Morris Musings

Occasional thought pieces and observations from Stockholm-based Londoner Gary Morris regarding all things Charlton.

Run of the mill

It was announced yesterday that Jack Payne had joined MK Dons on loan for the remainder of the 23/24 season. Astonishingly this means that none of Ben Garner’s 7 summer signings (5 transfers / 2 loans) remain in the squad a mere 12 months later.

You may recall that the CAFC Official Twitter post announcing Payne’s arrival went viral. For those  unfamiliar, the video features an edited clip from the hugely popular British Comedy Sitcom ‘The Office’. This, I believe, serves as a perfect metaphor for the Club in recent times. 

Much like then Owner Thomas Sandgaard’s tenure at the Club, the series centres on the main character (David Brent’s) many idiosyncrasies, hypocrisies, self-delusions and overt self-promotion. As if a prophecy, a later Spin-off of the show would see Brent fancy himself as a guitar-playing rock star and launch in ill-fated Music tour! Oh and if that doesn’t convince you, Brent sports a Goatee beard throughout.

The series itself is a mockumentary about life in a mid-sized paper merchant office in a bleak British industrial town. The astonishing lack of leadership is quickly apparent and, aside from the occasional ludicrous marketing campaign, little work ever seems to get done. The threat of budget cuts and redundancies from Corporate is a consistent theme throughout the series. Indeed, the company motto “where life is stationery” is, spelling aside, just as apt for a club that finds itself decaying in League One mediocracy and in a constant cycle of disastrous ownership.

Much like the recent takeover by GFP The Office saw a US remake.  Whilst the character names and actors that played them were different, the overall structure of the show and core themes remained exactly the same. The question is are we simply seeing a US remake of our last few seasons?

Gary Morris 2023-08-31


There has been plenty to criticise at Charlton in recent times and most of us have done so regarding a number matters both on and off the pitch. It is only fair then that we give equal credit where credit is due. The early signs suggest that Holden was a shrewd appointment. He abides by his media duties and says the things a manager has to say, but has largely come in and got the job done from the first minute in a calm, determined manner.

It was an impressive win after the effort expended on Tuesday and it is very clear that every single player is willing to run through a brick wall for the team and for the manager. This was no more evident than in the 89th minute when a number of players tracked back to ensure we had 9 of our 11 players in the box when Barnsley attempted a cross that was blocked.

Today’s team by age;
23, 28, 27, 20, 26, 25, 28, 27, 20, 19, 19

And the subs;
27, 19, 27, 25

It’s fantastic news that we’ve won 3 in a row but with a number of young players in the squad we have to accept that inevitably this will mean inconsistency in performances, especially with 2 tough games coming up.
Good to see the positivity returning to Charlton and of course it doesn’t take much for the hope to come back! 2-3 more decent signings before the end of the window and who knows where we might end up.


Gary Morris 2023-01-14

The output is only as good as the input.

Whilst we are all frustrated with yet another abject performance (Oxford away) and our increasingly precarious position in the table, we should probably ask ourselves is it really that surprising? Arguably the most important aspect of any football club is its staff and player recruitment. I posted recently about the staff side of this, but on the player recruitment side let’s just remind ourselves of the motley crew in charge of player recruitment at Charlton;

1. Thomas Sandgaard:

  • Knowledge No
  • Experience No
  • Contacts No
You only need a minute or two of reading Thomas’ comments and regurgitated sound bites on footballing matters to realise he quite literally hasn’t got a clue about football, let alone football at this level.

2. Martin Sandgaard:
  • Knowledge No
  • Experience No
  • Contacts No
Fresh from a career in Daddy’s primary business Zynex Medical, Martin was appointed “Director of Analytics” in January 2022 despite absolutely zero experience. Oh forgive me, he did once have a trial for QPR and played for the mighty Enfield Town. Despite Daddy’s assertions that Martin has an “amazing understanding of modern football”, back in the real world the rest of us despair as a crucial club role is performed by someone woefully unqualified for it.

