Friday, 21 October 2016

Hamming It Up !

After Pork Vale the Addicks next port of call on the porcine places list is GillingHAM ! Sadly, try as I might I can't tie in our next home opponents, Chesterfield on a similar theme. Never mind as Pork Vale follow in the next league game at home after that so all is not lost !

Tuesday's draw was almost inevitable as it followed the oft repeated pattern of leading late into the game only to go on to lose or in this case draw. It is criminal the number of points that we've thrown  away this season from a winning position.

It is against that background that a number of travelling Addicks voiced and directed their anger and frustration at Mr Slade. Had it been a one off then I'm sure nothing would have said.

The boss pretty much lost it in the post-match interview and I have a little sympathy but he's old enough and hopefully, experienced enough to know better than to respond in the way he did.

The old trick of sending out your deputy in such circumstances usually works well and Slade would have been wise to do so.

Mr Slade yesterday said the lessons would be learned and there is an immediate opportunity to put things right as another challenge was ahead etc. etc. All well and good but it's getting like a stuck record and starting to resemble the sound bites we get before we play Millwall before going on to lose again.

You know the stuff " I'm well aware of what this fixtures means to the fans ", " the lads are really up for it " and my all time favourite " the lads have worked really hard in training this week " ! Huh ? So normally they pretty much can't be ar**d then ?

No matter how you dress it up Slade has a pretty decent squad at his disposal and as I've observed before other managers, many less experienced are getting  an awful lot more from their squads.

I've no idea what the is issue is with Tex but surely you get him into the squad even if only for the sake of expediency. To continue our topic, why be so pig-headed ?

Hopefully we can get something from tomorrow's game as we're only a couple of defeats away from slipping back into real danger.

Good luck to anyone going tomorrow, I hope it proves worthwhile.

Come On You Reds !

Monday, 17 October 2016

Trotters ? But We've Already Played Bolton.

Porkies ! Thousands of them ! Seems very apt in every way under this regime.

The pre-match meeting between some fans and the SMT witnessed a few more I understand. It appears that Kevin Foley has settled in so well that he is now a member of the SMT as he was also present. Someone had to fill Johnnie’s place I guess.

Katrien again failed to answers questions and Tony appeared keen to change the subject whilst still managing to put his foot in it.

If these meetings are genuinely intended to be an attempt to understand fans anger and suggest what the future plans are, then they’re simply not working.

I’d love to be at one. I’d ask Katrien what objectives Roland set her last year. I’d also ask about this year and I’d want to know what the consequences of her not meeting them are.

Either she’s not set any, they are so vague as to be meaningless or there’s no consequence of failure.

None of these meetings is filmed and no genuine account or record is forthcoming from the club. So much for an open approach and a willingness to put things right.

Details of the march and flying pigs are covered in great detail by others and all will now be aware of that. In addition, the rather worrying alleged assault of a young man who had the audacity to wave a flag.

Awareness raised in all forms of media and both sets of fans will be pleased that for a short while at least their plights have been highlighted. Whether it helps achieve the ultimate goal of ridding ourselves of Roland and co is open to debate of course.

However, it’s got to be better than doing nothing. Sitting on your hands accepting it all really oughtn’t to be an option. One can’t simply allow them to carry on unimpeded.

I still don’t understand Roland’s raison d’etre. Surely he is now simply holding on just hoping to at least get his money back. Unlikely I’d say but it won’t stop him trying it seems.

On the pitch the scoreline flatters an average performance against a poor team devoid of confidence but that still could have taken a share of the spoils at least.

Novak was a big disappointment for me. Little effort and too quick to moan at others seemingly in an attempt to cover his own shortcomings.

Our subs were odd and I was dismayed to see Hanlan come on to play on the right side of midfield.

A win’s a win I guess and I’d like to think we’ll kick on from here but I can’t really see it. Hopefully I’m wrong.

The omens at least are good as tomorrow night we play Pork Vale.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Lipstick On A Pig

Appropriately, as protests return to S.E.7 we play Coventry, a place most Addicks would happily send the owner and his crew. Sadly, that doesn’t seem likely and in any case, Coventry would already appear to quorate in respect of bad owners.

A number of Coventry fans, as repulsed as the majority of Addicks by poor ownership, will be joining in the pre-match protests. This will probably extend to the same during the game. Protests from all four corners of the ground. Sadly, nothing new in that in recent times.

