Monday, 30 December 2013

"...Wake Up Your Sleepy Head……"

Charlton Athletic 1 - Sheffield Wednesday 1.

If I'm trying to grab the positives from the afternoon at the Valley, I'd have to include, (along with the happiness that at least we didn't lose), the fact that I didn't have far to walk to witness a painful example of Yuletide football.
Those poor sods who made the journey to SE heaven from anything beyond the distance of Dartford were ripped off miserably.

I gave up buying programmes a few years ago when I had to get rid of about 15 years worth, clogging up the spare room.

Yesterday I really wished I had something to read.
It was pretty dull.

There's always some strange/magnificent results at this time of year when form seems to be found and lost with coupon busting results.
After a quick perusal of the odds I noticed we were 175/1 to win 5-0.

I've never been more wrong in my life.

The exuberance and confidence we witnessed just hours before at the Boxing Day win over Brighton was sadly all gone by the time the Wendies rolled into town.

The two teams probably wanted to stroke the ball about and give the crowd a bit of entertainment but the rapidly collapsing pitch meant there wasn't much chance of the ball rolling properly.
I dread to think how awful it will be after the storms this week and the FA Cup game at the weekend.

The first half was poor from both sides, though Wednesday were coping better with the conditions.
Precious little happened though and at half time the teams trudged off with the score still 0-0.

The second half started with a bang when Dale Stephens faked to shoot, made the space and blasted past Kirkland.

At 1-0 up, Charlton were far from home and dry.
Wednesday came back and by the end of the game, Charlton were hanging on.

Wednesday had some good moments and on balance of play deserved to end the game with a point.

Despite this, it is most galling to report that Charlton managed to repel all the Yorkshiremen attacks, except one, that was as clear as day offside.

The referee and the linesman must have been picking their noses as it was a simple, clearcut, obvious no brainer, made all the easier by the 'goal' scorer turning to look at the linesman, obviously expecting a flag before starting his celebration.
We can't blame Wickham, he just poked the ball over the line, it was the officials who made the mistake.

There were some poor decisions all afternoon but only the one that really changed the result of the game.

Later, with both teams hoping for a winner, the officials made another howler that seemed pretty amazing at the time after Kirkland made a fine save.

Semedo was busy congratulating Kirkland on his stop and all the players were busy positioning themselves for a corner.
Yet somehow a goal kick was signalled!

The North, East and even the West stand erupted with anger as everyone, (except the people who really mattered) could see what had happened.
It was just another example of the officials making a hash of it.

We can't blame the officials for our inability to get the ball into the opposition net and we can't blame the officials for our team deciding they'd be quite happy with a draw with 15+ minutes still to play.

Church missed a bit of a sitter so close to the end Wednesday wouldn't have time to respond but it just wasn't to be.

When all is said and done, four points from two home games isn't a terrible return.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Here We Go Again

Charlton Athletic 0 - Derby County 2

I've never witnessed a training session at Sparrows Lane but I've come to believe the players are regularly to be found herding black cats, stepping on the cracks in the carpark, walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors and smashing mirrors.

There must be some reason events continually conspire to poke us in the eye.

Yesterday, 'Shteve' McClaren and Derby were the glad recipients of Charlton's woeful luck.

Derby had been expected to give Charlton a right hammering, and those not at the game might look at the result and think that's what happened.
What actually happened was Charlton gave as good as they got and were looking towards edging it all over the pitch, (except in front of goal of course).

The turning point for me was when the referee gave Charlton a free kick.
It wasn't a free kick - it wasn't even close.
Obviously, it came to nothing.
That's the way it's gong for us lately.

Almost immediately, Derby also received an extremely soft free kick.
Our Christmas present from the referee just a minute earlier had turned out to be the wrong size, wrong colour and a bit of a let down.

Derby ended up opening their dream gift, only to find the shop had mistakenly put the days takings inside while wrapping it beautifully.
Lucky, lucky.

A rather feeble free kick deflected off a Charlton player and the ball rolled over the line.


The second half was very little to do with Derby. They were on the back foot for huge periods (whatever McClaren may say) as Charlton marauded forwards time and time again.

Unfortunately, we never really looked like scoring.
How many of 'those' days do we have to endure?

Morrison managed to squeeze a header past the post that 99 times out of 100 he'd have buried.
 Yann was grabbed around the neck in the penalty box and pulled to the floor, yet somehow he conceded a free kick.
It went on and on.

The referee gave Yann Kermorgant nothing all game.
When eventually he was forced to award the Frenchman a free kick, we all cheered sarcastically and Yann gave the official a small round of applause, -and promptly got booked for his efforts!
Whatever he said to the referee he thoroughly deserved it.
 He was crap.

Derby started wasting time as they knew Charlton were getting a grip on the game.
A player being substituted almost pigeon stepped off the pitch. If he'd left any slower they'd have put the stretcher on for him, assuming he'd collapsed.

On chances created Charlton should have been comfortable with at least a point but it just wouldn't roll for us.

A final throw of the dice meant chucking on Sordell to go three up front, which obviously left a gap in defence.
I'm ok with that as I'd rather lose another goal while chasing the game than just sit back and wait for the end.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.
On 87 minutes Derby scored the killer goal and that was that.

It's been a poor time lately to be an Addick, especially as Laurel and Hardy seem to have blown our chances of getting any cash to spend before the end of the season, when we could already be scanning the fixtures on the League 1 page rather than the Championship page, if things don't turn around.

Chris Powell tried something new against Derby and it didn't really come off for him.
Pritchard tried and tried but he's not really suited to the role of playing in the hole.

We all have to realise that we are now stuck with this group of players. That's your lot, there's nobody else arriving unless the greedy clowns find a suitcase of cash behind the sofa.
I can't see any white knights on the horizon.

If you constantly try the same things, how can you expect different results? I'm pleased Powell was brave enough to have a go at something different, even though it somewhat backfired.

I became more and more irritated as the game went on by the fat bloke next to me, (taking up a seat and a half), talking rubbish and abusing the players for lack of application.

He was your typical once a year bloke, who moaned all game, probably because he wasn't seeing Charlton cruising to victory in the Champions League.

In my opinion, the players could possibly be spoken about with reference to lack of quality but NEVER lack of effort.

Don't come back Fatty.
Your presence is not required or requested in future.

100% Support

I forgot to mention the Charlton Upbeats who were the highlight of the afternoon.
Those kids are amazing.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Don't Buy A Lottery Ticket This Week.

Yeovil Town 2 - Charlton Athletic 2


Yet more testing times to be a Charlton supporter.

2-0 up and cruising to a well deserved away victory, in total control and with the game inside the final quarter.

