Saturday 30 March 2013

Addicks fight back to win at home

Charlton won a rare home victory when they beat Bolton Wanderers 3-2 at The Valley this afternoon. Although most of the teams below them won, it still gave a platform to build on to pull away from the threat of relegation. The Addicks had gone behind in the third minute and were soon 0-2 down, a goal greeted by a chorus of boos. The row behind me decided that the only issue was whether we would finish 23rd or 24th. However, Charlton started to get back into the game and Johnnie Jackson sent them in just 1-2 behind at half time.

After the break they equalised and Yann Kermorgant put them ahead with a penalty with Bolton down to ten men and finally to nine. (Possibly they they ended up with eight after the game as Knight was shown a yellow on the pitch after the end of the game and continued his argument near the tunnel where it is suggested that he received a second). After we had gone 3-2 ahead, we took our foot off the pedal somewhat and were forced back more than I would have liked. Seven minutes added on, largely because of the substitution of one of the linesmen provided some tense moments, but we held on and the Bolton fans, and indeed some of their players and their manager, blamed referee Kettle for the result. But it was the indiscipline of their players that was the underlying problem for them. For us, the presence of Suzanne, the charming partner of the Blackheath Addick, did not cast a spell on us after all and she saw her first win at The Valley.

As someone who travels a distance to the game, I am perhaps too inclined to put emphasis on the journey itself as a signifier of what might happen in the game. Whether Deptford Creek has the tide in or not is really irrelevant, although a higher tide does seem often to work in our favour. Yesterday, however, by journey was a little unusual, suggesting to me that the game would not be a straightforward one. Virgin Trains decided to celebrate the Easter holidays by putting on a smelly and labouring diesel unit from Coventry, even though the electric wires were functioning normally. Then the Northern line via Bank was closed and I decided to stay on the Jubilee to North Greenwich. I caught a 161 and the driver drove as if a white van full of Millwall fans was behind him and we got to the Woolwich Road in less than the advertised nine minutes (often it seems interminable particularly for an evening match with tired commuters travelling).

Within 47 seconds Bolton had won a corner. Pritchard should have cleared the ball, but he didn't and it came back in and was not far off target. Bolton then broke with Ngog and Hamer have to save. The inevitable happened on three minutes with Dervite in 'apres vous' mode, the visitors were given loads of space to allow Sordell to score.

Some hope was provided by the way in which Harriott and Wiggins were combining down the left. We then had a penalty call when Pritchard was tugged back by charm merchant Knight as he was about to score, but referee Kettle had still not got up steam. Charlton won a corner and, after some intervening play, a second. But Bolton were able to break and they always looked dangerous when they did so and Chris Solly had to come to Charlton's rescue. Some good play led to a Charlton corner that was eventually cleared. Bolton countered again and Solly had to put in an excellent defensive header.

Then on 19 minutes Kamara scored for Bolton from distance. I thought that Hamer should have done better, but the Blackheath Addick says that it looked a more testing shot from the North Stand than it did from the West or East. In any event we should have closed them down.

One Addick commented, 'It felt a bit Cardiff like this game - we kicked into gear after going 2-0 down and rarely looked troubled afterwards.' Harriott put in a delicious cross right in front of the goal, but unfortunately there was no one there to collect. Harriott put in some good work, but Jackson was slow to take advantage. But shortly afterwards he redeemed himself when following play involving Harriott again he seized the opportunity to make it 1-2 with a captain's goal. In many ways this was the crucial goal of the afternoon as it meant that the match was no longer beyond our reach.

Ricketts made a meal of it to claim a Bolton free kick. Fuller was not creating very much at this stage of the game or taking advantage of what was created for him. Pritchard and Solly provided some good defensive work. Hughes created an opportunity for himself but then put the ball wide. Ricketts fouled Harriott. Referee Kettle had by now got steam up and awarded what was probably a rather harsh yellow card which was to be important later. From the free kick Solly won a corner for Charlton which he took himself. Harriott then won the Addicks a corner and it was again Solly who provided a good inswinger. Hughes got a yellow card.

Half time: Addicks 1, Trotters 2

Good work by Harriott won us a corner, but dithering by Morrison nearly cost us. Referee Kettle was then seen running to the side of the pitch making strange gesticulations to the players and it was unclear whether these meant 'I'm boiling over' or 'I've lost the plot and I'm giving myself the red card.' It turned out that it was the West Stand lino who was to receive the red card and there was then a great delay while the fourth official was readied, including great efforts to see that he was neatly turned out. Referee Kettle was still simmering when he gave Ricketts a second yellow card and sent the Welsh international off for bringing down Fuller. Kermorgant's free kick hit the post but Dervitte was there ready to pounce and equalise to the delight of at least one Frenchwoman in the crowd.

Fuller was then obligingly brought down to give us a penalty. Sacre bleu! It was Yann Kermorgant who stepped up, not captain Jacko. The Breton was seeking to exorcise the memory of that penalty miss at Leicester which is engraved on the hearts of Leicester fans. Kermorgant scored emphatically to make it 3-2.

Harriott continued to be lively, winning the Addicks a corner. But Bolton were still pressing hard and Solly was once again called on for his defensive skills. Hughes was withdrawn and Gower came on for his Valley debut. Dawson received a yellow card. As normal time came towards an end, the Addicks made a double substitution. Harriott and Fuller went off and Wilson and Haynes came on. It looked as if the referee was in a competition to issue cards as Solly was the next to receive a yellow, although he seemed to think it was a fair cop.

With seven minutes added on, the Bolton keeper had to tip the ball over the bar. The referee wanted a Breton for his collection and gave Kermorgant a yellow card. The indiscipline of Craig Davies led to a yellow card for arguing and then he too was sent for an early shower with a second yellow. Spearing got a yellow card from the referee who was now shrouded in steam. After the game ended Zat Knight gave it large to the referee and got a yellow card.

We had a long wait at the station while a door problem was dealt with and the Bolton fans were full of complaints about the referee. He did overheat, but then we have had our share of poor refereeing decisions. For once fortune was on our side. I missed my usual train at Euston and had to get a Preston train which had its complement of distressed Trotters. My day was made complete by the news that Leamington were ten points clear at the top of the Southern Premier, having beaten Cambridge City away 4-1. This included three penalties so they got the rub of the green as well.

This morning the sun was shining as I went to a church that served an abandoned village in a beautiful remote spot in the Warwickshire countryside for the Easter Day service. For once, having been to a Charlton game the day before, I was at peace on a Sunday morning.

Match analysis

There were a number of candidates for the Silver Bone but Ivy the Terrible selected Callum Harriott. Sometimes he tries to do much, and he didn't score, but he really put the Bolton defence under the cosh. Hamer should have done better for the second goal, but he did make some decent saves later. Button had a mare against Millwall, but the goalkeeping issue remains one for thought once the season is over. Solly had another great game, making some great defensive interventions. It was also good to see him take some inswinging corners. Player of the year again? Wiggins is shaking off the rust and looked the best I have seen him since his return. Morrison has not been at his best recently and once dithering by him nearly set up a goal scoring opportunity. Dervite was slow and error prone early in the game, but improved as it went on and he did score, so all is forgiven. Hughes took a little while to get into the game on his return, but then he started to put in a performance that was workmanlike and then went beyond that. Got a generous acknowldegement when he went off. One Addick commented, 'He started to get into the game with his low fuss passing, easy control and general Kish-like hassling of the opposition.' Jackson was an early target of the moaners and his lack of pace is a worry, but what people often forget is that he can score goals. Pritchard is a player I like because of his commitment, but I still worry that the skill level isn't quite high enough at times. The moaners in the row behind argued that Fuller only looks interested when he has sight of goal, but I thought that he put himself about quite a bit, getting a bashing for his troubles. Sometimes he does make a sublime move and then a poor one minutes later. Kermorgant started to lose his rag again in the second half and he needed to score the penalty to boost his confidence. Wilson made an efficient contribution when he came on. Haynes tried to get involved, but didn't contribute a lot. Gower looked cultured.

