Sunday, 29 September 2013

It's Jiminez, not Powell

As tempers rise amongst angry Addicks, the debate is beginning to concentrate around who is responsible for Charlton Athletic's current predicament. For me it's a no brainer - Tony Jiminez. Powell is simply doing the best with what he's been given and is being professional to a fault in getting on with the coaching role and not looking for excuses outside his playing and management staff.

Dumb Jiminez, meanwhile, says nothing because he appears incapable or, more likely, he doesn't see why he needs to explain himself to Charlton fans, the mere punters. Let's face it, he doesn't even support Charlton. The facts are that Jiminez was the broker of the deal to acquire the club. He has sufficient personal wealth to shoulder the club for awhile, if not to run it properly. Slater is merely his lawyer and had taken the limited speaking role of the Board after the takeover and when begging fans to waste their money on a to renew season tickets. 

It was Jiminez who had the personal contacts willing to bankroll a limited promotion push and attempt to inflate the value of the club for ultimate lucrative resale. Slater was the lawyer who helped set the deal up via offshore tax havens and company shells to protect the identities of the other investors. From his previous role at Newcastle, Jiminez obviously fancies himself as a judge of a player and thinks he can perform the illusion of making a club out-perform the investment.

It was Jiminez who fell out with the money men (and nearly everyone else by the looks of it) and who is left with legal responsibility along with the lawyer for the clubs debts and fortunes as majority shareholder. It's that reason why we are now in a bind. He has over-committed on debts to Directors and former Directors and as well as looking to recover the cost of the venture, presumably for himself and the money men backers. The total of that lot (rumoured to be £40m) is far higher than the value of the club and is deterring potential investors.

Instead, they will simply wait until push comes to shove and we have to call in the Administrators. That way the debt will be written down heavily and they will get the club for a fraction of the current asking price and, presumably, have the funds left to play their version fantasy football (don't laugh). The trouble is, Administration incurs a points deficit likely to take a struggling club down a division.

Chris Powell is soldiering on and trying to get results with what he's got. He has a good track record since coming into management as Valley Talk so ably points out. He got us out of that wretched division and has already steered us to within three points of the play-offs. He had no money to strenghten in the Summer and has had to watch Jon Obika and Ricardo Fuller move on (not so convinced Fuller was value for money) but his squad is largely similar to last season. 

One key difference that may be making Powell's job harder, is the negative atmosphere within the club due to high-handed and dictatorial senior management/Board decisions that have been very unpopular with staff and supporters. They have also been embarrassing for those who have taken them as they have been forced to settle civil cases out-of-court and face more to come. Ultimately, Jiminez is responsible for this as majority shareholder.

There is also the bizarre position of the majority of the first-team's playing contracts expiring in June with no apparent urgency to renew them. This may simply be because we have no money to improve what they already have and running them down is seen as an attractive option for prospective new buyers who will have far fewer financial obligations to players they may not want. Solly has had his renewed but that may simply be to retain his value as a saleable asset. Nick Pope's was renewed this week but as a reserve goalie that wouldn't have registered in the scheme of things. If this is causing uncertainty amongst the playing staff, and it's hard to see how it wouldn't, Jiminez is ultimately responsible.

So, what to do? Pointless blaming Powell for the current predicament. He is doing the best with what he's got and there is zero prospect of a better manager coming in and doing any better with no money. No, for me the heat needs to be turned on the Board and Jiminez in particular. His hand needs to be forced and his ego won't like his name being bellowed abusively at home games. He especially won't like it when he actually attends a match, presumably when he's trying to impress any prospective buyers who may be left. That may force him to wake up and smell the coffee, cut the losses and move on. The spectre of Administration looms large, let's not blame Chris Powell for that or the personal struggle I believe he is having in trying to get the best from his increasingly disillusioned side.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Burnley 3 v Charlton Athletic 0

Predictable 3-0 defeat at Turf Moor this afternoon. A 4-3-3 line-up excluding Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermogant was rolled over by a first half goal by Danny Ings and second-half double from Sam Vokes.

