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Friday, June 29, 2007

Going, Going, Gone...(?)

His last goal for Charlton at Anfield. Looks like he knew it would be his last too.

A report in the independent this morning claims that the Spuds have at last seen sense and recognize a bargain when they see one and have agreed to met the £17m price tag. An unspecified amount will be performance-related however and it just remains for Darren to agreed personal terms plus the medical.
If the report is true and there's been many that have proved false then it shows an uncommon ability from the Addicks to hold firm in a deal and demonstrates some newly acquired business skills in driving a hard bargain. We don't know if it's down to Varney or Pardew but whoever's responsible it makes a pleasant change from other transfer deals over the years where we always appear to be short-changed.

There's also a comment on Pardew's attempt to persuade Chelski to part with Israeli international Ben Sahar on a loan deal. He's another striker, 18 in August, and has already scored for the national team in becoming the youngest ever player to play for them.

And there's now confirmation on the cafc site that the deals done and dusted for £16.5M of which £1m is performance related. Ipswich are entitled to 20 per cent of the deal because of the sell-on clause, meaning an initial payment of £2.58m will be heading to Portman Road leaving Pards with around £12m to spend, if Murray hands it all over that is. Maybe they'll reserve £250,000 for the Ladies....
So, good luck, Darren, and thanks for the memories.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Front, Back and Sides, Please.

So how's it going Pards? Pre-season, I mean. With just a couple of working days left before the boys turn up for work on Monday have you got things under control?
Some of Curbs' old-timers have jumped ship at the thought of fizzy pop football as we knew they would but you've done some business in the market and got some new boys in from all over the world as replacements. So what's left to do?
Well, seems there's still a couple of areas that you seem to have forgotten about or is it that you've put 'em on the back burner till funds become available? Yes, you know what we're referring to - it's that long lost individual, the midfielder. Usually the heart of the team but its been the area of the pitch that's needed something special for ages.
When I was a kid it was off to the barbers for a regular haircut of a front, back and sides. Not very elegant or fashionable but it was neat. That's what seems to have happened with the Addicks. We seem to have taken the barbers instructions to heart. We've got plenty of fronts, loads of backs and several sides. Trouble is we ain't got no middle.
Basically, we're short of some substance, we need building-up in the midriff, we're missing a six-pack, we need some heart. All in all there's something missing in the centre-circle area. Maybe we're gonna become a long ball team, cut out the style and play it long on to Chris's head. But please Pards, we need a Gravesen, a Davids, a Parker, or even a Mullins. Somebody to help little Andy when he gets knocked about by them Cardiff bouncers.
A quote from Paddy Powell on Tuesday calls you the most positive person he's ever met in football. Well, that's all very well but you know the trouble with positive people the same as I do. Seeing the glass half full all the time can lead to thinking that everythings OK, that things are not really so bad as everyone thinks. But complacency is a killer, just when you thinks things are rosy, it can sneak up and bite you up the backside. So take my word for it - STRENGTH THE MIDFIELD...
So how long have we got now to rectify this deplorable situation? Well, its only 6 weeks on Saturday till the Iron turn up. 42 very short days and at the moment it looks like Faye and Holland with Mad Dog in the background. Not very inspiring really and nobody seems to think that Jody Morris is the answer to our prayers.
Oh, and we need a goalkeeper, as well....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How to Upset the Neighbours!

When life's not treating us so good we tend to take it out on somebody else. It's called frustration and basically anybody will do as a butt to help us feel better. It's helps, of course, if the victim of our frustration takes the kicking or beating like a man, a woman or helpless cat. But whatever, we now have, of course, the wonderful Internet to help us find someone to kick with no threat of any physical comeback.

And that in a nutshell is what we all saw yesterday on our frankies daily thoughts. Tired of the usual dribble about Darren's on-off move, our FV read a headline in the Mirror and twisted it around with his usual lateral thinking out of the box skills and came up with an article that made us all chuckle.

Well, seems not. 'Cause while us Addicks live a rounded existence with its customary ups and downs and can understand tongue-in-cheek humour when we see it, seems there are some people out there that got rather upset with his outrageous wit. Seems a lot of them, while happily rejoicing in the label "up the yids" can get rather upset when the term "non-gentile" is used.

