Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No news is bad news?

Odd that we have heard nothing about the Cristiano Bolanos work permit appeal as the hearing was today. If it was all straightforward, we would have surely heard by now (mid-evening Tuesday). I have to head off to the States tomorrow for the Labor Day weekend when I am hosting a party in the Independence Brewery in Philadelphia, so no postings until the beginning of next week.

The whole work permit business is very murky. Supposedly a player has to have appeared in 75 per cent of the international matches where he was available for selection in the last two years, which disqualifies many players where squad rotation is in place.

However, the guidelines are essentially subjective which perhaps explains why some big clubs have been more readily successful than one might expect given the case being made.

More on this subject is available here:

Sengalese SE7

Sky Sports News are reporting that Charlton are closing to signing Sengalese defender Souleymane Diawara. He will be the second Sengalese international in the Charlton squad. French side Sochaux were hoping to keep Diawara at the club, but they knew they were facing a losing battle to keep hold of the African.

Charlton have held talks with Diawara after agreeing a fee with Sochaux and the player's agent Lee Anderson confirmed a deal was close to being completed.
'Souleymane is going to Charlton as both clubs have agreed a fee,' Anderson told 'He has had talks and passed his medical at the club. Souleymane has agreed a three-year deal and he should complete the formalities of the deal soon.'

Hopefully, there will not be any work permit problems as he probably has French (EU) as well as Sengalese citizenship. Some of the Addickted have doubted whether he represents a good buy, but the Addicks defence certainly needs shoring up.

Has April Fool's Day come early?

That was my initial reaction to a story on Vital Football that Danny Murphy might be rejoining Charlton. Read the story here:


The manner of Murphy's departure from Charlton did not endear him to the Addickted with Murphy making it clear how pleased he was to be going to a bigger club for what turned out to be bench warming duties. His wife also used her newspaper column to slag off Curbs whilst looking forward to visiting more premieres.

There were also allegations from normally reliable sources that Murphy had been a disruptive influence at the training ground, throwing his weight around and was an unpopular player in the dressing room.

Against that, when he was not sulking, he was capable of providing a crucial creativity in midfield we currently lack. If he is to return, three conditions need to be met. First, we should get him back for less than we let him go for. Second, he must show some humility. Third, his wife must stop acting as his mouthpiece in the papers (although her column appears to have been dropped from The Times).

Even then, many of the Addickted would probably not welcome his return. I would find it a bitter pill to swallow.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Addicks chase new signings

Sky Sports News reports that the Addicks are chasing South American midfielder Omar Pouso. The Uruguyan is currently with Penarol in his homeland, although Danubio own his registration.

South American sources now claim that the midfielder is on his way to England to undergo talks with The Addicks. Given the length of the journey, let's hope it will be possible to secure a work permit for him. Pouso scored a spectacular goal at Anfield for Uruguay against England in March this year, whether that is a plus or a minus for the Home Office is not certain.

According to reports emanating from the French press, Charlton are interested in 27-year old Sochaux defender Souleymane Diawara and hope to tie up a deal before the transfer deadline. Diawara is a full Senegal international who has proven his credentials in the past few seasons with a series of impressive Ligue 1 displays and was previously being tracked by Newcastle and Portsmouth.

However, he would cost £4 million which is expensive by Charlton standards, particularly given the amount we have spent already. However, considerable savings on the wages front could be made if Jason Euell finally leaves The Valley as is now being reported.

Admittedly the reports come from his agent, but it is claimed to be Premiership sides like Boro, Pompey and Wigan that are interested.

Brakes decelerate to concede draw

Leamington maintained their unbeaten record in the Polymac Services Midland Alliance at Alvechurch this afternoon, but managed to turn a 3-0 lead into a 3-3 draw.

I know someone who lives in Alvechurch in a house called 'The Old Granary'. It's that sort of village. But it has also sustained a football team that was the only village side in the Southern League, reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup and holds the record for the longest tie in the history of the FA Cup (six matches and 660 minutes against Oxford City in 1971, Alvechurch won). Rolling verdant pastures dotted with sheep surround the Lye Meadow ground.

We've heard some complaints about the voice of the new Valley pitchside announcer, but at least it's better than the nasal drone of the Church mikesman who also managed to render 'Josh Blake' as 'Joshua Blake'.

Church had a goal disallowed for offside, but Brakes showed their mettle with an Adam Knight strike, leading the Brakesmen and women occupying the stand to taunt the Church supporters with a chant of 'You're not talking any more.'

A fight broke out between Church charm merchant Callum Gittings and Adam Knight, both receiving a yellow card. Brakes supporter taunted the lizard like Gittings with the apt chant of 'Iguana'. Stuart Herlihey made it 2-0 for Brakes before the break, producing the usual chant of 'He's got no hair, we don't care.'

Adam Knight scored his second to make it 3-0 for Brakes shortly after the match re-started. Leamington are always vulnerable when they have 3-0 lead as they showed the other week against Studley, although then they managed to hang on at 3-2. Despite Brakes rattling the bar, they were not able to put any of their chances away while Church exploited defensive frailities to level the score.

No doubt Jason Cadden locked the team in the dressing room as he did after Studley with Brakes missing a chance to steal ahead of surprise package Boldmere St. Michaels in the title chase.

Curbs: I'd be prepared to move

In an interview in The Independent Curbs says that he would be prepared to move away from his beloved Essex for a suitable managerial vacancy, pointing out that his children are now 18 and 21 and would not be the only Cockneys in the school. The article speculates that Curbs could become the full time England Under 21 manager and the lower profile of such a job might suit him.

Curbs is certainly getting plenty of publicity for his book. He was allowed to give it a big plug on Match of the Day last night. I've started to read it and it seems to be well written yet to have the authentic voice of the man.

You can read the Independent article in full at: Curbs

Remember that we will be the only Charlton blog bringing you a report from the Bank Holiday clash between Alvechurch and Leamington in the Polymac Services Midland Alliance.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Carson and Bent the heroes of the day

Darren Bent and young goalkeeper Scott Carson were the heroes of the day in Charlton's important 2-0 victory over Bolton at The Valley which lifted them off the bottom of the table. Carson saved a Bolton penalty in the second half which if it had gone in would have probably led to the visitors taking the points. Bent went on to score the two goals, one from a penalty and one from open play.

