Karl Robinson and Johnnie Jackson were the guests of City Addicks at The Grapes in Leadenhall Market last night.
It was a very enjoyable and informative evening and we are grateful to the organisers. Here are a few of the many words spoken from the top table. (Assume that Karl Robinson is speaking unless the notes indicate JJ.)
My dad was a big Bill Shankly fan and he stressed that the most important thing for a manager is to identify with the people on the terraces. “If you can get unity between fans and players it is amazing how much further you can run”
As managers and coaches, we are “just passing through your club”. A manager can ruin a club but we hope to “hold it and cherish it”. It is a privilege to be manager and work with all the staff at the club.
After the disappointment of the Bury game when the crowd applauded the players off it was said in the dressing room that “we owe them”.
“The best outcome for this season is to make you proud again”
JJ: Your support has been overwhelming. We knew that the protests were never directed at us on the pitch. “I hope we can do something this year to reward you for the not so good years”
When I met him in Paris he found him very articulate and business like. He talked a lot about humility, tactics and youth. He told me to “just make the people happy”. I said if you leave me alone I’ll get on with it.
I sent him a text after Wigan defeat saying it was poor but we could put it right. I didn’t get a response.
I have had no interference from above.
Chris Solly: I didn’t realise how good he was. Great temperament and so competitive. “What’s he like in five-a-sides Jacko ?” - “Miserable”
Naby Sarr: He didn’t do well on loan in France but his attitude has been first class. He didn’t come back feeling sorry for himself. Lee Bowyer says he’s the best finisher in the squad. JJ: “he’s got a great left foot”.
Ricky Holmes : JJ: we also ask themselves why he hasn’t played at a higher level but can’t figure it out. Maybe he lacked consistency; maybe he wasn’t fully professional; maybe Charlton is just the right club at the right time for him. He never wanted to leave in the summer. “Yes, he’s scored more free kicks than me but not such important ones and mine were from further out.“
Ezri Konsa: My gut feeling is that he will go in January. If I was him I’d be looking to go in January but we should look for £5m minimum. Maybe we could try for a loan back but the player has to want that (as Dele Ali did at MK)
Ben Amos : His impact has been massive. He’s the first into training and the last to leave. I’ve told him to come for everything and he’s so brave when he comes through the crowd. He is mentally desperate to win. His save at Bradford was the best I’ve ever seen live. Last year we capitulated when Pearce was injured. This year we haven’t missed him.
Tariqe Fosu: It was Ademola Lookman’s agent who brought him to our attention. We watched him five times and could see that he had something special. We sold Reading Callum Harriott for £500k and got Tariqe for free. He’s earned his place through his determination.
Tony Watt: We both like him. Jacko convinced me to bring him back He came back – he had lost weight and was fit. We tried everything we could. Maybe he feels better suited in his head to a bigger club. Sometimes there is more behind the scenes than can be said openly. JJ – there is no truth to the rumour that he and I fell out, but he frustrated the life out of me.
Ben Reeves - Had the possibility of going to a Spanish club in the summer but when that didn’t materialise there was only one club he was coming to, even though he had Championship offers.
Joe Aribo & Anfernee Djiksteel: will be top players but they are still learning.
Nicky Ajose: We loaned him rather than sold him because we wouldn’t have got our money back. If he succeeds at Bury there’s a chance he might. He is back in the team there.
Josh Magennis: he is passionate about playing for his country but I’m pleased he only got fifteen minutes. If he is injured between now and January we’ll “have a chat with Besty”. Leon Best has been outstanding.
Diego Poyet: a lovely boy and passionate about his football. Great ball retention but I had a better player (Potter) ahead of him at MKD.
Strengthening the squad
What happens in January will depend a lot on what happens with Ezri Konsa. It is like a jigsaw puzzle.
The board have told me I need two strikers. I’d like one little and one large. Most strikers will be holding on for a move to the Championship so transfers in might be late in the window.
Will Grigg is a poacher but he won’t be available. Why would Wigan let him go to a rival ?
