With a few days left of the January transfer window, it looked hopeful that for the first time in the reign of Roland Duchaletet, Charlton may have a decent start of the year window.
The loss of Jed Steer back to Aston Villa was replaced by Chris Maxwell on loan from Preston North End. Ben Purrington came into the problem left back slot with a loan from Rotherham United and the best signing of the lot was the free transfer on a Six month contract, of Jonny Williams from Crystal Palace. If fit and injury free, a good Championship player at least.
However one or two were always going to leave and it was no real surprise that Nicky Ajose left for a loan spell at Mansfield Town and Billy Clarke was released from his remaining six months with a move back to Bradford City.
All ok with the above, but then things never go smoothly in SE7.
Karlan Grant at the start of this season was probably not in most Charlton starting eleven’s but Lee Bowyer saw something in a front two with him alongside Lyle Taylor, and the pair of them proved him right with 26 goals in 29 League games.
The last thing we needed was a bid for Grant from a Premier League side. Sadly an offer of up to 2 million was accepted from Huddersfield Town and Bowyer was left with a couple of days to bring in at least 1 replacement.
Regardless who the owner is Grant would have gone. You would have to be deluded to think otherwise. However any other owner would let the manager have a bit of that fee to spend. Not here I’m afraid.
This next bit is guesswork on our part so bear with us. Our theory is at the start of pre season, Bowyer and Steve Gallen were given a budget for the whole of the season. Regardless who is sold for a fee, that is still your budget. Even if someone went for 5 million. Whatever wages you free up can go back into your budget, but you will not see a penny more.
If we are right on that, then as Bowyer says “It is what it is” They know where they stand and get on with it.
Deadline day arrived and bar Clarke leaving not a dicky bird of anyone coming in. Then as we got into the last hour of the window, a new signing in Josh Parker from Gillingham appeared. Not what we all expected but that’s not the fella’s fault.
The window closed. Then the news came out. Deals for Erhan Oztumer and Mohammed Eisa from Bolton Wanderers and Bristol City respectively, never happened due to those clubs wanting replacements before letting them go. Just how a normal football club is run.
With Taylor serving his 2nd of a 3 match ban, it was up to young Reeco Hackett-Fairchild to make his first league start at Fleetwood Town with Parker on the substitutes bench. The addicks suffer their first league defeat in 6, but a top 6 spot was still there for the Addicks.
Time to look at the free agent market then for Bowyer and Gallen. With the money not spent (Wages) on Oztumer and Eisa, maybe they could find a bargain once again on someone.
However the press conference with Bowyer after the 1-1 home draw with Southend United, seemed that all was not well. Last Friday Bowyer mentioned that there is a striker who he would like, but other clubs are interested.
This season Bowyer has kept things in house. With him playing under the management of Sir Bobby Robson, George Graham, Terry Venables and Alan Curbishley during his playing days, he would have picked up some great habits. Digging out individual players after the game is not one of those, and so unlike him.
Then he came out with the lad we want, there are others who are talking to him, but I don’t know if the owner will allow it.
Monday morning his worst fear came true when it was announced that the owner told Gallen that you can’t bring in another striker as you already have Taylor, Parker and Igor Vetokele.
So what happened to the money then from the Oztumer and Eisa deals? 11 days ago he would have brought those in if all went to plan. So why now he can’t spend it. Like the English weather, the owner changes his view from hour to hour. People have given up trying to second guess him.
So for the first time all season since Saturday evening, Bowyer has shown some anger towards the owner. His contract along with First Team Coach, Johnnie Jackson is up at the end of the season. With 17 possible games to go, here’s hoping that they stay and get us into the Championship. We are sure they will as they are in a win win situation, but what happens at the end of May is anyone’s guess. Fingers crossed!