Kevin Nolan’s Valley View: Charlton Athletic 1-0 Derby County

Kevin Nolan's Valley View

Charlton’s first home match of the season ended with a welcome win for the Addicks. KEVIN NOLAN returned to the press box at a blazing hot Valley.

Having spent almost all of a torrid first half with their backs against the wall, Charlton re-emerged after the interval to carry the fight to ragged-trousered aristocrats Derby, scored midway through the second session and had enough about them to make their single strike count.

County were left to rue missed chances and a fatal lack of killer instinct. They paid a bitter price for failing to crown their effortless superiority with at least one goal because if football teaches us anything, it’s that there’s almost inevitably a price to pay for profligacy. Charlton missed a couple of sitters themselves but when the chips were down, they were sufficiently clinical on one critical occasion. And once was enough.

The momentum was with the Addicks as they broke swiftly after clearing the latest of Conor Hourihane’s numerous, dangerous corners. Picking up possession in his own half, Scott Fraser swept into the Rams’ half before finding Charlie Kirk close to the left touchline. Kirk’s deft flick sent Albie Morgan through to move into shooting range and force a desperate diving save from Joe Wildsmith. Following up alertly, Corey Blackett-Taylor made easy work of planting the rebound into an inviting net and Charlton had a vital lead they proceeded to defend stubbornly.

The early running was made exclusively by Liam Rosenior’s talented side, who had little difficulty in creating opportunities, but they had considerably more difficulty in converting them. To be fair to them, they faced, in new Charlton signing Joe Wollacott, a goalkeeper in outstanding form.

A string of splendid saves began with the instinctive reaction which kept out James Collins’ point-blank effort and was continued by Wollacott’s unorthodox response to a clever backheel from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, a victim again when the resourceful keeper dived to reach his low drive as it headed towards the bottom right corner. And when Collins finally beat Wollacott a minute before the break, his crisp daisycutter rebounded back off the foot of a post.

Very little had been seen from Ben Garner’s men up front but Kirk was an intermittent threat, alertly but inaccurately trying his luck from distance after a slip from Curtis Davies, then producing the juiciest of crosses from the left which Jayden Stockley, despite making meaty contact, headed straight at Wildsmith.

Outplayed and outclassed, Charlton sheepishly retired for what was surely the rough side of new boss Ben Garner’s tongue. His message, however couched, was probably short but certainly less than sweet. According to Garner, nothing discussed and rehearsed in training had been implemented by his wayward charges – his only consolation being that they could hardly get worse.

But on the half hour, whether or not he realised it, he received a break which had much to do with Charlton’s dramatic second-half recovery. Preferred to George Dobson, last season’s player of the year, Conor McGrandles has shown promise but struggled to get into a game all but totally controlled by the visitors. Coming off worse in a shuddering collision with Korey Smith, the willowy midfielder suffered a head injury which forced his withdrawal and replacement by Dobson.

No criticism of McGrandles is implied in commenting that Dobson’s arrival immediately challenged County’s midfield domination. There was a subtle but noticeable shift in physical superiority that was to turn around the one-way traffic which threatened to engulf the Londoners. And Dobson was at the root of it.

On the right side, meanwhile, Blackett-Taylor began to use his blistering pace and leave hapless defenders in his slipstream. Shortly after the re-start, he ghosted past his marker and supplied Stockley with a precise cross, which the misfiring centre forward again headed straight at Wildsmith.

Rosenior’s East Midlanders had been duly warned that Blackett-Taylor was briefly on fire. Shortly after the hour mark, his speed and anticipation carried him into the perfect position to convert Morgan’s partially saved shot; significantly he was unaccompanied as he did so.

Soaking up pressure but no longer buckling under it, the Addicks were well served by full backs Steven Sessegnon and Sean Clare, a Mutt and Jeff pairing which resisted stubbornly while finding time to turn defence into attack. In front of them, Morgan continued his encouraging improvement, adding another on-target shot before the end, which Wildsmith saved with difficulty.

Late substitute Jack Payne was an energetic influence but it was the romantic introduction of Miles Leaburn which especially delighted the home crowd, Leaburn the Younger provided a keep-ball cameo which saw the Addicks over the line for a belt-and-braces victory. Their cause was boosted by the incredible mess Jason Knight made of Max Bird’s tape-measured cross. With Wollacott’s goal at his mercy, Knight almost deliberately headed yards wide.

Charlton: Wollacott, Clare, Inniss, O’Connell, Sessegnon (Lavelle 90), Morgan, McGrandles (Dobson 31), Kirk (Jaiyesimi 81), Fraser (Payne 81), Blackett-Taylor (Leaburn 80), Stockley (Clayden 90). Not used: MacGillivray. Booked: Sessegnon, Morgan.

Derby: Wildsmith, Cashin, Barkhuizen (Dobbin 70), Bird, Smith (Sibley 55), Roberts (Forsyth 84), Davies, Knight, Mendez-Laing, Hourihane, Collins. Not used: Loach, Thompson, Stearman, Oduroh. Booked: Mendez-Laing.

