Charlton's mini Cup fever this season looks likes fizzling out before Christmas.
Having been dumped out of the EFL Cup by Plymouth two weeks ago, Charlton's F A Cup journey hangs in the balance after that late equaliser from Stockport. Last night's 3rd Round draw offered us another unattractive home tie with Walsall. Hardly a big incentive to win at Stockport next Wednesday evening. I hope I am wrong but I can see Stockport stepping up at home and finishing us off. Ryan Rydel had chances to have won it at the Valley and I expect him to go one better next week.
That would leave us with only Premier League Brighton and Hove Albion's League Cup visit before Christmas and I suspect their B team would have little trouble in securing a victory at the Valley. Brighton does, at least, offer a sign of finally making some money from all the cup matches we will have played this season.
I believe Tommy Boy is about to make another u-turn, this time deciding to open all the home stands for home fans instead of the potentially damaging move of offering Brighton the Alan Curbishley Stand as well as the Jimmy Seed. Curbs made over 100 appearances for the Seagulls so it might have seemed fitting that their fans might get to sit in a stand named after someone who played for them, but I think Sandgaard may finally be feeling the anger and growing disillusionment amount Addicks supporters to his continuing mismanagement of the club.
The decision to limit home stand openings in the F A Cup, in particular, has lead to very small home crowds for the Coalville and Stockport fixtures. It's true that we have under-performed and disrespected this competition for long enough now to have done permanent damage, but forcing Covered-Enders and East-Siders (sorry Curbs) to relocate to the sterile West Stand has resulted in very poor attendances and a notable lack of atmosphere.
In addition to being a money-spinner, I suspect Sandgaard sees the Brighton game as the best shop-window he is going to get in which to encourage someone to take the club off his hands and end his cash-flow problems. Indeed, the sight of Charlie Methven at the Stockport game was both a worry and a sign, perhaps, of much needed change. Methven was renowned at Sunderland for three things;
1) Brokering the deal that sold the club from the American Ellis Short to Stewart Donald.
2) Managing to raise Sunderland's average home gate in League One to over 30,000 in 2018-19 with his Big Seat Change initiatives.
3) Coming across on Netflix's brilliant 'Sunderland 'Til I Die' series, as a wildly out-of-touch Hooray Henry.
He could, of course, have just been taking in a big game in the capital, but more likely, he was here as part of ongoing discussions with Thomas Sandgaard about numbers one or two. On the basis that his Big Change success at Sunderland, was a form of marketing unknown or disavowed by Sandgaard, and that his chances of repeating it at a club with a fraction of Sunderland's committed fanbase, is next-to-impossible, it looks to me very much like he may be brokering some kind of change of ownership. Worth noting, too, that Kyril Louis-Dreyfus is now the majority shareholder at the Stadium of Light, although Donald remains a stakeholder and, I believe, Methven himself holds 6%. Fingers-crossed then, that we can find new owners and break-out of the current strategic direction which is once again reducing the club to new lows.