Friday, 31 December 2010


I don't want to sound ungrateful, and I am very pleased that any potential administration is less likely following this new takeover than it was before, but I can't help feeling a little deflated following the announcement of the new 'owners' this afternoon.

I have never heard of Michael Slater, and why should I have done? Tony Jimenez, however, is a name that has been around football, and Charlton, in the past. I have no reason to assume that they are not going to be successful for the club, even if it's more modest than we would have dreamt of, but in the back of my mind I was hoping for a big money backer that could literally buy success. I know it's unlikely bearing in mind the club and our position, but after the Zabeel debacle two years ago I think my hopes and aspirations have risen.

The biggest worry is that we have no idea who the financiers are. We must be reassured that Murray wouldn't do harm to the club, but to be honest he is clearly out of options now. It is (or was) getting to point where anyone that could keep us out of administration had to be considered.

On the subject of Murray, the details that have been released so far suggest that he has taken a hit by effectively giving away the club - including the debts, of course.

Thus I suspect that we are in a much better position now than we would have been without this change of ownership, but it is just a little less exciting that I was hoping for.

Having said that there is obviously the possibility that there is serious money available and the new board want to prevent us being taken to the cleaners on new player acquisitions. Quite how easy it is to keep this sort of thing quiet in the football world is anyone's guess, but there are already suggestions that we will have money to spend in the January transfer window.

On the plus side, we have managed a very settled transition on the field while this has been going on. The defeat to Walsall was always around the corner, and (most) clubs have the odd result like is in a long season, and runs can, realistically, only last so long. Avoiding two, possibly three, more games in the JPT look like a godsend with the postponed games that we have to fit in, not to mention any more, or the impact of further FA Cup fixtures for us, or teams we might be playing on the Cup weekends.

I think that, even without money to spend in January, we are in a great position to progress this season. We are goal difference behind second with a game in hand. With the stability that will come from financial security (for a season or two at least) plus the potential tweaking to the first team squad we should be confident of a decent challenge in the second half of the season.

With my conservative business man head on I am actually bursting with excitement that we have long (well realistically medium) term financial security, and there is no impending fire sale to pay wages or bills.

On that note, welcome Mr Slater and Mr Jimenez. Let's hope that in 20 years time we can all look back on this takeover as the start of a new, and successful, era in our history.

Up the Addicks!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Next... The Takeover?

Well it seems like the first couple of weeks flew by from the announcement back at the start of the month. We will have new owners by Christmas Eve, although I think they described tomorrow as December 24th - much more professional.

With Christmas looming I found plenty to keep myself busy without spending time wondering if it would be a Wise Man bringing Gold, or a Dennis Wise gearing up the club, or something else completely.

However, after the last day at School last Friday I have been keeping my son company at home this week, and there is a limit as to how many times I can take part in Pokemon Battles or Bakugan Battles before I find myself telling my Son I have 'work' to do. My Dad used to pull this little stunt on me when I was a little boy and I was determined not to do it myself, but like father like son...

'Work' normally means picking up the iPad and surfing the internet, which means internet shopping (none left to do now) or Charlton Life. The latter has been the focal point of my attentions this week, and despite having what could be described as an unnatural interest in many things not Charlton just because Charlton fans are doing or talking about it, I have found it very uninspiring this week. I have given up on the Official Web Site since the switch over to FLi. I was, interestingly, not too worried about losing our own site when the money involved was disclosed, but due to the sheer weight of adverts, most of which won't sit still, I can't find anything on there worth the hassle.

So Charlton Life it is. To be honest any news is on there within minutes of it being of the Official Site, and due to the adverts pages that you just have to go through to get to the news section, that is probably quicker anyway.

I'm not normally very industrious, in fact I'm rather lazy, but I still manage to actually do some work when I'm 'in the office' so being at home this week I have found myself looking at Charlton Life every half hour or so to see if there is any news, and in actual fact the forum doesn't get updated hat often, so it feels as though I've only looked at it five minutes before.

It is now looking increasingly likely that the 'no later than December 24th' will mean not before. I could have saved myself the bother and not looked for news all week. Of course, it is still possible that that the takeover will not happen tomorrow either. I don't want to tempt fate, but the nearer Christmas Eve got the more I believed that it wouldn't happen on that day at all. I know it's not logical, as that did say December 24th, but the nearer it gets the smaller the time left to get it sorted the more I worry. It's a bit like when you need a win and you are drawing. It doesn't matter if the winning goal comes in the 5th minute of injury time, but as the time ticks past I become less convinced that the goal will come.

Anyway, we might find out tomorrow, and we might not. I have no real axe to grind with the potential new owners. Clearly there is part of me that wants to see very wealthy investors that have no interest in financial return, merely buying success for what ever reason they have. I think this is unlikely simply because there are not many people in the world that have that kind of money, and very few of them would want to spend a lot on a football club, and those that would be willing to do so are unlikely to choose Charlton.

If it is Dennis Wise, as has been suggested elsewhere, then so be it. I have do real empathy with him, he is nothing like the kind of man I aspire to be, but if he is in a position to buy the club, and the club is in a better position after he does so I think I should give him the benefit of doubt - I can't really do much about it anyway.

So it would seem that we are close to the revealing of a secret, good or bad, and that in itself is exciting. Christmas is all about surprises, even at my age, and I'm even excited to see what the Fat Man brings my son, and I already know!

So tomorrow (or later tonight - 23rd) or not. After the supposed takeover last summer 'happening within a week' for three months we should hardly be surprised.

So Santa, if you're listening, you can keep the socks, pants and handkerchiefs, all I really want for Christmas is a Multi-Billionaire to buy Charlton Athletic, and I've been a very good boy.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Just thought I'd share a few of the Christmas views out of my window in Kent. I know it's hardly exciting, but it's probably better than reading the drivel I normally write.

It looks lovely, but it does make the last minute shopping a bit tricky.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Up the Addicks!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Brentford 0 - 0 Charlton

It's strange how many Charlton fans rubbished Jose Mourinho's comments after we won there on penalties in the League Cup a few years ago (it seems like a lot more than a few now) but I still consider last night's game as a draw.

If it had been a league game I would have been perfectly happy with a clean sheet and a point away to the other 'form' side in our division.

In the end it is a cup game and no official draw is allowed so you progress or you don't and we didn't.

I was quite excited about the JPT as I thought it offered us a realistic opportunity to play at Wembley again, something that might not happen any other way during my lifetime (not to mention my Dad's who is clearly older than me), but in the end I suspect that even this round has cost us points in the only competition that really matters.

I have no idea if we would have won on Sunday if we'd not had the distraction of this game hanging over us. even last night we were just a one game away from a two legged tie that would have sent us to Wembley. This could well have had an impact on some of our players as it is unlikely they would have even dreamt about sitting their grandchildren down to tell them the story about how they were lucky enough to be in the side that beat Walsall at The Valley on a Sunday in 2010.

In actual fact my enthusiasm for this competition completely dwindled about three weeks ago when I realised that the Final was taking place while I was going to be in the air flying to Orlando to take my six year old to Disney World and the other attractions that are on offer there. I have arranged, and re-arranged, many social events over the years, but there was no way this was going to be avoided. Thus I wouldn't have known about the result until four hours after the game finished - and would have missed out on the big day out.

I was still, honestly, hoping that we would get there as it is good financially and it is a good day out for other Charlton fans, but I was hardly devastated. It was hardly the same as the playoff semi-final defeat in May. to be honest, after a second successive missile throwing event by our fans I'm not sure I'm all that bothered about all Charlton fans missing out either.

I know we need all the fans we can get (well their money anyway) but I really am happy to do without those that throw missiles. While I'm on the subject those that insist on singing the word c**t can stop coming too. Ah, and that stupid incest song. The thing is if I was uneducated, unintelligent and uncivilised I would go out of my way to keep it to myself. These people seem to be pleased to advertise that they are are the lowest members of society. normally I am reluctant to criticise people on here for fear of a backlash, but I'm confident that those I'm talking about can't actually read so I have little to worry about.

Anyway, back to the game last night. It was hardly a classic, but I don't think we were particularly lucky, and we did keep a clean sheet against a team that has been in good form, and it was away. Also, let's not forget that we lost there 2-0 in the league a few weeks ago (our last away defeat).

I am, therefore, pleased with the result, not disappointed with the performance, and very excited about what we saw from Carl Jenkinson. He looks a real prospect, which is good as Francis is a real liability (on occasion) and Solly is unreliabile (can't seem to be fit enough to play when needed).

