Top class defending

Well, I didn't expect the score-board to again be filled up like lights on a Christmas tree this week, but that's exactly what we got. Two points from two home games in the last week is not what we wanted ... but in the circumstances I am more than happy.

I have never seen the Valley erupt so loudly to a goal that only guaranteed us a point at home, especially to such meagre opposition ... but we were all convinced that despite such a valiant rearguard action, we had finally lost our unbeaten home record.

But it was not to be ... this team does not give in and there were some heroic performances on the pitch not least by Nicky Bailey and Jose Semedo.

And arguably all of our best back four were off the pitch and they still did not collapse under the expected onslaught of the 2nd half. I was extremely concerned when it was apparent that Dailly was injured, but we would not have done any better even with him on the pitch.

This was a second half performance that will be remembered for a long time. Determination, passion, and a desire that the two players that were stupidly sent off were not going to provoke our first defeat since March at the Valley.

And both Parky ... with a decision to move to an attacking formation despite only having 9 men ... and the crowd ... who were at times louder than we have been since the Premiership ... fully played their part.

The draw last week felt like a defeat ... this week it felt like a win ... and it was good to shut up the gloating Swindon fans who seemed to believe they had a world-beating team just because they were winning against nine men.

Jose Semedo was superb after being forced to move back into defence ... as good a display, and at times better, than many of our normal defenders have given this season.

And Nicky Bailey was enormous ... determined and passionate, he was never going to give in, leading the team with a true captain's display.

Shelvey and Llera also deserve a special mention, not just for the goals, but for their overall display.

As for the sending-offs, they were both stupid and self-induced. Sodje's second red card in a few weeks was insane ... you just can't make that type of tackle and expect to stay on the pitch ... and it's a four match ban!

Deon should have known better than to argue with this referee (see below) for his first yellow, and a streak of madness must have overtaken him when he handled the ball to be sent off.

For the first 20 minutes, even when Sodje was off the pitch being patched up, we were all over Swindon, and I had the feeling that once we got going, it could be a big win.

But it was not to be due to the circumstances outlined above ... and I cannot let this posting end without mentioning the absolutely abysmal display by the referee. We have seen some poor displays by referees this season, but this has to be amongst the worse. He made so many mistakes, I lost count ... and relied continuously on the linesman by the West Stand to pick up decisions he had missed. And how Swindon only got their first booking in the last few minutes, and that only for dissent, I have no idea.

Elliot - some wonderful saves, did everything we could have asked of him.
Omozusi - a capable display, but I expected more after his display last week.
Basey - brave and committed, another good performance following on from last week.
S Sodje - stupid tackle, out now for 4 games, whatever his excuse it's not good enough.
Llera - excellent display rounded off by a very coolly taken goal.
Spring - could have scored, some great passing movements
Semedo - superb in defence, we definitely missed him in midfield, but one of the main reasons we did not lose.
Shelvey - you could see he was happy to be back and determined to show why he should be back in the team. I told my son he would score, and happily he did.
Bailey - what a game, my man of the match. He does not give in, a true captain.
A Sodje - ran out of steam in the end, and not always as effectual as I would like, but a constant thorn in the side of Swindon.
Burton - Deon, Deon, Deon why did you do that? I am not going to criticise him, he's had a great season - just don't do it again!
Wagstaff - nothing outstanding, but he didn't let us down.
McKenzie - still not fully fit in my mind, his best ... I hope .. is yet to come.
Dickson - personally I'm not happy he was on the field, but circumstances demand.

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A real derby

Well ... what can you say about that?!? It was my son's first Charlton Millwall game and it had everything except the final result ... red card, a plethora of yellow cards, an over-officious referee who loved talking, two penalties, a packed away end ... ohhh, and 8 goals.

The threat by Millwall to bring a 'tsunami' of fans and overwhelm Charlton did not, as most of us expected, materialise. There were pockets of Millwall fans in the home areas, but to be honest not that many, and probably less than we had at Gillingham ... so well done to Charlton for sorting this out.

The pitch has taken quite a battering in recent weeks but all credit to Paddy Powell and his team, it stood up well.

Both the Mizzen and Knox families received a well deserved reception before the game and it is appreciated that both clubs, and sponsors, supported the initiative.

The match itself was fairly dramatic and certainly took an early turn for the worse when the Spanners went two ahead. For most of the 1st half, our defence and midfield did not look like they were functioning very effectively. Perhaps the occasion got to them?

Then ... a penalty to Charlton! And I am not convinced it was a penalty ... in any event, I doubt Mooney would have scored.

And then ... another penalty!! This time it was cast-iron, and Millwall had a player red-carded.

Deon put away both away extremely effectively to get us level again.

Half-time at 2 apiece was probably fair ... we never really got going.

Second half and almost immediately after the re-start, a wonder goal from Nicky Bailey sending the Valley (ok, not the Jimmy Seed Stand) into raptures.

Second half Charlton looked a lot better but Millwall never looked like they only had 10 men, proving to be very resilient and leading to their 3rd goal.

Incredibly, Charlton then went on to score a 4th, albeit an own goal by the Spanners. When 5 minutes injury time was announced to no great surprise, I must admit that I still thought we would win the game ... but it was not to be.

Farcical defending and goal-keeping meant that the Spanners came away with a point, although the way their fans celebrated you would have thought they had been promoted ... and you don't care about us? Of course, you don't ;-)

And a word about the Mooney substitution ... I've been one of those supporting Mooney but as far as I am concerned, he can now clear off back to where he came from. Leaving the pitch after substitution, he threw his shirt on the floor, walking away to the tunnel, and then completely ignored the applause of the Covered End ... don't bother coming back Mooney.

Elliot - did not command his area as much as I would have liked, and committed some misjudgements, but he was definitely up for this game.
Omozusi - contributed a lot to the game and never stopped running, a few errors but did well in such an atmosphere.
Basey - excellent game, did not want to let anyone get past him.
S Sodje - not at his best, but strong at times. Too many mistakes.
Dailly - one of his weaker games, possibly his first. But still did enough to frustrate Millwall at times.
Sam - was very concerned after first half that he would be sent off, he was a target for both Millwall and the ref, but did enough for a good display. His booking means he will miss the Swindon game.
Spring - not on long enough to contribute.
Semedo - no way near as strong as usual ... did the atmosphere affect him?
Bailey - strong, committed, and just the sort of player you want in a derby game ... brilliant goal.
Wagstaff - had a good game, never scared to get involved and worried Millwall a few times.
McKenzie - not on long enough to tell, but had a few good runs.
Mooney - see above ... very lightweight today.
A Sodje - not as effective as he can be when coming on as sub but was involved.
Burton - excellent game and my man of the match.

And the fans ... well, Millwall took advantage of the better acoustics in the Jimmy Seed Stand first half, but there were times during the game when they were more like kittens. The Covered End came into it's best during the second half and contributed to a great atmosphere.

I love real derby games!

Incidentally, I fully agree with Parky's comments about the ref:

"I thought the ref was the person who got carried away with the derby frenzy more than anybody,” said Parkinson. "For both teams, there were too many stoppages. Every challenge seemed to result in a free-kick. There were so many decisions which were called wrong. For their third goal, Jose Semedo won the ball cleanly in midfield and he gave them a free-kick. I was disappointed with the ref.”

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Winning in the snow

This is the one ... this is the real derby for Charlton.

I've been looking forward to this all season, and it will be the first Charlton Millwall match attended by my son.

A few weeks ago I predicted that this would probably be one of the very few games that we would lose ... but you know what? The closer to the game we have got, the more positive I have become ... and it's snowing! For those that remember, what better omen for a 2-0 Charlton win.

Let's just hope that Greenwich Health & Safety and the local OB do not get too officious and cancel the game.

C'mon you Reds!!!!!!!!!

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Any win will do

We won.

I was going to leave it there and say no more ... it was the most important issue of the day and if we can win when most of the team has an off-day, then I'm delighted.

But it is worth making some comment. This is a game that I am sure we would have lost in the last 3 or 4 seasons ... ok, yes, we are in a lower division but getting a result when it is perhaps not deserved is how many teams end up being promoted. Look at Leeds ... they have had 3 or 4 games this season when even their fans admit a win was not deserved ... but they got it and that is the difference between automatic promotion and playoffs, playoffs and 7th.

