Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Favouring the Brave

With the league season well under way, and the transfer deadline window shutting later on tonight, Charlton play in their second cup competition of the season. Hopefully, they will do better than they did in the League Cup, and I fully expect the team to progress against Dagenham and Redbridge at The Valley this evening.

Manager Phil Parkinson has at least been able to bring his squad more up to strength with three recent acquisitions.

Jonathan Fortune (left) has returned to the club after little more than a season away; Forch was always respected at Charlton by the fans, most notably for getting Alan Shearer sent off and also for scoring a goal that sent Iain Dowie (spit!) and his team spinning to relegation. Solid and dependable, but not blessed with great pace, Forch should be Ok in this league. Looking at the squad though, it is not clear why another centre half is required, especially as Fortune has only been contracted until January, and doubts must now be raised over Miguel Llera’s future at The Valley. With Christian Dailly, Gary Doherty, Matt Fry, and Fortune around, game time for Llera and Yado Mambo will be short, so I expect one or both to move out on loan at some near future stage.

The two other signings have been protracted over several weeks; Charlton made no secret of their desire to sign Paul Benson (left) from tonight’s opponents, and having finally prised him away, he could yet face up to his former team-mates very quickly (if not tonight, then in a couple of weeks when the league game is played). Benson is not young, but he is nippy for a big man and with an eye for goal. Very much an inside forward, he will play alongside either Pawel Abbott or Akpo Sodje when the side needs two out-and-out strikers. The worry is that he does not make the adjustment from non-league to League Two to League One (he played four games but did not score for Daggers this season), and that the time and effort needed for him to bed in wastes the start to the season that Charlton really need. Of course, should he find his scoring boots quickly, and form a partnership that flourishes, then he will soon attain god-like status afforded to anyone who hits the back of the net regularly in our red-shirted team.

Pushing Benson up front, and also providing competition for our wingers is the third signing, Joe Anyinsah (left). Anyinsah played for Carlisle last season, and did well scoring 13 times, playing in most of their league games. Although 25-year old Joe has played for eight league teams in his short career (four on loan), he has only scored for Carlisle, so hopefully Charlton fans will see him hit the back of the net too. Whether he can oust Scott Wagstaff or Kyel Reid from the starting eleven remains to be seen, but he does look like he could be useful to have available on the bench each week.

The three signings (if not by name) were mentioned at last weeks EGM, which saw Richard Murray take full control of the club. Some may not like Murray taking sole control, but as he said at the meeting, if anyone else had a spare £5million to put into the club, then they were welcome to assume control, but nobody did, so that leaves our long time saviour in charge and able to control the club as he see’s fit. I do expect there to be new investment in the next few weeks, and if talks progress as expected I would not be at all surprised to see a new director rolled out either at or prior to the Notts County game at The Valley on September 11th. Go on, you know it makes sense! It is a shame that fans like myself cannot be called shareholders any longer, even if our share-certificate piece of paper has been worthless for quite some time.

The three signings, the takeover by Murray, and the hope for new investment are all boosts for the club after a couple of setbacks on the pitch. The 1-1 draw against a vibrant Oldham was not unexpected, and I do think that Oldham may surprise a number of sides if they keep their better players. The bench looked decidedly thin that day, so three new players will undoubtedly help. Saturdays’ loss to Huddersfield was also not too much of a surprise if we take last years form into consideration. Both the teams made the play offs, but failed to get to Wembley, but Town had by far the better home form, and have backed that up by making some significant signings in the close season. Charlton’s own problems, especially when conceding first, came to the for somewhat, but Parky will continue to work on these issues I’m sure, and with a set of easier looking games (on paper) coming up, I expect to see the results improve in September.

The make up of the division makes fascinating reading just now, and with fancied teams like (manager-less) Southampton and Charlton yet to really hit it off, it has been left to two relegated teams to blaze the goal trail; Peterborough have three in-form forwards and enough firepower to blitz most sides at this level, and I see them as a major hurdle to any side trying to win this league. Sheffield Wednesday are also showing their class and will also provide tough opposition as the season goes on. Early table-toppers Oldham and Carlisle will do well to retain their lofty places, and by the end of September we should see a more expected hierarchy I feel.

I’ll be at the game tonight, though I think a blanket rather than t-shirt might be needed such is our weather at the moment. A good result at home tonight will enable confidence to breed down in Devon at the weekend, and then hopefully the winning momentum should take us through much of the rest of the month.

Come on you Addicks!


Looks like Racon may well be off to Greece?
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