Saturday 28 February 2009

Decent result, little reward

Hobart: The away draw against ambitious Swansea continued Charlton's unbeaten run and it was a better result on paper than that against Barnsley, even if the match was apparently poor. Once again it was the midfield that came to our rescue with a speculative shot by Nicky Bailey. The inability of our strikers to find the net is a concern.

Unfortunately, teams that looked as if they might get sucked into the relegation battle managed to pull some rabbits out of the hat, not least Plymouth winning at Wolves (which may give some hope for our upcoming fixture there). Southampton and Watford also won.

It does look as if Phil Parkiknson's side may at last have found some form, but it may have come too late.

Friday 27 February 2009

Swans out for revenge

Swansea are out to avenge their opening day defeat by the Addicks according to manager Roberto Martinez: Swans

We were a little fortunate in that game, luck which has since largely deserted us. Mark Kinsella has described the Welsh side as the best footballing sidd in the division who play 'total football'.

Those who do more thorough previews are understandly pessimistic, although Killer goes for a draw. With Jonjo Shelvey having failed the theory part of his driving test yesterday, the Sub-Standard says: 'PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT ON THE PITCH.' The chair of the seminar I gave yesterday at the University of Tasmania said at the end of the session, 'I hope that your beloved Charlton are not relegated.' Let's hope he's right.

One thing that spoiled my enjoyment of the 'easy living' of Tasmania was the sight of Kevin Muskrat on television last night in his capacity as captain of Melbourne Victory. I expect to support Adelaide United in tomorrow's A-league final.

Shelvey signs

Hobart, Tasmania: Jonjo Shelvey has signed a two-and-a-half year contract at Charlton, rejecting interest from Premiership clubs. Sensibly he has preferred the chance of regular first team football at The Valley to reserve duties elsewhere. No doubt he will eventually move to a higher level when he has more experience, but we can then collect a fee that reflects his worth.

Thursday 26 February 2009

No worries

Melbourne Airport: The relaxed Australian culture is getting to me and for the first time in my life I missed my flight in Canberra tonight. Parliament coming out for the weekend didn't help, but it was all my fault. Quantas were very helpful but I will now be in Hobart about 1 a.m.

Perhaps there's a moral for Charlton here - be relaxed when facing Swansea, but not too relaxed.

Leamington continue to implode, losing 2-0 at Chavtown.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Dinner with the Palace

Canberra, ACT: I have been going round Australia with a Charlton holdall, but it has evinced no comment, friendly or hostile (the Australian Addicks are meeting in Melbourne next month).

However when I went for a beer this evening I was greeted by an old friend whose first question was 'What's happened to your team?' I discovered that someone else I bumped into had been educated at Woolwich Polytechnic.

This evening when I went out to dinner I found out that my host had been in Thornton Heath and that both his father and grandfather had been born and died in Croydon, not a habit he intends to maintain.

Needless to say, he was nominally Palace. His view of both Charlton and Palace was that they were both yo-yo clubs who bounced up and down the divisions.

Swans go for play offs

Canberra, ACT: After being knocked out of the FA Cup by Fulham, Swansea are concentrating on the league and a push for a play off place, starting with three easy points waiting to be collected off the Addicks on Saturday. More here: Swans

Saturday 21 February 2009

Close but no cigar

As anticipated on this blog - but a prediction I would rather have seen falsified - Charlton drew at Barnsley today. Earlier in the season it would have been seen as a decent result and it was certainly an improvement on our collapse at The Valley.

The results around us went against us and we are now five points behind Southampton. But you can never rely on those. We wrere denied a penalty appeal, but you never get decisions from the officials when you are in trouble.

At least Leamington stormed the seven hills and beat Romulus 2-1 at their own arena. And I'm off to Kangaroo Island for the day.

Friday 20 February 2009

Injury crisis eases for Tykes

An injury crisis for Barnsley has eased just as they prepare to meet Charlton: Tykes

I've never been to Oakwell and my knowledge of Barnsley is limited which reminds me of Ali G's remark about Wales. 'I don't know much about it, but I hear it's crap.' In my first year at uni I shared a room with 'chuffing' Keith from Barnsley. He was a fanatical road cyclist and this involved the bike being constantly dismantled and reassembled in the room.

Positives for the Addicks are the loan extension for Soares and the return to fitness of Zheng Zhi. However, a draw will be a good result, but not good enough.

