The Valley Malaise – the scourge of the striker !

My daughter in her first Charlton kit ... she doesn't seem keen !This picture has been on here before but my daughter’s expression from too many years ago pretty much sums it up for me at the moment.

After pretty much nicking the lead against the run of play we then seemed to either give up attacking / lose all idea of how to attack or panic ourselves into dropping so deep that the equaliser became almost an inevitability.

The goal we scored was pretty good. Despite the general moaning in the Covered End (at least where we were anyway) when possession worked the ball all the way back to Declan Rudd (chap behind us felt a bit silly three passes later when Magennis scored) I thought it was a well-worked, and well-finished goal.

Alas, for some reason unknown to all, we then stopped passing the ball on the ground and resorted to punting it forward to Magennis again – and this time he didn’t win many, and when he did there was no pace in the legs of Kim’s Little Boy to latch on to the knock-down.

Do we not know how these guys scored their goals before they came to Charlton ?

Novak and Ajose are much the same player, finishers who will get on the end of crosses into the box.

With less than a handful of goals between them so far, even the evidence of the goals they have scored proves that point with not one of those goals scored from further out than a couple of yards (and I’m probably exaggerating giving them credit for being that far away from the line !)

So, when do we play wingers who actually play wide, get to the byline and put crosses into the box ?

Seems pretty simple to me but then I’m no Thomas Driesen, who, apparently is still very much involved with the club.

If though, Slado and his coaching team are ignoring the boy Driesen then maybe that’s why we’re trying something different … something that clearly doesn’t work !

Obviously, I’m being more than a tad facetious but I can’t understand how we can be SO bad at a game that they play every day ?

Some of them in the pre-match shooting practice were hitting the ball so far wide or over the goal that I wondered whether they were playing a game amongst themselves.

They are, as EFL rules state they have to be, grown-ups, adults who should be able to make decisions on their own. I don’t lay the blame at Slade, well, not completely, but surely they can see when things aren’t working and try something else.

The way they are set up, the players that are selected and the overall game plan are created by the manager and his coaching team but once they are out on the pitch surely players have to make decisions based on what’s going on around them ?

Surely having played a number of hopeful long balls forward that haven’t created anything at all, someone on the pitch should make the suggestion that they try something a bit different.

Surely a full back who keeps finding himself in possession with no bugger in sight up the wing ahead of him and has to resort to belting it long again should have a go at the guy who should be there and try to force some change.

To be fair to them, the coaching team should be doing much the same from the sideline ?

I have to be honest, I’m getting a bit fed up with the formation we’re playing at the moment. Ricky Holmes needs to find a position and stay there, the first home game he stuck out wide and caused havoc running at the defence but now he seems to either have been given the freedom to roam wherever he likes or has taken it on himself to do so which leaves whichever full back bereft of an out ball wide and clutters up the middle of the park with the centre-mids not sure whether they are supposed to stay in position or to move out to cover the space.

Johnnie Jackson looked like he didn’t know where he was supposed to be playing, Andrew Crofts looked lost and Little Freddie Ulvestad had nowhere to run.

Josh Magennis and Kim’s Little Boy had no service which made Novak especially look shit and we’ve all seen him do the proverbial business for years.

Poor Nicky Ajose has already succumbed to the Valley malaise, the syndrome that affects all strikers when they join us; the awful situation they find themselves in when they realise that they may never again be given the pass they’ve received for season’s gone by and as such may never score again !

Something needs to change and pretty quick. It was nice to see Magennis admit that, to paraphrase, we were crap against Oldham, but now it’s time to take a gamble and get out there and bloody well go for it.

Jordan Botaka must have upset someone because despite creating a chance every time he’s been on the pitch he hasn’t got more than a handful of minutes.

Start the bloke, tell him to stay wide, have a go at the full back for ninety minutes and get crosses into the box. If he does and the strikers don’t score then have a go at them but give them a chance for Christ’s sake.

