Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year

2009 is busy doing it's warm down exercises and 2010 is coiled like a spring, ready to rush into play.

Only 12 months ago, on NYE 2008, Phil Parkinson was accepting the Charlton Athletic manager role, in a permanent capacity.
We suffered relegation but ultimately I think PP will be fairly pleased with his 12 months at the helm. Being in 2nd spot, at the halfway stage in the season is beyond most of our hopes back in August.

I'd like to wish everybody, Addicks and all others, a fantastic New Years Eve celebration and a healthy and happy 2010.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Charlton (9 men) 2- Swindon (12 men?) 2.

A proud record at the Valley was upheld yesterday.

Most of us are aware that 'Fortress Valley' has not been breached since March 2009 but another record, going back much further, was kept intact due to Llera's last gasp lob over the onrushing David Lucas.

Crispy's daughter Hannah was present for the visit of the Swindon Robins and she has the enviable record of never having seen Charlton lose!

Get her a Season Ticket Crispy!

As the clock ticked into added on time, we all feared the inevitable.
The scenes of jubilation around 3 sides of the Valley really did come from deep inside our souls after what had seemed an unlikely comeback only moments before.
 I defy anyone not to scream like a banshee after experiencing anything similar.

Charlton started off the game completely in control. Burton missed an absolute sitter when he headed over the bar from an unchallenged position.
Burton has been 'Mister Consistency' lately but yesterday he not only let himself down, he also let his team mates down.

The referee had an absolute stinker yesterday.  He sent Sodje off after only 20 minutes, though for around 10 of those he had been off the pitch anyway having his head stitched up.

Sodje's challenge may have been 'wild' but as Crispy said at the time, perhaps his reputation for getting sent off preceded him. The straight red did look harsh but these things happen. It seemed an odd position to perform a last gasp challenge, (just outside the opposition penalty area), but SS dived in and didn't get much of the ball. The referee made no friends but it was an understandable decision.

The referee was at least half to blame for Burton's dismissal.
Had he had his eyes open, he would have seen Akpo Sodje clearly fouled inside the penalty area.
Burton decided he would remind referee Miller of his duty to control the game, rather than just jog around, trying to work off his Christmas dinner. Burton was duly carded.

Shelvey put the Addicks one nil up with a very well placed shot from distance and despite their superiority in numbers, Swindon were chasing shadows.

Unfortunately, with only 5 minutes of the first half to play, Burton had a moment of madness and made the most obvious attempt at pushing the ball past the keeper with his hand.

The referee put down his white stick and gave Burton his obligatory second yellow card, meaning we were down to 9 men.

At 10 against 11 players, I still felt we had more than enough for a very poor Swindon side. With 2 players having an early bath it was going to be tough leading to impossible.

The second half should have been a walk over for Swindon but they created very little. They scored 2 goals but neither came from stroking the ball around in an attempt to tire our side, they just came from us not having enough players to cover all the options in our own penalty area.

Parky should be praised for really giving it a go and sending on Dickson, McKenzie and Wagstaff to give us some bite and legs up front.

The game seemed to be up as the clock touched 90 minutes.
I thought to myself that we may have lost but we haven't really been beaten. Despite being 2 players down, we had fought and showed resilience that none of the Charlton Pardew teams even hinted at.

Then the most dramatic of endings that had supporters hugging and high fiving all around the Valley.

Swindon should be ashamed of themselves.

A Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo shirt is being awarded to all the Charlton players, (except Sam Sodje and Deon Burton), who ran and ran and made us all proud to 'be Charlton'.
The crowd were, as usual, fairly slow to get started but by the second half, were really getting behind the team despite the setbacks.

The Primark novelty slogan tee shirts are awarded to Sam Sodje and Deon Burton for losing us the extra 2 points.
At 11 v 11, Charlton would have won at a canter against a poor side. As it was, it became a very tough game.
The referee is getting another Primark tee shirt.
He entered into the spirit of the Disney link up with Swindon by being completely Mickey Mouse.
He might have had little choice with the sendings off but for the rest of the game he was almost Swindon's best player.
He broke down Charlton attacks to stop play, he waved play on when there were obvious fouls and throughout the entire game, never gave Charlton the benefit of the doubt in a 50:50 decision.
Even had he not reduced Charlton to 9 men, he still would have been complete pony.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

It's ChristMaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!

Swindon stroll into town on Boxing Day, hopefully without the same swagger as the muppets from Bermondsey last weekend.

Well done to any Swindonians who make it to the Valley as the transport system serving SE7 seems to have taken the obligatory break.
Perhaps there will be a fleet of Swindon based, factory fresh, Honda cars parked on the Woolwich Road due to the train 'service' being token at best.

My memories of recent encounters with Swindon are probably the same as everyone else.
I stood in the rain and got DRENCHED at the County Ground in our first successful promotion season to the Premier League but at least I could still see the game. Crispy, who was next to me, had his glasses steamed up so badly he may as well have stayed at home.
In our second promotion season I have memories of Charlton presenting Willie Carson with some cash to help out their club prior to the game, then Dean Kiely making a hash of a tame cross and pushing it into his goal.
I believe we lost 1-0 despite attacking for the rest of the game.

On Boxing Day I'd settle for a clean sheet as I feel we are likely to score.
Parky has to earn his corn after the exciting but ultimately disappointing draw with Millwall last week.
How he tweaks the team to cover for the suspended Sam will be interesting to see.
Along with local derbies, Boxing Day has a history of throwing up odd results - anyone else 'enjoy' Boxing Day at West Ham a few years ago?
I had more than enough excitement last week and hope a solid professional performance will be the Christmas present from the players to the supporters.

I'd like to thank everybody who has found the time to glance at my blog this year and to wish each and every one of you a fantastic Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

I'm off to listen to my favourite Christmas music. here, here, here and here.
I'll probably watch Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation too, if only for his attempts at Christmas shopping.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

A Visit From The Neighbours

If ever there was a game to be described as 'rollercoaster', our 4-4 draw with Millwall was the one.

What a horrible bunch of arseholes some of their despicable 'supporters' were.

I encountered a group of (ticketless?) thugs, roaming around the Victoria Way and Delafield Road area around twenty minutes before kick off.
They were quite clearly searching out an opportunity to have a ruck. Finding no like minded idiots they resorted to following and chanting at local residents who just happened to be outside their homes.
To say it was intimidating is rather the understatement.

Due to the snow and ice on the paths, I was already feeling a little unsteady as I walked towards the Valley but having a group of around 20 to 30 morons shouting "Charlton, Charlton, you're a C***" at me was hardly the start to the afternoon I was after and only made it more likely I would take a tumble due to anxiety.

The dickheads then played up to their deserved reputation by abusing an Asian supporter who was mildly walking with his head down.

(I'd imagine Millwall will try to justify the abuse by saying the Asian guy was "asking for it".)

By the time I took my seat, I was desperate to send them home with their tails between their legs.
It didn't really turn out that way though.

Fairly rapidly the day turned very bleak.
Two awful errors lead to the Lions going 2-0 up.

The first error was a complete howler in defence whereby young Wagstaff ended up playing the ball through for Morison to score.
The second error was by referee Jones. The whole ground could see that the ball was being shepherded out for a goal kick yet he gave the buoyant away side a corner.
Of course they scored from the corner, leading to the second wave of Millwall supporters jumping up and down in home sections.

We had been lead to believe that Charlton would deal severely with any Millwall supporter found in home areas.
What a useless bunch of lightweights the stewards turned out to be.
Surely after the first Millwall goal it was obvious who the miscreants were?
They were left in their places to jump up and down a second time.

Crystal Palace supporters complained last season about our heavy handed stewards, yet yesterday they welcomed the away supporters and did nothing, even when they were mouthing off in home sections and visibly antagonising home supporters.

Unbelievably, the few Millwall 'fans' who were removed, were just taken to the Jimmy Seed stand and left there.
Gently, gently wasn't really what was needed in my opinion.

The Jimmy Seed stand had some advertising boards ripped off by jubilant Lions but, again, the advertisements were "asking for it".

Considering how much guff we have read about Charlton taking every possible step to keep the rival fans apart, it was rather surprising to see and hear Millwall supporters celebrating in and outside one of the corporate boxes in the East Stand.

