Friday, 31 December 2010

Who are you! Who are you?

Well its done, for the time being talk of takeover  is kicked into touch and we can focus on the action on the pitch.

For some the fly in the ointment is who exactly now owns us, because it does not appear as if Jiminez and Slater do.  Addicks Championship Diary covers these two in detail.  A number of addicks fans have had the takeover euphoria dampened by the lack of knowledge of who the people are who have invested their hard earned sheckles into the club, but you have to counter this with the fact that we are now solvent the ever on going threat of administration is gone for the foreseeable future and that the management of the club continues to be overseen at least by the existing management in Murray and Kavanagh, plus fans favourite Peter "Reg" Varney, who has effectively steered this bus in to the end of its journey.

Now the hard work begins for the new management and for the fans.  We need to give them time to settle be clear about what they want to do and then implement it. In time we may see this as a fantastic move, alternatively it may just be a stay of execution, but that is for future judgement.  The immediate as ever is what concerns us the fans.

It has been implied that January will see new funds made available to Parkie and they will be considering his requirements.  This is a big make or break time for Parkie, he will be relieved that Murray is at the helm,or at least close to it, as he has always retained his support.  However he needs to be very careful about his recruitment plans not just who he brings in but how that effects the current squad.  One of Parkies successes has been to forge a strong team spirit - the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Bringing players in on higher wages when some of the current squad took drops in wages will cause problems, so there is a delicate tight rope to walk. 

Suddenly we no longer have to shop for players in Aldi and whilst Harrods may still remain a dream, Sainsbury's does appear to be an option.  Jimminez may give us contacts that Parkie does not have as we bring players in from clubs above us as oppossed to the likes of benson from below.

Jimminez maybe the clue to our ownership, as it was during the Zabeel purchase that he left Newcastle to broker the deal between them and Charlton.  Zabeel were notably uncomfortable with the publicity surrounding their bid, so it would not be surprising if they were behind this having hidden their identity behind a swiss based company.

A word of praise for Richard Murray who could have allowed us to go into administration but has fought hard   to retain our solvency.  On balance Murrays tenure has been temendous for Charlotn, sadly marred by the last few years, since he politely showed Curbs the door.  He has paid heavily for the subsequent mistakes but I hope that this will sweeten the bitter pill.

Here is to a successful New Year!
  

Thursday, 30 December 2010

A cruel December

We thought after a strong November that the gelling of the squad was complete and the platform for promotion had ben built, but the curse of the Manager of the Month award, the winter weather and poor form has seen us drop out of the JPT Trophy and fail to match a result from the previous season.


So we finish the year one point down on where we were agaisnt the similar opposition last season in a league that is distinctly ordinary compared to last season with a better balanced side but reduced quality.

January is going to be a critical month, the next two games generated just one point last season, so there is a chance to catch up.  Swindon was the notorious game where we had two players sent off but Llerra came in with a last minute equaliser, one of those games that can be pointed to as points lost that would have put us into the automatics, we were so dominant before the second sending off.

As I talk rumours are that the takeover will be complete today and that will herald a new era for the club, whether it will herald new players time will only tell.  I would like to see a strong central midfielder to come in, someone with Championship experience if not Premiership, a midfield Christian Dailly, a striker.  I'd be happy to see Llerra or Fortune to be released or even both of them and a new player brought in.

For those of you old enough to remember, we need someone to come in who will galvanise our promotion campaign as did Jim Melrose all thsoe years ago in the mid '80's.

Happy New Year
readers and may 2011 be a return to championship fortunes for the Addicks 

 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Lets see in five years

If everything has gone to plan then the 24th will be the end of Rchard Murray's ownership and literally the baton will be passed on to new owners.  The only thing near to a guarantee is that not every body will be happy on the fans side of the fence.

I am amazed that there has not been a sniff of who is behind Peter "Reg " Varney.  Sightings of Dennis Wise at the Valley maybe a clue, although it may have just been a youth player being mistaken.

I was speaking to a fellow supporter this morning who wanted it to be anyone but Wise and this led to a brief chat and a realisation that whoever is the new custodian of our  obsession, they won't be good enough and that we cannot judge them on reputation alone  but on their actions and those actions over a reasonable period of time.

Takeovers are notorious for ending in tears, I was at Hillsborough when an American was hailed as their saviour only a few years ago and of course they barely avoided a winding up order before Miljan Mandic came in to buy them on the cheap, another club he has beem assoicated with are Portsmouth, which he sold on only for Rednap and the new succession of owners bankrupted them and there is Chelsea where bates sold on to Abramovich in a friendly sale only now to take every opportunity to slate the current ownership, take note Richard Murray.

Richard Murray has done everything possible within the context of our recent past to make Charlton saleable in a reasonable condition and kept us out of administration.  This is so different from  his early Charlton involvement when he was raising money not to save the club but to fund the flames and momentum of success.  Success to establish the valley, once Richard Alwen had got us there,  success of winning the playoff final and success of returning to the Premier and staying there for so long.  The last few years it has simply been a success to stay afloat.

Whoever is in charge tomorrow has big shoes to fill and there will be accusations of "lack of investment in the team", but we will now have business men running the club with their wallet and not their heart, unless they are charlton, accusations that they are not true charlton, accusations that they are foreign and do not understand the game (reference Sam Allardyce), accusations that they are British / local and don't have enough money and accusations that they are Dennis Wise / Peter Risdale.

Whoever Santa brings us on Christmas Eve we cannot judge their worth to the club for maybe years to come because its not what they do this week, its what they do in the coming years the stability, order and success that will count.

One final point, Santa brought us a present on Christmas Eve before and we applauded and thought our dreams had come true.  That present had a smile like a cheshire cat and by the time we were able to look back on his legacy our club was broke, in more ways than one.  This time Santa we are looking for a present that may not match our Christmas list like before but has longevity and lasting quality that will do what it says on the tin.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The irony for two managers

Its Charlton managers day today.  Former player and manager Pardew takes the reigns from Toon favourite Chris Houghton and now manages a club with true potential, but will he be able to reverse decades of under achievement? 

Meanwhile, away from the spotlight of the Premiership, beavering away is Phil Parkinson, who after Charltons 4-0 home hammering by Brighton, galvanised the team to produce an almost flawless November and he has picked up the Manager of the Monthly award.  Well done to Johnny Jackson who has won Player of the Month.

The irony of course is that as Pardew has failed, Parkinson has shown progress and built the fans confidence in his ability to deliver Championship football next season.

Parkie has had a difficult couple of years and the fact that he has survived in the Valley hot seat is almost a miracle and can be put down to Richard Murray, our outgoing Owner and Chair, who has seen someting in Parkinson that at times few others have.

Pardew left a side, after a 5-2 home defeat, disjointed, demoralised, over paid,un balanced and seemingly on course for relegation.  Parkinson failed to save the club and to this day this is held against, but performances improved and foundations laid for the first season in the third division,which eventually resulted in a failed play off campaign.

Over time Parkie has rebuilt the playing foundations of the club and his sort term reward is November Manager of the month.  Hopefully the curse of MOTM will not strike this time and we can say in a week that we continue to be present at the top of the table and are still in the FA and Johnstone paint trophy.

It is ironic that on this day Pardew is made manager of Newcastle, after failure at both Charlton and Southampton, the man that cleared up his mess at Charlton is honoured.  Of course, at Southampton on the surface with a 10 point deduction, just missing out on the play offs was not a bad performance, but taking into account the deduction Saints would still have finished below us with significantly more investment and I am sure every Geordie will be ecstatic that Pardew knows how to win the Johnstone Paint Trophy.

Well done Parkie and hats off to the power of the Pardew bullshit!!

