Thursday, August 06, 2009

Picking up Freebies?

Following an article in The Mail about released and available players who have yet to sign for any club this summer, which included an XI that contained Nicky Weaver and Danny Mills, I thought I’d check out the PFA website and see who else Parky might be looking at to fill our squad gaps.

There are plenty of famous or infamous names listed, all of whom have either been given a free transfer, or have come through the youth system, and who are still to find employ for 2009/10 season. This week, many may be lucky and finally get an offer from a club – like Weaver has at Dundee United – but many others will not be so lucky, and will have to find another way of bringing home some cash.

We know that Charlton manager Phil Parkinson is after another centre back, so the inclusion on the list of Sol Campbell and Ugo Ehiogu could offer an easy way out of the void, but you and I know that these two players would probably demand a lot more than the Murray coffers can afford, so we can probably say they won’t be joining Charlton. I’m not sure it would help with any youth policy either! But also available is ex-loanee Sam Sodje (scoring for Charlton, above left), and Addicks fans would probably welcome him back. He might not be willing to sit on the bench, if Llera and Dailly are first choice central defenders this year, but Alton Thelwell, a good youngster at Spurs who has been at Orient for a few years might?

As for strikers, well, Mark Viduka is looking for a club, though the £60,000 a week plus he was on at Middlesboro and Newcastle may have to be cut a little. John Connolly, a useful Irish goalscorer is available from Sunderland, though injuries and age may not be on his side either. So how about Rui Fonte, a 19-year-old Portuguese striker let go by Arsene Wenger? Or Collins John (still only 23!), linked to Charlton very recently, with 20 Premiership goals on his CV and yet still without a contract? If they are too expensive wage-wise, how about Steve Kabba who has now been released by Watford, or Leon McKenzie (left), a proven scorer at this level, who has left Coventry. The Sky Blues have also let Michael Mifsud go, and I’m sure someone will take a punt on this Malteser.

There is also a player on the website called Rodolphe Douala resplendent in a Charlton shirt, and available on a free transfer (though not from Charlton it seems). Now I cannot seem to recall him playing on the right side of midfield for The Addicks, be it the first team or reserves, but someone took his picture in our red Cabrini kit. Did he play in any friendlies at the start of last year? One problem with the website is that the link through to see details of his career takes you to the stats of a Chelsea youngster, so that’s no help. Other players are listed twice, so maybe the PFA could pick a webmaster on a free transfer?

Wideman Keith Gillespie is without a contract anywhere yet, though I doubt we would want to have him back at The Valley again, while the left-sided Julian Gray, often talked about as a Charlton target in the past, has been freed by Fulham. Ex-Charlton youngster Lee Harrison is a ‘keeper at a loose end, but at least at 37 he shows our own two goalkeeping graduates who are also listed – Harry Lee and Callum Christie - that you can survive for many years in the lower leagues, and make a decent living at the same time.

Another ex-Charlton player listed is Jerome Thomas, while recent contract enders Zheng Zhi, Aswad Thomas, Jon Fortune, and Matt Holland are on the list along with a number of trainees who were not offered terms at Charlton.

I’m sure many of these players will have their agents working hard this week and getting them last minute deals, especially as clubs do seem to have been holding off offering contracts earlier the summer in these financially tough times.

Hopefully, Parky will be using the website to plug those holes in the Charlton squad, and give the Addicks cover in every position for the season ahead.


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