When Duchatelet recently announced that CAFC represents only 1.5% of his investments / time, you have to wonder why he steadfastly refuses to engage in any way regarding a potential sale. This is especially weird when the club must be haemorrhaging money at an ever increasing rate.

One could also ponder on why Katrien stays whilst overseeing our disastrous decline never once accepting any personal responsibility. However, let’s face it she’ll never  have another job that offer such good pay and high public profile as she does now.

This is as good as it gets for Miss Meire and whatever she does after this, unless still in Roly’s pay, she most certainly won’t be working in football.

Despite all the nonsense that has gone on for nearly three years now they still try and have you believe they mean well and that lessons have been learned.

This week has seen another application of lipstick on the pig. Wallpaper featuring great moments and stats from Charlton’s history has gone up in the tunnel area. All well and good but you really are literally papering over the cracks however you want to spin it.

What am I meant to feel about that ? Does the regime seriously expect me to touch a forelock and bow and scrape as I self-consciously slip away in awe of the magnitude of such a gesture ?

Of course they do and so I should as the least I can do after all this is what connecting with the fans customers is all about isn’t it ?

Never mind that I hear the Duchatelet apologists cry, what about the investment in Sparrows Lane and the latest phase of development announced yesterday ?

Under proper stewardship and with club heading in the right direction it would be great news. However, what is the point of a wonderful academy with great facilities if you’re slipping down the leagues.

Status is everything and any decent player is going to join a club at a higher level, no matter how much poorer the facilities. In any case, at some point, basic economics dictates that it becomes unsustainable

Over the years via various owners there has been investment in the ground and we now have magnificent stadium. However, it means diddly squat if what is served up for 90 minutes on the pitch is such utter dross that it only serves to depress you failing to inspire and excite you in any way. That’s where it’s going now as we find that we apparently are unable to compete at the lowest level we have found ourselves in living memory.

Back in the day you had an atmosphere, players you could relate to like Killer, Flash, Powell etc.  In more recent times it was Kinsella, Kiely, Mendonca etc.

It was what happened on the pitch that most mattered most and it was a real experience.  On a good day Charlton played well, maybe even won and the tea hut would avoid being razed to the ground !

In terms of refreshments you might see the occasional peanut seller. In order to get your half time scores you needed to borrow an Enigma machine to work them out !

It’s simple really, half decent football from players who care and a club to be proud of maybe watching with family and / or friends. That’s pretty much my ideal match day experience in a nutshell.

Even at its most dilapidated best just prior to the sojourn in Croydon The Valley had an appeal, a sense of belonging and a raw atmosphere that’s hard to match. You can’t buy that and it’s sadly missing at present.

Coming back home in 1992 and the appeal remained as the phoenix rose from the flames. Was it the same ? No, not exactly but regeneration and success on the pitch brought a new and exciting atmosphere albeit lacking the rawness of days of old.

League-wise we’ve been up, down, up, down, down, up and down again. No problem with that as it’s the roller coaster we’ve come to expect and associate with The Addicks. However, in the words of Status Quo “ we’re down, down, deeper and down “. Like a newly graduated limbo dancer, we’ve never been so low !

Are these the ramblings of a soppy old sod looking through rose-tinted glasses ? Too bl**dy right they are ! I make no apologies for that.

This soppy old sod just wants to feel proud of his club again. To be able to look forward to enjoying the unique atmosphere of The Valley again. To feel a sense of belonging again. To actually enjoy watching a game and see us play well !

Come On You Reds !

Friday, 7 October 2016

Four-gone Conclusion

Maybe he'll be at the Coventry game with Eric Hitchmough !

I wrote last Friday that “  tomorrow sees the second of 4 consecutive home games and it’s not inconceivable that we won’t win one of them “.

Well, three have now been and gone and having lost two and drawn one there’s a real chance that my worst fears are being realised. In fact more than that as we’ve managed two miss two penalties in doing so !

One would like to be able to write off the Checkatrade debacle and in better circumstances it could be viewed in isolation and brushed off. However, we live in “ interesting times “ to say the least and it’s simply not possible to do so.

A win, allied to a good performance, was the minimum that was required and Mr Slade failed to deliver again. He put out a fairly strong team, one that ought to do well enough to compete in League One never mind against a League Two team.

