Friday, May 09, 2008

Who's Who of 2007-2008 - Part Two

Today we look at numbers 10 – 19 of the squad that Pardew put out during 2007/8, covering those from the evergreen Chris Powell to the ever frustrating Darren Ambrose. All opinions are Pedro45’s, and yours may well differ. Feel free to comment should you so wish. More to follow in coming days.

10 Svetoslav TODOROV

Sadly, Toddy got injured way back in late September, and didn’t add to his good start at The Valley. Never one to run his legs off, or become an instant hero, he did show great technique in connecting the midfield to the attack, and scored vital goals away early in the season. A tremendous goal against Stockport should have led to better things, but a Plymouth clogger ended his season early (as he did with McLeod…); hopefully, a full recovery is on the way, and if Toddy can complete the pre-season, we can expect a decent return from this genuine goal-machine.

11 Darren AMBROSE

I guess the highlight for Darren was his becoming a father for the first time around the turn of the year. What should have been the highlight was a bag full of goals, because he is good enough in this league to score lots. The enigma seems to be whether he is better out wide, or through the middle, and if so, how far forward do you play him? His better games did seem to come when he played in a 4-5-1 as support for the front man, but others (Reid and Zhi) seemed to be preferred in this position by Pardew. Darren was therefore shifted out wide and spent many a half looking lonely as the ball and game just passed him by. He took many free kicks and corners, but again, some where terribly wasted. He even had a mare when best mate Darren Bent came along to watch him and got hauled off at half-time… Lately, news of a long standing groin injury (and operation) have come out - is this an excuse, or was it the real reason for so many lacklustre games? If he is retained, and I’m not sure he will be if the club receives a decent offer, then he has to improve, and show that he can hack it with the lesser skilled players. Otherwise, he is a luxury that cannot be afforded – others are better at free kicks and corners and show effort all game too.

12 Luke VARNEY

Luke is probably the most frustrated player at the club; every time he seemed to be doing well, he had to give up his front man position, and get shifted out wide or make way for someone else. Luke got injured in pre-season, which didn’t help him at all, and started the season way down the pecking order (initially behind Bent, Iwelumo, Todorov, McLeod, and even Dickson). Gradually, he worked his way back to fitness, and showed his pace, eye for goal, and excellent work rate. He runs channels like Garry Nelson used to, but not with quite the same experience. Not afraid to cut inside and shoot for goal, his finest moment came at The Valley on a Friday night in February when his two goals won the game and secured him temporary legend status. Varney is here for the long term I feel, and will be key to Charlton getting away well next season (especially as Todorov, Dickson, and McLeod may not be fit early on in the season).

13 PEDRO45

Another great start to a season by Pedro45, but it all tailed off after Xmas and was pretty dismal to tell the truth for the last few months. Whether Pedro45 can handle his fourth season commenting on SE7's finest is yet to be confirmed, but with over 50,000 hits, although not in the NYA, CA, Inspector, Diary, or Frankie Valley league, this suggests he might just want to hang in there.

14 Jerome THOMAS

I must admit that I hate Jerome Thomas. He has so much skill, pace, can work hard, and has a good shot, but for all this, he went through the whole of this season without a single goal to his name. His misses in matches (against Cardiff for instance) were bordering on criminal. He seems to think that he is the Cristiano Ronaldo of the Championship, and that every mere touch on him, followed by theatrical fall, should be a foul. The refs didn’t buy it, and neither did most of the Addicks crowd. He always seemed to have a minor hamstring or calf injury, which kept him out of the team but not the papers, and also fell ill on a number of occasions late in the season. What does the future hold for him? Well, he believes that he should be playing in the Premiership, but who is going to sign such a non-smiley player, who has yet to (properly) celebrate any goal he has scored in an Addicks shirt. If he had been on the pitch when Chris Powell scored on Sunday, would he have helped hoist him high above collective heads? No, he’d have been wandering back to the half-way line with another sulk on because it wasn’t he who scored. I hope Jerome leaves The Valley, and that we get a decent fee for him, though I pity the set of home supporters he next turns out for.

