Saturday, 29 August 2009

5 in a row!

A 4-0 win!!!
Away from home!!!
I listened online, using the CAFC player.
It really has made my Charlton supporting life easier since the service became Mac compatible.
Congratulations to Phil Parkinson, the team and all the backroom staff, on the club's very best start to a season, at any level, ever!

Five wins out of a possible five. (How long did it take us to get 15 points last season?)

Well done to those hardy folk who were prepared to endure Bank Holiday weekend travel chaos, your efforts were rewarded.
Your voices were also very clearly audible, all the way from the Wirral.

So, hang onto these feelings all you Haddocks.
Two relegations in three seasons has been the most bitterest of pills to swallow. These are the happy times......

Tranmere Awayday.

I seem to be returning to a common theme this week.

I've never been to Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers. The nearest I've ever been are Goodison Park and Anfield.

Despite this lack of personal experience, through secondary sources, I kid myself I 'know' the area intimately.
I can describe the 'Woody', (Woodchurch Estate) and Ford, (Ford Estate), while never having set foot within 5 miles of the places.

This is all down to the cracking read by Kevin Sampson called 'Awaydays'.

I can't imagine the suits at Tranmere are very impressed with the depiction of their club in the novel.

Tranmere Rovers seem to be a friendly, family club in reality.

The book is set at the end of the 1970's /early 1980's, during the dawning of the 'football casual' era.
On first inspection, it looks like your typical hoolie lit, focusing on the Rovers hooligan element, 'The Pack', and their meetings with other firms around the third division.
Dig a little deeper and it becomes a sharp tale of a deprived area with unemployment, drugs, street fashion, clubs and cutting edge music. The central character is searching for somewhere to belong and his football mates give him a sense of purpose after the death of his mother.

All this gives me no insight whatsoever for todays game.

One of the classiest players ever to wear the Charlton shirt, John Barnes, is now at the helm, managing Tranmere. He has former shampoo salesman Jason McAteer as his number two.
Barnes was a stylish stroker of the ball and I imagine he would want his players to play in a similar fashion.
Swansea City managed to play their way out of the third tier so perhaps 'Digger' will perform a matching final placing for Rovers.
I'm not at all certain Barnes is really cut out for management but surely, just by being at the top end of football for so long, he must have picked up some tips on how to go about the job.

For about 5 minutes, (actually it was about 1 and a half), I did consider traipsing up to the North West today but with train and road chaos predicted, I'm still sitting here in South East London only an hour before kick off.

An unchanged side is hoped for and I'm going for a tense 2-1 away victory to maintain our perfect record start to the season.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Pwoppa Nortee

While the world and his brother are queuing up to tell West Ham and Millwall fans that "There's no place for this sort of thing in football," there are other people rubbing their hands with glee.

The 'Danny Dyer effect' must have influenced some of the youth who were out and about near the Boleyn on Tuesday night. There's money in them there fists you see.

For those of you who are unaware, Dyer presents a television series entitled The Real Football Factories, which glorify the exploits of the 'pwoppa nortee' firms around the world.

Dyer strolls up, all professional cockney, draws on his fag, squints through the smoke and asks fawning questions of meat heads standing in damp railway arches or near to their favourite drinking hole. He then revels in the fact that they can organise a punch up with other meat heads.

A quick trawl of the net will reveal DVD's and books that are required viewing and reading of 14 year olds everywhere. Kerr ching!

On Tuesday night, there were men running around being dullards, in ill fitting shorts, who were way too old to be behaving this way. The late summer evening, mixed with alcohol and a chance to knock the hated rivals from their youth into submission, must have been a good enough reason to miss an evening in front of the telly and reading the kids a story.

Have you heard of Nick Love?
He must be thanking his lucky stars.

Nick Love is a film maker.
I really, really like his work.
He made an absolutely fantastic film called The Business which featured his mate Danny Dyer,(him again), as the lead.
He also made Outlaw, Goodbye Charlie Bright and the hoolie porn flick, The Football Factory.

All of Nick Love's films trade heavily on the right 'look' of the characters. The Business was set in the mid 80's and the casual clothing from the era is spot on.

