Sunday, 15 July 2012

Charlton Athletic - Pre-Season Begins, Transfer News

Charlton Athletic - Pre-Season Begins, Transfer News

After a crazy couple of weeks football finally returns. I won't say much about the rumours that surrounded our club in between Euro 2012 and yesterday's match at Welling, mostly because I don't know what has been going on behind the scenes, but hopefully everything has now been sorted. Two transfers, and confirmation from Chris Powell of two or three more signings will hopefully put to bed the rumours of "cash flow problems" at board level.

John Sullivan could be going out on loan. I'm a bit disappointed for John, he did well deputising for Rob Elliot but never really got the chance to kick on with the arrival of Hamer.

The first of our two transfers was the attack minded Jordan Cook from Sunderland. He failed to make the desired impression at Premiership level and Sunderland have decided to let him ply his trade at a lower level. He hasn't set the world alight when he has played, but a number of players fail to make it at their first club before making a career for themselves. In this highlight video of the Chelsea/Sunderland reserve match at the start of last season Jordan, wearing the number 7, makes a good run, setting up the first goal, you can see this at around the two minute mark.

Our second transfer was former youth player Lawrie Wilson. Signed to push Chris Solly, Wilson is initially viewed as a right back by Chris Powell, although he may be used on the wing in the absence of Wagstaff and Green. At the end of last season there were rumours that Scott Wagstaff was frustrated at his lack of playing time and Burnley were sniffing around, but so far nothing has come of that.

Yesterday saw Charlton pick up their first win of this campaign, with many more to follow, 4-0 at Welling. I was unable to make it to the game but I'm sure it was a good atmosphere and the Welling game is always a nice curtain raiser for the season. 

The most interesting name on the teamsheet, for me, was Jacobo Sanz Ovejero. The 29 year old, 6 foot 5 shot stopper is a free agent after leaving Superleague Greece outfit Asteras Tripoli. Jacobo has featured at the top level of Spanish and Greek football during his career, and when he left Asteras at the end of last season he was rumoured to be joining Everton. He will be joining the Charlton squad in Spain and, if John Sullivan is to move on, could become our next signing. 

Rumours persist about Sam Baldock moving to The Valley, and although he may be a good signing, his wages could pose a problem. There was also talk of Conor Henderson making a season long trip South of the river from Arsenal. He is yet to appear in the league for Arsenal but made his cup debut against Leyton Orient in the 2010/2011 season. A cruciate knee ligament injury in pre-season derailed his season last year, only returning for a friendly against reading in March 2012, a full year after his cup debut. Arsene Wenger has described him as a future first team player at Emirates, and he has made one U21 level appearance for Ireland.

Next up for the Addicks are Sporting Lisbon and Real Betis over on the Iberian peninsula. Hopefully the team can bring back the sunshine, and a couple of wins, with them, as I'm not sure I can take much more of this rain!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Euro 2012 - England vs Italy

Euro 2012 - England vs Italy


Roy Hodgson names an unchanged lineup for tonights game. It will more than likely be one for the purists, rather than those looking for entertaining total football, with both coaches favouring the tactical side of the game.

Expectations have risen for this England side and hopefully the players will not feel the extra pressure in Ukraine. Roy Hodgson's boys qualified with ease in the end but they will now face a tougher task with the Italians.

There was a lot of focus on Ukraine's goal that never was, but all I will say about it is that Milevskiy was offside and in this case two wrongs did make a right. 

Super Mario will start alongside Cassano, but hopefully his Manchester City teammates will be able to wind him up in a similar fashion to the Rooney/Ronaldo confrontation of 2004.

Rooney hopefully will be up to speed after the Ukraine match and will be even more dangerous. The Italian's will know that they cannot switch off for a second unless they want "Wazza" to punish them. Gerrard and Parker will need to keep a close eye on Andrea Pirlo who passing will pose a major threat, outside of the experienced playmaker the Italian side lack anyone else you would consider an natural passer, and this battle will be key.

England have a massive opportunity to make it to the semi finals where they have the chance to re-write Euro '96 history and defeat the Germans. Very few people thought England would do well in this tournament, but we can already be prouder of these "nobodies" than the "golden generation" who failed to produce in any number of tournaments.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Charlton Athletic - Aluko Departure Confirmed, Powell In On Loan, Shackell Bid Rejected

Charlton Transfer News

The transfer window opens in 8 days, and here is an update on some potential Charlton targets.