The fact that I wasn't going to the Final in any event means that I have't lost out on a day out at Wembley, and we have avoided two more midweek games on the hard pitches that winter provides.

Not exactly what we were hoping or, but a lot better than Walsall, and it gives me a little hope that maybe, just maybe, we might be able to claw enough results together this season to make it a success - maybe.

Up the Addicks!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Charlton 0 - 1 Walsall

Well, it was hardly pleasant watching was it?

What is most strange is that had we won this game 1-0 against a poor side, that clearly wanted it more than us, we would have congratulated ourselves on 'Just beating what's put in front of you'.

When you think that we finished just two points short of automatic promotion last season it is painful to see us lose a game that we so clearly could have won. I'm not going to say 'should' have won as we shouldn't, but we may well come to really rue those three dropped points in May.

I don't want to be disrespectful to Walsall because they played the more adventurous football, and deserved their win based on the 90 minutes, but we were a little clueless and just looked tired and/or believed that all we needed to do was turn up and the game was won.

Hopefully, if it's the latter it is a mistake that we will not make again. Maybe it would be best if we could lose at Brentford on Tuesday and then play our U18 side at Spurs so that the players can concentrate on the promotion that the club so desperately needs?

Again let me say that is with full expect to Walsall, but they are tailed off at the bottom of the division for a reason. We ought not face an easier home fixture this season, apart from Luton that we only drew, and Barnet, that we won 1-0, but you get my point.

We have looked like a blessed side on a few occasions this season.
We shouldn't have beaten Notts County (we should have lost) and we were probably a little lucky against MK Dons. We were also a bit fortunate to get back into it against Yeovil with ten men. On that basis we must have known that we either needed to raise our game, continue to be incredibly lucky, or lose a game we would, otherwise, have expected to win.

In all honesty I'm more than happy to continue to win games against the run of play and I'm more that happy to be promoted at the end of the season with a string of 'lucky' results. My worry is that old saying 'class is permanent, form is temporary'.

Parkinson got us close last season, and he got Colchester promoted from this division. Maybe the way you it is to play average to rubbish football and just keep winning games you deserve to lose. If that's a winning formula then I'll have some. If not then at some point we are going to have to start looking like we can actually play a bit at home. Otherwise the crowds will fall and in all likelihood we will be stuck in the god awful division for at least another season.

Up the Addicks!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Just how wrong can you be?

I've always been a little bit quick to criticise. I do try not to, but I often fail. The likelihood of me being too quick to criticise is directly proportional to how much I care. Thus I have a reputation for being very good at bitching about things I can be bothered to care about. Charlton being very near the top of that list.

I've been rather quiet recently. This is not just because I'm incapable of saying anything nice, but mainly as I haven't been to any of the fantastic away games in November, and I've been really busy with work. However I thought I'd review my thoughts from after the Brighton game to show just how little I know about football.

You will all remember the Brighton game, we lost 4-0 at home in the third division. Please try to remember that as you review my ramblings.

-  Benson had an average game compared to what I've seen so far.
I think this is ok. He has gone on to score four goals in the six league games since.

- Abbott was shocking from start to when he went off. He looks overweight and cumbersome when he runs. I had very high hopes for him at the end of the season, but I'm now wondering if he was just having a good season last year at Oldham.

Again, I think this situation has not been resolved. Abbott still looks slow and overweight, but then we've not seen a lot of him, which is understandable based on the fact that we are scoring for fun with Benson and Anyinsah upfront - not to mention Johnnie Jackson.

- Our players played like a group that had met in the changing room. The suggestion that the team needs to gel is looking like wishful thinking now. We are just not a team in any sense of the word when comparing us to BrightonAlthough this is probably a fair reflection of the game itself, clearly the players have gelled a lot since then and started to look like a team that can grind out results as well as having a score fest.

- We chose the worst performance for what could well be the highest crowd we will have for years if not decades - especially if we continue the decline we seem determined to.

I m not so sure we will beat that crowd this season, but we seem a little less determined to continue the decline than I suggested we were.

- Parkinson could have no excuses if he were relieved of his duties this week, and the pressure of that will almost certainly make it harder to turn things around.

Yeah, I was right on the money there wasn't I?

I went on to say:

If we are going to turn around our fortunes like Norwich did last season we are going to have to follow their lead and replace the manager. Otherwise we are going to have to get lucky, raise the performances above what we have been seen in the first fifteen games (including cup fixtures), and scrape through the playoffs.
Again you could be forgiven for thinking that my mouth had been replaced by my bum as I was clearly talking out of my arse hole.

I think Parkinson has been given plenty of time to prove himself, but take out the first six games of last season and his performance is not good enough to get us where we need to be. To get us where the club can actually survive financially.
Clearly we need to win promotion to get us back to where we can survive financially, and that is by no means guaranteed, but I think we don't need to get lucky to scrape through the playoffs now. Parkinson has also done a lot more that win the first six games of last season.

Overall I think we have failed to really perform at home. I know the teams come to defend in many cases, but we have now played the team bottom of the forth division and a conference side at home and after nine league games and three cup games we have failed to record a two goal victory. We haven't even held a two goal lead.

This can be offset by us having scored more goals away than anyone else in the division.

I remember reading an interview with Steve Gritt from the 1970s (I think) where the suggestion that away performances are better because of the pressure that the home crowd put on the players at The Valley. We are certainly more demanding at home that other teams in the division, but then so we should be, we are one of the best supported teams in the division, and were in the Premier League a few years ago.

Since we lost to Brighton in what we were describing as a six pointer before kick off, but not afterwards, we have picked up 16 points from a possible 18 and we have won seven and drawn three from ten games. Maybe we are going to do a Norwich after all?

Either way I would like to distance myself from the negative comments (and thoughts for that matter) that were released too soon after the 4-0 defeat at home.

I have always given our manager my full support, but I'd like to confirm that I am fully behind Parkinson. This is unless we lose at Rochdale and Luton, or course, in which case I'll be calling for him to be sacked!

Up the Adicks!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Half full or half empty

There are many emotions that the average fan experiences during a football match. Even a drab 0-0 can take us through highs and lows, and sometimes a comfortable win (or defeat) can cause little emotion due to inevitability of the result once a decent lead has been established.

The most exciting games, however, involve something of a surprise result from a certain point in the proceedings. Our game at Newcastle in January 1992 was such an example. From being 3-0 behind in the first half we managed to come back to win 4-3. I wasn’t at the game, but I still remember, some eighteen years later, screaming in the car when the third, and especially the forth, goals went in. The season was unremarkable, despite us missing out on the playoffs by three points, and Newcastle finished just five points above a drop into the third division, but that game will probably be memorable for the rest of my life.

The game on Saturday had a number of emotions. The excitement and trepidation when we went 1-0 in front. It is difficult to come back from a goal behind and win, especially when you have as little confidence that we have right now, so to score first was very important. The trepidation was that having expected a defeat we suddenly had something to lose.

At 2-0 I started to feel really excited at the very real possibility that we were going to get at least a point – away to a side that had started the season well, and much better than we had.

At half time I just thought we needed to keep it tight for the first five minutes and leave them chasing a two goal lead that would soon start to drain their enthusiasm and confidence of getting anything out of the game.

At 3-0 all of the emotion drained out of me. I was no longer worried about not winning the game. The third goal didn’t make that much difference and suddenly I accepted that we would win, and was very, very relaxed about it.

3-1 and nothing much changed. Back to the plan for the start of the second half. Keep it tight for five or ten minutes and stop them from believing that they have a chance.

3-2 and “Shit, we’re never going to keep them out until the end!”

3-3. The anger started to surface. We needed something out of this game and we had thrown away a very confortable lead. I wasn’t angry with Parkinson or the players, but I could just sense the anger building up in me. I should mention at this point that Mrs Kings Hill and Kings Hill Junior had gone to stay with Mrs Kings Hill’s mother for the weekend and due to the amount of work I had to get done I’d worked right through the night and was pumped full of caffeine. I was feeling very angry.

I was confident that we would go on to lost the game. In those circumstances the team that has come back from 3-0 down has all the impetus. Strangely we let a 2-0 lead slip at Norwich last season and managed to keep them from winning 3-2 twice in the last few minutes with goal line clearances. At this point, however, I would have taken a draw because anything less would have been a total disaster, under the circumstances.

Our forth goal, coming as late as it did, was clearly a winning goal. I was pleased for Benson to have scored it (his fifth) and it will potentially have a massive effect on our season. The emotion was less like euphoria and a little more like relief. After having the game in the bag at 3-0 anything less than a win was a terrible outcome.