Rescue Cat Reg stopped me writing the match preview yesterday by bashing the keyboard and placing himself in front of the screen until I agreed that he could give the Hiss of the Match instead of Juneau the Soccer Cat. Reggie did indeed act as a lucky talisman and has awarded the accolade to Bolton manager Dougie Freedman who clearly took particular exception to being beaten by Charlton and argued with the officials all the way to the tunnel. He has complained about the referee being 'part-time', but they all are at this level.

That's why it's Good Friday!

Birmingham City took all the Nectar points at Sainsbury's yesterday evening by beating Crystal Palace 4-0 in a clinical display. Shocked supremo Ian Holloway conceded that Palace's promotion challenge is in danger of losing momentum at precisely the wrong time. He was left stunned by his side's capitulation. He said, 'I am shocked. I am finding it hard to cope with. That was unrecognisable. That is a huge dent in what we want to achieve. Losing at Brighton seems to have dented everything. That was awful - awful result, awful day.'

However, it was Thai takeaways all round for Millwall after they edged a 1-0 victory over 10-man Leicester at what was the Crispbowl. My Foxes supporting friend Stacey was losing it badly in her tweets after Leicester's captain was sent off after three minutes and she has my sympathy, although the sending off seems to have been justified.

The 1-1 draw between Blackpool and Blackburn put the two teams ahead of the Addicks on goal difference with Charlton now 17th. Huddersfield are also on 47 points but have a far inferior goal difference to us. These things could count at the end of the season. The woes of Bristol City increased as they went down 3-0 at Derby.

Elsewhere, Bradley Wright-Phillips found the net for Brentford in their 2-1 win over Notts County, while Mambo scored for Shrewsbury in their 2-2 draw at Carlisle.

Good news for former Charlton defender Jon Fortune whose efforts to get himself fit at Chatham Town have succeeded. He has signed for Dagenham & Redbridge until the end of the season.

Friday 29 March 2013

Powell: Baker is Charlton's heartbeat

Charlton chaplain Matt Baker is the heartbeat of the club says Chris Powell in a feature on club chaplains in The Times today which gives the Addicks top billing. Powell said that if he ever left Charlton for another club a chaplain would be one of his first signings: 'I would demand a chaplain ASAP.'

But Powell, who is known for his religious commitment, admits that not everyone buys into the concept. Coaches dislike interference and clubs fear Bible bashers.

But he insists, 'If a club doesn't have a chaplain, they are missing the point. Why not have someone who will help the club grow, help players individually, be part of the support network? Players need a voice, someone with empathy away from the football side. I'm their boss and they understand that, but these guys might see something that means they need to talk. They won't come to me with a question about religion or bereavement.'

'I don't think there's many chaplains qualified to deal with an on-pitch issue. But what if the player is dropped, he might think how does he handle that? The chaplain's role could be to keep his spirits up, tell him he's seen him play.'

Matt Baker has been Charlton's chaplain for 13 years. He also works full time as pastoral support director for English Football. Four months into his chaplaincy he had to deal with the drowning of Pierre Bolangi at an army training centre in Aldershot.

When Leon McKenzie attempted to take his life three years ago while playing for the Addicks, Baker, in the days that followed, was the only person at the club he told about the depths of his depression.

Trotters in town

Bolton Wanderers are sometimes referred to as the Trotters and sometimes by the much blander term the 'Whites'. For me, the 'Trotters' always evokes the heritage of the club. Anyway, this Bolton fan uses the term in his match preview in which he points out that a win for Wanderers tomorrow will put them two points off a play off place: Trotters

At the beginning of the season I named Bolton as one of my promotion picks. Yet seven weeks ago Bolton had lost four games in seven and were just one place and three points above the relegation zone. Their resurgence since then shows how quickly a team can move upwards or downwards in this tightly packed league.

Palace's Dougie Freedman replaced Owen Coyle as manager last September. Freedman told The Football League Paper, 'I'm very proud of what I did at Palace. I got hold of a club in the bottom three and left them in the top three. And I made the club a lot of money. But, professionally, it was the right decision to come here.' There is certainly a big contrast between operating from a supermarket car park and the Reebok.

Freedman reckons that the team bore pyschological scars as a result of the fortunately not tragic Fabrice Muamba incident, and being relegated on the final day by a late goal at Stoke. He said, 'Remember this is a club that hasn't won regularly for near enough four years. Quite simply, there was no winning mentality. I inherited a lot of very good players who just need a bit of direction in life. For me, it was about changing the culture and convincing them that they're good enough.'

For Charlton Mark Gower will be available tomorrow to add his experience to a midfield that often loses its shape. Leon Cort will face a late fitness test. New loan signings Robert Hall and Danny Butterfield are set to make their debuts for Bolton. For Bolton right back Tyrone Mears (blood infection) remains sidelined along with Republic of Ireland international Keith Andrews (Achilles).

Charlton have won only once against Bolton in six home matches in the last decade. In the first half against Millwall we did play some nice football, in particular passing accurately to Charlton players, but it had no end result. It is difficult to see how we can avoid defeat tomorrow, even though Bolton did lose against Ipswich last time out.

Rescue cat Reg has done his best to stop this story being written as he demands that veteran Hiss of the Match analyst Juneau the Soccer Cat is dropped for a younger male cat. In the hope of bringing us some luck, he will provide the Hiss of the Match tomorrow. The Association of Canine Match Analysts has also announced the imminent arrival of two lucky labradors who will start training as match analysts: Henry from Chilton, Oxon and Mustang from Compton, Berks.

Tribunal hearings involving Charlton?

The following story has appeared in the Currant Bun: 'Shrimpers chief executive Steve Kavanagh is taking Charlton to an industrial tribunal over his exit last summer. The hearing is likely to shed some light on internal matters at The Valley. Kavanagh resigned from the Charlton board in late July and quit as chief executive soon after.'

The story continues, 'Peter Varney, who also left the club last July, is believed to have settled his case but it is understood former development officer Rick Everitt is suing the club after he was sacked last September. Kavanagh and Charlton declined to comment. But Everitt, in a message posted after he left The Valley, said: "These matters will shine a powerful light into what is going on."'

Ramsgate resident Everitt recently re-launched The Voice of the Valley fanzine and it is understood that the first issue sold well and a second one may appear in April. After the recent resignation of Pope Benedict, speculation identified Everitt as a possible 'dark horse' candidate for the role of Supreme Pontfiff, but the Hand of God intervened.

Any tribunal hearings are likely to take place after the end of the season.

Easter memories

On holiday at Lerryn in 1954, picture has been tinted.

Going back fifty years or so, it was usual for teams to play three matches over the Easter weekend. The team played at home on Good Friday would be played away on Easter Monday or vice-versa. Although when Easter fell had an influence, these matches were usually very important in deciding questions of promotion and relegation. Incidentally, in my work on non-league football I have discovered that some local junior teams played two matches in a day at Easter and that involved getting on their bikes to travel from one location to another.

In the mid 1950s we started going on holiday to Cornwall at Easter (my mother's family came from Cornwall). In part this was possible because the only perk of my father's job as a carriage and wagon fitter on the railways was access to some free tickets to travel anywhere in the UK (or, indeed, to some extent abroad, although we never used that but some of his mates did). I would go down with my mother at the beginning of Easter week. One memory I have is sitting in the restaurant car of the Cornish Riveria Express for coffee and being surrounded by people who were clearly more exotic than one found in Plumstead Common. 'Oh, they're Chelsea types going to St.Ives', my mother said dismissively. My father would travel down on Good Friday. His arrival was eagerly awaited as then I could discuss promotion and relegation issues in the various divisions with him. We then returned as a family on Easter Monday.