Drinking During the Game: Alan Pardew - you've got to hand it to him

Drinking During the Game: Alan Pardew - you've got to hand it to him

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

In the pink for Christmas

This season's goalkeeper kits will (finally) be available in the Superstore from 10am on Sunday, mail order from next week. Shirts 39.99 adults and £29.99 kids.


I'll have five says Robbie
I'm not sure who is going to wear it, but I look forward to seeing them at the Southampton game on the 26th.

A message to the Toon!

Charlton fan here so I talk from experience. Unlike you when we were linked with Pardew we thought he was the messiah, however he was anything but. His previous chairman described him as a disease in the club (West ham) but he was Icelandic and loooked funny so we ignored him. He'd just been 4 minutes from winning the FA Cup and we sympathised as he had two world class players (Tevez and Maschirano) foisted on him. He talked the good talk, we would survive but if we did not he gave us a profile of the types of players he would bring in. We ignored the rumours of him and non footballing players issues!!

He was not the messiah and he was worse than a naughty boy. The players he brought were opposite to the profile he had suggested and were gambles, young untried from the lower leagues or foreign reserves. Luke Varney is the only one who has made his way back to the peak of foorball and it has taken him a long time, no instant solution. Who has heard of our big signings then Moutakill, McCleod, Youga, Semedo and Racon. The first was finally released in the summer not having been picked for most of his three year career and has yet to find a club, the 2nd the same and has a contract with the mighty Barnet, Youga has potential but has only shown it for 1/2 a season and is now long term injured (not pardews fault) and the last two are spearheading our promotion drive from DIVISION 3. All these players were paid over the odds, on salaries that have subsequently crippled us. So his transfer policy was awful. He readily admits to a policy of buying a quantity of players and expecting most of them to fail.

Don't expect him to admit he has been wrong, he won't its the players fault, the fans fault (Don't ever clap a returning player when he is introduced before the match), he may even blame it on the seating arrangements at the ground (I kid you not)the boards fault, never his and when you get round to sacking him because he has run your club into the ground (starting a season with 3 centre backs and a plethora of midfielder) he will have written into his contract a massive payoff to be paid within a month to compensate him for his incompetence (We had to sell Varney to pay for it). We made mistakes having already made the mistake of employing him, I hope you don't. My final word is I hope he tries to tap up Andy Carolls girlfriend, 'cause I would love to see him take on Duncan Fergusons clone child.

Assuming Pardew does go through you will have had him and Dowie in your ranks the architects of our demise, you should have gone for Curbs, dour and boring he would still have done a great job for you.

Good Luck
(First posted on BBC 606)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

GB United - FIFA Steal My Dream

One of the things about my kids that I enjoyed was their innocence and naivety.  As they get older they become wiser and worldly in more ways than us dads would like.  However,we all keep a degree of naivety, sometimes this is ridculed as stupidity others as sweetness. 

I have retained at times the naivety that FIFA and EUFA are there for the benefit of football fans and for the protection of the game.  This week has opened my eyes to this naivety and this is not sweet innocence, its stupidity.

In 2012 Team, GB will be putting forward a team to compete at the London Olympics,it will be the first time that professional GB will compete.  My dissapointment has been that the home country federations have steadfastly refused to join host nation, England, in a GB team. 

I saw this stance as short sighted, parochial and insular.  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland claimed that FIFA would use this joint team to force GB to operate as a single force in future tournaments. 

This is my naivety, I believed that when FIFA had assured GB that this would not be the case they could be trusted.  Why would FIFA want to consolidate four nations into one, after all, following the break up of the soviet empire they were willing to expand the nations of FIFA enourmously and of course we have seen them hand a word cup to minnows Quatar.

As I say, FIFA had promised that they would not force a GB team to compete jointly and I thought a declaration such as that would never be reneged on.

This week has proved to me that I was naive, Blatter cannot be trusted. He is the Emporer and King maker and I reluctantly say appears anti English.  We will never host a World Cup while he is in charge. 

FIFA stitched up England this week, not decided on a better bid, but determined to humiliate a country which had through its freedom and liberty exposed corruption in FIFA's ranks.  With hindsight, it was like watching the school bully, the flash kid at school being pursued by the little bit over desperate, slightly plain looking girl from the posh part of town.  The bully encouraged her all along made her think she was special but all along he planned to humiliate her in front of the whole school.  The FIFA committee teased us, they promised us their hearts (votes) and when we prostrated ourselves in front of them, humiliated oursleves with our current leader, our future king and our golden boy, they laughed at us turned away and walked arm in arm with an Eastern European pimps daughter, french kissing her to add effect.

So how can we trust FIFA to allow a joint team to represent GB and not have it held against us?  There is only one answer, we can't, so whatever my dream is for joint ventures in the Olympics, it cannot be allowed to happen because we cannot trust the word of FIFA, not now - not ever.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Ticket Alert @ The Valley

The message boards today were initially inundated with indignation at having been stopped in the ground yesterday and being asked to show season tickets.  This turned to understanding when it was revealed that fans have been using junior season tickets on an ongoing basis without upgrading.

The club are going to undertake more of these checks and I hope that they do.  When we are crying out for revenue we should not be expecting our own fans to be shafting the club.

If I was the club I would confiscate the season tickets until the owner pays up the full amount, within a certain time period and at the end of that period print their names on the official site and in the program,although I suspect that this would be against their Human Rights.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Reminders of a glorius past

Being in the third division reminders of our glorious past come quick and fast. Its not long ago that we would be talking about our forthcoming entrance in the years FA Cup competition in January rather than our second round appearance in just over a week and it was not that long ago that Yeovil were our opponents, January 2005  to be precise, when a 3-2 victory took us through to play Leicester and leave the competition after a 1-2 defeat. In 2008 Yeovil again came from the lower leagues to play this time Championship Charlton in the League Cup this time and left with a deserved 0-1 victory. Last season we finally played at Yeovil in torrential rain, a 1-1 draw was achieved with Akpoes debut goal, the quality of which has yet to be repeated by the injury prone striker. Of the 18 man squad that day only seven players remain with the club. Last seasons affair at the Valley saw a 2-0 home victory during the dourest part of the season, the period when we lost automatic promotion..



Charlton meet Yeovil in the Rose of Denmark prior to the 3-2 FA Cup. Memories when we were divisions apart.  A youthful Adrian Speller in the foreground and me in the centre, not to mention young Portchs and Montgomery's.

Tomorrow both teams are in 2nd place, us from the top and Yeovil from the bottom. On paper and following a fantastic performance performance since Brighton at home and a five match losing streak for Yeovil, we should come out comfortable winners, but life is never so predictable and the goal fest we have recently seen has come against teams coming at us, Yeovil will sit back and look to take us on the break, the onus on us will be to break them down. In years gone past this would worry me, but with Lee Martin or Smoking Joe, Waggy and Benson there is a great movement up front which should allow us to break down their defence.

So a return of Yeovil tomorrow should see us adding another 3 points and set us up nicely for the out of form Pirates, before we return to next weeks cup game versus Luton. My team for tomorrow is

Elliot

Francis Dailly Doherty Fry

Wagstaff Semedo Racon Jackson

Benson Martin

Worner, Fortune, Sodje, Abbott, McCormack, Reid, Llera

Saturday, 13 November 2010

P45 returns to the draw

Well I am predicting Audley Harrison to win tonight, so based on my Peterborough 3 Charlton 1 prediction it will be David Haye first punch first round.


On the 17th October I headlined my post “The next four games – Parkies P45” , I wrote “The key to any management role in football is managing players and if Parkinson is to survive he has to manage this lot now, he needs to get them fired up in the right way and they need to be getting results. Whether they are the best players ever to don a Charlton shirt (they are not) does not matter at this level they are capable of more than the results that they are showing currently and it is the managers job to realise this. In my opinion, Parkie has four games to generate this realisation – I hope he does.”

