Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Best wishes for 2016

As we approach the end of 2015, it's not one we can cherish as Charlton fans. Sadly, 2016 doesn't look like it will get any better and it could well get a lot worse. 

In the meantime, I have had a little look back over the year's posts and I would again like to thank all of you who take the team to read my outpourings. In particular, to those of you who took the time to fiddle with the authentication thing and successfully leave me a comment. The number of unique visitors is on the decline and has been for a couple of years, although I post less than I used to. As of today I have had 683,000 visitors since I started in August 2007. The current run rate is around the 5,000 mark a month on average but it's those of you who comment that give me the most satisfaction. During 2015 I had comments from around 55 of you have been bold enough to leave a name and hundreds more from eponymous Anonymous.

There are a mixture of regulars, some fellow Bloggers and some Charlton mates but thanks all the same to all of you;

Chicago Addick, PH, Pembury Addick, Martin Cowan, Bob Miller, Geoff, 801912601, Dave Walker, Devlin Powell, Pete, Pedro45, Scoops, Tony, Blucher, Dave the Train, AC, Brian Cowan, Kings Hill Addick, Wyn Grant, Marco, Confidential Rick, Bristol Addick, Hungry Ted, Thanet Addick, Ian, Boneyboy, Herek Dales, Thamesmeadirons, Bazza, Samuel, Colin G, Ray, Ketts, Stuart, Albury Addick,Matthew Blake, Buzzaboutabit, Colin G, Swede Addick, Malcolm, David Todman, Colin GPhil, Dan Briordy and anyone else I have managed to omit.

Happy New Year to you all and best wishes for 2016. I will raise a glass to you all tomorrow.


Roland, I shrunk the club!

Hi Roly Sweetknees,

Just wanted to update you on progress here in Charlton FC. It was great to see you the other week in person and the staff were all in amazement at seeing 'Father Chrissmuss" as they all called you afterwards. Thank you also for the strong words of encouragement to focus on the task.

Anyways, we managed a draw with Cellino's team as you will have seen. He was such a sweet guy and says he has a job for me anytime I want to perform it, but I am always happy serving you, Roland.

We didn't get the points at Burnly but Karel says he is hopeful next season if we play them again. We lost in the Wolverhempton game this week but it was too close to call and he said we weren't sharp in attack or defences in our box or in their box. I think too many presents for Karel at Chrissmuss, all these boxes! Karel was abused by the 2% at the end but he knows his job and he will carry on. He has tough shoulders and is too pleased to be in this special role. It's also true that the fans know we don't win the Kids-a-Quid games so no damage.

The new signings we are hoping to talk soon with will help things maybe. Karel thinks the squad can be competitive in League 1 with ambitions for the Championship without new players but we can't sell too many in one time. There are other young players we can register. We can have youngest side next season.

Bad news is Lookman has hurt his leg and maybe we can't get the money in January. The Doctor left this week so I will give Lookman a rub in the week to get better. I don't need to say again that to make the break-even, we must raise £2m in January. Johan will not speak with me and his agent was rude last time. He has told Karel he can't play for the team and I am looking for the holes in his contract. He hasn't played for the team even when he has played for the team now.

The new Comms guy will help us sell the season tickets for the next year. He will start when we need him to help us with this. Sales next year will drop by 50% they tell me on season tickets unless we cut costs again. We may need to shut the North Stand as well as the East as agreed. Savings of 20% more on match days costings. Everett tells me we can run with half the floodlights if we do that.

Cost-cuttings are good and staff now at minimum. I have also a Chrissmuss present for you, Roland. I have sold-off 80% of the ticket space to Call Centre for the International Health Service here in England. The deal is a win-win for us (which we don't get so many of) as it uses spare telephone capacity now fewer people want tickets on the match-days. Your great idea to close the ticket office to pest who can't get online one more day has worked and soon we move to another day closed until relegation. Next season youngest team in League 1 and all online sales. Young people love online :) Old people not so good online :( - except you Roland :).

My Web Summit expenses were cleared and I have lots of views on my interview with comments which will return the costs - no worries. Who needs a Comms guy eh?

