Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Message Boards (Pt 2)

I mentioned earlier this month that one of the more popular message boards had been revamped, with negative response. Rivals is a Sky owned organsiation and it does seem that they have shot themselves in the foot. Its not just Charlton contributors that have revolted, but across the board other fans have expressed dissatisfaction. Its strange, Sky have a justifiable reputation of good solid marketing, so to cheese off their customer base to the extent that they walk away is incredible. As a marketer, albeit unemployed at the moment, I am trying to fathom what they are doing. The site can only be successful if there is a reason for customers to go there and for the Rivals sites the uniqueness is the easy to use, fan driven message boards. Sky do not seem to realise that the loyalty is to the board not the host. So to turn the fans away from the message boards does seem to be gross negligence on behalf of Sky.

Sky's loss is the gain for others, I have been frequenting Netaddicks, Charlton Life , BBC 606 and also the Rivals site. The nice thing about the BBC site and the Rivals site is that you can go onto other Clubs sites and find out about our loan players, for instance I was asking about Kelly Youga earlier this week on BBC 606 (Scunthorpe), with more parochially hosted sites this is not always possible. The good thing about Charlton Life is that it is parochially Charlton and is totally Charlton orientated.

Paul May, also known as ReamsOfVerse put a lot of work into the old Coveredendchoir, hosted on Rivals, which was ditched by them in the change. The result being that not only has Paul upped sticks but he has taken his ball with him and set up Covered End Choir on fansonline, with promises of more to come the site is looking good and beginning to get old and new users back on board.

its nice to see Sky shoot themselves in the foot for a change and their mistake has benefited their competitors. Its good that there are a variety of venues to have Charlton chat, its like Saturdays The Rose of Denmark, The Oak, The Bugle etc,. each of us makes our choice where we meet our friends and the same is happening on line - just stay out of the seedy Rivals place!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Youga coming home?

Looking through the official site news, it appears that Youga is only at Scunthorpe till January.

Last Left back Standing

Could be Chris Powell. Gibbs starts his rehabilitation on Monday, Thatcher is still nowhere to be seen and Grant Bassey is having a hernia operation on Monday. Kelly Youga, on loan to Scunthorpe is on a four match ban having been sent off in his last two appearances. The left back position is seemingly cursed this season. Chris Powell after a poor game yesterday - his mistake led to the goal, thereby losing me the pre match score forecast in the Rose of Denmark, and left the pitch after a clash of heads barely able to walk in a zig zag let alone a straight line. If he has concussion he is out of next weeks game against 2nd place West Brom.

Saturdays important top of the table tussle will see enforced changes of Mills, Sam and Fortune all banned, plus potentially the absence of Chrissy Powell, as we attempt to overtake the baggies and continue our away run.

Mills and fortune presumably will be replaced by Moutakill and Bhougherra, Bhoughera can look forward to 3 matches in which to take over the reigns from Fortune and cement his place in the side for next year. Sams replacement is trickier if Thomas remains injured, possibly Varney, Christianson is unlikely despite his exploits for Danish U21's as he has not had a sniff of first team liniment oil this season, or we could see Ambrose replace Sam and Semedo cement the midfield with Holland, ZZ and Reid.

Powells absence will be the most testing of Pardews resources. Semedo played there earlier in the season for half a match so could possibly deputise, or there are Sankofa or McCarthy neither of whom are on the first team roll call these days but could have the opportunity for reconsideration. Mind you Mcarthy does not even get a look in with the reserves these days so don't put any money on him.

My Team for next week:

Weaver; Moo2, Bougherra, Sodje, Semedo
Reid, ZZ, Holland, Thomas
Ambrose,
Iwelumo
Subs: Randolph, Sankofa, McCarthy, Varney, McCleod,

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Homeward bound

Most of the Addickted would give away our record on the road and swap it for our home record. When was the last season we had a decent home record, not last, that's for sure. I remember the first season after promotion and fortress Valley.

You have to look down the Championship table to 10th place Burnley (remember them?) to find a team with a worse home record than Charlton. Teams that get their away form and their home form in sync either get promoted or relegated. We have yet to get our home form to sync with our away form and whilst no one else at the top of the Championship is suffering as we are, at home, they are achieving the odd weird home results WBA and Watford in the last week are a prime example.

Whilst most fans will look at the club and talk about our defensive failings we actually are the third best team defensively in the division and it is not the two clubs above us that are leading the way, no its Wolves and Leicester. Our failings are not our own onion bag but the oppositions. Charlton lie 7th equal in the goal scoring stakes. West Brom have already hit the back of the net 40 times to our 27, Watford, Stoke, Ipswich and Colchester have all surpassed 30 goals, Plymouth are the other team above us with 28 goals.

This Saturday Ipswich come to the Valley, with our home record and their away record a cast iron draw seems to be on the cards. Its a game steeped with recent history, they came and spoiled our Championship party winning 3-1 - Andy Hunt scoring late on for us and two season later they took a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes - through Marcus Bent, if I recall - only for a sterling fight back and victory 3-2. Strikes by Robinson, Euell and Parker. if we could get a match like that then Saturday should be a good game. Semedo and Mills are on 4 yellows, whilst Lloyd Sam will start a one match ban after this Saturday, his second ban of the season.

We can't be so bad this weekends as we were against Burnley so I am going for a 4-4-2 winning formation.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Message Boards

Its quite poignant that Ben Hayes - Supporters Director recently wrote about Message Boards and mentioned Covered End Choir which having taken over from Netaddicks on the Rivals hosted site, owned by Sky, was making rapid progress under the administration of the hard working Paul May. Paul took over the site when Trevor took netaddicks away to be hosted by Clubfanzine (its a murky world of different hosts), citing forthcoming changes.

Paul has done great work increasing the information value of the site and bringing old and new posters to Rivals.net. As a reward Rivals have introduced their new, jumbled, confusing site totally ruining Pauls previous work. It is difficult to work out how to post messages and new threads, so the average of 70 postings a day has gone down to 12 so for today and that includes two from a Palace fan so that does not even count. It looks like I'll be spending more time looking for useful employment now, which can't be a bad thing.

Over the next few days, I am sure Charlton life and netaddicks.com are going to see an increase in traffic and Rivals, who have changed all boards across the league, a sharp decline.

It is strange how the technology of the web has changed our expectations, when I was living in Humberside, when Charlton were promoted to the old 1st Division top flight, a message board was something you had in your kitchen and a Charlton message board was something your mate in Charlton had in his kitchen. Now it seems its the font of all knowledge, ludicrous rumour and a place to vent your spleen whether you are in SE7, Exeter or even Peru about all things Charlton. It will be interesting to see how Murdoch's SS react to the negative response to their re launch, but in its present form I can't see too many posters going back. If that is the case then I'll miss Covered End Choir, although the immigration debates will be happily confined to the dust bin.

Whatever the outcome a big thanks is due to Paul may also known as Reams of Verse.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

No Place Like Home

Well for Dorothy her home in Kansas was the only place she wanted to be, but after today the Addickted cannot think of anywhere they would rather be away from. This time last week, we were glowing in the warmth of our fourth win on the spin, four clean sheets and the prospect of 4 home games in 6, a firming up of an automatic promotion place seemed a mere formality. Then we hit the rails against a better Sheffield United and today fell to a resurgent, but hardly scary Burnley.

One home defeat is bad enough, two is depressing but four out of five home games ending in defeat is beyond description and the Valley faithful are beginning to show their impatience, although it is fair to say they are still showing remarkable forbearance. The message boards are beginning to have calls for Billy Davies to replace Pardews and whilst it is premature to call for Pards head, the performances at home are placing more and more pressure on the club. This is relegation form not even mid table obscurity.

Its difficult to understand what has gone wrong, although the loss of Todorov leaves the forward line short of quality as well as number. Referees seem to be totally inept at this level, although neither today's or Tuesdays defeats are down totally to the referees decisions. I do wonder whether we have the opposite effect in the Championship, where profile clubs seem always to get the referees decisions, here it seems like a badge of honour to ignore fouls against the profile club. Today Iwelumo was constantly fouled and used as a human ladder, but the merest nudge and he would be penalised. Having said this, we need to accommodate these officials because they won't change, just for us.

