For some supporters, connection with a player is immediately lost the moment they no longer represent their club. Little interest, let alone affiliation, unless they wear the red and white of Charlton Athletic.
An attitude you can justify by bluntly pointing to the fact that, as supporters of Charlton, there should only be appreciation for those who currently call SE7 their home. The idea being that you should ‘move on’ from one player, regardless of the connection that existed between supporters and performer, to the next with no lingering thoughts towards the departed.
But most can look beyond such a one-dimensional take on supporter-player relationships, and still admire those who have departed with a similar level of affiliation and appreciation that existed while they fought for Charlton’s cause. A different kind of connection while they wear the colours of a different club, but a connection that means none of the emotions felt towards the player while he was an Addick are lost.
And in the case of Yann Kermorgant, the talismanic figure of a Charlton side that allowed for the strongest of bonds between club and supporters, there is an affiliation shared by the majority of supporters towards the forward that has not waned while Bournemouth and Reading badges have been on his chest.
For the Frenchman represents a period where following the Addicks was rewarding and heart-warming. He represents the self-inflicted crippling of any sort of connection between club and its supporters. He represents the inability of Roland Duchatelet’s regime to run a football club, and not least because of his continued success at a level well above where Charlton currently sit.
He’s part of the Charlton that Duchatelet’s regime has taken away, and a figure involved in the failings inflicted by it that have created such destructive damage. From challenging for each and every header with Kermorgant, to struggling to challenge against apathy. You want him to succeed as if he were wearing red and white, then feel the tinge of pain that comes from remembering he no longer wears red and white.
And so to see the big man from Brittany, as he was described during Sky Sports’ coverage of Reading’s Championship play-off semi-final with Fulham, perform such a heroic role in such a high-profile and important contest provided a certain amount of pride and pleasure.
Were it not for the sheer importance of Kermorgant’s winning goal, coincidentally struck from the spot after previous penalty misdemeanours in Championship play-off encounters, it would be a footnote in the most marvellous of determined and driven performances. The penalty itself won by the Frenchman’s endeavour, as the pressure he applied on Tomas Kalas resulted in the Fulham defender handling inside the box. Tucking beyond Marcus Bettinelli to lead the Royals to Wembley.
But to focus purely on the goal, his 19th of the season at the age of 35, would mean not giving enough credit to a mighty all-round effort. If not holding up the ball and carving out openings for his teammates, then dropping deep inside his own box to perform heroic defensive duties that Naby Sarr and Roger Johnson would not be able to emulate. It a throwback to his warrior-like performances in Charlton colours, that enforced such a bond between Covered End and Kermorgant.
Blissful enjoyment derived from witnessing such a performance, in such a game, from one of my favourite players to ever perform in Charlton colours that went untainted until the game’s final moments. Untainted before a familiar bitter rage returned to the forefront of my mind, and the joy of his performance replaced by the anger of his departure from SE7. An anger shared by so many, to the same intensity as the affiliation with him.
A passionate standing ovation sent his way as the forward, having exerted every ounce of energy his body could possibly give, was withdrawn with a minute to play. In response, there not just a tired applause, but attempts to inspire further support and noise from those who made up the Madejski Stadium’s attendance. A display of a connection between supporters and player, that was so strong in SE7.
I’m still haunted by the solemn look on his face following defeat to Doncaster Rovers in January 2014 as he applauded a set of Charlton supporters while wearing a Charlton shirt for the final time. Unquestionably aware this would be his final game, and that he was being forced out of a club that was already showing signs of the damage Duchatelet’s influence would cause. Still hurting that that relationship, that high quality performer, was taken away from us.
His many great displays while an Addick spring to mind, as the sense that you have been robbed of both a marvellous player and a person intensifies.
The additional quality that meant 101 points were possible in the promotion winning season, with opening goals in the vital wins over Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town. The determination and fight offered, summed up by the iconic image of him covered in more bandage than skin. And, of course, that goal against Hartlepool United on the final day.
The first season in the Championship brought about those goals against Leicester City, enjoyed by Kermorgant as much as they were Charlton supporters. There crucial performances in crucial points through the season, but not least during the eight-game unbeaten run at the end of the campaign, where he was simply unplayable. If I’m haunted by his solemn look after the Doncaster defeat, I’m still mesmerised by the beating of the Charlton badge on his chest following the incredible 6-0 win over Barnsley at Oakwell.
And even as the point where he was to be forced out drew near, there remained inspirational performances of quality and class that strengthened an already unbreakable connection. Leicester, who would go on to be champions, ruffled again, combining with Lawrie Wilson to achieve a superb victory against Brighton, and a delightful free-kick at Oxford United beginning a FA Cup run that would create memorable moments before disaster struck.
So too do you think of each time he has returned to SE7, not least his most recent visit while with Reading in February 2016. Standing ovations for his goals not because Charlton supporters embraced failure, but because they represented the fact failure had been self-inflicted from above. To so readily discard such a performer, and a performer who held such great affiliation for the club and its supporters, is a damaging act that will never be forgiven.
The ability to ‘move on’ made more impossible by the unsuccessful attempts to replace a cult hero treated with utter distain by those unwilling to grasp so much about this club. Unsuccessful not only in terms of ability, from Piotr Parzyszek through to Lee Novak, but unsuccessful in terms of recreating the sort of bond that existed between Kermorgant and Charlton supporters. Bonds between fans and players brought to the club under this regime few and far between, and bonds of such a high intensity simply unable to exist in an atmosphere of apathy, disconnection and disgust.
And so while a poisonous regime linger at a club they have crippled, and cannot heal, one of the great victims of Duchatelet’s reign has the opportunity to inspire his side to a Wembley victory and promotion. Kermorgant the talisman for a side on the verge of a Premier League. A talisman for a Charlton side that had the strongest of bonds with the club’s supporters.
There are, of course, other members of that Charlton side who held or hold similar connections with supporters, with Johnnie Jackson’s ovation as he left the pitch during the final game of the season just passed the perfect example. There a manager, with Chris Powell so poorly treated and his legendary status unblemished, for which an almost identical feeling exists. Sustaining those relationships a simple task.
But it the anger, the position Kermorgant’s sale holds as the catalyst for destruction and disconnection, that has sustained and even strengthened the Frenchman’s status as a cult hero among Addicks.
Love for what he has done, and admiration for what he continues to do. Anger that he was prevented from doing more in Charlton colours, and that he succeeds while we fail. The man that, through no fault of his own, represents the decline from affiliation to apathy under Duchatelet’s directions.
I acknowledge the fact that I am repeating myself, but I cannot say it enough. Whether it be companions, Charlton captains or complete strangers, I’m so grateful for how understanding and receptive so many of you have been when I’ve discussed my mental health. Countless supportive comments and, as far as I can remember, no cynicism or criticism.
And yet, as I begin to write another piece about mental health, I feel the need to apologise. Partly because I’m aware this is a Charlton Athletic blog, and the majority of you don’t want to be reading this nonsense, but mainly because the sense that talking about mental health is something that shouldn’t be done still lingers.
There’s embarrassment that comes from feeling somewhat weak and pathetic. There’s concern that comes from individuals seeing you as ‘attention seeking’ and anxiety over how others will perceive you as a result of how you feel. There’s a sense that it’s better to hide, pretend to be okay, and get on with things.
And the problem is, that while 1,000 comments of reassurance make me believe talking about how I feel is acceptable, if not encouraged, a single comment that questions the validity of mental health issues or the motives of discussing them has a much greater impact. My mental health affecting my ability to talk about my mental health.
For at the heart of concern over being able to talk about depression and anxiety is anxiety. Anxiety over anxiety. The anxiety created by one negative comment creates an irrational and overpowering sense of fear and panic, that it is my fault that I feel like this and as such should deal with it myself.
It’s something that affects me in many situations. Countless positive comments about my writing become meaningless if there’s one negative one, and I lose all confidence and self-belief. Incidents where I’ve been applauded and praised after refereeing are lost if it’s deemed I’ve made the smallest mistake and criticism follows. Anxiety makes the one comment more powerful than the one thousand.
But, of course, there no question that talking about mental health is important, and something that should certainly be encouraged. The sad situation that Aaron Lennon finds himself in, which I would suggest comes at least in part as a consequence of the Everton winger not feeling able to talk about how he feels in the environment of professional football, has brought mental health to the fore in the previous few days. I’m encouraged by just how many have not only been supportive of him, but supportive of mental issues in general.
But so too am I saddened, saddened to a point that it has had an impact on my own mental health, that there has been the occasional critical, cynical or ignorant comment. That those comments have been shared and supported. Comments that are, quite simply, complete and utter bollocks that will ultimately prevent others from feeling like they can’t speak.
