Keep The Faith

Four games into the resumption of football after lockdown and the addicks have gained 7 points and moved out of the bottom 3. This has been written before the other weekend fixtures so the picture will be a bit clearer then however everyone is still hurting from last night.

Using our heads we would have taken those points if offered to us. 3 clean sheets with the impressive Phillips in goal and the defence has been solid. However the loss of Taylor has put added pressure on the goal scoring front. The 2 goals in 4 have both come from Corners and the ability of the front men to score has dried up. That is not for the want of trying. Like them all they leave everything out there.

So with 5 games to go what do we see us getting from those. An in form Brentford at Griffin Park will be tough. Anything from there will be a bonus, but the last 4 are games we should picking up points.

What do we need to stay up? Probably 6 more points and the Reading and Birmingham games are games we must looking to get maximum points. No reason why not and if we don’t then a game against a 12 point deducted Wigan side has now become more tricky. Through no fault of the players they have been hammered and will now be more determined to prove people wrong and stay up.

Then onto the final game at Leeds. If we need anything to stay up hopefully they would have been crowned Champions then and might be suffering with the after effects of too many shandies.

The players and the management have been hammered with the still on goings fiasco off the pitch. Limited funds, no money to spend on fees in January, transfer embargo etc. Injuries are part and parcel but we have received our more than share of those.

So keep the faith. It is what it is and if we do stay up it will be one hell of an achievement. If not well we go again, but what that future is, who knows.

Stay well and keep safe

Please Roland, can I have some more?

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!

Halfway Point – An Excellent Start but what will January bring

An excellent start would be on Charlton’s halfway season report after 24 League games played now.

4th with 43 points has now seen the Addicks consolidate their position into the top six thanks to a great run of form with seven wins from their last nine league games.

Hats off to Lee Bowyer, Johnnie Jackson and Steve Gallen. First of all to get players in with the small budget given to them by the owner and secondly getting those boys to push for promotion, especially with the run of injuries they have had to deal with. The likes of Forster-Caskey, Clarke, Page, Aribo, Lapslie, Bauer and Vetokele have all missed parts of the season, or in the case of a couple, no League football at all.

History shows over the past 4 seasons that Charlton have been in the third tier of English football, that they have picked up fewer points in the second half of the season, than the first. However the transfer window is poking his head around the corner.

The main question that will be answered is will Bowyer be given an adequate budget to play with by the current owner?

The club has been up for sale for what seems forever now. Why the owner would now give him money to improve the squad when he had no intention to do so back in the summer?

Could the squad be reduced in numbers though? With 12 players currently out of contract at the end of the season, would the owner take a cheeky offer from a rival club for one or two of them?

Those fears will be answered by the end of next month, but what will be the state of the squad is anyone’s guess. Promotion is a strong possibility but if the management are backed by the owner, not hinded in any shape or form.

New Season but the same old nonsense

So here we are again, days away from another league season at the ongoing soap opera that is Charlton Athletic Football Club.

A disappointing play off 2-0 legged defeat to Shrewsbury Town under caretaker manager, Lee Bowyer left fans fed up but hopes were raised by the appearance in the directors box of the Australian consortium at both legs. They can’t just be here to watch a game of football? They must be buying us! At last we are rid of the Belgium owner. Praise to God!

12 weeks later, Duchatelet is still in charge, Bowyer still as Caretaker (the only one in the top five divisions of English football) and for reasons unknown the Australians are not any closer to taking over but have not walked away. Yet!

The squad has been shrunk to 19 first team players, Konsa, Lennon and Magennis sold for undisclosed fees, all the loans back to their respective teams and Bowyer is shopping in the free transfer market with 2 brought in so far. Lyle Taylor and Darren Pratley. Good additions at this level, but no sign of a transfer budget for him to work with. The transfer window closes on the 9th August but he can still get loans up to the end of that month. Hopefully the owner will give him adequate funds to at least do that. The 3 lads on trial, Simon Dawkins, Rohan Ince and Elliott Ward were not seen at the final preseason game v Norwich last Saturday. If they will be seen in a Charlton shirt again, is anyone’s guess.