All was looking positive.

In just the time it takes to boil a kettle, make a cup of tea and then settle down with a magazine, Charlton contrived to throw away 2 points.
 Our team managed to concede (yet another) flukey deflected own goal and then to compound the misery, a penalty that was naturally tucked away.

Can anybody remember the last time we received a lucky break?
We had a couple of instances in our promotion season from League One but not much since.

It got even worse today as once Yeovil equalised, they quickly found themselves playing against ten men when captain Johnnie Jackson received a 'straight red' for a strong challenge.

It's a draw that feels like a loss. 

It's never easy being an Addick but we'll all be back at the Valley next week, supporting and hoping for Lady Luck to finally smile on the team in red.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela.

I first became aware of Nelson Mandela when I was a young boy of 12 and he was still held captive on Robben Island.

Mandela walking out of prison, not triumphantly, just happily, hand in hand with his then wife Winnie, was probably my generations 'JFK moment'.

In these times of unmerited hyperbole, Nelson Mandela is someone who really does deserve to be remembered as an inspiration.

Rest In Peace.

Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Same Old Song

Reading 1 - Charlton Athletic 0

Nope, nothing has changed.
It's still the same state of affairs.

The team who released 3 proven goalscorers at the end of last season, now find themselves in the position where barn doors are the safest place on the training ground.

This is not a criticism of the players we retained.
I'd add that 'Churchy', who was brought in at the start of this season, has all the attributes I require of a player wearing the Charlton shirt, those being honest endeavour and 100% commitment to the cause.

However much I respect Simon Church, he hasn't got the kind of goalscoring record a team can hang their season on.
Kermorgant has been struggling to regain the fitness and agility we saw last season and Sordell has been more or less shoved into a corner where chances on the pitch are limited.

The goals that were added to the team from midfield last term seem to have dried up too.


So, splitting my time between the BBC Radio London commentary, Sky Sports and #cafc twitter I learned that:
                   a) Charlton worked their bloomin socks off.
                   b) The referee denied Charlton a very good shout for a penalty.
                   c) The second half and much of the first belonged to Charlton.
                   d) Charlton went down to an against the run of play sucker punch goal.
                   e) The Charlton support sang and shouted without cease.
                   f) Reading were poor - but took their chance.
                   g) Charlton deserved more but in reality one goal is enough to beat us.
                   h) I'm irritated by this beyond belief.

Without some kind of cash injection to help poor Chris Powell, this season is going to be extremely bum clenching.

Yeovil away is going to be interesting to say the least.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Smash & Grab

Charlton Athletic 0 - Ipswich Town 1

Much like the action of any impact yesterday, this won't take long.

Ipswich arrived at The Valley and started as if they'd been drinking triple espresso's, chased down with cans of Red Bull on their journey down the A12.

Within 3 or 4 minutes, they'd already won a few corners and forced stand in 'keeper Ben Alnwick to pull off an agility testing double save.

The powerful onslaught was just too much and eventually Smith smashed home a headed goal, from yet another corner.

Ipswich had crushed any chance the Charlton support were going to manage the 3:07pm round of applause, commemorating 21 years since the return to The Valley.
Most people had their heads in their hands, amazed at the one way traffic we'd witnessed.

Had we all nipped off to the pub at that point, we'd have missed very little.

While not exactly parking the bus, Ipswich didn't really force too many chances of note going forward- though they certainly had the best of the first half.

Other than Dale Stephens audacious overhead cross field pass, there was little to get excited about from a Charlton view.

The second half belonged to Charlton but as is becoming a bit of a worry, the ball just wouldn't run when in a dangerous position.

It looked like it was going to be one of those days.

We couldn't blame the officials, our players lack of effort, Ipswich's negative tactics or the state of the pitch as I thought the referee had a fairly good game, (playing advantage when needed), our team huffed and puffed without cease, Ipswich played a 'typical' away team way and the pitch was fine.

Suddenly, for me, the main chance we had all afternoon was snatched away by a terrible decision.

For the entire game, the referee had made a point of letting play continue to see if there was any advantage, before halting the action for a free kick.

Then, in added on time, there was the one time we needed him to do just that and he had other ideas.

With Stewart speeding onto a 1:1 with the Ipswich 'keeper, without a defender in sight, our hapless referee decided he needed to blow his whistle for a Charlton free kick, back in the centre circle.

A massive let off for the Tractor Boys.

Of course, Stewart may have sent the ball over the stands but we'll never know will we?

A game we were about to lose due to our inept finishing suddenly became a game where we had been 'robbed' of a point!

It's the football supporter logic.

Luckily, a few pints of local Hop Stuff at Greenwich after the game was enough to make me revert to the calmer person I'd been before.

Well done to Ipswich.
Captain BirdsEye  Mick McCarthy played his cards just right and we can't really complain at the result.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Back on Track

Charlton Athletic 2 - Doncaster Rovers 0
Oh Donny……..

Doncaster Rovers supporters have every reason to whinge and moan.

Back in the 'Summer', their Rovers team came to the Valley and kicked off a game that really should never have started due to the appalling conditions. They then gave us a bit of a spanking with 20 minutes of fast and confident play.

The Charlton team really didn't know what had hit them.

At the point the referee called for proceedings to be halted, Rovers were 3-1 up. 

Anyone not at the game would have probably thought "c'est du poisson", (especially if they were French), but it wasn't quite so clear cut.

Rovers had gone down to 10 men, Charlton had just scored and were now due to be attacking the 'dodgy' goalmouth that our blokes had found nearly impossible to defend. 

I fully believed on the day that had the game continued, we would have got at least a draw.

The circumstances and overall picture of the way the game was panning out didn't stop plenty of online harping about Charlton 'cheating' of course.

What cannot be denied is there is a serious problem with the pitch drainage, especially on the East stand side and around the North stand goalmouth.

I feel especially sorry for groundsman Colin 'Paddy' Powell, who's image has changed from somebody who was winning awards for his prowess, to someone who fans of other clubs are blaming for games being in doubt.

Throughout all of the Premiership years, and prior to that if I'm honest, the pitch was more suited to a decent game of carpet bowls or somewhere to practice your putting. It was amazing.

We had similar weather to now for all those years yet the pitch retained the immaculate playing surface.

Sometime during the intervening years there's obviously been some hard financial decisions to make by the club and poor Paddy is now reaping the dividends.

I'm generally fairly pessimistic about Charlton's chances on the walk to the game.

I'm usually the one who is convinced we are going to be on the receiving end of a hiding.
Last night however, I was as sure as could be that we would be claiming the 3 points.

