Saturday, March 31, 2007

One is Enough

Yesterday we featured the Manchester Evening News forecast that Charlton would win today 1-0 against Wigan. One lucky fan took a 25-1 bet that Darren Bent would score the winner for Charlton in such a victory and so it proved when he scored from a penalty in the 86th minute to give Charlton the three points.

Charlton did not play particularly well and it was a tense match for the Addickted. But sometimes you have to grind out results and the sign of a successful team is that one can play less well and still win. Charlton were thrown off balance by Wigan's physical tactics, indeed one wondered if it was the rugby team that was playing. Referee Walton was reluctant to stamp on this conduct in the first half, but started to issue a blizzard of cards in the second. So controversial was his penalty award that Paul Jewell stormed on to the pitch while play was in progress and then berated the referee afterwards, as did charm merchant Heskey and keeper Filan.

Coming down in the train, the windows of a flat at Maze Hill were completely obscured by Arsenal banners. No doubt a Gooner was sitting inside enjoying their 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.

Pards had warned that Wigan would be out of the traps early and they forced an early corner which Heskey tried to connect with, but it all ended in an Addicks free kick and Heskey being spoken to by the referee.

Rommedahl put in a quality cross but Darren Bent was not well placed to connect. A free kick taken by El Karkouri was not too far over the bar. Referee Walton is clearly not going to Morocco for his holidays as he gave El K a yellow card for a tackle that looked worse than it was. Jerome Thomas had a go from distance, but his shot went wide.

Wigan had been dominant in the early part of the half, but Charlton had started to come in the game more.

Half time: Addicks 0, Lactics 0

Rommedahl was taken off at half time and Marcus Bent was brought on, presumably in the hope that he could hold the ball up for his namesake. Thomas won the Addicks a corner, but Zhi's effort went over.

Taylor at last received a deserved booking for a foul. Ambrose came on in place of Holland. The match contunued in a rather scrappy vein with neither side really in charge. Charlton put a free kick in across the goal, but no one ran on to it and anticipation was not our strong suit throughout the match. Wigan won a free kick in front of the 'D', but it came off the Charlton wall. Fitz Hall received a yellow card for holding back Marcus Bent.

El Karkouri put a free kick into the Wigan penalty area, Marcus Bent made a glancing header and Hreidarsson was prevented from reaching the ball by Fitz Hall and fell to the ground. As the pundits say, 'I've seen them given and I've seen them not given', but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Darren Bent stepped up and sent the ball confidently into the right hand corner of the net.

Ambrose was taken off and replaced by Faye to shore up the defence. The three minutes of time added on were frenetic, but then the Addickted were able to celebrate the victory.

Coming back on the train, two Wigan supporters got off at Greenwich. No doubt Greenwich is full of, say, Liverpool supporters, but Wigan? On the Bakerloo Line we ran into some of the Leamington Irons jubilant after their victory over Boro. On the Chiltern Line, a sombre Lactic consoled himself with tin after tin of Fosters.

Bring on the Massives!

Match analysis

Hooch the Pooch has been consulting a local Pekingnese about barking in Mandarin and it paid off when the Silver Bone was awarded to Zheng Zhi for the second match running for an all round performance of determination and skill. Scott Carson was not greatly troubled by Wigan's wayward shooting, but did unnecessarily concede a corner at one point. Talal El Karkouri needs to stop thinking he can score from every free kick. He also made a few errors. Diawara was generally solid. Hreidarsson had a competent game. Young did his job without being particularly sparkling. Song was somewhat off song and I suspect that he was not one hundred per cent fit. Holland battled away without being that prominent. Rommedahl sped down the wing but, apart from one good cross, not to much effect. Thomas managed to break away on the wing from time to time, outfoxing opposition players, but faded a little as the game went on. Darren Bent scored the penalty, but he looked less than fully fit. For much of the game he was isolated on his own up front with no one to feed the ball to him. Marcus Bent was brought on to provide such support but not to any great effect. Ambrose suffered the humiliation of being substituted and although that was for tactical reasons, his performance was far from impressive. As the Bloke Beside Me commented, 'he's lightweight.' Faye had a cameo, but still managed to give the ball away.

Hiss of the Match This has been awarded by Juneau the Soccer Cat to whoever had the idea of flashing 'Make Some Noise' on the big screen. Sometimes I think that Charlton has a naff ideas department.

