Monday, July 31, 2006

Sphurphy, Redfearn latest

According to the Daily MirrorTottenham are set to make a new bid for Wigan defender Pascal Chimbonda - by offering a swap deal involving Danny Murphy and Andy Reid, plus cash. I woudn't have thought Wigan was great territory for premieres, although Murphy is a scouser. And I understand that because of the cold weather, the substitute's bench is heated.

Neil Redfearn has prolonged his footballing career at the age of 41 by joining Bradford Park Avenue as player-coach. Presumably a prelude to relegation?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The season ahead

Sue Savin and I speculate about the possibility of adding more trophies to the cabinet in Charlton's boardroom

So what does the season ahead hold? No one really knows and uncertainty is part of the interest of football. A recent study of 300,000 matches in different sports carried out by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US (clearly guys with times on their hands) found out that football was the most unpredictable of those studied. However, Charlton keeps us on the edge of our seats more than many teams and often through frustration and disappointment rather than excitement.

Like most of the Addickted, I thought it was time to move on to a new manager. Curbs achieved great things for the club and he's a great guy. His caution served us well as a team with limited resources and we might have achieved even more if Scott Parker had not left for Chelsea mid-way through our most successful season in the Premiership.

However, in the last season or two, we were becoming stale and playing over defensive football that was not going to put bums on seats at The Valley, the achievements of the Rickshaw notwithstanding. My one hope for this season is that we can keep someone up the field when we are defending corners so that we have an outlet and are not played back into trouble again.

My guess is that we are going to see more entertaining football, but not necessarily more successful football. Of course, much depends on whether we can acquire a badly needed creative midfielder. My forecast is that we won't qualify for Europe and we won't be relegated and that we will finish somwhere between 12th and 15th. Which given our budget constraints is good enough.

The club is following the right course by building for the long term, most recently by developing our youth programme in Europe. Broadening the support base remains important which means not just developing the Valley Express, but also efforts in our traditional catchment area. We are a well run club and that is something we should be proud of it and I think it's going to be an interesting season.

Valencia and all that

I didn't watch the Valencia game last night as I knew that I had get into the studio for a live Radio Scotland slot relatively early this morning (real football having started north of the border). I was rewarded with a classic cliché, 'It's fitba', it's physical, it's a man's game, and we lost, Jim' in relation to Andy Todd (not, I think,the Andy Todd) being sent off at Dunfermline.

Reaction to the Valencia game has been varied, gloomsters saying that it emphasises our weaknesses (as if the club didn't know that the central midfield need strengthening), others pointing out that Valencia are one of the top teams in one of the top leagues in the world and they are simply better technically than us. (Although our Spanish blogger, View from an Iberian Valley, tells us they didn't put out a full strength side). What's more Valencia is a bit different from the likes of Bray Wanderers or Oulu that we were playing on pre-season tours a few years ago, not to mention Torquay United.

I don't think pre-season friendlies tell you much about the season as they are a way of trying out different players and different formations. We're going on holiday next week, coming back in time to fly to Utrecht for the final friendly. That should give us some idea of what the starting eleven against the Irons will be.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Vince gives it large

When I saw a feature on the 'also rans' in Four Four Two I thought it would be about the likes of Swindon and Wrexham. In fact it was about Newcastle United (excessive expectations never met), Aston Villa (club with great potential wrecked by Doug Ellis), Fulham (Harrods works teams with aspirations beyond their level) and Charlton.

Representing the Addicks in the discussion was Vince Nieszwiec, a former candidate for supporters' director and described as a 'builder/entrepreneur' which makes him sound like one of the 'I don't like the look of that guv' or 'Which cowboy did that?' brigade. Vince is the only one of the four to appear in shorts, the effect somewhat spoilt by a couple of nasty gashes on his leg.

But to be fair, I thought his answers were pretty sensible. I also liked the way he kept giving it large to Simon Jordan at every opportunity. Oddly, given tonight's matches, he says he goes to Valencia quite a bit and doesn't find the atmosphere and style of play as exciting as in England. Perhaps he got an apartment off Llanera.

What comes across is the respect the other fans have for the set up at Charlton. The Villa fans says, 'I look at Charlton and they have the right people in the management positions and that's what we need to progress.' The Fulham fan said, 'I'd be happy if we were in Charlton's position in five years' time with a nice ground, 20,000 [?] season tickets, and a family club with a good fan base.' The Newcastle fan says, 'I look at Charlton and then Freddie Shepherd and I pray for more stable running of our club.'

But, as Vince says, 'Our fans tend to be pessimistic.'

Addicks forecast to finish 14th

Football magazine Four Four Two reckons that the Addicks will finish 14th in the Premiership this season, in between Wigan and Reading. Seems a realistic forecast.

The magazine asks whether the club has been sold a pup in the form of Iain Dowie: 'He's gained many plaudits from players over the years, but is the Charlton challenge a step too far for him?'

I was surprised to learn that Charlton made more tackles than any other team last season, although the success rate is not given. Darren Bent was caught offside 65 times, more than any other Premiership player. Lloyd Sam is selected as the player to watch.

