Friday, 26 December 2014


Charlton Athletic 1 - Cardiff City 1

Despite an appalling first half display from the Addicks, it wasn't the worst performance on show.

The bloke they found propping up the bar in Greenwich Wetherspoons, who ended up being given the ill fitting uniform and whistle stunk the Valley out with his ineptitude.

If you were there, you know what I mean and if you weren't, lucky you as I arrived at the Valley filled with Christmas cheer but he single handedly sent my blood pressure soaring to the point where I was, indeed, a potty mouth.

It's not big or clever.

The first half was a shambles from Charlton. 

1-0 down and reduced to 10 men, (against 12), I really couldn't see us getting away with anything less than a 3-0 spanking.

Despite turning down penalties, missing goal bound shots being stopped by an arm and 100% of the time giving Cardiff the benefit of every borderline decision, as well as some just plain wrong ones, the referee could do nothing about the way the Addicks pressed forward for most of the second half.

(Actually, that's not true as he managed to get in the way of a promising attack but we'll file that under stupidity rather than blatant cheating).

The best player on the pitch was Marshall in the Cardiff goal. 

I was pleased he was finally beaten after the shameless piece of play acting - pretending to be hurt and rolling on the floor as Charlton were pushing for the equaliser.


Gudmundsson's 88th minute strike was one of the best I've seen at the Valley.

There was still time to win it as Charlton kept going.

The ball finally fell to Igor, (that's who we'd have chosen for it to fall to), and he raced clear of the defence…….. then blasted the ball over the bar.


A draw that could have been a win.

A moral victory when you're playing ten v twelve but still the single point.

That's 6 points dropped in the final few seconds as George, Bikey and now Igor have fluffed golden opportunities to win games in the closing seconds.

A game that will live in the memory for some time.

Happy Christmas to everyone (except the referee who will no doubt be heading back to the bosom of his family in South Wales).

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas

I'm now thoroughly stuffed after a Christmas Day of somewhat overdoing it, and I hope you are too.

Christmas greetings to everyone who has popped by to visit my rather haphazard and irregular missives on this blog.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Miserable Christmas

Miserable in Lancashire

Blackburn Rovers 2 - Charlton Athletic 0

Well what a load of rubbish eh?

As much as we can all agree the club has 'moved on' since Roland shelled out on our particular area of South East London, yesterday was a supreme example of why we will remain a mid table Championship club, at best, for the foreseeable future.

The Valley stadium, the pitch and the behind the scenes set up are all streets ahead of the standard we had become used to last year but nobody supports a club because they share the owners fiscal prudence policy and because the training ground has been given the all clear for a revamp.

It's on the pitch that counts and just now we have holes all over the place where injured players should be or, as yet, quality unsigned players are needed.

We know Roland isn't afraid to make unpopular decisions.
Shafting Chris Powell, (saying to anyone who would listen that Powell had his support and was 'his man', while making it impossible for him to do his job and having his replacement already in the wings for the moment the FA cup run ended), prove his public words mean nothing but even some sort of weak platitude filled flannel hasn't been reported yet on what Roland plans to do with our threadbare squad.

If the first choice 11 were fit and available, with possibly a couple of senior players as subs, we could maybe compete most weeks in this division, assuming everyone managed to play an entire season without any drop in form or injury.

Of course, this is never going to happen.

Yesterday, Jordan Bloomin Rhodes showed just what we are missing. 

Igor hasn't been the same since he had his injury lay off and I'm convinced it's partly due to him being rushed back sooner than he should have been due to there being nobody else of his quality within the squad.

Last Christmas Roland bought the club as a Christmas present to himself.

This year he needs to buy some accessories to go with it, preferably a decent attacking foil for Igor as number one on his shopping list.

January Sales are just around the corner.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Oh No! (part 44)

Charlton Athletic 2  - Blackpool 2.

Charlton threw it away…… again.
I am in rather a funk.
I'm getting totally fed up with walking away from Charlton games knowing it really could, and should have been better.

Today, we played the very weakest side in the division, gifted them a goal through flappy goalkeeping and invisible defending, got back into the game with a cooly taken penalty, then went ahead through a very well taken goal from distance.

At this point, we proceeded to slow the game down and fanny around when Blackpool were there for the taking.
One goal is never enough for this group of players.
How often have we been pegged back this season?
Yet once we go a goal up, the foot is taken off the gas and we invite the opposition back into the game.

With minutes to go, a rather harsh looking free kick was given against us.
We've seen it time and again.
A needless free kick in a not that dangerous position suddenly becoming the game's turning point.

I've no idea what Pope was playing at but charitably I'll say he can use it as a learning point.
All young keepers have stinkers now and again.
He had one today.

A Blackpool supporting friend highlighted his performance as integral to them winning an away point, though a worse culprit was to ruin our day with almost the last action of the game.

Andre Bikey has won himself a huge fan base within the Charlton support but today he managed to blow it quite spectacularly.

With Blackpool high on life at equalising with only minutes to go, Bikey managed to fluff the kind of chance even Stevie Wonder would have poked into the onion bag.
He sent the ball way, way over the crossbar while three sides of the Valley were already up and celebrating the ball being guided into the unguarded net.

I have to say, I did a rather good impression of John Cleese as I grasped my knees, shaking my head while 'industrial language' tumbled from my mouth.

There must be a curse on that particular (North stand) goal in added on time.
In the last 3 home games, Charlton have managed to miss a golden opportunity to beat Millwall, lose to Ipswich and then today miss the most glorious of easy chances, all with the clock showing a time beyond 90 minutes, also all at that end of the ground.

So. Another draw.

Number 12 this season.

A turning point?

Bob Peeters honeymoon period is a distant memory and there were a fair smattering of boos from the home support at the end.

This season started off with us purring over the way our team were performing.
It's turning into a Winter of discontent.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Oh No George!

