Sunday, 30 January 2011

Do You Want To Know A Secret?

The game yesterday was called off.
I know this for certain and just the fact that you are reading this, means you know it too.

Despite the public servants at Euston station refusing to make an announcement to stop Charlton supporters starting a pointless journey, there can't have been many people who didn't know what was happening within ten minutes of the decision up at Spotland.

This got me thinking.
Many years ago, I remember turning up at the Valley for a Saturday afternoon fixture, (possibly against West Ham?), to find out the game had been called off.
This would never happen today.
Social media has changed our lives so much that there can rarely be a case of being able to pass on news without your pal replying that they'd heard it already.

Blogs and other websites take time to update. Contacting radio stations to pass on news will always rely on the person taking the call believing the information is worth broadcasting.

Yesterday, the official CAFC twitter reported what had happened instantly and set off a chain of events, no doubt involving personal twitter accounts, SMS texts and emails pinging around the country into peoples pockets.

There might even have been a few 'old school' fans who made one of those 'telephone calls' to their friends, (surely only a few weeks away from a How We Used To Live programme on BBC4.)
The game being off at Rochdale was already old news within 30 minutes.

Well done to everyone, both at Charlton and Rochdale for releasing the information so swiftly.

Yes, there were many, many people who were already on their way North and had to turn around.
Some fans who had stayed over on Friday night were already there.

However, I'd bet there were very, very few people who walked up at 2:30pm expecting to see Rochdale play Charlton.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

What a Carry On.

Jim Dale more like.
What a ****ing Carry On.

We heard the annoying news this morning, while hundreds of Charlton supporters were either midway through their journey to the grim north, or in a few cases, already there.

Yes, Rochdale have cried off, citing the frozen pitch excuse.

In fairness to Rochdale, they would most certainly have preferred to play today, if only for the large away following and extra pie sales they would have experienced.

A mid week game so far from home is really only for the stalwarts and northern based supporters. It won't be a particularly good away following at the (next) rearranged game unless it is to be on a Saturday.

Yesterday afternoon I had decided to visit Spotland today.
By the time I hit the sack, I was really not as sure.
It's a long drive and I have plenty to do this weekend.

What a lucky break to fall asleep thinking, "Naaah, I'll leave it this time."

So, here we go again.
Third time lucky?
Let's all hope so.

Our opportunity to build on last weekend has been lost but maybe the team will now be a little fresher on Tuesday?

Monday, 24 January 2011

Welcome Bradley.

Chris Powell has made his first signing, Lewisham born and South London raised Bradley Wright Phillips.

Bradley takes over from the red headed bloke who fell off a roof in EastEnders as the most famous 'Charlton Bradley'.

It's a positive signing. It really gives us hope we are going to 'push on', as the pundits say, in the second half of this season.

Good luck Bradley and welcome 'home'.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ginster's Paradise!

Charlton Athletic 2- Plymouth Argyle 0.

Yesterday, it would have been very easy to forget there was a football match involving two sides, such was our excitement over Chris Powell's return.

Most of the talk before the game barely mentioned the prospect of Plymouth arriving and being party poopers.

There were plenty of Plymouth supporters in the Rose of Denmark, resplendent in their 'Ginsters' branded shirts.
Imagine being sponsored by a pie company?
Yum Yum!

I turned up uncharacteristically early to take my place in the East stand. (Crispy and Hannah seemed shocked to see me.)

The crowd wasn't bad in numbers, but it was certainly too sparse to pass the large flag around the ground.
I can't be the only one who felt a little ashamed the stewards had to plug the gaps to stop our club emblem falling to the floor.

Everybody had their eyes focused on the tunnel.
Eventually the wooooooooooohs became louder and there he was, Chris Powell wearing a smart suit walking to the home dugout.

Unfortunately, that was the highpoint of the first half.
Waggy nearly managed to lob their 'keeper and the referee went off with an injury but ultimately the game was failing to live up to our expectations.

The second half started in much the same way but soon the floodlights came on, the crowd woke up and Charlton were 1-0 up in most fortuitous fashion.

A very dodgy Marcel Seip backpass, from just the same spot Christian Dailly performed his error at the last home game, gave Scott Wagstaff the opportunity to hare in on the goalkeeper, (who did seem to wimp out a little) and poke the ball into the net.

YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! was the noise from two thirds of the ground.

Plymouth did have a few chances but most of their efforts went either straight at Rob Elliott, or seemed to trouble the ball boys more than the Charlton goal.
One rocket shot had everybody holding their breath, especially as Elliott was statuesque but it seemed as if it was likely to be Charlton's day as it scraped the paint off the top of the crossbar.

For the first time in ages, we didn't have the squeaky bottom injury time as home debutant Nathan Ecclestone wrote himself into Valley history, scoring a 'never give up' goal to put the icing on the cake.

The only thing left, was to clap the players off the pitch and to hum until Chris Powell came back to do another half hearted tunnel leap.
He obviously didn't want to be forced to do it after every win and tried to pass the honour back onto Rob Elliott but the crowd were having none of it.

All in all a good day. Three points and a clean sheet.
It's easy this management game isn't it Chris?

A Casual Rating
Yesterday was all about one man and a win.
The performance was secondary.
Having said that, we got a lucky goal and then a 'wonder goal' during a second half that felt like a proper game, compared to the first half snore fest.

I'm offering a welcome home Lacoste polo to Chris Powell and also to Nathan Ecclestone for his dream debut goal.

Ref Watch: We were lucky enough to have two referees yesterday, after the first one left the pitch as the game headed towards half time.
Both were adequate for tier 3 level.
 Neither made any match altering decisions though referee 'mark 1' did make an absolute howler when he gave Plymouth an unmerited corner.
He obviously realised his mistake as he blew for a foul in the box, as the ball was airborne, despite there being nobody nearby!
His early taxi did give us the opportunity to shout, "You're not fit to referee", which relieved the boredom of the first half.

After the game I went for a few drinks, then headed to Asda to pick up some essentials.
While walking up Victoria Way, a good 2 hours after the game had ended, I bumped into an away supporter wearing a Plymouth shirt who had locked himself out of his car.
We chatted a while as he waited for his recovery service.
I know he must have finally managed to get going as today I walked past where he had been stuck and his car was gone.

 I really hope his journey home improved when he finally got to leave SE7 as he seemed a pleasant bloke.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Merry Chrissy Day.

Not to put too fine a point on it, there will be love pouring from the stands this afternoon at the Valley.

Chris Powell was adored by 99.9% of Addicks, when giving his all during his 3 periods with us as a player.

Today we will see what he's like when confined to the 'technical area'.
Suit or tracksuit?
Place your bets now!

One thing is for sure.
Sometime around 2:50pm, there will be the most tremendous cheer as our Chrissy Powell steps out of the tunnel for the first time as manager.

I'm not expecting a sudden gallop up the table.

However, this appointment has lead most Charlton supporters, (who have had very little to smile about over the last 5 years), to start beaming from ear to ear.

Good Luck today Chris.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Chris Who?

The nicest man in football, that's who!

I've never been prouder of a Charlton player than when I saw that 'our' Chris Powell had been picked for England.

Many in the country were bemused but we knew it was thoroughly deserved.

Reports that started with more than a slight whiff of a wind up, have now moved on at such a pace, that organisations such as the BBC and The Mirror are all claiming that Sir Christopher Powell is to be the next man in the Valley hot seat.

Chris Powell has been popular wherever he has been. He's just one of those likeable characters everyone seems to warm to.

He hasn't got much experience as a manager, - just a caretaking role at Leicester while they were finalising their aquisition of Sven.

However, he's worked with a number of managers of differing styles so he must have picked up some decent nuggets of information over the years, even if it's just how not to do things.

If as seems to be the case, Chrissie does return, it'll be a very smart move by our new owners.

Nothing could have smoothed the transition between the 'old' regime and the 'new' one better than a 100% fans favourite being brought back.

Other rumours have hinted that Dean Keily might also be coming!

Now that's just the icing on it.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

It's Oh So Quiet!

Spurs 3 - Charlton Athletic 0.

It can't be very often a set of supporters find themselves on the receiving end of a 3-0 defeat, yet leave elated and applaud their team off the pitch.

Today was one of those rare days.

Over a pre match drink at one of the fine St. Pancras hostelries, the consensus was it would be a 'good' result if we could keep the Champions League contenders down to 4 goals.
I even dreamed of keeping the score at 0-0 for up to half an hour!

