Wednesday, June 28, 2006

No longer with the Woolwich

A little bit of Charlton history has disappeared with the news that the Woolwich identity is to disappear within Barclays Bank, although it will still be used as a mortgage brand. Barclays will close its Bexleyheath offices by 2008, no doubt quite a few of the Addickted work there.

It's also a little bit of personal history as our mortgage was with the Woolwich based 'Modern Permanent' building society which was acquired by the Woolwich. Also, my wife's first job was with the Woolwich in General Gordon Place.

Anyone still got a Woolwich shirt? I know one friend who has and when asked why he wears it says, 'Because I can.' As far as I and others can recall, they were worn about 1991-2.

Over on the club web site, Iain Dowie is promising some exciting transfer news soon, although no specifics yet.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A faint hum in the summer air

Sometimes when I sit in my garden in the summer and the wind is coming from the west, I can hear a faint hum in the air which is traffic on the A46 three lane road (More to the point I can hear all the concerts and watch all the fireworks from Warwick Castle).

Now a faint hum can be heard in the ether of the Charlton internet space, the usual suspects starting to moan. No one can, of course, yet say that Dowie has taken us as far as he can or it is time to look for a replacement.

However, the fact that a couple of former Charlton youth players have been signed by other clubs (presumably as third level cover in the case of a keeper) has occasioned some disquiet. Moreover, some people are comparing the progress being made by West Ham. Perhaps they have forgotten that the Irons are really an established top flight side with a bigger ground and support base. Indeed, not so long ago we were their tenants.

Indeed, it's not so long ago that the Hampsters were up in arms against their own board as our picture from an East London street illustrates. My view is that the Irons are now spending money they don't have which is always a big risk in football. Ipswich thought they were going to have a great Uefa cup run and it ended in relegation.

What Charlton won't do is make signings prematurely for the sake of it, nor will they pay inflated fees for players. Incidentally, one by product of the crisis in Italy could be that transfer fees will fall across Europe. See Italian scandal

When we had some of the local Villa round for a drink the other evening, their view was that the club was heading for relegation. The one thing that could save them was Curbs as manager.


Next Sunday is an important day in the Warwickshire football calendar as it is the annual meeting of Leamington. Will the Council finally get round to approving the plans for the Sheepside stand and the Burger Side stand (with its dedicated hospitality facilities for visiting blazers) or are they too busy giving largesse to Racing Club Warwick?

The Gee Gees have so far been promised a double decker cantilever stand for their eighty supporters and have been bought a fleet of taxis to get them to matches in a Racing to Get You There service. All this in the name of social inclusion. And having sold their keeper to Manchester United via Stoke City (the keeper then finding himself with the England World Cup squad two years after leaving the Gee Gees which says something about the state of English goalkeeping) they collected a fat fee from the Glazers. So now they have been able to recruit a Spanish manager formerly working for the Coventry City academy and the FA. Money talks even in non-league football.

England: it was bad as it looked on the telly

England allocated an extra 560 tickets to their regular supporters and Angela from the West Stand was one of the lucky ones. Here is her report:

The one thing we were struck by when we got into town was the number of touts openly selling tickets for the game. Normally you have to work hard to find a seller but that certainly wasn’t the case in town. However that was nothing in comparison to the situation outside the ground. In the ten minute walk up to the first cordon there were several guys standing openly with half a dozen tickets in their hands – I don’t know what they were going for or why so many were so easily available but you didn’t’ have to look hard at all. One theory is that with such fabulous facilities in town (big screens and bars open and serving throughout the games) that a lot of fans aren’t even bothering to try and get into the grounds, preferring to stay in town, enjoy the atmosphere there and save their money for the beer.

For the first time security was tight, bags were searched and all manner of things were confiscated. They took our water, our evian spray, our umbrella (being used as a sunshade) and looked long and hard at our England party poppers before letting them go through (ironically we didn’t feel there was any point in the game when it would have been appropriate to use them anyway).

It was another impressive ground and we were sitting up in the “category 1” seats – supposedly the best ones in the ground – but we were sitting very high up and although the view was great, we felt miles away from the pitch. The heat was incredible and seemed to get trapped in the ground making it really uncomfortable. To make matters worse we were sitting behind a group of mouthy scousers who had clearly blagged their way in with fake id’s and then proceeded to argue amongst themselves at one point almost coming to blows over a broken mobile phone. Even worse was the guy sitting along the row from us who, when Beckham scored, grabbed the Ecuadorian kid’s flag sitting in front of him and proceeded to taunt him with it before giving it back. Worse again was the foul language he reserved for two young Japenese girls who sat in front of him. Unfortunately the heat sapped all energy and I just couldn’t be bothered to take him on.

