Friday, September 30, 2005

Ten years ago: a draw against the Tykes as Bosman looms

Barnsley are one club I'm glad we don't have to play any more. After the excitement of the preceding week, Charlton drew 1-1 at home with Barnsley on 30 September 1995 at The Valley.

My notes recall, 'Barnsley played a very tight game and it wasn't until the 39th minute that Grant scored. Charlton were lacklustre in the second half and Grant missed from a few yards. Redfearn (yes, it was he) scored from a free kick in injury time. Some people thought that Salmon should have saved it, but it was a well placed shot. Steve from Sidcup commented, "Same old Charlton"'.

Press reports recall that the game turned nasty in the second half. Jackson elbowed Bowyer in the back. 'A minute later', stated The Observer 'he used the same elbow, on the same player, this time in the face. Astonishingly, he only received a yellow card.'

The programme revealed that keeper Andy Petterson had been sent on loan to Ipswich where Charlton won 5-1 the preceding week. Redfearn was described in the programme as 'much travelled'. And he keeps travelling on, scoring from a penalty for Scarborough last week.

Chris Parkes was featured in a 'day in the life' and very wisely he drew attention to the importance of the Bosman judgement about to be made by the European Court, arguing 'I personally feel that our transfer system has stood the test of time and protects both players and clubs. Watch this space.' Indeed: the court decision had a major impact on football.

We're in the 21st century now: Spurs preview

Spurs fans have the chance to buy a 'beautiful bone china plate, commemorating the marvellous first modern Double victory in 1960-61 by Tottenham Hotspur football club.' We are told the plate 'would make a perfect display in a case or on your wall, or indeed on your mantlepiece!' (I live in an old house and have a mantlepiece, but is it common these days?)

Should you be tempted by this offer and wish to pay out £17 please go to:
Spurs tat

For me, this says all you need to know about Spurs fans. They still think they're one of the top clubs and the moment they lose a match they are all over 606 bemoaning their fate. Win a game or two, however, and they're going to be in the Champions League.

It's true that in the 1960s Spurs were the equivalent of Chelsea or the Salford Red Sox today. I lived in Essex then and there was a genuine base of Spurs supporters who had moved out from East London and went round salivating about Jimmy Greaves. However, they were also the sort of club that attracted glory hunters at school who weren't genuine football supporters (hence never enduring the rubbish served up at New Writtle Street by Chelmsford City) and wanted to boast about 'their' team. Yes, it happened then.

I do rate Martin Jol as a manager. At one time I believe he was at Roda, the Dutch team from Limburg with whom a number of Charlton fans maintain contact after our visit there a few years ago for a pre-season friendly which I greatly enjoyed.

I think that we're in for a tough game tomorrow against the Haringey club and my great fear is that 'Judas' Defoe, spurred on by enquiries about his mother's house, will score for them. Given that Deano probably needs another game in the reserves, Charlton may be largely unchanged. Doubts remain among supporters about Kishishev, but there is not an obvious replacement. El Karkouri, who has been mentioned, is not the same sort of player. However, he may appear in another role as the Herminator reportedly has a groin strain (although Sorondo is also available in that position).

I'm forecasting a 1-1 draw. Don't place any money on it: I usually get it wrong. The six previous matches against Spurs in the Premiership at The Valley have ended in three wins for the Addicks and three wins for Spurs. Just about time for a draw, then.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Lisbie to stay on at Norwich

Kevin Lisbie may stay on for another month at Carrow Road. Lisbie would like to stay. He has missed some goal scoring opportunities, no surprise there then, but Norwich have Dean Ashton, Peter Thorne and Deon McKenzie all injured. The decision is up to Curbs, but with Bartlett and JJ available, although not exactly on song, Curbs may think that he has enough cover.

Lisbie is now one of Charlton's longest serving players, but his record at The Valley has been mixed, his high point being the hattrick scored against Liverpool. At his best, he can be good, but he lacks consistency, particularly in terms of accuracy and has had a number of loan spells at lower division clubs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Andy Hunt's blog

Enjoy the thoughts of the former Charlton striker in his new blog. He was a popular figure at The Valley, making a big contribution in the year that we won the (then) First Division Championship. However, his career was prematurely ended by a mysterious illness, although he made an attempted come back in the reserves.


BTW, I learn from the Bulletin that Deano put in a sound performance in the reserves against Fulham last night, apart from a few wayward kicks. Nothing new there, then, but Andersen can display that failing as well when he is attempting to reach one of our wingers.

Interesting debate in the comments section of this blog about who is the better keeper. I would say Deano is now, if only because of his greater experience. But Andersen shows all the signs of being an excellent replacement and if he doesn't get first team action we may lose him.

The Brakes go marching on

I was not one of the 861 people who went to see Leamington play Oadby Town, also of the World Travel Midland Alliance, in the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday as I was at the Hawthorns. The replay was last night and work commitments prevented me from taking the drive up the M69 to the home of the Imperials for the match. It was 1-1 at extra time, but Brakes won the penalty shoot out 4-2 and won £3,750.

Now they are at home to Woodford United of the UCL in the 3rd qualifying round, in itself a considerable achievement for a Step 5 team in the non-league pyramid. Indeed, when I was the guest on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire's breakfast show on Sunday, they didn't want to talk about the Addicks, only about the Brakes. The match is on 8th October when Charlton take a break for internationals. This will be the only Charlton blog covering the game, although Deano's dad may be there (he was at the annual dinner this year).

Woodford Halse is a strange town in Northamptonshire which used to house the workshops of the long closed Great Central Railway, hence there are streets full of small Victorian houses. Like many of the small industrial towns in Northamptonshire, it has the reputation of being a bit of a rough house (no offence intended to the Burton Latimer Addick who lives in a village near the Weetabix factory, the village being known for its Addicktion).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Murphy for England?

Danny Murphy's form may be recognised by making him the third Charlton player to be called up for England:


Barclays debt takes priority over that of Charlton

The £10m owed by Allsports to Barclays Bank will take priority over debts to suppliers and Charlton after the sports clothing retailer went into administration. Wire services claim that the club 'is thought to be awaiting a substantial amount in sponsorship fees by Allsports.'

The chain will continue to trade for the time being, but some store closures and job losses are inevitable. Administrators will weigh up offers for the remaining part of the business. However, Dermot Power, partner at administrators BDO Stoy Hayward, did not think there would be a quick sale.

Allsports in administration?

We have heard so far unconfirmed reports that Allsports have gone into administration, which would not be a complete surprise. Should we now put an 'in administration' label on our shirts? I think I will wear a different one from my collection on Saturday. I certainly envy one of my friends who has a Woolwich shirt - and can still fit into it.

T-mobile already sponsor the Baggies, but I don't know how long their contract has to run. In any case, surely one of London's top clubs is a bigger attraction than one in the Black Country? Or maybe the American guy involved in the Dome will step in?

