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 ! 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Time To Be Positive Mr Slade

Losing at home and drawing away isn't a recipe for success by any stretch of the imagination. I can take the away draws if we are winning at home but we're not. In addition, the team is throwing games away from winning positions.

Results need to improve or people might start to question the point of the Target 20k group !

The way the side is set up and the approach is now raising some serious questions over Mr Slade. He is repeating himself after games insisting that draws will turn into wins. The reality is more that wins are turned into draws.

Slade now has two more home games and needs to win them both if we are realistically to achieve something this season and for the fans ( and to a degree perhaps the players ) not to lose faith.

The manager has to look at what has happened in recent games and change his approach. He has been overly cautious and failed to respond to game situations and doesn't even react sometimes. He was quick to take the plaudits for his use of subs after the draw at Fleetwood but I don't think we should have been in a losing position.

In the Wimbledon game we could all see that The Dons were going to equalised and further going to score the winner. Solly was good in the first but was getting out-muscled in the second. Solly should have come off to be replaced by Bauer with Konsa going to right back.

This failure to make changes at the right time and to make the necessary ones isn't helping. Our Leeds man either doesn't start or typically comes on too late to effect games. Even when Holmes hasn't started he still isn't starting even though he has impressed when he has got on the pitch.

Overlooking all that Mr Slade's ultra-cautious approach isn't helping. If he'd been more positive in the last 3 games there's a real possibility that we might have got one win at least. That would leave us with one more point than we have now even if we lost the other two.

We have a fairly decent squad albeit somewhat deficient in midfield and we ought to be putting away most sides. It seems other clubs and managers are making the most of their resources. For example, the MK Dons won comfortably at Fleetwood on Saturday where we struggled to a draw. Compare and contrast......which of the two squads would you rather have ?

The same could be said of other clubs like Northampton, Bury etc. All currently achieving more than we are. As I said we have a reasonable squad and in Lookman a player that all other League One and most Championship sides would love to have. Yet we are behind them. I mean, Millwall have been bad of late but they are above us !

If we witness the ongoing lack of intent and ambition then the crowd will turn and that'd be a shame. Mr Slade speaks well and says the right things about the club, the fans and its history. All well and good but it's results that count and that needs to start now.

Slade needs to show us that he has the tactical nous and ambition to get us where we need to be.

Better start on Tuesday then !

Come On You Reds !



Thursday, 15 September 2016

Underground, Overground !

Great Uncle Bulgaria - my favourite Womble

On Saturday we welcome a club that has in just over 10 years overcome adversity to re-establish itself in league football. It's an inspirational tale of success against all the odds and gives us some hope should The Belgians continue on their path of destruction.

I expect that all Wombles can expect a warm welcome at The Valley as their is much solidarity and admiration for what they have achieved.

Amongst their ranks are two ex-Addicks in Barry Fuller and Dean Parrett ( remarkably Dean is only 24 ! ).  

AFC have struggled a bit in League One this season but we ought to expect a tough game from a club that is all about grit and determination and fighting all the way.

Skip should be fit and available again for us and with no one exactly seizing the opportunity in his absence then he may well come straight back into the team.

One wonders if Bauer is set to start a game or will Mr Slade keep faith with Konsa ? I do expect the BFG to cement his place at some stage.

What news of Tex then ? Well nothing as far as I know. I guess the official line is that he's injured but that seems unlikely and we ought to be told.

Novak's late strike might have been enough to see him replace Ajose up front as Nicky hasn't had the best of starts. I trust that we have something better than Josh starting on the right again, that remains a mystery to me.

AS ever it will probably fall to Holmes to provide the ammo although I feel that Lookman should now really be imposing himself on games. Mr Slade has to find the best way to use him. Personally I'd be tempted to give him something of a free role such is the ability he has to create something.

Following a few draws we need to start winning again especially at home and that needs to start on Saturday.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Saturday's Verdict v The Cod Army

could do batter............!

It sounds as though we didn’t play too well on Saturday ( perhaps we were coasting ! ) but not bad enough to lose. We got undone by two strikes from distance as players were allowed too much time and space.

Aside from the obvious deficiencies in midfield we really ought to be doing better. I’m really not sure what the thinking was that saw big Josh start out wide. Mr Slade had two weeks to come up with something better than that.

Whilst praising the subs that came on to help secure the draw perhaps we ought to be thinking that we really oughtn’t to have been in losing position to begin with !

I’m not trying to be overly critical but surely we need a degree of flexibility that sees us try different formations. I’d be up for Mr Slade giving Lookman a free role behind a single striker or maybe Ajose not being one of the front two.

