Thursday, July 08, 2010

A busy few days

It's been a mixed week down in SE7. There's been smiles and frowns, happiness and dejection, head scratching and hand clapping - and it's all been down to transfers.

In good news, there have been a trio of arrivals, and promises of more to come. Our first piece of business was to entice out-of-contract Norwich centre-back Gary Doherty to The Valley, though according to Parky the "Ginger Pele" didn't take much persuading.

The 30-year-old was heavily mocked back in his Tottenham days and being honest, he was probably never quite good enough for the North London outfit. At Norwich, however, he has been an extremely influential figure and enjoyed a very successful time of it last year, helping the Canaries to automatic promotion from League One.

After a tricky start under Paul Lambert, Doherty went on to become a regular in the East Anglian's back four, so probably didn't leave Carrow Road because his manager thought he was absolute tommyrot. I imagine it was just a case of having moved up a division, the Champions League-winning Scot could not guarantee our new recruit a starting berth.

Doherty is a solid and experienced pro, nowhere near as sluggish as he is perceived to be and with a lack of wise old heads in the Addicks' ranks at the moment, could be a contender for the vacant captaincy role. The deal gets a thumbs up from me.

I know less about Alan McCormack, but considering our official website labels him as an "engine-roomer", it suggests to me that he will a be a pugnacious, terrier-like presence in the centre of the park. For many years Charlton have been accused of having a soft midfield but with Jose Semedo (should we keep hold of him of course) and McCormack, there seemingly won't be a lack of snap this term.

Johnnie Jackson didn't set the world alight in his four-game loan spell with The Addicks last season, but he is a versatile bloke so I also welcome his signing. The ex-Notts County and Colchester man played at left-back during his temporary stint with us but while he may figure in that position going forward, I suspect he will be utilised in a more advanced role in 2010-11 - an area where his cultured left peg and dose of creatvity - I've seen him before and he does possess it - can make a greater impact.

That's fact dealt with, now on to possible retainees/recruits. Parky has told the South London Press that he is close to agreeing a deal with winger Scott Wagstaff, while he is also hopeful of extending veteran defender Christian Dailly's spell as a Red.

I always expected Waggy to commit - who else would want him? - but in all seriousness, the academy product has become an excellent substitute for us and if he does sign the necessary papers, it could be the season where he finally grasps a regular starting place. Lloyd Sam is all but gone after all.

Dailly would probably slot in alongside Doherty at the heart of the back four - a streetwise combination that could work well. Detractors would instantly bring up the 'pace' issue, and while I stuck up for Doherty's rapidity earlier on, it would be fair to say that he and Dailly would not form the fleetest of tandems.

Then again, the John Terry-Ricardo Carvalho partnership of a few years back was not blessed with swiftness, yet they were extremely difficult to breach, proving that speed is a bonus and not fundamental to the cause.

Released Sheffield Wednesday wide boy Etienne Esajas is on trial and the rumours of Kyel Reid returning will not abate, neither will the gossip that Warren Feeney is set to become an Addick. Maybe we will have a competitive squad after all.

The dejection and head scratching that I referred to stemmed from the departure of Frazer Richardson, who has become the latest man to join our silver-topped destroyer, Alan Pardew's, revolution at Southampton. The ex-Leeds full-back has signed for £450,000 and penned a three-year contract.

Richardson's exit comes as a shock, not least because Parky named him as a key player in a press conference last week, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say I am gladdened that Frazer is heading for pastures new, but we'll survive.

We've lost a right-back, an important but not the most important position on the field. However well he played last season - and he did play very well - nigh on half a million for a League One right-back with a year left on his contract, coupled with the fact that as a club we are potless, I don't blame the board for sanctioning the deal.

I'd be much more reluctant to lose Therry Racon, Kelly Youga, Rob Elliot or Semedo - although the frailty of our finances means that still might happen - and if Frazer's farewell makes it more likely that we keep some or all of that group, it will be good business.

Many believe Chris Solly is good enough to fill Richardson's boots and if he is not quite ready, I'm sure an adequate, if not spectacular, replacement will be found.

The transfer tittle tattle, as intriguing as it is, will take a back seat on Saturday when something more substantial comes along - our first pre-season match, which will be at AFC Wimbledon.

No doubt, though, that once the news, views and aftermath of that contest have been digested, we will be back scouring the papers, Internet or the minds of so-called club insiders, for information on which players we will be snapping up next.

1 comment:

Gillis said...

I’ve been scouring Charlton blogs for many a year now, but this is the first time I’ve come across yours. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, though: it was thoughtful, and a good read. I’ll be a regular reader from now on. Keep up the good work.