David Cameron Walker

Archive for the ‘Charlton Athletic’ Category

A Tricky Start to Championship Life

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

We finished last season on an unbelievable high, Champions of League One, breaking the 100 points barrier and finishing the league as the undisputed top team in the division. Coming into the Championship, we were all somewhat guilty of an arguably deserved arrogance, in part due to our predecessors’ respected rises straight into the Premier League.

With a lack of summer activity and little strengthening to the squad, with hindsight it’s not that much of a surprise Charlton have failed to impress. Our weaknesses last season were easily compensated for by a far superior squad overall, however this season the squad – largely the same as last season – looks weak, no more so than in central midfield.

Couple this with several injuries to key players, a run of poor decisions and countless goal-line clearances, and it’s fair to say that we’re not sitting too pretty in the table. Powell is keeping the faith in his players, avoiding substitutions until the last moment and sticking with last season’s warriors – whose underperformances are sowing seeds of doubt with the fans, questioning whether these youngsters can make the step up in class and cement Charlton into the Championship, and maybe take us even further.

There have been glimpses of what this team can achieve – where it can go if we get everything right. The injury to last season’s stalwart striker – Yann Kermorgant – has given new marquee signing Ricardo Fuller a chance to get fit and move the team forward. His performance against Watford showed glimpses of his genius, and if Powell can get the team playing good football with the ball to his feet, then he could be one of the best signings we’ve made in years.

With less than ten games played, it’s certainly too early to write Powell, the players or the team off. The players, the manager and the fans need to start believing in what this team is capable of again, and have the courage to step up and make the difficult decisions – dropping underperforming players, reinventing the style of play if it’s not working. Most of all, Powell needs to believe that he is a Championship manager. He may be one of the newest in the league, but he’s there on merit. We’ve had the jubilation of promotion. We’ve had the harsh reality of the Championship – with teams that will win clinically and punish your one mistake. We can’t expect to create 15 average chances a game and score three.

It’s time for Powell, the players, the fans and the club to step up and own the fact that we are a Championship club alongside some very, very good teams. It’s time to act like it. If we do, then we’ll be absolutely fine.

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke

Champions!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This season has been better than Charlton Athletic fans ever expected. From being written off by a certain football magazine before the season started – predicting an 18th place finish – and the plethora of negative questions to Powell in press conferences such as; “You’ve got to make a good start to the season after the finish last year, do you think you’ll make it past the first ten games?” Powell, the players, the board and the fans have proved them all wrong.

The Addicks have led the league since September. During the season we have been labelled the champions months in advance of actually winning the league – when there were still over 40 points to play for.

We’ve had some bad times the last few years, and dropping into the third tier has hit most fans hard. Remember, when we first entered League One it was only three years after we’d been playing Premier League football, and were a model for other teams across the country on how to run a football club.

If the drop to the Championship hit us hard, the fall to League One was even worse. It wasn’t something we were prepared for. Worse, however, was that of the fans, the owners, the management, the players – no one predicted how difficult it would be to survive, compete and get back out of League One.

Teams are fighters in this league. That’s not a comment on styles of play or the freakishly large centre backs on show. The top of the table is littered with clubs seen as too big to be there, Charlton included. They are all desperate to get out. The other half of the table is full of clubs who are desperate to stay there and develop in a league where the finances are sustainable for them.

The result of this is that nobody gives up. Every week each game is a battle. There is so much at stake. Relegation from the Premier League is ominous – the hallowed ground of money, fame, wealth and an inevitable false sense of self-importance. The Football League provides an undercurrent of real football, radiating charisma, honesty, purpose and most of all, pride.

I’m proud to support Charlton in any league we’re in. I’m thrilled that we’ve managed to cement our place as Champions this season. I’m also glad to be out of this league and look forward to playing against teams we’ve become more accustomed to over the years and, most importantly, to not have the threat of impending administration looming all the time we’re not in the Championship.

I will miss a few things about League One though. The fans you meet are genuine, core fans of the club. Both at Charlton and across the league, people see football in this league for the genuine love of their team and the game in general. What’s more, the clubs tend to have a more open communication, knowing they’re talking to fans, not to a journalist or scout who will twist what is said into a national headline.