Why we can’t seem to play to his strengths is a concern or is the player struggling to settle ? Whatever, we need to sort it fast.

A point away is fine if it is backed up with wins at home although we really should be more ambitious than that. Certainly our game in hand albeit away to high-flying Scunthorpe is one that we really need to win if we’re not to lose touch at the top.

That needs to start on Saturday against a Wimbledon side that has yet to win on the road but did manage a draw away to a Northampton side that is very good at home. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Go Your Own Way !

and indeed they are !

Whilst the coach passes Toddington, the official coach ( seen above ) will finally be completing its tour of S.E. London and starting to head north.

This independent travel could threaten the club’s service but that’s perhaps not surprising as they don’t have a good record with coaches do they ?

On to our first visit to Highbury Stadium to face The Cod Army…..let’s hope we batter them !

Fleetwood is up in Lancashire of course just up from Blackpool which in
football terms is as about as miserable as it can get for Charlton fans……….I’m still having therapy from the game there when Pardew was in charge…..what a dire weekend that was !

However, as we’ve not played TCA yet we remain ( for the moment at least ) undefeated there ! That’s something Fleetwood can boast this season aside from an EFL Cup loss on pens to Leeds.

Fleetwood’s impressive start to the season has seen them rise to third under manager Uwe Rosler. I’m sure we all remember him and if you’re going tomorrow be sure to give him a cheery wave ! Let him know that Big Bob sends his regards !

A while ago the chairman set out on a policy on self-sustainment with striking parallels to our own. The exception being of course that they’re seemingly making a success of it.

Last week’s break has given Mr Slade plenty of time to work with the team and embed all the new arrivals. Ahem ! Well, yes the transfer window wasn’t a resounding success and we missed out on a couple of players.

However, holding onto Lookman was paramount and that we appear to have knocked back a couple of hefty bids if good news. Tex is still here of course and that too is welcome news assuming he is up for it and gives it his all.

There’s the obvious danger that either or both may be gone come January but let’s not think about that for now. Lookman must be fully rested and fit now and must start games. He is capable of doing serious damage at this level and thus ought to be integral to Mr Slade’s plans.

One and possibly the only benefit of a closed transfer window is that no one is going anywhere ( unless contracts get cancelled of course ! ). This ought to bring a stability of sorts.

In defence we are overloaded with options and the competition for places ought to be intense. However, it shouldn’t be to the extent that we see Solly playing in midfield again !

Midfield remains a problem especially as we missed out on free agent Flamini ! If Lookman is played there then he will add something whilst new signing Ulvstad will improve things but will need to prove himself.

There are issues up front too as we are struggling to play to Ajose’s strengths. Banging long balls upfield certainly isn’t going to help ! One hopes that’s been addressed in the last fortnight. We really need him to recapture last season’s form.

If we are to mount any kind of challenge at the right end of the table the we need to win tomorrow but it won't be easy !

Come On You Reds !

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Addicks 1 ( Harlem Globe ) Trotters 1

The ironically named Too Tall ( seen here on the left ) wouldn't get into the Bolton team.

Phil Parkinson and Lawrie Wilson rightly received warm welcomes upon their return to The Valley. Sadly, Lawrie didn't get on the pitch but as he's not a strapping 6ft plus player with a tendency for the rough stuff it was always unlikely.

Parky has set up his current team to be very physical whilst adding some niggly fouls into the mix. When that plays out in front of an incompetent referee as per yesterday you'll understand perhaps why Bolton have had a good start to the season. 

The Trotters, rather like the turn out from their fans, were disappointing. Proctor in particular was awful and he was lucky to stay on as long as he did. I'll be surprised if the Lancashire team are still up the top come the end of the season.

I had expected a bigger turn out from Bolton Fans given their good start, size of club and the relatively easy trip to London on a bank holiday weekend.

The Addicks had the better of the first half and certainly did not deserve to lose the game overall. 

Skip was withdrawn midway through the first half and in all honesty probably shouldn't have been risked especially with a two week break from league action coming up. His replacement gave a portent of the later rather baffling substitutions that Mr Slade was to make. 

Don't get me wrong it was good to see Bauer return ( I'm a big fan ) but to so disrupt the team and not to make a positive and attacking sub was a mistake I believe.

Konsa moved to right back and Solly into midfield to accommodate the German. Konsa and Solly both did well in their new positions but round pegs in round holes please ! Ultimately Konsa will probably feel he could've done better in the lead up to their goal and one feels that Solly almost certainly would've done.

Konsa at right back also meant that we had little threat on the right as on several occasions players were unable to release the ball out to where one would expect Solly to have been. No criticism of the young man intended just further proof that it wasn't the best decision to have him there.

