Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Generation Game

I make no apologies for the hugely self indulgent nature of this post!

My Dad, after much badgering took me to my first ever Charlton game back in 1981. After one or two more ad hoc games he brought me to he finally went the hole hog and bought me a half season ticket as a Christmas present. One of those moments in life that has stuck with me ever since. The big hug and genuine thanks for a present that has fundamentally effected my life and given me so much during the last thirty years of laughs, enjoyment, pain, swearing, nail-biting, more swearing, away days and all of those other football things I hope to pass onto my own kids.

Sadly he passed away this month, and amongst his many legacies one will be a whole other two generations of Addicks to enjoy (?) many days of more laughs, enjoyment, pain, swearing, nail biting, more swearing, away days etc etc etc. Cheers Dad x

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

...Lets park the bus

I'm back posting. Life having overtaken most things of late I thought it was about time to bite the bullet and start thinking about football matters again.

We entertain Boro in what may well be looked back on as a pivotal weekend in our season.

I know it's relatively early days yet, but we are doing pretty much what I had expected so far, perhaps a bit worst than we should have anticipated after home defeats against Watford and Barnsley that I would imagine the management had targeted for three points in each when looking at the fixture list pre season.

The encouraging thing for me is the unwritten goal difference mirroring league position and final points rule will see us stay up without out too much breath holding.

Historically we have a pretty even record against Middlesbrough, Charlton won 35 and Boro 38 over all games, even if you look at the last four encounters it's two wins a piece.

Undoubtedly Boro are on quite a run currently and will be high on confidence following the recent cup win against premier league rivals Sunderland.

With two of our relegation rivals playing each other at the weekend, Sheff Weds v Peterborough, it could be a chance for us to put some daylight back between us and the bottom four.

As far as predicting a result, anything seems possible in this division. 4-5-1 seems to be working better. I think if we play that formation there is a chance of us carrying off a smash and grab and nicking a one nil win. We'll need to come out of the traps quickly, get an early goal, and then park the bus. (Sorry to say, it's the only way I can see us out maneuvering a Boro side that does seem to be getting up a real head of steam).

If we do decide to play with two up top and outplay them I think it could be a long afternoon that may well see us ship some goals. Let hope it's the former.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

mental in SE7

its all going mental down in SE7. First news tonight was that Slater is to be replaced by ex Charlton player Paul Elliott.One of my seminal favourite players and undoubtedly an intelligent man, but what, why and how? And even more surprising, i think, is Waggy being farmed out to Londinium Orient on a months loan. Another Charlton favourite of mine.

This coupled with the recent rumours of Russian mafia in the directors box recently I think we're in for the usual intriguing Charlton supporting roller-coaster over the next few months!

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Friday, 28 September 2012

It's been a while...

... Both since my last post and also since we last played one of my least favourite football clubs, Blackburn Rovers. But I'll get to that in a bit.

So a quick apology to anyone who is regularly kind enough to visit this page and read (and mostly disagree with I'd imagine) my views. My rather pregnant wife (number six en route for 21st December) managed to both rupture her cruciate ligament  and snap her cartelidge, works been a headache and we bloody lost against Palace. So both my time and enthusiasm have been a tad hampered of late. Sorry.

A quick 'whistle-stop' review of the last four game. Following the home draw against Hull City, who are becoming one of the fancied sides to be there or there about's come the end of the season, we then lost three on the spin, all be it with late rallies to try and get something out of the game. (How good would it have been for Hamer to hammer the ball into the back of the net in last minutes against Palace?) These late shows were simply not good enough, the side looked unbalanced and most worryingly Jackson looked out of his depth, out of sorts and out of position at left midfield. Something needed to change.

Away to Ipswich loomed, without the boy Rhoys now confirmed as a mid term injury victim and Yan the Man out injured I wasn't hopeful and expected this to be an unfortunate defining moment. As it turned out it may well have been a defining moment. For the good! It's been no big secret that Jacko's preferred role is in the centre of midfield, funny that he originally played for us on loan at left back, moved into left midfield as cover and may well have found his perfect slot in the middle. Kerkar looks like being another astute signing and reports are that he looked very good on the left. Fuller came in for Kermo, and scored one of the most confident and proactive goals I've seen scored by a Charlton forward for some time. A case of 'i've got the ball, get out of my way, now i'll shoot'. Out of the bottom three and all looking a bit more rosy.

One downside was how effortlessly Solly slotted into left back. This boys got talent. I find it so bemusing that the transfer window interest was in Stephens and not young Chris. A full back who looks (so I hear) equally at home on the left or right defensivley and going forward must be worth a mint!

So on to tomorrows game.  I have a solid hatred for Blackburn Rovers. The first team to really 'buy' the league title. (Pre Chelsea and Man City). Broke my teenage heart beating us in the Full Members Cup Final at Wembley, back in the days when I had absolutely no expectation that we would end up both back at the Valley and considered as THE model premiership small club. And of course historically (prior to my time of course) thwarting us at our original attempt to get straight back into the old first division in the days when we used to have regular BIG BIG BIG crowds. And an ex employer who have a box at Ewood Park, who when I asked about their history of supporting Rovers explained that they'd never been in the seats let alone the terrace, grew up in Tulse Hill supporting Arsenal as a kid, and the first live game they went to was the first game after Jack Walker had invested his millions into the playing staff to all but ensure promotion from the executive box they'd bought.

It's one of those games tomorrow I think. Crash or burn. Either Keane (odd man that he seems) will bring his players down to the Valley where they will bounce straight back from their recent defeat and put us promptly back in 'our place' OR Sir Chris's plans will slowly start to take place. These enforced changes to our line up I think were inevitable. Powell admirably stuck with those players that made us all so proud last season, and rightly so. But I think now he will begin to ring the changes that should see us safely flopping around mid table for the rest of the season. I see Kerkar on the left, Jackson in the middle, Solly perhaps back on the right and Evina, who it would seem is beginning to garner favor on the left. Fuller, if fit, will start up front with BWP.

I've got this funny feeling we're going to see some goals tomorrow. I'm going to plump for a 5-0 to us, piling the agony (and P45) on the Blackburn manager and giving me five reason to be cheerful. I might even have a punt on it.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

It's nearly here...

... You'll have to forgive me for being a bit overexcited. I always get excited about the Addicks taking the field, but no more so than when we play local rivals Palace.

It's been one thousand three hundred and twenty six days since we last played and beat them, back at the Valley in 2009. (Yes I am that sad that i have worked out this fact with several old calendars and a bit of MENTAL arrhythmic).

I've enjoyed (and agonised) watching this fixture so many times. My Millwall supporting mate agree's that this for him is also always the one to win. You want and need bragging rights and a defeat can not only write of the evening for you but pretty much the rest of the month. (If not he season if it6's a bad one).

Palace moments that stick in my mind are many.

The penultimate game at the Valley, when THAT crappy piece of paper was first handed (as I remember it) and us going on to beat them 3-1 to stick two fingers up at their crowing supporters.

Sitting in The Arthur Waite Upper as a teenager with my Dad, with just a bit of barb separating us from some idiot spitting at us and generally looking like he wanted to murder me.

Losing at home in the play off semi final. Steve Claridge breaking hundreds of Palace hearts by firing a late winner for Leicester in a play off final.

The photo copied cuttings from pretty much every national paper mounted on the wall behind my desk proudly on display for all and sundry to see the morning after 'nine goal went past Perry...'

Dennis Rommedahl

Pacing nervously around my garden listening to the match updates come in and chatting nervously to my Millwall supporting friend whilst we waited, post Fortune goal, for confirmation of their relegation. (That particular celebration came back to bite us on the bum).

Iain 'Bloody!' Dowie

And stand jumping from the middle of my front room floor onto my bay window ledge, then letting out a primal scream, to celebrate our most recent match winning goal.

Sir Chris will certainly understand and not underestimate the importance of this fixture. I'm sure he'll get his tactics spot on and I'll have a great weekend.

Ricardo to arrive at The Valley in style and bragging rights coming to SE7 for a few months at least. Charlton 3-1.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The transfer window, West Ham and Bolton bog off!