Ignoring the praise given about their "renowned business acumen and their legendary nose for a bargain" it was clearly the phase non-gentile ( and the 17M price tag) that was key to the huge number of replies. A staggering 7000 people read the post and reading the comments (sic) would have taken you an hour or two. Some were readable and a few seemed to think that our Darren is not worth 17M but a vast number were sadly a trifle abusive and then just drifted into meaningless dribble. Our Frank was called a racist, a journalist and far worst.

So what was the real reason behind all this hate mail? Well, I'm afraid that it doesn't take much to understand the North London mentality, as far as football is concerned, (I should know, I've lived there).

A big club, well back in the 60's, they now have to live with a much bigger neighbour! Some people just don't like successful neighbours. They can't handle it. Neighbours with money and a trophy cabinet where the key hasn't been lost. And that's a problem that, bless us, we'll never have. We positively rejoice in our failures, we expect them to happen. Europe! Whats that? The closest we ever got to Europe was playing Newport County the week after their Cup-Winners First Round tie back in 1975. So we can therefore take the piss out of ourselves anytime and we don't need Sad Spuds doing it for us.
So roll on the Iron on August 11th, we'll like it hot!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Youngster Joins, Jose Semedo

We started our fizzy pop life with the purchase of a couple of lower-league strikers, people that knew what it was like in the tough-boys league although one of them did come from League One whatever that is. Anyway we continued this trend with the acquisition of one Paddy McCarthy from Leicester, another player used to Championship football.
As a contrast, and it's no doubt a cheaper option, the Addicks continue to add to the growing contingent of young foreign international players. Under 21s or Under 18s, they're all players that have the potential to succeed. And yesterday it was announced that Charlton had completed the signing on a 4 year contract of 22 year old Jose Semodo from Sporting Lisbon.
Semodo played in all three of Portugal's games in the recent Under-21 Championships in Holland before going out at the Group stage. This was the event where England went out to Holland in the semis after the handbags with Serbia. Semodo is also famous for appearing in the previous years tournament where he was sent off in his first, and only, game against the prepetual bad boys Serbia.
Semedo has been around a bit and therefore hasn't actually played for Sporting. He's been at Second Division club Casa Pia for the season 2004/05 and was then loaned to Feirense for half of the following season. Then in 2006/07 he's been at Cagliari in Italy's Serie A making his debut against AC Milan.
He joins our two Scandinavian old-timers 18 year old defender Finn Jani Tanska and 19 year old Icelander forward Ririk Gislason who were recently joined by two Danes, 19 year old winger Martin Christensen and 16 year old midfielder Mikkel Rygaard Jensen.
Other youngsters are Kelly Youga from CAR (the Central African Republic ) who is now 21 and has been here a couple of years too although it seems longer. Not to mention 18 year old Scot Mark Staunton that Dowie brought here last year and the invisible 19 year old Mad Dog Walton. Randolph's still only 20 and not to forget 20 year old frenchman Yassin Moutaouakil that we signed last week. Osei Sankofa is now 22 and so is Lloyd Sam and both have enjoyed Premiership games last season.
How many is that? Twelve, a team of promising kids with the eldest at 22. So there's hope for the future but what of the present?
On the four purchases this summer, whats the cost? Well, a little over £3m and with the murdoch still saying that we are holding out for more than £15m from Spurs for Darren it looks like the serious strengthening of our midfield will have to wait. The current offer seems to be £10m now with the rest, £3m, in performance-related extras, not really what we want right now to add to the squad.
Its getting close to the time when one of the parties will have to give way or the deal will fall through, something that Darren himself may not want.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A "Men Only" Club....

Charity/Community Shield: Winners 2004/05; joint winners 2000/01; runners-up 2005/06
Premier League, National Division: Runners-up 2003/04, 2004/05
FA Cup: Winners 2005; runners-up 2003, 2004
Premier League Cup: Winners 2006, 2004; runners-up 2005
London Cup: Winners 2006, 2005, 2003
Kent County Cup: Winners 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001; runners up 2005
Current England internationals: Eniola Aluko, Ann-Marie Heatherson, Jo Fletcher, Josanne Potter, Sarah Snare, Casey Stoney.
England U21 internationals: Faye Cardin, Natasha Hughes, Michelle Hickmott, Katie Holtham.

In just 7 years that's the number of honours that the Charlton Ladies team have won since we took over Croydon Ladies in 2000 and in the past season they finished third in their own Premier League just missing out on going into Europe. OK, not an improvement really as they finished 2nd in the two previous years but certainly not relegation form either.

