Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Roland Departure Prediction

Charlton Life Forum 

2019 Guesses

The only runners currently still in the race are the following:

02/01/19 @vff
04/01/19 @ShootersHillGuru
05/01/19 @KiwiValley
28/02/19 @killeandflash
19/08/19 @soapy_jones
08/12/20 @Rudders22
11/12/20 @Bedsaddick

When the world ends @sillav nitram and a few others!

If someone wants to copy and paste that list into the Charlton Life Forum that'd be great. And if anyone else wants to have a guess, feel free. Doesn't matter if you've had a previous guess (apart from those shown above).
Please check first that the date is available.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Takeover thoughts

Way back in May Gerard Murphy told me that the Aussies had completed due diligence and were ready to buy Charlton Athletic. Papers were with the EFL, and he expected to be able to complete the purchase within a very short period of time after ratification by League. Almost as an afterthought he said a couple of members of the consortium still had to sign off on the deal, but he thought that was just a formality.

My belief is that one or both of those potential backers decided that Duch√Ętelet's asking price was way too high, and presumably told Murphy that they would only be interested at a lower price. Or even a much lower price. There has been speculation that the initial 'agreed' price was between 40 and 45 million, and the reduced price as low as 25 million. I have no knowledge of the numbers.

So shortly after, when Murphy met with Roland (the first time the two had met face to face), raised voices were heard. It seems likely the Aussies at that time offered a reduced bid, and are now waiting for a mightily pissed off Roland to shift his position.

In the meantime the Belgian is attempting to make Charlton look like a more attractive proposition for potential buyers, by 'streamlining' the entire operation, making swingeing cuts, and allegedly not paying promised bonuses to staff in the process. Whether that works remains to be seen, but it’s entirely possible interested parties may actually see this process as papering over some ever increasing cracks.

What is certain is that someone has to pay for the mismanagement of Charlton over the last four and a half years, but it remains to be seen if that person will be Roland Duch√Ętelet. It seems unlikely that the Aussies will up their bid to any significant degree, so his only hope is that someone with more money than sense comes to his rescue. 

Meanwhile fans are left in limbo, with only the remarkable efforts Lee Bowyer and his backroom staff building a team to believe in providing relief from the seemingly endless turmoil.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


This is one of my favourite (modern era) pieces of  writing about Jimmy Seed:


Neil Dixe Wills discovers the life and times of Jimmy Seed, through his classic autobiography

“Eventually there will be a soccer League of Nations with clubs flying off to South America in little more time than it would take Newcastle to travel to Plymouth by train. These days may not be realised in my time, but they are coming.” Meet Jimmy Seed: child soldier, double title-winner, leviathan of The Valley and, judging by the statement above, pretty useful soothsayer.
Seed’s is a story forever teetering on the brink of caricature: early teens down t’pit, the inevitably failed first trial with Sunderland and the return, Boy’s Own style, to score a hat-trick and book his ticket out of the mines in April 1914. Bad timing all round, really. Football stopped soon afterwards and the war dragged on sufficiently for Jimmy to become old enough to join the Cyclist Corps. He was duly gassed and sent home. To add insult to injury, when he reported back at Roker Park he discovered that he’d been offloaded to non-League Mid-Rhondda.
That’s about as bad as it ever got. From Wales he went to Tot­tenham, winning the 1921 FA Cup. Six years later Spurs sold him to Sheffield Wednesday be­cause he refused a £1 per week pay cut. 

Such a transfer sounds innocuous enough but I defy anyone to come up with a more cataclysmic sale in all of history. With ten matches remaining, Wednesday were seven points adrift at the foot of the First Division. New signing Seed was appointed cap­tain. They collected 17 points out of 20 (including four off Spurs – Jimmy scoring in both games, naturally) and finished 14th. Seed led them to the championship the next season. Oh, and the season after that. Spurs, on the other hand, plummeted from seventh before Easter and were relegated. They spent the next five years in the Second Division. Whoops.