Post match and we were treated to the usual bluster from Slade about things that the team needs to work on and how the break would be used to address them. Sadly, we’ve been here before and nothing changes other than things seem to get worse.

There appeared to be much in Slade’s favour when he arrived. Alright, he wasn’t Chris Wilder, the main managerial target, who’s produced at least two good teams at the level below with both now at ours and whose Sheff Utd side have steadily risen up the table this season.

Slade appeared to have the right amount of experience and knowledge to turn things around to turn. Further to this he made much of the contacts he has in the game to add to his credibility leading us customers to believe that we had a good chance of achieving the top six finish he all but promised. However, as time marches on it seems that Slade only talks a good game.

The select meeting of fans with the manager a few weeks ago saw a number of people impressed by Slade’s reference to statistics and attention to detail such as the table cloths in the canteen at the training ground and players staying for a meal after training to ensure they eat well and to aid team bonding.

Of course, he was right to address these issues. However, the reality is that it is  shocking that the club had sunk so far that things were allowed to descend to that level. These are basic issues and I suspect that nearly all clubs are run in this way. Thus, they are bog standard rather than a mark of genius.

Some will say it’s easy to criticise ( and indeed it is ! ) and maybe me as an ordinary customer is unaware of extenuating circumstances making Mr Slade’s job difficult, if not impossible. Perhaps there are and if so, then he needs to voice concerns and resign if they’re not addressed.

It’ll be no good if years down the line he reveals something in his defence that he fails to mention now. His reputation and credibility are seriously damaged if so.

Some fans are keen to give him more time than he perhaps deserves although I do feel this is partly driven by a fear of who might replace him if he gets the tin tack. Certainly that is a worry given the regime’s track record on managerial appointments let alone other ones ! However, unless Slade produces a tactical and motivational rabbit out of a hat another season of struggle is on the cards.

The ongoing failure to win allied to some of the worst football some of us have witnessed in 50 odd years of supporting the team only serves to fan the flames of discontent at Duchatelet’s continued ownership.

Given that Roly is showing no signs of wanting to sell or to remove Teflon Katrien the tensions arising from an already fractured owner-customer relationship can only increase and the Coventry game won’t be played out to a happy-clappy atmosphere.

I keep thinking and hoping that we’ve reached the bottom of the abyss but not yet it seems and things will get worse before they get better. An incredible thing to say but it’s true although there’s little room left for this to happen as we either descend into League 2 and perhaps non-league football or the club folds.

On that note, have a good weekend ! ( at least we’re not playing ! ) 

Monday, 3 October 2016

How's Your Luck !

Pretty, pretty good !

Sunday saw me at Wembley for a bit of football American style as welcome break from watching The Addicks. This was Jacksonville Jaquars v Indianapolis Colts.

Of course one’s mind is taken back to the great day in May 1998 and several times images of super Clive’s goals and celebrations and Gray’s not so hot penalty replayed.

The reward for Charlton that day was promotion to the Premier League and untold riches. Fast forward 18 years and the contrast could hardly be more stark.

Another sportsman to grace the Wembley turf yesterday was Colts Quaterback, the aptly named Andrew Luck. Mr Luck was rewarded back in June with a contract worth $140m over 6 years ! Hmmm and we think Premiership footballers are overpaid !

Whilst far from being an expert or familiar with the nuances of the game I enjoyed what turned out to be a close game. A far cry from what was served up by our boys on Saturday.

For the second time in 5 days Charlton managed to serve up another insipid performance as we were again treated to some of the most mindless football I’ve ever witnessed……..even at this level !

Mr Slade had the lads banging the ball up to Josh ad infinitum and I can’t ever recall us getting any joy from it but it didn’t stop us trying.

I think Slade is watching a different game to us. If something isn’t working then you change it don’t you ? As an example why would you continue to let Lookman take corners after the previous 3 or 4 brought no joy whatsoever ? Most failed to clear the first defender and if they did they sailed out of play and into touch !

We don’t have the best midfield of course but the squad overall is blessed with some decent players most of whom could reasonably expect to start in most teams in this league. Yet we still get outplayed by lesser squads who are seemingly being organised and motivated.