It's therefore a bit of a shock to everyone that the Charlton Management have decided to close what's known on the official website as the Women's Team. As yet there's no official word on the closure and in another display of mismanagement we have to read about it in the papers and on other peoples websites. Perhaps they think that nobody cares, and its obvious that they're mistaken there, but its clearly wrong that we have to read about on the bbc before the club sees fit to inform us.

We all knew that the reduced operating budget would affect many areas of the club and that priority would be given to those areas that would most benefit Pardew's work to get us back to up. So we're not surprised to see a despondent Peter Varney on the CAFC site announcing "Following the club's relegation to the Football League Championship, revised budgets have been implemented that have resulted in a significant level of cuts in all areas of the club's operations. Regrettably, with effect from today, several job functions have been made redundant. "

But not for the first time this season the management has once again come under fire. Seems that most people, even though they've never seen the Ladies play, see the decision as near-sighted and another example of continued mis-management. Turns out the Ladies have won more things in 7 years than the men have in 100. And having spent 7 years creating a team and its environment with its own Womens' Academy and Centre of Excellence its clearly bad business sense that having created it it all has to be thrown away because of the senior teams relegation.

Relegation for the Addicks ( the boys, that is ) was a yearly threat for a small club but to build up a parallel Womens section that even has its own honours section on its website which it turns out is totally dependent on the success of the real Addicks is quite obviously criminal. Its one thing to build up the administration of the club to cope with the demands of premiership football with its attendant staffing levels but quite another to create a footballing section for women that has to be tossed aside when the "core business" suffers a loss in income.

All the talk of work in the community and all the effort that has been spent in creating a family club has obviously been damaged by this decision as can be judged by the various forums everywhere. Finance is one thing but image these days is of vital importance too. We're not just selling football here. In so many areas its been acknowledged that we have to sell ourselves as a club, a name. And with this decision that name has, regretably, been tarnished. Short-sighted and a trifle sexist, that's what it's been called.

And how is it that the likes of Doncaster, Cardiff and recently liquidated Leeds United can run a Womens team and we cannot. We played in Spain a few weeks ago and narrowly lost to the best Spanish side Espanol with another close game against Barcelona for gods sake. Whenever did the real addicks give Barcelona a difficult game? Back in the 50's maybe...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pards in Search for Bigger Wallet

Seems that a combination of Pardew's need to get his hands on some readies and Martin Jol's determination to drive a hard bargain has resulted in the Addicks dropping the price on Darren's head. He's already cost us 2 big ones by rejecting further relationships with Curbs and with just under 4 weeks to go before the first pre-season friendly its apparently time to get serious.

The only doubt regarding the story is that it appears under the Guardians Rumour Mill page, not usually the most reliable of sources.

Apparently, the deal's now worth £15M with an additional £1M in unspecified performance-related payments. Ipswich are of course rubbing their little hands with glee at the thought of their twenty per-cent sell-on cut, a cool 3 mill for doing nothing.

But, doing nothing is not in Pardew's mindset as he continues with the job of rebuilding for the future, although prospective sellers will of course spot that he'll have a huge wadge of dosh stuck in his back pocket that they'll be more than eager to get their sticky hands on. It wouldn't last long, Pards, make sure you take more care on spending it than the last Big Spender that we had. No more Traore's or Pouso's please. In fact, just one year on its hard to remember just where it all went.

Anyway, lets just hope that Darren, tempted by the thought of playing alongside Berbatov, has taken note of the "opposition" in his rumoured new changing room. Not least the fact that his favored Number 10 shirt is worn by Robbie Keane who is currently enjoying his best spell at the Lane. Keane, 27 in July, is clearly approaching his peak having scored 22 goals last season, his highest ever total and because of injuries this was from only 18 Premiership starts. Although he only scored 11 in the League he really hit form at the end of the season, scoring 15 in his last 15 games. He's also the clubs highest wage earner, a big favorite with the fans and he takes the penalties, with 4 scored last season. Fortunes change fast in football, as we well know, but good luck Darren.

But in every deal there's usually a plus side, and this ones no exception as its obvious from the noises coming from the Lane that Darren's arrival would spell the end of his Tottenham career for our favorite ex-player. Yes, it seems that a certain J. Defoe will at last get his just desserts and be consequently given the heave-ho by Jol. What a shame and reduced to searching for a new home after the arrival of a player from Charlton. Priceless really.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Le Gaffer Strikes Again.