Unfortunately, the way things are going at the moment we’ll whack passes from fifty yards away at the poor sod and expect him to win a header just to keep the ball on the pitch.

Give it to his feet and fine anybody who kicks it at him anything above knee height.

Okay, rant over …. going to bed.

Might see you Saturday …. c’mon you Reds ?

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Target 20,000 – time to go ?

65milesSo we go to Scunthorpe with what could well be described a weakened side – in fact quite a few on Twitter had given up before the tweet announcing the team was even cold – but ultimately I think, a good point and a clean sheet against a side who were top of the table and had been scoring for fun in previous games.

If fact, for the want of a bit of composure (although he’d only been on a handful of minutes) Jordan Botaka might have won it and for the want of an inch or two, Johnnie Jackson’s last second free kick might have taken all three points.

All in all, I was pretty happy with that performance, especially after the ‘performance’ against AFC Wimbledon and so we all start looking forward to this weekend and Oxford Utd away.

Well played to all those going today … we’ve sold out the away end which is great so hopefully the travelling support will be rewarded with a an equally great performance.

Unfortunately, while the majority of us were looking forward to the upcoming weekend, the end of the week became somewhat soured when the news of the Target 20K meeting with Roly came out on Twitter.

As much better summed up elsewhere … Hungry Ted does a pretty good job on his blog … Target 20K seem to be a bit of a faceless group who somehow have managed to get the ear of Ms Meire.

Quite how this has occurred is the cause of concern amongst a large number of concerned fans as Katrien, as we know, is more than happy to keep her distance with anyone thought to have a grievance over the manner in which she and her guvnor are running (ha ha – sarcasm) the club.

“Apparently” the arrival of Roly was a surprise to those attending, but what was no surprise is that he dropped another small percentage bomb on everyone – pretty much saying that Charlton is 1.5% of his empire and that’s why he’s not that bothered about it.

Clearly to anyone with half a clue about football, at least in England knows that an owner either is 100% involved or has a group of people employed to fulfil that percentage requirement.

We don’t !

We have a woman who seems to to trying to further her career – which would be nice if she could further it by getting another job somewhere else – and a very small collection of apparent lackeys who are so desperate to stay in Roly’s employ that they go along with everything he (and she) asks of them.

For Target 20K to have a meeting with the owner, then not want to tell anyone about the content and then almost enforce the resignation of at one member when she had the “audacity” to actually talk about some of what went on pangs of collusion with an management team that have no intention of actually working with, or improving communications with supporters.

And so I return to the title of this post.  Target 20,000 … I think it’s time you either came out and told us what it’s all about – or pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, smile and be on your way !

More importantly, we’ve got a game today – three points would be nice.

C’mon you reds !!

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Oh dear … that wasn’t very good !

65milesWell, it’s been a while and I’ve been more than a-ponderin’ what I was going to write about since my last post, following the 1-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers and now, yesterday’s defeat at home to AFC Wimbledon.

So, a bit of a recap … living in Colchester I took advantage of the Bank Holiday and went to watch the U23s at Colchester Utd in the Development League.

Given that it’s just around the corner, the wife was meeting up with a friend and one daughter was working, me and the other one took the short drive to the Weston Homes Stadium to see how Jason Euell’s charges would fair without Lookman and Konsa.

After narrowly avoiding getting robbed two quid for a bottle of water we settled in, just in front of Kenny Jackett and along the way from Bobby Bowry who was there watching his boy.

We looked quite positive on the ball, with all the players comfortable in possession but alas we seemed to lack that ‘thing’ that would create a chance. Mikhail Kennedy did well without really effecting the match and Mitov made two excellent blocks but had no chance with their opener and even less with the second, an absolute screamer from Regis with about eight minutes left.

Disappointing to lose but with a few missing because of Tuesday night’s pointless CheckATrade Trophy game right around the corner I supposed at the time we’d just have to grin and bear it.

The aforesaid CheckAtrade match was treated with general apathy – mirroring the rest of the country – what was perceived to be a waste of time and ruination of the second cup competition appears to have come true.