In 1988, Alan Clarke, (not the old Leeds United 'Sniffer'), made a film to be broadcast on television called The Firm.
It's based on a character called Bex, played by Gary Oldman, who is a regular guy with a good job, wife and kid but he just happens to be the leader of a hooligan firm, pretty obviously based on West Ham's I.C.F.
His nemesis is Yeti, leader of a 'South London firm' pretty obviously a Millwall one -(though in one of the scenes the outside of Selhurst Park is seen while a game is being played.)

The film doesn't pull it's punches, shows how the characters revel in the violence but also shows the appalling injuries received.
'Phil Mitchel' from Eastenders plays a part, (he keeps staring at the camera), and so does the bloke who played Jim McDonald in Coronation Street.

Nick Love has been filming a remake of The Firm and it is due to be released on the 18th September.
It's set a little earlier than the original, 1984, and is dripping with 'casual'.
I'm really looking forward to it.
The clothes look fantastic and the period details look able to satisfy the heaviest anorak.

Check out the website here, which plays all the correct music from the period and also gives you a chance to play PacMan.
The trailer is good too.
I remember dressing like that, we looked like an army of taller Ronnie Corbetts.

Nick Love must be wetting his pants at all the free publicity his new film will no doubt be getting soon.
He makes no effort to hide the fact it's Millwall and West Ham firms in his story.

Less than a month before the film opens, to have street violence between the 'correct' groups must have been the most flukiest of flukes!

Just for the record, I can enjoy a James Bond film but I don't then go off murdering East Europeans!
I'm really looking forward to the new version of The Firm and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to suddenly start jumping on away supporters as they exit Charlton station!

I'd much rather share a beer with the opposition fans.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner?

I'm feeling good.

At the time of writing, Charlton are top of the league, (tier 3 admittedly), England have regained the Ashes and the late Summer sunshine is still poking through the clouds, meaning I don't feel ridiculous while wearing shorts and flip flops.

This afternoon I did something I very rarely do.

I'd had a stroke of luck when I went into school this morning to prepare for the new school year. I was told the building was closing at 1pm so I would have to leave before then. (Shame eh?)

I decided to just go for an amble, for no particular reason or purpose.

When I visit my favourite cities such as Paris, New York, Amsterdam or Brussels, I particularly enjoy just wandering about, taking in the sights, sounds and smells and getting a 'feel' for the place.

Not shopping, not haring around the 'must see' tourist destinations, just being in a place and enjoying it for what it is.

Of course, this is something we almost never do in our home environment, unless we are showing friends from out of town around.

I took the tube from North Greenwich to London Bridge, then exited with no particular plans.

I walked through Hay's Galleria and then took the riverside walk towards Waterloo.

London is truly beautiful in the sunshine. As I strolled along the South side of the Thames, I felt a rush of pride when I saw the legions of tourists taking photographs of the Tower, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, The Golden Hinde, The Globe theatre, Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, The South Bank Centre and the London Eye.

I was born in London. This is my home. I felt blessed.

I crossed the river at Waterloo and headed towards Trafalgar Square. Apparently, I missed a naked woman who was one of the 2400 people given the chance by sculptor Anthony Gormley of spending an hour alone on the fourth plinth. A fully clothed woman was sitting having a picnic when I got there. (Boo!)

Next, I ventured towards Covent Garden. I generally only ever go there to meet friends in pubs and it was good to just take it easy, without having to worry about being late or that I was going to enter a bar with impeccable timing, just as my companions have emptied their glasses!

As it turned out, I did meet up with friends who were eating al fresco prior to an evening at the theatre, so I sat with them for around 15 minutes before heading off again.

I carried on walking for another 3 hours, finally ending up in the Apple store, Regent Street. (I couldn't help it, -it's like a magnet for me).

I love going to different places, both in this country and abroad but sometimes it's truly refreshing to look at your home turf without the pressures of being busy and having stuff to do.

I love London. It's a 'World Class City' and though it's certainly not perfect, it is a wonderful place.

.......................(Not forgetting here especially).

Saturday, 22 August 2009

C'mon England!

Unless there is the most unbelievable turn around, England are likely to be bringing the Ashes home, some time on Sunday or possibly Monday morning.

I've been enjoying the Test Match Special coverage on the BBC website, Digital radio and also Radio 4 Long Wave while in the car. Who knew that Lily Allen was a cricket nut?

Huge cricket fan, Stephen Fry is a regular supporter of the England cricket team. Early in his career, along with his pal Hugh Laurie, he poked fun at the old duffers who comment on cricket and cake for a living.
Enjoy the clip and then rush into the street and sing 'Jerusalem'.

