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NEW ARTICLE - The difficulty Charlton face in 'crossing the line'

post your views below or in reply to the article in the blog. Cheers !


  • Good article...

    I think the youth thing is an interesting point. With the FA rules about Academy intake only being within 20miles of the club we are effectivly hamstrung, we are now competing for for what little talent there is with around 10-15 other clubs in London. When you think of teams that have produced a conveyer belt of talented youngsters in the past few years you're probably looking at Leeds and possibly Middlesborough is it any coincidence that they don't have much competition for young players in their area?

    Is there a bigger issue with talent in London? Sides now go out and purchase young professionals before they have kicked a first team ball to get around the lack of local talent coming through, A problem we've only cottoned on in the last few years, now the a youth sides have a fair amount of Scandi, african and european talent in them in the next couple of years i expect to see a few of these coming through to the first team.

    When you look at all the London teams there isn't a wealth of talent in the first team that have come through the academys in the past year or so like there was 5-10 years ago - Defoe, Parker, Konchesky, Fortune, Ferdinand, J Cole, A Cole, Terry, Lampard were all product of London boys playing in London sides through the youth system. Right now I can only think of Anton Ferdinand at Wham who is a regualar local 1st team player that has come through the academy systems in London in the past couple of seasons. Is the death of playing fields and the growth of a diet of fast food, non competitive sports and TV to blame rather than Charltons academy for the lack of young local talent playing in a red shirt? The cream will always rise to the top it just appears there isn't much milk as there used to be!

    The critism that could be leveled at CAFC is they were too slow in casting their net wider when it was appareant there was a lack of real talent coming through in the catchment area.
  • This is something I've mentioned on the NA board before, and it's not just a london thing. You look around the prem and there's only really 3 clubs with any number of home grown players either in the team or coming through and that's Boro, Villa and ManU. Everybody else seems to be struggling or not bothering.

    As you mention, London is an even more extreme situation. Tottenham have no home grown talent (as far as I'm aware), ditto Arsenal and Chelsea. West ham have one or two, but not the sort of numbers they were producing 5-10 years ago, same with us.

    Are we getting worse as a nation? I don't believe its because there are less children wanting to play or wanting to be pro players. We still have one of the highest percentages of the population playing organised football (i.e. saturday and sunday leagues) and mid-week competitions like power league and goals are booming.

    Is it simply a case of lack of coaching in schools? Also there is the fact that there are fewer and fewer boys/youths clubs around, with local authorities closing them as quick as you can say "budget cut". This must be having an effect on the level and quality of football coaching available.
  • I think we do need the coaching for the basic reason that the majority of our players do not have any natural talent.

    We obviously have Rooney, Gerrard and possibly Walcott who DO have natual talent but comapred to other countries we are nowhere near them.

    Brazil & Argentina have extremely limited facilities and continue to produce world class footballers year in year out. The natural talents that these guys possess is out of this world and i don't think we'll ever compete, its just not in our genes!

    You can't coach natural talent i'm afraid, you can make them better players but you will never be able to "coach" ability.
  • We do have naturally talented players but we lack the structure to make the most of them and nuture the talent they have. From the age of 8 we have competative leagues, where winning cups and trophies is the be all and end all. Players have their position and stick to it, how much fun is it for an 7 year old to play right back? How is he supposed to learn to dribble with the ball pass the ball with both feet shoot from distance and have fun when everytime he's yelled at by 100 parents on cold Sunday morning to hoof the ball clear?

    We seem to create agressive, ball winning players and a great team spirit rather than skillfull players on the ball with great technique. There is a midpoint where we can take the best of both sides - players like Gerrard and Rooney are great examples of this.

    IMHO kids shouldn't be able to play 11 a side competitive matches untill they are playing under 11 or even better under 12 level. Small sided games which while competative can be played amoungst teams rather than against other teams is the way forward especially when lots Junior schools are selling off their playing fields for money and have minimal space.
  • I can't understand why structure is a problem.

    do the kids in the streets in Rio and Buenos Aires have structure or even pitches to play on??

    They are just born footballers in my opinion.

    I agree with kids at the age of 8 being played in rigid positions though, it just doesnt seem fair.
  • The FA banned 11 a side matches for under 11 a number of years ago, but the same rigidness and win at all costs mentality seems to have filtered down the the new 7 a side games. Also a problem I have seen in the few youth games I have watched is the vast disparity in ability. Many of the teams seem to have one or two players who are a)much better and b)much bigger than the others and the tactic seems to be give them the ball and let them win the match, everybody else's job is to stop the opponents 1 or 2 star players.