I figured Doncaster had already enjoyed their chance to take Charlton to the cleaners and our team wouldn't fall for it twice. There's also the Sods Law aspect to factor in, along with Donny missing some of their key players.

The Valley was under half full.

It could even have been less than that. Awful transport chaos for anybody not driving to the game meant many, many people never made it to Charlton. The reported attendance of 14,000 was laughable, though I suppose that's tickets and Season Tickets paid for rather than actual bums on seats.

Unfortunately for their hardy bunch of supporters, the Doncaster Rovers team never made it either. They were completely missing.

As good as they were in the original fixture, they were awful last night.

We know to our cost they have the ability to attack with speed and venom yet this time they looked like they'd just stepped off the Red Eye, having crossed the Atlantic budget class, with a fat bloke on one side and a crying baby on the other.

The lack of crowd gave the game a rather odd atmosphere. It honestly felt a bit like a pre season friendly at times or one of those meaningless early rounds of the Cup we generally get knocked out in.

To say the game was rather one sided would not be stretching the point. 

Charlton could/should have been 3 or 4 goals up before Dale Stephens unleashed an amazing volley. 

The ball was always destined for the back of the net, the Donny keeper stood no chance.

The chances kept coming (and coming) before Church managed to get the ball to (finally) go between the uprights when he found himself 1:1 with the 'keeper.

Of the chances Church had, it was one of the more difficult to tuck away yet it was the one that had him wheeling away in triumph.
Odd game eh?

The game was so one sided, instead of having a good moan when Churchy failed to knock the ball into an unguarded net, (somehow contriving to copy one of my golf air shots and finishing up on his rear end), we all belly laughed, safe in the knowledge it wasn't going to be a costly miss.

Danny Green made an appearance late on, fresh from stretching his legs on loan in League One.

He wasn't on the pitch long enough to make an impression and neither was Sordell who also ran about a bit when the game was already up.

The original game against Doncaster Rovers was an odd affair and last night also felt strange to me. Yes we won but I didn't walk away from the Valley with that extra bit of pep in my stride that I normally have after a win.

I'm assuming 'normal' service will be resumed on Saturday when Ipswich Town, now managed by Millwall Mick come calling.

I'd settle for a point and I know if we do grab one, I'll feel more elated than I did last night after the win.

I'm a complicated old fart.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Another Loss

QPR 1 - Charlton Athletic 0.

A rather 'over the top' security arrangement meant many visitors were fearful of missing Kick Off but I think most supporters were in place by the time the players emerged from the tunnel.

This could have been so much worse from a Charlton perspective.

The wealth of experience and quality in the QPR squad made our hard working players look like a park team, yet it was just one moment of sublime skill that settled the encounter.

Charlie Austin really shouldn't be messing around in the Championship. 
It's highly likely he won't need to be playing second tier football next season and I for one wouldn't begrudge him the chance for MOTD to do a focus on him.

Austin's 30 yard belter was the kind of goal that is just perfect.
It was so good, it even raised the voices of the sleepy QPR support (momentarily).

QPR are hardly Barcelona or Manchester United yet their support seems to have settled into the complacent attitude of entitlement.
Why should they bother getting behind their team? 
They 'knew' they'd win anyway, so they sat back and watched their highly remunerated mercenaries, safe in the knowledge they didn't have to strain their throats.

The 1800 Addicks in the sold out away section were there to party, regardless of the result.
Many had traveled from South East London via interesting pub crawls and a sizeable 'crew' (ahem)  had made their way West by disco boat.
There was a definite whiff of 'eau de pissed bloke' in the air.

Crammed into the sold out, compact Loftus Road ground, it should have been a rip roaring London derby but other than when the away fans 'told' the home fans to sing, they weren't really interested.

'Arry, the current fella charged with burning his bum on the QPR managerial hot seat, was celebrating 30 years as a manager, so it was fitting he should be serenaded.

I'm certain he appreciated the reminders to pay his taxes and hearing his face resembles a scrotum.

Charlton huffed and puffed but had nothing in the final third.

I can't question the commitment and hard work from our team but the reality was, we were never going to score in open play. 
The best we could hope for was a dodgy penalty or a free kick in a dangerous area.

With many QPR fans already walking down South Africa Road, Charlton won a late free kick.

It was our glowing opportunity but Jackson was in more danger of hitting a Charlton supporter in the top tier than the back of Rob Green's net.

Green was reminded again and again how he had 'let his country down' which did seem a little harsh. It's unlikely he'll be that bothered though as he will rarely have had a lazier afternoon. 
His kit won't be needing a wash and he didn't have to make a single save of note.

Charlton were toothless going forwards. 
Church ran and ran but needed some help.

We all got excited when Yann Kermorgant was introduced, then crestfallen when we realised he was replacing Church.
Two players up front might have been able to do some damage but when Yann began winning headers (to flick onto himself?), it became clear nothing had changed.

Sordell came on with 5 minutes to go and the two attackers did look lively, but the game was already up.

QPR attempted to turn the screw. 
Shaun Wright Phillips late introduction was accompanied by the 'better than Shaun' song, only for him to respond by being extremely unlucky not to score, his shot bouncing off Ben Hamer's cross bar. 

A game we really could have lost by a shameful scoreline, in the end was fairly respectable.

It's now consigned to history and we can look forward to the visit of Doncaster on Tuesday.

We've had precious little fortune lately so a nice jammy victory would set us up for the visit of the Tractor Boys next weekend.

One final note.
I was disappointed not to see the Mexican(?) bloke wearing the sombrero in the QPR crowd. Maybe he was there and I didn't see him?
At previous visits to Loftus Road he was always an animated and good natured supporter who took the chanting aimed towards him with a beaming smile.

I do hope he's not been a casualty of the 'new' QPR regime or been priced out of football. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

We Will Remember Them

Once a year, (though really it should be much more often than that), I am reminded how trivial my day to day life really is.

As much as I enjoy filling days with thoughts about the fortunes of my local football team, Adidas trainers, 80's casual brands, searching out the best coffee in London and listening to music that makes me feel fine, it's all a bit meaningless.

Today being Remembrance Sunday, it is the time we bring to mind those who have fought in wars both recent and not so recent.

As I've got older it's become more and more pertinent to me.

As a small boy, I would go on parade wearing my Cub Scout uniform but I didn't really understand.

Now, I can look back at family photographs and hear tales of young men who died without reaching even half my current age.

What a waste.

I imagine most families in this country will have been touched by somebody close perishing in battle.

Today, I am particularly remembering Grandad Roy and Uncle Reginald.

Roy trained at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich and was killed on a depth charged submarine, HMS Sterlet, 18th April 1940, during WW2.
Grandad Roy, back centre 
Roy, a few months before being killed.

