Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chelsea and out - Curbs and In!?!

A good week for Charlton so far, with the great point and, more importantly, performance at Chelsea, followed by news that more signings are likely (if not imminent), and Curbs being strongly suggested as a serious candidate for the England job once Sven hangs his head in shame for the last time.

The fall-out from the match at Stamford Bridge is interesting; much pleasure amongst Charlton websites, but a lot of disdain from various Chelsea "fans", many of whom seem to be kids with short memories (probably only back to when they were born in the nineties!). Yes, Chelsea played well below par; yes, both of the linesmen took brave decisions on close offside decisions, all of which seemed to favour Charlton; and yes, Charlton haven't won anything much in the way of silverware recently (when compared to Chelsea). But that is missing the point somewhat; this was an excellent performance by a visiting team, the first to take anything away from Chelsea in a Premiership match this season, and from one that cost a mere fraction of that of Chelsea. Charlton have now gained results at Stamford Bridge twice this season, and would have last season too but for a magnificent swallow dive by Lamps and an unbelievably generous penalty decision from Reilly. As Charlton fans, we know we cannot currently compete with Chelsea (or Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool and others) in monetary terms but when we get it right, we know we can compete on the pitch. Unfortunately we don't always get it right...

Unless we get drawn against each other in the FA Cup in a future round, last Sundays game will be the last meeting between the clubs this season, and I guess our Portuguese friend Mr Mourinho will be quite happy about that.

Transfer speculation continues, but most is clap-trap! One website was suggesting that we will sign both Andy Reid and Zat Knight on loan this month. Unfortunately, Premiership rules (as I understand them) mean we can only take two players on loan from other Premiership clubs in a season, and we've currently got Smertin (left) and Spector. Unless we sign Smerts (which is a possibility...) and/or dump Spector (very unlikely) then this is hogwash!

Andy Reid on a permanent basis also hits some sites, and this could be a go-er. Curbs still favours 4-4-2 and we are without a proper left-sided midfielder (as opposed to left-winger) since Konchesky crossed the water. Whether he will pay a few million for Reid seems remote though, seeing as Reid hasn't really cut the mustard at Spurs this season or since his transfer from Forest.

Lee Bowyer (left) is still strongly linked, and this transfer may still happen. With their injury situation, it may be that Newcastle want to hold on to him until the last January moment. Bow's wages may be a problem, and could still scupper any deal, as could any contract penalties imposed for poor (on-field or off-field) behaviour. Personally, I don't think this will happen until maybe the summer.

Is Danny Murphy (left) going anywhere? He could, if reports of talks on Tyneside are true, but there is also mention of personal problems, which may be why it's been quiet in this regard. If Curbs did fancy selling, then surely being open about it and seeking the highest bid would be preferable to the unsettling rumours we have currently.

No mention, other than hope and speculation, of any moves for Lisbie or Johansson. The possible free transfer move of Dean Kiely to Portsmouth may result in a bid for Robert Green, and our two unwanted (by the fans anyway) forwards could figure as make-weights here. It'll be a shame if Deano does go; he is a great favourite within the clubs ranks, and he is a legend that we will always thank and remember on his future returns to the Valley.

Spurs fans are pleading for Charlton to prise Antony Gardner away from White Hart Lane; I cannot see this happening - if you fail a transfer medical in August because of dodgy knees, you are not going to pass one come January!

Jason Euell is still in limbo-land. He will not play for Charlton again according to his own Icons website, and it remains to be seen if Birmingham feel they need him after recent displays. I think if they think they can get out of relegation worries without him, then he can take a long Caribbean vacation within the next month or two, and not bother taking his football boots(like me!).

Franny Jeffers is another who will not be seen in a Charlton shirt again, barring miracles. I doubt very much anyone will pay him his current salary so that bars a loan move, or anything but a good transfer option (from Franny's perspective).

There is also talk of Jay Bothroyd being linked with a move back to Italy, with his former manager interested apparently, and also with Darren Bent attracting a £7m bid from Sampdoria. Sorry, but if Ashton was worth seven mill, then Benty is worth double that, and Samp won't be able to afford him!

As always, the only definite transfers are the ones we see announced on the official website, but Charlton chat is always welcomed elsewhere by us fans!

Sven has had the rug pulled from under him at last. I made my own thoughts about his NoW set-up on here a week or so back, so will not repeat my rant. Curbs (left) is being mentioned in many dispatches as a possible viable alternative - ex-England bosses Venables and Taylor both giving him a good write up. The feeling is that England needs an English manager, but who? Allardyce - possibly the papers favourite currently due to Bolton's lofty Premiership position, and their unbeaten Euro exploits. Bruce - very unlikely... McClaren - not going too well on Teeside currently, and may be unemployed by the summer. He is the likely option though if England reverts to an English coach. Curbs has as good a chance as any, and Varney's idea of a coach going to Germany to shadow Sven and watch how things are done at close hand is an excellent idea.

I hope that Curbs doesn't leave, but if he does take the England job, I'll be proud that he came from Charlton. His CV will look good - Managerial experience: Charlton Athletic and England!

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