With every passing game I’m convinced that we won’t see the talented Lookman in a Charlton shirt past December. To be honest I wouldn’t blame him for going. What a waste.

Despite an awful display on Tuesday there was still no room for Botaka and Chicksen in the starting eleven. When those players knock on Slade’s door and demand to know why they’re not playing I wonder what the boss’s response is ?

“ Sorry lads but we’re playing so well at the moment and I can’t find a place for you in the team ! “. As I said much more of this and Leeds will be recalling their man. Especially if, as Mr Slade alluded to, we boo him when he comes on as a sub.

Really Mr Slade ? Come on, if you want to create a diversion from another poor game please don’t insult our intelligence. You know as well as anyone else that the boos were for removing one of our two most creative players.

We have a ponderous midfield and yet Slade can’t fashion a team that sees both our wingers start. In addition, he fails to get the best out of Lookman. All the time he continues to play Skip.

We all hold him in high regard but he is struggling this season and he is probably best used as a sub and a motivator or guide to other players.

Please can we start a game without Josh ? He does well but his presence means we’re just constantly hoofing in his direction but there’s never anyone to feed off him so what’s the point ?

You can bet your bottom dollar that most of the footie for a fiver people won’t be back for some time if ever. Many were heard saying that after the game so that promotion was a resounding success eh ?

Thankfully we’ve a break after tomorrow’s meaningless trophy game. Just as well as it would have been a trouncing at Millwall no doubt and never mind the players, we need a break ourselves !

Mr Slade has said he’ll use the break to work on things and improve play but he said that of the last one and we seem to have gone backwards ! I’m sensing that the players are losing faith with him as much as the fans.

It’s a shame as I hoped he’d be good for us and at least get the best out of our squad but we’re a long way from that. I’m not sure how many more games Mr Slade has left but things need to improve or he’ll be latest in the long line of managerial casualties under the present regime.

Friday, 30 September 2016

One Down And Three !

Had she hit it off better with Gordon we could have been playing Mrs Brown's boys !

It’s football all the way this weekend as I’ll be seeing the versions from both sides of the pond.

Firstly, it’s the eagerly awaited League One clash in S.E. 7 as Charlton take on the Dale. Not really expecting too much here as we’d struggle to beat Dale Winton never mind the Dale of Roch.

Gillian Duffy’s boys rock up on the back of 3 straight wins, a feat that seems a million miles away for our boys at the moment. In fact, 3 points is stretching things to a degree.

Mr Slade has had plenty of time to analyse Tuesday’s performance but sadly what we got in yesterday’s pre-match interview was some bluster about game management, whatever that means ! I think it could be summed up in three short words……..we were s**t !

Whilst castigating the players “ game management “ Slade would do well to reflect on his own efforts in that direction, Game mismanagement is probably a more accurate description of the boss’s efforts.

I’ve nothing against Mr Slade and there may be things in the background and dark forces that he’s battling against. However, on face value that suggests he picks the team and choses the formation and tactics it don’t look good !

It has now reached the point where he is now more pressure than he was on Tuesday. The weight of expectation is getting heavier. As much he still has the backing of most fan and for the moment the senior management it is only Katrien that is totally fire-proof !

If results don’t improve Slade may have to shed a few stone, don a dark wig, get out the stilettos and start wearing stripy tops if he is to evade the chop !

Following Tuesday’s dire performance I’m approaching tomorrow’s game with some trepidation and I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s hard to see us getting a win, I hope I’m wrong of course.

Slade won’t be helped with rumours of more injuries. The main concern is the BFG. We can do without him missing games even if the one area we can accommodate injuries is in central defence.

However, it could be a blessing in disguise if the gaffer is forced to finally start those bench warmers par excellence, Chicksen and Botaka. It seems that Slade’s view of Tex means that he won’t start never mind how many are unavailable.

The £5 deal will mean that there ought to be a bigger crowd than Tuesday’s and it will no doubt be inflated whatever the reality. However, the powers that be will be hard pushed to declare one too much over the odds……but you never know.

I’d love to see us playing the ball out from the back and not banging long balls upfield. Added to which I wouldn’t miss the long throws that take me back to the days of Tranmere Rovers on a Friday night and Stoke, for a more contemporary reference. Surely, we’re better than that ?

