Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Four points from two away games

It was the same 4-5-1 lineup for Charlton as had won victory at Portsmouth in a rain lashed Reebok Stadium reports Erith Addick Paul May although Super Kevin Lisbie returned from injury on the bench while Darren Randolph was reserve keeper. Bolton were without Kevin Davies who was sent off when Charlton beat Bolton at The Valley.

Fireworks greeted the two teams as they arrived on the pitch, but the game started quietly. Thomas burst through but Hunt put the ball back to his keeper. But then Bolton got the early goal after five minutes. A long throw came in, Hreidarsson cleared, but Campo picked it up again, a cross came in from Speed and the totally unmarked Pedersen put a header into the back of the net. Woeful defending had let Charlton down again.

There was further danger when Anelka was fortunately just half a yard offside. Bolton were dictating a slow tempo pattern of play. An El Karkouri free kick was quickly and poorly taken and went straight to Jaaskelianen. But almost immediately he redeemed himself Charlton won another free kick halfway in the Bolton half and El Karkouri scored on 12 minutes from 35 yards with a magnificent low strike into the bottom left-hand corner of the left, although the keeper read the situation badly with the ball flying off his shoulder.

Bolton got a free kick at the other end, it was headed away and a shot was blocked by Charlton defenders. After Hreidarsson was fouled, the Addicks got a free kick. Pedersen were down in the area flapping his arms in the air but referee Probert ruled that there was no penalty.

A Hunt cross nearly found Stelios, but Sankofa nodded it clear at the expense of a corner. Bolton won a throw, the long throw came in, Faye attempted to clear and got into trouble, but Campo's shot was straight at Carson. Marcus Bent connected with a clearance from Carson, but his cross was headed away. Charlton then showed some decent approach play, working the ball well and Jaaskelianen had to be alert as Hughes sneaked in round the back.

Faye created danger by missing the ball in midfield. Stelios put in a cross, being allowed too much freedom of action by Thatcher, Anelka found space in the area, but his header was well wide. Jaaskelianen was somewhat careless with the ball with Rommedahl looming.

Carson was spoken to by Probert for taking too long over a goal kick. Sankofa conceded a free kick for obstruction, but Charlton were able to clear. Anelka came off, presumably injured, and was replaced by the Iranian international Andranik who is normally a midfielder. Carson had to collect a belted ball from Hunt under his own crossbar.

Hughes put a good ball over the top, Rommedahl just failed to make contact and Jaaskelianen managed to clear from outside the area. A foul on Sankofa led to a free kick. An unmarked Jerome Thomas should have got contact on the ball and scored from six yards out, a great chance to go ahead was missed.

Bolton won a free kick in the dying minutes of the half. Thatcher headed away, it was put back in and allowed to bounce in the area with Bolton three on two. A cross went in and again Bolton players were left unmarked with runners from midfield like Nolan not being tracked.

Thatcher was furious at being judged to have fouled Campo. The Addicks had a free kick which was lifted forward by El Karkouri, but the half time whistle blew.

Half time: Whites 1, Addicks 1

The ball was played into the area from a free kick, but Carson was just able to dive to the left and save. Carson and Nolan collided as the keeper came to deal with a Jaaskilanen free kick taken from well up the field. A direct ball over the top from Hunt caused some trouble and although Carson saved, he conceded a corner. Speed's corner was headed away well by Hughes, but Bolton were able to stop the threat of a Charlton break. Bolton counter attacked, but Pedersen's shot was straight at Charlton.

Rommedahl fed Thomas who sped down the wing and put in a good cross towards Marcus Bent. Rommedahl lacked composure and put the ball behind for a goal kick in a futile attempt to score. Bolton made an attacking substitution with Stelios was taken off in an favour of Vaz Té.

A free kick was awarded against Faye in a dangerous position. Hreidarsson had to defend by putting it over the bar at the expense of a Bolton corner. Campo put the ball over the bar. A cross from Nolan was cleared by El Karkouri at the expense of a corner, but it ended in a Charlton throw in.

Pedersen caused danger, Carson got a foot to it, Vaz Té miscued a shot and then Nolan lifted over the bar from the penalty spot. Meite was taken off, apparently injured and Ben Haim came on. Bolton was about to shoot from ten yards out, but Faye stuck out a leg in a vital challenge and blocked it clear. Bolton were piling on the pressure and won another corner off Sankofa. Bolton's Faye missed his header and Charlton cleared.

Rommedahl made a run, he passed to Hughes, but he didn't get hold of it and the ball went high over the bar. Rommedahl was taken off and Super Kevin Lisbie came on to play wide right with fifteen minutes left. A long throw by Speed was headed away by Holland. Bolton won another corner, but Charlton cleared to the halfway line.

Bolton gave the ball away, it was a great chance, Thomas got past Ben Haim but Jaaskelainen was able to make the save low down to his left. Sankofa got back well to defend, but at the expense of a corner. Carson punched it clear. Holland was caught by Speed and Charlton got a free kick.

Lisbie conceded a corner that was headed away by Marcus Bent and Hunt put it well wide from 40 yards. Diawara came on to replace Hughes to boos from the home fans who could see that Pardew was trying to hang on what he had. Thomas was brought down in the area, but it was not a penalty.

Lisbie gave the ball away and El Karkouri was booked for a challenge on Vaz Té. Marcus Bent was taken off and was replaced by Hasselbaink. Campo's free kick was headed away powerfully by Hasselbaink. El Karkouri conceded another corner and it was cleared by El Karkouri as the closing minutes went slowly.

A Speed throw in was eventually cleared by Diawara. Bolton were throwing everything forward, but the Charlton defence stood firm. Thatcher cleared another Bolton throw in. The fourth official showed four minutes of time added on. Allerdyce was going beserk on the edge of his technical area as the expected three points seemed to be disappearing.

Campo was about to score for Bolton but Thatcher got it over the crossbar. As danger threatened again, Diawara got enough on it to take it outside the area. Charlton had worked hard for the point. Four points from two difficult away games is a good return. Bring on Chelski!

Return of Super Kevin Lisbie?

The club's E mail Bulletin reports, 'The Addicks youth product could make a return to first-team action against Bolton. "Lisbie is going to be involved at Bolton," said manager Alan Pardew. "The rapid recovery from his injury has given me a little bit more heart."' Lisbie's appearance could well be on the bench, however.

Goalkeeper Darren Randolph has been called up for Ireland's full international squad which suggests that he could well be a worthy No.2 to Scott Carson. After all, Deano, now at West Brom, was Ireland's No.2 for many years.

Following the collapse of Liverpool's takeover by Sheikh Mohammed, who is reported to be a very angry man, humourists have suggested that he could turn his attention to Charlton where his hub caps would be safer.

The unfortunate fate of Thai transport during their failed Liverpool bid

West Ham press for Herminator

West Ham are still interested in securing the services of Hermann Hreidarsson, but this time are offering Mullins in exchange whom they keep trying to get rid of to us one way or another. He plays right back or midfield.

