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Tom Tugendhat had been campaigning to be the next Prime Minister

Tom Tugendhat MP is not going to be the next Prime Minister but he has certainly performed as well as some of the others in the race to be the Leader of the Conservative Party and the next tenant of 10 Downing Street.

He certainly has a look of his father and reminded me of the many ‘happy days’ I spent in the company of his father, Sir Michael Tugendhat, when 15 years ago as a high court judge he presided over the case of Crystal Palace FC (and Simon Jordan) v Iain Dowie.

That case centred on whether Dowie was guilty of misrepresentation in order to exit his contract as manager of Crystal Palace without £1m compensation being payable. Justice Tugendhat found he was guilty of misrepresentation and based on the evidence I heard and I attended every day of the trial I have no argument with the decision reached.

In his judgement, he said he that the relevance of attaching Charlton Athletic FC and it’s senior personnel to the case was largely irrelevant to the case of misrepresentation as that was a matter related to conversations between Jordan and Dowie.

Jordan could of course have served legal papers on Dowie at any time as he wasn’t that difficult to find but he chose to have them served on Dowie during the press conference to announce him as the new Charlton manager. The agent serving the papers misrepresented himself to gain access to that press conference (is there a rich irony there?) and of course it was all pre-planned because Jordan was then immediately on TV to state his case.

The written evidence I was obliged to disclose under court rules proved that Dowie was not on my personal shortlist for the job largely due to his affiliations with Crystal Palace and I felt the fans would not accept the appointment. The club’s General Manager favoured Peter Taylor but in the end the senior Charlton directors made their choice in Dowie.

In Jordan’s book, he reveals his QC believed my evidence but I think we all know that Simon regards himself as a superior intellect to barristers! Having said that, he is a great daily performer on talkSPORT and talks a lot of common sense (most of the time...) and should certainly be involved in the governance of the game in some capacity.

Ironically, the period that followed Alan Curbishley’s reign at Charlton was one of abject failure and Charlton is still struggling on the back of the relegation from the Premier League that followed.

Hopefully there will still be good times at some point in the future but if not, no one can take away the memories!

England are among the favourites for glory at this summer's Euros

The 2000s were the most successful in the history of the Charlton Athletic Women’s Team. In 2003, the team reached the FA Cup Final, losing out 3-0 to Fulham. In 2004, the team finished runners up to Arsenal in the Premier League by just a single point and again finished runners in the FA Cup final, losing to an Arsenal team that completed the double. The consolation that season was winning the League Cup. In 2005, the team finally won the FA Cup and once again finished runners up in the Premier League to Arsenal. In 2006, the team again won the League Cup. In 2007, they were runners up in the FA Cup Final.

With the men’s team losing their Premier League status this put pressure on the club’s finances and the board required some £16m of immediate cuts to be made. The women’s team was sadly a victim of these cuts.

At that time, we all saw the potential for growth in the women’s game, but it never quite happened for a number of reasons. Attendances were low, there was little exposure for the game on TV and as a result sponsorship was minimal.

How things have changed in recent times!

The Women’s Super League is now shown on TV and as a result record levels of sponsorship are being attracted to the game and this exposure is seeing a dramatic increase in attendances.

The Women’s Euros is being covered live on TV and with record attendances, the women’s game is finally taking off in a way we all hoped it would back in the 2000s.

England’s first game against Austria attracted a crowd of 68,871 at Old Trafford. The atmosphere was brilliant and the songs, including ‘Sweet Caroline’, were great to hear.

England can play better but they won, which is key in the first match. If they are to win the tournament, they will need to improve but the support they are getting is going to be a big part.

My family will be at St Mary’s for the concluding group fixture against Northern Ireland on 14th July and let’s hope that is the game that confirms England as group winners.

Whatever happens, the women’s game has well and truly arrived. A generation of young girls will be inspired by this summer's tournament and from hereon it will only go from strength to strength, which is brilliant for the game we all love.

Charlton were League One champions ten years ago and will be playing in the same tier again this season

In football, history often provides good pointers to what attributes a team needs to achieve success.

Last season, Charlton finished in 13th place in League One, with 59 points and a negative goal difference of 55 goals for and 59 against. This compares with the League One Championship winning team in season 2011/12 that secured 101 points, with a goal difference of 82 goals for and 36 goals against.

In that same season, the other two promoted sides in Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield returned 82 goals for and 48 goals against, and 79 goals for and 47 goals against respectively.

In season 2018/19, Charlton finished in third place in League One with 88 points and a goal difference of 73 goals for and 40 against and were promoted via the play-offs with a fantastic final at Wembley Stadium when, just as in 1998, the team overcame Sunderland with a dramatic last-minute winner.

These comparative numbers would tell you that there are not enough goals in the team from last season and that it concedes too many goals to mount a challenge for promotion.

When you look back at that Championship winning side, 34 goals were scored by the two main strikers of Bradley Wright-Phillips and Yann Kermorgant. In the 2018/19 campaign, 39 goals were scored by Lyle Taylor and Karlan Grant.

In both seasons, the remainder of the goals scored were shared through the rest of the team. Conceding only 36 goals in 46 matches and then 40 goals in 46 matches was the solid foundation for success and, although the quality of any back four is a must, it is also about how a team defends from the front - and that side could defend from the front.

Every fan of every club will tell you that they would love to see open attacking football but throwing caution to the wind doesn’t always deliver the success fans crave.

The key to Charlton turning the stats around from last season, in my opinion, will be a solid summer of recruitment to bring in players that make the difference both defensively and attacking wise.

Let’s hope that can be achieved as nobody wants to see the fragility that permeated so many performances last season and if things don’t improve for the better this will impact significantly on attendances. That in turn affects the losses that have to be funded by the owner as well as the match day atmosphere that every team needs to make the home crowd their 12th man or woman.

Here's hoping for a good season!

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