Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Perry out, pace in?

Well, well. If it is Ian Dowie's first decision in charge then he ain't hanging around. Jay Bothroyd and Chris Perry have been released by the club.

But in other news from Floyd Road, Jon Fortune is celebrating a new three year deal.

Jay Bothroyd being released is hardly a surprise. The jury remained resolutely out, although the Inspector was prepared to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

The news that his contract was dependent on appearances highlights that Curbs had his doubts, and this probably sealed his fate. So that's that. A few screaming goals (and a few fantastic deflections) and he's gone. Thanks and good luck.

Right, onto Chrissy. I doubt I'm alone in having a soft spot for Perry. And I don't just mean alcoholic pear juice. He had the look of someone having walked through the turnstiles on a match-day and been offered a game by Curbs. One of us.

But he wasn't. He had a quiet assurance and on his day was a towering presence. Those days seemed to be becoming fewer though, as the Inspector pointed out so astutely earlier this month. He appeared to be on the way down rather than the way up. Ruthless but the right move. I salute you Chris. You were a quiet, efficient servant of this great football club. Good luck and thanks.

Perry out but Jon Fortune stays. What's going on?

My answer, pace. Defenders used to be the breed where a mature head could survive and thrive. Not any more. Now we've got the younger guard in the shape of Sorondo and (work permit pending) Gibbs in to complement Herman, Fortune and Young, so ship out the old lag.

Dowie in, players leaving in droves and the revisionism of the Curbishley era beginning. This is shaping up to be a long hot Summer at the Valley. Anyone excited?

PS I couldn't help myself. More fallout from the showdown at the press conference. This time 'Reg' Varney delivers the goods for the soundbite hungry media:
"What we witnessed today was nothing more than a sad and pathetic publicity stunt."

Bigmouth strikes again

From The Times, whose story makes you wonder if Simon Jordan is trying to goad Dowie into countersuing for libel.

Jordan is confident of success. “You can never be sure in the High Court but my lawyers think that we have a very, very good case,” he said. The writ, if successful, “will unwind the compromise agreement, and then Iain will be back under contract at Palace. So if Charlton have him under contract, they will have to either pay £1 million compensation or I have to release Iain and the reality of it is that there are going to be some fun and games.” That could include imposing a period of “gardening leave” on Dowie, as Jordan did to Steve Bruce when he attempted to leave Palace for Birmingham City in 2001. (more)

(Legal note: If you ever want to call someone a "liar", get off your bloody yacht in the Med, call a press conference, and do it there, which can afford you some protection. Don't do it by shouting your mouth off on the phone to all and sundry. Or when your initial legal action fails, you're liable to have your arse kicked all over the shop should the person you've defamed wish to countersue. If Dowie and Charlton want to, they could make this very messy indeed.)

Iain Dowie in the Telegraph: "I said at the time the family has been a problem but there were loads of other things mentioned. If I wanted to bring things out here I could do but I'm not prepared to do that because I've got lots of respect for Crystal Palace and I've no problem with Simon. After we mutually parted I told him I was coming to meet Charlton. If I had something to hide why would I say that?" (more)

Meanwhile, the Guardian cocks it up, saying we've employed Stewart Robson as one of Dowie's assistants, instead of Mark Robson. Which kind of sums things up, really - this whole business is just one huge, unfortunate distraction.

And on that note, I'm off for a few days of rest, relaxation and rock and roll in the Catalan sunshine. Possibly a drastic measure to stay out of earshot of Elton John on Sunday, but there you go.

With so much going on right now - I haven't even mentioned the weekend's fair play draw, because I'm convinced it's a red herring and we aren't even ready for friendlies yet, never mind the Uefa Cup - I'm not going to leave this place unattended. So please give a big hand to Stuart, who's got the keys to the All Quiet shop for a few days. If I see Jordan's yacht on the Med, I'll send him our love.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Iain Dowie's red and writ army!

Well, well. If anybody had their doubts about Iain Dowie's appointment as Charlton manager, they were dispelled at half-past twelve, when a representative of Crystal Palace tried to hand Dowie a writ during the press conference at The Valley to introduce him as our new manager.

And for anybody watching Sky Sports News, they would have been totally reversed minutes later, as Palace chairman Simon Jordan let rip with a 10-minute tirade against Dowie's decision to join the Addicks, possibly libelling Dowie at least once, and claiming misrepresentation. (Listen to it here, courtesy of Chris at Cynic Athletic.)

Jordan claims Dowie left Palace to rejoin his family in the north. In effect, Jordan claims Dowie owes him £1m in compensation - because that would be the amount paid if he quit while still at Palace.

However, Dowie has never said this in public - if you think back to last Monday's press conference at Palace, it was only Jordan who said this. (For what it's worth, Jordan said afterwards: "If he's six months out of work, and Charlton are prepared to fly him back and forth to see his family, well, the man's entitled to work.")

Indeed, Dowie was visibly riled when asked about Jordan, and maintains his first contact with Charlton was two days after he quit Palace.

Whatever Dowie's personal circumstances now, he's buying a home in this area, and his children are staying in the north-west. And he's performed well in his first press conference - for some reason, he already looks the part.

Palace fans are fond of saying we aren't their rivals. They say it rather a lot. But their chairman's given even the biggest cynic a reason to get behind our new manager. And, let's be honest, it's a sideshow.