Success mercilessly dogged Seed when he moved from the pitch to the dug-out. He spent 23 years as secretary-manager of Charlton, taking them from the Third Division to the First, was pipped for the championship the next season and then kept them in the First Division despite having to make a profit on player transfers every year. There was also the matter of back-to-back FA Cup final appearances (oddly enough, the two “bursting ball” finals), winning the latter one. Seed was a Dave Bassett long before the phrase “doing a Wimbledon” ever troubled our lexicon. The Dons connection doesn’t end there. The Charlton owners, as a tax dodge, wanted to move the club permanently to South Africa. Makes Dublin seem quite sane by comparison.

As in much of life, the real fascination with The Jimmy Seed Story comes from what it doesn’t tell you. His entire wartime service merits just one paragraph. More intriguing still, his England appearances are afforded a mere four words: “ playing career with Sunderland, Mid-Rhondda, Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday and, of course, England.” It does make you wonder just how bad it can have been to justify reducing the experience to a conjunction, an adverbial phrase and a proper noun. 

However, one story he does deign to narrate is that of Charlton’s hilarious-if-it-didn’t-happen-to-you South American tour. On arrival in Colombia their passports were taken from them by their hosts, club side Millonarios. They were then held captive and told which teams they would have to play before they were allowed home. They subsequently fetched up in Peru and Ecuador, and took part in a mass brawl with Argentine players which was only broken up when armed troops stormed the pitch. With exemp­lary understatement, Seed con­cludes that after that he preferred close-season tours to Sweden.

The promotions aside, the book makes for heart-rending reading for Charlton fans. Seed’s book is full of the greatness that might have been theirs. To say that, but for a poor decision in the boardroom and the rise of the motorised bus, they could have emulated Arsenal is no idle speculation. In 1932, the Gliksten brothers planned to make Charlton the most glamorous club in England and increase the capacity of The Valley to a gob-smacking 200,000. Then they fatally baulked at the pittance required to bring Stanley Matthews to the capital. The decline of the tram helped kill off big gates at Charlton and from then on they became a selling club.

Seed claims that even in the years before and after the Second World War “the cheque book ruled football” and that corruption or attempted corruption was rife. However, the overwhelming scent that rises from the now delicately sepia-ed pages is that of an inn­ocence long since banished from the game. The book teems with brims of trilbies, half-back lines consisting of Joblings, Pugsleys and Biswells, and presentations of handsome pen-and-pencil sets. Call me a hopeless romantic if you like but, somehow, I prefer that.

From WSC 158 April 2000

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


'By the time we get to 1970 we want a stadium fit for 1970... In the next 20 years or so grounds which hold more than 40,000 people will be obsolete.'
(Michael Gliksten 1968)

Friday, 8 December 2017


In May 1937 Jimmy Seed's Charlton Athletic headed off on a tour of America and Canada.

The squad is shown on the passenger list from the S S Empress of Australia, which left Southampton on 19 May and arrived in Quebec on 26 May 1937. Information includes the players’ clubs, their next of kin, and even their appearance. It states that the trip has been paid for by Charlton Athletic Club, that every player has been given £10 in US dollars, and that they will be based at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York.

The entry for James Seed shows that his next of kin is his wife Annie Dixon Seed of 33 New Street Hill, Bromley, Kent, and that he himself is 5ft 10ins tall with a dark complexion, dark hair turning grey, and brown eyes.

The tour is described in a website The Year in American Soccer 1937 as follows:

Charlton Athletic of England: May 30 to June 27, 1937. Results: 5 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses.

Bartram, Boulter, Cann, Ford, Green, Hobbis, Jobling, Oakes, Robinson, Shreeve, Stephenson, Tadman, Tann, Turner, Welsh, Wilkinson, Williams. Manager: James Seed
May 30    Charlton 1, American League Stars 1 (at New York City)
June 2     Charlton 2, West Penn Stars 0 (at Pittsburgh)
June 5     Charlton 4, Michigan Stars 0 (at Detroit)
June 6     Charlton 4, Illinois Stars 1 (at Chicago)
June 26   Charlton 7, East Penn Stars 0 (at Philadelphia)
June 27   Charlton 4, USS FA 0 (at New York City)

Another website gives more detailed information on the Canadian part of the tour…
Charlton Athletic Tour, 1937
Charlton Athletic players were: Sam Bartram, Herbert Turner, Sidney Cann, John Shreeve, Joseph Jobling, John Oakes, Herbert Tann, Donald Welsh, Fred Ford, Monty Wilkinson, George Robinson, George Tadman, Leslie Boulter, Harold Hobbis, Lenard Williams, George Stephenson and George Green. 