Charlton Athletic 0 - Millwall 0

I don't mind admitting I exited the Valley yesterday feeling completely gutted. 

This wasn't really fair on the events of the day but I'm sure I wasn't alone.

The performance from our team had been good. 

The now 'traditional' bending over to be spanked by our nearest neighbours had failed to materialise.

The opposition team had been kept at bay, not really testing the late stand in 'keeper Pope.

The (ahem) 'twelfth man' we had been promised would be roaring the visitors to victory were drowned out every time they, very occasionally, raised their voices above a murmur.

For the majority of the game I'd not really been worried about the possibility of a loss.
-All fairly relaxing. 

This was a 'new' Charlton derby experience.

Except it wasn't. 

I can't recall actually winning a derby game since playing against Crystal Palace in January 2009.
(I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong).

No sooner had I announced that I really hadn't seen anything yet from Coquelin to make me think he'd be getting into the Arsenal team, he turned it on and became our best player.

All over the pitch Charlton were winning the little battles - not least Chris Solly who is starting to return to being 'that' player Lawrie Wilson was brought in to replace as we all knew he was off to the Premiership sooner rather than later.

The game ebbed and flowed, Millwall having their own brief period of ascendency after they made some good substitutions, Easter and Fuller changing the dynamics of their play.

Yet still we weren't troubled and I felt sure we'd hold onto our record of being unbeaten at home, unless there was another one of those calamity connections where we were robbed by a horrible deflection.

With the game entering 5 minutes of added on time Charlton were pushing forward and Millwall were having to defend for their lives.

Then came the golden, (platinum?) opportunity we've waited so long for.

In almost the final few seconds of the game there was a moment I've played over and over in my head, though probably not as many times as George Tucudean.

His life could have been so, so different.

In 40 years time, as an older man, when coming back to visit the Valley, he'd be lauded onto the pitch and cheered to the rafters when being announced to the crowd. 

He'd have been a hero. 
His name would be sung, his face on t- shirts, a glorious image of him wheeling away in celebration while all around him there is pandemonium would have been circulating on social media, people changing their profiles to include the name 'George'…..

Oh George.

In fairness to the young Romanian, it's not like he was trying to cock it up. 
He, like us, was desperate for him to put the ball into the net.

I mean, it's not like he's a footballer or anything, training every day to kick a ball is it?


The failing of George to put his foot through the ball and get it into the more or less unguarded net has it's roots in his last outing for Charlton.

Away at Reading, 1-0 up and with the clock running down, he had the opportunity to kill the game off when going 'one on one' with the 'keeper.

He blasted the ball straight at the bloke between the sticks and the chance was gone.

Yesterday, when he really should have blasted the ball he hung on, played a rather weedy chip over the approaching custodian and then found he didn't have the strength to finish the job off.

George probably thought he'd learned from his mistake at Reading.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out.
He could have been George Best. He could have been George Clooney. He could have been George Harrison.

He went home feeling like George at Asda with the popularity rating of George Osborne.

Oh No George!

Friday, 21 November 2014

El Chavico

Yes, I know, I've been rather tardy since the Fulham game.

It's been a hectic few weeks and the prospect of cranking up the MacBook to post something has just been too much of a chore.

I did contemplate posting a review of The Specials who I saw last Saturday up at the Roundhouse Camden with Crispy but a rather cursory glance online made me realise other people had done it quicker, and better than I'd have managed anyway.

However, here I am with thoughts on the South East London 'El Chavico' that has sneaked up on us like a bad smell.

I must admit, like most Addicks, I'm fearing the worst while hoping (and really hoping) for the best.

Form goes out of the window in this fixture.
It doesn't matter how tip top we feel and how crud Millwall appear to be pre game, they just seem to get the breaks and exit with the bragging rights.

Last season's fixture at the Valley was a 0-0 all over. It was dreadful. Both teams were appalling.
A desperate attempt at a football match with both sides showing the viewing public who had tuned into Sky that our area of town can serve up some absolute stinkers for them when necessary.

Despite it being 'one of those games', a shot that was more likely to trouble the corner flag than the defence managed to catch Dorian Dervite's ankle and deflect into the far corner of the Charlton net.

1-0 down is hardly game over, yet we all knew it was that day. (It was against Millwall you see.)

There can't be many fixtures in the football calendar that have you instantly thinking about your ex-wife  but Charlton - Millwall is sadly just that fixture for me.

The last time we beat Millwall at the (New) Den, not including a pre season 'friendly', I was desperate to be there.
It was bitterly cold, it snowed, and I'd never visited the New Den before.

Unfortunately, it coincided with the evening my wife was having her 'leaving drinks' from her job, working at Harrod's.

I had a cunning plan that miraculously paid off.
I made sure I was rather conspicuously present, buying drinks and making the kind of small talk you have to make in these situations, pretending I'd heard all about people and saying how 'lovely' it was to finally meet them, then at the critical moment, I hared off to Bermondsey.

I don't think anyone has ever made the journey from De Hems Dutch bar off Wardour Street to the New Den with such trepidation.

I knew the locals were unlikely to be throwing out the welcome mat for me and I also knew my name may not have been exactly 'mud' when I finally returned home but it would certainly be rather tarnished.

I made it to my destination very soon after Kick Off.
I was rather nervous the game may have been off due to snow, (this was not just pre twitter etc but also pre mobile phone in my case so there was no way of knowing) but as I approached the ground the reassuringly recognisable sounds of football made me relax a little.

However bad I felt later on that night having to apologise for dipping out, it's now completely paled into insignificance as for the next 19 years I've been able to say "I was there" the last time we won.

I was also there, a few months later in March 1996, (sitting with my ex wife, so she obviously didn't hold a grudge) when Millwall came to The Valley.
We sent them packing with a 2-0 hiding that could have been more.