We were under the cosh at West Brom

David 'Statto' Hatch's graphic picture shows how much we were under the cosh at West Brom in the second half. I think this picture was taken in the four minutes added on when Andersen had to scoop the ball out from under the bar. It would be a good one for a spot the ball competition - I think that air traffic control had been alerted. But we held firm and remain the top non-Russian team in the capital. Bring on the Spudz!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Charlton's lord and Portsmouth's shirts

Bit of a Monday miscellany this posting, but in case any Addick is expecting a peerage soon, I should remind them that the title 'of Charlton' is already booked. Deptford born peer Lord Wedderburn has the lead letter in The Times today. And his entry in Who's Who still lists his only recreation as 'Charlton Athletic Football Club'. Is it a recreation though? Anyway, it looks as if it will have to be Lord Everitt of Sidcup and Lord Window of Chislehurst.

Anyone else see the story about the Pompey away shirts that were nicked and how they caught the thieves? A Saints supporter pointed out to me that 600 shirts were nicked, but they only had 500 at Bolton.

Read the story at Nicked shirts

I heard about Danny's goals in the supermarket

Danny Murphy's wife Joanna Taylor reveals in The Times today about how she found about her husband's winning goals for Charlton at the weekend:

As for me, I couldn’t hide my excitement this weekend when Danny scored twice. He’s playing better and better this season and getting his name on the scoresheet twice in one game has been his reward. I was in Waitrose when the texts came through and I phoned my Mum to tell her. I got some funny looks from people as I walked down the frozen-food aisle with a big grin on my face

Deano and the goalkeeper problem

It was good to see Deano as one of the guests on Match of the Day 2 last night. One would not think of him as a natural television performer, but he made some excellent observations about goalkeeping performances and was amusing on the subject of 'ball boy management' when one is attempting to waste time as a match comes to a close.

However, what was particularly revealing was when he was asked about being substituted for two games last season. 'I've played 640 games', the shot stopper replied 'and I would like to have played 642'.

Deano also said that his injured finger would be cleared today (Monday) so I assume this means he will be able to resume full training, although he would clearly need a reserve game or two to get back to match fitness.

This leaves Curbs with a dilemma. Who does he put in goal? Apart from a mistake at the Baggies, Andersen has had an excellent record, so it is difficult to see why he should be dropped.

However, there was discussion of the plight of the reserve goalkeeper on yesterday's programme and it was clear that it is not a role congenial to Deano. If he found himself as second choice, he might leave. He is a firm favourite with the fans as the chants of 'There's only one Deano' at the Hartlepool game shows. And what would I say to his dad in the queue at Tesco's?

I guess sorting out this kind of dilemma is what Curbs gets paid for.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Bowyer in the dock

Lee Bowyer is facing a driving ban after being recorded doing about 110mph in his Porsche 911 on a stretch of the A1 near his Northumberland home. The Newcastle midfielder was identified by a mobile police patrol near Felton in July, Bedlington magistrates were told.

Bowyer admitted speeding by letter, but magistrates adjourned the case until 7 October and ordered the 28-year old to appear in person.

The Charlton relevance of a speeding conviction for a Newcastle player is that rumours persist that Bowyer could still be a Charlton target in the January transfer window. The club were certainly interested in the summer as it was felt that Boywer would give the midfield an additional 'edge'.

Whether there is any truth or not in these rumours, the possible return of the prodigal son always provokes controversy among the Addickted both about what he could add in footballing terms and whether his off the pitch behaviour is relevant.

Allsports founder may take control

David Hughes, the founder of Charlton kit sponsors Allsports, is negotiating to buy the group's debt from Barclays to take control of the company's future. He is also said to be considering paying Allsports' imminent rent bill to give the company more time to consider its future.

Barclays holds about £10m of Allsports' debt. The bank is considering calling in administrators (thought to be PricewaterhouseCoopers) ahead of the quarterly rent day.

A number of restructuring firms are also though to be interested, including Hilco, the company that bought the debt of retail chain Allders. Mike Ashley, the owner of the Sports World chain, might also revive his interest.

If Mr Hughes gains control of Barclays' debt he is understood to be considering bringing in his own administrators. Whoever the administrators are they are likely to close half of the group's 270 stores. Allsports has been hit by a price war among retailers and the decline in non-food retail sales as the economy softens.

Any administrator or purchaser will be looking to cut costs, including the Addicks sponsorship. The details of the contract are commercially confidential. Unconfirmed speculative rumours have suggested that relatively little was to be paid this year relative to previous years.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

It's just like watching Brazil - for 45 minutes

'It's just like watching Brazil' chanted the Addickted as Charlton dominated the Baggies in the first half at The Hawthorns this afternoon, going 2-0 ahead with goals from Danny Murphy, the first from a penalty. However, it was different story after the break. Revitalised by the introduction of Kamara, the home side quickly made it 2-1 and the Addicks were under the cosh for much of the half, digging in to defend their lead. My original prediction had been 2-2 and the Baggies might feel hard done by, but the Addicks maintained their 100% away record and made their 2nd place in the table more secure. One consequence of the balance of play in the match was that both halves were largely played at the Charlton end.

In the excellent Vine pub with its Indian buffet we heard the news that Charlton would once again progress no further than the 4th round of the FA Cup, having been drawn away to Chelsea. Someone observed that Chelsea might put their 2nd team out, but this overlooks the fact that the second team is as good as their first. Pricing will have to be realistic if any of the Addickted are to be attracted to the match.

A curious announcement before the match was a request for a Dr John Evans and the Charlton secretary to go urgently to a room in one of the stands. What was all that about?

Spotting Councillor Rick Everitt in the crowd, I thought once again how nice it was to have a touch of civic dignity at away games, but then I remembered his excited celebrations captured on Sky Television after the win at 'Boro. Also spotted in the crowd was blogster Inspector Sands who was not restrained by the requirements of civic office.

The game did not get off to a quick start and I had hardly any notes worth speaking of when Jerome Thomas advanced on goal from the wing and was clattered down in the area. There were no real protests from the Albion players when referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot to give Charlton their second penalty in a week and their first in the Premiership since the season before last. May it be the first of many. Danny Murphy stepped up and drove the ball cleanly past Kirkland into the back of the net.

The Baggies managed to put in a shot that was not far over the top of the Charlton crossbar. The Addicks suffered from a series of offside decisions by the over eager lino to our right. West Brom won a free kick but it sailed way over the bar.

Rommedahl played a good ball to Murphy but Kirkland was just able to push it round the post for a Charlton corner which was cleared. The Baggies crowd had been completely silent and a little bit of activity brought a chant of 'We forgot you were here'.

Thomas ran forward with the ball well, but tried to put in a pass to Chris Powell which had so much pace on it that the left back had no chance of reaching it. Kirkland then had to save by pushing a shot from Thomas over the bar. Powell dealt with a rare Baggies attack with a good defensive header.