We got a win, albeit on pens so worryingly we might progress further.

More importantly, we didn’t sell anyone in the final hours of the transfer window. We’ll never know what actually went on behind the scenes, that will forever remain undisclosed, but to me looking in, there didn’t seem to be all that much interest in Lookman after all.

Obviously Palace were desperate for something to turn their early fortunes around and losing Bolasie to Everton was a big kick in the proverbials for their fans, but as we know from experience, Pardew is okay when things are going well, but lacks a plan B when they aren’t.

So Lookman, Fox and Teixeira all stay, but I’m not sure whether Tex will get much game time with Pearce, Bauer and Konsa all fit !?

The big disappointment for me was Alou Diarra on his way, supposedly having his contract cancelled because he wanted to go back to France and may not play again – only to sign for FC Nancy. Still, he wasn’t fully fit but I liked him and wish him all the best as he escapes the clutches of the regime.

A week off due to having a significant number of ‘internationals’ gave the rest of the players a chance to rest and recuperate after an inauspicious start before we trotted north to take on Fleetwood.

Now, I appreciate we shouldn’t really be in this division and ultimately are only there due to the complete mismanagement / ownership of the club over the last couple of years, but thefact is, we are in this division.

Some were saying that we should be beating teams like Fleetwood but they were / are up there amongst it in these early weeks and so were never going to be a side we were going to roll over easily.

Going behind early on is something we’ve gotten used to over the last two seasons (and I should have kept my mouth shut about Ben Hamer getting done from way out in an earlier post) but got level thanks to Josh Magennis’ big header just after the half hour.

Of course, old Charlton finished the half – conceding in the final moments to go into the break a goal behind.

Two good saves from the Fleetwood keeper kept them ahead but it was not to be for them as Lee Novak popped up with the equaliser at the death.

So, two late equalisers in two games – good from the point of view that we keep going to get something out the game but bad that we need to do it that way.

Alas it was not to be third time lucky as we couldn’t find that late goal to scrape some semblance of respectability from yesterday’s performance at home to AFC Wimbledon.

An excellent, positive start got us ahead through the excellent (to begin with) Ademola Lookman but slowly the urge to get forward dissipated and we looked as though we’d settled for the 1-0.

Ajose needs to take one of the chances he’s getting soon or he’ll be finding himself on the bench – two good chances went begging in the first half again. I wouldn’t mind so much if the keeper saved it, but missing the target as the supposed goal-scorer just isn’t good enough.

AFC got more and more into the match as time went by, they had much more possession and we were lucky to last out as long as we did before conceding. The good old pessimist in me had the feeling that conceding one might very well lead to us conceding another – and so it panned out.

I thought Ricky Holmes was positive and very nearly scored what would have been a great goal, but he really should have played Lookman in.

I can completely see why he went for goal himself, but it needed a screamer, not a deft chip from the wrong side.

That I suppose is why he’s quite good at this level and not above it – it’s all about the decision making !!

I was disappointed with the lack of substitutions in the latter stages, Novak on for Ajose was pretty much a given but with Lookman getting tired (and not just physically, his attempt to smack in the ball when it was poorly cleared from his corner showed mental tiredness) surely the opportunity was there for Botaka (who was good at Fleetwood apparently) to come on and have a go ?

Obviously the majority would probably have booed that decision had it come, but then would the boos have been any louder than those that came at the end of the game ?

Long balls to Josh Magennis have rapidly become tiresome, especially when the header (when he wins it) doesn’t reach his strike partner … get the thing on the ground and give him a chance for Christ’s sake.

What was also rather tiresome was seeing Wimbledon win it with a header from a cross when both Solly and Fox had stuck over at least half a dozen each in the preceding eighty-five minutes without any of them meeting a Charlton h

Lookman shouldn’t be taking corners either … but I’m getting bitter now so am going off to do something else.

Tuesday might at Scunthorpe will be a big test – but I’d be happy with a point up there to be honest.

We’ll soon see …. c’mon you Reds !!

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