Since then, Charlton have moved away from Millwall to visit the Premier League and now returned to be neighbours again in the Championship, after tussling in League 1.

This fixture is no more important than any other, yet we've made it so due to our appalling record against Millwall.
We want to beat them purely because we haven't for so long.

I really hope this time will be 'the one', but know in my heart of hearts it's just as likely to all end in the usual letdown.

Please, please can the team put in a performance?

We've waited too long.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Tale of Two Kits.

Fulham 3 - Charlton Athletic 0

"How many books can we borrow?"

After winning 3 points on Tuesday night, Charlton headed West to the comfy part of Hammersmith for a tear up with Hugh Grant, Nigel Havers etc etc.

As would be expected for a game so close to home, Charlton sold out the visiting supporters allocation and while being in fine voice, were not treated to anything like the result we would have hoped for.

Pre game, in The Lazy Fox, just around the corner from Chelsea's Stamford Bridge, I'd predicted a loss by "more than one goal" and so it came to pass.

Within a quarter of an hour, the game was effectively over as Scott Parker ran the show.

Despite starting his career at Charlton, his premature departure to bench warm at Chelsea means he will always receive a rather 'frosty' reception from the Addicks. 

He had been an integral part of our best season in the Premier League but his move in the final few hours of the January transfer window, just a couple of months after signing (by Charlton standards) a new ridiculously lucrative contract means he more than earned his 'Greedy Basket' moniker.

Nobody will question Parker's football ability and he outshone everyone else on the pitch.

After Parker's opening goal, Rodallega doubled the Cottagers advantage. 

Charlton chased shadows for the rest of the half.

The injury crisis, coupled with a threadbare squad, has meant some players who should really be brought on for just 10 minutes here and there, (to give them a taste of life outside 'the kids') are being asked to carry the team through.

Sometimes this proves to be a blessing in disguise, as we saw with the emergence of Diego Poyet last season but it can also crush a young player if they find they aren't quite ready for the bigger stage.

At half time I couldn't see any way that Charlton were going to get anything out of the game.

As usual, we'd saved up one of our worst performances for when we were having a rare televised game. 

There can't be another team who has a worse record for wilting under the cameras.
It's a good job we aren't Leeds United SkyTVFC or we'd never win a point!

A very different Charlton came out in the second half.

While the Fulham keeper was rarely called upon to make a meaningful save, part two was all one way traffic.
Corner after corner, attack after attack but unfortunately the deflections just didn't fall for us and the final pass just wasn't perfect.

With Charlton sending Bikey up front to try and batter his way through the stubborn defence, we were left with only 3 at the back for alarming moments.

It was only a matter of time before the gaps Charlton were leaving were exploited and Rodallega poked home his second as the game entered the final minute.

A few hundred of the 3,000+ Charlton support took the goal as an exit sign but the majority stayed on to bullishly tell the viewing public and the Fulham Marcel Marceau fan club that we were "Charlton til we die".

Three-nil sounds a pretty convincing defeat and for the first half it really was.

The second half was much more like it.
Unfortunately, unlike Fulham, we don't have £15 million worth of forward talent at our disposal.

The chances Charlton made should certainly have lead to at least 2 goals but the quality just wasn't there.

I love the idea of our Youth coming through and making a name for themselves but it needs to be managed better.
Network freebies are all well and good but we also need some players with tried and tested Championship ability if we are to progress.

Fulham looked a pretty decent side last night.
It would be very tough to convince me away from my theory that many of their side were playing deliberately crud to get rid of the hated Felix Magath earlier in the season.

If only half of the stories about him are only half true, he's a grade A nut job and Fulham are well shot of him.

Kit Symons was effectively using the live televised game as the final paragraph of his presentation to claim the Fulham manager job.
Despite his period as a Nigel, I've always quite liked Kit Symons and recall him playing with distinction for Portsmouth and Manchester City.
You're Kit, aaaah!

He's certainly made a massive difference to the atmosphere behind the scenes at Craven Cottage, (if not the atmosphere on match days which surely remains one of the worst anywhere in the country).

The Valley is never going to be compared favourably with the 'Welcome to Hell' fan antics of Galatasary but I can guarantee the place would be rocking if we were outplaying a local team and winning 2-0 on a Friday night under the lights.

The 'other' kit on show last night was our fake Barca atrocity, probably one of the most disliked outfits ever to be seen on the backs of Charlton players.

There are people who will try to add 2 and 2 together and blame our only 2 defeats this season on the 2 times the tango kit has been worn.

Unfortunately, it's only a coincidence but I can't imagine *anyone shelling out for the kit now.

*I write this as someone who has the 'original' Barca shirt, bought for the princely sum of a fiver, (in a Sale), and within moments relegated to bed wear.

We can now lick our wounds for a week before the visit of Sheffield Wednesday.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

End of the Run

AFC Bournemouth 1 - Charlton Athletic 0

Boo Hoo.
Well that's it then.
We've been found out and we won't get another point all season.

The social media over reactions, after a 1-0 away defeat, were as ill thought out as they were over represented with spelling and grammar errors.

We've reached mid October before exiting a pitch pointless, which is pretty decent for a side expected to be propping up the league when predictions were put into print back in July.

Yes, Charlton were ridiculously poor today. 

Yes, the referee apparently had been told we'd had a couple of lucky breaks recently so decided it was his role to even it all up and Yes, the Barca/Tequila Sunrise/High Vis vest new Charlton 3rd kit might look a bit pony but every team has days when things don't click.

If I had to pick a team to break our unbeaten run I'd have chosen one of the inoffensive 'courtesy' sides in the division like Bournemouth. 

Nobody gets riled by a Bournemouth supporter. They've always seemed a really decent bunch, quick to accept their teams shortcomings but also desperate for their club to progress. 

