Sunday, May 11, 2008

Who's Who Season Review - Part Trois (that's 3 in French)

This time, in a 4-part review of the season, we get to some of the could-be’s and some of the never will be’s in the crazy world of Charlton Athletic – squad numbers 20 - 29. Pedro45 gives his opinion, and you may or may not agree – in a free world, that is OK; in Burma, you would be shot. Lots more still to come as we run through the whole squad during these reflective times….

20 Therry RACON

Another Frenchman who didn’t quite set SE7 alight during this season but one with bags of potential. When he made his debut he caused quite a stir, but sadly Pardew didn’t chose to use Racon much over the whole season. A good cup game at The Valley, sure, but then we lost him for months… He eventually joined up with Brighton, and nearly saw them into the play-offs. He even intimated that he might want to stay at the south coast club (if you believe press reports). Racon is another player for the future, so I guess if he’s here come August we may see more of him on the pitch, but he is someone who could slip away to another club and have us fans ruing missed potential.


Magic by name, magic by nature - he disappeared far too much! Usually injured, just as he was settling into the team and playing well. The early season comic opera in the heart of the Addicks defence is long forgotten (by most), as Pardew tried out all the various combinations who could play alongside Madjid. Finally settling on Jon Fortune, the pair did well until Madjid started to get lots of those niggly ankle and calf injuries that keep players out every other week or so. When he did play, he settled down, was solid, tackled well, competed in the air, and produced the odd classic forward pass. We didn’t see many of the rampaging runs forward that the Wednesday videos promised, but maybe they will come as the confidence grows back again. Magic has to be the cornerstone of Charlton’s defence next year; the only issue is who Pards decides to play alongside him.


Osei has been at Charlton for many, many years now, and sadly, even he must now be thinking that the time has come for him to move on. Overlooked for any defending option Pardew may have required (even playing players out of position rather than give Osei a go…), Osei left for Brentford in January, and has struggled to consistently get into even their tier 4 team. He may well go for a free transfer (or a £50,000 nominal transfer tag), but it would do him and Charlton a favour for him to start over somewhere else I feel.


Who? Never heard of him…He certainly didn’t play for Charlton this season that I can remember. Good riddance too.

23 Jose SEMEDO

”He came from Portugal; he doesn’t like Millwall” – now where have I heard that before…? Not quite the persona that Jorge Costa had, but an altogether encouraging first season in SE7 for the Portuguese youngster. Semedo proved versatile in the early weeks of the season, switching from defensive midfield to the full back positions as Pardew chased games or had to fill in due to injuries. And Jose did very well. He also provided the balance that was sorely needed in the middle of the park, while surrounded by ball playing attack minded fellow midfielders Reid, Zhi, Ambrose, etc. The problem though, was the number of bookings he picked up – even forgetting the sending off for two bookable offences at Southampton – which eventually led to Pardew leaving him out in case he was unavailable over the Xmas period. The fact was he never really got his place back after that, and when he did pick up his fifth booking, it was well past the time when fifth bookings meant anything! If Jose can curb his enthusiasm for the ungainly tackle, and let his (easy) passing and lnk-man style flow, he could be an absolutely key player in Charlton’s future seasons. His versatility is obvious, but I still think the move Pardew made when pushing him into midfield was terrific foresight, as I doubt he will be quite as good in his original position of central defence.

24 Jonathan FORTUNE

Way back in August, you felt a bit sorry for Forch; there were these guys, new to the club, playing in the middle of a defence that was leaking goals like a sieve! Could he get close to a game – no chance! Then he did get in, and he cemented a pretty good relationship with Bougherra and Sodje, and things looked rosy. Sadly, the lapses in concentration leading to errors that have followed Jon throughout his Charlton career came back to haunt him and he found himself a spectator once more. The right hook he gave Ipswich’s Alan Lee at the final whistle in December didn’t help him much either, as that led to a 3-game ban. I guess this just has to have been Fortune’s last chance, and I fully expect him to be one of those that leaves Charlton this summer. In retrospect, he has been an excellent servant to the club, and one who always tried his best. When others around him failed to take responsibility (in playing a forward pass for instance), then there was Jon, trying to pick up a forward runner. He was good in the air, scored some memorable goals (sha-la-la-la la-la la-la la…he he!), and worked hard to improve each season. In hindsight, I bet he wishes he had now joined Stoke when he had the chance a year ago - it could have been him instead of Ryan Shawcross…