Rommedahl had a great run and put in a cross of greater accuracy than usual to the unmarked Murphy who was able to put the ball past Kirkland to make it 2-0 to the Addicks.

The Baggies did get back into the game a little more in the rest of the half, but a potentially promising free kick was wasted by Clement who sent in soaring over the crossbar. However, Andersen had to make a good save at point blank range from a header. A rare error by the Herminator put the Addicks under pressure as the half came to a close.

Half time: Baggies 0, Addicks 2

Andy Johnson was withdrawn at the break and replaced by Diomansy Kamara and there is no doubt that this change lifted the home side's game. An attack in the first minute was repelled, but then the Baggies won two corners in succession. Five minutes into the half, the Baggies went ahead through debutante Curtis Davies who was at odds of 28-1 to score. Deano is sometimes criticised for staying rooted to his line, but that is what Andersen should have done instead of coming out and allowing the ball to be put past him.

West Brom were given a free kick, but the Herminator (who moments before had passed to an Albion player) was able to clear. So-called Hungarian wonder man Gera found himself with a chance to score, but put the ball wide. It was desperation time with the Baggies launching attack after attack, the home crowd having suddenly found their voice. Chris Powell made one vital block, but then the Baggies put in a shot that went just past the post. If they had scored a second at that stage of the game, they could well have gone on to win.

Thomas turned provider for Smertin, but his shot was way over the bar. Luke Young made a good tackle to break up an Albion attack. Young then made another good defensive block and, with Rommedahl replaced by Bothroyd, Perry went in well on Earnshaw.

Robson decided that changes were needed and Earnshaw and the ineffective Kevin Campbell were taken off and replaced by big signing Nathan Ellington and local hero Geoff Horsfield, sending the Baggies wild as they saw victory within their grasp.

A rare Murphy error set up a Baggies attack, but Andersen was able to save. Kishishev got a yellow card for a foul, the only card of the afternoon on World Fair Play Day. An announcement of an attendance of under 24,000 brought a chant from the Addickted of 'You can't sell your tickets.'

As the 75th minute mark was passed, Bothroyd managed to give the ball away near the halfway line and then Kishishev also managed to surrender possession. Charlton won an unproductive corner. Charlton played keep ball for a while in an attempt to calm the game down.

Chris Powell's valiant efforts failed to prevent a Baggies corner. Curbs decided to hold this up by making two substitutions, although there was some confusion about whether Murphy was going off but he did, accompanied by Chris Powell, with Spector and Hughes coming on. From the corner Andersen had to save on the line.

Somehow or other the referee managed to find four minutes to add on to the end of the match and they were tense minutes, although the action was initially up the other end. However, Andersen had to scoop the ball out from almost under his crossbar at the expense of a corner. Bent was able to break from the corner and go on a great run to the other end of the pitch but his effort went over.

The Baggies were let down in the second half by poor delivery, while Charlton once again showed an ability to ride their luck which is one of the characteristics of successful teams. It was therefore irritating to hear on Radio 5 on the way home the usual suggestion that Curbs should go elsewhere to develop his career, along with a comment that Charlton could be ignored in the table as the real table was the gap between Chelsea, United and Arsenal.

Congratulations to the Burton Latimer Addick on his 50-1 bet on Charlton winning 2-1 and Murphy scoring the first goal.

Match analysis Match analyst Homer the Cherry Hound had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone to the scorer of the two goals, Danny Murphy. Andersen was also at fault for the Albion goal, but also made some excellent saves. Perry was once again Mr Reliability and showed why he is keeping El Karkouri on the bench. Hreidarsson had a couple of wobbles, but was generally a tower of strength. Powell had an excellent game, defensively strong and positioning himself well on the wing to help attacks. Young had a first rate game, intervening effectively in defence and helping to build up attacks. Kishishev had fewer errors than usual and provided some neat passing play in midfield. Who was the lady in the crowd he came over to give his shirt to at the end of the game? Smertin weaved his silky skills (e.g., an excellent long pass to Chris Powell early in the game), although he could have made more of a chance to score. Thomas has been criticised by some of the Addickted recently, but there was less showboating than usual and he contributed a great deal to the game, presenting a real threat to the Baggies defence. Rommedahl also used his pace well and provided the cross for the decisive second goal. Once again Bent looked a little isolated and was not able to get into the action as much as he would have wanted. Hughes came on for his usual holding role, but was not that much involved. Spector was more involved, but is often a source of concern as he is far from the finished article. After his sparking debut on Tuesday, Boothroyd was much less impressive in this setting.

Tigger Candelent awarded the Hiss of the Match to the Baggie supporters who yelled '****ing cheats' as they drove past in their car. The debut analyst was quite shocked by the remarks by some Baggie supporters. However, credit must be given to the hospitable Baggies who invited us home for refreshments after the game.

Crowd rating The 1,000+ Addickted in attendance were in good voice, although there is still room for work on the range of chants used. I still haven't heard anything as innovative as the 'Two nil, or not two nil?' chanted by Leamington supporters when they went 2-0 up against Stratford Town. 8/10

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ten Years Ago: ten goals in two matches

Very often when I write about a match ten years ago I can't remember it even when I read my notes. But this doesn't apply to 23rd September 1995 when I went to Ipswich in my green and purple Viglen shirt and saw the Addicks beat the Tractors 5-1. A local yokel was so upset he chased me across the car park afterwards shouting, 'You ought to be ashamed of wearing that [deleted] shirt.' OK, the colours were a bit naff.

My notes state, 'Ipswich went one up after three minutes and Chapple was no substitute for Rufus in the defence (Rufus had been standing forlornly by the tunnel entrance.'

'After the break we came back fighting and Chapple scored off the rebound from the attack. The Ipswich goalkeeper was injured [in a collison with Kim Grant] and they had no reserve goalkeeper. [Striker Neil Gregory went in goal]. Leaburn scored a hattrick and Linger who came on as a substitute scored. 5-1!'

'Things were quite tense during the match with the police intervening at the Ipswich end and the Red Army keeping up a chant [that referred to a suggestion that the Tractors supporters might engage in abnormal practices with sheep].'

It was Leaburn's first hattrick for Charlton. Was it his last? I can't recall.

Odd to see a very youthful looking George Burley in the programme. Mind you, I was under fifty then, instead of pushing sixty.

Victory over Wimbledon

It had been a great week for Charlton as on Wednesday they had beaten Wimbledon 5-4 at Selhurst Park in the then Coca Cola Cup. The match is commemorated in a viedo called White Hot! which states on the cover 'Re-live one of the most memorable matches of modern Charlton history.'