Besides the addition of some more keeper cover the predominant rumours being strongly touted by the media (including Sky Sports, which is usually pretty close to the mark) are the bid from Villa for Stephens and the double bids from West Ham and Bolton for

It is the hateful thing about the transfer window, clubs leaving it very very late to table these bids, thus if the deal does get done leaving the selling club too little time to get in a replacement thats any where near good enough.

As far as the two players go I think i'd be stating the bleeding obvious when I say I can actually see Stephens being easily replaceable (maybe even from within, Hughes did a great job and the central midfield seemed more balanced, settled and we played better during the period that he was paired with Hollands, we've also got kerkar and ruben boverr waiting in the wings), whereas i will categorically say I simply do not want Solly to go. Particularly not to Bolton who lets face it are now our peers. I can fully understand the allure of a season in the Premiership (which is all i think he'll get with the Hammers).

How hard would Solly be to replace? Wilson, sorry, i don't think based what I've seen so far will cut it for us. And his game is fundamentally limited in comparison. I can only hope that Sir Chris and the board have something lined up as this transfer is a rumour that has failed to go away all summer.

If either has to go, then the best part of a million quid from Villa for Stephens along with Reo Coker as a free agent brought in to bolster the midfield would suit me, with Chris Solly further enhancing his youthful but ever growing stock amongst the Addicks staying to give us at least this season before someone bigger than West Ham paying 'proper' money for him next summer.

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

four points closer to the magic fourty nine...

...In all honesty I really didn't expect to be sitting here after two games on four points and already starting to get delusions of grandeur and possible pangs of thought saying to myself ever so quietly 'we couldn't actually do it. Surely not? A double bounce back to the promised land?'

Even as unlikely as this is, the early signs are good. Two good results against two of the better teams and more importantly better managers in this division. Despite riding our luck a bit at times this Charlton side looks neither scared or out of place in The Championship. And will only grow and get better as it did last season.

The real aim this season, as a minimum requirement, is to hit the magic forty nine points that's been enough over recent years to keep you up for another season in The Championship. We've already chalked up four of those points in a couple of games that in all honesty i'd hoped for only a couple at best. So so far so good.

The signing of Fuller is encouraging, a good strong and experienced striker, I remember when we nearly signed him back in the good old days before he'd ever made an impact with anyone. This gives us some real experience in depth up front.

It was good to see Kermo stick down the Leicester City crowds throats and hopefully will excercise one or two demons for our French Talisman.

All in all a rather happy Addick sitting here looking forward to the Hull game on Saturday, where if we can keep our early momentum and get a result accompanied by a polished performance could really start to propel us towards a more exciting season than I'd anticipated.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The French Connection...Signing No.4

...Dorian Dervite-Vaussoue signs a one year deal adding to the existing two Gaelic Addicks.

The French man is the additional central defensive player we all seem to have been calling for.

Young with some experience, apparently impressing during the close season trial period he has spent with Charlton.

Apparently he did so well in his short period on loan at Southend he was in fact voted runner up in their player of the year awards.

We'll have to wait and see how he measure up but none the less a welcome bolstering to our numbers.

2008–2010Tottenham Hotspur0(0)
2009→ Southend United (loan)18(0)
2010–2012Villarreal B23(0)
2012Charlton Athletic0(0)

Bring on the Brum...

So the season starts in earnest in not much more than twenty four hours (at the time of writing).

Good news came yesterday in the shape that some common sense has prevailed and Sir Chris will be able to take his place in the dug out with no touchline ban being imposed.

I would imagine that the starting eleven will surprise few of us with the same side that romped League One starting this season. The only area I see contention in is the midfield, Jackson a shoe in on the left with Hollands and either Pritchard, Green, Wagstaff or Stephens taking the other central and right hand birth. I'd also be happier if there is a fit Cort paired up with Morrison in the heart of defence.

Lee Clarke knows us well, so I fully expect Birmingham to be well versed and prepared to deal with our style of play.

Buoyed by their midweek demolition of Barnet the Blues will be confident of opening their campaign with three points and perhaps even a few goals notched up. What they may not be prepared for is the promotion bounce that we suffered during our most recent season home openers in the Championship against a newly promoted side (1-1 Scunthorpe). Which is exactly the result I'm going for. A morale and confidence boosting away score draw on the opening day of the season for plucky Charlton. (Wonder how long it will be before we here the press roll out that particular old chestnut).

Excited and nervously looking forward to 3pm Saturday afternoon. Come on you Reds.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Charlton Nearly Reserves 1 Leyton Orient 1...The Capital One Cup

There are many ways to look at Tuesday nights League Cup match, whether your from SE7 or just North of the river in E10.

The doom and gloom merchants from Charlton will be very much commenting on how hard the squad we have is going to find the step up to the Championship blah blah blah blah. Those overconfident and optimistic amongst the O's will be waxing lyrical about how they came South and beat Goliath and are going to 'do a Charlton' and take tier three by storm this term.

Then there are the realists. An Orient side with nothing to lose came and narrowly beat Charlton's reserves in a game that had a real pre season friendly feel to it in it's general tempo.

Of the starting eleven I'd say only Hamer, Cort and Hollands are definite for Saturdays trip to Birmingham. The rest are very much fringe players who could maybe individually do a job covering for any short term injuries or suspensions.

Comments that have run through my mind having given myself a couple of days to think about the game are as follows:-

Hamer - Still the best keeping option, he seemed to have been instructed to try and distribute the ball via quick throws out to the full backs to release quick counter attacks. (Something that was a really strong part of Elliots game). But often looked nervy and his throws lacked the pace of a good pass. Not sure if this was down to a lack of confidence in the full backs (understandable in Wilson's case, but i'll get to that in a bit).

Taylor - I still think he is decent cover for either Cort or Morrison, but it is the latter two that should be our first choice central defensive pairing. Cort seldom lets the ball or player past him.

Evina - When he decided to run at players and cut in looked pretty sharp, and a real alternative to the way Wiggins attacks the ball. Not quite as solid defensively as Rhoys but I think this could be the season where we see him used a bit more often for tactical purposes.

Wilson - Did a lot of purposeful gesticulating and pointing to tell other where they should pass the ball. As a performance I found his passing unimaginative, I didn't have great confidence in his tackling ability and thats that really. Nothing to convince me that he shouldn't still be in League One with Stevenage really. Sorry, perhaps he'll settle in and prove me wrong.

Smith - I don't want to be too negative, but the words Eeeeh and Awwwe spring to mind. He looked pretty much out of his depth really. Didn't think he held the ball up well, had very little control when running with it and, for a big guy, did not win much in the air.

Waggy - The 'Roy of the Rovers/Local boy does good' in me really wants Scott Wagstaff The Striker to work. But it doesn't really doe it? He still has plenty in his locker as an attacking midfielder and I'm sure will have another decent season and chip in with enough goals to help the team as a whole consolidate this year.

Cook - There's been a fair bit of raving about him having a great game. My opinion is that he didn't have a bad one. And towards the end did indeed, when he decided to really start having a go create a lot of problems for the Orient defence. He in my mind will be good cover and great to have on the bench, as it would seem he can play up top or on the wing. One to watch I think.

Kerkar - He's going to be one of those marmite type of players. At times he looked pretty good, I wouldn't go as far as the real deal, but certainly given time could prove to be a competent addition to the overall playing squad and could play his way into a regular slot.

Sir Chris - It's always going to be hard to be critical of Powell. But his shenanigans that lead to him being sent to the stands and dare I say slightly overly petulant performance that could well lead to the touchline ban being longer than it should have been were a bit naive and disappointing. I understand as much as anyone his frustration at third division refereeing standards, we've all spent the last three seasons experiencing them. But at the end of the day, it was a none game, we were pretty much fielding a second eleven, and the important game is on Saturday at St Andrews. Where he's needed, like the following matches, in the dug out doing his job. Other than that, can't fault his passion, or new found will and understanding that we will need to try out and have formations other than 4-4-2 to punch our weight in this division.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The season starts here...kind of

Excited as I am about tonight's inaugural match for Charlton in the 2012-2013 season it all seems a bit odd and surreal really.

