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Charlton are having a disastrous season both on and off the pitch and unless something changes quickly, will be heading back to League One for the first time since 2012 at the end of the season.

They have only won five games this campaign and only one in their last 17 Championship matches.

Two of those victories came in their first four fixtures to put them among the early-season pace-setters, but a run of 11 games without a win after that, including our 3-0 victory at The Valley, saw them plunge down the table and cost manager Guy Luzon his job.

Karel Fraeye took over as interim manager and back-to-back victories at the start of November provided some hope.

But he failed to produce any more wins and was sacked in mid-January, with Jose Riga returning to the club as his replacement.

The 4-1 triumph at Rotherham at the end of January has been his only victory so far, although the Addicks did run Reading close last Saturday – a hat-trick from on-loan Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo proving not quite enough in a 4-3 defeat.

With 12 matches remaining, including Saturday’s visit to TW8, Charlton are seven points adrift of safety.

Off the field, Addicks fans have staged a series of protests against owner Roland Duchatelet’s running of the club – both at The Valley and last week at another of his clubs Sint-Truiden in Belgium.

The very first protest back in November – which was based on the fact that CEO Karien Miere believed that only 2% of fans were unhappy with the running of the club – was actually covered by the Beesotted crew for The72Review (below).

 

 

(Off-topic but Sint-Truiden recently signed ex-Bee Nick Proschwitz, who scored an “interesting” first goal for the club….)

Charlton were an established Premier League club for most of the last decade – spending eight seasons out of nine in the top flight.

And they have rarely been out of the top two divisions in the past 80 years.

In recent times, a three-year spell in the old Third Division in the 1970s, a single season there in 1980/81 and three more years at that level (then League One) from 2010-2012 are the only times they have been in the bottom half of the Football League.

And they have never been in the basement division.

WE’VE MET BEFORE

Our meeting with Charlton earlier this season was the tale of two managers as our 3-0 victory at The Valley was Lee Carsley’s third in a row for us – while the result spelled the end of Guy Luzon’s time in charge of the Addicks.

John Swift gave us the lead before the break and further goals from Alan Judge and substitute Lasse Vibe took us into the top half of the table.

Charlton’s visit last season was a big day as it was our first home game in the second tier of English football for 22 years.

The Addicks threatened to spoil the party when summer signing Igor Vetokele headed them into a 64th minute lead but Bees new boy Tommy Smith rescued a point when he came off the bench to score with a deflected shot.

The least said about last season’s visit to The Valley the better. “Warburton-gate” had just broken and it showed on the pitch as the Bees slumped to a 3-0 defeat.

Goals from Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Vetokele and Frederic Bulot gave Charlton ended a 13-game winless run.

IN CHARGE

Jose Riga started his second spell in charge at The Valley in January this year.

He previously led the club to safety from the threat of relegation two seasons ago.

He has also managed Blackpool, Standard Liege and Metz among others.

OPPOSITION VIEW

Charlton manager Jose Riga is a fan of Brentford’s style of play and seems to believe that Saturday’s encounter could be a high-scoring one.

He told the Addicks’ official website: “Brentford have shown recently that they have the possibility to score a lot of goals as well as concede goals.

“They play in an attractive way, they like the ball and possession. I don’t expect that to change when we play them on Saturday.

“They are at home and with their last result they will want to put on a better performance, so we will face an opponent that wants to do the same as us, and to win as well.

“We will have a good look at Brentford, as we do with all teams, but it is more important what I can expect from my own team, rather than them.”

SQUAD NEWS

Charlton are only expecting one of their five currently injured players to have any chance of returning for Saturday’s match.

Midfielder Jordan Cousins, who has missed the Addicks’ last two games after being hurt at Preston a fortnight ago, could figure again at Griffin Park.

However captain Johnnie Jackson, stand-in skipper Chris Solly, Patrick Bauer and Igor Vetokele are all still out and central defender Harry Lennon also misses out as he served the second game of a three-match suspension.

The club has used 37 players in the Championship this season with Solly, who has started 30 of their 34 matches and Cousins, defender Morgan Fox and midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson the only other players who could be called regulars.

IAN WESTBROOK

@ianwestbrook

Drinking in Brentford

For Charlton fans crossing town, you are probably aware there are plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming. Colours are fine and there is no ‘bouncer culture’ on the doors of our boozers – not yet anyway. All fans are welcome and most fans usually cite Brentford as their favourite away-day which we’re quite proud of.

As is etched in common folklore , there were four pubs around the ground until a few weeks ago – unfortunately one closed down to leave only three now. The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very very busy. The New Inn is on the other side is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option (The Royal Oak was the one that closed down).

Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) the  … The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted fanzine main pub – a very friendly pub indeed. The other boozer is The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd)  – both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and 30 seconds walk from each other .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’. Boro fans and Bees fans had one hell of a party before and after last season’s league match in both these boozers (despite us losing)- and The Plough (Northfields Ave – 1 minute walk from the tube) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route on the Northfields pub crawl).

Easily the best way to Brentford is to get the Victoria Line  to Green Park and then the Piccadilly Line to either Northfields or South Ealing (35 mins).

Northfields is preferred by fans in the know as it has a decent pub crawl run on the way to the ground (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe). South Ealing has one posh pub en route that doesn’t really like football fans so we won’t even give it a mention here. It’s 20 mins walk from either South Ealing OR Northfields to the ground or you can get the E2 bus from Northfields or 65 bus from South Ealing for the five-minute journey.

Some fans prefer to take the tube to Vauxhall, then get the overground to Brentford mainline station. Depending on your connection time, this could be a slightly longer route as you could be waiting for up to 15 minutes for a train and the train takes 26 mins to Brentford.

If you do take this route, there is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … er …  the Pub by Brentford station.

For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit the brand new boozer One Over the Ait right on the river – beside the bridge. Great views over The Thames. It’s around 15 minutes walk to the ground from here.

There are loads more too. A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have a look around.

Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Road (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.