I had made it to our second leg home tie against Barnet (who had just recruited Alan Pardew, already in need of Grecian 2000) which we won 2-0 and I was entertained by seeing disconsolate individuals with damaged bee wings on the Northern Line afterwards, but work commitments prevented a visit to Selhurst Park were the attendance for the first leg was 3,717. 'Fatty' Garland opened the scoring for Charlton with a goal which stunned even him, Bowyer got a hattrick and Kim Grant completed the tally.

I was able to go to the return game which was equally exciting, but more of that in a subsequent posting. Who would have thought that ten years later, Wimbledon would be split into a franchise in Milton Keynes and a fan led non-league club? Our paths have certainly diverged.

Where will Charlton be in a hundred years time? Watch this space for a peep into the future.

Expectations problem at the Baggies

Almost everyone in a predictions game I am involved in is predicting a win over the Baggies at The Hawthorns tomorrow. This early in the season, people are reading results off the table, which didn't help very much when the Baggies beat us 4-1 at home last season (although I think it would have been a different result if El Karkouri had not been sent off).

Charlton this season are a far more skilled team than the Baggies who are defensively suspect. Hence, we must leave Darren Bent thirty yards in front of everyone else as he waits for the long ball. Murphy and Thomas have to get forward in support which should be easier with Smertin back in the side. Thomas needs to be prepared to play the simple ball and not try to dazzle everyone with his magic.

Apart from the return of Smertin, the team will probably remain unchanged. Perry has been sparkling in defence and the Herminator has also done well at centre back (the reverse of his experience in Ipswich). There is a case for Sorondo (who got some rather unfair lukewarm comments after Tuesday) being brought in to take on the Baggies, but it is probably best to stay with a winning formula.

The one question mark might be about the error prone Kishishev, but I feel that his battling qualities are needed in an away game of this kind. Holland would be a safe replacement, but hardly an inspiring one.

On the bench I would like to see Myhre, Sorondo, Spector, Sam and Ambrose. That leaves us without a replacement striker, but that would depend on how bad Bothroyd's knock on Wednesday night was. He should certainly be ahead of the lacklustre Bartlett who, as Inspector Sands has noted, looked like he was suffering from the flu on Tuesday evening. JJ is JJ, but he may well turn up on the bench given that Curbs clearly thinks that he offers something.

Homeless dog named as match analyst

Since moving to Oxfordshire, Homer has become a supporter of FA vase winners Didcot Town

Homer the Cherry Hound had already been pencilled in as match analyst and Brian Cole was scheduled to take a momentary detour off the A34 at Chilton, Oxon to collect him. However, the vociferous labrador will now be picked up from Leamington having become homeless during the week, his owners' housing chain of fourteen having collapsed on moving day. Similarly, his homeless feline friend Tigger Candelent will be giving the Hiss of the Match, although as a consequence she has been the recipient of hisses from Juneau the Soccer Cat who has positioned herself outside the room in which she has been staying.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Allsports faces administration

Charlton Athletic sponsors Allsports may be forced to call in the administrators this week after entrepreneur Mark Ashley, who owns the Sports World chain, withdrew an offer for the company. It is understood that Allsports is due to pay its quarterly rent by September 25th and that the company's backers are likely to pull the plug before that date if a buyer is not found.

Mr Ashley is thought to have withdrawn his offer because of a fall in the retail chain's sales. Allsports pre-tax profits fell 45 per cent to £3.9m for the year to February 2004. Since then its performance has deteriorated further.

The implications for Charlton are not known, but can hardly be good news for the club. There has been some speculation that T-mobile are waiting in the wings as a possible replacement.

Charlton now Kent club - official

Tucked the way in the programme for the Hartlepool game (which I thought was excellent value for £1.50) was an intriguing statistic from Rick Everitt. He revealed that 58 per cent of Charlton season ticket holders now have Kent addresses against 26 per cent from SE districts.

It would be intriguing to know where the other 16 per cent come from, although ny guess would be other London postal districts, followed by Essex. In Surrey Charlton season ticket holders would definitely be outnumbered by supporters of the Salford Red Sox.

Charlton has always had close links with Kent as evidenced by the number of Charlton players who used to play Kent county cricket in the summer. Of course, Gillingham have claimed that they are the real Kent club, or at least their popular chairman Paul Scally has.

An Addick recently went to their club shop to buy a shirt for his grandson who has an unfortunate affiliation to the Gills. Asked if he put a name and number on the back, he was told that was not possible (the technology presumably having not reached that part of Kent), but it was suggested to him that they might do it at The Valley!

Folkestone man's confession

Support in Kent is being consolidated by the Valley Express service. Folkestone resident David Carlton, author of an acclaimed critical biography of matinée idol turned prime minister Anthony Eden and a book on Churchill and Stalin recently retired from his post at Warwick University, the long-distance commute having finally worn him down.

Knowing that the terrorism expert was something of a football fan, I asked him if he would be using the Rickshaw now that he had retired, given its popularity with older folk. When he replied that he hadn't even heard of the Rickshaw, I started to worry about the effectiveness of our publicity in the Channel coast town.

But then the awful truth came out. 'I'm an Eagle', confessed Carlton who would only need a 'h' to have the perfect surname for an Addick. Somehow I don't think the Glaziers will be providing a coach service for the Nigels and Nigellas any time soon.

Reserves beat Glaziers

Our reserve correspondent, Clive Richardson (whose photo of the action is reproduced above), was only able to make the first half of the game against the Glaziers at Park View Road last night, but he saw all the goal scoring action there was in the 1-0 victory, so here are his notes:

Managed to squeeze in 1st half of reserves at Welling 1-0 h/t, Rurik Gislason on 14 minutes, good run down left wing, cut in, shot at narrow angle, ball off keeper into net at near post.

Defence solid, Ricketts getting a lot better, Youga good at right back, 'Marlon' Brandao very strong left, Sankofa/Fortune tight in the middle. Fuller ball-winning and probing. Teamsheet confusingly listed Bothroyd at 10, had me wondering how James Walker had grown so big. Weston plenty of pace on the left. Gislason sort-of wide right!!

Bad news was Bothroyd getting a kick on the knee, hobbled off injured on about 35 minutes- replaced by Danny Phillips (new one to me), slim white guy about half the size of JB, but good tricky winger

Palarse not much of a threat- famous last words!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tepid start, but storming finish

A largely second string Charlton team was embarrassed by an opening goal by League 1 side Hartlepool United in the Carling Cup fixture at The Valley last night in front of a crowd of 10,328 (almost all Addickted). However, the crowd was treated to the rare spectacle of a Charlton penalty just before the break and JJ made it 1-1. Darren Bent was brought on for the second half and made it 2-1 for the Addicks. Jay Bothroyd then celebrated his Valley debut with a screamer of a goal to make it 3-1.

The low key nature of the occasion was emphasised by the fact that we only had a black and white scoreboard with no details displayed of scorers or minutes remaining. Charlton were generally tepid and lacking urgency in the first half and only woke up when Hartlepool scored. No doubt they were not helped by the unfamiliarity of some of the players with each other in a match play situation and the fact that we were playing 4-4-2.

