Monday, June 16, 2008

June Bugs

Suitably refreshed, Pedro45 is now going to try to get back into all things Charlton while he can, after a nice four week gap in posting.

It’s a long time since we walloped Coventry, 4-1 lest we forget, and Chrissy Powell left the Valley for the last time (until the next time…).

So what’s been happening? Plenty it seems - enough to keep the merry band of bloggers on their toes, though everyone seemed to take stock at the end of the season and have a little rest from the trials of being Addickted.

First, comings and goings:

Welcome back Marcus Bent – but don’t unpack. Chairman Richard Murray has already said that you are not welcome and will be transfer listed as soon as the ink is dry. The salary is the issue here, and Charlton just cannot afford him, even if he wasn’t the liability in the dressing room that he is. Wigan spurned chance after chance to sign him (even when they said they couldn’t afford him in January they then spent £5m on Marlon King…), and finally called it a day slating his similarity to Emile Heskey (if only he was!).

Welcome to Mark Hudson; solid centre half, or an accident waiting to happen? Whatever, I know who I would prefer, and it isn’t Paddy McCarthy. We get the same leadership qualities, a player who is likely to play near enough every game, and who may score the odd goal from a corner. He’s probably on similar wages to Paddy, which is important at this time, and with McCarthy going in the opposite direction for £500,000 plus add-ons, we are quids in too! Paddy, or Patrick as he likes to be known was a sale instigated by Pardew (“Now we’ve got Hudson, do you need any one to fill his place Neil?”) – that’ll do nicely.

Also joining today is Stuart Fleetwood (left), ace pre-Xmas goalscorer in the Blue Triangle league or something. Whatever the transfer fee (that will be set by a tribunal), it is necessary to take the odd gamble every now and then. If he scores goals, then he will make the team and be worth it; if not, he may well be loaned out. It worked with Chris Dickson, who is worth much more now than what Pards paid for him, and maybe this will work out too.

I think that the issue with Fleetwood is the uncertainty amongst fans that it leaves with the large number of other forwards on the books…will the likes of Gray, Todorov, Varney, Iwelumo, Dickson, and McLeod all still be part of the squad come August 9th? Maybe not, the clubs finances may prevent that, and if a decent offer comes in, anyone could go.

The obvious missing link in transfer news is in midfield. Looking at the club website, the fans have voted overwhelmingly to fill the gap in the centre of the park, and the need is obvious for a solid, central midfielder to be brought in by Pards (which allows the team to play 4-4-2 home and away). I see Thomas Gravesen is possibly available, but maybe we are a move too late for the Dane? What is obvious is that we cannot expect JonJo Shelvey to play every game next season, nor Matt Holland – age being the reason in both instances! With Zheng Zhi currently playing injured, then due to play in the Olympics, he may not be fit and available until October or so (provided we haven’t cashed in previously…); with Ambrose also out long term, the options are considerably less than last year, hence the need to bring someone experienced in.

The multitude of full backs joining Powell going out the Valley door include Osei Sankofa, talented but never quite good enough, plus Cory Gibbs, talented but always injured, and one of those rumoured to be off soon is Ben Thatcher, talented but never quite quick enough.

Question marks still hover over the heads of Jerome Thomas, Jon Fortune, and Dean Sinclair, while it would not be surprising to see Therry Racon, Martin Christensen, Amdy Faye, and even Chris Iwelumo move on this summer if the right offers come in.

One thing obvious from the club is that money is still quite tight. Richard Murray told the Bloggers forum that he needed to raise £5m and in order to do that, some of the current better players may have to be sold. Every Charlton fan can look at the squad and see where that £5m needs to come from, and it is totally unfair to blame Pardew if another favourite or two is moved on for the right fee. Of course, if Hull cough up £3m for big Benty, that would help but don’t bank on it! What we don’t want to see is Shelvey shifted out for a couple of mill just to balance the books. And would clearing out some of the team (like McCarthy) be a bad thing? No, we had far too many players last year, and we have to bring through the youngsters while we can in this division. Murray stated that we will run with 24 pro’s plus the youngsters, and that should clear up one of Pardew’s failings last year, namely chopping and changing the team about too much.

One further farewell has to go to Peter Varney; I only met the man once, but he was a nice chap, honest, and someone who loved the club as much as we do. He could be missed, but hopefully Steve Wagott is the right man to replace him. Good luck and best wishes to them both.

Finally, as I could stay on here all night, the fixtures came out today, and that is always a good day in the Pedro45 calendar. I get to see which new grounds I can go to and when I have to tell my wife she is going away for the weekend. Sadly, one new ground for most of us will be off-limits, as the Doncaster game in September is on a Tuesday night. I’m also off to the RAH to see the Bunnymen that night, but if it brings the same result as when I saw Squeeze last December which coincided with the Cardiff away game which we won, I’ll be happy. Blackpool (which I missed last year due to an operation) in December will cheer the missus up, I’m sure, but I’ll be sure to stay away from the sea wall this time, having got soaked prior to the Preston game last season. I’ll also be missing seeing the lads for a while in August due to holiday commitments – the damn fixtures mean I’ll miss the first home game and the cup game sadly…

I’ll be back if anything much happens in the next few weeks…


You and me both Pedro, I also have to miss the Donny game unfortunately.
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