For all of this, there is little doubt that Charlton are now heading in the right direction. Unless there is a late complacency-fuelled collapse, they will win the league by very healthy margin. Powell has proved himself – in his first managerial role – to be an intelligent, diligent and passionate manager. The Chairman spoke recently about tying Powell to a chair. That speaks volumes about how well he has done. Powell’s name is shouted from the stands at every game. What’s more, Powell is becoming talked about more and more in the world of football press and punditry. If the club can keep hold of him long term – and I think they will – this may just be the beginning of a fantastic new chapter in the life of Charlton Athletic.

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke

Charlton Athletic – Top Of The League

Monday, March 5th, 2012

I’ve found it difficult to write a regular blog on Charlton’s season this year. After five years of less than mediocrity, I expected to be shouting from the rooftops about our achievements to date, the continuity of the team, the tactical nous of Powell, and the determination of the board, team and fans alike to see that one aim – promotion – achieved. The truth is, when you are as far ahead in the league as Charlton, with managers across the division suggesting we are Champions Elect, it’s difficult to comment without sounding smug.

For those fans who like to delve deeper into the minds of those in charge of their favoured football club, we inevitably come back to the same questions. Why, and how, did we manage to get in this position?

For a start we’ve finally done away with the journeymen, the parasitic leaches that demand high wages for less than average performances and bleed a club like Charlton dry. We’ve also brought in a hungry, young, passionate manager with Charlton running through every part of him. It shows too.

This new squad has reacted to Powell’s vision far better than anyone could have dreamed, especially given the less than impressive end to last season. Every player is now pulling in the same direction. Powell has picked the same team week in week out. If you’re good enough, you’ll play. If you play well, you’ll stay in the team. Players like Scott Wagstaff and Paul Hayes – both of whom started the season very well, have found themselves harshly frozen out following a slight drop in performances. Couple this with the consistency of the replacement players and the head of steam built up, Powell has allowed players across the pitch to flourish and continue this remarkable season. To coin a cliché, it’s clicked.

Please don’t kid yourselves though. There does seem to be a ruthless, darker side to Powell. Famed for being one of the nicest men in football (and with a wardrobe that would make Mourinho stand up and take notice), Powell runs his team, his club with an efficient, calm and controlling manner. Cross Powell at your own peril – he has shown that he’s not afraid to show his ruthless streak.

It seems recently that too many managers are the play toy of the owners, or subjected to unjustified scrutiny of their players and fans. Just look at Gary Megson. Sheffield Wednesday made a massive decision in sacking Megson, but to what avail? It’s the same with Huddersfield, Cardiff, Chelsea, QPR – the list goes on. There are too many managers who are sacked without sufficient time to build a team. Equally, there are too many who are sacked when doing well. You can understand why the likes of Tranmere, Wolves or Sunderland sack their managers when they are struggling – but when you’re pushing for promotion?

Most of the time this doesn’t go well. The club fail to get any real momentum going, particularly when the decision is taken at the tail end of the season – the damage is done. A lot of people reading this will be thinking of one name – Charlton’s very own Phil Parkinson.

I was not a fan of Parkinson – I’m still not. He did relatively well with little resources but his blind faith in players who turned in poor performances week in, week out meant he lost the respect of better players, the fans and ultimately the board. I’ll never forget meeting Chris Solly – an exciting youngster eager to make his breakthrough in the team, shirking away from a comment on the performance of his rival for the fullback spot, Simon Francis. When asked what was going on and a suggestion that Francis was not good enough, Solly rolled his eyes, put his head down and said “I know. But he keeps playing him”. It’s probably worth noting that Solly, in his first full season, is seen as a shoe-in for the fans Player Of The Year award this year.

What was perhaps more telling was after another hefty defeat at home, prior to new money invested in the club, when suggesting to Charlton’s then owner (and saviour) Mr Murray that Parkinson had to go, that he’d start passing around the bucket – i.e. We want to, but can’t afford to.

With these sentiments, and new money in the club, it surprised a lot of us that Powell was still there at the start of the season given his awful start to management in the latter half of last year. What surprised us more was that the money from the Jenkinson sale (reported to be £1million) was largely given for reinvestment. It’s a credit to the board that they understood Powell’s situation when he took over, and have had faith in the man to come good. He’s not disappointed.