Much better to lose to a club that mean absolutely nothing to us than to a bunch who are going to crow and remind us about it for years.

Just imagine if the Owls from Sheffield had stopped our run? 
We'd never have heard the end of it.

Other than Arter, who always seems to turn into a nasty piece of work when playing against Charlton, (trying too hard after being told he wasn't good enough to stay with the Addicks?), Bournemouth are an easy team to warm to. 

Today was their day and we deserved nothing.

I'm more concerned this week with the shambles and shenanigans going on at Old Loyal Britons, a pub that had everything going for it.

OLB was a place that was different from the identikit, lager swilling learner drinker pubs in the area. 
A devoted and growing customer base, Asset to the Community status possibly on the cards and knowledgable, passionate, tireless staff behind the bar.

To go to bed one night believing all is well, then the next day to be sent pictures of the place all boarded up was to put it mildly, a crying shame.

Now that's a reason to go wild and over react on social media.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Drawing Room?

Charlton Athletic 1 - Birmingham City 1.

In the last week, Charlton have played against teams at the very top and the very bottom of the league.
Obviously, this is not the League table associated with the Championship, I'm talking about the League table of desirable places to live.

Norwich is a place that holds a very special place in my heart.
A calm, walkable town with glorious pubs and an atmosphere I've thoroughly enjoyed, even on the back of a complete thumping at Carrow Road.

Norwich is also a place I've been to visit, purely because I like it and not just because Charlton happen to be playing there.

Middlesborough and Birmingham are at the other end of the spectrum.
Places to be avoided, at all costs.

The Blues fans saw it differently yesterday.
I'm guessing it wasn't a particularly virulent strain of gallows humour when the folk in the Jimmy Seed stand were only too keen to point out their superiority due to being "Brummies," and as we are not, we must by default, be "w*****s".

Another draw at the Valley then.
We don't need to tune in to Downton Abbey with the clipped accents and repressed emotions in the drawing room.
The Valley pitch has become our very own 'drawing' room.

As ever, the positive is the team are still unbeaten this season but we don't have to be Stephen Hawking, Carol Vorderman or even anyone who can count without using their fingers to work out that a loss followed by a win is better than two draws, points wise.

Igor Vetokele opened the scoring for Charlton with a header that even I'd have scored, such was the delightful pin point cross and the absence of defenders on 11 minutes.  He'd earlier made space for himself with a clever trick, only to see his shot squeeze by the upright.
This was going to be easy. 
Birmingham looked rubbish and we were warming up to witness our side finally give someone a tonking.
Unfortunately, from the moment Charlton scored, the high tempo and movement seemed to evaporate.
In my opinion the best player on the pitch, Koby Arthur, got the ball into the Charlton net.  He won't be thanking his mate Donaldson who was standing offside on the goal line and couldn't resist giving the ball a tap as it went over the line.
The Brummies celebrated, (and celebrated), and continued to celebrate way after everyone else in the ground had realised the goal wasn't given and Charlton were playing on.
Surely the slowest ever group of fans to notice a goal being disallowed? 
It was highly amusing to see one bloke still hanging onto his mate, doing fist pumps, grabbing his shirt to clasp the badge and generally making a complete arse of himself, long, long after all the other away fans had sat down and started to grumble.
Lawrie Wilson could have doubled the lead but sent his shot agonisingly over the bar in the first attack of the second half.
 Birmingham scored a deserved equaliser when David Davis turned and struck into the bottom corner, from a well worked corner. I felt at the time that Henderson moved slowly to stop it but he was probably unsighted.
That was it, other than a rather alarming injury to Cousins who seemed to land upside down and was stretchered off.
It now seems the elaborate method of removal for young Jordan was more for precaution than him actually requiring the stretcher but he'll probably need a bit of a time out.
Charlton played the worst I've seen this season but still managed to grab a point. Birmingham weren't much better either but they certainly deserved a point.
Grumpy Lee Clarke showed he didn't know the rules post game when he announced, 
" There was only one team in it and we had a legitimate goal taken off.  I've seen the footage - it's not offside. I've spoken to the ref but I can't take the actual footage in."
It's probably a good job he wasn't allowed to take the footage in with him to visit the referee as he'd have ended up with egg on his face.
We can all have a rest for a couple of weeks now. Some of our players were looking rather tired yesterday so the International break arrives at a good time for us.
Take it easy.

Out of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Peeters on Charlto "
After the f

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Smooth Criminals

Norwich City 0 - Charlton Athletic 1
Like most Addicks fans, I was expecting to be saying post game, something along the lines of, 

"Well, the unbeaten run was fun while it lasted but tonight the class of top of the table Norwich City proved too much for our cobbled together bunch of players".

How wrong were we / was I?

Norwich were in command for every one of the 95 minutes played but they just couldn't break down the heroic defending of a Charlton side who worked together to deny them.

As the game entered the final phase, I was hoping with all my heart we'd be able to hang on to the 0-0 draw against tremendous pressure.

Then on 87 minutes, Jackson let fly and Ruddy in the Norwich goal seemed to make a complete hash of it.


This was more than we had hoped for.

More heroic defending, 5+ minutes of injury time, then some rather bad loser antics from a couple of the Norwich players and Charlton were sneaking off back to SE7 with 3 points in the swag bag.

Whatever happens at the weekend, we are now unbeaten into October. 
That's TEN games.

Heady days.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

A Point... Again.

Charlton Athletic 0 - 'Boro 0

The first half of the game was ridiculously dull.
I'd been watching the Ryder Cup and had to tear myself away from events up in Scotland to head to the Valley for the visit of 'Boro.
For long periods of the first 45 minutes I wished I hadn't bothered.

Many of the away fans had enjoyed an HMS RoD style journey to the game via a Thames pleasure boat. They certainly looked and sounded well refreshed once they made it to the Jimmy Seed stand.