The Wonder Stuff ?

I know next to nothing about Walsall and even after spending 90 plus minutes in their company, I'm still none the wiser.

My knowledge of the Black Country outfit is based around their visit to The Valley for an F.A. cup game a few years ago, (we were humbled), and Mark Kinsella spending some time there. Despite these pearls of wisdom, it's mostly the fact that one of my favourite bands from my student days, the Wonder Stuff played a career capping gig at Walsall's Bescot Stadium.
Not much to go on.

The game today was not a cracker. Problems on the North side of the Blackwall Tunnel, the Jubilee line being out of action, a serious accident on Shooters Hill and the A2 being closed from midday at The Sun in the Sands junction meant that you REALLY had to want to make it to the Valley today.
In the circumstances, the attendance of 15,706 was actually fairly impressive, especially when Walsall appeared to only bring about 14 followers of their own.

I managed a swift pre match drink with New York Addick and then took my place in the fairly busy East stand.

Charlton had the best of the early exchanges but seemed to be playing at half pace, especially when compared to the hundred mile an hour final 30 minutes at Brisbane Road on Tuesday.

A close range, unchallenged header by Nicky Bailey in the first 5 minutes went over the bar. He really could and should have hit the target but this was an indication of how the Charlton team could cut through the Walsall defence at will, when they put their minds to it.

A series of free kicks for offside became a feature and the game had become a very dull encounter when the helmet wearing Miguel Angel Llera scored after a bit of a goal mouth scramble.
There were 29 minutes on the clock but it felt like more.
I actually missed the ball going over the line. I saw the deep cross from the left side by Bailey and then the ball appeared to hit the post. I grimaced, let out a groan and then realised that while I was moaning about our misfortune, the goal had been scored in the follow up.

My mind began to wander. I tuned into the chatter of a small child sitting behind us. He seemed to know two players -"Robbie" in goal and "Nicky" in midfield. Later he seemed to enjoy pointing out "Hat Man" when he spotted Llera.

Lloyd Sam was getting forward and seemed to have the measure of the Walsall defence. He had been one of my stand out Charlton players and seemed to be enjoying himself. With this in mind, the Walsall team must have let out a sigh of relief when Parky substituted Sam and Scott Wagstaff came on to replace him with around 20 minutes to go.

The substitution ended up being an inspired move as Wagstaff instantaneously upped the energy levels of the Charlton side and looked very dangerous.

A fantastic through ball, by Burton I think, sent Wagstaff through to a 'one on one' with the portly Ince in goal. He had a few seconds to compose himself but unlike vivid horror memories of Luke Varney or the recently departed Andy Gray, the youngster picked his spot and gave the keeper no chance.
Two nil and game over.

Charlton had a few more chances to put the icing on the cake but 2-0 was enough to put us top of the league on goal difference.

It would seem churlish to complain about a team that has won 4 games out of 4, including 2 away games. The points are the most important thing and the fact that the result was ground out, without playing particularly well or in an entertaining fashion is most encouraging.

I had my first thoughts about 'Doing a Leicester' today.
Who knows?

Casual Rating
I'm awarding a stylish Lacoste pique polo shirt to the much maligned Phil Parkinson.
Not only has he risen above to total hogwash and horse poo that some of the regulars on the Your Views section of the Charlton official website have written about him, he has now become lucky.
The Wagstaff for Sam substitution looked to be an error but it was a fantastic move with the benefit of hindsight. The football gods really came good for him. Well done Parky.

The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt goes to whoever decided the attendance was 19,000 odd and then had to backtrack amusingly.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Orient away-WON!

When we entered Brisbane Road's 'Matchroom Stadium', Crispy remarked that the blocks of apartments on each corner were like the one in the Carlsberg advert. I doubt if Carlsberg had Leyton Orient in mind when they made their beer selling film but I can definitely see how a die hard Orient supporter might aspire to own one of the new build flats.

At one point, a woman came out to make a phone call on her balcony - wearing an apron so maybe her dinner guests hadn't arrived. She seemed slightly surprised to have around 2000 people looking up at her. It all made cries of "You're supposed to be at home!" seem slightly stupid as evidenced by the flags hanging over balconies, many of the supporters were at home.

Despite being roared on by a large following, Charlton went behind in the first half to a Tamika Mkandawire header from a free kick after a foul by Racon.