With some tactical offers, some persuasive conversations and a charm that most people fall for, Powell was able to build a team – his team – capable of challenging for the league. We did not know quite how this season would go. Most of us thought that it would take a while to gel, and a play-off place would be a good season in the circumstances. Boy how we were wrong.

With 12 games left of this remarkable season, we find ourselves sitting rather pretty at the top of the table. 13 points clear of second, a whopping 17 points clear of third. Most impressively, the team shows no sign of letting up. They want the records. They want the trophy. Most of all they all want the chance to prove themselves. The majority of the first team are young and talented. They were also largely unproven until this season.

Powell has shown that he can build a club with his ethos, his desire and his passion.

That club is Charlton Athletic. It won’t be easy or simple. There will be problems along the way. Just make sure you remember the name, because this great club is finally on the right path, heading back to where it should be.

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke

Top of the League

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Football fans are a strange bunch, Charlton Athletic fans included. The club are top of the league, five points clear and quietly confident about their promotion chances this season. In public, when goaded, supporters will gloat. It’s a fan’s nature to gloat – and given that Charlton’s followers have had five or six years of underwhelming teams, managers, transfers and most of all performances, I think we’ve earned the right to be a little bit smug at what the team has achieved so far this season. Not that it counts for anything if they tail off and don’t manage to get promoted of course.

I’ve been putting off writing this piece for about six weeks. A minor blip at Stevenage had led to six wins on the bounce and the team playing some fantastic football. Twenty goals scored and three conceded in six games is title form. So it comes as no surprise to the real fans that, I really didn’t want to write a blog on Charlton Athletic’s fantastic start to the season. Given that their next game is against Huddersfield Town – rightly tipped as one of the favourites for promotion and on a record breaking run of form, as a fan I’ll do anything to avoid a change in circumstances that might just lead to a defeat.

However, the powers that be have compelled me to update you all on just how well Charlton are doing. Looking at the season so far, it is both stunning and obvious why Powell has managed to get a new team playing so well together, so quickly. There are five ingredients to Chris Powell’s cauldron of success – in addition to his own charisma:

1: Bring in young, hungry players and ship out the journeymen and deadwood.
2: Supplement this with smatterings of experience, level headedness and non-egos.
3: Get the signings in early – let them bed in.
4: Install a mentality of family – each player will play for the man next to him.
5: Bring back the fun.

It sounds too simple, but perhaps Powell’s fresh take on management has just about brought the art of football management back to its roots. In all honesty it’s too early to tell, but the one thing for sure is that the Addicks are playing better football than anything witnessed under the club’s previous four managers.

If you’re not a Charlton fan, then reading this you may well feel that Powell’s influence is being overstated. It isn’t. You cannot underestimate the difference the man has on the club, the team, and most of all the fans. Having Powell back at Charlton and in charge no less, is like spaghetti and meatballs. It just works.

Whilst it’s fair to attribute a lot of the success so far this season to Powell – and his almost clairvoyant abilities, bringing in left winger Hogan Ephraim a few days before Johnnie Jackson picks up a hamstring injury – credit also has to go to the players. Powell has shown that if they are playing well, they will play. If a player manages to break into the team, they will stay there as long as they deserve a place.

No player has benefited from this more than Andy Hughes. Whilst he may not be the most skilled, there is not a single man on the pitch who works harder. He allows the two full backs Chris Solly and Rhoys Wiggins to push forward more as he’s always there to cover. It is no surprise that, following the introduction of Hughes into the team, Wiggins has got more assists than anyone else in that period.

Add all of that to the threat and power of Yann Kermogant, plus the deadly form of Bradley Wright-Phillips and there is a Championship challenging team. If, however, Charlton go off of the boil and lose against Huddersfield, then please don’t blame me – I wanted to wait until after the game (and the next one!)

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke

Football for a Fiver

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

There are seldom times when a football club gives up much needed revenue for the greater good. In all honesty, this probably isn’t one of those times – but it’s as close as you’ll get. Charlton have opened the Valley to anyone who wishes to watch a game, for the low price of £5. In the name of community spirit, and a credit-crunching not so budget-busting deal, it really is too good a price to turn down!

There is another side to this. All seats in the ground are at their lowest price of the season, the club will achieve a near sell out – some 10,000 more than those supporters who usually turn up to see League One football at The Valley. So, what does this mean? There will be of course a near capacity crowd, and the club will reap the benefits of additional sales in the stands, the club shop, and perhaps even a few ticket sales after the game for the next few weeks (if they win.)

