Saturday, 31 May 2008

Next... An Audience with Richard Murray

Last year a meeting was set up with a number of leading Charlton bloggers and Peter Varney. Well it would seem that a similar meeting is being planned with Richard Murray, and yours truly has been invited.

Now I have always liked Richard Murray, and if I have ever posted anything to the contrary it was nothing to do with me.

Richard, you can stop reading now!

Seriously though I think that this is one of the reasons that our club is so different from many others. I also have to confess to being very excited about being invited, and suddenly I am, sooner than expected, massively interested in all things Charlton again.

The dramatic fall in form that we suffered towards the end of the season is now becoming little more than a distant memory. I am more able to focus my memories of last season to the away games at Palace, Southampton and Plymouth, all of which I attended, the home wins against Stoke and Palace, the back to back 2-0 wins in September that really gave us all optimism for the season ahead and, of course, the season finale with Chris Powell scoring one of the most special goals I've ever seen at The Valley.

Yes, I can confirm that I have now officially put last season behind me. I have even got over the disappointment of England not qualifying for Euro 2008. I have even, despite my earlier reservations, selected a nation to follow in the tournament. Yes, I have certainly put last season behind me. Which, of course, means that I have officially started looking forward to next season.

Holland and Todorov have signed new one year deals and we have snatched Palace's Captain from under their noses. Those three players could well form the 'spine' of our team, especially if there is any truth in the current rumours that ZZ is on his was to Fulham (or Newcastle). As for the latter, I suspect that if there is any real interest then he will go. Lets not kid ourselves, these decisions are well out of the hands of the Managers or the board of the Tier 2 clubs. If he has a contract with his name on it at a Premier League club he will clearly get his way and be off. That said, the integrity of his agent was literally blown away last season, when he confirmed to the press that both Birmingham and Newcastle had made his player offers and he, (the agent) was going to choose the club he signed for. So, assuming that the agent is trying to drum up business, and income, for himself we can still expect to see ZZ in a red shirt next season.

This makes our squad look solid. Hudson was involved in most of Palace's games last season and they had a very tight defence, and despite some fans being (understandably) spiteful about him there is a clear disappointment that he has left. Quite how well he compares to Sam Sodje is another matter, and frankly irrelevant, we are where and he is probably as good as we what we have, and certainly as good as we could have hoped to sign for nothing.

That makes three good signings with no transfer fee required.

I believe that we are a creative midfielder short of a team that can confidently hope to break down the defences of the relegation candidates that will come and put ten men behind the ball but we still have over nine weeks before the season starts.

So back to Richard Murray. The suggestion is that the meeting 'is on the record', but that there might be some areas of the conversation that we will need to "show some discretion and judgement when reporting" makes it less clear exactly what will come out. There is also a suggestion that no reports should be released until lunchtime the following day to prevent a race to post first. Not something I have ever been any good at. Chances are the whole conversation word for word will be in the public domain before I get round to writing something, but I will clearly add my thoughts and observations.

The details of the meeting are to be kept back to prevent a stampede, so all I can tell you is that there will be no news from me until an unknown about of time after lunchtime the day after the day that you cannot be told yet.

So with a new enthusiasm for Euro 2008 and the season ahead I just hope that we keep signing players regularly enough for me to have something to say.

Up the Addicks!

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