Friday, 30 July 2010

The missing pieces

Phil Parkinson has again raided feeder-club Southend to bring in an experienced right-back in Simon Francis. If there were any remaining Shrimpers fans who didn't hate us, they will surely have joined the rank-and-file who must be very angry about us cherry-picking their players for relatively small fees. Francis is 25 years old and was the Southend player-of-the-year last season. However you look at it, £25,000 is small beer even if it can rise to £75,000. I understand that Brentford were interested in the recent past when the fee of £125,000 was being talked about. I suppose that's the way of the world and we shouldn't be too concerned in view of our history of selling players short of their potential value. I expect Francis to start as first choice right-back this season which means Chris Solly will have to continue to learn his trade from the bench.

Sky are also reporting that we are close to the first of two striker signings. Pawel Abbott, the six-foot-two English-Pole is the target if we can prize him away from Oldham. Abbott is a player who has caught my eye in the past and he has some goal-scoring form. Thirteen last year for the Latics doesn't sound too great but we should remember that they struggled last year. He would give us more pace upfront and could operate in a bettering-ram tandem with Akpo Sodje although I suspect Parky might be looking for the fox-in-the-box strike partner for either of them. Interestingly, Sky are suggesting this could be a surprise signing. That really would be a morale-booster and long overdue.

That would leave us short of just goal-keeping cover and we do have Andy Marshall on trial at the moment and he would fit the bill if he's affordable and prepared to pay second fiddle.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Elgin City 2 v Rangers XI 3

I enjoyed a competitive match last night on a sunny Summer's evening in the company of local Addicks' fan Davie. We even managed to bump into another Charlton supporter as we went through the turnstiles. Michael Whelan moved up to Morayshire a number of years ago with his expanding family (6 girls now I believe) and as you would expect from a Charlton fan, he is now a season ticket holder at Elgin City, his local league side.

Hard to gauge the level of the Rangers team but it's safe to say I recognised none as league players and I was informed that the first-team squad are currently touring in Australia. They also looked young but Elgin City themselves rely on youth, so it was a good test for both sides.

Elgin are currently fielding an enormous centre-forward in Paul Miller who is employed during the week by the RAF. He certainly caught the eye but more due to the fact that he looks like a converted Number 8 than because of hie pace or prowess in the air. Other than that, they have a very useful central midfielder in Mark Nicholson and a left-sided accomplice called Craig Frizzell. Craig Gunn equalised twice for Elgin and they were unfortunate not to get a draw having struck the woodwork twice and forcing a couple of decent saves from the Gers keeper, Alan Smith. Speedy Archie Campbell impressed for Rangers as did first-half sub Kal Naismith. Other than that, Elgin were trialling the experienced Barry Wilson, who gave a decent cameo whilst on.

Off to Aberdeen for the day and hoping to catch up on some Valley transfer news later today...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Richard Murray goes it alone...

Surprise news from the Official Site that Richard Murray has acquired full control of the club from the other Board Members. The move is described as a management buyout and yet Murray has been quick to acknowledge the support if those concerned, the implication being that they have waived their debt in the process or sold it very cheaply. The move looks to have largely reduced our debt and left Murray free to decide the future of the club. With a much smaller debt, we should be more able to borrow money and be a much more attractive proposition for would-be investors and Murray has said as much.

The move coincides with quotes from Mr Murray in the SLP acknowledging the fact that we need to strengthen yet before we might hope to compete this year and there is even talk that small fees might be possible to attract the right sort of player.

This looks very positive and comes just at the right time as fears were beginning to grow about our readiness for the season ahead. Richard Murray has a long and impressive record of selflessly doing the right thing for Charlton Athletic and it looks like he have done it once again.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

13 days to go...

We went down one-nil at Underhill yesterday, our second pre-season defeat there in successive years. The only difference here was that we fielded a younger and less experienced side last year. Yesterday, we put the first team out. I have reminded myself several times already that it was only a friendly but I am not convinced. We are desperately short of attacking options and the only possible addition is an unconvincing Icelandic striker.

However desperate the finances, we have to be able to compete and that means we need to improve our striking options before 7th August. I know I keep saying it and I know we're all in complete agreement, so please, will someone at the club just tell us how close we might be? Leaving it too late is just that and will signify a failure by the Board however you look at it. There are even rumours that we could yet lose Semedo or Racon before we kick-off. If that were to happen, we would have every right to complain about the way things are being managed. Cutting your cloth is one thing but failing to prepare properly is amateurish and asking for trouble.

