Time for a catch-up !!

65milesCrikey, last post on the 19th December !! I knew I hadn’t put anything up for a while but didn’t realise it was quite that long ago.

A lot has happened since then – so much to recap and with another game tomorrow, so little time.

On the pitch it’s been a bit hit and miss. Millwall away (I didn’t go) sounded like we really weren’t up for it and were pretty much bullied to a defeat in a game that we never got going in.

Conceding two just before the break (both of them poor from our point of view but the second was absolutely shocking with Morison so unmarked it was almost embarrassing) wasn’t helped by Nicky Ajose getting one back (a good goal, build up and finish) but sure enough Millwall killed it off with Steve Morison getting a well taken but terribly defended second on the hour.

Karl Robinson didn’t sound a happy bunny after that defeat but not as annoyed as the majority of Charlton fans on social media.

The thing is, beating Millwall is getting more and more unlikely if you don’t have players willing to get into them and battle just as hard, if not harder.

We’ll come back to that a bit later on.

Christmas Day came and went – no Charlton calendar for me this year alas and then Boxing Day at Milton Keynes.

Having suffered the FA Cup replay defeat at Stadium MK and with it being Boxing Day, the decision was taken to stay at home.  Despite allowing a number of very good chances MK Dons were unable to take them and Ademola Lookman pretty much confirmed he would be on his bike come the January window with a great finish from an equally great, if not even better through ball from Andrew Crofts to score the only goal of the game and give us a slightly belated present.

And so onto New Year’s Eve. An away trip this time with wife, brother and his girlfirend in tow took us to Roots Hall and the pleasures of the away seating behind the goal.

Fortunately, the away fan ‘thing’ of standing was the best option as trying to sit would have needed me to have left everything from my hips down in the car park but it wasn’t the best of afternoons again as we struggled to get anywhere going forward especially first and some poor defending gave Southend a chance to open the scoring.

A great save from Dillon Phillips and the post coming to the rescue kept us in it, but Jorge Teixeira, Morgan Fox & Little Freddie all denied by the keeper had me thinking this probably wasn’t going to be our day. Joe Aribo hits the bar with a curler, they miss an absolute sitter header at the far post and maybe, just maybe.

I have to be honest, there were some chunks of the game I didn’t see too much of as the combination of being six foot tall, standing at the back, the low roof and some expertly positioned tannoy speakers contrived to obscure my view but we finally got something to cheer about when Andrew Crofts volleyed home a cross from Joe Aribo to snatch a point from nothing at the death.

Funny how the mind plays tricks, but I thought Crofts slid in to finish left footed off the underside of the bar. Not my brother, who thought much the same, wife, who didn’t see anything but the ball hit the bar and then everyone leaping and brother’s girlfriend who also didn’t see it but joined in with the leapage noticed that he actually volleyed it with his right foot as he fell away from goal.

I didn’t until seeing the footage later, combined with Josh Magennis rooling around the goal net with the defender trying desperately to get hold of the ball and get it back for the restart. At that point I didn’t care about going for a winner, I’m too pessimistic so was more than happy with a point.

The least said about the smell from the gents after the game as the wind wafted the hum of stale urine behind the goal the better !

So not a bad few days and soon back at the Valley for the return match with Bristol Rovers.

Having travelled cross-country to see us stuff the Gasheads I was looking forward to this one and we weren’t to be disappointed, with one of the best displays of the season so far.

Four one at home, a Josh Magennis hat-trick featuring two identical headers and a superb third from a great Andrew Crofts’ pass, not forgetting of course the deft touch of Tex from another Joe Aribo assist, made us forget for just a moment the horrors of our ownership and send us home with a broad grin on our faces.

Obviously it didn’t start quite as well as we would have hoped with the BFG making a BF cock-up to concede possession and ultimately the opening goal.

We then hit the bar twice before Rovers showed they are still clearly as poor at set piece defending as they were at home and Josh took both chances superbly.

A week off with the Rochdale game cancelled gave us Millwall at home and a chance to redeem the performance at the New Den but we still couldn’t beat them. But, we didn’t lose either and the performance showed a bit of grit so not all bad.

Disappointing that we lost Tex for a game to a mad moment after the final whistle but having read the Richard Cawley interview with Steve Morison later in the week I’m just glad that he waited until the final whistle as I don’t think we’d have hung on if we’d had to play with ten.

