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)