have bought him for £3m, with a slice of the readies going to the ground by the racecourse.

And to cap it all, one of the Leamington keepers is out of action after dropping a large toy on his toe!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bowyer deal off

It looks like any chance of Lee Bowyer signing for the Addicks is off, a development that will please at least some of the Addickted. The prodigal son has told Newcastle's official website that he is desperate to remain a part of the team and will battle to win back the respect of all at the club.

'It hasn't been the best of summers for me if I'm honest, it's been very up and down,' said Bowyer who faces a court appearance in September over his on pitch battle last season. 'I spoke with Birmingham and Charlton, but at the end of the day I didn't want to move away from the club.'

The prospect of Bowyer's return divided supporters. Some clearly regarded him as a lower form of pond life for his off pitch behaviour while others castigated this stance as sanctimonious and said that his conduct had been no worse than any other young footballer. Others took the view that Curbs might be able to curb him and that any contract should have bad behaviour clauses.

Looking at it simply on footballing grounds, our midfield is now a lot stronger that it looked at the beginning of the summer and there is now less of a case for bringing in Bowyer.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Charlton in race for man mountain

Charlton have reportedly joined the race for the signature of 24 year old Southampton striker Peter Crouch. Boro, Liverpool, the Irons and the Massives are also reported to be interested in the 6ft. 7 in. player.

Saints rate the player at £8m which hardly makes him a snip. And my Southampton contacts reckon he was something of a one season wonder. In my view Liverpool, said to be leading the race for his signature, are welcome to him.

Birmingham City have reportedly finally dropped out of the race for Lee Bowyer, admitting that he wants to come to London. If a signing was made it would prove controversial among the Addickted. Would he add much value to our strengthened (and already over populated) midfield?

As for his off pitch behaviour, one prominent fan is reported to be planning the organisation of some kind of protest if the former Addick is signed. My view is that if he is signed it is up to the management to curb him. His contract should also contain appropriate 'bad behaviour' clauses.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Portuguese defender in on trial

Portuguese Under 19 defender Goncalo Brandao is starting a fifteen day trial at Sparrows Lane. If he impresses a loan deal would be negotiated with Belenenses who does not want to sell their 18-year old rising star whose dream is to play for Manchester United. The Addickted have fond memories of earlier Portuguese loan Jorge Costa who was noted for his hatred of Millwall.

Other reports suggest that Derby County have expressed an interest in Feesh who is available on a free transfer. A clause in his contract obliges the club to offer him another year if he cannot find a new pond.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Addickted sceptical of Deano story

The Addickted have given a sceptical reaction to rumours that Deano might go to Arsenal. Reports out of Highbury are saying that Alumnia has a broken finger and will be out for quite some time and that Lehmann is suspended for the first two Champions League matches.

Wenger reportedly wants to sign a 'veteran' keeper (what about Bob Bolder?) and is targeting Kiely. The claim made is that Deano might not want to be No.2 to Andersen, but might go to Arsenal for a pay rise and European football.

However, why should Deano want to be No.3 at Arsenal, however good the money? It remains an intriguing question who will be in goal against Sunderland, but my guess is that we will see both keepers used extensively this season. And Deano is professional enough not to expect that he will always be preferred.

El K out injured

Go away for a little over 24 hours and it all happens. Smertin signs up on a year's loan, although it looks as if he will have to be played regularly if we are to keep him, and the team wins 5-2 at Bournemouth with Jeffers popping up and scoring.

Less good news is that key defender Talal El Karkouri is out injured, possibly for as long as three months. The injury was sustained during Morocco's scoreless draw with Kenya in a World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifier in Nairobi in June.

El K told a Moroccan paper, 'I felt a slight pain in my right knee when I tackled a Kenyan player just after the start of the game. The pain recurred in the second half, and I insisted to play on because there was no pressure on our defence.'

By the end of the game he was limping painfully. 'My knee was terribly aching after the final whistle, and I realised how serious it was only when I returned to London.' Medical staff at Sparrows Lane advised him to take a three weeks rest.

This is not the first time Charlton have suffered from international commitments, although it is part and parcel of being a bigger club. El K commented, 'It's very difficult for me, as it is for any player, to play incessantly for five years. I haven't had a fair rest for five consecutive years. That's crazy, isn't it.' Of the injury itself, he said, 'That's God's will.'