Glasgow Rangers (Newco) drawing their opening game away in the Scottish third division, the season starting on Saturday in England with the Conference kicking off alongside League Cup First Round ties throughout the country. Confusing managers, should they treat the competition with even less respect than usual and treat it as a pre season friendly with their team selection as opposed to the usual resting players and giving squad players a run out (as we did last season against Reading and Preston). All the more confusing for a creature of comfort and a traditionalist like myself.

Quite what Sir Chris will do I don't know. I suppose it will go one way or the other, or maybe even another? Stick with a similar line up to that which finished last season and go 4-4-2, which as a general rule worked more than well enough against third tier opposition, use it as a dress rehearsal for Saturdays trip to Brum - perhaps with the diamond 4-3-3 type of line up that has been looked at pre season, or a n other.

I've got a feeling if we do go 4-4-2 we'll see Wagstaff or Green (if fit) on the right. (Based on an assumption that's why Pritchard was used in this position on Saturday to keep them out of harms way). However I would not be surprised to see three up top, with Kermo, Cook up top and maybe Waggy in support, with BWP on the bench to keep him fresh for Saturday.

One of the few things I enjoyed whilst visiting the third division was the games against Orient. I like Orient, a good community club with a core and loyal following. Out of the six times we played them we won four times and lost twice. (Including the hideous match on new years eve, which ruined my evening). When we've scored against them we've gone on to win. I'm going for an early goal for the Addicks and a relatively easy ride through to the second round.

There's been much comment about the lack of transfer activity this summer. I think there are one or more pertinent points to bare in mind.

Last close season was monumental by anyone's standards in the turnover of playing staff. So we can't really make any comparison with that. It was an anomaly.

We have actually signed three new players. One, Kerkar, who I'm sure will turn out to be a real asset and an important signing.

Last season we had the money from Shelveys departure and Jenskinson's sale to Arsenal, along with the funding that the new board brought with them to steady the ship and get the playing staff up to speed.

The historic campaign we had last season has raised every bodies expectation levels to unrealistic heights of doing a Norwich/Southampton and double bouncing back to the 'promised land' of the premiership.

I think the focus should be on consolidation (lets be fair that's something we would have settled for last season, rather than the nagging fear of another relegation into the bottom tier of league football). I believe the current playing staff have enough in their collective lockers to win some and lose some and stay up without causing us too much worry and without flirting with relegation. Our recent best period was built on these sort of sensible foundations, rather than throwing money we didn't have at relying on promotion.

Something also to bare in mind is the fact that one of our best players and already a legend at the Valley, was not signed until the season was well under way, and then it took several games for him to force his way into the starting eleven. So we could still see key personell joining the team.

It all start in earnest tonight at 7.45, and I can't wait.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Charlton win behind doors friendly

Charlton 3 Southend 2

This one passed me by. I just glanced at the official website and saw the report that a pretty much full strength Charlton side have come from two down to beat United 3-2.

I can only guess it was not pre publicised to avoid any Addicks trying to get a sneak peak from any opportune vantage points outside the ground.

It was obviously important for some of the first teamer's to get a run out at the Valley prior to the big kick off next Tuesday against Orient in the Capital One cup.

The side was made up of squad and first team players, BWP netting twice with Kerkar, all be it in a friendly, scoring his first goal in SE7. (Maybe he'll turn out to be another Gaelic gem).

For the full report and line up see the official site

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Going, Going, Gone - Kavanagh leaves - period

The club have announced on the official website that after his resignation as a board member Kavanagh has now permanently left the clubs employment. Little more info than that.

Read into it what you will.

Monday, 9 July 2012

A different Cook signs...

So our first signing of the season is made, just in time for the Welling United game.

22 year old Jordon Cook has signed a two year contract following his release from Premier League Sunderland.

2009–2010→ Darlington (loan)5(0)
2011→ Walsall (loan)8(1)
2012→ Carlisle United (loan)14(4)
2012-Charlton Athletic0(0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:25, 14 May 2012 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

As you'll see a career total appearances of 30 over four years with a return of 5 goals should hardly see BWP quaking in his boots but with the exception of Alonso all signings made by Sir Chris and his scouting team to date have all been at the very least adequate, usually pretty astute (see Kermogant).

I would imagine this is the first of two or three that will drip through over the next week and a half prior to our trip to Portugal.

I think we all need to get used to the fact that most of the rebuilding of the side took place last summer with the unprecedented, and probably never to be seen again twenty something new faces coming through the gates of The Valley.

In my mind we do still need, at the very least, another midfielder and someone to compete with Bradley Wright Phillips or be able to cover his position in the event that his knees start playing up again.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

disgusted of Dartford...

Me and the missus have decided to treat my Son to the new Charlton home kit for the first time. He's six, been to a couple of games last season and thanks to the football club he's been attending at school, match attax card game and Euro 2012 is really beginning to get it (and thanks to my hard work explaining why its better to support your local team over his mates who are mainly Chelsea and Arsenal) he is now starting to show early signs of becoming an addicktoholic.

Up until now he's been attending football club amidst his Chelsea and Arsenal replica kit clad mates in an old England kit that belonged to one of his older Sisters, we have promised and promised as a reward for good behaviour we'll get him the new Charlton kit. And on the whole he has been a good boy. So good in fact that we promised he could have his name and a number on the back.

So we went to the new Nikeeeee stocked club website to price up and order it. A stiff drink was required! He's too big for the twenty two quid kiddies kit so we had to go junior. One shirt with his name and the number eight, Nikeeee shorts and a pair of socks. SEVENTY FIVE CHUFFING QUID!!!!! Saying that we could save six quid to go without the NPower champions gold star badge. Well that'll be alright then, that brings it below the magic 69 then! as they say VFM.


Perhaps i'm being a bit naive, seeing as we are third division champions and all that? Did the Macron kit really cost as much?

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And there we were all looking forward to some good old fashioned second tier mediocrity...

...So the doom lovers are back out in force. And to a certain extent, who can blame them. (I do however find it odd that some people seem to get such enjoyment from potential bad news and possible calamities).

Rumours are flying around and gathering at pace that all is not great in SE7.

My initial thoughts were (until the conspiracy theorists started) that it was simply a case that the resurgence of the Addicks was ahead of schedule hence Varney leaving his post.  The rumours are that Sir Chris and Tony 'The Hat' Jiminez have fallen out, Zabeel investments made a new bid to buy the club last month, 'we've not got no more money', Zabeel are to make another bid immanently. It's all a bit dizzying!

Two things are for sure. We'll all find out pretty soon what the hells going on (very probably nothing to worry about) good or bad and that once again, it's never plain sailing (with the exception of last season) being a Charlton supporter.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The new home kit..

...with Andrews Air Conditioning emblazoned across the front reminds me of, well, to be fair it does look like a uniform that might be worn by a fitter employed by a multi national Air Conditioning company doesn't it? (Perhaps this is a money saving idea embraced by the boards of both the club and Andrews in these Austere times?)

This coupled with Charlton Casual's reminder that Nike's human rights record is far from exemplary leaves me deciding that I'm not as fan.

We've had some great kit's and some great kit suppliers over the years. Our recent predisposition to use European manufacturers such as Le Coq, Macron and the one that begun with J seems to have been superseded by the need to do a deal with the corporate American giants.

Going back probably the kit supplier and one that closest to my heart would be the old Oska kit. Outside of South East London I'm pretty sure no one had heard of it. (In fact at the Eltham school I went to, which was populated by fans of local sides such as West Ham, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool, none of my peers had heard of it either - but then there was something about being one of what seemed like only around three and a half thousand, in the world, Charlton supporters that appealed to me).

It ended up having our new shirt sponser's name 'The Woolwich' in a white band across the front. Well classy! The other would be its preddecessor by Adidas. The Fads one, that the boys wore on my debut in the West Stand against Gillingham.

I have both safley stored in my loft with my collection of old programmes and magazines.

It's amazing what one starts to blog about once the close season boredom really starts to kick in.