One last thing. Peter Varney is making much of not listening to him. That Rick Brown one has now looked at embarrassing us by printing all the emails. I hope the fans can see for themselves that we do reply to the emails - well the polite ones :). Richard is very angry but no change there hey! He really is boring and I decided not to sit next to him anyways now.

Hoping to see you before D-Day.

Yours,

K x.

Chief Executive Officer
Charlton Athletic Football Club




Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Revelations

I bought a copy of Voice of the Valley yesterday but only got a chance to read it this morning. Two highly damning articles from former CEO Peter Varney that, frankly, are hard to comprehend.

In the first, titled "a problem with Murray," he talks about his last involvement with the club when he came back to broker the sale between Murray and Jiminez (Slater and Cash)i in 2010. Varney is very clear that Murray has tried on numerous occasions to taint him with responsibility for the decision to sell to Jimenez (Slater and Cash) and for the subsequent escalation in operating costs e.g. Steve Kavanagh's new contract. He explains why these decisions were Murray's and the Board's alone and goes on to talk about the parlous state of the club when 3,000 or more season ticket holders don't bother turning up every week and how the first team is being neglected which will spell ruin for the club in the long run.

There is then a second piece which is a complete exchange of 17 emails between Varney and Duchatelet/Meire and someone called Demi King between August and November this year. It's an illuminating account of a previously highly successful CEO of Charlton Athletic Football Club, attempting to get 30 minutes time in the diary of Duchatelet or Meire to discuss "an interesting investment proposal ..in relation to Charlton Athletic." 

This is not an unemployed has-been looking for work. It's the current CEO of Kuwaiti European Holdings Sports Ltd who are in the process of a £2,500,000,000 (yes, billion) development of the Swanscombe peninsula. He also happens to also be Chief Exec at Ebbsfleet FC. 

What the exchange reveals is either startling or no surprise at all, depending on your point of view. Frankly I am both amazed and unsurprised. The bottom line is that Meire cancels three pre-arranged meetings at short notice because she's too busy and it's clear from the exchange that Varney is not going to be entertained and they have no interest in hearing what he has to say, even for 30 minutes. We all know how busy Katrien must be what with trips to Dublin for Web Summits with trumpet-blowing interviews with foreign newspapers, but to fail to give someone like Peter Varney 30 minutes of your time is staggering. 

Personally, I have encountered a similar situation at work on more than one occasion when my boss has told me not to waste time with a Customer or Supplier but I have made the decision over whether or not to see them on my own merit. On occasions I have given them the courtesy, if nothing else. 

What to conclude from this?

First, I don't believe they haven't seen him because of any particular advice from Richard Murray. I don't think Duchatelet listens to Murray and Meire only does what she's told.

Secondly, you are left considering why they wouldn't want to hear Varney out for themselves, presumably having never even met him before. It's unclear from the exchange what the "interesting investment" might be. Personally, I would want to know if I were being asked to invest in anything or whether they wanted to invest in Charlton Athletic. It's pretty evident from the exchange that Duchatelet (and therefore Miere) have no interest in either. Varney is obviously credible so why not see him?

My conclusion would be:

1) They have badly misjudged Varney (and the business he purports to be representing), possibly on advice from Murray. That's most likely what Peter Varney believes given the piece on Murray and the emails that follow. However,  why not hear him out irrespective? I don't believe Duchatelet really listens to Murray, let alone acts on his advice.
2) They have absolutely no interest in selling up short-to-medium term. Given he's sold Standard Liege and looking at the direction of travel, I can't believe this or at least that he wouldn't be interested in a view on price  or share? If this were the case, why not shut Varney down in the first response instead of wasting his time over three months and a string of embarrassingly failed appointments?
3) Duchatelet has more fish to fry and has left it entirely down to his Chief Executive. Varney offers to meet him in Brussels in the first email, so it can't be about convenience. Perhaps it's just her sheer incompetence? I can't even believe that one. I mean, she has actually replied or got a minion to reply to most of his emails.

Mind-boggling. It also took 34 days to respond to the first email! This is hardly believable in the modern age in a business of Charlton's size. The initial email was addressed to Duchatelet but Meire was copied and it was her who eventually responded. I could believe a fortnight if someone was on holiday or possibly three weeks but nearly five weeks?