In the case of Lennon, I worry that the way some media outlets have chosen to portray the story will prevent other footballers or figures with similar status seeking help. The idea that his wage means he should be void from suffering from mental health issues, as if money can fix the unbearable suffering that illness such as depression and anxiety provide, is infuriating and demonising. Demonising to the extent that someone in a similar situation may find themselves believing that seeking help or talking about their mental health will harm more than it will heal.
Then, as a consequence of the largely positive discussion about mental health that has encouraged people to talk, we’ve had odious wankers like Piers Morgan decide you shouldn’t be talking about how you feel and instead should just ‘man up’.
It’s easy to suggest that we simply ignore such an odious wanker, spreading poisonous and ignorant garbage. But the problem is, this odious wanker has an incredibly large following. An incredibly large following of which at least a percentage will agree with his comments, and increase the demonising of those with mental health issues.
I’ve suffered with mental health issues for nine years. Throughout those nine years, there has been a constant thought process that it is all simply my fault. A though process that is incredibly hard to shake and makes my ability to progress incredibly difficult.
It’s a thought process that means I do damage to myself, in terms of entering a state of angry self-loathing. A thought process that increases my isolation and loneliness, as I feel useless, unwanted and little more than a nuisance to others. A thought process that increases the challenges of being able to talk about how I feel, as instead of believing I need to seek help I believe I need to attack myself.
In so many ways, the belief that suffering in the way I do is my own fault makes my mental health so much worse. In the moments when you know you’re suffering from an illness, there’s a certain amount of rational thought you can retrieve from the back of your brain that calms the situations that edge close to crisis. In the moments when you believe it’s your fault, you feel worthless and pointless, and see no point in fighting the feelings that exist in these periods of crisis.
And yet, someone with such a large following is happy to demonise mental health and those with mental health issues. Happy to make people who are suffering feel weaker and more pathetic than their own mind is already telling them they are. Happy to make it more difficult for those who may be struggling to speak to find the courage to do so.
Yeah, the majority disagree with what Morgan has to say, and agree that he’s a monumental cunt, but that’s not the point. People will agree that ‘manning up’ and getting on with it solves everything. That attitude spreads, and those overwhelmed by their mental health issues become overwhelmed by an anxiety that says they’re the ones in the wrong and they should neither be seeking help nor talking.
The idea that I can just ‘man up’ and suddenly nine years of mental health issues, and a current very poor state, will be addressed is laughable.
Such a narrative is dangerous. To me having seen that comment earlier on today, but more importantly to people who are hiding their feelings. Who will let those feelings linger, before they become too much.
I cannot justify just how difficult it is to talk. Even today, I attempted to seek help simply in the form of conversation, but became overwhelmed by anxiety and self-loathing in my attempts to do so. It takes courage, and a need to battle against the anxiety, panic and fear that make every single life action or decision and impossible one.
I cannot justify just how difficult it is, once the original hurdle of throwing yourself into a situation where you can talk has been overcome, to feel comfortable and calm while talking about mental health. To justify to myself that I’m seeking help, and not simply letting my suffering linger, I’ve seen several counsellors over the years. None have worked for me, and I’ve find the environment incredibly difficult to engage with.
But all the same, I cannot express how important it is to talk. To family or friends, to a counsellor if that environment works for you, or to strangers on the internet in the form of a blog because you haven’t got the composure to speak clearly to people in ‘real life’.
Talking is hard, but I’ve never regretted talking about how I feel. It might just have helped me clarify my thoughts, or it could have calmed me down and provided genuine help. Either way, managing to overcome the barriers that exist and being able to talk about my mental health has always had some sort of positive effect.
I look to the right of me in my room, and there sits the most incredible outcome of me being able to talk. The Johnnie Jackson shirt. When I turn to it, I remember not only that someone of such a high status supports and cares about me, but that so many individuals have shown similar support.
It provided reassurance that it is perfectly okay to talk. It’s calmed suicidal thoughts on countless occasions. In particularly challenging times, as is the case at the moment, I’m not quite sure what I’d have done, or would do, without it.
I want those that are suffering to know that they can talk, they can be honest, and they can seek help. I want them to find the courage to speak about how they feel. I want them to know they shouldn’t have to feel the anxiety and panic that comes from negative comments overriding 1,000 supportive ones.
But I feel that anxiety and panic. I feel the sadness and self-loathing. I feel every bit of pain, and fully appreciate how hard it is.
Even in writing this, there’s anxiety and worry. Writing is a point of solace for me, but still there’s fear I shouldn’t be talking about mental health and worry about how it will be perceived. Concern that I’m better off hiding and keeping quiet.
I don’t know if talking will help myself on this occasion, to climb out of an incredibly low and anxious state that I’m struggling desperately to address, but I do hope it helps someone else.
The Katrien Meire’s CV Award for Capitulation of the Season
Meire, somehow, has continued to obtain more stains on her CV throughout this campaign. The status of her CV continues to capitulate, and there’s been some equally incredible capitulations elsewhere during the season.
- “Learning from our mistakes”
Apparently, the regime, were intent on learning from their mistakes this season. Then went about making the same mistakes again, and again, and again to create another campaign of failure and fan discontent. Impressive.
- AFC Wimbledon
Throwing away an advantage, and what appeared a comfortable one at that, in the final 12 minutes of a game is a mightily impressive effort, even for a tame Charlton side.
The Addicks seemingly heading for victory, having been given an 8th-minute lead by Ademola Lookman, before their defensive resolve completely fell apart. Dominic Poleon equalising, before Tyrone Barnett headed home the winner with five minutes to play.
- Post-Bolton Wanderers
The victory at The Macron Stadium had supporters, and for legitimate reason, dreaming of the play-offs. Such was the fight and determination shown against Bolton.
Instead, the Addicks followed up the win against the Trotters with eight pathetic performances in eight winless games. Late equalisers conceded, tame defeats suffered, and embarrassing efforts from Karl Robinson and his side.
Each moment of fight shown by Ricky Holmes, and Ricky Holmes alone, was followed by an increasingly pathetic defensive capitulation.
The lead that Holmes had given the Addicks on the stroke of half-time thrown away within seven minutes of the second period, with horrendous defending gifting the Shrews two goals in two minutes. Tyler Roberts and Shaun Whalley regaining the home side’s advantage.
And after Holmes, scoring his hat-trick goal in the process, had drawn Robinson’s side level, it took just five further minutes for the hosts to regain their lead. Charlton’s defence offering no resolve whatsoever.
- The financial figures
The saving grace, it was once said, to the Duchatelet regime was that it had brought about financial security. But even that has been lost with the release of the latest financial figures.
A loss of £13.5m, apparently the consequence of spending to avoid a relegation from the Championship that didn’t happen. Spending on loan signings Rhys Williams, Diego Poyet and Yaya Sanogo, and free agents Rod Fanni, Roger Johnson and Marco Motta. Impressive.
Then there’s the £54m debt to Duchatelet and the club’s parent company, being charged at 3% interest. An interesting take on ‘investment’.
- The Valley
The Valley’s increasingly low attendances have brought about great sadness to supporters of the Addicks, but the empty seats exist for only one reason. The failure of this poisonous regime.
Consistently less than 10,000 appearing at games in SE7, and not including the numerous season-ticket holders who are absent. The lack of numbers a reflection of the atmosphere of apathy surrounding the club, created by regime that have destroyed identity, insulted supporters, and created detachment.
Winner: Post-Bolton Wanderers
Genuine hope turned to utter embarrassment in the space of just over a month.
The Charlton 5-4 Cardiff Trophy for Comeback of the Season
Charlton came from behind to record victory only twice this campaign, so most of the contenders for this award don’t involve turnarounds on the pitch.
- Bristol Rovers
Given that the 4-1 victory over Bristol Rovers at The Valley at the start of the calendar year was one of Charlton’s best performances, and wins, of the campaign, it’s easy to forget just how poor the Addicks were during the first 40 minutes of that fixture.
Not only trailing to Jermaine Easter’s 12th-minute goal, but performing without any degree of quality. The visitors not exactly dominant, but Charlton struggling to make the simplest of passes. Struggling to launch any sort of attack.
So to score four goals in the game’s final 50 minutes, completely dismantling Rovers and performing with real attacking quality, is quite the comeback.
- Bolton Wanderers
The basis of Charlton’s fantastic win over Bolton in January was determination once they had taken the lead. But to take that lead, they needed to execute an unlikely comeback.
A goal down, and a man down, against one of the promotion favourites, the Addicks somehow fought to grab two goals before the break. Patrick Bauer’s header drawing the visitors level, before Nathan Byrne’s cool finish in first-half stoppage-time gave Charlton the advantage.
And while it’s the determination and fight shown that makes that victory so special, it wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible turnaround at the end of the first-half.
- Jorge Teixeira
With his Charlton career seemingly over before Robinson arrived at the club, Jorge Teixeira has done well to return to the first-team picture.