Also disappointing that we lost both Josh Magennis to an injury which although not as bad as it first looked will see him out for a month at least and also an injury to one of the new boys, Lewis Page.

Nathan Byrne looks like he might be quite useful, great to see Ricky Holmes back despite running too close to the byline twice and over-hitting both crosses behind and what can only be described as a God-awful bun on the top of his head.  Lose it Ricky, we like the bouncy, flowing locks!

Also good to see Tony Watt back in a Charlton shirt – hopefully he might be able to stick at it this time around and the Karl Robinson is the man to keep him on the proverbial straight and narrow.

I appreciate he has possibly burnt his bridges on more than one occasion but he clearly has the ability to get people on their feet if he can keep his own on the ground.

He is not however the man to lead the line in a ‘one up front’ formation so hopefully we can get someone there to do that job and let him run a few rings round the opposition from a slightly withdrawn position.

Scunthorpe being called off was not a great surprise, not the only game in the ‘area’ not making it but of course we’re Charlton and could only add to our laughing-stock-ed-ness by the news leaking out that we have the pipes for an undersoil heating system but nothing connected to it to actually provide the heating.

If only we’d bottled a few of Katrien’s previous speeches there might have been enough hot air to run the thing.

So, Bolton away tomorrow and I think we stand a chance of something up there although not entirely sure what side we’re going to put out.

Away from the pitch the main news was the sale of Ademola Lookman to Everton for a pretty big fee (thanks the January Panic-Buy Window) although we haven’t spent much / any of it.

A new boiler might be an idea if Roly hasn’t already filled in his paying-in book and deposited the lot in his building society book.

Good luck to him (Ademola not Roland) and a very tidy finish with his second ever touch to finish off the rout of Man City.

Also very good luck to Morgan Fox as he goes to Sheffield Wednesday. I liked Morgan. He wasn’t great, he made mistakes but he was Charlton and you can never say he didn’t give everything.

I’ve said it before on here that he was very much a confidence player and when he made a cock-up (as they all do from time to time) the immediate grief he got from a proportion of the crowd knocked that confidence even more.

With the squad we have he didn’t have a lot of competition for his place (and you can say Tareiq Holmes-Dennis all you like if you want) but it wasn’t Morgan’s fault he got sold.

Also, with Ademola in front of him Morgan didn’t have a lot (any) help in defending and rarely had an easy out ball up the line with Ademola often moving inside.

Still, Foxy’s gone now – good luck mate !!

His move I thought might quieten the twit who sits just along from me who berated the poor sod every time the ball came anywhere near him and in this bloke’s eyes Morgan could do no right.

If he didn’t get forward he called him lazy, if he did get forward and lost it he was an idiot, he was a defender and he should stay at the back.

Apparently the guy is also a fully qualified coach because according to him the left back should stand next to the winger at all times, even if the play is on the opposite side and the right winger is hugging his touchline!?

Alas Morgan’s transfer has not shut him up …. he’s moved on to Ezri Konsa who now is the worst defender in the club.

He also spent the Millwall game moaning at DaSilva for not taking people on, then when he did and lost it, then when he did and crossed it but we had no-one in there and then when he lost the ball in a tackle. Unfortunately the last one was actually Joe Aribo, but I suppose from up in the Covered End Aribo and DaSilva look very similar.

Except Joe is about twice his size !!

Alas the man’s an arse !!

Good to hear about WAR (Women Against the Regime) and what they have to say about Katrien’s FA appointment (or not).  Good luck to you.

Not sure what I think about Red Bull either. Anyone should be better than Roland but what sacrifices will come if they are the buyer of choice?

I can’t imagine the league will consent to a name change (they wouldn’t let Hull City) but money talks – especially if you have lots and lots and lots of it.

We’ll see I suppose. Still, tomorrow is the most important thing for now.

C’mon you Reds !!

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Well that was God-awful !!

charviglenWell … to quote myself, “Here’s hoping that today might be the start of this expansive, goalscoring side that KR has been gushing about.”

Nope, didn’t do that !!

Possibly one of the most appalling team performances that I have ever witnessed – an almost complete lack of effort.