Monday, 28 December 2015

Charlton Athletic Nil v Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

Routine home defeat this. After the opening twenty minutes of enthusiasm and effort, our tempo dropped and Wolves realised we were there for the taking. They should have gone in ahead at half-time but Afobe failed to connect cleanly after getting goal-side six yards out and Henderson blocked. He was also a yard short of meeting a dangerous right-wing cross which beat the Charlton defence and Henderson.

The second-half start was delayed whilst the fourth official was brought into play. The ref had been knocked flying by first-half sub Makienok shortly before the break and clearly couldn't continue. Makienok himself had come on for Lookman who pulled a hammy in the first-half. We are having no joy with injuries but perhaps Lookman's will keep him with us through the January window? Anyhow, it took Wolves less than ten minutes to break the deadlock when Afobe stormed into our box and squared. The first effort was blocked by diving red shirts but the second was unmissable. After that it was really only a case of when they would score a second and that came in the 83rd minute when Lennon put through his own goal under pressure from a driven corner kick.

The best bit of the day was the spontaneous chorus that rang out after Wolves scored of "Stand up if you want them out" which was joined by what looked like half the home crowd. Even if it wasn't quite half it was certainly the majority of regulars given their were so many kid-for-a-quidders in today. Karel Fraye and Madame Meire must have been cringing.

As I left the stadium I could hear the Charlton fans singing about us always losing. There can be very few left who haven't now seen the writing on the wall with regard to Duchebag and Nightmeire. Even the biggest optimists will be struggling to see how we can avoid relegation.

Karel Fraye's post,match comments said it all for me - "second half we weren't sharp enough in either box, offensively or defensively." That's right Karel and you are the manager who picked the side and motivated them to go out and play what was not a great Wolves team. Your half-time team talk also had the desired affect as we conceded inside ten minutes. What's your next trick? Do the honourable thing and walk before you are pushed.


Sunday, 27 December 2015

Farewell Karel Fraye...

I reckon tomorrow will be Karel Fraye's last match in charge of team affairs.

With Diarra likely to miss through injury we will be reliant on the inexperienced central defensive pairing of Naby Sarr and Harry Lennon. In turn, their protection is likely to be Jackson and Ba. Sorry but I can't see any chance of a clean sheet and we will likely need to score several to win and I can't see that either.

I also suspect that our players will likely know that Fraye is teetering in the brink and one more depressing performance and a fifth home defeat will be enough for Duchebag to order his sacking so another extensive scouring of the world's best football coaches can be started by the ruthlessly efficient Katrien Meire. I fully expect her to announce the latest Flemish speaking Goon before the transfer window opens so he has maximum opportunity to bring in the eleven superstars required to avoid us slipping into the Third Division. Even now I am wondering who the Galactico signing will be. Sacking Fraye tomorrow night will enable a week in which to make the changes ahead of the home match with Forest.

Of course, the books will need to be balanced. Tony Watt's undisclosed transfer to Cardiff should be announced first and I am expecting us to sell at least one other. The spin on Watt could well be that he has been released reluctantly as the club wouldn't want to stand in the way of a player who wants to leave. Gudmundsson could well be the other. He has looked unhappy for a couple of months having extended with us in the hope of being part of a successful side. I suspect he's made it known he wants away and will be one we can sell relatively easily and pick up another undisclosed fee. Lookman is the other obvious candidate and any decision to sell him could be telling. He is clearly needed to help us avoid relegation and Duchebag is likely to get a much bigger fee in the close season or even later if Lookman continues to flourish in our first team. If we do sell, it may well suggest that Roly is working towards cutting his losses as he looks to bail out of Charlton Athletic. What's obvious is that our trading will confirm how keen or otherwise Duchebag is to avoid relegation. 

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Bristol City 1 v Charlton Athletic 1

Under normal circumstances there is no such thing as a poor point away from home. Indeed, a last minute equaliser usually feels like a victory. The mark of how apathetic and despondent most regular Addicks have become, is that many are expressing disappointment that we stole a point at Ashton Gate.

The general feeling of many, and I share it, is that we would rather take our pain all at once in a bid to get shot of Fraye and ultimately Duchatelet and the leech Meire. A draw gives a false semblance of competitiveness that Meire sees as success and it enables Duchatelet to procrastinate for another match, hoping Fraye throws a double-seven. The facts from this afternoon's match was that City were all over us and only woeful finishing preventing them from putting the result beyond any doubt long before our last gasp equaliser. They even managed to miss a penalty.