Dowie's said all the right stuff - playing attacking football, a fit side, that kind of thing, and with Les Reed at his side the future should be looking up for us now. He's shown his commitment to us, now it's time for us to repay the compliment - forget Palace, here's to the future. Anyone who's not behind him knows where Park View Road is. Good luck, Iain, and welcome to Charlton.

Dowie's appointment in quotes:

Iain Dowie on what he could offer Charlton fans: "They'll want to see me go onto the pitch and put a side that plays attractive football... very very fit, very organised and play a passing agme, to add what Alan brought here, to take the club on. Following in Alan's footsteps is daunting. But the easy option would have been not to have come here. We've got to push for top halves, and push for Europe - I want to bring youn talent to the club, develop young players we've got here, put out a side with energy and drive that also plays attractive football."

Richard Murray on Dowie: "He's a bright young coach with modern ideas and a real passion for the game. We interviewed over 20 candidates and Iain was the most impressive of all the candidates. When you're in his company you can see the energy, the passion and the intelligence he brings to the game."

Dowie on Charlton: "This has been a club that's been run hugely succesfully by Alan Curbishley, but when I met Richard and the rest of the board and Andrew [Mills], I was excited by the plans they had in place. I saw the development at the training ground, there's some fantastic things being done here. That matches my ambitions, I want to go to a forward thinking club that can progress. It's very well set to be a go-ahead club in the future. It's a stable club, they had a manager for 15 years and that's testament to the people that are here."

Murray on Simon Jordan, before the writ was served: "I think, deep down, he's a big admirer of Charlton Athletic."

Simon Jordan on Sky Sports News: "At the end of the day, we've served a writ on Ian because he doesn't tell the truth. There's a law in this country called misrepresentation and Iain Dowie's going to find out what that means."

Richard Murray: "I do know Simon's always been a bit envious of Charlton, we've achieved the success he's been striving for with a stadium we own.... perhaps he should ring me some time. Iain is our manager and we've got a fantastic legal team. Simon writes about me a lot, but he's never rung me. Perhaps he should pick up the phone."

Iain Dowie: "I'm not going to let it sour a good day for me, if it's how he feels, it's how he feels, he's totally misreprsented what I said. It's a good day for me, hopefully it's a good day for Charlton."

Sky Sports News' Jim White: "The next time you speak to Iain Dowie will be in the High Court?"

Simon Jordan: "Or through a medium."

Monday, May 29, 2006

Billy's postscript

You know the worst impression you can give in a job interview? That you're desperate to get out of your current job and would take anything to escape...

Billy Davies is taking legal advice after being barred from speaking to Derby County.

The Scot is heading for a damaging showdown with chairman Derek Shaw following the club's decision to block talks with the Pride Park board.

Davies broke his six-day silence to tell the Lancashire Evening Post: "I think it's fair to say my relationship with Preston North End right now is under strain."

Oh dear. We'll have a new manager in 15 hours, you know.

Letter to the new manager

Dear Iain/ whoever,

Welcome to The Valley. I'll be sunning myself in Barcelona when you're enjoying your first week at The Valley, but should you need anybody to show you around the locality, I'm more than happy to take you to karaoke night at the White Swan, and to see a fight break out in the Bugle Horn. Call me next week. If it's you that's got the job, Iain, don't go to the kiddies' zoo in Maryon Wilson Park, though, the deer get scared enough as it is.

Everyone's going to want to offer you some advice, so I thought I'd leave a few of my thoughts on our current squad. Good luck, son - you'll probably need it.

Cheers - Inspector Sands

2. LUKE YOUNG. A man in demand. Benty aside, our most skilled player who is tireless in defence, and a better captain than Holland was. Get him on a new deal straight away. If Bayern Munich really are after him, and are going to cough up, cash in. But don't lose him to one of our rivals. Especially West Ham. STAY!

3. HERMANN HREIDARSSON A so-so season from our tough-tackling defender. But can he really do any better? Surely only a squad player at best. JURY'S OUT

4. GONZALO SORONDO. Pleased he's signed a deal with us, especially as he was getting a big wage from us to do nothing during his injury-plagued loan season. Hopefully he'll develop into a big star for us. Early indications were pretty good, although he needs to stop running around like a headless chicken from time to time. SIGNED.

5. CHRIS PERRY. Dependable as ever - but his skills are starting to fade. Surely his last season with us? Whatever, he deserves to leave with his head held high. GLORIOUS RETURN TO AFC WIMBLEDON IN JANUARY

6. MARCUS BENT. Still has a lot to prove after an erratic start to his Charlton career. He's good at being a big lump in the box (an underrated skill), but he's carried on that marvellous Charlton tradition of being very shot-shy. SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT

7. RADOSTIN KISHISHEV. The thinking man's hero of the 2005/6 team. Provided the oil which made the Murphy/ Smertin machine move so well. But while the others threw a hissy fit and stopped playing, Kish kept on. And kept trying. Not the most skilful of players, but if you want an example of all the virtues that are good in football - look at Kish. STAY!

8. MATT HOLLAND. At least he's not captain any more. I'd imagine he'll stay around because we don't have many other decent options, but he does sum up our lack of creativity and aggression in midfield. Let's hope it's just Holland playing in the Championship next season, not all of our side. SECOND DIVISION AWAITS

9. JASON EUELL. For our sakes and yours, Jase, it's over. Just go. Curbs gave you some chances to shine, and you didn't. I can't remember your last good game. Can you? Thanks for the memories and all that, but for your own well-being... GO!

