Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Angel of the South

Rejoice. We have some meaningful Charlton news to digest.

The widely rumoured free transfer of defender Miguel Angel Llera has been confirmed, becoming the second player signed from MK Dons inside two years (albeit rather more cheaply than the first).

It seems lessons have been learned from 2008/9 when we began the season with only two recognised central defenders, one of which promptly got injured.

This set in train a seemingly random succession of defensive loan signings (Cranie, Primus, Ward etc..), and experimental team selections (Holland, Youga, etc..) which must have contributed to our ultimate demise.

However with details of Jonathan Fortune's future at the club as foggy as those of up to perhaps a dozen further squad players, it is merely a step in the right direction, not a giant leap.

At six feet four, Llera should pose a physical threat in the opposition box, a not insignificant consideration given the importance of set pieces at this level.

Meanwhile, if my memory serves me correctly, he'll become the first Spaniard to play for Charlton, a somewhat surprising statistic perhaps given the myriad of foreigners to have worn the shirt especially during the past decade.

The most important message however is that at least the signing proves someone (it's not entirely clear who) is in charge at The Valley, and making decisions.

The virtual media blackout since the Norwich game had caused considerable consternation amongst fans, and rightly so.

Even the pre-season friendly schedule seems to have put together whilst momentarily forgetting we're now in League One, ideal mid-July fodder for a Premiership club surely. Is Ipswich Town really the most attractive home opposition they could have invited?

It seemed somewhat distasteful to be aggressively promoting season tickets, whilst depriving fans of information (even of the most cursory kind) on the likelihood of potential new investment, the status of player contracts, etc..

It seems to be generally agreed (albeit to my knowledge without much evidence to support it), that the club is in 'flux', a result of various potential investment negotiations being undertaken.

However, it may simply be that there's nothing to say, although the club hasn't usually been this slow to spin a few stories that whet the fans' appetite for the challenges ahead. In a way, this scenario would be even more concerning since the squad desperately needs refreshing.

There are various players whose futures at the club must surely be seriously questioned, in addition to the handful officially disclosed as such (think Moutaouakil, McLeod, Gray, etc.).

Perhaps there's simply been no interest, and they remain under contract until there is. But why did they deem it necessary to take the photos of the first day's training with the type of long-range lens that celebrity-spotting paparazzi would be proud?

We're not 'entitled' to know who showed up for training, but it's not unreasonable for those fans who've recently dropped a few hundred quid on season tickets (or are considering doing so), to be given a few more clues.

With regard to new investment, as a potential money-making opportunity, investing in Charlton must rank only slightly above those Nigerian email scams about relatives being lost in an air crash, unless the Directors are literally going to give it away.

After the biggest asset bust of modern times, there are literally millions of more interesting opportunities out there.

It may interest a genuinely wealthy investor or consortium purely for the fun of it, but in terms of generating a return on investment to justify the risk, it should appeal only to the very rich and stupid (of which there are many to be fair).

The hastily planned trip to Ireland set the rumour mill alive, especially as we will face Wexford Youth, a club bankrolled and managed by a local property magnate and football nut, Mick Wallace. Could he be interested in another community-based club across the Irish sea?

I don't know much about this particular character, suffice to say that given the way that the country's property speculators (in cahoots with its banks), managed to destroy the Irish economy, Charlton fans might be careful what they wish for.

The new fixtures meanwhile were rather unkind, to me at least. I'll be back in the UK for all of the August fixtures, but 400+ mile round trips to Hereford, Hartlepool and Tranmere won't feature very highly on my 'to do' list I'm afraid.


At 1:01 PM, Anonymous sillav nitram said...

it does bother me whose in charge and making decisions, particularly on players coming in, i really don't have any faith in the incumbents of last year?


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