Match rating: In fact the fans were able to make plenty of noise without any encouragement and got behind the team, even though a sense of frustration crept in as the match went on. 7/10

Charlton loses its innocence

Charlton has lost its innocence proclaims the Financial Times today in a major feature on the club's escape route from the Valley of death (how many times have we heard that cliché?)

The article opens, 'In recent seasons it was easy to patronise Charlton Athletic as a nice, safe famuily club playing nice, safe family football in a nice, safe family stadium, the perfect role model for any small-middling club looking to establish themselves in the Premier League. If they could only sort out their post-Christmas form they might even qualify for Europe.'

'What is significant is the relentless nature of Charlton's confidence. At Charlton, barely a day goes by without another player talking of a sense of renewed purpose, of greater discipline and fitness in the squad.'

The FT is confident about Charlton's chances of escaping relegation. 'A manager appointed on Christmas Eve who prompts the arrival of a wise man from the east and seeks salvation on Good Friday? Perhaps it wouldn't be too surprising if they were to resurrect themselves from the relegation zone against Reading on Easter Monday.'

The analogy is overdrawn, but the argument is gratefully taken.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Northern forecast of Addicks victory

The Manchester Evening News is forecasting a 1-0 victory for Charlton against Wigan tomorrow despite the fact that the opposition will be strengthened by a number of players returning from injury and suspension:

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Onward to Wigan

I have to work in Brussels this week, so I won't be posting, but I'll be back for the Wigan game on Saturday. I went to the away game at Wigan and I thought their defence looked suspect, so here's hoping we can turn them over. And hopefully they will leave most of their lippy twelve year old supporters behind.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Matt Holland interview

Interview on Charlton's prospects: Holland

Once again we will be the only Charlton blog covering Leamington's home fixture against Barwell tomorrow, the team that beat the Brakes in the League Cup final last season.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Crime fighter Bob Bolder in South Africa

A positive piece on Charlton's role in a crime ridden South African township involving former goalkeeper Bob Bolder:

Luke Young called up for England

Luke Young has been called up to join the England squad:

He should have been there in the first place.

Pompey try to pinch our sponsors

The following story has appeared in The Guardian:

Charlton Athletic have named and shamed Portsmouth in front of their Premiership peers for attempting to poach the Addicks' £1.5m-a-year title sponsor. Charlton's commercial director Steve Sutherland sent an email last Monday to his counterparts at every top-flight club to expose the machinations of Alan Kimber, Pompey's sponsorship and advertising manager. Kimber had contacted Llanera, a Spanish property company with a £6.6m deal to sponsor Charlton's shirts until at least 2010, offering 'an opportunity to maintain marketing exposure in the Premiership next season in the event of Charlton being relegated'.

But in an unfortunate twist for Kimber, the email was sent to Llanera UK's managing director, Emilio Teresa, while he was in Spain with Charlton's chief executive, Peter Varney. Teresa immediately tipped Varney off and it was decided that the Premiership should be warned about Pompey's tactics. Kimber, who Portsmouth say is currently on holiday, also mentioned that his club pride themselves in "not targeting some of the down-market brands traditionally associated with football".

Sutherland could not believe what he was reading. In an email entitled "Interesting Approach!", he wrote: "Why waste time putting in the effort to research the sponsorship market and make time-wasting presentations to potential partners when you can simply contact someone else's partner, preferably a club fighting relegation and get them to move across? Brilliant."

Brakes march on

Leamington continued their march towards the Polymac Services Midland Alliance championship with a 3-0 win over Studley at a freezing cold New Windmill Ground last night. This was not of Brakes' better performances, but a sign of a championship side is that you win when you do not play so well. For much of the middle part of the game, passes always seemed to find a Bees player and for part of the second half Brakes were pinned backed in their own half by the team fourth from bottom.

The situation was not helped by a display of diving by Studley that would not have been out of place at the local swimming baths. This was largely effective in conning a referee who was not doubt eager to show that he was not a 'homer'. Still, we had some good banter with the Sheepside linesman and some more acrimonious exchanges with a poisonous midget playing for the Bees.

Josh Blake rifled in a shot on 19 minutes to make it 1-0. The next goal did not come until the 84th minute when Jon Adams made it 2-0 in a goalmouth scramble. Ben Mackey, who had initially not played well when he came on a sub, made it 3-0 with a great strike on 88 minutes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CAFC TV to be launched

Following the success of MUTV and Chelsea TV next week sees the exciting launch of Charlton Athletic TV (CATV). With an initial target audience of 742 viewers and an enviable distribution footprint in wealthy Kidbrooke, CATV offers unparalleled advertising opportunities for today's luxury lifestyle brands.

