Friday, 31 December 2010

Flash: Charlton takeover completed


Tony Jiminez

The takeover of Charlton has been completed. Tony Jiminez and Michael Slater are in charge, Peter Varney is on the board and Richard Murray remains on the board. Varney's role is more than nominal as executive vice-chairman with responsibility for corporate strategy. CEO Kavanagh is also on the board.

As we indicated earlier, Tony Jiminez is an international property developer and Michael Slater is a lawyer and businessman. Jiminez was formerly a vice-president (player recruitment) at Newcastle United where he worked with Dennis Wise: Jiminez At the time it was thought that he might become involved with Spurs.

His association with Wise at Newcastle may have produced the rumours that the former Millwall player was involved but chairman Slater has emphasised that he has no part in the takeover. Whether he will have any subsequent role remains to be seen.

Slater will be the chairman. His role as a lawyer is now a limited one and he is involved in a number of investment businesses based in Switzerland. In the UK he is chairman of the highly successful Reflex Vehicle Solutions.

With a fleet of 7,500 vehicles Reflex Vehicle Solutions operates a flexible hire service from depots in Stockton-on-Tees, London, Dublin and Didcot in Oxfordshire. Customers, who can add their own liveries to the vehicles, include local authorities, parcel couriers, Network Rail and civil engineers. Reflex also offers maintenance through 2,500 service outlets. Michael Slater, chairman, has overseen profits motoring ahead 47% a year from £1.3m in 2005 to £4.1m in 2008.

In a statement on the Charlton website, Slater referred to building a long-term financial platform to develop the club's potential. He did not want to encourage unrealsitic pie in the sky expectations. The club would always live within its means.

In terms of strengthening the squad supremo Slater has said, 'We need to have a good sit-down with Phil Parkinson and understand what is needed.' A preparedness to listen, then, and no 'Parky out' talk. I think we may see a couple of positions strengthened in the transfer window.

There will be interviews with Slater and Murray on Sky Sports News later today.

U's have injury worries

Colchester United have lost their attacking right back Brian Wilson ahead of tomorrow's match with Charlton: Colchester

They may also be rather rusty, having not played a game for three weeks. Colchester have drawn more games (five) than they have won at home (four). This may look like a 1-1 draw at best but will stick my neck out and for a 2-1 win for the Addicks.

A frustrating year

It's been a frustrating year for Charlton supporters. Defeat in the play offs in a penalty shoot out by Swindon condemned us to another season in League 1, although it was probably better than being beaten in the final by Millwall. We also would not have been financially equipped for the Championship, although investors might have found us a more interesting prospect.

League 1 football is not very entertaining. If anything, the standard has deteriorated since I went to watch Rushden & Diamonds some years ago. Hoofball is rampant. Why don't Charlton play more on the ground? Because it's more difficult to when the other team is lofting the ball in the air.

I don't think Phil Parkinson is a manager of the calibre of Jimmy Seed, Lennie Lawrence or Alan Curbishley. But I think he has done a decent job for us on a very restricted budget. Some of his signings have disappointed, but if you pay peanuts .. We are joint second with a game in hand over the Owls.

Expectations remain high at The Valley and I think we are punching below our weight in this division. However, sometimes there is too much pessimism and negativity and the crowd is too ready to jump on the back of the team.

We now await the takeover or the alternative of going into administration. Apart from Peter Varney, I think it will be four Englishmen, one of whom will be Dennis Wise. Whether he will be director of football remains to be seen, but in my view it is a post we could do without.

With a modest injection of funds, our chances of promotion should improve.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

All square at the Withdean

Christian Dailly returns as captain in Charlton's line up for tonight after his period of suspension. It's Benson and Anyinsah up front, Scott Wagstaff is on the right and Francis returns as right back. Kish is on the bench for the Seagulls.

Summariser Viktor Afans'ev comments: 'A sound defence is always important, but I will be interested to see how the vanguard performs. I was coming tonight to watch a football match but it seems I am at an athletics meeting and I should have brought a fine pair of Russian binoculars. This is not a correct way to stage a match and in Russia someone would be in prison by now.'

Racon scored an early goal into the roof of the Brighton net, but the referee spotted a foul on Anyinsah and awarded a penalty. Jackson scored. The original moved involved good work by Semedo. Within three minutes Anyinsah had to be replaced by Lee Martin.

Elliot flapped a bit as the ball came in, but the referee awarded a free kick. Calderon used the high boot on Racon and was shown the red card by referee Darren Deadman. The Brighton player was furious as was Gus Poyet.

A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box against Doherty. Charlton cleared their lines.

Elliot had to tip over a header from Chris Wood, the New Zealand international on loan from the Baggies, delivered from six yards out. It was getting foggier. Benson held the ball up well, but the attack fizzled out with the ball on the roof of the net.

Martin put in a decent long-range effort which was not far wide. Wagstaff was looking useful exploiting space on the right. Racon was fouled again giving Charlton a free kick in a promising position, leading to an Addicks corner. In the subsequent play, Jackson put the ball into the centre of the penalty area, but Wagstaff put it wide and buried his head in his hands.

Doherty conceded a corner. It came off Benson, producing a second corner. Elliot was able to claim the ball. It was worse than the challenge which led to the sending off. Benson’s header from the free kick went not far wide.

A Charlton corner was taken quickly and short. It was getting murkier. A good save by the keeper led to a corner for the Addicks. Brighton cleared their lines. Three minutes were added on. Charlton were providing some good pressure. Doherty headed away a Brighton free kick.

Our match summariser comments: 'I am not in favour of adventurism, but I think that in the middle part of the match, Charlton were playing too deep and should have put more pressure on Brighton.'

Half time: Seagulls 1, Addicks 1

Murray won another free kick. Brighton had a chance but Elliot was alert and smothered the ball. The fog was thicker.

Wood advanced but was forced out wide by Semedo. Neither side really threatened in the opening phase of the second half. Elliot saved comfortably from Wood after a good series of moves by the Seagulls.

Martin was fouled by Greer. The free kick was 23 yards out. Jackson put in a good shot but it was well saved by the Danish keeper at the expense of a corner which was cleared. Semedo was taken off and replaced by Reid.

Brighton were awarded a free kick. Elliot turned the ball out of play from Murray for a corner which was taken short. Elliot was fouled by Murray.

Fry put in a tackle from behind on Murray and received a yellow card. Fry made an excellent clearance from the free kick, Reid broke and was tugged back. Bennett received a yellow card.

Painter dived from a challenge by Wagstaff who defended well. Wagstaff was hauled back by Painter who received a yellow card. El-Abd got a free header from the free kick, but did not make good use of it. Benson was getting out muscled. Abbott came on but in place of Wagstaff.

Reid won a free kick. The fog was clearing, improving the view for the Addickted. Wood threatened, but Doherty scraped it back to Elliot. Murray advanced and Dailly put the ball behind for a corner. Elliot palmed the ball clear. Racon broke well.

Ashley Barnes replaced Wood. Kishishev came on. Benson had a chance but put it wide. Benson had a free header but Bridcutt cleared off the line. Reid created a corner, but it was unproductive. Charlton finished strongly but then Brighton broke. Kish drew a good save from Elliot. Francis put in a drive which was just wide.

We would have taken 1-1 beforehand, but in the circumstances it was disappointing. However, it puts Charlton in 3rd place.

Viktor Afans'ev comments: 'I was not impressed by P Benson, but what do you expect for less than half a million dollars? G Doherty was impressive, although tiring by the end and receives the silver rouble.'

Varney reassures on takeover

Talks on the Charlton takeover are at a very advanced stage Peter Varney has told BBC Sport. There are still a few things to iron out, but those involved are working round the clock.

Our forecast is that a deal will be done in time for Addicks to toast the new owners on New Year's Eve.

Read the full BBC report here: Addicks

Flying high in Brighton

Our special correspondent in Brighton, Viktor Afans'ev, has joined Seagulls fans inn a helicopter trip to see their new stadium: Flight

He reports: 'For less a hundred dollars, I was able to take a trip along the coast to view their new stadium. I joined the helicopter at the Shoreham aerodrome. With its art deco style, this was reminiscent of our metro in Moscow.'

He continued, 'The new stadium is very impressive from the air, although on a small scale compared with the stadia we are constructing in Russia for the World Cup. But I think there is a contradiction in its name.'

'It is called the American Express Community Stadium. American Express is a well-known international brand: many of us in Russia, including myself, have the American Express card. But to me it does not convey the idea of community.'

'If The Valley was to be re-named under new owners, it should not be named after a company, but perhaps after an inspirational leader who has already made an impact on world football. The name I have in mind is Vladimir Putin, but an alternative recalling war time co-operation between our two countries would be Josef Stalin.'

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Brighton game is on

It has been rumoured that the Brighton game is off, but all Charlton sources confirm that it is on. There are no particular weather problems on the south coast.

Viktor Afans'ev who has arrived from Moscow to see his first Charlton game at the Withdean writes: 'There has been much criticism of mistakes and shortcomings in the team. Unity in the ranks, both team and supporters, is essential. In Russia we know what to do with those who step out of line.'

Criticism of manager Phil Parkinson was unconstructive and divisive: 'We need to equip the practical workers [the footballers] with a scientifically based way of solving their tasks.' There had been a 'mass of idle talk' which only worsened performance.

Viktor Afans'ev will be assisting Paul May as a summariser tomorrow night.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Albion suffer from jealousy

Brighton and Hove Albion are the victims of jealousy from other clubs claims manager Gus Poyet: Albion

I wouldn't choose to re-start our campaign after a long break with an away game at the atmospheric Withdean Stadium. The 0-4 home defeat by the Seagulls was a little misleading in the sense that we were chasing the game after we went 0-2 down and when that happens a team can fall apart at the back.