Reginald was injured in WW1 and sent home to recover.
Unfortunately, his lungs had been so badly wrecked by gas he died soon afterwards.

We Will Remember Them

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Ref'll Fix It

"Yooooorkshire. We are Leeds etc etc".
Charlton Athletic 2 - Leeds United 4
It's quite difficult to write this without coming across as a bitter old bloke, who can't accept it when his team is beaten.

As supporters of Charlton, we are unlike the supporters of the Sky 6, so we are quite used to taking defeat on the chin.

Today felt different though.

It's possible to be the better team, yet lose, at least in part due to odd decisions by an incompetent referee.

I was already in a stinking mood when I got to the Valley.

I'd only realised the game was having a delayed start due to a waterlogged pitch as I was walking from home, approaching the Valley Cafe on Charlton Church Lane.

At this road junction, coming down Delafield Road,  I witnessed a young lad having his Charlton scarf forcibly removed from around his neck, then the cowards run off with it into a laughing mass of northern bell ends.

Within seconds, I then saw two older ladies, (both looking to be in their seventies), being surrounded by drunken yobs with arms outstretched, beer bottles in hand, chanting "Yorkshire" in their faces.

It's safe to say Leeds United supporters were playing (down) to their reputation as a pathetic copy of our close neighbours from Bermondsey.

The game will be remembered for Ross McCormack scoring 4 goals but what it really should be remembered for is an appalling case of officiating.

I cannot deny McCormack took his goals well.
He is just the kind of player our potless club desperately needs but finances dictate it is a pipe dream.

Unfortunately, only his first goal wasn't somewhat 'ref assisted'.

Charlton equalised with a fantastic screamer from Stewart and at that point it looked as if there was only going to be one winner.
The Addicks were on a roll.

Charlton had been denied a cast iron penalty in the first half when Church was clipped running onto a goal scoring opportunity.
He had no reason to go down. It was as clear as day yet our Leeds supporting referee saw it differently and waved play on.

Within moments of the second half starting, in almost the same position as the Church incident, there was an almighty dive without much help from a timid challenge, yet our Yorky approved ref pointed to the spot.

Charlton equalised again after tremendous work down the left from Church, crossing for Jackson to poke the ball home.

Unfortunately, Leeds only had to get the ball back into the Charlton half for them to be awarded a dodgy free kick.
It had all the hallmarks of the kind of awful decision that gets chewed over in the pub afterwards and discussed by pundits.
Bad decision leading to goal.

Exactly that dreaded scenario occurred, with McCormack bagging his hat trick, though why Hamer decided to watch events rather than getting stuck in I have no idea.
Inside the 6 yard box he should be claiming everything but he may as well have not been there.

Leeds were highly fortunate to be in front, yet worse was to come.

In added on time, Leeds won another free kick. The 'offence' was a good 5 yards outside the area yet the Leeds Tom Daly ended up well inside the box, safe in the knowledge his pal would give him a penalty.

He looked shocked when he only received a free kick.

At 3-2 down, within added on time, we were all feeling cheated as we knew the better team hadn't prevailed.

That all changed though when McCormack scored his final goal, direct from the free kick.
That's a thumping surely?
A wonderful strike, yet Hamer really could have done much better.

 Hamer didn't really have much to do today except pick the ball out of the net.
He wasn't called on to make any saves, unlike Kenny in the Leeds goal who made at least 2 world class stops and also saw his woodwork rattled.

It was one of those days today.
Our team played well and deserved better.

Leeds and their nauseating followers can head back up to Yorkshire, (or Sussex etc according to their flags) full of the joys associated with an away win.

They didn't deserve it but they won't care a hoot.
An away win is always the best kind of win.
Scoring 4 goals isn't something that happens regularly either so they'll be full of it.

Charlton can take solace from playing well, against 12 men.
We deserved to take at least a point despite what resembles an emphatic beating when seen purely as a result.

Maybe we will be allowed to bring our own ref to the game up at Elland Road?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Bore Draw

Charlton Athletic 0 - Blackpool 0

Today was not a classic, by any stretch of the imagination but Charlton can at least say a clean sheet has finally arrived.

Ben Hamer wasn't really called into action too much in the Charlton goal but the West Country custodian must gain some confidence from the shut out, especially as his performances have been under the microscope lately.

Last weekend, I couldn't see us winning a point before the International Break so two draws against fancied opposition isn't a bad return.

Today was a game nobody really deserved to win or lose.
It was dull, dull, dull.

I think Charlton will be happier with the point than Blackpool who surely must have arrived at The Valley, looked at our team sheet without Kermorgant, Solly, Jackson and Cort and reckoned it was a fine time to avenge the two defeats we inflicted upon them last season.

There was plenty of huff and puff from both sides but real, proper, attempts on goal were at a premium.

Other than Jordan Cousins long shot, that Gilks managed to push onto the post, Charlton were pretty toothless.
Church ran and ran (and ran) but nothing fell for him.
Sordell got into some good positions but in general, he just made me wonder why anyone felt the need to put a £3M price tag on him and Harriot tried hard, yet seemed outmuscled by the well drilled Seasiders.

Blackpool's large defence made sure all the long balls hoofed up front were repelled with ease.
We certainly missed the pugnacious Kermorgant.

At the other end, Wilson, Morrison and Wood were keeping the highly regarded Ince under wraps.

Both teams cancelled each other out.

Hardly a game to live long in the memory but it's a point I didn't expect, so I'm not complaining, (unlike the prize twazzock who was sitting behind us in the East stand).

He moaned from 3pm onwards, without cease.
He didn't seem to recognise many of our players and had very little of note to say other than the reds are "just not good enough" and "laughably poor", while exclaiming with disgust at every perceived misplaced pass or fumbled control.
It went on and on.
 He was having a horrible time, obviously hating every minute of his time at The Valley.

A man of such lofty standards must surely dress in the finest suits, live with a Miss World, dine out at Michelin starred restaurants while driving a DB9 to his obscenely highly paid job, before heading home to his luxury mansion.
His cover as an Old Man Steptoe clone was a masterstroke when trying to blend in.

The 100% support of Tuesday night was a distant memory around our parts today, mostly thanks to Moaning Mike.

I do hope he's not going to be a regular feature of home games.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

That's More Like It.

Charlton Athletic 1 - Nottingham Forest 1
Ex CAFC Reid was very welcome back at the Valley.

The morning papers will have this down as a point won by both teams but from a Charlton perspective, this was so much more.

Despite an early setback in the second minute, when Andy Reid swung in a free kick, (only for it to catch Hamer flat footed and nestle in the net), a cobbled together Charlton side gave the kind of performance the supporters desired.