Here's just a taste of what lucky viewers can look forward to:

Deal or No Deal: Players compete to persuade Alan Pardew they're worthy of a new contract. This week: Jonathan Fortune.

Extras: Docu-soap focused upon players with no hope of a first-team berth.
This week: Nathan Ashton.

Absolutely Fabulous: A re-run of the 4-0 win over West Ham.

Last of the Summer Whine: Iain Dowie complains he didn't get enough money to spend.

Casualty: A look inside the Charlton treatment room. (Warning: This programme may over-run).

The Weakest Link: In-depth profile of Bryan Hughes.

Comic Relief: A nostalgic look back at the careers of Charlton players past. This week: Carl Leaburn.

Neighbours: A comical look at the fate of local rivals Millwall (Warning: This programme contains scenes that may be disturbing to viewers in Bermondsey)

Drop the Dead Donkey: Pards contemplates the future of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Bottom: A review of Les Reed's reign as Charlton manager.

The Office: Fly-on-the-wall documentary set in Richard Murray's office. This week: Murray laughs off Andrew Mills' request for a payrise (repeat).

Are You Being Served?: Charlton fans struggle to get a half-time pint.

What Not To Wear: Trinny and Susannah get to grips with some fashion disasters. This week: Charlton's away kit.

Red Dwarf: A profile of Addicks starlet Lloyd Sam.

Prime Suspect: Charlton fans seek someone to blame for their current woes.
This week: Iain Dowie.

Teletubbies: starring Andy Reid, Ralph Milne, Neil Redfearn and Peter Garland.

The Gentle Touch: A discussion of Dennis Rommedahl's tackling skills.

Men Behaving Badly: Secret cameras follow Luke Young and Jerome Thomas on a night out.

Parkinson: Assistant manager Phil conducts exclusive interviews. This week: Muhammed Ali.

Faking It: Painter and decorator Kevin Lisbie has just two weeks to convince the judges that he really is a footballer.

The Young Ones: A review of recent players who have emerged from Charlton's youth system. (Warning: contains Pathe News footage)

One Foot In The Grave: A review of the 2006/07 season so far.

Give Us A Clue: Iain Dowie is asked why he bought Djimi Traore.

I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here: Danny Murphy insists upon a transfer.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Herminator says Valley mood is bubbly

Charlton defender Hermann Hreidarsson has been relegated with three clubs and he is no wish to experience relegation again with the Addicks. But in an extended interview with The Times he insists that the mood at The Valley is bubbly:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Parker, Parker, what's the score?

This was the roar of the Addickted as Charlton beat Newcastle United 2-0 at The Valley to claim seven points from their last three matches. A superb second half performance by the Addicks delivered the three points. The first half was more even, but Charlton held on and took advantage as the Barcodes tired in the second half.

Matt Holland started as he went on with a good tackle. A shot by Parker sailed over the goal to the derision of the Addickted. Diawara put in a great tackle in front of the goal. Thomas provided a good run forward. Charlton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the 'D' for a foul on Zheng Zhi and El Karkouri's effort was not that far wide. Newcastle won a corner, but it was headed clear.

Charlton were awarded a free kick in a promising position not far from the edge of the area, but the ball which went across the Newcastle goal was not used by any Charlton player. Thomas and Hreidarsson combined to win a corner. Newcastle fluffed a chance to score.

Song had been in conversation with the bench earlier and was replaced by Faye. Charlton won a couple of corners towards the end of the half, but in general I found little worth taking a note about. The Bloke Beside Me was in a state of nervous apprehension.

Half time: Addicks 0, Barcodes 0

It seems as if Pards gave an effective half time team talk and he also decided to pep things up by removing Marcus Bent and bringing on Rommedahl. Faye received a yellow card for a foul on Parker who was greeted with chants of 'One greedy bastard.'

Charlton got a free kick for a foul on Faye, Darren Bent's shot richochted off the bar and Zheng Zhi was on hand to head the ball into the back of the net.

A ball from Jerome Thomas caught Given off balance and led to a Charlton corner. There was a penalty call for a trip on Rommedahl. A period of frenetic play ensued.

Zheng Zhi had a half chance, but put the ball over. Darren Bent put the ball in the net, but it was offside. Solano was at last booked for his repeated fouls on Thomas. Bent forged forward, but all it led to was a Charlton throw in. Newcastle withdrew Dyer and brought on N'Zogbia. Zheng Zhi won Charlton a corner.