So the squad then. Dillion Phillips (23) the only first team keeper in the squad. His chances have been limited. A season at National League Champions, Cheltenham Town, the only regular football he has seen since 2016. At present he’s likely to get a run, unless Bowyer is allowed to exploit the loan/free transfer market for a Number 1.

At the back, well that currently picks it itself like a Sunday morning team over Danson Park. Chris Solly (27), Jason Pearce (30), Patrick Bauer (25) and Lewis Page (22) with French centre half, Naby Sarr (24) as back up until called upon. All five missed parts of last season due to injury, and Bowyer will be crossing everything that they don’t get hurt, or in Bauer’s case sold on. Bauer has been offered a new deal but no signature has been forthcoming (The same with Aribo and Fosu)

The midfield is now less one Ahmed Kashi who made his way back on the Eurostar back to France on a free transfer and club legend, Johnnie Jackson who has taken his place on the line as first team coach.

That leaves a middle 3 of Joe Aribo (22), new signing, 33 year old Darren Pratley and Jake Forster- Caskey (24). Again, good players at this level and will cause problems for opposition teams. Behind them is the athletic, Anfernee Dijksteel (20) who was seen at Right Back for a spell last season, but would be excellent in a midfield role. However the lad has been diagnosed with pneumonia and the timescale when he will return is unknown.

The attacking midfield and wide roles is filed by Mark Marshall (31), Ben Reeves (26), Tariqe Fosu (22) and Billy Clarke (30). Sadly only one of those is currently fit and available. That being Marshall who will hope to have a better season after being disappointing since his free transfer move from Bradford. Reeves and Clarke won’t be back until September plus Fosu has suffered with another hamstring problem and won’t be back for another six weeks.

When fit the latter 3 have been very good (Reeves since Bowyer took charge in March) Clarke until his ACL in December and Fosu causing problems for opposition defences when fit.

Finally, the strikers. Top goal scorer, Magennis has moved on but has been replaced by 27 year old Lyle Taylor from AFC Wimbledon. Taylor scored 18 league and cup goals for the relegation threatened Dons and if gets the right service could be looking at repeating that figure. However Taylor is prone to injury and is a doubt for the opening day with a calf problem.

After that we have Nicky Ajose (26) and Igor Vetokele. Ajose has not lit up the Valley in his time with the club and is rumoured to be joining Coventry or a club abroad. Vetokele has returned after loan spells in Belgium but is currently unavailable until September with a foot injury suffered in pre season.

Which leaves us with Karlan (Aherne) Grant (20) and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (20). The two have had off field issues back in June after a holiday in Ibiza. Both are now back at the club and pending any other issues need to get on with their football, as they both may have a spell in the first eleven for the first few weeks at least.

So that’s the 19. After that then Bowyer will have to delve into the Under 23’s and pick from the following, especially for the subs bench at present.

19 year old Australian goalkeeper, Ashley Maynard-Brewer
19 year old Australian Centre Back, Ryan Blumberg
19 year old Midfielder, Taylor Maloney
20 year old Midfielder, George Lapslie
18 year old Midfielder, Albie Morgan
18 year old Midfielder, Alfie Doughty and finally
21 year old Striker, Josh Umerah.

So Prediction for this season. Well if everyone was fit and stayed fit (I know it won’t happen and we are suffering already) then a top 6 spot would not be out of the question, maybe top 2. But injuries will play a part and unless Bowyer is given the tools to play with then a mid table finish is a distinct possibility.

For the long suffering fans, it’s a new season but the same old nonsense, while the Belgian is in charge of our club. Every day that he’s here it’s making it harder for us to move onwards and upwards. Keep praying people!

Failure to beat the top half sides in League One will cost Charlton promotion

Charlton’s failure to win against top half sides all season will cost them promotion, if the current trend continues between now and the end of the season

33 games played, 2 points off a play off spot with games in hand should see most fans optimistic that a top 6 place will be there by the start of May.

However 8 of those games are against sides in the top 12 and this is where they have struggled all season.

