Wednesday 22 October ~
After last night's insipid 2-0 home defeat to Bristol City, their fourth loss in five games, Charlton were booed off, described by Alan Pardew as “open and erratic... not the sort of team I want to manage” and are now two points from the bottom three of the Championship. Earlier in the month, Charlton's board confirmed a bid had been made for the club by Zabeel Investments, a Dubai-based “diversified investment company”. This story has now gone very quiet, with reports suggesting that this group is now more interested in Everton. And, if Charlton fans are hoping that a resurrected takeover deal will address all the club's problems, that is not necessarily the case. Just ask Iain Dowie at QPR.
The richest west London club last night drew 0-0 at Swansea, meaning that in 12 games they have only won once away from Loftus Road. Swansea keeper Dorus de Vries was stretchered off with a broken jaw after 26 minutes and with no goalkeeper on the bench, Roberto Martinez was forced to play defender Alan Tate in goal. Yet QPR did not test the stand-in keeper at all and were fortunate to end up with a point. Dowie played it calmly: “You win three games in a row and you’re a hero. You lose three and you’re the devil incarnate. I don’t worry about that.” But with rumours of Terry Venables set for a return to QPR, maintaining a brave face is all Dowie can do.
With the expectation levels so falsely raised, QPR's playing squad are currently not meeting them on the pitch. But as we pointed out last month, the new regime at Loftus Road is making bad headlines away from the pitch too. Though Derby's complaint on ticket prices was upheld by the league in this case, “category A platinum” tickets at Loftus Road can still cost up to £50. Success, on and off the field, is not as simple as having very rich owners; though it seems bleak, Charlton fans should be careful what they wish for.
Meanwhile, several Premier League clubs are, of course, still desperate for new owners. It's been, in relative terms, a long time since the “multi-faceted” Keith Harris, former Football League chairman and current chairman of Seymour Pierce investment bank, has issued a statement keeping everyone informed of his progress. It is well over ever a week since the man tasked with finding new buyers for both Newcastle and Everton announced that the sale of Newcastle was progressing “extremely well” before promising a day later he would find a buyer for Everton. But as Harris is being paid to perform this role, it is hardly likely that he will announce that he is finding it difficult even if that might be the case in these straitened times.