Friday, 22 June 2012

So long and many thanks Mr Varney

So Peter Varney has stood down a season earlier than he'd intended to to make way for the slightly enigmatic (looking at his LinkedIn which gives nothing away) Martin Prothero.

Not sure if you copy and paste the above it will work . Its a link to the Umbro blog, where he used to work apparently. To be honest it does make him sound what I would term as a bit 'media poncey'.

So we have the ex Umbro vice president watching over a new era for the club which has a shirt deal with Nike and are sponsored by Andrews Air Conditioning, a multi national corporate born and based locally with a very ordinary and none corporate sounding name and logo.

Only at Charlton. It's what makes it all such fun.

Just going to throw this one out there. I think, maybe, Sir Chris's success last season took the new board by surprise, and their anticipation was it would probably take more like two seasons to escape the third tier. (hence Varneys original plan to stay for two seasons after the take over).

Now the boards 'business plan' has moved forward at an accelerated pace. I fully expect there will be some surprising twists and turns just around the corner. I know those of us that get over excited by new signings were spoilt last pre season, this time round I wouldn't be surprised to see only one or two incoming, but of better pedigree than most of the early rumours have indicated.

But then I've been wrong before. Quite a lot.

Either way I'll still be taking my seat in the West Stand and cheering on the mighty Addicks.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

All becoming a tad exciting...

... The usual summer months of football famine certainly don't apply this time round.

League cup draws and championship fixture lists are imminent, England actually looked (tactically at least) capable, and various online sources are listing Charlton as a Championship side!

I'm blogging today between appointments in a coffee shop on London Wall. (this is a development that has left me oddly excited.)

When you look at the Championship table after nil games played things look even better, with us equal with both Palace and Millwall on (no) goal difference but ahead of them alphabetically.

Interesting developments in the world of British football. Rangers are going going gone, but apparently all of the staff and players should be 'transferred' to the new company whilst the club retains its history and should be re-elected to the SPL. I'm sure supporters of Wimbledon, Newport, Aldershot etc and all of those other small clubs who went tits up and had to start all over again are splitting.

Rangers will be banned from competing in European competition for three years, if Scotland still get two berths in the Champions League this could be of real financial benefit for whoever finishes third in the SPL, and actually enable them to compete a little bit more with Glasgow's big two. I think it might not be to bad an idea for Rangers, who lets face it, gain most of their revenue via gates and sponsorship to start back in the Scottish third tier. I'm sure they will eventually walk their way back up through the leagues to the SPL and along the way guarantee their poor relations throughout the leagues at least one big payday a season.

Equally interesting developments at Nottingham Forest, with an apparent take over imminent. In fact I read that there are more than one potential sets of new owners battling for control. I've not viewed Forest as having much potential of getting back to the top flight for some time. No money, over expectant and unrealistic board and supporters. More of a giant in a coma than a sleeping giant. It could just be that this season we'll see Forest back in the mix pushing for promotion alongside the favourites and usual suspects.

Can't wait for Monday and the chance to start planning my Saturdays and looking forward to who we'll be seeing under the floodlights at The Valley.

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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Reasons to be cheerful...1

It' been pretty grim in terms of media coverage since we left the Premiership, and even more so during our three long years in the third tier.

Sky and BBC red button services (or ceefax as I prefer to call it) offer club by club in depth info and news for the first and second flight clubs in English football, but just round ups for those in the lower league divisions.

I've been trawling these sites on a daily basis to see when our status is finally elevated, but alas I'm guessing this won't be until the 2012-2013 fixtures are released (18th June, can't wait).

However, on the football leagues website there is this which I think you'll agree shows the green shoots of recovery for us Addicks.

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Job Done!

Well the club and team certainly did not dissapoint yesterday afternoon. A great game preceded by a fantastic display by The Red Devils parachutists and the rather lovely Victoria Stanyon.

It had been my intention to do a bit of a photo log of the day, but to be honest the camera soon went back in its bag as I got on with enjoying the moment.

Much has been said about the 'smurfs' from the North East, and I apologise for re-iterating what great sports they were, really playing their part in making it such a memorable day. In fact Hartlepools United are pretty much the only thing I'll miss about the third division.

It's been such an enjoyable season, difficult to blog about (it's always easier to write about stuff going wrong), King Chris has certainly leapt into another stratosphere when it comes to club legends. What really impressed me yesterday was he did have a plan B changing the shape of the team in second half, which was instrumental in us coming back into the game and ensuring we broke that magic one hundred points total.

Haynes I found particularly impressive. His pace giving us a completely different dimension up front and down the flank. He's obviously finally got his fitness levels up to speed, and with a full pre season I think he will feature heavily in next seasons campaign. I did hear someone, who usually doesn't talk rubbish, that they've heard a rumour Powell will be given 10million quid to invest in a promotion push next term. Not too sure about that one.

Not really a great deal more to say about this season and the day overall yesterday. Magnificent I think will suffice.

Final note, I just took a good look at the new Nike shirt on the club website. Very tasteful, I've not done replica shirts for quite some years, but I think I might part with some folding for this one. I would imagine with his penchant for 'lablled' clothing it will meet with Charlton Casuals approval.

I may post periodically during the Euro's to comment on Roy's Boy's.

Enjoy the summer, and look forward to playing some proper teams next season, and Crystal Palace!

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Saturday, 28 April 2012

The exorcism of the ghost of Christmas past...

During the first four months of 2012 Charlton well and truly shut the harpengers of doom up and put the 'traditional' new year capitulation that the afore mentioned negative Normans seem to enjoy banging on about.

One of my more negative Charlton supporting acquaintances has been going on since the Bournemeouth home game (yes for that long) about how King Chris will be found out eventually and we'll be lucky to make the play off's.

I bumped into him back in November, and when asked about what he thought about the rest of the season he replied (more of a grunt really)' going down with the Christmas decorations'.

How wrong can one be?

Up to the end of the first half of the season on 31st December, when the ref scuppered any chance of a decent game against Orient, Charlton had a win rate of 65% and were proudly top of the league.

Now having played two games less, we have a win rate of 60%, but still have two more games to play. Which if we win will take us up to 69% ratio of wins to games played. And we've retained that top spot all year.

A truly monumental season, littered with new records, memorable goals, numerous hero's, wonder goals, the list of positives just goes on and on.

Today we hit the road for one last time this season, t'north to Preston, where I really think buoyed by the fact that a win will see Charlton enrolled into the 'one hundred club' (and let's be honest, even the most optimistic Addicks couldn't have foreseen that) we will meet the game full on and well up for the win. Preston 1 Charlton 3.

I'm so looking forward to next Saturday.

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It's been a long time...

Since i've posted and more importantly since we've had such a fun and enjoyable season.

Work commitments mean I've been both too busy and knackered to post following, for once, Charlton sticking to the 'Walt Disney fairy tale ' script and doing what was needed when it was needed.

Two more games to go, and the target of a ton of points to hit. (what an achievement!)

Without wanting to tempt providence, I think there's more fun to come. This group of players, the board of directors and course King Chrissy Powell (yes his stature has now risen from mere lordly to regal) do not strike me as being the types to think this season and a return to the Championship is 'job done'.

I'll be at The Valley for the Hartlepool game, for what will be the absolute Polaris of last seasons identical curtain call where we all collectively breathed a sigh of relief that the season was over. It's going to be a much more special occasion that I look forward to enjoying with a special person.

Can't wait.

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Saturday, 14 April 2012


I remember the feeling of unbelief when we were promoted back in 86 to the top flight of football. Today, at 41, not the tender 15 I was back then, the feeling is still the same. Only difference being that tomorrow morning I will be feeling a tad 'tired' compared to the way I felt 25 odd years ago! (I'll be necking mainly rose wine in honour of the mighty reds this evening).

It's been a long old season, and I'll be honest, at times I've been waiting for the wheels to come off. But they didn't. Sit Chris is a legend. Murray did completely the right thing and Slater and Jiminez are owed our thanks for enabling Powell to put together a winning team.

Be interesting to see how the football league show report our fortune tonight, the usual cursory 20 seconds or will they make a feature out of the first (along with Swindon) promotion of the season. Well done Paulo by the way.