So this leaves us rather like where we were before we played Brighton. We still look like a side that will do well to make top two but should really fancy itself to make the top six. The relegation threats seem to be on the back burned again for another week. I was never that worried about relegation, but then I wasn’t until January in 2008/09, but the fear that another season in this division and the financial implications it brings is never far away.

Those that are half full will be looking at the three points to second and the one point to sixth, and the half empty will be looking at the six points to forth from bottom.

At least it’s not exciting.

Up the Addicks!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Comments and Spam - Not Charlton related

Anyone that has ever written a blog will understand how gratifying it is to receive comments. Sadly I normally only receive comments when I have written a controversial, or negative post. This suggests that people do not like what I have written, and often that is the case, but I suspect that the controversial and negative posts are the ones that are written after an event that makes us all emotional. With that in mind I suspect that those writing the comments are doing so as they feel emotional enough to 'have their say. Certainly I add more comments to other football blogs when I feel like that.

However I have recently been the beneficiary of a significant increase in comments from various helpful retailers offering to sell me all sorts of products and services. I have no idea how so many of these helpful souls deduced that I (or my readers) would benefit from a penis enlargement and then some Viagra to maximise the benefit of such an enlargement, and time the effectiveness of the Viagra on a new watch that looks just like a real Rolex, but I decided not to share those comments.

For the record I did not do so in an attempt to keep all the Viagra and the Rolex watches (well you'd not know the difference unless you had eyes)  to myself, while siting in the waiting room for my 'minor' to 'major' surgery. No, I just decided that Kings Hill Addick was not in a position to endorse these products at this time. *

The solution to this influx of helpful retail contacts is to 'moderate' all comments and 'mark as spam' those that are not Charlton related (like this post in fact) but they became just too numerous. This did beg the question, "Just how many penis engagements can one need?" but I'm getting side tracked. This had now become a nuisance, so I've decided to follow my peers and add a word verification that should reduce the numbers of 'offers' comments I have to reject.

I am conscious, however, that this increases the effort for people to leave comments, and despite it being a huge boost to my blogging ego when I receive them I have decided to risk it by taking this route. I would ask that if you were going to leave a comment, please do go to the little extra effort as your comments are important to me and are greatly appreciated.

Up The Addicks!

* If you would like a penis enlargement, some Viagra or a watch that looks just like a Rolex, please leave a comment below. I will not help you with supplying your need, but it will provide a good laugh to all those that visit after you did.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Charlton 0 v 4 Brighton

What was that all about?

I'm not going to write too much because I don't have anything good to say and as my mum always used to say......

My Dad was away and I text him after about fifteen minutes and suggested that Brighton had a lot of confidence but limited talent. I still believe that, but they beat us 4-0 and despite the fact that the score line could be described as flattering Brighton, it was an easy win for them in the end.

My thoughts in bullet points:

- Benson had an average game compared to what I've seen so far.

- Abbott was shocking from start to when he went off. He looks overweight and cumbersome when he runs. I had very high hopes for him at the end of the season, but I'm now wondering if he was just having a good season last year at Oldham.

- Our players played like a group that had met in the changing room. The suggestion that the team needs to gel is looking like wishful thinking now. We are just not a team in any sense of the word when comparing us to Brighton.

- Kish was the best player on the pitch by a mile (in my opinion) and we released him three years ago (when he was three years closer to his peak) because we thought he wasn't good enough for us any more.

- Anyinsah looked like the best forward we have at the club but came on when the game was lost.

- We chose the worst performance for what could well be the highest crowd we will have for years if not decades - especially if we continue the decline we seem determined to.

- Parkinson could have no excuses if he were relieved of his duties this week, and the pressure of that will almost certainly make it harder to turn things around

- We lost 4-0 at home in the third division. Chicago Addick pointed out on his blog that the last time we lost 4-0 at home it was to Man Utd, who are actually rather good.

- It was rather cold at The Valley yesterday and my Dad was in Tenerife where it was "High 20s". I wish I'd been with him drinking a cold Dorada.

I have been supportive of Parkinson for a long time now. I've believed, or should I say trusted, Richard Murray's insistence that this is the man to lead us to success. However, we are getting dangerously close now to the conclusion that appointing Curbishley was the exception to the norm and that the appointments of Dowie, Reed and Pardew are better indications of his ability to select the right man for the job.

It's almost an admission that if we are forced to sack Parky, Murray should be held accountable for our fall from grace, and that places pressure on him too. The relegation from the Premier League after Curbishley left was, to a small degree, acceptable as we were never a totally established top flight side. However, never in our history have we been a bottom half of the third division side, and that looks like what we are right now.

Let's also remember that, despite his involvement in getting us there, we have never had a better platform from which to grow this club than we had in the first few years of this millennium, so our fall from grace is even more incompetent.

If we are going to turn around our fortunes like Norwich did last season we are going to have to follow their lead and replace the manager. Otherwise we are going to have to get lucky, raise the performances above what we have been seen in the first fifteen games (including cup fixtures), and scrape through the playoffs.

I don't want to be too dramatic after a big defeat, and Brighton were top before the game, but I don't want to watch another season of decline with all the financial implications that come with it.

I think Parkinson has been given plenty of time to prove himself, but take out the first six games of last season and his performance is not good enough to get us where we need to be. To get us where the club can actually survive financially.

So, no pressure then?

Up the Addicks!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Charlton 1 - 0 MK Dons

This season isn't going to be a precession, it never was. We have brought in some good players for this level, but having lost the players with the greater natural ability like Butron, Sam, Shelvey and Bailey we were always going to have more games where we would have to ground out results rather than brush teams aside.

Last season we beat MK Dons 5-1 at The Valley in a game that came after a run of one win in six. However, the result gives the impression that it was an easy victory. In the end we could have scored ten, but they did score first, and at 1-0 (or was it 1-1) we cleared the ball off the line (with a hand - it should have been a penalty) then preceded to go straight up the other end and score ourselves.

Thus that game could well have gone the other way, which could have had a huge effect on our season. Including that MK Dons game we won seven and drew four before we lost to Orient at The Valley in January. Maybe I'm giving it too much importance, but that game could well have been a turning point.

I believe that last night's game could also be a turning point. We have now won three of out five home games 1-0 with a 1-1 and a 2-2 draw. There are only four teams that have conceded fewer goals than us this season. We are looking difficult to score against (Dagenham and Redbridge were given a very dubious penalty) which means that we don't need to be scoring for fun to win games.

I know it's a little childish to make excuses, but I believe that we have deserved three of our four wins this season, Notts County being the only game that we got more than we deserved. I also think that with a proper Referee we would have won at Tranmere and at home to Dagenham and Redbridge, and the penalty at Exeter was a little debatable. Thus, even if we'd lost the Notts County game we probably deserve to have two points more than we have now. You could also make the point that Notts County didn't have any unfair decisions go against them, sure they had a few chances, but we just defended them well, including the penalty that was saved. It wasn't even missed, it was saved. There is no law that you have to dominate a game and give the opposition no chances to win games, you just have to keep them out and grab a goal.

This all makes for very positive reading. Sure we haven't played very attractive football much this season, but none of the teams in this division play like we got used to seeing during the Premier League years. We have managed to get through the first nine games, and with a little more consistent referring we would be on the same number of points as Brighton, and the team is starting to look like they know each other.

The game last night was hardly a classic, but from my perspective we didn't look like conceding, and we had a few half chances before Benson scored the goal that broke his duck. In fact I was very impressed with him last night. His running off the ball was both industrious and intelligent, and he does hold the ball up well. It would seem that he has more to offer than he showed at Dagenham and Redbridge, according to their Manager, who suggested that we needed to change the way we play to benefit him.

Following on from the goal against Notts County and his performance against Dagenham and Redbridge Anyinsah has shown that he will be a very good acquisition, and I have already discussed my appreciation of what Abbot has to offer. I think we have an embarrassment of riches up front for this level. Sure there is no Darren Bent or Clive Mendonca in there, but for the teams we are going to be playing this season we have at least three strikers that are capable of doing a really good job, and I think there is more to Sodje than being a battering ram, although he is very good at coming on to do just that.

