Friday 30 December 2016

Jay Dasilva on loan

In preparation for confirmation that Ademola Lookman's Charlton career is over, De Cloob have moved to bring in a temporary replacement. Eighteen year old Chelsea youth winger, Jay Dasilva, has signed on loan until the end of the season. On the face of it he is a close fit for Lookman - young, slight, attacking and will be playing on the left wing.

News too that Sheffield Wednesday are back looking to sign Morgan Fox. They were refuted to have offered £2m for him in August although I found that hard to believe considering we didn't sell. I assume the fee may be closer to £1m and that it will go through, partly because Duchatelet wants to cut his losses but also because Morgan Fox needs a change of scenery. He's become an easy target and scape-goat for a number of poor performances and results this season. Personally, I think he has the makings of a top flight full-back. He's not had great covering support for some time on the left and with a snail-paced centre-mid this season he has often been exposed and pulled about all over the place. I for one will miss him and wish him all the best for playing in a stronger side where I am sure he will hold his own in the Championship as he has done for us previously.

News too from Belgium that the Old Goat and his wife have been spouting more tripe to the media. This time he's making no bones about his lack of footballing ambition and again talking about attending games being a social occasion where everyone has fun (irrespective of the football)  - weird. Interesting to hear him again call Chris Powell unintelligent on the basis he didn't do what he was told by Duchatelet in terms of who to play and what formations. He also contradicts himself once again by claiming not to have told Powell who to pick or how to play.  I think we all know where we sit in terms of who is honest and intelligent, and who isn't.

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Farewell Ademola Lookman

As expected, Ronald Koeman has confirmed Everton's intention of signing our top scorer, 19 year old Ademola Lookman for £10m. Lookman is the latest in a long line of Charlton youth products to step up for big money. Following in the footsteps of Joe Gomez, Diego Poyet, Jonjo Shelvey, Carl Jenkinson and all those before them. Lookman's first team playing career with Charlton reminds me of Lee Bowyer. A slight lad making a big scoring impact from midfield. Interestingly, both have similar stats, Ademola 10 goals from 45 appearances whilst Bowyer hit 8 from 46.

On top of the £5m pulled in prior to the start of the season with the sale of Gudmundsson, Cousins and Pope, Duchatelet will effectively have recouped more in transfer fees in six months than he paid for the club.

Sure, he has racked up large operational losses during the last three seasons but also had the fees from Kermorgant, Stephens, Poyet and Gomez to offset those. The relegation to League One has also meant that Meire has again cut the operating cost of the club which helps reduce those ongoing losses. If only she hadn't wasted all that money on paying off 7 managers in the meantime and all those Driesen Duffers who either never made it or who we have continued to pay for despite having to ship them off to other clubs in the hope of one day recouping a fee.

All the focus now is on how much bacon the Scouser and his team have managed to bring back from their train trip to visit The President in his St. Truiden lair. This will make fascinating viewing....

Tuesday 27 December 2016

MK Dons 0 v Charlton Athletic 1

Both clubs and their supporters can be excused for feeling thoroughly sick of the sight of each other after the fourth tight game in a few months. Fair to say none of them have amounted to much and yesterday's was another drab affair settled by another Lookman goal. MK had early chances to have taken the game by the scruff of the neck but spurned them.

The win lifts Charlton just into the top half of the table and staves off any serious relegation threat for now at least. Thoughts now turn to what could be a pivotal January transfer window. News today that Madame Meire, Manager Robinson, Assistant-Assistant Richie Barker and Captain Jacko are off to St. Truiden to visit Santa Claus Roland Duchatelet to plead their case for what Robinson describes as "two midfielders hopefully, and a winger." Robinson also spoke with 'The President" after the Millwall game when he claims to have set the visit up and was consoled on his derby loss. 

Not sure what to make of this - does Meire need help in persuading The President? Worryingly, they will be taking in the St. Truiden v Standard match so I hope it's not to run the rule over over more network players. Robinson's comments hoping for two midfielders sounds a tad desperate. I assume the winger is a straightforward replacement for Lookman and that Robinson wants some spare change from that deal to strengthen the engine room which is unable to get out of second gear with the current incumbents. 

Duchatelet now has an 'on message' English manager and a side that looks like it may have found it's level. A big cash injection from Lookman and the prospect of more to come from Konsa if they can avoid over-playing him as well as longer shots on Aribo and O'Hanlon who are both now getting opportunities. The President may be sitting more comfortably now that his Player-farming model in a lower-geared cost club looks like it is beginning to work and might help reduce his paper losses to the point where he can get out without taking a massive haircut.

Meanwhile, supporting Charlton Athletic remains a desperate struggle for those still going. An empty stadium with the accompanying lack of atmosphere. A side that splutters from one match to another looking to grind out results. A harridan of a Chief Exec who has zero credibility but is still lording it over us. A thinly disguised PR machine making the best of what's a limited plan that prioritises cutting losses and moving to profit over ambition and results. Short-termism in the planning and cynicism in the execution. 

The Club is at the lowest point in it's 111-year history and the slow decline will continue and, in my opinion, we are much more likely to be involved next in another relegation struggle than a promotion push. They can say all the like in the media but he needs to sack Meire as a starting point to any serious intention to change or make a realistic go of his responsibilities as owner of Charlton Athletic Football Club.

Monday 26 December 2016

Leyton Orient 3 v Crawley Town2

Spur-of-the-moment decision this morning to take a game in. I couldn't face watching Charlton so it had to be a game in London and one where I could pay on the day. Orient at home and kicking off at 1pm, so no-brainer.

I was there inside an hour and it looked very much like I was the only pay-on-the-day customer when I walked into the ticket office. The girl behind the desk looked bored rigid and handed me a ticket from below the desk which made it look like there was only one left. Thought £24 was a bit steep for League Two but it didn't include any walk-up surcharge.

Anyway, I took my place behind the home goal and sat down to enjoy an excellent first-half where the O's really tore into Crawley and had them on the rack for the first thirty minutes. It was great to see two wingers playing in tandem and at pace. Massey on the right caused allsorts of problems and Sandro Semedo on the left fed the ball back into the box on numerous occasions. I have really missed this sort of home performance. We haven't managed to play like this for years and I have been putting it down to the relatively increasing competitiveness of Championship football and our general decline.

Both O's front men scored in the opening period. First Sam Dolby headed home from six yards and then McCallum swept in a second from the same spot. They could have had a third before a penalty on the stroke of half-time should have ended the match as a contest. McCallum stroked home for three as I made my way down for  pie.

I was fully expecting five as I retook my seat but Crawley really made a game of it in the second-half. The O's were clearly defending a lead but when they came under pressure they looked shaky. Both full-backs, Judd and Hunt struggled to contain Crawley's wide-men and Cisak in goal began to flap a little, especially after the visitors pulled one back. Orient didn't take the hint and it took a second after 78 minutes before they really came out again looking for a fourth. Semedo cut in from the left on the overlap and might have scored but his drive was well held by Morris in the Crawley goal. Crawley finished with a flourish but their 295 fans left disapointed as the O's held on.

