Saturday, May 05, 2007

Peter Varney's End of Season Report

I can exclusively reveal Peter Varney's end of season report presented to the Board a couple of weeks back, and how he worked out his budget for next year…. or maybe this is just what I think is going to happen...

Scott Carson
What can one say about the Player of the Year? Scotty has had a great season, albeit marred by a couple of bloopers in recent games! So what..if we could buy him then we undoubtedly would, and Scott has indicated that he likes playing with his team-mates at Charlton. The problem is that he is contracted to Liverpool, and they would want to have a decent back-up to Pepe Reina. If Jerzy Dudek leaves Anfield as expected this summer, Carson is the obvious deputy goalkeeper. Will Scotty be happy with that? Probably not! Rumour has it he has been told he can leave Liverpool if he isn’t in the first team by Christmas, but even then a fee of over £6million would be required to gain his signature. As a Premiership club, I believe that Charlton would willingly part with this record fee, but as a Championship team, we just cannot splash out that sort of money. I guess there is a chance that he could come to us as part of a cash plus player deal for Darren Bent, but would Scott maintain his England squad place playing below the top tier? Sadly too many ifs and buts mean his last game for Charlton could be on Monday night. Pedro45 forecast; as the Bangles once sang: GOING BACK TO LIVERPOOL FOR NOTHING…Salary saving - £1,000,000

Thomas Myrhe
Tommy has been an excellent signing, and has given much sterling service to the team over the last couple of years. Initially a reserve, he slowly worked his way past Dean Kiely and Stephan Andersen to claim the number one goalie spot. Sadly for him, Scott Carson has usurped his position and Tommy is off, having already signed a deal with Viking Stavanger. Pedro45 forecast: GOING. Salary saving - £624,000.

Luke Young
The quiet Captain…too quiet! So quiet we didn’t know who it was! Strongly linked with West Ham at the end of last season, it was only an ankle injury that prevented Luke crossing the river once more. It would be a major surprise therefore if Lukey was to hang around once we do leave the Premiership. His return from injury has seen him get back near to his best form, but still short of the sort of displays that got him into the England team. If we stay up, he might just stay for one more year; if not, we can say goodbye. Pedro45 forecast: BYE-BYE. Salary saving - £1,300,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £2,000,000

Hermann Hreidarsson
Another who’s contract is coming to an end; will Hermann stay, or even be offered a new deal? I’m not sure. He is good enough to stay, but may have to take a pay cut to remain at The Valley. The suspect knees are not helping, and the longer Championship season may not help in that respect. It may just depend on how he feels, and what sort of other offers he gets from elsewhere. Charlton look to have enough cover at left back now, and also at centre back too; that may mean that the big Icelander has to go. He has been relegated from the Premiership four times (presuming Charlton go down), which puts him into the Neil Redfearn league, and he may well find someone like the play-off winner gives him a chance for a five-timer?
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Talal El Karkouri
The Elk is the sort of player who may do well in the Championship – just about quick enough to deal with the forwards down there, and with enough skill and experience to cope physically. The Moroccan enigma may need to take a pay cut, although I doubt he is one of the higher earners at the club. If he stays, he could form the bedrock of our defence along with Souley Diawara. Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.
Ben Thatcher
The Smiling assassin only joined the club in January, and as he doesn’t seem to be on a very high wage (maybe £15k a week) I doubt that this would prevent him staying for a Championship season. The relegation clause in his contract would probably see his salary drop a few grand a week too. He is undoubtedly the first choice left back for Pardew, even when Hermann is fit. He does need to try to curb the reckless streak that we saw at Blackburn, and which has been seen notoriously prior to that, although maybe he is too long in the wood for that? Pedro45 forecast: STAYS. Salary saving - £156,000.

Darren Ambrose
If only Darren Ambrose was consistent!?! He has oodles of skill, a great understanding with Dazza, yet he goes AWOL for large parts of the season. Why? Maybe he lacks belief? Maybe a season playing out wide on a consistent basis in the Championship could be the making of him? That’s what I think Pardew will be thinking; add in a dozen goals and he could be the provider that we need to the next goal-scoring machine that we have in the number ten shirt. Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Dennis Rommedahl
Another huge enigma; searing pace, good skill, terrific crossing ability, but never when you want it. Rommers nearly left Charlton early last season, but a deal with St Petersburg fell through for some reason. I expect Dennis to finally leave the UK shores this summer, and head off to deepest continental Europe; we’ll probably come up against him in some future European competition (Anglo-Italian cup anyone?) and he’ll get a hat-trick against us! Rommers did score some memorable goals (none more so than that one in the 93rd minute in Croydon), but never hit the right side of the net at The Valley for some strange reason. If he had, and with a little regularity, he would be a hero rather than a lightweight zero. Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £1,144,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £750,000.