Darren Bent won the ball well from a rather casual clearance by Given, but his effort went wide when, if he had been on his top form, he might have found the back of the net. Bent was withdrawn and Kevin Lisbie came on. Rommedahl put in an effort from distance that was at least on target. Charm merchant Scott Parker was booked.

Zheng Zhi was brought down by Solano in the area and Jerome Thomas stepped up to take the penalty kick to make it 2-0, sending Given the wrong way. The Valley broke into a chant of 'We are staying up', followed by the invitation to Parker to give the score.

In three minutes of time added on, Scott Carson had to make a great save by tipping the ball over the bar. The Newcastle corner was cleared and the whistle blew with the Addickted celebrating another important win which improves the chances of Premiership survival.

With Hooch the Pooch out for the day and Ivy the Terrible still in training it fell to lucky spaniel Monty Martin from Blewbury, Oxon. He had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone to Zheng Zhi. The Chinese captain was delighted to receive the coveted trophy for the first time but did enquire whether we had a Pekingnese among our dog reporters. Scott Carson had relatively little to do, but made a superb save towards the end of the match to deny Newcastle a consolation goal. It was no surprise to hear football fans who do not support Charlton to say on 606 as I was driving back up the M40 that Luke Young should be England's right back. He had another excellent game. At left back Hreidarsson looked as if he was suffering from lack of match practice and his one of the less strong performances, although he improved as the game went on. Diawara had his name chanted by the Covered End and offered an impressive performance. El Karkouri made one or two mistakes, but was generally solid. Holland battled away with his usual determination and made a good contribution to Charlton's play. Song was also playing well and it was a blow when he went off, although some thought that he was below his usual high standards. Thomas was one of the most impressive players in the first half, but faded a little in the second. Some fans were concerned when he stepped up for the penalty, but it was very well taken. Marcus Bent had a few decent headers, but was generally unimpressive. Darren Bent was below his usual very high standards and there must be doubts about his fitness. But it was a good to see him start. The arrival of Faye was not welcomed by many of the Addickted, but his performance was competent enough. Rommedahl added pace to the Charlton attack. Lisbie came on for a cameo marked by effort rather than skill. As someone remarked, he was waiting for his season ticket application to arrive as that was he best chance of seeing his name on a Charlton shirt next season.

Hiss of the Match This was awarded by Juneau the Soccer Cat to the Banbury fruitcake, Dermot Gallagher. Repeated fouls on Thomas by Solano were ignored until late in the game. Also, why did he have long conversations with Newcastle players before each half?

Crowd rating: Got better in the second half. 7/10.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Old Five Eludes Brakes

For the second time in a week, Leamington won 4-0 at the New Windmill Ground. This time the victims were Coalville Town. Once again the old five eluded Leamington, although a goal just before half time was controversially disallowed by referee A Dennis who lost no opportunity to give a free kick or a corner to the Ravens, abetted by his vertically challenged linesman who liked the offside flag so much he should get a job on the railways.

Coalville hit the post, but then a sweet long ball found Jon Adams lurking on the right and he showed no hesitation in putting it past visiting keeper Carl Smith. Two minutes later it was Adams again with a shot from distance that must be in contention for goal of the season. The cardboard labrador was hoisted in celebration on the North Bank.

On 27 minutes Warwick University student James Husband pounced on a loose ball to make it 3-0. Then just before the break Jamie Towers curled the ball into the goal from a corner kick, but the referee disallowed it on the grounds of a foul against the keeper. The scoreboard had already gone to 4-0 and attempts to adjust it momentarily produced a score of 11-0.

On 55 minutes Jamie Towers made it 4-0 with a cheeky goal. However, that was the last goal for the Brakes. They were not helped by the swirling wind, while three rather unnecessary substitutions in quick succession disrupted the rhythm of the team. The Ravens captain was heard to croak 'Stop them playing' and to an extent they succeeded. Still the crowd of 503 went away satisfied with another convincing victory that brings the Southern League nearer.

The day was given a slight edge by the news during the week of the removal of the programme editor, the resignation of the club secretary. We were told at the ground that the webmaster had resigned but there is nothing about that on the website or web boards. I am not competent to comment on the ins and outs of this. But all these individuals deserve thanks for their service to the club. Let's hope that everyone can pull together in the common cause.

