Monday, 17 March 2014

Cherry Chimes talks to Addicks fan Dr Kish

Match Preview
Charlton V AFCB
Blogger Interview - Dr Kish

I was a bit stuck last week in the hunt for a Charlton blogger who would come on and chart with us about their team ahead of our mid-week fixture. Considering the week that Charlton had just had I was fearing that football was a poor topic of conversation for Addicks's fans having seen the company severe ties with Chris Powell. However, I caught up with Dr Kish whose blog is one of the most well respected in the Championship and he was pleased to give some comments. The interview took place pre-Millwall game so Dr Kish probably had that game very much on his mind.

CC:  Are you surprised at the timing of Chris Powell's sacking, I think the fans really showed how much he was liked when he went?

DRK: Personally, no. Chris will always be a legend at the club but we have recently been taken over, we are bottom of the league, the style of football is awful, we are the lowest scorers in the Football League so something had to change. Many were disappointed to see Chris go but we did look to be heading for relegation.

CC: I imagine AFCB fans are not going to be popular if we start singing Yann Kermorgant songs at the Valley, but do you think he'll get a good reception?

DRK: Au contraire, Yann is the biggest cult hero we had at the club since our Premier League days. He loves South London and recently spent a lot of money on doing his house in Greenwich up. Yann will get a fantastic reception and we may even join in with your songs. We'll be nervous if you get a free-kick within in thirty yards of goal but Yann could get that rarest of all football accolades, applause for an opposition player who scores.

CC: Are you soon to be called Charlton Liege?

DRK: I hope not, thus far we have bought or loaned four players from them with none of ours heading in the opposite direction. The real riches for Roland Duchatelet would be if Charlton could regain their Premier League status. He hankers after acquiring the PL television rights and is on a mission to buy clubs in all the major European Leagues, Bari being the latest he has his eyes on. Obviously it is a concern that we could be used as a feeder club, but we'll have to wait and see.

CC: It appears from the outside that cash is something the club really needs at the moment or are things not that bad?

DRK: Charlton lose about £6m pa but the FFP rules are looking to address the crazy losses many clubs make. Duchatelet's business model is for his clubs to produce their own talent and he refuses to pay agents to bring players into the club. Now, it is not so much that we do not have access to money, more the owner being unwilling to spend it.

CC: Do you know very much about Jose Riga? Please enlighten us.

DRK: Riga is a 56-year-old Belgian & a former Standard Liege head coach who took them to the last 16 of the Europa League in 2011/12 after winning their group. Previously, he guided R.A.E.C to the second tier title in Belgium, a feat he repeated with Mons. More recently he has worked as technical director of Cercle Sortif Vise and for the Aspire Acedemy in Qatar. Academy wise, he has also been involved with AC Milan but this is his first experience of working in England.

CC: Are you nervy pre-Millwall game and what do you expect to happen?

DRK: We have a truly shocking record against Millwall and it would be foolish not to be nervy. We have only beaten them 11 times, whereas they have beaten us 33 times! Having said that, the Lions have injury worries so it could just be the right time to play them.

CC: As you will all probably know, Millwall and Charlton fashioned a draw which was probably a better result for Charlton than the Lions!

CC: The clubs form improved with the FA Cup run but do you feel it has left you in a bad position playing catch up in the Championship?

DRK: Though the cup form was fine, we have only won two of our last fifteen league games. Combine that with the games that had to be postponed because of the weather and the cup run left us with three or four games to play to catch up on our schedule. Fatigue, mental and physical, will play a part, we will be playing twice a week for the rest of the season. We rarely have a cup run and this one really came at the wrong time.

CC: The pitch at the Valley is known to be horrible at the moment (perhaps mud wrestling would be easier than football?), but are your players getting used to it?

DRK: The pitch is awful, Eddie Howe should take your guys to a ploughed field to train in readiness for Tuesday! Powell used the long ball a lot but the early impressions are that Viga wants to play football on the deck. The pitch drainage system was last renewed in 1998 and those of you that know The Valley are aware that the stadium lies at the bottom of a steep hill, close to the Thames. The drainage system has collapsed and the water table was high. The drier weather has meant that the pitch is bone hard so needs watering pre-match. The problem is that the water does not penetrate everywhere so there are puddles on the surface after watering. It will be completely renovated in the summer but is a real mess at the moment and impossible to get used to.