Alexandre Song Billong
It took me a while to see Song in the flesh, Charlton having signed him on loan in January. When I did, I was promised an exciting young player with bags of skill and loads of un-tapped talent. Arsenal supporters held a different view however, of a player who all too easily gave the ball away, and whose head dropped as a result. And sadly, that’s the player that I have witnessed over the last couple of months. He tries ever so hard, but simply passes the ball to the opposition too much for my liking, then gives away fouls trying to retrieve the ball. He is still young (19), so has the chance to learn and get better, but would a year in the Championship with Charlton be the right place for his footballing education? I don’t think so. He may not want that anyway, but simply by the fact that Arsenal have lent him out to us seems to indicate that he doesn’t have much future in North London either. We’ll probably next see him playing for a Turkish club in the UEFA cup in three or four years time…Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving £520,000.

Matt Holland
Matty tries his hardest every week, and I do think that Addicks fans respect him. Sadly, his knees no longer carry him as well as they once did, and he has slowed a little. Mr Clean has been booked twice this season, which says it all really. He may stay next year, as the Championship is about right for him. I hope so, as he could be the captain we need to hold the team together, and bring on younger, better players for following years. Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Jerome Thomas
I’ve never been a fan of JT; he has so much skill, so much self-belief, has pace, can cross the ball, but he just doesn’t cut it. A definite big-time Charlie, and always hanging around his more “famous” mates trying to lig it into night clubs on the back of their faces. I really don’t think he will want to play down one division, but if he did, he may come out of it a better player (and he might even learn to cross with his left foot!). If John Robinson had his skill, and if JT had Robbo’s passion, they would both have been tremendous players. I doubt many teams will take JT on (Fulham might…), and suspect he will disappear back into the twilight world of the Premiership reserves somewhere like Reading. Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £728,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £500,000.

Zheng Zhi
Sadly ZiZi has already indicated that he isn’t prepared to hang around England unless it’s in the top division. Highly rated by Pardew, Zhi hasn’t really attained the heights that he might had he finished off the good chances he had in games against Manchester City, Reading, and Everton. If two of those three had gone in, he would be rightly heralded as the saviour and Charlton would be a lot higher up the league and pretty safe! It still rankles that we don’t know his best position; but if he is to play just behind the front man, then he needs to be good enough to finish off opponents by scoring and creating on a regular basis (as Murphy did). He’ll probably play on Monday night as the game is going out live on TV, and several hundred million Chinese may tune in as a result. It could be his last outing in the red shirt of Charlton. Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £520,000.

Marcus Bent
Even when Big Benty was signed by Curbs 18 months or so ago, a few question marks were raised over why? A goal-scoring debut followed, but then we saw the start of the frustration that this player brings to the club with a series of niggling injuries preventing him attaining any consistency. Sometimes lazy looking, he really started to play well when Pards came to the club, and I can recall him haring across the pitch after the ball in consecutive matches, giving it everything! That was after he left his Girls Aloud singer bed-mate, and before he shacked up with Teddy’s racist left-overs. Now we are back to the Benty who lasts a mere half hour before needing a massage and eventual replacement (that’s right isn’t it Danni?). He could actually score plenty of times in the Championship, but I think he has a higher opinion of himself, and he may well be off to yet another club in the lower reaches of the Premiership who think he’ll do a job for them (Wigan, or Fulham for instance). Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £988,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £500,000.

Madjid Bougherra
The Magic man will need to conjure a performance from somewhere if he is to remain a Premiership player next season, Under contract, he’ll stay, but with a lower salary.
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS. Salary saving - £156,000.