We can't be too puritanical about all this though as Charlton had supporters all over the ground when we played at Priestfield. The major difference though was to my knowledge, Gillingham only decided while the game was in progress that it was a crime for away fans to be in home sections.

I heard at half time that some people had been attacked by Millwall plums in the toilets throughout the first half, (classy eh?).

The game turned on its head due to two penalties.
Mooney was tripped as he made his way towards goal but the fairly obligatory card of any colour wasn't produced by the out of his depth referee Jones.
At the time, I wasn't too sure of the validity of the penalty but having seen it again, it seems a fairly clear cut.
Burton scored the penalty to bring the home support some belief.

Later, Forde the Millwall keeper, came rushing out to the right side of the his area and got beaten. Mooney shot from a tight angle, the ball hit the post and bounced back into the six yard box. As Lloyd Sam shaped to tuck the ball away he was scythed down from behind.
Unbelievably, the Millwall defenders tried to say that he had dived and due to this, some people near me thought the referee was going to book Sam for diving!
With the benefit of TV pictures, it is clear that Sam would have much prefered to score.
Abdou was shown the red card and Burton scored the resulting penalty.
Surely this was now going to be our day?

The second half started in the most perfect way possible.
Bailey scored a rasping volley with less than a minute on the clock. It was the kind of goal worthy of winning any game.
If only.

We all know what happened next.
Despite Charlton having a one man advantage it really didn't show.

At 3-2 up, the game was 'won' and we really should have pushed on.
The team took their foot off the gas and a combination of good saves by the Millwall keeper Forde and the extra lick of paint on the woodwork denied Charlton the opportunity to take the game away from the visitors.

A ridiculous end to the game saw Millwall score an unlikely equaliser due to more sloppy defending and then Charlton to go ahead with only 5 minutes to play, from an own goal.

When the signal came that there would be 5 more minutes as the clock clicked on to 90 minutes played, I just knew what was going to happen.

Millwall visibly stepped up their energy levels and due to more shambolic 'defending' the final goal was scored, leading to the visiting supporters going ape.
They celebrated like they had won a major title rather than merely drawn a league game.

They don't care about us of course but as their boss Kenny Jackett said afterwards, they are really pleased to get a point at such a "big club".

It felt like a loss to us, but at 2-0 down I would most certainly have grabbed an opportunity to end on a draw.
It might be 2 points dropped but we are still in a promotion spot at half way point in the season.
We can just win on Boxing Day instead!

Walking home, I heard some awful reports of a disabled Charlton supporter being pushed out of the way so some ticketless Millwall fans could gain access to the West Stand, while the gate was open for him.
If this is true, I am appalled.
(No doubt the disabled guy was asking for it.)

Casual Rating
As a game, it had everything.
Two penalties, a sending off, too many lectures from a very fussy referee, yellow cards more prevalent than Christmas cards, 8 goals and one own goal.
I'm disappointed that Charlton didn't win but relieved that a draw was the result after being 2-0 down.

The Lacoste polo shirt is almost impossible to award as it was a game of errors, connected by poor decisions but purely for the technical brilliance, Nicky Bailey is the recipient for his perfect and unstoppable long range volley.
Get in there!
The Millwall team deserve some credit for making it impossible to tell which side had the man advantage in the second half.

There's a whole raft of Primark novelty slogan tee shirts being awarded this time.
The stewards can have one for being chocolate tea pots, our defence can have one for letting in 4 goals at home, (though we were of course playing without both of our first choice full backs), the referee can have a whole outfit of poorly made Primark clobber for getting completely carried away and getting too many basic decisions wrong, the Millwall supporters can have one each for being just the stereotypes they try and tell us are all in the past, plus I'm giving one to myself for completely losing the faith at 2-0 down.

The crowd were fairly lively throughout, though the Millwall support were very disappointing.
Around 3 or 4 outings of "No one likes us", one outing for "Let 'em come" aside, they really didn't take advantage of the fantastic sound that the Jimmy Seed stand delivers.
To have around 3000 souls crammed in and then to keep quiet was very surprising.

But then they don't care about us do they?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Police Leave Cancelled

The cold snap being experienced in South East London has completely ruined the Met's efforts to keep an eye on our friendly neighbours from Bermondsey on Saturday.

Government scientists have predicted that "around 84%" of Millwall supporters will own a coat and of the 16% left over, most will own some form of heavy sweater, or will have 'borrowed' one from their big brother before the weekend.

The Met have been thrown into chaos as the wearing of outer garments will make it impossible to see the regulation dodgy pink shirts that Millwall supporters are forced to wear.

"It's all gone pear shaped" remarked W.P.C. Nicola Bailey.
"We have received intelligence that many Millwall supporters have even gone so far as to purchase gloves in an attempt to hide the hand tattoos, acquired in double maths last year".

Charlton supporters have been encouraged to stay at home with their flasks.
"It's better to be safe than sorry", continued W.P.C. Bailey. "Those Millwall fans can be a nasty bunch, especially if they arrive home late from their paper rounds and miss the start of Soccer A.M"

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Touch the Sky

The anticipation for the weekend visit of near neighbours Millwall is reaching fever pitch in some quarters.

We have learned that any Millwall fan found in a home area will be ejected and the person who secured them a seat will lose their season ticket.
Normally sane and calm people are saying they won't be coming along to support our team due to the perceived threat of the opposition fans. All the usual freebee tickets, normally given to youth groups and friends of the club, were not made available this time.
Local pubs may or may not be open, (it depends on who you believe).

I was going to write something imploring everyone to make sure that they turn up on Saturday.
It might be cold, it might be only a few days before Christmas but it is undoubtedly one of our most eagerly awaited home games this season.
We need everyone to get behind the Reds as I'm sure the Spanners will give their boys unflinching support.

 I'm now leaving Millwall on the backburner as something caught my eye earlier today that I haven't stopped chuckling about.

Like most kids who grew up in the 1970's, I was consumed by the daring escapades and borderline suicide attempts of Evel Knievel.
Friends had the wind up toy that sent a doll on wheels careering into chair legs.
We all tried to break our bicycles by building ramps to jump over piles of skateboards or press ganged younger siblings.
Our worlds seemed to stop the day Knievel came to Wembley so he could clear 16 London double decker buses.
He didn't make it.
He ended up a series of injuries barely held together by his battered skin.

If anything, his failure and subsequent short lived retirement made him more famous. We continued to try to emulate his stupidity, at least until the heady aroma of 'girls' wafted towards us and we decided we now wanted to be David Soul.

Evil Knievel has a son who has now decided he wants to try to clear the 16 buses his father didn't manage.
I'm all in favour of people doing things in memory or honour of their parents but surely this is a little, well, nutjob?

However, I couldn't leave it alone when I read the quotes attributed to Knievel Junior.
Apparently, daredevils are a "dying breed".
Arf, arf.

I leave you with Kanye West playing the part of Evel Kayevel in his Touch the Sky video.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

"Oy- Elbows Sodje!"

While the majority of Charlton supporters were either at Stockport watching our heroes, or doing the appalling pre Christmas Bluewater shuffle, I was to be found yesterday taking in the delights of East London / Essex.

It was a thoroughly entertaining day and one which I hope to repeat when the opportunity arises.

With Charlton playing in the chilly north at somewhere I've already been, it was a no brainer when Sledge asked if I wanted to be spoiled at Dagenham and Redbridge!

The walk from the tube station to Victoria Road was punctuated by posters promoting local girl Stacey Solomon in the X Factor final. As you may already know, she came third but she carried my vote.

I met up with Frankie Valley in one of the bars at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium and waited for Sledge's other guests, JB and Nigel to arrive. Westie had already sent his apology due to work commitments.

We were all there to indulge in a spot of corporate hospitality, as the guests of Vicarage Field shopping centre in Barking, watching the Daggers play Bury in a 'vital' League 2 encounter.

Despite being born in Dagenham, (thanks mum!), I don't really keep up with the fortunes of the club. I'm ashamed to say that I had to go online on Friday evening to check who they were playing.
I was, in all seriousness, here for the beer.

We sat down to a three course carvery Christmas meal, then made our way up to our own private box overlooking the pitch, just behind the home dugout.
I've never really fancied watching football from behind glass but on a cold day, with the wind blowing in your face, it really does make the world seem a glorious place.

