At 9am on Friday 17th June the 2011/2012 season fixtures were released to much excitement from me at least. With the amount of northern teams now in League 1, I could see an opportunity to see Charlton play more often this coming season. So making sure I was in work before 9, logged onto my computer, internet loaded and the CAFC page ready and waiting all I had to do was wait to see if the fixtures would be kind to me. By and large they have been. Most of the away games "up north" are on a Saturday and I only have problems with two games really. Notts County away falls the day after my stepson's 18th birthday and, try as I might, I really don't think I can persuade him to have birthday celebrations in Nottingham. Bury away is Bank Holiday weekend and whilst the Charlton fans are heading north, I shall most probably be heading south to visit my parents. The remaining games, except Sheffield Wednesday are do-able and will come down to funds rather than willingness to go.
Sheffield Wednesday is the odd one out as far as away games go. My long suffering, Liverpool FC supporting husband gets taken to all Charlton games I go to. And he has not been to Hillsborough since April 15 1989. If he decides to go, I can imagine it will be emotional for him and yet I hope it lays some ghosts to rest.
Amazingly for Charlton we've already signed some players! I am pleased to see John Sullivan sign for us after his successful loan spell last season. Although I thought Ross Worner was a good 'keeper, I think John will give Robbie Elliott the completion both he and the club need in the push for promotion. Conor Gough and Nick Pope will hopefully continue to improve thus giving Charlton more options in goal. I have to say I don't really know much about Bradley Pritchard but Danny Hollands looks like a good signing. The signing of Cedric Evina should be a good one. Maybe I'm alone, but if he was good enough originally for Arsenal then I'm sure he'll do well for us, and to be honest we could do with a consistent left back. I certainly remember the shot he had for Oldham in the match at Boundary Park in April! Paul Hayes has been brought in to bolster our front line and hopefully will work well with both Paul Benson and Bradley Wright-Phillips. And the most recent signing is Mikel Alonso the elder brother of Xabi. If he's half the player his brother is then it should be fun watching him play.
As well as bringing in new faces, some older faces have now departed. I feel sorry most for Jon Fortune who has never had much luck with injuries but, on form, was a great centre back. To see him stretchered off the pitch in the last home game against Hartlepool was a very sad sight and I hope he recovers from his achilles injury and wish him all the best for the future. Christian Dailly has been released according to the PFA website. Although it is sad to see him go, I feel Charlton need some younger central defenders and it's time for Miguel Llera (if he stays) to be the elder statesman at the back. It's a shame that Joe Anyinsah could not keep his fitness as he would have given us another option up front. And finally Therry Racon and what can be said about his move. I understand he wants to move to another club, but Millwall? Easy way to make yourself hated by all Charlton fans. On the few occasions I've seen him play he hasn't impressed me that much.
All In all it's been an interesting close season so far and I don't think we've seen the end of it yet.