For Part One, click here
The Roland Duchatelet Decision Making Trophy
It’s been another year of bizarre decision making from Charlton’s owner. Some of those decisions have paid off, and some haven’t, but he’s in good company.
- Bob Peeters and Roland Duchatelet for forcing out Michael Morrison
When Charlton’s vice-captain signed a new contract in the summer, it was celebrated as a sign that the ownership weren’t completely inept. But just three months into the season, Morrison had been shunned and subsequently moved onto Birmingham City. Cue individual mistakes from the remaining centre-backs and defensive disasters galore. His performance against the Addicks for his new club in April only reaffirmed the questionable nature of the decision.
- Roland Duchatelet for failing to add to the squad in October and November
Charlton’s start to the season was fantastic, but there were always signs it wasn’t going to last. The crèche of a bench, Vetokele having to play with his limbs hanging off and defensive errors the most obvious. Help was needed if the Addicks were to keep picking up wins. Instead, we were constantly fed absolute rubbish about there not being enough equality in the loan market, few players were brought in and a 14-game winless run started. The lack of activity was made even more frustrating by the impact of Francis Coquelin.
- Katrien Meire’s nightmare week
What started with a pretty innocuous message in the programme became a full-blown disaster. Charlton’s CEO backed Bob Peeters a day before removing him, but that was just the start of it. Then she embarked on a thorough process to find his replacement, which conveniently concluded a bloke Duchatelet had previously sacked was the right man for the job. Next was a simply bizarre comment about Luzon being our Sir Alex Ferguson, which would have been misguided even if the appointment was a universally accepted one. Nonetheless, we were told we had to accept what Duchatelet was doing by Meire because it was his club. Not quite. Finally, she saw sit fit to get the train to Watford after that week. That isn’t to excuse the actions of the supporter who confronted her, but Meire’s decision to travel via public transport wasn’t wise. It was almost as if she was going out of her way to compound our dismay and misery.
- Bob Peeters and Guy Luzon for using Andre Bikey as a striker
Genuine tears were shed in SE7 whenever the robust centre-back was pushed forward in the hope his presence would help to rescue a point for the Addicks. Rarely did it do anything but confirm defeat, and mean you left The Valley feeling even more disappointed.
- Whoever came up with the sex stunt idea
Charlton’s media team, regardless of the seemingly ever-changing make up of it, consistently produces quality content – they all do their jobs very well. So that none of them appeared to overtly promote the sex on the pitch video away from club channels felt telling. Whoever was responsible will say it was a success, with it spreading far and wide and publicity for post-season use of the pitch high. But it was crass, embarrassing, and not something that should be associated with Charlton Athletic.
- Roland Duchatelet for forcing Yann Kermorgant out of the club
Yes it was last season. Yes I should have moved on by now. But it still remains a ridiculous decision and I haven’t. His impact for Bournemouth throughout their promotion winning campaign only highlighting further what a ridiculous decision it was to sell the Frenchman.
The Winner: Katrien Meire’s nightmare week
That was all a bit depressing, wasn’t it?
The Find Franck Award
Franck, everyone is very worried about you. Please just call home and let us know you’re safe. An award for Charlton players who, in one way or another, went missing at some point this season.
- Franck Moussa
A signing that excited many an Addick, especially after watching his goal of the season strike for the 1000th time, but one that disappointed on two counts. The first being that his performances when he was fit to play were largely disappointing. The second his bizarre injury, originally supposed to keep him out for a few weeks, that meant his substitute appearance in the draw with Leeds at Elland Road was his final game of the season.
- Yoni Buyens
The Standard Liege loanee started the season performing like Xabi Alonso, but ended it like Mikel Alonso. His composure from the penalty spot meant he still provided something to the side, but rarely did it make up for how poor he was on the ball. That he was constantly dispossessed, regularly misplaced passes and tame defensively from November onwards was extremely disappointing given the manner in which he started life in SE7.
- Andre Bikey
Another one who started the season in superb fashion but deteriorated as the campaign went on. In fact, Bikey went from fan favourite to liability, with his defensive efforts crucial to the unbeaten start and part of the reason the Addicks went 14 without a win.