I am acclimatising here in Morayshire after my night drive on Friday which saw me go without sleep for 33 hours. The sun is shining and I can hear the sea and the gulls. On Tuesday I will pop along to Borough Briggs to see Elgin City play a Rangers XI. I will pay special attention to the centre-forwards on display.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The first sub 10,000 gate this century?

Disappointing news of sorts from the Official Site this afternoon. Season Ticket sales have crept up by a very modest 250 or so from the figure announced at the start of last week. At that rate, we could be short of 9,000 for the opening day and our lowest starting number since the 1990's. It would also open the prospect of an unattractive night fixture with a poor visiting following seeing our official league attendance drop to four figures for the first time this century. Sobering thought? Maybe the shock centre-forward signing will pull in another thousand swithering Addicks?

I've succumbed

I am a huge fan of the I-Phone. Not in a geeky way but out of admiration for the way it works so intuitively and because it continues to surprise and impress me. I was very keen, therefore, to upgrade to I-Phone 4. The 5-meg camera and multi-tasking would have been worth the £119 alone. There was no way, however, I was going to join a two hour queue to get one and before the queues died down we had news of an antenna design flaw that meant calls might drop out if the bottom-left-hand corner of the phone was touched. That'll be a no from me then.

Yesterday, however, I found myself in Bluewater and was drawn into the O2 shop. They had the new handsets in stock and I had to take a look. They are Apple-impressive but I couldn't bring myself to buy a faulty product, even with the offer of a free elastic band thingy to prevent the antenna disconnecting me.

So, I walked into the Apple shop looking for some consolation and left with the I-Pad. Early days but I couldn't put it down last night. The screen is brilliant and the resolution fantastic. The web is faster than my PC on Wi-Fi. I need to set-up email but so far so good.

I will also be armed for a fortnight's holiday on the Moray Firth which starts this weekend. Let's hope the mobile signal is better than in Norfolk last year. I don't want to miss the breaking news of our goal-getters who will make the coming season so worthwhile.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

League One Predictions 2010-11

I've been having a look at our league one rivals this season and trying to weigh up who is likely to be pushing for the automatic promotion places and who might find themselves in Division 4 next season. Normally, I'd wait until the day before the season kicks off but with no money being spent outside of Southampton, I am taking a punt today.

Going Up? Much as I hate to say it, Southampton are going to have to have a major disaster not to win the title and do so by a country mile. Their squad is by far the best in the division and I honestly believe they could run two competitive teams this year. Kelvin Davies will be close to the best keeper in the division and they have quality throughout the side. Jose Fonte and Radhi Jaidi will present a defensive obstacle and they have the likes of Jason Puncheon and Dean Hammond in midfield providing the prompting for Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Lee Barnard. St Mary's could be a very hard place to win at this season and they may not yet have finished their spending. 

I'm going to go for Sheffield Wednesday to go very close to an automatic Championship return. Alan Irvine has brought in eight new players so far with Clinton Morrison being the latest acquisition. Their only danger could be the "cup match" syndrome which we faced last season having dropped down. As an outside punt, I am going to go for Gus Poyet's Brighton & Hove Albion. Gus has been around some successful sides and he steadied the ship at the Withdean last year. They finished strongly, have strengthened during the close season and the added bonus of a new stadium to move to after next season. 

Going Down? Much harder to guess but I'll plump for two strugglers from last season, Tranmere and Walsall as well as two who came up last season. Rochdale seem to have been pillaged since coming up and traditionally get a nosebleed outside Division 4. Notts County might also find the off-field challenges greater than those on it.

There, neck well and truly stuck out....

Monday, 19 July 2010

Bye-bye Deon

Confirmation this evening that Deon Burton has joined Gabala in Azerbaijan as part of Tony Adam's new side. Not really sure what to make of this other than the terms on offer at Charlton for Deon must have been pretty poor to drive him to the back-end of nowhere. Adam's himself is scraping the managerial barrel and the only attraction in Azerbaijan can be financial. It's worth saying that Deon Burton surprised me during his time with us. He was a better player than I had ever given him credit for although much of disappointment at the time of his signing was probably because his acquisition was a sign, at the time, of how the mighty had fallen. Seventeen goals from 51 appearances is hardly going to get the pulse racing but his contribution was much than scoring and he always gave it everything he had. 