We have two home games this week which may prove significant in Chris Powell's management career. Nottingham Forest will come looking for the points on Tuesday and if we lose that, failure to beat Blackpool on Saturday might force Jiminez's hand. My guess is that he is under significant financial pressure as he tries to sell the club with it's attendant and growing debt, not to mention the obvious playing problems and contractual uncertainty for most of the squad.

Powell is clearly struggling at the moment but there are some obvious mitigations. He has not been allowed to strengthen the squad, despite hanging on to some saleable players. The working atmosphere in the club has evidentially suffered as further employees have been sacked and others have taken the owners to court. That situation continues and we also have the playing staff contractual situation, which has the majority facing the prospect of fresh challenges next Summer. It can't be helping that out of 16 or 17, I think only Solly and Pope have had extensions agreed so far.

Patience amongst the Addick faithful is also being tested. The latest sickening surrender at home to Smallwall has cut interest levels to rock bottom and with three effective home defeats from four so far (including Doncaster), one or two more this week could be too much for most. Coming on the back of the dross season ticket holder were served for two-thirds of last season, we have to be looking for four points this week or I can see straws breaking camel's backs.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Life's a Pitch

A few friends and I went over to Stratford last night to see the live recording of BT Sport's "Life's a Pitch" show. The main attraction was the chance to see around the BT Sport studios at what was formerly the London Olympic's Media Centre.

If you live in south-east London, it's a doddle to get there as it's ten minutes from North Greenwich or similar if the Tunnel's clear to the Westfield Shopping centre. A quick pint in The Cow and BT Sport pick you up outside and ferry you onto the site and the venue. 

The studios themselves are pretty cavernous and we arrived at the end of The Clare Balding Show. Des Kelly, the host of Life's a Pitch, welcomed the standing audience of around 30 to the set and we got a five minute brief about how the show was filmed, who the guests were and what to do and what not to do. 

The show runs 10-11pm Monday to Wednesday and 9.30 to 11pm Thursday. If you haven't seen it before, it's worth a look. Easy viewing, latest football and sports news with a couple of journos, two guests and a singer. One of my mates is a Spurs fan so he was chuffed to learn that David Pleat was on the show, although Pete and I were not so impressed that Palace-fan and comedian, Sean Hughes, was also up. 

David Pleat gave an interview we've probably all heard him give a dozen times before but he is always fairly relevant and I got the impression Mr Pleat had plenty more he'd like to say beyond the careful wording for live TV. He told us that the beige shoes he wore to match his suit the day he galloped uncontrollable onto the Wembley turf were auctioned off for the Luton Town Academy a number of years back and fetched a staggering £4000. 

The conversation moved on former Addick, Paulo Di Canio and Pleaty told us it was him who brought the passionate Italian to English football when boss at Sheffield Massive. He had travelled to Glasgow to watch Paulo and three separate taxi drivers had exactly the same conversation with him. They all guessed he was there to see Di Canio - "he's the only player in the team" - and all three told him that Di Canio wouldn't be playing that night. Sure enough he wasn't, but Pleat had heard enough to persuade his Chairman to fork out without having seen him himself. 

Sean Hughes was next up and was good entertainment, mercifully keeping the Palace references low before we got a lovely song from Katie Melua (she is tiny) and a recorded piece from husband and former Wolrd Superbike champion, James Toseland. The cast then galloped through the morning's back-page newspaper headlines before Katie sung us out. Back to Stratford and I was back home and in bed before Midnight.

If you fancy it, all you need do is register with and you should get a date for a show within a couple of weeks.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Burnley away

Following last week's embarrassingly clueless capitulation in the game we want to win more than any other in this division, we head to second-place Burnley on Saturday for a match where very few of us are expecting anything other than a sound beating.

In a season where our division is littered with bigger squads with more money and ambition than us, the Clarets are currently showing what can be achieved with a modicom of organisation, discipline and focus. I work with a die-hard Burnley fan and his expectations of this season were significantly lower than mine when I handed him my entrance money to the football competition he runs every season back in mid-August. The loss of Charlie Austin was expected to see the goals dry up and Sean Dyche has been working with one hand tied behind his back.

