Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Who's Who of 2007-2008 - Part One

It is that quiet, reflective, time of the season, so let’s take a look at the record 38 players that Alan Pardew has used this season (and a few in the squad who he didn’t use…): Were they any good and will we see them feature in next years plans? Pedro45 gives his opinion - yours may differ!

We’ll do this in number order (keeping the best till last?), but remember that some shirt numbers used this season featured two different players…

Today we start with numbers 1 – 9, and we’ll follow up over the next few days with the rest of the squad.

1 Nicky WEAVER

Nicky Weaver; the man who stuck one finger up at the covered end…OK, it was a few years ago, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but first impressions count for a lot. Sadly, lasting impressions do too. And my overall impression of our number one goalkeeper this season has been him picking the ball out of the net, and going through games without making a save. This may be harsh – he has often been left cruelly exposed by a shambles of a defence playing (allegedly) in front of him. Good times? The last minute save against Stoke that won us two extra points. The bad game? Blackpool – OK it was windy, but you played like a buffoon. Back in August, we wondered whether Weaver or Randolph would be the number one choice; that decision went firmly the way of the bigger chap, and next year it is likely he will still be here. I just hope he makes a few more saves to win us points. After all, that is what we are used to from our keeper…


Oh merde, Yassin. So much potential, yet... A nasty ankle knock in late August meant we were short of a right back, and Pardew filled the gap with Danny boy. That left our young Frenchman without a playing spot, and he struggled to get back in the side. When he did – when Mills finally snapped under the pressure – Yassin looked good going forward and OK in defence, until the game at Scunthorpe, when he missed an excellent shooting opportunity, and a fluffed clearance led to the only goal of the game being conceded. Shuffled off back to the reserves once Halford arrived, he hasn’t been seen near the first team since, and is now suspended early next year due to a reserve team dismissal. He’ll be back, but maybe not as first choice right back.


Strange season for big Ben; taking in every other game at the start of the season with Chris Powell, he looked reasonably solid and was putting his experience to good use. Then he got injured, and spent the majority of the season on the sidelines, while Powell, Basey, Youga, and Semedo did what they had to in his position. Fit again for the run in, he played very conservatively and accomplished little in all his appearances, both in attack and defence. If anyone wants to buy him, I suspect he will be allowed to leave, though Pardew has already said he wouldn’t mind him staying – possibly the first sign of the new, improved, harder, Charlton he has intimated he wants next year?
4 Amdy FAYE

One game from the midfield general (haha) and then shipped off to Scottish giants Rangers. He was quickly found out north of the border with all the Gers early season defeats featuring our Amdy. Almost left to rot, Blackburn had him on trial in January but the oft quoted “cannot play for three clubs in one season” rule came out, possibly as a Blackburn excuse to hide their mistake that he might not be any good, and north he went again. Rumored to have pulled on a blue shirt again during Rangers recent fixture backlog, hopefully he doesn’t ruin their Championship prospects before coming back to The Valley for the summer. Unlikely to be an Addick next year; the only issue is if we can get a transfer fee or if we have to pay someone to take him…


An altogether better number four than our Amdy, but an up-down season for this Reading loanee. At times, he showed Premiership pedigree, but too often the jumbled centre back partnerships ruined any understanding, as he was tried with Fortune, McCarthy, and Bougherra. A late season toe injury didn’t help, and he left quite quietly at the end of the season. Greenwich born, he may come back, but not on his current salary. Most memorable moment was offering Rowan Vine to meet him in the car park after the game during the Valley match versus QPR, plus his goals against Cardiff and Sheffield United (left).

5 Zheng ZHI

Taking over the number 5 shirt from the quickly departed Souleymane DIAWARA, ZiZi was a star who ran out of puff. It is quite shocking that a man with his talents couldn’t get into the PFA Championship team of the season. Great stamina, a good shot, excellent in the air, and with loads of skill, the only issue was again where to play the Chinese captain. When Pards settled on the 4-5-1 formation for away games, it was ZiZi who made the running between midfield and attack, and in went the goals during a good unbeaten run. For me, it all came to a head in early February, when he flew off to play for his home country on the Wednesday in Dubai, and then played again on the Friday night during a glorious win at The Valley. A shadow of his former self since then, he has finally succumbed to injury late in the season, when all he needed was the odd rest when we were winning prior to Xmas. If he is willing to put up with another Championship season, it will be good to see him play with some of the clubs up-and-coming youngsters; the issue though is that he has another busy close season playing for China, and he may still be knackered (and at the Olympics) come August.