CC: Who do you feel has the most quality up front between Sordell, Jackson and Church - do they all offer something different? I am hoping Ghoochanneijhad does not play as I don't want to have to write his name down too often!

DRK: Johnnie Jackson is a goal scoring midfielder who we rely on. Kermorgant was our main man and it was a question of who played alongside him. Sordell wasn't given much of a chance by Powell and Marvin probably wishes he signed for you guys in the summer. Church is a willing runner but not a prolific scorer. Viga gave Sordell a rare start on Wednesday and I suspect it will be him and Ghoochannejhad who will start against the Cherries.

CC: What did it feel like when you beat QPR at home?

DRK: I suppose the main feeling was relief, especially as the goal came so late. QPR had been on an indifferent run so I felt we had a chance of getting something from the game.

CC: How did you feel the team played against Huddersfield in mid-week, were you unlucky?

DRK: We performed much better, the team was much more attack minded and certainly had enough chances to win. Goal scoring has been a problem all season and needs to be rectified quickly.

CC: I'd better ask how Mr Wiggins is doing? Some of our supporters may not even mind if we lost the game as long as Wiggins received a red card.

DRK: Rhoys sustained a bad injury against Crystal Palace at the start of last season & missed much of the campaign. Many of us feel he hasn't been quite the same player since. He recently won his first full cap for Wales, became a father and penned a deal that extends his contract at The Valley until the end of the 2017-18 season. The deal was pushed through after Reading manager, Nigel Adkins, watched in in the cup game with Oxford. Bournemouth fans may be interested to know that Danny Hollands is back at the club after a loan stint at Gillingham, A peripheral figure for the last two seasons under Powell, many at The Valley feel he's been given a rough deal & could do a job at this level. Danny, if Eddie now offers you a deal for next season you know where to send my fee to!!.

CC: Which three teams do you think will go down to League One? (I don't want to see any London clubs go down for purely selfish reasons that they are good away matches for us)

DRK: Really it looks like perm any three from Barnsley, Charlton, Millwall and Yeovil. The other three all have managers with vasy experience at this level that will not help us. Time may finally run out on Barnsley and I think Gary Johnson will do well to save Yeovil, so it could be a shoot-out between Charlton and Millwall. Whoever wins (won?) on Saturday will have a huge psychological edge.

Really good questions, I enjoyed that Peter, thanks for asking me.

CC: No problem Dr Kris, it was a pleasure to have you on Cherry Chimes. What great answers too! I had not heard about Danny Hollands return to Charlton, but that will indeed have many of our fans keen to see if he can feature in Charlton's remaining games - he was always a favourite at Dean Court. To some extent AFCB fans might have though that we would be in a similar position as Charlton at this stage of the season so we have a good understanding of how you must be feeling with a six pointer against Millwall and having had a change in manager. The Bournemouth game may seem no less important to Charlton though come Tuesday night and I am hoping for a cracking atmosphere at the Valley and am looking forward to seeing that ploughed field!

For more consultation with Dr Kish simply visit the Doctor Kish blog where there are lots of bits of information and stories about the Charlton season so far, including the Blankety Blank draw at the Den. Let's hope their are some goals on Tuesday night.


  1. One particular comment from Dr Kish strikes me as worthy of close scrutiny. In response to a question relating to Chris Powell's sacking Dr Kish states that Charlton DID seem to be heading for relegation, the inference being that losing Championship status has somehow been made less likely by his sacking and the subsequent appointment of Jose Riga. I don't agree with this view as their is no objective evidence to support the effectiveness of managerial change by clubs in Charlton's position. Neither do the first two results under Riga offer any support to the justification of managerial change, as one of the known ( but short-lived ) benefits of such a change is an immediate improvement in results. We have played a fellow struggler and a very mediocre mid-table side and gained just two points. This does not offer a great deal of optimism for the sterner teats to come. Add in the fatigue factor (Riga's observation) plus the (so-far) lack of new players of championship quality and Charlton's situation looks very bleak indeed. I'm sorry Dr Kish but any objective analysis suggests that we still look like we are heading for the drop.

  2. Dr. Kish points out that Danny Hollands face didn't fit at the Valley. I wonder if that's because Chris Powell played favorites. Richard Wood had some terrible games but still got the nod over Dervite; Church runs around a lot but hardly ever scores, while Sordell only got two games at the beginning of the season. If Riga starts making Church, Wood, etc. compete for their positions, Charlton's situation could improve.

