At its best, it was absolutely brilliant. At its worst, it was soul-destroyingly bad. From the thrill of winning seven games in nine to the despair of going 14 without victory, Charlton’s season has very much been a mixed bag, but a solid mid-table position provides a steady foundation.
So too can the same be said about off-the-pitch events. Recruitment, at times, very promising and producing rewards, but an ownership still seemingly intent on frustrating supporters who have invested years of emotional attachment into the club. Improvements undoubtedly made, but we still appear to be a slightly underfed guinea pig in an experiment.
It means there’s been a very big mix of emotions for supporters this season. At some point throughout this campaign, probably every feeling, good and bad, has been experienced at some point. At the very least, it hasn’t been dull, and there’s quite a few goals, performances and events worthy of an award or two from Chris Powell’s Flat Cap.
The awards will follow a similar format to last year’s, with some familiar categories and a few flashy new ones. Effectively emulating the make-up of Charlton’s squad.
A big thank you to @PlentyOfShots, for being both an absolute hero and producing some fantastic Vines that make this awards blog more than just dodgy photos and boring words. Follow the account on Twitter if you haven’t already – it’s a fantastic piece of work.
The Danny Haynes Goal of the Season
While departed players were contesting Charlton’s best strike last time around, Johann Berg Gudmundsson has taken after Danny Haynes and attempted to create his own Goal of the Season competition. Most clubs wouldn’t have seven strikes of such quality altogether, let alone from the same player.
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Rotherham United (Rotherham 1-1 Charlton)
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Cardiff City (Charlton 1-1 Cardiff)
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Blackburn Rovers (Charlton 1-3 Blackburn)
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Middlesbrough (Middlesbrough 3-1 Charlton)
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Brentford (Charlton 3-0 Brentford)
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Huddersfield Town (Charlton 3-0 Huddersfield)
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Blackpool (Charlton 3-0 Blackpool)
Winner: Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Cardiff City
The Less Impressive Goal of the Season
Any goal not scored by Gudmundsson was a bit boring, really. But, apparently, they count just as much as the Iceland international’s strikes. And, in truth, there were a few that matched the quality of Gudmundsson’s best efforts (mostly ones that he assisted).
- Jordan Cousins Vs Wigan Athletic (Charlton 2-1 Wigan)
- George Tucudean Vs Derby County (Charlton 3-2 Derby)
- Johnnie Jackson Vs Norwich City (Norwich 0-1 Charlton)
- Frederic Bulot Vs Wigan Athletic (Wigan 0-3 Charlton)
- Tony Watt Vs Huddersfield Town (Charlton 3-0 Huddersfield)
- Frederic Bulot Vs Nottingham Forest (Charlton 2-1 Huddersfield)
- Tony Watt Vs Leeds United (Charlton 2-1 Leeds)
Winner: Tony Watt Vs Huddersfield Town
Jackson’s winner against Norwich was undoubtedly the better moment, but for sheer quality, Watt wins this hands down. A fantastic run followed by a stunning finish to cap off arguably the most impressive performance of the season.
The Bradley Pritchard Miss of the Season
Everyone’s favourite goal-shy Zimbabwean may have departed SE7, but his spirit has lived on. In fact, Pritchard himself would have been proud of some of the comical finishing on show during this campaign.
- Callum Harriott Vs Brentford (Brentford 1-1 Charlton)
- George Tucudean Vs Millwall (Charlton 0-0 Millwall)
- Igor Vetokele Vs Cardiff City (Charlton 1-1 Cardiff)
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Fulham (Charlton 1-1 Fulham)
- Igor Vetokele’s
Winner: George Tucudean Vs Millwall
Under any circumstance, it would have been a disgusting miss. But to fluff your lines in the final minute of a derby fixture, one in which your side has not won since 1996, is criminal.
The Knee Slide Trophy for Celebration of the Season
While this season didn’t quite bring crossbar swinging or Louis Mendez taking his shirt off, the standard of celebration remained high.
- Bob Peeters Vs Wigan Athletic (Charlton 2-1 Wigan)
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your first win as Charlton boss than by getting in a totally unnecessary fight with the opposition manager. Wigan manager Uwe Rosler took exception to Peeters expressing his delight at Franck Moussa’s late winner right in front of him, and responded by squaring up to the Belgian. He quickly realised that picking a fight with someone of Peeters’ size wasn’t wise.
- Andre Bikey Vs Wolves (Charlton 1-1 Wolves)
He’s six-foot tall, weighs just shy of 13 stone and his large build means agility and pace aren’t his specialist skills. But, having lashed in a volley against Wolves that required flexibility, Charlton’s charismatic Cameroonian centre-back somehow managed to pull off a faultless flip in celebration. It defies logic that a man of his size can do something like that.
- Johnnie Jackson Vs Norwich City (Norwich 0-1 Charlton)
A signature knee slide from the skipper following his late and dramatic winner against Cardiff, which sparked absolute carnage in the away end. I’m still recovering.