Neverthless, if Wednesday's game goes ahead (which it probably will) I am expecting a 3-1 win for the Seagulls.

Blaze lose in penalty shoot out

Penalty shoot outs seem to be a bit of a problem for teams I support at the moment with Coventry Blaze losing one 1-2 at home to Cardiff Devils last night. The game was 2-2 at full time and no sudden death goal was scored in overtime. Devils get two points from the game and Blaze one.

I don't think the result was unfair. Devils were faster to the puck and more threatening all evening. Blaze's hopes of retaining the title are all but gone. With injuries and suspensions they were playing a makeshift team last night. The office manager, a somewhat rotund middle aged gentleman, featured on the ice as well as a number of two-way players.

Both in this match and that against the Stingrays last Sunday there were no fights. Since the bench clearance everyone seems to be on their best behaviour.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Score draw at Garrison Field

The traditional Boxing Day match between under 35s and over 35s went ahead at the Garrison Field stadium, St.Mary's, Isles of Scilly today with the usual Sunday clash between the Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers being set aside. It ended in a 4-4 draw.

Veteran Steve Watt kicked off and was named man of the match. Having taken retirement, the Radio Scilly dj now only works part-time on maritime matters for Isles of Scilly Council. Watt can remember when islands other than St.Mary's had teams. St. Martins were a particular challenge as the pitch fell away on either side of the halfway line and they had a notorious chopper in defence.

PC Mark Blythe was injured (cartilege).

The Radio Scilly sports desk aka Merryn Smith and myself is taking a break over the festive period but will be back in 2011.

Game off: fans unhappy

Philippa Nicholson has reported that today's game with Southampton is off following a pitch inspection.

Referee Andy D'Urso, a banker from Billericay, declared that areas of the pitch were unplayable. All the efforts made to clear the stands and approaches were unfortunately to no avail.

According to a report from Philippa Nicholson, 'Apparently there was an inspection this morning and D'Urso agreed to a delayed 13.15 kick off so that extra work could be done on the pitch. The third of the field at the Jimmy Seed end is the problem, but both managers and both sets of players then went on to inspect and were happy to play yet D'Urso called it off after his noon inspection.'

It is also being subsequently reported that the assistant referees thought the lines were dangerous. Paddy Powell is furious about the decision and took some photos of the pitch at what would have been kick off time. Southampton asked if they could train on the pitch, but they were given a negative answer.

Fans who set out for the game are not happy and the postponement will not help the club's cash flow. D'Urso at one time refereed matches at the top level.

According to some reports, the next match could see Dennis Wise installed as director of football, although others claim that he will be CEO.

Richardson fit for Saints game

Former Addick Frazer Richardson has recovered his fitness for today's game at The Valley and will no doubt prove a threat down the right as he did for us. Both managers seem worried about the game and Saints fans don't seem to be too positive either: Saints

Many Saints fans say that they are not match fit for the game and that could apply some Addicks as well. This could be the last game at The Valley under the Murray regime. Unfortunately, I can't make it. Soph collected us for Christmas lunch rather than having me take the risk of getting the car up the long icy slope from our garage block and possibly leading to an an encounter with the brick wall that lines it.

Philippa Nicholson hopes to make it from Kent to provide the coverage for the game. She will be wearing a new coat in Addicks red and white boots.

No Charlton content, but I went to bed early last night so I could listen to the Test coverage this morning (Sky TV is banned by Warwick District Council). I was amazed to hear that Australia were all out for 98 and delighted when we secured a good lead at the end of the day without loss.

I have been to the MCG to see a Rules game and it is an amazing stadium. (Charlton, Victoria is elsewhere in the state: Charlton ) But apparently by the end of the game it looked like The Valley in terms of empty seats at the Walsall game.

I wish Geoff Boycott would disappear. However good the England performance he manages to find some negatives.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Greetings

To Addicks everywhere. I started Christmas Day by watching this piece of Charlton nostgalgia: Sam Bartram

It's a good job they didn't have time added on at The Valley on 25 December 1954 otherwise everyone would have been late for their Christmas lunch. 154 stoppages accounted for 28 minutes but we still beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 with all goals being scored by Eddie Firmani, the first after two minutes.

There were no matches at Christmas 1962 because of the weather. The match on 19 January against tomorrow's opponents Southampton was started in sub-zero temperatures and was abandoned after 57 minutes because of a snowstorm. One match was played in February and the next in March. The Addicks just escaped relegation from the second tier.

The last Christmas Day match at The Valley was in 1957 when we beat Doncaster Rovers in front of a crowd of 17,417, some 5,000 below average for the season. Christmas Day games were becoming less popular and we played our last away one at Huddersfield the following year.

Trains still ran on Christmas Day in the 1950s and on one notorious occasion Charlton players returning from an away game drank the restaurant car staff under the table.

I can relax this morning as our Erith-born oldest daughter is cooking Christmas lunch at her home in a Warwickshire village. All I have to do is get the car to start and up the icy slope from the garage!

Friday, 24 December 2010

No takeover tonight

Pravda has reported:

Charlton's will not be completed on Christmas Eve - the date the investor group were hoping to be in control.

But Addicks chairman Richard Murray said that a deal was close for him to relinquish control of the League One side.

Murray said: "We are currently finalising aspects of the proposed takeover. We expect to make a more substantive statement very soon."

Joe the Saint writes

Joe the Saint looks forward to Sunday's game: Having only played one away game since the end of October, Saints away form going into Sundays game at the Valley is a bit difficult to summarize. Three wins one draw and four defeats have hardly made us away day specialists so far this season. Indeed our home form is equally inconsistent and hence the reason we currently occupy a position outside the play offs.

Last season's talisman Ricky Lambert has failed to emulate his goal scoring feats so far this season (but remains joint top scorer!) and the main goal scoring threat up front has come from Lee 'Wanted by Scotland Yard' Barnard who has scored in all three away wins, Adam Lallana, and the pacey Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, son of ex Portsmouth and England winger Mark Chamberlain who along with Lallana is rumoured to be on his way to any number of Premiership clubs come the January sales.

Ex Addick Frazer Richardson has been sidelined by injury for much of the season while Saints most consistent performer and ex Palace defender Jose Fonte is no doubt assured of an equally warm welcome on Boxing Day. The Valley has certainly not proved to be a happy hunting ground for Saints over the years and December 1977 was the last time three points returned to the South Coast. That season was also the last time Saints were promoted. Thirty three years without going up how many teams can match that !?

Prediction? Games between the sides are usually decided by the odd goal or end in a stalemate, so will go for 1-1.

Walking on water

Joe the Saint will be writing later today about the Boxing Day match from a Southampton perspective.

It's not often that I go to a Charlton match on a boat. On occasions I have got the boat from Westminster pier to Greenwich for the last match of the season. However, I accompanied Joe on the Hythe ferry for a Southampton v. Charlton game at St.Mary's.

Unfortunately this was before the Silver Fox was in charge at St.Mary's so were were not able to watch the Ego walking on water in the Solent as part of his pre-match preparations.

Race against time to seal deal

Pravda aka The South London Press reports: 'The investor group locked in takeover talks with Charlton were facing a raceagainst time to complete their buyout of the League One club before the end of today, writes Richard Cawley.

The Addicks' potential new owners were hoping to conclude a deal by Christmas Eve.
But the club's former chief executive Peter Varney who is representing the group, has admitted that their hopes of assuming control today is likely to go to the wire.

He said: "We're doing everything we possibly can to complete what is a very complex transaction which involves a whole array of third parties."

[The takeover of a Norbury club] was slowed by waiting for the Football League to rubber stamp the club's change of hands. The share - which is their right to play
in the division - has to be transferred.

But Varney, when pressed said: "The Football League is not an issue."

In my view if it does happen today, it will be very late.

17.45: Richard Murray has tweeted, 'We are currently finalising aspects. We expect to be able to make a more substantive statement very soon.'

Saints aim to end Valley drought

Southampton have never won at The Valley since our return there in 1992. The 5-0 drubbing they received in our first game in the Premiership clearly still stings. Most of our contests have been close ones and a draw is certainly a possible outcome on Sunday: Saints

Some of the edge has been taken off the contest by the fact that the Addickted will no longer be able to welcome Super Alan Pardew and thank him for all he did for us.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Addicks prepare Valley

Congratulations to the many Addicks who have been working hard today to try and ensure that Sunday's match against Southampton can go ahead. This shows Charlton at its best. One of them reported:

We spent two hours clearing some snow and mainly ice from the steps and walkway behind the East Stand at Lansdowne Mews - a daunting task to start with, but helped by the arrival of rock-salt around mid-day.

Paddy was optimistic: the pitch was covered at South Stand end, and snow was being cleared from remainder of pitch by tractor - council have even agreed to grit surrounding roads Sunday morning if necessary. -4 forecast for Saturday night, but +2for Sunday morning, so fingers crossed!

Thanks to CAFC for laying on pie/chips/beans lunch!!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sir Lennie back in harness

I think that most of the Addickted would agree that Sir Lennie Lawrence was one of the all-time great Charlton managers. Without him the club might not have survived at all in very difficult times.

His four-year stint as director of football at Bristol Rovers saw the Gasheads promoted to League 1. Since then he has had a cameo at Carshalton Athletic.

Now the 63-year old has been given a tough assignment as director of football at Hereford United who are bottom of League Two. The Bulls are currently being managed by 34-year old former midfielder Jamie Pitman. The rookie manager asked the board for someone experienced to come in and help him and described Sir Lennie 'as perfect for the role'.

Lennie admits that it's a tough challenge. I can't imagine he's getting paid a lot (perhaps he gets cuts of meat) but it's great to see him back in league football.

The effects of the weather

I thought I would avoid a headline like 'Phil's Snow Hell'. The trains were so disrupted yesterday that I wasn't able to get to London for a meeting but we dealt with the business by conference call and a few E-mails, saving everyone time and hassle.