10. DARREN BENT. The star of the team who still has so much to learn. And is probably not really ready for a "big club" move just yet. Keep him close to our chests, and wrap him in cotton wool. Get him on a new contract! STAY!

11. FRANCIS JEFFERS. Go on, piss off. Anywhere else, I really don't care. Just get the hell off our wage bill now. Oh, hello, he's done that already! GONE!

12. KEVIN LISBIE. Now Curbs has gone, Lisbie's patron has gone too. At least he'll be able to tell his kids about the day he scored three against Liverpool. TIME TO FIND A JOB IN THE REAL WORLD, KEVIN.

14. JEROME THOMAS. An inconsistent season for JT, as Curbs couldn't decide whether or not to play him or Darren Ambrose. His pace can still light up a game, though, and I hope he sticks around. STAY!

15. TALAL EL KARKOURI. Officially out on loan, but has effectively gone anyway. Flukey free kicks aside, he wasn't much cop anyway.

16. STEPHAN ANDERSON. Not happy about being our substitute keeper, and will no doubt develop into an amazing keeper in the future. But for now, he's still learning, and has still turned in some impressive performances. STAY!

17. SHAUN BARTLETT. Gone after another season where his inclusion in a Charlton side was enough to sink a thousand hearts. Can he do a job in the Championship? GONE!

18. DARREN AMBROSE. Like Jerome Thomas, suffered from some of Curbs' selection policies. But he's shown promise and surely deserves a better chance next season. STAY!

A curate's egg. Lightning pace, but hasn't been able to make it count when it really matters. I'd like to see how he plays under new management. STAY!

20 BRYAN HUGHES. I don't know why, but I've started to gain a sneaking liking for Bryan Hughes. He's grabbed a few goals when it really matters, which have erased memories of his more forgettable midfield performances. One for the squad. STAY!

21. JONATAN JOHANSSON. Is he really still here? Not any more! GONE!

22. SIR CHRIS POWELL. Turned in some priceless performances last season, but surely now approaching his last season. Get him on the coaching staff now, for the man is a legend. STAY!

24. JONATHAN FORTUNE. A bit of a yesterday's man, sadly. But he's staying here! He must know something good about our next manager. Let's hope he can rebuild things. GOOD TO SEE YOU STAY

36. THOMAS MYHRE. An unlikely star of the season - from third-choice keeper to fans' favourite. But has also had some howlers as well. Looks set to rotate with Andersen for some time yet. STAY!

38. JAY BOTHROYD. Anyone seriously think Jay will last more than another season? Handy squad player, but tends to be missing when it counts. For a big lad, he doesn't really use his strength enough. But he's worth hanging onto for now. STAY!

Like I said, some serious rebuilding needed...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hell hath no fury like a manager scorned

Oh, Billy Davies, why go leaking to the People?

BILLY DAVIES turned down the chance to be Charlton's boss - after a row about signings and the role of new general manager Andrew Mills.

Davies was ready to accept The Valley job until - problems cropped up about who would have the final say in bringing in new signings for the Addicks.

He had his own captures in mind, including Preston full back Tyrone Mears and striker David Nugent.

But Davies discovered that a move for Reading midfielder Steve Sidwell was being lined up by the managerless club - under the guidance of former football agent Mills.

At least the other names we've interviewed have kept their traps shut. Incidentally, the People claims Iain Dowie wants to bring in his Australian fitness coach John Harbin - the huge rugby league chap you may remember from media coverage of Palace's promotion two years ago. I've heard this from a Palace fan too.

But this does raise a question about Andrew Mills' role - is he part of this new three-man set-up, or will he work alongside it?

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Tuesday date with Dowie?

Hours after Richard Murray confirmed Charlton's new management team will be confirmed on Tuesday, Sky Sports News reported the new team would be led by... Iain Dowie. Well, you can't say there hadn't been enough clues already.

Speculation around the modern interweb seemed to suggest Les Reed and current reserve team boss Mark Robson would make up the rest of the team. But the clues for those roles have been few and far between.

So, good news? Bad news? Or is this all a smokescreen and we'll really get somebody else? It could be a very interesting weekend...

Wannabe Coleman's cameo role

Rumours Chris Coleman is interested in the Charlton job are false, All Quiet In The East Stand understands. It had been believed that a national newspaper was going to name the Fulham boss as a candidate for the job this morning. But no such story appeared.

It appears the claim came from Coleman's representatives - and was denied by Charlton. Coleman, trying to hitch a ride on the Valley Express out of Fulham? Perish the thought!

Meanwhile, Richard Murray surfaces in a Daily Mail report describing a tour taken by Iain Dowie around Sparrows Lane, which also adds that the ex-Palarse boss wouldn't be able to take his own management team - including his brother Bob, a legend in non-league circles - with him to Charlton.

"I've interviewed more than 20 people for the job, but we're nearly there. Some have been leaked, but not from our end, and the majority haven't.

"We've been very thorough in the selection process and we want to make sure that we get the right man. We have behaved with integrity throughout."

The story's reference to Sparrers as "a state-of-the-art facility in the Kent countryside" caused a few titters round at All Quiet Towers, though.

In other news, it's goodbye to three useless strikers. Hooray! But also goodbye to seeing any chance of a Charlton player at the World Cup. Still, at least Cory Gibbs will be fresh for August.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Some light relief

This damn good film made by some students in Manchester should distract you from "new manager" stresses and strains for at least, oooh... four and a half minutes.