Burnley have been the surprise package thus far with Danny Ings and Sam Vokes picking up the challenge of filling Austin's boots and scoring the goals that have fired their club into second-place. I can't see Dyche's troops lasting the distance but will wager they will retain their second-placing this weekend. 

Chris Powell will go looking for a response to the latest derby white-flag waving and these are the sorts of games where our team pulls a rabbit out of the hat. However, something seems broken within the club at the moment and looks increasingly like it's affecting the playing squad. Supporter disgust with last weeks submission is as universally negative as I can remember and there will be far less interest than normal in news from Turf Moor. Not sure I will even bother listening to the commentary. Instead I will steel myself for the visit of Forest on Tuesday evening where I am expecting us to slump to our third home defeat in four (mentally it's four in five what with the Doncaster game). That would just about rubber stamp this season as a bona fide relegation battle as we enter October.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Charlton Athletic 0 v Millwall 1

Routine Charlton derby performance this afternoon as we put in another stumbling, error-strewn, limp-wristed performance against a Millwall side which, mercifully, looked short on confidence and quality themselves or it could have much worse. They deserved their 1-0 win nevertheless.

No point me running through the lowlights of the match as most of you will have seen it. I say most because the Charlton turnout was the poorest I remember so many of you will be thankful to Sky that you didn't have waste more than 90 minutes on it. It looked like only season ticket holders had bothered, and maybe not all of those.

Ben Hamer can't be faulted for the goal which was deflected beyond him but his overall performance wasn't comforting to watch. He parried a shot out on the second-half that I am confident he could have stopped. It was the same "save" that cost us two points at Watford. I thought Morrison, Dervite and Wood looked pretty solid in front of Hamer but the 3-5-2 formation saw us playing a long of balls from the centre three and for the most part they had nothing to aim at. As a consequence we over-passed the ball at the back and invariably had to rely on a long hoof having been pressured by the opposition. 

The midfield simply didn't function as a unit today. Stephens, Jackson and Pritchard had no shape and Bailey had a field day in the first half. Pritchard was caught in possession repeatedly but only because he made himself available for long passes when there was no other pass on for the ball carrier. Pritchard was responsible for the goal and his body language said it all as McDonald's speculative effort was deflected wide of Hamer.

Wiggins saw a lot of the ball down the left in the opening thirty minutes but he was not supported and again often had to pass back to Dervite or Wood. Wilson started brightly too but had a similar problem.

Upfront we were woeful and it was the sort of performance from young Joe Pigott that can seriously affect your career. Everything he did went wrong. He was easily knocked over, let alone knocked off the ball and when he did get it, he fumbled, over-ran it and ran it out of play. He should have come off much earlier but I think Powell was hoping he might finally get a few things right and ride it out. He didn't. Forward options were limited without Yann Kermorgant. Marvin Sordell ("he looks like a fish") did look busy when he came on, as did Cameron Stewart and Callum Harriott but they don't lead the line or carry the direct threat. 

I recall two chances for us in 90 minutes. Simon Church was played into the box but snatched at his shot early when he should have taken the ball closer before firing. Cameron Stewart also had a smart effort saved by Forde but that was about it.

Nothing much more to say other than I am angry at the moment that we have been let down by our players once again in a derby. It really was a poor footballing display and there wasn't much to beat.

Friday, 20 September 2013

They've parked the bus already

Those cheeky Cock-er-ney rascals have set their stall out already. I do hope they aren't planning on leaving it there.

Let 'em come

We've got nothing to lose on Saturday. It's still early days in the fledgling Championship. Everyone is already beating everyone else. Our record against Millwall is Guinness Book of Records poor. It's a stupid kick-off time and we have the Sky cameras there to put the curse on us.