Southend brought less fans than I expected but based on their home crowds I guess it was reasonable. They were in fairly good voice, although as usual the acoustics of the Jimmy Seed stand do help. Found it a bit ridiculous when they started singing 'Can we sing a song for you' just after the Covered End had been particularly vocal. And I hadn't realised how much they now dislike Nicky Bailey! Is he their Scotty Parker?

There were a few quiet spots from both sets of supporters, and once again the Covered End were better in the 2nd half and I am hoping that the reprise of "CAFC - we hate Millwall" gets a repeated airing in 2 weeks, as it is one song that currently appears to reach a high decibel level in the Covered End. Let's just trust that the Charlton fans will turn out for this game in their droves ... it is our real derby not the plasticness of Palaaarse!

As for the game yesterday, well perhaps the less said the better. I heard Phil Parkinson on the radio on the way home saying that it was messy and we did not look particularly good, but it was the result that counted ... I couldn't agree more. Not a sumptuous feast of football for the fans, but we all would have taken 3 points before the game whatever the display. There were times when we actually looked like the away side and not even a good one at that.

I said to my son before kick-off that I wondered how the lack of Semedo would affect us ... the display was not entirely due to his absence, but I believe it highlights his importance to us in midfield. Our passing game was non-existent, and we have proved many times that when we can get the passing going and keep the ball on the floor, we are as good as, if not better than, anyone in this division.

Elliot - not that troubled to be honest despite the possessional superiority that Southend appeared to have. Reacted well when called upon to do so.

Richardson - nothing special but it felt good to have him back. I hope the injury is not serious.

Basey - good game, totally committed but still a lot to learn. A concern about his lack of pace at times, but I think he brings enough into his game to counterbalance this.

Sam Sodje - very strong at times, but not at his best.

Dailly - better than most even he did not have one of his best games.

Sam - good runs, and did worry Southend at times, but not enough end result.

Racon - very worrying attitude in this game, and he showed once again why he has been the midfielder that has not managed to score this season.

Bailey - I thought this would be a giant performance against his former team but it was not to be.

Wagstaff - never stops running and can be a bit of a thorn in the side of the opposition. Like Basey, he is still learning but deserved his starting spot in the team.

Mooney - my mate was explaining to me before the game why he does not rate Mooney, whereas I do. He believes he is too lightweight and knocked off the ball too easily. Why did he choose yesterday to prove my mate right?

Burton - if I have a man of the match it is Deon. 10 goals so far and he could definitely be on course for 20 this season if his hernia does not affect him too badly. Always dangerous.

Omozusi - I am not convinced yet, but I am beginning to believe that there might be something there.

Spring - not as effective as I had hoped he would be, but to be fair, that may be down to the team performance as a whole.

Akpo Sodje - did not have a starring cameo this time, but I like having him on the bench as an effective sub.

So ... overall not the best, but we are still 2nd and widened the gap with some teams ... apart from Norwich. But they still have to catch us and those ... and their numbers were very high ... among the Charlton 'faithful' who were convinced we would be outside the top six by Christmas ... I just hope you are happy that you have been proved wrong.

Stockport next week who I believe are on the back of a 6 or 7 game losing streak - surely it must be the right time to play them!

And the week after ... the game I have been waiting for ... Spanners at home. Get those vocal cords well oiled Covered End!!!.

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Welcome response

What a great day. I hadn't posted on the two cup games, initially because after Northwich I did not find myself with much to say and others had adequately expressed my feelings.

Furthermore, many of the message boards and forums were so over the top with ridiculously inane and accusatory comments that I couldn't be bothered to add anything.

Then, after the Saints game, the comments became so extreme that an outsider would have thought that the club had ended. There was nothing good to come out of the 2 cup games (apart from the obvious ... allowing us to firmly concentrate on the league) but there was no need for the melodramatic and theatrical posturing that was going on.

So we may not all agree that Parky is the right manager ... but what's the point of replacing him now? We have been down the road of a managerial merry-go-round before and see where it got us!

Fans that emphasised we were still second are accused of having rose-tinted spectacles, do not have the bottle to complain, and are content in their little 3rd division world.

Well that's complete b*llsh*it ... just because some of us did not view last week as the end of the world and that with all the doom and gloom Charlton were finished, does not mean our viewpoint is invalid.

And perhaps ... maybe ... the result yesterday went some way to vindicating the team. OK, to those with a glass half-empty perspective, it was just one game ... it always is when we are doing well, but when we are losing (as only occasionally happens this season), it is seen as far more valid.

The best comment that I saw on the message boards last week was 'Get a grip' ... one that I fully supported and still do.

There are Charlton fans out there who seem to thrive when results are bad but disappear into the woodwork when we actually do something positive. I've not been on the boards yet today ... on purpose .. I did not want it to influence my thoughts. Will be interesting to see what is being said in a few minutes. Hopefully there will be some more positivity ... but my guess, as stated above, is that many will still be saying it's only a one-off. Well, it's one game, so what else can it be?

After the next 3 weeks ... with four winnable games ... Yeovil and Brighton away, Bristol Rovers and Southend at home ... we will have a very good idea of where we will be going this season. I still firmly believe we will be up there in the top two ... many seem to think we will be out of the play-offs by Christmas ... we will see. My son is going to Yeovil next week, and I must admit that I am quite jealous that I am missing this one ... but circumstances (i.e. an overseas business trip) denied me this game.

Anyway, back to yesterday. A sterling display, all the more pleasing as we came back from one down. In my view, an excellent riposte to the spineless 'couldn't care less' attitude of the Vics game.

Weather conditions were atrocious, but affected both teams equally, and it was always obvious that high balls could be very threatening if fed into the area. I thought that Franchise FC were one of the better teams that we have seen (oh, how I hate to say that) and for many periods played a very neat passing game. But they are badly let down by their ill-disciplined and continual complaints to the referee, a myriad of niggly fouls, and a tendency to rush the ref en-masse when they feel hard done by. Any coincidence that Incey is their manager?

Both our team and our fans seemed to approach this game in the same vein. During the first half hour, we were out-sung, and at least matched on the pitch. In the second half, we were the stronger team and better able to adapt to the conditions, whilst the Covered End just got louder and louder, one of their best 'appearances' this season.

As for the team:

Ikeme - I'm not convinced about him, but to be fair, I'm not convinced about Randolph either. He needs to take control of his area and start shouting when he is coming for the ball.

Richardson - I believe we have missed Fraser, the defence seems stronger when he is on the field. A good display, but hope the injury is not bad.

Youga - not his best game, but more than competent at times. Definitely managed to pressure Franchise when he went on runs.

Sodje (Sam) - this guy wants to win. I love his attitude and even more so when I read his interview in the program after the game. If you haven't seen it, try to get a copy. A real Charlton man who admits he has had sleepless nights since the Vics game and was desperate to amend the situation. The way he celebrated by dancing around the pitch after the game says it all.

Dailly - as always, a solid professional display. 36 years old? Hard to believe ... he still has a couple more seasons in him.

Sam - this was better. Seemed a lot fitter today than recent weeks.

Semedo - very skillful player, not yet back to his best.

Bailey - my man of the match. Got stuck in everywhere, commanded the team, and got results.

Racon - good game, but as with Semedo, not back to his best. The pairing need to get back to the the level they had earlier in the season.

Burton - excellent, so happy he got a goal before he was substituted. Definitely troubled Franchise FC.

Mooney - as he had promised, delivered a strong game, and I am a little concerned that his loan spell expires on 1st December ... I hope we can keep him longer.

Basey - very committed if not always effective, but he tried.
McKenzie - looked good and I like the way he 'ghosts' in on the opposition without them expecting it, and grabs the ball. Strong in the tackle.
Sodje (Akpo) - if he gives us half as much as his brother, then signs are good.

... and Parky, well done, good shape to the team, and a sounder, more astute tactical awareness than we saw in the cup games.

C'mon you reds !!!

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Parky renews contract

Phil Parkinson signs one-year extension to his contract.