3. Steve Gallen:
  • Knowledge Yes
  • Experience Yes
  • Contacts Yes
Gallen’s stock has fallen considerably of late. Despite being largely credited with delivering the promotion winning squad for Bowyer in 18/19, it is clear that he has sold his soul to the devil. Gallen is unlikely to find a gig as well paid in English football and as such he has become little more than Thomas’ "yes man". Much like Thomas’ Twitter presence, it’s all gone quiet over there.

4. Revolving door of managers
Thomas has confirmed on several occasions that the manager is 1/4 of the equation when it comes to player recruitment. With a revolving door of managers under Thomas, each with vastly differing playing styles and player preferences, it is difficult to see how the Head Coach or Managers at Charlton have had too much of a positive input during the Dane’s tenure.

It seems that the next bunch of chancers are finalising their takeover of our loss-leading, assetless club. Whatever their intentions with Charlton, let’s just hope that they radically overhaul the recruitment team and player recruitment process if we are to have any chance of emulating the on field success despite off-field nonsense as seen in 2018/19. The harsh reality is that the Recruitment Team, despite having one of the top budgets in the division, have assembled a squad that wouldn’t set League Two alight, let alone League One.

Gary Morris 2022-12-31

Charlatan Athletic

25/09/20 Thomas Sandgaard acquires Charlton Athletic Football Club*. *agreement to purchase the stadium and training ground for £50 million at a later date.

08/10/20 Ged Roddy Appointed as Technical Director.
21/12/21 resigned after 14 months. not yet replaced after nearly 12 months.

21/10/20 Wayne Mumford Appointed as Commercial Director.
16/05/22 resigned after 19 months. not yet replaced after nearly 7 months.

11/03/21 Leo Rifkind appointed as Non-Executive Director.
15/09/22 Rifkind described as “insulting and deluded” by CAST after a disastrous series of Tweets floating the idea of ticket pricing based on league position. Note: No suggestion made by Leo for board member earnings to be based on league position.

15/03/21 Lee Bowyer resigned as manager less than 6 months after Sandgaard acquired the Club.

18/03/21 Nigel Atkins appointed Charlton Athletic Manager.
21/10/21 sacked after 7 disastrous months in charge.

17/12/21 Johnnie Jackson Appointed Manager following a successful period as Caretaker Manager.
03/05/22 sacked less than 5 months later.

24/12/21 Martin Sandgaard Appointed Director of Analysis after nearly 15 years of working for his father’s Primary Business interest, Zynex Medical.

Commenting on the Appointment, reportedly with a straight face, Thomas said;

“Martin played a little bit with QPR on a trial basis and he played in north London at Enfield for a little while…He’s a brilliant football player. He reads the game better than anybody. He has an amazing shot. He didn’t end up playing professional football. He got tired of it and a bit lonely in London, he ended up coming back to the United States…He’s back now and has an amazing understanding of modern football, maybe more than traditional English football.”

23/04/22 Brian Jokat Appointed CEO.
??/06/22 He subsequently left the role 2 months later. Not yet replaced 6 months later.

08/06/22 Ben Garner Appointed Manager on 3 Year Contract with a focus on “getting the Addicks playing attacking football.”

05/12/22 sacked less than 6 months into the role, to rub salt into the wounds, the sacking came on the 30th anniversary of the Addicks return to the Valley. Caretaker Manager currently in charge.

The sacking comes 6 months after Steve Gallen’s comments on 09/06/22; “If you changed your manager every year and this manager wanted these seven or eight players and then the new manager comes in and he wants seven or eight different players it takes a long time to turn that around getting them out or in.”

August 2022 Olly Groome made redundant from his role as Content Manager / Club Journalist with immediate effect. This comes less than 18 months after the infamous Board Room standoff in which Olly bravely took part. There are subsequent rumours that Groome has successfully taken Sandgaard to Court for damages.

Thomas, the facts speak for themselves. You can continue to surround yourself with over-paid yes men willing to facilitate your delusions, knowing full well that they won’t get a better gig elsewhere, but the rest of us have seen straight through you.