The bigger (and obvious) secondary benefit to the football-for-a-fiver deal is more interesting. It is the ideal opportunity for fathers, uncles, brothers (and of course the occasional female fan) to bring their younger family members and friends into the light, to follow their soon to be beloved Charlton Athletic. It is this aspect of the deal that the board and most loyal season ticket holding fans will be praying works.

Some will agree with me here, others will not. For me, Charlton is a medium sized club. They punched above their weight in the Premiership – and showed they could do so for an extended period of time and potentially solidify a fan base big enough to sustain a Premiership club. Now, languishing in the third division for a third season, it would have been hard to see where the Addicks could go from here. Based on the size of the club, not many in League One will say they belong there. Conversely, not many Charlton fans will say, based on the quality of football over the last five years, does the club deserve to be anywhere else.

Step forwards Michael Slater, Tony Jimenez, a mystery backer, and the resident Charlton hero Mr (Sir) Chris Powell. Between them, they have breathed new life into the club and, so far, they look as if they can really push on and recover former glories.

Funded by the new owners of the club and the decision to let Carl Jenkinson move to Arsenal for an alleged £1million fee, supporters have seen an overhaul of the playing staff like no other club throughout the football leagues this season. In fact, from the “guaranteed starters” of last season, only Johnnie Jackson, Scott Wagstaff and Bradley Wright-Phillips are in the first eleven.

Powell got the majority of his signings in early and it is a testament to his work in pre-season that the same 11 have started every league game so far where possible, with the enviable record of six wins and two draws (plus being top of the league with a game in hand).

For all the signings, the most impressive player has been our own academy graduate, Chris Solly. At five foot and a bit, the right back has slotted seamlessly into the new defence. His pace, surprising power, quality on the ball and vision at the back has been a welcome addition to a new look defence this season – helping his side to the lofty position they find themselves in.

It is academy players like Solly, and Scott Wagstaff, who make days like this Saturday’s “Football for a Fiver” so important. Not only does the club need new players coming through the ranks into that prized first team spot at Charlton, the new fans need to see what live football is all about in order to understand the passion, commitment and love we all share for our local club. There aren’t many clubs like Charlton – we like to think we’re a one of a kind. There aren’t many clubs where the fans pitch in to clear the ground, or even clean the seats every season, just to feel that bit closer to the heartbeat of the team they have supported for so long.

If you’re in London – or nearby – this Saturday, and you’ve got a spare fiver in your wallet and a bit of time on your hands, why not come down to the Valley. If the sun shines and the team performs, you’ll see why it really is as fantastic a place as we already know it is.

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke

A learning curve…..

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Chris Powell’s Charlton Athletic side dropped their first points of the season at the weekend, after surrendering a two goal lead to Scunthorpe. Most fans appreciated the work rate, talent and desire to win, with the players and fans alike feeling the draw was more like a loss.

It may come as a surprise to some therefore that I feel, tactically, Powell was wrong. I don’t blame him – it is after all a learning curve and when you give the job to someone who has not had management experience previously, mistakes will be made.

Powell has made similar substitutions in each of the games so far this season, particularly with the introduction of Gary Doherty as an extra centre back in the closing stages of the game. On paper, this does not seem that unreasonable – Doc is a very experienced player, his legs will easily last the injury time in a game and it’s an extra body at the back. When we dig a little deeper, you see the effect it has on the team in a number of different ways.

Firstly and probably most importantly, it disrupts the two centre backs. Matt Taylor and Michael Morrison, are forging a strong, reliable partnership, they are beginning to learn each other’s games and they have not really struggled very often. Most notably, when against Colchester in the week, where Morrison struggled against the strength of the Colchester front line, Taylor was always there to mop up.

Bringing in Doc really does disrupt this. It presents a back to the wall mentality and the whole defence changes from an assured back line to a shaky, panicked defence.

The other notable effect this has is on the midfield partnership of Dale Stephens and Danny Hollands. I’m fast become a huge fan of these two – their skill on the ball and determination off of it are going to be something that excites fans this season. Having played four days before the Saturday fixture, they were visibly tired after 75 minutes. They needed help, their legs were going, and were getting beaten to the ball by the attacking substitutions made by the fresh, Scunthorpe bench. They needed help to see out the game, but instead they got Doherty.