I’m not saying they weren’t trying – or am I ?

There just was nothing there apart from the first few minutes of each half – after which we just didn’t do anything.

Do I go through the team and individually comment ?

I don’t think I can if I’m honest – it would be too depressing.

What I will say is that Dillon Phillips is a good keeper but is too young and isn’t ready for the first team – poor decision making at times and distribution. Ezri Konsa is not a full back (we have one in Kevin Foley – play him).

Morgan Fox is a good player but needs support on the wing which he does not get, neither Jordan Botaka or Ademola Lookman give him any protection whatsoever, he never has an easy out ball down the line and neither of them even consider covering for him when he gets forward. He also didn’t look fit to me.

It’s no surprise that his confidence is shot to bits but the cheering that went on when he got substituted was thoroughly unhelpful, unnecessary and unpleasant.

One wonders how many of those cheering would have done the same had it been Ademola Lookman that had been substituted instead, especially as he was as bad if not worse than Fox as he is (allegedly) a star in the making.

His performance was awful, his set pieces were shocking, ignoring the last minute fall over, the free kick we had thirty yards out in the first half was surely calling for either a blast from distance or better, a clipped ball into the tall boys at the edge of the box, but no, a one-two and a no-chance dance at the first of two lines of defenders.

He gave the ball away so many times it was on the way to embarrassing with people around me (and me) calling for him to pass every time he got possession before he could lose it.

Yes, he’s young, yes he’s still learning but do something about it – take the pressure of him by taking him off, or better, not starting him.

Opponents have worked him out … get tight, kick him a few times and knock him about and he tries too hard and then disappears when things don’t work for him.

Adam Chicksen needs to start – he was the only player who actually looked like he was interested in having go – at Milton Keynes away he was great going forward from full back.

We seemed to have no leadership at all, we missed Jacko in the centre of midfield (I know I’ve said he shouldn’t be playing but away at MK he was very good at the back point of the diamond) and very little fight.

Nicky Ajose needs either dropping or a hefty kick up the arse.

He’s not going to dance past two or three and ping it in the postage stamp but at the moment he’s not even getting in the right positions.

The frustration is shining more and more brightly as he waves his arms about and moans when he doesn’t get the pass – the worst time when Josh Magennis didn’t pass but took the opportunity to shoot. To be honest, who wouldn’t shoot in that situation ?

It wasn’t so much the moaning, it was the complete lack of thought to chase the ball as it ran away, instead berating his strike partner for not squaring it.

It’s time for Mr Robinson to start fulfilling some of that promise he’s been spouting instead of trying to be everyone’s mate.

I appreciate there’s not a lot he can do once the players get on the pitch, but he can have a rant and a rave from the technical area and make some sensible changes.

There is no way that Lookman should have stayed on for the ninety minutes – replacing him with Chicksen on the left would have given us a better attacking option as Lookman had been shit and would have also provided poor Morgan Fox with the protection and support he’s been missing.

This wingers playing narrow crap is exactly that – they become useless from an attacking point of view as there is less space to work in and more players to beat, and neither of them have a clue about defending so would be of no use to the other two in midfield.

And as for bringing Joe Aribo on instead of Jacko in a game where we’d been bloody awful and the rest of them needed a kick up the backside, I just think there’s something a bit fishy going on.

The whole lot need to practice the basics – we must have had the highest percentage of misplaced passes this season so far.

Okay, can’t talk about this any more … we’ve got Millwall on Wednesday and a performance like that will have them laughing at us for years to come.

Possibly more importantly I’ve just received four tickets for Southend away on New Years Eve. What I don’t need on the last day of the year is a drive back to North Essex with brother and his girlfriend and my wife telling me how bad we are.

If the thought of a London derby against Millwall can’t get the players up enough to put in a performance to somehow try and erase Saturday from our minds then I fear for Karl Robinson making it to the end of the transfer window.

Chris O’Loughlin anyone ?

And on the subject of regime lackeys, clearly Mad Roly is still listening to them. The latest craziness from our Belgian owner has him calling supporters stupid and chucking the same at Chris Powell.

Personally I think someone who is happy to spend lots of money employing public relations people and then spouting utter tosh without checking with them is possibly more stupid.

But what do I know ?