Pards stated that we would get out of this division playing football the way he liked to see it played, maybe this is naive, or maybe we just don't have the personnel for that philosophy, although it seems we do not have the personnel to win dirty. Our Premiership stars are not doing the business. Reid has done ok, but I don't think he has pulled up too many trees, Ambrose continues to frustrate like Rommedahl before him he is a player who has the talent to make an impact, certainly at this level, but maybe its an attitude problem, JT who by the account of a Journo I spoke pre match has a heavily bruised leg, has performed on the odd occaision but never for a whole game, ZZ who has come to us as Chinas leading player has done ok, but is begining to drift and has missed some game turning opportunities.

The new players with the exception of Iwelumo, who seems to be playing with a multitude onjuries - broken nose and hand - have yet to take the division by storm. Moutakil has lost his place due to injury and maybe after Mills's disaster yesterday there is time for a change, Semedo has earned himself a positive reputation as a Makelele, but too often in gathering the ball he slows the momentum of the game.

As for Sam and Holland, Sam looked exciting till his ban and has not come back with the same verve and Holland, is not he player of old.

This is a strange division, everyone really does seem to be able to beat everyone else but if we are to get promotion, or even be in the play off places, we need to sort our home form, even if its a series of ugly 1-0's and maintain our away position.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Ref goes free while addicks get fined

Following the fracas in humberside the FA have fined Charlton and Hull, but of course the real culprit, the referee gets off scot free. If he had not ost control of the game then maybe the incident could have been avoided.

Being a Charlton fan its quite fun already having been fined £21,000 for indiscipline this season. Never happened in Curbs time.

McClaren the let down?

So 13 years after we failed to get to the World cup finals Scott Carson and McClaren fail to get us to the European Championships. OK its a bit harsh to blame Charlton’s latest player of the season, after all qualification is over a series of games and Scott only played in one, the last. I feel Scott is a modern day Peter Bonetti, plunged into the heat of a major tournament (in Bonetti’s case literally) with inadequate preparation and as a result disaster struck. Bonetti paid with his international career, hopefully Scott will live to fight another day.

So if it was not Scott’s fault was it all McClaren. He is reputably a great coach, but an average manager and the England job just is not the role from which a manger can develop, you have to be good when you get there. McClaren was not ready and number two’s do not always, if ever make good number ones, just ask Les Reed.

So I ask again was it McClarens fault, not really, there are many factors.

McClaren was the backroom boy of Sven and as Sven left the job of England manager under a cloud, it was always going to be the case that McClaren would be tainted by the same brush. His credibility was not enhanced by the late intervention of David Dein, rushing to Portugal for the signature of Scholari or by Brian Barwicks ridiculous claims that he was first choice. But McClaren cannot be blamed for having ambitions of being number one, but the FA can be blamed for not curbing his ambition.

The FA made the mistake, often made in business by managers, wanting to fill a place to the timetable, even when the candidate was not there. They did not want the press on their back, well they have them there now. They wanted the best, but their candidate list did not include the best (after Scholari ducked out) so instead of going back to the market to find the best, they accepted a choice from what they had – McClaren, Allardyce or Curbishley. And of those three on paper McClaren had the best rep. That though does not make him good enough. Today’s sacking of McClaren was decisive and it is years since that word and the FA have gone together – decisive clear cut and focussed, exactly what they failed to be when appointing McClaren.

SkySports are contributors to the dearth of English qualifying players in the Prem. You don’t have this problem in other leagues, of foreign players dominating. You cannot blame Sky for paying top dollar (Rouble, Yen, Euro) for the TV rights, now topped up by international TV rights and Satanta, but it is that money that is drawing in foreign players. They don’t want to play here in drizzly Britain, in Middlesborough – well not unless you are going to pay them a lot of money and the low end of the salary scale is £20 – 30,000 per week. If there was less money in the game there would, arguably, be fewer foreign players edging English youth out. Of course, the counter argument is that there would be as many foreign players, but all of a lower quality, but if they were of a lower quality then our players would be able to match them and there would be more English player able to develop to a higher level of competence than they do currently, since they spend most of their time in the stiffs.

The EU who will not allow the league to introduce a quota on the number of non English qualifying players and reject any representations from the Premier League.

The Clubs who buy the foreign players and with few exceptions nurture foreign talent even in their academies, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man U are definitely culpable. Why should our leading managers care about England, after all they are a Scot, an Israeli, a Frenchman and a Spaniard. Add to that a Swede, a Welshman, an Irish man and another Scot and the problem grows. If England are out of tournaments, then the few players that are in the first team have the summer to rest.

The Players who could not rouse themselves, who have the skill and the ability, but with so many avenues to glory do not have the heart to fight for the national cause, when they know they can go back to their clubs and fight for European glory, against teams that would match most leading national teams let alone the minnows of Israel, Serbia et al. They have heard the hype, they believed it because they must be good to be paid so much, they just forgot to make it real.

So that’s it, lets lynch McClaren, there is nothing like a good lynching, but the guy was never in with a hope, promoted beyond his capabilities into a system that is built for failure and whoever we get next, well his chances of success are slim, if he pulls it off then he will deserve his knighthood, but if he does not, if he only comes 8th in the world, instead of wining it then, lets hope he is asbestos coated, because he’ll need to be as the lynching party ties him to the stake.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Doomsday or Salvation - the next 12 months

I was talking to a fellow addick yesterday and he suggested that he was enjoying the Championship so much that he would be happy for us to just miss out this year and get promoted in 2008 / 2009. I then decided to paint him the scenario, what I would call the dooms day scenario and as there is nothing else going on Charlton wise, other than our loanees doing particularly well Dickson and James Walker both scoring in the Yeovil Gillingham game, I thought why not bang it out on the blog.

Lets assume that we miss the automatics, but finish third and are drawn to play 6th place Ipswich. Ipswich have only dropped points against Watford and West Brom during the season at home and after the first leg we find ourselves facing a 3-0 deficit. Outplaying Ipswich in the second leg at the Valley, we lead 2-0 with 10 minutes to go and we bombard the Ipswich goal but to no avail and they get a late goal, so it ends 2-1 and we have another exciting year in the Championship to look forward to.

As the players leave the pitch, And Reid shakes Alan Pardews and reminds him that he was promised a premiership move if the addicks failed to go straight up.

Meanwhile, Richard Murray takes a call in the board room, its Randy Lerner from Aston Villa, "Martins taking over the running of your English team after McClaren failed to progress through the 1st round of the Euro's, so we would like like to speak to Alan Purrdoo."

O'Neil takes over at the FA, within a week, Pards enforces his contract get out clause and is announced as the new Villa manager, Murray announces the promotion of Phil Parkinson to First Team Head Coach.

"Phil was always the power behind Alan and we look forward to being in a new tier of football next season." Says Murray.

Meanwhile bids are coming in for ZZ, JT and Ambrose all of whom make it clear that they are too good for the Championship. Murray allocates all of the £4 million received in transfer fees to rebuilding the team. Danny Mills, whose loan from City was extended to the end of the season leaves the Club to join newly promoted Ipswich on a freebie. Izale McLeod is released on a free transfer to recently relegated Milwall and both James Walker and Chris Dickson make up the strike force at Charlton alongside Luke Varney and Chris Iwelumo. Bhougehrra leaves the club to return to Algeria. Kelly Youga replaces the retired Cory Gibbs to compete with Thatcher and Bassey for the left back position.

In his first act Parkinson announces that Paddy McCarthy will be match day captain, whilst Matty Holland takes the club captaincy. Chris Powell relinquishes playing to concentrate on coaching the youngsters as Steve Gritt moves to 3rd division Gillingham as Manager.

Parkinson brings in some promising young players from Millwall and Gillinham to bolster his midfield and to play alongside Semedo, Racon, Holland and Sam. A late bid for Sam from an unknown Premiership team is received but turned down, but Sam is unsettled and does not reproduce his pre season form and eventually is dropped.

Throughout the season, their last with the parachute money, Charlton remain in the top ten, securing a play off place for the 2nd season running, but again falling at the 1st hurdle.

Without the parachute money Murray announces further cuts are going to be required and key players sold. By the middle of the next season Charlton are 15th, six points from the bottom of the table ....

The alternative is that we get immediate promotion, probably through the playoffs. Lakshmi Mittal steel magnet one of the top ten richest men in the world negotiates with Murray to buy the club, siting a great desire for India to be involved in the Premier League. Mittal has been looking for the right club for some time, he is a family man and sees a synergy amongst the values he holds and Murrays. After spending £30 million on his daughters wedding, a £35 million present to his son of a Football Club to run seems only fair. Mittal is also irked by the refusal of Birmingham to have sold to him a year earlier and looks forward to one day playing them and beating them for their insult.

