Author: Glynne | Date: February 4, 2015 | 1 Comment »

Progress. It’s a word we’ve heard a lot over the course of this season. After the first few games, most fans were saying how much better we were than last season, and for a while that was true. However, is it still the case, given our recent poor run of results? And how does that compare to the 2012/13 season, Chris Powell’s first in the Championship?

Last Saturday’s draw with Rotherham was our 28th League game of the season, enough played to make a meaningful comparison with the club’s position at the same point in the previous two years. Thanks to stats provided by Dick Sheppard we can take a look.

Our record this term is

Played: 28, Won: 6, Drawn: 15, Lost: 7, Pts: 33

At the same point last season:

Played: 28, Won: 5, Drawn: 9, Lost: 14, Pts: 24

So even after the recent poor performances we are nine points better off. However, we are only a few places places higher in the table – 18th this term against 22nd last. However, most of those extra nine points have come via draws, so the win ratio of around 21% this time against 18% last, so a great deal of similarity after all.

So what about that 2012/13 season?

Played: 28, Won: 10, Drawn: 9, Lost: 9, Pts: 39

So that’s almost double the wins as this season, a win ratio of nearly 36% leaving us in 12th place in the league. Looks like that was a lot better. Indeed, comparing the relative goal differences emphasis the point, with that season having an even goal difference, against -15 last season and -10 this. We also scored 38 times that season, against 23 last and 25 this, conceding 38, 38 and 35 respectively.

So what does all this mean? Well it seems clear to me that over the course of the last two seasons we’ve gone backwards as a club, with a poorer record in almost every department. The obvious question to ask is why?

For me, last season’s performances can be laid directly at the door of the then owners, Slater and Jimenez and their inability to strengthen a side that had performed over and above all expectations in finishing a more than credible 9th place. It’s not surprising that performances feel away and we struggled. With no meaningful new recruits arriving that Christmas either, and issues between manager and owner dragging moral down, survival was just about met.

So what about this season? New arrivals in the summer appeared to bring fresh hope, but once again performances stopped off. It’s early days in the Luzon era, but the last three games don’t point to any change in form, and I can’t see the recruitment of Roger Johnson making any meaningful improvement.

Taking our average points per game so far this season (1.19) and projecting that over the remaining 18 games gives us a theoretical total of around 54 points, the total that saw Peterborough United related in 2012/13 but would have been good enough for 16th place last season (and three points more than we got last term).

A points total in the mid 40s is usually needed to survive in the Championship, so our early season good form might have given us enough of a boost to cover current form. However, with season ticket renewal forms due out in the next weeks, will fans feel mere survival playing dull football is enough?

Author: Glynne | Date: February 3, 2015 | 1 Comment »

Hold up! A new blog post. Something must be wrong at Charlton Athletic again…

Sadly I seem to find myself writing along the same themes as when I briefly restarted this blog last year when Roland Duchâtelet bought the club. That first blog post makes depressing reading a year on for one simple reason – nothing has changed.

Back then I wrote that the players supplied by Duchâtelet in that January transfer window weren’t really up to the job, with only Astrit Ajdarević and Reza Ghoochannejhad showing any kind of ability. Of course, we know that the former couldn’t last more than about 60 mins and the latter was flattering to deceive at that point in time.

But none of that mattered as the mission to stay up was accomplished under Jose Riga. It is still my opinion that we’d have stayed up with Chris Powell and he’d have learnt some valuable lessons, but that’s hardly Riga’s fault.

So what’s gone wrong this time?

As fans, we were looking forward to seeing what Riga would do over the summer, as surely he’d shown enough to be given a chance at building a squad capable of more than mere survival. That wasn’t to be as, having fulfilled his short term contract he was thanks for his efforts and replaced by Bob Peeters, another relatively inexperienced manager but at least some knowledge of the English game having spent a couple of years as player at Millwall. The initial 12 month contract game some cause for concern and appeared to show a lack of commitment from the owner to his new chosen “head coach”.

There was also a shake up on the squad, with some 17 players leaving the club, most notably young midfielder Diego Poyet, goalkeeper Ben Hamer and centre backs Dorian Derive and Richard Wood.