Games played against the current top twelve. 2017/2018

Played: 14
Won: 3
Draws: 3
Defeats: 8
Goals For: 8
Goals Against: 19
Points: 12

Away wins at Rotherham and Bradford have to go down as Charlton’s results of the season, but the failure to beat the likes of Gillingham (Twice), Plymouth, Peterborough and Portsmouth, is not good enough for the squad available to Robinson.

The manager states 71 points will be enough to get Charlton a play off spot, so where can we see those 20 points coming from.

5 at home, 8 away. Wins are essential against Wimbledon, Blackpool, Fleetwood, Northampton and Rochdale. With the rest of the games against other top half sides (Peterboro, Plymouth, Rotherham, Bristol Rovers, Scunthorpe, Shrewsbury, Portsmouth and Blsckburn) Charlton will need to rectify this awful run very quickly if they wish to be playing Championship football this August.

Even if the Addicks get into the Play Offs they will need to play their best football of the season result wise against the likes of Shrewsbury and Wigan, otherwise the season will be one big disappointment.

Halfway Point – Room For Improvement

Room for improvement would be on Charlton’s halfway season report after 23 League games played now.

9th with 36 points (with a game in hand away at 2nd place Shrewsbury in January) has now seen the Addicks fall away from the top six and with January/transfer window on the horizon, this is now the biggest month for Karl Robinson since his arrival over a year ago.

History would say that at least 75 points would be required to get a play off spot. A minimum of 39 points is possible in this league, but form/injuries would need to improve plus some new players into the squad.

Not ideal when automatic promotion should really be the aim, but to get 88 to 92 points from now on, would take a monumental run for that to happen.

History shows over the past 4 seasons that Charlton have been in the third tier of English football, that they have picked up fewer points in the second half of the season, than the first.

The main question that will be answered by the start of February is will the manager be given an adequate budget to play with by the current owner? Robinson’s recent comments are that for the first time he knows who he wants, but considering this is his 3rd window since being at the Valley, it does make you wonder what went wrong in the previous two, for him to make that comment.

No wins in 6 League games, mean we now have a section of fans questioning if he’s suitable enough to continue. If we still under the same ownership, then changing the manager would be nonsensical, however if new owners bought the club, then it would be a strong possibility that he would be requlinshed of his duties.

15 League Games. Automatic Promotion is on.

So fifteen league games gone and a third of the way through the league season. 4 wins and a draw in their last 5 games have put Charlton up to 4th with 30 points. Keep up this 2 point average then Charlton will finish in the top two and they will be playing Championship football next season. I don’t see Shrewsbury staying where they are, and I do see the likes of Bradford and Blackburn pushing along with Wigan for an automatic spot.

Hopefully they can get to January with Magennis unscathed and find replacements for Novak and Watt which they never replaced back in August. Luck and fortune is on Charlton’s side in that regard and long that may continue along with other key players staying injury free. The injury to Pearce has not been such a blow with the likes of Konsa and Sarr doing fine jobs.

Robinson needs promotion this season. Regardless who will be our owners come next May, they will expect in my opinion Championship football. So far the results speak for themselves. Keep it up.

First Fifteen League Games in seasons which lead to promotion.


34 points


32 points


26 points


30 points

First 10 League Games. An adequate start

So ten league games gone and now time to start looking at the league table. I would have expected a minimum of 18 points but the last 4 games without a win have left Charlton in 7th spot and 3 points behind the 2 point average for automatic promotion.

First Ten League Games in seasons which lead to promotion.


24 points


22 points


19 points


20 points

An adequate start so far, and no reason why this cannot be turned around with the ability on show, but injuries to key positions is always a factor with a small ish squad. An injury to Pearce is a huge blow and hopefully he won’t be out for too long.

Still pick up 23 points from the next ten games and everything will be fine again, but fail to pick up half of those points, then I would fear for Robinsons time in SE7.

Wot No Strikers! An indifferent transfer window

The end of another transfer window for Charlton, which should have been an excellent one, has left a sour taste in supporters mouths, with the lack of senior forwards at the club.

First of all though let’s start with the many positives.

The new contracts given to Pearce, Magennis and Holmes, especially when a well earned move to a higher level of football looked on the cards for the former Northampton player.

The return of the excellent Kashi and the keeping of young Konsa, another plus point.