Who knows if either of the above two scenarios will play out, failure to be promoted would be close to disaster and yet promotion could lead to a season long embarrassment, if we were to remain on the current financial footing. Lakshmi Mittal was looking at buying Birmingham and he is very rich, India is developing its football pedigree, from a very low base and recent Premier League Clubs - Man U, Chelsea - have sent delegations to develop the training aspects of the game there and the Indian National Coach is English. Premier League Football is watched by millions live every Saturday ... it could happen and who would complain when we could have bhaji and a pint on the Valley concourse.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Addicks Drop To Third

Charlton dropped back into 3rd place as West brom comprhensively defeated Coventry at the Ricoh last night, despite Kevin Philips being injured. Kiely's teammates put 4 past Dowies boys, without conceding. This following the "mosquito" executing a mid air forearm smash on a West Brom player after 10 minutes and getting sent off.

Coventry performed well in the first half depsite the numbers disadvantage, but conceded shortly after the break and the rest is history.

Meanwhile in deepest Kent, Charltons 2nd string could only draw at home to Palace, with a strike force of Izale and varney they failed to find the back of the net, which does not auger well for any injuries to Big Chris in the future.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Spurs to redevelop White Hart Lane

It is reported today thet Spurs are looking to increase capacity to 52,000, rather than build a new stadium. The idea is that they move away from WHL for two years during the redevelopment, hiring Wembley for high profile games and Upton Park for the lesser lights of the Premier League. That will go down well with the East End knees up boys.

I wonder though if this is not really a set up, to put the blame for moving away to a new stadium away from White Hart Lane on the local authority, who surely cannot give planning approval for an increased capacity without major transport infrastructure investment. It is hard enough to get away from WHL currently, without adding more fans.

Spurs have been so ham fisted in their manouvering around Jol, that it would not surprise me if this was not another attempt at try to pull the wool over everybodies eyes and failing completely.

Monday, 5 November 2007

The Womens Team - the Story So Far

Well we had a great World Cup, only being beaten in the semis by the former winners and the beaten finalists the USA. Contributions were made by our former stars including Casey Stoney, but thats wheer harltons contribution to Womens Football in this season really looks like ending. After the chanagrins of the close season and relegation, the departure of the full squad, at the 11 th hour Peter Varney was able to save the womens team, but to what end?

I was relatively voiciferous about the demise of the womens team, the whole bthing was handled badly from a PR perspective and Bonas did the club no favours by letting the cat out of the bag to the team. The uproar generated a press outrage that had roots possibly in the departure of Dowie as much as a real care of the press for Charltons women. As a result PV and his teamsought new routes of funding, ultimately bringing to gether various community aspects, sadly too late to maintain the team playing personnel who had all gone and got them selves new clubs.

The result has beenm that we have a team coached by Charlton legend Paul Mortimer, taking the Womens Premier League by storm and leading unbveaten on their way to the Championship .................. Sadly thats the fantasy. A team of hopefuls were put together at the last minute and it shows, losing every game so far and failing to score a goal - two 5-0's and 6-0, it does not auger well. Instead of sitting on top of the League they languish at the bottom, possibly as laughing stock, which is a shame as the girls are giving their all, its just that they are not good enough.

PV was on a hiding to nothing, my personal view is that once the damage was done they should have stuck to their guns, failing that they should have entered at a lower level, where they could have competed, whatever yopur feelings about the womens game, nobody is going to follow a team that is hammered every week and we should have realised that.

Some message board are already asking where are the supporters who supported the retention of a womens team, well it was never about attendances. i never go to reserve games, but I want us to win them and I would protest loudly if we were to disband the team. If we survive next season the i hope we compete at a lower level and build the team back up over 2 -3 seasons and the club gets behind the team in its marketing. They will need to be cleverer than the recent offer to fans of free tickets, a couple of days before a weekday fixture. I remember seeing us beaten by Arsenal at the Valley to a crowd of 3,000 and talking to converts. The re building process behind the womens section is going to be a long process and now I am not so sure it is worth it.

Mouthy Players and Rubbish Refs Cost

After the Plymouth game we were fined £5,000 for six bookings, apprently the fine doubles every time we get six bookings in a game, so we have to cough up a £10,000 fine after Saturday. Dunno about Saturdays ref, but by all accounts he was rubbish, and Styles was out of order and we should never have picked up those bookings. That said, Mills and McLeod were idiots for getting booked for dissent against Plymouth and look what it has cost us. Pards has said from day one that we are too nice, but mouthing off to the referee does us no favours, I would rather see yellows for over exuberant tackles than players not keeping their gobs shut.

Our discipline record for this season is not brilliant 28 yellows and 2 reds, with Semedo on 4 bookings and 1 red, presumably his next booking will earn him another ban, Sam is next with 3 bookings and a red and then laughably considering the time he has spent on the pitch Izale McLeod 3 bookings, so just as he gets his first run in the team he'll pick up more bookings and go down on a ban, the problems of indiscipline, mouthing at Styles.

As an aside, I see Huckerby has got his second red card of the season against Ipswich, after his dental attack on Mills saw him leave the Valley early.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Defensive frailties - Par for the course?

We got roughed up and turned over at Wolves, well that is what Pards is saying and we came away from Molineux with nothing, no points and no goals, so it was not a good day, we even came back without a left back. It appears that McCarthy, Sankofa and Sodje all candidates for the position. if this is the case I would like to see a place on the bench for Basey to have 15 minutes blooding in seeing as he has had a good spell out at Brentford and receiving rave reviews from Terry Butcher and he knows a thing or two about defending.

Most fans will be dissapointed at our defensive record this season, any high balls into the area have condemned our players to stresses and strains that should not be allowed in the work place. But lets look at it in context of the players we have and the league we are in.

Moutakill looked the part but his early scything down at Stoke has not allowed us to get a real impression of him, Mills has however deputised well and added a dimension to our attacking play that was lacking when he swapped on Saturday. McCarthy, Bhougerra and Fortune are worries and this is really where everybodies concern lies. pards has played Fortune and Bhougerra together more to forge some form of consistent partnership in the centre than in the conviction that either of them have anything to offer. Fortune was going to be off loaded before Diawarra decided to jump ship and we have not replaced his considerable talent and Bhougherra is a poor mans El Karkouri. Who knows about Sodje, he has only had a right back and cameo midfield appearances so far and seems to be a loan that we got just because we needed one not because he was the answer. The left back position has become this seasons cursed position, Powell has been put through too much, Thatcher has vanished and Gibb decided to get his metatarsill injuries done all together - even Rooney did his two on seperate occaisions.

So defensively where are we in the league? Well the league believe it or not, is not very good. There are only three teams who have conceded fewer goals than our 12 - Leicester - 8, Wolves -9 and bristol City 11 and there are three teams on 12 - Us, Watford and Plymouth. So maybe all the worrying and wailing is exageratted, we maybe crap but theres even more crap out there just waiting to be breached and if we can get it together in defence we will be awesome to beat.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Murphy Watch - an occaisional piece from the Hill


There are few players that i feel more antipathy towards than Danny Murphy, even Fat Boy Hasselbaink did not depart the valley even though we all willed him to, until the end of the season. Murphy left us in the lurch, with a string of insults about the club and its fans, to play regularly. Well, "didn't he do well", down the Lane 22 appearances in two seasons and a fair numberof them were substitute appearances, so much for his wifes parting shots at Curbs, how she ever got a collumn in the times I'll never understand. But hey, Danny is getting on a bit and that kindly old dutch man has bought in a few new players, so competition could be getting a bit tough. So what does our Danny do, hedges his bets goes to one of the relegation candidates, 'cause he is bound to get a game at Fulham, down the old cottage, so here we are, Danny just missing out on a place in Moscow last week. He has firmly established his place at Fulham - on the bench and making tea. Danny Murphy - bought by Sanchez because he was collecting Irish names at the time (watch out for a bid for Andy Reid in January) has found Murphy's best position is making tea, having started him not once and only coming off the bench 4 times, albeit scoring 1. It could not have happened to a nicer chap. I wonder when Stevie G calls him, as he regularly used to mention, he talks about the splinters up his bum.