The downside was that we missed any home Charlton games over the holiday. I would also note that the weather was often cool and wet and I have a picture of me somewhere looking miserable in a mackintosh on a Cornish beach. Easter 1954 saw us at Lerryn in Cornwall, staying in a very nice converted barn. Eric Portman who was a famous actor at the time dropped by to see the owners and we got to meet him. It was a late Easter and Charlton were comfortably placed in the top flight, eventually finishing 9th.

Good Friday was on April 16th, my father's birthday, and we lost 2-0 at Old Trafford with Firmani missing a penalty. Easter Saturday saw us at home at The Valley in front of a crowd of 22,226, Leary scoring for Charlton. The game against United on Easter Monday saw a crowd of just 19,111 compared with 49,742 for the first match of the season against Sunderland on a Wednesday. Probably interest had dropped off with the Addicks neither in contention for the title nor in any danger of relegation. No doubt many people had taken a day out on the Kent coast. Eddie Firmani scored the winning goal despite having been injured and switching to outside left.

The following year we went to Talland Bay in Cornwall, renting the annex of a big house occupied, as I recall, by two elderly sisters (I think it may be a posh hotel now). It was possible to walk along the cliffs to Polperro. We had to walk in the dark to meet my father from a bus at a remote crossroads, Charlton having lost 2-0 at Portsmouth. They then lost 5-0 at Bramall Lane the following day, although they had gone down to ten men after an injury to Ayre in the twentieth minute. 21,807 came to The Valley on Easter Monday to see a 2-2 draw with Pompey. Charlton finished 16th, heralding the end of the glory days of before and after the war.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Florent Rouamba signs

The official site has announced that Burkina Faso international Florent Rouamba has signed until the end of the season. He still requires a work permit and will not be available against Bolton on Saturday.

Rouamba has arrived at The Valley via Moldova and is apparently finding the weather a shock (he's not the only one). He is living in a hotel and knows no one, so he does not sound like a happy Easter bunny, nor does he like one in his photo. But at least there are players he can speak French with.

He is a defensive midfielder, so he could be the new Keith Jones. Or perhaps not. I'm not quite sure what to make of this, as we already have Dervitte. Perhaps it is a kind of super trial to find out whether he has was it takes. He does have 41 caps for the Stallions who reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations this year, a considerable achievement for one of Africa's poorer countries.

Unsurprisingly, his Wikipedia entry is rather thin: Rouamba

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Relegation fodder

It is often said that any team facing a relegation threat needs to focus on its own results and not worry about those of others. That's good advice, particularly when Charlton are facing two tough matches. However, given the pessimism that afflicts fans about their own teams, there is a risk of thinking that every team below you is invincible and will win all their remaining matches, leaving aside that some of those matches will be against other relegation threatened teams.

It's not a level playing field in the Championship because many teams either have parachute payments, becoming even more generous from next year, or wealthy owners ready to splash the cash on the Cardiff Red Dragons etc. Parachute payments were originally intended to ease the transition from a higher level, although most teams now include relegation clauses in players' contracts. However, their size and duration is now such that they have a distorting effort, creating two categories of team in the Championship, those competing for the top flight and those seeking to keep away from the dreary confines of League 1.

So what of of some of the other teams looking over their shoulder? Huddersfield are one place below us but are 8th in the form table, whereas we are 17th (which could be our final position). Blackpool, one place below us in the form table and two in the actual table, could be in some risk. They have faced managerial upheaval and I am not convinced that Paul Ince is the man to get them out of trouble. Indeed, after the 0-1 home defeat to Peterborough, Ince admitted they are in a battle to avoid the drop.

Ipswich did manage to beat Bolton 1-0 in their last game. They have not been firing on all cylinders all season. I would be surprised if they were relegated, but they could finish below us. Blackburn are bottom of the table and their troubles have been well advertised. Their fans fear a second relegation in a row and one can see why. Whether 'global adviser' Shebby Singh can pull them around remains to be seen, but somehow I think that the end of season chicken barbecue will be marked by relief at escaping the drop.

Dave Flitcroft has won 10 games out of 16 since he took over at Barnsley and they are now 7th in the form table. Just below them in the real table are Sheffield Wednesday who are in the 'too big to go down' category and probably they are. Milan Mandaric is not without resources, but even his funds are dwarfed by some of the money available in Premiership 2.

Peterborough keep plugging away and they have soared up the form table. But I still have doubts about whether they can survive. As for Wolves, it seems to me that their season shows that constant changes of manager do not bring success, although some singularly odd choices have been made at Molineux. If they had kept Mick McCarthy, they might have been in contention for promotion.

As for Bristol City, Stephen Hargreaves is a wealthy man, having set up fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown with his business partner. However, there are limits to his wealth and when you take account of his interests in egg chasing and the difficulty encountered in finding a new home for City, one suspects that they may not escape relegation.

The next five matches look tough and a lot may depend on the last three. I can remember Wolves at home being vital before and it may just be a match we can win at home. Steve Gibson has to pay a £1m a month to keep Middlesbrough afloat and it isn't looking as if they are going to make the play offs. So mid-table mediocrity may be their lot by the end of the season, giving Charlton a chance to display their away skills. I just hope it doesn't all come down to Bristol City at home, as one can imagine a scenario where Bristol City have already been relegated and we need to beat them to be sure of staying up. Such challenges have not been unknown in Charlton's history. If you support the Addicks, it is a roller coaster ride.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Au revoir to points against Bolton

I think that the Blackheath Addick has done an excellent review of the relegation 'threat': Relegation? The only downside is that his charming partner Suzanne is coming from France for the Bolton match so we can say 'au revoir' to any points from that game, although I already had it down as a loss on CAFC Picks. My forecast for the season was 57 points and that is still readily achievable which would see us safe in a lower mid-table position which is what I always expected given the quality of the squad and the funds available to some other clubs.

I will do some analysis of my own later in the week, but for now need to earn some more money to pay for the season ticket renewal. Not unreasonably, the Italians want some work completed well before the end of Holy Week.

Monday 25 March 2013

Community club of the year

Congratulations to everyone involved with Charlton's substantial range of community work on the award of Coca-Cola Community Club of the Year. This work is probably more important than it ever was. It was also pleasing to see Phil Parkinson get the award for outstanding managerial achievement.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Powell escapes winter weather

Charlton manager Chris Powell has escaped the winter weather to jet off to Spain, but he is in Madrid to run the rule over some Charlton prospects, reports Richard Cawley of the South London Press: Powell

I was quite surprised to learn that chief scout Phil ('Chapel of Rest') Chapple has good contacts in Europe, but perhaps I am doing him a disservice. Somehow I don't see him as speaking any continental languages, but probably the international language of football serves well enough.

Without a database, I can't remember all the Spanish players we have signed in recent years, although my impression is that they had not always been an outstanding success. It may not be so easy for them to fit in as a French-speaking player who can converse with Yann Kermorgant or Ceddy Evina. I recall Semedo having problems with English when he came, but then he is Portuguese which is quite a different language. I am struggling to learn some at the moment as it is becoming increasingly useful in Leamington where we have a large Portuguese/Brazilian community and there is a need to get beyond saying 'Bom Dia' and ordering your coffee. It's quite evident there is a lot of interest in football in the Portuguese café I frequent.

Miguel Llera stands out and, of course, he went to Sheffield Wednesday. I thought he was a bit of a lump who could occasionally produce a good ball or score a goal, but was equally capable of creating a calamity all on his own, as we nearly saw when the Owls came to The Valley. Then there was 'Bovver' who has gone off to New York.

So will Chris Powell pick up some possible bargains in Madrid? Coming to play in England, and in London in particular, should be attractive to a Spanish player below the top flight, particularly given the financial mess that many Spanish clubs are in.