Karel Fraye was forced to make more changes again today with Diarra partnering Lennon in central defence. With Cousins and Jackson in central midfield again (our weakest pairing) it allowed Fraye to pick four strikers. It's all a bit 12 year old schoolboy tactics. Vaz Te and Lookman walk the striking roles but when you contemplate playing Makienok and Reza as well you are going to struggle to get any genuine width or keep formation. Almost inevitable then, that our goal came from a centre-half.

Not sure if I can be bothered with Monday. Friends beckon and my Mum was taken into hospital this morning. Perhaps I will have a better time holding her hand than suffering what I suspect will be the icing on another miserable footballing Christmas. Bah humbug.


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

I am encouraged to see that the Charlton Athletic Supporter Trust (CAST) has made a statement on it's website about the current disharmony amongst the club's supporters. It is overdue but it comes with a respectable degree of supporter qualification and it asks the pertinent questions. 

We need to know if Karel Fraye is staying or going. If he's going we need a decision sooner rather than later. Whatever happens we need an honest view on what the budget for January looks like and how we aim to avoid relegation. These are not questions Madame Meire can dodge for much longer if she's not to lose any shred of credibility she has left with some people (none with me obviously) and I see the Trust are asking to hear from the Organ Grinder himself. That speaks volume of their view of Meire following the recent emasculation meeting.

Our fixture at Bristol City is a six-pointer and I have very little confidence we will  get anything from it. We have a history of performing badly at Christmas and, for some unfathomable reasons, I always seem to remember being left scratching my head at the team selections and wondering what has happened. Years of seeing the best performing players suddenly missing and more kids thrown in which inevitably hasn't helped us gets results. I always wondered if some of our players simply went AWOL or got plastered on Christmas Day and were unfit to play or omitted from the Christmas fixtures. Perhaps there was more truth in that in the more distant past when fitness and measurement was less high profile and obvious.

In the meantime, I would like to wish you and your families a Merry & Peaceful Christmas.




Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A few bets for 2016?

New Year is always time for reflection and for looking ahead. Given the year we have just had, please forgive me for only wanting to consider what the future may hold for Addick fans. To help me weigh these up I am showing my own odds on them coming to pass.

1. Karel Fraye walking the plank before mid-January - 1-2

- I can't see us picking up the points we need for Roland to be able to justify making poor Karel our full-time manager (thankfuily). If we are to have any chance of staying up we will need a new manager bounce. Bye Karel - you will go down in Charlton history with Les Reed and Ken Craggs.

2. Charlton Athletic to go down - Evens

History and stats tell you that relegation beckons for those in the zone at the half-way mark. I see very little chance of Duchatelet spending what he needs to be sure of safeguarding his investment. I also think he would happily settle for a lower geared club and big fish in smaller pond syndrome. He could convince himself he would have a better chance selling us on as a newly promoted League One club as opposed to perennial Championship strugglers.

3. Katrien Meire to be sacked this season -3-1

Not as unlikely as some think. Roland's investment is going in the wrong direction and at some point he has to acknowledge the mess the club is in and her part in it. He has already shown us he can be ruthless as Chris Powell, Jose Riga, Bob Peeters and Guy Luzon will attest.

4. A five goal or higher walloping - 4-1

Got to be a real chance of this having suffered a 4-0 tonking already and on the back of a string over 3-0's, a few at home as well.

5. An official home gate of under 10,000 this season - 5-1

I can hear some of you dismissing this on the basis that we already have more season ticket holders. However, should we get past Colchester in the cup, we could be drawn at home against modest opposition.....

6. Roland Duchatelet to sell us on - 6-1

Not as unlikely as some may think. His Plan A has failed with FFP and it's hard to see what Plan B is without heavier investment. He was clear at the outset he had no intention of throwing money at the club. On that basis you have to consider that he is actively looking to sell. He has already sold his biggest footballing asset in Standard Liege and we are next in the value stakes.

7. Ademola Lookman to sign a contract extension - 7-1

Will he look at Diego Poyet and consider extending with us to get first team experience or maybe no further than Joe Gomez who was playing for Liverpool within months of leaving? Moneys talks.