- Tony Watt Vs Cardiff City (Cardiff 1-2 Charlton)
This was neither spectacular, acrobatic or involved anyone getting punched, but Watt’s climb onto the advertising hoardings in front of the away fans at Cardiff was symbolic. Watt had been, and was, boss. He deserved his place above his teammates.
- Johnnie Jackson Vs Millwall (Millwall 2-1 Charlton)
That flair that was set off after Alou Diarra’s goal at The Den? The skipper did that, the little hooligan.
Winner: Johnnie Jackson Vs Norwich
The He’s Better Than Gus Performance of the Season Award
Named after the academy graduate’s efforts to win a man of the match award in every single game, Charlton’s best individual performances this season have come from a number of different players.
- Johnnie Jackson Vs Derby County (Charlton 3-2 Derby)
While the most marked characteristic of the fantastic victory over Derby was the flowing attacking football that resulted in three superb team goals, the victory would not have been possible without Jackson’s battling in the middle. The skipper’s display was a typical blood-and-guts effort, combined with class and composure on the ball that helped to break up attacks and get new ones started.
- Igor Vetokele Vs Brighton and Hove Albion (Brighton 2-2 Charlton)
Since their promotion to the Championship Charlton had been in desperate need of a clinical finisher, and Vetokele’s performance against Brighton suggested they had finally found their man. Two fantastic strikes, mixed in with some excellent work away from the box, would have been enough to give the Addicks victory had now Tal Ben Haim and Andre Bikey not let Lewis Dunk go free in stoppage-time.
- Stephen Henderson and Johnnie Jackson Vs Norwich City (Norwich 0-1 Charlton)
In the case of Henderson, it was save after save to thwart Norwich’s persistent attacks. For Jackson, it was an unrelenting show of fight in the middle to help contain the opposition’s threat, rewarded with the winning goal.
- Chris Solly Vs Reading (Reading 0-1 Charlton)
The closest Solly has come to replicating his performance from the goalless draw with Cardiff in 2013. The full-back was simply outstanding, not letting a single Royals player beat him throughout the duration of the game, and providing the assist for Vetokele’s winning goal.
- Tony Watt Vs Brentford, Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest
With the Addicks heading for the bottom three, they needed a saviour. And they got one in emphatic fashion. Watt was untouchable during those three home victories, scoring three and constantly at the heart of every Charlton attack. Oh, and he also did this.
- Jordan Cousins Vs Wigan (Wigan 0-3 Charlton)
Cousins was fantastic throughout the winning run, but it was at Wigan where he offered his very best performance. That the Addicks still managed to dominate the midfield despite Buyens being unable to make the simplest of passes indicates just how brilliant the academy graduate was at The DW.
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson Vs Leeds (Charlton 2-1 Leeds)
With Charlton flat and fortunate to be just a goal down against the Whites, Luzon was left with little choice but to throw his match-winning winner on at half-time. And Gudmundsson provided exactly the impact Luzon hoped he would. The Iceland international completely changed the tempo of the game, and played a part in both of Charlton’s goals.
Winner: Tony Watt Vs Brentford, Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest
There’s a good a chance we would have stayed up without Watt’s impact, but we certainly wouldn’t have won seven games in nine, and won them so convincingly. The Scot was unplayable during those three games, and an absolute joy to watch. More of the same next season please, Tony.
The Yohann Thuram Performance of the Season Award
If there is one positive to be taken from this season, it is that Thuram did not return to SE7. Unfortunately, a few of the current crop of Charlton players did their best to emulate him.
- George Tucudean Vs Wolves (Charlton 1-1 Wolves)
Presented with two glorious openings to double Charlton’s lead, the Romanian forward couldn’t finish either of them. His head soon dropped and effort started to lack – a performance that summed up his six month stint in SE7.
- Nick Pope Vs Blackburn Rovers (Blackburn 2-0 Charlton)
Given his exploits in League Two and his efforts prior to the trip to Blackburn, the young goalkeeper’s ability is unquestionable. But Pope suffered a nightmare day at Ewood Park, with confusion between himself and Andre Bikey allowing Rhodes to score his first, while a poor goal-kick led to his second.
- The lot of ’em Vs Watford (Watford 5-0 Charlton)
I walked away from Bramall Lane last season taking some solace from the fact no away day or Charlton performance could ever be so demoralising. I was wrong. The effort and application from the Addicks rounded off a thoroughly depressing week.
- Yoni Buyens Vs Middlesbrough
- Andre Bikey Vs Norwich
Error-prone and clumsy throughout the evening, Bikey made matters much worse by going wondering in the final few minute to allow Cameron Jerome to score Norwich’s winner. A bizarre decision that summed up an abysmal night for Bikey and the Addicks.
- Christophe Lepoint Vs Cardiff
The January signing was given a chance to impress at the Cardiff City Stadium, but instead spent his time charging around the pitch in an attempt to concede a record amount of fouls without being sent off. Contributed very little, if anything.