Did I mention that there was a fully stocked fridge, laden with beers, lagers, soft drinks etc. and a steaming pot of coffee waiting for us? The nearby toilet was a godsend.

The one player I was looking out for was the Bury defender Efetobore Sodje.
He is an instant target for the opposition crowd as he stands out like a sore thumb. He is big, strong and powerful and he also still wears the bandana he made famous when playing for Stevenage.

Within seconds of the start, the home crowd were on him, booing his every challenge. One loud local constantly bemoaned Sodje's use of his elbows. Even when he made the cleanest of tackles there was a murmur leading to a crescendo of displeasure.

It was a little ironic when it ended up being Sodje who was on the receiving end of a clattering. He had to go off the pitch for treatment on a blood injury. Strangely, he had a Terry Butcher style head bandage placed over the top of his bandana.

The game was a little stodgy in the first period but really came to life in the second half. Excitement tripled when one of the lady staff members came speeding into our box to grasp the drinks from our hands. We were not allowed to drink in view of the other supporters apparently. We felt like naughty schoolboys.

The Daggers ran out 3-1 winners with my man of the match, Paul Benson scoring two goals.

It was then back downstairs to watch the Man of the Match award and mingle with the players as a pasta dish was being consumed. The official M.O.M was Scott Doe who had a very tidy game in my humble opinion.

I'd like to thank Sledge and all at Vicarage Field for a fantastic day out.

It's not the way I'd like to enjoy my football every week but as a special treat it's a wonderful experience.

Dagenham and Redbridge are a very friendly club, living hand to mouth. It felt like indulging in 'real' grassroots football.
We do need to remember though that when looking at league positions we are far closer to the Daggers than any of the Premiership teams we used to count as peers.

If Dagenham get promoted, (they currently hold a play off place) and we don't, then Charlton would be playing at Victoria Road next season.

Can you pencil me in for that one Sledge?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Shrimpers Sunk

"Ah, Mister Parkinson, with all these goals you have been spoiling us."

Yesterday was a little like being a frequent guest at one of the Ambassador's receptions, only to find that at the critical moment, the chocolates had now been replaced with a polo mint.

The last two Valley games have been crackers. Six goal thrillers with inventive play, opportunities to 'discuss' the merits of the referee and goals at each end.

We were now fed a diet of footballing scraps on a wet (but not windy for a change) afternoon that was low on both incidents and action.

Southend really gave it a go. The first ten minutes showed their  intent. They had no intention of 'parking the bus' and pushed forward. They carried on in this fashion throughout the entire game, only for their finishing to be more of a danger to those sitting high in the stands than the back of Robbie Elliot's net.

As a proportion of their paltry home support, Southend brought an astonishing number of supporters. They seemed more interested in pointing out the empty seats in the home sections and booing Nicky Bailey than getting behind their team.
The crowd of seventeen and a half thousand were practically mute. Support for Nicky Bailey aside, the atmosphere was very poor.

Crispy arrived late due to Thameslink/Jubilee line/ Network South East hassles.
Soon after he had taken his seat, Lee Barnard took an eternity to steady himself, calibrate his boots, take in the view of the North stand, check wind speed and add a few more items to his list for Santa before taking his shot.
His shilly shallying gave Rob Elliot the time to rush out and smother his drive with his legs. Had Barnard shot quicker, Charlton would have been certainly one nil down.

Racon started on his quest to gain a yellow card with persistent fouling in dangerous positions but Southend didn't punish us.

On twenty five minutes, Lloyd Sam whipped in a speedy cross for Deon Burton to head home in front of the away support.

Half time was spent queuing for a hot cup of Bovril. The second half had already started by the time I got back to my seat. The school leavers who are the public face of the catering seemed totally surprised that there should be a rush of customers around 3:45pm.
TWO people serving?
Someone needs to have a word.

The second half was a yawn.

Richardson didn't make it back for the second half so perhaps he was brought back from injury too early.
It was almost a relief when the referee blew his whistle to end the game.

Southend looked the better side, without actually creating any danger. I don't remember either keeper making a save after Elliot's effort to foil Barnard.

A win is a win and the three points are very useful but this was a game to be endured, not enjoyed.
The result was ground out, against stubborn opposition.
Just the kind of performance that is needed to continue our progress towards the target of promotion.

A Casual Rating
I've been less than impressed with some of the officials at the Valley lately. Yesterday the East stand lino managed to find himself waving a naked stick after losing the fabric from his flag!
I am however, awarding the Lacoste polo shirt to the referee, a Mr. D McDermid. He realised that none of us had come to see him and let the game flow whenever possible. He played some good advantages for both sides and no doubt raised his stock with the Football League.
The dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is going to Nicky Bailey.
It must have been a tough afternoon for him, being centre stage and everyone watching to see how he reacted.
Unfortunately, he let himself down badly.
When the game plodded on into a period of added on time, he was guarding the the ball against the line by the East stand. A Southend player gave him a gentle nudge but he went down as if he had been shot from the stands and then proceeded to roll around on the floor like a five year old having a tantrum.
While rolling, he was grasping his calf and looked to be in real trouble.
He was obviously seriously injured.
I wasn't sure we would be seeing him again until January at the earliest.
It was very odd and highly shameful when he suddenly jumped to his feet, then sprinted to rejoin the action.
When compared to the appalling bad luck of Jimmy Bullard and the real tears he showed yesterday, Bailey did himself no favours at all.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Happy Anniversary

The 5th of December 1992.
The day Charlton Athletic came home after being nomads, taking in a hated period at Palace and then a briefer period at West Ham.

That first game back at the Valley went ahead without me but I have seen some fantastic games on or around the anniversary since then.

Others will have their own favourites but my most cherished memory was at Selhurst Park on Sunday 5th December 2004.
Despite conceding a penalty, (saved by Deano, fluffed by Johnson), and our team being dressed as canaries, a fantastic last minute strike from Dennis Rommedahl sent our extremely vocal and packed section of the cowshed into raptures.

Even managing to sit in a carriage back to London Bridge that was completely full nigels, who had 'taken it badly', and then stepping in dog shit while walking home from the station didn't ruin a perfect Sunday evening.

We aren't the only people who are casting an eye towards the events of 1992.
The world's 'First Couple' celebrated their own 17th wedding anniversary only a few weeks ago.
Hats off to Mr and Mrs Obama but I don't think I'll be buying the book.

Today the lambs to the slaughter are Southend United.
I'm never, ever completely confident about Charlton Athletic but today I've woken up feeling full of optimism.
This could be to do with a) Having my 'flu jab yesterday afternoon. (I'll have anything for free). b) spending last night at 'Up the Creek' in Greenwich. c) Having just finished the mother of all breakfasts.

I feel if we can nullify the threat of 'goal machine' Lee Barnard, then we are on the way to victory. I'm anxious to see how Nicky Bailey performs against his old mates. If he scores, will he go haring towards the Jimmy Seed stand to give them some in the fashion of Adebayor while playing for Manchester City against Arsenal or will he just stand still with his head down, looking all apologetic?

Come On You Reds!

p.s. Welcome home to New York Addick.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Brighton (away)

Due to an unfortunate case of diary congestion, I won't be anywhere near 'Sussex by the Sea' on Tuesday evening.

I had decided a few weeks ago that I was going to speed down to Brighton on Tuesday evening and mingle with the home support. I didn't manage to get one of few the Charlton tickets available.

Last Monday, I had a bit of a shock when I was asked for the final installment of the cash needed for our staff Christmas 'do'.
We are, I was 'reminded', heading out for a meal in Bexleyheath on Tuesday evening.


I really hadn't noticed the clash before then but as I'm already over £30 down, Brighton can do without me.
I do like the people I work with but my attention won't be fully on the festivities.

My main concern for our game against Brighton is the number of players edging towards a ban if they pick up a yellow card, (five players according to Ketts).

I'm also wondering who will be playing in goal.
Is Rob Elliot back to being fit and well or will (the now completely ostracised) Randolph be between the sticks?

The last few games have seen more belief and a positive style of play that should be too much for Brighton.
Our renewed ability to tuck the ball away, after a period of not looking like we were ever going to score again, has seen 10 goals scored in the last 3 games, though one of those was a penalty.