With Fortune coming through a full 90 minutes, and looking like he still has some pace we have options at the back. If you assume that Dailly and Fortune can cope with pacey forwards that leaves us several options based on what is required. My own personal view is that unlike last season Llera is now probably going to have to settle for being 4th choice, but I am more than happy for him to play when the need arises. Despite his lack of pace I think he is very capable. He was clearly significantly at fault at Colchester last season, but that is the only game that I would say he has had a stinker. For those (and I guess I'm talking about on Charlton Life) that blamed him for the Dagenham and Redbridge result I would point out that he scored a goal, wasn't responsible for giving away the penalty (irrespective as to your view of the Ref's decision), and it wasn't his man that scored the second equaliser. He does get done for pace, but that doesn't always lead to a goal.

Midfield is probably the one area where we have some doubts. Mainly over the reliability of Racon. He can be a very good player, but he can also go missing in games. Semedo is a shoe-in for me, so it comes down to McCormack (who I think is probably cover for Semedo) Racon, Jackson and Martin with two up front. The options on the wing encourage me - even if I might start with different players that Parkinson chooses. Last night Wagstaff was hardly in the game, yet he has been really good this season. I think we have to accept (as do the players) that if we are going to have the strength in depth that I think we both need and have, some of the players are going to have to be rested when they (and us fans) believe they should play.

One last note - We have Lee Martin on a season's long loan which is, in effect, the same situation as the players that signed a one year contract (Reid, Jackson, Dailly) and he has shown as much commitment as any other player so far. In fact his attitude with regard to effort is exemplary. I'm sure that has something to do with the players and especially the Manager at Man Utd.

So, overall a good win, a performance that suggests that we are going in the right direction, a clean sheet and a goal for our expensive signing.

A good night's work.

Up the addicks!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

25 years ago

Strangely the most shocking moment was two weeks before when the flyer was handed out at the game with Palace. It was ironic that their fans found out at the same time as ours that they would be ground sharing. Maybe it wasn't ironic, maybe it planned that way.

It didn't give the fans of either club much time to arrange any kind of protest, despite the fact that there was a 'sit in' on the East Terrace which was, by this time, declared unsafe.

I have many memories of The Valley, and for me there are two Valleys. The one that we played at until this day 25 years ago, and the one we came back to.

In all honesty there wasn't much to be proud about with The Valley during the five years I had been going when we moved away. It was a terrible stadium by modern standards (as were most of them in those days) but it had not provided me many memories of successes or wonderful victories either. The modern day Valley has seen us chalk up victories against the then current Premier League Champions, the then current European Champions, as well as most of the top flight teams - Man Utd being the only exception.

Twenty-five years ago I hadn't, and I've hardly now, gone to games with friends, I went with my Dad, and at that time a lot of the things I did I did with my parents. I knew it was something important as my Dad seemed genuinely concerned about it all, but at this time The Valley was a tired stadium.

My memories of that day are that we, by some quirk of fate, sat in the same spot as we did some seven years later when we came back, and we got on the pitch at the end. The result, despite being a 2-0 win, seemed of little importance.

I had never been on the pitch before, and we, like most others, dug up a small section of turf to replant in our garden in Basildon in Essex. I suspect that The Valley turf now covers the largest area of any football club, even though it might well have died off in our garden and I certainly don't know exactly where it is today (my Mum still lives there).

None of the things we did that day (parked in the normal spot, walked up the usual roads etc.) had anywhere near the same significance as they did when we returned in 1992. Ironically, despite talking about those things for literally years we have now abandoned all those traditions and replaced them with new ones. We park in a different spot and approach the ground from the opposite side as we used to.

A few years ago my Mum gave me the framed photo' of the last game at The Valley that my Dad had bought and hung in our front room for many years. I used to look at it on the way to the kitchen and wish "If only we could just get back there again one day".  When I offered it on to my Dad (who doesn't live with my Mum now) he said that I could have it. I hung it on the wall outside my office so that I could see it 'on my way to work' every day (I work from home). Today it looked different, but I'm convinced that I can still see us in the North Stand.

When I look at that scene I realise just how much we have to be grateful for today. Let's never make the same mistakes again.

Up the Addicks!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Next... Notts County at home

After two, frankly, terrible results in the League, all be it a win inbetween in the JPT, we entertain a Notts County side that have also won two, lost two and drawn one. The bad news for us (as far as form goes) is that their two losses were at the start of the season, and they are unbeaten in the last three games while we haven't won since the back to back victories at the start of the season.

Naturally, this all points to a home win, which would be nice.

This season has not started anywhere as well as last season, but it is hoped that we will be more consistent over the season that cast where we had good and bad spells. Sadly, however, I can't get the though out of my head that we are already eight points behind where we were this time cast season. The season is hardly decided in the first five games, but eight points does sound like a lot to me.

Anyway, we are where we are and we have am opportunity to pick up a win on Saturday that will lift all our spirits and get us back on track towards what can hardly be thought of a as success when promotion might be the only way to avoid administration and potentially the end of the club.

In case it wasn't obvious I'm not feeling terribly optimistic today. I think the shortness of the summer and the general crappyness of the weather in August is beginning to take it's toll on me as the days seem to be getting very short (in terms of daylight) and I feel as though I'm still waiting for the proper summer weather to arrive following on from our teasing couple of weeks in June.

Anyway I have decided to investigate an alternative method of charting our progress this season. I'm going to compare points won this season with the corresponding fixtures from last season. As we are only five games in, and as I haven't yet decided what to do about the teams that were not in the division last season I'm going to produce my first comparison 'table' after we play Notts County. Sadly with two of our first six games being against teams that we didn't play last season it is going to be a little disjointed, but of the other four games we've already dropped two points courtesy of the defeats at Huddersfield and Exeter where we drew last season. However beating Bournemouth at home when we only drew at home to Gillingham might make up for it.

My biggest worry about our side right now is the potential absence of Dailly. I know he is going to be out for a few weeks, but without any suggestions of foul play, Youga was going to be out for about ten days last October and short of a miracle will manage to be injured for a full twelve months.

With Fortune not expected to be ready for first team activity for a month or so we are going to look very short of pace at the back and with Llera's tendency to make outrageous mistakes from time to time it means that we are increasing the ores sure on the front men to score at least one goal to avoid defeat.

The pressure of needing to be promoted this season (having sunk in following the two wicks since the EGM)

Up the Adddicks!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Next... Exeter away

I've been a little quiet for a few games. It's strange really, I'm enjoying the football more than usual, the squad looks in good shape and I really fancy our chances of being involved in the promotion shake up, but I'm just struggling for inspiration when it comes to writing about it.

I am coming to the end of the summer holidays. I have been looking after my six year old son for most of the last eight weeks, and with just one week to go I am gearing up for the start of the return of the 'school run'. I complain to my working wife that I have to do so much for our son, but secretly I love it! He is a little quiet in the car in the mornings (we get up late and he eats breakfast in the car) but by the time we get to 3:20 in the afternoon he is much more excitable. To be fair getting any information out of him about the school day is like pulling teeth, but he does come running out of the class shouting "Daddy!" and I get a big cuddle.

I only mention this, well I have no reason for doing so do actually, but despite having to do the school run I still have much more time to get work done compared with him being home for nine weeks. In all fairness it isn't nine weeks as he spends a coupled of weeks (one of which is this week) with his Nanny in Peterborough (his Mummy's Mummy), and one day a week, when he's home, with my Dad and his other Nanny.

This week has been a little testing. Despite denying it vehemently to Mrs KHA, I was, indeed, missing him within twelve hours of leaving him in Peterborough (and I slept for at least six of those). For any of you that are interested we are going to collect him this evening. I don't really need to go, Mrs KHA finishes at 4pm today and will be going straight from work, but if I go I will get to see him five or six hours earlier - why wouldn't I want to do that?

Other than for the absence of my best friend, I have had the opportunity to do a full weeks work at the office (the spare bedroom) this week. There have been a number of things that I've been leaving over the last few weeks as a six year old can reduce one's concentration, and despite my job being a little easy, it still requires that I think a little but about some of the things I do.

Anyway I thought I'd take a bit of time out of my last full day (except I'm leaving at 4pm to drive to Peterborough) to say a few words about our game at Exeter.

I didn't go to Huddersfield, and despite being openly willing to take a draw, I was a little disappointed with the result. I was especially worried about some of the stats from the game. No shots on target until injury time, by which time we were three nil down. I would like to think that this is just an anomaly against a very strong side, but I am concerned that when we play against teams that don't defend in large numbers we are going to be penned back and struggle to create much.

Anyway, since then we have signed Paul Benson, Joe Anyinsah, and Jon Fortune (all be it only until Christmas and he is likely to go out on loan for a month).