It was a dramatic day at The Valley with Hermann Hreidarsson sent off in the first half, a Charlton goal disallowed and Bolton charm merchant Kevin Davies sent off in the second half. During the long period when it was ten men against eleven the Addicks contained Bolton well and the result must be a confidence booster both for the team and for the fans.

Going into the ground I bought with some reluctance the new square (or officially 'rectangle' programme). It's not a format I like and it seems to have been adopted in part because of a fashion among Premiership clubs. Former programme editor Rick Everitt, normally no shrinking violent in these matters, has refused to comment.

Charlton won a series of corners in the early part of the game, one leading to an effort by Traore that was way over. However, Bolton showed that they could be dangerous with one break leading to a corner for them.

Stelios 'my name is too big for my shirt' then broke through down the right and was 1 on 1 with Carson. However, Stelios hesitated while he lined up his perfect shot and composed a letter to his mother to tell her about it and Bryan Hughes was able to intervene to save the day at the expense of a Bolton corner. However, Hughes then blotted his copybook by making an error in dealing with the corner which then required a panic clearance.

The Herminator and Davies were spoken to by referee Dean in a foretaste of what was to come. At this stage of the game I felt that we were falling back into the error of trying to deliver long balls to Darren Bent.

Charlton forged through and Darren Ambrose delivered the ball into the back of the net, but the joy of the Addickted was short lived as the lino raised his flag for offside. I'm sure I saw an elbow used on El Karkouri, but the referee ignored it. Stelios had by now finished composing the letter to his mother and put in an effort which went just past the post.

Hreidarsson was then sent off for use of the elbow, somewhat ironic given that Davies had earlier used the elbow on him without punishment. Given our current defensive problems, his ban will cause us difficulties. Diouf was given a yellow card for tripping.

A Reid free kick led to a Charlton corner. From the resultant throw in, Hughes put in an effort which was on target and required a save from Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal. Darren Ambrose was withdrawn in favour of Kishishev, the occasion calling for his battling qualities, although some of the Addickted would have preferred to substitute Hughes.

Half time: Addicks 0, Whites 0

El Karkouri put a Charlton free kick just over. Faye brought down Pedersen in the area and could have been given a red card rather than a yellow, but referee Dean showed restraint. Diouf's penalty was well saved by Carson who then kicked the ball out of danger, a turning point in the match.

Reid was brought down and Stelios was given a yellow card, something else for his letter home. Ben Haim tugged Bent's shirt in the area and Charlton were awarded a penalty and the Israeli a yellow card. Jaaskelainen looked as if someone had burnt down his sauna and Bent calmly stepped up and struck a fierce ball into the back of the net, making it 1-0 on 65 minutes. Stelios was withdrawn to continue his compositional efforts and Ricardo Té was brought on in his place.

Bolton were awarded a free kick to the left of the area in a potentially dangerous position, but the authoritative Traore cleared. Davies used the elbow on Traore, although Allerdyce later tried to claim that he was 'leveraging' himself. Dean showed him the red card and Nolan got shown a yellow card for dissent. Bolton made two more substitutions shortly afterwards.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's determination combined with Darren Bent's skill as the striker scored an excellent goal through the keeper's legs. Kish put in a good block. There was still time in the closing minutes of the game for Carson to make an excellent finger tip save.

Apologies to those of you were expecting to read comments from Hooch the Pooch in The Observer this morning, but he came up against a sub-editor who could not cope with all the barking.

Scott Carson received his first ever Silver Bone from match analyst Hooch the Pooch for an excellent performance in goal. Hreidarsson played well before he was sent off. El Karkouri was generally good but occasionally threw caution to the winds in a way that gave rise to concern. Young was solid and made some important interventions. I was impressed with Traore who showed skill and commitment. Ambrose has the ability to run creatively with the ball rather than simply pass it, but was substituted before he could make a real impression. Reid looks like he could be the kind of creative midfield player we had been looking for with a cultured left boot. Faye is not a player you notice a lot, but he did what he had to do, particularly when we were down to ten men. Hughes is not as bad as the moaners suggest and did make one important clearance in front of goal. Hasselbaink set up the Bent goal from open play. Bent does what we ask him to do, score goals, indeed he is the only Charlton goalscorer this year. Kishishev was generally reliable when he came on and did what was asked of him. Holland and Marcus Bent had cameo appearances, although it was good to see Bent chasing the ball.

Hiss of the March: There was no hesitation in the decision of Juneau the Soccer Cat to award it to referee Mike Dean who left little doubt where his sympathies were in the earlier part of the match.

Crowd rating: Nervous and edgy at first, but got behind the team more as the game went on. 7/10.

Tough test at The Valley

Iain Dowie says of today's match against Bolton Wanderers at The Valley, 'It is a pressure game, but I cannot wait. We've not had an ideal start, but this is where character comes to the fore.'

Bolton are something of a bogey team for Charlton. We have lost our last five encounters with them and have a particularly poor record against them at home in the Premiership. Indeed, I remember them turning us over at The Valley when we were both in the old Division 1.

One positive note is that Nicholas Anelka will not be playing. He gave us grief at The Valley when he was with Manchester City. However, the referee is a northerner, Mike Dean from the Wirral and probably one of the most incompetent referees in the Premiership. He is particularly notorious for ignoring time wasting and fouls by Bolton.

Traore will be available and will presumably play, particularly given that Fortune was reported last night to have an ankle injury. Carson should stay in goal, Myhre's complaints notwithstanding.

The real problem is in the midfield. They put pressure on the defence by losing possession and playing too deep. They also give insufficient service to the forwards. I was not boosted by the news last night that 'Holland is fit'. Reid should be available and I would start him and Kishishev and drop Holland and Hughes. It's a shame that Bolano's work permit still hasn't come through.

The Fink Tank at The Times doesn't know how to call this game, giving a 35% chance of a home win, a 35.7% chance of an away win and a 29.3% chance of a draw. I am going to be optimistic and go for a 1-1 draw, giving Charlton their first point of the season.

Remember that if you live in a remote Kentish hamlet, and want to see the Kent team that plays in London, there is a Rickshaw service near you.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Millwall touts for fans

Millwall Football Club is looking to attract floating football fans in London with its first outdoor advertising campaign. The campaign, using Viacom Outdoor poster sites across the London Underground, aims to attract new fans by highlighting the quality of football at the club, with the slogans 'the home of real football' and 'real talent, real passion and real football'. Some of us might think the slogan on the nearby power station was more appropriate, 'recycling power from rubbish'.