This is not to be considered anything other than a personal view and there will be many people who will think I'm way up my own bum when I say it but Middlesborough has over the years become my baseline assessment for crap towns.

Everyone has their own views on places.
I grew up chuckling at the comments by WC Fields who at every opportunity poked fun at and noted the lack of excitement and beauty to be found in the city of his birth, Philadelphia.
He quipped that on his grave stone he'd like to have "I'd rather be living in Philadelphia" and that a first prize in a competition was a week in Philadelphia, second prize was two weeks in Philadelphia etc etc.

Needless to say, I spent what was quite possibly the time of my life and loved very nearly every minute of my time living in the City of Brotherly Love so it's all down to personal preference.

Having said that, Middlesborough has become my own lowest of the low in a long line of places I'm glad I don't live.
There'll be many (thousands) of people who love it there but I didn't.

As a football team, they've given us the run around over recent years and we haven't beaten them since Darren Bent was leading the line for us.
They also sold us the biggest of pups, (though actually he came on a free transfer), when Jimmy Floyd Piggybanks waddled into the Valley to collect vast amounts of cash for doing quite a lot of pointing at positions on the pitch he'd like the ball to be delivered, then failing to get his gargantuan rear end to travel anywhere near said position.

I can recall absolutely nothing of note about the first half except I was getting rather tetchy about the referee. It took him half an hour to make a decision in Charlton's favour.
Middlesborough were 100% on top though but luckily they were very poor in front of goal.

The half time break will probably have to be filed under 'One For The Dads' as a group of pretty girls stretched, pouted, shook their hair and played a rather over elaborate game of Ring a Roses in front of the Family Stand.

I've nothing against pretty girls, (natch), but it did seem rather 'Palace' and not really what I want to see at the football.
Maybe it's the future but I don't like it.

Having said that, I'd rather have a whole troupe of dancing girls waving their bits at half time than have to endure the G*al M*s*c that seems to be all the rage at clubs with fans who have to be told when to and how to cheer.

The second half started much like the first, though Charlton gradually came back into it and probably should have won.
The final quarter of an hour was highly entertaining, in complete contrast to the rest of the afternoon.

Key incidents included Wiggins being Karate kicked in the same manner as the plump Palace fan who annoyed Eric Cantona, leading to Adomah getting a second yellow card.
The referee got himself into a bit of a fix as he seemed to be sending off the 'Boro player while also saying he'd won a free kick, so we had a good chant about his parentage until we realised he just didn't know his arse from his elbow, or in fact the way the teams were kicking when doing his arm signal.

Bikey had a rather foolish player run into him.
He obviously came off worse, as I would do if I ran into a parked Ford Mondeo.
 I wouldn't try to claim the Mondeo had deliberately clattered me though.
The 'Boro fans saw it differently of course and booed him whenever he played the ball.
The pantomime season started early as the Charlton support cheered his every touch and the atmosphere got a bit lively.

Adam Clayton is still the nasty piece of work he was at Huddersfield.
He went around trying to remove player's shin pads with his studs just as he did for the Yorkshire team.
We had a smile remembering how it took Dale Stephens, who nobody would ever remember as an 'enforcer' to put him back in his box.
Stephens really should have been given a red card that day but it was pure karma that he didn't after all the 'previous' Clayton had got away with over 3 or 4 fixtures.

New Charlton player Bulot hit the inside of the post with an acrobatic effort. It deserved a goal but it wasn't to be.

In the closing minutes of the game, Wiggins and Wilson both came close, Wilson's shot in particular had me already up on my feet celebrating but some tremendous last ditch defending from 'Boro kept Charlton out.

At half time I couldn't see us getting anything from the game unless we changed things around.
At full time, I was disappointed the 3 points hadn't been grabbed.

So, having traveled to Lille to see 'les Dogues' of LOSC grab a point in an actually quite exciting 0-0 draw with Montpellier last Sunday, I now saw my second 0-0 in a week.

I can't imagine Charlton's next fixture at Norwich will be 0-0, though that would be considered a massive success.

Still unbeaten heading to the end of September?

I'll go for that.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Golden Wonder

Charlton Athletic 1 - Wolves 1

After the visit of the 'Golden Boys', we now played host to the 'Old Gold' of Wolverhampton.

At this rate, we'll be seeing the Gold Blend couple, Dutch rockers Golden Earring, Blue Peter dog Goldie and branches of 'relaxed' 70's restaurant 'Golden Egg' popping up around The Valley.

George Tucudean could have scored Charlton's now seemingly 'traditional' early goal in the 6th minute,  his header going wide after Cousins' precise cross.
Wolves wasted some good chances, especially former Charlton failure Leon Clarke. 
With his back to goal, the impressive Henry looped a spectacular 13th minute effort. Thankfully it was nudged over the bar by Henderson as the game ebbed and flowed.
Charlton did score first through Andre Bikey-Amougou's 25th-minute volley. Not the best goal of the season so far but certainly the best celebration.  For a big boned bloke his gymnastic tumbling had remarkable grace.
It was almost 2-0 within moments but Tucudean sprayed his shot wide, then later he copied one of my trademarked golf air shots when he had the goal at his mercy.
At half time Charlton were 1-0 up but it seemed clear the 'gold standard' chances that had been fluffed would probably come back to bite us on the bum.
Of course it came to pass that Charlton's defence was finally breached, though Henderson will be disappointed he didn't manage to keep the ball out. 
From our angle, it seemed rather odd when the Wolves supporters were jumping about as it looked as if Henderson had clawed the ball away.

Once Wolves scored, they were lifted, Batth getting the final touch.

Though it did seem Wolves were now moving forwards with more aggression and purpose, Charlton were still having their own moments too.

Unfortunately, the referee now chose to have his worst period of the game, missing or choosing to ignore some bad challenges and transgressions.

