Monday, June 29, 2009

As Dry as a Desert!

Pedro45 is taking advantage of not being required to work flat out (and then some) during July for a change, and is off on his summer holidays. I suppose that this ranks with some of the other news concerning Charlton, such is the sparseness of interesting information doing the rounds regarding the club.

I don’t really know if this summer has been quieter than any others in recent memory, even though it does seem that way; it is possible that as some of the bloggers (myself included) have found themselves without work, then we have been online rather more than previously, and seem to find nothing worthwhile in our broadband travels?

So where are we with everything and where would Pedro45 like to see Charlton when he gets back?

First, let’s deal with this takeover or whatever it may or may not be:

The Board have consistently stated that if there is new money available to the club then they will consider each and every potential investor as they come along. If the club is actively seeking new investment, as may be the case, then that is to their credit. If Peter Varney has been helping with presentations etc, then I don’t see any problems. I doubt anything is going to happen soon, as Derek Chappell is on holiday I believe, which was the reason why an original June date for him and Richard Murray (left) to meet with fans was delayed until July 9th. Rumours of Irish investment, because we are going on an Irish pre-season tour, or links with North London businessmen just seem to be grabbing at straws. If anything happens, then great; if not, then I am still confident that this Board is in a position to back the club and get finances off the field back on an even keel.

On to the out of contract players: Four have been made offers, and I would wish them all to re-sign and commit to the club. I cannot see any reason to offer Zheng Zhi a contract unless the club is financially able to pay the course of it, and if that includes a sponsorship element, then fine. I am hoping that as no other news has come out about ZiZi then he may sign with the Addicks again – he has said he likes playing for us! However, he may end up overseas, and he could have a good career in the top French league (for instance) where his perceived lightweight-ness would not be a problem. The same seems to apply with Jon Fortune and Matt Holland; no rumours have been around about other clubs wanting them, so hopefully they will also take the money on offer, and don the red shirt once more. Darren Randolph was speaking with the management last Thursday, so signs are he will put pen to paper too.

Those who the club have decided not to offer contracts to will have been asking their agents to work hard for them, and I do think it possible that one or two may train with the Addicks while looking for a new club, and maybe, just maybe, one or two may be offered short term deals if not sorted by August and if Charlton need them. But, I wouldn’t hold my breath about these players, as many just aren’t worth keeping on the payroll whatever the situation!

Some new players have been linked with the club, and it does seem that Miguel Llera may have signed on the dotted line after ending his contract at MK Dons. Others who were strongly linked with Charlton recently have chosen other clubs (Clark – Huddersfield, Feeney – Leeds, etc). I do think that the main influx of new players, if we are to see much movement, will happen later in July, so the club can save a few weeks wages – these are hard times! This might upset some fans who wanted the squad to be all in place and ready by the return to pre-season training, but that is unrealistic and does not mirror what is happening at any other third tier club (Millwall for instance have many out of contract players and are at risk of losing some of their “stars” too, yet they cannot act until the know if players are staying or leaving…).

That could also be the case at The Valley, where rumours abound regarding our "stars", and which club is "certain" to be signing them over coming weeks. It would not surprise me in the least if Charlton were financially forced into selling one of our better players, but I still hope that the season starts with Shelvey, Bailey, Racon, Sam, and Dickson available. If we do sell, then that may in turn finance movement into the club, and Pedro45 wouldn't mind at all seeing ex-loanees Graeme Murty and Tresor Kandol back in SE7 playing for the home team!

I also suppose that the return to training may end Steve Gritt’s cricket season; Gritty, once of Hampshire second team, has been playing for Downham and Bellingham, who are also Paddy Powell’s cricketing home, and took five wickets in a game earlier in the summer.

And so on to the manager situation: This is strange, and if I do have a criticism of the board then it is here, and it concerns their failure to back up previous statements with action. It was made quite clear when Charlton were relegated in mid-April that a decision on the management team would be made in an end-of-season review. That review must have happened by now, yet we have had no statement saying that Phil Parkinson is going to remain as manager, or he is not. Why? The uncertainty may have helped or hindered season ticket sales with plenty of fans saying they would not renew until they knew who the manager would be, while others may have renewed as Parky hadn’t been given a new chance. Rumours then start to circulate, and the forums abound with tales of Mark Kinsella clearing his desk at Sparrows Lane; of Paul Ince driving into The Valley car park; and Arabs eating ham sandwiches in the Board room – all poppycock! However, early communication would have prevented all this, and even if there isn’t much other news, at least nerves would have been settled and we could look forward (or not) to a new season. What does seem to have happened, and I’m sure that this will be made clear on the OS prior to the fans meeting in ten days, is that Parky is to be the manager, with Kins as his assistant, on their current contracts (which haven’t changed since prior to Pardew leaving), and they have a year to go on those contracts. Of course, a bad start to the season may change all that, but a good successful season may see them given new and improved contracts. With the lack of money, this does seem to me to be the best option available at this stage.

The number of season tickets sold does seem encouraging; many blogs were predicting less than 10,000 crowds on a regular basis next year, but with getting on towards that figure in season tickets sold already, and with corporate numbers to be added, plus those “free” tickets given out, and walk ups too, we should have something like 15,000 in the ground for the Wycombe game hopefully. Pedro45 took advantage of some of those late renewals by moving seats at The Valley for the first time in some 14 years – after all, a change is as good as a rest! Maybe a different angle will produce improved results?

As my holiday involves mainly desert – the remotest parts of the US – then getting much online news may prove problematic. I am hopeful of keeping in touch when I do venture into a town of some kind, but blog updates may be rarer than rain in the first half of July. I can only hope, as many of you do I’m sure, that in the next three weeks all the various bricks that make up our football club start to fall into place, and that when the season starts on 8th August, we are ready, willing, and able to have a great season that gets Charlton back on track.

Up the Addicks!

Excellent article, spot on assessment. Might have missed it but any news on Ward?
All I know about Ward is that Richard Murray said at the AGM that our entire salary budget for the defence next year is less than Wardy's wages (including the promotion bonus) he would be on at Wolves. With Wolves offering him for sale, the likelihood of Charlton paying a fee (maybe £500,000?) and a salary he would accept (even if only half his current £10-12,000 estimate?) is remote, much as most of us would like to have him.

Great article - but why would you want to see Dickson and Sam there next year? The former has the techique of a Sunday League player and the latter has no fighting spirit. We can do better than both of them on free transfers...
We all have our preferences and favourites - I have always liked Sam, and Dickson could be (I stress could...) the man to score those missing goals next season. We don't have a natural scorer other than him. If you think we can do better with free's, let's have some names to bandy around?

Wow A lot to read.
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