Lloyd Sam showed early promise when he put the ball into the side netting. Hartlepool showed that oil industry money had been well spent when Sweeney put in a shot that was just wide with only Myhre to beat. Sorondo, the subject of some criticism by the Addickted on the list, provided a good defensive header. An effort from JJ was caught easily by the Hartlepool keeper 'My name is too big for my shirt opoulos'. Thomas launched Charlton's first real attack and won the Addicks a corner.

Bartlett got into a promising position, but his effort was almost as near to the corner flag as the goal. Sam broke away, drawing a save from Konstantopoulos at the near post. Thomas won Charlton a corner but it was overhit and the quality of corners throughout the evening was often poor. JJ won Charlton a corner which was taken by Lloyd Sam and cleared. For their next corner, the Addicks tried taking it short and Holland put in a shot that was saved. Yet another corner was won by the Addicks, suggesting that Hartlepool were not that dominant, but Bartlett's effort was wide.

Then Williams fed Daly who put in an excellent shot that put the visitors 1-0 ahead on 40 minutes. However, the advancing Lloyd Sam was brought down in the box and referee G Hegley pointed to the spot. JJ stepped up to the plate and put his shot into the corner of the net to make it 1-1.

Charlton won a free kick but Holland's effort was way over. As the game moved into two minutes of time added on, the Addicks won another corner.

Half time: Charlton 1, Hartlepool 1

The spirits of the Addickted were lifted by the sight of Darren Bent coming on to the pitch before the end of the break, the hapless Bartlett having been withdrawn. Bent fed JJ who put in a shot that the keeper had to turn round the post for a Charlton corner which was caught. A Hartlepool free kick went just past Myhre's post. Holland tried a shot from distance.

Hartlepool withdrew Istead and brought on Llewellyn. JJ put in a good ball to Sam, creating a chance, but the keeper made a good save. Smertin was brought down and was on the ground for a long time, a reminder of the risks to those who say we should play a full strength team for such fixtures. Luke Young put in a shot that was well over. Myhre had to make a great save to preserve Charlton's lead. Thomas turned provider for JJ, but the Finn's effort came off the woodwork.

Smertin was withdrawn in favour of Murphy. Hartlepool withdrew Jon Daly for David somebody or other whose name was not in the programme. On 73 minutes Bent scored the crucial goal to make it 2-1 with a great header. Bothroyd then came on in place of JJ and soon afterwards had a go from distance. An effort from Holland was saved.

Bothroyd got a yellow card for a lunge that could have easily seen him sent off if the referee had been one of those who train at Staverton Park. Then a foul by Humphreys gave Charlton a free kick 25 yards in front of goal. The ball was slipped sideways to Bothroyd who put in a screamer of a shot that found the back of the net to make it 3-1. A deliriously happy Bothroyd ran across the pitch saluting the crowd and then embraced Mervyn Day, although he did not pick him up.

A shot by Sam was saved, but Hartlepool were still making an effort and Myhre had to make a save. A good run by Bent was checked and Thomas put in a cross that flashed across the front of goal. Matt Holland found himself in a good position in front of goal but dallied when he should have shot. Charlton then had a late corner but for some reason tried to keep the ball there.

The whistle blew and it was job done - an eventually comfortable win after an early scare without jeopardising any key player.

Match analysis

Third string match analyst Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon had no hesitation in awarding Lloyd Sam his first ever Silver Bone. Showing tremendous speed and skill, he was highly creative, bringing about the penalty which gave the Addicks their get out of gaol card. Surely he now deserves a place on the bench against the Baggies on Saturday? Meanwhile, the young midfielder was somewhat bemused to be jumped at by an excitable spaniel.

Myhre showed why he is an international goalkeeper and excellent back up for Andersen and Deano. He was hardly at fault for Hartlepool's goal which was well taken. Luke Young was actively involved all over the pitch. Hreidarsson was solid as a central defender. This was the first time we had seen Sorondo playing for Charlton and he displayed composure and the ability to make neat and accurate passes. Spector was fully of energy and enthusiasm and performed his role well. Smertin was a class above most of the players on the pitch.
Holland showed that he is far from past it and had a number of shots on goal, as well as contributing in defence. Thomas was able to carve up the Hartlepool defence. Bartlett was insipid and was rightly withdrawn at half time. JJ took the penalty well, but otherwise did not contribute much. Bent showed once again that he is a quality act. Murphy lifted Charlton's game when he came on.
Bothroyd was a revelation and looks like a very good signing, another candidate for the bench on Saturday.

The Hiss of the Match was given by Juneau the Soccer Cat to the authorities who close one bore of the Blackwall Tunnel when there is an evening game on.

Crowd rating The fickleness of football crowds was illustrated by boos when Hartlepool scored and shouts of 'Easy' when Charlton equalised. As the Addicks came to dominate more, the crowd got more into the spirit of things. 6/10

Monday, September 19, 2005

Second team likely against Hartlepool

The Addicks are likely to field a second team against League 2's Hartlepool in the Carling Cup tomorrow night, although with some reinforcements on the bench in the case of difficulty. Myhre could well start in goal with Spector on the left and El Karkouri and Sorondo in the centre. There is no clear replacement for Luke Young on the right, even though Spector can play there.

If it's 4-4-2, then it would be interesting to see Bent and Bartlett together up front, although a possible alternative is Bartlett and JJ if it is thought that Bent needs to be rested.

The midfield is more difficult to predict, although it would be nice to see Sam given a chance. Hughes can be relied upon to weave his magic in cup games against lower division sides, while Kishishev should be able to carve up the Hartlepool attack and pass the ball forward without losing possession. Holland may also feature, although it would be nice to see Ambrose in action.

Hartlepool have their origins in an amateur team, West Hartlepool, which won the FA Amatuer Cup in 1904-5. They turned professional in 1908, initially as Hartlepools United. In 1974 they had a four match second round marathon with Bournemouth in the League Cup drawing 1-1 away, 2-2 at home, 1-1 away and finally winning 1-0 at home.

After a long stay in the lowest division, they won promotion to the then Division 2 in 2002-3, second to Rushden and Diamonds with whom they drew in the last game of the season. The Irthlingborough side were relegated the following season, but Hartlepool finished 6th in both of their seasons in what became League 1. The club's mascot is a monkey and, following a long stint in the monkey suit, a former occupant was elected mayor of the town.

Hartlepool was, of course, formerly the constituency of Peter Mandelson whose grandfather Herbert Morrison lived in Eltham. It is alleged that one of his aides accompanied him into a fish and chip shop in the constituency and seeing the mushy peas said, 'can I have some of your avocado mousse?'

In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, our sponsors Kingdom Signs have named third string canine reporter Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon as match analyst. The excitable spaniel has been training for the occasion by walking four miles across the fields to his day job as meeter and greeter at the Didcot based signage firm.