There are real doubts about the Boxing Day clash against Southampton. Parts of the Valley pitch are frozen, there is ice in the stands, but even more important some of the approaches to The Valley are treacherous, not least for anyone coming downhill. Although a thaw is forecast for Boxing Day, it may come too late.

Given the absence of any public transport on Boxing Day (something that doesn't happen elsewhere in Europe), it wouldn't be a match I could get to anyway. But it will also be difficult if it is moved to a weeknight.

A Google Ad on this page has been advertising 'four star hotels in Charlton' and I wasn't aware that there were any (occasionally I use the Holiday Inn Express in North Greenwich). When you click on the ad, you get a selection of hotels in Bristol.

The other event that must be in some doubt because of the weather is the announcement of the completion of the takeover on Christmas Eve. The Addickted may not be getting a Dennis Wise doll in their Christmas stockings, but may have to wait until New Year's Day.

No Charlton content, but if you have a condensing gas central heating boiler and have encountered problems you may be interested in my experiences: Breakdowns

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Red-hot hitman Izale McLeod

Izale McLeod is profiled by the Football League Paper this week. With some hyperbole, it is suggested that the champagne corks should be popping for the 'red hot hitman' as he put two past Accrington Stanley in the first 45 minutes to aid Barnet's fight against the drop. Of course, it may be that he has found his level.

Let's just recall what happened at Charlton. Wily silver fox Alan Pardew spent no less than £1.1m we didn't really have signing the kilted maestro. He scored one goal in 18 games. He then went out on loan to Colchester but sustained an injury.

In desperation he was loaned out to the Spanners and managed to fall out with boss Kenny Jackett. Somehow or other he was palmed off to Peterborough and achieved nothing there. At various times there was talk of return to his native heath with clubs such as Hearts but the canny Scots pulled back.

McLeod commented. 'I had a big move to Charlton and obviously there were high expectations but it didn't quite work out for one reason or another.' Perhaps it didn't work out because he wasn't good enough.

We've already seen Charlton rejects Marcus Bent and McLeod featured recently in football publications. Any suggestions for a third name? A real waste of money?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

There's only one Marcus Bent

Fortunately might say some Charlton fans. But the 32-year old has now been to 14 clubs in 15 years and the 'journeyman' (a label he does not like) shares his thoughts on his career in the latest issue of Four Four Two. He has no clear explanation of why he has been to so many clubs, although is not happy when the interviewer suggests that his nickname should be 'Deadline Day'.

Here's a suggestion: he's not very good and when clubs wake up to the fact, they try to offload him.

He's not too happy about being eclipsed by Darren Bent who was with him at Ipswich (along with Matty Holland, the Herminator and, ahem, Darren Ambrose). At the end of the season, someone asked Darren for his autograph and the penny dropped for Marcus: 'It was the first time I realised there was another Bent in football and I was going to get called Darren for the rest of my career. I had worked hard for my status and now I'm a Darren!'

Of his spell at Charlton, Bent comments: 'I had plenty of opportunity to do a lot of crazy things when I was injured at Charlton. London can be a bit wild and I got mixed up with some well-known girls.'

Marcus has owned a house in London for eight years and has never lived in it. In any case, he thinks people are friendlier oop north. Long may he stay there.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Addicks settle with Dowie

Charlton have reached an out-of-court settlement with former manager Iain Dowie: Dowie

Doing such a deal removes another obstacle to the takeover at The Valley which is needed to secure the club's future.

Despite valiant efforts by an army of volunteers, today's game at Leamington has been called off, but tomorrow's ice hockey game at Coventry Skydome is on. Fans are being encouraged to support a fund raising effort for visitors Newcastle Vipers. As a minority sport ice hockey faces even more financial challenges than football and it's a struggle to keep a viable league going: Vipers

Friday, 17 December 2010

Match is off

Following a pitch inspection at Hartlepool's Victoria Road ground at 1 p.m. tomorrow's game is off. Although the pitch had been covered, parts remained frozen and adverse weather conditions persist on the east coast.

The departure of the team coach, scheduled for 12 noon, was put back to await a decision from Hartlepool.

At the New Windmill Ground the pitch has been covered with fleece in order to try and protect tomorrow's game with Bedford Town. Brakes have had a long break from action with fixtures piling up. Last Saturday they played a friendly on Warwick University's astro turf to try and keep in shape.

The fleece is due to be removed by volunteers at 11 a.m. tomorrow but there have been snow showers in the Leamington area this morning.

Brakes supremo Jim Scott has estimated that transferring a game to midweek costs the club £1,000 in gate money and bar takings.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Parky wants a takeover for Christmas

Phil Parkinson wants a takeover at The Valley as his Christmas present: Parkinson

Described as one of the best managers outside the top flight [shurely the manager fans want to see go - ed] Parky reveals that he models his approach on that of Alan Curbishley.

Confidence high at Hartlepool

Confidence is high at Hartlepool United after a good run for the club and they are expecting to take three points off Charlton on Saturday: Hartlepool

In contrast the mood among many supporters at Charlton seems to be one of gloom and pessimism despite the fact that the club remains in the play off places. Of course the team is not playing good football but then very few clubs in this division do. It is actually quite difficult to play well against a team that is playing hoofball which is why the Addicks might give quite a decent account of themselves against Spurs.

The Football League Paper had a piece supposedly written by Johnnie Jackson last Sunday, but no doubt drafted by the press office on an 'as told to' basis. Indeed, some of it I had read somewhere before: family settled in well, great to be back in the smoke, playing alongside good players, overjoyed to have a fixture at Spurs etc.

However, one thing in particular struck me: Jacko said 'Charlton is a big club'. The description of us by ITV as 'the tiny London club' when we won the play-offs at Wembley was ludicrous, but we have never really been more than a medium-sized club.

But the fact that teams see as a big club is a bit of an albatross around our neck. It allows teams like Hartlepool to big up our visit and hope to get a few more through the turnstiles.

The covers have been on the pitch there this week. I haven't checked a weather forecast for the area, but with the ground so close to the North Sea and snow showers feeding off it, there must be some risk of postponement. My current forecast is: game abandoned after 39 minutes (snow), Charlton leading 1-0.

Where does Parky stand on Wittgenstein?

This is not a question I have heard asked of the manager at a post-match briefing. But it was provoked by a contribution to the Glynne Jones list in which the writer argued that Parky's problem was not one of resource constraints, but his philosophy.

This reminded me of the famous Monty Python sketch Python in which the German philosophers play the Greeks, refereed by Confucius. They spend almost all the 90 minutes contemplating the ball or engaging in dialectical exchanges. Then, just as the whistle is about to blown, Archimedes has a 'Eureka!' moment and sets up Socrates who guides the ball into the back of the net, although Marx claimed it was offside.

I don't see Parky as following any of the continental philosophers. It would have to someone from England which rules out David Hume who might otherwise be a candidate but played for Scotland. Thomas Hobbes would have been a great central defender (he was reputedly 6ft. 5 ins.) and had the temper to go with it. Locke I see as an egg chaser. John Stuart Mill I see as a repressed version of Pardew, with an eye for an attractive woman but slow to make his move.

I think that the clear winner is Jeremy Bentham. Parky is by necessity pretty much a utilitarian (a stance satirised by Dickens in his portrait of Mr Gradgrind). I can see him as being very big on 'the facts'. Admittedly, Bentham had some Dowie-like ideas which included having himself stuffed and put in a glass case. You can see him from time to time at Universiy College London where I set up my desk in the capital next week.

Bentham did, however, believe in the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Attendances are down at The Valley and those who are there are not very happy much of the time so it may be that Parky is not maximising their utility.

One fan has written in to comment, 'Given the hullabaloo over the last few days...... Foucault?? Mind you, I'm always in favour of nice, simple approaches, so I'd recommend Macchiavelli (if only he'd written a manual for good football management, along the lines of The Prince).'

Takeover imminent?

Rumours are circulating that a takeover of Charlton Athletic may be completed within 24 hours. Dennis Wise is rumoured to be involved. The less generous might argue that the taxi drivers' friend could fit the description of being 'a bit dodgy' which was said by a source on Sunday to apply to one of the consortium.

If the deal does go ahead it will be interesting to see whether Parky gets the vote of confidence or the new owners do a Sam Allardyce and get rid of him in the cause of 'entertaining' and 'interesting' football.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Addicks go out on penalties

A much changed Charlton side including 18-year old Carl Jenkinson making his debut at right back started brightly at Griffin Park, reports Paul May. Kyel Reid was the subject of a bad challenge early in the game and Wright was booked.

Jenkinson was very involved in the early exchanges. Doherty had to concede the first corner as the Bees buzzed down the right. There was a clash of heads inside the penalty area and both physios were waved on. McCormack, making his 10th start for the Addicks, was the Charlton player involved.

Reid advanced well on the left and put in a cross, Abbott did a run forwards and tried to turn the ball goalwards, but it went into the side netting. Three Charlton players went for the same ball, allowing the Bees to break. Doherty put a poor ball forward.

Brentford had a good chance which they created well, but Alexander headed over the bar. Dailly was out of position and hauled down Charlie McDonald giving Brentford a free kick in a promising position right of centre about 25 yards out. Elliot pushed out Simpson's free kick for a corner which was headed away by McCormack.

An inflatable pink flamingo brought by an Addick was confiscated by a jobsworth of a steward. The Addickted were in good voice and included a postman in his uniform, recalling the milkman who used to attend The Valley.

Charlton were defending deeply and Jenkinson over hit a clearance to Abbott. Parky was not looking happy at his side's performance. Abbott got a yellow card from referee Hill for deliberate hand ball which seemed harsh.

Reid went for goal himself when Martin was running into a good position and Brentford were able to clear.