8. Three or more recognised signings in January - 9-1

I am sure we will see a few new faces, especially if Fraye gets the tin-tack. However, we haven't a track record of bringing in established Championship-experienced players and given the expense and where Duchatelet might be in his head, I can't see him shelling out either.

9. A Charlton Player to score 10 or more this season - 15-1

Looking unlikely. Watt has gone and Lookman likely to go. Vaz Te has an outside chance but not at his present scoring rate. We are unlikely to fork out for a proven scoring capable of the equivalent of twenty a season.

10. Katrien Meire to acknowledge some of her bigger porkies - 50-1

Any betting field needs an outsider and there's sod all chance of her apologising because she can't see anything wrong.

What do you reckon?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Charlton prepare to move early in the January window

Confirmation from the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/35153159) that Pinocchio will conclude the sale of Tony Watt to Cardiff early in January. The article also says what we have already heard and suspected, that a sale deal was constructed when Watt left 'on loan.'

It's another lie and another feeble attempt to manage expectations. It's all been said already but we are going to regret selling Watt because of the player he will become and because of our own desperate need for him. The pressure's really on for Duchebag and Nightmeire to pull a few rabbits out of the hat in January. What's the chances given the fact they have already sold Watt? There's a lot more heat and anger yet to come.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Ambitious Burnley 4 v 'Competitive' Charlton Athletic Nil

As predicted, December is turning into a nightmeire of a month. A four-nil spanking at Burnley and we lost Vaz Te to injury. Will they bring Tony Watt back? No, because the deal's been done. Will they act on our interim Flemish-speaker. No, because he will get another chance at Bristol City and possible one last throw of the dice at home to Wolves. By then we will be points adrift and our chances of attracting anyone worth their salt will be diminished because they might realistically want a budget and a say in who comes in. So, expect another Flemish-speaker and several more unknown, undisclosed transfer deal arrivals to rock up to join the relegation battle with the kids.

Speaking of which, did you see the bench today? Pope, Sarr, Holmes-Dennis, Charles-Cook, Konsa, Bergdich and Ahearne-Grant. An average age of 20 and average number of appearances for us in single figures. Yep, let's milk that Academy because that's what it's all about now. Selling Lookman in January will be hailed as this year's must-do book-balancer.

Spare a thought, too, for the dwindling band if diehards who are still prepared to spend all day and plenty of money travelling to watch us away from home. A seriously humiliating experience the way things are going. Less than 250 there today. Maybe we need a Target Away following too? How about Target 20,000 Home and 2,000 Away? Put the focus group on the case. This needs some serious out-of-your-box thinking. Pass the Absinthe.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Charlton meh

I was eating posh Indian canap├ęs after 8pm last night speaking with a distant work colleague whom I discovered (much to my surprise) is a fanatical Boro fan, when he glanced at his mobile and told me were two-up. I replied "Lookman?" and he seemed impressed. I then suggested it wasn't all over and he said 'if you can't beat Bolton with a two-nought lead then you are going down." Indeed.

The Boro fanatic then proceeded to tell me that he once wrote to Steve Gibson in a moment of frustration and two days later his PA handed him a phone saying "there's a Mr Gibson wanting to speak with you." Steve Gibson spoke with him for half an hour and listened intently to everything my colleague had to say - the contrast and irony with our current situation couldn't be more stark.

With an unusually heavy head I have just about caught up with the verdict on our performance last night and it is all so sadly predictable. Around 8,000 actually present, dire performance and the only bright spot is an 18 year old who is doing all he can to ensure he has a brighter future next month away from SE7.

Whatever your perspective on the current owners, it's impossible not to view the club as a solvent shambles at the moment. Karel Fraye is a dead man walking despite the owner's desperation that he is able to carry it off. We have a total incompetent running the club who is presiding over a flawed strategy in an arrogant and patronising manner which is seeing the value of our club plummet as we become a League One outfit in terms of stature as well as performance. Target 20,000 empty seats is very close to achieving it's ambition and we still have half a season of suffering yet to go. Meire's response is to set-up an unrepresentative lame focus group - God help us.