I was watching a pre-season Rules game from the MCG (where I have seen a live game) on television last night. A shame that Carlton lost the 'h' in their name otherwise they would be a good team to support. Anyway, they devastated the Kangaroos.

A couple of ideas to adopt from Rules. Could we have goal line officials who give a two handed signal for a goal accompanied by a stern look which they must practice in the mirror? On the other hand, they could be under employed. And could we have throw ins taken by linos over their heads with their back to the pitch? With some linos this could add a comedy element to the game.

What's gone wrong at Charlton?

That is the theme of a piece on BBC Sport, although it doesn't really seem to give any answers:

The comments by Charlton fans and fans of other clubs make for quite interesting reading. A Swansea fan comes painfully close to the truth when he says that it's another case of fans of a medium-sized club living in cloud cuckoo land, a phenomenon now starting to appear at Swansea.

A Charlton fan complains about the failure of Curbs to give a chance to the likes of Jamal Campbell-Ryce or Michael Turner but one always to put that in the context of who else was available at the time and the rate at which they developed.

Anyway, it makes a nice break from writing up my notes on the management of Johne's disease in South Australia while the sun streams in through the window.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Premier is Charlton supporter

Adelaide: SA: I'm now in a state where the premier, Sidcup-born Mike Rann, is an avowed Charlton supporter. 'Long-suffering' is one term he uses.

I see that Nicky Weaver is back in action with the ressies, but I can't see him replacing Elliot any time soon.

Just as Charlton's fortunes have recovered, Leamington have gone into a nose dive and lost their last three matches. And their next two games are Romulus away and Chasetown away.

Will it be a case of Charlton survive and the Brakes don't get promoted? Or will both fail?

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Pitch announcer goes

Perth, WA: More good Charlton related news reaches me here in Australia as the club announces that the pitch announcer has departed with immediate effect and has been replaced by Big Dave Lockwood.

All sorts of reasons are given for the pitch announcer's departure such as the now classic wanting to spend more time with his family, other commitments and the club's 'difficult' circumstances. The essence of the matter was that he never sounded like the authentic voice of Charlton with his synthetic attempts to lift the stands. Perhaps the script was to blame for informing us that we were at The Valley rather than Park View Road but it always rang hollow.

Whereas Big Dave is Charlton through and through and has suffered with the rest of us. And he has the right voice for the job - authoritative and passionate.

The loan of Tom Soares expires soon. From all I hear, we must hold on to him.

Sunday 15 February 2009

A glimmer of hope

Perth, WA: When I changed planes in Dubai last night, I was not too surprised by Charlton's 2-0 win as I did think we could take apart a faltering Plymouth, but Leamington's 0-3 defeat at home came as a real shock.

The Charlton result does give us a glimmer of hope. The table doesn't look as hopeless as it did. There are a number of teams down there that are in trouble as well. And apparently a superb strike by Racon yesterday, a player I have always rated. It's good to have him fit again.

Of course it could be another false dawn like the win over Palace. But in this warm Perth evening, I am in buoyant mood. And off to drink a beer to the Addicks.

Friday 13 February 2009

Argyle: more pressure on Addicks

Plymouth Argyle are expecting a 'tense' encounter at The Valley tomorrow afternoon, but reckon there is more pressure on Charlton. They think that their special 4-4-1-1 formation will create problems for the Addicks. Read more here: Argyle

Our forecast is 2-1 win for Charlton.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Manager comes out fighting at club in crisis

Yes, folks, it's Paul Sturrock at Plymouth Argyle - and there's a fine selection of comments below which show that Pilgrims fan can moan with the best of them:

It will be a battle of the demoralised sides at The Valley on Saturday, but hopefully Charlton can take advantage. I won't be there to see them - I will be on a plane to Australia.

Glazier opens sponsors' new premises

Crystal Palace season ticket holder and Mayor of Didcot, Councillor Tom Harbour, opened the new premises of our sponsors, Kingdom Signs, on Southmead Industrial Estate, Didcot, today.

The company was started in his garage by Dominic Martin in 2001 who was later joined by his wife Ros. They then rented premises in Rich's Sidings, Didcot, before moving to their new 5,000 square foot unit where they employ seven people.

Monty Martin, who has a day job in reception at Kingdom Signs, is a member of the canine match analysis team at The Valley.

Councillor Harbour told this blog that he hoped that Charlton didn't go down as the rivalry with Palace enhanced their season.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Where was the old training ground?