A win on Saturday against Wycombe and it's another trophy in the underused cabinet in the boardroom.

Happy happy happy. Goodbye shite referee's as the norm, ta ta Rochdale and Carlisle (maybe), farewell 20 second fls coverage and the first round of the fa cup.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Looks like Wycombe at home then...

I've not posted for the last couple of games as my nerves have been completed shredded by the ongoing promotion push.

Who'dve believed we could be going into the final four games on an amazing 91 points and still not yet be certain of promotion!

I think this shows both the strength of this division this season and what can be achieved (as per both Sheffield clubs) when local rivalry and honour drives you. One of those two clubs sets of supporters will finish the season gutted. I think keeping up with each other will leave the eventual loser out of puff for the play offs.

We travel to Carlisle needing to show the dogged determination from the last two games. I've not seen a Charlton team run the clock down as effectively as on Bank Holiday Monday for many a year.

Carlisle will present us with an altogether trickier proposition. On a decent run of form and pushing for a play off place, I'll be happy with an away point setting us up nicely for a Valley promotion match day against Wycombe. In the event that we do get all three points up north, I can't see either Sheffield club letting up in their pursuit of the second promotion spot, leaving us to look forward to partying down in Se7 a week on Saturday. (I hope).

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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Brains triumph over brawn (and a crap ref) at a happy valley

Another game notched off and another week which see's us retain our cushion in the promotion places.

On the day, in the first half in-particular, it could be argued that Charlton provided some of the best passages of play, passing and invention that I've seen all season. Shame about the ref though. He was woeful. I mused to myself at one point whether it was in the powers of the fourth official and referee assessor to actually sub him. So bad was his performance. In fact he may well have got the refereeing equivalent of a half term bollocking because in the second half the thugs that Orient were got no fewer than five bookings and got away with a little less.

Poor old Yan the Man must be black and blue tonight, he seemed to be singled out for plenty of extremely cynical bad sportsmanship and heavy treatment.

Waggy opened the scoring early on, and if it were not for the blind bloke in the black letting the O's get away with ABH on numerous occasions we may well have added one or two more before half time.

The second half was a different matter. The usual nerves we've seen creep in over recent games reappeared. However at no point was I really all the concerned about the East Londoners getting back into the game. Their kit may have resembled that of the old Wimbledon crazy gang, but they had none of the guile and only the brawn.

Again in the nervy second half Charlton worked hard to carve out an opportunity to put the game to bed, and we're finally rewarded with the goal when N'Gusseon connected strongly to meet Cooks cross and secure all three points.

The only real negative on a Charlton front would be Stephens performance. Again he looked a shadow of the player we saw early season. At times he looked confused and indecisive about what to do and where to pass the ball. I was upraised Pritchard did not come on for him towards the end, as it did look like if anyone was going to make the error to let Orient into the game it would be him.

Cook linked up with Whiggins really well. Fully match fit, which he wasn't, he could be a good acquisition in the summer. Court again offered experience and safety in defence. (I can't see Taylor usurping him, except to give him a rest in next weekends double header)

With the player of the year vote coming up it's becoming harder than usual to call.

Wagstaff remains one of my favourite players. When he's on his game he's both dangerous going forward and fearless when looking to win back the ball. Both full backs, in my opinion, are quality! Both fly forward impressively and look dangerous. Solly being home grown, very young and a future England international in the making has a great case. Kermogant has been immense. And let's not forget that BWP has scored over twenty of our goals.

Six games to go, nearly over that line. Three more wins and we'll get there.

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Curse of 'the old boys' ...

If I use my usual strange un scientific logic to guide me to my prediction (which based on recent history will almost certainly be wrong) for the Orient game we will need to score at least four goals to win. This based on the theory of ex players always scoring against us. And with Spring, Lisbie and Mooney in the side i'm thinking the o's are worth at least one. To be fair I'd gladly take 4-3 to the Addicks. Having said that I'd just as gladly take one nil with the winner coming in the first minute.

We've all been going on about the run in for probably too long too early now. But with seven games to go and the Easter fixtures coming up we are well and truly onto the final straight. Will we sprint to the finish (bank holiday Monday at home) or limp over the line at the last knockings? I think the bottom line is as long as it's in first or second and the booby prize that is third and brings the horror of the play offs is staved off who cares.

On the whole it's been a long and enjoyable season, with the odd hiccup and some great, performances. I want be sorry to see the back of it though.

My honest expectation is maximum points for those of us in the top four and us keeping that all important cushion we've built up and edging closer to nailing it.

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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Kent Senior Cup semi final

Charlton reserves travel to Dartford tonight for the semi final of the Kent Senior cup. A place alongside Hythe is the prize for the winners!

I think it was a good thing for Charlton, Millwall and Gillingham to enter sides into the competition this season. With a complete lack of competitive matches available for League One level reserve teams it does offer up some valuable experience of playing against teams who actually want to roll their sleeves up and give you a game.

As I understand it Damien Matthew has taken control of the teams for these games, and has on more than one occasion had first teamer's at his disposal. Stephens began his come trail from injury in one of these matches.

Being that Dartford's tidy and compact stadium is virtually at the bottom of my garden, I shall be popping along tonight for a few beers and to see first hand some of our development players and those on the periphery of the first team. It will also be a welcome break from sitting at The Valley chewing my seat willing us to not throw it all away.

You never know we could take one step closer to completing a first treble trophy season for the Addicks. The People's Cup, The Kent Senior Cup and The League One Championship.
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Saturday, 24 March 2012

You couldn't make it up (unless your the Daily Mail)

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Friday, 23 March 2012

Catch us if you can...

There need not be too much pre match analysis of this match really. We all know how important the points are to both sides. Huddersfield need to win to keep themselves very much in touch with the two Sheffield clubs, for us another three points will continue to push us ever closer to promotion.

Looking at the four clubs remaining fixtures there is a similar looking mix of mid table and relegation strugglers in store across the board. On paper Huddersfield look to have the most difficult run in. Games against us, Carlisle chasing the final play off spot, Sheffield Wednesday, Scunthorpe and Walsall who are fighting for their place in League One. They do however have the benefit (?) of a game in hand.

It's hard to be to scientific about the outcome of the final few games, I've decided to base the points total that will be accrued by the four teams on the following basis. Mid table opposition home or away = win, Relegation battler at home/away = win/draw, Play off contender at home/away = win/draw, promotion chaser home/away = win/loss.

This will mean the following final points haul for each side:

Charlton Athletic 19
Sheffield United. 18
Sheffield Weds. 21
Huddersfield. 23

Which in turn will see this as the final table:

Charlton Athletic 101
Sheffield Weds. 92
Sheffield United. 91
Huddersfield. 91

As I say, it's not exactly scientific, and I certainly won't be betting my house on it. Our points total allows for defeat away to Huddersfield on Saturday.

All this still points to Carlisle being the clincher. If we do win tomorrow, and other results all go our way, we could even see us celebrating on Bank Holiday Monday at home to Walsall!

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Solid display see's off The Cider Boys

I thought I'd leave it overnight to post after yesterday evenings important win at The Valley to remain objective and not overreactive.

'ei ay ei ay ei ay o...up the football league we go'

Oh well, at least I managed not being overreactive for 35 words!

Okay, it wasn't Man Utd we were playing, but they are/were on a rich run of form, and did not play that badly, but ultimately we were the better side.

The first goal was such a freakish surprise that it took most of the stadium a few seconds delay before they realised Dany had crossed/lobbed the ball from distance, at an acute angle into the back of the net. On the whole he was not a particularly great looking wide man, not hugely mobile but hard working none the less.

The second, from memory a good cut back header from Kermit for BWP to slot home and take his tally to an impressive and very credible 21 so far.

The third and most impressive saw Kermit again releasing Wiggens along the left who raced through and squared the ball for Russell, who had an excellent game, to crack in our third. This taking our goal difference to forty, nine better than any other team in the division.

Two other players, other than the usual suspects (ie. Solly and Yan), that I feel really need a mention are Cort and Wagstaff. Despite his shortcomings I've always been a fan of Waggy over Green. Last night he worked his socks off, covered an awful lot of the pitch both defensively and with attacking play. He showed invention and his attitude was back to it's best and spot on.