- Roger Johnson Vs Blackburn
It was all go swimmingly for Relegation Roger/Roger the Relegater. In fact, he was playing his part in helping the Addicks move away from the bottom three. But, in emphatic fashion, Johnson imploded during the defeat to Blackburn. The defender was at least partially to blame for all three goals, with their second coming as a direct result of his bizarre and comical error.
Winner: The lot of ’em Vs Watford
An utterly embarrassing display. The exact opposite of what was needed, to restore some belief and faith, in that situation
The Fraser Forster Best Performance by a Non-Charlton Player Award
Named after the then Norwich goalkeeper’s incredible performance that prevented the Addicks recording victory in 2010 and sealed the Canaries’ promotion to the Championship. the award extents this year to include performances from away from The Valley. Mostly because there were few stand out opposition performances in SE7 this season.
- Bradley Pritchard
None of you were there to see it, but the former Charlton man’s display in a pre-season friendly for Leyton Orient against Northampton was sublime. Pritchard not only bossed the midfield, obviously, but scored a lovely side-foot goal that belonged to a man with greater finisher prowess. What a hero.
- Tim Robinson (Huddersfield 1-1 Charlton)
One of many referees who allowed Tal Ben Haim to get away with murder this season, but the one most worthy of praise. With Huddersfield a goal up and James Vaughan through on goal with two minutes left to play, it appeared as if the Addicks were heading for defeat. But Vaughan was thwarted by Ben Haim’s assault inside the box that went unpunished by Robinson. Two minutes later, through Vetokele, the Addicks had pulled level.
- Marc Pugh and Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth 1-0 Charlton)
Oh, look, an actual serious contender or two. Bournemouth, as a unit, were unstoppable at Dean Court, but it was the power and pace of Pugh and Ritchie that provided the most damage. Not even Chris Solly could stop the wingers as the Addicks were constantly caught out at the back.
- Michail Antonio (Charlton 2-1 Nottingham Forest)
The Addicks may have won the game at The Valley in March, but Forest’s tricky winger did his absolute best to try to prevent that from happening. His goal, a fabulous individual strike that left several players in red for dead, was stunning, and his overall play throughout the night was in much the same vain. So much so that Lawrie Wilson, run ragged by the Antonio, had to be substituted at half-time.
- Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn 2-0 Charlton)
- Jordan Rhodes. Again. (Charlton 1-3 Blackburn)
- Jos Hooiveld (Millwall 2-1 Charlton)
In truth, the Southampton loanee was lucky to stay on the pitch, but his cynical trip of Watt aside, Hooiveld was faultless in the South East London Derby. He kept the Scottish forward under control, prevented the Addicks from causing a real threat on the break and scored the winning goal to top it off. Unfortunately.
- Bournemouth’s forward line (Charlton 0-3 Bournemouth)
The Addicks may have offered little resistance, but Bournemouth’s attacking play on the day they won the Championship title was sublime. Callum Wilson impossible to stop, Matt Ritchie performing like a player who should have won the Championship’s POTY, and Yann Kermorgant, well, just being Kermorgant.
Winner: Bournemouth’s forward line
The He Used To Be Shite, But Now He’s Alright Trophy
In a season that saw Charlton go from sublime to stupidly bad and back again, there have been plenty of Addicks who have proved their doubters wrong.
- Morgan Fox
Lacking composure on the ball, frequently beaten by the opposition winger and at fault for numerous goals, there was a general feeling at the turn of the year that Fox, for all his effort, was simply not good enough for Championship football. But the Welshman’s progress since February has been incredible, improving with every game to the point that his place in the side is deserved regardless of Rhoys Wiggins returning from injury.
- Frederic Bulot
Whatever they fed him while he was in Equatorial Guinea, I’d quite like some myself. The Standard Liege loanee struggled before his trip to the Africa Cup of Nations, but has been a revelation thereafter and so crucial to Charlton’s run of seven wins from nine.
- Guy Luzon
From “you don’t know what you’re doing” to an entire away end standing for him at Cardiff, Luzon’s work to impressively turnaround Charlton’s fortunes was commendable. A simplified and organised approach tightened the Addicks up at the back and gave freedom to their attacking players on the break, resulting in a number of fantastic performances that lifted them well clear of trouble. The drop in effort after the defeat to Millwall has been disappointing, but takes little away from the displays during the run of seven wins from nine.
- Simon Churchinho
As a fully paid up member of the Simon Church Fan Club, I’ve always believed the level of criticism Church received was incredibly harsh. Goal-shy, yes, but effort and endeavour never lacking. So it was good to see praise for the Welshman from almost every Addick after he made a match-winning contribution against Cardiff before scoring against Blackpool and Reading.
- The pitch
Few things frustrate me more than using the pitch as symbolism for Duchatelet’s ownership at Charlton being flawless – a pitch paid for by the sale of Yann Kermorgant, apparently – but that isn’t to say it isn’t fantastic to see it in such a healthy state even as the season came to its close. Doncaster players with pitchforks nowhere to be seen…
Winner: Frederic Bulot
Part Two will be released on Monday.