More from Murphy watch in January.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

England, Wolves and the cursed Left back position

Poised to qualify for European Championships everyone seems to be getting nervous about playing on a plastic pitch on Wednesday. Well these are no longer the pitches of Oldham, Luton and QPR. Modern technology has given them a bounce and roll truer to grass, plus the players often practice on artificial. I am not sure what all the fuss is about. Not to mention when you earn up to £135,000 a week you should be capable of playing on straw bales. We maybe scared of Russian dirty tricks, but I am sure that they would have done that anyway, not cut the grass properly, left divots etc,. that's what football at international level is all about, certainly not going to be any Corinthian spirit shown anywhere around the globe. Mind you if we had been playing on grass, instead of undersoil heating they could drop a few pellets of Polonium-210 around to keep the frost away. Reminds me of when we were at school and had to make sandwiches for the visiting team in the U19 National Schools basket ball competition, the two pence piece slipped in between two slices of bread was well worth the expense.

I don't condone the booing of fat Frank, but what is all this rubbish about him being dropped from the England team. Surely nobody gets dropped from the national team, its not club football. The decent manager, always starts with a blank sheet of paper and puts in the players that he knows will be able to do the job on the day. Next thing you know fat Frank will, be doing a Carrragher and retire from International Football because the likes of Gareth Barry and Stevie G get in the team before him. Yes and ha ha to Carragher who would have had the chance to make an impression on Saturday, if he had not retired, instead Sol Campbell was wheeled on to the pitch for a reasonable 90 minutes.

According to Bobby Robson Andy Reid's ankle prevented him from training prior to the Germany game. A game in which he was man of the match. Lets hope that the Irish see sense and do not play him on Wednesday, given that they no longer are able to qualify. We need him against Wolves. having dropped a point against Barnsley we need to get at least one against Wolves, who have won 3 and lost 2 at home to give them 7th place. Once again we will be without Lloyd Sam, who assaulted Hull's Ashby with his body, when the guy was only trying to teach him how to kick. If Reid does not make it for Saturday then I'd line up:-

Weaver, Mills, Bhougerra, Sodje, Powell, Ambrose, ZZ, Semedo, Thomas, Iwelumo, Todorov.
Subs Elliot, Moutakill, Varney, Holland, McLeod

Otherwise Reid for Ambrose.

Powell again takes the left back berth. I can't say I am pleased to see this Charlton legend playing so many games, although the break must have re charged his batteries, but Pardew has little choice any way. Thatcher seems to have got a touch of the Gibbs and we are not talking Bee Gee's here. Not in the reserve team last night and no longer being mentioned in despatches. Cory has finally returned only to be injured in the reserves last night. Oh how Murray must laugh when he re reads his original quotes about Gibb in May 2006.

"We have been tracking Cory for some time and are delighted to have secured his signature.

"Obviously I was concerned that with the departure of Alan Curbishley we may have lost out on the player. However I believe we are about to embark on an exciting new era at Charlton and I am just pleased we were able to convince Cory that this was the club he should join.”

Bet he wished he did not have quite the powers of persuasion that he has.

Grant Basey is back from Terry Butchers Brentford. he apparently received a standing ovation from the crowd and the players at the end of his loan spell, as a left back if he stays fit he could get a game by default, before disappearing into the black hole of Charlton Left backs. Apparently, we have the third best defensive record on the Championship only Wolves and Leicester have conceded fewer goals than us and two other clubs are on the same tally - 10. Now, I don't know about you, but our defence has looked leakier than a collander, with only a couple of exceptions, so if we are one of the best (alongside Leicester and we have al seen how great they were at the Valley), with our attack we should soon be scoring shed loads of goals.

Roll on Saturday when we get back to proper football.

Footnote: According to the article on Reid, Bobby Robson is about to embark on chemotherapy fro cancerous growths on his lungs. Our best wishes for a successful recovery go out to this great old enthusiast for football.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Bring It On Barnsley

Barnsley are the third Yorkshire Club we have met this season and the results so far offer a positive forecast, having disposed of Sheffield Wednesday in a superb 2nd half display, resulting in a late 2nd goal for Iwelumo and all three points, this was followed last Tuesday by the 2-1 victory at Hull. For anyone not on the various message boards, you will have failed to have seen the vitriol that has followed from the Hull fans, ranging from comments about the teams performance, the alleged assault by Sam on their innocent captain to a much wider denigration of London and the South in general, comments that have been racist, despite their own ethnic players including JJ Okocha. Thats not to say that our own message board contributors have not added their own spice to the debate, but i have never seen any clubs fans come onto our board and prolong their own defeat for so long, surely by now they should be looking forward to palace. It has certainly been an eye opener regarding the fans of a Club in the City where I spent three great years working. Hopefully, Barnsley will come down and their fans show a bit more class win, draw or dare I say it lose. Of course, Barnsley are a real Yorkshire club, Hull have only ever really had honorary status, to allow them to play Cricket for Yorkshire, before they dropped that rule.


The Valley has pleasant memories for what I believe was the last time we played Barnsley, the first game of the season after relegation from the Prem. I was on holiday, sunning myself in France and sampling some of their grape juice, as Super Clive put three goals past them and for us to start our return to the Prem. with a 3-0 victory. The rest is history, our paths went in different directions as they plummeted and we progressed to a safe mid Prem. position, until Dowie / Murray / and Reed contrived to pull it all apart last season, whilst Barnsley on the other hand gained promotion season before last and have made a pretty good start to this one, now lying 4th and a victory against us tomorrow could see them go second.

Barnsley's start to the season has been overshadowed by an impressive start by Bristol City, but Barnsley put paid to that mid week with a 3-0 thrashing of their ( and our rivals). There should be a familiar face in Barnsleys colours, the return of another player let go by Curbs as not good enough, to the chagrin of the fans, Jamal Campbell-Ryce. Curbs may point to the fact that Jamal has been with Wallsall, Southend and now Barnsley since his Valley days, but who knows how he would have turned out, if allowed to develop his partnership and learning with Paulo Di Canio. Many fans will have the memory of the equaliser in the last minute that he set up for Paulo in the League Cup match against Luton.

I'll go for a 3-1 victory to Charlton tomorrow, as our strength as a unit is beginning to show, added to the skill level we have at this level. There is unlikely to be any of the gamesmanship, alleged by Hull, on show, but if there is then all it shows is that we are growing up as a team and understanding the realities of the real world of successful football. That said, it will not be easy, Barnsley will probably be the best side we have played at home this season and an early goal - something we are not noted for - maybe needed to unlock their defence.

As for the team, I would stick with the Hull turnout, unless we can get Thatch or Gibbs match fit - nobody should ask a 38 year old to play as many games in such a short period as we have done of Chrissie Powell (accused by the Hull fans as being a cheat - which if you know the player you would laugh out of court). Thomas for Sam, with Ambrose on the bench.

Weaver, Mills, Fortune, Bhougherra, Powell, Thomas, ZZ, Semedo, Reid, Iwulemo, Varney. Subs Randolph, Sodje, Ambrose, McCleod, Todorov or Moutakill.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Wembley Through The Valley To Dog Kennel Hill


As The Addicks Championship Diary chronicles the events of Leamingtons finest Football club, I've been doing a tour of top to bottom and in the space of 11 days have gone from the glories of International Competitive Football to Rymans League Division One South, via Footbal League Coca Cola championship. So much is written about our modern professional teams that there is little to add, Wembley was outstanding, although I am not sure worth all of that money, Heskey was brilliant and Owen sublime, The Valley stands out amongst Championship Club stadiums and there is an argument for playing our games at Welling to avoid lesser clubs raising their game, in an environment they will never experience in their professional lifetime. The Addicks themselves shining through Reid and Zheng and then you come to Champion Hill, the home of the Hamlets.

Dulwich Hamlets are to Palace as Welling are to Charlton. Many successful years, not many in the recent past though, average crowds of 300 and like Palace, not a stones throw away from Sainsbury. Playing on a Friday night to encourage supporters who follow their illustrious neighbours and passing trade (presumably late night shoppers), they were playing Kingstonian under floodlights. When I say floodlights, I assume thats what they were. Being used to premier league lighting , it felt that the players could have done with the miners hats with the old lights on to see their way around the ground .

This was only my 2nd non league match in 50 years, so a novelty. Siting behind the Hamlet dug out it was great watching the Manager ranting, David Brent esque at no one in particular, while the manager of Kingstonian, a former Spanner and a scot to boot, ranted in a Scottish dialect reminiscent of Russ Abbot, with the occasional F word being the only thing identifiable.

Kingstonian won 1-0, a goal out of the top draw of womens world cup keepers as the Hamlet keeper Sheikh Ceesay. called the ball, it looped over his head and dropped to the on coming forward to slot in.