Simon Walton has gone off on loan for the rest of the season to Cardiff City rather than back to the Tractors. I suppose that they match Leeds in 'robustness'. Thanks, Mr Dowie, for all you tried to do.

Bolton preview

Defeats for West Ham and Wigan have boosted the morale of the Addickted, even though Sheffield United won. A Championship fan said to me yesterday that he thought it would be a 'three W's' relegation this season. However, Charlton would need to win 9-0 at Bolton tonight to get out of the bottom three.

We have won once and drawn twice at the Reebok in the Premiership, but the last two outings there have resulted in 4-1 defeats. We have never done the double over Bolton in the Premiership.

Bolton are without El Hajd Diouf who is suspended. Bougherra has got a calf problem and won't be made his Charlton debut and Reid is still troubled by a hamstring problem. Zi Zi is travelling with the squad and could appear on the bench. Hasselbaink has turned down a move to the Spanish league to try and help Charlton in their relegation battle: let's hope he can prove his worth tonight. If Kevin Lisbie makes an appearance it will be his 150th in ten years with the club.

We are going for a 2-1 Bolton victory with Marcus Bent scoring his 100th career goal. Erith Addick Paul May is making the long trek north and will be reporting on the game.

Now is the Winter of my discontent

Leamington lost their unbeaten record in the Polymac Services Midland Alliance last night when they went down 2-0 to Stratford Town in a front of crowd of 677, mostly Brakesmen and women. So Leamington were not able to sing their favourite chant in front of the Bardsmen, '2-0 or not 2-0?' The Bardsmen treated it as if it were a cup final and apparently their supporters reacted as if they had won the World Cup: well, they had won the South Warwickshire cup.

I wasn't able to go, but what I've gleaned from the web boards is that Stratford wanted it more on the night and used a direct, physical style of play. Leamington played below their usual standard. So it was the Stratford supporters who were able to go away into the Forest of Arden singing 'Hey, nonny, nonny.'

Brakes have the opportunity to get back to winning ways at Biddulph on Saturday. Which should be an easier challenge than Charlton face against Chelsea.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Addicks reject £18m bid for Bent

Charlton have rejected a £18m bid for Darren Bent as part of West Ham's geyser fuelled panic buying spree:

Charlton on Song

19-year old Cameroon born midfielder Alexandre Song has joined the Addicks on loan for the rest of the season:

Bardsmen pose tough test for Brakes

Leamington are unbeaten so far this season in the Polymac Services Midland Alliance, but they face a tough test away this evening to high flying Stratford Town. The derby fixture was originally scheduled for a Saturday, but was postponed after the pitch at the Anne Hathaway Stadium was flooded by a torrent of plain verse. The Bardsmen held the Brakes to a 0-0 draw at the New Windmill earlier in the season, a match noted for the industrial language used by the visiting thespians. The chances of Brakes fans being able to chant '2-0 or not 2-0?' tonight are not that promising.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Irons Herminator bid rejected

According to Sky Sports News, Charlton have turned down a £2.5m bid from West Ham for Hermann Heridarsson:

The club have reaffirmed that Darren Bent is staying and there are rumours of a foreign bid for Hasselbaink.

Walton back to Ipswich?

According to Ipswich sources, the Tractors and Charlton are in talks over Simon Walton's return on loan ahead of the transfer window closing on Wednesday. The 19-year-old was at Portman Road for Saturday's 1-0 FA Cup victory over Swansea City. Walton was with the Tractors from August until earlier this month, during which time he made 13 starts and six substitute appearances and scored three goals. The Leeds-born midfielder left his home town club in the summer, joining the Addicks for a fee of £500,000 rising to £1 million depending on appearances. The Tractors were originally denied an extension to Walton's loan by Les Reed but Alan Pardew is understood to be more sympathetic to the Tractors' requests to keep the England U19 international.

Some of the Addickted saw Walton's return as crucial to our survival trouble, others considered that he needed to learn to control his temper and that a further spell in the Chamnpionship might be helpful.

Rumours are linking Charlton with Arsenal's 19-year old Alexander Song, whether as a loan or a signing is not clear, probably the former.

Madjid's magic

See him weave his magic in his days at Crewe here:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Curbs to make £17m offer for Bent?

The Sunday Mirror is claiming that Curbs is going to make a last minute £17m offer for Darren Bent:

You can view some of Bent's magic for Charlton here, but please note that the accompanying rap uses what was once referred to as 'industrial' language:

Madjid's meandering magic

New Charlton signing Madjid Bougherra is 'the most entertaining defender in the country' according to Owls team-mate Lee Bullen. And he is not referring to japes in the dressing room, but his performance on the pitch.

It could be the most adventurous defensive play seen at The Valley since Sam Bartram with Bougherra renowned in the Championship for his 'extravagant' interpretation of a central defender's role. He is often referred to as an 'overlapping' centre half because of his meandering runs into opposition territory.

His reputation is of an athlete with pace and precision (no Romm then) but one who can be caught out of position because of his speciality for playing his way out of defence and running deep into the opponent's half.

Bullen said, 'There are times when he would be better off kicking the ball into Row Z but Madjid can cause havoc for the other team who don't know what to expect. I'm sure the manager has been tearing his hair out from time to time but if you reined him in you'd be taking a hell of a lot out of his game. Madjid has all the attributes to play at the highest level - pace, physical presence and a great deal of skill.'

With ZZ alongside him, and El K just ahead of them, we could live in interesting times

Addicks after Kiraly to replace Myhre?

According to the Football Paper Charlton want to bring in Gabor Kiraly on loan from Crystal Palace given the impending departure of Thomas Myhre to Viking Stavanger. Not surprisingly, the horizontally challenged Hungarian is deemed to be 'surplus to requirements' at Selhurst Park. He recently appeared in the Villa goal at The Valley during his loan spell there.

That Myhre is going to Stavanger has been heard from other sources, but I doubt whether the Addicks would bring in Kiraly as cover. Whether they could rely on Randolph if anything happened to Carson is another matter given their perilous league position.

Plus mauvais défense du Championnat

That's the accurate description of Charlton's defence by new signing Madjid Bougherra who now proudly displays the Addicks badge on his site. I wonder how Jimmy Trotter would have dealt with a training session in which a number of the players were talking French to each other? But then all he had to do was stand in a white coat while they ran round the ground and up and down the East Stand.

Try out your French here:
Bon jour

On the ball as always, the New York Addick has a video clip of the player in action:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I-cast video on football

No Charlton content, but it will interest Brakes and Coventry City fans:

For the record, Leamington won away today at Biddulph Victoria 2-0 in the quarter finals of the Polymac Services Midland Alliance League Cup.