Barcodes in gloomy mood

Newcastle supporters think that Charlton are favourites to win tomorrow according to this article in The Guardian: Barcodes

The Fink Tank in The Times can't make its mind up with an almost three way split between home win, away win and draw, but edges towards an away win.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Injury woes hit Charlton

Alan Pardew has said that Darren Bent is 'highly unlikely' to start on Sunday after aggravating his knee injury. Impressive left back Ben Thatcher is also out, while playmaker Andy Reid looks unlikely to return this season.

Even more worrying is that Marcus Bent's fitness is in doubt, while there are rumours that Hasselbaink has got hamstring trouble. That leaves Super Kevin Lisbie who has no doubt been impressing again on the training ground. Zheng Zhi could well start.

Home draw specialists against Barcodes?

We've only lost once at home to Newcastle in the Premiership, but we've drawn four times and won only twice. And in our present situation only a win will do.

Newcastle will be coming to The Valley on the back of being knocked out of the Uefa Cup in which, by all accounts, they played well below their usual standard. Manager Roeder was ranting about their defence on Radio 5 this morning. They could be demoralised by their defeat or they could try and bounce back.

We certainly need an attacking formation against them. The rumours I hear are that there may be one or two surprises in the lineup. Let's hope they're not unpleasant ones, particularly involving Darren Bent.

Leamington are at home to Studley tomorrow and we can confidently predict that this will be the only Charlton blog carrying a match report.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bent may be in England squad

Steve McClaren's intention is to name Darren Bent in a 23-man squad tomorrow for the fixtures against Israel and, four days later, Andorra. The England manager, however, is uneasy about Bent's fitness.

The Charlton player is feeling the after-effects of a knee injury and he will have to be assessed following the match against Newcastle on Sunday. Should he be unavailable, England will look to Preston's Nugent.

Could Villa get sucked in?

A lot of attention has understandably been given by the Addickted to the plight of Manchester City and the possibility that the Massives might occupy the third relegation place. However, Stuart Pearce's future is now on the line and the club could get a new manager boost, although the notion of 'Cheer Up' Peter Reid given anyone a boost is open to question.

When I went to the Villa away match early in the season I had an intuition that I wouldn't be there next season because we wouldn't be in the same division. The obvious inference was that Charlton would be relegated, but now I am wondering if it will be Villa who are having a terrible run of form. OK, they have new owners, not that that has done West Ham any good, and Martin O'Neill is a good manager.

What helps them most is that they have home fixtures against Wigan and Sheffield United as we do. But they are going to have start getting some results soon or they are going to be sucked into the relegation battle.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Brakes get back to winning ways

After two consecutive defeats Leamington got back to winning ways last night with a 4-0 demolition of Friar Lane and Epworth in the Polymac Services Midland Alliance at the New Windmill Ground. The Leicester side were not the toughest opposition faced at Harbury Lane this season, but they put up a doughty struggle aided by the efforts of their dominant goalkeeper Ben Hall. Brakes had plenty of chances, but as one Epworth player yelled, 'We're under the cosh but it's still 0-0.'

It was 36 minutes before Martin Thompson scored for Brakes. The telecommunications engineer had been offering to fix anyone's telecoms system in the programme, but he certainly rang his bell with the opener. With the visitors still reeling from going behind, Ben Mackey made it 2-0 a minute later with a shot into the corner of the net.

With no goalkeeper on the bench, there was concern when keeper Richard Morris was injured in the second half, but he managed to limp on, helped by the fact that his goal was under little pressure. Warwick University student James Husband swept down the wing to made it 3-0 on 68 minutes and Jon Adams clinched the tie on 72 minutes. Fans were hoping for the old five, but although Leamington kept piling on the pressure and hit the bar, it was not to be.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hamlet striker's dream move

Dulwich Hamlet's Chris Dickson has described his £35,000 signing by the Addicks as a 'dream move':

When and whether we will see him come off the subs bench to score a dream goal remains to be seen.

There must be hope for Leamington's Josh Blake yet and I look forward to seeing him played in position in tonight's clash with Friar Lane and Epworth.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Kish blossoms at Leeds

Radostin Kishishev was praised by the Radio 5 commentators for his contribution to the 1-0 victory by Leeds over Luton at Elland Road today. In particular they noted his calmness and composure, alongside his usual determination and commitment.

This doesn't resolve the Kish debate one way or another as a player can do well in the Championship but not be good enough for the Premiership. However, there is an interesting interview with a lot of Charlton content with the Bulgarian international on the Leeds website:

Elsewhere, Jon Fortune scored a goal for Stoke City in their victory at Southampton. Well, he did start out as a centre forward. And he scored an important goal against Palace.