One thing I do know agrees with the out-take from ‘Getting To Know The Network’; if those players his super scout found us were any good at all wouldn’t they still be in the team ?

Ultimately, what matters for me are the results on the pitch … so come on chaps, fingers out and show a bit of fight at Millwall for Christ’s sake.

C’mon you Reds !!

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Concentrate on the league …

65milesNot a very long post this time out … a point away at Bradford was all good for me despite the fact we hit the woodwork a couple of times and then had Patrick Bauer sent off at the death.

That alone pretty much has me peering out at Final Score from behind the settee, but we held on for the last few minutes and brought home a good point.

By the sounds of it we played a lot better than in the MK Dons cup match so I was quite glad to have taken the plunge after all and got a couple of tickets for the cup replay.

A relatively early leave for a night game had me picking up the brother in Chelmsford but a super run along the M25 and M1 had us parked in good time, definitely earlier than last time out’s seven seconds to spare.

Not many inside Stadium MK (not a great surprise there) and a pretty good first forty-five minutes with Adam Chicksen the stand-out for me although Joe Aribo came back from a disastrous moment to see us concede the opener to have a really good half.

Losing Lee Novak just before the break was a big kick in the teeth as we appeared to change the whole system, bringing on Morgan Fox with over a half to play and pushing Adam Chicksen further forward and taking away his influence as the ‘extra man’.

The repositioning of Johnnie Jackson so that the majority of the play was in front of him was an excellent decision, and he had one of his best games in a long time – especially having seen how out of it he was in the previous encounter.

Of course he then went off to be replaced by Roger Johnson – who isn’t a bad defender when the ball is coming at him – in fact he made two or three really good clearing headers in the first few minutes after coming on, but alas when having to deal with players running at him he does struggle.

What position does Brandon Hanlan actually play ?

He looked lost wide on the right and was way too slow when picked out beyond the far post midway through the first half and when switched to up front still couldn’t retain control of the ball or find a teammate. He’s still just a young lad though – I just hope he doesn’t get burnt out from excessive appearances like Karlan Ahearne-Grant !

As for Nicky Ajose, well I really don’t know where to start. I’m not usually one to criticise players (well, maybe sometimes) but honestly, his extra time performance (if that’s what you can call it) was almost an embarrassment.

Strikers miss chances. Everyone knows that, and I understand that completely but for me, it was the overall lack of anticipation, effort – I don’t know what !!

A super chance to win it in the last couple of minutes of the ninety saw him turn the last man but with the keeper to beat he seemed to just try and whack it in rather than slotting it past him like you’d expect a finisher to do. The chance gone and extra time looming.

We’d almost completely forgotten that there would be extra time if the game finished level and I thought best to text the wife to let her know. Unfortunately, by the time I’d finished typing it we’d conceded one and by the time she’d read the damn thing we’d conceded another.

Still time for a Charlton half chance or two, a cross from the left was spilt by the keeper but Ajose hadn’t taken the gamble and was too far away when the ball bounced free.

Personally I hope that Karl Robinson sorts his system quickly and that it doesn’t involve Ajose at all because he struts round the place giving all the body language of being the main man but just isn’t !!

I would also take the money for Ademola Lookman now, not worry about a loan back and try and spend it on a player or two that will fit into the team. I’ve probably typed this before, but he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a dead ball situation again – his delivery from corners and free kicks are so poor.

He also seems to have to beat at least two players every time he has possession – the away support en masse called for him to stop buggering about with it and pass the thing – which he did before sulking around for the next ten minutes.

Yes, he is a great player – and could well be a star of the future but at the moment he seems just a little too big for his boots with the attention he’s getting as we approach the window maybe getting to him a bit.

Either sell him, or, and this might be a better option, drop him to the bench for a bit of a rest and use him as an impact sub.

Finally, as I’m only a short while from heading off for today’s game, you can see why Jordan Botaka only got five minutes under Russell Slade. Really can’t understand him at all. You come on with five minutes left, do a few tricks, beat a couple, create a chance here and there and get the crowd going but give you ninety minutes or so and you barely do any of the above.

Ahhh, depressing myself on a matchday … not a good start so will stop typing.

Here’s hoping that today might be the start of this expansive, goalscoring side that KR has been gushing about.

C’mon you Reds !!

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