A difficult subject

Friends and acquaintances don't know how to broach the subject of Charlton these days. Of course, there's the blunt 'so you reckon you're down then?' or the slightly more sophisticated variant 'I've seen lots of teams with good individual players who have played quite well go down.' There's the sympathetic 'it's not over until it's over/a long way to go yet'. And there's the genuinely enquiring, 'so what went wrong?' which at least enables you to talk about Dowie, Reed etc.

In the last few days, I have encountered three variants on this approach:
The predictable: From a Palace fan, 'Wyn's not very happy because his team is going down.'
The ignorant: From someone with no interest in football, 'How is your team doing these days?'
The surprising: A nice young friend of mine has always made it clear that she regards Charlton as a down market club and my interest in it as hopelessly retro. Her response this week was not to raise the subject and just give me a hug.

Not hard to say which approach I prefer.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bougherra is an Addick

The Owls, after much screeching in the media, have accepted an improved offer of £2.5m for the Algerian central defender, subject to a medical:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Charlton playing rough claims Owls boss

Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dave Allen has blasted Charlton and accused them of trying to nick defender Madjid Bougherra. The Addicks had a bid of £1.3 million turned down for the Algerian defender last week and the Owls chairman insists he will not be sold unless someone comes up with a bid of £3million.

Allen told The Times: 'Charlton have spoken to him, as they are entitled to do, and, quite frankly, they are trying to nick him. If he goes there, he will go for £3 million-plus. Their chairman [presumably a reference to notorious hard man Richard Murray] has spoken to Kaven Walker (the Wednesday chief executive) and he has said that football's a dirty game and that they will scramble his brain. I'd like to remind the chairman of Charlton that what goes around comes around.'

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Addicks in Seedorf talks

Charlton are reported to be in talks with Stefano Seedorf, said to be a creative midfielder currently with FC Groningen (not his more famous cousin at AC Milan):

We rate this rumour 5/10.

I'm off to a reception this evening in the Fossils Room of the Manchester Museum. Wonder if I will see any old Charlton players there?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

French club offer swap for Marcus Bent

St.Etienne have offered their striket Frederic Piquionne in a swap for Marcus Bent. Piquionne's reasons for moving his clear as he has had a major falling out with St.Etienne when they blocked a move to Lyons, also Charlton has a number of French speaking players. What is less clear is why they should want Big Bent, unless they have confused him with Little Bent. Anyway, here is the story:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Brakes to face Badgers

Leamington will face Retford Town at home in the 5th round of the FA Vase in what may be an all ticket fixture, the Badgers having a bigger away following than Quins. Certainly will need to be if '1,500 people squeeze into the New Windmill' as the BBC put it.

BBC radio coverage of the goals from Saturday's tie and a long interview with Brakes supremo Jason Cadden here: Brakes

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Selhurst Park touted as a nice site for housing

Palace's Selhurst Park ground could end up being sold for housing under plans hatched by Simon Jordan. Three months after buying the ground from Ron Noades, the Orange One is trying to refinance it for £15m. A document prepared for circulation among would-be financiers by accountants Deloitte says that the ground is valued at £32.8m if it were to be sold for residential purposes.

The plan is to acquire Selhurst Park for a holding company owned by Jordan's Aspiration [sic] Holdings Group and then lease it back to the Glaziers for an annual rent initially fixed at £1m. The source of repayment is stated to be 'refinancing or sale of the property.' The lease is also breakable if the club find alternative premises. That could involve Palace selling their ground for development and either finding a new stadium (perhaps they could try the Croydon Arena) or ground sharing (who would have them?) Fans who were enticed by a five and ten year season ticket offer are now scratching their heads.

In the funding document, Selhurst Park is described as being set in ten acres of a residential area in south-east [sic] London. Deloitte state, 'If circumstances are such that the stadium is no longer used as a football ground, the likely alternative use of the site is residential. The approximate value of the site, assuming planning permission, is £20.6m - £32.8m.'

Jordan has admitted that the money he used for his purchase of Selhurst Park 'was more expensive than I want it to be.' Which sounds like another way of saying he needs to raise some money sharpish.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

There's only one Amady Faye

This must be one of the most unlikely headlines of the season, but it was Faye who scored his first goal in European football to give Charlton a 1-0 victory at Portsmouth today and a lifeline in their battle to stay in the Premiership.

Erith Addick Paul May has now filed the following report: This was not a classic contest, but Charlton did just enough to win the points, with an important late save by Scott Carson. Pards brought in the returning Sankofa to replace Diawara while Hughes and Thomas played in midfield.

Portsmouth did not seem to be trying that hard in the opening phase of the game, no doubt thinking that the three points were already theirs. Faye had to make an important clearance after a low cross from Matthew Taylor looked as if it might create a scoring opportunity for Cole. At the other end Rommedahl put in a cross from the right which found Hughes but his header was saved by James in the Pompey goal.

On the half hour a cross from the left by Thomas was picked up by Marcus Bent at the far post but Hughes just failed to connect with his header across the goal with the empty goal inviting a tap in. Lauren need a change of kit and a clean up of his bloody face after Thatcher reinforced his popularity with the home crowd by colliding with him. The half ended with the Herninator called on for important defensive work to cut out another dangerous cross put in by Taylor.

Half time: Pompey 0, Addicks 0

A cross from Rommedahl allowed Thomas to put in a curling ball on goal that was saved by James. Kanu and substitute Douala both put in efforts but they were way off target.

Charlton's best chance of the half came when Rommedahl burst forward, beating the Pompey offside trap. He ran clear on goal, but hesitated for too long about his shot, allowing Campbell to put in a tackle at the expense of a corner.

The Addicks continued to battle. Pompey failed to clear their lines and for once Campbell was unable to clear things up. Faye played a one-two with Hughes after picking up the loose ball. Campbell and Glen Johnson both made sliding tackles, but only helped to deflect Faye's poked shot past James.

Carson had had little to do throughout the game but when a free kick from Taylor was used by Cole to put in a downward header he flung himself to the left to deny the equaliser.

It was 15 months since Charlton last won away at Pompey and with the results elsewhere going our way, there is a glimmer of hope.

Four goals in front of four figure crowd

Leamington won an emphatic 4-1 victory over Bremerton Heath Harlequins at the New Windmill Ground today in front of a 1,045 crowd to go through to the 5th round of the FA Carlsberg Vase for the first time. Although they fought valiantly, and the match was by no means as easy for the Brakes as the scoreline would suggest, the No.2 team in Salisbury were no match for the silky skills and pace of Leamington. This was in spite of the absence of Jon Adams and James Husband who had been called up for England duty in a UEFA European Championship pre-qualifier in Dava, Romania (futsal in case you're wondering).

Before the match a presentation was made to the 10,000th person through the turnstiles this season who happened to be Graham Thomson, a ground hopper from Bexleyheath who had visited over 600 non-league grounds.

Quins came out in their diamond patterned shirts to the cheers of a small knot of their supporters in the Sheepside stand. One of their predecessor clubs was Moon FC, but it was not lunar influences but a swirling wind that helped to shape the early exchanges in the match.