Burnley must be rubbing their hands and even Bristol City will be targeting a six pointer over us. Christmas is always a difficult time for Charlton fans and this year promises to be a proper wipeout. 

Roll on 2016 but in all honesty it's most likely a relegation in Spring when I fear the club will take another massive and largely irreversible step backwards. I know I keep banging on about it but after 38 years I can't believe it has come to this and I think I am going to throw the towel in. 

The Cinnamon Club was a big disappointment last night (overpriced and under-spiced) but I didn't even think about our game until I was told the score and I am genuinely happier today because I wasn't there to suffer it. If it wasn't so sad and a tragedy in the making you might actually be able to laugh about it all.


Monday, 14 December 2015

Bolton nah

Bolton at the Valley tomorrow evening will be the lowest actual gate of the season so far. A perfect storm of sorts sees bottom-placed Wanderers, come to the Valley on a night match in December immediately following a home Saturday match. All on the back of increasing apathy and falling attendance numbers as season ticket holders can't be bothered making the effort and there is no longer a market for spare tickets.

Sadly, I am now amongst the number who will go if they have nothing better to do and tomorrow night I have a work event which I'd rather be at. I am hoping we fare better than the last five night games which have all finished in defeat. With two successive away games to come at Burnley and Bristol City, if we fail to beat Bolton, we could well be points adrift in the relegation zone, by the time Wolves visit on 28th December.

Speaking of which, Wolves is Quid-for-a-Kid which should, ordinarily, be close to a full house coming as it does on a public holiday. The current levels of disinterest will be truly tested this time around. Can we break 20,000?

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Charlton Athletic Nil v Leeds United 0

A disappointing match short on quality from both sides beset by ownership troubles. I fancied the draw before the game as we haven't had one in ten and it looked right on current form.

Harry Lennon made an impressive home debut (I think it was his first full first debut outing in SE7 but I could be wrong). As anticipated, he partnered Alou Diarra at the back as Naby Sarr was dropped. Solly and Holmes-Dennis tucked in alongside them.

The midfield saw Jackson return to partner Cousins and JBG was fit to start wide with Ademola Lookman on the other side enabling Reza to play up front with Vaz Te.

We had the better of the first-half but only really one Lookman shot to show for it. Leeds didn't have much more and we all hoped for better after the break. The second-half was better paced but full of mistakes and few chances until the latter stages. Vaz Te finished a fine move but his final touch was too tame to score and the Leeds keeper managed to steer it around the post. Both sides blasted over from distance with better options open before Leeds went for it in the last 15 minutes.

I've not been the biggest supporter of Leeds fans over the years but credit where credit's due, they gave the Upbeats stirring applause at half-time today on their lap of honour.

In the last fifteen minutes and with Charlton tiring fast, Leeds forced a number of corners and Henderson was tested on several occasions. After the move of the match, Leeds managed to square to one of theirs six yards out with only Henderson to beat but he snatched at his shot and somehow managed to hit the post. The Leeds fans were still celebrating at the back of the Jimmy Seed some twenty seconds after Henderson had taken the goal-kick. That was pretty much it and the point lifts us above MK Dons and just out of the bottom three.

Lookman was again the pick of the bunch. His pace threatened Leeds all afternoon but he was wasted on the wing. Shame we didn't have Tony Watt to call on today. Instead he earned Cardiff the lead having been taken down in the box after a fine solo run.

I attended the pre-match protest behind the West Stand. It was well attended and vocal but down on last time and with less onlookers, I would say c 300 in strength. Katrien Meire was visible in the Directors lounge above the main entrance enjoying the company of "The Manager-eater," Massimo Cellino, the current owner of the Leeds United Circus. No doubt La Meire will have been impressed with his 36 managerial appointments in 22 years at Calgiari although my guess is Massimo wouldn't claim that they were all successful appointments. At one point he turned to the protesters and smiled, shrugging, as if to say 'it's got nothing to do with me.' If he had looked a bit closer he might have picked out some Leeds fans amongst us. Irrespective, he got a chorus of what he could do with his £5 Pie Tax.

Bolton at the Valley on Tuesday. Surely we will win that one?

Monday, 7 December 2015

It's Colchester away.....