6 Patrick McCARTHY

Peaks and troughs, ups and downs, ins and outs…initially, we all thought the man a donkey, useless, a cart horse, too slow, no spirit, and a waste of space, but slowly, when he got himself attuned with the reds spirit, he came into the side just prior to Xmas and has done a reasonable job since. He does have heart, and will go in where it hurts, but sometimes he gives attackers just that little too much of a head start, and the good ones (Ebanks-Blake for instance) get the better of him quite easily. I expect Paddy to still be here next year, and almost certainly in the starting eleven; his partnership with Bougherra is gelling, just a few months too late for the season.

7 Andy REID

What a terrific player, and man. Riedy didn’t want to leave Charlton and it was only that we needed the cash (and him off the wage bill) that we sold him to Sunderland in January. He was injured then too, but for the games up until December, he was our best and most creative player. We can all do the what-ifs, and if he had stayed, we may have achieved more points, and what could have been guaranteed was a better dressing room atmosphere. It is my theory that it wasn’t so much the loss of the Little Oirish fella on the pitch, but without him and Chris Dickson (who also got injured and came out of the squad at much the same time) there was a gap in the dressing room camaraderie that has never been filled. He was always smiling, and will be welcome back at The Valley any time he wants to come.

7 Lee COOK

Why we signed him on loan from Fulham I will never know and I'm not sure Pardew does either. He wasn’t fit, having not played for about a year, and we had plenty of wingers at the club whose noses went out of joint as soon as he arrived. Cook made a few cameo appearances, but other than swing in the odd-free kick or corner, he did little. He couldn’t run, so often gave away free kicks, and his lack of pace made it impossible for him to take the ball forwards. Apparently he was a very good player in his Rangers days, but he won’t be again until he is fit, and that may take quite some time. This is one number seven who we don’t want back…


The player of the season, and yes, I did vote for him. But I have a Matt Holland theory, and it is that I don’t see how he quite fits in. Let me explain. Normally, a side playing 4-4-2 will have an attacking midfielder (like Claus Jensen for instance) and a defending midfielder (like Amdy Faye, god forbid). Matty doesn’t quite fit either role, as he cannot quite get forward or create enough and he isn’t quite good enough when tackling. Don’t get me wrong here, he does run all day long, even now at 34, but Holland just never quite worked for me at Charlton. When he joined, King Claus was shifted out to the left wing, until it dawned on Curbs that we should keep the successful Jensen/Parker central midfield and let Matty move across to the right side (where he did an absolutely terrific, professional, job). Pardew has had the same problem: If you play the holding midfielder (Semedo) then Holland doesn’t get enough goals and isn’t creative enough; if you play ZiZi alongside him, then you lose the tackling and destructive ability a Championship team needs. In a 4-5-1 formation, it works, so that is where I can only see Matty featuring. Holland is on a very good salary, but his contract is up; he has said he wants to stay, and I would like him to, but if he goes, then he could do a great job (not far) down the league, and should be excellent player/manger potential.

9 Marcus BENT

One goal in his two games for the Addicks this season, big Benty then went off to Wigan and became their top scorer. It seems he was happier closer to his Hollyoaks actress girlfriend and settled better in Lancashire than London (where there are too many distractions if you know what we mean). Hopefully, Steve Bruce will offer a million quid for his services, as Charlton cannot and would not want to be paying his c£20k a week salary next year. With a year left on his contract, now is the time for him to go anyway…

9 Andy GRAY

Andy Gray certainly arrived with a reputation, even though he hadn’t actually scored for about two months prior to his arrival for over a million quid. He didn’t really have much luck, and should be more settled and show his undoubted talent next season. He struggled to get off the mark initially, and disallowed goals (particularly at Scunthorpe) didn’t help. He then had unfortunate personal issues which caused him to miss some games, and finding the partnership that worked (between him, Varney, and Iwelumo) took Pardew some time. Eventually his first goal came in April, and he followed up with possibly the goal of the season in the final game against Coventry (left). Much more will be expected from August in the goal scoring stakes, but he should be able to produce for Charlton in this league.
That's part one; more to follow over the next few days.


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