Martin Thompson pressed Quins hard in the opening phase of the game, but it was Ben Mackey who put Brakes 1-0 ahead on 22 minutes, winning me the golden goal. That was the way it stayed until the 45th minute when after a collison in the area, the officious referee, R J Parker, awarded a penalty to the visitors. Jason Pearcey managed to push the ball out, but it was not well defended and Quinns were able to seize the loose ball to make it 1-1 on half time.

Mackey had been displaying some magical skills and he put Brakes 2-1 ahead on 52 minutes. Quins fought hard to keep in the game and it was 77 minutes before Thommo got his just reward when he made it 3-1. A goalmouth scramble three minutes later looked as if might end in Quins narrowing the gap, but Pearcey stood firm. Substitute Dave Pearson then made it 4-1 on 84 minutes.

Fink Tank offers hope

Today's Fink Tank in The Times offers injury hit Charlton a ray of hope against Pompey at Fratton Park today. Despite the sidelining of Darren Bent, Luke Young and Andy Reid, the chances of a home win are put at only 44 per cent with an almost 1 in 3 (29 per cent) chance of an away win and a 27 per cent chance of a draw.
We are also reminded that our win there fifteen months ago put us 2nd in the Premiership.

Yesterday The Times published an analysis of Charlton's tactics and where and how the Addicks concede goals (plenty of material there): Tactics

Meanwhile, hearts are beating faster on Portsea Island on the news that Jade Goody, now free for engagements, is scheduled to open a new branch of KwikSave.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pompey preview

Charlton's last away victory was fifteen months ago at Fratton Park and we have won two out of three away Premiership fixtures there. One of my good Charlton memories is of Paolo di Canio coming on as a sub and inspiring the team and the crowd to turn the game around, taking a corner kick that led to a goal.

Unfortunately, Charlton's weak attack, indifferent midfield and wobbly defence offers little hope of a repeat, particularly given that Pompey are now a benefactor club. Much of the media attention has, of course, focused on Ben Thatcher with a 'vitriolic' reception predicted for the Charlton defender:

The crowd may be so obsessed with Thatcher that they egg a Pompey player on to make a rash challenge and get booked or even sent off. The BBC reckons that the home support see this as a 'nailed on three points', but note that this could lead to complacency. Whilst I am willing to clutch at any straw, Lawro's prediction of a 2-0 home win looks about right.

I am not going to suffer Portsmouth's open end again and will be watching Leamington play Bremerton Heath Harlequins, the No.2 team in Salisbury, from the relative comfort of the Sheepside stand in the FA Vase, a competition which they are now 6-1 to win.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pards: action is yet to come

The action is yet to come in the transfer window says Alan Pardew in a feature article in the Daily Mail:

Let's hope he's right because we haven't seen much yet with the latest news being that Kepa Blanco has decided to join Manchester City rather than us. Not that it's easy to attract players in our position.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Blanco signing near

According to Sky Sports News, Charlton have managed to beat Manchester City to the loan signing of Sevilla striker Kepa Blanco, with the option of a full transfer later. See: Blanco

Sky Sports News are also reporting that Dennis Rommedahl have asked FC Copenhagen to come in for him at the end of the season if Charlton are relegated as he does not want to play second division football. The question is, has he been playing Premiership football?

Holland to go?

Vital Football reports that Charlton's Matt Holland could be close to a move to Leicester City. The Championship club has shipped out two players in Momo Sylla and Josh Low and they are currently waiting for a takeover to happen.

Earlier this week Ipswich were favourites to land their former captain, but now it look as if Leicester City will be the club gettng Holland's signature, it is claimed.

I wouldn't attach too much credence to this, about 4/10. His departure would certainly upset many of the Addickted as he is seen as one of our most committed players who has given his all in recent matches.

Monday, January 15, 2007

There's only one Madjid Bougherra

Madjid Bougherra has told Sheffield Wednesday boss Brian Laws he wants to quit to join Charlton according to the Currant Bun. The Owls have rejected a £1.3million bid from the Addicks with Laws desperate to keep the defender at Hillsborough. It will be recalled that the charm merchant of a manager used the occasion of the bid to slag off Charlton. This from the team whose supporters took pleasure in our relegation from the Premiership.

But hard-up Wednesday might be forced to cash in on the Frenchman. Bougherra, 24, said: 'It’s every player’s dream to be in the Premiership. I want to play there as quickly as possible and I know Charlton have made an offer. If everyone is happy, maybe I’ll go to Charlton. You just don’t know what the future will hold.'

Apparently the player's own site, which is in French, states that he is travelling to London today for talks with the Addicks.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

U's turn down offer for Halford

Colchester United have turned down an offer of £2m from Charlton for 22-year old utility player Greg Halford. Apparently the U's want £3 million. Reading and a number of other Premiership clubs are also interested in the player who wants to leave Layer Road.

Our last signing from Colchester, Mark Kinsella, was one of our greatest ever successes. But it's difficult to get players to come to relegation threatened Charlton and the £3m demanded by cash strapped Colchester seems excessive. But seeing he is out of contract at the end of the season they may have to settle for less.

Guide to Championship Grounds: No.1 - the Ricoh

Given that it is now many years since Charlton have been in the Championship, we thought that it might be a useful service to readers to refresh their memories about Championship clubs and grounds. Indeed, there have been some new stadiums since we left what was then Division 1, one being my nearest Football League club: Coventry City and the Ricoh Stadium.

The sky is not blue

We have had our days at the old Highfield Road ground, now replaced by housing, including a FA Cup fifth round tie in January 2000 when we came back from 2-0 down to beat the Sky Blues 3-2 with goals from Newts, Robbo and Andy Hunt. The Sky Blue supporters could not believe what they were seeing, as our pictures illustrate.

I was at the Ricoh stadium filming for a video on football last week and it is certainly impressive, particularly in terms of the exhibition and conference facilities. Rather curiously, the stadium management wouldn't let us mention Coventry City Football Club. The stadium itself also looks good with a 32,000 capacity, but unfortunately it is usually only about half full and I'm told that the atmosphere is terrible.

It's very near the M6, but although the car parking is adequate for conferences, it wouldn't be for a match and it must be a nightmare to get out. Because of the location there isn't much street parking nearby, nor are there schools which might make some money out of offering match day parking. It's also a long way from Coventry Station.

For many years Coventry occupied a regular position in the lower reaches of the Premiership, often seemingly in danger of relegation, but fulfilling the mantra of their fans 'We never go down'. Eventually they did and they have shown no real sign of going back up again. Even their mid-table Championship place now seems in danger after a recent bad run. Yesterday they lost 2-4 at home to Palace. They could yet be sucked into a relegation struggle.