June 9, 1937, at Mewata Stadium in Calgary, Alberta
Alberta All-Stars 1 (Barrie) Charlton Athletic 12 (Hobbis 5, Welsh 3, Wilkinson 3, Tadman)

June 13, 1937, at Con Jones Park in Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver All-Stars 2 (Spencer, Brown) Charlton Athletic 3 (Welsh 2, Robinson)

June 14, 1937, at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria All-Stars 0 Charlton Athletic 4 (Wilkinson, Williams, Welsh 2)

June 17, 1937, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan All-Stars 2 (Makepease 2) Charlton Athletic 12 (Tadman 7, Wilkins 2, Boulter, Williams, Robinson)

June 19, 1937, in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Manitoba All-Stars 1 (Hampton) Charlton Athletic 9 (Robinson, Welsh 4, Hobbis 2, Wilkinson, Ford)

June 23, 1937, at Consols Stadium in Toronto, Ontario
Ontario All-Stars 1 (Aiken) Charlton Athletic 6 (Hobbis 2, Tadman 3, Green)

July 1, 1937, at Royals Stadium in Montreal, Quebec
Montreal 0 Charlton Athletic 4 (Wilkinson, Hobbis, o.g., Tadman)

Friday, 8 September 2017


Thrilled to discover that Jimmy Seed's 'missing cap' is currently on loan in the National Football Museum in Manchester. Jimmy gave away quite a few medals and a couple of caps, and we considered this one lost, so it's great to hear that it's turned up safe and sound.

It was used in an exhibition in 2014, alongside those of his old Sunderland teammate Tom Wilson, and Sam Wadsworth of Blackburn and Huddersfield Town. The museum focused on them for a section exploring how players who were rejected by their clubs after the war later went onto big and better things elsewhere.

The cap is owned by a private collector and the museum are passing on my details to see if he or she might be interested in allowing the cap to return to the fold.

[Latest: The Jones family have very kindly returned the cap 'on permanent loan'. We aim to have it on display at The Charlton Museum in the next couple of months.]

The cap was awarded for a match played on 19 March 1923 - England 6 Belgium 1 (JS scored one goal), which was apparently England's first international match against a non 'home' nation (which in those days included Ireland, for football purposes only).

The gate was only 14,052; Receipts: £899. 
This wasn't a heralded match by any means. You'd have to call it a friendly, as there were no proper international tournaments at that time, the FIFA World Cup not getting underway until 1930. Jimmy's little sister Minnie had played in front of far bigger crowds only a couple of years earlier, which puts this match into some context. Nonetheless, it was historic, if not earthshattering in its time.


Age 26
1 21 May 1921 - Belgium 0 England 2

Age 27
2 21 October 1922 - England 2 Ireland 0, The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
3 5 March 1923 - Wales 2 England 2, Ninian Park, Cardiff
4 19 March 1923 - England 6 Belgium 1, Highbury  (1 goal)

Age 30
5 4 April 1925 - Scotland 2 England 0, Hampden Park, Glasgow

The cap for the Scotland match is also missing. We'll be looking out for it from now on. If you know where it is, please let us know.

Jimmy also captained a highly successful England tour of South Africa, but this tour wasn't given full cap status.

South Africa Tour 1929 [c.Getty Images]
England v. Ireland 1922 [c.Getty Images]
Scotland v. England 1925 [c.Getty Images]


Below is an article written for The Voice Of The Valley fanzine last year. 

It's April 1936 and Jimmy Seed is looking forward to a nailbiting end to the season, where a second consecutive promotion looks likely, but can Charlton finish the season as Division Two champions?



