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.

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Peeters on Charlto "
After the f