Unfortunately, the magazine forecasts automatic promotion for Palace.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Salif Diao fails medical

Liverpool's Salif Diao is reported to have failed his medical and has returned to Anfield. Perhaps this at least suggests that things are getting better in the medical department given some of the crocks that have been signed in the past. Indeed, I can't remember when a Charlton prospect last failed a medical. Of course, it can be a polite way of saying 'thanks, but no thanks'.

It looks like the chase for Newcastle's Amdy Faye is hotting up, but the Barcodes are holding out for a high price.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Honours even at the Spencer Stadium

Leamington earned a creditable 2-2 draw at the Spencer Stadium this evening against Southern Premier League side Banbury United, two steps ahead of them in the non-league pyramid. At a match sponsored by Chiltern Railways, we were reminded that it was possible to travel from both towns and between them by means of the railway company, but we used the M40. I was wearing the new royal blue away kit supplied by Joma.

The Brakesmen were in fine voice with an opening chorus of 'Go and see Coventry City? You're having a laugh. We're following Leamington FC.' Brakes played a fluent passing game with Dave Pearson showing his Football League experience up front, but Banbury went ahead with a goal from Andy Baird on 37 minutes.

Leamington continued to forge forward, but were kept at bay by some stunning saves by the Banbury keeper, removal man Josh Blake being among those denied. Then 'Clunesie' (Martin Thompson) who had come on as a substitute swept forward and scored an angled goal that left the keeper with no chance. An own goal put Leamington 2-1 ahead, but a 87th minute saw the home side equalise to give a fair outcome to this competitive match.

Senegal in SE7

Sky Sports News are reporting that Charlton are interested in Newcastle United midfielder, Amdy Faye, another Senegal international. Faye has three years left on his contract at the Barcodes, but may not fit into Glenn Roeder's plans.

The Addicks are said to be prepared to offer £1.5m for the 29 year old. There may be something in it because (a) we have been linked with him before, (b) we badly need to strengthen the midfield, (c) especially after the injury to Jerome Thomas.

Later we hope to bring coverage from the Spencer Stadium of tonight's derby match between Banbury United and Leamington. Apparently some Brakesmen are spending the day getting tanked up in Banbury for which they deserve a medal.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Latest news does not bring joy

Sky Sports News are reporting that the Addicks are closing in on the signing of Traore from Liverpool, having beaten Bolton in the contest for his signature. Full story at: Traore .

We doubt whether this news will lead to dancing in the streets of SE7 as many Addicks have doubts about his qualities, although others argue that he improved at Liverpool last season and could flourish under the right regime. Nevertheless, his nickname 'Bambi' among some Scousers does not inspire confidence.

Sky Sports News are also running a banner stating that when Jerome Thomas was injured in last night's Hibernian match he broke a metatarsal. Notwithstanding the recuperative powers of Wayne Rooney, this could mean a long absence for the nimble winger.

Linked with all and sundry

The Guardian is linking us with a host of players this morning which leads me to wonder if the heat and humidity has got to their sports page writers:

The news that Palace defender Emerson Boyce may be making a real move north to Wigan rather than to The Valley doesn't bother me that much. I don't want too much of a Palace emphasis in the set up.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Brakes slaughter Saints to take cup

Leamington had a convincing 7-1 win over Southam United (formed in 1905 and absorbing Southam Town a few years ago) at the New Windmill Ground tonight to take the Friendship Cup. It seemed only yesterday that we had driven down Harbury Lane for the last match of the season and I had time to buy the new Joma away shirt which looked very like the Charlton training shirt Curbs gave Maggie at the end of the season. I was in the black and gold that is destined to serve as Charlton's away kit.

One surprise at the ground was the new Sheepside Stand which we were told didn't really exist as it does not have specific planning consent and can be unbolted easily. However, it was too hot on that side and we sat in the interim Burger Side stand.

Brakes were without their normal back three and key striker Dave Pearson, formerly at Coventry City and Luton Town. Yet moments after petite referee S Massey had blown the whistle, the ball was in the back of the net, delivered by former youth player Jamie Coleman. He made it 2-0 on 10 minutes. Clunsie (Martin Thompson) scored on 30 minutes. Then speedy right wing back Jamie Towers, recruited from Coventry Sphinx, made it 4-0 on 32 minutes. Shortly afterwards there was handbags at six places and the referee, who looked as if her schooldays were not long behind her, had to tick off the players involved.

Leamington went 5-0 ahead from Towers and then he completed his hat trick to make it 6-0. Brakes started to make a number of substitutions, Steve Thompson coming on to shouts of 'There are only two Tommos.' Veteran Paul Eden and removal man Josh Blake were brought on. Brakes drifted out of the game a bit and Saints snatched a consolation goal from their No.10 shirt.

Tom James made it 7-1 for the Brakes on 78 minutes, leading Southam to substitute their midget goalkeeper who was carrying a leg injury and who had been the subject of relentless banter from the North Bank which he returned as he stalked off.