Charlton were start to pass the ball more effectively. However, both sides lacked real quality in the final third. A Brentford free kick created a half chance for Alexander when Fry failed to clear.

Dailly put in a good tackle. Brentford did not defend well and Richard Lee in the Brentford goal had to dive on the ball. With a little more luck Martin could have scored.

Charlton won a late corner, but it was ultimately unproductive. Phil Parkinson had words with the referee, clearly unhappy about the Abbott booking.

Half time: Bees 0, Addicks 0

Brentford came out of the traps quickly and Doherty had to clear on the goal line within the first minute of play.

Simpson unleashed a shot from about 30 yards out but it went wide. Brentford were passing the ball better and won a corner. Bean chopped down Reid and received a yellow card.

O'Connor was booked for a late challenge on Reid who was taking a battering.

Brentford won a corner, but it was defended well by McCormack. The very short lino spotted some pushing and shoving and a free kick was awarded to Charlton. Bean was taken off and replaced by Wood on the hour.

Racon fed Martin with a decent ball who should have done better but headed over the bar.

Parky made a double substitution. Anyinsah replaced the subdued Martin and Johnnie Jackson replaced McCormack.

Charlton won a free kick just outside the area after Anyinsah was fouled. Fry's effort was poor. A Brentford free kick bounced off MacDonald's shoulder.

Spillane came on to replace Simpson. Abbott who was looking tired was taken off and Benson came on. An effort by Racon led to a Charlton corner. Dailly put the ball over the bar.

A Brentford free kick ended up with the ball on the top of the crossbar from Osborne. Another fire cracker went off. Three minutes were added on. McDonald had a chance to score, but it went wide. Sam Wood had a chance in the dying seconds, but it went wide.

Jackson was denied by Lee with the first penalty kick. It was powerful but went straight at the keeper. O'Connor scored in the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to the Bees. Lee saved well off Racon, punching the ball on to the post. Former Addick McDonald scored to make it 2-0. Lee then saved off Reid quite brilliantly. Spillane's rather soft effort was saved by Elliot. Doherty powered the ball into the back of the net. Alexander scored to sent the Bees through to take on the Grecians.

Should we let the paint dry?

Charlton play their third game in five days when they face Brentford at Griffin Park tonight in the paint drying trophy. Even for clubs with a big squad this would be a tough ask and I hope that Parky brings in some fresh legs tonight.

Certainly there are many Addicks who argue that we shouldn't take this game seriously. Our main objective is to leave this hoofball league and get back into the Championship.

But it's not an either or choice. We could get promoted and win the paint drying cup. I know that there are those who argue that winning it last year derailed Southampton's promotion bid. But perhaps the Silver Fox was not quite the tactical genius that he thought he was.

If we did fail to get promoted, winning the Johnstones Paint would be a nice consolation prize. It would mean a trip to Wembley and a sizeable sum to replenish our depleted bank balance, takeover or not.

We don't seem to do well at Griffin Park and Brentford are a form team. On the other hand, Charlton do often play better away from the tetchy Valley crowd. I am forecasting a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. I believe that the game then goes straight to penalties and I think that the shootout will be won by Brentford 5-4.

You see him here, you see him there, you see him everywhere: Erith Addick Paul May is a martyr to the cause and he will be your match reporter tonight. He likes the occasional drink so buy him one if you see him. Even in the depth of winter he sometimes wears his trademark sun glasses.

Monday, 13 December 2010

A Busy Bee Writes

Charlton take to the field of play little more than 48 hours after their abject display against Walsall. It's difficult to keep up, so I asked a busy Bee of my acquaintance to provide an analysis of Brentford's current strengths and weaknesses:

Recent form: Brentford’s season has been puzzling – excellent wins against the better sides (e.g. Sheffield Wednesday) and Everton (Carling Cup) followed by poor displays and defeats to lowly sides. But, in the past month, there has been more consistency and we have now won 5 away games – more than anyone else in the Division – against teams like Southampton and Colchester. Early in the season we were bottom, or floating around the relegation zone. We’re now two points off the playoffs. This erratic form led to some questioning whether Andy Scott was still up to the job (not helped by Martin Allen apparently circling). But recent form has confirmed Scott’s pedigree.

Strengths: Our attack is coming together well with Charlie McDonald (ex-Charlton), Gary Alexander(ex-Millwall) and Robbie Simpson (on loan from Huddersfield) now regularly getting on the score sheet. In goal, we’ve had a resurgent Richard Lee (ex Watford), who on the back of some excellent displays in the Carling Cup has displaced long-term loanee and fans’ favourite, Ben Hamer. We’re very lucky to have strength in some depth in goal.

Weakness: Despite the presence of long-term Brentford hero, Kevin O’Connor, Marcus Bean (ex Blackpool) and David Hunt (ex Palace, Northampton & Shrewsbury), we’ve tended to be a bit overrun in midfield, although Toumani Diagouraga seems to be coming into his own more now.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Believe it - or not!

As I got off the train at Coventry this evening, some Coventry fans said to me, 'I can't believe you were beaten by Walsall.' Leaving The Valley I heard one fan say, 'I can't believe what I have just seen.' A Charlton fan on the train to Charing Cross said, 'They played as poorly as I have ever seen them.'

I have never been a believer in reading results off the table, especially such a fluid one as League One. I thought that today's match would be difficult: Walsall had nothing to lose as the underdogs and all the pressure was on Charlton. But I did expect to get a point. Before the game Paul from Bexleyheath and I agreed that the most likely result was 1-1.

So what's the explanation? Right from the start our play was disjointed. We couldn't keep possession or make a decent pass. Our attacking threat was limited and the midfield seemed to disappear. Rob Elliot commented in the programme, 'Even when we haven't played well, we've still got results, which I think is the sign of a good team.' Perhaps we got caught out at last.

I got the impression that the players were tired and because Walsall were bottom of the table they perhaps thought they just had to turn up on the pitch and win. Parky did try to turn things around by making a double substitition at half time, but it didn't really make a great difference.

When the Walsall goal came, as it inevitably did, it was easy for them. The Saddlers' win was well deserved: one only has to take a look at the corner count. But they weren't very good as their wayward shooting showed. We just looked worse.

So what happens now? It's a question of keep calm and carry on. There will be the kind of reaction there was after the Brighton game. If the new owners come in, they may want a change: personally, I have always thought that there was a limit to what any manager could achieve with this bunch of players. But the other teams in the division aren't that marvellous anyway so we could achieve a play off place. If the club isn't sold, we might have to go into administration which would kill off any promotion hopes.

I heard from a reasonably reliable source that four individuals (apart from front man Peter Varney) are involved in the consortium that is seeking to buy the club and that one of them is a 'bit dodgy'. They have enough money to keep us going, but not enough to splash the cash.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible awarded the Silver Bone to Jon Fortune who was solid in defence and actually put together a reasonably fluent attacking move once. There had been concerns about whether Rob Elliot was fit and fortunately he was as we only had a youth team keeper on the bench, Ross Worner having fallen ill. His positioning could have been better for the Walsall goal and often his judgement seemed to be poor: he is too inclined to palm the ball away. I don't blame for him for coming up for the corner at the end of the game, but he did rush out rather dangerously another time to clear the ball. But he did make a good save with his foot when he was one-on-one with a Walsall player. Doherty was solid enough most of the time.
Francis was a total disaster. His crosses were poor. At throw ins he kept throwing the ball back to the defence instead of moving it forward. Fry was not very prominent in the first half and was taken off. Semedo was given the captain's armband, but had a poor game. When he did get the ball, he tended to lose it. Racon made very little contribution throughout the game. Jackson was not up to his usual standard and most of his free kicks were disappointing. With Wagstaff you are never sure what you are going to get: flashes of inspiration or a generally dire performance. This was one of the latter. Anyinsah was anonymous apart from one attempt on goal and was withdrawn. Benson was the proverbial powder puff. He tried to get himself into promising positions but failed to connect with one scoring opportunity.
Reid showed plenty of pace and enthusiasm, but his final ball was usually poor. Martin was also enthusiastic, but he needs to watch his temper. Sodje made very little difference when he came on.

Hiss of the Match Juneau the Soccer Cat felt unable to blame the officials for anything. Instead I have given it to the steward with whom I had the following dialogue on entering the passageway into the East Stand:
Steward: Where are you going?
Me: To my seat?
Steward: Do you know where it is?
Me: Yes, I have a season ticket [and have had the same seat since shortly after the East Stand opened].
I suppose he had been on a customer care and was trying to help, but it struck me as odd.

Crowd rating The crowd tends to get on the players' backs very quickly which is perhaps why Charlton often do better away. The performance was abysmal, but I am not sure that constant criticism helps when confidence is ebbing away. This is third division football or hoofball and it is often mediocre.

Pressure on this afternoon

The pressure is once again on the Addicks this afternoon to beat Walsall and restore their position in the npower League One table. They are now fourth, but they are only behind Huddersfield on goal difference and one point behind the Owls. A win would see them back in second place and one point behind Brighton.

The Seagulls lost 2-1 at Huddersfield and for a moment the pitch after the game looked like an ice hockey rink after a bench clearance as players traded blows. Despite their 0-4 win over us, I am not convinced that Brighton are invincible and I think that Huddersfield are in many ways a bigger threat.

With their financial worries behind them, Sheffield Wednesday beat the Gasheads 6-2, a team that we could only manage a 1-1 draw with them. The Owls have the stadium, the history and the support base and while owner Mandaric may be a chancer, he is nobody's fool.

Other results went our way. Bournemouth lost 0-1 at home to Hartlepool. The Cherries have done well after fears that they might be in a relegation battle, but I don't see them getting promoted. Colchester drew 0-0 at home to mighty Yeovil and I don't see the Oystermen staying the course.