The game was awful to watch. I don’t think I have ever felt so miserable watching England play. The crowd were incredibly restless and no-one sitting in our area seemed to be enjoying it. The frustration with the team in general and Sven in particular was at boiling point. We didn’t know about Beckham’s nausea but despite yet another poor performance the fans remain very loyal to him, and I guess that was rewarded by the goal. The player most people seem to be losing all faith in is Frank Lampard, and the player we most want to see more of is Aaron Lennon. It seemed to us that Hargreaves at right back didn’t really work and that we really need to play two up front. The mood coming out of the ground was – frankly – miserable and I was quite surprised when I heard from home that the view of the game was far more positive. I must be honest I wasn’t aware of Michael Carrick at all and so have been shocked to find that the consensus is he had a good game and should play again. As we walked back to our car, frustratingly the temperature plummeted and the rain started to fall – all of a sudden it was a delightful evening in southern Germany, nothing like the hot house it had been all day.

We left Stuttgart shortly after the game and drove back into France so didn’t see all of the Portugal Holland game and had no idea of the fiasco it descended into. I guess it’s got to be positive for us and by the time we read the papers on the ferry yesterday afternoon, I felt a lot better. I did temporarily consider not going back for the quarter finals (again, at this stage we don’t have a ticket), but that was momentary and the ferry is now booked for early Saturday morning.

Surely it can only get better?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Is it all over with Tyrone?

The following has appeared on the Preston North End website:

North End Chairman Derek Shaw has rebuked the claims of Tyrone Mears and his agent that PNE have been offered 15 times what the Club paid for the right-back. The North End chief admitted they had received a bid from a Premiership Club, but described it as 'derisory'.

Shaw said: 'We have had an offer from a Premiership Club for Tyrone, but that offer is only £550,000 more than the £200,000 we paid for him. This has a further £600,000 to be paid over games, but this could take three years or more and then £250,000 if that Club gets a European place and these figures are just not suitable.'

'I am very disappointed that Tyrone and his agent, Willie McKay, have chosen to tell Sky Sports this information, as neither us nor the other Club like to do our business in public.' [sic] [This is presumably a reference to Charlton as McKay specifically named them].

'The offer is certainly not 15 times the £200,000 we paid for Tyrone as has been stated, and there are sell on clauses to Manchester City to take into consideration, as well.'

All this is speculative, of course - whether Charlton made an offer at all and how large it is. Personally, I think that the Invincibles can count themselves lucky to make a profit of over half a million (I can't believe that the Massives are going to take a big cut). It's not so long since Tom Finney had to run a plumbing business in his spare time to add his wages as a player. And I don't think Charlton should pay over the odds for Championship players [Sidwell is in a different category but the Royals insist that he is staying there].

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Gibbs out until November?

The Addickted may have to wait to see the first Ivy League graduate ever to play for Charlton. Leading US Addick and sports reporter Doug Chapman has relayed a story from the Boston Globe that Cory Gibbs will not be ready to play again until November.

Gibbs was injured during the World Cup build up and was replaced on the US team roster. It was originally stated by umder threat coach Bruce Arena that he was questionable to play in the World Cup's later stages (which turned out to be irrelevant) so they decided to replace him, but claimed that he'd be fine by July.

The Globe is a reputable paper so it looks as if Gibbs is unlikely to be ready for the first three months of the season. This is worrying on two counts. First, unlike last year, we have a tough pattern of fixtures in the early part of the season. Much as I admire Chris Powell, it's going to be a tough call for him. Step forward Kelly Youga who has just signed a two year contract?

It also seems to me that Charlton has a bit of a track record in signing players who turn out to have injury problems, Marcus Bent being one recent example. Of course, I don't know how record compares with other Premiership clubs and it may just be bad lack. But for a club with a constrained budget by Premiership standards, injuries to players can hit us hard because we lack strength in depth.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sven solves striker problem

England manager Sven Goran Eriksson has solved the team's striker problem at a stroke. 'Actually, there is not really a problem', the Swedish sage said, 'even though one of our four strikers is injured and another cannot play in evening matches because it is past his bedtime. We can see that Iran who brought six strikers are now out of the competition. Also, John Terry can score goals, so we can count him as a striker. So I am very happy about that.'

Nevertheless, Sven unveiled his master stroke. 'Referee Graham Poll is not available any more to referee matches because of an unfortunate incident. So he is no longer a referee. But he is officially present in Germany. Hence, I can invite him to join the squad.'

'Here we have a man who is involved in the Premiership week after week and has played alongside every team. It is unusual to find such a breadth of experience.'

'Also he would give our team something quite distinctive. His ability to step out of the way of the ball is a quality you do not find in most strikers and will confuse defenders.'

'Also he will still have his cards up his sleeve, so perhaps he will wave them at an opposing player who tackles him and they will think he is still a referee and leave the field of play.'