11 players came in, although predictably Standard Liege featured largely in the list of supplying clubs, with Tal Ben Haim going on a permanent contract being joined by Yoni Buyens and Frederic Bulot on loan. Ben Haim was to be joined at the back by Andre Bikey but the most notable signings were from outside of Duchâtelet’s network. The signings of midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson and striker Igor Vetokele provided a real boost to the Addicks fans and so we went into the new season with a feeling of optimism, aided by the new Valley pitch and a splash of paint at the old place.



The start to the season was bright, Vetokele was scoring goals and we were riding high. Then it started to fade. Vetokele picked up and injury, teams started to press us and neither team nor coach had a plan B. Wins turned to draws, draws to defeats and the slide down the table had begun.

Things came to a head at the beginning of January when, after yet another home defeat and 2 months since the last win, Bob Peeters was shown the door. Charlton CEO Katrien Meire told us it had been a difficult decision and they were looking for the right replacement, saying:

“We know how important it is to make sure this next appointment is the right one because I understand that this club needs and deserves a Head Coach who can plan and take charge for the long-term.”.

24 hours later, former Standard Liege head coach Guy Luzon was appointed to lead the Addicks. 24 hours. Ok, let’s be generous and say it was just under 48 hours after Peeters was sacked. Does that sound like a rigorous recruitment process? Not to me it doesn’t, nor to hundreds of other fans who took to social media to express their dissatisfaction. Meire was asked about the process and who else was interviewed and continually said they had over 20 applications and had interviewed other candidates and that it “quickly became clear” that Luzon was the best candidate. Really? That doesn’t sound credible to me. I’ve interviewed candidates over the telephone before and nothing beats a face to face meeting. Of course, the club couldn’t even get this appointment right, with the Israeli having to wait a week for his work permit to come through.

So with a new head coach in place, we entered the last few weeks of the January transfer window. It was clear to The Valley faithful that extensive reinforcements were required, indeed some members of the first team squad were pointing this out as well. So what did we get? A goalkeeper and a striker from the network, a kid on loan from Spurs and a midfielder who appears not to have fully recovered from a very bad car crash.

Well, the goalkeeper may be an improvement on what we already had but the jury is still out. Striker Tony Watt is an improvement on the now departed George Tucudean but needs some game time, the Spurs kid has some ability (as you’d expect) but is more defensive than attacking and Lepoint has only played a few minutes. Nothing to get overly excited about.

The Valley crowd’s chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” and hour into Luzon’s home debut last Saturday should make it clear to the owner that things must change.

In that first blog post here I wrote:

“From a financial point of view, it makes little sense to let Charlton drift and become a feeder club for Liege – the money available in the English Premiership far out ways anything that can be earn in Belgium, even with Champions League cash. Maybe Duchâtelet believes has can turn Charlton into a break-even club in the Charmpionship, eliminating his costs and, if by some accident we do get promoted, he gets the windfall.”

We may not be a feeder club for Liege, indeed it seems to be the other way round in that we’re a dumping ground for Liege’s unwanted (including the head coach), I still cannot see what kind of strategy the owner can be following. We’ve seen that the quality of players available to us within the network isn’t up to the task of competing in the English Championship. We’re not seeing the network generate large sums of money in transfer fees yet we, at least, are losing between £6M-£8M each season – and things can only get worse if we are relegated.

Back in March, a group of supporters asked the board of directors of Charlton Athletic for a meeting to discuss concerns over the strategy of the club. That meeting kept being put off as the club management wanted to focus on staying up. It was put off over the summer and instead there was a brief Q&A with Katrien Meire and Richard Murray took place just prior to this season kicking off. CEO Meire keeps stating that she meets regularly with fans, but that appears to be just with the fans forum, a group that the majority of Charlton fans neither know or have any contact with.

Charlton Athletic used to be special. We used to one – fans, players, management and directors. That Charlton appears to be long gone. Have We Lost Our Charlton (again)(again)?

Author: Glynne | Date: March 22, 2014 | No Comments »

So here we go again. After a successful week with 4 points gained lifting the Addicks out of the bottom three we face in form Burnley, unbeaten in the league this year having won 6 of their last 10. Our recent record against the Clarets at this level isn’t great and the visitors are obvious favourites, but we do tend to play well against the better footballing teams.

The key issue today will be who played in the wide positions and upfront. Harriott looked injured when he went off before the break midweek, and Green faded out of the game. Their replacements in Obika and Sordell performed well enough to be considered to start in the wide positions, leaving Simon Church to run and run up front. I have no issue with this as long as the wide men get forward to support, with the full backs overlapping to provide crosses.