Just don't stop to think that they're younger than you, can play football better than you, etc, etc...

So it's not Davies...

Preston's chairman Derek Shaw has said Charlton are "moving on" in their search for a new manager, and Billy Davies will be staying at Deepdale.

I have been informed this morning by Charlton Athletic that they are 'going to move on'," said the North End Chief. "They will not be pursuing Billy Davies any more and also said they would like to thank PNE for our cooperation and apologise for any disruption to our Club. (more)

Wonder what brought that about, then? Sad to hear this, because almost everything I'd heard indicated that Davies would be perfect for the job - he can operate on a limited budget, gets his teams to play decent football, that kind of thing.

So Iain Dowie becomes the front-runner (3/2 on Betfair right now), but remember Phil Parkinson (8/1) has made it clear he wasn't happy about being barred from talking to Charlton. And there's still other names that have been mentioned, and plenty that haven't. This show could run and run. I hope it doesn't, though.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So, not today then...

Pouring with rain outside, and the news from The Valley isn't about to lift the mood either.

Sky Sports News is reporting we won't announce a new manager until at least Tuesday, and have narrowed it down to "at least" two names - Iain Dowie and Billy Davies. I could live with Dowie, but I'd be happier with Davies. Five days gives us plenty more time for new names to be added to the pot as well.

Nothing on, of course, its news service being reduced to a procession of "look over there! some kittens!"-style stories until things are all sorted. Which is perfectly understandable. Discretion is a vital aspect of these matters.

But that's five more days of rumour, crap stories on two-bob websites (if it wasn't for Google News, plagiarisation services Teamtalk, Vitalfootball and FansFC would fold tomorrow, it's not usually hard to work out where they steal their stories from) and message boards being clogged with wild flights of fancy. Groan.

Having spent the past few weeks perusing various regional papers across the country - the Yorkshire Post, the Lancashire Evening Post, East Anglia Daily Times, and the like - it's a clear reminder just how bad the coverage of football in London, particularly in the Evening Sub-Standard, really is. But the lack of local scrutiny has no doubt helped Richard Murray keep his cards close to his chest.

Is it today?

No, I don't know. I bloody hope so, though. Anyway, here's today's cut-and-paste-o-rama (with extra Jason Euell content for latecomers).

Daily Mirror: BILLY DAVIES is ready to say 'yes' to Charlton today - and he wants to take a couple of his Preston players with him.

Davies is set to quit Preston after a two-season stint in charge, with the Championship club due to pick up around £250,000 in compensation - but he will return to Deepdale with offers for right back Tyrone Mears and striker David Nugent.

Reading Evening Post: "Reading will offer Steve Sidwell one of the most lucrative deals in the club’s history this week in a bid to scare off rival clubs.

The Post understands the midfield ace has a release fee in his current deal, allowing him to leave if a bid comes in for £2million.

Charlton Athletic have made an enquiry and are on the brink of launching an opening bid, despite their delay in appointing a successor to Alan Curbishley."

Lancashire Evening Post: "Preston chairman Derek Shaw has urged Billy Davies to sort out his future – and fast – for the sake of the club." (see also here and here)

The Sun: LUKE YOUNG has urged Charlton chiefs to hurry up and land a new manager.

Skipper Young, 26, said: “We need a manager as soon as possible. I know the club are interviewing but we need to sort this out as June is only around the corner.

“When Curbs left, the club said they would move swiftly but it has not happened like that.”

Right-back Young, a target for West Ham and Spurs
, [!!!!] is also frustrated with his contract situation.

He said: “I have still not had a concrete offer and that disappoints me. We were supposed to talk about this at Christmas.”

Derby Evening Telegraph: Derby County will have to move fast if they are to land any of the striking targets highlighted by caretaker boss Terry Westley.

Newcastle United's Michael Chopra and Charlton Athletic's Shaun Bartlett - both out of contract and keen to enhance their first-team opportunities - were among those targets.

"Ideally, Shaun would like to remain in the Premiership but he realises his future may lie at Championship level," said Bartlett's agent Matt Kleinman.

"There are a number of clubs interested in him and we are awaiting a response from Derby.

"Derby are a big club and, if they are still interested, certainly the kind of club which Shaun would seriously take into consideration.

"We realise the club are still in the process of appointing a manager but if they don't appoint soon, there is every chance they could miss out."

UPDATE - South Wales Echo: CARDIFF CITY are chasing Charlton Athletic's out-of-contract striker Jason Euell.

Jamaican international Euell's representatives have already had talks with the Bluebirds and a deal could be struck quickly.

Incidentally, Euell shares a manager - Tony Finnegan - with Cardiff striker Cameron Jerome. That Bartlett story isn't a wind-up, by the way.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Davies: 'I've massive decisions to make'

From the Lancashire Evening Post:

Billy Davies admitted he had "some massive decisions to make" after flying back from talks with Charlton Athletic.

The Preston boss would not confirm directly he had been offered the Premiership job in his meeting at The Valley.

But in an interview with the Evening Post, he suggested the final decision could now be his after confessing he needed to sit down with his family – and his representatives – to consider what happens next.

Despite the Dowie distraction, it's clear Billy Davies is still the front-runner for the Charlton job. Has he been offered it? Take a look at these quotes:

"Basically I am considering all the options. It is just a question of thinking about the future.