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ex-Palace flop to play for Ecuador

He was known as 'Ivan the Terrible' by Palace fans during his brief stay in Norwood, but Ivan Kaviedes has featured in all of Ecuador's World Cup games so far and is expected to play against England. When he scored in the 3-0 win over Costa Rica he donned a Spiderman mask in honour of a teammate who lost his life in a car crash.

Kaviedes was signed for £2m in a Palace master stroke on 18th August 2004, but by the following January he was on his way again, having made one league start and two appearances from the bench for the Glaziers. He is now playing for Argentinos Juniors and is desperate to put his time at Palace behind him.

Kaviedes is as famous for his bad behaviour as his talent and escaped a booking for an agricultural tackle in the group stages. Four Four Two comment, 'he brings a touch of unpredictabilty that the other front men lack, so expect to see him used as a wild card.' In more ways than one.

In a prediction competition with friends, we were asked to make one very specific prediction and mine was that Kaviedes would be red carded. I did not then expect Ecuador to meet England so now I hope even more that my forecast will come true.

Three yellow cards. Not at The Valley.

With Graham Poll becoming the first World Cup referee to award three yellow cards before sending someone off, questions have been raised about whether a similar incident could occur at The Valley.

In fact the club took the precaution of installing methane breathing apparaus around the touchline some time ago as part of the stadium development plan. The 'Thing from Tring', or any of the other referees from the Tring Triangle, can take a quick whiff of methane during a break in play so that their judgement is not impaired.

Poll was clearly losing it, particularly when he was pushed by a Croatian player and one consequence is that if England do not make the final, we will not be represented by the man in the middle.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Addicks poised to sign Tyrone Mears

The Addicks are reported to have made a bid for Preston defender Tyrone Mears is to looking to secure a move to Charlton. Iain Dowie is said to be a big fan of the young attacking full back and the club is said to be offering £1.5 million. He was formerly with the Massives but was signed by the Invincibles for a bargain £150,000.

Mears is hoping Preston will agree to sell him so that he can play in the Premiership. 'I want to play in The Premiership against the best players like any
ambitious player,' Mears told His agent Willie McKay [sic] said, 'There have been a lot of different clubs linked with Tyrone and now one has
made an offer he is hoping the move can be made. The two clubs are negotiating and Tyrone hopes things can be resolved soon and that we can then discuss personal terms.'

Given that Mears is a right back, this might be further confirmation that Luke Young is on his way to the Irons against whom Charlton play in their first game of the season.

We once had a German Shepherd called Tyrone, but that was before the days of dog reporters.

Addick's latest World Cup report

West Stand season ticket holder Angela has now flown back from Germany for a few days and files her latest report:

We sat behind the goal England attacked in the first half and so had a good view of Michael Owens’s demise. It was obvious something had gone seriously wrong by the way he just crawled from the pitch desperately waving for attention. I do wonder how often we will see Michael Owen in an England shirt again. It was a sad end to his tournament. Quite apart from the very thin selection of strikers we have left, we had all hoped he would find some form as the tournament went on.

The game itself was massively entertaining and the atmosphere was cracking. Joe Cole was an absolute revelation and thoroughly deserved his wonder goal. He celebrated right in front of us and I can tell you that the crowd went wild. We needed it nearly as much as they did. Of course it wouldn’t be England if we didn’t find ourselves back on the ropes – what does Sven say at half time? At last we saw a bit of decent form from Owen Hargreaves, and along with most fans around us, I am growing fonder and fonder of Peter Crouch (desperation does funny things to you).

The Swedes are also very noisy supporters and that added to the atmosphere in the ground. Our hoodoo against them continues, but at least we topped the group and put in a performance worthy of the word “entertainment” if not exactly world beating.

The result was however a mixed blessing for us as we have discovered that our second round and quarter final tickets were dependent on England qualifying as runners up in the group and thus going to the bigger grounds (Munich and Berlin rather than Stuttgart and Gelsenkirchen). This means that we travel on Sunday with the rest of the ticketless hoardes and will be forced to line the pockets of the bitterly resented touts who really seem to have got this one sewn up. Once again there were clearly lots of people in the ground on Tuesday who had managed to get in without tickets or with forged tickets and were standing in aisles and on the steps with the stewards making no attempt to either seat or eject them. I really do think there has been a huge amount of fiddling. We have heard stories of going to certain turnstiles with a previous match ticket and being able to get in. The much publicised identity checks which we were assured would take place going into the ground haven’t materialised and in fact getting through the first cordon is merely a matter of waving a match day ticket (it would seem, any match day ticket) and walking through. Bizarrely on Tuesday night, with no real security checks taking place, the stewards were confiscating cardboard masks (lots of the Swedes had Lundeberg face masks) and whistles. Don’t ask me!

