Thursday, 17 August 2017

Managing expectations....

Before last Christmas, Karl Robinson decided that he was going to travel to Belgium to make his plea in person to Roland Duchatelet for more funds to strengthen the side in the January transfer window. To bolster his case, he took Katrien Meire and captain, Johnnie Jackson. On his return he told us that they had a frank exchange of views and we would need to see what happened. Nothing did happen and we continued to struggle until the last few weeks of the season.

During the Summer we have had the usual clear-out to cut the wage bill and have finally managed to offload big earners in Texeira, Vetokele and Watt amongst others. Most fans, myself included, were surprised we managed to hang onto Ricky Holmes, not because the fee being talked about was massive (£700k?) but because Holmes resisted the lure of Championship football. His new deal was a boost and it looks very much like we didn't push any deal for Esra Konsa, despite what appeared in the press as a lot of big club interest. The Ademola Lookman deal may well have emboldened Duchatelet to play the longer game here to optimise the transfer fee when it eventually comes. 

Robinson has tunnel-vision on playing a fluid midfield with only one striker and this might not be helping his argument for another striker. The signings of Mark Marshall, Billy Clarke and Ben Reeves gave some cause for optimism. However, we still looked short of realistic striking options, certainly for a promotion campaign. Magennis is injury prone and Lee Novak looks beyond scoring double-figures over a season nowadays. That leaves us with inexperienced options in Ahearne-Grant, Umerah or Hackett-Fairchild. So, we really do need another proven scorer and probably two to support any realistic promotion effort and the need to be able to play 4-4-2 when needed. 

Most Charlton fans can see this very clearly and Karl Robinson has been forced to comment in the Newshopper this week to help manage expectations. It looks very much like Duchatelet won't support Karl here and he is being told he can have limited funds which would only support bringing in the sorts of players who won't make any real improvement on what we have. This fits very much with Duchatelet's strategy of cutting and maintaining smaller operating losses so he can maximise profits when selling our most promising players. What happened to the £12-15m raked in last season for Lookman, Gudmundson & Co? Duchatelet's trousered it all arguing it offsets historical operating losses and the purchase of the club.

Given the pilgrimage to Belgium last year, how long will it be before Karl Robinson realises his career aspirations are at stake as well as the reputation of Charlton Athletic and is openly critical instead of telling us it's "not my fault?"


  1. I'm hoping this is just a negotiating ploy to help when dealing over a new striker, but i think your analysis of Roland's policy is far nearer the mark Dave. Real shame as I think the addition of a striker that play lone man would give us an outside chance of play offs. Without it I think my pre season prediction of just outside the relegation zone is more realistic.

    Pembury Addick

  2. PA - As you say, it is a shame if we are left just short of what is evidently required to believe we can mount a serious challenge. I suspect even Meire is making the right noises but the Old Goat isn't having any of it. I think he knows he needs to be seen to be doing something each year but not actually enough let alone even more than enough to show real ambition. Without additional firepower, I can't see us finishing much higher than mid-table. All the time the squad is left short, we risk another collapse which would be a disaster on an unprecedented scale for this club. The result on Saturday may help or hinder Robinson's case.


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