"I found Charlton to be very good people, very, very good people. The discussions went great. But from those discussions, there is lots to consider – the place, the type of club, the money to be spent – lots and lots to think over.

"It is just now a matter of looking at the whole picture and making the right decision."

Davies says he expects the matter to be resolved in the next couple of days.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dowie's decision

"Unlike Simon, I'm not independently wealthy, so I would like to be in a job.

"I need to work for a living and I need to consider everything that is on offer. Obviously, some things would be better than others.

"The family issue has been a problem, but perhaps it is also time for another challenge, too."

And with that, Iain Dowie slung his hook, leaving perma-tanned Simon Jordan to find a new manager for Crystal Palace (and field bids for Andy Johnson - not worth £8m, surely?!). "Everything that is on offer" includes the vacant Valley seat, and Sky Sports News is reporting he's due an interview with us tomorrow. (As I write, Betfair have him at 13-4 to take our job, second favourite behind Billy Davies.)

I'm not really sure the football media appreciates the bad blood between us and Palace, especially now at boardroom level. Simon Jordan admitted he'd be unhappy if Dowie took a job with us.

"Would I be amused with him? No, and I don't think you'd expect me to be... you pay your money, you takes your choice, you rely on people's integrity."

Which means he'll go absolutely ballistic. Ho ho ho.

"If he's six months out of work, and Charlton are prepared to fly him back and forth to see his family, well, the man's entitled to work."

So, would you have Dowie as manager? I would, actually. Palarse fans suddenly think he's a crap manager. Hey, we weren't rivals anyway, were we? But - if he really isn't settled in London, he'd be better off back in the north-west, wouldn't he? The end-game would seem to be Davies to Charlton, Dowie to Preston. But this saga isn't over yet...

(Incidentally, Phil Parkinson has told the East Anglian Daily Times he was unhappy about being denied the chance to speak to us: "I know Colchester United supporters would not have begrudged me this opportunity and if I had been successful, they would have shaken me by the hand and wished me all the best for the future.")

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Let's go round again...

Get your disco trousers on, it may be a soggy Sunday, but let's get in tune for a managerial merry-go-round post: "Let's go round again/ Maybe we'll turn back the hands of time/ Let's go round again/ One more time..." There, that's just for the arsehole who keeps nicking the first few lines of All Quiet In The East Stand's stuff for his two-bob "English Football" site, and to get the rest of us in the mood for the post.

Right, the latest is that Iain Dowie's fallen out with Simon Jordan at Palarse (you surprise me), with a press conference to be held tomorrow, which may - of course - still announce they've kissed and made up. (Would this be the first time us, Millwall and Palarse have all been managerless?) The People takes this as a cue to declare he fancies the job at The Valley, and is due for an interview on Tuesday.

It's well known Dowie's family still lives in the Bolton area, so surely a move north would be more likely. But since Newcastle appointed Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce has been handed Bolton's biggest-ever transfer pot and looks likely to be staying there. He could go to Middlesbrough, who are also short of a manager, but that's a long way from Bolton too. So he could stay in the Championship and go to Preston, but for that to happen Preston's manager would have to come to Charlton. Which brings us back to Billy Davies, who's due at The Valley tomorrow.

Which means nothing has changed since Friday. Has it?

More paper tittle-tattle (ripped off from Sporting Life and BBC Sport): The News of the World and the Mirror think Leeds want to sign Francis Jeffers (they haven't learned much, have they?), while the Screws is sure Jonathan Fortune's in demand from Manchester City, Middlesbrough and Bolton. The People and the Mirror think we're set to land Steve Sidwell from Reading - surely wishful thinking, unless Sidwell's agent is trying to lever a few bob out of the newly-promoted Royals.

And, of course, Luke Young's withdrawn from the England standby list because of injury. Unlucky, son. Funnily enough, his name doesn't appear in the transfer nonsense columns for the first Sunday in weeks...

Speaking of situations vacant - shall I? (username: screwyou, password: screwyou)

Friday, May 19, 2006

No chat with Parkinson

Ooops, another name tumbles out... Colchester say they've refused an approach from Charlton to speak to their manager Phil Parkinson, along with other moves from Ipswich and Derby. (See also BBC Sport.)

Don't blame them, really, they were the smallest club in League One, and now they're in the Championship. A small club needs a big manager. Good luck to them.

Is Billy the boy?

So Preston have confirmed Billy Davies has been given permission to talk to us, with an interview set for Monday. (see also BBC Sport.)

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who breathed a sigh of relief at the news. Davies' achievements in taking North End to the play-offs twice in a row has won him admiration, but is his disciplinarian style right for us?

Of course, though, nothing's signed or sealed just yet - he hasn't even had an interview. No other names have been confirmed, although the Mirror claims ex-Liverpool star Sammy Lee, currently part of Sven's England coaching set-up, is also due for a chat with Richard Murray.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Peter evicted from the Big Valley House

Peter Taylor's told Sky Sports News he's out of the race to become our next manager, telling the station he still had a job to do at Hull City.

"The more I thought about it... I decided I no longer wished to be considered. I'm very happy at Hull City and proud of what I've achieved there and there's more to do. When you get the chance to talk to a very good Premiership club, that would interest anyone... I said to myself, 'it's not for me'".

Earlier, he told the Press Association he'd been interviewed for the job:

Well, he's met Richard Murray, and told the Press Association...

"I've been interviewed and it was a privilege and an honour to be speak to an established Premiership club such as Charlton.

