Attention: Please take a moment to consider our terms and conditions before posting.

NEW ARTICLE: The Curious Case of Jonjo Shelvey

The soap opera that is Charlton Athletic threw up another episode this week to rival all the joy of an Eastenders’ Christmas Special, with the decision taken to cut short the season of our most talented youngster, Jonjo Shelvey, in favour of an immediate cash injection.

Not for the first time in recent years, the decision leaves supporters asking more questions than it provides answers, particular on whether it was a decision enforced from the boardroom, or created by the indifference of the manager.

If the decision was an enforced financial one, then it really does provide an ill-timed stark reminder of the gravity of the desperate financial predicament that our club is currently submerged in. It suggests that the sizeable financial restructuring the club underwent earlier in the season was purely designed to get us through to the end of the season and no further, and given that Shelvey was secured to a professional contract at the same time, it looks more than likely that his sale this summer was part of the restructuring, and nothing more than a formality.

The extent of our financial mire is one that some supporters fail to fully grasp. Charlton has been a severe loss-making organisation for five successive seasons, recording losses of £37.5m since 2006 before you even factor in what this season’s further hefty deficit is likely to be. At no stage over the past four years has the loss been below £20k a day, and in some years in excess of £30k a day. What was created by ill-management and dire planning on the eventuality of relegation from the Premiership and the failure of immediate return is now proving impossible to arrest. From the outside, hopes of a white knight rescuing the club from its debts and providing some form of positive plan for the years ahead appear more and more unlikely the longer the club scrambles to purely avoid falling into administration.

So if the desire to sell Shelvey was a desperate financial need, then we should all be concerned, particularly following so soon after the recent other injection of forward season ticket sales. With no further individual on the books with the ability to attract a seven-figure sale, you have to question just how much longer the attempts to avoid administration can be maintained, and equally how much good is it really doing the club as a whole in the long-term.

If however, the decision to sell Shelvey now was one led by the managers’ endorsement, then this opens up a whole host of other questions. Mainly, why the hell when the need for promotion is so imperative would a manager choose to limit his resources ahead of the unpredictability of the play-offs ?

Phil Parkinson stated yesterday that Shelvey had ‘lost his way a little’ this season, and though some supporters will disagree, this argument does carry some weight. In our supporters-polled post-match ratings, Shelvey has ranked in the following positions for his twenty meaningful appearances this season in comparison to his team-mates:

MOM – once
2nd – once
3rd – once
4th – three times
5th –
6th – twice
7th –
8th – once
9th – three times
10th – six times
11th – once
12th –
13th - once

The truth is he has not been setting the world alight this season, been a key member of our starting side, or pushed on in the way that all of the supporters hoped he would have. But has that all been down to a young player ‘losing his way’ a little, and if so, why ?

Shelvey first broke into the Charlton first team as a mere 16-year old twenty-four months ago. In his debut at Barnsley in the tail-end of the 2007-08 season, he impressed all with his display, whilst in the following game at home to Coventry, he had everyone purring of what was to come for the future, as a sample from the comments on our Forum proved:

“The boy looks like a proper star in the making, I thought he had a cracking game – Off It”,

“Jonjo was brilliant today, and he is a big guy, knocking Hughes off the ball for fun most of the game. He also has a great range of passing, and isn’t scared to shoot- Sir Percy” and

“Really was an incredible performance for a 16 year old. Wasn't only the passing, composure, running on the ball, vision and strength that impressed me, but that tackle in the second half which he had no right to get to! Really is promising for the future that we have players such as Shelvey – Tricky”

In those two games, Shelvey played as a traditional centre midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation, recording man of the match displays as a 16-year old at Championship level. While there is no doubting that Shelvey appears less impressive twenty-four months on, the obvious question is why over the forty-nine games that Charlton have played this season at a lower level, has the player not once appeared in the position that which he so clearly impressed and showed so much promise ?

The sparse use of Shelvey this season has been focused in playing as a split-striker, with occasional dalliances onto the wing. Neither are his natural position, and while his positional awareness has improved greatly as the season progressed in the split striker role, it failed to accentuate the strengths that the player possesses and accentuated the weaknesses in his game, particularly through playing isolated, largely with his back to goal and dealing with an aerial ball. If Shelvey has lost his way this season, how much of that has been down to the individual attempting to adapt to an unfamiliar role in his desire to simply play first-team football, and how much of it has been down to management failing to play a player at his strengths ?