Posters also highlight the ease of travelling to its Bermondsey ground The New Den with the line, 'seven minutes from London Bridge' and focus on images of some of its most highly regarded players including former Chelsea goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley and striker Darren Byfield. [Who?]

Stewart Till, Millwall FC chairman, said: 'Our fans experience the buzz, excitement and sheer entertainment of high quality soccer at Millwall [sic] and we want more Londoners to share the experience.' [And some other experiences as well]. 'This campaign is designed to reach London soccer fans with the message that Millwall is a smart, vibrant, family-orientated football club.' If you believe that, you will believe anything.

Young and Bent in England squad

Luke Young and Darren Bent have been called up to the 24 man England squad for the Euro 2008 double header against mighty Andorra and Macedonia.

Gary Neville's continuing calf injury provides the Charlton captain with an opportunity. Steve McClaren admitted that losing Neville is a blow: 'It's always disappointing to lose someone of Gary's quality and experience. He's an important part of the squad, but we have good cover in Luke Young and Phil Neville who are very capable deputies.'

Let's hope that Darren Bent gets more than a cameo.

Bent bid off?

Marcus Bent may well be the least popular player with the Addicked at the moment, but it doesn't look as if he will be heading north to Birmingham City as many had hoped.

Second City sources state that Blues' move for Bent appears to have stalled - if not bitten the dust completely. Manager Steve Bruce said there was 'nothing to report at the minute' with regard to his pursuit of a Premiership striker.

At the start of the week, Bruce said Blues were edging closer to concluding a deal. The view in Birmingham is that, 'It may be that the transfer fee and personal terms could be a stumbling block, or Blues could have cooled on the much-travelled forward.' 'We are still trying but we haven't got anything at the moment, I have to say. We are not close to anything,' Bruce is quoted as saying.

Earlier in the year the Addicks tried to palm off Jason Euell on Blues, only to see the deal fall through at the last minute. Perhaps the Millwall of the Midlands are not as stupid as they look.

Jase, Romm on way?

The Kent Messenger (the paper read in the Rickshaw) reports that Jason Euell and Dennis Rommedahl may be on their way out of The Valley. In Euell's case the club are keen to get something back on the £4.75m signing in the last year of his contract, however small.

The paper claims, 'Though new boss Iain Dowie wiped the slate clean for every player on arriving in May, Euell has done nothing to persuade him that he should figure in his plans.' That sounds plausible.

It is also reported that the club are hoping to make two signings before the transfer window closes on Thursday. High on Dowie’s wish list is a central defender and central midfielder (so say all of us). All the Addicks supremo would say was: 'We are continuing to look at all areas where we can strengthen the squad. If we can do it we will. There are one or two areas which I’d like to improve but I’ll keep those to myself. Whether or not it happens before the deadline we’re not sure, but we hope so.'

No tears would be shed among the Addickted about the departure of Jason Euell, although some will blame his loss of form of Curbs, but no doubt Curbs is being blamed for the traffic congestion after Wednesday's match.

Romm is a different matter. Dowie clearly has doubts about him as he brought him on relatively late on Wednesday, having meanwhile tried to play a long ball game. Many of the Addickted consider that we need to use our wingers (hopefully soon including Bolanos) to penetrate defences for our forwards.

So is Dowie's distaste for Romm completely irrational? What moaners often seem to forget is that managers are watching players at the training ground all week and also have the sophisticated ProZone statistics at their disposal.

Romm certainly belongs to the Claus Jensen school of football or, as the Bloke Beside Me put it this week, 'he is a powder puff.' Putting tackles in does not form part of his game.

I would prefer to see him remain at Charlton, although I would tend to use him as a bench player, but with more time than he had on Wednesday. He ceratainly has pace and the ability to penetrate, but his crosses and finishing are often lacking.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Charlton interested in Kilgallon

In an effort to bolster Charlton's permeable defence, the club has expressed an interest in young Leeds centre back Matthew Kilgallon. However, Reading have already had a bid of over £1 million turned down and softly spoken Leeds chairman Ken Bates has emphasised that Kilgallon is going nowhere.

Other names linked with the Addicks are free agnets Alain Goma and Stephane Henchoz.
As they say in Private Eye that's enough names.

Dog reporters put paw prints on media deal

Our dog reporters have put their paw prints on a deal with The Observer to provide match analysis of selected Charlton games. Their first report on the Bolton game should appear in Sunday's paper. Senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch commented, 'We are particularly pleased that we are to give individual numerical player ratings, which will be a development of our current service and shows that the ability of canine reporters to sniff out a match is now being respected.'

Other clubs are reported to be getting in on the act, with Millwall signing a pit bull and Palace chasing a poodle.

A difference in class

A marked difference in class was evident in Charlton's 0-3 defeat by Manchester United at The Valley last night. The Addicks managed to contain United in the first half, but were simply overwhelmed in the second.

The difference in quality was particularly evident in midfield, where the ordinariness of Hughes and Holland was all too evident. Kishishev was on the bench but was not used in the match. However, the defence was also highly suspect, while Charlton created few real scoring opportunities. In that respect my prediction of 1-4 in the pub beforehand was too optimistic.

There was some fluent passing play in the first half, although Charlton had relatively little possession. As the game went on, there was an increasing reliance on hit and hope, understandable given the difficulty of by-passing the United midfield. However, long balls are never going to be effectively intercepted by Darren Bent.

The defeat left Charlton bottom of the table. However, only two games have been played and we invariably lose at home to United. A lot now rides on Saturday's clash with Bolton, with the players under more psychological pressure than one would hope for.

Why do we do it?

That was the question my doctor asked as he contemplated a 3 hour trip up the M6 to see what turned out be a 0-0 draw between Manchester City and Portsmouth. It's a question I've often asked myself as I drive up the M40 after midnight. And perhaps it's a question that led to a net loss of 1,500 Charlton season ticket holders this season, as revealed by Peter Varney in the programme. However, the Rickshaw is rolling and I saw the Sheerness coach unloading its passengers as I arrived at the ground.

The train was full of United fans with their London accents, one of whom said that The Valley was a 'matchbox stadium'. When I arrived at the ground I learned that lifelong Addick Steve from Sidcup, who sits next to me and whose comments sometimes feature in this blog, had been admitted to intensive care in hospital last week. He is still in hopsital but is now recovering and I'm sure Addicks will join me in sending best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Charlton actually started brightly and applied some early pressure, but they were not able to maintain it and United won two corners in succession. Hasselbaink put in a shot that was just wide and worth a try. The Herminator won Charlton a corner, the ball was played out and Matt Holland put in an attempt that was well wide.

