Friday, August 31, 2007

Dark Satanic Mills

At the time of writing, the club has completed four pre-deadline deals, two highly-paid loans out (Bent and Faye) and two presumably less highly-paid loans in. It is probably a fair assumption that neither of the two outs will be greatly missed; indeed the fact that loan deals were the outcome rather than permanent ones, probably speaks volumes for their relative unattractiveness, certainly at their current wages.

Marcus Bent will be joining his 10th club, not bad going for a 29-year old. If ever a statistic spoke louder than words about a player's chronic underachievement (in no small part due to a perceived, and presumably real lack of commitment) then this is it. Wigan boss Chris Hutchings described Bent as, "...a clever player whose game is far more than just about scoring" and more generally as, "...a street-wise player." His words echo those of Alan Curbishley just 20 months ago, when he described £2.5m Bent as providing, "...altogether more options." How many more managers will be conned by this nonsense before Bent's career tails off, and he is remembered more fondly by a succession of nightclub owners than the fans of ten or more clubs?

As for Amdy Faye, his departure (albeit temporary at this juncture) almost completes the total reversal of the Dowie purchasing spree last summer. Only Andy Reid remains as a (popular) member of the squad, following the departures of Traore, Hasselbaink, Walton, Diawara, and now Faye. He showed glimpses of ability, especially under Dowie, but in truth he was revealed as Africa's answer to Brendan O'Connell.

The two loan players brought in already have links with the Addicks, Danny Mills from the 1998-1999 period and Sam Sodje via former Addicks youth player and cousin, Onome Sodje. I was present when Danny Mills became an instant hero, scoring within the first five minutes of his debut at Crewe. He would generally continue in the same vein for Charlton, quickly becoming a highly accomplished right-back as part both of our play-off winning team, as well as in the Premiership. One performance especially stands out during the 4-2 victory over West Ham in which his cavalier forays forward virtually ended the career of a shellshocked Julian Dicks.

His subsequent departure to Leeds for £4m+ was, if I recall rightly, not exactly unwelcome from Mills' perspective, but in the greater scheme of things it represented a phenomenal return inside 18 months on a former bit-part player from Norwich. The fact that he went on to earn several England caps, including a first-team place in the 2002 World Cup, suggests that any bitterness Charlton fans may have had, ought to be seen in the context of the player's subsequently proven potential.

He now makes up a triumvirate of experienced ex-Man City players in Charlton's squad, and at just 30-years old, he probably represents smart business as we await Yassin Moutaouakil's return from injury. Mills is also a member of that rare breed, the intelligent footballer.

I know considerably less about Sam Sodje, though initial suggestions that he is a talented but gaffe-prone defender are not too promising. We will reserve judgement of course, but an old-fashioned stopper might have been a better solution.


At 9:41 AM, Blogger Pedro45 said...

"...Africa's answer to Brendan O'Connell" - classic! Love it NYA!


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