At the end of the game David Hucker, the Richard Murray of Leamington, presented a very splendid cup to the winning side who now face a tougher test away to Banbury on Thursday in the Chiltern Railways Shield.

Charlton 34th in all time league table

Charlton are 34th in an all time league table based on a points per game ranking devised by the Fink Tank for The Times. Rounding up, they have on 35% of their matches, lost 42% and drawn 24% matches so Charlton fans have been accustomed to defeat as it happens in almost every other match.

'Boro are 33rd and Bury are 35th. Liverpool occupy the top slot, followed by Newton Heath and Arsenal. Other London clubs ahead of Charlton are Spurs (7th), Chelsea (14th), Wimbledon (27th), Brentford (30th) and West Ham United (31st). Crystal Palace are 53rd and Millwall 54th, while Leyton Orient are below Glossop in the bottom slot.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Addickted give muted reception to Salif Diao

The Addickted have given a muted reception to the news that Salif Diao is training with Charlton for a week while Iain Dowie runs the rule over him. One view is that he never made the grade at either 'Pool or Pompey and only got into Liverpool in the first place because the media was hypeing up Senegal when they qualified for the World Cup.

However, Charlton's search for a boost to their midfield is becoming increasingly urgent and Diao is a tough tackler in that role. He will travel with the squad to Hibernian for tomorrow's fixture and may well make an appearance at Easter Road.

Diao is open to offers as he looks set to leave Liverpool this summer. The Senegal international is well down the pecking order at Anfield. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Portsmouth, hoping to make a permanent move on to Portsea Island, but injury blighted his stay at Fratton Park.

Incidentally talking of Portsmouth, did anyone hear Redknapp say on the radio today, 'I think we'll stay up this year as we're the biggest club this side of Fareham.' Watford's manager was then asked about his hopes for the season. He replied that he replied that they would win the league and both cups. 'Aren't you exaggerating a bit?' asked the interviewer. 'Well, Harry started it' came the reply.

Charlton in for Swedish keeper

It has been confirmed that Charlton are interested in Rennes goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson who would be a replacement for Thomas Myhre should he move to Chevio. The news was released by the player's agent, Roger Ljung, who also denied that any imminent move was about to take place [no doubt seeking to stoke up interest from other clubs and push up the asking price].

'Charlton is one of the clubs interested in Andreas,' confirmed Ljung. 'Nothing will happen regarding Andreas the coming few days.'

Isaksson was impressive in Sweden's run at this summer's World Cup Finals and is also said to have attracted interest from German clubs. Having arrived in France to replace Chelsea-bound Peter Cech, Isaksson has admitted that he would love a move to the Premiership. 'It would be a dream to play in the Premier League,' admitted the keeper who said that he had grown up in Sweden with the Premiership. Previous Swedish players at The Valley in the recent past include Svensson and Pringle, both of whose stay at Charlton was blighted by injury.

Many other rumours are swirling around about possible targets, with the Addickted increasingly anxious about the midfield. However, Holland and Marcus Bent may move to Reading as part of the long awaited Sidwell deal, while Newcastle are reported to have bid a paltry £1m for the Herminator.

Somewhat more reliable is a report from sources close to Sparrows Lane which says that James Walker, dropped at the end of last season, is to sign a three month contract to show what he can do. Iain Dowie seems to be more willing to risk young players than his cautious predecessor.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Who is Frank Dja Djedje?

With a change of players at half time, it was not easy for even for those who were there to work out who was playing for Charlton against Millwall yesterday. However, there was some interest in the trialist from Paris St. Germain, Franck Dja Djedje who was wearing the No.17 shirt. Although supposedly a striker, there is no apparent record of him scoring a senior goal. He comes from the Ivory Coast which has a good reputation for its nursery arrangements for aspiring young footballers.

Basic stats are:
Born: June 02 1986
Birthplace: Abidjan, Cote d' Ivoire
Nationality: French
Other nationality: Ivorian
EU passport: Yes
Height: 176 cm
Weight: 70 kg
Contract Expires: June 2007
Previous Clubs: Paris St. Germain > Brest > Paris St. Germain

We have received unconfirmed reports that there was trouble in SE7 last night between Millwall and Charlton 'supporters' that required the attendance of the police. The reports state that the door to the Oak was kicked in and a nearby shop had its windows smashed.

Cadzy's dilemmas as Friendship Cup looms

Brakes manager Jason Cadden

Former hairdresser Jason Cadden may have one of the best barnets in Midlands non-league football but he faces a number of dilemmas as Tuesday's 'Friendship' Cup match with Southam United looms, Brakes having lost 0-2 to AFC Telford and beat Bedworth 4-2 in earlier fixtures. Expectations are high at the New Windmill Ground with the Brakes taking the field in their new kit from Charlton suppliers Joma who are based in Leamington. The Brakes are hot favourites to win the Polymac Midland Alliance title, never a comfortable position to be in.