Out with the old and in with the new is the expression. The day after 32 year old Kish left on a permanent deal to Leicester a new full-back arrives. He's 20 year old French U-21 captain Yassin Moutaouakil who does seem to have a striking resemblance to Nicolas Anelka.

He's been playing for tier-2 side Chateauroux down there in mid-france and says all the right things that a new signing should be saying, the most important being "Many clubs tried to sign me but Charlton did a good job convincing me that this is the best move for me. I chose Charlton because I feel that this is an ambitious club and I believe that I will progress well under the manager here. I did not want to sign for a club just because they are a big name, or for the colour of their shirt."

Sounds like a good signing even if the name doesn't exactly round off the tongue. He currently needs a translator but at least there's Diawara, Bougherra and Faye that all speak french so he should feel at home. And with 4 french speaking and 4 paddies in there too ( OK, I included Captain Matt) it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall come July.

A lot of clubs have shown interest in Yassin, not least Barcelona, Marseille, Lazio, Celtic and a couple of Premiership big boys but strangely no mention of Arsene. Come to think of it, didn't Pards and Wenger have a spat about Arsenal's reliance on foreign players and not enough young British players coming through. Well, seems Pards has had second thoughts and besides he'll argue that he's only swapping an old Bulgarian for a young Frenchman, a good deal in anyone's book although Osei probably wouldn't agree.

And is this the Big Goodbye to Luke Young? West Ham here we come at last although there does seems a certain reluctance on the part of our players to rejoin their old manager over there in Upton. Strangely enough 45% of the pollsters on cafcpicks still want him to stay. Come on Luke do the decent thing we need the dosh.

Anyway, holidays apparently come to an end at the end of next week with Pre-season Training due to commence on Monday July 2nd and at least Andy Reid will be happy to get the company as he's reported to have been training alone for the last few weeks. Better get some french lessons, though Andy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And its Goodbye Kish.

A statistic in the last Charlton yearly handbook for season 2006/07 tells us that nobody played more games for the Addicks that year than Radostin Kishishev, Kish to everyone. How a simple sentence can show how quickly things can change.

That year saw a total of 34 Premiership games for Kish in Curbs' last season in a midfield that started with Murphy and Smertin. This was by far Kish's best season although by the end of the year in a triangle with Holland and Hughes the flaws were beginning to show. He first appeared for the Addicks in our first game in our 7 year run in the Premiership in 2000 as a right-back against Man. City in a 4-0 win but by the end of his time here he was a combative midfielder and for all of his latter-day mistakes he had won over the fans with his endless effort for the team. Sweating buckets he always gave everything he could and that's why we loved him. Eager and enthusiastic, his name was easily dropped to the simple one syllable that we demand of our heroes and became a by-word for effort. But by the end we all knew that despite our tortured affection he had to go.

With the arrival of Dowie last summer, new-boy Amady Faye was the chosen ball-winning midfielder and Kish started only one game until Reed took over in November. He started in our third win of the season over Blackburn in December and continued against Spurs at the Lane in a midfield of Faye, Reid and Holland that finished with a 5-1 defeat. He thankfully missed the Liverpool game but returned for the fixture at Middlesbrough and then played in Pardew's first two games in charge against Fulham and Aston Villa but the Villa game was to be his last in a Charlton shirt. Holland was increasing preferred and then Song arrived that really spelt the end for Kish.

So after exactly 200 appearances for the Addicks the writing was on the wall and at 33 in July he was never going to be offered another contract. Farmed out to Leeds towards the end of last season where he played 10 games and its been his good reviews there that has prompted Leicester to take him on.
He'll return on September 22nd with Leicester and we'll look forward to seeing him. It's certain that he'll get a rousing reception before and after the game even though after 90 minutes he'll have worked his socks off for another team. Cheers Kish we don't mind, it was good to see you again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Andy Reid Prays for a Good Start... and No Injuries

Its now over five months since we've seen or heard anything of our favorite little irish fella but to reassure us that he's still around he's popped up on the official site over the last couple of days with a short audio interview and stunning photo.

He's certainly looking fit and he's definitely someone that we've expecting great things of come August. There was talk, before Christmas, of him becoming a Charlton legend but things haven't turned out quite as expected. Just when he was starting to look good and find his best position in the side playing in the hole behind Darren in December he started to have hamstring problems.

