Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Month On...

Back from holiday, happy, refreshed, and still nothing much is happening on the Addicks front. When I flew out of the UK on 30th June, I hoped that most of the uncertainty surrounding players, the board, and the management would have been resolved by events in early July, but nothing has a ring of finality about it yet.

With the players, we have definitely waved goodbye to Zheng Zhi and it also seems that Jon Fortune and Matt Holland may have found new clubs in Sheffield United and Colchester respectively. Darren Randolph is still around but yet to put ink on his contract offer. Yassin Moutaouakil has had a trial at Portsmouth, so even though he is still under contract, he will undoubtedly be off as expected. Coming in, we can look forward to a new right back in Fraser Richardson - 26 years old and with good experience in this league and higher - and as expected centre back Miguel Llera - older, but with less experience.

There is still a great deal of uncertainty about a number of other contracted players - Shelvey, Bailey, Racon and Sam have all been linked with moves, though nothing has been solid enough to be mentioned officially - and recently Fleetwood and Dickson do seem to have been the subject of firm bids from Exeter and Gillingham. Neither has been sold yet, and if both go I will be upset unless a rapid replacement arrives quickly. Added to that is the news that Andy Gray may well be off to pastures northern which will alleviate the wage bill a little and then some. The move of Mark Hudson to Cardiff did help the wage bill, and the million pounds plus we got as a transfer fee was also welcome. Less expected was the release of Sean McGinty, a 15-year old youth player, who has joined Manchester United with some level of compensation coming our way.

All of this news seems to be linked to any take-over or influx of money that might or might not be coming. At least the board acknowledged their discussions by cancelling the fans meeting and putting out a statement that they are having talks. Whether this is a holding statement, or if anything solid comes or talks collapse remains to be seen. Any vitriol against the current board is sadly misguided, and we should be grateful for all past efforts and any in future that may be required. If the club is taken over, there is no guarantee that things will get any better (either financially or on the field) so let us all not count too many chickens just yet...

We have new shirt sponsors - KRBS - which seems nice of the Kent Reliance Building Society to remind us regularly of our former manager Curbs.

We have over 9000 actual season ticket holders signed up, with more to come it does seem, which is a very good return when compared to our opposition this season (bar Leeds and Norwich), though I doubt very many will make it to The Valley for tonights game with Ipswich (I estimate a crowd of 3-4 thousand...and I'm not going).

This will no doubt frustrate the manager Phil Parkinson, presuming he is not away scouting again tonight. Without a change of Chairman, he is going to remain at the helm for the initial part of the season at least; I really do hope that he can pull things together quickly, because pre-season has not been in any way shape or form a smooth ride. I don't always rely too much on friendly game results - I remember one season where we lost practically every game before the league kick off (including a thumping to Millwall) but ended up having a terrific league season - but team-work and cohesion and style are very important aspects to gather from these games. Parky says he thinks we still need more players, so from that we can assume that either more transfers are in the offing (possibly dependant on who if anyone goes...) and also we will make use of our loan facility once more, much to some fans chagrin. It is fair to say that centre back, centre back, left midfield and striker would be on my list of priorities, but when have I ever been right?

So with just ten days or so before the league kick off lots has changed, but lots is the same; that all seems typically Charlton to me.


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