Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A mountain view of Charlton

On the day of the Fulham match I was 3,000 feet up in the Pyrénées in a village of about 150 inhabitants. I didn't expect to find much interest in the game! I was to have a surprise.

Going out for a stroll, I met a 76-year (as it turned out) inhabitant who, seeing an Englishman coming his way, ribbed me about the rugby. I am not an egg chaser, but I sat through the game listening to the French commentary and to the chortles of my host who was born in England but has taken out French citizenship.

The elderly inhabitant proceeded to tell me about his health. I thought he was talking about a hip replacement, but I discovered it was a hernia, after he changed into good English in exasperation.

In the house, I had already been advised to address the cat as 'tu' rather than 'vous' which was not convenient as I can remember the 'vous' declensions better. However, my host's French wife then mentioned that her son lived in London, was a Fulham supporter, and was even then en route to The Valley. Apparently, he supports Fulham because he couldn't afford to go to Chelsea (which is where his sister lives).

After a good French lunch with some excellent wine, I went for a siesta and woke up to be told the score. I thought it was respectable, but apparently Johnnie Jackson saved the day and the general response has been the usual negative one. I thought one Addick made sense when he said, 'the area of major concern is surely the horrendous injury problems we're experiencing? Two of our strikers have been missing for most of the season, and for all of it we've fielded a goalkeeper of League One standard.' Last year our results turned round when Hendo came back.

I took my translation of Katrien's controversial article to France with me and my host said it was correct (a few words and phrases had been the real problem). He remarked, 'She should be glad to deal with Charlton supporters rather than Millwall supporters.'

When I get time I will write something both about Katrien's ill advised interview (some Charlton supporters can read French) and the Roland interview in CAS Trust news, which I found rather disturbing. Apparently, more activity is promised in the January transfer window, but it would be better to use the money to buy one or two players of real quality rather than a lot of average ones.

Meanwhile, my linguistic struggles continued. On Monday we drove into Spain for lunch. I then had to cope with a waiter speaking Spanish, my host's wife addressing me in French and my host speaking English. With my head spinning, I asked for the bill in Italian.

Anyway, it seems that the Fulham supporter may offer me a role in his London company. I may need to take French lessons!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Forward to Fulham

It's hard to see the Addickted flocking to The Valley for the game against Fulham on Sunday. There is the recent run of form to consider, plus the fact that we tend not to do well on television or against Fulham. I well remember a crucial decision by a lino that contributed to our relegation from the Premiership.

There's a 12 o'clock kick off with no trains running, thanks to South-Eastern. From what I hear from friends who use this company on a daily basis to travel to work, they have my sympathy.

The club has urged fans to make use of Valley Express, but the network is much reduced from the days when it was launched as the Rickshaw.

I have made alternative plans for the weekend which means that I am unlikely even to learn the result.

Some fans have been calling for the return of Callum Harriott on loan on the grounds that he has been doing well in League One. There is quite a difference in quality between the two divisions. The average Championship wage is £6,000 a week and that in League One around £1,600. Of course, this reflects factors other than player quality, but that is part of the story.

In any case one can't just call back a player from loan. That is often possible with keepers for obvious reasons, but otherwise an agreement has been reached with the other club specifying the length of the loan and other terms.

Harriott is a frustrating player because he is clearly not without ability, but also appears to have something of an attitude problem. He has been unsettled at The Valley. One could blame fans for getting on his back, but they have had something to complain about.

Bad runs can, of course, come to an end when one least expects them. Let's hope that's the case on Sunday for those fans who do turn up.

Interview with Katrien

This long interview with Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire is in French, but the pictures themselves are interesting: C'est Katrine qui parle

My French isn't good enough to translate the whole article, but I get the idea that she doesn't like older, long-standing supporters like me!

As it so happens, I am going to France tomorrow to visit an old English friend who has become a French citizen, so I will get him to provide a reliable translation.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Maidstone's success story

Maidstone United are currently 6th in the National League South, and they are also reporting financial success. Is this of any relevance to Charlton? Possibly not, but it is an area to which many people have moved from the home boroughs and in which support for Charlton has been quite strong: Maidstone United

Monday, 28 September 2015

Stevie Brown leaves the Dripping Pan

Former Addicks stalwart Steve Brown has resigned as manager of Lewes. He became manager on an interim basis in February and saved the Rooks from relegation. He then took the job permanently in the summer. However, Lewes have had one win in 11 league games and are in the relegation places in the Ryman Premier.

Lewes chairman Stuart Feller said that the resignation came out of the blue. Results had not been going their way, but they had been strengthening the squad. However, some think that Brown went before he was pushed.

It is also evident that he was unhappy with the reduced budget available to him: Steve Brown

Chief scout to quit

Charlton chief scout Phil Chapple is to leave for the wealthier pastures of Fulham: Chapple

In my view that is quite a serious setback. Phil has been our chief scout since 2007. There have been criticisms of our recruitment policy, but I wouldn't put that down to Phil, but rather to moonbeams emanating from Planet Duchatelet.

He was a doughty player for Charlton, if much criticised at the time. I remember his part in our famous 5-1 victory at Ispwich when Leaburn scored his one and only hat trick. Chapple was injured, but came on with a large bandage round his head.

The tractor drivers were so upset that one of them tried to start something in the car park afterwards, saying 'you should be ashamed of that shirt.' For me, it was an occasion for real pride.

Chapple then went to Peterborough where he was known as 'Chapple of Rest', but only because he had a long-term injury.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Charlton ready to see off United swoop for Fox

With Luke Shaw out with a broken leg, Louis van Gaal is eyeing Morgan Fox as a possible replacement. But Charlton are ready to offer Fox a new contract to keep him at The Valley: Morgan Fox

Of course, being on a short list is not the same as being made an offer. It may be a long list of all the young left backs playing in England. Some fans think tjis was made up in the Mirror offices.

I know that for a lot of fans Fox is their favourite scapegoat player. I think he is a classic curate's egg: good in parts. He can be very good, but he also makes some silly errors which put us in trouble. In other words, he is a young player who is still developing, and we have a number of those in the first team.

Thinking about Fox bought me back to Paul Sturgess who was left back in the 1993-7 period. I have a framed picture of him with me in my study holding a very garish third shirt. He was the target of much moaning, although he did play a blinder in a cup game against Newcastle United. However, his career ended at Hereford United and Gravesend & Northfleet. I wonder what he is doing now. His Wikipedia entry is a stub, it has even less on it than mine.