Would like to get Aribo, Ahearne-Grant and Phillips the chance to go out on loan and get some games.
We looked at Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) between the windows this year. Then he scored those two goals against Norwich.
British based players are scouted by Steve Gallen. If a foreign player comes on the radar I’ll consult with the regime in Belgium (“it would be stupid not to”).
This is my team. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.
If we end up one point behind Wigan we should get automatic promotion, but we can catch them. They will struggle in the winter (“the horrible months”). Blackburn should emerge from the pack. Scunthorpe because it is a horrible place to go. Rotherham – if they can keep Kieffer Moore. MK have the best player in the league – Chuks Aneke. Shrewsbury have momentum and energy but a lot of one goal wins with late goals. If we win our two in hand we catch them.
Too soon to ask the owner if he would back us financially if promoted. We’ll speak in the summer. My priority has been to “stop the boat going in the wrong direction”. You have to spend money in the Championship to avoid relegation.
How do you think Millwall will get on ? - “Don’t care”
JJ: compared to 11/12 team we are as good technically but lighter physically. Forster-Caskey, Kashi and Fosu very good technical players but Dale Stephens was on another level technically. The togetherness of the current squad is similar – the camaraderie and desire to win.
The FA Cup
The league is our 100% priority but I’d like to get to the third round. A tie against one of the big guns gives fans a chance to congregate in big numbers. Also, a money spinner which gives me more clout about transfers in. The cup is an opportunity to play “kamikaze football” and have fun.
There will be plenty of “noise” at Wimbledon. I know that they had a chance to buy their club. When I saw that banner last season I thought my wife must be in the crowd.
They stopped us very well at The Valley. It was the hardest game tactically this season. They moved and pressed very well. They put a narrow four in front of us and we couldn’t use our “energy, grace and guile”. But we can adapt. We can modify systems. We can work on rotations. The centre backs can split or not split. We can flood a zone and try to make a 50% chance of winning a long ball into a 70% chance.
Shrewsbury last year (3-4 defeat)
I don’t regret what I said after the game. Charlton last year were massive payers (more than double what MK were paying) and the demeanour of some players was that they were just waiting to get paid and were thinking “he’ll get sacked soon so I’ll wait for the next manager” or “if we don’t go up I’ll leave”. I thought they’ll get me sacked anyway so I might as well say what I think.
Players for the future
(I sensed KR wasn’t keen to name any names, but just responded to suggestions from the audience)
We want to give young players opportunities but “ If we sold Konsa and played a young player who wasn’t ready the owners would be slaughtered, wouldn’t they ?”
George Lapslie has a lot of energy.
Sarpong-Wiredu – has a lot of talent but doesn’t influence the game enough yet
Coming to Charlton
Everyone said don’t come but something about the place captures you. I had lost my way at MK for the last four months. JJ spoke to me about the club and fans.
To sell the club to prospective players I invite them to come and meet me, Jacko and Bow and see the training ground (“Have you seen the training ground recently ? – the new pitches are unreal”). Jacko and Bow can sell the club better than me. Lee Bowyer has been outstanding. “I love his appetite for the club and his hatred of referees”. He can galvanise local kids.
But the players have got to want to come here and you need a strong mind to play for Charlton. For some players the club will be too big for them.
Players might ask about the protests but I explain they are not aimed at the players.
- Heading and dementia
Watched the programme and found it hard to watch. The game should do more for people who suffer through playing in the 1960s but now it feels like heading a beach ball. Players who throw themselves at the ball seem to be a dying breed.
2. Have you ever seen a referee knocked out by a player before ?
No, but there’s been a few I’d like to kill. I spoke to him afterwards and he didn’t know what day it was.
3. Jacko - you’ve scored over fifty goals for the club and it seems like every one mattered. Have you ever scored an insignificant goal ?
“I got the last in a 4-1 win in final game of the season when we finished eleventh. Although actually it was significant because it made me leading goalscorer.
KR – JJ should be the next manager of this club at some stage.