Slow news day: say it with flowers

I know it's a slow news day when I am invited on to Sky as I was yesterday to talk about the new Wembley. There was almost a somnolent air in the sometimes frenetic Millbank studio.

And today is one of those rare days when there is no football to go to. Leamington are not playing which is just as well given their recent form. Higher level clubs are starting to come in for some of the players with Tom Bates on trial at Rochdale and playing for their reserves. In any case, I have to go to Milan tomorrow (to visit an Italian hospital, which should be interesting) so it's a day for catching up with chores.

One snippet from 4-4-2's latest issue. Chris Powell deservedly got a warm reception from the Addickted up at Watford. But it turns out he's a bit of a florist.

Asked for his favourite flower, he said, 'Caila lillies. They're not your usual lillies. Very pretty. You see, I know my flowers.'

Talking of which reminds me of mother's day which clashes with the Barcodes game. Check out this great offer from Pompey: Just for Mum

After writing this, I had a look at the blog being written by Glynne Jones and he had also written on the quiet week theme. Glynne is one of the team reviving the Charlton Plus internet radio programme and they will be doing another test broadcast around 8 p.m. on Sunday. See Glynne

Which is enough stream of consciousness for now.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fortune returns to Stoke

With Charlton's key defenders returning from injury, Jon Fortune has returned to Stoke on loan for the rest of the season. Fortune's performance at Watford reinforced the views of those who think that he is not quite good enough for the Premiership.

Historic double heroes and all round big club (in the eyes of their own supporters) Spurs beat Jorge Costa's Braga 3-2 in Portugal last night. It was a particularly bitter result as Spurs manager Martin Jol had slagged off Costa and his side on Radio 5 earlier in the evening, stating that Costa's experience of English football at Charlton was irrelevant.

Nevertheless, the Millwall hating Costa will always be a Valley hero.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Danish winger signed

Charlton have swooped to sign Denmark U21 international Martin Christensen from Herfolge Boldklub on a pre-contract basis, reports the club's E-mail bulletin. The Addicks have paid an initial £250,000 for the highly-rated 19-year-old right-winger, who has signed a four-year contract. And as part of the deal, which could potentially rise to £350,000, the Premiership club will also enter into a three-year collaboration agreement with the Danish First Division side.

Our experience with Danes have been rather mixed. Jensen, although seem as a luxury player by some, was in my view a good buy. Andersen looked like a promising prospect, but was dislodged by Myhre after a few indifferent performances. Rommedahl has flattered to deceive.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Brakes slump to first home defeat of season

Leamington slumped to their first home defeat of the season when they were beaten 3-1 by Boldmere St.Michael's at the New Windmill Ground. The players were evidently feeling the effects of their thumping by Curzon Ashton in the FA Vase with many of them playing below their usual standard, not least Jamie Towers. Possession was repeatedly lost and they seemed unable to put more than their two passes together. Avun Jephcott made a difference when he came on as a substitute, the relatively new signing clearly being a good acquisition.

The Mikes dominated the first half and were deservedly 2-0 up at half time. Brakes came into the game more in the second half and put the Mikes goal under repeated pressure, but they were unable to find the back of the net until Ben Mackey scored. It then looked as if the ball had crossed the line for the equaliser from a header by Jephcott, but Sir Mick assured us that it hadn't. As Brakes continued to search for the equaliser, the Mikes were able to go down the other end and make it 3-1.

Let's hope that this is a wake up call and morale can be recovered.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Addicks field Dulwich Hamlet striker

Charlton are playing Ryman League Dulwich Hamlet striker Chris Dickson up front in the reserve match against Fulham at Motspur Park tonight. It's a big leap up from the Ryman League even up to Premiership reserve football, so it will be interesting to see how he does.

I'm hoping that Leamington's 200+ goal man Josh Blake has not had too strenuous a day moving effects and that he will be able to score for the Brakes against Boldmere St. Michael's tonight in the Polymac Services Midland Alliance. The match is definitely on after fears of a postponement due to a waterlogged pitch. We will be the only Charlton blog covering this match.

How many points for survival?

Thanks to the West Sussex CASC Newsletter for the following:

'The number of points required to stay in the Premiership since it became a 20-team league has varied dramatically. In 2002/03 43 points were required, whereas the following year only 34 were needed. The average figure over the eleven years is 37.7, so only another 14 points to go!