Southampton faltered again, losing 0-2 at home to Brentford, making our Boxing Day home match with the Saints even more crucial. The Bees are on something of a roll which is a concern as what will inevitably be a tired Charlton side faces them at Griffin Park in the paint drying trophy.

See you this afternoon!

Subdued mood at Skydome

After last week's dramatic events, it was a subdued mood at the Skydome as Coventry Blaze went down 1-3 to Hull Stingrays. Hopes of Blaze retaining the Elite League championship are fading and even making the play offs is going to be a big ask as the team is now stuck in mid-table with the leading sides pulling away.

With coach Tommo suspended, mascot Scorch the Dragon was notionally in charge but seemed more interested in having play fights with Hull mascot Polo. Hull even lacked their disco dancer who normally brightens up the atmosphere.

With suspensions and illnesses, Blaze were seriously short benched and two-way players and other unknowns were brought in. With reserve net tender Murdy away, his replacement brought his homework.

Even the office manager was mobilised on the ice. A rather rotund, middle aged gentleman, it has to be admitted that he has upped his skills and made some good plays.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Into the Valley of death

Walsall striker Will Grigg, part of the strike force that has scored 17 league goals this season, has proclaimed tomorrow's match with Charlton a 'life or death' encounter as the bottom club in npower League One visit The Valley.

Ugly mug manager Chris Hutchings is in buoyant mood, rather like a condemned man looking forward to his last meal. Having watched the Addicks at Luton he has pronounced them 'fallible' (we could have told him that) and has forecast that Phil Parkinson will succumb to the 'manager of the month' curse: Saddlers

For most football fans, Walsall is best known as the stadium they crawl past on the M6 as they head towards one of the many clubs in the north-west. The club has been in the second tier and I remember beating them 4-2 there. Walsall fans were protesting that day about the failure of their board to spend any money and it doesn't look as if they've spent very much since.

I was thinking of using Ali G's line about Wales to describe Walsall: 'I don't know much about Wales, but I hear it's crap'. However, here are three good things about Walsall:

1. Leamington won a famous cup victory there.
2. The Addick artist (see links) lives there and is a season ticket holder at The Valley.
3. My nice friend Lindsay lives there (if you think you have a hard time commuting to London, listen to her tales about the London Midland service to Perry Barr where she works opposite the dogs track).

Reading the result off the table should lead to a 2-0 win and closing the gap on Brighton. This being Charlton, I am forecasting a failure to get a grip on the game and a 1-1 draw.

Friday, 10 December 2010

You couldn't make it up


New coach takes training at the Skydome this morning, courtesy Coventry Plumbing and Heating Coventry Blaze

Alan Pardew has proclaimed that Newcastle United is 'a working class club'. So what does that make Charlton? And is Surrey Hills resident Pardew working class?

Coventry Blaze have been very secretive about who their replacement coach would be for Thommo who has been suspended for his alleged part in last Saturday's brawl on the rink. The decision had to be approved by the Elite League and is a total surprise: Scorching

In hockey fights sometimes kit is wrenched off, but they will have a challenge with this guy.

250,000 people have now watched YouTube footage of last Saturday's bench clearance.

Anarchy in the UK

No, not the demonstrations in London. This was how The Sports Network (TSN) in Canada entitled its coverage of the sensational bench clearance at Coventry Blaze last Saturday.

However, Blaze have suffered as a result. Experienced coach Tommo who got involved when it all kicked off has been suspended by the league and the club may need to bring in an Acting Head Coach (the assistant coach is a Quebecker who speaks rather gruff English).

Tomorrow night Coventry Plumbing and Heating Blaze face Hull Stingrays who normally lack any sting. Ironically, they are owned by the Blaze management company after they were rescued in the summer. A small barmy army follows Hull round the UK including a disco dancer who turns up every time and goes wild when either team scores a goal.

With Blaze short benched, they may find it difficult to secure the points. They went down 1-5 in the cup at home to Hull a few weeks ago, although their mind then was on their European cup fixtures (they beat a Polish and Latvian team but then went down 6-1 to hosts Rouen).

We expect to be the only Charlton blog at the Skydome tomorrow night. The other week my friends in Montréal (I am vice-president for Europe and Africa of an organisation headquartered there) sent me a personalised Canadiens jersey which happens to be in my favourite colour, red. I wore it to the Panthers game, but I don't think it triggered the trouble!

Luton reflections

I was only able to listen on line, although I have read Paul May's report. Fortunately, we were spared Emma so perhaps some of the complaints have had an effect. We also had Steve Brown as summariser. His praise for the Hatters in the first half was unstinting, but he also shrewdly said after the break that Waggie's equaliser was crucial and we would now go on to win.

Steve also said (and he probably still has good contacts inside the club) that if the Peter Varney-led takeover did not go ahead, the club would have to go into administration. That would mean a 10 point deduction and the effective end of our promotion hopes.

No doubt we shall hear plenty of complaints about how poor Charlton were. I don't mind how poor we are as long as we win.

I also think that Phil 'must go' Parkinson actually had a strategy which he executed. Luton are an all out attacking side and they then leave themselves exposed at the back. In the first half we tried to absorb their pressure. Admittedly, the midfield was not linking up well with either attack or defence, but that was rectified at the break. Our equaliser came because the Hatters had too many players committed in attack.

The money from the Spurs game will be very welcome. I am sure we are going to lose 3-0 or 4-1. Some Premiership clubs might put out a weakened side against us, but I think that 'Arry won't take many risks.

Gloom continues at Toon

The Newcastle Evening Chronicle commented yesterday, 'To say the appointment of Alan Pardew is bewildering and perplexing to Newcastle United fans is an understatement.'

It went on to capture the mood of powerlessness among fans that may translate into empty grey seats at St James' over the coming months and next season: 'No amount of chanting, protests, gnashing of teeth or complaint is going to change the decision. As long as Ashley holds the reins and controls the finances of the club, he calls the shots.'

The fans' website nufc.com is usually reserved. On Thursday it referred to Pardew as 'a chancer appointed by chancers' [very good - ed], adding: 'And in making the change, Mike Ashley has once again demonstrated the utter contempt that he now holds for the fans that he once sought to buddy up with. At a stroke he's managed to successfully re-ignite the bad feeling on and off the field that resulted in our fall from grace two seasons ago. Is he trying to take us down?'

Of course, if Newcastle beat Liverpool tomorrow, Pardew will be hailed as the saviour Geordies have been waiting for since [fill in date of your choice].

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Addicks win a trip to the Lane

Doherty, Semedo and Fry all featured in the Charlton line up at Kenilworth Road reports Paul May. Luton attacked at the expense of a corner, although Fry claimed that he had been pushed. From the corner the Hatters put the ball about a yard wide of the upright.

Fortune had to concede a corner to prevent Crow getting to the ball. The ball was cleared from the corner. With the quarter hour mark approaching, Charlton had not really tested the Luton keeper.

The Hatters won their third corner. Francis headed away and a subsequent Luton attack failed. Doherty was booked for a foul on Morgan-Smith on the edge of the D. The effort by Drury went into Row Z.

Crow hit the crossbar and Charlton were able to clear. Racon got booked for dissent after Luton were awarded a free kick.

Luton won a free kick off Fortune in a dangerous position, it was taken quickly and Elliot had to put the ball over for a corner. Elliot was able to collect. Wagstaff was fouled and Keane was booked.

Luton won their fifth corner of the game. The ball was bundled in from seven yards out by Kroca on 38 minutes to put the home side ahead with Elliot having no chance. 'Who are you?' chanted the Luton fans.

Barnes-Homer got away from Doherty, but Francis was able to clear. Francis put in a great cross and Wagstaff was there to guide in the header to equalise.

Crow went down and required treatment in time added on.

Half time: Hatters 1, Addicks 1

Elliot had scuffed a clearance in the first half and had picked up an injury. He was limping as he came out and Ross Worner was warming up in case he was needed.

Gknapa broke into the penalty area, but Doherty cleared. Fry required treatment. A Luton effort by Morgan-Smith just drifted wide.

Elliot had to make an acrobatic save from Pilkington. Drury's corner kick drifted out of play.

The game was quieter, but this reflected the fact that Charlton were controlling the game more. Benson seemed to be struggling: he had had some spray on his ankle at one point. Pawel Abbott came on in his place.

Racon should have done better after Abbott turned provider, he was unmarked and had a free header but sent it straight to the keeper.

Luton won a corner, but Abbott headed away. An effort by Abbott from 25 yards out was spilled by the keeper but he managed to collect. Anyinsah approached, but Pilkington intervened at the expense of a Charlton corner. It was headed away, Fry put in a drive and Anyinsah put the Addicks ahead.

Morgan-Smith was replaced by a super sub who was signed from St.Albans. Anyinsah made an attempt. A Luton free kick was cleared. Charlton counter attacked and won a corner. The Addicks kept up the pressure. Crowe was booked and taken off.

Jackson took a free kick 28 yards out, the ball deflected and the 400 or so Addickted celebrated as Charlton went 3-1 ahead. Sodje came on to replace Anyinsah.

Fry won Charlton a late corner. Jackson played it short. Three minutes were added on. McCormack got on for his cameo as he replaced Racon.

Same squad for Luton

Luton will be putting the same squad out as they did at The Valley tonight. They claim their focus is on defeating the League 1 big boys rather than a trip to White Hart Lane or the unusual experience of playing in front of the cameras: Hatters

Toon gloom as latest Charlton reject arrives



For some unfathomable reason Newcastle United thinks it is a good idea to bring Charlton rejects on to the coaching staff at St. James's Park. First the Magpies hired relegation specialist Iain Dowie as coach. Down they went, just as Hull City did the following year.