The F A Cup 3rd Round draw has served us a mouth-drying away trip to Colchester United on 9th January. The match-up is entirely in keeping with our fortunes in this competition since winning it in the last century. 

I am assuming we will be spared the embarrassment of seeing Calum Harriott running at us under the terms of his loan, although having been cup-tied at the weekend there is no chance of him being recalled to play for us. It will be a good opportunity for us to gauge ourselves against League One opposition and to write another sentence in our F A Cup history. I can't wait. I literally can't.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Welling 0 v Carlisle United 5

I was out all day yesterday with friends in London eating and drinking. There were a couple of Hammers, a Gooner and five Charlton fans amongst the throng which set-up some lively banter. I was asked before kick-off for an expert opinion on our chances of an unlikely victory at the Amex, given the bookies were offering 8-1. I reassured the Gooner that he would  be wasting his money on us. When we went two-up early on I was mocked for little faith and not knowing what I was talking about. At half-time and still two-up, I urged the same Gooner to fill his boots on the Seagulls at 9-1. He wouldn't and I couldn't be bothered to put anything on it.

The aftermath looks even worse with Harry Lennon and Gudmundson both crocked, Bauer sent off (he'll miss three) and Cousins limping. Karel Fraye looks to be on the plank and a defeat by Leeds at the Valley next Saturday could see him talking a walk.

Anyway, for a change of scenery and some fresh air, I drove over Shooters Hill today and took in the Wings second round F A Cup tie. There were plenty of Charlton fans in the Welling crowd as well as a former player in their side, although Harry Osborne got his marching orders after conceding a second penalty from which Carlisle wrapped things up.

I expected a bit more from the Wings. They struggled to create anything and St. Aime looked out-of-his-depth against League Two defenders. Wyke scored a neat opener, the first of three, and Carlisle netted their second on the stroke of half-time after Welling had managed to get a concerted spell of possession and a bit of pressure.

In the second half Carlisle won a penalty which Osborne was lucky to stay on for and which McEntegard in the Wings goal saved. A repeat from Osborne ten minutes later earned him a red card and killed the match off. Wyke netted again and got his third as it turned into a rout. Welling did hit the bar and were unfortunate not to have a penalty of their own but it was all too late. The half-time raffle funds were generously donated to The Cumbrian Relieve fund which was a nice touch for a club which operates on a shoestring. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

December Crunch

With our side hovering in 21st and desperate for some sustained competitiveness as well as points, December promises to a pivotal month and should influence what, if anything, happens in the January transfer window. 

I've had a look at the fixture list and it's not encouraging.

Brighton (a) - Currently top of the table and going great guns. I expect us to lose with something to spare.

Leeds (h) - Should be a match to get something from as their current plight mirrors ours, although they will come to the morgue with 3200 loud-mouth Yorkies and will make life difficult. They have a decent record in SE7 and I can see them taking something back up the M1.

Bolton (h) - This is a Tuesday night and i am expecting the morgue to resemble just that. The night-match stayers-away should ensure the actual attendance is sub-ten thousand as Bolton will only bring a few hundred. It could be a new era low. We should win this as they are currently bottom but we should have beaten Preston in our last home night match and we lost that 3-0.

Burnley (a) - Up in 5th and strongly competitive. I expect us to go down here on the Saturday before Christmas in front of a hardy band of travellers and our Northern contingent. I am supposed to be at this one with the returning Mexican but even he doesn't fancy it this year - sign of the times.

Bristol City (a) - A real six-pointer but we look like being in the mixer and might be blowing a bit by then. It's also Boxing Day when our players are usually digesting a huge meal the opposition didn't have. We don't do Christmas, do we?

Wolves (h) - last Monday of 2015 and the Old Gold should have plenty of vocal backing. A winnable game this but much will depend on fitness of the squad and confidence or lack of it gained from the previous games. I suspect it will be a fitting low point to end the year.

In summary, I think we are looking at 6 or 7 points from that lot which I suspect will have us in the drop-zone at the half-way stage. What will Roly decide to do then? Back his incompetent interim manager or hang him out to dry before appointing number Six? I am pretty sure we will see two or three new faces but I don't expect us to shell out. Surviving on half-rations this year should see us close to break-even but the risk of relegation will be very real, especially if we don't gamble in January.