Saturday, 25 June 2016

C.A.R.D. Protest Shirt

Good to see the 'protest shirt' up-and-running online at

I'm not really a replica shirt sort of supporter but I have ordered this. Great value at £25 for adults. Let's see a sea of these at home to Northampton on 13th August.

C.A.R.D. Protest Shirt

Good to see the 'protest shirt' up-and-running online at

I'm not really a replica shirt sort of supporter but I have ordered this. Great value at £25 for adults. Let's see a sea of these at home to Northampton on 13th August.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Fixtures out on Wednesday

It's usually a highlight of the close season and the point at which I begin to focus on the coming season. I was thinking of looking again at who we will actually face in League One but Kyle Andrew has already out-done me.

It makes for grim reading but I guess we already knew that. AFC Wimbledon is a good shout for the opener but I will go for the Cobblers away. The recent connections and their promotion to League One makes it the hot contender for me. Otherwise, maybe Sheffield United at home which would suit the spite of the Fixture People whom I am sure will want to give us a Baptism of Fire and show us we aren't going to swan about in their League One. As if.

The comings and goings are stepping up. The good news is that Naby Sarr has followed Igor out-of-the door to mainland Europe. The bad news is it's another season long loan. The failure in his signing is clear when we can't actually get anything for him and have to let him go in the hope he can establish himself away from the Valley and eventually earn a fee to offset what was paid for him. Otherwise we face the prospect of seeing him back at the Valley.

Jordan Cousins and JBG may be the next two to confirm their moves away from the Valley. Katrien will be looking to bring in decent undisclosed fees for both of them in order to shore up her alarming shortfall in revenue this season given her appalling mismanagement of the club last year. Cousins must be worth in excess of a £1m and JBG's Euro showing may net us a good bit more. It won't be enough to cover the latest losses but they will both leave the wage bill which also help Roland's overall exposure. They will also cover the cost of Swindon's Nicky Ajose who could be coming to The Valley for an undisclosed fee of £800,000.

The Friendlies will soon be upon us but I won't be attending any. Partly because I am away on holiday for a couple of weeks pre-season but also because I have lost interest. I will make my first judgement in one of our early league games.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Roland out in France

A picture reaches me today of an England flag being proudly displayed at the Euro's by Charlton fans bearing the legend "Roland Out." I hope he gets to see it.

My only other observation is that the lads from south-east London look like they have teamed up with unfashionable like-minds from QPR and Fulham, and that there is a natural order of flag sizing according to the size if your club. Well, at least the traditonal size of our club in respect to the others.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Slade's first signing

News today that Russell Slade has made his first signing in Ricky Holmes from Northampton Town. Holmes, 29, is an attacking winger who played a big part in Northampton's promotion last year. Interesting that he triggered a clause in his contract to move and that he was reputedly a target for Chris Wilder before Wilder got a better offer by Sheffield United.

I have avoided the temptation to judge him via Wikipedia and will wait and see for myself whether or not he would have held his own in Chris Powell's League One promotion side because that is the benchmark for Russell Slade and his team this year. Given the calibre of the players we have been linked with so far, success is likely to be governed by how good a team we are rather than by how many good players we have. Northern Ireland have must reminded me of the value of team work and a good solid group with confidence and belief. Great to see them humble Ukraine just now.

Lee Novak could be next. He's always looked good off the ball in my eyes but at approaching 28 and having helped Huddersfield out of League One, he does at least have the requisite experience and may fit the bill.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Classy Irish fans lead by example

Amid the predictable scenes of brawling fans in Marseilles and the sickening sight of hooligans attacking those clearly not interested in fighting, Ireland's supporters managed to cheer me up this evening with a generous and compassionate show of support for Darren Rodgers, the 24 year old Northern Ireland fan who fell to his death in Nice yesterday.

They stood up en masse today during their 1-1 draw with Sweden in the 24th minute and sung "stand-up for the Ulsterman." Northern Irish fans will pay their own tribute this week but it would be great to see some acknowledgement of the respect shown for their countrymen by their southern neighbours (who are often held in contempt by a large percentage of Northern Irish football fans). Attitudes can be changed by acts of genuine compassion and the Irish have set a fantastic example others would do well to follow.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Tinkering with the Johnstone's Paint Cup

The League Trophy, better known as the Johnstone's Paint Cup in recent years, is that also-ran competition which gives football league club clubs their own chance of Wembley glory. Open only to the 48 clubs forming the lowest two professional divisions, it has been a small comfort for dropping down from the Championship. When I say small comfort, I don't mean for Charlton Athletic, of course, given it is a Cup competition.