To see a picture of our match analyst click on Monty

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Interview with Danny Murphy

Today's Observer has a long interview with Danny Murphy covering topics such as the 'Footballer's Wife' column written by his wife actress Joanna Taylor, the move to Charlton and his England prospects.

Check it out at:

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Defeated but not disgraced

Charlton's 0-2 defeat by Premiership leaders Chelsea at The Valley on Saturday reflected the gap in quality between the two teams, but the Addicks were by no means disgraced. They fought hard in the first half to keep the score at 0-0, albeit with some help from the home side's goalpost, but Chelsea's superiority told in the second half with two goals scored in the space of five minutes. The difference between the two sides was particularly evident in midfield with Charlton feeling the absence of Chelsea loan player Smertin. Without him Charlton played a more conventional 4-5-1 rather than the 4-3-3 variant we have seen in some matches with Murphy able to forge forward. On the evidence of this performance, it is difficult to see who can beat Chelsea who have played all six league games this season without conceding a goal.

The day was rather a frenetic one because of the media focus on falling football attendances. I did a slot on Radio 5 just after 7.30 a.m. and this was heard by Central Television who sent a crew round and insisted on filming us getting into our car to go to The Valley and then recording the departure of the Warwickshire Rickshaw. Sky News then arranged for me to be picked up at Marylebone to do a short slot on their news programme. Leaving the studio at 2 p.m., I was whisked to London Bridge and was at The Valley by 2.40.

Chelsea dominated possession in the early part of the game and won an early corner. The corner was taken short in and when played in flashed across the front of the Charlton goal. Rommedahl was in energetic mood and showed good skill in winning the ball back. Kishishev released Murphy who played in a good ball to Darren Bent, but the striker, shephered by defenders, was not quite able to connect. The Herminator put in a good header across the face of goal, but the effort by the well psoitioned Thomas was poor and went wide.

Good work involving Murphy won Charlton a corner, but it was weakly taken by the midfielder. Chris Powell was held back and pulled down and the Addicks were awarded a free kick but Murphy's effort came off the wall. Charlton started to apply some pressure, but Chelsea were very dangerous on the break. Kishishev was dispossessed and Essien powered through the middle, releasing Crespo, but his shot hit the post.

Charlton were showing a worrying tendency to give the ball away, Thomas being the culprit this time. Chris Powell showed his mettle with a good tackle. A shot by Duff was well held by Andersen. 'RK again' in my notes meant that the Bulgarian had surrendered possession.

With Chelsea threatening again, Luke Young made a good clearance. Thomas made a break, but it led to nothing more than a Charlton throw in. A free kick was awarded against Gallas for hand ball, much to the indignation of Lampard. Bent was fouled and Charlton were awarded a free kick. Duff went down dramatically when he was tackled by Murphy. Given all the skill and talent in the Chelsea team, why is it necessary to resort to such cynical tactics?

Danny Murphy was tackled on the edge of the area and Terry received a yellow card. The free kick went off the wall. A Chelsea break was dealt with effectively by Luke Young. Dennis Rommedahl put in a shot that was only inches wide. As the half drew to a close, the Addickted broke into a chant of 'Champions League, you're having a laugh.' Charlton had contained the visitors well and had been able to apply some pressure of their own.

Half time: Addicks 0, Pensioners 0

Chelsea looked dangerous right from the start. On 48 minutes a corner from Lampard went to the far post and Gallas hit the post. Kishishev managed to give the ball away from a throw in and one started to wonder why he had not been taken off. This time Chris Powell had to retrieve the situation. Darren Bent put in a speculative shot from distance that sailed over the bar. A cynical dive by Robben won Chelsea a free kick, but it was cleared. A free kick from Lampard was deflected, but Andersen adjusted his position well to save on the ground.

Kishishev gave the ball away yet again, allowing Chelsea to win a corner. Then the inevitable happened. Kishishev dallied in a dangerous position, Essien took the ball off him and his pass flew to Crespo who headed the ball powerfully into the back of the net on 55 minutes.

Bent burst through but was the victim of a marginal offside decision. Robben then increased the lead on 60 minutes with a world class goal from 18 yards. Shortly afterwards Wright-Phillips came on in place of Duff. One felt that from here onwards Charlton were seeking to prevent a rout rather than attempt the difficult task of getting back into the game. They started to lose their shape even more than had been apparent earlier.

Chris Powell was able to deal with a dangerous situation at the expense of a corner. Andersen made a good save from Wright-Phillips to prevent it going to 0-3. Crespo was taken off on 67 minutes and replaced by Drogba which says something about the quality of the side.

The error prone Kishishev was at last withdrawn on 67 minutes along with Thomas, Ambrose and Holland coming on. Some of the Addickted would like to have seen them on the pitch from the beginning. Rommedahl burst away down the right and was cynically checked by Makelele who received a yellow card. On 70 minutes Powell was replaced by Spector making his first appearance for the club.

Hughes gave the ball away, but Rommedahl won the ball well. On 79 minutes Robben was replaced by the reportedly unsettled Cole. A Charlton corner allowed Perry to put in a shot that was just wide. With Charlton building up well in the middle of the park, Rommedahl was left standing unmarked out on the wing waiting for the ball and eventually had to come into the centre.

Luke Young once again offered good defensive work to deal with a Chelsea break. As the match came to an end, Darren Ambrose had a go.

I had actually forecast 0-2 before the game, but my text didn't reach the pub so there was no consolation money. We did have the consolation of seeing a penalty by Judas Defoe saved at Villa to chants of 'How's your mother's house?' We also ran into some Oadby Town fans, the team that Leamington faces in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup next Saturday.

Match analysis

Canine reporter Hooch the Pooch awarded the Silver Bone to Chris Perry. He could have won it at Birmingham last week if the honour had not gone to Curbs to commemorate his 600th managerial appearance with the club. Perry, as far as could be seen, did not put a foot wrong and made some decisive interventions. Andersen could not have stopped the second goal which was world class and got a hand to the first. He made some good saves. Hreidarsson also had a good game and even looked as if he might do something in attack. Young was solid and contributed well to the defence. For the first time this season Powell looked slow against the fast paced Chelsea players. Kishishev made a series of errors in terms of giving the ball away in midfield, eventually leading to the decisive first Chelsea goal. Hughes was competent enough, but did not contribute a great deal.
Thomas started showboating again and faded as the match went on. Murphy was very much in evidence, but was unable to create anything from kicks and free corners. Rommedahl did give the Chelsea defence some problems, although he also lost the ball to defenders a few times. Bent was left to forage around on his own up front with as many as three defenders in attendance, doing his best to make something of the long balls sent up to him. Holland ran around a lot when he came on, but did not make a decisive difference. Ambrose was relatively anonymous apart from a late attempt at goal. Spector has some work to do before he is the finished article.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand linesman who, disappointed at his failure to secure a 'before and after' Grecian 2000 contract, gave every marginal decision to Chelsea.