Now they have brought in the 'Silver Fox', Alan Pardew. Admittedly, Pardew is probably the better of the two. His appearance is less inclined to scare those of a nervous disposition. He can't claim to be a rocket scientist. He won't take players on a run up the A1 just before a match. Whilst he probably does enjoy the occasional glass of wine in his Surrey Hills home, that's as far as it goes. He also takes an interest of the welfare of everyone involved in the club, broadly defined.

I have a lot of friends who are Toon fans so I hope it works out for them. Newcastle have some of the most passionate fans in the country and they are far less irritating than those of Portsmouth. Even when we were thumped 3-0 at St. James's Park, I enjoyed my visits, even if I needed treatment for altitude sickness after reaching the away seats.

One Charlton fan went out to put a bet on a Newcastle relegation after the news was leaked. I can see his point, but let's hope they survive.

I have subsequently learnt that the Silver Fox has been appointed on a five-and-a-half year contract. You've got to admire his nerve, but what's all that about?

Newcastle is on a short list of three clubs drawn up by the Qatar Investment Authority as they look for a Premiership 'trophy' in the wake of their World Cup hosting success. Goodness knows what they would make of Pardew, but then Spurs is their first choice and 'Arry may seem a bit unusual to them.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Thursday football

Thursday evening is the night on which football is most unlikely to be played. Nevertheless, our replay against Luton Town has been scheduled for this Thursday and the reason is television. It is being screened on Fox in the United States, although quite what their tea party enthused viewers will make of it is another matter. Given the state of Kenilworth Road, they may see it as an awful warning of what happens under 'socialism'.

More importantly for the Addickted it will be shown on the Walt Disney channel, ESPN. Apparently if you have a Sky subscription you can get a two month free trial of this channel.

We don't have Sky. The local council (quite rightly) bans satellite dishes in conservation areas. There is a cable, but it is not clear who owns it as the company that laid it has long since disappeared. The Villa fan down the road has found his own solution by erecting what looks like a repeater station for RTL in his back garden, but I would rather grow plants than satellite dishes.

As I have BT broadband, I did talk to BT Vision. But they only have Sky 1 and Sky 2 on offer, not Sky Sports News which I used to enjoy when it was on Freeview. Nor do they have Sky 3 or Sky 4 which often carry British ice hockey games.

Actually, I haven't seen the Sky cameras as the Skydome this season. A shame they missed last Saturday's bench clearance which is now a big media hit in Canada where the NHL has stamped down (probably literally) on mass brawls. Blaze have had so much additional commercial interest that it may pay the fine the league are likely to levy on them (although Panthers may get a bigger one as their guys swarmed off the bench first).

I have heard rumours that it may be possible to stream the Luton game to your computer, but this may not be legal and could run the risk of importing viruses. Looks like it may be just Emma and me.

After Crawley Town beat Swindon at the County Ground in last night's replay, Luton probably think they just have to turn up to win a trip to White Hart Lane. Possibly, but Charlton are a bigger danger on the road than at home. This one could go to penalties.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Having a pop at Charlton

It's all warming up (well, not literally) ahead of the paint drying cup at Brentford. Their relatively new chief executive has decided to give a world exclusive to a Hounslow paper, arguing that Brentford spend wisely (i.e., parsimoniously) while clubs like Charlton have been splashing the cash to no good effect: Bees

I haven't been aware that we had been splashing the cash, but perhaps I have missed something. The amount we spent on Benson is hardly mega bucks. And the return is not that bad given that we are currently 2nd in the table.

Curiously The Football League Paper also had a pop at us on Sunday. It's quite a good paper like its NLP sister, although I suspect it's written by freelances who get paid 5p a word.

However, they claimed that prior to the takeover offer, it was doubtful if we would survive the season. This strikes me as OTT. We could have gone into administration, but then an administrator would run the club as a going concern and there would have been bidders for a fire sale.

Obviously it's not the route one would want to follow and it won't be unless there are some nasty surprises in the books. We do owe £7m but that money does not have to be paid off until we return to the Premiership which at a minimum is two seasons away if we repeat Jimmy Seed's effort which so thrilled my father. My guess would be that if we do manage to get back it won't be for five years or so. I would be happy to be in the Championship for a few years while we re-build.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Pardew blow for Toon

Already reeling from losing popular manager Chris Hughton, Newcastle United fans have been shocked to learn that their next manager may be none other than the Silver Fox, Alan Pardew: Pardew

It will be recalled that the Magpies suffered the curse of Dowie when they were relegated with him as coach. To then suffer Pardew as well is to experience a cruel and unusual punishment. OK, we suffered it at Charlton, but others can learn lessons from our experience.

However, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, dissatisfied with Toon's 11th place in the Premier League following promotion, wants an 'experienced' manager. Alan Pardew certainly has plenty of that at various clubs.

Alan Curbishley is also being mentioned, but his name is brought up every time there is a top level vacancy. He doesn't move north of the M25.

Last night it became apparent that Martin Jol was in the frame. Jol resigned from Ajax where he has not been a happy bunny. One might have reservations about Jol, but given a choice between him and Pardew, there is only one answer.

One wonders where the Pardew story came from in the first place as it was extensively carried by the media. Perhaps it came from sources close to Alan Pardew, but I have no evidence of that.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Scott Parker

An interesting article about him which gives full attention to his Charlton roots and the Academy system that produced probably the best home grown player of the Curbishley era: Parker

Dale take financial hit

Rochdale reckon they have lost £50,000 as a result of the postponement of the game with Charlton. Supremo Chris Dunphy told The Football League Paper 'We were expecting a big crowd with them doing well and not having played Rochdale in a league game for so long. We were hoping to bring in £50,000. You won't get the same crowd again for a midweek game so we will lose out there.'

On another topic, The Non-League Paper is reporting that the financial situation at Welling has deteriorated further and there is a real risk of the club folding and going out of the Blue Square South (Ilkeston Town have already folded in the Blue Square North).

It's difficult to assess how serious the situation really is, but the tax authorities are taking a hard line with clubs that do not pay their bills. If they did fold, it would have implications for Charlton as we use Park View Road as a second string ground as well as opening the season by playing the Wings in the Crown Berger Cup.

Mass brawl halts match

There were extraordinary scenes at the Skydome last night after the game between Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers was halted for about 20 minutes after a mass brawl involving not just the players on the ice, but all the players on the bench.

The atmosphere was tense between the two Midlands rivals, particularly after Blaze secured a 1-0 lead. Net minder Jaeger had taken an injury in the warm up and the Panthers went after him but he got no protection from the referee. The Panthers showed their frustration more and more, but the officials failed to get a grip on the game. Their net minder was at the centre of a number of incidents.

In the second period a series of fights culminated in Brad Cruikshank being sent off (a rare decision). As the Blaze player was escorted off the rink by a lino, he suddenly broke free, speed skated across to the charm merchant in the Panthers net and threw a punch.

Mayhem then broke out as both benches poured on to the rink. One player tried to stay out of the action in the sin bin, but net minder Jaeger went in to attack him. The referee stood calmly to one side listing names in his notebook.

At an earlier game one Blaze player went to hospital and had to have a subsequent operation after a fight. On this occasion no one seemed to be badly hurt, although players had their jerseys and vests ripped off. There did not even seem to be any blood on the rink, an event which usually demands the attendance of rink maintenance consisting of two bored teenagers with a bucket and a shovel.

Eventually the teams were persuaded to leave the rink. A list of penalties was read out, Cruikshank being banned for two matches. The Blaze net minder, Jaeger, was also sent off and the youthful Murdy who generally gets very little game time was brought on in his place.

When the game eventually resumed, tensions remained high and another brawl broke out. A Blaze player took his opportunity to get even with the lino who received a few punches. The guy wearing the prison shirt did not look happy as he escorted him off the rink and a game ban was announced for 'abusing officials'. I think that something more would happen in football if you gave the lino a few punches.

There was a large away crowd in attendance and, although they were in their own area, there was no physical segregation. Apart from one idiot throwing a plastic bottle on to the rink, and an announcement that anyone using foul language would be ejected, there was no crowd trouble at all, even though people can take beer to their seats. At the end of the match Blaze fans applauded the Panthers. If there had been this sort of fighting at a football match, there would surely have been fighting in the crowd as well.

It was interesting to hear the crowd announcer state that the fighting was being streamed on the internet and that spectators should use Facebook and Twitter to tell their friends about what was going on. Anyone who had not got a season ticket was urged to buy one. In fact ice hockey is what economists call a 'bundled good': you get to watch the hockey, but you usually get to see some fights as well.

Despite Murdy staying up way beyond his bedtime, the youngster was a lion in goal and Blaze went home 2-1 winners.

You can watch a video of the fighting here: Fight

This was the first full bench clearance I have seen since I started to watch hockey.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Glaziers may leave Sainsbury's

The new owners at Crystal Palace have more money between them than the Orange One and probably more sense about how to best spend it. They are contemplating leaving Sainsbury's for a new stadium.

They want to find a new site close to Selhurst Park in order to build a covered stadium that 'would create a better experience for fans'. It would be difficult to have a worse one. Whether the fare on the pitch would improve is another question. Average attendances dropped from 19,457 in 2005/6 to 14,470 in 2009/10.

Front man Steve Parish was offered an interesting choice at age seven: did he want to be a Spanner or a Glazier? (Presumably this was at a time when we were in exile). He chose the team of the eighties because he preferred the colour of their strip.

To be fair, Parish seems to be very sensible and to have a clear vision for developing Croydon's finest. More here: Palace

Friday, 3 December 2010

Rochdale game postponed

As expected, this game has been postponed due to a frozen pitch. This will mean a midweek trip to Rochdale which will reduce the number of Addickted able to go and may help the home side.

At this time I have no definite news of Leamington v. Swindon Supermarine. There has been only a sprinkling of snow up here and if the temperature rises tomorrow, it may still be on. Brakes recently won the national sports ground award, as well as the environmental award and it was a real thrill for the chairman and others to be congratulated by Premier League clubs.

