Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who's Who in 2007/8 - Part Four: the Finale

In the final part of the season review of who’s been who and how they have done this season, Pedro45 gives his opinion on squad numbers 30 – 44. Why did Danny chose 44? I guess we will never know… Oh, and we’ll also take a look at the man in charge – Alan Pardew himself.

30 Darren RANDOLPH

A funny season for Darren; having made his debut in the last game of our Premiership sojourn, Darren lost the early season 'keeper battle to Weaver, and therefore spent much time on the bench as back-up. Allowed to go off on loan after Xmas, he did well in Lancashire, and was then recalled in April when Weaver got sent off and had a one-game suspension; I still find it amazing that this happened, especially as Elliott got such good reports from his 85 minute sub appearance. Sadly the recall led to a fluffed goal by Randolph that cost Charlton two points; I wasn't there and haven't seen it, but it was a bit of a howler I'm told. Darren will be back, bigger, stronger, and better, next season, and he still - in my mind - has a long term future at The Valley. I just don’t know if Pardew agrees?


As described above, Elliott has done everything asked of him, but when he came to pick up the prize (a first team start) the ticket was cruelly grabbed away from him by the manager. A local lad, and fan, Elliott seems content to bide his time, playing the able reserve role as well as any goalie since Albert Uytembogardt. Elliott has signed a new contract, so is sure to be fighting for the number two slot and reserve team appearances once more next season. He is a cheap option I suppose, and in these days that option is one we have to have as reserve back up.
32 Josh WRIGHT

Wright spent all season out on loan at Barnet, and had a terrific first few months, gathering headline after headline. The number of games required in the lower leagues appears to have caught up with him a little, as his second half of the season seems to have been punctuated by injuries and rest periods. Another for the future, it will be interesting to see from the pre-season if his future is in pushing for a first team place at The Valley, or if he is given more experience in the lower leagues.

33 Aswad THOMAS

Another youngster who has bided his time, and finally got his (goalscoring) league bow out on loan in Lancashire. He played at left back up there, and it is difficult to see how he fits in if we retain Thatcher, Basey, Youga, and possibly even Powell. Lots of potential – I hope he isn’t one who is released and then goes on to join a big club and play top drawer football for a few years…it could happen you know!

34 Grant BASEY

The “Count” finally struck the right notes, and came into the team after a period out on loan at Brentford, where he impressed the then manager Terry Butcher. Back at The Valley, he replaced the exhausted Chris Powell at left back, and did a fine job until being exposed once too often. Rested when Youga returned in the new year, Basey shuffled along the fringes of the squad, and was lambasted when he did get back into the side after a poor performance at Blackpool, but did well in the last game of the season versus Coventry playing in midfield and scoring. This is the position he expects to play, and where he sees his own future; he has a great left foot, and his corners and free-kicks in just that one match shamed Darren Ambrose’s efforts over the whole season. Solid, dependable, he should have his key season next year.

35 Izale McLEOD

Izzy came to the club with a reputation for pace, and an eye for goal. What we didn’t know was that he was selfish, but then again, is that a bad thing in a striker? That Charlton’s first four penalties of the season were given for fouls on McLeod tells its own story - he was quick, and tricky, and when being used as a shock tactic introduction late in games, he was too hot to handle for some teams. The trouble came when he didn’t score – even missing his own won penalty in the league cup game - and his head slowly seemed to go down a bit. Back he came though, finally getting the trial that he wanted in a new formation alongside Varney – plenty of pace there! It worked, for a short time, then Pardew discarded it once more, as he was want to do, and Izale went back to the sidelines, with other players preferred. A loan spell at Colchester was cruelly cut short by the Plymouth hatchet man who also did for Todorov, and he is another of the three forwards with bad knee injuries – he‘ll be back, but again, how soon before Xmas is open to question. Then it is a question of whther he can get himself back to his best, or if he will be sacrificed.


Waggy had a terrific season with the Under 18’s, and actually captained the reserves to the runners up spot in their league; he finally made it into the first team as sub for the last two games, a well deserved recognition. I didn’t see him play in his debut game at Barnsley, so can only really comment on the half hour he got at The Valley versus Coventry where he replaced Jerome Thomas. He showed pace, and confidence, but did seem to be to easily hustled/pushed off the ball by more experienced players (it was sort of men versus boys). He did try hard though, and swung over some excellent corners and crosses when he could. He will get better, and all the prospects are that he will be on the fringes of the first team most of next season. I wouldn’t expect him to start most weeks, but, depending who stays etc, he could be one of the reserve wide players that will undoubtedly get called on to play half a dozen games due to injury and suspension. I suppose he might be needed to keep some of the other young whipper-snappers in check too (fingers crossed!).

38 Leroy LITA

He huffed, and he puffed, and finally, when the goals started to come, he got called back to his loan club to try to stave off their relegation fears! Unluckily for Leroy, even he couldn't help Reading stay up... Leroy was starved of service in his first few games for the Addicks, but did show passion, effort, and some skill. An injury time equaliser against Wolves (which Charlton threw away by conceding seconds later…) was followed by two poachers goals at Plymouth securing, potentially, a vital win. You could see why Charlton have been linked with him for a number of years, and maybe one day we will buy him back and he will come good (like David Whyte?). The problem, as nearly everywhere this season, was deciding who he played alongside.


