BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ben Amos wants to shut up his critics this season – but reckons he also has a point to prove to himself.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper is back at Charlton Athletic after signing a 12-month deal, with the option of a further year in SE7.
Amos played 50 times during a season-long loan with the Addicks in the 2017-18 campaign. And that form saw Millwall give him a shot back in the Championship as they struck the same temporary deal with Bolton Wanderers.
But it didn’t work out for Amos at The Den. The last of his 15 appearances came in a 4-3 defeat at Norwich City on November 10.
But as one door closed in South London, another one opened again.
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer told the South London Press earlier this week that Amos did not make finances the chief concern in negotiations – which would have been an issue with owner Roland Duchatelet on a cost-cutting drive.
“He has got a point,” said Amos. “I probably could have moved somewhere for more money but it’s probably not as suitable for me, as a club.
“I needed something doing, I needed sorting – I want to be in contention to play games as soon as possible. That’s why we got it done.
“It was dead straightforward to make a decision. It feels like I’ve not really been away from the place. It was a dead easy first day back because I know a lot of people at the club.”
Bowyer has spelled out it will be a straight fight between Amos and Dillon Phillips for the number one spot. The pair are friends – so much so that they went to New York to watch Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title loss to Andy Ruiz Jr, along with Chris Solly, Jake Forster-Caskey, Harry Lennon and Nicky Ajose.
“All you want as a player is for the manager to be up front and honest with you,” said Amos. “So if he says that the best man plays – and sticks to that – you can’t argue with it as a player.
“I know what Dillon is capable of. I know what I’m capable of. So we’ll see.
“I saw Charlton’s play-off games. I watched the final when I was on holiday. It was crazy, wasn’t it? I was rooting for them. I’ve got an emotional attachment – I wanted the boys I know to do well.”
“You never quite know, do you? There is always a risk in football. Everyone knows that. You have got to go with your gut a little bit, go with an educated guess about how you think you’ll go at a place.”
Millwall looked like it could be a productive move for him, especially as he linked up again with goalkeeping coach Lee Turner – who had been in the same role at Charlton.
“It was a bit of a strange one,” said Amos. “I didn’t start the season, he [Neil Harris] chose to stay with [Jordan] Archer – which was a surprise – but I got on with it.
“Results weren’t going our way in my period of playing. We played Bolton in November time – I couldn’t play in that because I was on loan from them – Jordan played, had a good game and stayed in there.
“I then broke my finger in January and I never really got back in from there. Results were alright and he didn’t change it.
“Looking back I can’t think of much I could or should have done better. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. It just didn’t quite go my way.”
Amos is off the Bolton payroll. Wanderers went into administration in May and have not paid players their wages for the last 20 weeks.
Amos would have been left out of pocket with Millwall only paying a percentage of his salary.
Charlton might have seemed like an unstable club under Duchatelet, but the Belgian has not tipped them into the financial abyss.
“It’s no secret what is happening at Bolton at the moment,” said Amos. “It’s been said that a takeover is close, I don’t know how true that is, but hopefully that will get done and they can sort of move forward.
“It’s been going on long enough now.
“It doesn’t matter what sort of wages a player is on. If you’ve got a lifestyle and budget – investments you do – and someone cuts off your wage for four months then it can be a bit stressful.
“But thankfully I’ve got good people who advise me on that kind of thing – we’ve been alright.
“From talking to some people at the club it has been a massive stress, as you imagine with families and things like that.”
When I caught up with Amos on Monday he hadn’t looked at the fixture schedule.
“It has been a mad couple of days but I’m sure I will do at some point,” he said. “In my eyes these days a game of football is a game of football. I have the same attitude every match – I give everything I have got.
“That is what we have got to do to compete in this league. The minimum requirement is to absolutely leave it all out there – every single player.
“If we do that then you are always going to have a chance, as you see with the shock results week in and week out.”
Amos is on 95 Championship appearances. The England U21 international has control over whether he stays beyond next June.
“It’s my option of a second year,” he said. “But I’m focused fully on this year. I want to do everything I can for myself and the team this year.
“You sit down at the end of the year and go through it, that’s when you set new goals and objectives.
“I’ve always got something to prove. But mainly, and it might sound a cliche, that is to myself. There are things I want to do in the game.
“I don’t concern myself with too many peoples’ opinions these days.
“It’s what I want to achieve. In football you have people criticising you at times and I want to prove them wrong as well.”
CHARLTON PICTURES BY PAUL EDWARDS
MILLWALL PICTURE BY BRIAN TONKS