I shall be following the game using the iFooty app on my iPhone. There is around a 5 minute delay so I'll be the last to know but I expect to feel my pocket vibrate at least twice to tell me that Charlton have scored.
I'm feeling positive about this one and I can see our first away win in 'yonks'.

Party on!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Charlton 4 Bristol Rovers 2 at the Circus.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game tonight.

It was high on entertainment but low on skill, intelligent play and consistent refereeing.

Despite the swirling wind, both sides persevered with the tactics of booting the ball high while going forwards or heading the ball up into the eye of the storm when trying to defend.

Before Rovers had offered a single shot on goal, we found ourselves on the cusp of an 'easy' victory.

Two nil up with only 15 minutes on the clock looked like the start of the goal fest under floodlights I had requested.

David Mooney slotted home with only 3 minutes played then Deon Burton scored from the penalty spot, not much more than 10 minutes later.

The referee gave Charlton a penalty for the kind of pushing we see all the time without any punishment but we loved him for it regardless.

Most people, including the scoreboard button pusher, were under the impression that the Rovers number 4, Chris Lines, had been carded for his part in the penalty. His high count and frequency of fouls prior to the episode just added to the general belief that this bad boy had been booked.

Youga went off with a foot injury. He was replaced by Omozusi who more or less straight away was given a welcoming yellow card.

Later on, referee Cook was to lose any friends he had made earlier with the most obvious case of 'evening up' I've seen all season.
Christian Dailly gave away a penalty kick that not even the Rovers players bothered to claim for. The referee was sure he had seen something though and pointed to the spot.
2-1 .

After the break, Rovers came out fighting and full of belief that they could grab something from the game.
Nostradamus Crispy got in on the act when he said "I can see them scoring soon", only around 5 seconds before they did.
At 2-2, most people were worried due to being 2-0 up and then being pegged back to 2-2 but not me.
Crispy had forecast a 4-2 victory so I knew we were alright.

Crispy's prediction started to come true when Mooney managed to hit the crossbar with a well placed, looping header.
 Time seemed to stand still. The keeper seemed to have eons to collect the ball but somehow he didn't and Nicky Bailey was on hand to score.
 I was convinced the fussy, 'look at me', referee was going to blow for a foul on the goalkeeper but luckily he kept his whistle away from his mouth.

Soon the game entered a completely farcical period.
The referee motioned Rovers Chris Lines over for a chat after one of his many, many unfair challenges, this time on Lloyd Sam.
We all held our breath or murmured excitedly as the big screen was showing Lines was already carrying a card.
Strangely, the referee showed him 'another' yellow.
Lines looked as if he was about to walk off.
He didn't though and the red card stayed firmly in the referees pocket.

Someone was at fault.
I can't really blame Lines as he is duty bound to keep playing for his team while he has the power to do so.
The error was either with the 'big' screen information or with the referee.

Had the referee suddenly left the field in a car where the other occupants were all wearing face paint, odd suits and size 32 shoes, only for the wheels to fall off and the engine to explode, not one of us would have been surprised.
 He was a clown now and was roundly booed for his incompetence.

"We've got 2 Sodje's,
He's got 2 yellow cards" rang out around the Valley.

Mooney left the field with around 10 minutes of regular time left, to be replaced by Sodje the younger.
Only 5 minutes later Sodje was wheeling away in triumph after pushing the ball over the line from close range. His second time wearing a Charlton shirt and 2 goals already, both as second half substitutes.

It really was game over now but the referee continued to be reminded again and again of his perceived error with the yellow card(s).

In summary, a good win but some of the defending, from both sides, was more suited to a West End musical than our good old Valley pitch.

Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo is awarded to Deon Burton. He ran and ran this evening, despite needing the delayed surgery.
 It was the last game of Mooney's loan spell so I hope we can extend it from Reading. If not, he can leave us with a polo shirt in recognition of a fine period with the club.

The dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is going to either the scoreboard / big screen operator OR the referee. One of them made a howler.
The guilty party should hang their head in shame.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Pirates on Parade

I'm really looking forward to the visit of the Pirates from Bristol.

Bristol Rovers is a classic football name. Despite their, (and our), lowly position in English football, the Rovers have a name that's known all around the world.

Last season we had the 'pleasure' of Bristol City at the Valley, and what a fine example of  'up themselves' supporters they proved to be.
I didn't warm to them at all.

As every schoolboy knows, when it comes to football teams in the South West, there's always a pair of Bristols to look at.  ...(sorry)

I always enjoyed Charlton playing against Aston Villa but really disliked Birmingham City.  I hope the Bristol Rovers supporters are a similar friendly bunch to Villa and unlike both Bristol and Birmingham City.

Rovers are in 7th place, just a point away from a play off position, (not that it means anything at this point in the season).

Our own Chris Dickson won't be allowed to play for Rovers due to the usual restrictions on loan players. He will be sitting out, along with Sam Sodje who pays the price for his red card on Saturday.

I'm hoping for a bit of a goal fest tomorrow evening.
I know we had a six goal thriller at our most recent home game against Franchise but a free scoring game, under floodlights, is always something special.

Rovers seem to have the knack of usually conceding at least 2 goals per game, so let's hope our forwards still fancy it.
I'm sure David Mooney will be up for a run out after only playing for half an hour on Saturday.

"Let's Get Behind The Addicks!"

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Yokel Oh No!

    Oh No!

That was my instant reaction as Sam Sodje was sent for an early bath, after what was deemed a professional foul on Ryan Mason.

Independent reports would seem to agree that the referee really didn't have any option but to send him off.

The game still had over an hour to go.

David Mooney, who was playing up front, was sacrificed in order to bring on the replacement defensive specialisms of Miguel Llera.

If we could hang on until half time, I really fancied our chances with the wind behind us in the second half.

Unfortunately, according to the commentary, Yeovil's Obika scored a goal 'from nothing' with only minutes of the first period remaining.
All goals count in equal amounts, whatever the build up play but it did seem to be a bullet from nowhere.

The rain and wind were so strong, at times I could hear it through the microphones used down there in Somerset. It really was an absolute stinker.
 I tried hard to empathise with those 1700 (plus) hardy Addicks who made the trip as I sat in the warmth, nursing a coffee with a plate of bourbons next to me!

Akpo Sodje came on for Therry Racon after the break.

The second half was all Charlton pressure. The wind was acting as the eleventh man the Addicks were missing.

 The game became a tale of two Sodjes when Akpo sent the ball into the top right hand corner, from over 30 yards out.
Game on.

Despite the Yeovil woodwork being dirtied and the home keeper Alex McCarthy having to make countless saves, Charlton just couldn't find a way through a determined Yeovil defence.

A point away from home is a good return, especially when down to 10 men.
However, I feel Parky and his team will feel that this was most definitely 2 points dropped rather than 1 point gained, when they mull over their tremendous second half performance.

We will be without one of our 'Charlton Brothers' for the visit of Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.
It is a pity as Sam Sodje's aerial threat from set pieces is becoming a potent weapon for us.

Casual Rating.
The Lacoste polo shirt is being awarded to a new hero with a familiar name, Akpo Sodje.
He had already put the ball in the Yeovil net, (after play had been stopped), before his equaliser- (surely this week to be known as an Edward Woodward memorial goal?)
More useful than a polo is a Peter Storm rain mac which is now awarded to every one of the Charlton supporters who braved the elements, reportedly 40mph winds and horizontal rain.
I salute you.
I'm awarding myself the dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt for sitting in comfort while others suffered.
I'll wear it with shame tomorrow.

See you on Tuesday for more of this rollercoaster ride in League one!

Friday, 20 November 2009

It's Yeovil Away

Unfortunately I won't be heading South West tomorrow.

This was one of the 'Away Days' I was most looking forward to but circumstances changed and I guess it will be the CAFC player service for me, if I'm lucky.

So, I'm feeling a little flat while trying to get my thoughts in order about our fixture in Somerset.

After last weeks surprise hammering of Franchise, Parky will not want to rock the boat too much with regards to personnel. Only Richardson is unlikely to feature from the previous starting line up and that is through injury.

Another battling performance will be called for, against a team who will surely be seeing us as one of the 'big boys'.
If Bailey gets to play in the middle and Mooney carries on making intelligent runs to draw the defenders I'm confident of 3 points.