Then the new signings. Clarke, Marshall, Reeves, Fosu and Amos. All good players who bar Marshall (currently injured) have made a postive impact so far.

If the window had ended at the start of the new season, then most Charlton supporters would have deemed the window to have been an successful one, with a squad capable of promotion back to the Championship.

Sadly the window still had the rest of the month to run and the issue of strikers at the club was about to raise it’s ugly head.

During July Ajose and Vetokele were loaned to Bury and St Triden. Not an issue as the way Robinson sets up his sides, Magennis, Novak and Watt would be capable of causing issues in League One.

By the end of the first week of the new season, Watt was gone to Belgium on a permanent deal. Robinson said he would not go until a replacement was found. That clearly did not happen.

So we go into the final day of August with only 2 senior strikers. Hope was that a proven striker would come in, or a worse case scenario, a young hungry premiership player.

Nothing all day until the news that Novak had gone to fellow League One side, Scunthorpe. Then the news that Joe Dodoo, a Glasgow Rangers youngster that had not seen much action north of the border, was joining on loan until January.

With the news that promising youngsters, Hanlan and Umerah had also been loaned out, it leads the squad unbalanced.

So a promising window has unraveled with the lack of front men.

All pray that Magennis stays injury free for the rest of the year and young Dodoo is the player that we hope he is.

Promotion is still a given, but the powers that be have made the aim a lot more tougher to achieve.

Does a 20 League goal season player guarantee you promotion?

The lack of front men at the club has been causing a heavy debate on Charlton forums and social media with fans concerned it may cost the club promotion back to the Championship.

After a fifth home league win on the spin for the Addicks since April, then most people won’t care who scores just as long as we end up with 3 points.

So does a Twenty League goal a season player guarantee who promotion? No, far from it, but it does go a long way. 7 of the 9 promotions have seen someone hit that total.

Charlton’s nine promotions have seen the top scorers and league goals scored as follows.

1928/1929: Champions of the Third Division (South). Fred Whitlow: 22 League goals. Total League goals scored: 86 from 42 games.

1934/1935: Champions of the Third Division (South). Ralph Allen: 32 League goals. Total League goals scored: 103 goals from 42 games.

1935/1936: Runners Up of the Second Division.
Harold Hobbis 23 League goals. Total League goals scored: 85 goals from 42 games.

1974/1975: Promotion from the Third Division.
Derek Hales 20 League goals. Total League goals scored: 76 goals from 46 games.

1980/1981: Promotion from the Third Division.
Derek Hales 17 League goals. Total League goals scored: 63 goals from 46 games.

1985/1986: Runners Up of the Second Division.
John Pearson 14 League goals. Total League goals scored: 78 goals from 42 games.

1997/1998: Promotion from the Old First Division.
Clive Mendonca 23 League goals. Total League goals scored: 80 goals from 46 games.

1999/2000: Champions of the Old First Division.
Andy Hunt 24 League goals. Total League goals scored: 79 goals from 46 games.

2011/2012: League One Champions.
Bradley Wright-Phillips 22 League goals. Total League goals scored: 82 goals from 46 games.

So would a proflic front man help this current squad? That goes without saying, but with less than 2 weeks before the end of the transfer window, the manager is going to have to pull another rabbit from his magician’s hat from the bargain basement/loan market, or ask the owner for more funds.

However the likes of Stuart Leary, Mike Flanagan, Johnny Summers, “King” Arthur Horsfield & Dennis “Daisy” Edwards have ended up with that 20 plus mark, but for other reasons failed to gain the bubbly at the end of the season.

With the likes of Holmes, Clarke, Magennis & Forster-Caskey in the eleven and god willing they stay injury free then should be able to hit 40 league goals between them. Chuck in another 30 goals from the rest of the squad plus a steady back four keeping that ball out, then why can’t promotion happen.

Bolton went up as Runners Up from League One last season. 68 goals scored, and only 36 goals conceded.
Their top scorers was four different players with only nine goals each! And that includes one of their centre backs.

Here’s hoping that elusive 20 goal poacher arrives soon, but if not, promotion can still be achieved.