The Dagenham and Redbridge game gave us a chance to have a look at Benson and from what I saw I think he might be the answer. Either way I'm going to trust Parky and assume that he knows what he is doing. There has been little to suggest that he doesn't and a lot to suggest that he does.

In fact, unless I'm mistaken, Benson looked a little uncomfortable playing (and trying to score) against the team that he had left, just the day before. My Dad remarked that "He doesn't want to score against his old team." I'm not suggesting any foul play, but there were at least two of his chances where I would have expected him to smash the ball into the back of the net, but he seemed to choose to try and 'pass' it into the net.

We are still gelling in a new squad, even before we signed three more players on Monday, so it is understandable that we would have a few blips in the first ten games, but I'm still confident that we have what we need. The real test, however, is where we are after those ten games. Striking distance of the top two and we are in for a good season, mid table and we might have to accept the target is the playoffs, so tomorrow's game is very important. We need to keep the leading teams very close until the side is settled enough to go on a long run of successful results.

The revelation that those running the Club have given up on trying to make it sustainable in the third division puts me back where I was twelve months ago, where no victory can be celebrated, yet every defeat has to be considered a disaster. I am not being greedy, I am not demanding too much and I have not got too high expectations. The truth is that the Club's very existence depends on a very successful season. So, no pressure for Parkinson and the players then?

In truth a draw tomorrow will not be a disaster. Exeter had some very credible results at home last season including beating Leeds and Huddersfield (on the last day of the season). They haven't lost at home since February, and we drew there in April.

I wouldn't say I'd take a draw at this moment in time, but if that's what we get I will be able to live with it, as long as we go on to beat Notts County next weekend.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Baton (2010) Ltd

I didn't receive the letter that was sent out about this morning's meeting, despite being a shareholder. I think the main reason for this is that I have never changed my address from my Mum's house as my wife makes me move so often it hardly seemed worth it.

I had, however, scanned my Dad's copy, and was not completely sure exactly what it meant, but as I intended to go today I was sure I'd find out in due course.

In terms that I would have understood this is basically what has happened:

Charlton Athletic Plc - which is the company that we fans own shares in, has sold Charlton Athletic Football Company (which owns the players) and Charlton Athletic Holdings (which owns The Valley and the training ground) to Richard Murray's new company Baton 2010 Ltd for £1 each.

Thus if you bought shares in Charlton at any time in the past you now own a share of a company that has no assets and no income. This is actually irrelevant now as the company will be dissolved. Thus you will no longer have any shares as there is no longer any company.

For those of you, like me, that bought £100 worth of shares that means that you will never see that £100 again, and you no longer have any tangible asset (valid share certificate and/or a part ownership of the club). In actual fact the £100 was gone a long time ago. The club is no longer trading on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) but you wouldn't have been able to sell those 200 shares as no one would buy them, so they were worthless anyway. There were 200 shares for £100 as the club did a right issue a few years back and the shareholding changed from 100 shares with a nominal value of £1 each to 200 with a nominal value of 50p each.

So, in essence, I paid £100 to be able to call myself a shareholder of the club for a few years (I can't remember when I bought them, sorry). The other benefit, of course, was that I was giving the club some money to spend and as all they do with the money is invest it the club (and team) that I love that is ok too.

There would be a different view if I had invested £10,000, but I honestly believe that anyone who invests money in a football club has to be willing to lose it all. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is true.

So, ultimately, both the companies, one that is the real club and the one that owns The Valley and the training ground, are owned by Baton 2010 Ltd, which is owned by Richard Murray.

There were a few heated questions about the removal of the fans shareholders, and they were answered with the following - I'm paraphrasing:

The Valley is worth £4m (this is the land value with no planning permission and with a ban on residential development by the Council) the training ground's value (not mentioned today) was estimated to be, from memory, at £2m. Thus with total assets of £6m and with loans of £7m to Lombard Finance, £1m to HSBC and £22m to the directors (all of these loans had preference to the assets before the ordinary shareholders) there was a total negative value of the club of £24m. Thus, and this was stated by Richard Murray, the club was owned by the banks and he and the board just ran it for them.

So basically the shares were worthless in any case, and there was no way the club could continue as it was otherwise we would have ended up in Administration, with the ten point penalty as a reward.

When the fan/shareholder questioned this Richard stood up (the meeting was not being chaired by him as he was the purchasing party) and explained in no uncertain terms that the club needed £5m to avoid administration this season and he was willing to put that in out of his own pocket, and if anyone else in the room would rather do so they were more than welcome, but if we were to keep our shares now then we would lose them in Administration. Again I'm paraphrasing.

Other points to note are that the £15m of bonds (loans with an option to be converted into shares) were effectively being wiped out. There is a legal procedure that they went through, but in essence these debts are now gone, and they have not cost the club a penny. Thus I think a big thank you is owed to those that 'invested' £15m and have now waived any right to ever seeing that money again.

The £7m that was invested last year to see us through last season will still be a debt, but no interest will be payable until we reach the Championship, and none of the debt will be repaid until/unless we reach the Premier League, and then it will be repaid over three years.

Thus the club now has total debts of £15m, half of which do not need to be repaid unless we make it the the Premier League. In essence this means that the Premier League and the Directors have funded £29m of the total development costs of The Valley. Bearing in mind just how much money we lost on players that Pardew brought to the club that have now gone this is an impressive achievement.

The biggest disappointment of the day for me was the realisation that this change is not going to give us long term security in this division. We need, and I mean need, to win promotion this season. The current set up has trading losses of c. £4m this year (the other c. £1m is for working capital and one off payments).

In real terms the TV money and the ticket income cover the admin and the running of the stadium. The shortfall is almost exactly the costs of the playing staff. Richard was confident that in the event of failure to be promoted there would be alternative investment to keep the club going. In the event of promotion we would benefit from c. £6m more in TV money. That fact makes Charlton a viable business in the Championship, but not in League One.

There were a number of other subjects covered, but I cannot be bothered to discuss all of these at length, so I'll just use bullet points for some of them. Some of what I'm going to say is my interpretation of what Richard was saying, so if I'm wrong then I'm sorry.

There was mention of us securing permission from the Football League for the transfer of ownership. This was as Southampton were docked 10 points when their holding company went into Administration - we are about to dissolve our holding company. We are ok in the eyes of the FL.

Last summer's takeover was eventually cancelled as the buyers were unable to prove they had the funds to take the club forward -this, I believe, included being able to bankroll the club.

There were some details of the Shelvey deal. £1.7m up front (reduced to £1.5m with factoring) with a further £250k after each ten starts (an appearance from the bench is equal to half a start), up to 40 starts (£1m) and a further £250k if Shelvey plays for England. We also get 20% of anything he is sold for above what we have already been paid.

Richard was asked about any further signings, and he said that we are hoping to sign a defender, a striker and a player that can play upfront or on the wing (a player than can do both rather than one or the other). He said that he is hopeful that we will have these three signed up by the end of the week.

The Academy was brought up, and Richard said that we intend to keep it, but without boring you too much, the top Premier League clubs want to have different gradings for Academies, which would probably mean that they would have a perceived better set up than us. Time will tell. Sir Maurice Hatter, on the subject of the Academy, offered to stump up £100k if it could be matched by the others in the room. I think his money is safe for now, but I believe that this was a genuine offer.

There was a question about what the club can do to remove the 'Incest' (Adams Family) song at The Valley. it would seem that the club feel they can't do any more than they are currently doing, which is asking nicely for the fans to not sing it. I don't like it. I don't think it is what Charlton are about. I have to confess to swearing at games and half a dozen times a season I call a player (never one of ours) or the referee a word that begins with 'C' and finishes with 'unt'. I always feel embarrassed after doing so as I know it's not nice for women and children (and there is one of the former and a few of the latter in ear shot of me). However I think unpleasant songs are premeditated and there is no need or place for them. I would guess they won't be stamped out, but the club are trying.

There was mention of Parkinson, and Richard Murray said that he couldn't have more respect for him.

Last thing, Richard agreed to hold a meeting like this one for former shareholders every year. This was a nice touch, just the sort of thing I have come to expect from him. One other thing, he made the point that as a Plc he was restricted as to what he was allowed to say (even though you'd have struggled to believe it) but he said that once the new company is set up he has to answer to no one and he will be much more open. I'd get along to the next meeting he is at if I were you, as I'm sure it will be fantastic value for money!

Up the Addicks!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Next... Oldham at home

The season has started well, and tomorrow we have a home game with the only other side in the division that has six points. Thus a win and we are guaranteed to be at least two points clear at the top. MK Dons being the only other side with a 100% record, and they have only played one game.