Chris Hollins and Charlton

On Friday's 'Farewell to the TV Centre' on BBC 4 there was an amusing reference between former Charlton director Michael Grade who was hosting the event and Chris Hollins that he (Hollins) had played for Charlton once (his Wikipedia entry says that he did). In fact he had a trial with the reserves and scored a hat trick against Erith and Belvedere but didn't make the grade. Hollins comes from a footballing family in Bromley: Hollins

I've been doing a lot of work with local media here in Warwickshire on Coventry City over the last couple of days and if we get disheartened at Charlton, it's nothing compared with the mess the Sky Blues are in, and I certainly sympathise with their fans. Hedge fund Sisu who own Sky Blues having been playing hard ball for some time, although Coventry City Council have fought back. Sisu's actions may be judged to be lawful when the High Court hearing resumes on Tuesday, but they certainly represent a creative interpretation of the law relating to administration.

Thanks to the Addick who told me that another CAFC fan who figures in the public eye cropped up on Radio 4's Broadcasting House yesterday: Sir Stuart Etherington. He was described as being the only CAFC fan with four degrees: he actually has two MAs and a MBA as well as his first degree, but then he does have a honorary doctorate as well. He is chief executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and Pro-Chancellor of Greenwich University (a largely honorary and ceremonial post).

Etherington was born in Epsom, not natural Charlton territory and brought up in Mickleham, a village nearby, and educated at Sondes Place school, Dorking. However, he has a Greenwich address and lists watching Charlton as one of his interests in Who's Who. There are not many people who do that: one was the now departed Lord Wedderburn of Charlton.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Why do some clubs do so well away?

I had lunch with a Blade today who I had not seen before the start of our promotion season from League 1. He reminded me that I had forecast correctly two of the teams that would go up (Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town), but had omitted Charlton, naming Sheffield United instead. Perhaps the general pessimism of the Addickted has started to seep into me.

However, he observed that both Sheffield United and Doncaster had done better away than at home this season, albeit with more home wins than the Addicks. Doncaster have won twelve times away and lost only three times. At home they have won eight times and lost six times, i.e., twice as many times as away. The Blades have also lost away only three times, but have won on ten occasions, whereas at home they have won just seven times. Further down the table, Coventry have an almost 2:1 ratio in terms of away to home wins, but they may have been affected by the trouble with their landlords at the Ricoh (they are in the High Court tomorrow and I have been busy doing pre-records this afternoon for the local radio station's coverage from the pavement outside).

In the Championship, apart from Charlton, only Blackpool, Wolves and Peterborough have won more games away than at home, although there are a number of clubs on a 50:50 ratio such as Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday.

Is there a trend for home advantage to be eroded? The Blade thought that at Bramall Lane, the crowd started to get discontented once an error was made or the Blades failed to go ahead by 30 minutes, whilst the players could play with freedom and confidence away? Is there a trend here, or does it simply reflect the fact that many random factors can affect outcomes in a game of narrow margins?

If Poyet goes to Reading, 75 per cent of Championship managers will have left their job this season, most usually because they have been sacked. No wonder the League Managers' Association are concerned (unfortunately their headquarters is no longer in the same road as the coffee shop I visit, as they have moved to Burton-on-Trent). Hopefully, Chris Powell will not join that number, although many Addicks have become dissatisfied with him.

Commons, Lords to launch Charlton inquiries

It all started with a proposed leak inquiry into the leak by the Evening Standard of Charlton's next home result. But now both the House of Commons and the House of Lords are hoping to get some useful favourable publicity by launching wide-ranging specialist committee inquiries into what is happening at the club.

A MP commented on lobby terms, 'We have run out of bankers to grill and make ourselves look big. But if we can reveal who the Mysterons behind Charlton are, that will make a big story. By looking into the policing at the Millwall game, we have an excuse to question both Theresa May and Bojo and we can run the rule over them as possible future leaders of the Conservative Party.'

'Then we can make out that Charlton's pattern of home defeats is suspicious, so we can start to make allegations about mystery Asians involved in gambling syndicates. Above all, any football investigation shows us on the side of the ordinary bloke in the street.'

The committee is also likely to investigate why Charlton signed Iranian international Karim Bagheri, given that he made just one appearance when the Addicks were losing on a wet afternoon in Ipswich and made contact with the ball once, although on the honours board he counts as Charlton's most capped international. At the time it was rumoured that the Foreign Office wanted to try and improve relations with Iran by sending a Premiership football team to play some friendlies there. Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs all refused to go, but Charlton came into the frame because of its community record and links with New Labour. Adding an Iran international to the Charlton team was seen as a plus, but the mad mullahs refused to play ball and let Charlton go to their country.

The House of Lords has raced to get in on the act, although their inquiry will focus into why there is such a big discrepancy between the announced attendance at Charlton and the number of people actually in the ground. Professor Lord Skidelsky of Tilton believes that given out large numbers of comps can act as a Keynesian stimulus to the economy as those invited then spend money on refreshments and a programme.

The Lords are already ahead of the Commons as Professor Lord Norton of Louth has appointed a graduate of his highly successful politics and parliamentary studies programme to be specialist adviser to the committee. Stacey Frier is a rising star in the field of parliamentary and policy advice, although she is perhaps best known for her blog complaining about the Southern Railways service from Horsham. Frier is an avid if often disgruntled football fan, supporting Leicester City and Weymouth. She recently changed jobs and proceeded to plaster her desk with her collection of Foxes memorabilia. An observant colleague noted, 'So you are a Leicester City fan, then?'

The Commons committee cannot decide who should be its specialist adviser. Labour members, including Charlton fan Roger Goodliffe, favour former Labour parliamentary candidate Rick Everitt. The Conservatives are thought to favour Charlton fan Colin Sams, who has family members with Conservative links. The Liberal Democrats have also discovered a Charlton fan with opinions, Jonathan Acworth.

All three party leaders are expected to get in on the act by making speeches on Charlton. Dave Cameron wants to show that he is not a toff who is only interested in egg chasing and riding to hounds; Ed Miliband wants to build his street cred south of the river and show that he is more that a nerdy millionaire from North London; and Nick Clegg hopes to prove that he is not a hopeless lightweight who knows nothing about anything.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Charlton Lane closure

Sue Parkes is the wife of long-serving club secretary Chris Parkes and has posted an explanation of the Charlton Lane closure last Saturday on Facebook.

'Charlton Lane Closure - Please Don't Blame CAFC!! All supporters who were inconvenienced after Millwall game due to the unannounced closure of Charlton Lane please don't blame The Club. Chris & I were very late leaving the Valley after the game and therefore didn't know about the problems until I read the postings on FB late Saturday evening, I had even suggested the route via the crossing to a couple of friends in cars.'

'Having read about the problems supporters encountered I asked Chris to try to find out why Charlton Lane was closed, firstly he checked his own copy of the Matchday briefing notes, then he spoke to Senior Safety Staff both sources confirmed that the road wasn't scheduled to be closed but more to the point CAFC Safety Staff were not aware that the road had been closed until Chris told them about it this morning. They hadn't been informed of the closure nor had they been party to it, therefore I'm saying the Club shouldn't shoulder the blame. Hopefully now they know what happened the problem will be looked into to prevent similar treatment of Home supporters in future.'

I had always thought that this was a last minute operational decision by the Metropolitan Police who thereby nearly created a public order problem for themselves. As people were chanting at the time, 'You don't know what you're doing!

The problem is that the programme gave the impression that the whole operation was a joint decision between the club and the police when it is entirely possible that the police put pressure on the club. The club has also been relatively silent on the issue which would not have happened in the past.

Aooarently Ransom Walk was opened relatively quickly. An Addick has commented, 'If Ransom Walk was open after 12 minutes, and presumably policing at that spot was carried out with a view to achieving opening ahead of schedule, why were elderly / infirm people not advised to wait a few moments? In the event, a good number made the long trek around the houses and as a result of the closure of Charlton Way took well over 30 minutes to get back to coaches on Woolwich Road. Proper communication could have saved this.'