I don’t blame Gary Doherty. At times this season he will be valuable to us, both off the bench and starting in order to rest the first choice players. He’s not going to provide the last minute pace and determination to help see the game out, and relieve the pressure off of the midfield duo. Perhaps when we’re being bombarded with high balls into the box then this is the right substitution. When you have a player like Andy Hughes on the bench, you have to wonder what benefits Doherty would provide in that position over him.

I don’t really blame Powell – to quote a cliché heard too many times at the Valley in recent years – “he’s a young manager.” The truth is, Powell really is a young manager. He’s shown his tactical awareness, particularly when we see the quality of squad he’s assembled at the first opportunity. He was tactically naïve on Saturday but I have no doubt he’ll learn quickly – hopefully he’ll get plenty of time to practice.

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic Blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

This week’s blog comes to you later than originally planned. A fantastic start to the season with a convincing 3-0 win at home to AFC Bournemouth and a host of new players on show has been overshadowed for much of the South East London community following the senseless riots we’ve seen over the last week.

The Valley faithful were expectant of a positive start, and boy did the lads in red deliver!  We were solid at the back with Morrison and Taylor looking a strong – particularly Taylor with his vision of the game and ability to mop up. Stevens and Hollands looked a fantastic partnership in the middle – Hollands with an impressive workrate and drive, and Stevens in particular with a superb touch, great passing and a lovely controlled goal. Hayes up front looked skillful and a real handful for the defense, and hopefully he’ll begin to develop a good partnership with Wright-Phillips over time.

Add to this the strong performances of the familiar in Elliot, Solly and Jackson, a screamer from Wagstaff (and his inevitable FIFA 2011 “brick” celebration…), and we have seen a glimpse into the potential powerhouse that Powell has been trying to build this summer.

The game itself started quite closely, with both teams creating good chances and failing to really test the respective keepers. However after Charlton’s opener there was only ever going to be one winner – with Powell’s men looking sharper and more hungry.

People left the game satisfied that the team performed largely to expectation, and Wagstaff’s stunning volley the talk of the town that evening. We were all very much looking forward to a good test against Reading a few days later. Even better was the news-to-come that Jason Euell was to sign a one year contract with the Addicks – a signing that will add real quality and experience to the attack.

That all changed when the rioting began. Understandably, the London football matches were called off so the police could dedicate all of their resources to securing the streets of the city once again.

This is not a political blog, and as such it’s not appropriate to rant about the low lifes of society and their actions. Instead I feel compelled to comment on a football twist to the violence that slowly emerged the next night.

With no football for the strong rival fans of Charlton and Millwall, in an unprecedented act they banded together to protect their “patch”.  Stories have emerged that some where there to cause trouble, others were racially motivated. Having discussed the events of that night with friends and colleagues who were there, I am proud to confirm those people were very much in the minority.

It was a fantanstic evolving story of bitter rival football fans joining together for the common good, and for once I am proud to say that I live in an area full of Millwall, as well as Charlton, fans.  Now, how do we get rid of the Man Utd lot…

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic Blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke

A Season To Remember

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Chris Powell’s first summer as a manager has filled the vast majority of Charlton fans with an optimism we have not seen in a long time, and has struck fear into other teams across League One.  Powell has really put his own stamp on the squad, releasing the majority of players and bringing in new found quality to try to finally push us back to where we belong.

It’s important to remember what the club, and fans, have been through over the last few years. Since the departure of Alan Curbishley, we have seen successive managers come and go with little success. Alan Pardew gave us some optimism whilst in the Premiership, and most fans were happy to keep him as manager when relegated, however he was unable to produce the goods required. Money was thrown around for players who were not good enough for Charlton (or their new price tag), and ultimately Pardew joined the quickly growing list of departed managers.

Phil Parkinson was promoted to manager in what was a largely unpopular choice, although the deep financial problems at the club meant we could not afford a whole new management structure.  Quite a few fans sympathised with Parkinson and were not that happy to see him leave. We were not playing well but were keeping our head above water and in the play off places. However with the new owners finally in place and giving the cautious optimism for our future (following what can only be described as heroic work and financial commitment by Mr Murray to keep the club afloat), they understandably wanted to move the club forward and have their own man in the hot seat.  Cue Chris Powell.