So we’ll be giving it our best shot to get in on Sunday evening.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Perry in limbo

Sky Sports News are running a story on Chris Perry's situation without a club or a contract:


Sorry to see this, as I thought he did a decent job for us and I am surprised that no one has come in for him (and I don't mean Leamington who are very busy in the transfer market). I don't really accept the North American view that he was too short to be a quarter back. It was his ability to read the game that counted.

Some of the Addickted think that he could have been kept on as cover, perhaps on a contract mainly based on appearances. An alternative view is that Perry was offered a fair deal but thought he could do better elsewhere and near the end of his career could pick up a decent signing on fee. And that hasn't worked out.

All this is speculation, of course, but to some extent that is unavoidable when there is what economists call asymmetric information between the club and the fans. There are some matters, of course, that the club either cannot talk about it or would benefit rival clubs if they did. But I still think that sometimes the communications department should be allowed to say more.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Addicks bid for Roberts?

Sky Sports is reporting that Charlton have made a £1.8m bid for powerful Wigan forward Jason Roberts who does not see his future at the JJB Stadium. Blackburn, Villa and Birmingham are other clubs said to be interested.

Sky Sports is a more reliable source than many rumour mills and Iain Dowie is said to think highly of Roberts who would offer more value and aggression than Bartlett and Bothroyd combined. If the deal goes ahead, it would be welcomed by most of the Addickted. Darren Bent and Roberts would be a good combination up front, although it would leave Marcus Bent without a clear starting role.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Spurs in for Bent

Reports suggest that Spurs have made a £10m bid for Darren Bent with uncertainty surrounding the future of Judas Defoe at the Haringey club. Charlton are rumoured to be holding out for £12 million. A slice of the money would go to the Tractors who have a sell on clause.

Losing our ace striker to the 'we really are a top five club' North London outfit would be a particularly bitter blow. However, it is difficult to resist such bids, particularly if the player decides he want to go. One thing is for sure, Bent would not be a bench warmer at the Lane like Spurphy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Peter Crouch playing for Dulwich Hamlet

Photographic proof

Report from Nuremberg

West Stand season ticket holder Angela sends the following report:

We had a fantastic day in Nuremburg yesterday. It’s quite a small city with the centre (the old town) being within the original walls of the city with a canal running through the middle. Basically it’s one big town square after another so
perfect for the travelling English to get their flags up. And get their flags up they did – you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a variety of “Biffo on Tour/Cheltenham” style flags. Why is it that it’s mostly people who follow smaller teams who follow England? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Arsenal or Chelsea banner – Spurs is about as big as it gets but premier league supporters are seriously outnumbered by championship and football league fans. Yesterday we met a guy who follows Dulwich Hamlet, and as he proudly told us, they sometimes get 200 on a Saturday. He also told us (interesting fact coming up) that Peter Crouch played eight games on loan for Dulwich Hamlet when he was with Spurs. Now there’s a handy football trivia question for the next pub quiz.

Another lovely day, another lovely ground. Despite being separated by a running track you felt very close to the ground and we had a perfect view (mind you it does only hold 36,000). We were sitting in the corner behind the goal England attacked(and yes, I use the term loosely) in the first half. Something had gone a bit wrong in our section however and there were masses of people who clearly didn’t have seats who were just standing in the aisles which unfortunately meant that the whole section stood for large periods of the game.

It seems that Nuremburg was the ground to get into without a ticket – we met several people who had done just that –in some instances they had got in with the previous games ticket! There is general discontent about the distribution of England tickets and the FSF (football supporters federation) who do a great job abroad have started a “tickets for fans not sponsors” campaign. It would seem that we were very lucky to get the tickets we got – lots of people with similar numbers of “caps” (the loyalty scheme) have considerably less. The black market price for a group game ticket seems to be between 400 – 500 euros, though as always stories travel like wild fire of the fan who bought one off a German granny for face value and got invited to her house for Sunday tea!

In the ground we found ourselves sitting directly in front of some fans we last met in Osaka and also ran into to another dear old friend who officially “retired” from the England scene after Portugal but has been tempted back by two weeks in the Moselle Valley.

And the game? Well 85 minutes of tripe (somewhat relieved by the introduction of Lennon) saved by 7 minutes of incredible excitement at the end. Of course after all the hype it was great to see Rooney take to the pitch and one can only hope that he will get better and better with appearances. We were pleased to see Gerrard score as he really didn’t seem to be having much of a game until then, and Crouch’s goal brought an attack of bad dancing in the seats around us. We let off two of our England party poppers which we had smuggled into the ground and felt quite festive momentarily. Surely it can only get better. As always the fans swing from incredibly critical “You’re ****ing sh**e England) to euphoria in moments (“Easy, easy” – who are they kidding?)