He made a comeback in January for the home game with Middlesbrough on Jan. 13th but that proved to be his only game under Pardew. An operation followed in early March to remove scar tissue from his problematic hamstring and he was told not to play again till next season.

So to recap, he played in 16 of our first 18 games and after 13 games with not a single goal from either a midfielder or defender he broke the duck and scored the equaliser in the 1-1 with Everton in November. He scored again in the next game at Sheffield when a 2-1 defeat really told the team the true state of their problems. Three games later he played in the home disaster against Liverpool when his problems began and we didn't see him again till the Middlesbrough game. Another bad result that day and that was it for Reid for the season.

The good news would appear to be that he's staying put and not wanting to jump ship. And for this we can probably thank his injury problems as he's been out of sight of potential buyers.

The big question remains, of course, will he fully recover from the injury and can Pards rely upon him for a full season? Hamstring injuries are more likely to reoccur once damaged and one reported reason that Jol let him go was that he always seemed to be injured. If you want to read more about hamstring injuries there's a good article here with diagrams.

Remembering his time with Spurs, he only featured in 13 Premiership games in his last full season there in 2005/06 and only made a total of 20 starts in a season and a half since joining them from Forest in January 2005. So injury prone or not, its likely that Pardew will want to have a back-up ready and waiting just in case. A return for Murphy in a Bent deal? We all hope not!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Iron and the Hammers

Scunthorpe. Even if you emphasize the last syllable with one of their deep local drawls it still doesn't sound as bad as I thought it was going to be. And the realisation that we're not going to be playing one of the big boys couldn't have been made more clearer really. The Premiership? Yeah, we'll be back, some day over the horizon but are we going to miss it? I don't think so. Obscene amounts of cash washing about, all them foreigners falling over, fools on TV giving their views and then insulting reports in the papers. Who needs it?

So it's time for a change, something everyone needs, and on to the fizzies and after everyone getting a tad upset months ago at the very thought of relegation and having to play the likes of down-market Scunthorpe, here we are meeting them in the first game on August 11th. Pards says its going to be tough, and perhaps not the best time to meet a promoted club but at least it'll mean that we'll not have an easy three points giving us any delusions. If we win we'll know that we are capable of doing something in the League. If we lose, God help us, but we'll find out straight away that we're not good enough at the fizzy level and have to improve.

On the player front, the Elk is officially off to Qatar and now there's the intriguing news that after jetting back from his hols to discuss the matter, our little Benty has decided NOT to join the Hamsters. A very good deal for the club and a lotta wonga for the man himself and he turns it down. What can be the reason? Is he really one of us and likes the Valley so much that he'd rather stay for just one more year?

Our Reg explains it all away, or rather doesn't, on the official site and looks forward to having Darren with us come August.

But as Ketts says on frankie its all rather strange when a simple NO could be arranged over the phone. Perhaps he wasn't enjoying the sun in the Caribbean, perhaps Reg wanted to have a word or perhaps everyone's holding on to the Spurs ticket. Maybe Darren prefers working with Pardew rather than Curbs and is prepared to wait for another offer from a bigger club. But above all its significant that since Pards has been involved the value placed on players seems to be more realistic than under previous regimes. 16-18 million and a player that he's been after since he arrived - Mullins - included in the deal would seem to imply that at last we have a manager who can obtain a decent price for players.

Whether Pards can similarly get round the more astute Jol is another matter. If there's anyone who knows the value of money its Mr Jol, just ask Murphy.

In fact, Darren's move could well turn into one of those eBay deals where nothing really happens until the last 3 minutes and then the price skyrockets. Trouble with playing so close to the wind, of course, is that Pards wants to know how much cash he has to play with and a last minute deal will leave him with little time to plan and there will come a time when perhaps poker skills will come to play. Who has the expertise, I wonder?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

We're Big Fish Now

Watched "Searching for Nemo" last night. Its for kids, but I'm a sucker for searching films, people looking for something, working out clues and stuff, trying to get home just like that classic story Ulysses. Don't know why, but it reminded me of Pards really, sat with his Soccerbase bible desperately scanning the databases looking for players on the cheap. And it seems we've got another one, Paddy McCarthy from Leicester. Someone else that no body's ever heard of but what the hell, that's life now. But good to see he's taking the advice to become a Tier 2 Irish team. Randolph, Reid, skipper Holland ( from Bury), now Paddy and Joe Gamble next. Can't go buying any foreigners now Pards, they'll not be understanding them there Irish fellas. Shame that 24 year-old Paddy seems a bit injury prone though, he's been out since January with a shoulder injury.