After the debacle at the Valley of Brighton,I could not see a point coming from the next four games and my thoughts had turned reluctantly to accepting that Friends day at the Yeovil match will be anything but friendly for Parkie if he was still here. Instead our record has been:-

League

Home

P W D L F A Pts

1 1 0 0 1 0 3

Away

3 3 0 0 12 4 9

Cup

2 1 1 0 1 0

Total

6 5 1 0 13 4 12

There is no better way to respond to the “gentleman” who came onto the pitch to berate Parkie at The Valley than a record of 6 games 5 wins and a draw, a tremendous performance by Parkie and the team.

We are no longer relying one player as we have done in the past, when Reid is seen as the key man he gets injured and Anyinsah becomes the main man, he gets injured and we still turn in a performance. Goals are coming from all players Benson and Waggie at the topof the scoring charts, but supported by Jackson, Martin, two goals today Anyinsah.

Jacksons move to the left side of midfield has given us stability on the left without the flair of Reid but a sound platform for building attacks and for finishing them off.

There are many questions asking how we turned this position round, is it the players gelling, has Parkie sitting with them and talking to them done it, has Murray kicked Parkie up the bum- we don’t know but whatever the answer is Parkie takes the majority of the credit as he deserves to, alongside his coaching team.

Compared to equivalent matches last season we now have much in credit 28 points v 22 points.

(since when did they relegate four teams from Div1)
Forgetting about the cup game, and tempting fate, we have Yeovil coming up next week and Bristol Roves, neither of whom are having their best seasons, a difficult trip away to Rochdale and then Warsaw at home. Injury and form willing we could be sitting on another 9 points by the time we go to Hartlepool in December. These up and coming four games pose a different challenge from the last four. The last four last year generated 3 points, this year they generated 12, the next four produced 12 points – expectations are high, both from history and from form. Parkie is flavour of the month now, the next month will be interesting and on top of it all we could be a game closer to Wembley and another closer to a big money 3rd round FA Cup tie. 2nd place now but more importantly lets hope 2nd place in May.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

No fireworks on bonfire Saturday

Despite my concerns that we would only come away from this game with a draw, I am disappointed at todays result. A draw at Barnet means that between last weeks game with Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol Rovers on 23rd November we would have played 8 games, sufficient to stretch a squad of our resources, especially one where our second string forward line is failing to fire.

Tuesdays Southend JPT fixture throws up a quandary in selection for Parkie. Martin will be back available, but should Parkie go for broke and look to win or should we be looking to sacrifice the JPT for the greater riches of the League.

I have a view born out of experience of the League Cup in the 80's and 90's, when a number of teams reached Wembley in the League Cup, lost but then went on to win in the FA Cup. I would like a day out in the JPT at Wembley for the experience, but more for the players experience to holdin store for a potential Play Off final. If they can get over the awe of being in the stadium in the JPT then maybe there is an advantage for the Play Off final, and before anyone else says it there are a lot of if's and quite a few minutes of football to get there. That said I would like Parkie to go for it on Tuesday, but also be sensible in his selection.

Southend will face a similar dilemma having only drawn today and wanting to return to the third tier first time of asking, whilst next weeks opponents Peterborough drew at Stockport but do not have a midweek game.

Whilst I would like to take points from The Posh, that will not be easy, however after that we have Yeovil and Bristol Rovers at home, if we do not suffer from the fatigue of allthese games then I would expect 6 points from these games and anything more will be a bonus.

The next 17 days and 5 games will put our squad, which contains a number of players with poor fitness records under considerable stress and the fitness, physio and medical team are about to earn their corn.

Shock Takeover News On Charlton Life

The official takeover thread on Charlton Life has been beset by many usurpers such as "The All New Takeover Thread", "The Official Charlton Takeover Thread (For Johnny Come Latelys)" and "Talking of takeovers", to the extent that it required re branding from "Takeover" to THE 'OTHER' TAKEOVER THREAD (FOR PROPER CHARLTON), but despite this today saw the Takeover thread finally overatke the magic 3,000 plus whispers.

The achievement of 3,000 posts was forecast by Nostradamus to Herald the sun setting over the ownership of Richard Maurray and a new dawn of glorious ownership and future success at The Valley

Of course, it may not happen quite yet!!

Friday, 5 November 2010

De Ja Vue – Barnet 2010

Do you remember when as a third division club Charlton made its way to the quarter finals of the FA Cup. No ……. Hmmm, so it was a dream, damn, so history won't repeat itself, cause it never happened – damn!

So the De Ja Vue must be that last seasons pre season we were beaten and this season the same thing happened Then we were drawn in the cup (last season JPTY at home, this season FA Cup away),will history repeat it self?

Barnet are sitting proudly, holding the rest of the League up, in 24th place in Division 4 (League 2 in modern speak). Their most recent result was a 3-0 loss to Stevenage and earlier this season they lost 7-0 to Barnet On the face of it this does not look like we are facing a Northwich Victoria, but how often have our expectations been dashed?

It is going to be an interesting dilemma for Parkie on who to pick, who to rest.

My head says we'll win easily, but my heart says we'll get a draw and get back to the Valley, but what I can't see a defeat in anyway, so roll on the draw on Sunday.

 

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The numbers begin to gel


Only just over two weeks ago the Valley was a place of woe, the defenders of Phil Parkinson were devoid of excuses and the Parkie out brigade were in full voice. Like in an election decisions are not made by the majority but those shady middle grounders who are swayed from one camp to another and Parkies camp was emptying faster than a brothel during a police raid! A two and a half weeks later and morale has turned full circle 3 wins, two away nine points and we are in the play off zone with only a few points separating 9th place from second. Benson, that useless striker is now on fire, but then again he only scores goals!!! Two clean sheets in a row, its coming together for Parkinson, but the road to the Championship is a long one and the downer tonight was that everbody around us won, even Colchester who were 2-0 down to neighbours and relegation hopefuls Orient. Having got rid of the smug bar steward, Southampton are looking string under the stewardship of Ian Adkins.

Tonights 3-0 win at the County Ground, Swindon is partial revenge for their victory in the play off semi finals last season. What has been good tonight has been that we are developing a momentum and whilst we did not have the start we had last season, in Joe Anyinsah and Paul Benson we have a partnership that is causing opposition defenders not just problems but to be scared, along with Waggy, Jackson we have as balanced attack as I can remember since Hunt and Mendonca. There are some that may only give credit to the management grudgingly but they took a lot of stick after Brighton so the praise now should be fulsome in its delivery.

When we look at the position against the equivalent opposition last season we have now overtaken the points total and the closeness of the division puts us just off the automatics. Even if we lose the next two games we will not fall below last years equivalent and whilst the next league match will be difficult Peterboro away, we should clean up against Yeovil and Bristol Rovers at home.



If you like your stats and comparisons against last season, then I can thoroughly recommend AFKA's stat attack including Sheff Weds game on Charlton Life, which reviews this seasons player performances as recorded after each game by attendees, as well as general stats which you could condemn you to being a stato or just be interesting reading.  Click here to go to the stats, These were referred to on BBC London during todays commentary.

As we move into two cup games before the next league match we have a chance to recharge some players batteries and give other the opportunity to stretch their legs. Unfortunately from a revenue perspective these cups are important, in the JPT we have a realistic chance of getting to Wembley and the revenue from that and if we can beat Barnet then we are only a game away from a potential money spinner in the third round, so Parkinson has a difficult decision to make the league is so important that it must take precedence over every thing else.
So well done tonight, but lets remember we are only as good as our next result .. roll on Barnet.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The return of the flying pig!


