So we played Birmingham, and got a very credible draw. The day was made much more enjoyable by the sneaky drinks in the pub with My Dad, Dave, Chicago Addick and his friend before the game. It is strange that there is such limited opinion between between Charlton fans these days. It is nice to agree with people, particularly those that you respect, but it says a lot about the state of the club that we all agree on just about everything. Quite what it says a lot about, I don't know.
I must say that despite the agreements my suggestion that we might benefit from appointing Paul Ince was met with genuine distaste from just about everyone else. That'll teach me!
Coventry away came and went. We managed another credible draw, and kept the wolf of relegation at the door for a few days longer (at least).
On Wednesday I went to the EGM. I could write a full report, but I'm not sure there is all that much point. However the main points, all from Richard Murray, in no particular order are:
We will have to sell player(s) this summer. It is recognised that Shelvey and Bailey are the two players we are most likely to receive offers for. Richard commented that Bailey will be popular as he has scored goals from midfield and that will make people value him. He also stated (with no reference to Bailey) that it would be his preference that we keep Shelvey . He did point out, however, that Agents always protect their clients and hinted that his current contract would be a factor in any potential move. Quite what that means is anyone's guess.
Richard said he believed that Fortune would be offered a new contract. It was described as a League 1 contract, which suggests that there will be no more Premier League money for him for now. It did encourage me that they are thinking of keeping players. I had just assumed that we would off load all the players that are out of contract. It doesn't mean that Fortune will stay, of course, but it does give me some hope.
There will be many players leaving to get the wage bill down. We clearly have too many players, it is planned for us to have something like 22 next season, and most of them earn way too much money for this division, let alone the third division.
The transfer of assets from the club were necessary as the club needed money and out of a transfer window we couldn't sell any players. Although it was not said it is clear that the dwindling attendances have contributed to this, as has the cost of a succession of loan signings that were (on reflection) a failed gamble to save us from relegation.
Richard advised us that the plans for next season are for instant promotion. The club are going to 'gamble' on having costs (player's wages) way above income in the hope that we will get straight back. It was described as being impossible to produce forecasts that work on any level if we fail to win promotion at the first attempt. This is a bit of a worry, but it isn't exactly something we didn't know.
There was another discussion of managers, but very little new was shared, save for the explanation that Dowie's signings were financially ok, but not good football wise. Pardew, however, was described as making bad signings from a financial point of view. Again, little that we didn't already know, but it is nice for the board to be aware of what we are thinking. If I'm honest I am a little fed up of discussing where we went wrong. I also think there comes a time where Richard (and others) must be forgiven for making mistakes. Forgive and forget, just remember what we have learned. I know we have all been very upset at our fall, but the board members, and Richard in particular, have lost much more than we have, so I think we can assume he will learn from it and we now all need to move on - me included.
Richard suggested that a decision about Parkinson would be made in the next few weeks. He suggested that if Parkinson left, Kinsella and Chappell would have to go too. It is thought that the three of them have produced a team spirit that we have been missing for a long time. It is clear that there is still some indecision. Richard even asked for a show of hands as to our opinion of the effect on season ticket sales if we had a new manager. The vote didn't actually take place, and maybe just as well. It does show, however, that the board are interested in what we want, or at least what will make us part with our money.
One other worrying fact was that The Valley costs as much to run as the income we would generate from 10,000 season tickets. It means that the players wages need to be raised elsewhere. It's no wonder we are taking about selling players.
Keeping ZZ is not yet a complete lost cause. The club are exploring some Chinese sponsorship. Richard confirmed that it would be very difficult to convince him to play in the third division, but they are still working on it.
In total, something like 50 (non playing) employees will be leaving this summer. It is expected that this will reduce our costs by between £1m and £1.25m. Interesting that this figure is probably not much more than one or two of the players that have failed to deliver since relegation are earning. It was pointed out that some of these employees were kept on as it was thought that we would win promotion last season. Thus we are actually trimming down from a Premier League set-up to, well, something more modest.
If I've forgotten anything I apologise, and I will try to come back to it if and when I remember and it seems appropriate.
Richard Murray is a great public speaker, and spending time in his presence, something I've done a few times now, leaves you feeling confident that if there is any possibility of things turning out well then they will.
Today I read that Nicky Bailey will stay next season to help us get out of the third division. In fact the reality is better described by Dave Peeps.
I don't want to jump on the band waggon, but let's remember that this is a player that 'declined' to play for Southend when he knew we were interested in him. Thus if he wants to go to one of the clubs that shows some interest it will only be a matter of negotiating the fee. On the basis that I was more than happy with his comments when we wanted to sign him, I can hardly complain now. Having heard him speak on the TV it is clear that he chose the correct profession, if you know what I mean.
It would be unrealistic to expect much more from a player has been with us for less than a year, after 'demanding' to be allowed to join us when we were a recently relegated Premier League club. I would add that one season doesn't make a career, and he does give the ball away, and this has led to at least two goals conceded. Or am I just splitting hairs?
Anyway, if he goes we will get some money and good luck to him. If he stays I will cheer him just as much as I have this season.
We have a very interesting few months ahead of us. The last week has given an insight as to just what might be coming, but time will tell.
The events of the last week, particularly the EGM have convinced me that this is not the time to desert the club. Add to that the very generous sponsorship deal that My Dad has offered, I will be renewing my season ticket for next season.
Sadly, the sponsorship deal is a one off, Kings Hill Addick's Season Ticket, sponsored by his Dad, has used up the whole marketing budget, so you will all have to buy your own.
However if it is not a too hypocritical, as I have received a scholarship, I would urge everyone to go ahead and renew their season ticket. I would urge everyone to do so as soon as possible.
Your club needs you, well it needs your money.
Let's all do what we can. I have offered to deliver leaflets through doors on Kings Hill to help generate interest, or even season ticket sales. I'm doing my bit - well I intend to. I think it's time (for me especially) to try to remember just who's club it is.
It's our club. Let's do what we can for it.
Up the Addicks!