Luke Young provided some good defensive work. Hreidarsson and Ferdinand were told off by referee Foy. Darren Bent drew a save from van der Sar. Fortune showed that he can rise to the occasion with some good defensive work. Matt Holland put a wayward ball forward, destroying a potential attacking opportunity.

Ronaldo, who was booed every time he got the ball, won a free kick on the edge of the area and the ball hit the post. After an error by the United defence, Charlton were involved in some front of goal action which led to two Charlton corners. United then broke at speed, as they do so effectively, but the threat was well dealt with by Luke Young. Hreidarsson was shown a yellow card.

Charm merchant Ferdinand received a yellow card for dissent after a free kick was awarded for a foul against Hreidarsson, but El Karkouri's effort was poor. Carson made an excellent save from Giggs. As the half drew to a close, United were becoming more dominant, as was shown by thundering shot that hit the crossbar and a succession of corners.

Half time: Addicks 0, United 0

Charlton looked sluggish and lax after the break, but the truth of the matter was probably that United had stepped up a gear. Nevertheless, it was Darren Ambrose who threatened with a shot from distance that was just wide.

Then a mix up in the Charlton defence allowed the mighty Darren Fletcher to score the crucial opening goal for United. After that, Charlton had their backs against the wall. One threating break was dealt with well by Luke Young with a good clearance.

United won a further run of corners and Hasselbaink was withdrawn in favour of Marcus Bent who promptly gave the ball away. Big Bent did turn provider for Little Bent, but his shot was off target.

There were still faint hopes of an equaliser but Saha put paid to these with a searing shot that left Carson with no chance. Faye was withdrawn and replaced by Rommedahl, but it was too late to change the course of the match. Solksjaer was brought on for United.

Luke Young won Charlton a corner and Carson made a great save from Solksjaer, but shortly afterwards the substitute made it 0-3. United fans were boasting of the treble after the match, while the Addickted contemplated a relegation struggle.

With Hooch the Pooch staying behind in Leamington, Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon was given a baptism of fire in his first league match as match analyst. The normally animated spaniel was looking dejected by the end of the game, but he perked up his ears to award the Silver Bone to Darren Ambrose as the most creative Charlton player. Carson has now let in six goals in two matches and no doubt there will be calls to bring back Myhre who looked as if he had the hump badly last night. However, without some excellent saves made by the keeper (was he the target of the 'you fat bastard' chants by the United fans) the scoreline would have been much worse. The problem with our central defence is that they are fine 90-95 per cent of the time, but then make potentially match changing errors and that applied to both Fortune and El Karkouri last night. Hreidarsson was vigorous and generally effective and was on the short list for the Silver Bone, as was Luke Young who also played well. Faye did not seem to be very involved in some parts of the game, but had some nice touches. Hughes often lacked the pace he needed to intervene effectively. Holland did his best, but it wasn't good enough. Bent was often isolated on his own up front and lacked the service to be effective while Hasselbaink made relatively little impression. He was replaced by Marcus Bent, presumably to provide a target man, but he will be no great loss if he goes to Birmingham. Rommedahl livened things up when he came on and gave Charlton some much needed pace.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to the United supporters who insist on standing up and against whom no effective sanction seems possible.

Crowd rating: Vigorous in the first half, but sagged as Charlton's performance went flat which is when they most need vocal support. 6/10.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bolanos cleared to play soon

Costa Rican winger Cristian Bolanos will not be cleared to play against Manchester United tonight, but is likely to be available against Bolton on Saturday.

This welcome news comes from the South London Press, often used by the club to release information. His work permit has been approved and is just awaiting some final paperwork. 'It's getting closer,' Iain Dowie is quoted as saying. 'And hopefully we'll have it sorted soon.'

Bryan Hughes in Brakes programme

Leamington's Midland Alliance hopes took a knock last night when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Stratford Town in front of a crowd of 657 at the New Windmill Ground last night. The club announced a new three year sponsorship contract with Building and Plumbing Suppliers and for the first time photographers in high visibility vests with an 'official photographer' tag were buzzing around.

The Bardsmen sallied forth and put early pressure on the Brakes goal. Although Brakes were far ahead in the corner count, they couldn't get past Stratford's excellent goalkeeper. Clunsie looked off form and manager Jason Cadden attracted some criticism for not starting removal man Josh Blake who is looking for his 150th goal for the club. However, with a large squad, squad rotation is the name of the game.

On opening the programme I found on the inside cover a picture of Bryan Hughes and the Charlton logo with Joma celebrating the fact that it provides the kit for both clubs.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Visit of Red Sox offers little hope for Addicks

The visit of Manchester United to The Valley tomorrow offers the Addicks little hope of getting their first Premiership points. Indeed, compared with the relatively easy start they had last season, Charlton have a particularly challenging start to the season.

Both in their present incarnation as Salford Red Sox and their previous one as Newton Heath, Charlton have never beaten United in the Premiership. At The Valley they once secured a 3-3 draw in which Johnnie Robinson (now with Worthing Town) played a prominent role and they have drawn away at Old Trafford. However, their last five matches with United at The Valley have seen the home side lose by two goal margins which seems quite likely tomorrow.

Of course, the match starts 0-0 but may not stay that way for long. Even without Rooney, United are formidable in attack. Their 5-1 win against an admittedly poor Fulham on Sunday will have given them a confidence boost whereas Charlton have to recover from a 3-1 defeat at West Ham.

The Addicks will be without the dimissed Traore, which means shifting Hreidarsson to the left back position and presumably playing Sorondo and the somewhat rash El Karjouri in the centre of defence. I have heard a case made for Fortune, but it does not seem a strong given the nature of the opposition.

Carson got mixed reviews for his part in the clash at Upton Park, but changing keeper does little to build up an understanding between him and the defence.

Central midfield remains a problem, with the duo of Holland and Hughes not inspiring confidence among the Addickted. Reid seems to have made a good contribution at the Boleyn ground and might start despite complaints about his being as overweight as Peter Garland.

Perhaps this is a game for Kishishev who was not even on the bench at West Ham. The battling Bulgarian might be just what we need against Ronaldo. But there is no easy formula that will get us a point. Nevertheless, I shall be there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

You base football player

Tomorrow night Leamington entertain Stratford Town at the New Windmill Ground in a needle local derby. The Bardsmen do not embark on the field of play, shouting 'Verily!' and 'Forsooth!' but are in fact known for their industrial language.