This is a subject that came up in discussions following the death of Michael Gliksten. Of course, at one time all training was at The Valley. In those days there was no ball work, except for the keeper, as it was thought that this would make the players hungry for the ball at the weekend.

Old pictures show players running round the pitch with trainer Trotter in a white coat in the middle. Running up and down the East Terrace was also recommended as a way of building up stamina.

The car park cinders were also used. There was also a 'cross country' circuit around the car park edge, along the path that was halfway up the terraces and back behind the Covered End, with a pinch point at the back of the builders' yard.

For a while, the club used the nearby Stones Athletics ground, possibly from 1974 to 1981.

The New Eltham training ground at the Valley Leisure Sports Ground was located further along Avery Hill Road from Sparrows Lane, opposite the Metrogas Ground.

According to Colin Cameron, the ground was purchased from Aries Sports Club by Roger Alwen and Mike Norris 'at a cost of about £250,000' and then renamed Charlton Athletic Football Club Training Ground. The new training facility was officially opened by Colin Moynihan, MP - Minister of Sport - on October 4th, 1987.

Messrs Alwen and Norris spent a further £230,000 in restoration work, which included a new club house,

Murty wants Royals recall

Graeme Murty wants to get back to the Royals sooner rather than later, at least according to the august pages of the Wokingham Times: Murty

Deon Burton will be appearing in the Jamaica v. Nigeria friendly in the salubrious surroundings of the New Den on Wednesday evening.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Cardiff soundly beaten in sensational game

The weather may have put paid to Charlton versus Cardiff City on Saturday, but it could not stop Coventry Blaze meeting Cardiff Devils at the Skydrome tonight. A sensational match saw Blaze run out 6-4 winners.

The match almost came to a halt in the first period. The Skydrome Arena has something of a reputation for bad ice and desperate running repairs had to be carried out to the playing surface while the game was stopped. One wag shouted out, 'There's better ice outside.' Nevertheless, it did not put the Devils off their stride and they were 2-0 ahead at the end of the first period to the delight of the vociferous Cardiff support, one of whom sported a large wig in honour of Devils captain Brad Voth.

More drama was to come in the second period. With Blaze having turned the match round to go ahead 4-2, the rumble of all rumbles kicked off and the referee was down on the ice in the middle of a mound of bodies. Cardiff man mountain, captain and charm merchant Brad Voth was sent off and although Coventry Quebecker Sylvain Deschatelets was punished for his part in the brawl, he did not go down the tunnel.

Cardiff pulled the score back to 4-4 and Blaze net minder Perras was to blame for at least two of the goals. Blaze supremo Paul Thompson had had enough and substituted the out of form Perras, replacing him by Steve Fone.

This steadied the ship and Blaze powered into the lead and Cardiff never looked like getting back into it as Coventry dominated the last period with some fluent passing and doughty defending.

Valley of Death

This is the theme of an article in today's News of the World: Death

The article makes much of the chasm between the Premiership and the Championship, but in fact the divide between the Championship and League 1 will widen next season with the Championship getting an enhanced tv deal. Once again we have chosen the wrong time to get relegated.

Hamlet collect as Dickson passes go

Dulwich Hamlet will receive £15,000 from Charlton after Chris Dickson made his first start for the Addicks against Burnley. This is in addition to the £35,000 fee paid when he signed a two-and-a-half year contract in March 2007.

If the need to pay this fee has been inhibiting Charlton from starting Dickson, that hurdle has now been surmounted. For his part Dickson has told the Greenwich Mercury that he is keen to stay at the club if he gets more playing time.

Eddie Firmani

It's a good time to remember the great players of Charlton's past and for those of you on Facebook I have set up an Eddie Firmani Appreciation Society.

Saturday 7 February 2009

Relegation threatened club in administration?

I have received a text from a Southampton supporter saying that Saints have gone into administration, but I have no independent confirmation of this. Saints supporters staged 'Lowe out' demonstrations at last Saturday's game. Among those involved was local canine reporter Alfred.

Saints have seen a 22 per cent slump in average attendances compared with last season, with a particularly poor turnout at last Tuesday's game.

The Pools Panel has judged the postponed Charlton v. Cardiff fixture to be a score draw. One fan has complained that we can't keep a clean sheet even when we're not playing.

The latest information from the Solent is that if there is an announcement it will be made on Monday. It's a case of either you read it here first or its complete rubbish.