When he did notice something, it was odds on it would be to the benefit of the visitors, even if exactly the same thing had happened moments before and he'd waved play on despite the Charlton support howling in protest.

With seconds to go, he very nearly completely blew it for Charlton when a rash challenge then a blatant handball within 2 seconds of each other were waved away, only for Wolves to break clear.

Had they scored, and arguably they really should have done, it would have been a travesty as a draw was a fair result.

Both teams gave a good account of themselves and even though it was Charlton's worst home result of the season, it was hardly a disaster.

An indication of how far things have changed in recent months is that many fans were disappointed at only getting a draw from the visit of one of the teams at the top of the table.

Heady days.

I'm off to eat some Golden Graham's with Gold Top poured on before heading to bed.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Golden Boys Humbled

Charlton Athletic 1 - Watford 0

I'm not trying to say there's anything remotely advantageous about having your club nickname as a nondescript creature of the sea that's famous for being 'battered', - (a haddock is highly unlikely to strike fear in anybody other than those with a seafood aversion) - but surely the 'Golden Boys' must be the campest name in the division?

The Golden Boys take the train to Charlton.

Pre game, those Watford supporters who spend time on social media had been ridiculously upbeat and confident. Apparently, the simple fact they were selling out the 3000 seats in the Jimmy Seed stand with it's excellent acoustics meant that Charlton wouldn't know what hit us.

As we know to our cost, time and time again we have saved up some of our worst and most dispiriting performances for when we have taken the largest away followings.  
Watford should have taken note.

The game started with a bang. 
Jordan Cousins caught the Watford midfield napping and slipped the ball through to Igor who nipped into the penalty area to be brought crashing to the turf by a desperate Gomes dive.
The penalty was not in dispute. Gomes received a card though many neutrals would have expected it to be red as Vetokele was denied a clear goal scoring opportunity.

Three minutes on the clock and Charlton were 1-0 up after Buyens cooly placed the penalty to the other side of Gomes despairing dive.

Watford came back almost instantly with the ridiculously easy to dislike Troy Deeney scraping the post within moments.

Watford stepped it up a gear. While never really looking like they were going to get the better of a well organised and solid defence, they made some good chances.
Much like Brighton did in our last outing they also gave a master class in duff finishing.

On ten minutes, three sides of the ground made a moving tribute to ex player and fans favourite David Whyte (Whyte, Whyte), who died at just age 43 earlier in the week. 
To their credit, a high proportion of the Watford support joined in. 
Well done to them.

Around half an hour into the game, Deeney showed Tal Ben Haim a clean pair of heels and drove into the penalty area. It looked dangerous but he waited until his control of the ball was beginning to fail before falling to the turf. On another day he'd have won himself a penalty but the referee wasn't convinced by the rather hopeful tumble.

Despite the numerous changes in management up in Hertfordshire, there is still a rather cynical and nasty side to the way Watford play. The diving, blocking runners off the ball, holding etc etc are still there when with the squad they have, they could tear up the division playing the beautiful game. 
Watford decided they were going to play ugly -an obvious tactic was to foul the 'danger man' Igor Vetokele whenever they got the chance.

The games between our two teams in recent years have often ended up with the Watford players losing their cool. It looked for a while as if it would be a certain bet that there'd be a bit of a ruck and someone would get their marching orders.
The fact that nobody did was amazing. 

A Watford player received a yellow for swinging his elbow with force and guided direction to connect with a face. How is that not a red?
It seemed very odd that Cousins received the same punishment for telling the hapless referee he'd made an horlicks of awarding a goal kick when everybody else in the ground (and watching on television) could see it was a corner.

As much as Watford huffed and puffed, they never really got going. They bossed the possession and had countless assaults on goal but the Charlton defence stood solid. 
Whenever there was a chink in the defence, Henderson was there to block the path to goal.

Henderson and Bikey were my MoM contenders. 
Both were immense.  I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a Bikey challenge and some of the Watford players did seem rather 'anxious' to lay the ball off when he came close.
His clearing headers had power and distance.

In added on time, Charlton should have put the game to bed but some terrible player decisions and aversion to shooting only lead to losing possession and Watford haring up the other end to try yet again to break down the defensive wall.

After an eternity of added on time, the referee finally blew his whistle, we let out a deep sigh and The Valley rose as one.

The Watford support had long since stopped believing- forgetting to support their team and resorting to "Your ground's too big for you!" chanting.

Irony piled upon irony. 
This was coming from Watford, a place notorious as being one of the worst venues to watch football in the league. A ground with only three sides and the highlight being you get a decent view of the allotments.

Never mind eh?

Personally, I was extremely happy to get a result as my birthday had been the day before the game.
It may be a trick of my mind (and in all honesty I can't be bothered to look it up) but it did seem that we always got a bit of a tonking when football played a part in my birthday weekend.

I'd like to thank the Golden Boys for adding the cherry on top of my birthday cake.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Glass Half Full?

Brighton and Hove Albion 2 - Charlton Athletic 2.

After the nomadic years and the shambles of the Withdean, Brighton deserve their excellent home. 

Well, a really rather pleasant day out at the seaside with a sneaky bit of kickball thrown in for good measure.

If that mythical person who goes around offering points before the game had come and sat with me on the train down to the coast, and then told me we could be heading back to London with a point, I would as the cliche demands, have "grabbed it with both hands".

Of course, I'd also have put more money than I did on the draw but that's not really important.

What is important is that by the time our team next wander out onto a pitch wearing the first team shirt, despite it very nearly being mid September, they will be an unbeaten set of players (if we hastily forget about the tin pot cup).

Another important point is that after many years of hoping and moaning, we do seem to have lucked into having a forward who knows where the goal is, showing he is a finisher, rather than one of the 'nearly' men.