With this in mind, a parting appears something that suits all three parties; board, manager and player. Why the decision now and not in a month’s time though defies most logic. My best guess is that the manager was approached with regard to the bid and said that the player was not going to be a key element for the forthcoming games. With that in mind, the decision was taken to secure the deal now rather than risk it on a triviality effecting what the manager believes to be a non-key player.

The move does provide a sour backdrop at a crucial point in the season. Firstly, it highlights to our supporters and players the pitiful financial position of the club; secondly it gives our rivals the illusion that we have weakened our squad at a crucial time. Thirdly, it provides closure on a real sense of frustration to supporters that we have seen anywhere near the best of a homegrown player who showed so much initial promise. The first two can be quickly eradicated with a purposeful performance and victory tomorrow against promotion rival Leeds United. The third though is a feeling that shall always remain.

Shelvey leaves though with the best wishes of all Charlton supporters. He is a talented individual with what appears a good attitude and who just wants to play football, and a player that this site has been proud to sponsor for his two professional seasons.

Whether this is the right move for him remains to be seen. Liverpool is a club set to go through a real transitional period, which may be of benefit to him, but equally carries many risks. He has not been signed by the manager, who is unlikely to have ever seen him play, but by a managerial umbrella with a remit to try and deliver some young English players. Whilst some elements of his game will be better suited around more technical players, there are still plenty of aspects of his game that require a fair bit of work before he will gracing the Premiership stage on a regular basis, particularly his short-distance speed and reaction.

We wish him the best of luck, and will always keep one-eye on his career hoping he succeeds.
«1345

Comments

  • Thumbs up ! found myself agreeing with all of that, well written AFKA.
  • Good article AFKA and very well balanced.

    For me this is the best point:

    the obvious question is why over the forty-nine games that Charlton have played this season at a lower level, has the player not once appeared in the position that which he so clearly impressed and showed so much promise ?

    The sparse use of Shelvey this season has been focused in playing as a split-striker, with occasional dalliances onto the wing. Neither are his natural position, and while his positional awareness has improved greatly as the season progressed in the split striker role, it failed to accentuate the strengths that the player possesses and accentuated the weaknesses in his game, particularly through playing isolated, largely playing with his back to goal and dealing with an aerial ball. If Shelvey has lost his way this season, how much of that has been down to the individual attempting to adapt to an unfamiliar role in his desire to simply play first-team football, and how much of it has been down to management failing to play a player at his strengths ?


    I don't think he is the only Charlton player to suffer from the long ball this season either. I wouldn't compare them for a minute, but Akpo has looked more comfortable with the ball cut across the face of goal from the wings rather than with his back to goal in the middle of the pitch where he clearly does not have the intelligence/ability to deal with it. Iwelumo was also constantly used as a target man rather than having the ball played to his feet.

    We should have persisted with him in the middle of a flat midfield four a bit more in my opinion.

    More importantly, where's Jonjo taking his mum on holiday? - http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2953961/Jonjos-shelved-for-promo-push.html
  • For me, the key soundbite in the whloe episode was:

    "When the board came last week and told me it was going to happen we thought of a few scenarios of keeping it quiet but not playing Jonjo and only announcing it after the play-offs were out of the way."

    With a board prepared to think like this, don't be surprised to get a leaflet handed to you one day, telling us the club is going to ground-share.
  • Did anyone see Nicky Bailey pass to Shelvey this season?
  • Interesting to look back at the ratings, as I was thinking this morning about how many times there has been a call from the crowd for him to be brought on from the bench during recent weeks and months.

    His season hasn't panned out how anyone probably thought it would, especially after being a first choice at the start of it.

    Really do hope it works out for him, and the fact that Liverpool look likely to have a new manager (and possibly backroom team) won't work against him in the next few seasons.
  • If we are losing 20k a day, then the initial £1.7m will stop the haemorraghing for all of 85 days.
    We really are in the mire financially.
  • Well written AFKA ...as usual.....
  • [cite]Posted By: MrOneLung[/cite]If we are losing 20k a day, then the initial £1.7m will stop the haemorraghing for all of 85 days.
    We really are in the mire financially.