Alternatively, we could see the return of Pritchard to the wide right role where he performed well enough last weekend at Millwall. Jordan Cousins could also cover there, however I think that Jose Riga will continue with a central three of Jackson, Cousins and Poyet.

No real need to discuss the defence, as they currently pick themselves. Dervite’s performance against Bournemouth leaves him in from of Wood.

If the team can keep their work rate up and perform as we have seen they can over the course of the season, we can continue to pick up points. With Barnsley and Yeovil both with winnable home games, and Millwall away to Leeds, getting something is imperative.

 

Author: Glynne | Date: | No Comments »

The supporters group that met prior to the home match against Huddersfield Town last week has received a response to its initial contact with Charlton director Katrien Meire.

In her reply, Ms Meire acknowledged the current situation and said that the club was aware that there were concerns among fans and referred to the video released earlier this week.

She indicated a willingness to meet representatives of the group, as well as the supporters’ trust, but said that this would not be possible at present because the club’s focus is on avoiding relegation.

We welcome Ms Meire’s response and acknowledge that this is a very busy period, with so many games in such a short time. We were also pleased to see M. Duchatelet addressing supporters in his latest video and, although a number of the most relevant topics were not covered in great detail, we believe this kind of communication is extremely important and we hope it will prove to be a regular event.

We agree that the overwhelming priority this season is for Charlton to remain in the Championship and that this will not be affected by the timing of any meeting. However, we hope to open up a positive and constructive dialogue with the new administration at the club in due course and will seek to do so in partnership with all interested parties.

In the meantime, it should go without saying that we will all be supporting the team in their efforts to stay up and we encourage others to do the same.

 



Author: Glynne | Date: March 21, 2014 | No Comments »

What is it about injury time winners from corners? We should be feeling relief, but Dorian Dervite’s header engendered the same feelings of elation as did Jackson’s goal against QPR. It’s not true that we never score from corners – we just need to get one in the 92nd minute!

So what about the rest of the game? Well, let’s be honest, the first half wasn’t great. The visitors made a bright start and we had a few efforts, but both Green and Harriott faded before the latter was substituted with what looked like and injury just before the break. His replacement was the returning Jon Obika and he looked bright, playing mostly on the left of a 5 man midfield.

We started the second period with more purpose and managed to limit the Bournemouth opportunities – we’ve been good at the back most of the season. Another change saw Sordell replace Green, but instead of going two up front, Marvin stayed wide right. It was an interesting decision and one that appears to work, with the Bolton loanee playing his part in some good attacking moves through the rest of the game.

So we’re unbeaten under Jose Riga, and out of the bottom three with our first game in hand. I still believe that we’d have done the same under Chris Powell, and all the same issues he faced are still there under Riga. However, now is the time to “concentrate on the league” as the saying goes.

It’ll be interesting to see the team selection for Burnley on Saturday.

Never a dull moment following the Addicks!




Author: Glynne | Date: March 18, 2014 | No Comments »

So it appears the club are aware of concerns from various groups of fans on the direction and future of Charlton Athletic. In an attempt to respond to this they’ve posted a video interview with the owner on YouTube, available here.

I’ve watched that twice and, whilst welcome, for me this does nothing to allay my fears for our future. An urgent face to face meeting with the owner, the board and fans is still required in my view.

Having said that, I should say that at least M. Duchatelet is attempting to communicate with the fans, which is more than the previous regime did.



Author: Glynne | Date: | No Comments »

Well I didn’t do a post match review of the Millwall game as I didn’t have anything original to say. We’ve been playing like that most of the season. We can create chances but have no one capable of consistently putting them away….

So on to Bournemouth, with three ex-Addicks in their ranks, albeit that I seems Yann Kermorgant is injured.

Expectations? Another tight game which will be won by whichever team can score. Sounds obvious when said like that.

Even without Yann, this Bournemouth side know where the back of the net is. Will the returning Jonathan Obika remember what that looks like after his short spell last term? It seems inevitable that he starts tonight given the paucity of goals recently. The question is will he be on his own or have a partner up front?

I’d guess that we’ll retain the 4-5-1 shape deployed thus far by Jose Riga, which is fine if support is provided by the wide men and through the middle.

In my view, we’ve been at our best this season when running at opposition defences from wide so it is imperative that both Wiggins and Wilson do so tonight.