The youngest player ever to step out in the first team, and after just two games, we can all see why he is out there. A tremendous prospect, full of running, effort, unafraid to shoot, and he likes to get stuck in. OK, we must be very careful here not to compare him with Scott Parker, or Lee Bowyer, or West Ham’s Mark Noble; he isn’t any of those players; he is the one and only JonJo Shelvey. Pardew’s care for him next season is key, and though he may well feature in pre-season first team games, we shouldn’t expect him to be playing 30-odd games in midfield for the first team next year (much as we'd like to see it!). Let’s bring him on slowly, expect him to be injured or off form every now and then, and look to be getting the best out of him in a couple of year’s time when he has grown into a man (though he looks like one now to me…).

44 Danny MILLS

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes, they blew in your ear, and off you went, with a red card waving in your face. It was great having the Danny Mills back at Charlton; the hair (lack of) was the same, the drive, the passion, the yellow and red cards; nothing much had changed in those nine years! Solidifying the right side of the defence (mostly), he was exactly what was needed at the time, and he kept Moutaouakil out of the team all the time he was available. Then he got bored…would he stay on for the season, or go back to City, or find another club? Well, the form he showed at Charlton got him an offer from Derby, and there he was, back in the Premiership. Then he got injured, and he’s now a Championship player again. If he stays as one of Jewell's crowns (he may well have a contract clause that allows him out of Pride Park following relegation?) it will be fun to see what reaction he gets on his return to The Valley next year?

Manager – Alan PARDEW

I suppose an end of season review just has to include the manager in order to be complete. Where to start? Well, I suppose at the start and the 19 comings and goings last summer – how would Pardew now review these transfers himself? The answer to that will be obvious by the time this August comes around I guess. If the new signings from last summer are still here, then the manager must think of them as a relative success, and if they aren’t, then they must be either too expensive, or failures. I’m not blaming him at all for some (or all) of the sales – these were forced on him by the clubs relegation and financial state. What is also probably fair to say is that Pards hasn’t had the best of luck with injuries. If Curbishley, Lawrence, Nelson, or any other manager had lost three excellent forwards (Todorov, McLeod, and Dickson) to long term knee injuries mid-season, they may have struggled. The fact that Charlton actually were still able to compete, albeit not very well, should be considered a bonus to the man in charge. Pardew was the king of the cliché though, often explaining away another abject home draw/defeat or failed performance on the road with various excuses that he seemed to be reading from a pre-prepared book. And slowly, this started to grate on the fans; sure, we could take the odd loss or bad game, but after the excuses came out, we wanted improvement, especially in the areas he had highlighted previously. Pardew had by then moved on to the next chapter in his book, though the exact same issues were obvious to fans, and so it went on. It left for an uncomfortable truce come seasons end. All through the season, Pards struggled to find the right balance – who should be the central defence; how to fit the gifted players together in midfield; who should be up front; 4-4-2 or 4-5-1…on and on. He stumbled on the 4-5-1 formation and it worked in away games, but not at home (how many managers fall for that one!); he switched to sheer pace up front, but after walloping Blackpool 4-1, he dropped the idea and went back to a target man plus runner. Obviously us fans don’t see what goes on behind the scenes at the training ground, but this turbulance cannot have helped many of the new players settle. In, out, shake it all about seemed to be the Pardew mantra, and eventually record numbers of players had pulled on an Addicks shirt this season (to go with the record number of different scorers). Next year, Pardew will have had to squeeze out those players he does not think will get near the first team – Charlton simply cannot afford to run with so many potential first team players again; this should be a positive step, and with the plethora of young talent at the club to make up the numbers, this should be the way to go. I hope Pardew stays to finish the job he has started, but I suppose there is a chance he will not (if a more lucrative offer came along for instance). If the last 18 months have been the makings of a bright future, it would be good to have Pards at the helm when it comes to fruition. But if he goes, I won’t be unhappy, provided some of the managerial talent that the club possesses in spades (Parkinson, Robson, Kinsella, and maybe even Chrissy Powell) is given a chance to step forward. The summer should see a large number of Addick players leaving the club (maybe 8-10?); if these numbers can be replaced by two or three class (but not necessarily expensive) additions, I will be a happy man.
That's it; that's Pedro45's opinion of the players who have represented the club this season. I don't think I've missed anyone, but if I have I'm sure you guys will let me know.
This site will now take off for it's summer holidays, and be fairly quiet (especially as my workplace have now denied access to all blogsites from the offices!); if anything worthwhile happens, I'll try to pass on the news and give an opinion. Have a good summer everyone...now where are those test match tickets?

Up the Addicks!


Great review Pedro45, let's hope that next year's review is a sum up of a promotion campaigne. Let's hope!
Thanks for all your input and evaluations on the current squad it must of taken some time and is a very good read. Have a great summer and before you know it the new season will be upon us.
Come on you Reds.
yes excellent round-up. Your blog is now up there with the Charlton greats
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