"But to say I'm the clear favourite is not right because no-one can say for sure that that's the case.

"I've had my interview and we will now see what happens. At this moment in time I'm still the manager of Hull City."

So, has he rediscovered his love for the Tigers or has he just had a "thanks, but no thanks" call?

This takes us back to square one of course (or square minus one if you include Mick McCarthy). Taylor aside, Richard Murray's shortlist has remained a secret. But odds on Betfair for Billy Davies did crash earlier today...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Backtracking Taylor

The Peter Taylor story now takes a new twist - a little local difficulty at the KC Stadium as the Hull Daily Mail starts stirring...

Peter Taylor's Hull City reign could be over after his expected move to Charlton erupted into a war of words with chairman Adam Pearson.

The City boss today denied speculation that he had been contacted by the Premiership side and insisted no interview had been arranged.

But he launched a staunch defence of his commitment to the Tigers after Pearson appeared to question Taylor's long-term loyalty.

Taylor told the paper: "There's still been no direct approach to either myself or my agent. I can definitely state I haven't got an interview today.

"I'm incredibly saddened and disappointed by what Adam has said. I got a phone call yesterday morning saying that Charlton have made an official approach and that they'll be contacting me."

The Yorkshire Post's reporter Richard Sutcliffe, meanwhile, says Taylor is "set to" (note those two little words, journalistic code for "this could be rubbish") have an interview today. I'm starting to think Hull's chairman just wants shot of Taylor!

Ho-hum, another day of speculation and needless old crap being posted on the modern interweb. If anyone posts the words "press conference today" on a messageboard, give them a slap next time you see them, eh? Oops, someone's already done it...

(NB: Liverpool site Kop Talk says we demanded "silly money" for Darren Bent. Well, knock me down with a feather.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

And now, the secrecy phase...

Nothing on or Hull City's site, but it's clear we've got permission to speak to Peter Taylor. Of course, all this means nothing at this stage.

Hull chairman Adam Pearson told BBC Radio Humberside: "I think Peter will go and speak to them.

"Charlton have now got my permission to talk because I don't want to have anybody at the club who doesn't want to be there."
(BBC Sport website)

Peter Taylor, with an eye on what Hull fans might think: "Adam rang me to say Charlton had been in touch and that he's given them permission to speak to me.

"I've not heard anything from anyone at Charlton yet so it could all be speculation and whether I'm even on their shortlist I don't know.

"And it would need to take a very good offer for me to leave Hull because we've achieved an awful lot here in the four years that I've been at the club and I'm very happy here."
(BBC Sport website)

"Peter Varney said on Tuesday that they were poised to approach clubs after finalising a shortlist of candidates." (Sky Sports - except... he actually said this on Friday.)

As I said, all this means nothing apart from the fact we've got permission to speak to Taylor. Are we speaking to anybody else? We don't know. There's too much in the air. I'm reminded of how Ian Holloway was hotly tipped for the Leicester job a few months back... but it came to nothing except him being put on gardening leave by QPR.

(Incidentally, he's strongly tipped to wind up at Millwall, according to the East Anglian Daily Times, which also thinks Preston's Billy Davies, a possible contender for The Valley, will wind up at Edinburgh basketcase Hearts.)

Taylor rumours grow louder

Today's Yorkshire Post seems to have a handle on all this, since this is the root of the current wave of Peter Taylor rumours:

HULL CITY'S Peter Taylor is set to be interviewed for the vacant Charlton Athletic manager's job this week, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.

Hull have not received a formal approach for their manager but the Yorkshire Post has been informed by sources in London that Taylor is among several candidates Charlton want to interview as part of their search for Alan Curbishley's successor.

It is understood the Tigers chief, who has a year remaining on his contract at the KC Stadium, will speak to the Addicks within the next day or so.

Hull chairman Adam Pearson told the paper: "If permission to speak to Peter is requested, it would be granted because it has always been the understanding between us that if a Premier League club comes in from London then Peter can talk to them."

Is it just me, or is that code for "please, take him away!" he's speaking?

The Times claims any interview will take place tomorrow, condemning one locally-cased blogger to his day off hanging around outside The Valley in the rain "in case he sees something". Arses. It also claims Mick McCarthy was on our list (shudder) while Curbs has "had discussions" with Steve Gibson about going to Middlesbrough (Gibson: "Hello, would you like the job?" Curbs: "No thanks. Pass me a beer please, Mrs Curbs?")

Other stuff knocking around - the Luke Young/ West Ham thing is becoming boring now, although a load of Sunday papers reckoned Bayern Munich are in the hunt (as noted by Teamtalk's crack team of plagiarists), while Liverpool fan site KopTalk is convinced the Reds have put a bid in for Darren Bent. Get that new manager in quickly, Mr Murray.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

All Quiet Shield final table

Remember the fantasy league I started in August? Well, we have a winner... step forward Debbie Foxton, who wins the customary prize of a pint of Guinness:

# Team Manager Gam Tot
1 The Gummy Guerillas Debbie Foxton 70 2089
2 The Dreamweavers Sacha Zarb 54 1959
3 Dutch Addicks John van Arkelen 21 1946
4 Connie's all stars Alison Sole 68 1908
5 FC DUNTONI Gary Dunton 44 1905
6 Andy Millman XI David Ruddell 17 1881
7 Kiwi Champions David Foster 23 1862
8 Lumpy Gravy Michael Davis 61 1859
9 khaddicks keith howells 22 1826
10 AFC HEDGERS HEROES Dean Hedger 52 1817

