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.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Sexy Football at The Valley?

News spread like wildfire today that top shelf smut merchant David Sullivan was pondering splashing some of his cash into Charlton Athletic, (or West Ham), (or Norwich), (or Melchester Rovers??)

Many people will be appalled but I'd be fairly positive.

If we simply have to lose the current regime, (and it's no secret they are actively looking to get at least a fair proportion of their investment back), I'd much rather go for someone who has a well documented history in this country rather than some unknown foreign Jonny who may well have earned his money via all sorts of human rights violations.

Skin mags are not an ideal link up for a self styled 'family club', but at least we'd know who we were getting, that being someone with a love for the game and a history of supporting his managers financially.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Udder Delight

I got it wrong.
Well done to Lee Clarke and his Huddersfield team who came with the intention of trying to make a game of it.

It will seem really unfair to them as they were streets ahead of last weeks opponents Oldham, yet they exited the Valley empty handed while Oldham left with a point.

The Rose of Denmark was packed out with especially thirsty away supporters, who were good natured but noisy.

When they arrived at the Valley they got behind their team, making for a good atmosphere.

Charlton started brightly and Crispy called it correctly when he said a corner was going "Straight onto Sodje's head".
The Valley erupted as Sam Sodje, returning to replace Llera, buried the chance with a header so powerful the keeper barely had time to move.
The rest of the half was a little disappointing for Charlton with many half chances coming to nothing. Huddersfield looked dangerous in attack, leading us to believe it was only a matter of time before they found the net.
With only around 5 minutes of the half remaining, the referee East made one of his many truly third division decisions and gave a free kick to Huddersfield.
What cannot be denied is the excellence of the free kick from Anthony Pilkington. An absolute rocket that gave Rob Elliot no chance at all in the Charlton goal.

At the start of the second half, Semedo came on for Spring who was now carrying a yellow card. The new look partnership of Burton and McLeod continued up front and Charlton looked more balanced.
With only 5 minutes of the second half on the clock, McLeod rose to head home from inside the six yard box.
He took his chance really well but then set off for a doofus moment in front of the North West corner, removing his shirt for the obvious yellow card.
Have a word Parky.

The rest of the second half was a series of good attacking play from both sides. The referee was making no friends, especially when McLeod tumbled in the penalty area.
It was never a penalty but Izale was always unlikely to receive one, even in the unlikely circumstances of being chopped down at waist height. His constant tumbling and half hearted rolling on the floor in the first half really counted against him. He had lost any elements of benefit of doubt from the officials.

Scott Wagstaff came on for Lloyd Sam and played well for the final quarter of an hour. Charlton could have scored two or three more but unfortunately it looked more likely that any goal was going to be scored at the other end.

Five minutes of added on time meant squeaky bums all round but finally the referee blew for time and the crowd yelled with relief.

After last weeks borefest, it was good to be at an entertaining game.
We really should have guessed it was likely to be so, as Huddersfield played Robbie Williams, wearing shirt numbered 16.

Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo shirt goes to Christian Dailly who went about his business quietly but efficiently. He really has become Mister Dependable in the Charlton defence.
The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt goes to referee East for some of his very odd decisions. Aided / misguided by some dubious calls from the East stand lino, he made a complete horlicks of letting the game flow. He believed we had all come to see him. He made some truly woeful decisions, (some of which benefited Charlton). We don't want homers, we just want the decisions to be correct.

I've just seen Darren Bent being interviewed on Sky Sports News.
He's everyone's favourite Mackem nowadays but he proved beyond doubt that he's still an Addick at heart. He stated he hoped his goals would help "Charlton push up the table".
 He quickly realised what he'd said and had a laugh about it, changing it to Sunderland.

Good on you Darren!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Addicks pull a Mooney

Yeah, I know.
Totally juvenile.

I'd only just got over the Summer news of David Moyes being after Fanni when Charlton decided to pull a Mooney.

Despite what you've just read, I'm not really 12 years old.

Unfortunately, for me, our new "Emergency Loan Striker" has a name that will always bring to mind memories of 'mooning' pleasure craft as they approach the Thames Barrier.

Ah, happy days.

After seeing Izale McLeod floundering last weekend, I was a little concerned but hardly felt we were in a State of Emergency.
If we truly are at panic stations when it comes to strikers, surely we can call back Chris Dickson from his spell of scoring goals for our rivals down in Bristol?
However, Mooney it is.

Tomorrow we host Huddersfield Town.
I liked Lee Clarke as a player and he seems to be doing fairly well as a manager.

I hope I'm wrong but I fear that just like Oldham who came for a draw last week, Huddersfield will be seeking not to lose more than hoping to win.
A point at the Valley is now seen as an achievement, unlike last season when all three were often gift wrapped.

I'm expecting Huddersfield to park their team bus in their own penalty area and hope to score on the break.

I hope Parky has worked on a plan B to break down the stubborn opposition who refuse to come out with all guns blazing, (and rather helpfully leaving gaps at the back for our team to exploit).

Come on you Reds!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Oldham Get What They Came For.


The first 45 minutes of the encounter, (yesterday), with Oldham Athletic was possibly one of the dullest halves of football I've ever had the misfortune to witness.

The opposition had obviously done their homework, padding out the midfield, closing down quickly, keeping Sam man marked by a minimum of 2 players at all times and starving Burton of any form of supply.

The fact that Shelvey looked knackered after the first 5 minutes and Frazer Richardson was finding it impossible to pick out players wearing red made the home teams task all the more difficult.

