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.


Blogger Kappacino Kid said...

Go on holiday and you miss it all, Hasselbainks 3rd goal

9:23 AM  

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