1. Actively look to sell the club.


2. Finally come to terms with your significant shortcomings and put in place a management team with the knowledge, experience and grounding in reality that could get this club moving in the right direction. If you don’t this is going to get ugly. It won’t be Football Manager boy that suffers when Daddy’s nepotism secures him his next cushty role that he is woefully under-equipped for. Nor will it be you who suffers when you move on to the next stage of your mid-life crisis. As ever it will be us, the fans.

Gary Morris 2022-12-07

Grand Apathy Stage 2 begins

What is there to be said that hasn’t been said 1000 times already? The steady decline will continue until new owners are found. Even even, as we have seen, there are no guarantees that things won’t get even worse. Oh the irony of the sword in the clubs badge given the death by a thousand cuts we are experiencing.

Let’s just hope that a Caretaker Manager Bounce is incoming, just 7 points above the relegation zone is a far more precarious position than anyone would wish for. Another relegation could be the kiss of death for the Club.

Surely all hope now rests with Varney, Barclay or A N Other non-Guitar wealding Millionaire / Billionaire. This time let’s hope it’s one with a bit more business acumen, a lower inclination for nepotism and some level of grasp on reality.

Gary Morris 2022-12-05


The nearly men

“We were very, very close to doing something.”
That was Steve Gallen’s response when asked for his thoughts on the recent Deadline day. What a perfect metaphor for our performances so far this season and the unfinished squad that has been assembled. It may be early days, but I fear that it may be “Bonne” Voyage to the play-offs already.
It is hard to argue that the squad and performances haven’t improved compared with the last disastrous campaign. The bar was set so incredibly low however that this surely cannot be the metric by which we measure the Clubs performance if we have any form of ambition.
So, what metric should we use? Well, this is where I and many others would like some honesty from Mr Sandgaard and the club’s hierarchy. It is has been clear for several weeks now, to anyone that understands football at this level at least, that we do not have a squad capable of promotion. Yet, as we have a big stadium, a nice training ground and a brief period of relative success in the 2000’s there remains a sense of entitlement to a top 6 finish. The League Table pays zero attention to any of these factors.
Pure relief, joy and optimism at Thomas saving the club is now, whether fairly or not, being replaced by growing apathy amongst supporters. Whether this is fair or reasonable is utterly irrelevant, the fact is that growing apathy leads to reduced sales of season tickets, match tickets, Charlton TV subscriptions and club merchandise. Outrageous ticket pricing and disastrous management of the club shop (physical and online) don’t particularly help either by the way.
“Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.”
There was a boost in season tickets sales last season based on Thomas’ optimism and, with all due respect, empty promises. Perhaps through blind optimism and hope rather than expectation a good number of fans renewed that optimism this season with the Appointment of Ben Garner and after deluge of media coverage outlining all the wonderful things we would be doing on the pitch. Fans won’t make that mistake again, I’m sure of it.
For all the doom and gloom there are clear positives. Several of the new acquisitions have proven to be shrewd purchases and have hit the ground running. This in addition to the emergence of several academy players provides hope, but sadly neither hope nor positivity are reflected in the league table either.
We have entered the season without addressing the biggest concerns within the squad, including;
1. Defensive frailties remain.
2. The midfield remains anaemic and gets overrun under any form of pressure.
3. We haven’t got a striker capable of putting the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis.
No amount of UEFA A coaching manual football, “exciting football” or “high pressing” football can paper over those fundamental cracks.
So, where do we go from here? Well, for me we have three options;
1. A bit more honesty about where we are as a club and how long it may take us to launch a promotion challenge.  This could be combined with an appeal for fans to stick with the Club as we build slowly over 2-3 years.
2. If it isn’t too late, spend the necessary money in January to bring in the 4/5 good quality players required to complete the puzzle and give us a chance of a late surge at promotion.
3. A change of direction. Sadly, I fear that whether in January, at the end of the season or in the first half of next season that this will be inevitable. If Garner isn’t given the tools to finish the job then he will no doubt leave the club at either parties request.
If, as a I fear, option 3 is the path we take, then unless we are going to see a step-change in the investment made into the playing squad, surely it will be time to uncomplicate the football we play and deploy a results focused footballing strategy irrespective of how ugly it looks on the eye.

Artikeln skriven av Gary Morris 2022-09-14.