With reports that the Herminator has still not fully recovered from his injury at Villa at the end of last season, Charlton's defence could have a novel look at the start of the new season.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Irons and Addicks in race for Bowyer

The dance between Charlton and West Ham goes on with the two clubs reported to be in a race to sign former Addick Lee Bowyer who is having a house built in Kent. Charlton would probably be interested in the player if the fee reflected his various problems.

The Bowyer issue is one that divides the Addickted. I think that he is one of the best instinctive footballers I have ever seen play for Charlton, but others say that he is now past his best.

Then there is behaviour his off the field. Could a return home help him to calm down? He always got some credit from me for turning up to watch the Addicks at Huddersfield on a cold night in winter after he had left the club.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sorondo in on a year's loan

The latest signing at The Valley is Internazionale's Gonzalo Sorondo. On loan at Palace last year, he will join the Addicks on a similar basis. The deal was held up by the lack of a work permit for the Uruguayan (the first at The Valley?) but that has now been sorted.

Curbs commented, 'He showed while playing for Pakace last year that he is well equipped to perform in the Premiership and now he has the opportunity to play in it again with us.' (And with a more serious team!)

Sorondo will unfortunately be suspended for the first three games of the season.

It is still possible that the Anthony Gardner deal will be revived.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Smertin on his way to The Valley

Don't look at the club's official web site for this information, just go to the website of the BBC's Russian Service. Alexi Smertin is waiting to secure a loan switch to The Valley. With Mourinho expected to strengthen his midfield area, he could again be on the periphery at Chelsea.

The 30-year old Russian international was originally at Bordeaux. He then joined the Russian owned side two years ago and was immediately sent to Portsea Island to play for Pompey. Portsmouth would have had him back, but he wanted to stay in the world city that is the capital that is London (and which all Londoners are so proud of at the moment). He said, 'There were other offers, but I wanted to stay in the capital. My family is settled here and it is a fantastic city.'

Curbs has better use him as Mourinho has told him that Chelsea have a long season in front of them and if anything goes wrong at Charlton he can rejoin the Blues.

Jon Spector signing confirmed

The signing of Jon Spector from the Salford Red Sox on a one year loan has been confirmed. It was reported here a couple of days ago - similarly we had the Fish free transfer story two days before it was announced on the club website and I have no special contacts within the club. One is left wondering why it takes so long to get these stories out to supporters officially, although it should be emphasised that the Communications Dept. is not at fault.

Chris Powell back at The Valley

Popular left back Chris Powell has left the Irons and re-joined Charlton. It is assumed that the 36-year old will perform a player-coach role and might even be watched and developed to see if he might make a suitable future Charlton manager. Powell's agent Tony Finnigan commented, 'West Ham had a number of weeks to tie Chris down, but they didn't and now they have lost one of their most experienced players.'

Powell was a favourite with fans at The Valley for his dedication, commitment and skill and also for his 'jack in the box' celebrations after victories.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Big signing on Monday?

Reports are circulating from normally reliable sources that Charlton are poised to make a big signing on Monday. Charlton are being linked again with Reading midfielder Steve Sidwell, now back from his honeymoon in Mauritius, and are said to have offered £2m for the former Arsenal trainee. Reading would be sorry to lose him, but if Charlton do not make a move, Villa, Everton and Sunderland are reported to be interested.

Sidwell would be a good signing but not a dramatic one. One other name that has been mentioned is Sean Davis from Spurs.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Spector to join Addicks

Reports are suggesting 19-year old Manchester United defender Jonathan Spector is to join Charlton on a year's loan. The Chicago native is a member of the US national team. Last year Spector made eight appearances for the Salford Red Sox including three in the Premiership and three in the Champions League. He was to have been loaned out to Blackburn but stayed at Old Trafford when injury problems hit the side.

Spector's agent Steve Kelly commented, 'Sir Alex Ferguson rates him very highly and this will be a great chance for Jonathan to pick up quality Premiership experience. Mr Curbishley and Sir Alex are great friends and both agree that this loan will be in the best interests of all involved.'

Smertin in on loan?

Anthony Gardner's transfer is in doubt because of the result of the medical, which still leaves us with a need to shore up the central defence. Incidentally, Fish is still with us because he has a year on his contract to run at a rumoured 10K a week and will remain if no one wants him on a free.