The referee was making no friends from South of the river, giving fouls for fairly honest tackles but the Charlton players didn't help themselves. Needless heavy challenges were made that the Orient players were only too happy to collapse under and claim their free kicks.

At half time I would very happily have taken a draw. The second half started with Racon being booked, joining Shelvey and Sam walking the thin line.

Charlton were gradually getting on top but some loose work in defence meant that we were always likely to concede again.

On the hour, Jonjo Shelvey managed to place the ball into the bottom left corner from just inside the penalty area.

Three thousand Addicks in the East stand erupted, (plus small pockets of people in the supposedly home section West stand.)

Game On.

With 20 minutes to go, former Charlton target and ex Palace player James Scowcroft was substituted. He had obviously got really tired from all the getting up off his knees after the constant diving and claims of being elbowed. To his credit, Scowcroft had managed to con the referee on numerous occasions so he had done his job well.

It looked as if we were going to have to settle for my earlier hoped for draw but on 83 minutes a woeful back pass was picked up by Deon Burton who cleverly lobbed the onrushing keeper.


"We are top of the league!" we sang. (except we weren't, due to being second on goal difference).

An away win, for the second time in a week. What's going on? This isn't how Charlton behave.

9 points out of 9 and the feel good factor is back at The Valley.

Roll on Saturday.

Casual Rating.

A Sergio Tacchini 'Dallas' tracktop for Deon Burton. He looks very comfortable at this level and he took his chance well. His experience will be a huge benefit to some of the younger players who sometimes need to be held back a little.

A Primark novelty slogan tee shirt to the referee who seemed desperate not to be swayed by a 'big' team and their support. A complete homer.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Orient Sold Out

Charlton will have at least 3000 supporters at Leyton Orient tomorrow evening after our allocation sold out this morning.

No tickets are available for Charlton supporters before the game but with a home gate of well below 5000 on Saturday,including away support, I'm sure that Orient would be glad of the money if people arrived with money willing to be spent.

Even if the ground is full, which it won't be, we would be taking up a third of the available seats.
I think it could be a real possibility of it being around 50:50 for home and away support, making it almost a home game for the Addicks.

Stanchion 2 Crystal Palace 0

Colin is livid after Palace scored a perfectly good goal but the referee and his assistants didn't see it. (Arf !)

I can see Colin's point but he is such a charmless irk I really can't imagine the football authorities bending over backwards to ease his pain.

Crystal Palace have form in this kind of thing.

In 1980 Clive Allen 'scored' against Coventry. (Admire the tiny shorts and Clive Allen's perm).

These things 'even themselves out over the season' we are told but Warnock is spitting feathers, blaming the officials, blaming Bristol City players for not owning up, blaming Bristol City players for not taking the ball up the other end and scoring an own goal etc etc.

Strangely Warnock is not blaming his players for not scoring in the other 89 minutes available.

Rob Shroebridge, the hapless referee has been given a few weeks off by Keith Hackett.
I've always liked Gary Johnson.......

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Buckmore Park

On Friday evening and this afternoon, (Sunday), I finally accomplished something that I've really fancied doing for ages and ages.

I left the comfort of South East London and headed out to what has been described, (not by Paul Scally), as 'the Charlton heartlands' of Mid Kent for some sessions at Buckmore Park.

Lewis Hamilton features heavily on the promotional literature. It may as well have been Lewis coaches and Christine Hamilton for all the skills I showed on my first few warm up laps. It took a while to learn the correct racing lines and the parts of the circuit where a gentle touch of the brakes is necessary. I performed a few pirouettes while the tyres were still warming to optimum temperature but it was all good fun.

There are two classes of karts available for hire. Pro karts and also a Sports version. The Sports versions go a little faster so I opted for the slower version while learning.

On Friday I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but today was even better. I beat / smashed my best lap times from Friday and didn't spin off while trying to push it, though I was knocked off the track twice by an over eager girl who looked like she was desperate to prove something.

If you've even the slightest interest in motor sport, or even just enjoy driving, it is a fantastic experience. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Have virtual lap of the circuit here.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

3 in a row ?

A 4-2 win at home against Norwich, followed by a 3-2 win in our next league game against Wycombe.

Is it possible that Charlton Athletic might manage '3 in a row' for the first time since November 2007 ?

Come On You Addicks !!!