For Tuesday's match, a number of players are still on holiday, while former Coventry City and Inverness Caledonian Thistle ace Leon Morgan is out for the whole season because of accumulated injuries. Another blow is that nursery side Whitnash Town have pulled their senior side out of the Coventry Alliance after the shock departure of manager Danny Walden from Acre Close. Indeed, many of the Whitnash players are now likely to play at Southam while with their large squad Brakes must find another club to provide match practice for their players. Some may go to the Home Guard Ground to play for Stratford's No.2 club, Alveston.

Getting planning permission for ground improvements has proved a protracted process with objections from the 'neighbours', i.e., one farm a third of a mile away. The floodlights have now been adjusted to deal with light pollution but excessive noise cuased by chanting is more difficult to deal with. The Sheepside Stand may be erected under a temporary consent leaving the Burger Side stand with its hospitality suite until later.

The club have now hired a commercial manager and gold, silver and bronze match sponsorhip packages are on offer. For gold you get a three course meal while bronze limits you to coffee and sandwiches. Our sister site Football Economy has taken out programme advertising.

Racing Club Warwick

Charlton will face Racing's former keeper this season as Manchester United have continued his loan to Watford. The money from that transfer, plus the sums they have received for 'social inclusion', means that the Gee Gees are rolling in money. They even won the league competition for on ground catering which just shows what you can do with horse meat. However, manager Marcus Law stormed off to Quorn, taking several players with him. Nothing daunted, the Gee Gees have splashed out a Spanish coach formerly with Coventry City's Academy.

We will continue to be the only Charlton blog covering Step 5 non-league football.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Walker role intrigues Addickted

James Walker on a less successful day playing for the Addicks

Charlton clocked up a satisfying 4-1 victory against Millwall at The New Den this afternoon where the home side failed to recycle rubbish into power as happens next door. However, what has intrigued the Addickted about the afternoon is the role of goal scorer and 18-year old England youth international James Walker. Released by the club at the beginning of the summer after a few reserve appearances during last season, he is still training at Sparrows Lane. Perhaps Iain Dowie thinks he deserves a second look?

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink opened the scoring after 11 minutes at the New Den after Lloyd Sam had turned provider with an excellent through ball but Marvin Elliott scored an equaliser, smashing it past Stephan Andersen in the Charlton goal. Darren Ambrose quickly restored the lead with a header after captain Luke Young picked him out with a cross before Talal El Karkouri, back from his stay in the Gulf, and James Walker added a goal each in four second-half minutes to put the game beyond the Spanners.

Herminator wants to stay at The Valley

Hermann Hreidarsson enjoys a celebratory moment as Man of the Match with equine magnate John Window

A number of clubs are being linked with a move for Addicks defender Hermann Hreidarsson according to Sky Sports News. Although unconfirmed by our man in Grindavik, Olafur Johansson, who is out on his boat, reports in his native Iceland claim at least three rival Premiership clubs have made contact, with the Cottagers, Wigan, the Smoggies, the Barcodes, and the Massives in the frame.

The player's agent Olafur Gardarsson insists that the player is more than happy with life at The Valley under new coach Iain Dowie - but admits he has heard of possible interest. [i.e., he thinks it is a chance to boost the player's salary]. Indeed, Inspector Sands thinks that the heat in London has gone to the agent's head.

'Hermann is happy, he is happy at the club and he has one year left on his current deal,' Gardarsson told 'We have heard there has been offers, but the club has not said anything. Hermann is an ambitious player, he has a lot of ambition but he is not worried.'

'He likes the look of the new manager and thinks he is very good, indeed the club have said that they will be looking to open talks over a new contract.'

A doughty defender and one of Charlton's acquisitions from Ipswich, the Herminator was played more often at centre than his favoured left bank position last season. Injury problems towards the end of the season undermined his form.

Spanner story has legs

Our view is that IC London often gets stories from sources friendly with the club. Hence the claim that the Addicks are tracking Spanners midfielder Marvin Elliott may not just be another piece of silly season gossip invented as a filler by a lazy and under pressure journalist. Certainly we need strengthening in central midfield although I would put 'creative' before 'tough tackling'.

Elliott has rejected a 'lucrative' long-term deal at The New Den and says he wants to move on from the Toolbox. Who can blame him? Several Championship clubs are also showing an interest in him, but Millwall would want £1million for Elliott who has already made 115 appearances for them.

Iain Dowie interview

Iain Dowie is up for the new season as the Addicks go to the New Den to face Millwall later today:

Friday, July 21, 2006

Dowie moves for Queudrue

Training under way at Sparrows Lane this morning. Photo credit Clive Richardson

More (and larger) training ground photos can be found at Clive's photos

According to Sky Sports, 'Charlton have made a late bid to snatch Middlesbrough's Franck Queudrue from under the noses of capital rivals Fulham. The Cottagers have been leading the chase for the left back - who looks set to end a five-year love affair with Boro - but now Charlton have made a move.'

I'm not sure I could cope with spelling his name in match supports, let alone chanting it. Even Brian Cole might find it a challenge. 'Give me a Q ...'