Leon Cort has actually provided a bit of a selection dilemma for Sir Chris in my opinion. Every time a lofted ball came towards our goal he towered confidently above which ever opposition player it was heading for and did what sometimes Taylor forgets to do. He plays the ball strongly and in a controlled manner forward back up to the half way line and our players.

Cort also surged forward and had a go on more one occasion. All be it unsuccessfully, but if he had have nicked one of those chances it would have been a deserved goal.

On the whole a good result. A shame that Sheffield United romped past Notts County and Wednesday nicked a late late equaliser at Wallsall, but with only eight games remaining it's very much in our hands.

All we need to do is match, win lose or draw Wednesday and Hudersfield over the next four games and it's job done. If that is the case then it will be an away promotion party up in Carlisle as I'd recently predicted. (But then as time and time again this season I've proven, I could be wrong)

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Here come the 'Cider Boy's

Another "most important match of the season" coming up tonight, at home against the mighty Yeovil Town.

Perhaps the most important thing to come out of last weeks away draw at Scunthorpe was Charlton rediscovering how to not get beat, despite performance.

Yeovil visit us on the back of a run that has seen them steer themselves away from the relegation dog relatively early and put them 3rd in the current form table. 5 matches unbeaten including only one draw. But then we all know all great things must come to an end, including The Cider Boy's run.

In seven league and cup performances against Yeovil we have only lost the once, in the League Cup, back in 2008.

Chris Powell has strengthened the squad with two loan signings. The first Lee Cook who returns to the Valley for his second loan spell. Not sure if he can play on the right, if he can we may well see him come straight into the starting eleven. The other is an ex colleague of Powell. Dany N'Guessan. I asked my Millwall supporting friend about him, to be fair he hasn't really got enough game time for any constructive or other criticism. However based on our recent experience of Sir Chris signing ex Leicester forwards may be he'll turn out to be another gem of the likes of Yan the Man.

A full programme of fixtures tonight see' Sheffield United away to the possible banana skin that is Keith Curles impressive Notts County, who will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at the weekend. Wednesday entertain strugglers Wallsall, who in. 20th place may well go to Hillsborough looking to frustrate and pick up a vital point.

Huddersfield look to have the easiest fixture of our promotion rivals. Away to rock bottom Chesterfield who are now beginning to look a shoe in for League Two next term.

We've been trying to break the eighty point landmark since our last midweek home game against Colchester. And I fully expect us to do so this evening. I'd also not be surprised if all three of the other games end in score draws so not only could we see ourselves on 82 points but 11 points clear with 8 games to go and 24 points left to be had.

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Saturday, 17 March 2012


So it's not panic stations quite yet. I've been one of the many bemoaning the moaners and with the Mantra of 'we're still seventeen points clear from third place' followed by 'we're still eleven points clear from third spot', now I'm going to say it 'we're still nine points clear of the play off melee'. A midweek visit from Yeovil and then a home game against Huddersfield and I'm really hoping that next Saturday I won't be saying 'oh dear, there's only three points in it!'

Being Charlton, we never do things the easy way, but this is starting to make my you know what squeak a touch.

The idea of being pulled into the horror show of the play off's fills me with dread. But remembering last season awful run where we just could not buy a win anything it would seem is possible.

I was not at the game, but looking at the stats, Scunthorpe looked more likely to nick the points, I expect to be fully enlightened by bloggers that were actually at the game.

Ho hum. A hideous trio of Charlton results must surely be followed by an arrest of this promotion wobble (let's be honest it always happens to the teams who finally go up) mustn't it?

I'll be there on Tuesday night willing the lad's to put in a performance, and even more importantly pick up three points to keep our nine point cushion as we edge ever hopefully closer to the end of the season and eventual promotion.

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Friday, 16 March 2012

The final straight starts here...

Being a season of overcoming records and achievements hopefully Saturdays game will see this trend continue and Charlton take maximum points from the Irons for the first time since 1973 back in the old third division.
After the two surprise home defeats we face two tricky matches against sides who despite still being well in the relegation dog fight mix are both on 4 match unbeaten runs.
Scunthorpe have managed to win twice and draw twice, three of these games were away from home.
Yeovil recorded 3 wins and a draw in their own unbeaten sequence.
I think the result and performance at Scunthorpe will have a direct baring on the Tuesday night game at the Valley. The team, who actually played really well in the second half of the County game have had a week to recuperate from the recent full on fixture list and also reflect and work on the dip in performance levels over the last few games.
I expect Powell to go with pretty much his favoured starting eleven. We may, if his services are secured and in time see the introduction of Glasgow Rangers Greg Wylde who is now a free agent. Various media sources are saying that with a cash lump sum signing fee we've beaten Bolton Wanderers to his signature. The fact that it's likely that we'll be plying our trade in the same division as them next season it looks logical.
We may also see Stephens benched with Russell or (hopefully) Hughes getting their chance back in the starting eleven.
It's always difficult when you have to play away to a team that's battling to stay up. I think however that after our recent performances and the last two results we'll see an even more dogged performance than that in the second half last week. Notts County are a good side, and they looked shell shocked when and how we came out of traps. If we do that from kick off this week I think you could well see Scunthorpe's mini run coming to a rather spectacular end. Scunthorpe nil Charlton five or six.
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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Is there enough left in the tank?

Absolutely agree with the general sentiment that we need not panic. Yet, anyway!

The first half yesterday was pretty bad, let's be honest with ourselves. Recent performances, if not results, have shown a tired and perhaps slightly complacent group of players.

Notts County really did a job on us in the first half. Their players movement off the ball was everything ours wasn't. Tireless, intelligent, well drilled and disciplined.

Besides the high tempo start to the second half and our two goals that tempted us all in to believing a come back was possible (for the first ten minutes of the second half we looked like the side who swept all in front of them aside early season) we did run out of legs and ideas and resorted to the long ball route one style that we always seem to when on the back foot.

What really struck me was the lack of players arms going up and actually calling for the ball. The 'sameness' of some of the passing patterns that were simply not working. On more than one occasion both Wagstaff and BWP made incisive runs into very good unmarked positions but the ball was continually played across the midfield in the same predictable way.

We still have a very credible lead over second and third, providing the blip does not become a slide we should pick up enough points (I hope) between now and May to ensure Championship football next season.

In the event that we do go up we will certainly need to strengthen to ensure we don't drop straight back down into this horrible division.

It would be unfair to single out any individual players for their performance yesterday. First half we were all, to a man, dreadful. Hamer looks nervous post Colchester, Stephens has not looked at all the real deal for several games now and BWP despite getting his first ever hat trick recently is still miss firing.

I'd be looking for us to sign two midfielders, a wide man and a central midfielder, a striker to offer BWP some real competition and maybe a defender who again can actually push the back four for a starting place.

My opinion would be for the Scunthorpe game get Hughes or Pritchard back in, give Waggy a starting place with Green on the bench. I'd still start with BWP and Yan up front. I don't think either Clarke or Haynes really have many goals in them. I'd even look at the possibility of recalling Hayes back from Wycombe as a proven and possible realistic alternative to Wright Phillips.

It's never easy being a Charlton supporter. And I'm sure we will see some more twists and turns on our journey back to The Championship, but ultimately I just can't see us dropping out of the top two. A lot will become clearer after the next two games. I just hope that if we don't pick up the four points we'd all expect that the board don't have a rush of blood to the head a la Huddersfield/Sheffield Wednesday.

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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

From the sublime to the ridiculous...

I don't think any of us can really complain about last nights result. We had the lion share of possession, ultimately a much bigger shot on and off target and corner ratio than United but it was just one of those nights where the important elements of the game frustrated us. At no point during the game did I or I think many of the 13 odd thousand Addicks in attendance really see us converting anymore the chances that came our way. The away side defended in numbers when we were in their final third, and when any shots did fly in there always seemed to be a Colchester leg, head, backside to block it.

Stephens did not have a great game, and Kermo must have had an instruction in training to when he had his back goal chest the ball back into the path of an onrushing colleague. It did not work once.