- Lawrie Wilson
It was incredibly disappointing to see a player who performed such a vital role in the Addicks avoiding relegation last season play without confidence for much of this. His chances were limited, but when given a game, he looked nervous and anxious. Being subbed at half-time after being made to look silly by Michail Antonio a sad way for a likeable character’s Charlton career to end.
- Callum Harriott
Expected to kick-on after his heroics secured Charlton’s Championship status last season, Harriott has made just 13 starts this season. And while injury is partly to blame and being played out of position is partly to blame,, the winger has struggled to make an impact when given an opportunity to impress. He’s made good use of his time, though.
- Christophe Lepoint
Nope. No idea. What was that all about?
Winner: Yoni Buyens
The penalties were, of course, very useful, but the decline in his overall play was barely believable. The Buyens that played for the Addicks at the start of the campaign remains missing.
The Scott Parker Award for Best Reception for a Former Player
It was a season that saw former Addicks play against their old employers for the first time, or for the first time in quite a few years. One of those men was Parker, who received a rather disappointing level of abuse in both fixtures against Fulham, but he was one of few to be abused in any way. In fact, most got a hero’s welcome, and quite often they returned that appreciation.
- Darren Bent
It might have been eight years since the forward had last pulled on a Charlton shirt, but Bent evidently had not forgotten about the club or its supporters. The goal scorer was appreciated by the visiting Addicks at Derby before and after the game, and he responded by coming over to the away end at full-time to show his own appreciation.
- Chris Powell
This is a blog that carries Chris Powell’s name. This is a blog that has, on several occasions, expressed admiration and love for Chris Powell. Chris Powell is bloody marvellous, and someone who I will adore for the duration of my life. With that in mind, it’s no wonder I found a sold out Valley welcoming him back so powerful. The roar when he walked out was incredible, the third minute applause and signing of his name a lovely touch, and that he was still good enough to acknowledge the home supporters at full-time despite his side’s defeat just reinforced what a fantastic bloke he is.
- Michael Morrison
Morrison’s praises have often been sung. but even so, the centre-back is an unsung hero of the three seasons prior to this. An almost an ever-present, with a fully-committed and whole-hearted display given in each one of those games. So that Morrison spent a good few minutes at full-time applauding the travelling Charlton fans, who sung his name and applauded back, at Birmingham instead of celebrating his side’s victory shows the feeling was mutual. A cracking bloke.
- Yann Kermorgant
Applause, which was returned, was given Kermorgant at various points throughout Charlton’s home defeat to Bournemouth, but it was come full-time that the Frenchman reaffirmed his incredible class. Taking time out of his side’s title celebrations, Kermorgant showed his appreciation for the Charlton supporters, who were signing his name for at leas the third time, before diving into the West Stand to greet friends and family. What a hero.
Winner: Chris Powell
It was no less than he deserved. The final unforgettable moment that Chris Powell gave to Charlton.
The Bramall Lane Trophy for Worst Away Day of the Season
I presumed that, if there was some solace to be taken from the FA Cup defeat at Bramall Lane last season, then it would that an away day would never leave me so distraught. It turns out I was wrong, as Charlton had a right old go at making a number of my long trips beyond miserable.
- Bournemouth 1-0 Charlton
The first sign of major cracks in Bob Peeters side. Karlan Ahearne-Grant clearly wasn’t ready for first-team football, Igor Vetokele was broken and the back four simply couldn’t cope with Bournemouth’s pace. Bournemouth’s one should have been four or five. Oh, and we wore that bloody kit.
- Fulham 3-0 Charlton
Your usual sub-standard performance on TV. The Addicks embarrassingly gifted Fulham two early goals, and lacked any real threat even when given the chance t go forward in the second half. The third a long time coming. Oh, and we wore that bloody kit.
- Blackburn 2-0 Charlton
- Watford 5-0 Charlton
Players not only not performing, but not willing to try. A group of supporters, although with their side until the final whistle, divided in their views of their owner, creating a poisonous atmosphere. Only Johnnie Jackson and Tony Watt, by standing in front of the away end at full-time and looking supporters in the eye, gave any hope while the rest cowered away. I was out of love.