After the game we walked to the fane zone where the big screen is showing the games – it is in the area where the Nuremburg rallies were held – it must have been a very dramatic setting in its day as it is on the side of a beautiful lake set in the middle of a small forested area. The parade grounds have been turned into carparks and all that really remains is the “document building” – itself a stunning circular building which again must have been extremely impressive in its historical context. Back into town then for a few drinks and a nice Italian meal – running into people we had last seen in Azerbaijan in the Italian restaurant, where we also watched some of Sweden v Paraguay which seemed to be a particularly turgid game.

And another near fracas on the night train home – this time with a foul loud mouthed Australian – though – every cloud has a silver lining - I suppose we should take something positive from the fact that the loud mouthed yobbos aren’t English anymore!

Spector blow to Irons

There was wailing and rending of clothes in the streets of SE7 last night after the news that last season's loan player Jonathan Spector had signed for the Irons from Manchester United for an initial fee of £500,000. Well, not actually. Despite all the talk of Spector's potential, I thought that his performance was not up to Premiership standard last season.

This news could mean that the pressure to get Luke Young to the Boleyn Ground has been reduced, although the Irons are reported to have increased their offer. West Ham, who were reportedly in a lot of financial trouble not so long ago, suddenly seem to have a lot of cash to spare. Surely they didn't make that much out of their FA Cup run? Or are they splashing out in the hope of Uefa cup success? Remember Ipswich.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New rumours of American interest in Charlton

An old story has obtained new legs with fresh rumours circulating about the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) renewing its interest in Charlton. Apart from its involvement in the Dome, AEG owns more sports teams and events than any other company in the world.

It is particularly strong in soccer [sic], operating the Home Depot Center in Carson, Ca., one of the world's leading soccer stadiums. AEG owns four MLS teames (Los Angeles Galaxy, D.C. United, Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo) and the US rights to the Mexican national football team. It states 'AEG focuses on marquee sports that inspire fans and ultimately drive revenue and capture market share.'

Perhaps most interesting from a Charlton perspective, it owns an interest in Stockholm's Hammarby Football Club. Current rumours focus on a capital injection in Charlton through the issue of new shares, rather than a majority stake, although that would always be a future possibility.

The partnership they have developed with Chelsea might seem to argue against an involvement with Charlton, but they are involved with more than one club in the US, admittedly in different cities. On the Chelsea involvement see here:


We anticipate that more details will appear in the press in the next few days. What we are confident of is that Richard Murray and the board are Charlton through and through, are loyal supporters of the club and would only act in a way that would enhance the club's future prospects whilst retaining its essential character.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Curbs book out in August

Alan Curbishley's much postponed 'autobiography' is now scheduled for publication in August.

The blurb states:

Charlton Athletic represent a model of how a Premiership football club should be run. Manager Alan Curbishley reveals the harshly [?] guarded secrets of the club's success - from the boardroom and manager's office down to the dressing room and pitchside [Merv's pizza supplier is unmasked] - and reflects on how the club went from homeless strugglers to challenging football's elite. Alan Curbishley has encountered most of football's ill winds in the decade he has been coach, co-manager, then sole manager of Charlton - a club once homeless, with gates of less than 3000, forced to sell players to pay the wages and to buy replacement kit for the first team, and teetering on the brink of extinction. Galvanised by fans, staff, forward-thinking board members and a shrewd manager, the Addicks now find themselves firmly established with the Premiership big boys and a shining example of how a successful football club should be run. In his book, Curbishley opens the lid on the soap opera [?] that is Charlton FC. He writes about the political manoeuvrings behind the club's departure and then emotional return to the Valley.

He describes how they were torn asunder by drugs allegations involving three of its players, including a youthful Lee Bowyer. He re-lives the tortuous rollercoaster ride of falling out of the Premiership two years later before returning in 1999/2000. And he gives an insider's view of the club's attempts to establish itself in the world's toughest league, including a full update on their 2005/06 season, and how the England team fared in the World Cup Finals in Germany [being written as you read this]. His book is a radical [?] insight into the workings of a football club and its staff, and is sure to attract widespread interest from football fans across the country. [Special discount for Millwall and Palace fans]

SJ of Norwood says: I shall be keeping it in my toilet.

Jordan sounds off again

Having recruited Peter Taylor to be the sixth manager in seven years at Palace, Simon Jordan has been sounding off again.

The charm merchant told The Times:

'I do things properly, don’t go through the back door, and have paid [compensation],' he said. 'I don’t try and nick managers, maybe other people do. If
I agree to pay money, then Charlton should pay money to me for Iain. I am many things, but I am not a fool. [Discuss] Why would I waive compensation for Dowie to then go seven miles down the road to enhance his salary? So I can pay for someone else? The spirit of the agreement of the compensation was very clear. Whatever happens, the reality is that I was lied to.'