For those of you lucky enough to be leaving London tomorrow, here's something to help you acclimatise, along with some local casual fashion tips so you can blend in seamlessly.

Come On You Reds!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Hand of Frog.

I've always admired Thierry Henry.

He seemed an honorable kind of player when he was frequently interviewed on MOTD, while at Arsenal.
He has an easy charm that mixes perfectly with his fantastic skills.

Unfortunately, his name will now be linked, alongside the disgraced Diego Maradona, as a World Cup handball cheater.

It was all very cruel on the Oirish. They deserved better.

So, a huge BOOOO to Thierry Henry and the French team.

I hope they lose every game in South Africa.

Spanners Doomed to Failure

Earlier this evening I popped into Asda in Charlton to pick up the usual midweek essentials.

As my basket was nearly empty, I lined up in the queue for self scanning behind a couple of bullet headed likely lads.

I listened in as they discussed the possibility of getting their box of Carling lager, (yuck), out of the store without scanning it but I really became interested when they started discussing the imminent 'away' at Charlton.

It would seem that both of my fellow shoppers were friendly Millwall supporters who knew they are unlikely to get any of the 'legitimate' tickets in the Jimmy Seed stand on December 19th.

Apparently, a cunning plan had been hatched over the Summer, when many Millwall supporters realised they would be in the same division as us for the first time since 1996.

The plan was simple beyond measure.
 Charlton Red Cards were applied for, in the hope of being eligible to purchase tickets in home sections of the ground.

The happy shoppers may have been pushing it but one of them said that 'at least 100' Millwall fans had planned ahead and used this technique.

The lager drinkers were clearly unimpressed due to hearing earlier in the day that their plan had been a complete waste of time.

They had heard that unless they could show a purchase history, from our time in the Championship, they weren't going to be allowed a ticket for the Millwall game.

This plan by Charlton Athletic is I quote, "Well out of order".
Unlucky eh?    
     Arf !

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Charlton 5 (FIVE), MK Dons 1.

What a game eh?

Despite the Dons going ahead through a well taken, wind assisted lob from Aaron Wilbraham after only 10 minutes, the Addicks cruised to victory this afternoon.

The Dons were only ahead for 2 minutes.
Had they been able to hang on to their lead for longer, the final result might have been different but as soon as David Mooney scored, the Reds started to play with belief.

Nicky Bailey could have had 3 or 4 goals today. It was his 20th minute race into the box to head the ball over the line that finished off a sublime piece of skill from Lloyd Sam.
At 2-1 to Charlton, the Dons never looked out of it and the swirling wind was making any pass longer than 5 metres rather a lottery as to where it would finish up.

Perhaps the turning point of the game was after the whistle had blown for half time.
Paul Ince went yack yacking to the ref, complaining about some unknown injustice, (an unawarded penalty?) and really seemed to lose his cool.
His own players saw it, the Charlton players saw it so they knew he was rattled and more importantly, the referee subsequently gave the Dons very few decisions that he really didn't have to.

In the second period, MK Dons defended as if they had their famous concrete cows as a rear guard.
They were appalling!
Without a word of a lie, they were lucky to keep Charlton to scoring only 5. A score of double figures would have been spectacular but not particularly flattering.

Lloyd Sam set off the party atmosphere when he tucked away Charlton's third. Despite the lime green boots, he managed to shimmy his way past the static defenders before finding the far corner of the goal.

Goal four settled the nerves of even the most pessimistic Charlton supporters.

I knew that Sam Sodje was going to score as Crispy flagged it with another of his famous predictions.
"Straight onto Sodje's head" he proclaimed prior to the ball swinging in from the corner.
As Sodje thundered his powerful header into the net, we laughed as well as cheered.

Goal five was Deon Burton's last contribution before being substituted. He took his chance well and deserved a rest after running tirelessly all afternoon.

The final minutes of the game were played out with Basey on for the injured Richardson, McKenzie on for Burton and Akpo Sodje on in place of the impressive David Mooney.
There were more goals available but rather late in the day, the Dons keeper seemed to start having a rather charmed life.

We didn't care.

For the first time in a very long time, we completely hammered a team who had arrived at the Valley as favourites.
Our slump had sent a spiral of despair around Charlton suppporters. The win today was just the response that was needed.

My only regret is that our best and most enjoyed result of the season so far, has come against a team that many football supporters refuse to acknowledge as even existing!

Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo shirt is being awarded jointly to Phil Parkinson and every Charlton player who pulled on the shirt today.
It was completely gloom town in SE7 this last week. The management and players deserve every credit for pulling the rabbit out of the hat, just at the right moment.
The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is awarded to former Charlton target Jason Puncheon for his appalling challenge in injury time.
It wasn't needed and smacked of red mist because his team was losing.
 It did however, set off a highly enjoyable girly handbags fight, likened by Crispy to the Hugh Grant and Colin Firth slapfest in the Bridget Jones movie!
A special mention must go to the MK Dons support. It was clear that this was one of their 'big' games and they more than tripled their usual traveling numbers.
Even at 5-1 down, they stayed loyal to their team and mostly didn't take the opportunity to climb onto an early train home.

Sodje, and you.

With only a few hours until kick off against Franchise, it would seem that our general apathy up front might be about to receive a kick up the bum.

Sam Sodje is just my kind of Charlton player. He is Greenwich raised and what he lacks in natural ability he more than makes up for in grit, determination and genuine pride in the shirt.

The kit man is now going to have to start ironing on extra initials due to Sam's brother, Akpo, arriving on loan this morning.

Good luck Akpo and welcome, (as long as you share your brother's qualities).

Friday, 13 November 2009


It's home to Franchise FC tomorrow.
I've always been quite scathing of the situation up there in Buckinghamshire.
I have no problem with the good people of Milton Keynes wanting to have their own football team but riding on the coat tails of Wimbledon FC, (and taking over their league status), really struck me as wrong.

If I'm honest, I'd never really delved any deeper than that. It was fairly black and white as far as I was concerned and I felt I was 'right on' enough to know my position was on the 'correct' side, supporting the honest football supporter and football in general.

I'd say that I still feel MK Dons in their current state, should not have been allowed by the F.A. but after reading New York Addick's excellent piece, I found myself questioning my own position.

It's not quite so black and white after all.

Supporting a club like the Dons must be strange.
There's no history and no precedent for anything at all.
How refreshing to be able to completely bypass all those dull and boring cocks on 'Your Views', who precede their ill informed and badly written missives with how many years they have been following the club. If anyone dares disagree with them, they automatically revert to the position of  "where were you when the Valley needed weeding?" etc etc.
It's all very tiresome and not really necessary.

MK Dons fans can decide who their rivals are. They didn't have tooled up firms indulging in away match scuffles in the 70's and 80's. There won't have been high octane needle matches, now lost in the mists of time to inform their judgement. Much of their support will have been at every game since their inception. They can pick a rival that means something, rather than a geographical lumping together or the fact that someone dislikes you, so let's all dislike them.

A 'new' club in a 'new' stadium gives everyone a chance to climb on board at the same time.
Apparently, they have done wonders in the local community and are well thought of by local schools and voluntary groups.

All this faint praise doesn't mean I don't want to beat the Dons of course.
We need to regroup and get some points on the board after a torrid week.

We need to stick one to them, if only for being sold a pup in the form of Izale McLeod.
Of course, we can't blame them for Pardew managing to outbid absolutely no one else to table a ludicrous amount for McLeod's 'services'. However, it would feel good to know that we've actually got something out of them.
(I'm still to be completely convinced by Hatman Llera).

The Dons are flying at the moment.
We are stuttering.

I hope, after our very disappointing road trips, home advantage may change our fortunes.

As 'Northern Pete' used  to scream into the mic, let's "GET BEHIND THE ADDICKS!"

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Oh Dear.

Southampton 2, Charlton Athletic 1.

Hardly unexpected but still disappointing.

After our early season canter up the league, issues need to be addressed before we find ourselves in peril of a slide downwards with equal speed.

We have now lost 3 games 'on the spin'. Only one was a league game but the rumbles of discontent are already becoming very clearly audible.

Charlton could have been dead and buried in this game way before half time. It was only a mixture of good fortune and bad finishing that kept Charlton still in it, with the score merely at 1-0 down.
Southampton were completely on top.