15 Chris POWELL

If you wrote the book, nobody would believe it. Such a happy ending never happens in real life, but it does when you are Chris Powell! At the start of the season, he willingly traded places every game with Ben Thatcher, and strode forward from left back when he got the chance. Then Thatch got injured, and Chris was asked to play every game. You could see him getting more and more tired as the two-games a week party went on and on, but with Thatcher’s knee crocked, and younger players Basey and Youga out on loan, Chris just had to carry on and on. The game at The Hawthorns was the crunch game, and two conceded goals from back post headers where Chrissie just couldn’t compete jolted Pardew into a change. Chris was rested, and Basey came in for his debut, and kind of stuck around until Youga came back after Xmas. That left Chris out of the team and he extended his coaching role with the younger players, who will undoubtedly have benefited from having the great man around. A petition was started to try to get him knighted, and that may yet happen (or is he too nice?). Then came the last game, a sub appearance, and the goal that signed off the legend. Pardew has indicated that Chris cannot be kept on at Charlton on a playing contract due to finances, but even if he goes elsewhere to play, so he can continue to be PFA Chairman, he will almost certainly be back at The Valley in a coaching capacity at some future stage – hurry up and retire Chris! We need you!

16 Chris IWELUMO

From one great Chris to another who has yet to hit the same heights. On the positive side, Bosman signing Iwelumo was Charlton’s top scorer, and did feature in every league game. He won games with a double on the first Saturday of the season and with last minute headers against Bristol City and Southampton; the problem was that the team behind him started to play in a sort of desperate way, and long punts upfield for Iwelumo to chase just weren’t on. If the midfield in the 4-5-1 worked, then Big Chris was fine, but if it fell down, he was just completely isolated and lonely. His control was not the best, and his directional headers also lacked a radar at times. The other annoying thing was the number of free-kicks given against him – for long periods in the middle months of the season, it seemed Big Chris only had to look at the ball for the whistle to go, and a foul given against him. Why, I’m not sure – he certainly didn’t look any worse than other big forwards on display, but refs seemed to have it in for him (as they also do sometimes for Crouch). Chris will still be at The Valley next year, but I think we can expect him to play more of a back-up role to the other forwards and he is a useful defending player to have during close matches when we need to protect a lead.

17 Cory GIBBS

Well what can one say about Cory Gibbs, the best player never to play for, well, Charlton! Two years, and just a handful of reserve team appearances, and all due to a string of annoying injuries that would not plague most footballers over their complete career, let alone in two seasons. He’s not really in the Winstone Bogarde league, because he really did want to play it seems, but he got much closer appearing for the USA national team than he ever did for Charlton’s league side. Later, Cory – good luck with your next club.

18 Lloyd SAM

Where I don’t like Thomas as a winger, I do like Sam. Not blessed with the same pace, skill, or ability, though he has abundant quantities of each, at least he tries during each game. Lloyd started the season as the sacrificial lamb every match, often taken off by Pardew when he was doing well. This may have affected his confidence, but when he was held in a head-lock at Hull, and sent off as result, results got worse and the need for a balanced right sided player like Sam became obvious. In and out of the side since that sending off, due to a number of niggly injuries and some of his lesser form, he has been genuinely missed I feel since the turn of the year. Lloyd didn’t score enough goals (just a point winner at Coventry and the only goal at home versus Stoke), and he should have had more, as he was often well placed to finish. If he can improve on this aspect and on some of his crossing – which also lacked accuracy at times – then he could still be a key player at the club.


Dean is a good back up I feel, but not someone who has a great future at the club. A couple of cup game sub appearances were followed by him going out on loan to Cheltenham. Sadly, after a couple of decent months playing in tier 4, he hurt his knee and has been sidelined up until recently. This is one player who, with all the young midfielders available next season, might be better off moving on – he is not tier 2 material, but I would expect a number of tier 3 or 4 teams who would be happy to have him on their books. Fifty grand anyone?

That's it - part two of Pedro45's summing up of the season. My opinion may differ from yours, but what the heck, we're all fans aren't we. More trollope from the poison pen soon, where we cover the next dose of heroes who could have been champions, but never quite made it...


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