Differing views about this around the Interweb, but I see it as a good move.

He deserves to be recognised for his work this season having turned a broken demoralised bunch of players into a tight disciplined team.

Of course we are not there yet ... and a number of fans would rather wait until we are promoted ... or not, which is their argument.

My view is that we should give credit and reward where it is due ... this is good man-management from the board ... and shows that the club believes in his approach.

Furthermore it gives a great sign to the players that the board has confidence in the way we are moving forward ... what better way to further improve the self-assurance of the squad?

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We can do it

A month since the last post ... doesn't time fly!

So what's happened on the pitch since then?

Three nil defeat at Colchester ... more goals conceded than expected but I think a lot of us saw this as a potential banana skin game ... and so it proved.
Leeds away ... a creditable 0-0 draw ... I certainly would have accepted that before the game started ... which I celebrated in Floyds Bar in Vilamoura :-)
Barnet ... blimey, we won a cup game and emphatically at that!
Oldham ... a nil-nil slog ... I hope not many teams come down to the Valley and play like that!
Huddersfield ... 2-1 win in a very hard-fought and enjoyable match ... they are a tough team to beat.
1-1 draw at Gillingham ... bearing in mind their home record, not a bad result ... but so annoying with another late goal.

So, it's 29th October and we are second ... if given the chance at the start of the season, virtually all of us would have accepted that. We've seen enough already at the top and bottom of the table to realise that we should definitely be in the pay-offs ... whoops typo, should be play-offs but it means the same anyway ... at least, and a top 2 automatic promotion spot is certainly achievable. Actually, I have been surprised how many clubs have stayed close to us in 3rd and 4th spot, with a few not far away down to 8th position.

If I have one complaint this season it is the quality of the officials ... but bearing in mind that those at the top are not always the best, it is no great surprise.

The cup draw at Northwich Victoria is perfect ... if we have to play in the first round, then this is exactly the type of game that epitomises the FA Cup. A pity that our support will be reduced due to the difficulties of getting up there on a Sunday, but the revenue from ITV will be more than welcome to the cash-stretched Northwichers.

Talking of away support, good to see that ours is the 2nd highest in the division ... must be our highest for years!

So, Saturday, and it's on to Carlisle. I expect a win, and I'll go for 3-1 to us, all goals in a lively 2nd half.

Mooney to come on just after half-time, score the first goal and give a performance which will allow him to stay in the squad and provide Deon with the chance to have his hernia op.

Shelvey on for final 30 minutes assisting Semedo for a goal, wrapped up with a Wagstaff cameo and goal when he comes on for the final 15 minutes in place of a tiring Lloyd Sam.

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Not that easy

Glad that one is over. We made it far harder than we should have done ... and if Nicky Bailey hadn't made a terrific header off the line after 30 minutes, it may actually have been a different story.

A changed squad, but the player that was out was unexpected - Jose Semedo. Still not sure of the reason why, but I hope it is nothing serious ... he is my player of the season so far.

Surely it cannot have been solely due to the absence of Semedo, but we played a very different game today ... none of the passing joys that we have seen recently. There were times, especially for the 15 minutes before our 2nd goal, when I had a real concern.

Excellent first goal from Bailey ... and just at the right time four minutes before the break ... the half-time lead was justified.

Izzy scored only his second goal for us a few minutes before the end of the 2nd half ... which helped me relax at last ... until Exeter scored in stoppage time! It was that type of day, we never looked fully convincing.

But ... going into October, we are now one of the only two unbeaten teams in the country. Has that ever happened before in October? I guess that makes it odds-on for a draw next week ... a result that I would definitely accept at this moment.

Elliott - apart from one dangerous drop of the ball in his area, no real concerns. In fact, looking back, he was not forced to do too much. Some excellent catches from corners.
Richardson - not one of his best games. Defending and distribution were areas for concern today. He will want to forget this game.
Youga - improving every game. After a shaky start to the season, he is a different player. Now getting the confidence to take players on and attack. Developing a good partnership with Nicky Bailey.
Bailey - my man of the match. The defensive header and goal were already enough, but gave a good captain's performance once again.
Llera - passing not as accurate as it has been this season, but overall ok. Did not get his 5th booking.
Shelvey - fully committed to the cause. Not as good a display as the last couple of games, but still way above the level of this division. We will see better this season.
Racon - not as good without his normal partner, Jose was definitely missed by his midfield. Still a fairly solid performance.
Burton - strong player and on another day would have scored.
Sam - caused Exeter a lot of concern. Very lively and is definitely maturing into a first-class team player.
Spring - pleasing display. I was concerned that he was playing but he did not let us down.
Dailly - confident and experienced. I've said it before and will say it again - so pleased he is part of our team.

McLeod (for Burton) - easily taken goal, but will do his confidence no end of good.
Wagstaff (for Racon) - not long enough to make an impression.
Sodje (for Shelvey) - strong header away as soon as he got on the pitch, but too brief to provide any comment.

Interesting fact, my mate who is one of the chief stewards in the East Stand mentioned before the game that Exeter had brought about 600 fans, 300 of which are actually exiles based in London.

And Nicky Bailey scored our 3,000th home goal ... I'm pleased it was him.

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Safe for another season

Well done to the board.

..... and you heard it here first ;-)

Back in mid-June, my thoughts were '.. even if takeover rumours are true (although personally I think that if anything happens it will be some form of investment rather than full takeover).'

Of course it is clear that this is the position because the parties that had been in talks did not bring enough to the table.

Once again, the board has shown their wonderful commitment to Charlton Athetic and they can only be applauded for that.

And those that have stepped down from the board have been rewarded with VP positions.

Thanks enormously to all those involved ... let's hope we now achieve promotion so that their commitment shows some return.

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I so wish I had been there ... sitting in a hotel room listening to that game was not good. Even the commentators were reporting on how bad the set of officials were ... 2 disallowed goals, one dead-cert penalty refused, and 3 yellows. It sounded like he had no control and was incredibly biased ... as were the linesmen.

But ... we drew ... and we are still top ... and under the circumstances in which the game was played, i.e. rubbish officials, dirty opposition, and the Pards factor, we came out with a creditable draw.

Last season, and the one before, we would have folded in a game like this ... the team has an inner strength that has not been there before.

And Parky ... must have been a good half-time talk ... AND he refused to shake Pardew's hand at the end ... good for him!

The atmosphere on Charlton Life was red-hot so god knows what it was like at the Valley!

I'm glad this game is over ... there were too many underlying feelings for this to be a normal game ... and I am sure it permeated throughout the ground and got to the players as well ... so well done to all of them for keeping us top.

And perversely it may not be a bad thing to have dropped a couple of points ... undue pressure grows when trying to keep up a winning run ... and they know they could have won.

Well, it's past midnight here so will check some email and get to bed.

Oh, and before I forget, if any of you get over to Hong Kong check into the Grand Hyatt and ask for a room overlooking the harbour ... I have a panoramic view of the harbour, Kowloon, and Victoria Peak ... incredible backdrop for my Charlton 'viewing' today.

Come on you reds! I'm proud of you!!!

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Supporters Trust Update

The 2nd meeting will be held next week on 15th September starting at 7.30 pm, venue is the Conservative Club in Charlton Church Lane.

I am still not convinced of the validity of this but have an open mind so look forward to hearing the results.

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend as I will be in Hong Kong, leaving tomorrow afternoon and not getting back until 19th. It's a great pity as it is always best to hear these things first-hand, so I encourage as many of you as possible to attend and subsequently feed back reports on the various blogs, Charlton Life, etc., to those of us who could not attend.

It is extremely important that we get this decision right as it could have potental implications for years to come.


Hopefully my wireless network will work in my hotel in Hong Kong on Saturday night and I can listen to the Saints game on CAFC Player.

Logic tells me there is no way we should lose this game but, increasingly, it looks like a potential banana skin the closer we get to it ... that's the trouble with the last few years, it's hard to believe we can actually keep winning!

But ultimately both head and heart say we will win, so I'm going for 3-1 to us ... Shelvey to score the first and show us his golf-swing celebration, Burton the second, and Llera with a magnificent headed goal from a corner, Lambert to respond for the Saints at 2-0.