Two Addicks in for awards

Phil 'he's got to go' Parkinson has been nominated for the npower League One Manager of the Month award, while Johnnie Jackson is on a short list of three for Player of the Month.

Jackson has come in for a lot of criticism since his return to The Valley and at one time his signing was being cited as another poor decision by Parky. Admittedly, he is better playing further forward than at left back where Fry is more solid. What Jackson is able to do is to run on to a scoring opportunity from midfield.

Unfortunately, the Manager of the Month award often leads to a downward turn in a side's fortunes.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Pitch inspection at Dale tomorrow

There will be a pitch inspection at Rochdale at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning: Game

I think it is very unlikely to go ahead. This complicates our schedule, but better to know tomorrow.

One match I know will be on is the ice hockey game between Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers on Saturday evening.

Charlton taken over

Charlton is to be acquired by a consortium led by Peter Varney with the deal being sealed, it is hoped, on 24th December as a special Christmas present for the Addickted. Due diligence is in progress.

That's all I know or all any news organisation appears to know. Normally reliable sources are, quite properly, staying quiet.

Possibly think 'property developer'.

This statement by Peter Varney does not add much to what we know already: Varney

Some have read into the statement an ongoing role for Richard Murray, but if that was the case it would, I think, be an honorary one. I am grateful for all that he has done for the club, even though mistakes have been made, but there comes a time to turn over a fresh page.

It is possible to find new investors

Rushden and Diamonds are two divisions below Charlton. No doubt they cost less money to buy; the state-of-the-art stadium has reasonable maintenance costs; and it won't cost that much to strengthen the squad. They also have an excellent manager in Justin Edinburgh. Nevertheless, it is interesting that in the present climate they are able to attract new investment: Irthlingborough

After all, the metropolis of Irthlingborough and its surroundings do not have the Thames Gateway or other potential for boosting attendances.

Rochdale fan writes

I have a soft spot for Rochdale. On 11 January 1947 my father went to see Charlton beat them 3-1 in the FA Cup. He then strolled up to St. Alphege's Hospital in Greenwich where I was born at 7.30 p.m. Remember in those days fathers had to hang around in a waiting room swapping fags and no doubt discussing the game. (I was once contacted by an exiled Addick who was also born there that day).

I get quite a lot of stick from friends who support Manchester United, but my publisher at Manchester University Press (he is bringing out a book on football I am involved in) is a keen Rochdale fan and he writes:

'I think the chances of it being on are quite slim. The game against Oldham last Saturday went ahead as we doubled up using both our pitch covers and Oldham's, but the pitch got a bit of frost into it during the game and was starting to look very hard on one side by the end of that game. However, the covers have been on all week with snow on top of them since Tuesday, so the ptich might be soft underneath all that. I hope so.

This season we have switched from 442, which was the basis of our success over the last three and half years, to a more cautious 433 system, whch has meant that we are not going to get overrun in the middle of the pitch by the better sides such as yourselves [sic], Southampton, Huddersfield etc. It also means we have abandoned the all out attack, two wingers, get it into the box tactics which worked so well in league 2. But in the past three games we have reverted to 442 and it has brought a more attacking philosophy back to the fore and brought some limited improvement, with draws at home to Swindon (3-3) and Oldham (1-1) and away at Carlisle (1-1), after an awful run of six defeats in seven games.

The three key players are mifield dynamo and record appearance maker Gary Jones, who has ten goals to his name already this season, centre half Craig Dawson who signed for West Brom in August and was loaned back to Dale for the rest of this season, only a year after joining us form Radcliffe Borough, and cultured forward Chris O'Grady, whose lethal partnership with Chris Dagnall was the main reason we won promotion last season, after he signed on loan in August from Oldham and then permanently in January for £100,000.'

Should the game go ahead, which I think is doubtful, I am forecasting a 2-2 draw.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Addicks may sign Hatters ace

According to today's Evening Standard:

Charlton eye Drury after he plotted their downfall

Charlton are so impressed with the way Luton's Andy Drury produced a wonder strike that forced an FA Cup second-round replay, they might even consider signing him in January.

The former Stevenage player scored twice to force next Thursday's rematch and certainly made Charlton sit up and take notice. And with Drury based in the Charlton heartland of Sittingbourne, Luton boss Richard Money is worried he might lose his star asset.

Money said: 'Stop talking about him, we've got a January window to get through! People who don't see us every week will think it's a one-off. Those who do will know it's not.'

A version of this story was carried in the Non-League Paper on Sunday without mentioning the Addicks. Other clubs are certainly interested and the fee might ne quite substantial.

Happy birthday

It's Phil Parkinson's 43rd birthday. He's much criticised by many Charlton fans, but I think he is doing a decent job given the budgetary constraints he has faced. Not all of his decisions have been the right ones, but even Sir Alex and Arsene Wenger make mistakes and they have much more money to play with.

I expect it will be another day at the training ground for Phil. (Since writing this, I have learnt that the training ground closed early because of the weather conditions so that is an unexpected bonus for PP).

Curbs used to like good quality champagne, but probably PP's tastes are more modest.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Football record broken

The record for the worst defeat in British football has been broken with the 55-0 defeat by Madron by Illogan (or Illogan British Legion reserves to give them their full name). Apparently Madron turned up with just seven players and no recognised keeper: Madron

The game was played in the top division of the Mining League which is a feeder league for the Cornish Combination. I happen to have a personal link with Madron. Also, my co-presenter on the Radio Scilly sports show, Merryn Smith, was at one time keeper for Madron. But, no, he wasn't there on loan. It's alleged that the keeper leaned against the goalpost.

The two team Isles of Scilly league gets castigated for 'low quality' football in an article the Non-League Paper today, but this is something else.

Charlton match commentaries

I know we don't pay much for this online service, but how much longer are we going to have to put up with Emma Jones?

I was quite surprised to learn from her biography on BBC Radio London that she is regularly involved in sports commentary:

'Emma became a journalist when she realised she wasn't clever enough to be a doctor, or stupid enough to risk a life as an actress.

Started as a news journalist, but found that she was always being asked to do pieces that were sport related like Glenn Hoddle leaving the England job, so finally admitted defeat and became a sports reporter full time.

She regularly presents on BBC London 94.9 as well as reporting on some of the capital's biggest games.'

I have a number of problems with her commentary:

1. She speaks rather slowly and often seems to be behind the game.
2. She sometimes seems to have difficulty accurately describing what is happening on the pitch.
3. She starts chatting away on matters not related to the action so we do not know what is going on. Did we need to know that she got from Peterborough station to London Road by looking for the floodlights?
4. She uses curious phrases like 'the field of play' to describe the pitch. Admittedly, she only used it once on Saturday, but she used it five times at the Peterborough game.
5. Sometimes I wonder how much in depth knowledge of the game she has. She has some strange ideas like thinking that once a penalty has been taken, there should be no follow through.

No doubt she is a good radio journalist, but I don't think she is suitable for the job she is doing. She may be much better at doing studio interviews and commentary.

Unfortunately it looks as if we are stuck with her because the consumer is powerless in these situations. And surprisingly quite a few Charlton fans seem keen to defend her.

I have no objection to women working in sports journalism on football: Gaby Logan would be an example of someone who does this well. As it is, a lot of Charlton fans are reduced to listening to the away commentary although apparently at the Luton game this was some bloke shouting down a cell phone.

Certain defeat but a big pay day

The winner of the Luton v. Charlton replay will face certain defeat at White Hart Lane against on form Spurs (who scored a late winner against Liverpool today). But it will be a big pay day.

I was thinking that maybe should put out a second string team for the replay, but the stakes are now higher. It will make Luton even more keen to win, but I don't think the result is a foregone conclusion given that Charlton are often better on the road.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The last thing we wanted

When I previewed this match in the week I was worried about Luton getting a draw. It's not so much the risk of going out of the FA Cup, but the way in which the replay will add to the demands on our squad.

Our reporter at today's FA Cup tie against Luton, Philippa Nicholson, reports that she is wearing an old sheepskin coat to the game. 'It makes me look like Ron Knee,' she says, 'but it helps to keep out the cold.'

Charlton's central defence has a makeshift air with Llera and Fortune replacing the injured Doherty and the suspended Dailly. Elliot stays in goal wearing his pink top and Jackson replaces the suspended Fry at left back. In the middle of the park, McCormack replaces the injured Semedo which may give us more mobility. Anyinsah returns from his spell of injury to partner Benson up front.

There were about 3,000 Hatters in the Jimmy Seed stand out of a total attendance of 8,552 and they made a lot of noise in the opening minutes.

Luton won a free kick in a promising position after a challenge by Racon. The ball struck by Drury went over the three man Charlton wall and Elliot had to make a fingertip save from the curling shot at the expense of a corner. The Addicks eventually cleared.

Kyel Reid whipped in the ball in from the left, the Luton defence were frozen and the completely unmarked Anyinsah nodded the ball calmly into the back of the net past Tyler in his green top to make it 1-0.

A Luton free kick led to a corner for the visitors, but it was unproductive. McCormack provided a hoof to deal with some continuing pressure.

Benson challenged Howells who went into the advertising hoardings in front of the enraged Hatters. Howells was unhurt, but Benson received a yellow card.

Barnes-Homer struck from 30 yards out, Elliot touched it on to the post and the result was a throw in for the Hatters. Crow put in a strike from just outside the 18 yard box.

The ball was up in the air too much and Charlton needed it to get on the floor. Howells tried to lift the ball over Elliot, but it went over the crossbar. Gnakpa was caught offside.

Francis took a Charlton corner. The Addicks tried to build on the corner but without success. Crow was caught way offside. Then Reid was caught offside for Charlton.