Both Pards and Dickson were discovered here and the nights program had a cartoon with a picture of his head on it scoring a goal against Wimbledon. It appears that they have printed up a job lot of coves and change the inside each match, stickering the cover with the game.

If you are looking for skill don't go to lower league games, but if you want to see a good old fashioned rough and tumble,be able to park within 10 metres of the entrance and do your shopping prior to kick off, get yourself down to Champion Hill.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Leicester city pre match stats

As we go into the Leicester game Actim Index have released their latest stats on the Championship teams. Despite our lofty position of 3rd in the table, no Addick gets into the top 30 Championship players listing. Although, there is no surprise that our leading player is none other than Andy Reid at 32, whereas we need to scroll down find our second player at 77 Nicky Weaver and then at 97 is Zheng Zhi who is recorded as a defender.

Leicester, however, fair worse their first place is at 61 with Kisnorbo, followed by McAuley at 87 (Both defenders) and Toronto Addicks favourite Iain Hulme at 119.

Two ex Addick keepers are in the top 5 keepers list Deano, as one would expect, and Paul Rachubka, who we sold to Huddersfield and now plays for Blackpool, another keeper who was bought for real money by Curbs and then given a free.

Our midfield continue to lead the way for shots, with Ambrose despite the arrival of his new child, leading the way with 24 shots and Reidy having 23. of course accuracy is what counts hence reid has 7 goals this season, already, against Ambroses 1.

There are not many things that Actim make us top at, but shots off target is the one with 46, whilst West Brom have topped on target with 49.

At 22, 242 our average home attendance is the sixth highest in the division.

It looks tomorrow like we are set for a boring first half as between them the teams have managed to muster up only 2 Championship goals in the first 45, but nobody should leave the ground at half time as a further 15 goals have gone into the onion bag in the second.

Its two games since Leicester have had an away win and four since an away defeat, so it looks good for a draw, especially with the new manager Gary Megson behind them. The last Leicester League game was at the Valley, a 2-2 draw, although I recall villain of the piece Dublin, scoring a header in an FA Cup game at the Valley, in the last minute to put us out in January - again. Tomorrows referee is S. Tanner

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Well done to Paul May, in his guise as ReamsofVerse, for updating what used to be netaddicks, but for the moment is just Charltons Rivals site. the left hand menu now contains "reams" of information to go alongside the insightful comments from the addicks board contributors.

Pulling out a few gems from the Championships stats season to date has revealed some real gems. There have been four Championship teams of the week, forty four players have been nominate, Scunthorpe have supplied four nominations whereas Charlton have supplied only two - Moutakil v Scunthorpe and Reid v Sheff Wed, which goes to prove the point that this League does not appreciate real quality, where was Iwelumo's nomination for his performance against Sheff Wed?


Charlton's leading scorer in all competitions is Andy Reid, but who do you think has had the most shots? Iwelumo - no, Marcus - ha bloody ha, Toddy - nope, surely not Mcleod, surely you are right its not him either. No the leading shot taker this season is non other than much maligned Darren (Dazza) Ambrose 21 shots 8 on target and 1 goal.Reidy has 16 shots, 7 on target and afer that it trails away, Iwelumo leads the forwards and has had 11, with 3 on target and the defence is led by Fortune with 3 all off target, so McCarthy could claim top spot having scored against Stockport.

Then players most lacking in discipline are those defensive chopper Hariss's Jose Semedo 8 fouls and - you guessed - not Paddy or Thatch or Magic, How about John Fortune - nope he's only got 4, no guys and girls the foul count is led by none other than out own Chopper Harris, Norman Bites Yer legs Hunter, yes its Darren Ambrose, matching Semeo's 8, although he has committed more in the championship.

There are lots more useles stats if you need to get yourself to sleep, just go to Charlton Rivals who would have thought it darren Ambrose leading the stats .

The Ruskies are .... going

Just got back from Wembley, stadium looks great, although the approach is through some of the poorer parts of London. New stadium, new team attitude but it was nice to hear some good old English nostalgic songs like "No surrender to the IRA", nice also to see good old English fans turning up barely able to walk worse for alcohol and of course full respect being paid to the oppositions National Anthem.

Russia were very good in parts, just did not have the finish, that said its about taking your goals and Owen was excellent, although I would not have given him man of the match, that would have gone to Emile Heskey, who won everything in the air and the extra space Owen found was created by the fear that Heskey created.

SWP had an indifferent game and as long as he is this inconsistent and his crossing is so poor the door will be open for Beckham to return. Whatever happened to the worlds best left back and I don't mean Chrissy Powell, Ashley Cole has become pants ever since he joined Chelsea and released that cry baby biography, over elaborating and often losing the ball. Ferdinand is definitely an international level Jonathan Fortune, but he took his goal well. Robinsons contributions shows that his confidence is coming back and well done to McClaren for his management of the keeper. I thought after Saturdays game, Micah was caught out by a better player than he had previously faced, but he's young and he'll learn, one for the now and the future, unlike Gary Neville, who is one for the past.

I've seen England play three times, the previous two (one under Sir Alfs management) were draws so this was a nice change.

What a fantastic night for Scotland, I can see the tabloids now predicting a Scotland England Euro Championship finals!!

Next up for England Russia away on their rubber matting!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Selection Problems Looming for Pards

Contrary to popular opinion, it appears that Cory Gibbs remains with the club and participated for 90 minutes in a behind doors match with Palace on Tuesday. Gibbs must be a record holder in having been selected, allegedly by Curbs and then not playing under 3 managers. He's still up for The Gary Poole award for injured absence, but you never know he could eventually make a debut for the club. The good news is that we are easing him back and I don't expect to see him in 1st team action for at least a month and maybe 4 or more run outs. For anyone who has absolutely no idea about Gibb his CAFC profile says that he is a left sided defender or midfielder. It states that he was injured in the season before he joined us, so this is like two years with relatively little action, so it will be interesting to see if he has the ability to dislodge Thatcher and Powell from Left Back.

Good news that is likely to have more immediate rewards is that Luke Varney played the full 90 minutes and there has been no reports of further injury. Sankofa, finally had a run at the right back role with Moo2 out, but picked up his injury and one wonders where his future lies, I would rather have Moo2 and Mills fighting for that place than Moo2 and Sankofa - the third tier of football beckons either on loan or transfer.

Even with the departure of both Bents, Varney's return to health poses a problem of the good kind to Pards. Both Iwulemo and Todorov have been in good form, so do you drop one of them or leave the golden boy 0n the bench (When you play 4-4-2)?

By the way, anyone seen Christensen? At least Rom was a Dane that only went missing on the pitch.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Its Just Like Watching Brazil

Ok the caveat to that is the skill level is not quite the same. My first remembered world cup was the 1970 Mexico competition, where Brazil played with the philosophy of whatever you score, we'll be at least one better. This seasons Charlton philosophy seems to be, lets get the score to 2-0, either side and we'll start again!

180 minutes, 12 goals a retaken penalty - I feel a little aggrieved that no red cards were shown. A fellow Addick has been on holiday the last two matches - ha, ha Bruce, so I've been texting the scores as the matches have progressed, I've got repetitive strain injury in my thumb now, thinking of suing him.

There is a good balanced report on the night from Stockport fans.

Prior to Saturday, I was looking for a decent goal, having seen the slightly jammy goals against Scunthorpe and Stoke, I did not mean for the guys to go over board and produce 7 quality finishes, but hey who am I to complain.

I wish I had the guts to say, "Don't strengthen the defence, this is fun." But you just know that it will come back on us.

A clean sheet on Saturday and I'll be happy, a win and that's a bonus.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Attendance Poll Results and a view on Wednesday

Tomorrow should be one of the larger crowds for the season at The Valley. Wednesday are alleged to be able to fill their allocation, so there will be 3,000 of them, plus a few trespassers, our 17,000 ST's and maybe a couple of thousand occasionals, giving 22,000. On the recent un scientific and statistically dodgy poll on this blog, almost 50% of fans predicted average attendance this season of 20,000 t0 23,000, which looks on the whole to be about right, although i would suggest that it will be at the lower end, once we have had a few of the mid week matches with the likes of Plymouth and Hull trying to haul their ar.es to the Valley.

My view on the team for tomorrow is I have not got a clue, Reid will be there, M.Bent, Bhougherra and probably ZZ, but no one has really hit the ground running so most places will be up for grabs.