The sub also served to highlight our dearth of quality and numbers in midfield. That aside I fail to understand why Lookman didn't come on at that point. Sadly, we weren't to see Charlton's finest until the 65th minute after he seemingly spending 10 minutes getting prepped to come on !

Why aren't players ready to get on the pitch asap ? That needs addressing. If we still have Lookman after the transfer window closes then he must be used from the start. Yesterday was reminiscent of the way Curbs used John Barnes who typically came on when we were behind and chasing the game,

Lookman's arrival immediately resulted in the Addicks carrying a greater threat that until that point was seemingly only coming from the ever impressive Holmes. He worked his socks off. 

One final sub to make then and with Ajose hardly having a touch all game against the giants and with the inevitable balls being banged into the box we took off Magennis. Why ? Even if he was injured and standing one leg ( I'm not aware he was ) then at least he carried a nuisance factor.

Hanlon was lively and effective. Again one wonders why he didn't come on earlier and why we persisted with Ajose. Mr Slade had to work out how to get the best out of him. I suspect a decent midfielder with an eye for a good forward pass is the answer so let's hope that player arrives soon !

We still witnessed a lot of long balls out from the back yesterday but the defenders did at least get feed by Rudd a bit more than previously. However, our players seem slow to react and never get into enough space when we do. 

It's basic stuff.......more space equals more time ! It really is that easy and something we need to address.  

No league game next Saturday means more chance to rest and recover for a number of players, More importantly Mr Slade can focus on new recruits. Getting that right and holding on to Lookman and Bauer are critical to us having any chance of a return to the Championship.

Tuesday sees the totally devalued Johnstones Paint - Checkatrade or somesuch Trophy game. The attendance ought to rival those of the Full Members Cup from our days in exile. It really has become devalued and I'm two Prem U23 teams to contest the final. Should that scenario come to pass then one can probably expect another low in terms of attendance for a Wembley final.

Friday, 26 August 2016


Just to give you an insight into the hilarity in our house let me tell of yesterday's pre-dinner conversation. My missus asked if I was cooking a roast.
" Yes " I said.
" With roast potatoes ? ! she enquired.
" Of course ! "
"Well, don't make them too oily ! " she replied.
" Don't worry, I'm not doing it before 7pm ! "

Can we give Bolton a roasting a la Shrewsbury on Saturday ? Highly unlikely I'd have thought. The Trotters are top of the table and aside from a slip up in the League Cup ( I refuse to call the EFL cup - what nonsense ) have won all their games.

Bolton arrive with some familiar faces in the shape of Phil Parkinson, Dorian Dervite and Lawrie Wilson. All were good servants of the club and as such, are due a warm welcome.

Parkinson's efforts in his time with us were perhaps not appreciated as much as they should have been. I know I'm guilty of that. Given the background to his tenure at The Valley what he achieved was to an extent remarkable. His subsequent success at Valley Parade and Bolton to date are testament to his ability.

One missing ingredient on Saturday is THD. Having been part of the squad for all league games to date he has moved onto to Huddersfield for a reported £400k. If we thought so little of him why was he involved each matchday squad ? Why didn't we put up a fight to keep him ?

I understand Mr Slade saying he doesn't want to keep a player who doesn't want to be at the club but he is a very promising player. THD's chances were very limited although he impressed greatly when I saw him play. He was a very probable solution to our left sided problems. Why he wasn't given a chance to play in front of Fox in left midfield I don't know.

There you have it, another young player is allowed to depart and we can now watch from afar as we no doubt see him flourish elsewhere. In all probability fulfilling Katrien's wish to see our players moving to appear in the Premier League as that is the raison d'etre of our academy eh ?

Huddersfield are nicely set up for promotion this season so it won't surprise me if they are in top flight next season. In the meantime we leave ourselves with a further depleted squad and no real cover at left back.

Saturday's game should be a good one with in form teams. My wish is that Mr Slade would have them play out from the back more. I'm a bit bored of seeing everything from Rudd banged up to Magennis.

Brighton showed that it possible to do this when they won the league a few years ago under Gus Poyet. It was no better illustrated than when they beat us 4-0 at The Valley when Kishishev ran the show. It would be nice if we tried to play in a similar style.

I appreciate you need a certain type of player to do so and that we are lacking in midfield but we really ought to try and be able to do so. I can but hope.

As I said it should be a good game on Saturday with Bolton no doubt bringing a few thousand to the game and will be in good voice. Sadly we may struggle to match them due to our current low turnouts. No doubt, like the team, we'll give it a good go though.

Come On You Reds !