People in Leamington are more likely to be supporters of Villa or the Baggies than Coventry. As the Leamington song goes, 'Are you watching Coventreee? You're having a laugh. We're watching Leamington FCeeee.' But admittedly, playing most of their first team, they did trounce Leamington 5-0 in the mayoral cup last year.

Coventry is a once propserous manufacturing city that has gone through some hard times because of deindustrialisation. The Ricoh was an economic regeneration project and in that sense it seems to be working, but it hasn't done anything to regenerate the level of football on offer.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ten man Brakes win 5-1 to break record

Despite playing with ten men for most of the game, Leamington beat Causeway United 5-1 today at the New Windmill Ground to take the record for playing the largest number of unbeaten league games in the history of the Midland Alliance. Brakes were defensively solid and speedy in attack. Causeway were generally poor: as one fan commented, 'You've got more rubbish than Sainsbury's.'

A strong, swirling wind did not make for easy conditions. However, on 17 minutes Jamie Towers scored for Brakes with a volley from 30 yards. Four minutes later Martin Thompson overreacted to a push from Causeway's No.4 and punched him. Referee Lena Rashid had no alternative but to send him off.

Nevertheless, Josh Blake slotted home after the ball had bounced back from the cross bar. Ben Mackey then made it 3-0 with an excellent strike before the break.

Further excitement had been provided by the air ambulance banking over the pitch and landing in a field near the scrap yard, with the police helicopter arriving shortly afterwards.

The physical game became increasingly bad tempered after the break and the diminutive referee, believed to be the daughter of Aston Villa's commercial director, found herself trying to deal with melée after melée with the aid of her linesmen. More players could have been sent off, but just one yellow was awarded as she lost control if the game.

A mix up in the Causeway defence allowed Dave Pearson to break through to make it 4-0 on 87 minutes. With one of their few shots on goal in the game, Causeway then managed to make it 4-1 with Andy Jones. However, there was still time for Josh Blake to score a fifth in the fourth minute of time added on.

As match sponsors we received a warm welcome from club officials and thoroughly enjoyed our day. I don't think that I would have enjoyed the further exposure of Charlton's defensive frailities as they went down 1-3 to Boro at The Valley.

Addicks have only 2% chance of avoiding drop

Charlton have only a two per cent chance of avoiding relegation according to an analysis published by the Fink Tank in The Times today. Charlton slumped from seventeenth in a 92-team table when Dowie took charge and now rank 27th.

The analysis states, 'The number of shots that hit the target against Charlton has not really changed, but the number of those that go in the net has gone up dramatically. At the other end, the Charlton attack is getting shots on target without scoring as often.' Read the full article at: Relegation

The Fink Tank hedge their bets on today's match giving a 38 per cent chance of a home win, a 34 per cent of an away win and a 28 per cent chance of a draw. I am going for a 1-1 draw, although I won't be at the match because of continuing 60th birthday celebrations.

Leamington, who have taken 65 points out of a possible 69 this season, winning all except two league matches, face a crucial match against Causeway United at the New Windmill Ground. If they at least draw, they will have recorded the longest unbeaten run in the history of the Midland Alliance.

Injunction attempt fails

According to the Sky Sports News ticker in the early hours of the morning, Charlton's attempt to secure a High Court injunction to overturn the two match ban on Osei Sankofa has failed. We don't have any further information at this time. Indeed, it is understood that the court has instructed both the FA and the club not to discuss the matter any further at this time so it is clearly sub judice. However, it is possible that, even though both decisions were harsh, the court thought that they were permissible within the rules of the game.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Premiership back Addicks on court move

The Premier League have backed Charlton over their threat to take the FA to court if necessary over the doubling of the ban imposed on Osei Sankofa after the Addicks appealed against his dismissal at Arsenal. The Premiership are never sorry to find an excuse to mix it with the FA, but the fact that top match officials have also said that Charlton's appeal was not frivolous is more significant. Full story at:

Diawara-O'Brien swap is on

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknap has said that the swap loan deal between Diawara and O'Brien for the rest of the season is on. He reckons that Diawara is better than what he has shown at Charlton and whatever else one says about Old Harry, he is a good judge of a player most of the time. Perhaps Diawara will flourish away from The Valley donkey parade.

Harry reckons that Pards is trying to build a more English defence at Charlton. Which is one way of putting it. Full story at: Swap

The signing of Ben Thatcher has been confirmed, Pards commenting that 'We are going to need a tougher, harder edge if we are going to get out of this.'

Thatcher signing near

Former Spanner Ben Thatcher looks set to join Charlton. Manchester City are reported to have agreed a fee for the full back who has played as a Welsh international. Massives boss Stuart Pearce is ready to let Thatcher leave Eastlands with Stephen Jordan currently the first choice at left back and centre back Sylvain Distin also able to provide cover in that position. 'The clubs have agreed a fee (variously stated to be £100k and £500k, the latter sounds more realistic) and the player is speaking with Charlton,' said Pearce. `'That's as far as we are now.'

Some fans have reacted negatively because of what they term Thatcher's alleged thuggishness but others argue that what we need in our current plight is some fire and aggression. If he does the business for us, well and good.

Traore has now been sold to Pompey for £1m. If he plays as out of position at Fratton Park as he did for us he may find himself in the Solent. However, rumours of a swap between O'Brien and Diaware do not seem to be well founded.

The fee for Jerome Thomas to go to Fulham is now reported to be £2.5m, a good profit on the £100,000 we paid for him. There are also reports that Paul Konchesky may re-join Charlton which may be the case as he and Curbs didn't hit it off. I hope if he does and I make a critical remark in a match report I don't get an E mail from his sister.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Your rumours today

Sheffield Wednesday have rejected a bid worth in the region of £1.3m from Charlton Athletic for highly-rated centre-back Madjid Bougherra according to reports. The Algerian international defender has drawn plaudits up and down the country following his impressive displays for the Owls and has already been linked with a move to Wigan Athletic.

Other rumours: Thomas to Fulham for £1 million; Traore to Pompey for £1 million; Diawara swap deal with O'Brien of Pompey; Seville striker Kepa Blanco to join on loan.

Sevilla sporting director Ramon Rodriguez `Monchi' has revealed Charlton are leading the race to sign unsettled striker Kepa Blanco. The 22-year-old is a reported target of several Premiership clubs but according to wire services, the Addicks have made the early running to take him on loan until the end of the season.

`French clubs, English clubs and German clubs have shown an interest in Kepa,' Monchi told PA Sport, in an effort to boost the market for his services.`One of those clubs is Charlton Athletic. We have not taken a decision yet but all could be sorted later today.'

Kepa is keen to quit the Primera Liga leaders after struggling to hold down a regular first-team place this season. Kepa has scored three goals in nine league appearances for Sevilla this term. See him in action here: Blanco

Probably none of this will come to anything and it looks anyway as if Pards will have to choose from the existing squad against 'Boro.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Stokes signs for Sunderland

Anthony Stokes has signed for Sunderland for £2m, seeing the Black Cats as a showcase for his talents than either Celtic or Charlton: Stokes

He clearly has a high opinion of his own abilities, whether he would have done anything for us is another matter. Our first priority has to be central midfield.