Far from perfect, and heavily criticised after the defeat to Shrewsbury, but he certainly became a useful part of the squad.
Oh, and he threw a ball in the general direction of Steve Morison’s face. Which I’m sure we all want to do.
- Tony Watt
Much like Teixeira, Tony Watt’s return to Charlton’s squad hasn’t been perfect. There’s been impressive performances, the occasional goal, and a reasonable level of determination. But so too have there been weak and ineffective efforts.
But he’s done well nonetheless to convince both Robinson and supporters that his mind is with the Addicks after three loan spells away from SE7, and that he his committed.
At the very least, he’s done enough to prove his worth having around going into next season.
- Dale Stephens
Flogged off to the first bidder after Duchatelet arrived, but now a key member of a side who won promotion from the Championship and is now a Premier League player. Wow. Incredible. Who would have thought it?
- Yann Kermorgant
Not good enough for Duchatelet but, at the age of 35, is a talismanic figure for a side in the Championship play-offs, leading the line in typically superb fashion and, at the time of writing, on 17 goals for the season. Wow. Incredible. Who would have thought it?
Winner: Dale Stephens and Yann Kermorgant
How did they manage such impressive turnarounds? It’s almost like they were already bloody excellent players and we should have done absolutely everything in an attempt to keep them three years ago. Weird.
The Karel Fraeye Trophy for Managerial Naivety
The award for the managerial decisions that would suit the ability of Charlton’s greatest coach.
- Russell Slade, for playing Johnnie Jackson and Kevin Foley on the wings
Half a reflection of the lack of numbers in the squad, half a reflection of Slade’s conservative nature. Either way, playing two 30-somethings on the wings on several occasions wasn’t the bald-headed boss’ greatest idea.
As long ago as 2012 Chris Powell said Jackson was no longer suited to playing out wide, while Foley’s pace made his skipper look like an Olympic 100m runner. Both suited to sitting deep in midfield, using their intelligence and composure on the ball to keep the game ticking over, and not attempting to cause a threat down the flanks.
- Russell Slade, for shunning Jorge Teixeira
With Jason Pearce, Ezri Konsa and Patrick Bauer available for almost the entirety of Slade’s stay in SE7, leaving Teixeira out could be justified as just a selection decision. But it evidently wasn’t.
Obviously some issue between Slade and Teixeira that left the Portuguese defender shunned, almost immediately returning once Robinson had been appointed.
And while he’s not been perfect since coming back into the side. Teixeira’s contributions have shown that completely shunning him wasn’t beneficial at all. Slade really didn’t deal with that situation well.
- Russell Slade, for stifling all creativity and intent out of the side
While Slade was in charge, Charlton’s defensive record wasn’t so bad. But that defensive record was achieved at the expense of any degree of attacking intent.
A lack of attacking intent particularly apparent in away games that ended in disappointing draws, as this incredible tally of 18 league draws started to build. Victory on offer in the games against Scunthorpe United, Oxford United and Port Vale, but Slade setting up his side far too cautiously.
- Karl Robinson’s transfer window rant
I’ll just leave this here.
- Karl Robinson, for stubbornly sticking with a 4-5-1 formation, and then a wingerless formation
Robinson arrived in SE7 with a reputation of being committed to what he believed in, and quite stubborn. And that certainly showed in his unwillingness to alter two different formations that quite quickly failed to work for the Addicks.
While the Addicks were playing one up top during the winless run, Josh Magennis or Lee Novak were made to be isolated figures. It no surprise performances improved once Tony Watt joined them in attack.
But soon after, Robinson switched to a diamond formation, that quickly stifled all of Charlton’s attacking intent. So often looking for the option to burst forward down the wings, but it wasn’t there. The performances against Peterborough United and MK Dons particularly dire as a consequence of this.
More than happy to change personnel game-by-game, but less willing when it comes to a formation. In truth, he’s probably inherited a squad that doesn’t suit the football he wants to play but, all the same, he’s not been able to get this squad into a functioning shape.
- Karl Robinson, for having no answer to Charlton’s winless run
At the end of January, it seemed as if Robinson had found the required formula to lift the Addicks on a genuine charge towards the play-offs.
Alas, eight games, and eight poor performances, followed. Eight consecutive games, during which Robinson had no answer to Charlton’s struggles.
He couldn’t address the lack of potency, despite demanding ruthlessness. He couldn’t address the lack of composure in the middle, despite regularly changing the centre duo or triple. He couldn’t address the lack of defensive resolve and overall determination, despite constantly promising his side would be giving more.
And, in truth, the performances after that run came to an end remained concerning. It only in the final weeks of the season, against horrendous opposition, that the Addicks have shown any degree of quality under Robinson’s stewardship.
Still some work for the boss to do to get supporters fully onside.
- Karl Robinson, for playing Johnnie Jackson at left-back
Jackson would play in goal without gloves for the Addicks if the situation demanded, but that isn’t to say shoving him at left-back against Shrewsbury Town was a wise decision.
The skipper playing the majority of his games in that position during his initial loan spell with the club in the 2009/10 season, but his days of being able to play there are long gone.
The decision made even bizarre by how competent Jay Dasilva has appeared since coming into the side during the final few games of the season.
- Karl Robinson, for attacking his players then taking the blame himself
“I’d say 40% of the squad don’t care enough,” were Robinson’s words after the rather pathetic defeat to Shrewsbury Town at the back end of February. His players thrown under a bus.
Then, four days later, after losing to Northampton Town in equally pathetic fashion, it was all his own fault. “If you’re looking for someone to blame then blame me, I have to take that for the team,” he said.
But four days ago, it was all the team’s fault, and you were opening them up to criticism?
Nope. No idea.
Winner: Karl Robinson, for having no answer to Charlton’s winless run
The run that destroyed this season, and made it a totally miserable one.
The Roland Duchatelet Decision Making Award
The award for the worst, most Duchatelet-like, decision of the season.
- Roland Duchatelet and Katrien Meire for not giving Chris Wilder assurances
Charlton spoke to Chris Wilder before appointing Russell Slade in the summer, but were unable to secure his signature as they wouldn’t give the promises Wilder requested in writing. Slade sacked by November; Wilder a League One title-winner.
Fair play to Wilder, mind. He got himself his dream job, and achieved a superb promotion with his boyhood club.
He was also fairly astute in realising the words of this regime are rarely supported by their actions.
- Roger Johnson for deciding to open his mouth at Bury
There’s a lack of trust at Charlton at the moment, and understandably so. A lack of trust largely between supporters and a regime that has crippled their club and spends a great deal of time insulting them.
But the nature of the regime means that there’s a lack of trust in Charlton as a whole. An unfortunate side effect of that is that questions of player commitment become more frequent. From the mouths of fans, and from the mouths of managers.
So it probably not best, particularly on the first day of the season when supporters are attempting to reengage themselves with their side and develop some sort of trust, for a player to openly insult and criticise them.
“If you don’t fucking like it, don’t fucking come,” were the wonderful words of Roger Johnson come full-time following the defeat to Bury. A sense created after the season’s first 90 minutes of a lack of unity between squad and supporters, and a worrying sign of what was to come.
Might have just been better to have kept your mouth closed, Roger.
- Roland Duchatelet and Russell Slade for failing to strengthen enough over the summer
For the umpteenth season in a row, Charlton entered the campaign with a squad lacking depth and quality in almost every position.
Duchatelet not investing enough, Slade not recruiting wisely enough. A handful of injuries proving near-fatal, players played out of position, and the bench constantly lacking options with young players being forced into the first team picture when not yet ready for senior football.
It no wonder that failure followed. Top six budget? Certainly not a top six squad.
- Roland Duchatelet for going out for a birthday lunch
As Charlton were losing to Swindon Town, the defeat that would see the end of Russell Slade’s time in charge, Roland Duchatelet was out for lunch. But I thought you watched every game, Roland? It’s almost as if the individuals that make up this regime lie. Weird, that.
- Roland Duchatelet and Karl Robinson for failing to spend the Lookman money
A reported £11m made from the sale of a fine young talent, and that fine young talent sold at a time when the Addicks weren’t a world away from League One’s top six. Some proper investment in the squad might have allowed for some sort of challenge.
Alas, the money was not spent on improving the squad, and the second half of the season was arguably worse than the first.
The excuse for not properly spending the money made from selling Ademola Lookman to Everton was that it was being used on the training ground. A training ground development project that has constantly been championed by the regime, and was already in place. Right.
- The club for spending lots on PR and still not being very good at it
Four figure sums apparently being spent by the club on PR, and still Charlton are presented in the media as a failing club, with a horrendous regime owning them. Funny that.