The gate was 4,486 which looked much better in their compact stadium and I am pretty sure there were not the thousands of comps given out as at Charlton. I could never follow another club like I have done Charlton, but it was good to know I haven't completely lost my love for football.

Home to coupon-busting news that another Ademola Lookman goal took the points against MK Dons and against the perceived wisdom, especially anyone  who has suffered either of the last two Charlton showings, although we weren't much better by all accounts. In addition to sorting the engine room out, Duchatelet will need to sanction a decent replacement for Lookman when he moves out next month.

Saturday 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

As my mate and fellow Blogger, Chicago Addick, heads to Buckhead just north of Atlanta for his Christmas, I will be spending mine in Charlton, Inner London (Merry Christmas S). I'm not complaining, like CA I love being at home at Christmas and will be joined by my closest family tomorrow for the Christmas Dinner and family fun.

I had jobs all day yesterday which started with walking the dog and finished with delivering a few gifts and a dash to the self-service tills at Sainsburys for a few business-as-usual bits. It was there I had the pleasure of spotting Patrick Bauer and his other half. No-one else in the busy store recognised him but I couldn't miss the opportunity to wish him a Merry Christmas. He's taller than I expected, probably exactly the same height as me (but probably only 60% of my weight). I didn't want to get this wrong so said "Mr Bauer" to break the ice and ensure it wasn't Jimmy Smith. He said "yes" in an unmistakeable if slightly reluctant German accent, looked slightly nervous and then swallowed hard. When I said "Merry Christmas" and offered him my hand, a broad smile and a slight sense of relief broke over his face. I am too old for selfies, but it was good to shake hands with the BFG. 

Anyway, I am about to head off out with my dog again as I savour Christmas Eve and enjoy the waiting for Christmas Day. Wherever you are, I wish you and your families a peaceful and pleasant Christmas.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Man Management

Karl Robinson's post match press conference last night made uncomfortable viewing. He was clearly frustrated and more than a little embarrassed but he can't help adding gloss to the situation and talking in riddles. Given what a woeful performance it was, he acknowledged it wasn't good enough and then said we bossed the opening 45 minutes! It's been said he sounds like David Brent and I am hearing it more and more every time he opens his mouth.

In his first weeks he was bigging his squad of players up talking about the wealth of talent and how excited he was to be managing them. Yesterday he was talking about how close we are to the January window and how he needs to bring new players in. 

He has also done something that I really disagree with. He's washing his dirty laundry in public by saying that he will be speaking to all of the players one-by-one looking for 'the truth.' He has said he will ask them to write down what they think is going wrong and what improvements can be made. I am not sure this works in practice and it certainly won't work better for him telling the public he's doing it. Presumably, at least part of what's not working will be stuff the individuals simply won't tell him. If any of them are disillusioned with the number of managers we get through, they probably won't want to tell him. If they don't like the cut of his jib, they probably won't tell him. If they think we have too many back room staff, they probably won't tell him. If they think he's tactically hopeless, they probably won't tell him. Given his propensity for blabbing to the media, he's likely to get a load of anodyne answers which will get him nowhere.

Prefacing the conversations with this gem is also unlikely to help the situation; 
“People need to understand what it takes to play for this club. We have to be better. If people cannot accept  that, then I am not the man for them to play for." You might not be Karl but they can probably hang on for another couple of months if they don't like it, safe in the knowledge they won't be playing for you.

If you want to build the players back-up, do it, don't talk about it to the press because they will see it and realise you are playing games; “It might be a bit of positivity towards them as well. To build them back up. Do not see it as a negative. I want to build them back up."

Finally, “I am straight and hopefully my players appreciate that they get told the truth.” What does this mean? That they will be grateful for being told he doesn't rate them or that their recent performances haven't been acceptable? Does he not think they experience a poor game as individuals and as a team, and that they don't see or acknowledge results and league placings?

Karl Robinson obviously hasn't hit the ground running and I suspect the added ideas and instructions from Robinson and O'Loughlin might not be giving the players a joined-up view of what's needed. When you add the arrival of Richie Barker into the mix yesterday it looks like we have too many cooks. Scrooge won't want to keep paying for this lot but who will go first? If Robinson can't get a couple of results quickly my money's on O'Loughlin getting the gig I suspect Duchatelet was content to give him but was talked out of by those closer to the frontline just a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, following Charlton continues, almost unbelievably, to get harder and harder. All clubs suffer peaks and troughs but what have we done to deserve what's happening? Relegation, shocking football in an empty stadium, being insulted by the owner and lied to repeatedly by the Incompetent One. It's on a par with Luton and Portsmouth before us but their fans weren't driven away amidst it all. The way things are going, Daisy will preside over a further collapse in season ticket sales next season, irrespective of what division we are playing in. Given we have the single worst owner in the club's history presiding over the biggest failure in the club's history, it will not surprise me if we end up playing at the lowest level in the club's professional history next season. Unfortunately, Karl Robinson is looking like he doesn't possess the man management and motivational skills necessary to arrest the decline. 

I'm just glad I won't be suffering another 'performance' until the New Year. What price Bristol Rovers, recently spanked by Kevin Nugent's carefree swashbucklers, to return and take the points from Karl Robinson's eleven?

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Millwall 3 v Charlton Athletic 1

My works Christmas bash today so I had a perfect excuse not to be suffering the New Den. As it happened I was on the train passing the ground at 7.30 and was tempted to jump off at Deptford, even without a ticket. As it was I stayed put and have followed the match from home on the internet.

So pleased I stayed on the train. More inept drivel and two goals conceded shortly before half-time killed us off. So much for the usual up-for-it Millwall bullshit from players and manager. No heart, no fight, rolled-over once again. Karl Robinson, two draws and three defeats - you don't look like the Messiah to me. A great bunch of lads, amazing talent, January could be a defining month, I have a little feeling.....oh dear Karl, looking and sounding like a busted flush. Let's do our talking on the pitch - yes, let's, when? Ajose pulled one back and we quickly conceded a third in typical Millwall fashion as if to underline how shit we are.

Are they seriously going to give this guy funds in January? Promotion will be beyond us and it will quickly be about next season, assuming we don't get sucked into another relegation battle. MK Dons will be rubbing their hands on Saturday and Southend will hardly be quaking in their boots. Embarrassing, absolutely embarrassing. Meire and Duchatelet are reaping what they have sown - gross negligence and total incompetence.

Where's Driesen? Let's hear what the boy scout has to say. Very wise after the events. What impact is Chris O'Loughlin having exactly? Robinson thought he was going to add something - what? He's your equally useless replacement Karl, just a matter of time. You have been made to look a right fool Robinson. All mouth and no trousers - Scouse gobshite. Post match press conference will be another humiliation as you weasel your way around your own ineptitude and your squad short-comings. Absolute joke of a set-up. Weak squad with poor management and invisible leadership. My £100 at 25-1 on relegation is looking tidy.

When are you talking to the fans Karl? You have already blown the honeymoon period. You will get slaughtered now. Been brilliant has it since you joined? Just what's been brilliant? Everything but our performances and results? Don't worry, Duchatalet doesn't give a toss, he's probably not even noticed. Daisy will have majored on your draws.

