Saturday, December 16, 2006

Not too good on the excuses

It was no great surprise to learn from a text message when I got back to England today that Charlton had lost 0-3 at home to Liverpool, even if the margin required a penalty and two late goals. When he was at Villa, O'Leary was known for his thick book of excuses, but Les Reed doesn't even seem too strong in this department. All he could say on Sky was that Charlton had a ten minute spell in the second half when it looked as if they might do something.

Before I went away I noticed some comment that some supporters were being too defeatist. Well, one person's defeatism is another person's realism. The gap is opening up between Charlton and other clubs and it is increasingly difficult to see how it is going to be bridged.

Referring to Lithuania's relations with Belarus, Lithuanian prime minister Gediminas Kiriklas sent us a message not to re-invent the bicycle before he made his excuses and scooted off to Brussels. The problem at Charlton is that it increasingly does look us as if the club is bicycle powered, and it's a rather wobbly bicycle at that. Not that I particularly like people from Cardiff writing to 4-4-2 and saying that we should sack the board.

I know this is not a travel page, but a few remarks on Lithuania. A lot of superficial similarities to many other East European countries: considerable investment in restoring a beautiful town centre in Vilnius; people who have done well out of the transition and those (mostly the old) who have lost out; impossibly skinny women inappropriately dressed for the weather; excellent food at low prices. But it is also the most foreign country I have visited in the world apart from Japan and the remoter parts of China.

This was one of those occasions when it was all going off before you get there and it went off even more after my arrival. I don't pretend to understand all the undercurrents and tensions I encountered, although I was surprised by the mood of pessimism (which was at least fitting for a Charlton supporter). I was quite surprised to suddenly have an attack launched on David ('call me Dave') Cameron as the British Berlusconi.

Put on the spot at the end of my visit by a questioner, I did say that I thought Lithuania was more inward looking than the other Baltic state I have visited for any length of time, Estonia. But then I also recall that it also went off there, even after the UK had deployed assets. And to understand the Lithuanian situation, you have to remember that they were part of the Soviet Union until fifteen years ago; and that their partisan resistance suffered badly in the period up to 1955 when they were fighting the Soviets encouraged by false promises from the west; and that they have a border with Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kalingrad.

So a bit off topic, the only local football I had time for was to buy a few badges. As for Charlton, perhaps they should bring the Lithuanian Special Investigaton Service to run them. On second thoughts, perhaps not.


Blogger New York Addick said...

My roots are Lithuanian. Sometimes (eg. today) I wish my ancestors had stayed there so I wouldn't be a Charlton fan.

10:14 PM  

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