With the bar set at these levels, today was a rip roaring success.

White Hart Lane was full, yet extremely quiet in the home sections.
Crispy commented that the generous pricing of just £20 admission, probably meant that many people who don't normally get to see Spurs turned up today.

I'd also guess that Charlton Athletic are hardly the kind of opposition to make a Spurs fan's mouth water, especially when they've been treated to the best Europe has to offer within the last few months.

I remember when we were in the Premier League and some plucky 3rd tier team would rock up at The Valley in a cup competition, finding it quite difficult to raise myself to that 'Matchday Feeling'.

Charitably, I'll say this was the case with the Spurs fans today as they were almost mute for most of the game.

Before the match, our supporters were in fine voice.
It was fun, loud and quite impressive to be taking over such a large stadium. Not quite the same as taking over Brentford was it?

We really got behind our players and despite the obvious gulf in class, Charlton managed to keep up with Spurs in the key areas.
Francis, (who must have been mightily relieved that Gareth Bale was injured), had a good half and all over the pitch there were other battles where our League 1 players were giving a good account of themselves.
Halftime came and amazingly, the score had remained 0-0.

'Arry paid us the ultimate compliment by bringing on Modric for the second half.
Spurs now looked much sharper and their crisp passing, allied with their superior touch and ball control soon paid dividends.

The Spurs fans to our left, barely raised a cheer until their second goal was scored and then they tried to give it the 'biggy', becoming all triumphant, waving at us as if we'd care!

Ultimately, they were pumping their chests because they'd scored against a team 5th in League 1, while they are pushing to become one of the top teams in the Premier League.

We had never expected to beat Spurs, purely keeping them out for so long was a success.

After the initial flurry of excitement, the Spurs support reverted to their earlier apathy, even after a third goal was scored.

At that point, Spurs took their foot off the gas, knowing they had probably done enough.

We had a few chances, even pushing forward enough to win some corners*
*I was particularly pleased with this spot the ball style photograph, (you may need to click on the picture to see it but I promise the ball is there!)

The game ended with a rousing chorus of Valley Floyd Road and the oft sung ode to South London.

Well done to Keefy Peacock and his, (however briefly), troops on a fine performance which was definitely enough to make us proud. 

A Casual Rating
No Primark novelty slogan tee shirts today! 
Every one of our team can have the coveted Lacoste polo shirt in recognition of their efforts.
Other than during a 15 minute period when Spurs turned on the class, our boys managed to stifle their more illustrious opponents and also showed they could actually 'play'.
What more could we ask for?
The Charlton support was fantastic today, even (especially) after Spurs started to run away with it.
We can all be very proud of ourselves too.

Ref Watch
Referee Oliver was much better than the usual crud we've become used to in League 1.
 He did give some very 'homerish' decisions early on, in fact it seemed as if there were 20 minutes played before we won a decision of any kind. 
There were some free kicks given for tackles that most certainly wouldn't have been given in League 1.
However, in summary I thought the referee was fair and most importantly, consistent.

Where do we go from here?
Who knows. 
The new owners will give us an indication of their aspirations for the club and the depth of their pockets when we see who the next man in the hot seat is.

What is certainly clear, is that we are now free to 'concentrate on the league!'

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Hope and No Expectations.

With a fine sense of symmetry, our game against the Spurs of Tottenham tomorrow will be the first time I've seen a Premier League team 'live' since our last home game in the Premiership against..... yes, Spurs.

On that night, we were outclassed and fell out of the high spending big league, (only for a short time we hoped), yet now we find ourselves even lower down the pecking order.

Nobody will be expecting anything other than a handsome victory for Spurs.
They are a team who have been brushing aside some of the best sides in Europe lately and even if, as rumoured, 'Arry is going to be sending out some of his peripheral players, they should canter to victory against a third tier team.

Not only are we a third tier team, we are a team who haven't been playing well and have our one 'expensive' purchase, (by our current standards), sitting in the stands due to an unfortunate 3 game ban.

Our defence have been wobbly, our midfield has found it hard to dominate other tier 3 teams and our forwards have been relying on a left back / midfielder to paper over the gaps. 

It doesn't look good does it?