'I was lucky enough to get across the level crossing before that route was closed. I was one of the first back to my coach. How is it that I met a good number of Millwall fans, not all looking amiable [surely not?], walking the other way along Woolwich Road?'

I have now read Mick Everett's statement on the club website. It's clearly useful to have this, even if it is somewhat belated. It does explain the context to the decisions taken, although the logical conclusion of his argument would be to play the matches against Crystal Palace and Millwall below closed doors, although then that would invite disorder on the surrounding streets. If I had known what I know now, I would not have gone to the game.

It appears that British Transport Police took the decision to close Charlton Lane on what they claim to be health and safety grounds. One wonders why this separate police force is allowed to continue to exist. Expertise on railway matters could easily be incorporated within existing forces. It is also revealed that even the club did not know that Coxmount Road was to be closed and this was the most foolish operational decision of all. Anyway, at least I know now that I should make a complaint to the BTP.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Valley Talk

I have just added a link to the relatively new Valley Talk blog which looks like being an excellent addition to the range of Charlton blogs. Direct link here: Valley Talk. It's interesting to see how new blogs are often using Wordpress or existing ones changing to them.

I should also have mentioned the blog from the 'Albury Addick', subtitled 'the grumpy ramblings of a Saga lout.' It has a nice personal style to it. It appears that the writer is one of those fortunate seniors who has managed to avoid the modern requirement to go on working beyond the state pension age and who can afford the time to take holidays (it's some years now since I have had one). I met some Saga Louts in Malta once and they also seemed to be called Reg. Anyway here it is: Albury Addick


Blogs come and go and some well-known bloggers have been posting less often. I am aware that my links need sorting out as some of the blogs are defunct (or never really got off the ground). However, at the moment I am very busy with Leamington's promotion push. I write an article for each programme and also act as secretary to the Vice-Presidents club which means that I need to be on duty in the vice-presidents' lounge if there isn't a clash with a Charlton game. It is rather nice to have a cup of tea indoors at half time with a television to watch.

Currently eight points clear in the Southern Premier with a game in hand, there is a real chance of winning the title. However, the FA insists that we increase our ground capacity to 3,000 (not that an attendance often goes into four figures in the Blue Square North) and also move our two stands close to each other with a connecting roof. We also have to have the capacity to segregate the fans in case two nutcases turn up from Workington, and we have to provide a treatment room for spectators should it kick off. All this is going to cost money (apx £50k) which we need to find.

If you are on the M40 tonight, why not take a short detour and see the Brakes take on the Eagles at the New Windmill Ground? The Brakes go marching on, which is more than can be said for Charlton at the moment.

Monday 18 March 2013

Jordan Cook joins Glovers

Jordan Cook has faded from view at Charlton and he has now joined Yeovil Town on loan until April 17th. This may turn into a longer-term deal as promotion-chasing Glovers manager Gary Johnson has been interested in him since he was at Sunderland.

Johnson told This is Somerset: 'Our scouting system identified him as a player. We were going to take him on loan with a view (to sign permanently) but obviously Charlton took him. You’re obviously going to go to the Championship with the salaries that they are offering which are going to be higher than anywhere near what we could offer. It’s nice for us to have him now, it’s certainly cheaper, it’s doing the lad a favour, Charlton a favour and hopefully us a favour.'

The R Word

No, I don't mean relegation. I mean renewal of season tickets. I haven't got round to doing mine yet, although I will before the discount period expires. But two other blogs - From Hill to the Valley and Drinking During The Game have expressed well-founded concerns about the renewal rate.

There are two big factors at work. One is that incomes continue to be squeezed while inflation carries on, especially for energy bills. If anything, inflation is likely to increase as the pound weakens and inflation targets are relaxed (it's one way of reducing the debt burden in real terms). So people will have less discretionary disposable income.

The second factor is dismal home form. To see the Addicks at their best you really need an away season ticket. I suspect that this trend is becoming self-reinforcing: the players feel more confident away than they do at The Valley.

It also doesn't help when the club seems more remote from the fans than in the past. At one time there was a feeling of 'we're all in this together', now we don't know who the ultimate funders are. Some of that was a hangover from the Back to The Valley days, reinforced by an earlier than expected ascent to the Premiership.

The worry is that once someone drops their season ticket, they don't come back very much on a casual basis. In a sense, coming to the game is all about habit. For example, I get the same train from Coventry for each home game, read that morning's FT between there and Euston, follow the same route to The Valley and get my programme from the same seller. I am almost on automatic pilot.

I know someone (we still exchange Christmas cards) who was a keen supporter. He and his wife had season tickets. He lived near Sparrows Lane, so didn't have far to come. He even sponsored players and bought the occasional table in the lounges. Then he dropped his season ticket and the last time I saw him at The Valley was at the play off against Swindon.

When you are in a league where a lot of teams have generous parachute payments or wealthy foreign owners, you need all the gate money you can get. The worry is about a vicious downard spiral in which there is not enough money to acquire players who are competitive at this level (in fact we don't have many as it is).

I once gave a talk about football when a well-known sports historian was in the audience. He said that I hadn't emphasised suffering for one's team enough. Well, I have certainly experienced it over the last sixty years.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Goals change games

That old adage was proved to be true today when two second half goals in quick succession gave Millwall a 2-0 victory at The Valley this afternoon. Up until then, Charlton had been at least holding their own against Millwall: possession over the game was 53-47 in favour of the Addicks. Indeed, arguably we played the better football in the first half in particular but as Steve from Petts Wood commented, 'We played some nice football, but we weren't ruthless enough to make anything of it. It was pretty clear to me that once we went 0-2 down we weren't going to get back in the game, although we tried hard enough.' Millwall have now leap frogged Charlton in the table with the Addicks going down to 14th.

The sense of deep disappointment was intensified by the frustration caused by the difficulty in getting away from the ground. We had known in advance that Floyd Road and Ransom Walk were to be closed off, but fans were advised to exit right into Harvey Gardens and then found the bottom half of Charlton Lane had been closed, denying many of them access to their cars parked on the other side of the Woolwich Road. According to the programme the plan to let the Millwall fans get away was a joint decision of the club and the police, but some sources have indicated that the club would have preferred the visitors to be held back.

A lot of Millwall supporters got on at London Bridge, but surprisingly none at Deptford. A large group got on Greenwich and the air was soon blue as a tale was told involving some ducks, a swan that had been kicked in the chest and then the arrival of some ****ing alsatians which spoilt the fun. It was raining heavily when the game started and the pitch was quite badly waterlogged on the East Stand side. In the flats overlooking the ground a group of Millwall supporters were hanging out a banner: ironically there is a Charlton shield on the same floor.

Bradley Pritchard drew an early save from the Millwall keeper. Charlton won a corner but from the ensuing play Harriott sent the ball well over. Millwall won a free kick near the corner flag, but it was cleared without great difficulty. Good play by Harriott forced Millwall back. Osborne had to be withdrawn for Millwall and Scottish economist Adam Smith replaced him. Solly put in some excellent defensive work. An error in midfield by Pritchard led to a corner for the visitors. As the half hour mark passed, Charlton seemed to be in the ascendancy and Harriott put in a shot which had to be saved by Forde in the Millwall goal at the expense of a corner. However, this led to a free kick for the visitors.

Slowness by Pritchard set up a Millwall attack. Kermorgant put in an effort that was way off target. Smith got a yellow card for a foul. With two minutes added on, Millwall put in a shot that was fractionally wide, a warning for the second half when they would be attacking towards their own fans.

HT 0-0

Harriot was tripped and Dunne got a yellow card, setting out a free kick in a promising position. For a moment I and those around me thought that Kermorgant had scored, but the ball had flashed just wide. This was a turning point in many ways for Charlton's play started to deteriorate. Runs by Haynes were petering out, Wilson was putting in aimless balls and Harriott put the ball over again.