Well, Doctor Kish is reporting that the format for this coming season will be changed and that the competition will now include the U21 sides from the top flight and take the form of north and south leagues for the initial stages before finishing as a knock-out competition. League clubs have been bought off with a fee for allowing the Big Boys a chance to mop-up another piece of silverware. I wasn't a fan of the competition anyway but they can poke that.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Katrien Meire gets it wrong yet again

It's been a hectic working week so first chance to post on Katrien's latest own goal. On Tuesday during the press conference to welcome Russell Slade she managed to blurt something out which over-shadowed Slade's introduction and has the potential to cause ongoing damage to the club. She really is absolutely hopeless and it's an indictment to have her mismanaging our once proud club. It shows so clearly the contempt with which Duchatelet holds Charlton Athletic.

She was asked whether the change of heart over foreign network managers perhaps signalled a corresponding change in approach over ownerhsip and might reflect Roland's attempt to make the club more atrractive to prospective buyers. In her response Katrien managed to name Varney as part of a previous approach to acquie the club and to say that his offer included what would be highly controversial plans to relocate from the Valley. Once again, you have to wonder how she ever qualified in the legal profession?

Given it's already in the public domain that Meire avoided meeting Varney to hear him out, it's hard to fathom that she might know that a Valley exit would be part of any plans of Varney's interested party. She and Duchatelet are also on record as saying that they didn't entertain Varney because he might have been looking go place an advertisement at the ground or something equally less deserving of their precious time. The automatic reaction is to see this as an impulsive and naive response, albeit from an incredibly niave individual, who was trying to shoot the idea of a sale down and and to position 'the Shareholder' as a man who holds protecting the fans' Holy Grail of The Valley as paramount. The Shareholder being a man so moved by watching his first match at The Valley in A.D. 2014, that he hasn't been back since. The irony here is delicious.

Unfortunately, as Meire should know by now (she's had plenty of warnings), you need to choose your words carefully when speaking publicly and she was quickly picked-up by Varney who first denied, quite forcefully, that there was any mention or intention of his prospective buyer to move the club from The Valley. He then followed that by challenging Meire to retract her statement within 48 hours. Meire has managed to stay quiet on the subject since but her two days are up tomorrow.

The irony here is that Varney was a consummate Chief Executive when he ran Charlton Athletic and wouldn't have made the schoolgirl error that Meire appears to have. On that basis, my guess is he didn't give her 48 hours to retract her statement just because it sounded authoritative, so tomorrow could be very interesting. If Meire can't prove what she said, this is a massive slur on Peter Varney and his prospective buyers and Meire could find herself falling back on her legal training. Now, there's a thought to warm the cockles.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Farewell to the Greatest

I had a dream on Thursday night (Friday morning) that I instantly forgot as I awoke yesterday morning. Muhammed Ali had somehow featured in the dream and as I got out of bed, I found myself wondering whether Ali was alive or dead - given his poor health for decades and his advancing years I honestly couldn't remember but thought his death would have been much clearer in my memory.

I heard on the radio before I got to a computer that he was seriously ill and he has now passed away.  

For me and my generation, Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali was the greatest sportsman of all time, by a country mile. He reigned in the hardest sport of them all at a time when boxing was still more about being the champion and knocking your opponent out, not about money and longevity in the game. The simple fact of that is that Ali gave it everything and suffered for his commitment to 61 professional fights, being left with Parkinson's which he endured for 30 years.

His fights against Frazier and Foreman were the world highlights of the 1970's. If you want to compare Ali to the generations of heavyweights that have followed, take a look at this picture of the 22 year old Cassius. It tells you everything you need to know. Lying on the canvas struggling for consciousness is the 'unbeatable' Sonny Liston, himself a brilliant and powerful world heavyweight champion. 

Farewell Muhammed Ali - you were the Greatest.

Friday, 3 June 2016

The way is cleared for Russell Slade

The rumours of Johnnie Jackson's elevation to gallows trap-door looks to have cooled as those suggesting Russell Slade have heated up. 

Slade's failure in leading Cardiff to eighth place in the Championship saw the unique Vincent Tan move him upstairs which clearly didn't sit well with Russell. He has been linked with a number of other Championship vacancies but following Blackburn's move for Owen Coyle his contract at Cardiff was today terminated by mutual consent, opening the way for his appointment at the Valley.

All things considered, I have to say that given what's come before him for the last two years, Slade has to be considered a decent appointment. He's not a Belgian, he knows the lower leagues, has twenty years management experience, can work with small budgets and is something of a motivator.  My reservations would be that he has never managed to get anyone promoted but I guess there's always a first time for everything.

The really interesting thing would be to see how he gets on working with Meire and Duchatelet. You have to think he wouldn't stand for any nonsense, certainly far less I suspect than previous Network Managers may have. After the growing criticism over the length of time taken to appoint Riga's replacement, whilst those around us have filled theirs, I am expecting Meire to make an announcement on Monday.