Darren Bent
We love Dazza, and he quite likes us too! The man is very loyal, hence his staying at Ipswich for another season when we were desperate to buy him three years back, and Dazza has shown his loyalty to the Addicks by not rocking the boat when all around him are talking telephone numbers in salary and transfer fee. He may well have left in January had a knee injury not ruled him out for several weeks, and whatever division we play in next season, I believe Darren will be off to a top club. The simple fact is that other clubs are willing to pay him around £80,000 a week in wages and Charlton can never hope to emulate that sort of salary. The most important thing is that Charlton, and the board, get the right sort of fee for him, and that means big wonga! I think there is a clause that means Charlton will have to pay a percentage of any future transfer fee (over and above what Charlton paid) back to Ipswich; possibly up to 20%? In this case, Messrs Murray and Varney will need to negotiate a cheque with at least £16 million written on it. When you think of the TV money coming in to the Premiership clubs next season, this sort of fee is about right. It will also go a long way to off-setting the decrease in TV revenue Charlton will encounter. Darren will leave Charlton with my best wishes – he was a great player for us; never said a bad word about the club; played his heart out. He will not be booed when he returns to play at The Valley! I hope he goes onwards and upwards and wins England the World Cup!
Pedro45 forecast: GOES, SADLY. Salary saving - £1,560,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £14,000,000.

Darren Randolph
Without Scott Carson next season, will Darren be promoted to the number one jersey, or will the club buy in a first choice keeper? Tough question to answer. Darren has been working his way through the various Ireland squads, and into the full international set-up. This indicates that some respect him highly. He could be good enough, given the experience. A better option than Rob Elliott (judging from their time out on loan earlier this season), I wonder if Darren may be given that jersey for next year, and an older, wiser, reserve (someone like Thomas Myrhe or Dean Kiely for instance?) is bought just in case it doesn’t work out. The alternative is to buy a good keeper (Jerzy Dudek?) and for Darren to play back-up for another season.
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
.JFH – what a player; not! Well, for us anyway. Richard Murray may have wanted to sign him years ago, and it’s a shame he didn’t. The 34-year-old really hasn’t been up to scratch this season, and with the odd injury thrown in just when Jimmy seemed to be coming right didn’t help. Two Premiership goals against former clubs, plus another couple versus Chesterfield just aren’t enough for someone on his wage, and we could have done just as well with (god forbid) Kevin Lisbie in the side on a regular basis. Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £1,820,000.
Radostin Kishishev
You either love him or hate him, but it is fair to say the Kish has worked his socks down to the ankles on Charlton’s behalf over the last five years. With Faye and Song filling the holding roles since Pardew arrived, Kish went out to try to save Leeds season (and possibly future), and with so many of the Bulgarian’s adventures, he failed valiantly. I think his contract is at an end, and it would seem that even a Championship Charlton would not consider a new extension, so we may well have seen the last of smooth Radi. Pedro45 forecast: GOES ON A FREE. Salary saving - £936,000.

Bryan Hughes
Our Scouser will probably stay, as nobody else will want him. He has always flattered against lower league opposition, and now he may well get a chance to do so every week. He’s not good enough out wide, and not skilful or consistent enough through the middle, Hughes unbalanced our side, whether in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formation. I don’t like him, but I still think he will be around the Valley next year.
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Lloyd Sam
Lots of superlatives for young Lloyd earlier in the season, next year will show if he is anywhere near the top drawer player he might become, or whether he was win way above his head. With Rommers and JT likely to go, Lloyd is one for a wide berth next year. Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Souleymane Diawara
The question here is whether the player wants to play in the Championship with Charlton; the club have intimated that relegation clause shave been written in to the new players contracts, but if Souley has to reduce his salary, will he want to jump ship? I hope not. He has shown that he has enough class to cope with most of what the Premiership has thrown in his general direction, and a summer learning English will undoubtedly help with team-mate communication. His only major problem has been the physical side of things when playing against certain clubs – Wigan for instance – but he is not the first defender who has found teams like them hard to cope with. I hope he stays, as a solid defence could means we have a chance of getting back up with the big boys at the first attempt, and if he goes, it will weaken us. I doubt another Premiership team would want to buy him, so the only option would be to go back to the French league; however, the good (Champions League) French teams are unlikely to want him as they hate paying decent wages…Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Jonathan Fortune
It could be like ships passing in the night, as Jon may haul Stoke up to the top league while Charlton fall down a division. If they go up, expect him to sign permanently; if not, he’ll be off to another Championship team I think. Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £624,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £500,000

Osei Sankofa
Back up right back; not on a high salary – has to stay. Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Nathan Ashton
Not good enough for the top two divisions; off to the lower reaches. Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £52,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £50,000.

Myles Weston
Another of our youngsters out on loan for a large part of the season; Pardew’s attitude in this respect has to be admired, and is so different to the Curbishley doctrine of better tucked up in bed with us than playing for someone else. Young Myles has potential, but it is tough to judge how far he could come at this stage. Give him another year…Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

James Walker
Simlar to Ashton; never going to make it at The Valley, despite being young player of the year (and what does that tell you?!?) Might sign for Orient, or Northampton…
Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £104,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £50,000.