So, let 'em come and let's pray that our fighting team spirit shows it's head and we get at them. Yes, they had a good result on Tuesday but they have been pretty feeble up until then. Confidence may be fragile, especially if we can put them under some early pressure. I will be happy to stick with a more attacking 3-5-2 although we really need Yann Kermorgant battering his way forward. Marvin Sordell hasn't had a good start to his Charlton career and the Big Mouths will get at him on Saturday if he starts.

This could be a day for the youngsters, those who have been through the ranks and those who have been here longer. I'd love to see Bailey shackled in the midfield and it's a day Joe Pigott would relish if he could make an impression from the bench. Chris Solly looks like missing out again, so maybe it will be Harriott time?

Millwall will just about sell their allocation and they will be up for this. We need the same and an early Charlton goal would help us enormously. I am pleased that the authorities have seen sense and they are reverting to normal policing arrangements for this game. It's a match that needs a heavy police presence in the ground as the Stewards aren't up to it on days like this. If the police have a heavy and wide presence after the game, then any differences of opinion should be just that. There will probably be a punch-up later on in Woolwich or Bexleyheath once the beer has kicked in but that will most likely be a better match between those who are up for bundle and the rest of us can concentrate on the football.

Come on you Reeeddddssss!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Huddersfield 2 v Charlton Athletic 1

A frantic working Tuesday and an equally long Wednesday have delayed my post on the league match at the Galpharm. In fact, Tuesday was so all-consuming that I actually forgot we were playing as I worked through until bed-time. I was on the platform at Charlton station yesterday at 7.15 when I realised we had been in action and reached for my phone. Can't remember ever doing that before.

Disappointing news then that we slumped to another odd-goal defeat with a watery sounding performance punctuated only by a 25-yard consolation strike from new boy, Cameron Stewart. Much more will be expected on Saturday.

In looking for crumbs of comfort and reassurance, our stats at Huddersfield bettered theirs in a what was evidently a poor game. I am also heartened by the fact that we have now played four of our six away from home, although given our home form that might not prove to be a false dawn.

Predictably, Millwall got their first wins of the season as we were losing, and an impressive one in beating table-toppers Blackpool 3-1 at the New Den. They will arrive in good heart for Saturday and it feels like a case of "as you were" after the euphoria and expectation of them arriving bottom and winless with manager Steve Lomas attracting more of the Lions fans attention than their despised local rivals.

Perhaps the mid-week results will change the fortunes on Saturday and we might get our twelfth win over that lot. I think that's what it will take to add some balance to the week and not have us glumly looking at the tables on Saturday evening and again suffering the opprobrium of adding to our spectacularly poor record against our nearest rivals.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Youth Development

I headed down to the London Soccerdome yesterday to watch my mate's boy play for the Cambridge United U11's against Palace. Cambridge United have a tie-up with the owner of the London Soccerdome and use it on occasion when the weather's bad or to make it easier for their opponents to get to the game.

Lewis has progressed through the U9's and U10's and both of those sides were also in action against the Eagles yesterday in SE10. His Aberdeen-supporting father is a coach for local side Milton Rangers (he hates the fact that they have Rangers in their name) and he has recently been asked to scout for Cambridge. His youngest boy, too, has just been asked to join the Cambridge youngsters, so there's a growing family connection.

I am on nodding terms with a number of the parents now and it's really interesting to see the progress this team have made and to see the ideals in action that Cambridge preach about youth development. In the football league, clubs only play against other clubs who are of the same status e.g. Category 1 Acadamies only play other Category 1's, Category 2's only other 2's etc. 

If you are outside the football league, you can play anyone else, which means Cambridge get to play whoever they can agree to play which is typically Category 2 and Category 1's. There is a good interview with Cambridge United manager, Jez George here
where he talks about the value of their youth development programme and the fact that consistently punch above their weight. Several things struck me about watching them go down 4-2 to Palace yesterday. First was that they outplayed the Eagles youngsters, easily creating three times the number of chances and should have won at a canter. The second was that the coaches have very little interest in the result of the match = the performance is everything. The team I have watched over a couple of years have struggled with goalkeepers. The coaches don't see it as a big priority and they have often played an outfield player in goal - results aren't critical. I also noticed yesterday that their regular finisher was absent and was informed he's off to Corby Town having been released. I asked the coach why and was informed that he didn't have enough technical ability and wasn't developing his game in the same way. I pointed out that he would have made the difference yesterday in beating Palace. The coach smiled and said that they were very pleased with the performance and that the Palace coach had acknowledged the better side lost.

