Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The quiet man

Amid the highs and lows, the cheering and jeering as well as the laughter and tears of supporting Charlton Athletic over the last few years, one man has quietly gone about his business, largely unperturbed by the froth on the service.

He is a man better known to most in the game than probably anyone else at our club. He managed and coached at 8 clubs over a 23 year period prior to joining us in 2011 and last year his influence saw our younger sides win three separate age group titles. When he joined us, I thought it might be the thin end of the wedge for Chris Powell and he could certainly step-up if asked. 

That man, of course, is Academy Director Paul Hart. He took his U18's side back to one of his former clubs last night and watched them battle back from 2-1 down to knock Forest out of the Youth Cup. Paul is 60 now and clearly enjoys coaching and developing young players more than managing the first team. His CV tells of the development of the Leeds side that briefly illuminated the game at the turn of the century before Peter Ridsdale burnt his fingers over-spending. He also worked marvels at Nottingham Forest leading their youth side to a league title and bringing on the likes of Jermaine Jenas, David Prutton, Michael Dawson and Andy Reid. With our current squad boasting more home-grown players than for a good few years, Paul Hart is continuing to grow talent and out-perform his peers.

News too yesterday, that we have indeed signed Standard Liege's reserve keeper, Yohann Thuram. I hope there is merit in this and that it's not just a stunt to look like we are getting something from the new owner because a goalkeeper is the last position we need addressing right now. Slightly more concerning is the wording accompanying the move which talks about Yohann needing game time. Ben Alnwick is undroppable in his current form and I would be very concerned if Chris Powell suddenly finds him a place in the side. 

Fingers-crossed for this evening. With the club's management holding it's breath, my guess is the game will go ahead (no more rain overnight) and we will get another fortnight in which to further improve the surface before we use it again.

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