Igor has won me plenty of cash already this season.
I fully expect Paddy Power to change his goalscoring odds quite dramatically over the next few weeks.

Brighton is a great destination. Quality pubs, great nightlife and the 'holiday' vibe whenever I head down there.

The Amex is a fantastic stadium and there won't be many places better suited to watching football. Crispy pointed out the red 'mood' lighting in the concourse that he'd heard is changed to match the colours of the visiting team.
There seemed to be rather a lot of Charlton crests stuck around the place and while you were staring dutifully at the wall having your 'comfort break', there was a message thanking you for making the journey from Charlton, helpfully stuck at eye line.

The pies were pretty good, the red wine (don't ask) wasn't as bad as expected and the padded comfy seats were all designed to make you feel welcome.
Normally the once a season away fans get the worst part of the ground so I'm assuming the home areas of the Amex are equally plush, if not more so.

As a special treat, Wayne Rooney had taken time out from his millionaire Cheshire lifestyle to come and do the stewarding of the Charlton fans.
Wazza, give us a wave.
After failing to score in the previous visits to the Amex, (which is even worse than actually scoring but not being able to see it due to the mist rolling in at the Withdean a few years back), Charlton set off like a rocket and were 1-0 up before some of our support had made it off the free train from Brighton.

From that point on, there was only one team in it.
They were the hosts.

Henderson pushed the ball around the post but mostly it was a masterclass in great opportunities with duff finishing from Albion.

At half time we hoped we might be able to hang on for the next 45 minutes but unfortunately, with about 20 minutes to go, a corner lead to bean pole Dunk climbing above everyone and smartly waking up the home support.

We all now hoped we might be able to hang onto the draw but Simon Church had other ideas. 
Having come on for the second half, he made a real nuisance of himself.  
If the game had been played in the Premiership he'd have been awarded a (soft) penalty rather than the yellow card he got for simulation.

As it was, he managed to get the ball to a frankly quite shattered looking Igor Vertokele who twisted and made the space to score, making the angle for himself by skilfully deflecting the ball off the upright.

Never has a goal been scored more against the run of play. 
We cared not one jot.
When the 4 minutes of added on time were announced there wasn't a single Charlton supporter who believed we were home and hosed.
We've seen it all before, many times but it didn't stop us hoping.

Unfortunately, an extremely poorly defended corner with just seconds to go was the chance for Brighton to get what they deserved. 
Dunk headed into an unguarded net while the Charlton team looked befuddled at the sudden arrival of an extra 'keeper in the box.

Ho Hum.

Sometimes a draw feels like a win, as the Brighton support showed, and sometimes it feels like a loss.

We do need to learn how to close out games but nobody could say that Charlton didn't (almost) manage the perfect away performance against stronger opposition.

The 2,000 Charlton supporters were honest and thanked the players for their efforts rather than being annoyed at the late setback.
Thanks at the Amex.

After a really quite pain free short journey back to town from Falmer, we were at the busy Brighton rail station.

A few fine beers nearby, with friends, in possibly Brighton's worst pub, were made more entertaining when some drunk middle aged women were refused entry.
They argued a while, then decided the reason they were not welcome wasn't because they had been too thirsty, it was because the pub bouncers toilet equipment was far too small.


A fine day out and a hardly deserved point on the board sent us home to London with a smile on our faces.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Tuesday Night Thriller.

Charlton Athletic 3 - Derby County 2

Charlton continued an impressive start to the season by sending Derby County the same way as Wigan a few days ago.
It was another Tuesday night game, under the lights, which always seems to bring the best out of our fans and players.

The first 2 home games looked decidedly tricky when the fixtures were published so to come away with a maximum 6 points is certainly more than most Addicks were expecting, or even hoping for.

Steve 'Schteve' McClaren has a very good side who very narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premiership and they showed their class with some neat passing and possession.

Despite this, I felt Charlton always looked quite comfortable, other than when Derby's tails were up after Ward equalised with the kind of 'pick that one out' shot that give 'keepers no chance.

Charlton had gone 1-0 up through Tucudean's first goal for the club. He turned crisply to make the space and fired low.

The first 15 - 20 minutes of the game were a joy to watch. Charlton were playing as a team, stroking the ball about and really using the new carpet of a pitch.

Derby were gradually getting a foothold in the game and ended the half the stronger of the two teams.
However, in added on time Tucudean went on a run into the Derby penalty area where he was fouled, the referee pointing to the spot.

It was clear that it would be the last kick of the half.
 Yoni Buyens stepped up to be the coolest man in the postcode and planted the ball high into the back of the net.

Despite a clear goal scoring opportunity being denied, Derby remained with 11 players but having been strangers to the award of penalties last season, we weren't going to complain too hard.

Vetokele capped off a fine move by heading home a Charlton third on 77 minutes and it looked for all the world as if the game was won.

I even took a sneaky look at the Sky sports app on my phone where the live table had us at top of the league!

Unfortunately, as usual, there was to be the usual Charlton anguish late on when Pope let a rather tame shot by Ward trickle through his grasp.
It was the kind of error we used to giggle about when I was a kid and label 'Scottish goalkeeping'.

All 'keepers make howlers but Pope was lucky his didn't result in a dropping of points. He'll get through this and I'd still rather have him representing us than the clown we were sent from Standard Liege last season.

So, another 3 points on the board.
It's looking good so far.

Now we've got past the fluff about the football, goals yadda yadda, it's onto the important stuff.

The spinach and feta filo pastry slice, bought near to the entrance of the East stand, was as good as I'd hoped it would be and comparable to any I've had in Greece.

I was a very contented looking chap as I munched it in the post penalty glow at half time.
I stopped buying programmes a while back and had been congratulating myself on the cash I was saving but I now realise I've found a new way to part with my £'s at football.