I also miss the Norwich game as I only get back that day ... bloody annoying as it is always one of my favourite awaydays. Looks like we will have good support there, and perhaps we can win this time ... my last trip to Carrow Road was on St Georges Day a couple of years ago ... brilliant day out only let down by the team!

Come on you Reds!

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Six out of six!

Well would you believe it! Not the fact that we have won six on the trot but the fact that a team came to the Valley to attack and win.

Kudos to Brentford ... they wanted it as much as us and were in our half more in the first half than any other team so far ... and they are not a bad team for this level ... the best we have faced so far.

So it was a good test with so many tough games coming up.

Whenever the ball was in the air we seemed to be playing their game plan but once it got on the floor, it was again a total Charlton passing game ... perhaps best exemplified by the 2nd great goal.

At times our passing was sublime ... and we haven't had much chance to see that for some time!

So, six out of six, with plus 12 goal difference and only three conceded ... and I am enjoying every minute!

Further good news this morning as Jonjo signed a one-year extension to his contract ... he is now with us (potentially) until 2012 ... good stuff Jonjo!

As to player ratings, it was another excellent team display:

Elliott - not that much to do but made a superb instinct save in the 2nd half at a crucial time.

Richardson - good game again, made some superb crosses from one wing to the other and excellent passes up the line, building a good relationship with Sam.

Youga - probably his best game this season, very impressive and strong at times.

Dailly - very pleased he plays for us, his experience shows through.

Llera - can see him becoming a Charlton legend if he keeps this up and stays long enough. Excellent long-ball passing ability.

Sam - going from strength to strength since substituted and Wagstaff scored at the Valley. If he had played all 90 minutes, would have been my man of the match. Fantastic goal after one of the best passing movements of the game.

Semedo - wonderful display controlling the midfield, good in attacking and defensive moves. My man of the match.

Racon - committed and confident. Important factor in creating what may be the best, or close to the best, midfield outside the Premiership.

Shelvey - never stopped running and determined to score today. Unfortunately did not happen but the next goal is coming soon.

Bailey - yet again a terrific display, we all knew how important it was that we kept him. Might well be the most important factor in our push for promotion.

Burton - I like him better and better each week. Contributes a lot to the team and general gameplay, and got the goal he deserved.

Wagstaff - confident and full of running.

McLeod - looked good and unfortunate not to have been given a goal.

Parkinson - got it right again!

So ... on to Pardew next week ... so annoying that I will be in Hong Kong but will ensure that I listen to CAFC Player. Those of you that are going ... make sure you give Pardew plenty of stick ... he may be getting it from the Saints fans too!

Oh ... and we got Barnet in the cup ... who knocked out the Spanners in the last round.

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Tranmere ... blow by blow

14.45: switched on CAFC Player, looking forward to a good, and perhaps historic, game. Five wins in a row at the start of the season ... whichever way you look at it, it seems to be an unlikely proposition for Charlton. And yet ... it actually is possible!

Team: Elliot; Richardson, Youga, Dailly, Llera; Sam, Semedo, Racon, Shelvey, Bailey; BurtonSubs: Randolph, Solly, Basey, Spring, Wagstaff, Tuna, McLeod

14.55: 40+ members logged-in to Charlton Life with 30 or so guests.

14.56: Can hear Oasis playing in the background at Tranmere – why play those tw@ts after their disgraceful behaviour towards fans this weekend.

14.59: crowd of approx. 5,500 expected today.

15.00: c’mon you reds! ... or blue and black stripes ... commentator mentions it is the smartest away kit in League One.

15.01: game started! Valley Floyd Road .......

15.03: Charlton fans quite loud, haven’t heard Tranmere yet.

15.05: Youga booked.

15.07: most possession with Charlton at the moment.

15.09: excellent shot by Jonjo met by great save from Tranmere goalie, but looks like it would have been off-side anyway.

15.13: first real opportunity, Dailly header just wide!

15.14: ooooh, Burton edge of penalty area, just over the top. Stats: 2 shots on target, 1 shot off-target, Tranmere none.

15.16: Charlton Life, 60 members on-line plus 40 guests.

15.21: according to stats on CAFC Player, Tranmere have had 51% of possession ... not from what I have heard in the commentary ... more like 60% Charlton!

15.25: Great headed goal by Sam.

15.27: Semedo, what a run ... and a brilliant goal, well done Jose!!! I am so pleased that he scored; I have rated him highly for a long time.

15.30: 4 shots on target, 1 off-target, none for Tranmere.

15.36: 55% possession, 5 shots on target, 2 off-target, still no Tranmere.

15.40: Charlton Life; 74 members and 44 guests ... getting more and more popular as the game goes on!

15.42: Bailey cross, just behind Racon, pity, could have been another.

15.45: Charlton have totally bossed this game from start to finish according to commentator.

15.46: Tranmere finally have their first real chance on goal, but saved easily by Elliott.

15.49: half-time, well done Charlton, lots of boos from the home crowd.

16.05: 2nd half starts.

16.09: Lloyd Sam, another header, great goal!

16.10: commentator, ‘game is as good as over’.

16.15: 61% possession, 7 shots on target, 2 off-target, versus Tranmere stats of 2 and 1.

16.16: away fans very loud, stand up if you love Charlton!

16.20: Kevin Lisbie equalises for Colchester against Leeds, brilliant.

16.22: Charlton Life 81 members and 44 guests

16.28: Nicky Bailey, 4th goal, wonderful.

16.29: the best start to our season of all time is going to happen!

16.36: Semedo off, Spring on ... well done Jose.

16.38: Tranmere opportunity, over the bar.

16.43: Tuna on for Jonjo.

16.46: 59% possession, 8 shots on target, 3 off-target, Tranmere 3 and 2. Fairly comprehensive.

16.51: 3 minutes added time.

16.53: yessssssssssssss, full-time, 4-0, a new record start to the season, bloody amazing!!!

Come on Charlton, what a great season.

I am so looking foward to the Brentford game next week.

And on the Pardew-watch ... Saints drew ... only 22 points ahead of them ;-)

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4 out of 4

When did that last happen, winning first 4 games of the season? Will check it out later but for the moment I am relishing being TOP OF THE LEAGUE!

Once again, we played a team that is not at our level, and to be honest we were not as convincing as we should have been ... but the fact is that you still have to win the games ... and we did.

Just listened to the Parky interview on Radio London ... I am definitely warming to him ... again an honest and open interview ... and let's not forget the inspired substitution.

He is aware that we did not have the greatest of performances but puts that down to a run of early games in a short time ... not getting involved in the 'takeover' but emphasises that squad is weak in depth but we will do our best to get through it if nothing materialises before the end of the transfer window.

Followed by an interview with Robbie Elliott, totally overjoyed that the team he supports is top and that he is playing for us and kept a clean sheet.

Great attendance figures again, especially as Walsall away support was so woeful.

Overall we know we can do better, and there are times when despite being so much on top, the team gets nervous ... and yet at other times our passing game is superb and other teams cannot touch us.

Elliot - No real problems, competent display.
Richardson - I like Richardson and he pulled out the stops again but I have concern with his clearances and passes which never seem at all targeted.
Youga - got stuck in, had some good moments, but I am still unsure about him.
Dailly - not sure if he can last a season and play every game but I certainly hope so. Valuable experienced player.
Llera - in the end I awarded him my man of the match over Burton. Well taken goal, excellent defending, totally determined to stop anything getting through, and a powerful presence for our corners.
Sam - some good crosses once again, and some speedy runs, but made sense for him to be subbed.
Semedo - always have been a great fan of Semedo and that definitely has not changed, very important part of our team, and often undervalued.
Racon - another excellent game contributing so much.
Shelvey - runs his socks off, he's everywhere and massively determined to win every game.
Bailey - excellent captain's performance ... again!
Burton - could easily have given him man of the match, he gets better every game in overall contribution, only thing missing was the ball in the net.
Wagstaff - totally full of confidence, converted a great goal that may not have happened if Lloyd were still on the pitch. Nice to know we have him in reserve.