Addicks in for Boycie

Charlton have emerged as favourites to sign Crystal Palace defender Emmerson Boyce. The 26-year-old only has 12 months remaining on his contract at the supermarket and has made no secret of his desire to play in The Premiership. He has been linked with moves to Wigan, Fulham and Charlton this summer, but the presence of Iain Dowie at The Valley looks likely to tip the scales in The Addicks' favour.

A fee of £1.75m is being suggested for the move north. 'Palace have offered me a new contract, but it wasn't really what I was looking for,' said Boyce. 'I want to play in The Premiership and I just hope people can understand that.' The Glaziers are resigned to his departure and are looking to cash in while he is still under contract.

Bent out after sandwich accident

There were fears that Darrent Bent could miss the start of Charlton's season after a freak accident while making a sandwich. It's a bit reminiscent of Fish falling through a coffee table, an accident from which he never fully recovered, although in that case the Springbok could have been sampling his collection of fine wines.

The Addicks were said to be worried their star striker could be out for up to six weeks after suffering the injury as he chopped onions and bread to make a sandwich at home. The injury could rule him out of England's friendly against Greece at Old Trafford on August 16. He was thought unlikely to make Charlton's open fixtures against the Irons, Manchester United and Bolton. However, the latest word is that Darren will appear against Millwall tomorrow with a bandaged hand.

There were fears that he had severed a tendon as he cut open a finger with the knife during his kitchen mishap. Those fears have been allayed but there were still concerns about the depth of the wound. And Bent has had his arm strapped up to allow the injury to heal.

Speaking at yesterday's community event at Sparrows Lane, the striker said, 'I had a kitchen accident. I just cut it when I was making a sandwich. I don't even know what kind of sandwich it was. I didn't get to try it.'

Although he is was in training yesterday the club are particularly anxious about the impact that a collision in a pre-season game could have on the ex-Ipswich star. The Addicks are also worried about the repercussions if a collision during a game caused Bent to fall on his arm and aggravate the injury.

The Greece friendly was widely seen as a chance for Bent to break into the England picture under McClaren after being snubbed for the World Cup by Sven Goran Eriksson despite 22 goals last season.

Perhaps the club needs to provide some training on kitchen safety! What this scare reveals is that we still have a lack of strength up front. Should Bent not be available, I would favour Marcus Bent, but I suspect it will be a case of 'Step forward, super Kevin Lisbie.'

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Curbs rules himself out of Villa job

Alan Curbishley has apparently ruled himself out of the Villa vacancy on Radio 5. Can't say I blame him: who would want to go and work with Deadly Doug with very little money to spend?

The former Villa player was a favourite among the bookies and the fans, although Martin O'Neill was apparently the club's first choice.

Curbs is apparently enjoying himself too much being free of the grind of day-to-day management. His autobiography will be coming out soon and he can do so some punditry if he wants. In any case he is not short of a bob or two.

Curbs told my wife at the end of season sponsors' dinner that he is a keen fan of egg chasing and hopes to see some Wasps games which his wife has attended regularly.


Former Charlton keeper Dean Kiely will not be starting the season for Portsmouth after he broke his finger in the warm up for a pre-season friendly against Torquay United.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Newts suspended after drugs test

Former Charlton midfielder Shaun Newton has been suspended for seven months from 20 May after testing positive for cocaine. The 30-year-old provided the positive test following West Ham's FA Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough on 23 April.

A popular player at Charlton who left the Addicks for Wolves before going to the Irons, Newts received a warm welcome when he returned with West Ham last season, applauding the crowd before the start of both halves.

PM praises new Bent contract

Prime minister Tony Blair took the opportunity of Prime Minister's Question Time today to praise the action of the Addicks in securing an extended contract for Darren Bent. The prime minister was responding to a question from the honourable member for Eltham (actually a Millwall fan) about Charlton's community involvement, but slipped in the remark about Bent at the end of his comments.

The PM was asked if he could be at an event at Sparrows Lane which forms part of Charlton's extensive community programme and commemorates an extension of it funded by the club's charitable trust. He was not, of course, able to attend but praised the Addick's extensive community involvement.

If one reads Charlton's annual report it is certainly replete with New Labour language about social inclusion, but no doubt this reflects a convergence between the club's own objectives and current government policies. What will happen if there is a change of government remains to be seen.

The full exchange in the Commons (courtesy of Hansard) was:

Q3. [86176] Clive Efford (Eltham) (Lab): If my right hon. Friend has a space in his diary tomorrow lunchtime, may I invite him to join me at Charlton Athletic’s training ground in Eltham to celebrate the opening of their community centre for skills, supported by Charlton’s charitable trust, Barclays Spaces for Sports and the Football Foundation? From my constituency, Charlton run one of the biggest community action programmes in Europe, possibly even in the world. They engage with young people and provide educational opportunities and employment opportunities for them. If he cannot join us tomorrow, will he send a message of congratulations to Charlton for the work that they do?