- Katrien Meire, for forcing the POTY dinner to be cancelled
- Roland Duchatelet, each time he opens his mouth
Each time Duchatelet speaks, it confirms two things. The first is that he doesn’t understand a thing about Charlton Athletic. The second is that he hates Charlton supporters.
And each time Duchatelet speaks, he does little but make the situation at the club worse.
- Roland Duchatelet, for not selling the club
What does Duchatelet achieve by continuing to inject his poison through the veins of this football club, instilling failure and insulting supporters at every possible opportunity?
This season he’s achieved the growth of further fan unrest, and the club’s lowest league position for many years.
Hopefully he’ll make the correct decision during the summer. He simply has to for this club to move forward.
Winner: Roland Duchatelet, for not selling the club
Another season of disaster in his hands.
The Roland Duchatelet Missing Person Award
Search parties sent out for these figures, who disappeared temporarily or for extended periods of time.
- El-Hadji Ba
A goal in pre-season against Welling United suggested one of last season’s worst-performing players might actually have a role to play in League One. But El-Hadji Ba’s name rarely appeared again until it was announced that the midfielder had had his contract terminated at the end of the winter transfer window.
Very occasional appearances for the development squad, but otherwise the Frenchman spent the first half of this season in hiding. Probably requiring some time to convince another football club to sign him, despite lacking any degree of ability whatsoever.
Stabaek, who play in the Norwegian top flight, the victims of his plan.
- Ahmed Kashi
Is he actually still alive?
- Jorge Teixeira
Locked away in a dark room while Russell Slade managed the club, Teixeira’s Charlton career was seemingly over before Karl Robinson utilised the Portuguese defender upon his appointment as boss.
It a rather odd situation, that’s difficult to make sense of. With Robinson using him so readily, the cause for his absence can’t have been a financial one, so it either comes down to attitude or Slade simply not fancying him.
Though when Slade would rather use Roger Johnson, I’m not sure it’s attitude or ability either.
- Kevin Nugent
Having led the side commendably during his caretaker spell in charge, his sudden disappearance from the dugout without announce, not long after Robinson appointed Richie Barker, seemed a very disappointing way to treat Nugent.
Despite no longer featuring in the dugout, or among the list of coaches in the programme, mention of his departure wasn’t made until he joined Barnet. He deserved better.
- Katrien Meire
Though it was apparently just a coincidence, Meire’s absence from the directors’ box during the game against Walsall coming at the same time as takeover rumours began was a nice glimpse into the future.
- Roland Duchatelet
- The regime on the final day
Where were they? No Meire. No Duchatelet, of course. Not even Sue Parkes. Almost like they don’t want to face the opposition they’ve caused. Funny that.
Winner: Roland Duchatelet
Hopefully a summer sale means he won’t ever show his face in SE7 again.
The Astrit Ajdarevic Social Media Award
The award for the best use of social media, in honour of Ajdarevic’s friendship with a London taxi driver several years ago.
- Bradley Pritchard
A brief moment of self-indulgence as I acknowledge my growing friendship with Bradley Pritchard. Lovely to me on social media, lovely to me in ‘real life’. Sent me a handwritten letter of support, gave me a lift after a Greenwich Borough game and spoke to me about my health, and continues to take an interest. Fantastic guy.
- Jorge loves Yakult
There’s nothing I love more than a Charlton player informing me I should be drinking Yakult.
- You lot, and the Skipper
I remain incredibly appreciative of the unrelenting support I received after Johnnie Jackson’s wonderful gesture of sending me a shirt. Every message read, every message appreciated, every message having genuine value.
- Katrien’s footballing career
- Tony Watt
For someone who deletes his Twitter account every three months, Watt produces some decent content. Mocking Magennis for his use of inspirational quotes among the humorous efforts.
- CARD announcing Slade’s sacking
A protest group announcing the sacking of a manager before anyone else shows the status they hold.
- Powell for PM
Finding me in near-empty away ends has become an internet phenomenon.
Winner: You lot, and the Skipper
You’re all great, as is the Skipper. Honestly can’t express how important the support from relative strangers has been. Love you all x
Chris Powell’s Flat Cap Award for Journalism/Writing
Especially in these troubled times, writers and speakers provide a vitally important service to Charlton supporters.
- Louis Mendez
With humour, insight and excellent analysis, Mendez has become the ‘go to’ Charlton journalist in the previous 12 months or so. Unless you’re Russell Slade, of course.
Also inspired the #WheresKyle craze, which has swept the nation.
- The team of bloggers
I say team, as appose to naming them individually, because I will undoubtedly unintentionally forget someone and spend the rest of my life crippled by regret and self-hatred. But many of those who blog with Charlton matters in mind provide a marvellous service, particularly at this time when the opinions and feelings of supporters hold even greater value.
- Charlton Live
The bi-weekly Charlton radio show that discusses everything from takeover talks to pets that are named after Charlton players. Yann (the cat) is a huge fan, as are many supporters of the Addicks, who make the Thursday and Sunday shows part of their schedule.
- Voice of The Valley
The long-standing Charlton fanzine, edited by Rick Everitt, provides constant analysis and insight of the inner workings of this rather odd football club, in addition to a variety of excellent articles provided by marvellous contributors. An interview by Matt Wright with Chris Powell, solely about the League One title winning season, among the highlights. Shame that Kyle Andrews lad writes in it, mind. Rubbish, him.
- Getting to Know the Network
The four-part podcast series that revealed the inner workings of the network, and justified the criticism that Roland Duchatelet and his regime receives, is a marvellous piece of work largely achieved by former Charlton media man Jimmy Stone. Revealing some rather shocking details, not least the emails sent by Duchatelet to Chris Powell, containing some excellent and important interviews, and topped off by the emotional final words of the flat-capped former boss.
- Matchday commentary
It is most unfortunate that I have not experienced the matchday commentary of Terry Smith and Greg Stubley, because I’ve been subjected to the events they are retelling with my own eyes, but constant positive words that have been sent their way means they must be included in this shortlist. A commentary duo who keep those who can’t be there up to date in fine fashion.
- Jonathan Fisher’s video for The Guardian.
It’s best you just watch it, rather than I explain it. A superb bit of work.
Winner: Getting to Know the Network
An outstanding piece of journalism, that has revealed so many details that supporters needed to know about this horrendous regime.
The Sebby Lewis Trophy for Supporter of the Season
The award for the best/most committed/most willing to suffer supporter of the season.
- Sebby Lewis, and all those who show their face at every game despite the situation
To follow the Addicks in the current situation is a difficult task, but there remain many whose faces you see at every game home and away. Their persistence, despite the suffering, is commendable.
- My dad
As explained here, my dad has been marvellous this season. I wish I could praise him more.
- Those behind CARD
Organised, creative, committed, determined. Those behind CARD have done a marvellous job as leaders of the protesting efforts. A superb example of fan activism.
- The Belgium 20
The alternative, and more direct, protest group. As organised, creative, committed and determined as CARD, but keeping their protesting efforts between themselves as they travel to Belgium and make life as uncomfortable as possible for our dearest leader.
- Everyone that went to Belgium
More than 250 Charlton fans making the journey to Belgium in order to protest directly against Roland Duchatelet’s regime. What a fantastic effort.
Winner: Everyone that went to Belgium
Heroes, going above and beyond to fight for a better future for a club in crisis.
My Moment of the Season is split between the tribute to PC Keith Palmer, and the feeling of joy come the full-time whistle at Bolton. That joy in some contrast to the pain felt during my Worst Moment of the Season, which is the run of pathetic defeats between the fixtures against Oxford United and Northampton Town.
Meanwhile, my Player of the Season is unquestionably Ricky Holmes. What a superb, match-winning talent, who provided moments of sheer brilliance even during the periods where the Addicks were performing in pathetic fashion. A desperate need to keep him going into next season.
And finally, finally. Some thank yous.
Thank you to everyone that has read any of the nonsense I’ve posted over the season. It’s just a hobby that I put too much time into, this, but every positive bit of feedback I receive is genuinely appreciated.
Thank you once again to everyone that has offered their support and shown any degree of care towards my health situation in the previous few months. I value your support as much as I do the support received from Johnnie Jackson, Bradley Pritchard and Chris Powell. All of it has been so important.
Let’s hope I don’t require such support in the following year, and let’s hope our support for Charlton is better valued and more greatly rewarded next season. Thank Christ that’s over with.
Our Charlton Award for Proudest Moment of the Season
Sometimes, whether it be the club itself, the players, or the supporters, Charlton offer reminders that there’s a proud football club hiding beneath the wreckage.
- Mixing protest and support
The sight of a near-empty Valley is a sad one, and the consequence of an ownership who have left committed Charlton supporters feeling no attachment to the club they once loved. But once again this season, followers of the Addicks have mixed protest and support superbly.