Runner-up was some bloke called Sacha Zarb, and in third was John van Arkelen. Nine out of the top ten were Charlton fans, 10th-placed Dean Hedgers' team look suspisciously like AFC Wimbledon in the yellow and blue, proving that All Quiet is an inclusive, all-embracing club. Thanks all for taking part - and please remind me to do it all again next season. And to improve my own placing of 44th out of 54. Duh.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bent the 3am boy

Whatever else may be uncertain right now, it's good to see that "hunky Premiership star Darren Bent" is possibly the first Charlton player to be cooed over by the 3am Girls after signing a modelling deal with fashion label Projeckts NYC. Whatever happened to the good old days of Burton suits, eh?

(UPDATE: Saturday's Mirror: "Rafa Benitez will signpost his intentions by making a big-money move for Charlton striker Darren Bent immediately after this afternoon's Cup Final showdown with West Ham in Cardiff.")

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Hull City's chairman says he'd be happy to allow Peter Taylor to talk to Charlton about our vacant managerial positition. No link to prove this, but I understand he told the BBC's local radio station up there the Tigers would want £100,000 compensation if he went. Here's what he told Radio Humberside (with thanks to the eagle-eyed spotter who saw this):

"He appears to be about to be approached by Charlton but we've heard nothing. Judging by the amount of attention it would surprise me if a manager from an FA background who has just won back to back promotions wasn't on the radar."

Genuine prospect or chairman simply answering a question?

But the lack of a manager isn't stopping us from nailing down players - Gonzalo Sorondo's signed a pre-contract deal with us.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

£21m in the bank, ta

Charlton made £21m from TV appearances cash and Premiership prize money during the season, putting us 13th in the league's income list before gate reciepts and merchandise sales are taken into account.

We managed to earn a little more than Fulham, but otherwise our position in the table corresponds with our league position. Arsenal's marathon slog to the Champions League final saw them top this season's table with £52.7m, while Sunderland are rewarded with £16.1m for being a total waste of everybody's time.

Middlesbrough may have been totally outplayed in the Uefa Cup final, but that competition's hardly a money-spinner compared with the Champions League - they have £24.3m to show for a gruelling season.

Meanwhile, Chris Powell has laughed off suggestions he'd become a player-coach:

"Some people are saying I am going to be the new boss, but no chance.

"The boys have been calling me ‘uncle’ all year, now they are starting to call me ‘boss’.

"It is way too early for something like that."

Applications for the manager's job closed today - hopefully a new man will be in sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And Peacock and Day go too...

So it's farewell Keith, and goodbye Merv as Curbs' lieutenants go out the same way our manager went. Neither departure is a huge surprise, although many would have expected Keith Peacock, who made his Charlton debut in August 1962, to stuck around to provide a measure of continuity as a new regime beds in. But clearly he sees Curbs' departure as a cue for a break. Mervyn Day's departure will bring mixed emotions - the goalkeeper-turned-coach often a scapegoat, rightly or wrongly, for some of our less imaginative performances.

Of more interest is the man who's come in with the title "general manager - football". He's Andrew Mills, the ex-agent who persuaded Paul Konchesky he was too big for us in 2003, prompting him to put in a transfer request that led to nothing but a short loan spell at Spurs. Mills severed his links with his firm Premier Management some time back, but conspiracy theorists have already noted the firm includes Hull City manager Peter Taylor on its books.

If you were at Old Trafford...

... and saw anything unsavoury happen, take a look at this Netaddicks post. That's a reference to events in the stands, by the way, not Shaun Bartlett's selection in our starting XI.

(Be patient with it,'s crappy servers are stuttering again.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bent priorities

Ah well, that's £20 saved on an England top. Darren Bent's omission from the England squad - and even the standby list - in favour of a 17-year-old who hasn't even played for Arsenal in the Premiership is pretty baffling. Dropped in favour of Defoe, or Shaun Wright-Phillips, I can understand, but Theo Walcott?

Still, we've a new signing to toast, US defender Cory Gibbs is heading to The Valley on a pre-contract agreement. So yes, we will have a player to watch at the World Cup after all. To celebrate, here's some video of Gibbs chopping Andy Johnson down and threatening to deck Glen Johnson.

Out with a whimper

The All Quiet ( for those reading via a freeloading site whose owner will soon have a new arse torn for him) pint couldn't hide what was a sorry Charlton performance at Old Trafford, unworthy of Curbs' last game or the efforts of those who made it up to the north-west. It's got to be a certainty that many of those wearing a white shirt today will never put on a Charlton shirt again. Good. We end the season sixth out of six London clubs. This can't happen again.

But our cowardly capitulation at Manchester United was hidden by Arsenal's glorious farewell to Highbury - making Henry the centre of the commemorations looks an emotional masterstroke, although the final day's programme contains a reproduction of Woolwich Arsenal's first game at Highbury, celebrating leaving "that depressing place... Plumstead". Know how you feel. And who gave Spurs the squits?