Cambridge are currently top of the Conference. Promotion would mean that Lewis and his pals are denied trips to Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Man City going forward. Doesn't seem fair really...

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Watford 1 v Charlton Athletic 1

A good point from a battling display against a good Watford team. I think we would all have taken that before the game so now we have a chance to even our start to two wins, two draws and two losses by beating Huddersfield on Tuesday. that really would set us up for Millwall next Saturday.

Chris Powell kept the 3-5-2 formation and resisted the temptation to bring Chris Solly back on the right. Lawrie Wilson kept his place and it was him who earned Charlton the lead by bringing brought down in the box. Yann Kermrgant thundered home the spot-kick and we had our noses in front which justified the BBC's stats that said we had 72% possession by half-time.

Watford fought back after the break and Daniel Pudil picked up the loose ball to equalise after 71 minutes after Hamer had blocked (fumbled?) a shot. My abortive efforts to access CAFC Player resulted in me being locked out for multiple attempts, so, frustratingly, I couldn't follow the commentary. I emailed them and got a "standard" response saying my login had been reset but it hadn't. Final straw for me with that service. The commentary, when you can get it, is barely better than the Lifer updates on Charlton Life. Anyhow, Watford's second-half pressure cut our possession to 62%, although they had three times as many efforts as us at goal.

The good news of the day was a Millwall/Palace losing double. The Lions were outclassed by Derby, going down 5-1 at the Toolbox. Palace held out for a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford. 

Steve Lomas looks in hot water at Millwall. He has been unpopular with the mob since taking the post and they were apparently chanting "fuck off Lomas" as Derby went two-up. They had a player sent off before conceding three more. Probably never been a better time to play them but we know the score when it comes to this fixture. I hope Chris Powell is winding our squad up all week about their wilting performance in this fixture last year. I don't see Berylson panicking over Lomas but if we were to beat them next week (we have done it before) he will need to weigh up the odds of holding on and alienating the mob further, or deciding Lomas is a Jonah and looking to utilise one of the Assistant Managers (Harford, Breacker and Harris) before they risk being anchored at the bottom.

Go for it Chris

We play our fifth match of the season today at Vicarage Road, knowing that a repeat victory from last season would move us into mid-table with a game in hand and put us in the mood for Millwall.

However, we can't ignore that Watford came very close last season to the Premier League and they have a very strong side, especially at home. I know I keep saying it but we must be ambitious in our play and be prepared to take a few risks. I think we did that at Watford last season although it may have been them scoring against us and pressing that forced us to throw caution to the wind and go for it. More of the same is needed today. Chris Powell spoke in the week about the need to "be at full throttle" and by that I hope he means we will look to beat them rather than have to play at our best to match them.

Planned camping this weekend was, predictably, washed out and whilst there are still several hundred tickets left, I am going to have to spend the day amusing my girls. They are not quite ready for a Charlton match, so we are heading up to Oxleas Woods with the dog. I am baking some bread rolls for hot sausages on our return and then I will settle down with Charlton Player, a bottle of Barefoot Shiraz and a slab of Compte. Come on Charl-ton, ice the cake!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Thierry Henry goes to heaven

I was sent this yesterday. Apologies if you saw it years ago but I didn't and it's kept me smiling all day. "It was only a game of football...."

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Apple - losing it

Those who know me will be aware that I am a big fan of Apple. Over the years I have been seduced by their sexy kit that does what it says on the tin and has, by and large, lead the market with some great innovation. I have been at the stage where I am almost locked in. In the house we have a main Mac, several i-Pads, i-Pods, Apple TV as well as a couple of i-Phones. All function around our i-Tunes library.