Wednesday were the first home game we played in the old (traditional) 1st division in the mid 80's, my brother in law was mascot that day, as the club recruited a mascot to represent every club in the division. Whilst I have not always had an opinion about Wednesday, I have warmed to disliking them since the 80's and our top flight tenure, it began when they took all our players Gordon Watson, Paul Williams, Steve McKenzie and further developed when their Chairman talking about a possible breakaway of the top clubs, quoted on "On The Ball" something like "We would have to go with the big clubs, otherwise we would be left to play the likes of Charlton." Now I understood his sentiment, but why specifically point the finger at us, a club without a ground and doing its level best. Then they had Trevor Francis as manager and that's just rank, never could stand the guy and the nail in their coffin was when their fans cheered at our relegation on the last day of our first season in the Premiership. Oh how I have laughed at their demise since and to cap it all they now have Francis Jeffers, it could not happen to a nicer Club. I am going for 3-1 tomorrow, so here is hoping.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Womens team saved

The headline on the Charlton site today is that the womens team have been saved, so well done to Varney and co, for getting enough people together to cough up the sponsorship money. Its a shame it could not have been done earlier, but it would be churlish of me to say that. It will be interesting to see who the team are, given the departures due to the anticipated closure. Casey Stoney, Eniuolka, Natasha Dowie have all departed, in fact 2 players went to Chelsea, 7 players went to Watford and 5 to Fulham. The Fulham Ladies suffered what seemed to be a similar fate to the Charlton Women and the mens club withdrew their funding, so they have done a pretty good job staying afloat and have their own website.

The Womens League will be interesting next season, having challenged for honours against Arsenal for the last few years, albeit that we have come out second best, we are unlikely to make the running having lost our best players.

For the Club it is a shame that things could not have been sorted earlier, but we are a mens club and the thought needed to preserve the core business was always being a priority. Its a pity though that the management team for the womens (Bob Whitehand and Steve Sutherland) had not negotiated some of these deals earlier in the life of the team, rather than having it done at the last minute. A lot of hard work went in to the womens team to get it, and maintain, where it was, only for the men's team's relegation to send the womens house of cards crashing in.

It will be interesting to see next season if again the womens team can out do the mens, again.

Martin Jol


I was feeling sorry for Martin Jol, when Santini left, Jol followed a succession of poor managers at Spurs, in fact probably back to David "the kerb crawler" Pleat, but Jol had pulled them up by their boot strings and created a pretty decent team, only denied a Champions League place a couple of seasons ago by a severe case of the trots. So what's he done wrong?

Well the Spurs board can't admit to it, but the problem is two words Danny Murphy. Stolen away from Charlton, at the last minute on transfer deadline day in 2005 Danny has made a total of 28 appearances for Spurs and it is not because he has suffered some career threatening injury. His over inflated ego does not match his footballing talent. Something which the Spurs board have worked out. Full retribution is now coming down on the shoulder of the grinning dutchman and the Spurs board are singing, as we did to the Liverpool fans "You can stick your Danny Murphy up your a**e."

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Injury Crisis - Who knows!!

Following the theme of The Chicago Addick on injuries, there has been an interesting press release from Pardew on the performance of the team so far. This is a welcome departure from the Curbishley years when the post match comments were the most we ever got from the manager on how he felt the season was going. Pardew, on the positive side, shed some light on Yassin Moutaouakil's injury. Hope that his injury was not as bad as feared, due to his joining up with the French U21's, were dashed, it appears that he will be out till at least early to mid October. The reports on Luke Varney, Cory Gibbs and Osei Sankofa were noticeable by their absence. Varney could be ready for Saturday maybe the news is held back to confuse the opposition on Saturday. What about Cory Gibbs and Osei sankofa, both of whom are potential cover for Yassin Moutaouakil. There has been no news of either of them getting injured, let alone a report of how their recovery has gone - why not?

It does appear that both these players have picked up Pouso's infection. Pouso has now been eradicated from Charltons player profiles from last season, could this be a fate facing both Gibb and Sankofa. Pardew sheds no light, only hinting that he maybe looking to bring in a loan signing to cover. So what has happened to them both, were they kidnapped in Welling, the last place that Gibb was seen or are they just quietly being shipped out of the club?

Friday, 17 August 2007

England Squad

McClaren has announced his team for Germany next week:-

Robinson (Tottenham), James (Portsmouth), Carson (Liverpool, on loan at Aston Villa), Richards (Manchester City), Brown (Manchester United), Ferdinand (Manchester United), Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Campbell (Portsmouth), Taylor (Newcastle), Neville (Everton), Shorey (Reading), Beckham (LA Galaxy), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Carrick (Manchester United), Barry (Aston Villa), Downing (Middlesbrough), Dyer (West Ham), Hargreaves (Manchester United), Smith (Newcastle), Owen (Newcastle), Crouch (Liverpool), Bent (Tottenham), Johnson (Everton), Defoe (Tottenham).

I'm glad to see Carragher has not re joined the squad and that show's the guy has principle, but why McClaren decided to undermine the honour of playing for your country by going and begging him to play I don't know. its also good to see James and Campbell back in the squad, two players who have never turned their backs on England despite some pretty cruel treatment at times by the media. James is still the best keeper in the country, when he puts his mind to it.

I am also gratified the Bently has been punished for the shoddy way he treated the U21's. The European Championships were possibly the only International tournament that he would play in during his career but he shunned it, but worse than that he turned the place down after the door had closed for new players to be included, so the england squad was effectively one player less than the other squads, because one little darling felt that he was too tired to play. It must be something about Blackburn, because I think it was during his time there that chris Sutton refused to play in a B International because he was too good for B Internationals, well it did wonders for is International career.

Despite the faltering start to their season Spurs have Defoe and Robinson, plus Darren in the team. You just know that Darren is not going to get a look in. I firmly believe that Bents progress has been hindered by his frequent non playing call ups to the England squad, apart from the sapping of morale as he flies to dressing rooms all around Europe and Svens crazy decision to leave him out of Germany, he could have gained more experience by playing for the U21's while able to experiencing playing against different styles in foreign lands.

Hollywood is represented by an inured David Beckham, I mean WTF is he doing flying over here,when he flew to USA the altitude or plane pressure affected his ankle and having hyped up his arrival on the american scene, he should now be concentrating on getting his ankle better and putting on a few performances of 90 minutes on the field in US of A, not attending meaningless friendlies over here.

Carson is also in the squad and Ben Foster is not, justifying Carsons insistence on going out on loan, interestingly enough Wigans ex Liverpool accident prone keeper is not in the squad, injured again or Just a lost cause.

I can't really see myself spending too much time watching the Germany game.

Dismal start by journo's

After two games, one League match and a Carling Cup match the bookies section of Times On Line are already talking about our slow start to the season.

Placing Charlton as favourites to win the Championship was never realistic and reflected the lazy journalism that abounds in the media world. Pardew has been clear that it will be a difficult league and that the team need to settle, the favourite tag has been given because we were the strongest of the three clubs to have been relegated. What the journos fail to highlight, is that we arre the only Club of the three that has been decimated by the drop, both Watford and Sheffield United had a Championship structure in the Prem. and have not had to undertake any massive axe wielding.

So to compound the lazy journalism of the pre season, we now have Andy Stephen, talking after one league game how we have made a slow start, its like judging a horse at the grand national as the starter gates open, or Lewis Hamilton as the amber light turns to green.

There are lots of good reasons why we should be satisfied with a point from Saturday and plenty of reasons to look forward to a good and possibly successful season after Saturday, but you really cannot judge the rest of the season on one result at the beginning of the season or if you can then Palace are up and that is not worth contemplating.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Dissapointing

If the rumours of Jerome Thomas's departure are true then, Pardew must be incredibly disappointed with the last two week. The stalwart of his defence, Diawarra and one of his leading midfield players have both jumped ship - assuming Thomas's transfer does go through. Thomas's return from injury is something after Saturdays draw and yesterday's win that was seen as necessary to give us the width that we are sorely lacking.

Saturdays signatures on th pitch of "Rocky" Racon and ZZ proved to be uplifting for the fans but today just proves to be a downer. You wonder if we have the players at the club, although £2 million from Diawarra and an alleged £3.5 million from Thomas, does mean that we have two weeks to add some width and speed on the wings. Sam's done ok, so far, will Martin Christensen be of any use, there were rumours of him going out on loan. Scunthorpes manager still see's us as favourites for automatic promotion, but I suspect that is more testimony to his judgment than a reflection on reality.

I did wonder how we were going to fit in all these players, we seem to have a big squad, but as we let the key ones go, it appears there will be little problem as we seek a blend that will be a winning combination.

