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


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.