When Ricky Lambert scored Saints second, it looked as if it was game over. As far as most of us were concerned, it was.
Charlton looked brighter in the second half but still fairly limp. There wasn't much belief on show that the deficit could be clawed back.

It was a big surprise when McKenzie managed to tuck the ball into the Southampton net, as the clock ticked into added on time.
He took his chance well and it became the first goal scored, by a Charlton player, from open play, since the visit of Huddersfield to the Valley.
A fairly exciting final 3 minutes came to nothing and Charlton are now out of all cup action, until the Summer of 2010.

The game this evening ended with Charlton looking like they had remembered how to stroke the ball about. The team had, dare I say it, a little bit of invention.

I hope it continues on Saturday for the visit of Franchise F.C.

Saints Alive

I'm really far too busy to be thinking about a third rate cup competition but our fixture tonight gives an opportunity to regain some belief in the camp.

Tonight's game against the formerly 'Super' Alan Pardew and his Southampton Saints is a chance to get back up again, dust down our trousers and jump back into the fray with renewed vigour.
Playing against our old manager might be important for many supporters but I'm sure that Parky is even more desperate to get the good ship Charlton back on course against his old boss.

I'm not saying we have to win, though of course that would be fantastic. What I am requesting is a performance showing at least a modicum of commitment and some evidence the team have worked together and not been introduced for the first time while sitting on the bus to the stadium.

McLeod will be serving the first of his 3 games out for his assault on Sunday. This does leave our forward options fairly light weight. Even had he been able to play, McLeod had lost the support of many Addicks after his cowardly act at the weekend. Many would argue we may be better off without him anyway.

I don't know how many of our supporters are heading down to Hampshire but I can't imagine it will be many. The events on Sunday will not have made anyone decide to go on a whim, so it will only be those who bought tickets last week I suppose. The game being broadcast from a living room or pub near you will have also made staying at home the very easy option.

After not being on television for ages we are now on twice in a week.
It's a chance for our team to show the wider public that they are, for the most part, players who are more than just the unfortunates in a 'giant killing' headline.

C'mon you reds. I want to feel good again at the end of a game.

As I said above, it's not all about the result, I want some PASSION!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Charlton Outclassed by Minnows

It's happened to many other teams, some far better than us, but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Just like the boxing last night, David triumphed over Goliath, though in truth, it was difficult to tell who was supposed to be the 'Goliath' in the fixture.

Our 'proud' record of never having lost to a non league side disappeared 1-0 in the Cheshire wilderness this afternoon, after a toothless display from Charlton.

Northwich Victoria claim a rather limp prize of a home tie to Lincoln. At least it gives them every opportunity to progress onto the third round. I wish them well. They were by far the better team today.

We looked poor and second best from the off. By half time I was hoping we might hang on for a second crack at the Valley.
It was not to be.

Despite fielding what was rather worryingly a full strength team, Charlton found it impossible to break down a spirited home side who, on another day, could have scored 4 or 5.
Darren Randolph was by far the busier of the 'keepers. He was the only reason the score remained 0-0 for so long.

Parky removed Shelvey and McLeod and brought on McKenzie and Burton in an effort to turn it around. We looked stronger but still unlikely to score.

Unfortunately, a young 18 year old Northwich substitute, (isn't it always the way?) by the name of Riley managed to take his chance and tuck the ball past Randolph with only 9 minutes left to play.

 Semedo was sacrificed to bring on Wagstaff but nothing changed beyond the volume of the home support.

We have now lost two games in succession against unfancied opposition. When added to the 'no show' at Gillingham, it's clear that everything is not rosy in SE7.

The win against Huddersfield feels like ancient history now.

Despite geographical accuracy being unusual for football fan chants, Charlton were taunted as being "Just a small town in Welling" by the Victorians.
That may be very nearly the case but we will now also be famous for being on the receiving end of an F.A. cup giant killing from non league opponents.

I suppose it does mean we can, (ahem), 'concentrate on the league'.

With my sensible hat on, I will say that we were never going to win the F.A cup this season but we really do have an opportunity to win the Paintpot.

Parky really needs to make sure his team respond this week or it will be three losses out of three and a real loss of the feel good factor before the important visit of Franchise FC next weekend.

We have become used to setbacks at Charlton over the last few years.
Today is just another steaming pile to add to the list.

What a Week!

What a week indeed.

My previous post showed no hints of how the rest of the week was going to progress.
We spent a really pleasant Monday night at the O2, in the company of Michael McIntyre.

Despite living only a mile from the venue, it ended up being a fairly late climb into bed for a 'school night'. With the power of hindsight, the late night did me no favours for the rest of the week.

On Tuesday, our school got 'the call'.
It was hardly a surprise, - we have been on tenterhooks ever since the first week of September.
Ofsted last visited us in September 2006. We were told there were some improvements to make, (natch), but they were pleased enough to say they wouldn't be back for 3 years.

Needless to say, throughout the last 3 years we have worked extremely hard to take on any perceived weaknesses plus getting involved in many new initiatives.

I don't think there is a group of people in England who have tried any harder than us to get things right for an audience of faceless b******s.
The problem is, as with referees in football, there is little consistency. Each group of inspectors will have a particular focus that they think is important.
 One school, or individual teacher, can get applauded for doing something yet another may get hammered for the very same thing, all depending on the inspection team.

Our planning and paperwork have all been spot on and checked up on regularly.
Unfortunately, the kind of planning you do for yourself and the kind you do for the benefit of a third party aren't always the same.
All of my long term, medium and weekly plans have been on the shared drive for anybody to access once you are onto our internal system for years.
Sometimes, there might be 'blank days' or empty sessions due to being on trips out or speakers / guests coming in.
Just to cover myself, I spent Tuesday night going through my old plans and making sure anybody with an axe to grind wouldn't be able to pick holes.
(This in no way helped or changed the pupils learning experience but it is, apparently, 'important'.)

Most people didn't leave school until well after 9pm. We then had a breakfast meeting on Wednesday morning meaning we were back in again either before or around 7:45 am.
On Wednesday night, most staff had to be kicked out as the caretaker wanted to go home by 8:30pm.

On Thursday morning, we all had to be back again for a chance to meet the inspectors.
Totally unnecessary in my opinion. We all had plenty to do, yet sat around nursing super strength coffees for half an hour from 8:10am onwards while a bloke in a suit prattled on with no one listening.

The next 2 days were a mixture of the most extreme adrenaline rushes, (when inspectors walk into your lessons), crushing lows, (when you hear stories of well respected and experienced staff members being reduced to tears by heartless gits), tales of disappointment, (when the most perfect lessons went unvisited), cases of inspectors arriving halfway through lessons and then complaining they didn't see evidence of features that obviously happened before they arrived, (leading to heated 'discussions' with clipboard holding paper pushers, seemingly unable to read a lesson plan in an open file).

Thursday night was again, long.

  Friday went by in the same way of teaching with one eye on the door. Personally, my lessons viewed received good comments from an inspector who had been truly awful to some of my friends so I felt happy but we had no idea how things were going for the school as a whole.

At 3:30pm on Friday, it was clear we weren't going to get any more classroom visits as we waved the children goodbye. The inspection team stayed until 5:45pm so we still had them creeping about.

All I wanted to do was leave the building, tip my head back and pour copious amounts of London Pride or Spitfire down my throat.
Unfortunately, I had to spend the hours from 3:45pm until 8:30pm, standing outside in the drizzle / pouring rain setting up, then letting off, then packing up our school Firework Display.
By the time I finally climbed into a hot bath I really felt like I'd reached my limit.
I was so tired in body and mind I couldn't even be bothered to take a drink!

Over the week I'd managed to miss keeping up with my beloved Philadelphia Phillies and their World Series games against the Yankees from New York.
Despite New York being my favourite city on the planet and thoroughly enjoying my trips to see the NY Knicks play basketball and NY Rangers play ice hockey at 'The Garden", the Fightin' Phillies will always be 'my' baseball team.
I spent a very enjoyable time in my early twenties working in Philadelphia and while there, became a huge fan. From June onwards, we went to every game we could and any games we couldn't make, we watched live on TV.
I still have a framed photo of Lenny Dykstra in my kitchen.