Finally, individually, I have liked the players who so far this season have represented us in defence, however they have not gelled as a unit and whilst its only two games gone there are big question marks from the terraces over McCarthy and Bougherra and I can't say I felt too comfortable with Thatcher in either the game against Scunthorpe or Braga.

I wonder how comfortable with his squad Pards is now?

Sunday, 12 August 2007

All change at the Valley 1-1

A hard earned 1-1 draw for the first game of the season should not be sniffed at and there will be plenty of coverage in other blogs, already there is divergence of opinion over the prospects as a result of the performance. But what were the noticeable changes from last season, as a result of the economies.

Walking up to the Valley, you see more food stands, presumably more concessions have been sold to the smaller crowds. The Review has returned to a normal pocket size with no lamination, so you can mark the teams on the pages, without etching into the pages. Reading through there were no superstars on the opposition side, no internaionals and actually no names that we recognised. We had to wait till the game had started before we would realise just how bad the referee would be. Sadly, it is unlikely that this will be T. Kettles last visit to the Valley.

The pre match entertainment was not an opera singer, flown in specially but whatever you wanted to do, read your review, speak to your mates - maybe thats why the crowd was so quiet for much of the match.

The most obvious cut back was the big screen, The Premier League have already requested the return of their clock and replay machine, along with reasonable type faces, so we enjoyed a red screen throughout the match, with delayed score updates.

Of course, another on pitch change was that we did not recognise most of our team including Marcus Bent who gave the impression of a player who cared - for some of the game - and he scored, so another change was Marcus Bent celebrating scoring.

The Charlton bench has changed and we no longer have old Mike Kelly coming out from the changing rooms on creaky knees with 10 minutes of the game gone, holing his cup of tea.

According to the East Standers the concourse now lacks bins, but retains stale bread, so maybe future attendees should pick something uip to eat from the new concessions.

So we've started, there are 45 games to go, I am sure that there are changes from last season that I have missed, so let me know what they are.

One thing that has not changed from past seasons is Cubishley apologising for his team on TV, fortunately this year its for West Ham.

Friday, 10 August 2007

TV Coverage of Tomorrow

No point waiting for Match of the day tomorrow night, we don't even get the customary 30 seconds and patronizing comments from Lineker and his fellow muppets. Nope you can venture out, stay in the pub, overnight and celebrate our glorious - hopefully - return to the Championship. So tune in to ITV 1 on Sunday morning at 10.00 am, or if you are likely to be celebrating then set sky plus / DVD recorder / Video and watch extended highlights of the Scunthorpe game.

I missed it myself, but there is also a Football League review on Saturday at 08.30 am and then a weekend round up on Monday at 18.00 on Sky.

By the way, Just noticed that Jimmy Hill's Sunday Supplement is now just the Sunday Supplement, so either they have retired the old boy or they are just preparing for when he goes to meet the great soccer star in the sky.

Patience Maybe needed

The New York Addick will be at the Valley tomorrow and his proposed team is Weaver, Moutouakil, Thatcher, Bougherra, McCarthy, Reid, Semedo, Ambrose, Faye, Todorov, McLeod. Subs: Randolph, Fortune, Powell, Sinclair, Iwelumo.

Whether you agree with the team or not, what is striking though is the number of players who will be making their home debuts or have played probably less than ten games at the Valley. Of the 16, I would have thought, without checking the stats that only Ambrose, Chris Powell and Fortune fit the bill. For most of them it will almost be like an away game. Only Todorov and Weaver, of the " valley virgins" will have ever experienced the Valley atmosphere - I am sure that weaver will be pleased to be on the home side on this occasion. So for them it will be a nerve wracking experience, collectively and we need to be aware that there maybe early mistakes, an early goal would be nice to settle things down.

For the fans, the majority of whom will not have seen the players, it will equally be a strange experience, when was the last time we saw an almost new team take the field at the beginning of a season - the promotion season, and I mean Lennie Lawrence's, in the mid 80's. What do we chant? Who are our heroes? If Bent does not play, then who is the whipping boy? The covered ends creativity is really going to be tested tomorrow and for the rest of the season. If Todorov misses a sitter then do we sing "Sod off Todorov?" (Now you know why am not in the Covered end Choir).

Although we have had a good set of friendly results, it is different in competitive football and we, the fans may need to give the team time to gel. The Valley faithful, always used to be a patient lot, but the last few years has seen impatience. We cannot afford to be impatient, this is a young team and if we start getting on the players backs from the off then there is a good chance that confidence will dip and in this division confidence can be the deciding ingredient.

We need to get behind the team, put pressure on the ref and enjoy ourselves, not just tomorrow but for the rest of the season.

BRING IT ON!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Pards 1 Costa 2

Pards 1 Jorge 2

There are not many games we are going to play next season in blistering heat against the equivalent of the Potugeuse third place team, so yesterdays game must be seen in that context. Overall, I was left with mixed feelings, certainly my hopes of 1st or 2nd place were dealt a blow, we are missing that little bit of steel and quality. Having said that Bragas two goals were a poor own goal by Thatcher and a superb long range shot, from outside the area.

It was good to see Jorge Costa welcomed by the sparse crowd and the few players left he played with and him acknowledging the crowd back.

Nicky “Fat Boy” Weaver had lost his greasy locks and pirate beard for this game, but looks like he could lose a few pounds, is he stocky or fat? He did well in the Prem last season with City, so I am sure he will do ok for us this year, but yesterday he fumbled a couple of balls that he should have taken, maybe he was just nervous for his first Valley appearance.

The defence played well. With the midfield playing tight and with little width, Moo2 had plenty of pace to exploit his space on the wing, my concern will be when he has that space and is clattered by an ugly lower championship defender. That said he did little wrong and was involved in some good intricate moves, with the midfield. Bougherra looked solid and made some good runs on the left wing, when Semedo dropped back to cover him, he was replaced by a bean pole ex Chelsea player toward the end of the 2nd half. He had little time to impress, but managed a yellow card tackling a Braga player and sending him spinning across the pitch, not sure this trialist is what we are looking for if the expected Diawarra move goes through. Paddy McCarthy, for all the negative comments, from the Leicester message board, looked every bit a leader and I would start him and give him the captaincy. For the fans that remember Simon Webster, he is very much in that mould and I can see him becoming a Charlton “non nonsense” defensive legend. Fortune came on and will be a good replacement for McCarthy during injuries and suspensions, of which there will probably be many, he has pledged himself to the club, probably on the news that with Diawarra going then the competition for that place will be reduced. He got a quick cuddle and hand shake from Jorge whilst warming up during the game. I thought Thatcher looked ratty and I would not expect him to hold down the left back position for the full season, one tackle he made was accompanied by an attempted forearm smash.

My starting defense for next week would be as lined up today, but with a certain caution over Thatcher.

The midfield, was sound without being outstanding, baring in mind that Braga’s strength is a strong creative midfield then, we did ok and there are weaker midfields to come, next Saturday for instance. Reid, Ambrose, Semedo, Sinclair. Both Reid and Ambrose I thought played well, both making good runs and playing balls through, Ambrose tended to disappear as the game went on, with the exception of his excellent shot from the free kick tap. Having the two in the side gives the option of switching them both and that should be a bonus, of course Jerome is due back next week, assuming we have not sold him and Holland is out for a 6 week period. Pards said that Sinclair is one for the future and this has been reiterated by those fans who have seen him, he came off at half time and hopefully he will be no more than a squad player this season, learning and developing as the season goes on. Faye (who?) came on for the 2nd half and I thought he looked pretty solid. There is a danger that players who did not perform last season carry their reputations into the new season – Faye, Marcus Bent and Ambrose – one player gets away with a mistake, whilst another is castigated for the same. For me, Faye and Ambrose start with a clean slate, whilst Marcus is only a bit in deficit (ok more than a bit). I think Faye could play an interesting and positive role in central midfield this season and whilst he will never be one of the players chanted about, could become a name on the sheet, as it were, especially in the away games against the stronger opposition. Semedo is a revelation and hopefully we have him signed up for a good few seasons with a big price tag when the big boys come in for him. He holds the midfield together and is also a tough tackler, again, like Moo2, I withhold my final assessment until I have seen him playing against the hairy a**ed Championship defenders, but the signs are good. The overall problem with this midfield was that it failed to create for the forwards, particularly in the first half and that has to be a worry, although it must be looked at in context of the opposition.