   ‘Jimmy, you’ll have to spend some real money if you want to stay in the Second Division.’ 
So said my pals after we ran away with last season’s Third Division (Southern Section) title. With only one team from each Section promoted there was little margin for error, so we were relieved to finish eight points clear of second place Reading. 
I believe in rewarding success, so those that played their part in our promotion have been given their chance in Division Two this season. Having said that, of course we have needed to strengthen the squad in our attempt to bring top flight football to The Valley.

   Any idea I might have had of becoming a second Herbert Chapman, and transferring Charlton from rags-to-riches using the cheque-book, were soon dashed after I joined the club. The Glikstens made it clear there was to be no spending spree. They’ve big plans for Charlton, but having already invested heavily, they’ve made it clear they want their cash back as soon as possible.

   However, I believe we’ve put together an excellent side, despite what some critics (and even some of our fans) are saying. Yes, we have few star turns. Our only major signing last year was Don Welsh, a centre-half secured from Torquay United for £3,250. And what a good player he is becoming.
   I’m proud of the country-wide scouting system I’ve set up, and with my brother Anthony in charge of a team of five scouts in the region of my birth, the North East, dividends are already being reaped. Sam Bartram and Jack Shreeve were two Anty discoveries who did not cost us a penny. Many more, I’m sure, will follow. Bartram, in particular, is made of the right stuff, and a bolder, braver keeper I would like to see.

   Back in ‘33/34 I brought in Frank Harris (£450) and Bert Turner (free) to bolster the half-back line. Following them came Harold Butt (£160 from Bath City), and George Green (£250). We finished a respectable 5th of course. Progress, but further singings were needed. I wasn’t looking for stars; I was looking for two things, character, and potential. That summer saw George Robinson returning to The Valley (free) after a loan to Burton Town. George Stephenson (£660) and Ralph Allen (£650 from Brentford) followed.

   I cannot over-emphasise how I believe that team-spirit is the first essential, and I know we have this plus at Charlton. No manager has a grander bunch of boys fighting for him, and I’ve given each and every one of them the chance to prove their worth this season. They haven’t let me down. The only cash signing I made before this season started was Syd Cann (£400 from Manchester City).

   Meanwhile, while balancing the books in the transfer market, or even turning a profit, gates have risen consistently, with last season’s average of around 15,000 a third up on the previous term. More work is now urgently required to update facilities in and around the ground, as attendances now average nearer the 25,000 mark. This further development is essential as who knows how big the gates might become were we to achieve promotion to the First Division. To that end I would like to see The Valley become one of the finest stadiums in the whole of Europe.

   But let’s keep our feet on the ground, and deal with recent events. My old Sheffield Wednesday colleague, Jimmy Trotter, has been brought in as trainer. A man of few words, Trotter conscientiously completed a postal course in physiotherapy, is a skilful masseur, and has passed all necessary trainers’ exams. As a player, I always had ideas of becoming a manager when my playing days were over, but Trotter was set on taking up the training side. While at Wednesday I assured him that given the opportunity to settle in a manager’s chair, I’d remember him, and I’m proud to have kept that promise. Already they’re calling us ‘The Two Jimmies’, and I’m happy to say we’ve established a good working relationship in this, his first season.

   And what a season we’ve had! From our opening day trouncing of Burnley by four goals to nil with what most people consider a Third Division side, we have proved our critics wrong. Aye, our early season away form left something to be desired, and on 3rd October we were in 16th place, six points behind high flying Leicester City. But by the end of the year we were second, two places above my old team Tottenham Hotspur who are still languishing outside the top flight after their relegation back in 1928.

   As many of you may know, Spurs cut my wages in 1927 from £8 to £7 after I was injured, and I joined The Wednesday, as a direct consequence of that action.
The following season the Owls found themselves cut adrift at the bottom of the League. With ten matches to play I was made captain, the team was reorganised, and we secured 17 points from a possible 20. We stayed up, and guess who were relegated in our place? Tottenham Hotspur.