    1. Charlton's situation only has a chance of improving if we sign players of the necessary quality and experience to give Riga more options and physical in-put through a two game per week schedule. Obika is a good start. Can somebody remind me who brought him to Charlton in the first place?

  3. Terry - I didn't say we were less likely to get relegated under Riga. We are the lowest scorers in the FL, we have won three games since the end of November, we lost the first four games after Duchatelet took over, it was always likely a change would be made. Look at how quickly TJ/MS got rid of Parky & we were in the play-off zone.

    Re Obika. We wanted him at the beginning of the season & tried to buy him. A loan was not an option as Spurs were unhappy at the lack of game time he was given last season. He made just two starts & if CP was still in charge, Spurs would not have allowed him to return.

    1. DK, No, you didn't actually say that we were less likely to get relegated under Riga but it is what you implied. The fact is that the reasons behind Charlton's current position are not solely (or even mostly) down to matters that were under Chris Powell's control I'm not saying that I believe Powell, even with appropriate signings at this stage of the season, would have definitely kept Charlton up or that he would have been retained beyond the summer, even if Charlton had stayed up. It was obvious that he was not going to fit into RD's model and that as you say a change would be made at some stage. You quite correctly instance the speed with which Parkinson was sacked as another example of what happens when a club comes into new ownership. I believe that football clubs can only progress with stability and for that reason I also disagreed with Parkinson's sacking when we were still in a competitive position.. I can't fault the logic of what you are saying in relation to the realities and consequences of new ownership but it doesn't mean that such sacking decisions are correct and in the best interests of the clubs concerned. I repeat that there is no evidence to suggest that the 'sacking' strategy is, in the long term, successful for clubs in Charlton's position and I believe that firing Powell was not in the best interests of CAFC.
      With regard to Obika is it likely that Riga has given a cast-iron guarantee that he will get more game-time than under CP ? In my view Chris Powell used Obika to great effect in the best interests of CAFC. and he certainly got more game-time than he was likely to get at Spurs.

  4. I answered Peter's question Terry. I wasn't surprised CP was sacked, I thought it would happen earlier to be honest. Sacking a manager solves nothing, it gives the owner the opportunity to make a change which CAN work - McClaren at Derby & ironically Clough at Sheff Utd - for example, equally, it can make things worse, Cardiff & Fulham for example. If I made a change I would go for an instant impact manager, Warnock for example.

    Riga is technically gifted, he had the team in at 11.30 for a briefing on Millwall, followed by the pre-match meal, then individual briefings for the players. I think Riga has more talent than CP tactically but not motivationally.

    Whether it was right or wrong was not the question I was asked, new owners normally mean a change of manager, so, with us being bottom of the table & playing poorly at Sheffield, I wasn't surprised RD pulled the trigger, were you?

    Re Obika. His loan at Brighton was due to end on 11 April but was cut short by Spurs so he could join us. Yes, assurances have been given about game time.

    1. DK, Yes, I agree that you were answering Peter's question and yes I was also surprised that Powell was not fired sooner simply on the basis that that (manager getting the sack) is what usually happens as a consequence of new ownership and I think you would agree that I conceded as much in my last post. Each case is individual and subject to specific analysis and I can't really comment on the situations at Derby County and Sheffield Utd. That still leaves the vexed question of whether Powell's sacking was correct ie in the best interests of CAFC or not (of course at this stage a matter of opinion and conjecture) and I'm still not sure where you stand on that point. Whatever Riga's strengths may be compared to CP and vice-versa what Charlton need very quickly is some Championship impact personnel. Interesting to hear that Obika has been assured of more game-time could that be something to do with Spurs reported interest in Poyet?

  5. Terry - Forgot to mention, keep your eyes on the usual news sources tomorrow mate, we are bringing an international winger in.

    1. Thanks for this DK-you've got me excited now!

  6. Terry - you make your point very well & have enjoyed reading your comments. You are clearly a fan of CP, do you fancy writing a piece about him for DK?

    If you email me on the DK address I'll tell you about our incoming winger.

    Peter - thanks again for the opportunity to contribute to your excellent blog & thanks for allowing a couple of Addicks to discuss our ex manager.

  7. Peter, I'll add my thanks to you as well and wish Bournemouth every success-starting from next Saturday!

  8. Thanks Terry, I think Charlton has always been a good family club that has achieved well and AFCB has been trying to build towards that goal. I think we are getting there. We are loving the Championship.