Finances would also appear to be Grant Basey's motivation for trialling at Aberdeen. Apparently he's not enamoured with the offer at the Valley. I have some news for Grant - Aberdeen is not the club for you if you are looking for materially more than £800 per week, although the promise of first team football could be the attraction. Personally, I think Grant is a better player than most other Charlton fans appear to and I'd be quite happy with him at first-choice left-back in the continuing absence of Kelly Youga.

Phil Parkinson has sniffed at trialist Etienne Esajas after re-signing Kyel Reid. Esajas played no part in the flattering 4-0 win at Kettering although Reid did get on for the last 20 minutes. It was good to see Akpo netting his second in successive games and Gullem Bauza getting on the score-sheet as he continues to impress.

We need another three players this week if we are to have any chance of being ready in 19 days time. I will assume Guillem Bauza has a good chance of joining our midfield but we need those two strikers as well as right-back and goal-keeping cover. I suspect we may well operate on a shorter-than-expected squad this year and look to rely upon loan signings as and when needed to help with injuries. 

Come on Parky, put us out of our misery!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

And now Kyel Reid

So far, so good. The re-build of the side would appear to be going to plan and largely meeting with overwhelming approval from the masses. Valley favourite Kyel Reid was the latest to return for another season yesterday and the key missing pieces now look very obvious in terms of two strikers who might get us salivating.

It's much harder to see who we might attract to net us goals. Goal-scorers are at a premium and we went into last season a little light. I believe it ultimately cost us promotion. Deon Burton over-performed initially and penalties kept his strike-rate up. However, we shouldn't forget that Nicky Bailey weighed in with a dozen or so goals and any replacement striker for Burton is going to need to be threatening the League One scoring table if we are to have any chance of seriously competing for promotion again. 

Without the funds to acquire anyone, it's hard to see who we could reasonably attract who fits the bill. It looks like it will be out-of-contract players and probably someone who's either had a poor season and maybe needs a fresh challenge or someone, dare-I-say-it, coming towards the end of their career. Perhaps a combination of both? Failing that, we need to find a Steve Morrison, although Millwall paid £125,000 for him and even that looks beyond us.

Either way, it's probably the decision that will decide Phil Parkinson's future over the coming ten months. Good luck Phil!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Basey on trial at Aberdeen

Grant Basey has hot-foot to the north-east of Scotland for a trial this weekend at Aberdeen.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Building from the back

Great news for all anxious Addicks today. Last season's Player of the Year, Christian Dailly has signed up for another campaign Valley. With the possible addition of a second right-back and a reserve goalkeeper, we should have the defensive capabilities we need to take us through the season barring serious injury problems. 

The focus must now turn to the search to get a couple of players who can get us 30 goals between them. The additional good news would appear to be the breaking story that we have paid off Izale McLeod. The hopeless waster has been milking us since he arrived and has shown his lack of professionalism on more than one occasion. I'm pleased we have washed our hands of him and won't now be tempted to give him yet another chance. He may have a bit of pace but he's no footballer. The story of him dancing away with his headphones at his first pre-match team-talk with Kenny Jackett says it all.

My hope this evening is that we make the bulk of signings next week just to give the side some time to get to know each other before we kick-off. Bournemouth will come to the Valley with a bouyant promotion-winning team who will be out to attract all the headlines on the opening day. We need to be ready for this and the London derby that will follow six days later at Brisbane Road.

Charlton `til I die!

Season Ticket renewal

I got the message yesterday that season ticket sales have crept over the 8,000 mark, just a thousand down on the same time last year. That was the reminder I needed to renew the three I bought last year. Normally it's a bit of a performance to renew. The paperwork goes to three different addresses and is invariably lost, so I end up having to get blanks and fill them out by hand etc. Yesterday, I did it over the phone and have to say it was much easier. Not sure why I haven't thought of doing this before?

The only snag was that they couldn't sell me a 5 Year season ticket. Apparently you need a contract for that and there was appeared to be no interest in providing one. I was also told that "I think they are sold out." To be honest, I wasn't that fussed, especially as there has been no attempt to reassure fans what would happen in the event of the club suffering Administration and effectively becoming a creditor. So I stumped up less a couple of thousand pounds but it doesn't feel right that the club can afford to spurn income at this point in time.