Well played to Oldham for coming with a game plan and sticking with it but it made for a tedious afternoon.

Unfortunately, Charlton have now been 'found out' and we can expect other teams to try and stifle the game, while hanging on for a point after creating very little.

It could have been the most unbelievable upset if a 'goal' had stood but Oldham had broken some rule or other in the build up, - impossible to tell from my seat but a teenage know all who was keeping a running commentary throughout the game seemed to think it was for a trip. The game had stopped before the ball was crashed into the net anyway.

More likely to send us home with a defeat was the fairly blatant penalty Oldham were denied after Richardson chopped down a forward advancing into the area.
The referee Horwood, waved that the ball had been taken but it was very clearly not the case.

At half time, I said to Crispy that the game had 0-0 written all over it but the second half actually could and should have sent Charlton away with the 3 deserved points.

A 'Mack Attack' from McLeod and McKenzie changed everything for the final 20 minutes. The team went 4-4-2 and started producing wave after wave of chances.

Kelly Youga almost scored the goal of the season with an overhead bicycle kick which bounced back off the crossbar, only for our forwards to have a moment of "After you Claude", only awakening to the chance when the defenders were well placed to block.

Big Mig Hatman Llera showed off his new padding, (now in red), with a powerful header which also hit the crossbar.

Unfortunately, yet again, Izale McLeod had an episode of the Luke Varneys.
Within 5 minutes of entering the field of play, he had managed one complete air shot, missed an absolute sitter with a sliced effort that really should have broken the net from 8 yards out and managed to mistime a jump at the far post, so that instead of heading the ball into the almost unguarded net, he managed to entangle himself with the post.

Oldham had tried to waste time all afternoon and the referee added 5 extra minutes to the 90. The Latics defended resolutely and it was clear we weren't going to score, even if 50 minutes had been added.

It just wasn't our day. The 3 points should have been ours but too many lines were fluffed at the critical moment.

I returned home, passing groups of people chanting "Boring, boring Oldham" near to the railway station.
 After only about 5 minutes of faffing about, I managed to locate a free link for the England against Ukraine game.

I lost interest fairly quickly, -watching football on my MacBook just doesn't feel right.
I soon retired to bed with the mother of all headaches.

Bloody football.

Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo shirt goes to Kelly Youga. If anyone deserves a goal it's him after his efforts in the last few weeks. Yesterday he was one of our most successful creative outlets. Well done Kelly!
The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt goes to teenage Motson. Leave it at home next time will you? At least until your voice breaks properly.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Charlton 4 Barnet 1.

A modest crowd of less than 5000 saw Charlton 'brush', (sorry), aside Barnet, 4-1 in the 2nd round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

The score flattered Charlton but nobody would argue the Addicks didn't deserve the win.

The lack of occasion, coupled with a drizzly night against unglamorous opposition meant that this was always going to be a fixture to get through, rather than something to look forward to.

As it turned out, some positives can be gained from the events on the pitch.

Firstly, Charlton managed to come back from a 1-0 deficit which is always a good sign.
The continued ability of Izale McLeod to find the net is also encouraging, even if his goals to chances ratio is possibly a little frustrating.
Scott Wagstaff and Tamer Tuna both scored, proving that the squad we have been told is 'wafer thin' actually has some youngsters who are itching to get a chance to make their mark.
Finally, we saw that Nicky Bailey was willing to fight for every ball in an effort to make up for the error that gifted Barnet the opening goal.

Normal service will be resumed on Saturday.
If we had lost this evening we wouldn't be too fussed. A 4-1 win is a massive bonus for the club but it's the points in the League that are really important, however lovely another trip to Wembley might be.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Leeds Held at Home.

I wasn't at the game today so I really can't add much beyond the most basic of sketchy reports.

I was due to be at Selhurst Park, (Yes really), for the visit of my 'second team' Blackpool.

A long standing arrangement, ever since the fixture lists were printed, actually came to nothing as the friend who was coming down from Lancashire unfortunately had a death in the family.
I could have gone anyway but I resented giving Tangoman any of my hard earned for the joy of being in an environment more suited to livestock. It all went pear shaped for the Seasiders, even Sharon Ambrose managed to get on the scoresheet as Blackpool went down 4-1.

Apparently, despite the postal problems, Charlton managed to sell 1,400 tickets for the trip to Elland Road. I'm sure that most of the away support went in hope rather than expectation on the fairly long trip North. The reported crowd was just shy of 32,000 so the game had obviously caught the imagination of the Yorkshire folk.

I have been to Elland Road on many occasions and it can be a noisy and intimidating place.
On our last visit, what seemed like half the home crowd ran onto the pitch at the end and carried Alan Smith on their shoulders, despite relegation, after our 3-3 draw.

Today, there were to be no over zealous celebrations from anyone but I have to admit to cheering loudly from my sofa as we managed to close out the tricky final few minutes of the game.
An honourable draw that Charlton would have "won on points" had it been boxing according to the fairly partisan CAFC player service.

A draw is more than most of us dreamed of, especially after the calamity at Colchester. However, the match statistics indicate we had 55% possession and had 6 shots on target compared to Leeds 5.
The game was there for the taking but I for one, will congratulate Parky and his team for their stellar efforts this afternoon.
I make no apologies for the picture of Allan 'Sniffer' Clarke, - he was a boyhood idol of mine.
No matter what Leeds United have done since or do in the future, they will always be the team of Bremner, Giles, Reaney, Madeley etc. etc. to me.
Unloved by many but most certainly a team who knew how to play to orders and would walk in front of a bullet for their manager.