That nickname was reserved for the famous Tommy Lawrence of Liverpool, but at times in his career it could equally be applied to Nicky Weaver, our returning former keeper. Even before he joined us Weaver was associated with Charlton fans emotions going back to our promotion season, when he was a young immature keeper he took the rise out of the North Stand, my recollection is that Kinsella tried to get to him when he was on the coach home. In our first season in the Prem. We met Weaver early on and trounced them comprehensively, Weaver at fault for our first goal fly kicking a Johnny Robinson shot and then giving away a penalty. Following the conversion of the penalty Kinsella went over to Weaver and gave him a hell of a mouthful. On the positive side at Maine Road Weaver assisted a Charlton goal by kicking his clearance mid way in his own half against a Charlton player only to see it loop over his head and back into his own goal. His final appearance at the Valley as an opposition player came a few years later when he was merely the second choice keeper for Man City. He had matured by then and accepted the abuse from an unforgiving North Stand with good grace and a smile.

Joining on a freebee, was never totally accepted by all the Charlton fans, for his antics as a youth, for his alleged £20,000 per week for his reputation as a fatty and for, during his latter stages, keeping Elliot out of the team, until Elliot replaced him after injury and he never appeared in the home short again. Between 2007 and 2009 he made 70 appearances for us.
He recently opened his career scoring account with a penalty in a shootout in the Johnstone Paint Trophy. One would hope that this is one returning player who won't be scoring against us on Saturday, although he could do equal damage by keeping a clean sheet and I fear that maybe our fate on Saturday.
I know it irritated Pardew but I always applaud former players and enjoy seeing them play well, as long as they are on the losing side. Unfortunately for Weaver he plays in a position where I cannot hope he plays well, we are due a good win at home and it would be nice to do it against one of the promotion favourites. A win on Saturday puts us back into the promotion frame, if we can keep pace with the leading pack then we could end this season in the place from which Weaver helped take us!!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Northern Heights


Well at 3-0 I was thinking that the next few days would see some respite for Parkinson, but at 3-3 depression had set in not only for two points lost but also for the groaning and moaning that would continue over the next seven days. I like Parkie, but I am getting to want him to go because I really find the negativity depressing. I am not saying its unfounded, I am not saying its unreasonable, its just depressing. So at 3-3, I decided that I would not wait around to hear a repeat of Shrewsbury. I cycled along the Ravensbourne behind Sainsbury at Bell Green and through Ladywell. Stopping, I checked my phone and wow, we had done it.

Now next time we need a goal, please nobody call me to go out cycling, that said I am intending tomorrow to get one of Boris's bikes from Victoria to Earls Court. (I did and cycled 10 miles there and back, according to sports tracker I did 83 mph - if only)

Anyway, back to the match. Its interesting that we would probably be happier if we had won 1-0 than 4-3. Of course, the 3-0 lead raised expectations and the loss of the lead simply raised further questions. There is nothing more disappointing than unfulfilled expectations. The problem for Parkie is that although we picked up a result that 78% of Charlton Lifers did not expect the second half capitulation is not glossed over by the three points, a number of lifers have taken the result despite, not because of Parkie.
Putting the result in context, last season we were beaten 3-1 in this furthest out post before Scotland. Only 4 of the squad on that day were in today's squad. Sam, Bailey, Burton and Youga were all in the starting line up and the consensus seems to be that they are better than their replacements, so any victory has to be seen as a great turnaround and a pretty decent result especially given what we saw last week.

Against equivalent matches last season we picked up 19 points and today we drew level with that total. The next 3 games generated 3 points last season, so we have all to play for against Wednesday, Peterborough and Swindon.

Now we are 3 points off automatics to go up and 6 points off automatics to go down, so today has finally been a good day, but the next week has a lot of work to be done to develop a momentum and move away from the momentum of a win every 3 games. A win against Wednesday and a draw against the other two would be a hell of a result, but not impossible.

Finally, away from football and Charlton, well done to Beth Tweddle who won gold in the World Gymnastics championship.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Monsoon over The Valley

Poor old Phil,it never rains but it pours and we have a storm of monsoon proportions over The Valley. If losing by 4 goals on Saturday was not bad enough or the increase in chatter on the message boards over his departure, one of his saving graces, the teams creative force is out not just for the visit to Carlisle but for the duration of the difficult sequence of matches that I pointed out previously.

I thought when Reid went down it was fairly innocuous, a bit like another left sided player a year or so ago – Kelly Youga. He is out for at least a month missing potentially, at least, Carlisle, Swindon, Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday, plus the JPT and the FA Cup.

The Yeovil game will be the anniversary of Pardews departure, whilst reeds departure was following a poor performance in the league cup …. Omens ? I hope not and that by then the atmosphere and results have turned around.

I was going to write that Carlisle is a big test, but that's daft, every game now is a big test and Parkies selection will be important for this game as it will form the foundations of the recovery or decline.

For me the team for Saturday should be as follows:-

Elliot

Francis Dailly Fortune Fry

Martin Semedo or McCormack Racon Jackson

Abbot Anyinsah

Worner, Semedo or McCormack, Wagstaff, Doherty, Benson, Sodje, Jenkinson

Its hard on Wagstaff our top scorer but I feel he is too one dimensional and better to come on in the second half when his pace can take the tired defence apart. Since his first game sending off, Semedo has not been the player he can be and Parkie needs to take the shackles off or bring in McCormack. Instead of having Martin or Wagstaff replace Reid, Jackson offers an option of solidity on the left hand side, strong crossing and a natural defender in Fry. Trying to work out the team for Saturday makes you really realise the paucity of our squad and we only have two injuries.

Its going to be a tough few weeks and Reids injury has done nothing to make it any easier, lets hope that the first test won't see Carlisle raining on our parade.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The next four games – Parkies P45?

A good nights sleep can put things in perspective, sleep allows the brain to process events of the day. Sadly last nights sleep has done nothing to lift my mood following yesterday. Of course, having immersed myself in Charlton Life, instead of watching Strictly come dancing.", I am more negative than I was. Where I saw, at least in the first half, hope and optimism, now it is just a sadness. Mind you the sound of the membership of Charlton Life slitting their wrists is upsetting, in the extreme. In fact there are two noises coming from CL, the slitting of wrists and the crashing of draws, as they close and Season Tickets are locked inside, with the promise of never to see the light of day until Parkinson is removed.

I am and have been a Parkinson supporter or apologist, as some would say. I am sure that this will not be seen as a revelation to both of the readers of this blog, I have previously written of my support for him and as I wrote yesterday and earlier in the week, the next five games, including yesterday, are critical. To come out with less than 9 points, as a minimum would make this seasons target of promotion a huge mountain to climb.

The next few games may not just determine the fate of our promotion challenge but also the fate of our manager. There are already calls for Parkinson to walk, without receiving the contractual pay off, I don't agree with that but would hope that it would be negotiated on an monthly payment basis till the summer when the contract terminates.

What of the Parkinson tenure and its end, if this is to be such a situation. When Curbishley went, my feelings were of a job well done and a time to move on, the next level, which turned out to a few strata below where we were, with Dowie it was shock and confusion, Reed it was inevitable and maybe the closest to how I feel now and with Pardew well that was different. Pardew was arrogant, deflected blame, destroyed our club and to this day would not accept the troubles were his, the 5-2 home defeat by Sheffield United, a team we had accompanied as we left the premiership, was almost a blessed relief, as it forced the boards hand. Pardew left with a £1m in his pocket, Parkie will receive nothing in comparison.

My feelings if Parkinson were to go are very different from those that surround Pardew, who brought him to the club. I like Parkinson, I have met him and chatted with him, he is a thoroughly nice guy. I believe he is doing his best and by all accounts he works his butt off for the club. A former boss of mine once said he does not care how hard people work, he was only interested in results and for Parkinson, that boss is the crowd.