'There is nothing personal with Dowie. I want it to be resolved and we both know the truth. Hopefully, that will happen at the most inconvenient time for Charlton. Iain had six months that were very successful and then wasted opportunities to stay in the Premiership and then another to regain our Premiership status. We wasted last season and I don’t want to waste another.' Well. I'm afraid that's what happens at Palace.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Would Charlton ever move?

This is thinking the unthinkable territory. Our name for Arsenal is the 'Woolwich Rejects', although their move north of the Thames created a space in which Charlton could develop as a club. Oddly enough, I recall talk in the 1950s of a plan to move the club to the Romford area of Essex, rebranding it as 'Athletic'.

Charlton have, of course, moved twice. The move to Catford in the 1920s was a disaster which did nothing to improve the club's fortunes. Then we were forced out to a ground attached to a supermarket and eventually to Upton Park. The Valley as the club's home has a particular significance for the fans. And have clubs like Derby, Leicester and Southampton really prospered since their moves to new homes?

Nevertheless, Charlton is located on the edge of its catchment area. Apparently, only just over a quarter of regular supporters have SE London post codes. The club has been making a big effort to promote itself in Kent where major housing developments are planned. Indeed, we jokingly suggested some time ago that the club could rebrand itself as Thames Gateway.

Now a lister has suggested that Charlton could abandon plans for the expansion of The Valley and build a new stadium near the international station at Ebbsfleet, although I also seem to remember Gillingham having a similar idea. Apparently it was as a joke but some of the most serious things are first said in jest.

Perhaps a hundred years from now Charlton, by then known as the Red Dragons after their Chinese owners, will be located on an artificial island on the Thames Estuary linked to both north and south shores by an underground railway known as the 'Rickshaw' which the owners think is an affectionate tribute to them.

All speculation, of course, at a time when not much is happening in terms of new signings. But the strength of the debate provoked by the decision to move reserve games reflect perhaps not a real concern about where the stiffs play, but more fundamental issues about Charlton's changing identity. For all the necessary changes, the club will remain anchored to its home at The Valley.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Reserve games to 'Fleet

Charlton's reserve games will be played next year at Stonebridge Road, the home of Conference side Gravesend and Northfleet. The argument is that it will save the Valley pitch and also bring Charlton football to another part of the club's catchment area (although, of course, the women's team already play at 'Fleet).

Almost all other Premiership clubs play their reserve games at non-league grounds and Charlton have used Park View Road in the past. Historically, games have also been played at Erith and Belvedere (when they had their own ground) and Dulwich Hamlet, as well as at Sparrows Lane. (If you know of any other locations where home reserve fixtures have been played, let me know).

Reserve games are hardly a money spinner with most of them attracting attendances in the hundreds, most of them season ticket holders. The mixture of fringe or recovering first team players giving 75% and young Academy hopefuls was not appealing. I occasionally took in reserve games if I was in London on business, but am unlikely to be tempted out to Gravesend.

The club has not responded to suggestions that a Rickshaw in reverse might be run from the home boroughs to Gravesend.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

That's why Bent should have been there

England ground out a 1-0 victory over Paraguay and got the three points and I'm grateful for that, especially given the apparent bias of the referee (the Argentian poet who refereed Germany v. Costa Rica did much better). In the second half, I sometimes I thought I was watching Charlton, England were defending so deep.

But our lack of striker options were painfully apparent. Owen is taken off for 'tactical' reasons leaving Crouch on his own up front with no one to head the ball to. Walcot can't be brought on because an inexperienced player can't be risked on such a big occasion, so what's he doing there? So we go 4-4-1-1 and hang on for the victory. Now if Darren Bent had been there he could have complemented Crouch.

Then we bring on Owen Hargreaves. Pleeese! What does he do? Apart from one miss kick that exposes us to danger, nothing. Nothing comes of nothing.

Did you know that soccer is American football for fags. Well, according to this God fearing American Republican it is:

It's actually a spoof - the Rapture index makes one suspicious - but it's a good parody.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wanchope for Charlton?

Paolo Wanchope would like to return to English football. After the two excellent goals the 30 year old striker scored against Germany in the World Cup opener today, would it be worth Charlton taking a look?

He played for Derby County, West Ham and Manchester City in the Premiership. He then went to Malaga where he was racially abused by his own so-called supporters. After jumping into the stand to confront his abusers, he was criticised by the club and then left soon afterwards. After six months in Qatar, he returned home to Costa Rica.

In any event it will be interesting to look out for other prospects as the competition progresses after starting with a good attacking game.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What's in a name?

No.1 Iceland Addick Olafur Johansson

It's not such a happy time for us Iceland Addicks with our prime minister forced out of office, our currency collapsing and Iceland not in the World Cup. Also the fish catch has not been so good here in Grindavik. So to help me cheer up, Mr Wim Grant allowed me to write something in his blog.