Ohh, and Palaaarse lost, the Spanners only drew last night ... and we are 20 points above pardew :-)

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The joy of text

I am so jealous of those who were able to go last night ... it's just not the same receiving text messages whilst having dinner in Frankfurt!

But the excitement still managed to get down the mobile network as an abridged version of the texts shows below:

Son: They scored :-)
Me: Crap!
Me: Yesss, jonjooooo!
Son: BURTOOON, 2-1
Me: Brilliant!
Son: We won!!!
Me:Yesss, I cannot wait until saturday, what a season already!
Wife: Yessss. Also Welling won 3-2, but Ambrose scored 2 for Palace and they won, sh*t!
Me: Marvellissimo!
Son: Burton motm, Racon close second. Dailly also quality.
Me: I love this division, my 3rd time in div 3 and there are always good moments.
Me: Burton may possibly be special at this level, but we need a bigger squad to be sure.

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Oh what fun it is to see ...

Didn't make it up there and all credit to those who went ... they got what they deserved.

I followed the game on CAFC Player - worked very well although I lost commentary for the first few minutes of 2nd half and had to log in again. Overall it is worth having.

And it is great to also contribute to the match threads on Charlton Life ... often get a very different perspective with the comments made ... some by people actually at the game.

Sounded like we were scarcely troubled in the first half and I must admit that my mind returned to Wycombe when we became too casual and let them back in the game. Thankfully that did not happen at Hartlepool, either because we did not relax so much, or Hartlepool are a weaker team.

Based on the radio commentary, our key players were Jonjo (mentioned as a pivotal influence), Bailey, Burton, and Elliott late in the 2nd half (again) ... but to be fair, none of the team sounded too bad ... possibly Youga receiving a few negative comments.

The "Two Little Boys" anthem before the game was very surreal but the crowd obviously enjoy it.

So on to Brisbane Road (or whatever it's called these days) on Tuesday ... with almost 2,800 tickets having gone by Saturday night, it looks like a 3,000 sell-out ... and I won't be there!!!

I have to go back to Germany tomorrow and won't be back until Wednesday night ... bloody work! At least my son will make it ... and it is his first trip to Orient.

To those who are going, make a lot of noise and back the Addicks ... I know it is far too early to tell, but this has the makings of a exciting season.

... and regarding the takeover ... what takeover?

Good review from one (Drinking during the Game) who was there. Also Dr Kish and Inspector Sands.

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Almost a nightmare

Aaaaargh, just wrote a review and the PC died on me and lost the lot ... try again!

Well, we almost threw it away again ... a game which we completely dominated until the last 15 minutes or so ... a game in which we should have been at least two clear at the end of the first half ... and at least three clear by the end based on possession ... yet we became too complacent and casual allowing Wycombe back and giving them the confidence to actually think they could get a result in a game that was never going their way.

But ... and it's a big but ... we won! And on the track record of the last couple of years, that has to be seen as a plus.

My reviews:
Paul Elliott - not bothered much in the first half, made some poor choices in the 2nd half but salvaged everything with a brilliant save.
Frazer Richardson - fairly confident display, looks like we may have a good signing here.
Kelly Youga - forced into a few errors, not his best display, but also made some very good tackles and clearances.
Nicky Bailey - excellent game, fully deserved goal, and an ideal passionate captain.
Miguel Llera - looked good in the first half, took a good goal, and then let himself down with a poor performance late on - looks very nervous under pressure especially with through balls.
Jose Semedo - fairly good performance, we will see a lot better this season.
Jonjo Shelvey - lots of passion, good corners, wanted even more of the ball and got a little frustrated.
Therry Racon - fairly quiet, but nothing to complain about.
Deon Burton - reasonable, but we should be expecting more from him.
Lloyd Sam - excellent crossing, good runs, my man of the match.
Christian Dailly - brings some much needed experience, well taken goal, could be invaluable later in the season if he lasts out.

Andy Gray - should have scored, disappointing.
Izale McLeod - spirited, but little end result.

Crowd were good and the Covered End sounded loud from my new seat at the back of the East Stand - good attendance figure.
The ref had virtually nothing to do in the first half, yet played like a park ref in the 2nd half - totally rubbish ... Wycombe player takes a free kick and passes to himself? ... Bailey booked for what? Was the ref actually replaced - radio after the game seemed to think so?

Anyway, we won ... that's all that matters ... we will face tougher opposition but of the 3 clubs that came down, we had the best start! Onwards and ... hopefully ... upwards!

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Supporters Trust Meeting - minutes

Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust


7.00 pm Tuesday 4th August 2009

Conservative Club
51 Charlton Church Lane

Ben Hayes opened the meeting by explaining that the reason for the meeting was to ask questions and understand what a Trust would do for Charlton Athletic fans and how the fans could, if they wanted to, set one up.

Ben introduced James Mathie from Supporters’ Direct and he began by explaining a little about Supporters’ Direct.

There are 160 Trusts across the UK and they are looking to move into Europe. Supporters’ Direct are a not-for-profit organisation. Members of each Trust are responsible for organising their own voting / policy structure and Supporters’ Direct give advice and guide the individual Trusts. Funding for Supporters’ Direct comes from the Football Foundation, and the main objective of Supporters’ Direct is to help fans.

James explained that the main difference between a Supporters’ Trust and a Supporters’ Club is the Supporters’ Trust has a legal structure, financial responsibilities and is governed by itself. They are different organisations with different structures and a different attitude to their work.

He continued to say that the organisation is known as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS), which is a similar organisation to a co-operative. Elected roles are filled by its membership, which is open to anyone and transparent to all. The more members that join, the voice of the Trust is seen to be stronger.

Trusts are regulated by the FSA. There has to be an audit, annual accounts’ documents and an annual general meeting. Fans intending to stand for elected positions would have to be fully committed. Local councils and communities should be welcome to attend initial meetings as well as local businesses as it has to be transparent with nothing hidden and anyone would have access to view the accounts.

James stated that most Supporters Clubs’ work largely in partnership with the Football Club, organising events or raising funds on the Football Club’s behalf. Most do not have the right platform to be a critical friend of the Football Club, and do not tend to ask difficult questions about the way the club is being run.

A well organised IPS helps create a platform where not only can it retain a good relationship with the football club, but also a position where it can ask more difficult questions with the backing of a body of supporters behind it, or, in some cases, an equity holding in the club. Across the 160 Supporters’ Trusts, some hold a decent amount of shares whilst working with the club to find solutions to issues.

James used Exeter as an example of a club that owns and controls its club. Notts County did hold control until recently. On the other hand, Manchester United has a Trust with a large membership, yet the board do not acknowledge their existence. They are, however, successful in raising different questions by querying ticket information with the Office of Fair Trading and make a difference that way.

James said that all Trusts have different agendas and aims, whilst sharing a similar set of rules. There is the benefit of becoming a Trust that you have plenty of others’ experiences to assist and take advice from, along with the support and advice from Supporters’ Direct. There are 120,000 members of Supporters’ Trusts in the UK. The government are very supportive of the initiative. There are many successful Trusts and this depends on how proactive the fans can be.

There was a question from the floor asking for examples of similar sized clubs having Trusts that have been successful.

James explained that Exeter FC run their club successfully working within their means and assisting with community initiatives. Bristol City have a place on the board of directors as a result of having a Supporters’ Trust. They are assisting the board find a location for the new stadium and are researching and working with the club on the plans so that it is a fans’ stadium. Peterborough United are working on a marketing campaign to encourage people from the local area to attend matches. The club have provided them with free tickets, and they are then following up with finding out who has bought tickets since their visit. A good relationship with the club has helped with this. Sheffield Wednesday are the second biggest shareholder of their club and were assisting with the prospective takeover by getting involved in the takeover talks, vetting candidates and providing an extra due diligence.

James said that having a Trust could help protect the long term future of a club even if there are short term issues - finances and ownership etc. If there is an organised group, it could be easier to speak to the club to find out information.

A question was raised regarding the potential pitfalls of a Trust.

James said that there are already 160 Trusts to learn from and as long as there is an open meeting to begin proceedings, then the Trust cannot be accused of being a small exclusive group, which could cause problems further down the line. By holding a big public meeting inviting supporters, club representatives, local business and the council, it would provide a better start going forward.