Actual figures as follows: 95/96 39; 96/97 41; 97/98 41; 98/99 37; 99/00 34; 00/01 35; 01/02 37; 02/03 43; 03/04 34; 04/05 35; 05/06 39.'

Big Merv lands doorman's job

Mervyn Day has found his niche in life at last. According to press reports, 'Alan Cutbishley has finally got tough with his West Ham flops and even banned them from playing cards. [The West Ham 'pot' was said to be the biggest in the Prem last season]. Curbs also told his assistant Mervyn Day to stand at the gates of the
training ground and clock which players turn up late. The manager's watchdog will be noting names then reporting to Curbs, who plans to hit them hard with his new code of conduct.'

You can't make an omlette without breaking an egg.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Free season ticket offer

Charlton are rewarding fans for their loyalty in a difficult season by offering them a free season ticket for 2008/9 if the club is relegated and then promoted at the first attempt. You have to buy your season by April 30th to qualify.

On the face of it this looks like a generous and innovative offer by the club, although it could add substantially to the financial cost of relegation. But that cost would arise when the club was back in the Premiership and receiving the new higher television revenues.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Watford match analysis

Addick Kap Varma offers his analysis of yesterday's draw at Watford:

Despite the first half, what a great day. We met up in Watford meeting up at the "Moon under the Sea". Whilst not a serial away game attendee I would say this is the best atmosphere pre match in a pub I have experienced, absolutely superb and breath taking. I met Ben Hayes, who was checking in with Glynne on appearance on Charlton Radio, actually it was nice to meet him and also said hello to MR Jim Charlton Nil Davidson. Off to the ground and the crowd continued where it had left off in the pub.

Two early'ish strikes by Watford dampened the spirits for a short while before the addickted sang up a again. So with everything going swimmingly well on the "terraces", what had changed from last week?

The enforced changes had done us no favours two new faces and Fortune and Sankofa drafted in with the latter playing out of position at Left Back . My theory is that we have seen central defensive solidity in the last few weeks. Elks occasional but huge mistakes have been swept up by his adept defensive partner, today he had Fortune, who thrives when he has a solid dependable and consistent partner, a la Jorge Costa (Central Defender not a coffee), that is not Elk. So Fortune looked unsure and was hesitant, along with the inexperienced Sankofa and across the defensive line was Right back Luke Young - insecurity reigns. Additionally, we have been playing the ball from central defence through midfield (Song) through to the forward line, the problem this week being that Fortune and finesse are diametrically opposed, so the ball would be hoofed over mid field to the forward line, where brick shittu house would simply mop up and clear, not to mention JFH going back to type. Song got very little of the ball in the first half as he has failed to grow 20 ft, Holland meanwhile, despite being a nation of 12 million, was too light weight to play against this limited but tough Watford side and was too easily brushed off the ball, I would have been tempted to play Faye in the role today.

2nd half we performed better, ZZ came on for JFH but a two goal deficit was always going be hard to turn over, and with 24 mins to go it looked like we would fizzle out as we had improved but with the exception of a glaring Holland miss had really failed to threaten England's number 1 replacement, then Song on the edge of area threaded the ball into the area for Luke to run onto and score - a replica of his first goal for Charlton against Aston Villa. Then we went back into our shell and played as if the 1st half had never ended. Then with only a few minutes to go, Thomas was replaced by Romm, moments later the ball Song sublimely sent the ball to Romm just in the area, he crossed, the crowd stood, there was a slip a steadying and by the time I was stable on my feet apparently Ambrose had scored (it was only when I watched MTOD I realised it was a header) and then at the death Lisbie got the ball tooktoo long to "aim" and the chance rebounded to him via Romm and he snatched, Lisbie will be castigated for this, but as a talentless player, who has played very little real football for 3 years and had only just come on, the real culprit was Elk, his two errors were catastrophic in the first half. Wigan beat City, Sheff dropped two points and we have a further two weeks to mend the ailing. Bring on the

The view from Canada

Bob Miller regularly puts round an E mail after matches for the benefit of the Addickted in and around Hamilton, Ontario (a city I have visited many times):

Whether it was a bit of over-confidence (Why?), a patchy pitch, a somewhat make-shift back four or whatever, Charlton came out flat and soon found themselves down two goals and in serious trouble.

A totally different team came out for the second half and darn near pulled it out for three points, with Kevin Lisbie, a true fan favourite, who seemingly has goal-repellent permanently sprayed on his boots, failing to pot what would have been the winner with time running out on the clock.

