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Lowdown on Charlton

Posted on 4 December 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Perhaps the biggest boost Charlton enjoyed in the summer was when much coveted manager Alan Curbishley declined the opportunity to fill the void left by Harry Redknapp at West Ham.

'He's a West Ham man through and through' declared the papers of the former Hammer. Curbishley, however, thought differently. Would he have been moving to bigger and better things at Upton Park? Maybe, maybe not.

But why should someone else benefit from the superb groundwork he has put in place at the Valley since assuming sole managers' status in 1995, having previously worked alongside Stev Gritt? Then again, it could just be that Curbishley is a Charlton man now.

Whatever the reasons, Charlton will be all the better off for their highly-rated manager staying put for the time being. Such has been Curbishley's impact since guiding Charlton back to the Premiership as Division One champions in the year 2000, that even the Football Association are sitting up and taking notice.

They made it known last season that they would like to get the talented young boss involved in the England set-up in some capacity. It has yet to happen, but don't rule the Valley boss out of the running when Sven Goran Eriksson eventually elects to call it a day - hopefully with a World Cup win on his CV.

Curbishley's decision to stay was backed-up by funds from the board to go out and recruit some new players. Shaun Bartlett's loan move was made permanent, Jason Euell was lured from Wimbledon and, to the surprise of many, Luke Young was enticed from Spurs.

Having been a man of many parts at the Lane, Luke wanted to establish himself in a settled position, namely the right-back role. Reports suggest that he is giving a good account of himself in his new surroundings and he will no doubt relish the opportunity to go head-to-head with Christian Ziege down our left flank when Saturday comes.

Charlton, however, have yet to really catch fire so far this term - with one notable exception. Arsenal were knocked giddy on their own doorstep as Charlton orchestrated a shock smash 'n' grab raid on Highbury, running out 4-2 winners.

Injuries have bitten, Curbishley's resourses have been stretched and Charlton have fallen to defeats that many observers would not have expected them to.

Everton, Leeds and Liverpool have all left the Valley with full points, while Charlton were ousted from the Worthington Cup by Division One Watford.

Charlton have only actually won three games in the league so far this season and sit an uneasy 15th in the Premiership.

Curbishley has responded to the unease by strengthening his squad ahead of the visit of Spurs. Experienced midfielder Chris Bart-Williams has been drafted in on loan from Nottingham Forest while, in a potentially bigger swoop, Portuguhese international Jorge Costa arrives from Porto initially on loan with a view to a longer-term £4m transfer that has already been put in place.

Both are likely to make their debuts against Spurs on Saturday.

Costa is known to have a slightly volatile temperament, but Curbishley is not concerned and is confident that the 30-year-old will prove to be an astute recruit.

"The temperament is only one side to his character, I certainly have no doubts about his ability," said Curbishley. The only thing that does concern is that he has not played for six weeks. I hope he comes here and shows the leadership qualities I know he possesses."

For his part, Costa has a World Cup finals to aim for and Charlton could well receive the benefit of that.

"My only concern now is to do well for Charlton and I hope the Portuguese manager will select me for the World Cup." said Costa.

It was in another cup that we enjoyed one of the highs of last season, coming from behind to register a 4-2 win at the Valley in the FA Cup.

The Stadium of Light, St James' Park and Upton Park have already been conquered in the league so far this season, the Valley lies in wait and a repeat performance would open another glorious window on our challenging avent calender during the month of December.