Have the last seven (7) managers been absolutely useless or is there a larger common denominator like a broken back-room and inept leadership? Lack of continuity and complete uncertainty. I can blame Meire for making lots of poor choices but I think we all know what the fundamental problem is - an arrogant, ignorant, stupid owner.

Monday 19 December 2016

The last veneer

Roland Duchatelet was interviewed on Belgian TV yesterday and did his best, once again, to anger an insult as many Charlton fans as possible. The PR professionals he's paying for really are labouring in vain. They have managed to restrict Katrien Meire from putting her foot in it so frequently but they have no call over the bonkers Belgian billionaire.

Courtesy of Weegie Addick's translation blow, I have pointed out the bits that are the most insulting.

Presenter: STVV doing well – must please the owner and chairman, RD, welcome.
RD - Yes, a relief. Football is sometimes good, sometimes bad. The meaning of football for me is for people to meet and enjoy themselves and (at STVV) it’s always a party - we always have dancing after the match – that’s the tradition there.
Presenter: Last month you were 70 – belated congratulations – also an age to look back on things. But your sporting activities are still topical. Emails have recently come to light in the media in England that you sent a while ago to the former coach of Charlton, your club there. We have a few extracts from them (shows the Thuram email and the tactics one). Do you still support the sending of those emails?
RD Yes, of course, that was just after we had bought Charlton. That involved an awful lot of money – buying such a club in England. We had of course thoroughly investigated everything with our scouts beforehand, screened all the players one by one, what they were good at it, what they were not good at, the kind of mistakes they made etc. Our scouts knew them much better, I think, than the coach who was there. Then we also brought in half a dozen players whom we knew and the coach didn’t know and we tried to help the man, while the team were more or less last in the division.
Presenter: Should the sporting staff not have independence?
RD: I think in principle they were independent. They could make their own decisions. (Presenter makes a gesture suggesting they might be moved out and RD begins to get irritated.) If people don’t understand, if the coach could not understand, that he was getting help, and threw that help in the rubbish bin, when he was getting all these players whom he didn’t know, and he thinks he can continue without the advice from outside, well, then he is not a clever person and those who think the same are also not clever. In principle we were giving them the advice so they had responsibility and could take responsibility and that is how we work. I find it very stupid that a person who is getting help, an important person for the club, does not accept it. I also find that the activists, some activists at the club, who from their reactions think the coach was right, well they are just stupid people too.
Presenter: So imagine if the head of the Belgian FA (?) sent a letter to Roberto Martinez saying select him or select him, you would find that OK?
RD: Yes, I do it with other coaches, certainly at the beginning. It’s good for a coach that there is consideration/ discussion. When STVV were regularly losing and letting in a couple of goals a game, I called in the coach and said, you can do what you want but you have to stop letting in two goals or we’ll never win a match, bad football, whatever, but no more two goals conceded each match. He went away and thought about and changed some players and you see the results. I think it is good that there is such discussion.
Presenter: Moving on. Charlton – there is a group there, some supporters, I won’t say all supporters, who are strongly protesting. (Describes protest and shows footage of the birthday encounter and the coffin). Is this situation still retrievable?
RD: Football is itself emotional, of course, but there are a number of people behind this who are doing it for all sorts of reasons.
Presenter: They are not real supporters, you are saying?
RD: They are activists acting out of other considerations than pure interests of the club. Of course when things are not going well with the club…It is not the first time. It is the third time. (Presenter points to a picture of the taxi). They started it when I let that famous trainer go – the one who was only getting a point per match. Then Jose Riga came in and with all the other players that the other coach had said were bad players, got 1.5 points per match and saved the club, then it all stopped.
Presenter: With all these things going on are you not planning over time to sell the club?
RD: Look, no, yes, well, I got into football in the first place as a sponsor. I think I have done a reasonable job but I am also not planning to be doing this forever. It’s unexpected that I’m now back in football at STVV because the club had to be sold by the former to someone else and there wasn’t anyone and it was also an annoying situation, but actually I think that I can input much more in other areas – in social/ economic areas.
Presenter: We’ll come to that. So now that you are 70 have you not had enough with these clubs?
RD: Well, for a while, it is now two years since I sold Standard. (Not quite catching the next bit). Football for me has become less important. I have done calculations – I will only reach a certain age.

1) Final proof, if any were needed, that Duchatelet was meddling with Powell's team selection and tactics, just like Powell told us. One of Meire's biggest and most oft repeated lies. The half-a-dozen players he brought in that were better than what we had! Thuram, Polish Pete, Loic Nego, Reza for starters. 

2) Independent my arse. I reckon Duchatelet and Driesen are interfering right now with Robinson. Two youth substitutions, one a debut, in the 90th minute on Saturday? Box ticked?

3) Powell not a very clever man and protesters stupid! Huh?

4) He suggests Riga got more from the expanded squad than Powell had managed but conveniently forgets the fact that Riga stuck with Powell's old squad to get out of the meire. He ditched the inadequates that they tried to foist on Powell. 

5) Sooner rather than later Roland - big party when you pop your clogs.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Charlton Athletic 0 v Peterborough United 2

For once this season I put Charlton on my accumulator. Buoyed by the spirited showing at Valley Parade last week I expected us to roll Peterborough United over. How wrong was I?

Another pile of crap served up at home. So much for Robinson's guff about every player of his fighting for the shirt. So much for all that tosh about this brilliant group of players and all the learning and bonding. A first-half of turgid drivel. The closest we got to a chance was a cross shot which was deflected up into the air and collected with ease by their keeper. Piss-poor.

After what I presume was the Scouse rant at half-time, we looked bothered for ten minutes. Magennis charged in from an acute angle and shaved the far post. Jose was furious not to have scored with a slight pullback but, frankly, I suspect Josh came closer to scoring that Ajose would have. Minutes later, the bemused Botaka saw a deflected shot touched onto the bar by the Posh goalie. After that and until I left for much needed refreshments, we were hopeless. 

Karl Robinson's post-match presser will be interesting. More positive spin or a dose of reality? This is a poor League One and we have a squad playing with less than average heart and commitment. The exodus of Lookman in January will be telling. What will the manager be given to spend? How will the remaining players respond? Crofts and Ulvestad are pedestrian in midfield and both need to be replaced. Magennis is alone upfront. Ajose is too small and ineffective. We have little wide threat without Holmes. 

This isn't a strong division but we look vulnerable. If Robinson can't carry this squad, and it looked very worrying today, we are bang in trouble.

Millwall were skelped at Scunthorpe today but half their usual fight against us on Wednesday will be enough. After that we go to MK Dons who know how to beat us before an awkward trip to Southend on New Year's Eve. The next home match against Bristol Rovers could be a new low. Yes, I am feeling pretty glum.

Roland, Katrien, anything to say? Thought not....

Wednesday 14 December 2016

MK Dons 3 v Charlton Athletic 1 (aet)

Forget Brighton, we've ended our participation in this season's Cup competitions and can concentrate on securing our League One berth for next season.

Karl Robinson put a very positive spon on things once again - he really does see the best in everything - although those there were somewhat less overwhelmed. We did field a younger side but not sure everyone will necessarily remember this one for the rest of their lives....

Good enough to hold the draw after 90 minutes we capitulated on the opening period of extra time and that man Bowditch killed us off with the third.