The Prime Minister: I am very happy to send a message of congratulations to Charlton on their wonderful new sporting facility, which will do so much for young people. I congratulate the Football Foundation and Barclays bank, which I think are the other partners, and I also congratulate Charlton on the wise re-signing of Darren Bent

Addicks odds for relegation

Sky Bet are offering odds of 3-1 for Charlton to be relegated, the same as for Fulham. The three promoted clubs are all given the worst odds, but surely at least one of them will survive. Troubled Aston Villa are given 11/4 odds. We had a lot of the local Villa at our summer party and their view is that only one things stands between them and relegation: the arrival of Alan Curbishley at Villa Park. Portsmouth are also given 11/4 odds. I think they should be relegated from the Premiership anyway if they fail to bring their ground up to scratch which is always promised but never happens. These odds would give Charlton a 15th finish which seems realistic.

Paddy Power are more pessimistic, giving us 9-4 odds to be relegated and a finishing position of 17th.

Some of the Addickted reckon that the 16-1 odds on Middlesbrough look very generous.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Times hedges its bets on Charlton

The Times has hedged its best on Charlton's season saying that Iain Dowie could provide a much needed wake up call, but also drag the Addicks into a relegation battle.

The paper portrays Iain Dowie as a new broom that will 'sweep away the gathering cobwebs of the closing months of Alan Curbishley's reign. It had all gone stale at The Valley but Dowie's up-and-at 'em style should shake the players out of their slumber. About time, too.'

The Sidwell saga appears to be dragging on for ever with it being suggested that the Addicks could make a renewed offer for the Reading midfielder, although there would be competition from Manchester City. Also in the frame are Scott Chipperfield of FC Basle, Matt Oakley (at one time at Southampton) and France under-20 striker Garra Dembélé.

The Times thinks that keeping Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink motivated will be a key to success. Charlton 'could get dragged into a relegation battle if Dowie's motivational skills do not transfer to the bigger stage.' You don't have to be a genius to work that one out.

My plane from Japan on Sunday came up the north bank of the Thames. And, there, glittering in the sunshine like a beacon was The Valley. Let's hope it's a good omen for the season ahead.

News of former players

Rotherham United defender and former Addick Scott Minto has been forced to hang up his boots because of a long-standing Achilles injury. The 34-year-old missed the majority of last season because of the problem and he has decided to call it a day after 17 seasons in the game. Minto began his career in 1989 at Charlton before moving to Chelsea five years later.

Queen's Park Rangers have put a price tag of £3m on former Charlton defender Danny Shittu. Watford, Leeds and West Brom are said to be interested in the brickhouse like player. Unfortunately, there is probably no selling on clause. One that got away?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ex-Addick Leaves Bees for Tigers

One thing that has happened while I have been away is that former Addick Michael Turner has left Brentford to join Championship side Hull City. Our Bees correspondent comments, 'a real shame and a snip at £350k.' Many of the Addickted thought that he was one of the better youth development players let go by the club in recent years, but still not good enough for the Premiership, as his performance against us in the cup showed.

We're sponsoring development coach Mark Robson this year and hope that he will be able to do more to bring new young players into the first team.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hasselbaink signing resopnates in Japan

i was in the bar of the Grand Hyatt here in Fukuoka last night when news was brought to me of the signing of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink by Charlton. Although 33, the powerful striker has a point to prove and I have for long hoped that he would sign for the Addicks.

Let us hope that Charlton will emulate J-league team Avispa Fukuoka where `team members respond to the enthusiastic support of citizens with hotly contested games.`

Perhaps the Addickted could emulate those local males who are running through the city streets in loincloths in preparation for a local festival. But perhaps so many bare English bums would not be a sight to see.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Even in Japan

Fukuoka, Japan. On my first day here a Leeds supporter complained about us taking their players: `we used to buy off you and now you buy off us.` There is a J-league team in town, but baseball is far bigger. I watched the world cup final - at 3 a.m. Now I must go a tea ceremony.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Blogged off to Fukuoka

This blog has now gone to the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka where it will be as hot and humid, if not more so, than it currently is in Britain. Hopefully the international convention centre will be air conditioned so it will be tolerable as I sit through endless meetings with the rest of the UK delegation. I am staying at the Hotel of the Dukes which sends me E mails saying 'If you are without printer, do not print this out' which has a certain logic to it. The local speciality in town is a poisonous blow fish.

There will probably be a number of interesting signings while I am away, but the Charlton blogosphere is now so large, and of such generally high quality, that there will be plenty of other sources to provide you with news and comment. Hopefully under the new regime at Sparrows Lane the Press Office will be able to release more news quicker. There were certainly signs of that with the final phase of the Luke Young saga.

I am starting to get optimistic about next season. Come on you Reds!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Charlton chase Leeds youngster

According to the official Leeds United side, 18-year old utility man Simon Walton is in talks with Charlton about a potential move to the Premiership. United manager Kevin Blackwell said, 'We've had an approach from Charlton about Simon and have allowed him to speak to them. They are a Premiership club and it's potentially an opportunity for him. We're not going to stand in his way.'

The Leeds born England youth international made 33 appearances during his debut season two years ago, but started just four games last season. The 6ft 1" player is primarily a defender, but has been used in midfield.