Sone Aluko

Sone Aluko - Goals and Skills 

The former Rangers winger has confirmed he will not be returning to the club next season. He is expected to follow starlet Rhys McCabe south of the border and Charlton Athletic are rumoured to be heading the queue for his services. He stopped off at home in Birmingham yesterday, hopefully on his way down to London to sign for the Addicks.

Nick Powell

Nick Powell - Highlights 

Manchester United's future star could be about to make a move to London on a season long loan. This seems an interesting move as he rejected a move to London over the summer (Arsenal) in favour of staying up in the North of England when he left Crewe. Chris Powell is not the only person interested in his namesake, with part-time rivals Palace also showing interest.

Jason Shackell


Charlton, Burnley and Cardiff have all had bids rejected for the impressive Derby County defender this summer. The 28 year old captained The Rams in the absence of injured club captain Shaun Barker and, although every player has a price, the club expected Shackell to stay and remain an integral part of the squad next year.  

Friday, 22 June 2012

Euro 2012 - The Bailout Game

Euro 2012 - Greece vs Germany

Unfortunately "The Bailout Game" is not the highly anticipated return of Jennifer Lawrence to our screens. Instead, for our viewing pleasure, it is the most politically charged tie in Greek history, since a bunch of skantily clad Greeks took on the Persians at Thermopylae, takes place tonight. But while they had a charismatic Irishman leading them, this tightly knit group will be without their experienced talisman Giorgios Karagounis, although Robbie Keane sent in a late application to appear for his "boyhood club".

Upfront for the Greeks, 2012 award winning Ashton Kutcher Look-a-like Giorgios Samaras will lead the line, and the former City man will need to give more than blood, sweat and tears if he is to make up for the absence of the 35 year old Karagounis' bubbling energy. Grigoris Makos could replace the most experienced man in Greek football, however, I have to admit I know less about him than Angela Merkel does about all that Greek bailout money.

In defence the Greeks will be relying on their tried and tested method of two defenders charging blindly at the man in possession, while everyone else muddles in behind. This is a gross over-simplification of the Greeks high pressure defensive system, but the worry for them will be that the accurate German passing will pull them apart.
In stark contrast the German system will be a ruthlessly efficient, well oiled machine with possibly the most solid back four in the competition, Lahm, Hummels, Badstuber, Boateng, although the robot from Futurama may be in with a shout after his goal against the Danes. The Germans are superbly choreographed by Joachim Loew, harking back to his Backstreet Boys days, and as a team there does not appear to be a better side in this years competition.

Upfront Lukas Podolski will be trying to avoid the curse of the Arsenal strikers, and keep his team in the competition. Alongside him Spanish born Mario Gomez is showing his former nation just what a proper striker can do, and everyone else just who the super plumber is at this tournament. Out on the right Thomas Muller is still trying to find his South African scoring boots and he might not get a better chance than against the Greeks tonight.

The task facing the Greeks tonight is titanic, and if they are to win it will need to be a more miraculous story than if Hercules and Perseus got together to face a gorgon-headed Minotaur. But this is football, and on any given day a miracle can happen, bring on the game and we are one step closer to Sunday!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Euro 2012 - England vs Ukraine

Euro 2012 - England vs Ukraine

 Tonight England face Ukraine with a Quarter Finals place on the line. England fans should be proud of their players for reaching this stage considering Hodgson and his squad have only been together for four games.

The news this week has understandably focused on Wayne Rooney's return from suspension. Rooney is expected to take the place of Andy Carroll in the England starting lineup and will look to link the midfield with Danny Welbeck who has looked isolated at times over the first two matches. In some quarters Rooney is considered England only true world class player, Ashley Cole may have some gripes about this, and although he isn't up to the standards set by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo he should still bring something different to the England side.

Theo Walcott, England's hero against Sweden, has passed a fitness test on his hamstring but will miss out on a place in the starting lineup tonight. James Milner is favoured by Roy Hodgson for his defensive diligence and he will hopefully provide cover when Glen Johnson goes on his lung busting runs. If England need some fresh attacking impetus Walcott and his Arsenal teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will offer nice options from the bench. If the result looks secure hopefully Theo's hamstring will be given a rest in preparation for the Quarter Finals.