Meanwhile, Roly looks like he may get at least £11m for Lookman in the January sales...

Sunday 11 December 2016

Bradford City 0 v Charlton Athletic 0

A second successive nil-nil for latest manager Karl Robinson but this one was a much more entertaining affair against a better side than last Saturday's Cup snore-fest.

It was my first (and only?) away match of the season and I made the trip to spend the day with Mexico City Addict who is back for Christmas. We went up on the 9.03am and I was pleased to see 'Dave the Train' and his lad Matt join us. Three of the of the old gang back in harness and Mexico Addict had another surprise when we changed trains as 'Leeds Paul' joined us. Paul used to sit next to me in the East until his job with the Post Office finished and he no longer had any reason to be in London on Saturdays. The pair of them hadn't met in 15 years, so we all had plenty to catch-up on. That was done over a pints in Weatherspoons in Leeds and the station pub outside Bradford Interchange. 

Up to the ground then and I was pleasantly surprised by a much improved Valley Parade from my last visit at the end of the 1996-97 season, the night Tony Blair's new Labour government was swept into office. The ground now boasts two impressive new stands which dominate half the ground and are clearly a legacy from City's brief spell in the Premiership. The 550 visiting fans were packed into the compact upper tier of the small two story effort behind one of the goals. It was also good to be in a reasonably full stadium again.

It was a good enough view to watch an impressive first-half from the Addicts. Dillon Phillips was confident in goal and with a solid back four we limited Bradford until the second-half. Jason Pearce limped off after five minutes to be replaced by Tex who immediately settled in alongside the combative Bauer. Cons was assured at left back and Chicksen was probably my man-of-the-match for a powerful display on the right against the quick and tumbling City winger, Marshall.

The midfield problem was still apparent although with only three deployed in Ulvestad, Crofts and Botaka, it meant we played the ball forward more for Novak, Ajose and Magennis. The front three lead the break-out very well in the first-half and we had City back-pedalling for prolonged spells. Magennis gave a Kermorgant-like performance harassing the back-line and cross shot from an Ajose through-ball rebounded off the inside of the City post having beaten keeper Doyle. He struck the timber again with a fine header before the break as we pushed for the lead but we needed Phillips to rush out of goal and be big to stop Hiwula before the whistle.

After the break City did more pressing and they played some good football from the back and with pace out to their wingers who pegged us back and supplied a stream of crosses which Texeira and Bauer dealt with. Chicken and Konsa were also very busy stemming the flow and we restricted City to another Hiwula effort which Phillips diverted off-target at full stretch. Bauer can feel hard-done-by to be sent off for a second yellow five minutes before the end. He was booked for an obstruction which looked to me as much as his opponent was looking for it. He does have to learn to curb his points tallying without losing any of his assertiveness.

At the end of the match, Karl Robinson was quickly over to celebrate with his players in front of us and he persuaded a reluctant Hanlon (I think) to take his shirt off so Robinson could hurl it up to the applauding Addicks in the top tier. "He thinks he's Jurgen Klopp" was the comment alongside me.

All-in-all a good point and a fair one as a City fan agreed with me in the Midland Hotel after the game. It was also a good day out and a reminder of old times. When will they return I wonder?

Sunday 4 December 2016

Charlton Athletic 0 v MK Dons 0

Glad I missed this yawn-fest. The gate of 4,982 (639 from MK) must be the lowest F A Cup gate at the Valley in living memory. Too early to condemn but no visible signs of the relentless attacking football promised by Karl Robinson. Plenty of playing to the gallery by all accounts (all Scousers are comedians) and he's still bigging up his employers which is probably a little naive however you see things. The draw means we will play MK three times this month. Karl will be pleased to be the centre of attention.

Big shout out for the Belgium 20 who were again in St. Truiden yesterday and who again managed to confront a for-once happy looking Roland Duchatelet who accepted up to 200 Christmas cards/letters from bitter ex-employees, having first established that they weren't from C.A.R.D. Not sure Roly really understands what a coalition is but he might join the dots if he reads any of the letters. I really hope he's read mine.

I'm off to Bradford next week because an exiled Addick and mate is home for Cnristmas and wants his fix. I can hardly wait.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Doing your homework

When you really research a subject in depth and can talk about it with absolute authority, you can make a compelling and powerful argument. Amid all the claim and counter-claim in the battle between Duchatelet and Meire and the protesting supporters of Charlton Athletic, much of the debate has lacked facts, evidence and authority.

Hats off then to the producers of the four part 'Getting to know the Network." In the first two parts they have reached parts others have been unable to.

My fellow blogger Hungry Ted covers it perfectly here....

You can't argue with facts from the horse's mouth or plain evidence and they have managed both. Please listen......

Jimmy Stone - tikabowson - you have a chapter to yourself in Airman Brown's next best-seller.....

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Meire & Duchatelet exposed

The eminent WW1 historian, Clive Harris, talks about the conclusion to the war as a series of stunning and decisive battlefield victories which saw us climb out of the mud of Flanders and roll Jerry back.

The analogy here is not dissimilar to the stunning series of victories the Clubs protesting supporters have scored against Roland Duchatelet and the Vichy Regime of Katrien Meire. A decisive victory has yet to come but it can't be far off after today's email revelations....

This piece in the Mail reveals damning emails that expose the truth of Duchatelet's interference with Chris Powell's team selection and tactics within days of ownership. It also joins the dots on the Thomas Driesen affair and shows, yet again, that Katrien Meire has continued to lie in an effort deny the truth.

Anyone with a shred of personal integrity would have walked by now let alone have been deserving of the sack multiple times over. You have to wonder if perhaps Meire is actually related to Duchatelet. That's about the only plausible explanation for why he continues to let her crucify the business that was once Charlton Athletic as she washes away his investment in our club.

The club's response? "We dont comment on private emails." The equivalent of the bang-to-rights criminal's "no comment." Surely, there can be no Charlton fans left still defending the indefensible?

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Karl Robinson - Duchatelet's No.8

It may have taken a week, but Karl Robinson was finally confirmed as our latest Manager yesterday. He travelled to Bristol last Tuesday to watch Kevin Nugent get a five goal performance out of his temporary charges and it was strange that Nugent was left in charge on Saturday whilst Robinson took a seat in the Directors Box. Did they want to risk avoiding him start with a defeat I wonder?

In any event he was revealed to the SLP in an unusual press conference where he was interviewed alone standing in the West Stand. All very low key but maybe that was deliberate after the embarrassing fawning over previous managers whose tenure was short-lived and consequently damning for Meire. It may also be a sign that new Comms Manager, Tom Rubashow, has managed to avoid the high risk of Meire putting her size tens in it once again.

I was impressed with the enthusiasm Robinson displayed and by the commitment of his language towards ensuring his players understand the importance of the shirt. He would also appear to be genuinely impressed to be at a club with significantly more pedigree than MK Dons. I wasn't miffed either at his comment about the need for "unity" between the fans and the club's employees. It is what we need to succeed but therein lies the issue when the Owner's true ambitions fall short of what the fans and the clubs employees actually want to see.