    Obviously playing matches is important, but I think maybe leagues should be completely banned for under 11s, all games being friendlies and have some enforced squad rotation. Also, and I'm sure Arfur would agree, the banning of parents from the touchline would have a huge positive effect on the performances of the players I think.
  • Thats the Point WSS 'our structure' is to throw kids into competative organised football where the result is all important from an early age.

    This is a sweaping generalisation but the kids of south america kicking around in the street don't play 11 a side, don't have full size goals, don't have 100 parents screaming at them if they do something wrong. They concentrate on skills and time on the ball, If you can controll a ball on a patch of waste ground it's going to be a piece of piss on grass! Thats the difference - small sided, no pressure, time on the ball EVERYTHING we don't encorage our kids to do!
  • I can't see it changing to be honest, everything in this country seems to be league table orientated these days, whether that be hospitals, police forces, schools or sports coaches. We are currently dominated by a culture of proving performance. My missus just quit her job in a school nursery as it was changing beyond recognition. They were spending more and more time filling in forms, doing observations and reports and spending less time actually playing with and educating the kids. End result, kids are worse off, but at least the bean counters can quantify the performance of the staff and school.

    Its the same in football coaching unfortunately, money comes from the FA or wherever and every penny needs to be proved as useful. Saying at the end of the year that the budget was spent improving the skills of the players in a largely unquantifiable way is not going to get a bigger budget next year, whilst displaying your trophies and how you under 12s got more points this season will.
  • Probably playing Devil's Advocate here a bit now but its Friday afternoon so its all good!

    I think history shows that Brazil, Argentina etc have always produced high quality players in a technical sense, but maybe not so much on the tactical side of things (Argentina have probably addressed this in recent years). The point is that technical ability will always be superior to tactical nous.

    England just does not produce the players with the technical ability to the point where tactical knowledge can be left unattended. If we adjusted the structure of the coaching of our youngsters in order to hone their skills and maybe placed less emphasis on the other side of the game then my fear is that we will fall further behind other nations as we are simply not as good as we all think we are.

    Obviously this is just a theory and we wont know unless the coaching structure in this country changes.
  • There are signs it is starting to change. There was that big tournament this year for the 3-a-side game. Small goals and small pitch mean the game is all about skill on the ball and movement off it. With the playing area and sides being so small there are no real tactics and no formations. This has got to be the way forward, with larger side games only being introduced at later ages. If we were to say that 7-10 years old can only play in 3 a side matches then when they get to 10 they should have a higher skill level than they currently do. Then 11-14 year old can only play in 3, 5 and 7 a side, so they start to develop some tactical and positional awareness, and then only 15 up can actually play full 11 a side, at which stage they have already developed their skills and are starting to understand the tactical requirements or proper matches. This combined with no league tables for less than 7-a-side matches (if then) would encourage development of skills and understanding over simple match winning.

    I'd still ban the parents ;)
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  • As a parent of a 7 year old who plays 7 a side I agree about parents being controlled and told to shut up (me included) but not banned.

    Trouble is although my son's side onyl play friendlies they are still keen to win and try to work out the league table from the other results on the league websites.

    Of course teams are uneven. Wasn't always that way. When they are older the cream will be taken off to league sides anyway. I can't beleive that every Brazilian plays like Ronaldo but they do play with a small, heavy ball which you can't kick very far. As you can't lump it you have to pass and control it. I don't think that it's anything to do with genes and in any case the UK is so genentically varied that that doesn't apply. I think it is more to do with culture, facilities, parents fear of kids playing out on their own. (I won't let a 7 year old walk to the local park to have a kick-about as he would have to cross a busy road) and our desire to see effort and fight rather than fancy dan showboating.
  • Nice article but I cannot agree with the central premise. I mean, how many premiership clubs actually have more than £11m to spend? The likes of Reading, Watford and Sheffield have spent next to nothing and Bolton have no sugar daddy. Wigan have sold to spend.

    I actually think that the middling clubs are more of a muchness now than they have been for years - are we really scared of playing Blackburn, Aston Villa or Fulham?

    I think the fact is Ian Dowie inherited a situation with a lot of aging players and an aging attitude. He needed to bring youth to the club to start building the heart of a team for the coming years. That is what they have tried to do.