If the team had shown even half the commitment shown tonight at our previous home game against Millwall, the Lions wouldn't have had a prayer.

Against Millwall nobody really stood out for praise.
Tonight, the whole team deserve to be congratulated.

The Forest goal had a charmed life.
After barely creating a single chance of merit against Millwall and with much the same result up at Burnley, tonight there was wave after wave of Charlton pressure.
Chance after chance went begging, yet we 'knew' there'd be more to come.

Simon Church could have had a hat trick in the first half alone.
It was wonderful to watch.

Sordell scored the goal that looked like it could be the launch pad for Charlton to claim all 3 points but it wasn't to be.

The final touch just wouldn't come off but nobody can deny the team work and effort displayed to create those chances.

It's amazing what can be achieved when there's some belief.
The encouragement came pouring down from the stands and the players responded.

Lawrie Wilson was inspirational and it was his hard work that laid on the Charlton goal.

Before the game, as ever, I was convinced we'd be on the receiving end of a spanking.
What transpired was Forest were hanging on by the end.
Their 'keeper in particular was wasting a ridiculous amount of time.
Clearly they'd settled for what they already had.

It nearly backfired for them as in the closing seconds, Morrison could have won it for Charlton when he steamed in at the far post, onto a well delivered corner that went past the flapping keeper.

Had Morro stuck his nut on it as we expected, it couldn't have failed to end up in the net but it was at an awkward height so he went with his foot.
The ball missed the target and that was it.

I'm feeling quite elated after a draw.
It's an odd game eh?


Supporters of Charlton aren't like many other clubs.
 We are quite like Brentford, Millwall, Leyton Orient and Watford though.

We (mostly) live now, or have lived for a period, in and around the South East part of a huge metropolis with hundreds of diverting and entertaining events going on daily.

Despite these wonderful cultural opportunities available, we decide we are going to watch football.

But where?

We live just a few miles from some of the most wealthy and successful football clubs in this country and beyond, yet we spend our time following one of those clubs the press would politely call 'lesser', in the same way they label anyone who didn't go to Eton/Oxbridge as 'ordinary'.

It's all very well living in some one horse town up North and becoming a hardcore follower of your local team.

When it's a choice between sitting on the wall outside Lidl, chugging away on an alcopop, or heading into the dry of the home end, it's hardly that much of a choice.

We have chosen to align ourselves with a club where the successes really *mean* something, as we have regular disappointments.
It'd be easy to be a Glory Boy in this city but we choose not to.

So, onto tonight.

Of course not.

We are well used to disappointment, we are Addicks!!!

We have a severely injury depleted team, and an 'upstairs' that seems to have hardly enough money between them to service the debts, never mind make any improvements.

Come on Charlton fans. 
We know that on paper Forest should be giving us a right good hiding tonight.

They've spent around £6M this year while we've spent £0 propping up a team that's essentially a League 1 outfit.
Forest have star players we can only dream of.

Yet it's still just 11 v 11.

It's not impossible. 

Even if we are losing handsomely, we can still applaud the effort shown by our players.
We can give them strength by showing them we believe. We can be the difference between a player giving 80% and giving his all.

I'll see you there, 7:45pm.

(Bring your throat sweets.)

Oh and if it's confidence you're after, these might help.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


Charlton Athletic 0- Millwall 1

....and so it came to pass that as usual, Charlton bent over and offered their submission to Millwall.

On paper, Millwall should have been there for the taking but we know differently.

If Millwall had gone 1-0 down in the first half, they'd have fully believed they only needed a brief moment of good fortune to regain parity.
They'd have gone for it, as we would have done against any other opposition except perhaps Manchester United, who also hold the Indian sign over us.

Charlton went 1-0 down and we already knew the game was up.

The weight of history on our players was too much to carry.
 It doesn't matter how poor Millwall are, they always seem to have the grit and good fortune to turn over Charlton.

Today had 0-0 written all over it.
Millwall were rubbish.
Charlton were equally so.

~One moment claimed the 3 points and local pride.

Pritchard lost possession after Charlton had been denied a penalty claim. A speculative shot deflected viciously off Dervite leaving Ben Hamer stranded.

1-0 down and that was it.

One day we will beat Millwall.
I refuse to believe that witnessing the wins in 1996 is going to be it for me.

The odds were stacked precariously against Charlton today.
The most one sided local derby featuring the team with surely the worst record on live television, being officiated by a referee who has probably given Charlton more reasons to complain than any other, was never going to end on a happy note for the Addicks.

So, bragging rights can go to Millwall.

Sometimes football makes me unbelievably happy.

Then there's days like today.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Point Gained

Watford 1 - Charlton Athletic 1

Celebratory smoke bomb after Yann's goal

There is nobody you dislike more than somebody who you used to really admire, only for them to let you down.

Many people who normally seem quite placid and carefree suddenly turn into the most vitriolic wounded animals, filled with hate when the subject of their previous partner crops up, especially if they feel 'wronged' by their ex beau.

In this respect, I have a massive problem with Watford and Gianfranco Zola.

I really dislike Chelsea. 
When I say really, I mean *really*. 

I'm not sure where this irrational hatred comes from.
 I just cannot remember a time when it wasn't there. 
Perhaps it comes from my grandparents who were season ticket holders at Leeds United through the late 60's and early 70's, during a period when Leeds and Chelsea were constantly at each others throats? 

Whatever the history, Chelsea and me just don't get on.

For a few seasons though, I not only suspended my dislike, I actually enjoyed seeing Chelsea and found myself purring with delight at some of their play.

The reason?

Gianfranco Zola.
I adored him. Truly one of the greatest players ever to play in our country. 

I've been let down by them too.

Not so long ago, Watford were a club I know I'd have supported if I'd grown up in Hertfordshire. 
They had a pretty good academy and brought through some exciting local youngsters who made it to the first team. 
I remember Graham Taylor insisting that all his players lived within a few miles of Vicarage Road and were involved in grassroots projects to benefit the local community.
I was impressed. 

Today, Watford are everything I despise about modern football. 
Foreign owned with very little 'local' influence and a method of play that while looking attractive to home support, has cheating so far ingrained it makes me really dislike what football has become.

Gianfranco Zola has managed to harness all the aspects of the Italian game I find most repellent and transfer them to Hertfordshire. 
The diving, the waving of imaginary cards when 'winning' free kicks, the kicking out off the ball, the gamesmanship etc etc. just leave me shaking my head and wishing for those older, less 'win at all cost' days.