On a more positive note, great news that Danny Smith (AFKA Charlton Life) and his wife were delivered of twin boys yesterday and all of them are doing well. Couldn't happen to a better Charlton fan and a thoroughly decent bloke. Congratulations Dan!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Welling United 0 v Charlton Athletic 1

First, I should own up to the fact that I missed the first and last ten minutes of this game due to other pressing matters. Secondly, the caveat that you shouldn't read too much into these games where relative fitness and familiarity (or lack of it) with team-mates can play a disproportionate part on the outcome. Having said all that, and bearing in mind the extremely low expectations that Charlton fans took into this match, we can't be unhappy with what we witnessed. Welling won't be laughing all the way to the bank but the attendance of 2008 was probably better than some feared amid the current Charlton apathy.

The back five looked very solid throughout. Elliott was assured. Doherty and Llera looked very comfortable in the middle and Solly and Jackson swept up on the flanks. A leaner and fitter-than-ever looking Jonathan Fortune came on for Doherty in the second-half but he slotted in and looked just as easy. Basey got a go at right back too with no change in performance. In the middle, Racon and McCormack combined very well in the first half and, dare I saw it, we saw the holding player in McCormack that encouraged Racon to move into space and dictate play that we missed after the first 15 games of last season. McCormack was very busy and whilst his distribution wasn't anywhere near good enough, I was encouraged to believe he will be an able replacement for Nicky Bailey although he won't get forward enough to get anything like the number of goals.

Waggy was out right and Esajas on the left. It was the Sheffield Wednesday triallist, who caught the eye. He saw plenty more ball than Wagstaff and carried the game to the hosts. There was one particular move in the first half that drew the crowd in. He raced on to a ball (from Racon I think) and beat the full-back to the touch before bursting through and playing a superb ball in between the keeper and Akpo Sodje whose lunge was a foot short of what would have been a very good goal. 

Upfront We looked short of power once again. Sodje was another player who looked like he's been on a diet since the end of the season and I started wondering if the new shirts had anything to do with the improved appearance of so many. Maybe I'll get one after all. Bauza looked reasonable although he played in the hole and doesn't look capable of playing a forward role in a strict 4-4-2. Sodje looked a yard short of fitness but the goal he scored was a peach of a back post header from an excellent whipped cross from Solly who fashioned a yard of space in front of the corner flag from which to deliver the killer ball.

Every player was swapped at some point during the second-half with fringe players, youngsters or triallists but we maintained control of the game. On reflection, you have to be encouraged that we can only improve between now and 7th August and that our side will only get stronger. Not bad from here and certainly much better than anticipated.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Summertime at the San Siro

I'm not even sure if the Fiat dealer across the road is still going or if they are still sponsoring Welling's Park View Road ground, but I'll be there tomorrow to feast my eyes on the new strip and whoever's wearing it. We all know by now that friendlies are a waste of time and shouldn't be taken seriously, especially when you are playing and losing to inferior opposition.

No, if we can't play any real teams, then we should be satisfied with turning up to see our mates and all those familiar ageing faces we haven't seen for six weeks. Hopefully the rain will stay away and it will pleasant enough to stand outside a Welling pub and joke about what's happened to our club. My good Millwall mate (and his Missus) from Cyprus has returned home after a fortnight's holiday with me and has been replaced by an equally good pal and his family from Aberdeen. It's great to spend time with good friends and when it's a Aberdeen fan who feels our pain, then it's even better. The Dons current parlous financial state mirrors our own and they too have slashed their squad and are looking for bargain basement replacements. Their season ticket base has collapsed and even their biggest fan is not bothering to renew this year - "after 35 years I've had enough." He'll still go every week but only out of misguided loyalty. We know the condition.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Johnnie Jackson makes three

Johnnie Jackson signed on a free from Notts County today. The 28 year-old left footer put in a good loan stint at the Valley last season when covering the left-back berth but looked decent enough when across the half-way line. Like my buddy residng in Bermuda, I only hope he's coming to play left-sided midfield and not as a replacement for a permanently crocked Kelly Youga.

Three down and another three as an absolute minimum. We need goalkeeping cover, a right winger to replace Lloyd Sam and at least one proper 15 goal striker. Note to Parky - "Warren Feeney and the likes won't cut it." Ideally we need two new strikers, with McLeod/Sodje/Tuna supporting from the bench, as well as another midfielder. So five more of the quality of those signed so far will be dandy with me. I'm not saying we will be able to challenge for promotion but with that sort of side, we shouldn't be seriously concerned about the spectre of League 2.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

In case you were in any doubt..