Southampton, having postponed the game with MK Dons last weekend as the owner of their club died, are now six points behind us. I will watch, with interest, how their season progresses. I have believed that Pardew's ability to tinker with his side, and especially his squad, would be their downfall this season. It is likely that he will not be able to bring in any more players from now on, and as I believe that his only solution to a struggling team is to sign more players that could be the end of him, and them.

For the same reason, although with much smaller numbers, as Portsmouth, I hate to see sides have success by defaulting on their commitments only to then go on a spending spree. I hope Southampton fail to be promoted this season, the owners lose interest, and they struggle with a wage bill that is not sustainable in this division. Frankly I'd be more than happy for them to be relegated and go into liquidation, but that's a story for another day.

Back on to our fortunes. I have a feeling of confidence this season that I just cannot shake. I believe that we are significantly stronger this sea on that last. Sure we have lost some talented players, but we have replaced them with adequate replacements, and we have filled the obvious holes that we had in the first eleven cast season. Like for like Kyle Reid is, in my view, a better option on the left than Bailey was, and I'd already come to the conclusion that Bailey wasn't suited to play in the middle in anything other an a 4-5-1 formation.

Clearly we have insufficient players to expect to go through the whole season as injuries and suspensions will force us to call on squad players, but Parkinson is targeting two more players, and with some of those we already have being used on a variety of positions I'm confident that we have enough to get us close enough, and there is always the emergency loan system, should we have any major problems.

Oldham's highest scorer last season lines up against them tomorrow and, as I've already said, I suspect that he is going to score fifteen goals plus for us this season. I am one of those people that don't believe in suspicions, but for no other reason than I think he's a good striker I think he'll score tomorrow. He has already got two this season, and none in the league. I think he is due a Valley goal, and if we can keep ten players on e pitch for the full 90 minutes I think he'll have plenty of chains to get one.

I am confident that we will score a fair number of goals this season, but as we are still gelling in a lot of new players I will be mopper than happy with a 1-0 win. Having said that I expect us to win by two, maybe a 3-1.

As we haven't signed any new players, up to 4:30 on Friday, I'm guessing we will not have anyone new for tomorrow, but with Semedo and Dailly suspended it already forces two changes from what most would call our first eleven. I would be surprised if we don't start with ten of the eleven that started last Friday, and it is a toss up between Llera and Fry. The revelation that we had to pay West Ham more if Fry played for us last season casts doubt on his relative position in the pecking order, but I think Spaniard will get the call.

I'm really looking forward to it.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Orient 1 - 3 Charlton

As this game was on Friday night, it was on live television and it is now Monday afternoon I think we can assume that if you are reading this you have already had your fill of the game - but as you are here I might has well say a few words.

It's strange how as a race we are all much better at complaining than we are at praising. I have read (don't ask me why) a few books on being a good communicator, business associate, and friend and they all go to great length to tell you to look for positives when interacting with fellow members of the human race.

The reason that the authors tell you this is that you will always be remembered as a 'nice', 'polite', 'friendly' chap if you take the time to say something complementary. By making one feel comfortable (being nice to them) you single yourself out as being unusual, as most people like to bitch and whinge about everything.

The really strange thing about this approach (being nice and positive to people) is that their judgement goes out of the window. This is how blokes that you wouldn't believe any girl would sleep with often end up shagging for England. I'm not talking about being witty and 'smooth' in a pub or night club, I'm talking about being, what many would call excessively, nice and polite.

Anyway, as my income is based on how I relate to my clients and other business associates I have learned to make that special effort. To be honest I don't find it all that hard. I have a great life, I have a nice house, a wonderful family, and I do a job that I both enjoy and leaves me enough time to share my Son's childhood with him.

However, I am as good as the next man (if not significantly better) at bitching, whining and complaining. As already mentioned I tend to avoid that tendency when it comes to business, and as Mrs Kings Hill will not take any shit from me, ever, that only leaves me two outlets. Former colleagues are always happy to join me in a bitching session about our industry. I work in Financial Services, and it has not exactly been the best place in the world to be the last couple of years. The other outlet I have is this blog. I know this blog is relatively new, but it has given me a forum to vent my anger and disappointment since I started in January 2008.

I have joined in on Charlton Life in recent weeks as it is a very informative place to seek (often without asking) the opinions on subjects that I am interested - clearly football and Charlton specifically. However, I fear that my sharp tongue has already started to alienate people, and most of the members are currently finding inspiration (in my view) difficult as things are going rather well in the Charlton Athletic world right now.

So back to Orient away. Well I thought that the first yellow card was probably warranted, all be it not strictly necessary. I'm not sure I would have called for a card had it been the other way around, but on the replay it was clearly a sneaky attempt to control the ball in the hope that it wouldn't be seen. The second yellow was, in my view, very harsh. I watched the game at my Dad's house, so as I was driving home I was not drinking, and despite the remarks from the commentators, I was sure that it was a stretch too far and not worthy of a second yellow.

For the record I do not believe that any referring decision should be made taking into account other factors. If you deserve a red card in the first minute, then you should get one. All this rubbish about not wanting to spoil a game, and it was only one minute in, is bullshit. If the referee is not going to send anyone off for the first ten minutes then let's make a that a rule and the players can go out there and deliberately try to put their opponent out of the game, then when the eleventh minute starts they can all play nicely. Yeah, right!

So the fact that Dailly had been given a yellow card already (one that I can't really disagree with, despite the fact that I do) shouldn't have any bearing on the decision for the second. I mention this as I am not saying it didn't deserve to cause the player to be sent off (although in isolation clearly it didn't) but I believe the second yellow was wrong. I'm guessing the decision was made easier by the fact that the Orient player did a 'Bailey' and looked like he was inches from death.

On the Commentators, I now have a new reason to hate being in the third division. you get third division commentators. They got comments wrong, and they babbled like idiots. I would go as far as to say that it would have been better if they'd just showed the game with the crowd noise and sent the fools home.

Anyway, even after the red card I was confident that we'd give a good account of ourselves. I was gearing up to produce all the usual excuses and positive comments about what we "Could take from the game".

The truth is that with Doherty and Llera at the back they were never going to be able to break us down with high balls into the box. Clearly they didn't know that, and they continued to make it easy for us. On Doherty, it looked like he missed the ball for their goal. My only conclusion was that he must have taken his eye off the ball for a moment and misjudged the lunge. Other than that I have been very impressed with him, and his partnership with our player of the year for last season.

The second goal was a great finish by Wagstaff followed by a couple of wonderful touches by Martin and the goal scorer himself. The third goal was late and on the break but something amazing happened.

For nearly thirty years I have watched successive Charlton players (mostly strikers to be honest) miss chances and fail to be exceptionally predator-like in front of goal, but when Wagstaff lost the defender and the camera zoomed out and I saw Solly running down the middle I knew it was going to be a goal. I didn't wonder if the cross would be too heavy (or too short for that matter), and I just knew that this young right back (who has played as many games at left back) was going to put it away.

In fact, so sure was I that I announced "This is going in" long before Wagstaff crossed. I wouldn't have been more sure had it been Ronaldo crossing for Rooney. I have no idea where that confidence came from, but I have this feeling that we are in for a really, really good season. I just can't wait for the next game. Top vs Second is exciting, but I am just brimming with excitement at the thought of watching us again, against anyone.

One last comment, I was intrigued by the look on Christian Dailly's face as he watched the game from the sidelines. There was what I thought was a mixture of intrigue (in the result I would imagine) and a fatherly concern for the players/team. The more of this man I see the more like him. Also he is the same age as McLeish who did that stupid dance when they scored. I can't for the life of me imagine from their demonstration of professionalism which one of these 36 year old players has racked up in excess of 200 Premier League appearances, 67 full international caps, a Scottish League and Cup Double, another two Scottish Cup winners medals, a Scottish League Cup winners medal, runners up medals in the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup and a Charlton Supporters players of the year award.

I want curly hair too. For those of you that know my appearance you'll be thinking that I'd take any hear going, but this week I'm insisting on curly.

Up the Addicks!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Shrewsbury 4 - 3 Charlton

I didn't bother to post a preview or a match report of the Bournemouth game as I had a hectic end to last week, and after the game I found that there were already half a dozen reports by the time I came to write one, and I had little to say that wasn't already said.