Anyway, back to Nemo. Its all very happy stuff till old big Jaws arrives scaring everyone and hey-presto there was the Addicks connection again, I must be obsessed or something. That 'ittle fishy in the front, why that's how we were the last few seasons, struggling to survive in that big jungle thing, fighting to avoid the inevitable. Now we've swapped places and instead we've taken the part of that big ugly blue monster at the back. Big Fish. That's us now.

And it feels good. People are suddenly attracted to Charlton 'cause they think we're going places, up of course. People are clamouring to join saying we're "massive", a "big London club" and the wages aren't bad either with all that parachute dosh.

And its not just us that's looking forward to the fixtures coming out. First of all they'll all be looking for Charlton Athletic to see when they're playing the favorites, and its not favorites for relegation either. We're the bookie's favorites for Promotion, never happened before in living memory even when we were in Tier 3. And apparently it seems that the fans agreed. On the official site, 83% think we'll go straight back up to Tier One, with 65% voting us as Champions. Such confidence has never been seen before from the Addicks, perhaps its to do with the fact that Darren B hasn't moved yet. Anyway, it all makes a pleasant change from claiming mid-table Premiership boredom as the seasons goal and putting up with the TV pundits and their obsession with the other Big Boys.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Panic Over

Well, that's a relief. Just when we were starting the desperate search for a new captain from the likes of Thatcher and Reidie it seems that the Sunday papers were making it all up about our Captain Marvel joining forces with Harry down there on the coast. Redknapp, who tried to sign Holland four years ago, said yesterday: "I like Matty, but he's not coming here. He's a good lad, a good player. I like him a lot. But he's not somebody I'm going for."

It made for a good topic for a Monday morning but while 56% of fans voting want Young to leave in cafcpicks in a poll of 973, the same fans - well a poll of 980 - 49% wanted Holland to stay. But then 7% wanted Kev L to stay! There's also a comment from wyngrant today that Myles Weston is being targeted by Notts County after being released him from the Addicks last week. Maybe I'm missing something but Weston was among the players listed as being released in the kent-online article along with Kevin Lisbie and Kish. So has Kev quietly slipped out the door to avoid all the fuss. Could be.

And if you still continue to believe everything you read, in the fiver today there's a small comment about our Darren apparently dashing his hopes of playing alongside Berbatov at Spurs - "Ipswich could get 25% of a big fat nothing as their sell-on clause prices Spurs out of a move for Charlton's £20m Darren Bent." Well, thats all over then and it seems that Pards will have to rely on Luke Young' s money and whatever Richard and the boys can pull together. Unless we are really back to the good old days of Tier 2 football such as in 1983 when the collection boxes went round to help us buy Ronnie Moore from Rotherham.

But the really bad news this morning has to be that Pards has missed out on the summer's biggest bargain as defender (!) Titus Bramble joins Wigan on a free transfer. Pardew, keep up will you.

And if there's anyone interested, here's the website for the BBC's Fizzy Pops to help you get used to the idea of life in the second tier and plan all those exciting away days.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Four Weeks On!

Monday morning again and its now exactly 4 weeks since our demise from the Premiership, Tier 1, top-flight or whatever you want to call it. We handed back our Premier Share last week and are in the process of being moved on all the football web-sites into something called the "Championship" category.

So we're now officially second-best Tier 2 fizzy-pop material and after the rumours of lots of people leaving the club we can now look forward to the serious rebuilding. In fact, lots of people, frankievalley, cafcpicks included have already got into the spirit with a complete make-over and obviously Pardews' of the same mind. Ten new players is the idea and after the immediate response of the signing of a couple of new strikers from Colchester and Crewe, there's speculation that Gillingham and Cork City will also be raided. Its a tough League, the fizzies, and there's no room for expensive hangers-on although Iwelumo's wage of £11k a week has caused some disquiet.

And after last weeks news that £16m will have to be cut from the wage bill its now reported in kent-online that Charlton's wage bill has been slashed from £27 million to £11 million, Well, that's certainly 16 less but doesn't really tally with the figures that appeared in addicksdiary on June 1st where it was reported in Deloitte's that "Charlton have finished in the top ten in the Premiership wages table produced by Deloitte Sport. Admittedly, the figures relate to 2005/6 when Charlton came tenth with a wages bill of £34.2m." Rather hard to believe then that one year on our wage bill would drop from £34.2m to £27m especially after JFH's arrival.