Ashley Young will have been put on notice with Walcott's cameo against Sweden. The United attacker has been very disappointing so far this tournament and England cannot afford to carry him through the knockout rounds. England still stand a good chance of winning the group and avoiding the Spanish in the Quarter Finals, although Italy may not be an easier opponent. Sweden will look to make France's lives difficult before they head home.

England's opponents tonight may be missing their 35 year old talisman with the Ukrainian coach claiming Andrei Shevchenko is only 50-50 for this match, but it is hard to imagine that he will play no role tonight. Neither Shevchenko or Voronin will start for Ukraine but they will offer a very dangerous option from the bench. And England must not forget about Yarmalenko and Milevskiy who will threaten the England goal from the off.

With this in mind Joe Hart will need to show his Manchester City form. At times he has not dealt well with the shots that have come his way and he hasn't commanded his area in the way Casillas and Buffon do for their respective countries. Joe Hart has it in him to be one of the best goalkeepers England have ever had and Hodgson will be looking for him to show this on the big stage.

Ashley Cole is set to make his 21st tournament appearance and this experience will be vital. The England left back has made a number of last ditch blocks, but these may be in short supply tonight as Cole will have to keep Yarmalenko quiet out wide on the Ukraine right wing.

Hopefully he will help England hold a higher line against Ukraine which will be key in keeping a clean sheet. Unfortunately they have had a tendency to drop deeper and deeper as the game progresses and if Shevchenko comes on late in this game he will look to take advantage of this.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Charlton Athletic - Calendar Reminders

Charlton Athletic - Calendar Reminders

The fixture list for the forthcoming season was released today and it will see the Addicks begin their return to the Championship on the road visiting Birmingham City at St Andrews. 

You have to go all the way back to 2006 for the last time Charlton started the season on the road, a 3-1 defeat at Upton Park, hopefully Chris Powell's team will have more luck against the Blues.

Next up is a Tuesday night fixture against Chris Powell's former club Leicester at the Valley, and Hull follow the Foxes to the Valley four days later to finish off the August fixtures.

Powell will make sure his men are under no illusions and any hangover from the previous season's celebrations will have to be quickly forgotten. Chris will want to get all his signings in early so that they can gel in pre-season as the match against the playoff semi-finalists will not be a good time for mistakes.

The first game of the season seems a long way off, with Euro 2012 yet to finish and the Olympics yet to begin, but hopefully the weeks leading up to the season will pass quickly as the excitement builds at The Valley ahead of Charltons return to the Championship!


Charlton Athletic - Transfer Rumours

Charlton Athletic Transfer Rumours

It has been very quiet so far this summer, at least in comparison to last year, but that is probably expected with the transfer window yet to open and the European Championship going on.

An early rumour had Chris Powell targetting Bolton's experienced winger Ricardo Gardner, however, this now seems unlikely with the Jamaican international released from his contract and no official approach from the Addicks has been mentioned.

Another persistent rumour seems to be Keith Andrews. The Republic of Ireland international will be returning from the European Championship this week to decide his future. He has rejected the opportunity to rejoin West Brom as he looks for a new challenge. He has shown flashes of premiership ability in Ireland's matches and it is likely a lower half Premiership side will take a gamble on him.

  Sam Baldock has seen his opportunities limited after picking up an injury early last season at Upton Park. He is now looking to relaunch his career and Chris Powell is said to be a long term admirer. Rumours of West Ham's interest in Charlton right back Chris Solly have lead to a talk of a potential player exchange, however, the Charlton man has denied the rumours on his twitter account. If Charlton do attempt to sign the striker West Ham will look to recoup much of the 2 million they paid for him at the start of last year.

A more recent rumour has seen Charlton linked with Rangers winger Sone Aluko. The pacey winger has an eye for goal and can fill a highlight reel on his own. With Rangers changing to the ownership of a new company he could now leave the club on a free and would offer Charlton a different option to Captain Johnnie Jackson on the left. An interesting fact about Sone Aluko, his sister Eniola Aluko used to play for the Charlton Ladies team between 2004 and 2007.

Finally, one of the quieter rumours out there sees Charlton linked with Leeds wide man Ramon Nunez. "El Principito" impressed on loan at Scunthorpe and former boss Simon Grayson saw potential in the Honduran international rewarding him with a contract extension until the end of the 2011/2012 season. Unfortunately Simon Grayson was relieved of his duties during the season and his replacement, Neil Warnock, told the player he was free to look for a new club when his contract expires. Nunez has 44 caps for Honduras, scoring 5 goals.