However, football is a game where strange things do sometimes happen.
Personally, I'd be happy if I left the stadium at the end of the game feeling the players had given it a go and made our supporters proud.

I'm not asking for the very unlikely win, just a performance where our players understand what it means to the supporters when they are representing us.

My last visit to the Lane was during the ill fated Les Reed period and I'm afraid to say, it was one of  those extremely rare occasions for me.
I was off towards Seven Sisters tube station while the game was still in progress.
We were awful.

Previous visits had seen us do fairly well.
I've been there, I'd guess, around 6 times. 

Highlights would include a draw one evening, (which enraged the home support, during our first Premier League season), and also a win, when Thomas scored his first Charlton goal and Bartlett was sent off for saving with his hands.

Despite the air of pessimism surrounding our chances of even scoring a goal, there is always the tiniest of very tiny chances we could be that FA cup story everyone is talking about on Monday morning.

Whatever happens, the largest away following we have managed to cobble together in ages will be right behind the Addicks.

This week has not made me particularly proud of Charlton Athletic.

First there was a bad televised defeat. 
Next, the shady new owners dismissed the current Manager of the Month, only a few days after being told he was to be part of the decision making in the near future.
It's left a sour taste in my mouth.

Tomorrow, against the odds, we must get behind the team.
All together now:
"Keefy Peacock's Red & White Army!"

Monday, 3 January 2011

Nothing To See Here, Move Along.

Charlton Athletic 2 - Swindon Town 4.

Well, that didn't go very well did it?

As ever, we saved one of our worst performances for the television cameras.

We seemed fortunate to go ahead through Jackson. The Swindon players chased after the referee claiming a handball but he saw nothing in it.

From then on, it was all Swindon.
Poor or non existent Charlton defending gave Swindon every chance to equalise and then go on to score a hatful.

By the time Abbott had scored, (a remarkably well taken goal considering his propensity to showcase the airshot when inside the opposition penalty area), the game was already up and many Addicks had vacated the Valley.

A chorus of boos rang out as the disconsolate players trudged off.
It was one of those days to forget.

A Casual Rating
I really can't be bothered to award a Lacoste polo this time.
 Charlie Austin was probably as close as anyone could get to the award but I'm feeling childish and I'm not giving it to an opposition player.

As for the Primark novelty slogan tee shirt, I fear I'm going to have to order a lorry load if this performance is an indicator of what's to come.

Ref Watch.
The referee probably did us a favour with Jackson's goal but then seemed to be fairly ok, despite obviously having a grievance with Kyel Reid for some reason.
Perhaps they've met before and Kyel gave him some chat?

So, it's back to work tomorrow, with the prospect of Spurs at the Lane on Sunday.

Somehow, I don't think 'Arry is going to be quaking in his boots at the thought of our team arriving.

Let's hope Redknapp takes it easy on us and rests a few key players............ all of them except the dodgy keeper would be great thanks 'Arry.

I wonder how Parky's 'chat' with the new owners is going?

Sunday, 2 January 2011


A Happy New Year from me.

Despite Charlton being away at bogey club Colchester on New Year's Day, we spent the afternoon at the Kent coast, blowing away the cobwebs at Whitstable.

We were woken fairly early by TC, who purred us into action for the day.
We arrived at Whitstable and went straight for some fortifying local oysters, adding a mixture of lemon juice, tabasco and red wine vinegar.
Later it was chips on the beach.

followed by a Flat White, tea and Black Forest cup cakes.
We arrived home in time to hear, via the CAFCTV player, the last 25 minutes of our game at North Essex.
It finished Colchester United 3 - Charlton Athletic 3.

It would seem that Paul Benson was extremely hard done by to have his 'winner' chalked off and also to receive a straight red card.
Charlton will be appealing the red card decision, hopefully enabling him to be free for next weeks fun and games at White Hart Lane.

I really can't remember the last time Charlton were successful with an appeal.
I can remember Sankofa having an extra game added to his ban back in the Premiership days, (due to the appeal being labelled as 'frivolous' by the stuffed suits with no interest outside the Sky Big 4). 

We always seem to be shafted when it comes to asking the authorities to look again.
Maybe our new regime will be a turning point?

Less 'Minty' Murray and more 'Kat' Slater needed perhaps?
You might like to glance at two new blogs, both written by Charlton supporters.