Referee: Chris Pollard Attendance: 17,046


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One eagle stays, the other hidden in Victoria pub’s pizza revamp

The Victoria in 2018. It has suffered further damage since

Updated story: Developers who are turning the derelict Victoria pub on Woolwich Road into a pizza takeaway have said they will keep its famous spread eagle in place at the front of the building – but hide another eagle motif at the site of the pub.

Zaan Group, a Domino’s Pizza franchise based in Gillingham, Kent, won planning permission in 2019 to refurbish the long-closed pub as a takeaway and build a single flat at the rear of the building.

Earlier this year, a replacement proposal to build two flats at the back of the pub rather than one was approved by Greenwich Council planners.

The pub, on Woolwich Road, is thought to have closed in the 1990s and is now a burnt-out shell. But its exterior has survived, including a spread eagle motif for east London’s Truman brewery over the entrance, helping make the building a local landmark.

Developers have told Greenwich Council that this eagle will stay…

Neither proposal went to a planning meeting so developers were not questioned in public about their proposals. Under Greenwich’s rules, eight people need to get in contact with concerns, or local councillors can call a scheme in for scrutiny, but neither happened for The Victoria.

Last month, construction details were submitted to planners for their approval – featuring architectural drawings that included illuminated Domino’s signage but omitted the spread eagle.

A report elsewhere, published the same day that the details appeared on the council website, and accompanying social media posts implied that this meant the developer was removing the much-loved feature.

Plans submitted to Greenwich omit the spread eagle

But Greenwich Council has told The Charlton Champion that the developer intends to keep the eagle over the door – and has been asked to update its drawings to reassure residents.

However, a second eagle insignia, at the side of the pub, is due to be hidden beneath Domino’s signage under the developers’ plans. The building is on the council’s local heritage list, which mentions both eagle motifs.

…however, the eagle at the side is due to be hidden

A Greenwich spokesperson said: “The council is currently considering a submission of details application for the former Victoria pub in Charlton.

“The applicant has confirmed that its planning proposal seeks to retain the eagle motif at the front of the building, along with the existing fascia sign, but it does not include plans to retain the eagle motif at the side of the building.

“We have asked the applicant to provide new architect’s drawings that include these important details and to avoid any further confusion.”

Sam Bowman, of Sittingbourne-based Beau Architecture, which submitted the application to the council, told The Charlton Champion: “The existing signage and Eagle Motif is to be retained. Any existing signage is to remain in situ and preserved beneath any new signage proposed as per the attached.”

Plans indicate that construction would take 74 weeks, suggesting that work is unlikely to be finished until well into 2024 at the earliest.

Revised drawings show the spread eagle in place

While the submission of detailed plans indicate progress with the plan, they still do not guarantee the development will happen: the owner of the White Swan submitted similar details for the house it wants to build on part of its beer garden last year, but construction has not yet begun.

Close to the Victoria, a planning inspector recently approved 255 homes on land between Eastmoor Street and Westmoor Street after throwing out a rejection by Greenwich’s planning board.

Residents can see the full details of the Victoria plans and respond to the application on the Greenwich Council planning website.

Alternatively, comments can be sent to planningapps[at] citing reference 22/2493/SD.

Residents in the new Charlton Village and Riverside ward who contact the planning department may also want to contact their local councillors if they have concerns about the development.

Story updated to include comment from Beau Architecture and new drawing.


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Greenwich Council alerted after White Swan ceiling collapse

The White Swan
The White Swan has been unused since March 2020. Six Nations rugby flags are still on display

Greenwich Council is investigating after part of the ceiling appeared to have collapsed at the White Swan pub, which is owned by property developers and has been closed for more than two years.

The council says it is looking into the issue after reports that people were seen moving into the upper floor of the pub amid fears that it could be being deliberately damaged.

While the town hall says it accepts that someone may live on site for security purposes, its inspectors were due to visit on Monday to look at the situation.

A quantity of plaster has fallen from the ceiling into the bar, which has not been used since March 2020. The pub closed just before the first lockdown, after a lengthy battle to pay the rent demanded by the Isle of Man-based property developer Mendoza, which bought the freehold from Punch Taverns for £900,000 in 2015.

White Swan interior
Plaster has fallen into the area by the women’s toilet

The ground floor and basement of the pub have been on the market since August 2020albeit at £40,000/year rent. No application has been made to change the use of the upstairs floors, which were used as function rooms.

The following November planning permission was given for a house on land behind the pub, which would occupy some of the beer garden. Mendoza later told Greenwich Council that the house would be built between June and October last year, but no work has begun.

A Greenwich Council spokesperson told The Charlton Champion on Monday evening: “We received a complaint in February 2021 about the space above the pub being used for residential purposes. Following investigation at the time we established that there was a pre-existing occupied flat there but that this was lawful and helpful in deterring any unauthorised entry and occupation.

“The ground floor at that time was not occupied for residential use. The officer concluded that there was no breach of planning control and records show no enforcement cases have been opened since then.

“Planning enforcement officers were due to seek to gain access today to inspect the premises following this report.”

It is not known whether a visit took place or if council officers could gain access.

Glasshouse Asset Management, Mendoza’s property agent, and ECF, which was looking after the company’s communications, have not responded to a request for comment.


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