I was left with just one big disappointment and that was the hard-to-believe comment that Robinson asked Chris O'Loughlin to stay on and not return to Belgium (or the Congo). I have to believe that O'Loughlin was actually Duchatelet's first choice or that he was deployed as a spy-in-the-camp as he learnt the ropes for future elevation. If O'Loughlin was a first choice when he was redeployed two weeks ago, it may well be that they changed their mind and went for another English-League-experienced managerial appointment when the cynical fan-base rumbled their intentions, and that accepting Congo Chris as a number two was effectively a condition of employment for Robinson. They may have agreed to save Robinson's face by allowing him to bring in his own man additionally. That would mean too many cooks in my view so I would expect the unfortunate Kevin Nugent, as a minimum, to be exiting stage-left in short order.

Robinson may have had a limited non-league playing career but his managerial record at MK Dons is admirable and they have largely punched above their weight under him. That's precisely what Duchatelet needs him to do in order to stem the protests, win-back some of the fans and make the club more saleable. Whether he can do that with a limited depth squad and the sale of Lookman in January looks a tall order but perhaps he will get some of the proceeds to strengthen our Achilles' Midfield? He first needs to get one over his former club - not always an easy task.

Monday 28 November 2016

Charlton Athletic 1 v Sheffield United 1

This was the fifth home match in all competitions that I have missed this season. I planned a weekend in Amsterdam with my wife for her birthday which was a no-brainer given the state of Charlton Athletic Football Club. I have to say that I didn't even think about the match during the afternoon and it was early evening before I learnt that we had sneaked another undeserved point via a another late, late goal, the sixth time we have done it this season. As we know, these things have a habit of evening themselves out over a season so we can expect to lose points in similar fashion. Millwall to score two late goals to snatch a draw next month?

Anyway, I was pleased to see that those who care enough to do something about the predicament we are in were out protesting again and that we managed to stop the match once more with a hail of rubber taxis. It would appear that some of the fans we have who are pre-disposed to Duchatelet but can't bring themselves to protest, because they think the nature or the protests aren't direct enough for their liking or that they think it's all Rick Everett's doing, are now becoming quite aggressive and threatening via the internet. Internet warriors - how pathetic? I believe some were also more directly disrespectful and anti at the match. This is a sad state of affairs given many of those don't support the regime and aren't doing anything themselves to fight Duchatelet but pontificating and telling others what they should be doing or not doing.

I am sure CARD will reflect on this but we have to ask ourselves what are we prepared to tolerate? I have been asking myself this question for a long time as any regular readers will know. I am simply not prepared to tolerate an absentee owner who has delegated his control and all practical management to an incompetent like Meire who has actively alienated the fanbase, shrunk the fabric of the club, seen us relegated, sacked seven managers so far and doesn't even know when she's telling lies because she tells them so often. The direction of the club is still trending downward and we are very obviously becoming a feeder club which is content to operate small-time and rely upon player sales to make up the running losses or even turn a small profit. 

What that means is that the match-day football will inevitably lack funding, ambition and long-term planning. That is exactly what we are now clearly witnessing and which is why the quality of the team is poor, why we have no continuity of management and why we are driving our fans away. Having missed five homes so far this season I see we have another uninspiring home game against MK Dons on Saturday in the Cup - sub-4000 anyone? It may be Karl Robinson's first full game in charge and against the side he took down with us last season but it's not one I can muster any enthusiasm for and I wonder how far I am away from packing it in altogether.

I hear rumours of potential buyers and Non-Disclosure Agreements and I read in the Standard tonight that the Saudi's are interested in buying a few London clubs that they would actively invest in and who could help them to establish clubs they own in the fledging domestic league. I am sure it could get worse than Duchatelet but it could also be so much better and it's a risk I would jump at. 

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Bristol Rovers 1 v Charlton Athletic 5

A second shock result in succession. Kevin Nugent couldn't have done more since stepping in as Caretaker but with uncanny timing, the Regime moved to appoint Karl Robinson last night.

Robinson was at the match and reportedly told one fan that we needed to "stick together and stop the protests from Saturday." Incredibly naive if true. His press conference should be interesting because even network appointee Jose Riga was wise enough to avoid that pitfall.

Five different scorers last night suggests that Nugent's approach differed considerably from Slade. He was far more positive with his game plan, played two upfront and carried the game to our hosts. Just what those still watching have been crying out for for weeks.

Sheffield United will be backed by 3000 noisy Yorkies when they arrive on Saturday and Robinson faces a baptism of fire. The home stands will again be depressingly empty in spite of planned protests and the reaction of our players to Robinson's appointment will be very obvious.

Very little sympathy for Robinson at this point, which seems harsh, but he can't say he didn't know what he was letting himslef in for. "Here for the pay-off, you're only here for the pay-off" is surely only a matter of time.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Charlton Athletic 2 v Port Vale 0

Birthday celebrations for two family members saw me decide to give this one a miss. I fancied Port Vale so the turn of events was a bit of a welcome surprise. 

Following the debacle at Swindon and the dismissal of Slade on Tuesday, I was expecting another half-hearted performance which wouldn't be enough to beat high-flying Vale. The loss of Ricky Holmes for a couple of months was added bad news and the rumour was Magennis would also miss out due to injury. 

As it was, Big Mag started and it was he who rose to backward-head home a fine cross from Morgan Fox after half-an-hour. It was Fox again as the provider before half-time feeding Nicky Ajose who stroked home the second. I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone comes in for Fox at the end of the season. After the break Vale put us under more pressure and despite having more possession and more attempts on goal, they couldn't get onto the scoresheet.

Kevin Nugent's press conference after the game was a thinly disguised pitch for the job, claiming Slade had laid the foundations and that it would be a great job for someone, if not him. Karl Robinson, meanwhile, has emerged as a possible candidate and he'd be free to take the job having been sacked recently by MK Dons. The job's a poisoned chalice but there are no shortage of Desperadoes who need to get another shot in order to possibly re-ignite their careers. Money talks and if they negotiate a good enough exit package, then why not.

The win lifts us to 14th and takes some of the pressure off. However, this has been a two-steps-forward-one-step-back season, so I expect we will falter at Brizzle Rovers on Tuesday or maybe at home to Sheffield United on Saturday.

The official gate of 8900-odd has been laughed-off by those I have spoken to who went. Conventional wisdom suggests the actual figure was much closer to 6,000. I think this is the new benchmark and Meire might do well to start a Target 10,000 committee because that's more realistic given where we find ourselves. How depressing.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Meire stumbles on

Forty hours after a delayed announcement about Russell Slade's sacking, we are no nearer knowing who his replacement will be. However, a statement on the Official Site now tells us that Chris O'Loughlin, the former first team Coach at St, Truiden has been appointed to support Kevin Nugent who will act as Caretaker Manager until they can sort out who will actually succeed Slade.

What a mess, or should I say, what another mess. Why sack Slade on a Tuesday evening, three full days after the dismal defeat at Swindon Town if you haven't already found a successor? If Swindon was the straw that broke the camel's back, you might have expected an announcement on Saturday after the game as we have had in the past and an understandably delay (of a few hours at least) whilst they interviewed thirty-odd applicants and decided on the bloke already employed by Duchatelet.

