The pre season games are now under way, with less than 4 weeks before the start of a new season. On the pitch, optimism is high, with three new signings and a new three year contract accepted by last year’s Player of the Year, Ricky Holmes. No one of any note has left so far, so after last season’s unacceptable performance from all concerned at the football club, promotion is a necessity in a league full of poor quality bar Blackburn Rovers.
Karl Robinson has done well this pre season to work with the budget he has been given, bringing in Mark Marshall on a free and other players on small fees. A goalkeeper and a left back are required to fit the remaining places in the squad, but I’m sure that will be in place in the next couple of weeks. Also he has been resticted due to the poor decisions made by the club in the past, offering ridiculous long contracts and high wages to the likes of Naby Sarr and Jorge Teixiera, which are now difficult to get rid of and bring in some much needed funds to his transfer kitty.
However in my opinion, this is a make or break season for the opinionated and chatty Liverpudlian. Promotion back to the championship or be relinquished of his duties at the end of May. The owner’s record on managers in the past has always been good business for the local labour exchange.
This squad is up there with the League One winning team from 2011/2012. Like for like the players are as good or some cases better.
2011/2012: Hamer, Solly, Wiggins, Cort, Morrison, Hollands, Stephens, Jackson, Wagstaff, Kermorgant, Wright- Phillips.
2017/2018: Phillips, Solly, Page, Bauer, Pearce, Kashi, Forster-Caskey, Marshall, Holmes, Watt, Magennis.
No one surely is looking at 101 points again, but there is no reason why this current squad cannot guarantee an average of two points per game and a top two place in League One, or at the very least a win at Wembley in the Play Off Final. Anything else and the season would have been another complete failure and totally unacceptable.
At 16/1 to win the League and 5/1 for promotion with some bookmakers, this should be easy money for anyone who likes a bet.
Off the pitch the same rumblings and going on’s continue. Season tickets sold around the 5,000 mark, 50% down on two seasons ago. The owner and Chief executive remain. Part of the ground has been closed due to lack of fans coming through the turnstiles. Different season ticket prices depending not on what stand you sit in, but different prices for different blocks in the same stand. Bar the ongoing work at the training ground and cheap season tickets in the Covered End, the rest is not ideal for a stable football club.
The protests are still around and looks highly likely that they are hear to stay until the owner sells, regardless of how well the team are doing. Some fans have made their points very clear and in some cases will not return to the Valley until he hands over the reins to someone else.
The dream scenario for Charlton fans this coming season would be promotion back to the Championship and new owners. However if we are looking at another season in League One in 12 months time, and no change in the ownership, then the anger is very likely to intensify.