Wednesday 24 June 2009

La La Land.... and Reality

I think the world has gone bonkers...

£80m for Ronaldo
£55m for KaKa
£18m for Glen f**king Johnson
£17m for Roque Santa Cruz

Is it just me who thinks this is just insane money? Where does this all end?

I'm annoyed for a few reasons, personally, because Liverpool have spent an obscene amount of money on a player who has had one decent season; but more annoyed on the whole because while the people of Britain, and in fact the world are working their backsides off trying to keep their jobs and provide for their family, football is just exploding.

Around us, sports are rationalising. Moto GP has moved to one tyre manufacturer and has set limits on the number of engines that can be used through the course of a season. F1 has implemented radical measures this year limiting the number of engines and gear boxes that can be used and even more radical measures in the form of a budget cap. This may have ruffled a lot of feathers, but the idea of a budget cap is a good one, which will help the smaller teams. The problem remains that the McLarens and the Ferraris, who spend upwards of £250-£300m a year on their cars don't want this leveller. I can understand this, but perhaps the FIA just need to revise the target a bit to keep the sport together.

But in the top tier of football, the fools and the idiots that run world football are continuing full steam ahead with no regard whatsoever for the people who make the sport what it is, the people who spend their hard earned wages week in and week out supporting these footballers. The behaviour of the "big" clubs in Europe is damaging the smaller clubs and lower league sides who need to try to compete with these sides when it comes to wages and the likes to sign quality players. Or in some cases young up-starts who think they are better than they actually are and demanding wages "in line" with what their "expectations" are. These footballers and the heads of world football need to get a grip and come back to planet earth.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Next Season: Captain

One of the things we missed last season, amongst many, was a sense of leadership on the pitch. In the not too distant past, there have been captains who you felt gave direction to the team, led by example, and provided some much needed impetus to proceedings; Mark Kinsella and Andy Reid spring to mind. Unfortunately I'm not sure the same can be said of Mark Hudson and it raises the question as to who should be given the armband for next season.

In fairness to Hudson, he was thrown into a very difficult situation by Alan Pardew. He had arrived from Palace and so needed to win the trust of the supporters, he was expected to be the rock of a frankly woeful back line with an ever changing central defensive partner, and captain a side expected to win promotion back to the Premier League. Add injury problems of his own to contend with and all things considered, it wasn't a particularly easy ride for him.

So what to do next season? The trouble we have at the moment is that we don't know who will still be with the club, which makes spectaculating somewhat difficult. For the sake of argument (and this article), let's say that no players other than those already known to have been released will be leaving the club. What does that leave us with? Frighteningly little unfortunately. If Hudson is not retained (and there is every chance that he will be) and that Matt Holland will not feature regularly enough to be offered the job, when you look at what we have then there is only one serious contender: Nicky Bailey.

Whilst you may argue it wasn't difficult to rise above the mediocrity last season, Bailey undoubtedly deserved the player of the season award and was one of few players who actually looked like he cared when he pulled on the red shirt. A quiet mid-season patch aside, if it wasn't for his goals and midfield play then our position would have looked a lot more nasty than it was. His style reminded me a lot of Reid, driving things forward on the pitch and trying to motivate his team mates to chase harder.

In spite of this, Bailey's desire to stay at The Valley hardly appears to be overwhelming. They may well have been misinterpreted, as comments to tabloids sometimes are, but the message appears to have been 'I'll stay if I have to'. This raises the question as to whether his heart is really in it, but I think if it stays then it will be. If he doesn't then my second choice candidate, for lack of any real competition, would be Rob Elliot. I've never thought goalkeeper the best position on the pitch to have a captain, but Elliot is passionate about the club and would be sure to 'have a quiet word' with any player not pulling their weight. If last season was anything to go by, there might be a few of them.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Wycombe to start, Oldham to finish

Get the calendars out and start cancelling some social plans: the fixtures are out.

Full details are on the official website but the highlights are as follows:

- We'll be starting the season at The Valley on 8th August against newly promoted Wycombe Wanderers - the third time in three seasons we've started our campaign against a promoted team

- We are ending it at Boundary Park against Oldham Athletic on 8th May

- Thankfully Boxing Day is a home game against Swindon Town

- For those of you looking to get your knuckle dusters out, Millwall visit The Valley on 19th December (hopefully their supporters won't have had too much festive cheer by the time they show up), whilst we head to The Den on 13th March

- The mid-week away fixtures all look to be at fairly conveniently located clubs: Leyton Orient (Tuesday 18th August), Colchester United (Tuesday 29th September) and Brighton & Hove Albion (Tuesday 1st December)

Any initial thoughts on the schedule we've been given? Or, like me, are you still trying to come to terms with the fact that we have league fixtures against Carlisle United and Yeovil Town next season?!