Instead, it begins to look like they took the decision to sack Slade but their plans to announce a successor quickly unravelled. News of Slade's sacking was announced by CARD because it took Charlton about four hours to put it on their website. The Club blamed technology but there were plenty of other ways to make the communication to the press and the supporters even if their website was down, which I don't believe. Despite their ongoing incompetence, it looks more like there was a hitch somewhere in their planning which lead to a short and terse statement of fact late on Tuesday evening that said there would be no further comment until they were ready to announce the new Manager. Clearly they don't feel able to take that decision today so we get the interim announcement about Nugent, Clark and O'Loughlin.

So, what next? The press and the bookies are suggesting names based on who is available in the market but most of those are established managers or those whose careers can't withstand another set-back. They are likely to be expensive, want long term contracts and assurances about transfer budgets and managerial independence, none of which will appeal to Duchatelet or Meire. 

I am then left wondering whether O'Loughlin is their preferred choice but that they are struggling to take the decision because they fear the backlash. Perhaps they now want to make it look like they have actually taken some time to look at the market to justify saying there wasn't anyone they fancied before appointing the soft option? Maybe they leave Nugent in charge for a week or two and then justify O'Loughlin? Today's announcement a half-way step?

As supporters we can't really win here because if they do appoint another established British Manager, it will be a sign that they are considering the longer term and a sellout may be kicked into the long grass. Having said that, my money is still very much on Duchatelet's man.

Whatever happens, my big pre-season bet on relegation is looking better. Holmes and Magennis are out for a couple of weeks and we face 4th, 5th and 6th with chaos ruling. Remember that horrendous sequence last season as Fraye fell when Colchester, Huddersfield and Hull humiliated us in successive matches? Deja-vu?

Wednesday 16 November 2016

A few days in Belgium

Coalition - noun - a temporary alliance for combined action.

"Coalition," the most important word in the C.A.R.D. acronym and so perfect a description for the work between Saturday and Tuesday of two separate groups of Addicks fans who both visited Belgium to take the battle to Roland Duchatelet  on his own turf. Superb concinnity.....

I was very pleased to be asked a few weeks ago if I would be interested in taking a couple of days off work and joining other volunteers to mark the 70th birthday of Roland Duchatelet by letting him know he is always on our mind, even if Charlton Athletic aren't always on his. The dates worked for me and I ended up taking my car as one of the three drivers. The plan was straightforward enough although it was far from clear how successful it might be  but I was happy to take the chance.

It was apparent that the 'Belgian 20' (B20) were heading out for another leafletting drop of Roland's neighbours and that they were going to do their best to ensure Roland knew they, too, were still thinking of him. The plan for our group was to arrive on Sunday as the B20 left and carry on where they left off on Monday and Tuesday. 

On Saturday, the excitement and anticipation of our trip was heightened by a spectacular success for the B20 whilst visiting St. Truiden's ground. They actually managed to spot Roland having lunch at one of his restaurants that form the complex he owns there. A short video clip showed the B20 in the reflection of the glass window holding aloft one of the 'Roland and Katrien, time to go' banners as they sang 'happy birthday' followed by a chorus of 'we want Roland out!' The other killer fact was that he was spotted during the playing of the Swindon v Charlton game at Midday in the UK. This was particularly hard for me to take, killing my long-held image of Roly in his bunker swilling lager whilst eagerly viewing yet another Charlton performance from his notoriously 'live' feed. 

So to Sunday then and a dozen of us met at the Valley to begin our mission. Our secret weapon was 'Taxi for Roland,' a London Taxi that C.A.R.D. funding had paid to be professionally wrapped in a superb graphic which left nothing out. I was especially pleased because the owner, Chris, is an Addick who sometimes accompanies me to matches and someone I met thtough fellow Blogger, Chicago Addick. When I heard we were on the lookout for an Addict-loving London Cabbie, I knew just the man. Our group included a few C.A.R.D organisers but the majority were simply prominent opponents of The Regime. We all required some form of introduction even if most of us recognised each other.
Before we left, we held a brief and simple service of Remembrance by the memorial by the Bartram statue. Clive Harris and Ben Hayes recapped on the lives of the three Charlton Athletic men lost during the first world war and of the one from the second. More of that later...

We then faced a seven hour trek across to France and then on through Belgium and beyond Brussels to reach Sint Truiden. We might have done it quicker had Belgium not been playing at home. An evening's socialising helped us recover and get to know each other better.

The following day we were up and out in the main square in Sint Truiden where
we spent a couple of hours handing out leaflets to anyone who would take one and also beach balls and scarves to anyone more interested, especially the few kids we saw. The taxi was centre-piece and it drew plenty of attention with locals posing for photos. We were very well-received; there was plenty of empathy and one couple paid for 20 coffees in advance for cold volunteers. News of our visit had been signalled by the B20 and several journalists appeared to take pictures and ask questions. All of these were to reappear in the local and national Belgian press within twenty-four hours and be carried much further afield. 

We left around lunchtime and headed to St. Truiden FC at the Stayyen Stadium. From the road this was simply a hotel down one side, a shopping centre behind the goal and a development of flats and restaurants (including the one I recognised from the B20 video). The only evidence of a football club was a small stone monument that included a football. At the hotel reception we were denied entrance and were told we couldn't park the taxi outside or across the road. We couldn't stand on the pavement or congregate. Clearly we were not welcome. We explained why we had come and simply asked that they take our array of gifts for Duchatelet's birthday. At first they refused point-blank but eventually grabbed them up after we had placed them around the stone monument. Job done, we headed for Brussels.
There we battled through heavy traffic and endless one-way systems for photo opportunities for Taxi for Roland outside the European Parliament building as well as the Belgian Senate and even the Mannequin Pis. That done we made our way towards Dixsmuide, a charming medieval hamlet twenty minutes drive from Ypres and Roland's fortune-building Melexis. It was late by the time we arrived and we had heard rumours that Russell Slade had been sacked. Talksport were hosting a show and phone-in that evening so it was an early night and we all tuned in from our rooms trying, once again, to work out what the hell's going on at our club. Ben dialled in to participate in the show which was now clearly reflecting on the empty words of Katrien Meire very recently on the Jim White show where she was trotting out the 'English Manager' line and stressing how they would back Slade.

Day 3 and we were up and out at 6.30am in order to be at Melexis for 8am to hopefully catch workers arriving. The Melexis factory wasn't easy to find, tucked away on an industrial complex and there weren't the volume of workers I had anticipated. Nonetheless, we leafletted all of those who did arrive and the taxi was there once again to greet them. We began to draw attention of those in the offices upstairs and eventually a couple were sent down to speak to us. Unlike the Oik at St. Truiden FC, the Melexis reps were very polite and courteous. After an understandable exchange of views we were shortly on our way to Ypres.

I have never been to Ypres before but it has been on my list for some time. This was an added bonus for all of us. Travelling with us was Clive Harris, a Guild of Battlefield Guides expert on World War 1 in addition to being a fervent Addick. A former soldier himself, Clive treated us to a history lesson that reset many misconceptions for most of us about the Great War. He delivered that whilst we all stood in a WW1 trench system which brought it all to life. After that Clive took us to the Menin Gate which was built over one of the bridge entrances to the walled and moated city of Ypres. Very hard to hold a dry eye when you convey the acres of engraved stone and realise that the 55,000 names recorded of the 'British' forces are just those "to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death." Coming after Remembrance Day, there was an impressive and touching mass of wreaths from far afield from those who will not forget.