The only thing to comment on was the sending off, and more importantly the failure in the appeal to have the red card over turned. Due to a failure on my part to set the recorder properly I have not seen the challenge on tv. I thought the red card looked harsh at the time, but I was not surprised at the result. The Bournemouth player (who has subsequently admitted that it was not a bad challenge) acted like he literally had both his feet cut off, so the referee was probably always going to give a red card. Missing Semedo will be a real loss, and the fact that he already has this red card against him will no doubt have a knock on effect later in the season, but it has happened now so we will have to get on with it.

So, on to tonight's game. I have been rather quick to criticise the club, manager and players in the past, and I have to admit that losing to lower league opposition, and losing after being 3-0 in front is hardly great PR, but I honestly couldn't be happier.

I know you are probably just assuming that I have been drinking, and/or am a little mad, but the days of believing that we could go a long way in any proper cup competition (i.e. not the JPT) are long gone. I was devastated when we lost at Middlesbrough when we ran Operation Riverside, The flight home (a first for me - flying to a Charlton game) was truly depressing, but every other cup defeat has been predictable and hardly very costly in our pursuit of silver wear or a Wembley appearance. I know that the FA Cup Final was in Cardiff the year we lost to Middlesbrough, but you get the sentiment.

Tonight we were as good as forced to play a reserve side. It is early in the season, Semedo was suspended (see above) and we have to play Orient on Friday night. We have a very shallow squad this season, and this is both practical (based on our financial situation) and sensible based on allocating budget on the first sixteen and then the rest.

I am disappointed that we will have weaker reserves this season, but on the basis that some of our first team will play close to 40 league games this season we just can't justify having expensive players in the squad if they are going to make less than ten starts.

So we've justified having weaker (and in many cases youth players) outside of the first eleven, and we've justified having many of that first eleven rested tonight due to the fact that the season is in it's infancy and we have another game in a few days.

The side, tonight, included a new 'Keeper, an unfit right back, a youth centre half, a youth right back playing at left back, last seasons reserve right winger (still young and inexperienced), a youth central midfielder and two strikers that were making only their second appearances for the club - neither had completed 90 minutes of competitive football for us.

That last paragraph explains why we were likely to be out of the draw for the next round on it's own. Towards the end Reid, Doherty and Sodje were given a run out, which will help with fitness, but was too late to have any meaningful impact on the game, particularly in the case of the latter two.

So overall no surprise that we played reserves, no surprise that our reserves are going to be much weaker than the first team this season and, therefore, no surprise that we lost the game.

The manner of the defeat is a little worrying. Sure, defenders that are a little inexperienced, probably nervous and unfamiliar with their team mates are going to make mistakes, and from what I've read that's why we conceded four goals, but to concede a three goal lead to a lower league side is never good news. However, what I would say is that to have lost that three goal lead we needed to score three goals, which we did. Abbott got his first two goals for us, and Martin chipped in with a goal and an assist. This is very encouraging as far as I'm concerned.

I know it's only two games in and one was against a lower division side, but we now have three strikers that have as many goals as they have starts this season. It's got to be a long time since we've been able to say that. I actually doubt that we have ever had that statistic - and we were worried about strikers just a week or two ago.

As for the League Cup (what ever they are calling it this season) I just hate it. It has been a long time since any clubs have taken this competition seriously in every round they have competed in. Frankly it is unnecessary, and until the latter stages costs money to stage the games, fans don't want to watch it and the players don't want to play in it. In fact, the sooner we can get out of the competition the better as far as I'm concerned.

So would I have preferred us to have lost 1-0 on the night? Well I have to confess that was my first choice before kick off. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the business of wanting other teams to beat us, but if you want out of the competition there is no other way than to lose. Frankly I would favour the clubs having the option of entering or not. I would vote for us not to bother. I suspect the League know this which is why we don't have the option. They must make a little money from Sky as the bigger teams tend to play a few of their first choice players in the Semi' and the Final, but for teams like Charlton it is a total waste of time and money. I doubt our share of the gate receipts tonight would have covered taking the team all that way and back.

So, normally I would have been happy with a 1-0 defeat, but we managed to score three goals, which is great for the players confidence, and actually it made me feel good too. In fact at 3-0 up the best result (assuming we didn't score more goals) was for us to let in 4 goals and exit the competition, and that's exactly what we did. Thankfully we avoided extra time and the extra fatigue that would have caused.

So, over all a good night. Now we can concentrate on Friday, and the League in general.

Up the Addicks!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


(Not Charlton Related)

One of the worst things about getting old is that your body fails to be able to do what it once would. At 39 I suspect I am a long way from a nursing home, but the 'Good Life' of labour saving gadgets, good food and alcohol has probably not helped. Thus I made a decision to sort it all out.

In fairness it has to be said that becoming self employed and working from home has escalated the decline. I last had a 'proper' job in 2005, and since them I have worked from home and rarely need to leave the house. Don't get me wrong I'm hardly a hermit, but you'd be amazed just how much regular exercise you get traveling to and from work.

Since January 2009 I have been in charge of the school run. It only consists of a 13.5 mile journey (by car, obviously), but there and back, twice, takes a chunk out of my day, and there is a bit of walking as parking right outside the school is very difficult. This has helped, but I've still been 'growing' around the waist, and feeling increasingly older as the months go by.

Way back in February Mrs KHA started running. She joined in with an instructor who was organising a club on Kings Hill, where we both live (obviously) and work - there is a big commercial presence here. We tend to do few things together, mainly because she doesn't like me, but also as we have a six year old who, despite being happy on his own, is way to young to be left home alone.

Anyway as the weeks went by she started to lose weight. She claimed that the running reduced her desires for those bad things that we had both become accustomed to. She now drinks a lot less, and has started eating more healthy - apart from the chocolate mountain she consumes each week she doesn't actually have any other consumption vices.

As she lost weight I started to feel bigger than ever. Due to the Mii characters on the Wii console (you'll either know what that is or you won't) I have been "Fat Daddy" for a couple of years already. I have been ok with this, I'm hardly massive, and at six (he was four when we started) there is no shame in my son's eyes. As time passes he will, no doubt be ashamed of a fat Dad, but I think I'm a way off that yet.

Anyway, I decided I needed to do something. I spent much of my late 20s and early 30s doing Martial Arts. This is a good way to keep fit, and it's good fun too. It was interesting enough to keep me motivated while also being a good source of exercise. However, my body has informed me (with a shoulder problem that has now required two operations, amongst other ailments) that I am too old to be kicked, punched and thrown around every week, so I've been exercise free for over two years.

As it was clearly working for Mrs KHA I decided to try running. By coincidence my wife's running instructor was starting a new beginners class. I know you are all thinking that you can't need an instructor to run, but there is a lot more to consider than just running like when we were children.

Thankfully, there was little demand for this particular time slot, I was the only one to join, so I have my own personal trainer for £8 a session.

I've been going now for about six weeks. June 22nd was my first session. I'd be lying if I said I've loved it, but with an audio book on my iPhone and a bit of discipline (not getting carried away and going too fast - don't tell the wife) I'm now doing 5k runs (with the odd minute it two, walking, thrown in) in just under forty minutes. I suspect this is not at all impressive in the grand scheme of things, but I feel as though I am improving, I've lost a little bit of the fat around my waist and I feel fitter and younger.

Clearly this has allowed me license to go out and but a load of cool running clothes (despite they don't look quite as great on a fatty), some new trainers, socks and one of these Nike+ running watches and the thing that goes in your shoes.

I know that both New York Addick and Dave (Drinking During the Game) go running, the latter suggested once that should join him on a run, but I think he was politely agreeing that I needed to lose some weight. I doubt that I am anywhere near their achievements yet, nor will I be able to hold my own to any other readers that take running seriously, but I do intend to expand my blog ever so slightly, so I will post updates periodically just to keep me motivated.

For the record I was 14st 7lb when I started six weeks ago (I'm 5ft 11.5") and I have only lost a few pounds, but apparently muscle weighs more than fat - so Mrs KHA keeps telling. I have, however, reduced my beer and Coke (that's the drink) intake. Strangely I've found it harder to cut back on the soft drink than the Budweiser, but I keep telling myself "Small steps". I've managed to record over 50k on my Nike+ account - and for those that will understand this I've, therefore, just moved from yellow to orange. Hurrah!

Onwards and Upwards.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Watford 1-0 Charlton

Having only seen us play at Welling this pre-season before Saturday I didn't have much to go on, except that the result at Barnet was not very impressive.

Despite Watford being one of the weakest teams in the Championship right now I still thought that the difference between the two divisions should make them favourites to win the game. From that perspective I was correct. The difference between the two sides was, however nothing like I thought it might have been.