Millwall brought on their loan signing from Palace and with his first touch of the ball he scored, the ball slipping through Button's arms. Charlton started to lose their shape and panic. Pritchard received a yellow card for a foul, setting up a free kick in a central position but some way out. It didn't look that dangeerous at first, but the shot arrowed through, curving as it went, and Button was unable to make the save: he should have done better.

Charlton then made a double substitution, taking off Wilson and Haynes (rightly so) and bringing on Wagstaff. Indecisiveness by Button required Solly to use all his skills. Charlton tried to apply some pressure, but it was evidently going nowhere. The bloke two seats to my right was going beserk with anger, but the simple fact was that we had been outplayed on the day. When four minutes were added on, one wag said that if four hours had been added on we wouldn't have scored. Of course, it's more difficult for people who live in South London and have to put up with bragging rights. I don't know any Millwall supporters in Warwickshire, although there are a few Charlton supporters around.

I have never seen so many police at a Charlton game, although to some extent the behaviour of some of our own supporters at The New Den may have contributed to this. My plan had been to walk up the hill and get a bus to Woolwich or Blackheath rather than hang around in Harvey Gardens for half an hour. However, the Bloke Beside Me offered me a lift into Woolwich and the idea of taking a look at my old stamping ground appealed: I haven't been there since the play off celebrations. However, when we reached the top of Harvey Gardens we found the lower end of Charlton Lane blocked off. Some people were going up Craigmount Road which enabled them to loop round and join Charlton Lane nearer the level crossing but the police formed a line, including mounted police, to stop this. Many people then started going through the garden of the corner house and climbing over the fence and two mounted police were deployed to stop this. I learnt subsequently that some of these were Millwall fans seeking to taunt the stranded Addickted. Many people were quite angry and it could have turned nasty, but fortunately it didn't.

We were then told that Floyd Road was open, so I went back that way. A group of Millwall fans was being escorted up the road by a phalanx of police, so so much for getting them out of the area. Another who was the worse for wear was being dealt with by the side of the road. The police have a difficult job, but sometimes they make it more difficult for themselves. I don't think that the Metropolitan Police enhanced their reputation today, certainly not in my eyes, but I don't suppose they care. If it happened in Warwickshire, I could complain to the much maligned police and crime commissioner.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible was so barking mad after the game that she was inclined to keep the Silver Bone for herself. However, eventually it was decided to award it to Callum Harriott. It's unfortunate that some of the best chances fell to him because he didn't make good use of them, but he did play well, showing lots of pace and commitment. Is Button any better than Hamer? He spilled the ball once and the second goal was arguably saveable even though it did curve. Morrison generally had a decent game. Taylor played us into trouble once. Solly showed some real skill at times. Wiggins did make one or two errors, a lack of pace at one time giving Millwall an avoidable throw in but was generally solid. I thought that Pritchard had a rather error prone game, although there were some positive contributions. Jackson battled away with great determination. Wilson was below his usual standard and seemed a bit off the pace at times. I had advocated starting Haynes but he seemed to be too lightweight and was muscled off the ball too easily, admittedly often when he had two or more defenders chasing him. Kermorgant nearly scored with his free kick, but got increasingly frustrated as the game went on. He evidently felt that he did not get enough protection for fouls, but I thought that the referee got things right most of the time. Wagstaff was energetic when he came on but to no great effect. I had hoped that the skill of Fuller might turn the game around, but he seemed to be lacking in ideas.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given the Hiss of the Match to the Metropolitan Police.

Friday 15 March 2013

After you

It's raining heavily in the Midlands again this morning and I understand that it's likely to be raining in SE7. Heavy rain would not be good for the Valley pitch or for the quality of the game. Indeed, at the last home game, pigeons were on the pitch during the game, presumably trying to eat grass seed that had been put down.

Much of the attention today has been focused on a police plan to let Millwall fans out first so that they can catch the additional trains back to London. In fact, as I know, lots of Charlton fans use these trains, for example to change to other services at Waterloo and those wanting to travel to Kent will also be delayed by the closure of Floyd Road for 25 minutes after the game. Ransome Walk will also be closed, delaying access to the 'Rickshaw' coaches, although clearly it would be unsafe to have this open if Floyd Road was closed. Presumably the rationale behind this is that the away fans are nearer the station but at the last match between the two teams in 2009 fans from both clubs were able to use the trains immediately afterwards. One wag suggested that Group 4 could lay on some 'sweat boxes' to run back to leading London prisons.

Neither side is any real danger of relegation, but both need points on the board. Millwall's 17th place partly reflects two games in hand. Nevertheless, the bookies (Coral) have Millwall at 8-1 for relegation compared to 16-1 for Charlton. Millwall's away record more or less matches Charlton's home record: 5-6-7 for Millwall away, 4-6-8 for Charlton at home, so Charlton usually lose, but so do Millwall. The bookies are offering Charlton at 11/10, a draw at 9/4 and Millwall at 5/2. A draw seems the most likely outcome to me, but not as high scoring as the 4-4 one in 2009. 1-1 or even 0-0 looks more likely. It is 21 years since Millwall won away against Charlton.

Five Millwall players have played for Charlton: Danny Shittu; Rob Hulse; Therry Racon; Dany N'Guessan; and Josh Wright. Millwall have striker Jermaine Easter on loan from Crystal Palace.

Yann Kermorgant is available again, and all fired up, hopefully not too much. Chris Powell thus faces a selection dilemma up front, but this may be a game that requires Kermorgant and Haynes to start with Fuller in reserve.

So I have made an early start for London, put up with wet weather, possibly see Charlton lose and then have problems in getting away safely and promptly from the game. That's Addicktion for you.

New pope suffers for football

Pope Francis receives a San Lorenzo banner

Charlton fans are dealing with their disappointment that Rick Everitt did not become Pope Lennie the First. They had been hoping for a papal blessing before tomorrow's game against the Satanic forces of Millwall. The word from within the conclave is that had Charlton been in the Premiership, the Rickster might have stood a better chance.

The Pope's team, San Lorenzo, are in the Argentinian Premier Division, although currently they are 12th. The Pope has a membership card and fellow fan Oscar Lucchini who presented him with it said, 'He lives in a permanent state of suffering for San Lorenzo.' Anyone who watches the Addicks at home know how he feels.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Mark Gower joins Addicks

As anticipated, Mark Gower has joined Charlton for the rest of the season on loan from Swansea City. His experience should be of value to a midfield that is prone to go awol and he may have a baptism of fire from the bench on Saturday.

Chris Powell thinks he may be 'one for the future', although given his age, it will be interesting to see how much pace he has or whether he can last 90 minutes (I would expect him to be used more as a sub). The view from Abertawe is that he is a decent player, but not of Premiership quality: Gower

Millwall fans give Huhne noisy night

Chris Huhne learned how noisy prison can be when Millwall fans in Wandsworth celebrated last night's 1-0 victory at Blackburn which took them to the semi-final of the FA Cup. It has been estimated that the number of Millwall fans enjoying Her Majesty's Pleasure exceeded the 574 who made the journey north.

The FA has denied reports that the semi-final tie will be relocated to Hackney Marshes, although Brentford's Griffin Park has been considered. However, Millwall fans are already coming out of the woodwork all over South London. Some are hoping to acquire tickets to trade in what is expected to be a lively black market.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Charlton don't bother me says Millwall blogger

A Millwall blogger explains why Charlton don't bother him, although he seems to spend quite a lot of time saying why and manages to get a few digs in at our expense: Millwall

The Nigels and Nigellas of Palace bother me more because there seems to be something of a bit phoney about them and there is also the question of our treatment when we shared Selhurst and the aspirations of some directors to merge the two clubs.

Apparently the last time Millwall beat us at home 'Sunny' Jim Callaghan was prime minister and Tragedy by the Bee Gees was appropriately top of the charts.

