A belated Happy New Year to all Addicks! May we get what we want for 2017; for all of us that's promotion, for most of us it's a new owner and a return to being proud of our club. This was indeed going to be another rant in response to the latest offensive, deluded and duplicitous interview given by Duchatelet, but that's been overtaken by events and will have to wait for another day. Not as if we'll have to wait long for fresh ammunition.
Have seen the sad news that Paul Went has died. He tends to get overlooked when people put together their best-ever Charlton XIs: he played a decent but not memorable number of games for us (174, over five seasons, would have been more but for injury which restricted him to only 16 appearances in 1969/70), he notched a reasonable number of goals for a centre-half (16, including seven in 1971/72, only beaten by three others that season) but no memorable ones (he did get two in a game against the Spanners but we still lost), he didn't feature in a promotion-winning team for us (if you assume as I do that a top-flight spot is always going to be wasted on Palace it was an especially gross injustice that he didn't), and his final season with us - before being sold on at a handsome profit - ended in disaster and relegation on the final day. But he does merit being put right up there, he was very, very good.
I can't add more to the words of Keith Peacock on the club site. I will have seen just about all of his appearances at The Valley (plus some elsewhere) and just can't remember him having a bad game. He must have done as he was ever-present in 1971/72 and in addition to getting relegated we conceded 77 goals, the highest total in the league. I can't recall any particularly amusing or exceptional anecdotes; basically nothing has stuck in my mind other than that he was a reliable and highly competent defender and, like Graham Moore, was a member of the only Charlton side in my youth which suggested that more could be achieved than scrapping around the bottom of the second division.
Thanks for the contribution to our club Mr Went. All our condolences for sure go to his family and friends and I'm sure the news will be marked by the club and/or the fans at the next available opportunity.
In obviously very different circumstances today we also bid farewell to Ademola Lookman, whose move to Everton has been confirmed. He goes with all our best wishes for the future. Of course his going puts our daft owner's 'strategy' for our club in the spotlight, even if no Charlton fan is really going to carp about the decision to take what appears to be a reasonable price (of course the details have not been disclosed by the regime). The use of the funds will at least allow us to better assess the balance of priorities for our owner, between getting promotion and trying to balance the books.
I've never been comfortable with the idea that Charlton have 'always been a selling club'. I think there are only a few clubs worldwide who have never found themselves in situations where a player is sold to a club in a higher/better condition. For sure we are more of a 'selling club' than say Arsenal. After all, I've seen us sell players to pay the wages, even let one star go for nothing because we couldn't pay him, and make more routine sales of progressing young players. But both of us ended up accepting offers for star players when around the top of the Premiership, in these cases because the player wanted the move. Basically any club outside the top flight and without a reasonable prospect of promotion to it in a short space of time is going to find itself hard-pressed to hold on for long against a determined Premiership suitor. For once there's no good reason to disbelieve the regime when it indicates that offers for Lookman were turned down in the summer and taking up one now can't in itself be viewed as asset-stripping or youth fish-farming.
Trouble is the sale only makes sense for us if we use funds to strengthen elsewhere and go on to get promotion. There is a world of difference between selling a good young player when it is in the interests of the club and that player and the rationale of a club being to find, develop and sell young players, in order to balance the books or at least minimise the financial drain on our owner. Karl Robinson said after a recent game that Charlton fans can be 'very excited' about the young players coming through. I'd like to be, but I can't, if the sole purpose is to put them in the shop window. Meire's sterile offering of the chance to see Premiership stars of the future is as utterly unappealing now as it was when she outlined it. I wish Lookman well, would undoubtedly applaud him if he ever played again at The Valley. But he has gone and I will take little pleasure in his progression unless our club also thrives. I don't care one jot whether or not I've seen a future Premiership star, I did care when he scored for my club.
I'd be tempted to say anyone who knows anything about football would understand this. But that would be interpreted as another insult to our owner. He is doubly stupid as not only does he not understand the rationale, indeed essence, of football, he makes no attempt to educate himself, even when what he does patently doesn't work.
But I digress. Let's end with a little note to Mr Robinson. Well done to him and the players, life and the league table obviously look better after seven points from three games than after no win in six and getting turned over by the Spanners. But now we've no game for another 10 days, only one in well over two weeks. Sure it's an important one and yes there is plenty to be done during the transfer window. But nobody's forgotten that pledge about wanting to meet the fans and learn more about the protests and the Trust's as yet (I believe) unanswered invitation. As before, if you don't take it up we will have to assume that either you weren't serious or you've been told by the regime who you can and can't meet.
And sorry Karl, the protests aren't going to stop, even if we win our next home game. Understandably there is an element of ebb and flow about them influenced by our league position and form, none of us want our club to fail. But if you do meet the Trust, and listen, you should be convinced that the issues run much deeper and that the protests are not the frivolous actions of serial complainers but rather a result of the regrettable but unavoidable conclusion, based on the evidence, that our club cannot thrive under the current ownership.