My 1st choice for next week would be :

Reid, Ambrose, Semedo, Thomas

However, as an alternative, I’d replace Ambrose with Faye!

Up front, I did not really notice Todorov, that’s partly because I though Ambrose had grown a beard for the 1st 20 minutes, but also because there was not too much happening, he did a couple of good things and showed he had potential but we will need a lot more from him next season. Iwulemo was another that disappointed me, now this could be because this is not his sort of game, no wingers, continental style opposition, but he was replaced by Marcus in the second half and in all honesty, for the few moments that he looked bothered he looked the part, he made good runs and won the free kick for the goal, as well as winning the ball in the air. I all honesty, Marcus should be better than Chris, what Chris has, that Marcus does not, is the right attitude. That said for next week my front pairing would be

.

.

.

Marcus and Todorov – gulp!!!

Christensen came on to calls of Ziggy, but did not do much, Dickson in his short cameo showed that he has a hunger, his other advantage is that unlike the two young continentals, he knows what it is like to play against the cloggers of lower than low football levels. If I was Pards and he knows the player best, then I would not put him out on a long term loan, three months at the most, he really is a rough diamond that could take the league by storm from the bench.

So my team for next week, assuming no new faces or goings

Weaver

Moo2, McCarthy, Bougherra, Thatcher

Reid, Ambrose, Semedo, Thomas

Marcus and Todorov

Randolph, Iwulemo, Fortune, Faye, Powell

The crowd yesterday was pretty sparse, 2-3000, although I have never been a great judge. The ecnomies are beginning to bite, only a few of the speakers were used during the announcements, the screen was not used. Next week they could do with flashing the players names up as they play during the game so we get used to them!

Having read other reports of yesterdays game, it is quite interesting to read the divergence of opinion, I remember a few years ago on the Glynne Jones mailing list writing about a Keith Jones shot trickling into the back of the net and Rick Everitt responding that it had been a scorcher of a shot, which just goes to prove that its not just a game of different opinions, but we don’t even see they same thing. So we now embark on another season of divergent views and opinions and to be honest ------ I can’t wait!!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Fickle emotions

Its funny how fickle our emotions can be. Less than a week ago, after we tonked Gillingham 5-0, I was up for automatic promotion, if not Champions, today I have been waiting to hear about one of our two new signings, but all I have heard is that Diawara, the most expensive centre half nobody has ever heard of, has agreed terms with Bordeaux.

Suddenly I am questioning whether we will make the play offs. What's happened to the golden boy, is his injury really a three week thing and he'll be in contention for Stoke or is it like Beckhams ankle and stretches back weeks. As the season approaches, apart from the mood swings, optimism to down right pessimism, the butterflies in my stomach are getting more lively, the next stage will probably be loss of appetite (not a bad thing). I can't wait till tomorrow against Braga, just to get a feel of the team,but the big one will be next week against Scunny.
My mood at the moment is deep pessimism where are all the premier loans that were due to come our way. Its alright to pick up hopefuls and 0ld pro's but we need some men of the moment so I hope Murray has a few shillings set aside for a January purchases, cause I think we may need them.

Look out tomorrow to the Addicks Championship Diary for the best blog match report.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

FIFA support cheats

No sooner do the Scottish FA announce that they are going to try and stamp out diving by post match video referrals than FIFA, the supposed guardians of our game, announce that it could be against the rules.

The game is being blighted by cheating and diving. A friend of mine lives in Canada and he went to see the recent U 20 tournament, his comments were

"I DID ATTEND THE CHILE/ARGENTINA UNDER 20s WORLD SEMI-FINAL THOUGH AND WHILE IT WAS TOP CLASS FOOTBALL I WAS APPALLED AT THE MENTALITY OF THE TEAMS WITH THE DIVING, FAKING, SIMULATION ETC.,"


This behavior is ruining the game and for FIFA to take a stand not against the teams doing, but against the associations trying to stamp it out is ridiculous. They are undermining referees, who can easily be mistaken in the heat of the moment and are then ridiculed by TV pundits, with the benefit slo mo's. If a player knew that he could be booked / banned for a dive, even if it were not noticed during a game surely this would stamp it out.

And while we are on the subject of indiscipline on the field, there was a skysport feature regarding swearing, Robert Greens answer seemed to be to allow the professionals to get on with it, but penalise the kids, so that by the time they grew up to be professionals then they would eradicate on pitch swearing. Where as we normally talk about professionals being role models for children it seems that Robert Green see's it the other way round.

I'm not against the odd liberal use of the F word, but I do not see the need to be shouting F's and C's across the pitch and the TV companies should not be showing it, they are after all the paymasters and they should be putting pressure on the leagues to clean up their acts. Discipline is breaking down in our society and the treatment of authority on the pitch with disdain, disregard adn indifference, broadcast to easily influenced kids, is a factor that contributes to this.

Addickted to winning

Is the Headline on the Ebbsfleet website as Charltons reserves and kids went down 5-1, last night. There is no mention of the team or the result on the Official Charlton site, focusing on the triumphant 0-0 draw against the Shots (Now updated, but you read it here first - Mark Debolla getting a revenge goal).

Looks like Pards had decided to play last night safe, with really only 2nd teamers and beyond getting a decent run out. hopefully, those of us with tickets will see some sort of 1st team against Braga on Saturday, although lets not go over board as we will get a decent look the following Saturday, when we see the real thing against Scunny.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

We need a hero!


We need a hero, a Valley favourite who we can hang our hat on and who we can chant for through out the game. Rob Lee, Leaburn, Mendonca, Johnny Robinson, Stevie Brown - he won't let you down - have all held the mantle, but of the players left over from last season, or the newbies that have just joined, whose poster is going on the bedroom walls of 14 year old teenage girls or will be preferred to the wife of 50 year old men

Our longest serving players are Johnathan Fortune & Osei Sankofa. Now I don't want to be mean, but neither player is exactly inspirational to your average fan and you suddenly realise how devastated the team has become from the ravages of Curbishleys last two seasons and more from Dowie and Murrays folly.

Of course, this time next season we will have a player or collection of players who we admire and who have taken a place in our hearts for their endeavors on the field, be they scoring goals, putting in effort above the call of duty or just that we know they would die for the shirt. Until then we have a season of players building their reputations with us. At the moment, the front runner for the hero for next season, the inheritor of Clive and Richard R's mantle seems to be Luke Varney, he's young, he's blond, good looking and he has the reputation of a goal scorer, so until he gets back on the field and starts to miss a few sitters he looks like our hero, but it maybe at the back that the candidate waits Moo2 or Semedo, could Nicky Weaver totally redeem himself and become the man.... it would be ironic if he were to become next seasons player of the year, one hopes not, nothing to do with Nicky but for a keeper to become Player of The Season then he must have been busy.




The truth is when the teams come out of the tunnel against Scunthorpe, we will not recognise the majority of them and will take a few matches before we have decided who we have taken to our hearts and can do no wrong and who can do little good and take over the berth of Kevin Lisbie.

There are going to be a lot of new experiences this year, our heroes will just be one of them.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Pardews Socks

On a recent mailing list the issue of Alan Pardew tucking his trousers into his socks was raised and it was felt that this fashion "faux pas" should go on no longer.

From "The Hill" we would urge the club to build into any further contract that Alan should not undertake this departure from an otherwise suave and sophisticated appearance.

All true Addicks are urged to sign the petition to stop Alan's fashion error. Alan Pardews Socks.

Well it is the sily season and apart from the unconfirmed Sinclair and Young news there is nothing else to write about.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Scunthorpe result poll findings

107 fans voted on the result expected against Scunthorpe and the pre season optimism has continued, despite the departure of Lisbie to Layer Road (possibly - he's not signed yet so we could still get him back). Having said that 14% of fans do not think we will get a victory (6.5% going for a defeat and 7.5%, including me, going for an opening match draw).

Just under 21% of fans were ultra confident, expecting a minimum of three goals between us and the Irons, whilst the most popular difference was 2 goals (34%) and 24% did not care the goal difference as long a we got off with a victory.

As the season approaches and we dust down our rituals, it becomes one of the most anticipated seasons I can remember as an addick. Whilst most of us are confident of at least a top 6 finish, there is also a lot of trepidation as we venture forth into the unknown of the fizzy pop league with a largely untried squad. The pre season so far has gone well, but there has been no real test as Pards has gone for confidence and team spirit building. Gillingham may well be the 1st real test this coming Saturday and maybe then we will have a clearer view of our prospects next season.