- Middlesbrough 3-1 Charlton
Watford-lite. Granted, Boro were in unstoppable form at the time and played in a manner that meant someone who had spent the last six months on the moon or inside Yoni Buyens’ sweat glands would have been able to see that, but Charlton’s effort was poor. Half-hearted performances that meant a difficult task became impossible and demoralising.
- Millwall 2-1 Charlton
That there was genuine hope made this edition of the bi-annual failure to beat Millwall even worse. The Addicks came into the game on the back of seven wins from nine, while the Lions were plummeting towards League One. But Charlton, reduced to ten men after Chris Solly’s red card, played without the spark that had been so visible in that winning run, and still looked uncomfortable even after Alou Diarra had at least given the away supporters a goal to celebrate. At least the capitulation that saw the Lions grab two goals to win proved meaningless, with Neil Harris failing to keep his side up.
Winner: Watford 5-0 Charlton
I’d rather just forget that ever happened.
The Hillsborough Trophy for Best Away Day of the Season
Charlton’s other trip to Sheffield in the FA Cup last season was much more enjoyable. The elbow of Simon Church, heroics from Ben Hamer and Chris Powell swinging on the crossbar making for a special night. And this group of away days from this campaign came close to matching the brilliance of that trip.
- Brentford 1-1 Charlton
Those Addicks who travelled to Griffin Park were still not sure what they were going to get from their club in 2014/15. A new squad, for which there was both excitement and anxiety, had to prove themselves. And while the first-half performance was concerning, the second meant you not only left West London with a lost voice, but also hope for the season ahead. That despite Harriott’s horrendous miss and Brentford’s equaliser.
- Norwich 0-1 Charlton
My old man went absolutely balmy. My old man, who was released by Norwich as a kid and isn’t exactly fond of the club, never goes balmy. I’m pretty sure there were even a few fingers flicked in the direction of the home ends. Oh, and Johnnie Jackson is an expert in creating carnage. That’s all needs saying about that one.
- Reading 0-1 Charlton
It was just a shame that the Addicks decided they didn’t fancy doing more winning for a bit after this. A proper battling display for Bob Peeters’ side earned them a deserved victory, despite having to sit deep and withstand Reading pressure for much of the second half. And the effort and energy required from the visitors to dig in and hold was replicated in the stands, with vocal support throughout the 90 minutes and passionate celebrations at full-time.
- Wigan 0-3 Charlton
Was the home victory over Brentford a fluke? It certainly wasn’t. The Addicks road their luck in the game’s opening few moments, but were dominant and dynamic thereafter. Bulot and Gudmundsson an absolute joy to watch, Watt frustrating in front of goal but creating so much for his teammates it hardly mattered, and Cousins putting the sort of whole-hearted performance you’d expect from his injured captain. A cracking Friday night up north.
- Cardiff 1-2 Charlton
Slow, turgid and flat, Charlton’s Christophe Lepoint-inspired display at the Cardiff City Stadium was beginning to deprive a previously vocal away end of its noise and energy. But then Watt and, erm, Church stepped up. Watt’s equaliser was a fantastic finish that came against the run of play, sparking pretty decent celebrations in the away end, but Church quickly made those who had groaned as he entered the field of play look silly by winning a late penalty. Buyens’ finish and the full-time whistle leading to very decent scenes, with even Luzon coming over to show his appreciation.
- The CAFC Supporters Trust Open Meeting
In truth, it was more of a home game. Although not hosted at The Valley, it was a night where the spirit of the club, channelled by its supporters, shone through. As someone who had not experienced the campaign to get back to The Valley, and was filling incredibly apathetic towards the club, this night proved a crucial experience in terms of getting some energy back for Charlton. There were also some important points raised that cannot be ignored despite the Addicks avoiding relegation by a considerable margin.
Winner: Norwich 0-1 Charlton
JOHNNIE, OH JOHNNIE JACKSON
The Astrit Ajdarevic Social Media Award
At times this season, the only thing that kept Charlton fans from throwing themselves onto the nearest train tack was the humour and brilliance of their fellow #CAFC Tweeters. It’s therefore to be expected that most of the contenders are from around the time when most supporters were utterly depressed with goings on at their club. I’ve excluded myself from the running, or no one else would get a look in.