The Bard was more circumspect in what he said about football. He was the first person to use the word with its modern spelling, albeit somewhat disapprovingly, King Lear (Act 1, Scene 4) containing the line, 'Nor tripped neither, you base football player.'

He also mentions the game in A Comedy of Errors (Act II, Scene 1) [remember that 'spurn' literally means 'to kick away']: 'Am I so round with you as with me. That like a football do you spurn me thus? You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither. If I last in the service, you must case me in leather.'

Shakespeare attempted a post-modernist joke about football in Othello 2.3 when he writes 'So I will turn her virtue into pitch and out of her own goodness make the net.'

Last year the Brakes achieved a double over Stratford, including a particularly satisfactory victory at the Hathaway Stadium which produced the memorable chant 'Two nil or not two nil?'

Leamington have won all three opening matches of their Polymac Services Midland Alliance campaign, but although such a start would be acceptable at Charlton, it has produced some uneasiness at Harbury Lane.

The 1-0 win in the first match over Oadby Town was secured in the 93rd minute, manager Jason Cadden have taken the day off to go to a wedding with the aptly named Darren Tank left in charge. A 3-2 win at Studley led to the team being locked in their dressing room and harangued by the furious Cadzy after they had surrendered a 3-0 lead. The 2-0 away victory over Causeway United was more respectable but was achieved against one of the weaker sides in the league.

But our doubts are our traitors ...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Addicks bid for US World Cup player rejected

American sources report that Major League Soccer (which holds the contracts of players) has turned down a $1.5 million bid from the Addicks for 23-year old New England Revolution World Cup scorer Cluint Dempsey. Dempsey is said to be deeply disappointed. Given that he currently makes $80,000 a year from his deal with MLS, which is what he might get in League 2 over here, no wonder he is upset. He is currently suspended after breaking an opposing player's jaw with his elbow.

US sources claim that no American had a better World Cup than Dempsey, who brought much-needed pace and confidence to the right side of the U.S. midfield starting with the team's 1-1 tie against world champion Italy.

MLS commissioner Don Garber stated, 'Clint Dempsey is a valuable player, and we'd like to renegotiate his agreement and keep him in the league. Unless these clubs offer his real value [whatever that might be] and don't discount the value he has to MLS, we have no interest.'

Dempsey stated, 'I just don't want to be in this league anymore. It's not about the money. It's about me getting better and pushing myself to a higher level. I'll be able to live with whatever the consequences may be, but I can't live with never trying to accomplish my dreams, and I can't live with somebody holding me back from that.' Dempsey is now pinning his hopes on the next transfer window.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

10 man Charlton slump to defeat

How you strolling? It's Paul May here with a report from Upton Park. Inspector Sands said that Erith were at home today in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, but my loyalties are with Charlton as they look forward to a challenging and exciting season.

The Irons made an early break and Zamora put in a shot with West Ham claiming a corner. West Ham kept up the pressure and Benayoun put in a header which went wide. Zamora was in the box again threatening a tap in but Carson made a great save. Konchesky made a run, but handled the ball. Pardew got increasingly agitated about Howard Webb's decisions.

West Ham broke from a Charlton attack in which Luke Young was inspirational and only denied a shot by a last minute tackle. Carson gathered the ball well after it had been left by El Karkouri who misjudged the ball.

Hasselbaink put in an effort after an eighty yard ball from Carson had been headed down by Darren Bent, but it was about a yard over the top over the corner of the post and bar.

Hughes put in an effort on 14 minutes which came off the hand of Gabidon and after consulting the lino the refere pointed to the spot. Bent put the ball into the back of the net with an emphatic shot to make it 1-0 to the Addicks.

An unnecessary foul by El Karkouri on Zamora gave the Irons a free kick some 25 yards out, but the chance was wasted by the home side. Traore made a tackle on Lee Bowyer and was shown a yellow card. The free kick led to the first corner of the afternoon for the Irons. Zamora's header off Konchesky's corner went over the bar.

Harewood had his shirt tugged by Traore who prevented the free kick being taken and was sent off through his own stupidity. Hasselbaink broke through a ball by Luke Young and was very nearly through on goal. Carson made a brilliant reaction save, then the ball went in through Harewood, but the goal was disallowed for a push. Sorondo came on a substitute at centre half, Ambrose being withdrawn, with the Herminator pushed out to left back.

The Irons tried to claim a penalty for an alleged hand ball by Holland. There was pressure in the Charlton box and Harewood got a yellow card for diving. Charlton faced further pressure, but Faye cleared. The Irons won a corner kick. Sorondo cleared with a header.

Carson made a diving save from Harewood who looked marginally offside. Harewood won a dubious corner kick which was played short. The shot scraped off the upright with Carson beaten. Darren Bent was caught offside in time added on. Young got a yellow card.

Half time: Irons 0, Addicks 1

West Ham putting on some early pressure, but Charlton managed to contain them. But after six minutes West Ham equalised through Zamora from two feet out after Bowyer had floated a ball in. Carroll had to make a diving save after a 45 yard strike by Bent.

West Ham were given a free kick on the left hand side of the D which sailed over the top as the 60 minute mark was reached. El Karkouri defended well as Bowyer threatened. The Irons won a corner kick. Marcus Bent came on to replace Hasselbaink. Konchesky was booked for bringing down Darren Bent.

An attempt by Bowyer bounced over Carson and hit the post and bobbled into the path of Zamora and the ball dribbled into the goal, El Karkouri having failed to connect for a clearance. Charlton shifted to a 3-4-2 formation with Reid coming on and started to look livelier.

Bowyer put in a curling shot that came off the post. Carroll fumbled the ball and Darren Bent turned it in, but the referee judged that it was a foul on the goalkeeper as the Irons keeper went down injured.

Faye dispossesd Reo Coker and with Charlton more in the ascendancy, the home fans feared that their bubble might burst. The Irons brought on Teddy Sherringham in place of Zamora.

West Ham attacked and Carson had to punch clear. The Irons won a corner as the game edged towards an end, but Carson gathered. Darren Bent claimed a corner at the other end without success.

Charlton won a free kick for handball as four minutes of time were added on. Carroll came out and missed it, but Sorondo's effort went over the top. Carthorse Cole lumbered on and scored with his first touch, with Charlton failing to play the offside trap to add to the gloom of the Addickted who headed out for an early tube.