One final thought.
How long is Steve McClaren going to persevere with the tiny 'island' of hair he's sporting at the front?

Steve, do yourself a favour and get yourself a number 2 crop.

On that note, I bid you all goodnight.
Sleep well fellow Addicks.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

3 Points and MANY pints.

Charlton Athletic 2 - Wigan Athletic 1 

Here I am again, after a healthy hiatus, back and raring to go for a new season, much like our boys in red.

I wasn't at the game last weekend at Brentford, or indeed the midweek dismantling of Colchester, though thanks to the new and improved deals available for data usage while traveling in Europe, I was able to follow commentary while also indulging in some sunshine bed rest.

I was very keen to see how the spruced up Valley looks first hand rather than via some (possibly manipulated) photograph taken from a camera pleasing angle.
I have to say, the old place certainly looks back to its best.
Like most other commentators, I was impressed with the shiny new paintwork, inspiring images and of course the tartan patterned pitch, along with the new beers available plus the food that I might actually like to eat.

Evening games are often the times when I hare out of work, park my car with a flourish and then jog over to the Valley having eaten nothing since lunch.
In the past, I've sat with a rumbling belly as I'd refused to consume the nasty offerings - though on occasions I did crumble and buy a kit kat.

This season I'll be ramming pulled pork sandwiches and spinach/feta cheese pies down my throat, chased down by non gaseous beers and be all the happier for it.

Can I just say I'm rather jealous of Jordan Cousins?
Those people who know me would probably guess this is due to his new and (improved?) barnet that makes him look like an extra member of the Four Tops or The Temptations.

His follicle superiority can be taken as a given but actually it's something else I'm green about.

Yesterday he had a day to remember.
 He played a blinder.
Even though he was out on the left, he capped a memorable performance by scoring probably the best goal of his admittedly short career.  He'll never score a better one even if he plays twenty seasons.

Here comes my jealousy. He had his glory moment in front of more than 15,000 live viewers, then had it replayed again and again via vine clips and twitter links, not to mention the potential millions of people who will have seen his goal on television.
When you do something that good, you want the world to know and you can really milk the moment.

I too had a 'moment' yesterday.
Ideally, I'd have been standing on the stage at a filled to the rafters O2 arena, the audience in the palm of my hand.
Unfortunately, I was with around ten people of which probably only half of them were paying even the mildest attention.
I'm not a comedian.
I'm not even that witty. I'm that person who thinks up the pithy reply, half an hour later when the moment has gone.

Not yesterday though.
Upon learning that Aussie noise merchants AC/DC have their own brand of wine available down under, I enquired if they sold a Red wine, a White wine and a "Whole lotta Rose".
This was my moment.
Never to be repeated.
Aww Shucks.

As for the game, Charlton opened with an 8th minute Cousins screamer, then a quarter of an hour later Wiggins got tied in knots by the Wigs best player Callum McMannaman. Wiggins missed the chance to head clear and then had a bit of a dancing lesson before the ball was slipped beyond Henderson from the tightest of angles.

Half time came and it was still 1-1.
There was everything to play for but sadly no £5000 win for me in the Valley Gold draw.

Henderson went down off the ball, much to the glee of the hardy bunch of visitors from the North West.
I couldn't see what happened. One minute he was guarding the goal, the next he seemed to be mimicking my own holiday bed rest.

The youngster Pope came on to stand between the sticks. Instead of looking nervous and shaky, he promptly managed to floor two of the forwards who were intent on knocking him off balance in an aerial challenge.
Well done him.

Bob Peeters should be congratulated for getting his team to go for it in the last 10-15 minutes. There was no thought of preserving the point against one of the title contenders.
An attacking substitution brought Franck Moussa into the fray when last year we may have had an extra defender to keep things 'solid' at the back.

In added on time, it looked as though Igor Vetokele had fluffed the chance to a) win the 3 points and b) win me some money on a 2-1 win. Carson came out on top in that particular duel.
Surely that was it?

There was a bit of silliness as one of the Wigs defenders tried to waste some time by refusing to give the ball back after conceding a free kick. He looked very pleased with himself but a few moments later, rather gratifyingly, he was to look completely crestfallen.

Last season, (and also last week at Brentford), Charlton made a habit of being undone by cruel deflected goals.

Yesterday, lady luck found her way to the Valley and chose to sprinkle her magic dust on the team wearing red.

Moussa's final knockings shot wasn't really going to trouble the ex Valley favourite Scott Carson but a 'wicked' (it's always wicked isn't it?) deflection sent the effort ballooning over Carson's head where it seemed to hang for an eternity, before plopping gently over the line.

Carson taking a breather while SE7 goes barmy.
The Valley exploded into a primal scream of emotion.
Carson lay on his back, looking for all the world like a broken man. He had no chance and the goal wasn't his fault but as the last man, he probably felt responsible.

It was a flukey goal, not that anybody with SE7 in their hearts cared.
We turned into a bobbing mass of limbs and the volume flicked up to 11 as Nigel Tufnel might have put it.

We screamed, we shouted, we bellowed, even the old lady who sits near us stopped saying "forwards" for a while to just go rather mental.

Bob Peeters did his image no harm at all and endeared himself to his new supporters by getting 'involved' with a rather grumpy and sore loser Wigan manager Rosler near to Wigs bench, then later near to the Charlton one.
The media always rather piously say "it's not the kind of thing we want to see", except of course it's exactly what we want to see!

Rosler is no shrinking violet but I'd back Big Bob to give him a bit of a leathering if it came to a 1:1 behind the Jimmy Seed.

The Charlton crowd left with a skip and a bounce, not to mention cheering a couple of Chrissy Powell style tunnel jumps.

All was well in my world.

It was less good when I woke up this morning at 6am, on the sofa, still fully clothed, the front door open and my keys still in the lock!

We all love a win don't we?