The mystery winger, never seen in a red shirt, who is out on loan in Holland at a club fighting against relegation. Does he have a hope at The Valley – probably not, but you never can tell (see Youga…). Unless he is given a chance in pre-season, and makes the first team squad in August, I expect him to be sent home and be given the opportunity to play for a different club next year.


Yet another loanee, this time from Sunderland, Greg came south while Andy Reid went north. He had a storming debut when he almost scored tremendous individual goal (left), but slowly, the reliance on his enormous long throw took precedence, and he was being asked to chuck it into the area from almost anywhere on the pitch. It was interesting to see in the last game that he took just one long throw, with everything else, even when positioned near the penalty area, going short. Greg chipped in with a couple of useful goals during the run in, but was also responsible for some errors from which goals were conceded. Rumour has it that his loan deal could be made permanent if all parties are happy and I suspect that the fee has already been agreed, but that it may have been subject to Charlton getting promotion. I cannot see him fitting in with the Roy Keane ethos at the Stadium of Light, so if anything further happens, he may want to join up with his former manager and mentor Phil Parkinson back at The Valley.

26 Kelly YOUGA

Kelly was out there racking up yet another loan club – he had two last season without making an impact at Charlton – when the clubs left back injury situation led to him being recalled early. He came straight back into the team at the new year, and was an instant hit with his no messing style (evident from his two sendings off while at Scunthorpe). He immediately had a few good games, but as with so many others, slipped back into bad habits and was eventually dropped when Ben Thatcher regained fitness. Surprisingly recalled for the final game, he again proved his worth, but also showed that he can be very lazy at times, often trotting back to regain possession when a quicker tempo would have given him more time to clear the danger. Kelly will be around next year, and if he can improve his partnership on the left side with Basey, we could have that side of the pitch sorted out for a few years.

27 James WALKER

Poor James Walker; shunted off to Yeovil, where he did well, he was called back and due to be sold on to Southend. Sadly, the medical went badly due to a heart complaint, and the deal fell through. He rested, as told, and finally he did get to make his presence felt across the river in deepest Essex, but on loan. His goals have helped take the club into the playoffs, and if they succeed in getting promotion, I would expect his loan deal to become permanent, with Charlton getting the £200,000 or so that was originally agreed back in January. James has been around for a few years now, but really hasn’t got too close to the first team at The Valley; I guess it would suit all parties if he did move on now.

28 Harry ARTER

Harry played just the one first team game, as a sub away at Luton in the cup, but did have a useful introduction to the team. Sadly, at the time when he may well have forced himself into the first team (and maybe have kept Shelvey on the sidelines?) during the end of season run in, he was injured, with a nasty Achilles problem. With vast potential, it will be interesting to see how well he gets himself fit (as he is likely to miss pre-season) and if he can then get close to the first team. With Semedo, Zhi, Shelvey, Wright, etc all vying for central midfield slots, he may have a tough time, but his talent (if it can be harnessed) is sufficient to allow him a decent run in the team next year.

29 Chris DICKSON

Just a natural goalscorer – Dicko failed to impress on loan at Crewe, but then did ever so well in the same league as a loanee at Gillingham. Recalled over Xmas when the forward line was taking a battering, he came on as sub and fluffed his big chance to be a hero when missing an easy opening in the cup game versus the Baggies. He then went up to the Hawthorns a week later and did what we expected with an opportunist last minute equalizer. The smile and celebration told you everything, but soon it was vanquished by a bad knee injury, and he joined Todorov and McLeod on the long term wounded list. Another who may not be fit for pre-season, he should be back for Xmas, and he may well be needed then, if not in the team, but as a side-show to cheer up the dressing room!

There we have the Twenties-men. The last part of the review (the rest of the squad, and a few lines on manager Alan Pardew) will be out in the near future.


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