Our club has moved the stage where we cannot afford to buy anyone and we also cannot afford not to sell anyone if the fee is anywhere near half-decent. All of our incoming dealings will now be done on the basis of loans and wages. That is the sad conclusion from the enforced sale of Fraser Richardson to Southampton for a fee of £450,000 which was too much for our potless Board to refuse.

I knew the score when we failed on penalties against Swindon but I was still surprised by the sale of Richardson. He was a solid performer last season and represented hope in the face of adversity. The fact that it's Pardew who has prized him from us adds salt to the wounds. You have to wonder how many good players Southampton need? They already have an embarrassment of riches lined-up for next season and could probably field two sides capable of promotion. I am allowing myself a rye smile at this thought though, because Pardew's only chance of failure next year looks like over-complicating things and causing unrest in the dressing room, something his ego-ness is more than acquainted with.

On a more promising note, I am really pleased at the signing of Gary Doherty and, to a lesser extent, Alan McCormack. Both will do a job for us this season although Doherty's signature probably means we've seen the last of Christian Dailly whom I am assuming is doing a Matt Holland and refusing to accept a significant pay-cut. As Player-of-the-Year and with his experience, not mention his personal wealth, he can afford to hold his ground and be prepared to take his chances. Good luck to him. McCormack is a decent midfielder although he's no Nicky Bailey.

I am also hoping the rumours of Warren Feeney joining us come to nothing. I have a Millwall mate here on holiday at the moment, someone with far deeper knowledge than me of lower league football and he informed me of our interest the other day with a sarcastic smile and a comment that Feeney was could be "relied on to score 5 or 6 goals in a season...."

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Gary Doherty?

Sky Sports are reporting Parky interest in the out-of-contract Norwich centre-half, Gary Doherty. A Norwich fan site is also reporting him having signed a two-year deal with the Addicks. If this has foundation, then I would welcome it. Doherty would represent a signing on a par with the sort of quality necessary to maintain a squad capable of challenging. Not only is he vastly experienced but he was a key part in Norwich's promotion last season and would bring leadership qualities to the side, something I believe we lacked last season. 

Doherty is another player that we have been linked with previously of course. Curbs was always a fan, and whilst he seems to have been around for ages, his balding pate belies the fact that he is still only 30. The big question for me would concern the motive for signing the "Ginger Pele." Does it mean Christian Dailly is moving on? Perhaps Sam Sodje is close to being finished by injury? I couldn't see us retaining four centre-halves, and whilst Doherty can play full-back, I can't see us signing him for that position.

Fingers-crossed then, as he would represent a solid first signing and an indication of some ambition, certainly when compared to those we have been linked with so far (and who have gone elsewhere).

Monday, 5 July 2010

Maybe, just maybe....

The Government are engaged in a game right now about just how severe and wide-reaching their budget spending cuts will be in the Autumn. Figures of 25%, 33% and 40% are being bandied about. It's causing all-sorts of speculation and consternation in the media and adding timber to Union bonfire stockpiles. The one thing we should know is that the figures at the upper end of these expectations are simply unachievable and won't be risked by a fledgling coalition government. No, they will look to stretch the boundaries but they want to keep us onside and take as much early medicine as they can in order to get some signs of recover coming through in year three of their term.

This has got me thinking about the mindset of the Charlton board this Summer and I am wondering if they might just have a few unexpected surprises up their sleeves. The cost cutting so far has been fairly dramatic but largely in line with fans expectations following the ultimate failure of last year and the need to keep the wolf from the door.  We are down to less than a full team right now and the costs of that and the remaining staff and running costs must be close to covered by the likely season ticket sales and match-day attendances of 10-15,000 this season?

I suspect there will be a final trimming of club staff following the "at risk" letter of redundancy that was delivered last month but with barely five weeks to go until the start of the 10-11 campaign, we must be about to bring in at least six new players. If we can re-sign Dailly and if Sam Sodje is fit enough to play again, we should have the semblance of a solid back four. Fraser Richardson remains and we have to hope that Kelly Youga is finally ready to return to the side. With Basey, Solly and Llera in reserve, we look to have the basis of a solid back-four with Robbie Elliot restored to the green shirt.

We will need goal-keeping backup but that shouldn't be a significant expense and we can always move for a loan if anything happens to Robbie. It's in midfield and upfront where we will need to strike it lucky and where we need to spend whatever money we do have (on wages). With Bailey and Lloyd Sam gone, we need central defensive cover as well as wide players on both the left and the right. A left winger was arguably missing all last season, so it would be really good to start with both this time around. Scott Wagstaff might even get a start and a prolonged spell this year but we don't even have cover on the left. 