Crowd rating: Often rather quiet, although the Bloke Beside Me described it as a 'tense quiet waiting for the inevitable' rather than 'a dissatisfied quiet.' Luke Young tried to urge the East Stand on at one point in the second half. 6/10.

Chelsea win forecast

Warwick University's Decision Technology Group gives a 47% chance of a Chelsea win at The Valley today with a less than one in four chance of a Charlton victory.

I think that we will miss Smertin as we do not have a player who can really replace him to the required standard. Chelsea are also very difficult to score against, but Darren Bent may be the man to unlock their defence.

In any event we can look forward to more of a contest than last season and a draw is by no means out of the question.

Positive FT story on Charlton and Times on Bent

Well worth reading at:
See also The Times story on Darren Bent at:

Ten years ago: Oldham at home

Today Charlton face Chelsea at The Valley in a second versus first clash. Ten years ago a crowd of 8,926 saw them take on Oldham in a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. The good start to the season had faltered with a goallless draw away at Tranmere and 2-0 defeat by the Blades at Bramall Lane. Charlton had slipped back to 9th in the table.

My notes state, 'Charlton started well enough but Oldham scored in the 8th minute and after that Charlton lacked confidence for the rest of the half. Stuart had a particularly poor game and was taken off in the second half. Leaburn mised an open goal. Fortunately, he got a goal in the second half and Charlton then played more aggressively. 1-1 was a fair result.' Leaburn had to have seven stitches inserted in a scalp wound following a clash of heads.

Curbs lamented the lack of goals in recent matches: 'We have enjoyed long periods of domination in all our matches so far this season but we have got to be much more ruthless and brave and have more desire to get people into the box to get those goals. I am not putting presure on any department of the team, but most people look at the forward line to deliver goals, but I feel that other departments have to take their share of the blame and have got to start contributing in this area.'

The featured player was Paul Sturgess who revealed that he had 7 GCSEs and a BTech in Sports Management. These may have come in handy, as he was last heard of in the Conference and then disappeared from view.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Curbs out now

Not to mention Day, Peacock, Varney and Murray and the lady who makes the tea at the training ground. For an amusing reflection on this theme from the New York Addick go to:- Curbs Out

Despite our 100% record, we were shunted to the back end of a delayed Match of the Day last night. Media comment focuses on teams that always promise that their moment has arrived but always fail to deliver, notably the Massives, but there are still those that insist that this is the year for Spurs.

Congratulations to Leamington for beating Unibond League side Kidsgrove Athletic 1-0 away in the 1st qualifying round of the FA Cup, winning £2,250 in the process.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Darren Bent-Bent-Bent!

That was the chant of the Addickted after the striker put Charlton 1-0 against Birmingham City in the 14th minute, a score they held on to take all three points. As Rick Everitt said to me at half time, when was the last time a new Charlton player scored in all his four opening matches?

Charlton had a fortunate escape when, not so long after they had gone ahead, Stephan Andersen handled outside the area but got away with a yellow card. Charlton were under the cosh in the second half and lost their shape a bit, but the rain soaked pitch did not help their passing game.

The win put Charlton second in the game after Chelsea with a game in hand over the leaders. Chelsea visit The Valley next Saturday and when he was asked on Radio 5 if it would be a test for the 'new' Charlton, Curbs replied that it could be a test for Chelsea.

Having driven to the game with Brian Cole, some scallywags approached and asked us to look after the car. We then covered up our colours for the short walk to the ground.

The game started relatively quietly, although the Blues looked as if they could be a threat down the wing with good defensive work being called from by the Herminator. Heskey was taken off early for Pandiani, presumably because of an injury. A Blues free kick was caught comfortably by Andersen.

Then Jerome Thomas put in an excellent high cross and a seemingly unmarked Bent was there to put the ball in the net.

With the rain soaked ground very slippery, and some misunderstanding between Andersen and Powell, the keeper handled outside the area. In accordance with the rules, I expected Halsey to show a red card, but the colour was yellow. The free kick went across the face of goal, but Jarosik blasted the ball over. Blues were given a free kick about thirty yards out in a potentially dangerous position, but it came off the Charlton wall.

Birmingham won a corner but Pennant's effort was cleared at the expense of the throw in. A threatening shot was saved by Andersen with the palm of his hand and the corner was cleared. Charlton won a corner but it was caught by Taylor. A Blues corner was cleared, but Halsey awarded the home side a very dubious free kick.

As Blues advanced, Luke Young made a great tackle. Kishishev cleared a Birmingham corner. An excellent Charlton build up saw Rommedahl turn provider for Murphy, but his effort went over.

Half time: Blues 0, Addicks 1

Blues made a substitution immediately after the break with Melchiot being replaced by Julian Gray. They showed a renewed determination to seek a rare home win, winning a corner within a minute of the kick off. This was only partially cleared and Andersen had to make an authoritative punch out of the ball. Blues supporters thought they had scored when the ball went into the side netting.

With Birmingham piling on the pressure, Rommedhal was pulled off and replaced by Bartlett, offering a combination of something extra up front and the ability to defend at corners, with the Blues winning a succession of them. As the home side threatened, Kishishev made an important clearance. The Blues did not seem very accurate with many of their shots with Jarosik missing an opportunity by putting the ball wide.

Chris Perry put in a vigorous tackle and there was little dispute about the yellow card he received. The hapless Jarosik was taken off and replaced by Butt.

Charlton received a rare free kick and from my vantage point a few rows behind the touchline, it ran along the line but did not go out. Chris Powell rushed to retrieve it from near the corner flag, but Halsey was giving all marginal decisions to the home side and waved for a goal kick.

Bartlett managed to forge through on his own with two defenders in attendance, but was harshly judged to be offside. Thomas was taken off and replaced by the more experienced Hughes. The Blues were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the area, but their effort went over the bar.

Murphy turned provider for Bent and the striker won a Charlton corner. The Herminator connected with the ball and won Charlton a second corner. Darren Bent then made a great run which at least took the pressure off the other end. At least ten minutes before the end, considerable numbers of Blues started to leave.

Two Birmingham free kicks and three corners created a dangerous situation as the match went into two minutes of time added on and Smertin, who had taken a knock, was pulled off in favour of Fortune. Andersen had to make one more save, but the Addicks stood firm and all three points were theirs.