Joining with Coventry supporters, getting Duchatelet a taxi, and taking the protests to Belgium all part of a fantastically committed and combined effort to remove the owner from the club. Combined, also, with passionate support for their side, with examples to be taken from games both home and away.
On occasions, it’s been a case of the side performing and warranting support and no appreciation. On others, it’s been a case of the side frustrating but evidently not lack effort, and encouragement offered.
Either way, when the side have not been so despicable that they have not warranted supported, the support the team not the regime mantra has been followed.
- The academy graduates
The production of talented young footballers has been heavily tainted by Roland Duchatelet’s insistence on selling at the earliest opportunity, but there still pride to be taken in seeing homegrown players wear the Charlton shirt.
Ezri Konsa and Dillon Phillips making their breakthroughs this season, joined by Joe Aribo, who has been developed by the club but having been signed from Staines Town as a 19-year-old isn’t technically a homegrown player.
Contributions, too, from Brandon Hanlan and Karlan Ahearne-Grant, while Chris Solly has remained committed to the Charlton cause and Ademola Lookman displayed his incredible talents before moving onto Everton.
Maybe, once the club is sold and we start to progress again, we might keep some of them for more than half a season.
- Johnnie Jackson’s shirt
A personal one for myself, but Jackson having a shirt delivered to me was an incredible moment, and the response suggested other supporters embraced it as a moment of pride.
Responding to a piece I produced about my mental health and epilepsy, the skipper went out of his way to offer his support, which I valued incredible amounts.
The shirt still holds a place in my mind, and I constantly refer to it to give myself support and a boost. A reminder that someone of Jackson’s important cares, and that I must motivate myself to keep caring about myself and my situation. If I can’t for myself, then for people like that.
- Ademola Lookman’s Everton goal
No real pride in another academy graduate being sold at the earliest opportunity, but that isn’t to say there wasn’t delight in seeing Ademola Lookman score on his Everton danger.
The winger, having come off the bench, converting against Man City. Played through from the right by Seamus Coleman and finishing through the legs of City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. A marvellous start to the Premier League career of a genuine talent.
His only goal for the Toffees so far, but there no doubt there will be more to come. And there no doubt those goals will be warmly appreciated by Charlton fans.
- PC Keith Palmer
There would have been no complaints had the club merely organised a minute’s silence for PC Keith Palmer, the Charlton season-ticket holder who lost his life in the Westminster terror attack.
Instead, the club went above and beyond to honour the life of Palmer, dedicating the match against MK Dons to him and salvaging pride from the saddest of moments.
His red season-ticket seat replaced with a white one, which displayed his warrant number, 50% of ticket sales and 100% of the players’ match fees going to Palmer’s family, and commemorative shirts worn by the Addicks. That in addition to Palmer’s brother leading out the teams, who were joined by members of the police force, for an emotional minute’s silence.
So too will there be a permanent memorial to Palmer by the Sam Bartram statue. The Sam Bartram statute that overlooked floral tributes, and had a Millwall scarf tied to its leg in remembrance.
PC Palmer, he’s one of our own.
- The Upbeats
The Charlton Athletic Community Trust do some marvellous, marvellous work, but it’s the Charlton Upbeats and the matchday dedicated to them that stands out every season.
The Down’s Syndrome team playing at The Valley, and a walk from the training ground to SE7, with Derek Hales and Carl Leaburn among those taking part, helping to raise an impressive £22,000.
But the highlight of it all being those players who, despite being wrapped up in the emotion of celebrating a vital victory, decided to head towards the Upbeats come full-time and hand their shirts over. A really lovely moment.
- Johnnie Jackson, again
You’re lying if you suggest you weren’t at least a touch emotional as Jackson was applauded off the pitch as he was substituted during the victory over Swindon on the final day of the season.
The Valley standing, chanting and applauding a leader, a legend and, in recent years, a man who has kept the soul of this club living.
It not his final game. He’ll serve as a play-coach next season. But this admiration still felt timely and justified.
I really bloody love him.
Winner: PC Keith Palmer
An incredible amount of pride taken from the saddest of situations. The club could not have dealt with it any better.
Flaggy’s Award for Statement of the Season
In what might well be Duchatelet’s last season, the bizarre and insulting comments from Charlton’s failing owner haven’t been lacking. Hopefully they will be followed by an image of a corner flag, and a statement from the club that says he’s sold up.
- Roland Duchatelet – defending his emails
How do you defend outrageous emails sent to Chris Powell about team selection? By calling him stupid, of course.
Having been asked about the emails on a Belgian TV show, Duchatelet responded with “if the coach thinks he can continue without the advice from outside, well, then he is not a clever person”. The advice being “pick the team that we’re telling you despite you being the manager”.
And while you’re there, you might as well call supporters stupid too. Because it’s not as if the club and its supporters are divided enough already.
It’s almost as if the stupid one is actually Roland Duchatelet. Funny that.
- Roland Duchatelet – actors
“These protests have nothing to do with reason. Therefore, whatever we do or say, the core actors within that group will always criticise.”
Two problems with that comment from Duchatelet. The first being that the protests have quite a lot to do with reason. The reason being that his regime are destroying the club.
The second problem is that we’re supporters, not actors. Last season it was customers, now it’s actors. Excellent.
- Roland Duchatelet – bitter ex-employees
The protests, according to Duchatelet, feature “a few hot heads who previously worked directly or indirectly for the club and who were shown the door due to their rebellious and rowdy attitude”.
I’ve never worked for the club. Have you?
- Roland Duchatelet – vinegar pissers
In response to Charlton’s protesting efforts in Belgium, alongside St Truiden supporters, Duchatelet decided that both sets of fans were “vinegar pissers”. A Belgian phrase that apparently refers to someone who likes to moan.
I wonder how it would feel to actually piss vinegar. Genuinely intrigued.
- Sue Parkes – terrorists
- The club – not far sale, to unhelpful
On the Wednesday, the club was not for sale and the priority was “maintaining our League One status”. Inspiring.
By the Thursday, after the Addicks had been linked with a sale to an Australian group, takeover rumours were “unhelpful”.
Personally, I’d say what’s actually unhelpful is your running of the club.
Winner: A combination of all the attempts from Duchatelet to divide club and supporters further
What an incredibly naive and stupid individual.
The Inflatable Trophy for Protest of the Season
Again, the efforts of Charlton fans in protesting against a poisonous regime were commendable.
- A partnership with Coventry, and flying pigs (15/10/2017)
With two clubs who have been mistreated by dreadful ownerships meeting at The Valley in October, the natural thing for their supporters to do was come together in protest.
Charlton and Coventry supporters first marching in partnership towards the ground, before launching inflatable pigs onto the pitch in order to disrupt the game. Their opinions voiced, their situations picked up by national media, and their respective regimes embarrassed.
Additionally, Coventry fans with shirts that spelt out “R O L A N D O U T” and Charlton fans with similar displaying “S I S U O U T” appeared at the start of the second half. This during a game where anti-regime songs were sung unrelentingly by both sets of supporters.
- #TimeToFly (V Gillingham, 22/10/2017)
It was the unexpected element that made the banner that flew over Priestfields in the opening stages of Charlton’s game against Gillingham that made it most impressive. That and the fact it was organised and purchased by a lone individual, and not from the protest fund.
No prior announcement that it would be happening, and the sight of “DUCHATELET & MEIRE #TIMETOFLY appearing over Priestfields causing great delight to the Addicks in the away end.
- An army of banners (V Chesterfield, 29/10/2017)
The home game against Chesterfield was labelled as Free Speech Day, and it meant a number of banners were brought to The Valley, criticising the Duchatelet regime.
From those asking for our club back, to those telling Duchatelet and Meire where to go, and even the occasional one that offered a bit more creativity. A decent effort from Charlton’s supporters in displaying their opposition to a club-ruining regime.
Oh, and of course, there were a handful of North Korea flags displayed around the ground.
To celebrate Duchatelet’s 70th birthday, CARD decided to take a few presents to him in a taxi emblazoned with anti-Duchatelet messages and art work.
Those presents including match tickets and a map of South East London, what with him not coming to games, some highlights from the previous protests, and a black and white scarf. All delivered to his home town of Sint-Truiden.
The protest wrap remaining on the taxi for three months after it returned to England. More embarrassment for Duchatelet and his regime.
- Flying taxis (V Sheffield United, (26/11/2017)
Another attempt to disrupt a game, not long after Duchatelet had decided to make yet another managerial change. A managerial change coming not long after Katrien Meire had once again offered support to the current boss.
Taxis, inspired by the ‘taxi for Roland’ notion, thrown onto the pitch at kick-off, preventing the start of the game against Sheffield United.
- The trip to Belgium (04/03/2017)
While Charlton embarrassed themselves at Northampton, with supporters there voicing their own opposition to Duchatelet, 250 or so heroic Addicks travelled to Belgium to take the protests to the owner’s front door.