Over the years I have slavishly updated this kit to gain new functionality and all has been well with world. However, for some time now Apple has been struggling. The gap between product launches has increased and the level of practical innovation has slowed. I have increasingly been eyeing larger, brighter and more attractive looking Samsung phones and have even been considering getting another PC although Windows 8 has not encouraged me.

In terms of the phone, I have been prepared to bide my time and set my sights on an i-Phone 6. My existing i-Phone 4 is a couple of years old (maybe more?) but the i-Phone 4S didn't justify the change and, frankly, neither did the  larger i-Phone 5.

The announcement yesterday then that the next mobile phone product would be an i-Phone 5S which appears to offer little more than a finger recognition security feature is a major disappointment. What it really says is that Apple have run out of new ideas and can't justify an i-Phone 6. They have also launched a "cheap" i-Phone with a plastic case which they are calling the 5C (for "Cheap?"). Plastic isn't an improvement on aluminium and it simply isn't cheap at just short of £500. My guess is that this will justify even higher prices for the real deal as launched going forward - the UK price for a 5S with 32g memory will be £629 and the 64g at over £700.

There's something else too. Apple have always delivered improved functionality free-of-charge through their main software releases and it has been available to all Apple customers across the device range. They are now saying that iOS7, will now be released at least initially only to Customers with latest devices. Big mistake Apple. 

I will now look even more closely at those Samsungs. I love the i-Cloud updating across my devices, but it's not a killer application and I can live without it for a better phone from a company that now innovates faster than Apple.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Scotland 0 v Belgium 2

A filthy night in Glasgow saw Scotland beaten with something to spare by an improving Belgium team. The Belgians have an emerging side who look favourites to qualify from their group and head to Brazil next Summer.

I have seen Scotland lose twice in Brussels over the years when the Tartan Army have swamped the city and the locals have always appeared like luke-warm football fans. Yesterday 7000 of them made the journey to Hampden Park, the largest ever away following they have taken and the largest I have ever seen in Glasgow, although that's probably because the home support didn't sell out rather than the fact that no other country would have taken more if offered the tickets. We overtook dozens of "B" plated vehicles on the drive north including a sizeable number of mobile homes and campervans. In the city itself they had settled in early and made the most of the warm welcome and the alcohol. Whilst waiting for a taxi to the pub to meet mates, we saw a couple of hundred orange-clad Belgie's on a police escorted march towards Central Station. They were carrying their Red Devils and making a lot of noise.

At the ground they filled the traditional away allocation of 4000 and had two other sections in the BT Stand. They had come to support their side and collect three precious points. Their team looked very comfortable on the ball and I was reminded of the Spanish team I watched give Scotland a lesson in Alicante in 2011. They are strong in possession and really play like a club side. This is a remarkable achievement given the fact that their home league is relatively poor and their players ply their trades in sides all over Europe.

Scotland did little wrong and tried their best for most of the match but we had no cutting edge and were restricted to long shots and a couple of half-chances. The Belgians, by contrast, were content to compete but also to wait for their chances to come. The ridiculous looking Marouane Fellaini played a game to order by winning everything that came within five yards of him all night, slowing the play and quickly finding another Belgian. He had no intention of shooting or attacking the Scotland goal but simply did the job he was given and it oiled the Belgian midfield.

Ahead of Fellaini, we got to see Nacer Chadli, a winger-cum-striker recently signed for Spurs and I was very impressed. He plays down the left and was very reminiscent of Cristian Ronaldo in more ways than just his looks. Kevin de Bruyne of Chelsea cut holes in the Scotland back line, especially in the second-half and it was a good job that Benteke was largely shackled all night. After Defour swept Belgium into a first-half lead with a precision finish to a flashing attack, Scotland's night looked over.

Tin-tin's countrymen had plenty in the tank and a gear or two more but they stuck to their game plan and bided their time. It was left to Everton's Kevin Miralles to finish it off as he collected a quick pass to beat the offside trap and race through to finish in the 88th minute. We trudged back to the city centre in the lashing rain and after a few pints in the hotel bar, it was time for bed and time to forget.