Another oddity last night was the number of times Charlton players apparently collapsed to the floor. I don't know if the pitch was overly slippy or the Colchester trainer had snuck into the home dressing room and removed every bodies studs?

We worked really hard, and on another night if one or two early chances had gone our way then it could have been a completely different story.

The sublime was Colchester's first goal. The ball leaving Wordsworths boot with such ferocity and accuracy that would have made messrs Stephens, Wagstaff and Morrison (our very own wonder goal specialists) proud had it flown off of their own boots.

The ridiculous the second which coming when it did really put the game beyond us. Hamer faffing (not sure that's a real word) which bounced of the Colchester player and looped over the hapless keeper into the net. The way the Colchester players celebrated that one was pretty embarrassing.

So we wipe our mouths and move on to Notts County on Saturday. So far this season we've bounced back well from the odd set back and generally gone on a bit of a run. I honestly think this is the right time mix things up slightly. Rest or two players, give some of the better players in waiting have their chance. Green benched in favour of Waggy, Hughes or Pritchard back in for Stephens. BWP to stay up front with Kermo, but if he still does not look so sharp come half time give Haynes a full 45 minutes.

One shining light from last night was Chris Solly. A couple of times he got the ball and cut inside to run at the Colchester defence and looked very dangerous. He's tireless energy and tackling never let him down.

Not a result that heralds the beginning of the end but the usual sort of blip that the likes of Leeds, Brighton and Norwich all hit on the final straight.

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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Essex boys

So another opportunity to edge ever closer to the championship.
Colchester are one of those sides you never really quite know what to expect from. Positioned with the rest of the pack of hopefuls just outside the play off places. Indeed there usually is one of these sides that put a run together to ultimately upset one of the teams that have been in the top six pretty much all season. Will it be Colchester? Who knows, I'm thinking probably not.
Despite a solid 3-0 win at the weekend when you look at how they've faired against the top seven this season you'll see they have lost pretty much all of those encounters. Most memorably the 6-1 tonking at home against Stevenage.
I'm not being complacent, and a lot will depend on Powell's selection policy for this evening. Based on what I've heard from supporters that were down in Bournemouth at the weekend, we were looking a touch jaded.
Providing we don't put the second string out tonight and just go with resting one or two players I'm thinking the fresher legs of Pritchard, Wagstaff, Haynes and maybe even Evina will see us take care of business and break the eighty point mark. Let's hope so!
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Saturday, 3 March 2012

Charlton to continue winning ways...

By the time I'm writing this post many Addicks will be on their merry way down to Bournemouth anticipating another step towards promotion.

I'm now extremely confident that the march back into The Championship will continue unerring and we will see another confident and professional dispatch of another away win.

After Tuesday night the players will be brimming with confidence (not overly, we have a well grounded group of players who will never presume all they need to do is turn up). I've got a feeling that the performance and result today may well have us and everyone in the division accepting the inevitability of Charlton as champions. I think it's going to be one of those anomaly's of a scoreline that draws the eye to it when your perusing the results in the Sunday papers. They'll be at least six goals, not sure how they will be shared out but It will be in Charlton's favour. But then I've been wrong before.

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Watershed moment at Chesterfield

I could be wrong, I could be right? Well thankfully sort of right in this instance! I predicted, all be it rather unscientifically , a 3-1 repeat from earlier this season along with a BWP hat trick. The least likely of those two predictions came true.

The Spirites maybe bottom of the division, but BWP got the trio of goals that have amazingly eluded him so far during his career, AND this is exactly the sort of result away from home that you expect away against struggling opposition if you have true aspirations to be champions of your respective division. And, without getting to carried away, I really do believe that this is the now likely outcome of this season.

Not a rant, more a vent of both relief that my own belief is now becoming a reality and also happiness that he is, better than Shaun!

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Promotion march to continue...

The goal at the end of the ninety minutes this evening really must be another three points and sitting even prettier on 75 points at the top of the table.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not letting complacency get the better of me, but now we've tipped the seventy mark so early. The highest points accumulation of all 92 teams so far this season, it should no longer be about looking over our shoulders at how many points behind our nearest rivals are, but a resolution to acquire the maximum number of points between now and the 5th May.

We've managed to ride out blips in our performance levels, ride out tricky fixtures and still pick up points, and importantly never looked like underestimating our opponents.

Chesterfield are bottom and fighting for their lives in this division. But we're top, and you can see all players are completely focussed on getting Charlton back up to the Championship (how much fun will it be to play Palace and Millwall again in the league?)

If fit and available I'd like to see Waggy given a chance over Green. other then that, if it ain't broke why change it?

I think his goal on Saturday will see BWP return to full goalscoring form tonight. Not very scientific this, but back in our last third tier promotion season we recorded the double over Chesterfield with identical one nil wins home and away. Based on that I'm going for us to emulate our 3-1 win this time up in Derbyshire. Charlton out of the blocks early and BWP for a cheeky first half hat trick.

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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Normal service is resumed

A fellow Charlton supporter said to me after the game he thought 'we was rubbish, they (being Stevenage) were none league two years ago!'. I think he must have been at a different game. We bossed the game and looked poles apart from the Hertfordshire outfit.

After negotiating a blip of, ahem, a couple of draws and scraping a couple of wins by the odd goal Charlton turned up yesterday and put in the sort of performance that lets face it we all know they are capable of.

A bumper crowd, the best of the season, enjoyed a creative performance in which after a slightly pensive start we were in control. Wright Phillips still not quite back to his earlier form, but you could see he was growing in confidence and desperate to get on the score sheet. To be fair by the end of the game he could and should have had a hatful, but the deflected one he did claim, which clinched the points for us should be just what's needed to help him kick on at bottom club Chesterfield on Tuesday night.

Morrison again continues to impress, another solid display and a barnstormer of a goal from the edge of the area to put us one up.

For me, after yesterdays performance Solly is not only going to challenge Yan for my player of the season vote, but I think being so young will go on to great things. Already on the short list and in contention for a place in the team gb Olympics football squad, I have no doubt we'll see him play in the Premiership (hopefully for us) and very possibly for England.

A thorughly enjoyable afternoon at The Valley. Upto 72 points now and we could realistically see ourselves hit the eighty point mark in our next home game against Colchester. Needless to say I'll be there.

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Friday, 24 February 2012

Charlton return to form...

Stevenage's first ever visit to the Valley tomorrow could turn out to be one of the surprisingly most important games of the season and should be played out to a bumper crowd thanks to the five quid for a ticket promo.

Despite the fact that we have not lost since the trip to Orient, the slightly snidey way we've snatched wins and draws and winning games by the margin of the odd goal does seem to have the doom and gloom merchants creeping out from behind those rocks they seem to have been hiding under so far this season.

However we are still picking up points and retaining a decent enough lead at the summit and and even plumper cushion between ourselves and the play off places.

It's absolutely no secret and no surprise that on occasion Sir Chris has been tactically naive with his selection choice.  But we do need to appreciate that he is only just a year into his career as a manager. And we are still top.

The result tomorrow is of particular importance, with two sticky away games against Chesterfield and Bournemouth on the horizon, and it will be both vital that we pick up all three points AND more importantly play the way we all know this team is capable of.

According to the club website there is a good chance of seeing both Solly and Jackson return to the team. (If Solly's illness was the winter bug that me and the family have just been subjected to I sympathise. It was messy!

I think it's important to appreciate and remember how far we have fallen so quickly. Appreciate the fact that we have a young, intelligent and I think rising star of a manager. Enjoy a season like nothing we've seen for many a year.  The form hasn't really gone away. It's dipped a bit, but we are still picking up those vital points and not losing games.

My biggest worry is that WHEN we are promoted bigger clubs sniffing around our crown jewels; Solly, Wiggins, Yan the Man (my player of the year) and Jackson.

We will win and win well tomorrow. Stevenage lost at Notts County this week and I think that with one eye on the big trip to White Hart Lane the purple patch for the team from Hertfordshire will come to an end.

Charlton 3 Stevenage 0

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Game last!

So after two weeks of absolutely no football for Charlton, as we wave goodbye (hopefully) to the cold snap in the rear view mirror, we now face four matches in just eleven days.

