Very quiet on the Addicks front at the moment, with I would assume players and coaching staff on their holidays recharging the batteries. Pre-season training begins at the end of June, with only one friendly currently confirmed, and that will be the traditional curtain opener at Welling on Saturday 11th, July. In a change to the norm, there is set to be two home friendlies this summer.
Karlan Ahearne-Grant has been called up to the England U18 squad for their upcoming tour of Russia. Karlan dropped out of the first team scene under Luzon after being thrown into the deep end by his predecessor, however the 17-year old continued to prosper in the U21 development team and scored in every round of the Kent Senior Cup including the trophy winner.
Young centre back Ayo Obileye has signed a one year contract. 20-year old Obileye was not exactly #MadeinCharlton as his youth career started at Leyton Orient, before Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday, where he actually made a 1st team debut. He joined the Addicks after wanting to return to his birthplace and spent the majority of last season on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge. He impressed for the Daggers making a 1st team place his own, playing 26 times and scoring twice.
With Andre Bikey’s future at the club in doubt, Guy Luzon could well begin pre-season training with Obileye, Harry Lennon, Terell Thomas and Joe Gomez as his first team central defenders, aged 20, 20, 19 and 17.
One piece of Charlton news that has caught my eye was that in the Daily Mail about Richard Rufus’ High Court bankruptcy hearing set for today where the 40-year old faces multi-million-pound fraud charges.
As a longstanding Charlton fan Richard Rufus can do no wrong in my footballing eyes and ‘that goal’ still sends a shiver down my spine, however it does not look good for the current Charlton academy coach.
Rufus is said to have debts of more than £18m, having allegedly misappropriated funds trusted to him by 93 investors. This on top of being investigated into how £5m given to him by the Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in Walthamstow has gone missing.
One of those investors was Paul Elliott, one time close friend of Rufus, who was widely condemned by the sporting fraternity after his abuse of Rufus became public. The court will decide even if God won’t I suppose.
Finally my thoughts are with the family of American based Addick Peter Underwood, who tragically lost his life in Iowa last Saturday. The Eltham born 30-year old was the University of Nebraska’s assistant soccer coach and is survived by wife Austin and two young Charlton supporting children. John Walker, the university’s head soccer coach said, “As a coach, his potential was limitless.” Terribly sad. RIP Peter.