The idea of the Trust being shunned by rich owners was raised as a potential issue by the floor; it was asked how this could be resolved?

James explained that the more prepared the Trust is, the more successful it will be. Proxy shareholding votes can be handed to the Trust so that the Trust has a bigger voice and a bigger influence, meaning the Trust will have to be listened to. An example of Arsenal FC was used to show how they are fighting as a Trust to preserve the history of the club as a collective small shareholder. There was no influence in the boardroom granted, but by building the membership they have got a bigger voice and have cornered the club into listening to them.

There was another question asking if Arsenal managed to get fans’ shares?

James said that the Trust had earned respect with the media and local businesses. They have media representatives and they publicly comment on behalf of the Trust.

Ben Hayes mentioned that there are approximately 21% of shares not held by the current board.

A question was asked regarding how it would work with a club that previously had been quoted on the stock exchange?

James used Southampton as an example, although adding they perhaps were not the best to choose with their current situation. Millwall and Aston Villa were others. Southampton Supporters’ Trust tried to assist their club speaking to the council, the club and the administrators, trying to find a solution to save their club and stadium. They were a considered voice that was listened to.

He added that there are other examples where clubs have been pushed into action by a club crisis, giving fans the kick they need to get involved. Forest Green Rovers did this by raising 20k and getting a fan a place on the board. They involved the local chamber of commerce and for a non-league club, they have 150 members and that is a great achievement for them.

He said that if people are willing to get involved then anything is possible. The main thing is to get people on board and galvanising what fans have got to bring to the Trust itself. For example, Newcastle United fans had been keen on organising a march to get a point across but realised that they would not get that far with making a point so decided to set up a Trust. They have 2000 members already and are organising themselves well to make a bigger impact.

A point was raised from the floor regarding the importance of identifying a CAFC Trust’s niche aims and objectives. We already have in place a very successful community initiative, satellite supporter branches, and a Fans Forum body who speak regularly with the club, so it is important that a new group would provide strength, representation of the support base, and not further dilution.

James said that a Trust is about influence and knowing that whoever is running the club or however it is being run, is right for the club. Having an influence over the way it is run means the community is more engaged with the football club. There are a wide range of options available for Trusts: good work in the community, two-way buffers between fans and board, looking at things differently etc. A strong body of supporters that are long term supporters of the club will be around a fair deal longer than the board of the club itself.

It was mentioned that it is scary not knowing who may or may not own the club in the future, and the possibility of one uniformed supporters’ body would be of great benefit. There is vagueness currently with supporters’ groups not necessarily being active, but the fans’ forum is currently working hard with the club. A Trust could legally hold shares and fund raise, which means it is much easier to mobilise.

Ben said that Craig Sloman had been researching with regards to Wycombe as to the work that they have been doing.

James added that Sheffield Wednesday Trust had worked hard to find out information regarding shares they could purchase from Companies House lists. He suggested finding out the movements and keeping on top of the shareholder list. He said that there is a Trust that had obtained 51% of the shares and managed to unseat the chairman as they held the majority of the club.

It was mentioned that the club had the VIP Scheme and a fan on the board in 92, before the Supporters’ Trust movement began, which was evidence of fan evolvement and that this Trust is being thought about with the benefit of hindsight.

James said that almost 70% of clubs in the top 5 leagues have a Trust. He added that clubs don’t have to have one, and some Trusts are more active than others. Some Trusts have already ticked all the boxes that they had been hoping to achieve.

A question was raised with regards to how the Trust would be run – using paid staff etc?

James answered that it works best to have a bigger group so that the Trust can draw on the skills of the volunteers to get involved; accountancy, web design, etc. These are not paid roles. Whatever is needed to make the Trust a success could normally be found in one room. He said that would involve hard work of individuals. He added that the Trust for Reading FC was an example of an extremely well run Trust. He said that most Trust Boards would have between 6 and 12 board members drawing different skills, and that there was a possibility to draw more into board meetings if and when required. He said that during certain periods, group meetings would need to be more regularly than once a month although board meetings would tend to be quarterly.

James was asked how Supporters’ Direct is funded. James said that it was mainly through the Football Foundation. They bid for the money every three years and it is expected that funding will be extended as there is a lot of support for the initiative. He added that they also have smaller sponsorship deals arranged with various companies.

James was also asked how much money each Trust had to pay Supporters’ Direct and what they receive for this money. He answered that it is a nominal fee of £50 a year which includes staff time/advice, access to services, legal advice and reduced rates with insurance schemes, conferences, training events, news emails and the vote.

A member from the floor asked about the current state of concern amongst fans and whether it was thought it would be a good time to wait and let the dust settle or set up the Trust immediately.

James said that anytime is a good time, and that it would always be better to aim long-term as the Trust couldn’t be set up immediately and there is always a role for fans to play within their club.

Ben added that in hindsight, a lot of supporters now appreciate it would have been a good idea to set up a Trust 3 years ago when things were rosier, but it didn’t happen. If the Trust is formed and then not needed it could be disbanded if the objectives were achieved. James agreed and added that Fulham fans formed a Trust to try to retain the use of Craven Cottage for Fulham FC which they assisted to do and the club do not look like they are moving stadiums so the Fulham Trust can be dissolved, or re-brand itself for the long-term future.

A question was raised regarding the day to day running of the Trust – with a structure, democracy or hierarchy and who sets agendas etc.

James explained that the process would begin when the decision has been made to create a Trust and the aims and objectives are considered. The rules have to be registered and the membership built. He said that the registration takes the longest to organise as the Trust would have to be registered with the FSA, which can take a month. Set aims and objectives are agreed by the membership, including financial decisions and a business plan. Subs are paid to join and elections are held yearly. Positions are generally held for two years before re-election.

He added that for a Trust to be really successful it should aim to have 10% of home gate as members which is deemed a truly representative amount of supporters. He said that there will be key strengths amongst members which should be drawn upon. When there is a crisis effecting supporters of the football club, regular meetings are encouraged.

A question was raised regarding retaining long-term interest. James was asked from experience whether the more successful Trusts were based on an initial ‘big ticket’ idea, or from smaller, more prolonged, long-term objectives ?

James said that survival of a Trust should be based on being part of something and keeping a pool of volunteers where issues will be raised all the time. Some Trusts play a part in small issues, alongside survival campaigns and takeover involvement. Sometimes it may only mean a sticky plaster over a bigger issue but keeping the club alive for a while longer. By gaining interest and more members, the Trust can gain from more money and more influence. James added that there should be strong aims from the start but defined short, medium and long term goals.

Ben asked the floor what their thoughts were with James’ comments in italics:

- I believe the supporters’ club does a job, but not in the same way a Trust could. Undecided ahead of the open meeting, but have now changed my mind, although not sure how it will run if the aims are confused.

- The Trust being in place could really bring fans together with no big egos. Rallying together like the old days. A very tangible idea.

- Three years ago there was a solid group of supporters who united and decided this was a good idea but there was not as much interest at the time.

- The Fans’ Forum are doing a great job and this shouldn’t be confused with this idea, although would be great for both to work together. If Man Utd fans are battling to make a breakthrough, it could be a challenge to be listened too but if enough numbers are behind the Trust being one voice, it could work.

- Crystal Palace have a Trust and get nowhere with their chairman. They have raised almost £1m but hit a brick wall at board level. They have £600k in the bank and are using that money to sponsor youth players. James added that they are sitting pretty for the future. If the current Chairman moves on, they may be able to get involved and the money and support they currently have will work in their favour. They raised the money through a loan note scheme although there are other money raising schemes we can discuss.

- I see a couple of potential problems with the setting up of a Trust that will need to be overcome. One is that there are some fans that are in denial and still believe that the board will get us out of the mess, and they still have trust in the board. The VIP scheme didn’t attract 10% so I’m not sure how this will. Also the second point is the people that are involved; I’m concerned it could be a bit of an ego trip for one or two individuals.