But for us... it's freedom. Our season's over! The future's looking bright. Isn't it?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Facing the final curtain

If the Championship play-offs are acting as auditions for the vacancy at The Valley, then it's Adi Boothroyd who's got his nose in front, thanks to Watford's 3-0 demolition of Palarse at Sellout Park this lunchtime. Anyone who listened closely to Boothroyd's post-match interview on Sky may just have heard Iain Dowie bollocking the Beagles in the background... while Boothroyd's words show he's a man who knows how not to get carried away. A class act. Preston's Billy Davies kept his copybook clean as well, as his side drew 1-1 with Leeds at Elland Road on Friday.

However, Colchester's Phil Parkinson looks like he'll have his hands full as the U's secured promotion to the Championship, alongside League One champions Southend. Incidentally, a large feature tipping Parkinson for the Charlton job in Thursday's Evening Sub-Standard was pulled in later editions - to make way for McClaren or because it was rubbish? (Plenty of tasty East Anglia derbies in that league next season - and watch out for Grays, fighting back from 3-0 down to end the first leg of their Conference play-off 3-2 down.)

After those distractions, it's the end of the road for our season tomorrow, and for Alan Curbishley's Charlton career at Old Trafford. I'd love to be there, but haven't the heart for the immense train journey required (both routes to Manc mucked up by engineering works? Clever) and both my brain and that of an accomplice exploded on Thursday while trying to work out how to do the journey without breaking the bank. (For anyone going via Sheffield, you'll need to run like hell to make 3pm!) Shame, because I'm sure old Fergie will be in good form as well and I'd imagine the United fans will give Curbs a good send-off too. And here's a great interview in The Independent.

As for the exiting supporters' director's soppy idea for everyone to hold up "THANKS CURBS" cards - did anyone realise that holding up red cards at our departing leader might have another connotation? Especially after we've had our ritual thumping on Sir Matt Busby Way?

So I'll be in the pub hiding behind a pint of Guinness, but toasting 15 amazing years from Curbs. As well as a couple of other things that have made me happy this weekend - I've got hold of a ticket for Tunisa v Ukraine in Berlin next month which means the first ever All Quiet In The East Stand World Cup Jaunt, and the relegation of Franchise FC - only the Conference and Conference South divide them and AFC Wimbledon. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Situation vacant

So the ad's out for a new manager... in the Daily Mail! Presumably the new man will be expected to take a hard line with foreigners, aslyum-seekers, spongers, Labour party sleaze, those who drop litter and the police who nick those who drop litter.

Mind you, Curbs has had a column in the Daily Express, a newspaper surely these days only bought by the certifiably loopy, so maybe it's just business as usual. Perhaps the first question at the interview will be: "So what do you think happened to Princess Diana?"

Having said that, where would you place an ad for a manager? The Mercury? South London Press?

(Thanks to Riscardo - and various Netaddicks - and apologies for nicking the pic.)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Curbs: What the papers said

"As befits the Premiership's most civilised club the decision that Curbishley should go now was reached with mutual goodwill. Stiff upper lips abounded. It was as if Noel Coward's Private Lives was being acted out in Estuary English.

Newcastle were supposed to have him lined up as their next manager although, if Curbishley wanted a break, he would be more likely to seek it at a health farm than a funny farm."
- David Lacey, The Guardian

“I'd like to come back one day and watch a game,” Alan Curbishley told the fans, microphone in hand, after a lap of honour to mark his last appearance as Charlton Athletic manager at The Valley. For his sake, that game will need to be a lot more exciting than this.

“Familiarity breeds contempt somewhat,” Mark Hughes, the Blackburn Rovers manager, said. “So maybe we don’t appreciate the qualities that he’s got. That’s what happens with the England job. Maybe a foreign coach is a bit more exotic and more attractive, but we should never underestimate the job that Premiership managers do, especially jobs like Alan’s done here.”
- Alyson Rudd, The Times

Charlton themselves, who believe they have fully backed Curbishley, especially this season, are in a quandary. They would like to appoint a young, up-and-coming manager and had discussed an approach to Luton Town's Mike Newell but are concerned that their supporters may demand a bigger, more established name, especially as the club have ambitious plans to expand The Valley. - Jason Burt, The Independent (see also Dean Kiely' saucer-of-milk-to-Fratton Park, please quote: "He was there for a long, long time and that was his strength but that also meant a bit of tiredness and staleness")

Phil Parkinson, who has led Colchester to within a point of automatic promotion to the Championship, has the qualities and qualifications to be Charlton manager.

Colchester won praise as they lost 3-1 to Chelsea in this season's FA Cup and Parkinson would be well received by Charlton fans. Mick McCarthy is available after leaving Sunderland, and has been mentioned, but Watford's Adrian Boothroyd, who has done such a splendid job at Vicarage Road, is a more likely candidate should they fail to win promotion to the Premiership.
- Christopher Davies, Daily Telegraph

Curbishley had invested so much of himself in building Charlton, the club more than the team, that he became visibly, in a sense physically, no longer enamoured with the daily task, let alone the yearly ritual of being thought of as a part of the furniture at one club living up to its very modest means.

Fast forward to the achievement at the Valley, to producing such a player as Scott Parker, and to having his own managerial heart ripped out when Parker not only left for Chelsea, not only became part of the reserves there, but subsequently preferred to move to Newcastle United rather than contemplate any kind of homecoming to the club that had taken him to the brink of England selection. Other players were lured to Charlton by Curbishley’s integrity and by the enthusiasm that he sustained, but that has undoubtedly petered out over this long and distracting season.
Rob Hughes, Sunday Times

The Alan Curbishley era is coming to an end but Charlton played as if they were trying to get their manager the sack. Telegraph match report