I put a lot on blame on Traore for getting needlessly sent off.

Curbs backs Addicks to beat Irons

Interviewed on Radio 5 this morning, Alan Curbishley forecast that the Addicks would beat the Irons at Upton Park today. He recalled that West Ham had beat Charlton only once there in the Premiership, the 5-0 Boxing Day tonking, but in fact they also lost 2-0 the following season. However, our record at the Boleyn Ground is better than in most Premiership away fixtures with two wins, two losses and a deaw.

Asked if he was still following events at Charlton, Curbs said, 'Obviously I have. I want them to do well.' It had been a strange month as if had been the first time he had not been involved in a pre-season build up for thirty-two years. 'I've enjoyed the break. It was the right decision for me and the club.'

Asked about the England job, Curbs recalled, 'After the first interview I thought I was in with a chance, but after the second I didn't think I was in the frame.' The media attention had distracted attention from his job at Charlton manager so that all press conferences were focused on the England job.

Asked if he would be involved sooner or later, Curbs said that he was soon leaving for a month's holiday in New Zealand to see his sister. He had decided he wanted a five to six months break and he wasn't going to let it be three months. Once September was out of the way and he was back, he would see if anybody wanted him.

Erith Addick Paul May will be providing coverage of today's match and is forecasting a 2-2 draw.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Double promotion for Monty

A relaxed Hooch the Pooch looks forward to the new season

Dog reporter Monty Martin has received a double promotion. He has done so well in his day job as meeter 'n' greeter at Didocot's Kingdom Signs that he is to be used in the firm's yellow pages advert. And senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch has announced that he will be upgraded to cover league as well as cup matches this season. Hooch commented, 'Many people claimed that spaniels were too excitable for this line of work, but he has really applied himself and his knowledge of the offside rule has come on by leaps and bounds.'

Popular Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon

It is less good news for Homer the Cherry Hound. Hooch confirmed that the Association of Canine Match Analysts has completed its investigation into an incident that occurred while Homer was staying in Leamington for mutual improvement classes with Hooch. While on a training walk, Homer attacked another dog, claiming that he was a Sky Blue supporter. Hooch commented, 'We expect the highest standards of our analysts both at and away from games.'

Hooch confirmed that talks were continuing with a major broadsheet newspaper about using dog reporters to cover Charlton games. 'Even though our founder, Bob the Dog, was quoted in the Independent on Sunday in relation to a controversial Silver Bone award, regular coverage of this kind would take canine reporting to the next level', said Hooch. 'However, we have hit a hitch. They want dog reporters at the West Ham game tomorrow and so far we have had problems getting access to away grounds.'

Jerome signs three year contract

Jerome Thomas has signed a new three year contract at The Valley, a decision welcomed by the Addickted. The winger commented, 'I've had a chat with the manager and I like the direction he's trying to take the club so I'm looking forward to it.'

The club has announced that it has bought back 120,000 shares on the open market at 38p and cancelled them. This is a marginally better price than my wife and I got the other day. Consolidating ownership would give the board greater freedom to pursue any options that might come along. For example, could there at some stage be an injection of Spanish capital?

Big Bent has girl friend trouble

With some doubts being expressed about his future at Charlton, Marcus Bent is apparently having problems with his girl friend's drinking according to this Daily Mirror report:


Troubled by injury problems, the bigger Bent has never really made his mark since he arrived on Charlton. I met him on his first Saturday at The Valley and he seemed a nice guy. But, of course, scoring goals is what it is all about.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

One Bent plays for England, one on his way?

Darren Bent made a cameo appearance for England in the last 15 minutes of their friendly against Greece last night, but had no real opportunity to make an impact. I understand that this was not lead us paying extra money to Ipswich as the relevant clause in his contract only applies to competitive internationals and not to friendlies.

Luke Young was also seen warming up at one point, but did not make an appearance, but was pleased to be included in the squad.

The latest rumour is that Marcus Bent could be on his way to Birmingham and that we are chasing Preston's David Nugent who, however, seems to have a rather high price tag attached to him.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Addicks strengthen midfield

Iain Dowie has been as good as his word and has signed Andy Reid from Spurs for a reported £3m on a four year contract to strengthen Charlton's midfield. It is the fifth signing in nine days by the Charlton supremo. I seem to remember the Irish Republic international being a target when he was a highly rated player at Nottingham Forest.

Dowie said: 'Everyone is aware that the Premier League is about quality and ability on the ball. So we are delighted to clinch Andy's signing.'

I think this is good news and the final piece in the jigsaw for a season that is now looking more promising, especially given Dean Ashton's injury and the suspensions of Scholes and Rooney at Manure (even though the absence of the latter will diminish the appeal of next week's game).

What does this mean for the future of Dennis Rommedahl who made an ineffectual late appearance at Utrecht?

Our dog reporters are busy preparing for the new season. Hooch the Pooch has now left his canalside home at Long Itchington for intensive pre-season training at Egg Chasers Road and tells me that there may soon be an announcement about a major breakthrough for canine reporters in national print journalism.

Carson, Ambrose feature in under 21s match

Charlton keeper Scott Carson was in goal for the whole of the England Under 21 match against Moldova last night and Darren Ambrose came on as a late substitute, managing to pick up a yellow card. He also missed a couple of chances.

Some of the Addickted think that on that performance Carson should be behind Andersen and Myhre in the pecking order.

However, such a judgement would be too hasty. Our erstwhile reserve correspondent, Clive Richardson, commented:

Difficult to judge Carson on little 'keeping to do and a dodgy defence to cope with. Moldova took their chances by hitting the ball early, while our lot were always looking for another pass.

Likewise Ambrose - came on in the aftermath of our second goal, hardly had a chance to get to the pace of the game - put himself about a bit, and the chances he 'missed' came through his own perseverance.

Clive won't be going to reserve games now they are at Gravesend, about which there is quite a funny joke in the Rushden fanzine (apologies to those who have Gravesend as their second team). Apparently, Gravesend Council want the town to become a riverside report and the first step has been donkey rides on the 'beach'. However, some of the children have been too heavy for the Gravesend players.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Late sting at the Beehive

Leamington won their second victory of their Polymac Services Midland Alliance campaign at the Beehive tonight when they beat Studley 3-2. They thought they had drawn the Bees' sting when they were 3-0 ahead, but Studley fought back to ensure a tense close to the all Warwickshire fixture.