From Ypres we had one last task and that lead into the countryside outside Ypres and the low, rolling hills and fields that are now Flanders. Here at the small R E Farm Cemetery we finished with another short service by the gravestone of Herbert 'Nobby' Nightingale, a Charlton player who went to take part in the Greatest Game and never came home. It was fitting that Clive and Ben were with us, these were the ordinary, if committed fans, who had worked tireless in recent years to identify Nobby, Jim Mackenzie, Fred Chick and Geoff Reynolds so they will not be forgotten. There at the foot of Nobby's memorial stone was a small Charlton badge we believe was left by the visiting B20 which was a fitting finish to a superb weekend's work by Charlton Athletic supporters working in coalition to save their club from Roland Duchatelet's disastrous ownership and Katrien Meire's gross incompetence.

I should add that the costs of all of those who travelled (barring the taxi's) were met by the individuals themselves as part of their contribution to winning "the war" with The Regime. It was a tiring three days but wholly worthwhile and great to spend it with like-minded Addicks who are all part of the C.A.R.D.

Monday 14 November 2016

Come in number 7 your time is up

Poor old Russell Slade was sacked today after 16 league games in charge. He will be disappointed but will be able to reflect on a record breaking run of nearly six months as a Charlton manager under Roland Duchatelet's ridiculous regime.

The announcement from the club will be hilarious and should be embarrassing to the point of resignation for any Chief Exec with an ounce of integrity or personal dignity. Not Meire though, she just can't see it.

I would post more but I am currently enjoying a short break in Belgium. More later.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Swindon Town 3 v Charlton Athletic 0

A Charlton side weakened by international absences was comfortably beaten live on Sky at lunchtime by lowly Swindon today.

If there were any doubters remaining who don't believe Russell Slade's squad is thin and particulary short in midfield, then surely there can surely be none now. With Holmes still missing following injury last week and Lookman on international duty, we were left with four pedestrian central midfielders strung across the middle. So no width or pace which left Novak and Ajose fighting for scraps.

I can't really a Charlton chance in the first-half and just before the break we conceded to a huge deflection which left Rudd stranded. Any hope of a fightback was killed off five minutes after the break when Swindon scored the killer second.. the third towards the end was salt in the wounds but then we dead and buried and a number had visibly given in.

Slade will rue his options today and, clearly, they may have made a difference but it was still a lack-lustre performance and those who came in failed to gake their chances. What's more worrying for me was the resignation of so many and the body language was poor. The next three games see us play 4th, 5th and 6th, in Port Vale at home, Brizzle Rovers away and then Sheffield United at the Valley.

Our fourth and heaviest defeat of the season sees us drop down a place to 15th but the five sides below us are within a point and the relegation places are just three points off.  Lookman may well be sold in January but Duchatelet has to authorise a decent striking replacement as well pace and creativy in midfield. The big question is - "is Russell Slade the man to oversee it?"

Saturday 12 November 2016

England 3 v Scotland 0

My failing passion for the beautiful game received no help last night from another depressing Scotland performance in what was a poor match. I didn't qualify for a Scotland ticket from the initial allocation and couldn't spend a morning redialling the ticket-line once they opened a second lot. However, a fellow-Addick called me this week to say he had been invited to buy a returned ticket, so I was in.

I met up with fellow north-easterners who had flown in from Aberdeen and Stavanger and we caught up over a few pints in the Wellington at Waterloo where a couple of England fans joined us. It was a bright and promising day and we headed up on the tube for kick-off. I said my farewells and veered right around the stadium for a great view in the Upper tier. The minute's silence was perfectly observed as I expected, although the Scotland fans I was with were unimpressed at receiving a compliment slip with their match tickets from the English FA requesting that they respect the silence as if it we had no obligation to respect it for our forefathers who have fallen in all of our wars.

Apart from the football my only other disappointment was one of the blokes sitting next to me. A Weegie from Dundee who after following Scotland home and away for twenty-five years as "kilted warrior" was somehow a fervent England fan. He blamed it on the SNP. I am no SNP fan and was strongly opposed to Independence but I can't understand how you can change your nationality so decisively. He followed England in France for the Euros - weird.

Anyway, I thought Scotland played as well as could be expected and my mid-week bet of England by three or more was looking in doubt. Scotland lacked any goal-threat despite decent possession and England looked scared of their own shadow or maybe not that bothered? When the first goal came against the run of play my bet looked better and the second marked the card. 

I left ten minutes before the end as it was all over as a contest and the bloke next to me was getting on my tits. The journey back down the Jubilee line was full of both sets of supporters claiming their side were worse than the others. It felt like a friendly, not a World Cup qualifier, although for Scotland it was a actually a disqualifier. It will be a long time before I watch them play again.

Let's hope our weakened side can put in a better performance on the box today.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Regime in breathtakingly hypocritical move to celebrate fans fight for the Valley

An announcement on the Official Site this morning that the club will celebrate the 25th anniversary of both the Back To The Valley (BTTV) campaign in 2017 as well as the formation of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT).

In a slick PR move, the Club have appointed Sir Stuart Etherington to lead an 'independent committee' to oversee the celebrations. Sir Stuart is apparently a lifelong supporter although I have to say I have never heard of him. I would have thought they could have found someone much closer to the BTTV campaign to better legitimise their plans. The club really don't have dibs on the BTTV campaign, it was lead by Rick Everitt and other fans and directed at the club by Roger Alwyn. I will wager Rick's excluded from any of this that the majority, if not all, of the Valley Party candidates are currently heavily supportive of the Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD). Indeed, the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust's most recent survey today reveals that 88% of those responding to their survey support the aims of CARD.

The announcement also puts Keith Peacock and Jason Morgan on the committee. No-one will argue with Keith as he is the last remaining link with the playing past who will still sit in the Directors Box and Morgan is at least well qualified to represent the CACT.

I think we need a properly 'independent committee' made up of supporters who played their part in the BTTV campaign to organise a proper Silver Jubilee of the fans fight and make sure Katrien Meire has nothing to do with it (Duchatelet either, although he won't get of his arse to attend this). After all "I shouldn't say this, but I don't care about the history of the club."

The announcement today is also unusual coming on a matchday and our FA Cup game at that. I wonder if the intention here, timing-wise, is to try and bury bad news of the embarrassing match attendance that they will announce later today as we exit the Cup? Pitch PR working overtime here - must be costing the club a small fortune. They would be better off trying once again to appoint a Communications Manager, although who in their right mind would take the job based upon Mel Baroni's experience?

Sunday 30 October 2016

Cup boycott

There will be no organised boycott of the Scunthorpe F A Cup match but, frankly, there is little need for any organisation. It's going to happen anyway by means of natural selection. 

I am pretty sure there were c 6,500 souls present yesterday. First because I have a decent eye for the gate at the Valley (even if I say so myself) but also because someone at the club confirmed it to me. If we remove the kid-for-a-quidders and the season ticket holders there under duress, I think we are looking at less than 4,000 for Saturday. I can't be bothered and won't be going.