Match analysis

Match analyst Hooch the Pooch has taken the unusual step of awarding the Silver Bone to Alan Curbishley for setting up a good game plan and making the right substitutions at the right time.
Stephan Andersen has kept a clean sheet in three of the four matches in which he has played. He stood strong against the Birmingham onsluaght in the second half. Sometimes he could have rolled the ball out instead of kicking it down the pitch and allowing the Blues to win it back. Chris Perry was a model of solidity and will be difficult to dislodge from the team. Hermann Hreidarsson also performed well in his centre back role, making use of his height and his head to clear some threatening balls. England's No.2 Luke Young had a confident performance on the right. Chris Powell displayed his usual enthusiasm and skill, forging forward when the opportunity presented itself, although perhaps he tired a little towards the end of the game. Kishishev performed well in his role in the engine room of the midfield, putting together some neat and competent passes and also undertaking a defensive role when required, although he did make a couple of errors. Thomas showed some moments of skill. Rommedahl made good use of his pace to torment the Birmingham defence. Murphy made an important contribution to controlling the midfield and had some good runs forward. Bent took his goal well and did his best to get another one. Bartlett was that involved when he came on, but added some solidity to the performance. Hughes was competent without being prominent. Fortune had a cameo role and must wonder what the future holds for him at the club.

Hiss of the Match It was the men in yellow rather than the men in black, and although the linos made some baffling decision, the main award must go to Mark Halsey. Having let Andersen off, he seemed to want to even things up for Birmingham by giving them a free kick at every opportunity and denying valid Charlton calls.

Crowd rating About 1,200 Addickted turned up and they were in strong voice, with Pennant being a particular target, although the misfortunes of Palace and Millwall were also celebrated. 7/10.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Darren Bent

Congratulations to the Barclays Premiership Player of the Month. Let's hope it doesn't carry the same curse as Manager of the Month. A pity he wasn't allowed off the bench against Northern Ireland rather than Judas Defoe or waste of space Owen Hargreaves.

Blews preview

Charlton travel to the Millwall of the Midlands tomorrow with a thousand fans already having bought tickets as they hope to see the Addicks claim their third straight victory on the road. It will be Alan Curbishley's 600th appearance in charge of the Addicks (including the partnership with Steve Gritt).

Sorondo is available after his period of suspension and El Karkouri is back from injury, but Curbs is known for his conservatism when it comes to team selection and is likely to stick to a winning formula. If Chris Perry, in search of a new contract, does start it will be his 50th appearance for the Addicks. Bryan Hughes may appear from the bench against his former club.

Blews are looking for their first home point of the season and are hoping to beat Charlton for the first time at St.Andrews in the Premiership. Blews have conceded seven league goals this season with only the Baggies letting in more, but keeper Taylor looked impressive for N. Ireland during the week. But Charlton will give him a tougher test than the lacklustre England side (Luke Young excepted, although he had difficulties with the scheme of passing to Beckham so that he could spray 50 yard balls).

Charlton are looking for four wins on the spin for the first time since February 2003, when five successive Premiership victories were recorded. The Addicks are also looking to keep three clean sheets on the bounce for the first time since February 1999 when they went four matches in a row without conceding.

We are forecasting a 2-2 draw. See you there!

BTW, if you want to see how the Yanks view the little 'ole team from the SE7 zip code go to:
American sarcasm

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

20 Years Ago: a sad day at The Valley

Thanks to Rob Hillman on the list for pointing out that when Charlton fans came to The Valley on September 7th 1985 they were handed a leaflet saying that the Addicks were leaving their home and going to ground share with Crystal Palace (there were also 'helpful' directions on how to reach the ground).

Charlton beat the Glaziers 3-1 that day and went on to be promoted to the First Division for the first time in thirty years. But it was a bitter sweet triumph when the fans were exiled from their spiritual home. Some feared, with good reason, that we might never return and that the club itself would disappear. Indeed, as has been subsequently revealed, there were plans to merge with Palace in a Crystal Palace Athletic which would soon extinguish the S.E.London tradition.

South-East London is not South London. When I was at the embassy in Washington last week, I met someone and immediately knew from his accent that he was in S.E.London.
It turned out he was from Bexleyheath.

So there is cause for celebration today. If we had told the fans entering The Valley twenty years ago that two decades hence Charlton would be in a completely refurbished Valley, 3rd in a revamped top league and have their right back playing for England that evening, they would have seen it as a wild and impossible dream. Thanks to all those who did make it possible.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

One is enough

A superb fierce second minute volley from Richard Adams was enough to give Leamington the three points against Oadby Town at the New Windmill Ground tonight in front of a crowd of 462, keeping them in contention in the leading places of the World Travel Midland Alliance.

I was hoping to see the ball I had paid £30 to sponsor go in the net again, but Oadby's inspired young goalkeeper Laurie Pearson kept the Brakes out, while the home side were only under pressure from set pieces so erratic was the Leicestershire side's shooting.

Not aided by a fussy referee, it became a rather dour contest and the North Bank was unusually subdued, inspiring the Sheepsiders to start a chanting contest.

Chant of the night: 'You just hit a sheep' after a wild ball from a Oadby player careered over the Sheepside.

Young likely to go to World Cup

Luke Young is likely to go to the World Cup as a back up for Gary Neville next summer according to The Guardian. The paper features an interview with the Addicks right back in which he expresses his gratitude to Curbs who he thinks one day may become England manager.

'If he gets that chance I think he would do a great job, too. He's an exceptional man-manager. He talks to all his players; if he's leaving someone out he will always pull them in and explain the reasons why. He's got the respect of everyone at Charlton.'

Talking of his international experience, Luke commented, 'I'm finding certain parts strange. It's a lot different to what I'm used to. If we had won a game like Saturday with Charlton, we would have had a lot of praise and there would have been nothing like as much negativity.'

'You quickly learn that everyone's eyes are upon you and that if you make any kind of mistake it will be highlighted and shown everywhere. There's a lot more pressure at this level.'

Read the full story at: Guardian

Luke Young interview

Part of this is available here:

Luke Young

Monday, September 05, 2005

Charlton babes site

This is not a West Ham lass type site, but contains some photos of male and female Charlton supporters. It's worth having a look at for the photo of the 'moronic imbecile' which, as we all know, has become widely accepted as a description of the Addickted.

Visit the site at Charlton Babes

On the moronic imbecile theme, when I was giving a vote of thanks to our deputy amabassador in Washington DC on Friday, I could not help but refer to his apposite name, Alan Charlton. He said he had been warned of this possibility in advance by our ambassador in Turkey who is a noted Addick.

Fifty Years Ago: Charlton were 3rd

Charlton were third in the top flight fifty years ago, but without a 100% record. In the days when midweek games were played early in the season to take advantage of the natural light (and on days such as Thursday, presumably because it was popular for early closing), the Addicks had already played five games by early September, losing one and drawing two. Preston and Blackpool were ahead of them in the table.

However, the morale of Charlton fans had been boosted by a 3-2 victory at White Hart Lane in which new signing Jimmy Gauld played a prominent part. Gauld had been signed from Waterford for £4,000 to play at inside right. Gauld scored the opening goal against Spurs, forced Harry Clarke to put the ball into his own net for the second and created the winner for Stuart Leary 15 minutes from time.