The Club and Players
- CAFCOfficial emulating Blackpool
- Lawrie Wilson enjoying his goals against Colchester
- Johnnie Jackson bantering off Crystal Palace
- CAFCOfficial’s honest excitement after the best moment of the season
- Diego Poyet sitting on a reply to a Tweet for 25 days in order to laugh at Millwall’s demise
- Everything Johann Berg Gudmundsson Tweets
- *That* Tweet
- The faulty floodlights against Blackburn fixed by familiar faces
- Luzon’s other job
- Grassing up Luzon and the club
- The post-Watford depression explained perfectly
- Chris Powell still doing Charlton favours
The Winner: *That* Tweet
There can only be one winner, really. Just a shame it didn’t quite predict the future…
Chris Powell’s Flat Cap Bloggers and Writers of the Season
I wanted to do a Blog Piece of the Season, but such is the quality among the Charlton blogosphere that I immediately realised that this would be unfair. I’d leave far too many quality pieces of Charlton related ramble without attention.
Instead I’ll give a mention to all the Charlton writers whose work I have read this year and deserve some credit. The first being a former blogger in the shape of Rambling Addick. His piece at the start of the season may not be something everyone agreed with, but it there were parts of it that everyone could identify with. On top of that, it was superbly written, and showed a strong level of emotion. One Last Ramble – Rambling Addick
Valley Talk has been quieter this year, but that merely means the pieces that have been produced have been of sheer class and quality. His humerous look at Luzon’s appointment and more serious piece before the open meeting were both outstanding. EXCLUSIVE: The inside story behind Guy Luzon’s appointment as head coach Roland Duchatelet’s unhappy congregation
I’ve very much enjoyed Louis Mendez’s column on the NewsShopper website this year, especially the one following the defeat to Norwich at The Valley. I was beyond anger after Charlton’s abject first half Canaries display – Louis Mendez
That Hungry Ted’s blog entered a stage of depression at one stage this season showed just how dire the situation got. For Hungry Ted’s Charlton outlook is regularly positive, and his post after the Watford game was very uncharacteristic. I mean, look how positive he normally is – The Alternative End
For someone who follows from affair, Chicago Addick is regularly insightful and accurate in his posts. His reading of Katrien Meire’s charm offensive in particular was very good.
I also enjoy Brain Haines’ (http://sticklebackplastic.blogspot.co.uk/) superb one-liners and overall excellent pieces that he produces. His tale from the victory over Bolton gave me a very big chuckle.
Of course, I have to give a mention to Voice of The Valley. It’s been a real privilege writing for such a well thought of publication, as well as being quite surreal to see so many people read my pieces in each addition at The Valley. I hope they’ve not brought the quality down too much.
Elsewhere, the interview with Chris Powell that appeared in the Standard brought those emotions that had been pushed to one side back again, while Richard Cawley’s interview with Bob Peeters following his sacking was a fine piece of work. In fact, the local coverage, including the South London Press, NewsShopper and London24, of Charlton has been marvellous.
And finally, the already praised media team, who have had an incredibly tough season, have done a stunning job throughout the year. The sex stunt and a rather questionable April Fools aside, they’ve represented the club well and tried to have a laugh along the way.
My Moment of the Season, as I have mentioned on a couple of occasions, definitely came at Carrow Road. The whole day, from Chris Powell’s incredible reception to Tony Watt’s unbelievable solo goal, that took in the win against Huddersfield a very close second.
The Worst Moment of the Season was seeing
Charlton wear that awful third kit twice a number of players head straight down the tunnel at full-time following the Watford defeat. That a player not even involved in the game, Johnnie Jackson, came over slightly restored some faith, but I felt completely detached from the club at that moment. Horrible.
I expect Player of The Season will be a tight one (edit: as it was), but my vote has gone for Jordan Cousins. I appreciate Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s sheer quality means he’s getting a number of votes, but Cousins’ performances consistently feel you with pride. Even in those dark days, the battling of Charlton’s academy graduate put a smile on your face.
So that’s that for 2014/15. I’ve got plenty of content planned for the summer, but I will be taking a short break to get a few assessments and exams out the way. Probably no more than a week or two, knowing myself. So thank you for a stupid amount of views, some lovely comments and even the less lovely ones. You’re all ace. Up the Addicks.