I have said it before, I believe that Parkinson has been dealt a bad hand, he has never had the money that the previously mentioned managers had, although Curbishley came from a similar foundation that included free Bumsteads and Nelsons. When he took over the management of the club he came with the baggage of being Pardews assistant and part of the team that had seen a decline from Premier to Championship, and a failure then to turn results to avoid relegation to where we are now, despite an improvement in performances. Many fans have never forgiven him for being part of Pardews team and others for being in charge of the relegation and that is understandable. I have seen him make tactical changes, some have worked some have not and to be honest he is probably no worse or better than half the managers at League level The key to any management role in football is managing players and if Parkinson is to survive he has to manage this lot now, he needs to get them fired up in the right way and they need to be getting results. Whether they are the best players ever to don a Charlton shirt (they are not) does not matter at this level they are capable of more than the results that they are showing currently and it is the managers job to realise this. In my opinion, Parkie has four games to generate this realisation – I hope he does.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Generosity killed the kap


My mate John was on family business today, so he generously allowed me to use his season ticket ……… some times the generosity of others can be painful and I do wonder if he had had a premonition of things to come.

The good news is that we got no points from this fixture last year so not getting any this year does not disturb our this year last year comparison and if that sounds like clutching at straws well you could be right.  They say every silver lining has a cloud and on this occaision it is a great big dirty grey one.

However, before I comment on Charlton, let me say Brighton and Hove Albion were a credit to their manager and the 3,500 fans who were allowed to watch them at the Valley. I think having only missed Oldham at home this season and Brentford at home last season, this was the best team to come to the Valley at this level of football. Gus Poyet is currently on his first managerial role, having cut his coaching teeth at Spurs and Leeds and he seems to me to be punching below his weight at this level and I doubt he will be at Brighton in 12 months time. He has turned round a very poor Brighton side that came to the Valley and took three points last season into a very good Brighton side that came today and left with a full house on terms of points and score.

At the out set let me state that I felt until the second goal we were in this game, but the second killed us. I expect, without checking the records, that the last team to win by a four goal margin at the Valley would have been one of the premier league top four during the golden age. That said Brighton were not four goals better, until maybe the last 15 minutes and a 2-0 score line would have been fairer.

Brighton have taught us a lesson today and that lesson is about being sharp up front, creating and taking chances. They did not make too many in the first half and in fact the one they scored from was made by us, a corner came in poorly cleared to the right, crossed back in and in the back of the net. The first half saw both teams pushing the ball forward and Abbot almost headed in from a sharp cross, but put it just wide of the post

As in the first half the second half started with Charlton attacking and giving hope that we would get back in the game but we lack penetration and cutting edge, taking too long to get the ball in where it hurts, allowing the defenders to get back into position and cover attacks. We have yet to win a penalty this season. Is this because of incompetent referees or is it a more fundamental, is it about the way we play. You would have thought with Benson, Reed, Martin and Wagstaff in the side we would have the benefit if their speed either creating chances or creating penalties, but maybe the issue is that we are not getting into the penalty area with any force or venom.

What happened to the Johny Jackson that we had on loan last season, this Johny Jackson is a pale imitation and a player of his experience should never have attempted the back pass he did. He is totally responsible for the second goal, although I thought Elliot could have done better. Having made this error, the real failing was letting our heads drop, after that we were gone. The third goal was Lua Lua's first touch of the ball and if anyone had watched last weeks The Championship, they would have blocked out the opportunity instead we were three down.

The fourth goal was just one of those last minute things – demoralised team, pushing for something they could call salvation and the team that are up for it breakaway and score.

The players have to take responsibility for this defeat and the level of it. As we matched Brighton, we did ourselves in, as they say - poor defending from a corner, bad back pass and then it is gone, the opportunity no longer exists. For the first two goals I really don't think you can put the fallibility of the players on Parkinson, seriously. I blame Parkinson for our failure to hurt teams in the box and the failure to either get a team together or if he has then a failure to get them to gel consistently and for a sustained 90 minutes.

The crowd overall was very positive and supportive till the team capitulated and then the boos came, that isn't something any of us anti booers can really object to, 0-4 at home in the third division at home. However two things I do object to,the first is the guy who sat in front of me (this used to be my seat, so he has sat in front of me for about 3 years) shouting across to the Brighton fans your fxxxing cxxxx, to me this is unnecessary language, but when he has a child with him who is less than 10 years old, you can only wonder at his parenting skills and how she will grow up, as he left he shouted to the player "you should be ashamed of yours selves" – true, but he is a fine one to speak and secondly and I will risk getting slaughtered for this, the guy who approached Parkinson in the coaching area, I'm sorry but however you feel, that is not on .

Today was the first part of our ordeal of 5 games, we failed and the minimum of 6 points from 15 looks difficult, that said we won't see another Brighton at the Valley again this season, unless it's a cup.

Thanks for your generosity John, but today it hurt.

Ps Charlton Life has blown a fuse presumably from all the wrist slitting this is the message I am getting-

"Forbidden


You don't have permission to access /forum/ on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apache/1.3.41 Server at charltonlife.com Port 80"

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Trial by ordeal

As I sit in the jury waiting room eager to adjudicate on the dispensation of justice on behalf of her majesty, my thoughts turn to the forthcoming five fixtures. Brighton, Sheffield Wednesday, at home, Carlisle, Peterborough, Swindon away. The next five fixtures will be a trial by ordeal. If we come out of that lot with more than 9 points then the jury's verdict of the season so far and future prospects will be totally positive, however if we come out with six or less the fans verdict will be that Parkie is guilty of an inability to manage and will only feel that justice has been done when we see the back of him, Breaker and maybe Kinsella.


 

Our record at The Valley is an enviable one, played four, eight points, despite some disjointed un inspiring performances. 45 minutes here and there are not enough to cajole the faithful into loud raucous support, but it does lay foundations and I believe confidence of the team. The biggest test for the team this season at home comes this weekend , with the visit of table topping Brighton and Hove Albion. Managed by Guy Poyet, they have turned around their disappointing form of last season to be a confident formidable out fit. One of their season highlights from last year was their visit to The Valley when they toppled promotion chasing Charlton in a 2-1 victory, Richardson scoring with a daisy cutter. Brighton's charge stalled last week as the linesman and Bournemouth team conspired to turn the referee's legitimate award of a free kick into a penalty in injury time. For the players of Brighton it must be soul destroying to play at the Withdean where the fans are remote from the pitch due to a running track (something that west ham can look forward to if their Olympic stadium bid goes through). Brighton will have no concerns about a stadium that dissipates sound when they come to the Valley. The Jimmy Seed is probably the best stand in the valley for dispersion of sound towards the pitch. The low roof and traditional old fashioned build of the stand works to the advantage of the opposition and one of Pardoo's few intelligent remarks was that the away fans should not be given the benefit of that stand. Health & Safety fan security have prevented the move to some of the empty spaces at the side of the pitch. I have been an advocate of cutting large holes through the sides of the stand and insulating the roof with sound absorbing material.


 

The Brighton players will be up for this as they bring 3,500 fans to fill Jimmy Seed and pick off a few seats in the home end. We could convince our selves that this is a lost game before we begin. To do so however we need to come out of the blocks as we did for Dagenham & Redbridge and keep it going for a full 90 minutes. This is the first time we have had a team at the valley who will be attacking us from the off, although you could justifiably argue that Notts County soon realised that we were there for the taking. Since Notts County the team have shown some improvement and cohesion and we have started to see Benson repay the investment in him. With Brighton coming at us they will also be vulnerable to our attacks. Not playing against a packed defence we can allow our team to be expansive in their play. As you go down the leagues it is rarer and rarer to find quality creative midfielders that can unlock defences, with Brighton coming at us we can instead of working out how to unlock the defence we can focus on piercing it with through balls, crosses and counter attacks.


 

With Francis being absent last week, this weeks target for the fans has been Thierry Racon, who has been criticised for his contribution and positional play. I'm not the biggest fan of young terry, but when he is criticised by some based on radio commentaries it does seem a bit unfair. Thierry has bundles of potential, the good news is that with each game he is improving and that can only be good, he does need to score more goals and we know that he has a vicious long shot, something the club misses at the moment. One of the biggest pluses for Racon is that Frances will be back on Saturday.