I have to confess to having little knowledge of Watford, and for all I know they might make three of four significant signings in the next week and make themselves much better than the showing on Saturday. However, there was little on show that impressed me from them as they stand.

The game seemed to be played with hints of an atmosphere of a friendly, but on the whole it looked like both sides were out to give a good account of themselves. This is, of course, not surprising as this was the last chance the players had to earn a place in the starting lineup for the first game of the season.

The game started slowly, but we seemed to be as good as them across the park, but were not looking very threatening in front of goal. As has been said elsewhere by New York Addick, Akpo Sodje is not going to be the answer playing up front on his own. Not unless the midfield can score goals. This potentially opens up the debate about 4-5-1 switching to 4-3-3, something that we didn't seem to be doing in the early part of the game.

However, eight minutes in and Doherty managed a shocking clearance in the box and despite a good save by Elliot, Danny Graham was on hand to score the only goal of the afternoon. This changed the whole game. Watford suddenly looked like the side that had struggled all last season and seemed to have no confidence. One of their last home games of the season was a defeat to Palace, and they looked like they were expecting no better a season this time around.

Maybe I'm being a little unfair, but they seemed to sit back and protect their one goal lead. This actually gave us the kind of workout that I believe we need to be up to the challenge of. William Hill have us installed as third favourites to win the division, and we are only at 3/1 for promotion. Thus I expect, certainly for the first half-dozen games, we will be facing opposition that will come out and sit back and soak up pressure while being happy to take a 0-0.

This is something we had to contend with last season, but with so many new faces it is likely to be a bit of a learning curve. Francis (who didn't play on Saturday), Abbott and McCormack all played in sides that were sent out not to lose most weeks last season, this will be a different scenario completely.

Following the goal we dominated most of the possession, and had most of the chances. I felt in the first half that despite his performance Wagstaff was being tempted inside as there was not enough up front with just Sodje. This comes back to the 4-5-1, 4-3-3 discussion. Kyel Reid, who was fantastic - especially in the second half, does not have the same tendency to cut inside, and I believe is at his best making a run down the touchline. Thus the side seemed unbalanced, despite us controlling the game as half time approached.

The second half was very different. Llera came on the Doherty, who I have to say failed to impress me at all based on that showing, and nine minutes in Abbott came on and we were a different proposition all together. There was probably not enough of Abbott and Sodje together to make any kind of judgement on them as a partnership, but I saw enough of Abbott to be impressed. He does look like Todorov, except that he can (and did) run. I suspect that he is not the master plan, and it is hoped that we will sign a real poacher, but I think Abbott will score goals for us. He is likely to be given more chances than he got for Oldham where he scored 13 goals last term, and I will be very surprised if he chips in with less than 15, assuming he stays fit for most of the season.

The game eventually petered out without us getting the goal that I thought we deserved, but at least we were creating chances, and as long as we can put a few of those away next Saturday I am confident that we will have a winning start to the season.

I see that the squad numbers have been released today, noticeable that we have not given the number 10 shirt to Sodje. I can only assume that is because we are going to sign another striker (which is no surprise) that will be expecting the number 10 shirt. Quite what the result of this will be is unknown at this time, but from what I've seen so far I'm confident that Parkinson will pull something else out of the bag.

Also of interest is that Youga is still number 3. I was a little worried that we would never see him in a Charlton shirt again, but this, despite potentially meaning nothing, suggests that he will eventually get fit again. Fingers crossed.

One last note, which I have no pleasure in, is that Solly looked very much out of his depth on Saturday. Quite what effect the late signing of Francis had on him I do not know, but the difference in his performance from Welling was massive. Maybe he is not yet ready for a prolonged run in the side at League One level? Maybe Welling are just not a real test (when compared with Watford) but I suspect that Francis (who wears the number 2 shirt next season) is going to keep Chris on the fringes for another year. Sadly, as much as it is satisfying having former youth players in the first team, they really do need to be good enough, and based on this one game, Solly doesn't look like he is yet. Mambo, however, looked very comfortable there. He is big and strong, but also looks comfortable on the ball. His allocation of the number 15 shirt suggests that he will be involved this season.

So, just one week to go. I have a funny feeling that this might not be the worst season ever. With Richard Murry at the helm and having made the financial changes that were necessary I don't feel worried for the future of the club if we don't win promotion like I did this time last year. Maybe that will release some of the pressure, it has certainly made me feel less anxious about this season and I'm really looking forward to it.

Up the Addicks!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

All Change

I was going to wait until the eve of the new season before I changed the look of this blog. I appreciate that there is something to be said for continuity, but when I started this blog I had little idea how long it would run for and, therefore, just picked one of the standard templates. This is another template, but I've personalised it a little bit. It may well change again, but for now this is the new look.

The reason for making the change now is that there has been a dramatic change in the ownership at Charlton, and that is significantly more reason to bring up the subject than my preference for the colour of the links on my blog.

The change I'm obviously referring to is that of Richard Murray taking control of the club. There are more than enough summaries of what this might mean elsewhere, and I'm not in the habit of repeating things others have written better than I can, but I will just endorse the decision of the current Directors that have reduced their potential net value and, of course, Richard Murry's latest financial backing of the club. I seriously doubt that he expects to make any kind of return of this latest move.

In fact, I would guess (and this is purely speculation), that he has been willing to make further cash injections of one form or another but has been unwilling to do so when others own shares and are not willing or able to match these injections. As I say this could be nothing but my own imagination, but if I part owned a company (especially one that I had an emotional attachment to) I would be reluctant to put money in when, technically, the money was owed by someone else as soon as I passed it over.

I don't think this is going to mean a change to a less frugal approach. Murray has admitted, much to his credit, on many occasions that massive mistakes have been made with some player acquisitions, and he will probably welcome a much more conservative approach. The less you spend, the less you can waste if it all goes wrong.

Despite the allegations that Pardew may have wasted more money (especially on the difference between what we paid for players and what we 'released' them for), Dowie's signings were also a failure on the whole. We might have realised much of what Dowie spent, but the players failed to provide any value for money on the field, and I think Dowie's signings were probably more responsible for our relegation from the Premier League than Pardew's half a season in charge.

Anyway that is all water under the bridge. Had we been in the Championship this season I might have found myself dreaming about a Curbishley return and another proper challenge for the Premier League. However at this moment in time I am more than happy with Parkinson to steer us out of the third division. I am quietly confident that we might just manage that this season but if not, I think Parkinson is as likely to be able to build a side capable of that in the next three of four years as anyone else that we could attract right now.

In fact, there have been some suggestions that we might be about to sign a player or two for a transfer fee. It is clear that the two strikers we have had on trial have failed to convince Parkinson, and to be fair to them, and him, the chances of signing a striker capable of scoring 15 plus goals in a season on a free, on reasonable wages are pretty slim. The only type of player that is ever available on that basis is one, like Leon McKenzie, who has a history of injury problems. We have had our fair share of players like that in recent years, so I would, personally, prefer to steer clear of them. Sam Sodje is one such example. I'm sure than on his day he can be a really useful asset, but he has a problem with his knee that would worry me with big, important games.

The summer has been much more encouraging that I could ever have hoped for. I seriously doubted we would get £1m for Nicky Bailey, I thought we would be stuck with Mou2 and McLeod's wages for another year, and I would never have imagined we could have sold a third division full back for £450k - especially just before he ruled himself out for three months with a shoulder injury - and we all know three months ends up being more than six. On that subject I can't help feeling that many of the players that are going to Southampton right now are just chasing the money. We have only just offloaded the last of those type of player that he signed for us. I wouldn't be surprised to see Southampton outside the top four approaching Christmas with Pardew drawing up lists of new recruits he needs in January. Just like Man City last season and us two seasons before, you can't buy success. anyway that is a conversation for another day.

Also on the plus side we have kept Christian Dailly, signed McCormack, Doherty, Jackson and Reid, and we have (up to now) kept hold of Racon and Semedo. We, clearly, need more strength in depth and a striker or three, but we have a week and a half before the big kick off, and if all else fails we can start the season with a 4-5-1 with Akpo upfront on his own. That formation won us the first six games of the season last year, and the transfer window is open for another five weeks.

We have also not, yet, signed any loan players. This is where I am hopeful we will be able to bring in a very good young striker for a season that can score close to 20 goals while his club don't need him for a year or two.

The defeat at Barnet was not what we were hoping for, but on the whole I think things are much better than I feared they would be with just a few days of July left.

Up the Addicks!