Sunday sees me off to Wembley to watch only my second game of football of the American variety. I went last year not expecting to enjoy but was surprised by the extent to which I did in the end.

In the meantime tomorrow sees the second of 4 consecutive home games and it’s not inconceivable that we won’t win one of them. A scenario, with all due respect, made all the more likely by the resignation yesterday of Tony Mowbray.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to pass.

Come On You Reds ! 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Slade Turns Down Job Offer

Mr Slade was quick to rule out any move for the England job last night and a collective sigh of relief was heard across the rest of League One.

Elsewhere, there was obvious disappointment for Frazer, Jones, Godfrey and Mr Sponge……the Walmington Wanderers midfield quartet, all thought to be favoured by Mr Slade, who will no doubt be disappointed as it could spell the end of their international careers.

In any case commentators remained unsure as to whether the international football scene was ready for Slade’s brand of fast flowing,  pass and move football. That is now seemingly going to remain the preserve of S.E. 7. where many disaffected fans can be seen kicking themselves for failing to renew their season tickets.

Those fortunates with season tickets, like your author, simply can’t believe their luck as The Addicks continued their climb up the table last night following a scintillating 1-1 draw against Oldham.

Determined players passed the ball around well and had the run of the midfield were unlucky not to score a hatful  as they spurned several good chances…….yes, The Latics will be gutted they didn’t leave with all 3 points !

I have to say that in my time ( it’s like doing time ! ) I have seen some utter bilge from Charlton and last night’s performance was right up there.

The first half definitely ranks as one of the worst. After 10 minutes the residents of Nelson Mandella House behind the Jimmy Seed could be seen closing the curtains and drawing down the blinds. You’ve got to pity those whose properties have views facing The Valley as their value is increasingly plummeting.

I believe that at least 2 residents were talked down off the roof !

I like Big Josh but I do feel that his presence lends itself to our hoofing the ball up to him more than is good for his neck and that of any spectator !

I like Novak too and he worked hard last night but I’m not sure that the two big lads up front is such a good idea.

Why would Mr Slade be afraid to go into a game like last night not playing two wingers ? Botaka must have done something on Slade’s chips to get such little game time. Much more of this and Leeds will be asking for him to return.

Similarly what’s the point getting Chicksen ? Fox had a distinctly average game and on one occasion in the first half got skinned as though he wasn’t there. Surely young Adam can’t be that bad or perhaps he’s also drowned Slade’s fries !

Given our ponderous midfield you’d want to add any bit of creativity and speed you can yet the players we do have that offer that remain on the bench.

Yet again much like the Wimbledon game you could see the equaliser coming and we were lucky not to lose. 

Slade’s response……..get Ajose on ! Really ? Outmuscled again and didn’t show enough desire. Why not try Hanlan at least he has something about him.

Why was Lookman left on the bench ? Start him, get the game won and then take him off if you want rather than he comes on when we’re chasing the game.

In their number 24 Oldham had a player who looked so ungainly he could have been playing in stilettos ! Yet he had so much time to pick passes.

Green also had lots of time too and used the ball well……I was impressed by him. When he lost it with one of his teammates after a poor pass some around me laughed at him. I thought it was good and wished we had a few like him that cared as much as he does.

Yet again we fail to win from having the lead and the oppo get more out of their players and squad.

I said before that repeated failure to win will see not only the fans but the players lose faith in Mr Slade. I fear that will come to pass.

Seeing some of our boys slumped on the pitch at the end, head in hands was reminiscent of last season. Frustration that may well turn into an acceptance that we’re in another relegation battle.

At least post-match Slade spared us the “ draws turning into wins “ spiel. However, he heaped a lot of blame onto the players. Ahem ! Please put your hand up too, it’s not only down to them.

I get so frustrated when we don’t look to play out from the back. I can’t remember us getting any joy when the ball was banged up to Josh. Add to that the long throws that look so desperate and it paints a horrid picture of a team devoid of attacking ideas.

We must be better than that surely ? I could go on but it’s not helping !

Rochdale come calling on Saturday having just beaten Millwall away ( yes, really – imagine ! ) and Bolton. It’s not going to get any easier.

Please God that Slade sorts it out because I can’t take much more of this. Forget your stats, the only ones that count are the goals for and against and points on the table.

In the absence of any improvement I suppose I could contact the boys from The Telegraph to see if they can help !