So the first announcement of the 'summer' from the club and it involves the releasing of six players. Leon McKenzie, Matt Spring, Chris Dickson, Dean Sinclair, Jack Clark and Tony Warner will all be leaving. What this actually tells us is that we are likely to make some kind of offer to the other players that are out of contract this summer. At this stage I should point out that I am still suspicious that the club will use PR to misinform us all summer to keep up sale of tickets. I will try not to mention that too much from here on in, but last summer was a PR disaster and permanently changed my trust in those running our club.
Anyway on to the players that have been released. McKenzie is no real surprise. He has demonstrated In the past that he has the ability but he hasn't been able to reproduce the form he showed at Peterborough or Norwich between 2000 and 2006 and has failed in his continuing battles with fitness. There have been a few occasions this season when I thought he might have been useful, but I wonder if there was some kind of contractual obligations to the number of games he played. Over all he has been a failure and questions have to be raised as to why we would have signed a player that wasn't fit and hasn't been fit for over a year. Either way you can make a case for it being an acceptable gambl but, for me, the jury is still out.
Matt Spring was bought in in January 2009 and even commanded a transfer fee (the only player in the squad that Parkinson has paid a fee for). Save for scoring a winner against Palace he hasn't done anything that I have found to be memorable. To be fair to him I'm not sure his best position is defensive midfielder. There is a question as to just why we would have signed him when at the time we had Racon, Semedo, Bailey, Shelvey, ZZ, Ambrose and Matt Holland fighting for the two/three central midfield positions. He made 12 starts in the run in last season and 7 this term. That is hardly a decent return for the transfer fee and wages, but again I'm willing to give Parkinson the benefit of doubt as we did need something to lift us in January 2009, and he did play a few games in that disastrous run in. One good sign of management is being willing to admit when you've made a mistake and to take the appropriate action to fix it. Releasing him now is probably the right decision.
Chris Dickson is another player that should have never got anywhere near our club. Despite desperately wanting him to succeed he has failed miserably to make the grade. What is worse about this bloke is that he has clearly got some talent, but he is just way too arrogant to listen and learn from those that could have helped him make a proper career in professional football. Despite what I think of Alan Pardew the man does know a bit about professional football; Parkinson has managed a team to promotion to the second division; Lennie Lawrence is a legend, having won promotions to the top flight with both Charlton and Middlesbrough; Stimpson I'm not so sure about, but he is clearly an experienced manger. All of these men have, in due course, turned their back on Chris Dickson. In most cases the decisions have been justified on the back of unprofessional attitude. I just can't understand it. If I had some talent and I was given the opportunities he's had I would have worked my backside off and listened to all the advice I was given. As for us, well based on the outcome I cannot understand why we haggled with Gillingham in the summer and didn't just sell him for £50k when they made the offer. As much as I wanted him to succeed I have to say good riddance, we don't need any cocky arrogant players in our third division squad.
Dean Sinclair was quite possibly the worst signing of the summer of 2007. I know he wasn't the most expensive mistake but he hasn't been missing with injuries he was just nowhere near good enough for us. I have had my suspicions for a while as to the motivation for his signing. The fact that we paid over £100,000 for a player from Pardew's old club when he looked rubbish on trial in friendlies makes me wonder if the deal was ever done for the benefit of Charlton. He has never looked like he was going to break into our first team. He was bought when we were aiming for the Premier League and he is clearly not good enough for the third division. Scandalous. When fans are struggling to raise the money for season tickets it is disgraceful that we have a player that has cost is £125,000 plus three years of wages and was never good enough in the first place!
Jack Clark hasn't made it and I have no problem with giving the youth a chance. I assume that he has been earning a modest wage, and it is sad for him that he is not going to make it at Charlton. I do wish him all the best and I hope that he does make a decent career in professional football. Unlike previous seasons, unfortunately, if he is not good enough for us in our current situation I suspect that he will struggle, but either way he goes with our best wishes.
Tony Warner was clearly brought in as cover for our run in and it is neither surprising nor disappointing that he is being released now. I don't consider this to be a bad signing, but we probably don't need him next season. Thanks for coming.
As I mentioned already that means that we have a number of players that we would like to keep that we will consider offering new contracts to. I guess this group are just the 'we don't want them under any circumstances' players. The real test is going to be just how many players will want to stay based on what we offer them. Richard Murray thought that Jon fortune would be willing to stay last summer on third division wages based on how we had looked after him while he had been injured. I thought he was mad to believe that a player on Premier League money (and he was on proper good money) would stay on third division money. I was proved to be right. I fear that a similar situation might arise this summer, but we have to offer what we can afford and if it's not enough we have to find replacements. For completeness I should point out that Jon Fortune has made just 5 appearances this season suffering more injuries, so no great loss anyway.
My vote for player of the year, Christian Daily, would be the player that I'd most like to keep of those out of contract. I know Lloyd Sam has a lot to offer at this level (despite the fact that he cannot last 90 minutes) and there are other talents that I'd like to keep, but Daily has been a real inspiration this season. I would prefer to have Daily as Captain next season. I suspect that no one will make the kind of offer (transfer fee and wages) that will lead to Bailey leaving so this will not happen, but for me Daily was our most outstanding player this season, followed closely by Semedo, who I would offer a contract extension to right now!
Anyway the news will come in drips and drabs this summer and it has only just started. The release of players that we don't want was never going to be too upsetting, it's those that we want to keep choosing not to stay that will hurt. I'm including those that are under contract that end up moving on. I believe that any transfers out will happen later as the clubs signing (assuming they are not Premier League) will want to avoid paying wages over the summer. Let's remember that all the clubs out of (and some in) the Premier League are struggling for money. Using the same logic I suspect that we will not be bringing in many new faces (if any) until the end of the summer.
Time will tell.
Up the Addicks!