Thomas on offer

Charlton are prepared to let go of Jerome Thomas with Fulham, Wigan, Pompey and the Massives among the clubs interested: Thomas

Some fans might ask why don't we get rid of Hasselbaink, Pouso or Faye? The problem is, who would want them?

Andy Reid has resumed training at Sparrows Lane but what really provoked dancing in the streets of New Eltham was word that Kevin Lisbie was also back in training.

Pards: Bent is staying

It's difficult to keep up with the pace of events, but Alan Pardew has declared that Darren Bent is staying at Charlton until the end of the season, saying 'I need his goals'. The determinant factor here appears to be that his injury is clearing up faster than feared and he should be available in three or four weeks. Read the full story here:

Some media sources are saying that we have signed Anthony Stokes, others are saying that Sunderland have. Hopefully this will all be resolved today.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The rumour mill grinds on

The latest rumour is that Chelski have offered Shevchenko on loan for the rest of the season plus £10m for Bent. Shevchenko could link up with Hasselbaink in a non scoring striker partnership.

Midlands sources are claiming that Villa might be prepared to offer Baros plus cash for Bank and Hasselbaink! I don't rate Baros as a replacement for Bent, but a cash offer for Hasselbaink alone would be welcome.

Then there are rumours that Anthony Stokes is now going to sign for Sunderland. That would seem the least likely thing for him to do as Charlton must have a better chance of staying up that Sunderland have of being promoted.

What does look more likely to me now is that Bent will go somewhere. What remains an imperative is to do something about the central midfield.

Dowie: laundry lady in tears when I left

Iain Dowie has revealed that the laundry lady was in tears when he left. He thinks that he has got a rough ride from press speculation:

Liverpool are now reported to be in the race for Darren Bent who is valued at £15m which makes sense given reports that the man mountain may go.

Gordon Strachan's sarcasm about us landing Stokes was a sight to behold on Sky Sports News last night.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Some hope on Stokes

Latest reports on Anthony Stokes suggest that he is not going to sign for Celtic after all. Charlton have offered bigger wages and he has a medical tomorrow. Let's hope these reports are right. To pay for his wages we could offload Pouso, Sorondo and Faye for starters. And we could offer pairs of Diawara's 'magic gloves' in the club shop.

Charlton free to concentrate on league

A victory for Forest against Charlton through two first half goals in the FA Cup 3rd round tie will allow the Addicks to concentrate on the league with a vital home tie against Boro next week.

The game, played in front of a crowd of 19,017, started at a fast pace on the slippery surface with Forest looking threatening writes Erith Addick Paul May . What could have been a promising Charlton move ended when Rommedahl was easily dispossessed. However, neither side had a real chance in the first ten minutes. Rommedahl thought he had won a corner, but referee Foy ruled otherwise. El K cut out a Forest attack. Rommedahl put in an attempt that was way wide.

Charlton made a break, but Forest countered with a Tyson run until he was stopped by a last ditch tackle by Fortune. Kishishev playing at right back needed to get the measure of Tyson. Forest had a great chance at 21 minutes with a cross by Tyson but it was headed wide by Perch.

Marcus Bent put in a powerful shot from some 25 yards out that had to be palmed over the bar by Smith to give Charlton a corner, but Forest were able to clear. The gloved Diawara was brought on for Faye with Kishishev who had been uncomfortable at right back moving into centre midfield and El K moving to right back which possibly undermined the centre.

With Ambrose unable to keep up by tracking back and Traore out of position, the defence was wide open, Perch forged forward and Agogo slotted the ball home to make it 1-0 on 28 minutes. Charlton won a second corner taken by Rommedahl but it was cleared by Forest. When Forest threatened again, Tyson's shot was diverted on to the crossbar by Fortune.

From a free kick Grant Holt was free to head it in by the near post to make it 2-0 on 31 minutes. The tempo of the game fell off with Charlton unable to create anything with service to the strikers poor. With four minutes to go, Charlton won their second corner of the half. It was headed behind for a second which not surprisingly led to nothing.

Charlton won a free kick less than 25 yards out in stoppage time, but El Karkouri unwisely chose to shoot.

Half time: Forest 2, Addicks 0

An early attack by Marcus Bent came to nothing. Fortune dealt with a Forest attack.
What looked like a Forest corner was ruled to be a goal kick by Foy. Agogo was ruled offside.

Forest broke from a Charlton attack and won a free kick by the corner flag with Diawara shown a yellow card. Holland headed the ball away. Charlton tried to apply some pressure but without much success and Forest looked dangerous in counter attack, particularly when Diawara slipped up, but fortunately the offside flag was raised.

The largely ineffective Rommedahl was pulled off in favour of Thomas with Ambrose moving out to the right while Agogo was replaced by former Spanner Scott Dobie. El Karkouri was judged to have made a foul throw.

Hasselbaink was hauled back on the edge of the box by Gary Holt who got a yellow card. Ambrose's delivery lacked pace and it was gathered by Smith in the Forest goal. Forest always showed the potential to break and won a corner after Fortune headed the ball behind. However, Myhre caught the ball without difficulty.

A good chance fell to Marcus Bent inside the six yard box, there was a scramble, but Smith managed to save from Bent's prodded effort. Forest won a corner which was eventually cleared by Ambrose. Thonas had a second chance after the ball came out from a defender and the ball soared over a crossbar.

Kishishev who had failed to impress was taken off in favour of Sam. Dobie advanced but was tackled well by Diawara. Time simply ran out for the Addicks, but they didn't look like scoring if they had been given another thirty minutes.

Charlton won a free kick through Sam on the edge of the penalty area. Fortune failed to connect with the ball as the game went into three minutes added on. There was a possible penalty shout against Myhre, but referee Foy judged that contact had been made with the ball.

No doubt the papers will talk about a shock and an upset, but it was no shock to me given Charlton's away record.

Chelski told Bent is available for £18m

Chelsea have been told that they can have Darren Bent for £18m. They have gone away to think about it. One attraction is that he would be available for the Champions League.

Radio 5 asked the rhetorical question, why would Darren Bent want to go to Chelsea? Because it's one of the biggest clubs in the world and he would be paid a fortune, even just to sit on the bench.

If Chelsea come back and offer £13m I would take it, although a lot depends on how long he is likely to be out with his injury.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Forest preview

Cups are realistically one route that Charlton could take into Europe, but we haven't been very good at seizing the opportunities in recent years, most recently by going out to Wycombe in the Carling Cup.

Many Charlton fans think that the cup is now an irrelevance and that we should concentrate on league survival. I'm not sure, for two reasons. First, a cup run would give us some badly needed funds. Second, it could well boost morale. That's why I hope Alan Pardew can lift the team to make a game of it against Forest tomorrow.