Belgium are worth taking a punt on for the World Cup. Get your prices for a semi-final placing or better.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Solly first to extend?

Long day in the office today so I can head up the M6 tomorrow to Glasgow with a clear conscience. Unexpected news reached me earlier in the day that Chris Solly had signed a four year deal. My immediate reaction was that it was to defend a January sale and ensure we get the best price. Cynical, I know, but that's where the current owners have left me.

On reflection, of course, it's great news. Following Joe Pigott's deal, maybe the uncertainties of the majority of the rest of the team will be addressed and the morale of the playing staff lifted. There is a tendency for fans to over-analyse and it's obviously much worse when we don't know what's going on. For that reason, I still have little sympathy with the owners for the fear, doubt and loathing amongst those of us who aren't happy at the arrogant lack of communication about what's going on within the club. Having said that, they get credit for securing Chris Solly. Let's hope Morrison, Jackson and Kermogant are next and we get a drip-feed of good news ahead of the visit to Vicarage Road.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Welcome Ben Alnwick

Not a complete surprise to learn today that we have signed another goalkeeper after losing David Button last month. Welcome then Ben Alnwick from Barnsley. 

I hadn't heard of him either but the Internet quickly informs me that he's 26 and has already pulled on the number 1 shirt for ten clubs albeit most were on loan. The most games he has managed for any one club was 19 for Sunderland when a teenager and that was over a three to four year spell. 

The other thing you can't avoid when googling our new keeper is his exploits with a number of his former colleagues and an obliging young female in 2007. Interesting footnote in his Wikipedia entry that he has had an on and off relationship with his childhood sweetheart since 2007. The folly of youth eh?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Welcome Cameron Stewart

First the really good news - once again we survived a transfer window closing without losing one of our better players. Perhaps that isn't good news from the Owners perspective and it may lead to further tough decisions downstream but you have to believe that things might not be as desperate on the financial front as we have lead ourselves to believe. Desperate obviously but not dangerously so. I am guessing selling in the January window is the optimum slot for us when the window is shorter and some of our prospective buyers will be in Last Chance saloon.

Secondly the good news - we have signed Hull City left winger, Cameron Stewart, on loan until January. Like most of you, I guess, he is unknown to me being a fringe player at Hull (37 appearances and 1 goal). He has pace and should provide cover and fresh legs for Callum Harriott. Failing that, he can probably earn a living as a Jermaine Jermaine Jenas look-a-like.

The signing of Stewart coincided with the loan of Danny Green to MK Dons for a month, presumably whilst they take a look at him. If that leads to something more permanent then Green can have few complaints having failed to take his opportunities fully whilst with us.

The other worthy news is that Rick Everitt had his long-awaited day in court yesterday with his former employers. Martin Protheroe and a highly paid QC were there to represent the club but they chose to settle Rick's case before the juice was split in public in front of the Judge and media. I think we would have all wanted to hear what the club's case was and Rick's defence. However, Rick's primary driver would have been to secure compensation for the salary denied by what he obviously felt very strongly was wrongful dismissal. As much as part of him would have liked to have spilled the beans, a settlement was the pragmatic solution and I am sure that the other part of Rick didn't want to be responsible for any untoward damage or embarrassment for the club. The fact that Rick has followed in the footsteps of Peter Varney in having taken his former employers to court tells me what I needed to know about the merits of the cases and Steve Kavanagh can, presumably, look forward to his settlement when his time comes. 

Hopefully those in charge learn the lesson that it's better to avoid being taken to court in the first place if you are going to have to settle last minute anyway. QC's don't come cheap (I recently had to authorise £25k for one at work to get an opinion on something before we pressed our case with a supplier). I'll warrant this involved at least a similar amount of the QC's time and the QC's costs were probably material with regard to what was being claimed. I only hope that the settlement is now made on time and that Rick does not need to appeal to the courts again - that really would be unforgivable in the circumstances.