The fact that at the end of the game, many Watford fans booed the ref because in general, he hadn't fallen for the diving and rolling speaks volumes for how normalised the cheating has become at Watford.

The day started with a bang, meeting Hungry Ted at Euston before popping up to Spoons on Watford High Street.

The RoD on tour were already there, tucking into liquid lunches with gusto. We also met up with Rob from The Wrong Side Of The Thames who was excellent company, not least because of his clear love of a beer.

As ever, I was convinced we were going to be on the receiving end of a pasting, and announced I'd consider a draw a decent result.

Last season, Watford were a bit of a surprise with their (Udinese B) squad playing possession heavy football, then utilising swift attacking breaks, usually leading to Forestieri running onto a ball and doing a Tom Daly to win a free kick in a dangerous position. 

This season, we all know what to expect.

Something must have gone wrong though as at half time, not only had Charlton kept the score at 0-0 but were trouncing Watford in the possession stats. The BBC had Charlton keeping the ball over 70% of the time!

Watford looked dangerous but their final ball was woeful. 

The two talking points of the first half both happened up at the other end so they may as well have been on the moon. 
Some ants wearing red and yellow shirts seemed to clash while waiting for a corner, the home support erupted and the referee got involved.

Watford wanted the referee to believe Church had thrown a punch. He may well have done, I couldn't see, but the referee obviously didn't believe it so Church was left to carry on with just a yellow card to his name.

The other incident had Charlton poking the ball home, only for a flag to be raised.

Vicarage Road was more or less full. I couldn't see many gaps, other than the third side of the ground that has been a building site for the last few years.

Despite the home support having turned up in numbers, they really, really didn't get behind their team.

I'm not pretending the Charlton home support is anything wonderful as I know we can be somewhat timid at times but compared to Watford's yesterday, we are like a seething mass of Galatasary supporters!

Perhaps there's a hangover from last season?
If their bunch of foreign mercenaries had got their act together at Wembley to beat a clearly inferior Palace side, they'd have been at Old Trafford yesterday, instead of at home to Charlton.

The second half couldn't have started better from a Charlton perspective. 
 Wilson was brought down by a rather needless sliding challenge. A clearer penalty you couldn't wish to witness yet the Watford players all waved their hands as if Wilson had dived and the referee had been conned.


Yann stepped up, and calmly blasted the penalty into the roof of the net.
 It was the turn of the away end to erupt. 

The rest of the half was Watford trying to equalise, with one eye on trying to fool the officials (natch).

Watford got the goal they deserved when Hamer couldn't hold onto a long shot and the ball fell kindly for Pudil to poke home into the unguarded net.

Watford had a few chances to score a winner but the defence held firm. When they didn't Watford gave a masterclass in wasting good opportunities by blasting over the bar or choosing the wrong pass.

Johnnie Jackson could have won it for Charlton when a ball evaded everyone, coming in from the left, and he ghosted in at the far post.
Just the kind of chance he'd have gobbled up 9 times out of 10 but this time he sliced wildly.

The game ended with Watford feeling disappointed but Charlton considering it a a worthwhile point.

We all met up back in Spoons, to hear next weeks opponents Millwall had been turned over 5-1, at home.


Hungry Ted, Rob and myself headed back to Euston to pop into one of our friend Al's favourite pubs, the Mable.

We bumped into some Millwall fans and I couldn't resist asking if they'd had a good afternoon.

Eventually, traditional kebab in hand, i sauntered home in time to fall asleep with the soporific MOTD pundits.

A top day out.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Happy Yann Day.

Charlton Athletic 2 - Leicester City 1

So, the Foxes came to town.

Those of us who enjoy tuning into Newsnight or Question Time are fully aware that 'a week is a very long time in politics'.

It's fair to say the same is definitely the case in football.

Last weekend, Charlton looked a very poor side and had to rely on the gods of bad weather to curtail a game that seemed for long periods to have embarrassing home defeat stamped all over it.

This week, well, it's all sunny in the garden isn't it?

Enjoying a few drinks in the Rose of Denmark pre game, I cut a rather pessimistic figure.
I freely admitted I was expecting a 3-0, or worse, defeat.

Only chirpy Hungry Ted said he fancied us to pull off a decent result.
We discussed 'that' Cardiff game last season and how important the support from the stands had been.

Could something similar happen again?

Charlton started the fixture really well and it was plain to see that Chris Powell had asked the team to go for it.

Leicester didn't really get started for the first quarter of an hour but as the half progressed, they looked dangerous when counter attacking, often with blistering pace.

Despite this, most of the attacking play was from Charlton, especially from set pieces. 
Morrison stuck his head onto a corner and we were 1-0 up.

Despite the celebrations, Charlton were good value for the one goal advantage.

Yann Kermorgant had been booed (and BOOOED) by the majority of Foxes fans so it was rather gratifying in the second half, to see him score his customary goal against his old employers.

Leicester blasted themselves back into the game within moments, Hamer given no chance with the rasping shot.

Two Leicester players stood out for me today, one for positive and one for negative reasons.

The positive player was Kasper Schmeichel.
My oh my!
In my humble opinion, if he had only been on 'ordinary' form as opposed to 'form of his life' today, then Charlton would have been runaway winners.

Schmeichel made three saves that were so good, I was already celebrating the goal!
He was by far the best Leicester player on show.

The silly boy Matty James was at the other end of the scale.
Already on a yellow card, he raced after the referee to complain and (from our angle) looked to get right in the referee's face and push him, earning himself a red card.

Just the kind of behaviour his grumpy manager should be concerned about, rather than trying to blame the officials for Leicester not turning over little old Charlton.

The statistics don't lie Nigel.

Let's bask in the joy of being an Addick again.

Every single player in red played a part today. A proper, old school team effort.

These are the days that remind us why we love the club and keep supporting when with minimal effort, and short distances to travel, we could join the sheep and glory boys cheering on one of the capitals Premiership big guns, (not including Palace of course who are resolutely low rent).

We can now go into the International Break feeling all warm and cosy before we reconvene at Watford in two weeks time.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

What A Strange Afternoon.

Charlton Athletic 1 - Doncaster Rovers 3
(Match Abandoned at Half Time).

This game started with a Rovers goal.

Barely two minutes had been played when some statuesque Charlton 'defending' lead to a strong headed goal.

It all happened in slow motion.
I felt like rubbing my eyes, sit com fashion, such was the absurdity of what I had witnessed.

It was to get much, much worse.

The area in front of the Valley East stand and especially the North stand penalty area (being defended by Charlton) had collected water so there was a distinct splash to the players running. 