    Best part of 3 months, ie the close season, when there is little or no income....
  • excellent if rather disheartening article
  • WSSWSS
    edited April 2010
    Great article but I need to pick up on something:
    [cite]Posted By: AFKABartram[/cite]With no further individual on the books with the ability to attract a six-figure sale.
    Surely we have players worth a little more?!
  • Sponsored links:


  • edited April 2010
    [cite]Posted By: LenGlover[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: MrOneLung[/cite]If we are losing 20k a day, then the initial £1.7m will stop the haemorraghing for all of 85 days.
    We really are in the mire financially.

    Best part of 3 months, ie the close season, when there is little or no income....

    bloody nora......

    only way out is promotion...
  • edited April 2010
    and that gives us 2.2 mil additonal plus 1-2k extra fans... so thats another 100 days....

    come on boys, come on pull out all the stops...

    just got a wave of nervousness and my heart started beating faster typing that...

    what this club does to you....
  • What about the new takeover rumours, how do the potential buyers view the sale ?
  • [cite]Posted By: northstandsteve[/cite]What about the new takeover rumours, how do the potential buyers view the sale ?
    They're happy mate. That extra asset of £1.7m that has just been sold means they can now afford the club. ;-)
  • [cite]Posted By: WSS[/cite]Great article but I need to pick up on something:
    [cite]Posted By: AFKABartram[/cite]With no further individual on the books with the ability to attract a six-figure sale.
    Surely we have players worth a little more?!
    Guessing he meant seven figure?
  • Financially then, do the board actually want us to get promoted?

    And if did will we *then* go into administration to take the 12 point deduction rather than in Division One?

    For years we were told we were the model club off the pitch.....

    And people laugh at Jordan.....
  • [cite]Posted By: Scoham[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: WSS[/cite]Great article but I need to pick up on something:
    [cite]Posted By: AFKABartram[/cite]With no further individual on the books with the ability to attract a six-figure sale.
    Surely we have players worth a little more?!
    Guessing he meant seven figure?

    indeed, amended. ta
  • Yes I was also surprissed about no further individuals.... i.e. Sam, Bailey, Elliott, and so on. Perhaps not significant in relation to loosing £20,000 a day though!
    So what if we are promoted!.... This squad will need significant rebuilding and the players will expect a better wage deal surely......

    I did post several weeks ago that if we do get promoted then our troubles could really start, as I cannot see this board investing more!
    Not really something that we really want to hear I guess, but our position does seem dire!

    If we stay in this league administration is looking more than a possibility, otherwise it is death by a thousand cuts........not that we want that as well!
  • There is no way promotion can be seen as a negative.

    Can there?
  • Death of a thousand cuts... I reckon we have had a least 600 cuts so far......

    promotion can help for sure, but the only way forward is a takeover by a Mr big...
  • Sponsored links:


  • [cite]Posted By: mascot88[/cite]promotion can help for sure, but the only way forward is a takeover by a Mr big...
    Exactly. Just ask Pompey!
  • A REAL Mr Big not a pretend one(several) like Pompey...
  • but what about the potential takeover would that sort us out ?
  • Great article. To me it spells out just how imperative it is that we gain promotion this season. With that in mind it just makes a mockery of the sale. Jonjo would be worth the same in 4 weeks time as he is now, possibly far more. As for for the risk of him getting injured, insure the risk for a few weeks and use him in the play offs. Thanks also for pointing out that he has played extremely well in a 4 4 2 and at a higher level. So often I read on here that he can't play in a 4 4 2 which I have found hard to believe, especially playing alongside strong midfielders like Semedo and Bailey. We said the same about Murphy didn't we? Funny how he doesn't have a problem playing in a 4 4 2 at Fulham!
    As for the reason for him leaving, it seems to me that it was Jonjo's frustration at not getting a game that has made the move happen now, rather than anything else.
  • Where did the £20k a day come from? I suspect that is exagerated somewhere as it's £7.3m per year. However even if it's not it is probably a current figure. Several playersout of contract at end of season including Moutakil and Dickson I think. So that will take over £1m off the wage bill for starters. if we don't go up the others like Sam will be offered much smaller contracts. Big problems but not unsumountable.
    As for Shelvey I'm deeply diaspointed we didnt get more out of himm this year - no idea whose fault that is
  • He showed his deadication when not leaving to go chelsea, because he wanted first team football, and he loves the club. So Parkinson thinks not playing him is a good idea, bet my house if he was started from the begining of the season he would want to stay and we would get a higher offer in a few seasons. Best of luck to him, not play at charlton? or not play at liverpool and be tutored by steven gerrard ?...
  • [cite]Posted By: ken from bexley[/cite]Yes I was also surprissed about no further individuals.... i.e. Sam, Bailey, Elliott, and so on.