 

It is I going to be an interesting match and one where I think the opposition will be strong enough and clever enough to know that Reid is the best creative player in the team, and will put two / three players on him, that will leave space elsewhere and we need to have a strategy for exploiting this.


 

Once we get past Brighton for better or for worse we face further challenges, as I said at the beginning we face a trial by ordeal, but if we can get through it half intact then this could be a great season.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Wemberlee, wemberlee and days by the sea

Hope over expectation rules as the draw for the Johstone Paint Trophy was made on Soccer A.M.

Away from The Valley by the coast at Southend on a balmy early November evening.

On paper we should be able to get to the regional semi finals and I would expect to be playing Swindon, Bristol Rovers or Exeter City. Given how close we are to Wembley it would be nice to see some momentum behind our efforts and if we get through this round , we go through to the southern semi finals and then take part in a double legged area final and hopefully we get good support at the Valley (but retain cheap tickets).
Another match by the sea that maybe worth noting

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Southern Softies


The northern hard men of Charlton go to the southern softies of Plymouth on Saturday after a mixed bag of away results over the last few days. Of course calling Plymouth softies does not reflect the steel that our players have faced from Plymouth in recent meetings. Three years ago in the Championship, the classy, Todorov's career was virtually ended by a callous unpunished foul at the Valley and later that season, having gone out on loan, McLeod faced similar treatment from the same player. Managers and personnel, let alone divisions have changed since then, but make no mistake this is a hugely important game for both sides.
At the risk of having our usual hopes and expectations being dashed on the rocks of reality, Charlton have every chance of getting something out of this game, having figuratively pulled their socks up against MK Dons and turned a deficit into a victory. Following a morale sapping defeat at Brentford on Saturday and goal after 2 minutes by former Man U player Kuke "Spotty" Chadwick – watch out Lee Martin and take note just because you came from the Man U academy does not mean you have a divine right to be a star, you have to work at not only your tricks but also your end product, or you could end up in a soulless town like Milton Keynes to ply your trade - it would not be unexpected for the team devoid of cohesion and confidence to crumble. From reports we may not have crumbled but we were not good in that first half. However a stern talking to or whatever happens behind those closed doors at half time and we are still Wembley bound.
Plymouth were one of my favourites for the top two this season, but they are languishing in 17th place three points behind Charlton with a similar last 6 games record 2-2-2. The fans must be disappointed with their big managerial recruit, Peter Reid who I am sure raised expectations of glory. Like us there is plenty of time to kick on for the pilgrims, Norwich and Millwall proved that last season, but with every match that goes past more pressure comes into play.
For us we have two players on fire at the moment, Reid and Wagstaff. At this rate Waggy could be a 20 goal man this season, instead of his key role being creating goals he is turning into the main man converting them, whilst without Reid there would be nobody loading the bullets. Reids crosses are proving invaluable but we have to be cautious, this time last season Lloyd Sam was in tremendous form and stood out as a class player in the team.  Then opposition mangers double / triple marked him and for the rest of the season he was noted for his anonymity and the rest of the team failed to take advantage of the space created by defenders being drawn to him. Don't be surprised if Reid starts to fade as once again the opposition realise that if you cut off the supply, you cut off the goals and despite today's reassurance by Parky, we are scoring precious few of those.
If Reid does have reason to fade then we need players to step up to the plate. Martin has looked the part, but flatters to deceive, he needs to use his quick feet to hurt the opposition, not to just make them look stupid. Semedo is looking decidedly under whelmed with life and has lost some of that spark we know he has, maybe the sending off in the first game of the season has affected him, but he just has to get over it and play his normal game, along with Racon they have to boss the game not allow it to pass them by, or in Racons case get a decent loan in and ship Racon out in January, he has the ability now he has to deliver, he has been with us for too long now without achieving.
John Fortune has made an assured return to the club and alongside Dailly, I think we have the making of a decent central defence. Unfortunately Doherty and llerra may not win a turning speed competition with the QE2.  Francis continues to be the focus of the boo boys and my assessment of him is that he has developed well defensively, but lets himself down with his distribution and that has to get better, as good defensive work is useless if we are just going to have the opposition come back at us. With Fry being injured Johny Jackson will revert to left back again, a position in which he excelled last season on his short loan, but this season has seemed less self assured.
Elliot is back, playing his third game in a week, Worner is back on the bench without having disgraced himself, although questions have been raised as to how he can describe himself as over 6 foot and presumably Luke Daniels is back in the black country with Deano.
Singularly this season we have failed to play for a full 90 minutes, if we do then I am sure we will get something out of this game, but if we don't then I can see another west country disappointment for the addicted faithful.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Parkies Boys Buzzed


We have been waiting for performances and results to match, but we did not expect that to materialise with the performance being poor and the result being unacceptable, against the bottom of the table team. Brentford, Tranmere and Dagenham & Redbridge - bottom of the table clubs, we cannot expect to get even a play off place if we do not take maximum points from clubs of this level.

As an advocate of Parkie, I have backed the manager since his original temporary appointment.  He now  has, for the first time, a team that he can truly call his own. Curbishley used to say that after 10 games you can judge how a season will go. We have reached that stage now and for a club for whom promotion is not only desirable but has a survival imperative, our current position, outside the top 6 and playing poorly is not acceptable.
Parkie talks of a geling period and without doubt, unless you are really lucky, a new team takes time to gel. Last season we were lucky and a relatively new team put together a series of record breaking results.  This season we have failed to find a cohesive team and formation. Detractors of Bailey, Burton and Sam may now be wondering just how wrong they may have been, certainly I would like some of the passion that Bailey showed and I never thought I would regret his departure.

I cannot say I am too keen on Parkies blasé attitude towards his sending to the stands and two match ban. How can the players be expected to show authority (however wrong the authority maybe) respect if the manager treats them with contempt. Instead of using the penalty decision to ensure a seat in the stands, Parkie should have been able to send out a team fired up and ready to take on the opposition and referee through the quality of their play and the desire to put a wrong right and send the fans home singing, not scowling.

We may have had a lot of poor decisions from the officials, however Parkie has focussed on this too much - poor decisions happen, as the author of Dr Kish has pointed out to me recently, we have also had decisions go for us, but we are fans and we have selective myopia. Parkie cannot influence referees decisions after they have been made, but instead of letting the players feel sorry of themselves, he needs to motivate players using every bad decision ever given against them - Right the wrong, don't bemoan the past.

I'm listening to Parkie on the radio and he is saying that the players did not come out for the first half with the right attitude, he says that the players have let "us" down, but for me the management team have let "us" down by allowing a team to come out with anything other than the right attitude. BBC London have criticised him for putting all the blame on the players and I have to say I feel that Parkie and his management team should be holding their hands up and taking a hefty level of responsibility.

Tuesday sees us appear on Sky for the second time and viewers will wonder what happened to the fight that they saw at Orient, not that many weeks ago but none will be wondering more than Charltons own fans. We have to play 6 regular players in the JPT and I expect Dailly to make his return for match practice. I would like to say we should rest players to protect them from injury prior to Plymouth, but in all honesty there is not a single player that I feel we would miss if he got injured for Plymouth.

If we had won today we would be sitting third a point outside the play offs, with the momentum behind us for Plymouth who lost at home today,instead we face the real prospect of facing league leaders Brighton in 2 weeks time on the back of a run of 3 defeats in a row, inc JPT.

I was not at Brentford today so I won't pontificate on what went wrong, however the gel period is over ten games is sufficient for 75% geling, so now is the time for Parkie to get it right and that is a comment from a friend, god knows what the Parkie haters are saying.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Seasons comparison after MK Dons


Comparisons can be misleading, on the one hand if you follow the famous Dick Shephards same time last year comparison of the nine games so far things do not look too good.