Richard Murray has told the South London Press that Charlton expect to bring in six to eight signings before the start of the season.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Luke Young to stay

Luke Young is staying and has pledged himself to the club. Apparently, the signature of a new contract can be expected before long, so it's not just a case of waiting until the next transfer window. See the club web site:


For some time Irons have been bragging that Young going to Upton Park is a done deal, no doubt now they will claim they didn't want him anyway (possibly the failed medical story could be part of that).

Luke has developed well as a player at Charlton, something that the old coaching team can take some credit for, and now the new coach has persuaded him to stay. So this is something to be pleased about and may damp down some of the moaning that has started up again.

Has Young failed medical?

The Daily Mirror is carrying a report that Luke Young is not going to West Ham because he has failed his medical. If this is true, there would be a certain irony as Charlton have signed a number of players in recent years who turned out to be crocks. Whilst I would like Luke Young to stay, I see no advantage in retaining discontented players and if Young doesn't leave now, he may well leave in the January transfer window. A return to White Hart Lane remains a possibility.

I don't whether to laugh or cry but whingers are already having a go at Iain Dowie, one complaint being that he dared to take a family holiday! Complaints are being made about the speed of signings, but I am more interested in the quality of signings than their timing.

Work takes me to Japan on Thursday and I am confident that by the time I return on July 16th, exhausted by jet lag and representing the UK at an international congress, some interesting new signings will have arrived at Sparrows Lane.

Bob the Dog, the pioneer of canine football reporting

Unfortunately, unlike the late Bob the Dog, our current dog reporters are not computer savvy, so there will be no reports while I am in Japan where I will have my work out coping with the humidity, the food, my lack of knowledge of the language and the demands of the American delegation.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Jeffers goes north, Tyrone heads south

The 'fox in the box' Francis Jeffers has signed a two year contract at Blackburn after a disappointing two years at The Valley. Apart from two goals scored in a win over Villa, Jeffers never really made the grade at Charlton and was loaned out unsuccessfully to Rangers. He'll probably score for Blackburn against us, just us Svensson did in a 1-0 win at Norwich before heading back to Sweden.

Jeffers will be joined at Blackburn by former Wigan player Jason Roberts who was also touted as a Charlton target.

Preston defender Tyrone Mears was absent as his team-mates returned for pre-season training on Monday after travelling to London for talks with a Premiership club, widely believed to be Charlton. However, latest reports suggest that the £3m bid for Mears has been made by West Ham which would suggest that Luke Young is not going there (although he could return to Spurs).

Preston supremo Paul Simpson told the club's official website: 'The situation was Tye decided he wanted to go and get an opportunity to play in the Premiership so he's gone for talks and we'll just wait and see. It would have been better if it was all sorted by now but that's life.' Indeed it is, especially at the North End.

Addick's report on world cup exit

Angela from the West Stand reports from Gelsenkirchen:

The ground itself was fantastic though our seats were disappointing. Although close to the pitch we were sat to the side of a huge perspex partition. We were sitting along from the dugouts towards the corner flag and it was hard to understand why these partitions were erected at each corner – possibly some sort of segregation. Whilst we could see the goal in front of us clearly, looking up the rest of the pitch was like looking through a big window. It was most odd and we agreed with those sitting around us (who had all got their tickets in the extra allocation sale) that they really didn’t feel like Cat 1 seats.

We watched the team arrive on the big screen and walk out on the pitch. We were all struck (and this is ironic) by how focused Stephen Gerrard looked as he stood apart from the rest of the players, arms folded, staring directly forward – not looking up to the crowd to spot friends and family as most of the rest of them did. Surely a positive sign.

I thought it was a cracking game. At half time we felt confident that England could make the break through and get the single goal which would probably be enough to win it. Yes, Beckham and Lampard were still anonymous but Owen Hargreaves was playing out of his skin and Rooney was working hard. Frustratingly it seemed as though no-one wanted to take on the final shot but instead they all wanted to pass in front of goal and walk the ball into the net. What ever happened to the selfish striker? But the defence looked solid (we thought Ashley Cole in particular had an excellent game though I have seen thatthe press didn’t necessarily agree), and Portugal didn’t seem to be threateningtoo much. Of course there was the inevitable frustration with the diving and the continual looking for fouls but we seemed to be holding our own. We talked about our ideal changes: take Lampard off, move Beckham inside and bring on Lennon was favourite. So when the second half started and Beckham limped off to be replaced by Lennon we all saw it as a real positive. Surely now with Lennonrunning at them, Rooney’s menace would really be unleashed and it was only a
matter of time.

Well a matter of time it was and Rooney soon departed. We didn’t know it was for a stamp. I thought it was for a push. Of course it’s galling that he should have had a free kick moments before it all happened, but he should know better. So there we were, backs to the wall, Crouch up front and I thought we were fabulous. The rest of the second half and the whole of extra time were incredibly tense. The noise in the stadium was deafening – truly the crowd were the “eleventh man” and we roared them on in total belief that if we could get to penalties, we would go through. At the end of extra time all our talk was of who he would play in the semi-final. Crouch and Walcott up front in a 4-4-2? Of course the striker selection now looked even sillier, but it was going to be interesting that’s for sure.