Elliot did well to stop Crow and collect the ball at the striker's feet. Barnes-Homer was caught offside. Keane received a yellow card for a handball. Luton were caught offside yet again. Then Reid was caught offside.

Morgan-Smith went down in the area and Luton were given a soft penalty. No one was shown a card. Elliot saved the ball, but it came back to Drury who headed it in at the second attempt with Elliot prone on the floor to make it 1-1.

Luton put the ball in the net but the flag had gone up. Charlton advanced well, Wagstaff put in a shot, the keeper saved it, the ball bounced around in the penalty area and top scorer Johnnie Jackson headed the ball in the net to make it 2-1.

Francis conceded a corner which was taken short. Elliot gathered the ball. Gnakpa dropped dramatically to the floor after a tussle with his fellow Frenchman Racon and Luton won a free kick, but the ball went straight to Elliot.

Luton's play had become less fluent, but I had doubts about how well Fortune and Llera were combining. Barnes-Homer was penalised for a tug on Llera. Luton mounted an attack as the game entered its last minute. Three minutes were added on. Luton kept possession, but eventually Luton were caught offside once again.

Half time: Addicks 2, Hatters 1

Anyinsah won a corner off Kroca. The corner from Francis was almost touched in by Benson. Francis put in a cross which almost went in under the crossbar. Jackson took the resultant corner. McCormack picked up the ball, Llera forced a save from Tyler. It just needed a bit more power on it.

Crow advanced and captain Jon Fortune conceded a corner. Drury's effort was headed away by Francis.

Gleeson was shown a yellow card for a foul on Reid in front of the Charlton technical area, Parky letting the referee have his views.

Benson raced forward past the Luton defence, but lost control of the ball. Luton attacked, but an effort by Gnakpa was off target. McCormack fouled Drury and received a yellow card.

Reid broke quickly, but the final ball by Francis was a disappointment not being close enough to the available Charlton players.

Racon hesitated in the penalty area and the ball was taken off him by a defender, allowing Luton to press forward.

Francis put a ball in, Benson tried to turn and shoot, but Czech defender Kroca put it out for a Charlton corner which led to a Luton free kick.

Luton took off Danny Crow and brought on Atieno who had been bigging up Luton's chances in the local press during the week. Charlton won another corner taken by Jackson. Luton eventually cleared.

Reid lost possession, Jackson won possession back off Atieno and Charlton won a free kick.

Morgan-Smith had a chance in the form of a free header, but he put the ball wide of Elliot's post.

Elliot had to punch the ball away. Neither side was dominating possession. Wagstaff did not seem very involved. Charlton launched an attack and the build up was good, Jackson turned provider for Racon. His effort was on target but it lacked sufficient power.

Akpo Sodje was brought on for the last 15 minutes and Anyinsah went off. Luton took off Morgan-Smith and Dan Walker was brought on. Reid turned provider for Johnnie Jackson, but the Luton defence managed to block the ball. Sodje collected off Reid, but his advance was unproductive.

Drury got the equaliser by lifting it past Elliot from 30 yards out to make it 2-2. At the other end, there was almost a chance for Akpo Sodje, but the angle was tight and the ball went across the goal mouth.

Luton attacked through Barnes-Homer, but Jackson cleared the danger. Luton continued to press and Barnes-Homer put it into the side netting when he had better options.

Francis put in a free kick and Benson's header was on target but it went straight to the keeper. Jackson pushed Ghakpa down in the area, but the referee did not award a penalty.

Four minutes were added on. Francis had a free kick, it was almost flicked in by Llera and the last touch was by a Luton player. However, the Charlton effort from the corner went over the crossbar.

Llera got to the ball before Atieno at the expense of a corner kick. Elliot tried to take the goal kick quickly. Luton kept possession as the clock ran down. Luton won a final corner. The ball was pushed away by Elliot and the whistle blew.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Hatters striker predicts Luton win

Hatters striker Taiwo Atieno has predicted an 'upset' in the FA Cup tomorrow: Luton . (The name sounds Japanese, but he clearly isn't). Moreover, an extra bonus for him is that his auntie lives nearby!

Whether it would be an 'upset' or 'shock' is an open question, certainly these words are much over used in relation to the FA Cup. Charlton do face a lot of problems with cup ties and injuries and Phil Parkinson has said that we are down to the 'bare bones'. Martin and Seip are cup tied. Fry is (perhaps fortuitously) suspended. Semedo is doubtful with a hamstring problem and so is Doherty (although whether that is a great loss is an open question).

Quite a few of the Addickted are raving about young winger Calum Harriott who impressed in the FA Youth Cup tie at Welling and was on the bench last Saturday. One who was at Park View Road reported, 'Harriott was, in modern parlance, "awesome"! He is fast, tricky and, unlike other recent winger-graduates, quite sturdy ... the three goals that I saw all came from left-wing forays by young Callum, with driving runs into the box and good shots on target.'

I do think that sometimes the Addickted get over enthusiastic about Academy graduates and forget the gap between the games they play and a higher level. But Parky wouldn't put him on the bench if he wasn't a bit special. So if we are well ahead or well behind in the second half tomorrow, he should be given a chance.

I don't think it's going to be easy tomorrow, but we might just edge it. One Luton fan site I visited had the writer saying he was really looking forward to tomorrow. For us, it is something to be got through, hopefully without humiliation.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Facing the Hatters

I think that the Hatters will try to go for the draw at Saturday. That way they get another pay day and a better chance of beating us.

The Hatters fans think, with some reason, that they do not belong in the Conference and playing us is an opportunity to demonstrate their League credentials.

Why have they fallen so far? Clearly there is a story about financial mismanagement, but I always think that their ground has been a problem. Admittedly, it's a while since I've been there: I saw Gary Nelson score in a 1-0 victory for the Addicks.

However, you entered the away end through a passageway in a terraced house (clearly occupied upstairs) and then climbed up a staircase in the back garden. Along one side of the pitch were 'hospitality suites' which were one step up from Portakabins.

A reminder of our last encounter at The Valley: Charlton played Luton at the Valley was in the 2nd Round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday 23 September 2003.

Charlton won 8:7 on penalties. The score at full time was 3:3 and at the end of extra time 4:4.

The goal scorers for Charlton were: Parker, Lisbie, di Canio and Jensen.

The penalty takers were di Canio, Euell, Fortune, Johanssen, Jensen,
Holland, Parker and Fish.

The attendance was 10,894 (it will probably be lower on Saturday, particularly given the weather).

Charlton lost 0:1 away to Everton in the 3rd round.

The first team squad at that time was: Shaun Bartlett, Jamal Campbell-Rice, Carlton Cole, Paolo di Canio, Jason Euell, Mark Fish, Jon Fortune, Matt Holland, Hermann Hreidarsson, Claus Jensen, Jonatan Johansson, Dean Kiely, Radostin Kishishev, Paul Konchesky, Kevin Lisbie, Scott Parker, Chris Perry, Chris Powell, Garry Rowett, Simon Royce, Graham Stuart, Mathias Svensson and Luke Young.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Valley of frustration

There was a sense of what might have been for the bulk of the 13,468 (in reality smaller) crowd at The Valley last night as Charlton drew 1-1 with Bristol Rovers to stay 2nd in League 1. Brighton and Southampton drew 0-0 after the Saints keeper saved a penalty, so the gap with the league leaders stays the same. Colchester lost at home, but Bournemouth and Sheffield Wednesday won at home against weak opposition (Yeovil and Walsall respectively) to place themselves two points behind us.

After a goalless first half, Brown opened the scoring for the Pirates on 63 minutes, but Benson replied with his 7th goal of the season on 77 minutes, taking advantage of a cross from Reid (who had come on as a substitute on 65 minutes). Victory might still have gone to the Addicks if Lee Martin had not shot wide, while McCormack and Sodje (both brought on as subs) tested the keeper late on.

The stats show that although possession was 50-50 we dominated goals on target by 12 to 3 which says something about the Rovers keeper who made a couple of excellent saves to deny us the three points. We were also ahead on corners by six to two.

As usual, Blackheath Addickted has a good and thoughtful report.

I see Jamie Sheldon's magic

It was a very cold night at the New Windmill Ground yesterday evening but the depleted crowd of 285 enjoyed a rare treat. They were able to experience the magic of new signing Jamie Sheldon as Leamington defeated local rivals Rugby Town 3-0 in the Red Insure (Southern League) Cup to proceed to the second round.

His first goal in the second half, a curling shot from distance, was one of the best goals I have seen this season either in League 1 or the non-league. He subsequently scored a second. Luke Corbett had opened the account for Brakes in the first half.

Jamie was originally with the Birmingham City academy. I think he then had a spell with Redditch, but was then invited to play in Slovenia. After returning he went to Solihull Moors, but it seems that the manager there is not keen on young players. He is certainly a great acquisition for Leamington.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tough challenge at The Valley

Bristol Rovers boss Paul Trollope admits that his side face a tough challenge at The Valley tonight against one of the biggest clubs in the division: Gasheads

Rovers have encountered defensive problems and Trollope is going to have to re-shuffle the pack tomorrow night, bringing in a central defender who has not played since September and has had recent injury problems. With a makeshift right back, the visitors should be vulnerable on Charlton's left and we should try and take advantage of that.

However, Rovers had their confidence boosted by their draw at Brighton and they think that the good playing surface at The Valley will work in their favour.

To cover their defensive shortages, the Addicks have brought in Dutch defender Marcel Seip in on loan from Plymouth until January: Seip

Seip has made nine starts for the Pilgrims this season at both centre and right back. He began his career with BV Veendam in 1999 and then signed for Heerenveen in the Dutch top flight, playing for the club in the Uefa Cuo in 2005. When he joined Argyle, the assistant manager was Tim Breacker, now at The Valley.

However, one comment has been that he is not as good a player as he thinks he is, but another is that he could be worse than Francis.

Come on you Reds!