Author: Glynne | Date: March 15, 2014 | No Comments »

So here we go again. Another Saturday, another game, and this time it’s the short trip to the rowdy neighbour.

I don’t know why I bother with this match – we always seem to roll over and hand over the points. Last season was and exception with a hard fought, backs to the wall scoreless draw, so I suppose anything is possible.

The situation at the club still makes the matchday feel weird to me. We still need that clear statement of intent from the owner. I know some fans think the “new look” Charlton we saw on Wednesday was an improvement, but for me it was more of the same. We’ll see if M. Riga makes any more changes today.

Millwall have injury problems if their own so if we can pull off an improbable win we can go above them in the table. With Barnsley and Yeovil both away, to Watford and QPR respectively, a win could also take us out of the bottom three…

Of course, no mention of Millwall away can be made without reflecting on that Mortimer game in the snow. A top player at his best. Oh for a Paul Mortimer now!




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Author: Glynne | Date: March 14, 2014 | 2 Comments »

A meeting took place on Wednesday evening prior to the match against Huddersfield Town at The Valley bringing together campaigning Charlton supporters from across the generations.

It was called by supporters who formed the Valley Party in 1990 to contest the local Greenwich elections in the light of recent events, including the dismissal of Chris Powell, and in response to widespread concern about the identity and future of the club following the latest takeover.

The meeting included people who have previously been directors or senior and long-serving staff of the club, ex-Valley Party candidates and officers of the former Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Club and well-known local journalists who write about the club, as well as current representatives of Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust and fanzine Voice of The Valley.

This group is not intended to be exclusive. An invitation has been extended to  Charlton Life, members of the Fans’ Forum and others with an Addicks internet presence and all concerned want to proceed without factionalism or internal politics. Any other supporters’ groups are welcome to participate too.

The purpose of the meeting was to try to establish a temporary umbrella group from which to seek a constructive and positive dialogue with the new owner of the club, and if that does not prove possible then to create a basis to recommend and to co-ordinate any appropriate action to respond to events.

In the first instance, the group is seeking an urgent face-to-face meeting with Roland Duchatelet or Katrien Miere in order try to get a better understanding of the owner’s intentions and report back to the wider support.

If we are unable to enter into a useful dialogue with the owner or his representative then it is our intention to call a public meeting in early April to take matters forward.

The group recognises that it cannot direct the owner, but we hope to persuade him of the merits of constructive dialogue with Charlton supporters, with particular reference to the achievements that we have all had working together with the club over the last 25 years.

In the meantime, we want to let fans know that we are all coming together for the good of the club and that however they are feeling about the current situation there are experienced and committed people working behind the scenes to improve it.

Issued on behalf of the following:

Jonathan Bangs
Steve Clarke
Peter Cordwell
Steve Dixon
Rick Everitt
Mick Gebbett
Richard Hunt
Corinna Huxley
Glynne Jones
Dominic Matthews
Kevin Nolan
Hazel Nolan
Craig Norris
David Norris
Nigel Pamment
Steve Perfect
Ken Sinyard
Sue Townsend
Ben Tegg
Jeremy Watkins
Matt Wright

 

Author: Glynne | Date: | No Comments »

This has just been published on the League Managers Association website:

“Following my sacking, the first thing I want to do is give my most sincere thanks to the superb Charlton Athletic fans for their continued and unconditional support. I have always maintained a wonderful relationship with them both as manager of the Club and during my three different spells as a player.

“I always said I would never walk away from this great Club and ultimately it’s not about individuals, it’s about the Club and our fantastic supporters.

“I have over 15 years association with Charlton dating back to 1998, and over the years I have enjoyed many truly wonderful times. So, it is with deepest regret that my time as manager has now come to an end. It was an honour to have been given the opportunity to manage the Club and without doubt the proudest moment of my career in football was leading Charlton to the League One title, amassing 101 points in the process – a club record points tally. On a personal note I was extremely privileged to have been voted by my peers as the League One Manager of the Year following the success we all enjoyed.

“We experienced a fantastic first season back in the Championship by finishing 9th last term and I was confident that we would have secured our Championship status once again this campaign.

“In closing I simply want to wish everyone connected with Charlton Athletic the very best for the future.”

There’s nothing to add from me. Chris Powell, Charlton Legend, class, style and decent human being.

Once again, thanks Chris and good luck for the future.