It has been reported that Smertin may come in on a year's loan from Chelsea. Euell is reported to be joining the Irons, linking up with Chris Powell and Paul Konchesky. If the fee is the rumoured £2m, that would be good news. But a lot of it could be made up of add ons such as x if the Irons aren't relegated and y after 200 appearances - or as Rick Everitt put it on the list, if he scores the winning goal in the European Cup while wearing a blindfold. As the Rickster also pointed out, it's not the transfer fees that matter these days, it's the wages that are the main consideration.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Club cut asking price on Euell

Charlton have lowered the asking price for Jason Euell in a renewed effort to sell him. Agent Tony Finnigan commented, 'There has been quite a bit of interest and a number of enquiries, but there has always been confusion regarding the fee. That has now been agreed by the club and we should now see some movement in the next few weeks.'

Pompey are know to be interested along with the Irons. Other clubs who are keeping an eye of the situation including both Birmingham clubs, the Baggies, Boro, Bolton and Sunderland.

Ambrose signed

Newcastle United have agreed a fee with Charlton for Darren Ambrose. Barcodes chairman Freddie Shepherd told the club web site, 'Charlton have made an offer that matches our valuation of the player. We have given Darren permission to speak to Charlton to discuss a possible move.' Charlton subsequently announced that he had signed a four year contract, the transfer fee not being disclosed.

The midfielder began his career as a trainee at Ipswich before moving to Newcastle in 2003. However, with tough competition for midfield places at the club, he has not been able to secure a regular first team place. 29 of his 56 appearances have been from the bench.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Konchesky move confirmed

Paul Konchesky's move to West Ham has been confirmed. Perhaps because it has been anticipated for some time, the reaction of the Addickted has been relatively muted.
Some feel that we should have got a higher fee, but he could have gone on a free in a year's time. Whether it will really help his England hopes remains to be seen.

Sasa Ilic is training with Reading who are short of keeper cover after their reserve keeper was loaned out to Rushden and Diamonds for a year.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Gardner fee rises

According to The Times the fee that the Addicks will have to pay Spurs for Anthony Gardner may rise to nearly £3, but the Haringey club has now agreed to sell the defender. Martin Jol apparently has doubts about his concentration, but that is a common problem at Charlton, particularly towards the end of the season. The 23-year old who joined Spurs from Port Vale five years ago only made nine starts last season. He suffered a foot injury early in the season and subsequently lost his place.

Fulham and West Ham are reported to be competing for the services of Paul Konchesky with the Irons said to be willing to offer £2m for the unsettled player whose family still live in the Dagenham area. Konchesky is reported to have had a medical with West Ham on Monday. It is claimed that the move will improve his chances of an England place.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Euell too pricey for Irons

West Ham are interested in Jason Euell, but Pardew reckons the £2.8m price tag on him is too high. Fulham are reported to have renewed their interest in Paul Konchesky and are prepared to offer more money. There are rumours that winger Chris Eagles will be joining the Addicks on a one year loan from Manchester United. Hopefully, by the end of the week, some of these issues will have been resolved.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Youga signs - official

At last! A signing that has been confirmed by the club website. Kelly Youga has signed from top French club Lyon on a free transfer, although his arrival at Sparrows Lane will be delayed while the 19-year old completes his Bacc exams.

Youga originates from the Central African Republic, one of the poorest countries in Africa. A left back, he is known for his pace. He was on trial with the club last season.

French sources are linking his signing with the departure of Paul Konchesky which has been rumoured for some weeks.

Addicks to sign Gardner?

Reports are suggesting that the Addicks are to sign Spurs defender Anthony Gardner in a £1.6m deal. He is apparently superfluous to requirements at the Haringey club.
The 23-year old made an appearance in an England friendly against Sweden sixteen months ago.

This story has more credibility than some recent reports as Curbs is known to have been a fan of Gardner since his days at Port Vale. He would become the third defender to be signed from Spurs in the recent past. Luke Young, who was unable to find a regular play in the Spurs side, has become a firm favourite of the Addickted while Chris Perry is recognised to have done a good job.

The Addickted have also been boosted by the news that Greenwich Council have approved the extension to the East Stand with two Labour councillors voting against. The debate was apparently more sensible than earlier discussions despite complaints about fans urinating in local streets after matches.