Unfortunately, the Phillies who were the defending champions, went down in game six to lose the series 4-2 to the Yankees. I felt rather guilty as last year I followed everything as closely as is possible from this distance and rejoiced in real time as the Phils won the title.
This week, I found out the results, almost as an afterthought, nearly 20 hours after everything had packed up. To add to my sense of disappointment, I was actually wearing a NY Yankees beanie hat as I checked my iPhone to find that the Phillies title was lost.

Saturday was very, VERY lazy.
We finally raised ourselves on Saturday morning as the clock clicked into afternoon. I really needed the rest, it wasn't just being sloth like.

On Saturday evening, I ambled up to Blackheath to see the skies above Greenwich and Lewisham lit up by the free fireworks.
They were, in my opinion, far better than last year when many people were unimpressed. This year they were totally and utterly amazing.
An estimated 65 -70,000 people were present, meaning the surrounding roads were packed with pedestrians. All the people standing near me were Russian, Poles or French.
I wonder what they made of us celebrating a failed terrorist from 400 years ago?

Today I'm allowing myself to get back to normal.
 I'm off out in a minute for a Sunday morning walk in Greenwich and then I'm going to return to see our Charlton heroes live on ITV1.
It's years since I've seen Charlton on the telly.
Generally, if a game has been on TV I've been at the game anyway so it will feel good to see a live game involving us.

The TV audience will mostly be hoping for an upset by the plucky bunch of Northwich Victoria players who will be relishing their chance to show what they are about.
I'm expecting a comfortable win by Charlton but as we all know, we have a history of these kind of games biting us on the bum.
We have never lost to a non league team and I don't expect that record to be broken. However, this is Charlton and we can never, ever be assured of anything.

A bit like Ofsted really.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Laugh 'til it Hurts

Last night we went to the O2, along with 15,000 others, to chortle away at Michael McIntyre.

We had fairly bad seats, being so high up that had I been younger and more inclined to adrenaline sports, I might have been tempted to perform some base jumping.
Only the angels were higher up than us.

We had decided to go and eat in the 'Entertainment Avenue' prior to the show.
Unfortunately, so had everyone else so the queues were biblical.

We ended up going straight into the arena to avoid the crowds and then buying a 'gourmet' -(yeah, right), burger, fries and an ice cream costing a very reasonable when you are about to eat your own arm off, £16 a pop.

At least I actually had a burger in my burger bun. A cross young lady pushed to the front of the queue while I was being served to point out that there wasn't actually any burger, bacon or cheese in her bacon cheese burger! Hmmm.

Despite our bad seats, almost empty wallet and the fat, sweaty, chronic nose picker we were seated next to, we had a glorious evening.

We laughed to each other many times, exchanging those 'knowing' looks when it became clear that McIntyre was talking about 'us' when recounting episodes of life with his wife.

I had to fish out a hankie from the depths of my pocket, then pass it over in the semi darkness so that tears of laughter could be wiped away, -no mean feat when you happen to be perched looking over a precipice.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the show, though I will never be able to watch or play snooker again without feeling like a deviant.
(You'll just have to watch the DVD when it comes out soon).

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Bunch of A**e.


Well. It was just one of those days I guess.

A 3-1 defeat, away from home, doesn't sound good and it really made bad listening on the CAFC player service.
A couple of goals from Graham Kavanagh put the game to bed for Carlisle, after Burton had managed to get the score back to 1-1 from the penalty spot just before half time.

Parky got himself sent to the stands, which may mean he has some charge or other to answer in the near future but all in all, it was a subdued Addick performance that all of us will be anxious to forget.

While grasping at straws, I will remind everyone that we might be in the middle of a bit of a 'slump' but we are still hanging on to second spot in the league.
I know we would have taken that position if offered it a few months ago.
(Why do people say that? Who actually would be offering these pie in the sky league positions?)

I'm awarding the Lacoste polo shirt from my Casual Rating to every one of the 500 plus Addicks who made it to the far North.
I salute you.
It is the clanging cliche of a 'long journey home' after such a performance.

I'm off to watch 'StrictlyXfactorbeenframedburp' while dodging the trick or treaters.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Carlisle (Far) Away.

No thanks.
Unless it's Belinda Carlisle of course.
Cor !! Yes, I'm still stuck in the 80's.

When I was, (briefly) contemplating following the Addicks this weekend I had a quick look at a road atlas.
I'd made my decision within three seconds.

I schlepped to Blackpool both last season and for the previous one.
The journey to Lancashire by car, quite frankly, almost made me question my sanity.
Any excursion to Carlisle makes the ones to Blackpool look like a precursor to a bit of a local scrap.
I'm not sure what the mascot of Carlisle is but they wouldn't be pushing it too far if they chose a polar bear.

I have made it to far North away games in the past - Boro, Leeds, the Manchesters, the Liverpools, Bolton etc. etc. but a trip to Carlisle I fear would be taking the biscuit, crumbling it into dust and then sprinkling it onto a raspberry ripple sundae.

It's not for me.

So, it's to be an afternoon lazing with a cafetiere of steaming hot coffee, a copy of the weekend Guardian and CAFC player (hopefully) connected to the WiFi.

Most of us dislike the idea of 'loan signings' but when done properly and in moderation, they really can be the difference between a successful and a mediocre season.

Frazer Richardson is injured and Chris Solly is now recovering from surgery so our full back department is looking extremely light.
Parky signed Elliot Omozusi this morning on loan until December from (no one??) but Fulham hold his registration.
Apparently, Omozusi is a right back and he has been at the training ground this week, getting to know the set up.

I wish all those people heading North a safe journey. It's not even as if there's going to be much when they get there, - I mean, after all that considerable effort they'll be in CARLISLE !

At least for the return game the Cumbrians who make the trip South can have a weekend break in London but going our way seems rather a bum deal.

So, godspeed those heading North.
I'll be thinking of you as I get up late and mooch around in Greenwich before ambling my way towards the sofa at around 3pm.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Robbie's Out.

A little bit behind the times, I finally caught up with the news that Robbie Elliot is out for 'up to six weeks', due to a problem with his 'adductor'.
I'm not sure when all this flashiness and pseudo medical information became important to football fans but I have a strong feeling it started when we all had to know the ins and outs of David Beckham's metatarsals. It was always known as a 'broken foot' before Dave became a media sensation.

I'd have been happy to know that young Robbie had a 'groin strain' but maybe that's just me.

It's a massive blow for Robbie who has been ever present this season. He's also made a habit of making at least one 'wonder save' per match.
 Back up keeper Darren Randolph is going to have to grab his chance with both hands, - something a goalkeeper shouldn't really need to worry about too much of course.

We spent last night in London's fabulous and glittering West End, watching a friend who is in La Cage aux Folles,starring the campest entertainer in Britain, John Barrowman.
The huge crowds who were waiting at the stage door for Barrowman to 'come out' (ahem), after the show looked slightly bemused when we pushed past them to greet our friend!

If you've never seen the show and feel the need to spend an evening watching athletic young men perform high kicks and splits while dressed as French 19th century prostitutes, I heartily recommend it.

It is of course, all something that young Robbie won't be able to perform for a while I imagine - (though I have little knowledge of how he dresses when off the pitch!)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Gills 'Cup Final' Ends in Stalemate

The journey out to Gillingham was easy peasy.

 The train from Charlton only takes around an hour, passing through some areas that would never be included in tourist brochures promoting the 'Garden of Kent'.

The train driver had very thoughtfully stopped to pick up Sledge at Greenhithe station. It was he who commented that visiting Gillingham felt like visiting a 'Northern town'.

The promised torrential rain never really materialised. In my opinion, it would have been rather uncomfortable to spend an hour standing in the drizzle, nursing pint glasses before heading to the ground.

 Many people chose the drizzle option but we found a bar with large leather sofas and a wide screen TV showing the midlands (proper) derby between Villa and Wolves.
The owners of the bar obviously rate cleanliness next to godliness as the drinking area and especially the toilets absolutely reeked of bleach. It was like visiting your local swimming baths, only without the crusty sock on the floor in the corner.

Priestfield is like an upmarket Welling. The open air terrace / golf style seating for the away supporters was 'functional' but hardly worth the £23. The last time I felt quite so fleeced for appalling facilities was at Selhurst Park.
Simon Jordan = Paul Scally?