Joining with supporters of STVV, another of the clubs he owns that he’s mistreating, the protesting supporters were treated to a performance from The 2 Percent band, marched with their Belgian allies, and spread their message.
Duchatelet unimpressed, but national media again with eyes on the efforts of the Charlton supporters, and further pressure placed on his regime.
- A partnership with Coventry, and flying pigs II (14/04/2017)
The game at the Ricoh Arena between these two mis-managed clubs emulating the one at The Valley, but with arguably even greater meaning. Coventry to have their relegation to League Two confirmed come full-time of the sides’ 1-1 draw, while rumours of Duchatelet being prepared to sell the club had appeared.
A march in unison towards the ground once again, followed by another invasion of pigs. While as supporters of the Sky Blues were forced to accept their relegation, Charlton supporters joined them in chanting for SISU to sell the club.
- End game (30/04/2017)
An odd one, this. The protest on the final day of the season, publicised as the end game for Duchatelet, promised chaos. Chaos that wasn’t really delivered.
Nonetheless, by sheer weight of numbers, the opposition towards Duchatelet has rarely been so unanimous. The Valley standing as one on several occasions as the chant of “stand up if you want them out” was bellowed around the ground.
And as such, the unity brought hope. Hope that Duchatelet would realise there is no way he can continue to own this club, and hope that there would be universal backing of a new regime. Hope that a new dawn is on the horizon.
- The persistence
The organisation impressive and the creativity to be commended, but it the persistence of Charlton supporters that deserves as much praise as anything else.
A second season of protesting against this torrid regime, and still supporters remain fully committed to enforcing change. There never any danger of Addicks just giving up and accepting Duchatelet, and it seems like their efforts might finally be rewarded.
Winner: The trip to Belgium
Total commitment to the cause. A truly impressive effort to take the protest to Duchatelet, with him still hiding away from SE7.
The Fraser Forster Award for Best Performance by an Opposition Player at The Valley
Named after a ridiculous performance from now England goalkeeper Fraser Forster during a League One game against Norwich in 2010, where he probably could have saved a coalition of Charlton, Coventry, Blackpool and Leyton Orient, the award for the best performance by a visiting player this season.
- Tyrone Barnett (V AFC Wimbledon, 17/09/2016)
Throw on a player while you’re 1-0 down with 14 minutes to play, equaliser two minutes later, then turn the game on its head and score the winner for your side with five minutes to play. Quite simple for Tyrone Barnett, really.
The forward’s introduction and AFC Wimbledon’s dramatic turnaround at The Valley in September were not just a coincidence. His physicality making an immediate impression, and contributing to the sense of fear that suddenly overwhelmed all in red.
Not directly involved in the equaliser, but certainly the winner. Charlton’s defending woeful, but his header emphatic and giving the Dons a victory that seemed impossible when he was brought off the bench.
- Ousmane Fane (V Oldham Athletic, 27/09/2017)
This probably the strangest member of the shortlist, for Fane’s performance in the dour draw with Oldham would have been easy to ignore. Playing the holding midfield role, and not necessarily doing anything out of this world.
But half the reason the Addicks couldn’t get going in this encounter was because solid head and long legs of Oldham’s summer signing from Kidderminster seemed to be breaking everything up. Every aerial duel one, every pass intercepted, every ball run forward brought to a halt.
Fane completely dominant in the centre.
- Josh Lillis (V Rochdale, 01/10/2016)
The presence of Rochdale goalkeeper Lillis just as important as Rochdale goalscorer Calvin Andrew in their 1-0 win over the Addicks at The Valley in October.
For in addition to delivering a determined performance throughout the game, standing firm and commanding his area with intelligence and composure, the stopper made a match-defining save to keep out Johnnie Jackson’s penalty at the start of the second period.
- Gwion Edwards (V Peterborough United, 17/12/2016)
Creative midfielder Edwards was lively throughout Peterborough’s 2-0 victory over the Addicks in December, but it his stunning individual goal that gets his name on this shortlist.
Well, stunning if you ignore the fact he’s just ran through a Charlton midfield and backline that might as well have not been there. Running from inside his own half, past red shirts that make half-hearted attempts to stop him, and finishing clinically having entered the area.
- Michael Ball (V Fleetwood Town, 04/02/2017)
The introduction of forward Ball at half-time during Charlton’s draw with Fleetwood in February completely changed the complexion of the game. The Addicks, having taken the lead through Ricky Holmes and knocking the ball around comfortably either side of that 37th-minute goal, suddenly placed under some pressure by a side who had discovered some attacking intent.
And much of that attacking intent coming through Ball. Leading the barrage on Charlton’s goal, which included an effort from himself that floated just over the bar, before Amari’i Bell bundled in an equaliser from a Fleetwood corner during ten minutes of additional time.
But the impressive Ball might well have won it for the visitors, seeing a volley cannon back off the post after Nathan Byrne had been dismissed for the Addicks. A performance that meant Charlton went from being comfortable, to on the back foot for the majority of the half.
- Conor McAleny (V Oxford United, 21/02/2017)
As is so often the case, a former Charlton player who wasn’t particularly impressive for the Addicks decided to have a blinder on his return to SE7.
Not just scoring the winning goal, a driven effort from distance that beat Declan Rudd far too easily, but a constant nuscience to Charlton’s backline throughout the evening. Regularly in behind, and a persistent threat.
- Erhun Oztumer (V Walsall, 11/03/2017)
Walsall might well have come away from SE7 in March with all three points if they had shown any sort of ruthlessness in front of goal. Creating numerous chances either side of taking the lead through Simeon Jackson, but failing to take any of them. Tony Watt’s goal for Charlton, therefore, enough for the Addicks to take a point.
Those Walsall chances were largely created by the quality of Erhun Oztumer. So composed and skillful in possession, the diminutive figure who was once on Charlton’s books kept gliding into pockets of space and sending teammates free down the flanks. It easy to see why he’s so highly rated.
Hovering outside the area, and looking to deliver for his teammates rather than score himself, the wastefulness of his side didn’t taint his performance. But had they been more potent, they would have had a lot to thank for Oztumer for.
- Harvey Barnes (V MK Dons, 04/04/2017)
Having brutally terrorised Charlton down the left flank for the majority of the first half, leading the opposition’s attacks and getting in behind with ease on a consistent basis, Leicester loanee Harvey Barnes helped himself to the goal that his performance deserved after the break.
A simple goal, as those in red stood off the winger and allowed him to double MK Dons’ lead. A dire effort from the Addicks, that teenager Barnes, with his pace and directness, took full advantage of.
- Keith Stroud (V Millwall, 14/01/2017)
A stunning performance from Keith Stroud spared Millwall from their first loss to Charlton since 1996. Particularly impressive when denying Patrick Bauer a perfectly legitimate goal, after Lions goalkeeper Jordan Archer had dropped the ball onto the German’s feet when attempting to clear from his hands.
Winner: Keith Stroud
Well played, Keith. Really impressive. Bastard.
The False Hope Award for Best Home Performance of the Season
Occasionally we threatened to be a competent side. Occasionally we performed well at home. Occasionally.
- Charlton Athletic 3-0 Shrewsbury Town (16/08/2016)
As those post-match celebrations took place, in fact, with great applause from the players, a fist-pump from Slade, and joyous tunnel jump from Jackson and Holmes, it became apparent that this was one of those rare moments under the stewardship of Roland Duchatelet where the damage that has been inflicted upon club and supporters during his stewardship was irrelevant.
Much like it mattered little to the Covered End that Slade lacked hair, the state of the club momentarily mattered little. A rare night in SE7 that was simply to be enjoyed and savoured. The Addicks marvellous.
- Charlton Athetic 3-0 Coventry City (15/10/2016)
- Charlton Athletic 3-1 Scunthorpe United (05/11/2016)
Equally, the celebrations among the home supporters covered the surprise that their side had come away from such a contest with victory. The Addicks not naïve enough to think luck hadn’t played its part in their progression.
But that takes little away from a battling Charlton effort, and certainly nothing away from an excellent display from their teenage gem. Lookman’s performance vital to his side reaching the FA Cup’s second round.
- Charlton Athletic 2-0 Port Vale (19/11/2016)
The sense of crisis around the club meant many, justifiably so, felt capitulation was almost certain today, so to come away with three points that was ultimately warranted is an effort that shouldn’t be knocked.
Warranted because that period of potency in front of goal in the final 15 minutes of the first half was more than Port Vale showed throughout the duration of the game, despite looking the more fluent side.
- Charlton Athletic 4-1 Bristol Rovers (02/01/2017)
But during the game itself, in those second 45 minutes, it was unquestionably the sheer quality of this Charlton performance that grabbed your attention. The maturity and class of Konsa and Aribo, the composure that an impressive Crofts offered, and the improvement of those in wide areas all outstanding.