I would think pretty well all Charlton fans were expecting three points today, based on the great momentum going forward after the great show against West Ham. But this is the Premiership and there are no givens. There is always the strong likelihood of results from certain large clubs, but with the rest, one never knows.

Manchester City is now the next immediate target for Charlton to overtake as they now sit six points ahead, with Sheffield United at 31, Wigan at 32 and Fulham and Villa at 33. Any one of these sides could potentially fall on bad times down the home stretch, but Charlton must just keep picking up as many points as they can possibly garner and do the job themselves with no anticipation of assistance from others. We get to play Sheffield and Wigan at home and Manchester City away, so much can be achieved in those three games alone. It is clearly a tall order, but still more than attainable.

Having said that, they cannot again come out as they did today and expect to pull it off. As great as the comeback was, it should never have been necessary and we simply blew two extraordinarily valuable points which should have seen us sitting at 26 points on the table.

What one has to hope for is that the unexpected will come into play and not only do we pick up points where one would expect, but rather we pick up a win or a draw where the chances do not look so good.

Millwall face closure threat

See story at our sister site Millwall

Dowie to vist New Windmill shock

Brakes fans have received a double shock. Having lost 4-1 in the FA Vase quarter finals yesterday to a rampant Curzon Ashton, the news has been received that Iain Dowie will be bringing Coventry City to the New Windmill Ground for the Mayoral Cup in May. Last year the Sky Blues put out most of their Championship squad and won 5-0.

Brakes disappointed in their defeat yesterday, although Curzon Ashton did look very good and were fast on the break. An early own goal involving a fumble by goalkeeper Jason Pearcey really set the scene and after that Brakes were struggling to get back into the game, giving Curzon chances to counter attack.

The Tameside Stadium was impressed with two covered stands and terracing all round the ground. The need for crowd segregation and CCTV was emphasised when a mass brawl broke out in our stand in the second half as a consequence of which I missed the Brakes consolation goal scored by removal man Josh Blake and inspiring a chant of 'We're going to win 5-4'.

Paul May was 'indisposed' yesterday and was not able to go to Watford, but I am hoping to post a couple of analyses by fans later.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pards on Watford

Alan Pardew is not put off by Watford's direct, lump it in the box style of play. Read story here: Watford

The Fink Tank in The Times gives a 38% chance of a home win against a 33% chance of an away win.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Irons charged

West Ham face a possible points deduction after being charged with two breaches of Premiership rules. Manager Alan Curbishely has said that a points deduction would be 'devastating'. Full story here:

Kish out on loan

Radostin Kishishev has gone out on loan for a month to Leeds to help them in their relegation battle. This means that he certainly won't be taking on the right back role at Watford tomorrow. It also looks as if the battling Bulgarian, who has been capped 59 times by his country, is out of favour with Alan Pardew and that his days at Charlton are numbered. He last appeared in the victory at Portsmouth on 20th January.

Kish has always divided supporters, some admiring his fighting spirit and others pointing out that his errors creating goal scoring opportunities for the opposition. Moreover, Song is currently excelling in the defensive midfield role.

Charlton to finish 17th

Charlton will finish 17th in the Premiership with 37 points according to The Times. The points total will be achived by wins against Watford, Wigan, Reading and Sheffield United with a draw at home to Newcastle and away to Everton. But the Addicks will lose away in the north-west to the Massives, Blackburn and Liverpool and also at home to Spurs.

The paper also features the Watford game, but with a Hornets angle. Boothroyd complains that 'Charlton are a far bigger club than us' and states 'I think it's totally unfair - but it's an unfair league and that's how it is.' Read the full story at: Watford

However, Darren Ambrose provides a Charlton perspective:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Addicks hit by injuries

Charlton have been hit by injuries ahead of their crucial game against Watford on Saturday. The news about Big Bent is not suprising given that he had hamstring trouble, but with our defence depleted, it is worrying that Ben Thatcher, who has been playing well, has picked up an ankle injury. Full story here:

Both Easter fixtures on television

Both the Addicks' Easter fixtures are now to be televised, Sky having evidently decided that we are not down yet. The away fixture against Manchester City, who by then may be an American owned club, was already set to be shown on pay tv at 5.15 p.m. on Good Friday.

The Easter Monday home clash against Reading has now been switched to 8 p.m. so that it can be shown on Sky. Beating the biscuit making and somewhat cocky arrivistes could well be a crucial game in Charlton's survival plan.