Charlton 3, Cardiff City 2

With today's match off, it seems appropriate to re-live the match against Cardiff City on 20th March 1954 when I was among the crowd of 20,717. The East Terrace seemed pretty full and, as I recall, it was a dry, cloudy and fairly chilly day.

What particularly stands out in my memory about this match is that Sam Bartram was not in goal. Apparently, he had been injured in training, Bartram being the only player in those days who was allowed to train with the ball during the week. He was still out the following week when Charlton went down 4-1 at Huddersfield, but when he returned the following week the Addicks kept a clean sheet.

So it was stand in keeper Eddie Marsh in goal. Loyal servant of the club though he was, he looked like a rabbit in the headlights and was having some trouble with his shot stopping. I remember that he managed to stop one ball right on the line.

Nevertheless, Charlton went ahead with goals from Hurst on 16 minutes and Eddie Firmani on 23. Cardiff managed to score just before and just after half time. Fortunately, Leary was able to score the winning goal in 72 minutes. It was quite an important result as Charlton finished just above Cardiff in 9th place with a better goal average. They had been beaten 5-0 at Ninian Park, but had played with ten men for most of the match and finished with only five fit players.

The home tie was also characterised by foul play and both O'Linn and Leary were injured. However, Cardiff received their come uppance when a clearance by the indominitable Jock Campbell went high up into the West Stand. It then bounced off the roof and hit Cardiff president, Sir Herbert Merrett JP, right on the nose. He had to receive treatment for a bloody nose.

Friday 6 February 2009

Michael Gliksten

Michael Gliksten, the chairman of Charlton from 1962 to 1982 and the last member of the Glikesten dynasty to head up the club, has succumbed to a long battle with cancer.

Gliksten sold the club in 1982 to Mark Hulyer for a token £1,000, but retained ownership of the ground through his company, Adelong. The ground was then valued at £414,000. He loaned £300,000 to the club to cover half the existing overdraft.

One factor that led him to sell up was that he was involved in a farming enterprise in Australia which was difficult to combine with sorting out Charlton's problems.

Gliksten, however, retained two acres of land behind the West Stand and this subsequently became the subject of a complicated legal dispute in the period leading up to the club's departure from The Valley.

Cardiff match off

Tomorrow's match against Cardiff City has been called off after a pitch inspection by referee Andy d'Urso.

I'm off to Australia for three weeks next Saturday, so there will be quite a gap before I see Charlton again, probably no bad thing.

Enjoy the absence of a game!

Thursday 5 February 2009

Curbs baffled by Charlton's fall

Alan Curbishley is baffled by Charlton's fall, but thinks there is still hope of Championship survival (but then he has only been back to The Valley once since he left): Curbs

Bluebirds' song and dance routine

Enjoy it here: Bluebirds

Whether there will be a match on Saturday remains in some doubt. It's snowing hard here in the Midlands, but weather forecasts for London are somewhat contradictory. Snow and ice on the roads and paths around The Valley has done for a match in the past, but heavy rain would clear it all away.

However, the promised heavy rain has not materialised today and there is a threat of overnight snow. There will be a pitch inspection at The Valley at 12 noon tomorrow.

Tuesday 3 February 2009

4-4-2 at Ashton Gate

Phil Parkinson has gone for an ambitious - and why not - 4-4-2 formation at Ashton Gate with Trésor Kandol starting up front partnered by Chris Dickson. Therry Racon make his first start after returning from injury, replacing the mercurial Sam in midfield. Grant Basey is preferred at left back while Kelly Youga sits out his one match ban. Hudson has not been able to shake off his injury, so Matt Holland (also acting as captain) takes the centre back role alongside Darren Ward.

The tones of the post horn gallop greeted the teams as they came on to the pitch
writes Eddie Burke from Ashton Gate. Charlton were wearing their white shirts with black shorts. Kandol was hauled down and the Addicks got a free kick in a decent position, but no yellow card was shown. Basey put it just over the angle of the crossbar and post. Charlton had started brightly and won another free kick. Yet another agricultural challenge led to a third free kick in the opening minutes.

City threatened, but Holland headed the ball away. Charlton were three on three, Dickson was fouled right on the edge of the penalty area. Spring's effort went over the top of the bar.

Bristol City won the first corner of the game. Basey headed the ball away and then subsequently by Murty. The home fans seemed a little subdued. Murty put a cross in and there was a suspicion that the home side had used an arm in defence. The home side broke and Adebola put in a poor dive, but again no card was shown.

