Funny how easily you get out of the habit of penning anything. This may have been down to work commitments and holidays, plus the feeling that it was difficult to get a handle on prospects for the season until the procession of players exiting had more or less come to a close and one or two new faces had arrived – and before actually seeing a game. Maybe we all just run dry sometimes. Whatever. As I’m out of practise there’s no theme to this post, just a series of random observations.
Linvoy Primus. Seems he’s not coming after all (OK, I've just seen according to the BBC that he is on his way after all, on a three-month loan). What a bloody relief that is. Richard Rufus is of course an Addicks legend and his early retirement is still a source of overall regret. But at least since he hung up his boots we have been able to live without (to the best of my knowledge) an out-and-out born again bloody born-again God-squader. The stream of athletes/footballers who declare that they have ‘given their life to Jesus’ is depressing (note to Kaka, stay in Italy, you’re just not wanted here) and needs to be stopped. Why do they seem to think this is something positive? I would much rather Andy Gray and Luke Varney come out and say ‘I’ve sold my soul to the other lot in return for a guaranteed 20-plus a season while I’m at Charlton’. Now that’s what I’d call commitment.
Barring a change of heart on the part of ‘Arry (am I the only person left in this country who thinks he comes across as a charmless nerd?) it seems we have to look elsewhere for another central defender. Presumably Sonko’s sending off and Duberry’s injury mean it is even less likely that Reading will allow Sam Sodje to leave. There’s no point speculating on who might come in, just the hope that if Zheng Zhi does depart before the window closes we have the opportunity to draft in one or two. I would have thought Jose Semedo could provide some cover at centre-back if necessary (well, he’s covering for almost every other position). But it would be nice to know exactly why we let McCarthy leave (we know why Bougherra went) if we have to pay to bring in a replacement.
The only other departure I actually regret, taking on board the club’s financial position, is that of Iwelumo, especially with Marcus Bent finally offloaded. In my simplistic way of looking at the game you have to have a few options and possible combinations. One of those for the forwards is bringing on the big lump when you’re behind and chasing the game with 20 minutes left (Liverpool got away with it last night, but if I was a fan I would have been wondering where was Crouch when you needed him?). I don’t know whether Stuart Fleetwood is seen as that sort of option, but my first impression from the Athletic friendly was that isn’t his game. Assuming Varney and Gray remain first choice, Svetoslav Todorov when fully fit looks like the other option to Gray (I can’t see how they could play together), while Chris Dickson and Fleetwood would seem to provide the alternatives alongside Gray as and when needed. Presumably Izale McLeod will come back into contention at some stage. But these three at least are really untested at Championship level. Consequently reports linking us with Helguson might seem strange given the money presumably involved, but from the perspective of striking options it wouldn’t look completely daft.
Just how Gray and Varney might react to another forward being brought in would be another matter. Gray was meant to be the man to revive a flagging promotion bid, only for Lita to arrive shortly after. None of it worked out. It’s another reason why I wish they would scrap the transfer window. Why is it necessary to push clubs into thinking about covering for possible requirements over the next four months? Similar thinking regarding Jonathan Fortune. It is clear that Pardew will for the foreseeable future play Mark Hudson in every game. Primus was not going to be coming here to warm the bench. To be fair it’s a bit of a clue when you’re given the number 24.
And for those who have been eagerly awaiting news of Lyon Duchere following their dramatic promotion last season to CFA Groupe B (and who can’t be bothered to look it up elsewhere), I am pleased to report a satisfactory start to their life in the French equivalent of a regional third division. After three games they sit 10th out of 18 with a win, a draw and a loss. The season opener produced an uncharacteristically high-scoring contest, a 4-3 defeat away at Toulon, before something like business as before as Agde were turned over 1-0 back at Lyon. The third match was away at Villefrance-sur-Saone, the team they were promoted with from CFA2. The result was a 1-1 draw, with La Duch probably a little disappointed not to take all three points having taken the lead and with their opponents having a man sent off.
Next up on Saturday is a home game against Jura Sud, a team which has lost its first three games. High hopes then for a surge towards the top. I had hoped to coordinate my visits to Lyon to try to take in some games this season, but I’ve made a poor start. My next trip to France sees Lyon Duchere playing away at Andrezieux. Now what are the chances of my persuading my French partner that what she really wants to do on a Saturday is to drive over to Andrezieux for a football match? I suppose finding out where it is would be a good first move; first look seems as if it might be close to Saint Etienne, which is reasonably close. It could prove to be my first away game of the season; well, I’m ashamed to say that (due to work commitments) there’s more chance of me getting to that game than to away at Preston on Saturday.