Time to throw out a few thousand comps I think Meire so you can at least print a bigger gate to save your embarrassment. It's all about spin and PR for you now as your Regime has failed and you can't disguise it at matches any longer or via the League table. Finishing twelfth, by the way, doesn't count as "an easy season." Maybe easy compared to last season. We had to suffer both.

What we are now witnessing is even those still attending matches no longer caring about the result and many quite pleased to see us drop points. Many have been saying that yesterday was the worst win they have ever seen. There is nothing you can do about it either. Your budget has been squandered on players you have to part fund to play elsewhere (previous mistakes) and Slade looks too limited to over-perform with what he has. 

The opportunity for working with the fans was wasted during that period where we had to get used to how the Shareholder does things and when you were too busy fighting a relegation battle to listen to anyone else. Ironic then that during last year's relegation campaign you managed a holiday in Dubai at it's hiatus. CARD was formed out of desperation because it was apparent to everyone else that you were so out-of-your-depth and that Duchatelet attached more significance to the balance sheet than the score sheets.

Your continual lying hasn't helped matter either. Your latest whopper on Talk Sport was your insistence that "de cloob is not for sale." Duchatelet's game-plan sank with FFP and all he's looking for is a face-saving way out where he doesn't lose a small fortune. Perhaps he hasn't told you? Not as if he hasn't done that before is it?

How very, very sad.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Charlton Athletic 1 v Chesterfield 0

Three precious points from another disappointing performance, this time against 23rd placed Chesterfield. It took an 86th minute header from substitute Lee Novak to break the deadlock and kill off a Chesterfield side who had looked more threatening during the opening forty-five minutes but who visibly set-out to get a point after half-time.

I am pleased to say that Russell Slade sent us out with a 4-4-2 formation for once but it wasn't an attacking formation. We seemed comfortable to sit back and contain the Spirieites for the first-half. They came close to opening the scoring when Dan Gardner stormed in from the left and curled his shot past Rudd only for it to hit the post. Jose repeated that feat inside ten minutes at the other end but that was pretty much his best contribution in another uninspiring game. He had a golden opportunity in the second-half to head the opener when clear in space eight yards out but he steered his header wide when it looked easier to score. He was eventually withdrawn for Novak and I was busy telling everyone that it would make no difference when the old head stooped to flick on a left-wing cross which rose above and beyond Fulton in the Chesterfield goal.

Today was designated 'Free Speech Day' by CARD and fans were encouraged to bring banners and flags. There were plenty visible before the match in the pubs and streets around the ground but the impact in the ground was largely lost. I could see maybe twenty shortly after kick-off but most were dropped onto seats on put away once the match got underway. CARD distributed 100 North Korean flags in Belgian colours I believe and some enterprising supporters had also clearly been busy making their own. 

I said I would give £50 to the best flag and I am please to say that was Rob from Brighton who I met before the match at the Royal Oak. Not only had Rob made his own stencils to paint his flag but he made 21 of them and was generously handing them out before the game. Another young fan from Manchester had also made a selection of flags and despite not being able to get down for the game had posted them down to be handed out. I was pleased to learn that Rob from Brighton had driven up to hand his flags out but had no intention of giving the regime a penny but was happy to take a ticket to see his side for the first time this season - I hope you stayed to the end Rob to see the winner.

The official gate today was 10,153. The actual gate looked about 6,500 to me. There were several hundred visiting fans and you would never have known it was Kid-for-a-quid. The atmosphere was consistent with an uninspiring display in front of 6,500 fans. 

The win moves us up to 14th and suddenly it feels like we have lifted off the bottom. We have a defensive ruggedness and strength in depth across the back four that should serve us well this season. Our centre-midfield is the weakness but more than that, I believe, is Slade's tactics. Far too conservative, even at home, and dull to watch. Holmes and Lookman should have opposition defences back-pedalled with two in the middle pressing play and all helping create space for the front two. Instead, Holmes and Lookman are 'out' players, encouraged to carry the ball as far upfield as they can before looking to get a cross in. All too easy to defend when you have numbers back and space behind the two front men to clear up in. It's easy to see how he hasn't managed to win promotion in twenty years.

Friday 28 October 2016

talkSport - Katrien Meire

I listened in today and was disappointed overall.  I am not a talkSport listener (more a Radio 5 man) so don't know the show and am unfamiliar with the format. Jim White seemed prepared to ask hard questions but the trouble was he clearly lacked enough knowledge on the subject to follow-up or challenge Meire on her answers. Danny Murphy and Dean Saunders as guests added little for me and, if anything, they diluted the questioning by giving us the benefit of their experience which wasn't really relevant; Saunders seemed to think that all that was missing was a clear conversation between Meire and the supporters, whilst Murphy thought Slade should bear more of the blame and that results were the underlying issue.

If this was an opportunity for Meire to turn a new leaf and seek the real help she needs from the most knowledgeable fans she has spurned for two and a half years, she failed completely by once again laying out the long line of excuses and half-truths that have angered all of those who know better. It's very clear to me that she will do absolutely anything to cling to her position and that Duchatelet is prepared to back her no matter because her cares more about her as an individual than he does Charlton Athletic Football Club. Jim White's first attack was on the theme of how unsuccessful we have been and how much resentment there is to her which questioned her performance. The retort was the lame 'I wouldn't still be here if I was useless' line but Jim missed the open goal to follow-up about Roland's detachment and his relationship with her as a fellow Belgian and family friend (I do wonder if they are actually related - it would explain a lot).

The rest of the interview looked to me like she was answering questions she had been given. She was still unsteady and hesitant at times and said things I suspect she now regrets, like referring to the relationship with supporters as "a war." She must also know that by trying to take the moral high ground by saying she has "even offered to talk with CARD" may score points with ill-informed listeners of other clubs but will rile Charlton fans who know the history and make future communication even harder, if that's possible.

The big issue with the interview is that it didn't get beyond tactical questioning. Why no direct approach about Duchatelet's long term strategy following the failure of FFP? The linked question about us effectively being a player-farm where the emphasis is more on player return than first team results is actually the heart-of-the-matter. Two questions here would have had Meire floundering because they don't have a positive first-team strategy and the focus is now all on developing and selling young players as quickly as possible. The first team exists primarily to get them air time and maintain a facade of ambition..

In a way it's sad that she doesn't even recognise that CARD exists to remove Duchatelet (the clue is in the name Katrien) and not attempt to help her cling to power or soften the financial blow for Duchatelet. On that point, I was angered that Jim White didn't know enough to call out that all the money wasted by Duchatelet over the past three years has not been funded by him yet but leveraged as debt. He will likely have to fork out for this one day but there is an important distinction to be made at this point and we need to keep making it.

I think Rick Everett may get a right-to-reply slot tomorrow but it's a bit after the horse has bolted. Mere was apparently insistent on no questions from fans whilst she was there (maybe she's not that stupid after all).

My flag for Saturday has arrived. Let's make it another uncomfortable afternoon for Meire in a place where her lies and spin are transparent and where she is seen as the failing clueless incompetent that she is.