Brakes were clearly on top in the first half with Mozza having little to do in the Leamington goal, but the Bees' defenders were buzzing round the visitors' forwards. Eventually former Inscrutable Jamie Towers broke the deadlock with a clean strike that had nothing Sphinxlike about its simplicity.

Leamington went 2-0 ahead early in the second half when a great pass from James Husband released Clunsie. Andy Gregory then made it 3-0. Leamington president David Hucker started a discussion about who should be man of the match with six candidates in the frame.

However, the Brakes sat back and invited pressure and the inevitable happened when the Bees scored. Charm merchant Leon Kandekore, who had already been booked, tried to extend an argument with the lino into a dispute with the crowd.

Leamington's goal continued to be a hive of activity and the Bees made it 3-2. However, Brakes had sufficient resilience to prevent an equaliser and to make it six points out of six.

Selling my Charlton shares

I have just got my stockbroker to sell my Charlton shares at a price of 37.2p. The transaction took a little longer than one on the main market as the market makers had to be contacted.

Why have I sold?
1. The original purpose of the shares was to make a donation to the club and that objective has been fulfilled.
2. The shares will be more difficult to trade in future and might eventually be a complication for those handling my estate.
3. The flow of information to shareholders is likely to diminish once the club comes off the AIM market.

This is in no way a criticism of the club's decision which seems to be perfectly sensible on grounds of administrative cost.

This note does not constitute advice as to what you should do with any shares that you hold and you should not take any decision to dispose of your own shares without seeking appropriate advice, e.g., from your independent financial adviser.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Carson joins Addicks

After being pipped at the post for Robert Green by the Irons, Charlton have addressed their perceived goalkeeping problem by signing Scott Carson on loan for the rest of the reason. It will be interesting to see if he now becomes the preferred first choice goalkeeper, but it certainly casts doubt on the position of Stephan Andersen who could go out on loan himself.

After starting with local club Cleator Moor Celtic, Carson rose up through the Leeds Academy and reserve sides to the first team. He made his debut for England under 21s in February 2004 and joined Liverpool in January 2005. After some final performances at Anfield, he was called up for the senior England squad for the tour of the USA in May 2006. He spent the last two months of the 2005/6 season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

A better goalkeeper than Green in my view, so all's well that end's well. But perhaps not for Thomas Myhre.

Irons may grab Green

Reports are suggesting that West Ham may grab Norwich goalkeeper Robert Green with a £2m cash offer, even though the Canaries were interested in a deal that would have included sending Stephan Andersen to Carrow Road.

If this turns out to be the case, I will not be devastated, as I do not think that goalkeeping is our major problem, rather there are outfield positions that are a priority.

Charlton to delist from AIM

Charlton Athletic plc have announced an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the company has been called to approve its withdrawal from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. The EGM will take place at The Valley at 11am on September 6th, and a circular has been sent to all shareholders giving full details of the meeting.

Plc chairman Richard Murray said: 'We floated the company on the AIM in March 1997 and were able to raise £6m from directors, supporters and institutional investors principally to develop the west stand at The Valley. Since that time, I and my fellow directors - along with other supporters - have invested a further £22m through the issue of additional shares, which we have used to purchase players and to further develop The Valley and the training ground complex in New Eltham.'

'We believe that there is little further prospect of raising additional external funds through the AIM and the costs and administrative burden of maintaining ongoing membership cannot be justified going forward.'

He added: 'We will remain a public company with nearly 4,000 shareholders, and there will still be a mechanism for shareholders to offer their shares for sale and, if we obtain the necessary EGM approval on September 6th, I will be writing to shareholders to explain the trading mechanism in more detail.'

At one time it was all the fashion for the clubs to be listed on the Stock Exchange or AIM, but the number has been declining in step with a trend for companies to go private if possible. Aston Villa is expected to become a private company and delist if the Randy Lerner takeover succeeds.

I doubt whether this move has any implications for the future control of the club, although small shareholders like myself might consider whether it is worth retaining our shares.

Murphy for Wigan?

There are renewed reports that Spurs have offered Wigan Andy Reid and Danny Murphy plus cash for full-back Pascal Chimbonda. How have the mighty fallen? Does his trouble and strife think that Wigan Pier is for real and that there are premieres on the end of it?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Green on his way?

Norwich have confirmed they are in negotiations with Charlton over the possible transfer of goalkeeper Robert Green. The 26-year-old England international is currently recovering from a torn groin muscle which ruled him out of the World Cup, a fact that gives credibility to the reports given that we often sign injured players.

City chief executive Neil Doncaster told the club's official website, 'We are talking over a possible transfer of Robert Green to Charlton, but those talks are still at an early stage and no deal has yet been agreed.'

Most of the Addickted would say that what we need most is another quality midfielder, so it's far from clear what the possible Green signing is about. Where would he come in the pecking order? Does this mean that Myhre might still be on his way?

Latest reports suggest that Andersen might go the other way as part of a deal, while some of the Addickted think that Euell, who has failed to impress pre-season, could be offered.

Massives sign Isaksson

At one time touted as a possible signing for Charlton, Swedish keeper Andreas Isaksson has signed a three year contract with Manchester City which should at least keep my doctor happy. With art critic Calamity James going to Portsmouth to replace the fading Dean Kiely, the Massives were in urgent need of a new keeper.

It now appears that Myhre is not going to Italy as was rumoured at one stage. He did have a few mares towards the end of last season and made a foolish mistake against Utretcht on Friday. However, the only alternatives are the sulky Andersen and the promising but inexperienced Randolph. When Deano was at his best, he saved us a lot of problems by providing an unassailable first choice in goal. But it was clear last season that he was past his best

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Magical mystery tour for Addickted

Utrecht, NL - In many ways the most dramatic aspect of Charlton's visit to Utrecht was not the 2-2 draw against the home side but the compulsory magical mystery tour the Addickted were subjected to after the game. More of that later.

Although security at Heathrow took longer than usual and was understandably thorough, our British Airways flight to Amsterdam was not badly delayed, although it was only about a third full on what is normally a busy route.

We found a free bus from the Central Station to the ground which is a modern structure with a similar capacity to The Valley, but cleverly has business premises built all round the side. As is usual at Dutch grounds, the away section was caged and netted in. Maggie was subjected to a more thorough search at Heathrow and had her umbrella, clearly a dangerous weapon, taken away.