Rob Elliott
As mentioned, I think Darren Randolph is ahead of Elliott in the pecking order (although that could easily change over the summer, as it did last year), so Rob will need to bide his time. A season on the bench and in the reserves may loom. If that doesn’t suffice, then he could always try going out on loan again, or maybe find his natural level elsewhere if he hasn’t matured well enough.
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Amdy Faye
Would anyone buy him? Maybe not. And certainly not for too much cash. If we are desperate to lower the wage bill, he’ll get a free; if not, he’ll be back.
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS. Salary saving - £156,000.

Cory Gibbs
Poor old Cory – a year on the sidelines, with just one reserve game under his belt, due to his knee injury. He has had further surgery, and it is hoped that he will be fit enough to start next pre-season. He has the pedigree to be a decent player, and if he can regain fitness, the Championship will be a good division to see just how good he really is. The option of him playing left-back or in the centre will help his chances of staying, as will the fact that nobody has seen him play for a year and they won’t want to buy a crock. However, if he has little chance of playing, Pardew will want him off the payroll as soon as possible. Pedro45 Forecast: STAYS

Rurik Gislason
Lots of hype, but no real show for it. Probably end up in Holland or Denmark, starring in Euro games on TV! Pedro45 forecast: GOES. Salary saving - £260,000. TRANSFER INCOME - £500,000.

Alistair John
Young Ali hasn’t really been close to the first team at Charlton, apart from a seat on the bench in an early league cup tie. As he hasn’t exactly set the world alight when playing on loan at Brighton or even Torquay, it seems doubtful that he has what it takes to make the grade in the higher echelons of the league structure.
Pedro45 forecast: GOES ON A FREEBIE. Salary saving - £52,000.

Kevin Lisbie
SKL – what a player!
Pedro45 forecast: STILL STAYS.

Andy Reid
We need the “Little Oirish Fella” to be at the Valley next year, and I think he will be. The only issue is whether he is fit enough to se out a whole season. It is likely that Alan Pardew could base our whole Championship season on Reidy, and we do know that he is good enough to see us up as Champions. The question, providing he is fit, is where do you play him? Obviously wasted out wide (as Spurs found to their detriment), he can be a luxury in a midfield two; his best play for Charlton was in the space behind Dazza, along with a couple of wide players, and two holding midfielders. That might not be good enough for the Championship though, and it remains to be seen if Andy has enough legs left to hack it regularly. Pedro45 forecast: MUST STAY!

Jani Tanska
One day we’ll see the next Sammi Hyppia in a Charlton first team shirt…one day.
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS.

Simon Walton
Pedro45 forecast: STAYS. Salary saving £156,000.

Kelly Youga
Kelly seems to have done a pretty good job on loan at Bradford, even though they have been relegated. He received a few glowing reports when playing at left back, but there must be questions over whether he is good enough for the Championship, and beyond. We will need decent reserves, and Youga may well fall into that category, if Ashton (for instance) isn’t considered good enough for deputy left back. Pedro45 forecast: LEAVES ON A FREE. Salary saving £100,000

Players in 2006/7 – 36
Players left for 2007/8 - 20

REDUCTION IN TV MONEY (£25,000,000 to £11,000,000) £14,000,000

Remaining Playing Squad
Goalkeepers: Randolph, Elliott
Full Backs: Thatcher, Sankofa
Centre Backs: El Karkouri, Hreidarsson, Bougherra, Diawara, Gibbs, Tanska
Central Midfielders: Holland, Hughes, Faye, Reid, Walton
Wide men: Ambrose, Sam, Weston
Forwards: Lisbie

Young players to add to squad – 2 (Wright and Arter)
Players required to be bought – Jarvis (Gillingham); Eastwood (Southend); Davies (Oxford), Experienced goalkeeper, two more strikers.
Transfer budget - £8,000,000

NB: All salary estimates are complete guesses – comments on my verdicts are welcome!

Good post and agree with 95% of it
Very well thought out, thanks. Chris Dickson?
If Fulham stay up, I suspect that neither Thomas nor Marcus Bent will end up there, as Les Reed will warn Sanchez off both of them. Personally I'd find that quite funny.
Good article, very well argued points.

Like "anonymous" above I'd throw Mr Dickson into the mix. Surely he must be higher in the pecking order than Kev the Lisbian?

Here's looking to a successful promotion campaign in 2007-2008!
Shame on me - I forgot about Mr Dickson being available next season!
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