It was, at times, impossible to make out the matchball if two or three players were challenging for it.
This wasn't really too much of a problem but when the ball also refused to roll over large sections of the field- and throw ins landed on the pitch and stopped still, it was plain to see that any kind of passing game was impossible.

Before long, Doncaster had scored two more.

Both goals can at least in some part be attributed to the state of the pitch, though for one, the East stand linesman was so far behind the play he was nowhere near able to make a decision on what looked to be an offside in the build up.
The Charlton defence really hadn't adapted to the ball getting stuck in the soup but were also neglecting  their basic jobs such as marking and blocking.

The game was suspended with each and every Charlton fan hoping the referee would see sense, and every Doncaster supporter hoping the game would continue, despite the atrocious conditions and danger to players.

I'd have been exactly the same in their position. Imagine being 3-0 up, away from home and then to hear the game might be void?

After about half an hour, the players returned and despite the work done on the pitch, the rain had continued while the players were back in the changing rooms.

The surface had not improved.

Church managed to score for Charlton to put a little bit of respectability on the scoreline but the game was turning into a farce.

Keegan got a chance to enjoy an early bath when he proved how footballers can sometimes be remarkably thick and infuriating to their supporters.

Why pull down an opposition player, who is in their own half (and isn't posing any kind of threat), when you are already on a yellow card and the referee is only metres away?

What a doofus.

Yann went to ground and Keegan went to have first go with the (Brut?) shower gel.

Charlton came into the game more and more as the clock ticked towards half time.

The break lasted longer than normal and finally the Doncaster players came out onto the pitch, clapped their support and lobbed their shirts into the crowd.

Soon afterwards, the Charlton team came out, clapped and waved and it was clear we'd seen as much as we were going to get today.

People who weren't there will probably think Charlton, and Chris Powell in particular, dodged a bullet today.

This might be the case but the momentum had turned towards Charlton and who's to say the ten man team would have been able to defend that North stand swamp/penalty area?

In summary, poor Charlton defending cannot be denied but the game really shouldn't have got past the first ten minutes.

I felt sorry for the Doncaster supporters who made the journey but the correct decision was made in the end.

For all the crowing from Yorkshire about Charlton 'cheating,' it wasn't the home sides decision to end the game. 
The referee Lee Collins had to make a safety decision and (eventually), though it was clear he was under immense pressure, he did call off the game. 

Yorkies might need to remember that God may be a Londoner but we really have no sway when ordering the weather.

waterlogged pitch. 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

It's HERE!

I posted yesterday that sadly I can't be at The Valley today for our first home game of the season.

However, I can show quite clearly from this photograph that excitement is reaching almost fever pitch as the clock ticks ever closer to 3pm (5pm Greek time).

Friday, 9 August 2013

Missing You...

Unfortunately I won't be at the Valley on Saturday for the visit of tactful Tony Mowbray and his smoggy pals.

Due to booking a sunshine break, way back in April, I took a chance with the fixture list and the cards fell badly.

I was able to visit Bournemouth last Saturday and despite the result, had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

"Since I was young......... etc etc...!"

Truthfully, it was never going to be our day.
 Bournemouth deserved a decent result for their first game back in the Championship and their players seemed to be just the little bit more in command of the game. 
Yann's screamer aside, we looked second best for large periods, despite it being a fairly even encounter.

We could have nicked it of course but after the daylight robbery we performed at the same venue two seasons ago, -when I came perilously close to punching  Jim Davidson in the face with my rather animated added on time celebrations, (he was next to me in the Charlton section), it would have been too much to ask for.

Last season I didn't miss a single home game in the league or our (admittedly rather brief) efforts in the cups.

This year, with the season only a week old, I'll have missed TWO games!

My season ticket is being used as I've handed it to a friend but I can't help feeling a little bit flat about missing the first 'proper' home game.

I will, of course, be following the game via twitter, while I bake my belly in the Greek sunshine.

Give the lads a cheer from me and, in true Curbs programme notes fashion, lets hope the team "Send everyone home happy".


Sunday, 7 July 2013

77 Years of Hurt- Not Anymore!

Congratulations must go to proud Scot, Brit and London resident Andy Murray, who won the Wimbledon Tennis Championship Men's Singles title this afternoon.

Fred Perry was the last British player to lift the trophy, seventy seven years ago.

Since then, UK tennis had failed to follow up Perry's achievement.
For around seventy of those years, they didn't even get that close.

I grew up in awe of players such as Borg, McEnroe, Connors and Lendl.
The top players were so far ahead of anybody British, it was inconceivable that we would get to see anyone from these shores challenging for a Major title.

In my youth, British players were generally considered massive over achievers if they made it beyond their first game on those well kept lawns at SW19.

Other than Virginia Wade, (who managed to grab the Ladies title in the Queen's Silver Jubilee year of 1977), British success at Wimbledon was a pipe dream.

We've certainly left the days of Buster Mottram and his ilk, a long way behind.

Well done Andy.

Scottish and British hero.

Hot Stuff

Welling United 0 - Charlton Athletic 5

So, blogging.
How does it go again?

After around 2 months without football, we reconvened at near neighbours Welling yesterday afternoon.

The sun shone, the beer was cold and the familiar faces were out and about.

The bus trundling between Charlton Church Lane and Welling was sweltering and I instantly regretted not bringing a hat with me.

I had plastered Bald Guyz sunscreen over my dome, relying on the protection for the day.

Despite it being advertised as sweat resistant, I wasn't quite sure it was up to the job.

Playing beach volleyball in Malibu is all very well but the product designers really should have given their guinea pigs a journey on the 486 going over Shooters Hill, on a warm day, inside one of TFL's ovens to really give it the once over.

It was good to bump into lots of familiar people and by the time we headed into Park View Road, over 2,000 of us were eagerly anticipating an afternoon of football again.

The usual game of 'Who He?' played at our Welling friendlies, wasn't really an option this time.
With only one trialist, it was a case of checking up on how many beers and pies the heroes we recognise from last season have tucked away over the break.

The days of footballers heading off for 5 or 6 weeks of excess, then coming back to pre season training to get beasted and sweat themselves back into shape must be a thing of the past.
After only one week back at the training ground, every single player looked ridiculously whippet like, (with the exception of the tubby 'keeper Welling brought on for the second half).

Even over their holiday period, it is clear that today's players have to take it easy and keep an eye on their diets.

The first half saw 3 goals from Pigott and one from Kermorgant.
Kermorgant was pulling the strings and set up each of Piggott's efforts.

My favourite goal was Kermorgant's strike which he skillfully managed to slice around the advancing defenders with the outside of his boot.

On the subject of boots, I'm about to have an old man grumble.