Forest must have seen the home fixture against a faltering Premiership club as an ideal draw, but they have been having a bad run recently. Defeated 5-0 by Oldham Athletic, they had two players sent off. So they will lack a defender and a midfielder, while another defender is cup tied because he is on loan from Tranmere.

Scott Carson will not be available because Liverpool don't want him cup tied. This was immediately taken as a sign by edgy Charlton fans that he is about to be sold off, but in fact it's prudent planning by 'Pool in case they reach the cup final and face a goalkeeping crisis. So it's the dependable Thomas Myhre in goal with Randolph on the bench.

With Young injured and Sankofa banned, there is a gap at right back. It could be filled by Simon Walton, back on loan from Ipswich or even by El Karkouri. I would favour moving him forward from defence into a holding midfield position that he has shown he could occupy. I would then use Kish at right back.

Hreidarsson still has a knee problem so it looks as if Jon Fortune will be brought in as a central defender. He also worries me. Eighty or ninety per cent of the time he is fine and then he makes a potentially disastrous error.

Holland, Hughes, Rommedahl and Thomas would be my midfield picks with Marcus Bent and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who scored against Chesterfield, up front.

1,028 Addicks have bought tickets, but I won't be going as I have a thousand page book manuscript to plough through over the weekend, plus I don't fancy getting spat on again from Forest fans in the upper tier. But Erith Addick Paul May, who fears no one, will be making the journey to the charming city by the Trent and will be reporting on the game.

I'm going for a 2-2 draw, leading to a replay at The Valley. I just hope I'm not going to hear 'Charlton's Woes Continue' stories at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Addicks lose out on Smerts

The Addicks have lost out on a bid to re-sign former loan player Alexi Smertin with Sky Sports News reporting that the Moscow Dynamo player is about to sign for Curbs at West Ham.

Charlton have been linked with Irons midfielder Yossi Benayoun but the club and the player have denied that he is going anywhere. Should he in fact be available, Pompey are also said to be interested.

Other reports suggest that any deal for Anthony Stokes would only involve £400,000 up front, with the rest of the money being tied to appearances, Premiership survival etc.

Could Bent be for sale at the right price?

A Sky Sports News with Pards appears to imply this. Offers of £7m, with Spurs mentioned, are dismissed as not realistic but Pards evidently believes that the injury to Bent changes his value for the rest of the campaign:
See also this report in The Guardian: Guardian

I personally believe that selling him would be an error, even allowing for the fact that he won't be available for a month, as any replacement would be unlikely to be anywhere near the same standard. Also, 20 per cent of any fee received would go to the Tractors.

The arrival of Phil Parkinson has been officially confirmed. Mark Robson and Mark Kinsella will be retained in the new set up but as first team and reserve coaches respectively.

Parky to sign today

Sky Sports News are reporting that Phil Parkinson is to sign as Alan Pardew's assistant today: Parkinson

This looks like a good move to me. Parkinson was well regarded as a manager at Colchester, was a fringe candidate for the Charlton job in the summer and could be trained as an eventual successor to Pardew.

The Currant Bun is reporting that Charlton have agreed to pay £2.7m for 18 year old Arsenal striker Anthony Stokes who has been on loan at Falkirk where he hot 16 goals in 18 games. Celtic and Sunderland were also after him. The Sun reports that the deal with the Republic of Ireland B player 'will be completed when Pards offloads some of the big-money flops signed by Iain Dowie this summer.'

Radio 5 is reporting that Fulham's Collins John has signed for an unnamed Premiership club.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pardew cleared, Sankofa ban doubled

Alan Pardew has been cleared of a charge of improper conduct in relation to his touchline row with Arsene Wenger, but the ban on Osei Sankofa for his red card has been doubled on the grounds that the appeal was frivolous.

This decision has obviously annoyed many of the Addickted. My view is that the original decision was harsh and this decision is also harsh. Indeed, it seems that the player is being penalised for the actions of the club.

That does not mean that the appeal was necessarily well advised. I've had a look at the Fifa approved book on soccer laws and it is clear that an attempt to deny an obvious goal scoring opportunity is serious foul play and that the offender must be dismissed and a penalty kick awarded if the offence occurred inside the penalty area.

It has been argued that Van Persie was offside and that therefore a free kick should have been awarded to us, but I don't recall seeing an offside flag being raised. In any case, one can't appeal against an offside decision. It's arguable that the real problem is that the relatively inexprienced Sankofa misjudged the situation. What is beyond dispute is that he committed a foul: the argument is about whether he should have got a yellow card rather than a red.

This was only the second time this season that the FA Commission has imposed an additional penalty for what they regarded as a frivolous claim. The other one was just a day before the Sankofa claim was heard and was also in relation to a player being dismissed for 'denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity'. The player in this case was Nick Fenton of Grimsby and he also got an additional one match suspension for appealing.

In any event there's not much that can be done about what is undoubtedly a harsh decision.

Pards: Arsenal match was not important

Alan Pardew's team talk stated that the Arsenal match was not important, according to Scott Carson in an interview in The Times:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Addicks to appeal against Sankofa dismissal

Charlton are to appeal against the red card awarded to Osei Sankofa at the Emirates Stadium yesterday. This is a rather unusual action for the Addicks, but Alan Pardew has made it clear that he thought the dismissal was unjust because the attacking player was offside.

In my view it was a decision taken by the book. Old Mother Riley was entitled to do it, but was a rather harsh interpretation given that referees have discretion - which he exercised later given that Diawara could have been sent off for the second penalty.

Sankofa would have to serve his suspension at Forest on Saturday and Charlton lack cover in the right back position, although Kish is capable of playing there.

Always Look On the Bright Side of Life

Big Dave Lockwood sometimes used to play the Python crucifixion song when Charlton had suffered a particularly bad home defeat. No such courtesy was extended at the Emirates Stadium as the Addicks, playing with ten men for most of the match after Osei Sankofa was sent off, went down 4-0 to Arsenal, two of the Gooners' goals coming from penalties.

The Addickted, however, managed to keep their spirits up as the match drew to a close with rousing chants of 'Super Alan Pardew' who is finding that the expectations level is a little more realistic than at West Ham. Perhaps the funniest chant, however, was when someone called 'Give Me a C' and went through all the letters spelling Charlton before shouting at the end 'Super Kevin Lisbie'.

It was always going to be difficult against an Arsenal side that included a returning Henry, while the Addicks without the injured Darren Bent played a 4-5-1 formation, but Charlton managed to contain them for the opening phase, thanks largely to the efforts of Scott Carson in goal. They did manage to win a couple of corners. However, with van Persie advancing on the ball, but in an offside position according to Alan Pardew, Sankofa hauled him back although the ball was already heading for the crossbar. Old Mother Riley somewhat harshly sent him off and the resultant penalty was slotted home by Henry.