- I came here as a sceptic, what with the Fans’ forum in place and all the good work they are doing. I don’t think that messages should be diluted between the different fans’ bodies. James said that divided fan base could be a problem, and that fans groups should be clearly defined. Most FC’s will have a supporters’ club and the Trust would be separate from that, possibly including input from local politicians/business and be pushing boundaries with the Club. All organisations have boundaries, including Supporters’ Direct which work alongside the FSF who are involved in fans’ issues such as ticket pricing, safe standing etc.

- As a member of the Fans’ Forum, I do not believe that there is a problem with the two working alongside. There certainly is no conflict as long as the aims are established.

- The difference between the two is that the FF was put in place by the club as they were happy for it to be there, but the Trust will be there for the fans, and the fans will be there forever. The club could pull the plug on the FF at anytime.

- I think with the internal groups there needs to be unification. There needs to be long term sustainability. There is no reason why the FF cannot be a representative arm of the Trust and I really hope the FF can see the potential advantages and embrace the opportunity of being part of any Trust. The FF have done a great job in moving away from the initial remit set by the club which should be applauded, but at the same time it is a body that was formed by the club, with membership vetted by the club, and very much reliant on the clubs goodwill for it to be maintained. By embracing an active involvement in the Trust, it could give the FF the independence it needs, and more importantly a body of supporters behind it that it could legitimately say it is representative of.

- The fans’ rep being on board had legal constraints. How can a member of a Trust be on the board and those same issues not arise? It wouldn’t be too different as the same issues would arise. There could be a code of conduct set up whereby there were specific areas that could be spoken about and an agreement from both parties. Contracts could be drawn up. There are other Trusts where this exists so this information can be tapped into.

- If there is something that cannot be talked about at a board meeting – the Director may have an off the record comment – there would need to be clarity with regards to what can be reported back.

- At Wycombe, they were backed into a corner and 2 people on the board had to negotiate a position that was a safeguard.

- Could we come up with some initial aims in this meeting to get the ball rolling? A suggestion would be to hold a bigger general open meeting whereby aims can be discussed based on the standard list we have. It is best not to be accused of being a closed group later on down the line.

- There is a period of uncertainty at the moment, and I think that counts for why there are a lot of people in this room to show that they care about what happens to this club. I think having an influence at the club is important.

- How could we go about buying a stake in the club? Are there any examples of Trusts that have gained a foothold in their club other than through share equity, i.e. schemes that have raised funds and acquire the pitch, or part of the club’s assets as an equity to safeguard the assets? Halifax Town own their own stadium, which leaves them in a very positive position. There are ways to have input into the Youth Scheme. There are definitely routes and we can discuss these. There are lots of important things that a Trust can be involved in.

- Are there any legal constraints with regards to current directors joining the Trust? Is there a conflict of interest? If they wanted to be part of it they could be. There are some restrictions. You can only be a member if you are over 16 and you can only be on the board if you are over 17. There is a long list which I can send to everyone.

- The supporters’ club branches seem to have their own agendas and a Trust can bring everyone together. There are a lot of people in this room and all are here for the same reason, regardless of egos and big personalities.

- Would all shareholders have to hand over their shares if they joined the Trust? No. 99% of Trusts don’t have to hand over shares as part of membership. I can only think of one club where you had to. Shareholders can use the Trust as their Proxy instead of transferring the name of the shares to the Trust. That way, if there is a certain issue you may not agree with, you don’t have to always vote in the way of the Trust.

- To get a 10% supporter base to sign up for 250 of those to sign over their proxy vote to the Trust, the board would have to listen as 3m share votes could be acquired quickly.

- If a takeover did happen, could the shares be made worthless by the board, i.e. if we are sold tomorrow? There is such a thing as a nuisance level of shares. Enough to be listened to – 10% needed to make a difference and to call an AGM. Sheffield Wednesday had 17% which was the 2nd largest single shareholder in their club and that made a difference.

- What happened with Notts County? The fans owned and ran the club? Some members of the Trust agreed to sign over ownership to another company but not all members were in agreement. The Club was sold and people were upset with the decision, but the majority agreed to sell. All fans would like the best for their club, but that can differ as to what it is. The Trust had a choice to make, 15% didn’t vote in favour. At our next conference there will be a feature regarding Notts County and lessons learnt from that.

It was agreed that there would be an open meeting held on Tuesday 15th September, so that fans could publicise the event and make people aware of what a Trust could do. It would be a broad discussion for all and a vote would take place there with regards to whether it would be taken further. It was stated that the turnout was good for an initial meeting and in the past at other clubs has been 5 people, so for 51 to be present was an achievement, although it was also noted that some were there to find out about a Trust and their presence didn’t mean they would be in favour. There were some people present who weren’t in favour before the meeting but had changed their minds by the end and others took this as a very positive sign that the Trust could be formed.

Contact details were passed to Brenda Smith who was volunteered to set up a mailing list.

Derek Woolley volunteered to design a leaflet and email to the mailing list so that all that are interested can print off and distribute at the next few games home and away.

The meeting ended at 9.30pm.

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I spent a bit of time this afternoon trawling through a number of message boards and forums to see if there are any fresh views regarding any potential takeover / financial injection ... not that I realistically expected to find much.

... and to be honest, there isn't much, just dreary repetition of the same points, and a surprising amount of animosity towards some individuals and forums ... so much for unity.

However, I also decided to check out some of the main Spanners and Palaaarse boards and it is safe to say that all three SE London clubs have a very unclear future at the moment.

It may not be all completely doom and gloom (although it is fairly close to that) but depending on how matters develop, we could all face admin ... and I am sure that this situation is being replicated all around the country. I am willing to bet that season 2010/2011 will see us without 2 or 3 existing clubs somewhere in the League ... being a naturally optimistic person, I believe we will manage to get out of this mess ... but others will definitely fall by the wayside. I cannot believe that every club will survive in the current environment.


Sounds like a reasonable meeting was held last night with regard to the proposed Supporters Trust ... the next meeting is planned mid-September ... when I will be on a business trip to Hong Kong - bloody typical!

I am still not convinced that such a Trust is the right way forward but am very happy that it is at least being investigated ... Charlton fans have tended to be at their best when times are bad and even if the Trust does not fly, I am sure that something will come of this action. Whichever way it goes I will try to provide some positive input and support - travel commitments allowing!

Incidentally one of the posters that I read on a Palaaarse board was not particularly impressed with the success (or lack of it) of their own Trust ... however there is evidence that it has worked elsewhere so it's best at this stage to keep an open mind.

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Pathe News

Thanks to Darryl and his excellent 853 blog for the below links.

Some great stuff here!

Famous football teams 1936

Charlton vs Bolton 1923

Charlton vs Millwall at the Den 1938

Jimmy Seed 1936

FA Cup Final!

Sam Bartram's 500th game

Not forgetting camels and bingo in 1969 - I was at that game!!!

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Update - Supporters' Trust Meeting


Time, date and venue:
7.00 pm Tuesday 4th August 2009,
Conservative Club, 51 Charlton Church Lane, SE7 7AE

Purpose of Meeting:
This is an initial meeting for Charlton fans to find out more about the concept of a Supporters’ Trust.
The representative from Supporters’ Direct has pointed out that this is normally, in the case of other trusts, 5 or 6 people discussing the idea in a pub. While interest at Charlton has already exceeded this he is still keen to follow a process which is open and inclusive to as many fans as possible.

Aims of the Meeting:
To discuss with James Mathie, a representative from Supporters’ Direct, the stages of setting up a Trust.
To gauge if there is sufficient support for the setting up of a Trust and if so;
To start to plan the legal and other processes needed to set up a Trust.
To collect the names and contact details of any interested parties.

1. Q & A with James Mathie - Supporters’ Direct (
a. Legal structure of Trusts
b. Examples from other Trusts
c. Reasons for setting up a Trust and model aims

2. Next Steps
a. Setting up a Trust – What is involved?
b. Time scales and Stages
c. Constitution and model rules

3. Open discussion on possible aims of the Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust

4. Any other business and close

This is an open meeting and all fans are welcome to attend.

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Supporters Trust

Welcome to the new updated Many Miles ...

More importantly, check out the below link for a very important upcoming meeting on 4th August at 7.00pm to discuss the potential formulation of a Supporters Trust.