Friday 12 June 2009

Next Season: Away Days

This week has been what I refer to as 'change over week'. That is to say, it's the week when the BBC Sport website acknowledges all relegations and promotions from the season, puts all the clubs in the section for their respective leagues next season, and wipes the league tables to zero. On the positive side, this means we no longer have to look at Charlton's final league position last season, on the negative it has rammed home the fact that we are now in League One. That is to say, the third tier of English football.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives of this, the Beeb's reshuffle has focused my mind on away days for next season and I think it could be one of few positives of relegation. The strong contingent of South East clubs for next season has given me some kind of hope that we may improve on our traditionally poor away followings and offer the team some much needed support on the road. Looking down the list of clubs we will be battling it out with next season, by my reckoning there are nine clubs that would be easy for the London based Addicks fan to get to: Brentford, Brighton, Colchester United, Gillingham, Leyton Orient, Millwall, Milton Keynes Dons, Southend United and Wycombe Wanderers.

Of course, some of these games many fans will not want to go to e.g. Millwall (for obvious reasons). Then there is the possibility that some will fall on a week night, making it difficult for many fans to get to. Yet all things considered, it is a far more convenient fixture list than the one we were presented with last season. There are also plenty of games that people will want to go to because they have never been to the ground before and want to add it to the 'been there, had a pie, watched the game' column.

I was on a flight home from Germany the other week, and as we flew over London we swung past the gleaming and imposing Emirates Stadium which is an impressive sight from the sky. As we got closer to Heathrow, we then went over Brentford's Griffin Park, a small and old fashioned stadium. The stark contrast between the two away day grounds was a sorry reminder of how Charlton have fallen in the past three seasons. With that said however, I am really hoping that this season will offer plenty to look forward to. The fixture list is out next week, time to get planning …

Monday 8 June 2009

Miguel Angel Llera

The Sunday Mirror (a paper I don't read very often ) was yesterday reporting that we have agreed a deal to bring centre half Miguel Angel Llera toThe Valley after he turned down a renewed contract the the MK Dons.

I must confess to have never having heard of the player before yesterday, so I read some more about him here:,,10420~44784,00.html

Does anybody know anything about him?

In a position we were horrifically exposed in last season, I would suggest that getting somebody with experience of League One football in a (relatively) successful side can't be a bad thing.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Jog on

The club's official website continues to be devoid of anything that can really be considered newsworthy. Elsewhere there is news that Real Madrid are out smashing the bank for Kaka, the dollar signs are ringing up in Gareth Barry's eyes in a £12 million move to the Massives (weren't you wanting to play Champions League football Gareth?), Tony Adams proves he is the master of self-delusion in claiming he is in line for the Celtic job, and what do we get? Confirmation of a pre-season fixture at Forest Green, news of Thierry Racon's call up to the Guadeloupe squad, and a picture of Jonjo Shelvey on a treadmill. Brilliant.

These are hard time for the gossip hungry, although we were given something to snack on yesterday in the form of news that Darren Ambrose is set to make his way over to Croyden at the start of next month in a move to Palace. Judging by the reactions on the blogs so far, there won't be too many tears shed over this.

All joking aside, it's difficult not to feel like we're losing ground on our rivals ahead of next season. It's exactly one month since we played the last game of the season and not a lot has happened since then. The last Charlton related story on the BBC website was one day after with the headline 'Charlton boss uncertain of future'. He still is, and so are we. Furthermore, there is no indication as to which players will be released, which will be offered new contracts, and which will be sold at the first possible opportunity.

The point is, we really can't afford to be giving our opponents a head start ahead of next season. Whoever is in charge and whichever players stay and go, there is a lot of restructuring that needs to be done and it probably should have started about a month ago (well, it probably should have started about seven months ago but we won't get into that). I know a lot is dependent on any possible takeover, I guess I am just frustrated that we're not really helping ourselves for what is going to be a tough, tough season.

Please can we have some proper news?!