Three wins down, two losses up and short of 9 goals, despite 4 new strikers since then. Of course, then we were on a record run that gave Parkie a record never achieved by a Charlton manager before. That form raised our expectations, but it soon petered out and after a difficult post Christmas period we held onto 4th and the rest is history.



Hopefully this season we are starting slow and our momentum will increase till we come up on the rails for promotion in May. Despite the moans and groans, and to be fair the performances that have left a bit to desire, when compared to the similar matches last season things are not too bad as we trail by only two points. Personally, I would expect us to beat a bottom of the table team on Saturday, which would put us back on par, followed by Plymouth when we should see the return of Christian Dailly. Of course, I am the eternal optimist and we could also be 6 points off par by the time Brighton come to play.

Girls, Girls, Girls

It's a while since I have written about Charltons Women or even on a wider scale womens football or an even wider scale women in sport. I think it maybe partly from the embarrassment last season of a few days after the defeat at the Den, sneaking back and watching Englands Women defeat Spains Women 1-0, on their victorious road to the world cup finals next year. I was ready over the next few days to answer anyone who had noticed me there with, "No you must be mistaken, I was in a gay bondage bar." Infinitely less embarrassing than being in the Den voluntarily not watching Charlton.

Although still criminally under exposed, women's sport in Britain, appears to be in the fullest of health. Women's Cricketers are on top of the world having won the 2009 world cup, the rugby team were beaten world cup finalists and the GB Hockey team picked up their first ever medal – a bronze – in the recent world cup.

I first watched womens football at the Valley, when the England team took on Croatia in a friendly, subsequently I watched a few Charlton Womens matches when they were played at the Valley, in fact I watched them before they were reincarnated from Croydon Ladies, at the Croydon sports arena. I habe a photo of me with Casey Stoney – current England player and former Charlton captain and the media darling when an anti Charlton spokesperson was being sought following the disbandment of the Ladies after male relegation.

Charltons women were initially run separately from the club set up and separate sponsors were sought for them and through Alan Mercer – "Merc" to his mates, , Footdown came forward. Latter it is alleged that pressure was put on Footdown to give up sponsorship so that the mens sponsors could be rolled over onto the women, so to speak!

But now its has gone a full circle, Paul Mortimers team play in a kit supplied by Macron but the design is different from the men's team and KRBS, have probably, decided that they have plunged too much money into the club and a fans company has picked up the womens shirts. Stephen King – hopefully not the author –has already been a sponsor of Casey through his company PHSC Plc. So now the gap between the Womens team and the Mens team is complete, different owner ship (the women's team is part of the community scheme), their own website, different league, different kit and different sponsors. It's a shame because I used to enjoy the Valley nights, singing for the diminutive Eartha Pond (when I say diminutive, I really mean bult like a brick outhouse).

A lot of people look at womens football and negatively compare it with the men's game. However to really appreciate the women's game you have to think of it as something to be viewed independently of any other sport. You don't compare five a side football with the eleven a side game and that is how you should look at the women's game.

Unfortunately, the successes of yester year are not being repeated by the current crop, they have played 5 games this season and lost all of their league games. The only positive being the one win in the cup against Millwall, this despite optimistic noises pre season. That said if you read the write ups we apparently have drawn against Keynsham Town.

I am hoping that at some stage the women do come back to the Valley and we see one or two matches, in the meantime I'll look forward to watching England in next years world cup hope in my heart and in the dressing room and no wags in sight … well only a few!!


 


 

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Jekyl and Hyde at the Valley

Blimey how can a side be so dominant one half and so poor th second. What did Parkie say at half time? We went from playing good football in the first half to playing at Dagenhams level, just hoofing the ball in the second.

We need to go up this season or we will have another staff turn around next season and each time we do that, we go down a level in staff on the pitch. in fact, come January if we are not competing then the trio of Semedo, Youga and Racon could be on there way.

We can't lose ppoints against teams like Tranmere and Dgenham if we are going to go up, especially if we take the lead, not once but three times with the third with only minutes to play.

Benson either needs to break his duck or have a spell on the bench,I htnk at the moment we have more strikers than number of goals scored by a striker. Its worrying that JohnStill has said we do not play to Bensons strengths, i don't think a 30 year old player is bought to change the way he plays.

The forwards are clearly suffering form a bit of confodence defecit, which means they are taking too long over shots on target, allowing defenders and keepers to get in there and block.

Tuesday see's the Dons come over,we thrashed them last year but I worry that this season will see them gain their revenge.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Seasons defining week starts now!

I'm off to Bromley Addicks tonight to see if Phil Parkinson can alleviate the concerns and tensions of Charlton Life Addicks and a few others about our lack lustre and under achieving performances so far this season. Lets not forget though that we are still well in the race for automatic,in what is a very tight league. From last years meeting,we can expect an open and frank exchange. Last year we weee on our winning streak and the addicted were content, this year we are in a more realistic situation, but there is more frustration and disgruntlement with the team, so I would expect some more negative comments relating to Shelvey, lack of goals and little creativity.

Once Parkie has set his stall out he will go back to Sparrows Lane and prepare for two home games in a row. If we can get all six points we can be top of the table with other results going for us and calm will descend on the message boards till the next game.

I cannot see anything less than a victory against Daggers and am hoping for a goal for Benson so he can kick start his short charlton career, however MK Dons will be a different kettle of fish and my money would be on a draw or a 1-0 either way.

Once we have those two out of the way, we are back on the road to conquerors of Everton, Brentford. The cup run for them could do us a favour,as hopefully they take their eye of the ball, however whether they do or not,Parkinson needs to get our away set up sorted as we will need to be performing better on the road if we are to make anything of this season.

I am expecting 5 points out of the next 9, but hoping for 7.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Selhurst Experiment - A cost worth paying


Is it really only 25 years?  It feels like a life time, ok for some of the addicted 25 years is more than a lifetime.

Ironically, 25 years on and stoke has a different significance to me, as I took my youngest to Uni there last weekend, totally oblivious to the historical significance of the club, but berating the traffic as West Ham were playing at the Britannia.

Unlike most if not all other Addick fans, the closure of the Valley was a positive for me (quick duck as things are thrown at me), but before I am too berated let me explain. 

I switched as I explained elsewhere on this blog from armchair supporting Chelsea to actively watching Charlton in 1969 and was a fairly regular attendee until around 1979, except the times when I got a really poor school report, when my mum banned me from going.  Around this time I stopped going, partly due to marriage in ’80 and moving away.  I basically missed the Elliot and Walsh years and, to be honest, the we’re going into admin years.

In ’82 I moved to Hull, and was there till just after the valley closure, popping down to see my parents in Forest Hill and In Laws in Catford, once  a month. 

Then it happened, salvation from parents, I could leave my wife with my parents or hers.  The idea of Charlton sharing a ground was, to coin a phrase, a ground breaking event in English football, seen as the future of English football, soon Man U would share with Man City, Liverpool with Everton, Arsenal with Spurs, West Ham with Orient and Millwall ……. Ok no one wants to share with Millwall.  And 25 years later the number of sharing clubs, moving on from our and Palaces experiment is  ….. none!!!  OK Palace went on to fleece Wimbledon and we went on to play at Upton Park.

To me before it happened sharing had a bit of romance and I was determined to be there for the first ever ground sharing game in England and so my wife and I travelled 5 hours down from Beverly, North Humberside to SE23, I dropped her off and went to see Charlton v Sunderland and we won 2-1.  I cannot remember who scored for us, but I remember that Sunderlands scorer was the ex Ipswich player who was the ugliest man in football.  For those of you reading of my age and beyond, you’ll remember that Bobby Robson as manager of Ipswich had a team of really ugly players, there has probably not been an uglier team in English football, you could understand how they almost won the league, because they were never afraid to get their head in there where the boots were flying.
Eric Gates one of Bobby Robsons Ugly's and the first scorer against Charlton at Selhurst

This was my South London romantic period as a couple of seasons later, I was happy that we shared the top division with Palace, Millwall and Wimbledon.