   I digress. Our promising start to this season was de-railed slightly through a lack of goals from our forwards, other than leading scorer Harold Hobbis. Of course I had to sell Ralph Allen who scored 32 league goals in only 28 league games for us last season, and replacing him has proved a difficult task. Towards the end of February we were averaging much less than a goal and a half per game. Trying Don Welsh at centre-forward wasn’t a success, but at left-half he has flourished. However, sometimes the recall of a stalwart can work wonders. Stan Prior has performed well, especially recently, and bolstered our goal tally in the process. We topped the Second Division table for the first time on 4th January, with five straight wins from Boxing Day showing that we meant business.

   Another key to our recent success has been our signing of the strong and assured centre-half John Oakes, who has shored up our rather inconsistent defence. I have to thank my brother Angus, Aldershot’s manager, for the recommendation, as we now have a defence that’s difficult to break down.

   So despite the series of injuries that afflicted us mid season, we’ve had a successful April, despite our 4-1 defeat to Leicester City on the 4th. The Blues were relegated last season, but look likely to regain top division football soon, if not this year.
Our fortunes began to improve on Good Friday when we collected a valuable point at White Hart Lane. The following day’s 4-0 drubbing of Nottingham Forest at The Valley, followed by the 2-1 defeat of Spurs on Easter Monday, meant we were level with Manchester and West Ham on 50 points.

A record crowd of over 47,310 witnessed the defeat of Tottenham, but I’m sorry to say that The Valley struggled to cope with such a large crowd. A number of wooden barriers collapsed and the ambulance men had very busy time, showing once again the need to improve facilities and infrastructure as soon as possible.

   Of course a key fixture was against the our promotion rivals ‘The Irons’ at Upton Park last Saturday, where Hobbis’ spectacular long range effort sealed a very brave, 3-1 victory. Some of the press implied that we were lucky but, as I stated in my match diary, we ‘played with great team spirit and were on top right through. We looked a very good team indeed, and well worthy of the victory.’ Don Welsh was outstanding, but our courage was highlighted by John Oakes, who played on valiantly despite blood pouring from a broken nose.
We now topped the table with 52 points, Manchester followed on 51, but with a game in hand, and West Ham had 50 points, with Sheffield United not far behind.
   Yesterday’s match against Bradford Park Avenue was absolutely vital to our promotion chances. We calculated that three points from our remaining two games would see us promoted, so I was not surprised that there was a big crowd to enjoy another hard fought, but well deserved victory, our fourth in a row. Avenue have a good recent record against us, so it was a relief to win by two clear goals.
Considered not good enough by some, Stan Prior has proved his worth by netting five times in our last three crucial matches.
With Manchester United, Sheffield United and West Ham winning as well, we maintained our slender one point lead, in what is a very close promotion battle. It is notable that our goal average was now almost one and a half a game, whereas United’s was more than two.
     Next Saturday’s match against Port Vale looks set to be a thrilling occasion, with another big crowd expected at The Valley. Port Vale are fighting to avoid relegation and need a win to do so, whereas even a draw would confirm consecutive promotions for Charlton, a feat never before achieved in the history of the Football League.

   In fact, with West Ham travelling to former Division Two leaders Sheffield United, a defeat for the Irons would see us promoted even if we lose to Port Vale. But we’re taking nothing for granted, and aim to go all out for a victory. Manchester United have two fixtures remaining, both away from home; at Bury on Wednesday, and Hull City next Saturday. Two draws for them (or worse) and a win for us over the Vale would see us crowned Division Two Champions. Let’s keep our fingers firmly crossed!

James Dutton


Unfortunately Manchester United beat Bury 3-2  away on 29th April, and drew 1-1 at Hull three days later, clinching the title by just one point. Charlton finished three clear points ahead of third placed Sheffield United. Both Manchester United and Charlton scored 85 league goals that season, just over two per game.

Onward and Upwards!

The £3,250 paid for Don Welsh is £207,488.33 in 2016 money.
The £450 paid for Frank Harris is the equivalent of £1,935 today.

I’ve used some quotes from The Jimmy Seed Story, and a couple of quotes from his match diaries.