Though, of course, the unplayable Magennis will take as much attention away from anyone else in this side as is possible. And so he deserves to. The forward simply outstanding, not just in how well he took his goals but in also in his overall play.
- Charlton Athletic 2-1 Scunthorpe United (07/03/2017)
In a period where the veins of this football club are filled with a crippling poison, the brief moments of celebration Charlton Athletic provides to its supporters can be seen as little more than painkillers. A momentary release from a suffering that will soon return.
But the painkillers the Addicks provided on this Tuesday night in SE7 were particularly strong. Not just distracting from the sorrow that comes from seeing The Valley so empty, or simply numbing the pain that Roland Duchatelet’s ownership has made a constant. A real release of relief, joy and delight as Karl Robinson’s side find found a way to record their first victory in nine games.
- Charlton Athletic 1-1 Bradford City (14/03/2017)
On this occasion, the Addicks had done themselves proud. They had performed with pride in front of a set of supporters who have so often been left embarrassed by their team’s pathetic performances. Genuine appreciation for the unquestionable effort, determination and drive of their side over one of the best 45 minute periods of a bleak season.
- Charlton Athletic 2-1 Southend United (08/04/2017)
Those on-the-pitch could not be aware of the importance of their efforts in achieving this victory as they celebrated, not aware that Shrewsbury, Swindon, Oldham, Gillingham, Coventry and Chesterfield had all picked up points. Not aware that defeat, or even a draw, would have left the Addicks on the verge of being drawn into the bottom four.
- Charlton Athletic 3-0 Gillingham (17/04/2017)
A frustration that Dasilva had not been unleashed sooner in the campaign. A frustration that Robinson’s Charlton had not performed with such quality and intent on a consistent basis. A frustration that this was one of a limited number of occasions during this season that a side with attacking potential has provided genuine excitement and entertainment to The Valley crowd.
But those frustrations take nothing away from the positive emotions felt in celebration on this Easter Monday afternoon, as the fears of relegation could finally be forgotten. Nothing away from a dominant victory, that reflected a superb performance from Robinson’s men.
- Charlton Athletic 3-0 Swindon Town (30/04/2017)
In times past and future such performances, regardless of the weak nature of the opposition, would be adored. In times current, it a sideshow to the goal of removing a regime that has performed only acts of destruction and disconnection.
And, though reaffirming the failures of this football club and the regime that there is relief in finishing 13th, it to the credit of this side that they have shown much greater determination and quality following the defeat to MK Dons which seemed to have made them being drawn into the bottom four almost an inevitability.
Winner: Charlton Athletic 4-1 Bristol Rovers
Super Josh Magennis.
The Empty Valley Award for Worst Home Performance of the Season
The Valley’s emptiness, a direct result of Duchatelet’s regime, has been a bleak sight during this campaign. Many performances bleaker.
- Charlton Athletic 1-2 AFC Wimbledon (17/09/2016)
A backline that retreated deeper and deeper, behind a midfield that was losing intensity, and a set of forwards appearing more and more isolated. Their punishment for, first of all, failing to kill the game off while on top and, secondly, declining so dramatically, inflicted as Dominic Poleon rounded Chris Solly in sublime fashion and finished coolly beyond Declan Rudd with 12 minutes to play.
There should have been a driven and determined response, to regain the lead their performance for much of the afternoon warranted, but the Addicks merely seemed to drop deeper and lose even more energy. The Dons confident, committed, and full of intent.
To the extent that you could hardly bemoan previous misfortune in front of goal when Wimbledon took advantage of Charlton’s staggering decline. Substitute Tyrone Barnett heading home superbly from Barry Fuller’s cross with five minutes to play.
- Charlton Athletic 1-1 Oldham Athletic (27/09/2017)
It a warranted equaliser for the Latics, who were able to control the game for large parts of it and played with positivity, but it more obviously just punishment for a horrendous Charlton performance. Josh Magennis’ 22nd minute strike, the result of a 21-pass move, coming completely against the run of play and totally undeserved.
Disgust definitely existing towards that horrendous performance. A performance that saw defensive failings, midfield sluggishness defined by constantly being beaten to the ball and misplacing passes having finally gained possession, and a distinct lack of attacking cohesion.
A performance instigated partly by player failings, but largely by the cautious mindset and difficult to understand tactics that Russell Slade – booed as he departed at full-time – has instilled upon a side that has the individuals to perform to a much higher standard.
- Charlton Athletic 0-1 Rochdale (01/10/2016)
In fact, the only clarity and conviction throughout the afternoon came in the boos that met the full-time whistle, sent largely towards the slumped Slade as he attempted to escape down the tunnel without notice. No brave face and directionless applause on this occasion.
Not even a missed penalty at the start of the second half was a valid reason to suggest misfortune or injustice. Josh Lillis saving well from Johnnie Jackson’s spot-kick, awarded after Ricky Holmes’ burst into the box was halted illegally by Joe Bunny, to maintain the lead Dale were given by Calvin Andrew’s far post header with 25 minutes played.
For Slade’s Addicks, as they have been for several weeks, were truly dire. The desperate punt up field to a lone front man long wearing thin, attempts to move the ball around in midfield far too slow and turgid, while Holmes and Ademola Lookman’s runs forward were without support from static teammates.
- Charlton Athletic 0-2 Peterborough United (17/12/2016)
The final home game of the year it might have been, but more truthfully it was one that was meant to set the tone for what remains of this season. An opportunity for Robinson and his side to prove to the apathetic Valley crowd that there remains value in committing to their side.
- Charlton Athletic 0-1 Oxford United (21/02/2017)
This 1-0 defeat to Oxford United, from the moment the turnstiles were opened until the relatively few Addicks in attendance exited them, a symptom of a disease with only one cure. Mangers, players, positive words; none of those able to put the club into a state of rehabilitation. Only Duchatelet selling the club can provide solace to the empty, and begin to restore.
A fifth fixture without victory, and a fifth fixture largely devoid of any redeemable aspects, increasing the sense that the Karl Robinson experiment is beginning to fail. Another manager, and another set of players, unable to provide on-pitch distraction from the damage that has occurred away from it. A defeat that leaves the Addicks closer to League One’s relegation zone than the third tier’s play-off positions.
- Charlton Athletic 0-1 Bury (25/02/2017)
The booing of this display, a display not enough to avoid a 1-0 defeat to strugglers Bury, a half-hearted expression of disproval, and a more revealing showing of apathy. Not enough energy among home supporters to display the true extent to which they’re suffering. That energy long beaten out of them.
It not just a sixth sluggish performance, and a six successive game without victory, from Karl Robinson’s side that has deflated Addicks to such an extent. It not just those performances that led to a Football for a Fiver crowd SE7 as low as any seen previously. It the consequence of three years of a football club doing it all it can to alienate a group of supporters who deserve so much better.
- Charlton Athletic 0-2 MK Dons (04/04/2017)
Their performance had made anger the overriding emotion on a night where it should have been pride. Their performance reaffirmed a disconnection between supporters and club, on a night where unity and togetherness had been shown prior to kick-off. Their performance embarrassing, on a night where they had all the tools and motivations to make it otherwise.
Winner: Charlton Athletic 0-2 MK Dons
The context of the night making a pathetic performance all the worse.
The Bramall Lane Trophy for the Worst Away Performance of the Season
Bramall Lane the bad trip to Sheffield three years ago. Many bad trips this season.
- Bury 2-0 Charlton Athletic (06/08/2016)
There can be no attempt by Roland Duchatelet, Katrien Meire and Richard Murray to address the sizeable sum of issues they have created at this club, for the damage they have already done is too great. Their half-hearted efforts to heal wounds meaningless when such disillusion, disconnection and anger – the sort that can only be resolved by a complete revolution – exists among such a large number of devoted Addicks.
The defeat, a sluggish and unorganised effort punished by an energetic but less than excellent Bury, a catalyst rather than a cause for such emotion. Anger remerging as those efforts to heal wounds became more obviously half-hearted. A squad, still understocked in all departments for this new season in the third tier, without cohesion or quality.
A squad that, in different circumstances, might well have been given the benefit of the doubt, but not a squad that needs to produce in order to deflect away from the damage that Duchatelet’s regime has done to Charlton. That needs to produce in order to deflect away from severe lack of depth it has.
- Swindon Town 3-0 Charlton Athletic (12/11/2016)
The absence of those away on international duty, all players with attributes that Charlton Athletic desperately missed during their pathetic 3-0 defeat to Swindon Town, provides a convenient excuse for a catastrophic performance at the County Ground. The Addicks could have had the game postponed, and avoided total embarrassment, if it were not being broadcast by Sky Sports.