Friday, 14 August 2009

What did I miss?

Well, I'm back home again after a week of doing very little other than sitting around in the sunshine, drinking Mythos beer, swimming, eating Greek food from friendly tavernas and avoiding all contact with home.

I've now got my washing spinning around and I've made sure that Top Cat still remembers me. (above).

I did get updates by text message from our opening game last Saturday but other than that, I've been out of the loop.

So what have I missed?

It would seem that the T*** O*** is still no nearer. The good and bad part of this is we are now in a 'Transfer Embargo', so none of our players will be leaving. Andy Gray seems to be the main player who has had his plans altered due to this situation.

We've won at home in a not particularly convincing fashion after enough chances to be out of sight. (Sounds familiar). A win is a win is a win so we should be happy with the 3 points.

We've been knocked out of the Milk/Rumbelows/Carling/Worthington/Pointless cup. We were never going to win it so most people aren't that fussed despite having enough chances to be out of sight. (Again).

We seem to be in danger of filling around a quarter of the Matchroom stadium for our visit to Leyton Orient on Tuesday. I already have my ticket and it will be my first Charlton experience since the friendly at Welling. To say that I'm up for it is an understatement.

Other than that, it seems I've not really missed much. I won't be heading North tomorrow to Hartlepool but I wish those who are going a safe journey and the opportunity to see an away victory. Remember those???

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Out of Reach

Yassou !

Again, I'm wishing everyone a goodbye. (Yassou).

In a few hours I'll be off to Greece for a week of sun, fine foods and too much beer.

In the previous years I've visited this same village, I've got used to wandering around with ONE lovely woman.

"Pretty lady, special price!" rings around my ears, as we do the evening promenade, calling into every leather goods shop and jewelry trading post within a flip flop walking range.

This year it's going to be slightly different.

Not content with escorting one beautiful woman, - I shall be vacationing with THREE!

The two 'extras' would probably rather eat their own weight in lard than spend time with me but it doesn't stop me feeling a little bit like this or this, or even this.

Unfortunately, compared to my companions, I'm more likely to resemble this.

The two youngest, will hope to be spending their time enacting the scenes from Blur's 'Girls & Boys' video while us two older /mature specimens will be dozing under a sun umbrella with a good book!

Yes, it's going to be tough without my broadband, WiFi and daily glances at the Charlton blog sites but I think I'll be able to manage!

I will of course be missing our opening game against the 'Chairboys' of Wycombe.

What an effete nickname! It makes 'Addick' seem quite hard and almost on a par with 'Lions' and 'Tigers'.

My first game of the season will be away at Orient on the 18th August. It seems ages away and by then we could /should have a bit of an idea of how our season is likely to progress. Much will depend on the 'T*** O***' and the ability to retain certain players but we will have seen how Parky wants to set up his players this season.

So, over and out, from me (and the 3 babes!)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

I'm back - briefly.

Last night I returned to London on the Eurostar after a quick break.

I enjoyed a really pleasant and laid back few days with the extended family in Normandy, then I spent a couple of days in Paris just hanging about.

I've spent lots of time in Paris over the years so didn't feel compelled to go charging around visiting all the 'must sees'.

I did however, watch the sun go down over Paris from Sacre Coeur. It was a beautiful experience shared with around 5000 people who all had the same idea! It ended up being a big free party - some black kids had brought along drums and guitars which they were mixing into the music playing from their sound system. Many people, (not me), danced away with Paris twinkling below.

I also went up the Tour Montparnasse. I'm a huge fan of tall buildings and always make a point of ascending the tallest building in any city I visit. The views were phenomenal. It brought home that we are lacking anything similar in London. We have tall buildings but due to security risks blah blah our highest and most famous buildings are not open to the public.

We do have the wheel on the South Bank but the pressure of enjoying the ride within the 30 minute rotation without feeling trapped or needing a wee means that many people aren't keen.

Yesterday, I sat around reading, people watching and listening to my iPod beneath the Tour Eiffel. (See the picture above).

My playlist included many French tunes including 'chansons' by Etienne Daho, Desireless, Ladyhawke and France Gall. -I'm so bloody cosmopolitan!

After a week away, Charlton Athletic seem to be ever so slightly on a roll. Wins against Ipswich and Bournemouth, plus many of the players we assumed would be off still training at Sparrows Lane has given a sense of hope to many of the Addickted.