The Charlton Champion‘s football correspondent KEVIN NOLAN is looking forward to the Championship season resuming – albeit behind closed doors. But he has words for talismanic striker Lyle Taylor, whose contract is up on June 30, and does not want to play for the Addicks again…
The waiting is finally over. We know now that Charlton’s fate will be decided by a nine game mini-season which kicks off behind closed doors at Hull City on Saturday June 20. The Roar of the Greasepaint is back but the Smell of the Crowd remains on hold for a while longer.
After losing dismally 1-0 to Middlesbrough on March 7th, the Addicks will resume their daunting task two points in the red and mired in the relegation zone. They will also begin again without Lyle Taylor; the charismatic striker has stated his intention to sit out the rest of the season to avoid injury ahead of a lucrative transfer which is, no doubt, already a done deal. Contracted at The Valley until June 30th, he seems determined to breach that contract by refusing to play in any of the three games scheduled during his last month of employment.
Mischievously timed, Charlton’s fourth game is an early July home fixture with Millwall, the club whose alleged mistreatment of Taylor embittered the discarded teenager but made him the independent spirit he is today. Unfortunately, a golden opportunity to vent his spleen on the Lions at the Den in November was torpedoed by an inconvenient injury sustained while on meaningless international duty with Montserrat. That was clearly a lucky break for Millwall but their visit to The Valley on April 4th was inked in as a second chance for personal vengeance.
Lockdown put paid to that fixture and it looks like Gary Rowett’s men are off the hook again, with a conscience-free Taylor within his rights to down tools before they arrive. Chalk up another victory for “Millwall flu”.
Patient and philosophical during Taylor’s painstakingly long spell in the New Eltham treatment rooms, Lee Bowyer could do without his his sulky forward going on strike. His side’s chances of avoiding relegation have taken a body blow as reference, for instance, to the magical goals Taylor scored at home to Luton and away at Nottingham Forest clarifies. Charlton’s No. 9 is a uniquely gifted footballer.
However disgruntled he may feel, should Taylor feel any sense of responsibility he would buckle down to the unfinished business of the nine games which will decide where his current employers play their football next season. The club stood behind him when he picked up that unnecessary injury in Montserrat. Now it’s his turn to repay their loyalty and help them out of the jam they’re in.
Clearly his own man and hardly the type to knuckle under to an agent, it’s not too late for the reluctant Taylor to change his mind and do the right thing. Respecting the club which has paid his healthy wages for two years is the right thing; respecting the fans who have made an icon of him is the right thing; respecting teammates, to whom relegation would be both humiliating and costly, is the right thing.
Neither club, fans, nor teammates are asking him to work down a coal mine, just to play football nine more times. So do the right thing, mate. Nine more times.
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