Monday, June 25, 2007

Ins, outs, and shake-it-all-abouts

I guess we fans knew that this close season wouldn't be boring! Ten days since my last blog, and plenty has happened since Alan Pardew came back from holiday...

Where to start? Maybe some of the big stuff first -

Well, Darren Bent is still a Charlton player (just); no club has met Peter Varney's valuation since Dazza was allowed to talk to (and turn down) West Ham, although Benty himself has said that Spurs have upped their offer twice. According to Sky Sports News, he now feels that Charlton should reduce their asking price so he can at least talk terms. From the Charlton perspective, other clubs may yet come up with the spondoolicks! Arsenal are Thierry Henry-less, but have a nice £16million (which just happens to be very close to what Charlton want...) burning a hole in their pocket. Liverpool undoubtedly want Fernando Torres as their first choice signing, but if their £25m offer (possibly including Crouch going the other way?) is turned down by Athletico Madrid, then they may yet move on to their second/third choice strikers, which would definitely then include our Dazza. And let's not rule out Seville; Freddie Kanoute was last week rumoured to be after a move back to the Premiership, and his loss would leave a big gap in the forward line there, one which Dazza may have filled? Now, though, Kanoute is apparently happy again, so that option is less likely.

I spent the weekend thinking about the Carlos Tevez saga, which is dragging on following the arbitration panel delaying a decision on West Ham's (and Sheffield United's) fate for a couple of weeks more. How about if West Ham are docked points, then the Blades are also docked points for insisting Kazim-Richards didn't play for Watford aginst them although he was not their player following his January transfer? Could that be a Premiership lifeline for the Addicks? Maybe not, as Charlton could then be docked points for allegedly tapping up Dowie? Crazy eh!?! My own view on this latest delay is that the panel are taking legal advice, which means that they do want to penalise the Hammers. This may yet be a larger fine though, with compensation going to the Blades, rather than relegation, but who knows. Whatever happens, the solicitors are getting paid plenty!

The aforementioned Iain Dowie decision was interesting to read about; Judge Tugenhadt covered most areas very thoroughly, but concluded that Charlton didn't have a case to answer (before him). Strangely, the Addicks costs are being covered by Croydon's finest, which I don't understand, with Dowie having to pay the Tango-man's expenses, which I do (as he lied!). We may yet need to explain certain actions before the FA, like Dowie and Richard Murray talking when Dowie was still employed by someone else...

Lots of rumours about who has left the club - Talal El Karkouri (left) is almost certainly going, and to Qatar, but officially he is a Charlton player until next week (1st July) when his contract ends. Bryan Hughes is the latest rumoured to be off too, with Hull his possible destination. Radostin Kishishev has definitely gone out the door, joining Leicester on a freebie. These three have all had good and bad moments on Charlton shirts over recent years, but personally I am not sorry to see any of them leave. All tried hard, but were not the most blessed players; all scored vital goals - Kish his only two in consecutive home games; Hoozey many against lower league teams in the cup; and the Elk some of the best, including a fantastic free kick against the Arsenal on New Years Day three years back. Good luck wherever you all end up, just don't score against us in future!

Luke Young is well rumoured to be on his way (Villa/Newcastle/Portsmouth?), as is Dennis Rommedahl (Rennes?); I guess well know more about their fates over the coming month or so, but I doubt very much either will wear a Charlton shirt in anger again.

And we have two, count 'em, two new signings from abroad, and both defenders. I must admit I thought that French right back Yassin Moutaouakil might be our last defender (joining Sankofa, Bougherra, Diawara, McCarthy, Thatcher, Youga and the ghostly Gibbs), but no, today we signed Jose Semedo (left) on a freebie from a Portuguese second division club. You do wonder, if he is that highly rated, why couldn't he get into his own club side, but then, he was loaned out to Serie A in Italy and did get a game there... I just hope that these two are seen as first team players and not more in the Kelly Youga/Jani Tanska category (though they do both seem to be higher quality).

It's not just in the dressing rooms that we are seeing changes; sadly, a number of staff have been made redundant as a result of relegation, and the biggest posible losers seem to be the womens football team. I'm not sure how this will pan out, but is there a reason why we cannot maintain the team, even if we have to dispense with the paid officials (like manager Keith Boanas no doubt)? It seems crazy that the players, many of whom are internationals, cannot stay on, but with a smaller squad and less overheads... This is nobody at the clubs fault, but a result of a budget being constructed that maintains the viability of the whole football club; it is no one person's fault that we went down, although we can all point fingers and have a good guess. Captain Casey Stoner is certainly very vocal in whom she blames...

So there we have it - eight new players so far for the new season (Varney, Iwelumo, McCarthy, Semedo, Moutaouakil, Dickson, Jensen, and Christensen), and that might mean just two more to go if predictions of ten coming in are correct...Plus three definitely out (Hasselbaink, Hreidarsson, Kishishev) with more to go soon...

Fun, isn't it!

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