Following on from the dissapointing result against Bury we face Milton Keynes this evening, in what will be a real test against a very physical but good footballing side. It does seem of late that the MK manager is developing a bit of a chip on his shoulder and has got into more than one spate with various match officials and opposing managers or players.

It will be interesting to see what effect the enforced break has had on the players. Refreshed after a chance to sharpen up and re charge their batteries? Or out of sorts due to the lack of pitch time?

With the character our lot have shown on the bigger days this season I'm expecting a performance with sleeves rolled up and another three points toward promotion. (maybe even a goal from BWP ?)

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Monday, 23 January 2012

...Carlisle away anyone?

I'm just recovering from the great result and performance on Saturday.

Every man in a Charlton shirt stood up and were counted. United are without a doubt the best side we've seen at the Valley this term. And at times, we did ride our luck a bit (Well Hamer did anyway). However it is the way teams apply themselves, their resolute refusal to lose that defines champions. And that's exactly what we are now looking like.

It was one of those games that really in all honesty could have gone either way, I think we were just a bit better at rolling our sleeves up and giving it the proverbial 110% when challenging for every ball.

In Captain Jackson we have a real gem of a player. He is obviously greatly improved and matured since his days at Spurs, and he really needs to be gracing a higher division than the third tier.

The double sending off incident is one that is always open to debate. Russel's challenge was two footed but not malicious. Under what would seem like the current guidelines for ref's there's really no room for interpretation. If you see the studs from both  boots the player goes off.  I'm not sure it should be as clear cut as that. One of the things most of us love about football is a bit of blood and thunder. Crunching but not overly intent on breaking limbs type of challenges.  I think that on Saturday it was at best a bit over zealous, at worst had a touch of intent to give a bit of 'pay back'.

Beattie charging over like some tit in a playground and doing a bad impression of Albert DeSalvo was just indefensible. I'd have thought that someone of his experience would have the nous to behave in that type of situation.

So now we sit on 60 points (I keep having to do a double take when I look at the table and see our points total) and are really beginning to look like champions elect to be fair.

Based on our rivals (Huddersfield, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday) all keeping up with their current points per game ratio along with us retaining our own I've calculated that we would be promoted on 14th March. The irony being that it will be away to Carlisle, where we won one of our few but great promotions back in 1986.

One thing that is for sure, this seasons campaign will be defined by two games in January and two fantastic free kicks from our captain.

Friday, 20 January 2012

It's a bit like waiting for a bus...

...waiting for massive games these days being a Charlton supporter.

(the third time I've used this image. Hoping to get to use it again in May)

Following on from the Huddersfield game and then soon after the away day at Hillsborough we now face Sheffield United (over recent years the bigger of the two teams from the Steel City ; ) )

It's another one of those impossible to predict fixtures. United have a good manager with pedigree, and are in my opinion to good for this division. (Much like us). I honestly believe that if United and Charlton go up, with a bit more investment, there's a good chance you'll see both clubs vi-ing at doing a Norwich or Southampton and giving a real go at a second consecutive promotion.

One thing is beginning to look a sure bet (besides Palarses potential Wembley appearance) is that parity will soon be restored in the pecking order in Sarf London.

I don't know what the score will be tomorrow, but I do know BWP will break his duck and it's a game that I think will have goals in it. I think this will be one of those anomalies of a match and scoreline. I'm going for a four three, just not sure which way!

I hope it's in our favour, if it is then it will begin to look very much a fait de accomply.

Monday, 16 January 2012

North versus South Part One...

That was one nerve racking afternoon on Saturday. Particularly after the commentator on BBC London DAB announced that there would be an extra 4 minutes played.  How I cringed when Wednesday won a corner and I heard Nicky Weaver was charging into the box.

Still alls well that ends well, I think this result really cements our credentials as serious promotion contenders, up there on merit and not riding our luck. (And believe me there are still some Addicks out there who are dubious of Powell's talents! I'm not one of them).

I watched the Jackson free kick on the suddenly re appearing football league show. An absolute cracker of a curling and dipping pace filled shot into the net.  Part of me both worries and wonders about the prospect of a higher league club sniffing around our excellent captain before February 1st.

Wiggins apparently clearing off of the line. It had it all.

The result leaving us in the fortunate position that we can actually afford a slip up at home against United and still be top. A draw and we keep them at distance, a win and we begin to pull away.

Now I've just got to get through the working week and hope to see us hit 60 points on Saturday. Can't wait!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Destiny awaits...

To say that the next two league games Charlton are to play could well have a pivotal effect on the outcome of our season could certainly be no understatement in my opinion.

The games, order and timeliness that the fixtures computer throws these sequences and dates up never ceases to amaze me.

On Saturday we travel to a vastly improving Sheffield Wednesday team followed by a visit to the Valley by their local rivals United the next week.

It's no real surprise that two such big clubs are up there jostling with ourselves for one of the two automatic promotion places on offer. What is slightly surprising (and a tad frustrating) is the fact that despite having only surrendered to defeat twice this season we are not as clearly out  front on points as you would expect.

This could change dependent on the results over the next fortnight. I don't really need to outline the maths but will anyway. We win both games and this could see us 7 and 8 points respectively clear of second and third place. (This is if both Sheffield clubs win their other games, Wednesday at home to Hartlepool and United away to Bury).  The other alternative being that if we fail to win and lose both games we'll drop to third and be in the play off melee!

It's certainly going to be a nervy and exciting couple of weekends. The current crop of Charlton players do seem to have the ability to rise to the occasion. Just look at (not the result) the way they acquitted themselves against Fulham last week.  The 4-0 scoreline receiving the general consensus (everywhere outside of SW6) that it flattered Fulham somewhat. Also the way in which we put down the 'unbeatable' Huddersfield Town.

I'm not deluded enough to actually expect us to get all six points but honestly believe that we can pick up four to go some way to cementing our place in the top two and push us closer to a return to The Championship.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

...'It's a funny old game'

...So a winning start to 2012 for us then.

It was a funny old afternoon, and to coin a phrase a funny old game.

The kick off delay was a pain, but did make it an altogether different experience in the lower west.  The drummers from the North Stand had relocated to the West, so added to the usual atmosphere we of the living dead usually enjoy.

The game itself was both frustrating and a wee bit blander than the 2-0 final scoreline may have suggested to those who were not there.  At times, despite the 17 odd thousand that were there at the ground, it was quieter than usual. But I put this down to general nerves of the players and supporters alike, worried about the prospect of another defeat in this potential banana skin of a game. Don't get me wrong, we were and are a better side than the Bee's, but we did find it very difficult to carve out any straight up chances. BWP really does need to get what is becoming that allusive goal, he is beginning to cut a frustrated figure and low in confidence.

As seems usual with Rosler the Tossers Brentford side, there was a fair bit of gamesmanship and foul play involved.  The most surprising thing being that they did not receive a single booking.

I'm all for blood and thunder tackles, and even a bit of argy bargy, but Alexander's antics for a couple of late free kicks were at best irritating and at worst just plain unsporting behaviour. Cheating if you want. Blind siding the goalkeeper whilst he is trying to line up his wall for a direct free kick just isn't right!

As it was the (once again) awful officiating and Brentfords gamesmanship was not enough to thwart Charlton unpretty but effectual performance. And a collective cheer of relief wrung out across the Valley when Green kept his composure and nerve to control the long ball from Hamer and clinically plant the ball past the Bee's keeper.

With one or two players rested I thought Cort did a good job filling in for Taylor, Pritchard despite his inexperience did well in the midfield, tackled back if and when he ever lost possession and continues to impress.  New boy Clarke, although I appreciate he was only on for a short period, did not inspire me at all. I think one position we really need to address in the transfer window is a second striker of BWP's quality. To both cover for injury and to provide a bit of direct competition for the strikers place.

We can now look forward to the light relief of a cup game against premiership opposition (is it just me or does it still seem weird that we are going to top flight Fulham as third division underdogs looking to spring a 'cup shock'?) followed by two huge games against both of our closest promotion rivals from Sheffield.