This Saturday will see one of the largest protests against the current Charlton ownership there has been, with huge crowds expected before and after the final whistle. But behind this toxic facade, there is still a game to be played against Cardiff City. With Charlton desperately needing a win, there seems no better time to analyse the contrasting fortunes of both clubs ahead of kick-off.
Since the last time these two met, back in late September, there has been two new managers and only two wins for Charlton whilst Cardiff have slowly begun to build up a strong challenge for the highly competitive and potentially lucrative final promotion place.
With Cardiff currently suffering from a transfer embargo, following their lavish escapades in the Premier League, they have been forced to sell key players such as Joe Mason to promotion rivals Wolves. Charlton meanwhile have bought in many players on free transfers or loan deals, with former players such as Diego Poyet and Roger Johnson re-joining the club, alongside French internationals Yaya Sanogo and Rod Fanni. But these transfer dealings have again highlighted the outrageous transfer policy employed by the Charlton board. One that believes in spending money on un-proven foreign players and selling on highly rated youngsters to Premier League clubs – a policy that is seen as a ‘dream’ to club CEO Katrien Meire. Meire is seen as the ambiguous puppet of nefarious Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet, an image that has been much publicised by the irate Chartlon faithful.
Ahmed Kashi is a long-term absentee for the hosts, whilst full back Tareiq Holmes Dennis and forward Igor Vetokele are also likely to miss out. Cardiff meanwhile have top scorer Craig Noone out with a slight hairline crack on the ribs.
Charlton hold a slender advantage over Cardiff in recent times with two wins, two draws and one loss in their 5 most recent encounters, including a memorable 5-4 win in 2012. But coming into this weekend’s game, you would have to say that Cardiff hold the upper hand, when you consider the recent form of both sides.
However the inevitable post match protests will probably end up grabbing the headlines, especially when you take a look at the steady increase in support and media attention that they have been gathering.