The Charlton defence had already displayed a worrying tendency to allow the opposition acres of space and Fortune was brought on in the hope that he could shore up the defence, replacing Hughes who had already made a goalline clearance. Dennis Rommedahl did set up Marcus Bent, but his effort was well wide.

Arsenal won a free kick in a promising position but Carson made a great save at the expense of a corner. From this Rommedahl made a break but, as is so often the case, it petered out. Charlton were awarded a free kick but El Karkouri sent it straight to Lehmann in the Arsenal goal.

Just when it looked as if Charlton might survive to half time with a 1-0 deficit, Arsenal advanced on goal with Diawara nowhere to be seen. Carson came out and Hoyt was able to put an angled shot into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0.

Half time: Gooners 2, Addicks 0

Darren Ambrose had a shot which was saved on the ground. However, Arsenal continued to press with Rosicky putting in a shot that was just wide. Fortune provided good defensive cover by clearing at the expense of a throw in when Charlton were exposed to danger. Darren Ambrose, who had looked a little uncomfortable on the wing, was replaced by former Gooner Jerome Thomas.

Arsenal were awarded another penalty for what did look like a foul in the box and this time Van Persie stepped up to make it 3-0. The Arsenal fans, however, still did not rouse themselves very much and one wondered if some of them were plastic models. 'You still don't sing 3-0', taunted the Addickted. So quiet was the ground at times that one thought was in a branch of the Islington borough library with the Addickted making hushing noises from time to time. The Gooners did manage a chant of 'Pardew, Pardew, what's the score?' The Emirates Stadium is a great structure, but it does not generate atmosphere in the way that Highbury did. And why are the seat numbers concealed near the ground?

Faye was taken off and replaced by Kishishev, but Arsenal continued to dominate the game. Then Van Persie sealed the game with what was probably the best goal of the evening, lofting the ball over Carson. Gooners were saying to each other afterwards that Charlton were the worst team they had seen and definite relegation candidates, but everything conspired against the Addicks.

Match analysis

Is the Silver Bone tarnished if it is awarded after a 4-0 defeat? This was the question that confronted experiended match analyst Hooch the Pooch but he decided to award the coveted trophy to skipper Matt Holland for his energy, enthusiasm and quite a bit of skill. Despite conceding four goals, Carson prevented a complete rout by making some excellent saves.
Diawara often seemed to be out of position. El Karkouri did not have one of his better nights with his free kicks often over hit. The inexperience of Sankofa showed in the incident that led to his dismissal and it is good to hear that Luke Young is back in training.
Traore did not seem to provide much protection on the wing against Arsenal where they often threatened. The returning Faye had a dismal performance with a tendency to give the ball to opposition players, although he did make a good clearance from one Arsenal corner. Early in the game Rommedahl made a good run and then passed to an Arsenal player.
That says it all really. Ambrose was not played in a position where he is comfortable. Hughes had little time to make an impression, but it was not his sort of game. Marcus Bent ranged somewhat ineffectively on his own up front, his few efforts being unimpressive. He also ran back very slowly when attacks broke down. Fortune did reasonably well, making some good interventions, but his problem is consistency.
Thomas tried to sparkle on the wing, but made little impression.
Kishishev could have been brought on earlier, but was limited to a cameo role.

Hiss of the Match Fussy and officious referee Old Mother Riley received a hiss, not for the first time this season, although Juneau also objected to the stadium announcer identifying the Arsenal team by their first names ('Gil' in the case of Gilberto) as if Cashburton Grove was one big happy family.

Crowd rating The Addickted showed their passion under very difficult circumstances, particularly towards the end of the match. 6/10

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Addicks linked with Ferguson

Charlton have been linked with 28-year old midfielder Barry Ferguson, the Rangers captain who has been dropped from the side for today's match with Motherwell after a spat with wonder manager Paul le Guen.

Scotland skipper Ferguson clashed last month with Le Guen over the importance of the captaincy, with the Frenchman playing down the role. Ferguson is a product of the Rangers youth system and moved to Blackburn Rovers for £7.5 million pounds in 2003. However, he failed to settle and returned to Rangers in 2005.

He would be a great signing if we could get him, but there will be a lot of competition if he becomes available as seems likely. Would a loan for the rest of the season be possible?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Worn Brakes Take 3 Points in 999 Encounter

A less than convincing Leamington took another three points at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon with a 2-1 victory over Alvechurch. The match was overshadowed by an injury to second choice goalkeeper Adam Marusiak (first choice keeper Tim Clarke having been injured in the warm up). Marusiak was stretchered off the pitch unconscious after a goalmouth scramble. After some delay, an ambulance arrived, followed by the paradmedics. Fans were then asked not to leave the ground until the ambulance was away. However, it was a good sign that it left without its blue lights flashing.

Alvechurch gave Brakes a hard time in the away fixture, turning a 3-0 lead into a 3-3 draw. Today conditions were atrocious with a swirling wind supplemented by torrential rain that started just before half time. At least the effectiveness of the ground's drainage system was put to the test. Saturday's away fixture against the Bardsmen had been postponed after the Stratford pitch had been flooded by a torrent of plain verse.

The conditions were no excuse for the fact that Brakes kept losing possession in the first half, punting the ball forward which was no good in the conditions. Only a goal line clearance stopped Church going in 1-0 ahead at half time.

Four minutes after the break Ben Mackey put the Brakes ahead went a low shot from distance (his later replacement by Clunesie incensed some of the Sheepside stand regulars). However, six minutes later Church equalised through Rostill. In a goalmouth scramble that injured the Church keeper through a boot to the head, Jamie Towers scored the winner for Brakes.

Third choice keeper Lee Brown was little tested in the Church goal and when he was he stood up well. Battling Church always looked capable of an equaliser and no one could have complained if they had. Brakes were lacking Andy Gregory and Jon Adams, but even so it was one of the worst performances of the year for the rest of the side.

Let's hope the Church keeper recovers quickly from his unfortunate start to 2007.

Pards: I will make peace with Wenger

Alan Pardew, who faces an improper conduct charge from the FA last week over his bust up with Arsene Wenger, has said that he is hoping to make his peace with the Arsenal manager before kick off at tomorrow's match at the Emirates Stadium. Read the full story here: Pards

With Adebayor returning from a thigh strain, the Fink Tank is giving a 74 per cent chance of a home win, a 16 per cent chance of a draw and a 10 per cent chance of an away win. Although the odds are stacked against us, I am going for Charlton to be the first team to beat the Gooners in their new stadium with a 2-1 win.

Since writing this, we have heard that Darren Bent has had a knee injury and will be out for six weeks, perhaps even for the rest of the season. Cometh the hour, cometh the man: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. I will now change my forecast to 2-0 to Arsenal.

Senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch has announced that he is going into semi-retirement and will henceforth concentrate on training younger dogs as match analysts. However, he will still turn out for the big occasion and will be in the press box at the Emirates tomorrow night.