So perhaps we should take with a pinch of salt the news that follows from the same source: "Luke Young is likely to be reunited with former manager Alan Curbishley at West Ham. Talal El Karkouri and Souleymane Diawara are also leaving, while Kevin Lisbie, Thomas Myhre, Mark Staunton, Nathan Ashton, Radostin Kishishev, Myles Weston and Rurik Gislason have been released."

And there's more: "Midfielders Matt Holland and Bryan Hughes have been offered extensions to their existing deals but are expected to move on. Central defender Jonathan Fortune, who spent the final months of last season on loan at Stoke, is wanted back, though his £9,000 a week wages are a stumbling block. But Darren Ambrose and Jerome Thomas look set to stay and manager Alan Pardew has not given up hope of retaining midfielders Alex Song and China captain Zheng Zhi for a further season."

Convincing Alex Song and ZiZi to come back for another year will obviously tax Pardew powers of persuasion but strange there's no mention of Darren Bent anywhere. £15 m is a lot to ask and its hard to decide whether the value is meant as a realistic marker in the ground or is to frighten clubs off. Maybe the unexpected will happen but somehow I rather doubt it.

Anyway, if we believe all we read the team-sheet at the moment looks something like this:
Randolph, Sankofa, Bougherra, Fortune, Thatcher, Christensen, Reid, Ambrose, Thomas, Iwelumo and Varney. But don't get too alarmed, there's another 8 to arrive along with the appearance of Cory Gibbs of course.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

"Top the Lot"

Just finished reading a book about the life of Henry the Eighth and its chock-a-block full of him sending for the axe to get rid of people that couldn't put their weight. Wives that couldn't produce male heirs, bishops that didn't agree with his ideas on religion and ministers that he couldn't trust, they all suffered the same fate - the dreaded chop.

So the news that the "deadwood", not my words, from the 2006/07 season are to be summarily disposed off before we start life in the fizzy pops does appear to be a similar approach. And its our top Lord Richard Murray that has laid it on the line.

And after the disaster that's been the last season its obvious that the management are keen to make the real culprits pay the price. "Top the Lot" has been heard from the masses and our only disappointment at the changes will be the regretful fact that innocent numbers of the admin staff will also have to leave as a consequence of the poor performance of the few.

No, its the ringleaders of this sad affair that deserve all they get. Being hung, drawn and quartered is too good for them, we want to see 'em suffer just like we have. All we need to know now is to see exactly who does Pards thinks are the culprits behind the disaster. Through no fault of their own, the first to get the axe have been the on-loan boys Carson, Song and ZiZi dispatched back to their respective owners without the chance of a reprieve. The next out were the two old codgers of the team, JFH and HH, who at their age we knew could not survive in the fizzies.

And despite his near ever-present season and 3 goals the Elk has also been summoned to the board room and given the grim news, off with his head, and into foreign exile with you.

Next out its rumoured to be Jerry Thomas, whose fate is far worse than most with talk of his being dispatched to that den of hopelessness and eternal suffering that is termed Birmingham City FC. Is there no end to the bloodletting? No, it seems not as our beloved Kish also appears on the black execution list and is right now contemplating life in the no-mans land of the midlands condemned to a diet of stale Walkers crisps.

Sadly in any affair of this magnitude there's bound to be some innocents that have to suffer so that changes can be made and the grass made safer to walk upon. So it is that Darren Bent and Luke Young are due to be the next to receive the summons and a long walk into the darkness that is life outside the Valley.

As for the remainder, Rommedahl, Faye, Diawara, M. Bent and Mr Lisbie there is no news and as we're generally speaking humane individuals, it can only be hoped that they didn't suffer unduly as the hand of justice falls upon them, although "Top the Lot" can still be heard at the back.

It only remains for the chief to issue a statement addressing the faithful and outlining the true facts of "The Affair", as far as we'll ever know anyway.

"A unexpected change in our situation, which I might add, was totally unplanned and a surprise to everyone, has unfortunately lead to a complete reversal of attitudes at the club resulting in a necessity to change certain things. Key positions will in future be given to personnel that deserve our trust and a return to normality and efficiency will be the expected result."