Wright-Phillips: why I had to go out on loan

Bradley Wright-Phillips tells the South London Press why he had to go out on loan. He says that he knows some of the reasons why he wasn't playing much and some he doesn't know, but he emphaises that there has been no falling out with Charlton or Chris Powell: Wright-Phillips

Curbs: I need a chairman to take a gamble

Alan Curbishley has thrown his hat into the ring at Reading, at least according to the Currant Bun. After four years out, he would love to get back into football management and is quoted as saying: 'My record's good but I have been out for some time. I need a chairman to take a gamble.'

However, he may not be receiving any phone calls from Reading. Paolo di Canio is currently favourite to galvanise the Royals, an appointment which would certainly overcome a reputation for blandness at the club. Nigel Adkins is also in the frame and alongside him and di Canio Curbs looks a bit rusty.

Salvation may come from Yorkshire. Brendan Ormsby is using his column in the Yorkshire Post to campaign for Curbs to replace Neil Warnock. The 'former Leeds legend' said: To be honest, I wouldn’t mind Alan Curbishley up here. I know he has been out of the spotlight for a year or two now, but I like him as a manager. I played against him as a player and have known him for quite a long time. He has handled one or two big clubs [nice to see Charlton referred to as abig club] and he tries to get teams playing the way he used to. Curbs was a ball-player, and not aggressive as such. As an individual, he is also calm. But with him being out of the game for a while, you wonder if he wants to get back into it – you wonder if he has an appetite for it.'

That is a relevant question. Moreover, Ormsby obviously doesn't realise that Curbs has a preference for jobs in and around the M25. His phone may remain silent for some time, but journos can always insert his name in a story when a higher level managerial vacancy occurs. And he does rank sixth in terms of games managed in the Premier League.

Monday 11 March 2013

Did we miss out on Daniel Carr?

'Non-league sensation' and Dulwich Hamlet player Daniel Carr is having a trial with Liverpool. He had a trial with Charlton earlier in the season and impressed Chris Powell. But an agreement between the Addicks and the Ryman League side fell apart over financial issues.

According to Hamlet boss Gavin Rose Charlton agreed a deal but then tried to renegotiate. He told the South London Press, 'the solution they offered was feasible for them but didn't make sense to us knowing that other clubs were interested.'

Statto feast

Courtesy of Chalfont St. Peter Addick Richard Sheppard, here are some stats on Charlton's last ten games since 1997:

1997/1998 D, W, W, W, W, W, W, W, W, D (26/30) - old 1st div

1998/1999 D, L, W, L, D, L, L, D, W, L (9/30 - Prem

1999/2000 W, W, W, D, D, L, D, D, L, L (13/30) - old 1st div

2000/2001 D, L, W, L, L, D, W, W, L, L (11/30) - Prem

2001/2002 D, W, L, L, L, L, D, L, D, D (7/30) - Prem

2002/2003 L, L, D, L, L, L, L, W, L, L (4/30) - Prem

2003/2004 L, L, D, W, D, L, L, D, D, W (10/30) - Prem

2004/2005 W, L, D, L, L, D, L, L, L, D (6/30) - Prem

2005/2006 W, L, W, D, D, L, W, L, L, L (11/30) - Prem

2006/2007 D, W, W, D, D, L, D, L, L, D (11/30) - Prem

2007/2008 L, L, L, D, L, W, D, L, L, W (8/30) - C'ship

2008/2009 D, L, D, W, D, D, D, D, L, W (12/30) - C'ship

2009/2010 D, D, W, W, L, W, L, D, W, W (18/30) - League One

2010/2011 D, L, W, L, D, L, D, W, L, D (10/30) - League One

2011/2012 D, W, L, W, W, W, W, W, D, W (23/30) - League One


While we are on stats, Alan Curbishley ranks sixth in terms of games managed in the Premiershop

Sunday 10 March 2013

How did loaned out players do?

We now have a number of players out on loan. John Sullivan was in goal for AFC Wimbledon in their 3-2 win over York City and got a 7 for his efforts from the Football League Paper. He set up one of their goals with a long ball.

Cambridge United beat Woking 1-0 and Nick Pope got the top score of 8 from the Non-League Paper. He wasn't troubled that much by a woeful Cards attack that had one of their players punching the pitch in frustration after he had put the ball way over, but what he had to do he did well.

Outfield players on loan do not necessarily get to start and Michael Smith came on in the 34th minute in Colchester United's 1-2 home defeat to Crewe. Unfortunately, he ballooned his best chance over and got a score of 6.

Bradley Wright-Phillips was brought on in the 55th minute at Carlisle after the Bees had gone 2-0 down which was the final score. He also got a rating of 6.

Saturday 9 March 2013

There's only one Callum Harriot

The 19-year old put Charlton ahead in the fourth minute to give them a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town, delighting the 470 Addicks who had made the journey north. With a rare clean sheet secured, their first in 19 games, the Addicks went 12th in the Championship. Even the most hardened pessimists cannot portray this as a relegation position.

Harriott smashed home after being set up by Chris Solly who squared a free kick. (Incidentally, could someone tell the BBC he's not called Harriots). On the quarter hour mark Gobern headed Norwood's corner wide. David Button then made a good relex save from point-blank range to keep out Theo Robinson's header on 27 minutes. Rhoys Wiggins diverted Novak's effort from close range over the bar. Alex Smithies was alert at the other end eight minutes the break to stop Danny Haynes from doubling the Charlton lead after he had raced on to an excellent through ball from Harriot. Clarke denied Bradley Pritchard with a goal line block from a close range shot two minutes before the break.

Button had to save a curling free kick from Norwood four minutes after the break. Novak's glancing header forced Button to tip the ball over. Huddersfield switched to 4-4-2 after 54 minutes when they made a double substitution, but Charlton responded on 66 minutes by bringing on Dervitte to give the defence extra protection in place of Fuller. Clarke rescued the home side with an acrobatic clearance off the line after Lawrie Wilson flicked on to the far post from a Johnnie Jackson free kick.

Harriot, who had picked up a yellow card, was replaced by Evina on 79 minutes and Obika had a brief cameo in place of Haynes.

Oscar Gobern forced another save from Button as the hosts came on strong on the second period. Button saved a cross from Ward twelve minutes from time. Alan Lee nearly rescued a point at the death, but Chris Powell once again had his keeper to thank for repelling a long-range strike from Norwood deep in time added on.

It was a great performance over the 96 minutes. Callum Harriott gets a score of 8 from The Football League Paper this morning for his 'deadly passes' and Button, Haynes and Jackson all got 7. The worst score goes to Wiggins who, it is claimed, 'had a fairly quiet game, failed to impress himself on the Town back four.

Believers head north

The loyal Addickted will be leaving the Beliebers surrounding the 02 arena behind this morning and heading north for Huddersfield. Hopefully, they will not arrive two hours late and will not encounter any parparazzi or will require a hospital stay.

The Addicks have not claimed all three points at Huddersfield since 1999. I always recall a 0-3 victory there on a Tuesday night in the 1990s when Lee Bowyer, then with Leeds turned up in the row in front, and a 1-2 victory at Christmas time when Johnnie Robinson scored a wonder goal.

Charlton have now gone 16 successive games without a clean sheet, the worst record of any team in the league. Attention therefore turns to the defence. One of the debating points among the Addickted is whether Button or Hamer should be in goal. It's a difficult one to decide, although the more experienced Hamer may have the edge, despite his tendency to fumble the ball.

It's unfortunate that we no longer have Rob Elliot who played for Newcastle in their 0-0 Europa League draw away in the week. Apparently, he only had to make one save though and spent the rest of the time shivering in his goalmouth. Whoever is in goal today will certainly be called into action a lot more.

Leon Cort is still a doubt because of his knee injury so it looks like Taylor and Morrison in central defence. Morrison has been making some uncharacterisic errors recently. Stephens is also a doubt.

