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.


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


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!!