Powell started his reign positively – with four wins on the spin and the shrewd purchase of Bradley Wright-Phillips, one of the few high points in a largely unentertaining season. However the now familiar feeling of “too good to last” at Charlton reared its ugly head once again, and we went on an impressive run of two wins in our last 19 games of the season.

For me, a lot of the reason for this was to do with the lack of quality and depth in the squad. With the loss of Jackson due to injury and Martin being recalled from his loan, we lost two of the best creative sparks in the squad and were unable to replace them. Eccleston showed bags of potential and promise, however was not given enough of a chance, seemingly unable to work sufficiently well with Wright-Phillips. Couple all of this with Powell trying to play a better quality of football, and unfortunately we couldn’t push forward as we had hoped.

I think most fans, deep down, would not have been that surprised to see Powell depart following such a shocking run of form in his first attempt at management. Equally, I think most fans were thrilled that the owners seemed to really understand the “Charlton way”, and have not only stuck with Powell, but given him the backing in the transfer market to bring in his own squad of players.

I said “I think” most fans are happy with Powell being given the opportunity he has been afforded by the new owners. Well, I’m sure the vast majority are thrilled with not only the investment in the squad, but the way Powell has gone about restructuring the squad and club. Players have been moved on, and Powell has really asserted his authority.  The likes of Racon, Abbot, Sodje and fans favourite Semedo have all been shown the door, and have been replaced almost exclusively for players of equal or better ability.

I think my favourite piece of work by Powell so far however is how he has treated Christian Dailly. As much as I enjoyed Dailly’s performances in the 2009/2010 season, he finally succumbed to his age last year with poor performances, the loss of positioning and being beaten regularly for pace. This culminated in three red cards. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of time for Dailly, and the only reason for his poor performances were his age, and injuries to other players meant he was forced to play a lot more than he should have.

Powell has offered Dailly a new contract on reduced terms to compensate for the fact that he will be back up this season – which is exactly what he should be.  Powell has acted properly throughout, offered the correct contract, and left it to Dailly to decide what is best for him.

Along side these decisions by Powell have been clever movements in the transfer market. We have paid fees for some players, but a lot of first team players for the upcoming season have been brought in on a free transfer. Given our position in League One, I strongly believe this speaks volumes for how well Powell has sold the club, and the genuine ethos Powell and the new owners have brought to the club.

Highly sought after Bournemouth midfielder Danny Hollands made the decision to join us over signing a new contract at AFCB, or signing elsewhere. Powell moved very quickly to snap up the centre midfielder and I strongly believe he’ll play a big role this season and in the future. Paul Hayes has also come into the squad, from the Championship and on a free transfer, and allegedly rejected Championship clubs to join us. Others such as ex–Arsenal youngsters Cedric Evina, Mikel Alonso (Xabi’s older brother), and Matt Taylor from Exeter have all moved to SE7 on free transfers, and I believe all have improved the squad.

Powell has supplemented the free transfers with several “fee commanding” players, most impressively Danny Green – a promising winger with a great cross (something we missed last year) and Rhoys Wiggins to fill the troublesome left back position.

Others have come in, and whilst I could go into detail on each player to show the depth of transfers made by Powell, the truth is this is now his squad, his promises, and his to deliver on. Our saviour Chris Powell will be under the spotlight for a lot of this season, with the fans and owners expecting promotion given the new squad.  The media are circling for Powell already given his poor run last season, making him one of the favourites for the “first sacking of the season”.

For me, unless Powell and the squad go drastically wrong, I don’t think that will happen. The owners have shown us they are smart, ambitious and most of all appear to be football men – and hopefully will give Powell and the squad time to get where we need to be.

All the fans seem to be optimistic for the new season. More impressive however is that fans of other clubs appear to already fear Charlton and the team Powell has built.  For the first time in a long time we have had a real reason to look forward to the new season. Come 6th August, it will be interesting to see how many fans are there, and whether any of those 12,000 plus fans that left following our demise have been tempted to come back. Ultimately the squad that has been assembled cannot afford to fail. The CAFC faithful have strongly put their backing behind Sir Chrissy P and the new owners. Lets all hope they live up to their promise and have a season to remember.

Written by Sunny Seabrooke, We Are Going Up’s Charlton Athletic Blogger

Sunny tweets at @sunnyseabrooke