In the striking berths we will have to see something from Akpo Sodje that we haven't seen much of thus far. Maybe he needs a proper striking partner but that's unlikely to be Deon Burton. Either because it hasn't happened so far or because Burton will take the offer of playing his final season or two elsewhere. What's for sure is that we need two new front-men and even that may require Tamer Tuna to be further brought on this year. 

So, a minimum of six in my book and I am guessing you can do pretty well in the market at around £3,000 a week right now. That would mean an additional wage bill of c £1m on a year's terms which might be achievable and give good value if it means we can be competitive again this season. Money is obviously tight but the Directors found £7m last year to sustain the challenge and you have to think they can find a million now if the club is finally close to an even-keel. Money will need to be kept back for emergency loan signings although the acquisition of Donough Holohan may well be an attempt to keep as many of the first-team squad playing for as long as possible and quicken the return of any who do find themselves on his treatment table?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Ah well

So, Andy Murray was nosed out in three sets by Raphael Nadal who showed no signs of any knee problem. Murray has time on his side but he has not managed to close the gap on the top two men's seeds and remains some way from his first Grand Slam. The fact that he can expect to make the semis at Wimbledon bodes well though in terms of ending Fred Perry's 70 year reign as the last British tennis icon. Time yet for Murray to choose a logo for his polo shirt range....

The Brazil v Netherlands encounter was a lively affair and the Dutch turned the tables on the favourites and stopped a possible south American clean sweep of the semi-finals. They will face Uruguay in their half of the draw and Argentina and Paraguay will bid today to meet the winners of that in the final but must overcome Germany and Spain respectively to do that. It's been a forgettable World Cup but the last stages might yet give us a truly great game to remember.

Back on Planet Charlton the clear-out continues with Stuart Fleetwood finally moving on to Hereford for loose change. We are now at the stage where it's easier to count who is left rather than who has left. As things stand we can only compete in 5-a-side competitions so Parky will have to bring in at least six new faces before the kick-off on 7th August. Programme sales should get a boost in August as fans are forced to buy one in order to identify all the new faces. I am wondering whether we are about to pioneer the 9 month contract to make our pre-season more cost effective as we scour the lower leagues to assemble our team each year.

Charlton forever!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Good Friday

A cracking afternoon of sport today. Andy Murray will slug it out with Nadal for a previously unlikely final appearance at Wimbledon which would send the nation into raptures. Nadal remains the best player in the tournament but Murray has the India-sign over him having beaten him in their last two encounters. At least one of those was attributable to Nadal's dodgy knee and he has been struggling with it again this year. My only ask is that if Murray can win through here that he doesn't do what he's done a good number of times previously and blow the final against an easier opponent.

We also have the mouth-watering prospect of a Brazil v Netherlands clash in the World Cup before the, ahem, not-so-enticing Ghana v Uruguay game. The Brazilians are looking unstoppable at the moment but the Dutch will give it a go and we should get an entertaining game (0-0 then). 

Having moved into July, Phil Parkinson has been bemoaning the fact that we have yet to make any signings. He's obviously unhappy that his earlier targets have been allowed to go to other clubs and that anyone he does bring in will have little time to play together before the season kicks-off. The Bookies odds of 11-4 for an outright Charlton promotion look hopelessly short on a club which will most likely start with a practically new team in August assembled for nothing under a manager with time running out on his contract. 

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Gritt gone, Spring jumps, Randolph looking, Parky rumoured...

The big squeeze at the Valley has now cost Steve Gritt his job which will have Mark Kinsella and Tim Breacker looking over their shoulders. Matt Spring has also seen the writing on the wall and has sensibly opted for a new deal at Leyton Orient and will be looking forward to early revenge in our first televised fixture of the season. With youth players being loaned out and everyone up for grabs, it's disappointing to see that the one player apparently offered a new deal, Darren Randolph, is considering a potential move to the mighty Mothers. Surely we haven't fallen to point at which playing for Motherwell is a more attractive option? Yassin Moutaouakil's move up there last season had to be heavily financed by us but presumably the offer made to Randolph from Mr Murray is underwhelming.

And finally, Leicester City are rumoured to have considered Parky as a possible managerial candidate at the Walker Stadium. There are still plenty at the Valley who think he's not up to the job but it would be a new twist in our fortunes if our manager was made a better offer and left us in the lurch.