Back in the day, anybody not sporting 'proper' black boots would have been laughed off the pitch, swiftly consigned to the fancy pants Jessie category and promptly kicked into the stands for being some sort of deviant.

Alas, not today.

From our front row seats in the Old Stand at Welling, we had the most appalling view of the players footwear as they warmed up just (ahem) feet from us.

Only Johnnie Jackson came out of it with much credit as his boots weren't quite so evil looking.

Some of these players should be ashamed.
Look away now if you are easily offended.
Surely this madness has to stop?

The second half of the game was a much tighter affair with both teams changing their line up completely.

Welling deserved at least a goal but couldn't quite get the breakthrough their approach play merited.

The only goal of the second half was a late penalty, (an obvious hand ball despite the howls of protest from the Wings supporter sat behind us), tucked away by Danny Green.

Tubby got quite close to it but Green wheeled away in celebration to make the final score a rather emphatic 5-0.

It could have been worse for Welling as Hollands managed to hit the cross bar just a minute later when most people thought the ball was destined for the net.

The traditional amble across the playing surface, despite the best efforts of stewards who all knew it was about to happen, finished off a rather pleasing couple of hours.

It was then back to the pub, a couple more hasty beers before wandering down to the Thai Dynasty where we ate like kings, enjoying the dishes that kept on coming as we ordered and reordered.

A bus heading back towards North Greenwich was all that was needed to complete a top day and with the bus stop directly outside the restaurant door, it couldn't have been simpler.

A rewatch of Quadrophenia on DVD, was just the cherry on top to send me to bed smiling.

It's good to be back.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Love Spreads at Finsbury Park

Me, Finsbury Park. N4. (Photo by @HungryTed.)
The Stone Roses.
Finsbury Park N4.
8th June 2013.

Yesterday was a day that had been taunting me for months on my calendar.

I had been looking forward to it for so long, surely it couldn't possibly live up to my hopes for the occasion?

 I bought my ticket back in October 2012 but yesterday was really something I'd been building up to since 1989.

Back then, my friend Sibbs had a C90 tape of this strange band from Manchester and I eventually gave it a listen.

 Pretty soon, all the people I hung about with were big fans and from then until now, the tunes of The Stone Roses have soundtracked the major events in my life.

I'm not alone in this respect.
Hundreds of thousands of people who were coming of age back then would have exactly the same experience.

I was aged just 21 in 1989, had absolutely no responsibilities and was ripe to fall in with this new 'Madchester' musical movement.

While never being a band to trouble the higher levels of the pop charts, The Stone Roses did manage to have their debut album universally regarded as one of the greatest ever to be committed to vinyl.

I love music and a music free day is a rarity.

When I 'discovered' the Stone Roses, it felt as if this was a perfect amalgamation of everything I'd already decided was the stuff I liked.

There were the unbelievably funky beats that I'd grown to love as part of the mid 80's Hip Hop explosion. I'd gone to see Public Enemy, Run DMC and The Beastie Boys in the previous years and quickly recognised the drum and bass patterns.

There were the amazing floating choruses that I recognised from The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel and the Beach Boys.

There were the rocky (and funky) guitars I homed in on that reminded me of Psychedelic Furs, elements of Led Zep, James Brown and The Clash.

Finally, The Stone Roses had the swagger of provincial cool that was impossible not to buy into.
Each and every tune is a ready made terrace anthem.

In the recent Shane Meadows film Made of Stone, there's a bloke being interviewed about his love for the Roses, who really could be any one of us there on Saturday, (or Friday).

"You know it, I know it, ... but it's impossible to write it down"

The gathering in North London was almost like a religious meeting.

It's easy for those people who have been won over by the sappy Simon Cowell idea of 'music', to brush the Roses aside for being 'over rated,' or for being from a pre internet, pre mobile phone and pre social media time that is in their opinion, no longer relevant.

The most common stick to hit the Roses with is Ian Brown's vocals.

Even the most ardent fan could not fail to notice that his live performances can edge towards flatness.

If that's your reason for not liking The Stone Roses, it just proves you don't 'get it'.

In my opinion, it's like knocking Jackson Pollock number 5 because it's not much cop as a landscape picture or Picasso's cubist pictures for being childlike.

Who cares?

Once the Supremes tune, 'Stoned Love' blared out over the speakers, we all knew The Stone Roses were seconds away.

They bounced onto the stage, Ian Brown instantly owning it as his Simian Stroll strutted and posed in a way Liam Gallagher and Mick Jagger can only dream of.

Heaven on Earth.........

I Wanna Be Adored can stand up to any other opening track, on any other album.
It's also the traditional opener for Stone Roses shows and ensures proceedings start on a high.

Any weaknesses in Ian Brown's vocals were certainly not apparent, especially with a cast of over 50,000 backing singers.

The set list was as perfect as any of us could have hoped for.

I Wanna Be Adored
Elephant Stone
Ten Storey Love Song
Standing Here
Going Down
Shoot You Down
Fool's Gold
Something's Burning
Don't Stop
She Bangs The Drums
Love Spreads
This Is The One
Made Of Stone
Breaking Into Heaven
Elizabeth My Dear
I Am The Resurrection.

A mixture of tunes from before the first album, the eponymous debut album and also the Second Coming album.

Every tune was greeted like an old friend and as the cliche states, 'Grown Men Cried'.

We were treated to the aural onslaught while all around us the warm aroma of 'green' was keeping the atmosphere mellow.
* (The only drugs our group were using were Imodium and Fishermen's Friends, though we had made pretty good use of the drinks bar...)

By the time I Am The Resurrection was being belted out, Brown's voice was beginning to go but nobody was bothered.
The crowd carried him through in the same way a football crowd carries their team.

We'd commented a few times throughout the afternoon about how following the Roses felt like heading to an away game.
The only difference was the chanting wasn't directed at the opposition.

We all joined in again and again.

We were 'All In It Together' as Dave Cameron might say.

At the end of the show, bass player and Man U fan Mani, marched to the front of the stage and laughed into a microphone,
 "It's always nice to come to this part of North London. We usually leave with 3 points and a couple of your best players".

There were many people who had somewhat overdone it, either through chemicals or the beer tent. Escaping the swamp of urine and the phantom vomiters in the dark, was no mean feat as we attempted to leave the park.

Public transport was rather patchy and struggled to cope with the thousands of bucket hatted, inebriated middle aged farts, so we ended up joining a convoluted journey by bus, heading South towards London Bridge.

I can say with confidence, that it's the only time I've been involved in a mass singalong on the upstairs of a double decker bus since my days as a school kid, heading to the zoo on a school trip.

Thanks for your company Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni, (as well as my companions Hungry Ted, Crispy and Bolts).