This is the second time I have seen England lose on penalties – both times to Portugal. Funnily enough I didn’t feel very nervous when they started honestly thinking that we’d done enough to justify getting through and sooner or later, life has to be fair doesn’t it? As soon as Lampard missed that all changed and gut wrenching nerves took over. One down but then Hargreaves stepped up – after such a fabulous game he wouldn’t let us down. One all and they missed, so come on Stevie Gerrard.

For me Gerrard’s miss will always be the one that counted. How come this player who singled handedly dragged Liverpool back from 3-0 down in the Champions League final and went on to score a penalty took such a tame shot? What is it about those great club players who never quite do it for their country? Where was your arms folded, forward gazing composure now Stephen Gerrard? The disappointment was overwhelming and when Jamie Carragher retook his kick doing the silly hesitation thing we knew it was all over. Up steps Christiano – hated by so many (especially me) and despite his histrionics, his diving and cheating, he kept his cool AND he did the silly hesitation thing and still scored his penalty. Game over.

So who do I blame? Sven I suppose for his ability to take our supposed embarrassment of riches in midfield and turn it into a plain embarrassment; for his silly squad selection; and for his clear inability either to motivate and get the best out of some players or to instill responsibility and discipline in others. Though of course the buck stops with the eleven on the pitch and having looked as though we wanted it so badly for 120 minutes, we seemed to turn round in penalties and say “oh go on then, you have it.” It’s as though we can do the hard things, but the easy bits escape us.

Dowie fights to keep Young

New Charlton supremo Iain Dowie is fighting to keep Luke Young despite persistent press reports that the Addicks campaign is keen to board the Free Ferry and get a 108 bus to a brighter future north of the river.

Charlton are to offer Young an improved contract in a bid to fend off interest from West Ham United and Tottenham. He is reportedly keen to leave The Valley after rejecting the offer of a new three-year deal at the end of last season. Sources close to his family told this blog some months ago that the former Spurs player was keen to develop his England career at a bigger club.

However, Young, who has been transformed from an in and out utility player at Spurs to someone on the fringe of the England team at The Valley, is yet to meet with Iain Dowie and club officials are optimistic that Curbs's successor will be able to persuade him to stay on.

'Iain Dowie and his management team have made it clear that thrashing out a new deal for Young is among his top priorities when the new head coach returns from a family holiday on Monday,' the club stated.

Because of the river and the difficulty of crossing it we often forget how close geographically the Irons and the Addicks are, but we have never thought of them as their main rivals. Also, we got treated better in our exile at Upton Park than at Sellout Park.

My father was born in North Woolwich (then part of the borough of Woolwich) but played his football for an East Ham side and initially supported the Irons, attending the famous first FA Cup final at Wembley. Once his family moved to the Progress Estate at Eltham, and with Charlton becoming a Football League side, he changed his allegiance and earned enough money looking after horses while deliveries were made to get the admission and the tram fare.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A few rumours

As the post mortems continue about England's exit from the World Cup, here are a few rumours from the Sunday papers. Charlton are being linked with Ukranian world cup team member Andrei Vorodin. The forward is known for his hunched shoulders and unkempt hair. He has played for German clubs up to now and is with Bayer Leverkusen at the moment. Seems unlikely to me.

Wigan's Jason Roberts still wants to move to The Valley after falling out with Wigan owner Dave Whelan.

The Steve Sidwell saga continues with Charlton reported to be confident that they can fight off a counter bid from Manchester City. Not all the Addickted are keen on the Royals midfielder who they think would be over paid, has an excessive view of his own abilities and little loyalty to any club. My guess is that he will stay in the Thames Valley.

I must pay tribute to Chris Powell who has joined the Hornets as he does not form part of Iain Dowie's plans. He is a truly committed player who takes real pleasure out of his game and I hope that one day we will seem him back at The Valley in a coaching game and perhaps one day as manager?

England reject Darren Bent was at Wimbledon yesterday and did not watch the match against Portugal. Bent was eventually not selected as his Premiership goals tally did not compare well with the goals that might have been scored by Walcott if he had played any games at that level.

Angela from the West Stand will be providing her own take on events in Gelsenkirchen in a day or so. I'll just make a few comments. I think that limiting the number of strikers was a disastrous mistake, particularly when one of them (Walcott) was being provided with an expensive summer holiday/training camp which might be good for Arsenal but was no help to England.

Lumphard in my view had a disastrous tournament and my heart sank when he stepped up to take the first penalty. The Grauniad enumerated his shortcomings yesterday, but Turnip Taylor was still defending him on Radio 5. Although much of the blame must rest with Sven, I don't think that England were good enough to go any further. We have some very good players, but few genuinely world class ones.

At least I needn't now feel bad about being in Japan for the final. And while I'm away I expect that Charlton will make all their signings.