Although Ambrose looked sharp, Charlton were out played in the first side by a Utrecht side that played some fluent passing football. It was the old story of Charlton failing to hold on to the ball and giving possession away unnecessarily. With Holland and Hughes in midfield, perhaps this was not too surprising. The duo of Bent and Hasselbaink failed to get forward sufficiently to pose a threat.

The opening goal for the home side came from a defensive blunder and the second was the result of an error by Myhre. El Karkouri was a disaster area in defence, putting in dangerous tackles when they were not needed. Hreidarsson looked off the pace and Ashton failed to impress, as did a mystery trialist whose name I failed to catch.

However, Charlton did manage to put together a neat move before the break, resulting in a good goal scored by an unlikely hero, Bryan Hughes.

During the interval I talked to Burton St. Latimer Addick Kevin Smith who told me that Neil McCafferty had returned to his native heath at Derry City, having had a training ground bust up at Nene Park.

Faye and Traore came on after the break and immediately the quality and spirit of Charlton's game was lifted. Trarore in particular has already been written off by some of the Addickted, but these are big lads with a lot of commitment who are not frightened of putting themselves about. Good additions to the side in my view.

Charlton got their reward when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored his to make it 2-2. We are now probably one central defender and one midfielder short of a real good side. Good to see supremo Dowie acknowledge the fans after the match.

After the game Utrecht put into operation their Plan A for dealing with fans from Ajax or The Hague. We had to wait inside the ground for fifteen minutes 'for our protection'. We were told that buses were outside waiting to take us back to Utrecht.

The buses were there, with a police motor cycle escort, but they headed on to the Utretcht ring road and proceeded to circle the city. Humourists shouted, 'we've been kidnapped.' Eventually they turned off and we ended up at a station called Massen which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, no doubt a good way of keeping Dutch ultras out of the city.

We did find a bus which we all piled on and the driver drove non stop at great speed to Utrecht Central Station which nevertheless took some time. As one of the Addickted remarked to me afterwards, this was typical of the way you get treated as a second class citizen if you are a football fan.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Addicks sign Bolanos

Iain Dowie's predictions of further Charlton signings have come true with one of the most exciting signings to date, Costa Rican Christian Bolanos, initially on a one year loan deal, but with an option to buy him before the end of the season. He will, I believe, be Charlton's first player from Central America (although Andy Hunt now lives there).

The signing is subject to a work permit, but that should not be a problem as the winger appeared for his nation in the World Cup. I wish now that I had paid more attention to the exciting opener between hosts Germany and Costa Rica. He was formerly with Deportivo Saprissa. Addicks who have seen him have given good reports of his play.

Costa Rica is an increasingly popular destination for British tourists with its ecological credentials and exotic range of wild life. It is one of the most stable countries in the region. A colleague who has just returned said that it is very humid at the moment, so let us hope that Christian's girl friend and daughter will adjust as well as he hopes to the cooler climes of SE7.

Yet another encouraging sign that Charlton is think more globally and recasting itself as a more cosmopolitan club. Costa Rica is a banana producing country, so cue the return of the inflatable banana.

Bent in Under 21 squad

Darren Bent has been called into the England Under 21 squad for next week's fixture against Moldova. He will have to be compete for a place against Arsenal wonder kid Theo Walcott who has been given a special extension to his bedtime so that he can play.

This is something of a consolation prize for Bent as it had been hoped that he would feature in the senior squad for the friendly against Greece rather than just getting the chance of an appearance at his old stamping ground, Portman Road.

Season tickets, programmes and goal music

Bit worrying to come back from holiday and to find no season tickets had arrived, but reassurring to find that others are in the same boat. The sabotage by Palace/Millwall fans with their bottles of bleach seems to have been quite effective!

The new programme format, associated with a rise in price to £3, does not seem to have gone down too well with some fans. There is some criticism of the size, although the club's view is that the original size could not be fitted into a pocket without being bent. The main driver for the club appears to have been a perceived need to offer something a bit new and different, given the price increase.

The concern must be that the combination of price and format change will hit sales. Apparently, football programme sales are declining across the country. Whether this reflects a dissatisfaction with their content or the financial pressures on fans with rising utility bills and council tax (and now increases in mortgage interest) is open to question.

As I recall, the Charlton programme has been bought in the past by about forty per cent of those attending, probably a higher percentage of home fans. That is either a good figure or a challenge to do better depending on how you look at it.

The goal music issue has already been dealt with effectively by Inspector Sands and with great humour by the New York Addick who has deservedly been named by MSN as one of the top thirty blogs. But the argument that many other clubs do it is not one that convinces me. Hopefully we are not as naff as some other clubs.

Wasn't there someone who used to play music when they won a corner? Wimbledon?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Double signing by club

The long heralded signings of Dijmi Traore from Liverpool and Amdy Faye from Newcastle have been completed by Charlton at a total cost of £4m. Contrary to earlier suggestions that Traore would come on a loan deal, both players have signed three year contracts. And Addicks supremo Iain Dowie has said that there may be more signings yet to come.

Of the two signings, I am more enthusiastic about Faye who will do a great deal to strengthen the midfield. I have more mixed feelings about Traore who was hardly an outstanding success at Liverpool, but may well prosper at The Valley. In any event I look forward to seeing both players in action at Utrecht on Friday.

The Charlton squad is becoming more cosmopolitan. In the past, leaving aside the odd Bulgarian or American loan signing, players came overwhelmingly from the British Isles, South Africa and the Nordic countries. This has to be a change for the better.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Redfearn´s book a hit with Addickted?

Ponta Delgada, San Miguel, Azores. A scarcely believable message from Amazon: ´We've noticed that customers who have purchased Valley of Dreams by Alan Curbishley have also ordered There's Only One Neil Redfearn: The Ups and Downs of My Footballing Life by Neil Redfearn.´ Really?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A good time to be away?

Horta, Faial, Azores. Probably a good time to be away as no doubt the moaners have been out in force after the defeat by Welling in the Crown Berger Cup. A meaningless game in my view. What is of more concern is that apparently there have been no further signings despite various rumours. Probably no one good enough who is affordable within the Charlton budget.

Local football fans here on the island assure me that they have discovered the new Ronaldo and at the age of 11 he is already at the Sporting Lisbon academy.

We'll be back for the Utrecht game and see how the team is playing. Enjoy the New Zealand game if you are going, but don't take it too seriously.