Any way, back to why I was happy we were at selhurst, the bare facts are, it got me back into watching live football and after that game against Sunderland, I got the Charlton bug and following Charlton has become an obsession.

Of course the Selhurst experience was never going to work, geographically it was wrong as transport links were poor from Charltons catchment area and of course sharing with palace was like being invited in to your neighbours house who then picks your pocket, whilst ripping you off for rent.  Palace fans today see themselves as our saviours, but that is a long way from the real story.  Fry and Noades had grand designs to amalgamate the two clubs, as Maxwell had designs on Thames Valley Rovers, from Oxford and Reading, in more reality this would have seen the end of Charlton. 

25 years ago, an experiment in football started, strangely enough whilst it alienated a huge number of Charlton fans for me it was a success, because it brought me back into the fold.  Some may say that it was too big a cost, but you won’t hear that from me, especially as it meant I did not have to spend Saturday afternoons with the family!!!!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Parkinson Bromley Excursion On Thursday - Or See Ben Hayes's Cardigan collection

Charltons former supporters director and famed for his cardigans Ben Hayes tells me that this Thursday sees Phil Parkinson make the trek over to Bromley Addicks to meet the fans at Bickley and Widmore working Mens Club, Tylney Road, BR1 2SH.

I have been to Q&A's with Pardew and last year at the Valley with Parkie before and I can tell you a night with Parkie is good fun and he is straight and honest.  Sometimes seen as detrimental, but i would say a real positive, Parkie comes over as a nice guy and for those of us with memories of Curbs in his early days there are many similarities.

You do not have to be a member and there is no entrance fee, Ben may ask you to buy a raffle ticket and the prize is a signed shirt, I believe although do not hold me to it.

There are a lot of questions being asked about the team and players and tactics, I am sure that providing questions are asked in a reasonable and constructive manner Parkie will be as happy to give a straight and honest answer as possible.

The night is good value for money.

Bromely Addicks Face Book site can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/368w562

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Football in perspective

"Its more than a game,its a matter of life and death!" - No its not, in this weekend when we remember those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attack football is put in perspective. 

Last week an 18 year old trialist with Cambridge United, who had just played his first game for their reserves was shot dead in Peckham.  This former Dulwich Hamlets youth player was by all accounts an innocent victim.  A number of Dulwich players had played with Rio McFarlane and were his freinds, but the FA refused to allow the Hamlets game on the 4th of September to be postponed, despite the agreement of Chatham Town, Hamlets lost.

As Blackpool celebrated their latest extraordinary win in the premier league they honoured their youth coach Gary Parkinson who has sufferred a stroke and is "very poorly".

Its a great game, a beautiful but its not more important than many other things.  

Season Comparison

If we look at how we performed this time last year then this season is a dissapointment, but statistics are about context or "lies, damn lies and statistics", so if we loook at equivalent games then we are on par with last season,with less quality.

With John Barnes a distant memory, Tranmere are a stronger force than when we went there and turned them over last season and I can't see us getting more than a point next week, but then.beating the hapless Dagenham & Redbridge willput us back on par and victories against MK Dons and Brentford would put us ahead of the game, but a performance like yesterday is unlikely to yield such a position.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Grand Theft At The Valley

Todays proceedings were summed up for me during the first half.  For a number of years now I have known Brian Cole and his daughter.  I have already stated that todays seat was courtesy of Kings Hill Addick and I was seated a few seats to the left of the Cole couple.  there was Brian sitting there,his head in his hands in despair and sitting next to him was his daughter executing a giant yawn..... and this was a neat summing up by the Cole family of our performance.

Still we got three points, we're only two points and 6 goals off the top spot.  It is a long time if ever that I have seen a match where we have been so over run and come out with one point let alone three.  There have been the odd games where we have dominated but we have not been rewarded with points.

The plus points were:-
- a win,
- meeting Kings HillAddick,
- meeting up with Henry Irving and Dr Kish,
- Parkie realising that McCormack and Semedo were not working and actually changing it at half time,
- Semedo being Captain
- Robbie Elliot
- Further substitutions that worked
- Winning when we played awfully

The negatives
- They were bloody awful
- The failure of our starting forwards to make an impact
- They really were awful
- The team need time to gel, but it is worrying that there are no perceptible signs of it happening.
- They were so so awful.
- McCormacks first half performance.

But what was the worst part of the day, was that when my mate got back to where he had parked his car, it was obvious that someone had caved in the car window and he had been a victim of car theft, so it was not just Notts County who had someting stolen while at the Valley today!!!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Two Hills In The Valley

Courtesy of Kings Hill Addick* I will be at the Valley tomorrow.

After two straight away defeats the pressure (IMHO unfairly) is rising for Parkie and the team.  Woe betide us if we go a goal down tomorrow against one of the oldest clubs in the world, Notts County.  I can hear the boos already.  But honestly we are only a few games in and we need players to bed in and learn to work with each other.  Sometimes this can take a game or two, others it can take a while.  Would we rather we started like a steam train, ala last season and peter out or would we like to do a Millwall and rush for the finishing line and get the enormous prize of a bronze and promotion.

I am sure there will be a few boos reserved for Lee Hughes Sadly I think that will only spur him on.  Parkie has a number of selection decisions to make.  At times he is a bit like Curbishley in his loyalty to players and I wonder if this approach leads to a level of complacency amongst the chosen players and a feeling of injustice amongst those left out.  It certainly had a bearing on both Spring and McCenzie last season, who were both ignored during the slump despite claiming to be fit.

By all accounts Fortune had a good run out in the reserves last week and the question is raised wether he is fit enough to start tomorrow instead of the hapless Llerra.  OK that is a bit unfair, but his decision making this season is a bit iffy and he should never have gone in so recklessly at Exeter.  for the record, I think that was a penalty.  There is always the option of playing Fry at Centre back and bringing back Jackson at left back.  I like what I have seemn and heard about Fry and would like to retain him at left back, despite his heroics their last season, Jackson is not a natural left back so I would prefer Fry there, plus I have never seen Fry in the centre of defence.

Midfield seems to be the key area of concern at the moment in that we have numbers but do we have quality.  The response from Exeter and Huddersfield is that Semedo and McCormack are too similar and there is a lack of creativity ... Racon or Jackson maybe for McCormack.  This I think is where Parkies loyalty to players may play against him as he has faith in McCormack (same as Francis) and is expecting him to come good.  I would actually like to see racon go in to the role of creative midfielder and in dailly's absence be given the captaincy - which is probably why I am not very good at Football Management games.

Martin is odds on for starting on the right with Wagstaff around on tjhe bench.  Martin potentially offers a lot but he is also a bit of a show man, that's ok if you are ronaldo, but Martin needs to prove himself before being able to wander through games strutting.  Assuming Reid is fit, he needs to put in a performance that is telling, again like Martin he has shown flair but is yet to really hurt defences in the way he did last season.

Up front it is unlikely to be anything other than Abbott and Benson.  Abbott has told the Evening Standard that he has quickly settled in and is ready to start scoring goals tomorrow, so here is hoping that he can fulfill his promise.  Abbots move from Oldham may be physically and emotionally harder than Bensons but he needs to put a performance in similar to the one he did at Shrewsbury.

There has been no news specifically on Akpo having had a bad knock on the head at the end o f the game at Exeter, although there was news about the Sodje families gala dinner at the valley for poverty in Africa.

I'm going for a dull game at the Valley tomorrow, with us grinding out a 2-1 victory.

Ps Any chance of not singing the incest song?


*Much appreciated Kings Hill