Dickson put in a shot way over the bar. Racon showed great skill and put in a ball that would have been the goal of the season, but the keeper managed to save at the expense of a corner. Basey's corner was disappointing. City broke, but Charlton were able to clear.

A super far post header from Soares from Bailey's cross put Charlton 1-0 ahead. They had a chance to make it 2-0 minutes later bit Dickson's effort went wide.

Alas, once again Charlton could not hold on to their lead. City came out of the blocks in the second half and Adebola scored twice on 49 and 53 minutes to give the home side a 2-1 victory. Once again the limitations of Holland as a makeshift central defender were apparent, although Elliot kept the scoreline respectable by tipping the ball over the bar.

Another nail in the relegation coffin. In contrast to some recent matches, the stats were in Charlton's favour with nine shots on target to eight and four corners to three. But the only stat that real counts is the ball in the back of the net.

City manager warns players

Astute Bristol City manager Gary Johnson has warned his players not to turn up for tonight's fixture with Charlton expecting to collect three points with little effort. Johnson is warning his players not to under-estimate bottom-of-the-table Charlton.

City will be expected to register a fifth win in six games against opponents who have won only once in their last 18 matches. But Johnson dismissed such talk, insisting: 'We can't afford to fall into that trap. Barnsley came here and made life very difficult for us on Saturday and this game will be just as tough. Charlton may be fighting for their lives, but they have some talented players and a lot of Premier League and Championship experience about them.'

'They're struggling, but they'll become confident if we allow them to score the first goal. [I hardly think so given their record of surrendering a lead as at Burnley] We have to impose our game on them from the start and put them under pressure. We have to make sure we take full advantage of their position.'

City will again be without leading scorer Nicky Maynard, who is still recovering from the dead leg sustained during last week's 2-0 success at Plymouth Argyle. Maynard has yet to train since and Johnson confirmed: 'He will not be involved.'

City match likely to go ahead

Tonight's match between Bristol City and Charlton Athletic will go ahead. The pitch has been covered since Saturday and there has been relatively little snow in Bristol (they had a centimetre in the Isles of Scilly yesterday and parents still phoned up to see if the island school would be closed).

The Football League is insistent that the match goes ahead, regardless of any travelling difficulties that fans might encounter - the Addickted contingent is likely to be more depleted than it might otherwise be. Referee Kevin Friend inspected the pitch at 1 p.m. after the covers had been removed and deemed it playable.

The team was unable to train before they left for the west country yesterday, but given the amount of benefit they appear to derive from their training this might be no great loss.

Monday 2 February 2009

Hornets deny DeMerit reports

Watford have denied reports being carried by Sky Sports News that Charlton have made a £300,000 bid for American centre back Jay DeMerit. More here: Buzz You will note that Watford fans seem keen to get rid of him.

Actually, what they say is they have not 'received' the bid and it may still be on its way to Vicarage Road. Having been in London today and seen the transport chaos, the bid may be stuck in the snow somewhere.

Graeme Murty has extended his loan at The Valley for a further month. Martin Christensen, a signing on which a lot of money has been wasted, has returned to Denmark on loan with Lyngby until the end of the season. There may be an expectation that he will stay there.

Lyngby is a club where I have watched the Addicks play in a pre-season friendly in happier times. I watched the match from a grassy knoll.

Sunday 1 February 2009

Sympathy for Nigel Nigelson

Listening to 606 last night, the unmistakeable nasal drone of Croydon came over the airwaves. And indeed it was a Nigel complaining about the treatment that he and fellow Glaziers have suffered at the hands of Charlton fans on Tuesday.

He complained that he had suffered physical and verbal abuse and had not experienced anything similar when following Palace all over the world (presumably when they were in the world clubs championship). Clearly the Nigels are making a campaign out of this to damage Charlton's reputation.

And to an extent it is succeeding. Nigel Nigelson got a very sympathetic hearing from Alan Green who said he was very disturbed by what he had heard. 'I can't see you,' he said (perhaps as well), 'but you don't sound the like the kind of person who would cause trouble.' Somewhat grudgingly, he added that Charlton might have something to say.

The club need to get their side of the story on this out soon. Over zealous stewarding is always a possibility in away ends, but it is difficult to believe that 48 Nigels were ejected for no reason at all.

Palace lost 0-1 at home to Blackpool yesterday despite the Seasiders having former Addick goalkeeper Paul Rachubka sent off after three minutes.