    Lloyd Sam won't fetch a fee of any sort, Ken.
    He's out of contract in a few weeks and a free agent.
  • Good article, been thinking about Shelvey's performances this season compared to last (and the two the season before) and I think there's a few other things that can be considered.

    First point, I think a lot of young players can look better, or more all round, on their debut. Grant Basey is another example, without looking, I think most people were probably happy with his debut, apart from the odd comment about a lack of pace or occasional mistake. They play against players and up against managers that know little if anything about them, there's less pressure and expectation from the crowd and have the excitement of making their debut/first few games in the team. Certainly can't judge a young players consistency on 4/5 games, or even half a season. Weaknesses often aren't as clear in a players first few games, probably partly down the expectations of players making their debuts, and as I said, the opposition know a lot less about them. He also played alongside Holland in those first two games, who probably helped him with positioning and the little things. I can't imagine most of the midfielders now, if any, helping out as well or as often.

    Secondly compare who Shelvey was playing in the second half of last season, probably his most consistent and longest run of form in the first team. Behind him he usually had Racon and Zheng, two players that keep their passing short and tidy to feet, exactly what suits Shelvey. They're also comfortable with the ball at their feet, both like to run with the ball, which created space for Shelvey, Burton and others. This season he's had a pure defensive midfielder in Semedo, who although has the tidy passing, he doesn't run with the ball, and he doesn't make runs from midfield, it's not his job or his instinct to do it. Alongside Semedo it's been Racon, who himself hasn't played as well, but that's for another thread. When Bailey is in there, he's not as comfortable on the ball as Zheng and Racon, runs with it less, and his passing is less accurate with far more attempts at the 'hollywood pass'.

    About his best position, I think Shelvey can be comfortable behind a striker. Though to that the team have to play a passing game, and for that you probably need more technical players than Bailey and Semedo. That's not a moan at them, just that Zheng and Racon can pass, move and control the ball better, which suits Shelvey. Even with Racon and Semedo behind Shelvey, Racon also looked better having an attacking player in Zheng (some might say Racon was more motivated last season though).

    I think he is a central midfielder, but he's only at his best there with a lot of freedom, he needs to be able to find space wherever that is on the pitch. It's a free role really. Parky, whether right or wrong, probably doesn't feel we can allow him that in a four man midfield. It's a risk as you surely can't be as organised and therefore defend as well if one midfielder needs that freedom to play his best. Some games I think we'd have been comfortable, as I've mentioned before, Stockport at home in particular. In time Shelvey won't need so much freedom as he reads the game better, but is he months or years away from doing that consistently? Parky took the safe option of not risking that in a promotion challenge, problem is it means although we concede less, we offer less going forward. So as I said, there were times to use him more, but Parky was right not to put Shelvey in central midfield in games like Colchester at home.

    At times you can see or at least sense he's frustrated, can't blame him for that, you can't play the same pass and move football he wants to attempt with many of the players we have. If he came through around 03/04, I think he'd have had some great moments with Di Canio, Jensen and Parker, and he'd have looked just as promising in the Premier League. As he's came through while we were a Championship and later League One side, there are people that doubt he can step up to that level.

    I agree about his weaknesses, his lack of acceleration and reactions. In time his reactions should improve with experience, and I hope in the next couple of years he can improve on his strength and acceleration. If he does I think that strength should help his confidence in the air, another weakness of his. If he can do all that, there could see an improvement in him like we saw with Parker at 20/21 (though still a completely different type of midfielder). I'm not certain he will, but I think he's got the drive and ambition to give it a real go, and now a much better quality of player around him which will surely benefit him.

    Sorry if this a bit too long!
  • [cite]Posted By: northstandsteve[/cite]but what about the potential takeover would that sort us out ?

    well would it ? Is it close ?
  • [cite]Posted By: Scoham[/cite]I agree about his weaknesses, his lack of acceleration and reactions. In time his reactions should improve with experience, and I hope in the next couple of years he can improve on his strength and acceleration.

    If you watch a player like Frank Lampard, you soon realise that acceleration and quick feet over that 1st half yard is noticeably lacking.

    But where Lampard compensates is with technique and footballing intelligence: a superb 1st touch, and an abilty to read the game well with great anticipation and movement off the ball.

    So lack of acceleration needn't be a problem for Jonjo, even at the highest level.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Roland Out!