    If he suceeds in building this heart then next year we just have to add a couple to improve what we have as no club in the middle can spend so much each year or continue to attract top names.

    Now inevitably everyone is after young, talented players to build their side round so if you are not a really big club then you need to take a chance on the likes of Andy Reid and the rest.

    I think they have done well and most of the buys will come off. To be honest I would rather take a chance on younger players who might be the spine of the side for the next five years than have a year of Anelka before he sods off. That is the way you build the club.

    Good management for me.
  • Fair points Steve.

    Barring something major and new funding coming into the club, i'm convinced we will never see a net outlay like this Summer again, so i think you have to treat it as a bit of an exemption. That's also why its imperative the signings work out, because even if we stand still next year, the backing will not be there to improve the team.

    And i agree with the last bit 100%.
  • Cheers AFKA.

    All I would add is that I come from a background of being a Badford City fan.

    When Bradford were promoted to the Premiership they had every potential to be a club as big as Charlton. But the club never made any attempt to do what Charlton are doing now - in the first year the club spent (wasted) money on players who were old and would never stay around.

    The second year they spent (and wasted a lot) of money on the big names who were never going to be a long term spine of the club - Pet Rescue and £50k-a-week Benito Carbone spring to mind.

    When the club did inevitably get relegated the place was a disaster area. Now the idea that Bradford and Charlton might be on the same level is laughable.

    There is always going to be risks for a club of Charlton or Bradford's size on buying players. They just have not got the cash to buy and keep the best young established players long term. From my point of view I am amazed and impressed by a managment set up who will take a risk on building a team long-term rather than paying out for the big names to get headllines.
  • excellent comparison, and worth remembering.

    though we haven't committed to the big wages over 4-5yrs like Bradford did with Collymore and Carbone, i think much of our spending this summer has been spread over payments 2-3 years in advance.

    And the reason they have agreed to do that is because they know if the worst happened, they could bank something big on Darren Bent.
  • On Bolton I would just say £8m for Anelka and a new mega-rich chairman been they are in the sugar daddy club now. Good comparison with Bradford. Remember Geoffry Richmond was quite dismissive of Charlton and said that they wouldn't do what we did ie build the new west stand.
  • Randy_Andy re 3-a-side.
    Some of my fondest school and youth club footballing memories were playing 3-a-side. Although in a gym (at school) and cage (at youth club) the 'goal' was a skittle placed a yard from the wall at either end (so you could score off the wall and not guard it fully). We had lunchtime leagues, organised by the games masters of 4 minutes each way, it was superb. Like you say, all players have to be involved and there are no real formations or tactics, just really learning how to pass and move or beat a man by whatever means your ability allowed. 100% involvement for eight minutes, then back on for the second game later.
  • I feel that CAFC are now at a cucial point in their history. We shall either cross that line and become a "bigger" club or sink with the "smaller" clubs in an annual relegation/promotion fight. To cross the line we have to improve the throughput from our youth team, attract better players and retain our best players. This is difficult on a limited budget and the way our potential England players are being treated by the new England management. Apparently Richard Murray has confirmed that we have also spent next year's transfer budget to try and ensure this season's survival. So what happens next season when the bigger clubs get bigger and we don't, also where does the money come from to increase the size of the stadium.
    All these are questions for this season, the only answer is for the team to once again punch above tits weight on the pitch, good results will not only raise the club's profile but also increase revenue from a higher Premiership finish and good cup runs. Good players want to join successful clubs as do good youngsters. We as the fans can influence this by our support at home and away, we must fill the Valley with fervent support and we must also travel to the away matches and fill the other grounds away seats with loud supporting fans. We can't affect how Dowie coaches the team, we can't affect the transfer or youth policy of the club but we can help our team by our support and show other teams that Charlton is no longer a smaller club.
  • Money for stadium improvements isn't that much of an issue. There are plenty of funding options, many of which are obvious from the orginal planning request. The 9 flat will all be sold at a profit, the fact community and college facilities are included means plenty of grants available and then you've always got bank loans either secured on the the ground or on future earnings from the new development (seats and executive boxes).

    Funding player acquisitions is far more difficult and next summer it will be a case of lots of loans and only a couple of purchases I think. As stated above, that's not a problem if we can hang on to our existing players and the new signings work.

    Realisitcally the only player with a real chance of leaving next year is Bent, but if that's for £15m plus then ID will have at least £12m to spend, so not a huge issue.
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