Charlton Life

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Back to Blighty

Got back from Portugal last Thursday and intended to start blogging again on Monday ... fat chance with the power-cuts! Currently in one of our 3-hour rota allocations so taking advantage.

Not very easy working from home this week without regular power ... having to continually locate a power source for my laptop ... I’ve not hand-written so much for years!

Holiday started well, but got screwed up at the end of the first week ... walking back from a restaurant talking to my son and son-in-law whilst my daughter and wife were a few yards behind us. Suddenly heard my wife screaming and realised that a local scumbag had stolen her bag ... son and son-in law tried to catch him but to no avail. He obviously had done this before and had his escape route well planned. Bloody typical that my wallet was in the bag, full of cash ... and my credit cards! ... which I had got out that day ... I rarely carry cash but a lot of the local restaurants did not take credit cards. Also my wife lost her purse with all her cash, both our cameras ... and the bloody villa keys!

Some helpful locals called the police for us, and took us to the police station to make a report ... total waste of time as despite their excellent English they decided that we had to come back in the morning with an official interpreter! They then called an emergency locksmith who took us back to the villa, broke into the villa garden gates and the villa back door, charging us 200 quid for the privilege.

Suffice to say it put a downer on the rest of the holiday and money was at a premium although fortunately I had some backup travellers cheques and my son used his debit card. From what the locksmith told us, this is now a regular occurrence in Vilamoura so be careful ... we also had an intruder in our garden a day or two later who pretended he was a gardener. The people next door told us this is a common thing these days and most villas have experienced problems.

On the plus side we got to see Perry and Karen a couple of times at Floyds, the best Charlton bar in continental Europe! Equally fortunate that on the first visit, it was Karen’s birthday so a good time was had by all.

Provided power cuts are over, will get back to Charlton blogging tomorrow ... all sorts of things appear to be possibly happening ... or not ... over next few days!

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It's the big question!

Charlton you gotta let me know
Should Parky stay or should he go?
If you say that he is ours
Then he’ll be here with reduced powers
So you got to let us know
Should Parky stay or should he go?

Always tease tease tease
You’re happy when I’m on my knees
One day is fine, next is black
So if you want me off your back
Well come on and let me know
Should Parky stay or should he go?

Should he stay or should he go now?
Should he stay or should he go now?
If he goes there will be trouble
And if he stays it will be double
So come on and let me know
Should Parky stay or should he go?

This indecisions bugging me
If you don’t want him, set him free
Exactly whom he’s supposed to be
Come on and let me know
Should he cool it or should he blow?

Should he stay or should he go now?
If he goes there will be trouble
And if he stays it will be double
So you gotta let me know
Should he stay or should he go?

Cheers Joe and Mick ;-)

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6 weeks to go

Strange birthday yesterday, starting on a flight from Singapore and landing back at Heathrow yesterday morning at 5.15 ... good time to use the M25, I was back home by 6.30 and working by 7.00 ... makes a nice change to later in the day!

Got some great presents including an anthology of George Orwell books ... it's years since I read them so very timely for my hols next week! Also got the Karine Polwart album Fairest Floo'er ... getting quite into this type of music lately along with artists such Cara Dillon and Alyth McCormack.

Talking of music the new Madness and Yusuf albums have been on my iPod a lot lately ... highly recommended.

So the OS shows the players and management returning to training ... except we can't tell who everyone is, there are not many there, and were the pics taken this week anyway? ... I like the conspiracy theory CA ;-)

Regardless, one point remains ... as supporters of this club, we have always been able to pride ourselves on the openness in communication between club and fans ... well, over the last 20 years or so anyway, wasn't so good in the Gliksten days when I first started supporting ... what has happened!

It would appear that Phil Parkinson ... and Mark Kinsella ... are still with us. Will that change before the season starts? To be honest, I can't see it ... even if takeover rumours are true (although personally I think that if anything happens it will be some form of investment rather than full takeover). Perhaps the last thing that is needed 6 weeks before the season starts is even more disruption ... but the contra-side is that if Parky continues with the run of results that we had since he took over, we may be in total freefall.

There is a fans forum meeting on 9th July, and the one down side of going on holiday next week is that I will miss the meeting ... however I am sure that Perry will give me an update from Charlton Life when I meet up with him at Floyds.

Well, hopefully one more post next week before I go to Portugal ... unfortunately I have a further business trip first, leaving on Sunday to Frankfurt ... but will be over fairly quickly.

My son is currently at Glastonbury and by the sound of the weather reports last night and today ... he may well be getting pretty wet! Not that he will care, a few good bands and a lot of booze and he won't notice lol

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Back in the fold

Wow … is it really 8 months since I last posted? And also, incidentally, the same period of time since I actually attended a Charlton game.

Not that I had that many people reading this blog, but I guess it’s worth giving an explanation. Basically I have spent a lot of the intervening time coming to grips with the fact that in October I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis … not a happy time! I had been having problems with my legs, heaviness, and difficulty in walking very far, problems with stairs, etc., for about a year. To cut a long story short, after many months of being referred up the ladder from one doctor to another, having MRI scans, spending time in hospital being given steroid infusions, etc., the problem was finally narrowed down to MS.

My seat at the Valley was in the East Stand, 4 rows from the front, and there was no way I could continue to manoeuvre my way down the steepish stairs especially without a handrail, and the ascent back up the stairs made my legs so heavy that it was a problem getting back to my car … which was another problem as I normally parked up by Charlton Park, in Cemetery Lane, which was now too far for me to walk. Thankfully, it has not prevented me from driving although I have to admit it is now only for fairly short distances.

Fortunately my season ticket was not wasted as my son was able to take a friend with him most of the time.

I am writing this from Singapore as I have been here for a few days on a business trip and only returning later in the week. Those of you that know me are aware that I travel approximately 50% of my time, normally to Frankfurt, less often to Singapore, and then just about anywhere in between. In fact, working in that way is easier than travelling to my London office as I use taxis between hotel and office. The only problem can be walking through some of the larger airports such as Heathrow and Changi, but it can be done. I normally only have to get up to the London office once a month, which is good as it is quite an effort to do so … fortunately they have no problem with me working from home.

It is also quite surreal that I am now entitled to a disabled parking badge … I just can’t relate to myself in that way!

Coming back to Charlton, my saviours since last October have been the various excellent Charlton blogs, as listed in my links on the right (many of which I may need to re-check – let me know if any of your blogs are missing), and Charlton Life. Additionally, I have managed to listen to just about every game via CAFCTV – not the greatest at times, but a lifeline if you can’t get to the Valley!

So what about next season? I have been determined that I will be getting back down to the Valley and I have to give my sincere thanks to the staff at the ticket office who have helped in this regard … including one who was amongst those made redundant but still went out of her way to help. Even before swap week had started, they had re-located both my own and my son’s seat to a higher level in the East Stand which means I will no longer have to navigate the steps. And now they are looking into whether or not they can get me a parking space either behind the West Stand, or more likely in Lansdowne Mews. Fingers crossed that they will succeed otherwise I am going to have the same problem of getting to the ground! I had considered purchasing a parking space in the West Stand car park but at £720 per season, it is far too much especially as I cannot be sure I will be at every game.

Strange to be back in the 3rd division as I remember the last time with mixed emotions. Obviously there were a lot of bad times then, but I can recall lots of high-scoring games and some terrific away-days. Very unlikely that I will be able to attend so many away games this time, but I hope to get to some … however I will now have to restrict myself to coach travel rather than train or car, as walking any significant distance is too much of a problem.

So, will I be blogging on a more regular basis now I am back? It’s certainly my intention, but not for a few more days until I am back in the UK … and then I won’t bore you with explanations as to why I have been gone, but will concentrate on Charlton!

I’m off on holiday on 2nd July for a couple of weeks but should manage at least one posting before then, although I still have to arrange a day or two in Frankfurt once I am back. There is a Charlton aspect of my holiday that I am looking forward to … we are going to Portugal so it will give me a chance to catch up again with Perry and Karen at Floyd’s, the best Charlton bar in Europe!

Anyway, onwards and upwards!

Cheers to you all and it’s good to be back :-)

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