But the absence of those representing their countries not an excuse for the absence of quality, cohesion and effort among those representing Charlton in Wiltshire. For the complete absence of defensive composure and attacking fluidity. For the complete absence of a coherent game plan from Russell Slade, whose reliance on a handful of individuals to cover both the cracks in his system and his squad was exposed.
- Millwall 3-1 Charlton Athletic (21/12/2016)
And, as such, such a performance, with such a side, in such circumstances, is also a reflection of the state the club has been reduced to during the period in which Duchatelet has damaged it. A weak side, offering little fight, despite supporters valiantly battling on, a regular occurrence, and a symptom of this regime’s reign.
We’ve lost to Millwall before. We’ve lost to Millwall with similar gutless performances. But this a performance not only seen previously against the Lions, but one seen many times by sides constructed while this regime has controlled.
There just a feeling that, in this week where Duchatelet has again insulted and patronised, the efforts on the pitch where a reflection of the lack of connection between the club’s identity and those who operate or represent it. A reflection of the lack of connection between those who operate or represent this club, and determined supporters.
- AFC Wimbledon 1-1 Charlton Athletic (11/02/2017)
But as the game, this scrappy and low quality game, entered those four additional minutes, replays of wasted Charlton chances appeared in the mind. Lee Novak shooting wide when clear on goal, and Shea denying the freshly shaven Tony Watt in spectacular fashion. There needn’t have been emotions of panic and hope; the game could have been killed off.
And maybe more genuine chances to effectively seal victory would have been created had Karl Robinson’s somewhat tame and disorganised side shown greater attacking intent during the contest’s scrappy periods. They didn’t sit back, but nor did they purposefully push for a sought after second.
Maybe with thoughts of the capitulation against Fleetwood in their minds, not wishing to commit men forward and ultimately be caught out. Maybe through fear of Wimbledon’s Tom Elliott, winning almost every header and involved in almost all of the half chances the hosts had created. Maybe simply as a consequence of their own footballing efforts, with attempts to get forward regularly stifled by misplaced passes.
Regardless, Robinson’s men had once again placed pressure upon themselves. Pressure that a side challenging for the play-offs could contend with. The sort of pressure Robinson’s Charlton must contend with.
- Oldham Athletic 1-0 Charlton Athletic (14/02/2017)
The Northern Ireland international’s miss, ballooning the ball over the bar, the catalyst for what was to come. Karl Robinson’s rallying cry, designed to keep this desperate dream of a top six finish alive, completely disregarded.
But, in fact, it was the Latics who would be punishing the Addicks. The hosts, aided by some dire Charlton defending, pouncing just three minutes after Magennis had failed to show the required ruthlessness. Oliver Banks striking first-time from the edge of the box, beyond Declan Rudd’s dive.
- Shrewsbury Town 4-3 Charlton Athletic (28/02/2017)
But Holmes’ efforts had not galvanised his side. His efforts not enough to prevent a seventh game without victory, and a third consecutive defeat. His efforts not enough to prevent the Addicks sliding to within six points of the bottom four, and the threat of relegation becoming a very real one.
Like rare victories cannot paper over the huge holes Roland Duchatelet’s regime has inflicted upon the heart of Charlton Athletic, rare moments of individual brilliance were not enough to stabilise Karl Robinson’s shambolic side.
- Northampton Town 2-1 Charlton Athletic (04/03/2017)
More energy, more emotion and more effort expressed by the Charlton Athletic supporters in attendance at Sixfields come full-time than had been displayed by those representing their football club on the pitch.
“You’re not fit to wear the shirt,” they sang. Loud, passionate, meaningful. The sentiment expressed as vocally as the cries of “we want Roland out” and “Valley Floyd Road” throughout the duration of the contest against Northampton Town.
Such sentiment shouldn’t have needed to be expressed. There was a response promised, one that would show the commitment and character of this group of Addicks after it was questioned by Karl Robinson in midweek. But this sentiment was totally, totally fair.
For Robinson’s men had performed without quality, without cohesion, and without the sort of levels of determination and effort you should be demanding from professional footballers for the eighth consecutive game. And eighth consecutive game without victory. An eighth consecutive game without any degree of pride being shown.
- Peterborough United 2-0 Charlton Athletic (01/04/2017)
Too many people at this club don’t care. Too many people at this club continue to instil failure unpunished. Too many people at this club view committed supporters, hurting that the club they once loved is crumbling, with disdain.
If people at this club cared, if people at this club were competent, the Addicks would not sit four points above League One’s bottom four with six games to play. They would not have delivered an umpteenth performance that offered little quality in the final third, before defensive capitulation gave victory to their opponent.
Winner: Northampton Town 2-1 Charlton Athletic
A choice between Northampton and Millwall. While rivalry makes the Millwall effort pathetic, the fact a response was promised makes the Northampton performance a total disgrace.
The Hillsborough Trophy for Best Away Performance of the Season
The better trip to Sheffield. And, incredibly, some away trips have actually been enjoyable during this campaign.
- Walsall 1-2 Charlton Athletic (20/08/2016)
It was by no means a fluent and faultless performance that allowed Russell Slade’s Charlton Athletic side to celebrate victory with real joy in front of their vocal travelling supporters at the Bescot Stadium, but neither was it fortuitous.
For to call Charlton’s victory, the first immediately following another since November, fortuitous would, though accounting for the chances Walsall created and the occasional moments of luck the Addicks enjoyed, totally discredits the collective application and effort of this side.
- Bristol Rovers 1-5 Charlton Athletic (22/11/2016)
In fact, Karl Robinson might have even felt immediate justification for his decision to ignore all the warnings he would have received about working under Roland Duchatelet’s regime, such was the manner in which the side he will inherit ruthlessly defeated Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.
Or maybe he would have been slightly concerned that Kevin Nugent had led this group of Addicks to such an impressive victory that his offer of employment would be withdrawn, and instead handed to the caretaker boss. Those that had travelled to the West Country treated to a quite remarkable 5-1 win.
- MK Dons 0-1 Charlton Athletic (26/12/2016)
It not exactly an attractive and enterprising period of football, with this a battle between two underperforming sides. But this a gritty battle that Robinson’s men showed enough fight and resolve to win.
Always on the back foot, but rarely tested, and thrown into a state of characteristic panic on even fewer occasions. Dons left frustrated not only by Dillon Phillips’ timewasting, but so too their inability to break down a backline who had finally discovered some stubbornness. The most un-Robinson-like of victories secured.
If nothing else, this a victory that shows some resolve remains in a group of Addicks who had appeared weak and characterless in the previous week. Enough resolve to win while quality remains minimal.
- Southend United 1-1 Charlton Athletic (31/12/2016)
A game that, on several occasions, should have been put to bed by the Shrimpers, and would have been had it not been for Phillips, along with the occasional bit of Southend wastefulness in front of goal.
It meant that Charlton’s attacking efforts still stood to produce reward. That pressure was still being placed on Southend, and there always a chance of an equaliser despite what appeared a reasonably large gap between the two sides. That Aribo’s quality, including an effort that struck the crossbar, mattered.
But as full-time approached, hope was fading. The visitors lacking something definitive in the final third, and the hosts always threatening on the break. A second Southend goal as likely as a Charlton equaliser, though the advantage the Shrimpers already had appeared enough.
Enough until Aribo found space on the edge of Southend’s area, and found the delivery of real quality that he and his teammates had not been able to produce for much of the afternoon. Andrew Crofts connecting, and volleying home via the crossbar in the game’s 89th minute. Unexpected scenes of joy and relief in a packed away end.
- Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Charlton Athletic (28/01/2017)
Never was there confidence, not least because Rudd was required to grab loose balls on several occasions as full-time approached, but there was a sense that this fight and determination warranted victory. Victory that would be celebrated with every positive emotion imaginable as the referee’s final whistle blew following four minutes of additional time.
The tales of woe momentarily forgotten. The wounds patched up. The mental scarring replaced by unbelievable joy, created by a performance that displayed the fight and pride so often absent of beleaguered Charlton efforts.
The sombre, apologetic figure Robinson was supposed to adopt replaced by a chest-pumping, fist-pumping boss, celebrating not only an incredible win in the context of the figure, but a win needed to keep a fading season alive.
So often left embarrassed by the actions of a poisonous regime. So often let down by a side not possessing the quality and courage to contrast the image created by those above. So often wondering why it’s all worth it.
- Chesterfield 1-2 Charlton Athletic (22/04/2017)
Without a win on the road for almost three months, and with only four previously gained this season, there every reason to make the most of the final away game of this campaign providing a rare moment of joy.
Winner: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Charlton Athletic
The emphatic victory over Bristol Rovers an excellent performance, but the week of genuine belief and hope that followed the battling display at the Macron means it takes the award.
Part Three to follow (hopefully on Tuesday)