The home supporters were really up for this game. It was their 'Cup Final' and the Priestfield was full. Despite the Charlton chants of "No noise from the Pikey boys", Gillingham were really getting behind their team.
 Perhaps it was the excellent choice of pre match music played over the tannoy that hyped them up.
Most of what the Addick fans shouted was lost in the strong wind anyway.

Early on, it would appear that Izale McLeod was denied a cast iron, nailed on (etc etc) penalty. In all honesty, it was far too far away for me to comment. At the time, I just assumed it was another case of McLeod having a lie down when he got into the penalty area. Independent reports, even those biased towards the Gills, would indicate a penalty should have been awarded.

The referee, Jon Moss, (who will always be the drummer for Culture Club to eighties kids like me), wasn't really up to the task. It was yet another case of third division refereeing to go with the third division football.
Moss needed to get a grip on the game early on.
He didn't.
His big moment came when he removed a beachball from the pitch with a rather theatrical flourish.

With the Gills anxious to show who was boss, some very meaty challenges were made. Some would have been given instant yellow cards on another day but Moss just waved play on.
The Charlton players got stuck in too and there were some uncontrolled tackles from both teams.
What looked like Racon made a poor challenge which went unpunished so the Gills decided to take it out on Nicky Bailey a few seconds later.
Bailey received an appalling tackle that could have removed him from any more involvement in the afternoon's encounter. Deon Burton was duly booked for pointing out the ref's ineptitude.

Local boy Rob Elliot made a fine save but the first half was dull, dull, dull.

The bad ref, bad pitch and swirling wind in damp, skiddy conditions meant neither team could play a passing game.
 The highlight of the first half, or at least a rare glimmer of excitement, was when some yellow bibbed bullies over reacted to some Charlton youngsters in the home area and caused an almighty ruck when there was no need to do anything.
I sent an email to Dr Kish reporting what I saw, reproduced here. (Though I promise I did include some punctuation when I sent it!)

The second half was much like the first. I found my mind wandering and I really wasn't fully engaged.

 I began to contemplate what job the spotty, large chinned youth was doing inside the building directly to our left. He really wasn't doing much. He spent most of the afternoon leaning on the window, watching the game.

With only around 10 minutes to go, the game came alive. Mooney replaced McLeod and began running at everything.
I'm still not sure how it happened but the Gills player Nutter, somehow managed to slice the ball, unchallenged, into his own net. It was directly in front of the away support leading to equal amounts of cheering and laughing.
If Danny Baker was to do another compilation of his 'howlers', Nutter would be one of his unlucky highlights.

The chinny, spotty youth was aghast.
His face contorted, he gave the Charlton support, (who were only around 6 feet away) the finger and then pulled down the blinds on the window in disgust.

Despite everything I saw on Harry Hill's show last night, the spotty youth remains the funniest part of my Saturday.

We began to believe three points were ours for the taking.
A Charlton team who really hadn't got to grips with the conditions or received a fair rub of the green from the officials were ahead due to a massive 'slice' of good fortune.

It wasn't to last of course.
Rob Elliot had already managed a miracle save from Nutter but he could do nothing about the effort from Gills hotshot Jackson.
Without the benefit of a replay, I can't be sure, but it seemed as if he performed a very skillful flick to make space to shoot.
The Priestfield went wild with lots of waving / pointing directed towards a section high up in the main stand where the boxes are. I imagine some posh seat Addicks had given it large after our goal and were now paying the price!

A win would have been nice but a draw was a fair result. On the evidence of yesterday, we still have a problem closing out games.
Gillingham are not a great side. Unfortunately, we plummeted to their levels yesterday. It could have been down to conditions but our midfield never commanded the game. Our 'key' players should have ran rings around the Gills but yesterday our players didn't look comfortable.

One good thing about aiming for promotion is that hopefully we won't have to come back to god awful places like Priestfield again for a while.
Gillingham can then return to being the refuge of Addicks who didn't quite make the grade.

The walk back to the station was speedy, even including the fact you have to slalom around the piles of dog poo.

We returned to London on a 'Football Special'.
I thought they died out in the 80's?

Casual Rating
I'm really struggling to award the Lacoste polo shirt this week. After some quiet moments, I've decided to award it jointly to Kelly Youga and Rob Elliot as they were the only Charlton players who had a remotely good game.

The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt goes to the bullies who picked on some kids who unfortunately chose to support the 'wrong' team.
If the bright yellow clad hoolies had behaved in the same way while the kids were sitting waiting for a bus, it would have rightly been labelled an assault.
Gillingham should be ashamed of themselves.
I guess it's only to be expected from a club with Millwall fan Scally at the top.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The 'Kent Derby'?

I'm sorry?

This is no kind of 'derby' for me.
I live within a very easy walk of The Valley and I don't live in Kent.

I concede a large proportion of our support do live in Kent but I'd guess that many of them live within those parts that come under the Greater London areas of Bexley or Bromley, or the slightly further out areas around Dartford.

Our games this season against Leyton Orient or Brentford hold more 'local' interest for me.

All this is meaningless anyway.
Even if 100% of our support came from the Medway towns, the club is still based in Greenwich.
 If the locality of supporters is the criteria we work on, when Manchester United played at Selhurst Park it should have been classified a 'derby' due to the massive amount of United supporters who hail from the Guildford to Leatherhead areas.

Paul Scally,(above), has tried his hardest to whip up some anti Charlton feelings among the Gillingham support but to their credit, it would appear that many Gills have labels for him, all meaning the same as 'knob'.

Other Gills have chosen to disregard the generosity of Charlton supporters when raising money for Gillingham F.C.
 They have got their knickers in a twist over some leaflets handed out, (outside the Priestfield), when Charlton were playing there. The leaflets were informing Charlton supporters from the area how easy it was to get to the Valley on the Valley Express.
Apparently, this was "stealing fans".

How you go about stealing fans I've no idea.
 I already know I can get to The Emirates stadium for just a few pounds but I'm not going to suddenly rock up there rather than The Valley. I really can't imagine there was even one die hard Gills fan who decided to come to the Valley for their football fix on the strength of a cheap bus.

It might not be a 'derby' for me but I realise we are going to get a pretty frosty reception down in Kent. As Gillingham's nearest 'big' club, (until recently), they would absolutely love the chance to turn us over.

Our support will possibly water down any potential 'cauldron'.
 The Charlton allocation sold out before the tickets reached 'General Sale' two weeks ago. Many unlucky fans have chosen to buy tickets in home sections so there will be pockets of Addicks all over the ground.

I hope that Parky doesn't get caught up in any 'derby' nonsense and just takes the team down the A2 to do a professional job.
We have the players to outplay two thirds of this division, which by my reckoning would include a team such as Gillingham.
I shall be there on Saturday, cheering on the reds and getting drenched according to the BBC website.

Five years ago, The Observer ran a poll to discover the 'Crappiest Ground' in English football.
........Gillingham's home 'won'.

I reproduce an email from an unhappy Gills fan for your amusement, along with the comment from an Observer Sport columnist.
As a Gillingham fan I found your report offensive and insulting. If you are reporting on the ground, report on the ground, not the local area. We have a decent stadium that doesn't have a bad view in the house. OK, it is overpriced but that's just because of media scumbags like you trying to get involved in football and messing it all up.
I would like to know who the 'football club spokesman' was that described the town as a dump. Agreed, Gillingham isn't the most welcoming of places to stuck-up snobs like you. Go to Deptford and write about Millwall - or do you not want to bad-mouth our capital city and reveal certain parts of it to be the scummy, dingy, places that they are? (Fair enough, you slated Selhurst Park for being a dump.)
Priestfield is undergoing a multimillion-pound redevelopment from the 'nothing more than a couple of cowsheds knocked together'. You have made our football club the worst place to visit in the country and you wonder why people hate the press. We can't all be posh London snobs, can we?
I was thinking about being a journalist when I left school, but all the rubbish articles changed my mind.
Dean Baxter
via email
Scumbag Snob Editor replies (from Mayfair penthouse): As stated in last week's preamble 'the journey to the game and the crapness of the surrounding area' were important considerations. We can't change the rules now. And the poll wasn't exclusive to journalists: the main contributors (as listed) were fans.