When I came for my stay in England, I did not make the mistake of one Addick of confusing Charlton with Chorlton and thinking it was the Number 3 team in Manchester. But with the haddock theme that had attracted me in the first place, I thought that Charlton would be by the sea, not by the Thames River. But there was nothing in the name to make me think that.

But the names of some English football clubs are very confusing (not to mention the Scottish ones which have commentators mistakenly reporting that people are dancing in the streets of Raith, which I suppose is better than dancing in the streets of Total Network Systems). But I digress.

We are a republican country (as you know my wife's cousin is our president, he is also called Olafur) so when I came to England I wished to know which team the royal family supported. Once I heard there was a team called Queen's Park Rangers I thought this must be the Queen's own team, playing in the Great Park of Windsor, drawing on the park rangers with the Duke of Edinburgh barking instructions from the touchline. And as the Queen is Queen of Scotland I thought that she would also have a Scottish team, but I could not decide whether it was Queen's Park (without the Rangers) or Queen of the South, as she is from the south. But neither was true and all I learned was that your Queen Mother was a Gooner.

Now your Prince William supports Aston Villa and when I came to England and wanted to go there for a Charlton away game I looked on the map for the town of Aston and could not find it. Ah, I thought, this must be the personal team of an aristocrat playing in his Villa in the countryside. I was very disappointed when I found that Aston was a run down area of the city of Birmingham.

It is a long time since the Arsenal club moved from Woolwich and as they are about to move to a new stadium, surely now is the time to give them a proper geographic name and call them Islington Borough. Similarly, the Hotspur club of Tottenham could call themselves Haringey Borough to celebrate the borough in which they have their ground. And Fulham could be more accurately named Putney.

But surely the most misleading name of all is Crystal Palace? First, it gives a misleading impression of opulence, glamour and sophistication, the sort of club that Danny Murphy's wife would like to be seen at. Second, it is nowhere near the old Crystal Palace of the Great Exhibition that burnt down so many years ago.

So, please send me your suggestions for re-naming Crystal Palace and I will pass the best one on to Simon Jordan who is always pleased to hear from or about Charlton.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Charlton fight to hold on to Luke Young

The Addicks are making a spirited fight to hold on to captain Luke Young in the face of a £3.8m bid from West Ham. Richard Murray has described as 'lucrative' the new three year contract offered to the skipper when he still has two years to run on his existing contract. According to the Currant Bun this would put Young on 25k a week on a par with the sum they claim is earned by Jason Euell. Iain Dowie has reassured Young that he has very much part of his plans.

Whether this will be enough remains to be seen. This blog heard some months ago from a source close to Young that a departure was in the offing. He may well think that his England career would prosper at a bigger club. Getting rid of the 'little Charlton' label continues to be a Catch-22.

Valley Party inspiration for Seagulls

Brighton and Hove Albion is a club with which Charlton has a great affinity (and Palace fans pretend that the Seagulls are their real rivals, the Addicks being a 'nothing club'). Now Brighton fans have formed the Seagulls Party which has been registered with the Electoral Commission. And they got their inspiration from the role that The Valley Party played in getting Charlton back to their ground.

Ever since they were evicted from the Golsdtone Ground, and after a spell ground sharing with Gillingham, Brighton have been at an athletics stadium at Withdean. The stands are a greater distance than normal from the pitch and capacity is limited, making it difficult to rebuild the club. Lewes District Council have put a number of obstacles in the way of their move to a new stadium and forming the party is their latest effort to get things moving.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jase does all right

Although Jamaica were trounced 6-0 by England at Old Trafford today, Jason Euell did not disgrace himself. Indeed, he looked one of their more useful players, although perhaps the best for Jamaica was former Addick Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

In the first half Euell drew one of the few England saves of the game from Robinson, out foxed Terry and put a decent ball through to Shelton. He did fade in the second half, being withdrawn on 78 minutes.

On the basis of this performance, though, he could well feature in Iain Dowie's plans. In fact, until we make some new signings, anyone could.

Addicks linked with Routledege again

Press reports are suggesting a £1.5m bid by Charlton for Wayne Routledge who has had very few games at Spurs. The move would reunite Iain Dowie with the former Palace winger.

Spurs are reported to be interested in getting Luke Young back so there could be a part exchange deal. In any event their interest increases the chances of recouping from the Irons the £4m we laid out for Young in the first place.

Dowie and Jordan

Interesting story in The Guardian about our new supremo, his facial expressions and his relationship with his 'reclusive Chairman'. You can read it here:

Friday, June 02, 2006

Luke Young transfer request

Luke Young has handed in a transfer request, probably preparatory to a move to the Boleyn ground by the Charlton captain. It follows the offer of a three year contract extension by Charlton earlier in the day in a bid to keep one of their key players.

Young told Sky Sports News, 'I've grown increasingly frustrated with the way contract negotiations have been conducted by Charlton. I appreciate there has been a change in management but this does not account for the club overlooking contractual obligations to review my contract and allowing three separate deadlines to pass.'

Other rumours suggest that Charlton continue to pursue Reading's Sidwell with an offer of some £21,000 a week, three times what he is on at the Royals.

One solid piece of information, from the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance, is that Charlton are one of only five Premiership clubs that ended the 2004/5 season with net funds rather than net debt. The others were Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Manchester United and West Brom - two of whom have been relegated.

Odds make Charlton 4th relegation favourites

Odds from Bluesq make Charlton fourth equal favourites with Fulham for relegation next season and leading favourites with the Cottagers among existing Premiership sides. The three promoted teams are made favourites for relegation which seems a bit hard on Sheffield United and Reading, particularly bearing in mind the performance of Wigan this season for which they got very little credit - and they are now fifth favourites for the drop.

The odds on Charlton going down are 11/4 compared with 7/2 for Portsmouth and 5/1 for Villa who in my view are at least as likely to be in trouble as indeed are the Massives who are quoted at 8/1. Even Boro at 16/1 could be in trouble if they don't get a manager of sufficient calibre.

It could be that this initial setting of odds, which presumably doensn't reflect actual bets, is similar to the kind of lazy journalism which gave the Addicks as relegation favourites year after year. I have more confidence in our new management and coaching team than these odds imply, although we do need to make some signings soon to boost confidence.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Euell fined after curfew breach

Watford striker Marlon King has been expelled from the Jamaica squad to face England on Saturday, but Charlton's Jason Euell and former player Jamal Campbell-Ryce appealed successfully against expulsion and have been fined half their match fee.

Jamaican sources state that the players broke curfew on Tuesday night, and when team management realised that they had left the Marriott, Worsley Park Hotel on the outskirts of Manchester, an order was given to the hotel staff for their keys to be inactivated.

Upon the players' return to the hotel after 2:00 am, they were advised by the hotel staff to visit the president's room, where a meeting was held and a decision taken to expel them.

King, who conceivably might have had a sherbet, became 'boisterous' and is reported to have been rude to the team's management. According to Jamaica Football Federation head Crenston Boxhill, King's expulsion 'was more than just breaking curfew'. He did not wish to elaborate, but said Euell and Campbell-Ryce 'apologised and admitted to their error, but King showed no remorse'.

King, Euell and Campbell-Ryce were seen as key starters for Jamaica in Saturday's game. Campbell-Ryce trained with the team yesterday, but Euell requested and was granted permission to 'clear his head', according to Kingston sources. Whether this meant that he had a sore head after the night's adventures must be a matter for speculation.

Euell is understood to have turned down a £1.5m move to Cardiff. At one time Dowie wanted him at Crystal Palace, but what his future role at Charlton will be remains to be seen.

Liverpool in for Bent

There are renewed rumours that Liverpool have come in for Darren Bent with an offer of £9.5m. £1.4m of that would go to Ipswich for tractor parts because of a sell on clause.

The general view among the Addickted is that Bent should only be allowed to go for the right fee which usually starts at £10 million and increases to unattainable levels.

What is clear is that even without Bent going the squad is looking increasingly threadbare and hopefully Dowie and his team will acquire some new talent soon. Meanwhile Brakes have swooped for another two players, one a striker with a Coventry City, Luton Town and Hereford United pedigree.

It wasn't all about Curbishley - Murray

Chairman Richard Murray has told the Press Association there was always more to Charlton than just Alan Curbishley as the Addicks prepare for a new era under Iain Dowie. While the Addicks boss recognises the contribution Curbishley made to
helping take the club to where they are now, Murray maintains life must go on and insisted: 'Alan did a wonderful job, but if everybody thinks that this club is only where it is today because of Alan Curbishley, then they do not know this club very well I am afraid.'

He added: 'Alan did not do any of the transfers [Richard Murray did], he did not raise any of the money - we have raised tens and tens of millions of pounds. 'If people think Alan built this stadium here, he did not - it is from the pockets of people like me. I just do not shout about it, I do not like doing a column - and I do not particularly want to shout about it now. I have got a huge amount of time, money and emotion tied up in this club.'

While there is unlikely to be a swift end to the legal saga, Murray believes the club have the right man in place to take them forwards into a new era after speaking to some 20 candidates. Murray declared: 'I am a Charlton fan through and through and in my balanced judgement, Iain is by far the best candidate we had.'

It is easy to overlook the contribution that Richard Murray and the board have made to the club. One way of reading these remarks is that the parting with Curbs was a little less amicable than supposed, e.g., the reference to writing a column which Curbs has done.

The long awaited Curbs 'autobiography' will be out soon, this being the right time to market it. It is, however, probably too soon to make a balanced appraisal of the strengths and limitations of his contribution to the club. It was, however, considerable.