In both of the two previous encounters this year, one player was sent off, but there is no reason to expect this happen today. Huddersfield are one of the teams to claim a prime minister as a supporter, Harold Wilson. At one time, they were one of the leading teams in the country and there are some great pictures of their old ground packed with fans.

I think that the best we can hope for today is a draw, but with Charlton away and playing with more confidence than they do at home, you never know.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Huddersfield confident of all three points

New Huddersfield Town manager Mark Robins is confident of building on Tuesday's defeat of Middlesbrough by taking three points off Charlton on Saturday. Both teams are on 44 points. He points out that Huddersfield have drawn with and beaten the Addicks this season, although the cup win was against a weakened Charlton side. However, he does admit that Town have a tendency to run out of steam after 75 minutes, although we are not known for late goals either: Huddersfield

I wouldn't read too much into the victory against Middlesbrough, even though it was the first time that Huddersfield came from behind to win this season. Boro have been faltering and Huddersfield seem to have been helped by the descent of a fortuitous blanket of fog in the closing minutes of the game. I think that we can win this match if we keep our wits about us and in particular avoid panic stations in the defence at corners.

Leading Huddersfield goal scorer James Vaughan will not be available due to a continuing suspension.

Swans midfielder in on loan?

Charlton are being linked with an experienced (or veteran) Swansea midfielder, 34-year old Mark Gower, as Chris Powell seeks to strengthen the weakest part of the team: Swans

Described as the 'forgotten man' of Swansea City, his contract expires in the summer. Despite his surname, he was born in North London and started his career at Spurs. He left Southend United after five seasons to join Swansea in 2008.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Away point at London Road

A spirited performance by Charlton against Peterborough at London Road saw them draw 2-2. It was difficult to argue with the result, writes Sue Burton.

There are quite a few changes in the team for tonight's match against Peterborough United. Cort is replaced at the back by Taylor and as he performed well on Saturday and is not even on the bench, it would seem that he is out through injury. Solly returns, but Stephens does not. Harriott gets his first start in midfield and it's Haynes and Fuller up front with Obika dropped to the bench, as is Dervitte. Button stays in goal.

Charlton made a bright start with Solly getting involved. Wilson rattled the crossbar with a great shot, a half volley from his left foot, and then Fuller put the ball into the side netting.

Charlton kept up the pressure, Haynes had a great opportunity but it drifted wide of the far post.

A good counter attack ended with Olejink gathering comfortably from Haynes as the quarter hour mark approached.

After good work by Jackson and Wilson, Fuller’s header was gathered by the Austrian keeper.

Peterborough had their first chance with a good cross, but Button was able to smother the ball after Mendez-Lang, the scourge of Peterborough town centre, tried to score.

Morrison conceded the first corner of the game after Mendez-Lang advanced down the inside left channel. Northern Ireland international McCann took the corner. Posh had a chance, but Zakuani put the ball over the bar from six yards out. Swanson drove the ball through the heart of the Charlton defence to make it 1-0. The defending was poor.

Peterborough were now in the ascendancy, having regained their confidence, and won a second corner which was unproductive.

A shot was blocked well by Button as Mendez-Lang tried to put it between his legs. From the corner, McCann put the ball into the side netting.

Harriott advanced well, but his cross or shot was poor and went over the bar. Rowe and Haynes got involved with each other and referee Langford responded well by calming things down.

Gayle put in a cross after a slip by Wiggins, but it was headed away. Peterborough kept up the pressure and won a free kick off Jackson. Button dealt with the situation well. Wiggins dealt with a threat from Gayle well.

HT: Posh 1, Addicks 0

Right at the start of the match Posh carved open Charlton and Tomlin’s drive came off the outside of the post.

Charlton won their first corner of the evening. Jackson’s corner was powered away.

Jackson steadied himself and slammed the ball into the net with his trusty left foot to make it 1-1 to the delight of the travelling Addickted. It was a composed finish and a true captain’s goal.

Charlton won their second corner of the game after Harriott and Wiggins worked well down the left. Great work by Solly on the right with a superb cross, Morrison’s header was kept out, but from close range Haynes put it in the roof of the net to make it 2-1 to the Addicks. Peterborough made a substitution with McCann coming off in favour of Ferdinand.

There was some pressure after a Peterborough corner which eventually led to a second. Button made a good punch away and Charlton broke. It was a great counter attack with excellent work by Pritchard, Harriott and Haynes but Wiggins was not able to score.

Kilted wonder Swanson turned well, getting past Solly, but Button was able to gather. The Addickted chanted ‘Chris Powell’s barmy army’. Charlton launched another attack with a great move involving Harriott and Pritchard, but Haynes lacked confidence on his left foot. The Addicks won another corner, but it ended in a goal kick.

Button made a comfortable save from Gayle after the ball was flicked over the top of the Charlton defence. Johnnie Jackson put his body on the line to make a great block for the Addicks at the expense of a corner. Taylor flicked it away well, but then a free kick was awarded on the edge of the Charlton penalty area. It was missed by Button, but took a deflection off a Charlton player and a corner was awarded. Pritchard hacked the ball away, but the danger was not cleared. Charlton could not clear their lines. The ball bounced through the Charlton keeper and it was 2-2. Button should have done better.

Brisley came on to replace Zakunari. Barnett came on to replace Swanson who had been impressive, but Ferguson took a gamble with a striker.

Fuller came off and Obika came on. Charlton won a free kick 25 yards or so out. Jackson’s effort was tipped over the bar by the keeper. The corner led to an offside decision. The flag then went up against Obika.

Harriott was rebuked by the referee for a foul, not receiving a card from the referee the day after his 19th birthday. Charlton won another corner but the header from Haynes went wide. Pritchard was fouled very late and Barnett was shown the first yellow card of the game.

Peterborough advanced, but Wiggins and Harriott were able to stop the cross.

Wilson put in a poor cross and Michael Morrison had to defend and then Taylor had to concede a corner kick. Button took charge.

Obika’s drive was blocked, he hit it again well and Charlton won a corner.

Peterborough won a corner in time added on. Haynes was replaced by Dervitte. Button saved on the line and Jackson cleared it away for another corner. Jackson blocked a final attack and then Payne put it wide.

Will the world stop?

Jose Mourinho had tonight's fixture between Manchester United and Real Madrid in mind when he said that everyone in the world would be watching rather than tonight's match between Peterborough United and Charlton Athletic, but for us it's another important fixture.

Posh manager Darren Ferguson thinks that the Addicks will be hard to break down, but is confident they can build on their win at Blackburn: Posh

It is uncertain whether Dale Stephens and Chris Solly will be available. Stephens was sidelined by a knock on Saturday while Solly picked up a dead leg. Solly's presence could make a lot of difference, freeing Wilson to forage further upfield. On balance, Stephens would be an asset. While he does sometimes dwell too much on the ball and loses it, or gives it to an opposition player, he can show flashes of real quality.

Peterborough have won five matches at home and lost ten, while the Addicks have lost just six away and won seven. However, Charlton are fourth from bottom in the form table while Peterborough are eighth.

Following the departure of Paul May as away commentator, Sue Burton will provide coverage from London Road.

Monday 4 March 2013

Ferguson gets vote of confidence

Peterborough United's chairman has said that Darren Ferguson will not succumb to the curse of Charlton if the Addicks pull off a surprise victory on Tuesday. He says that his judgment on such matters has matured: Ferguson

Indeed, Ferguson will survive even if Posh get relegated. Should that happen there will be an 'inquisition' (whatever that means) as the club has its biggest squad, biggest budget and biggest investment.

Sunday 3 March 2013

It doesn't get any better

I have to say that I felt really despondent after the 0-1 defeat by Burnley, to the extent that I delayed writing a preliminary report until this morning. I was disappointed by the Nottingham Forest result, but Forest were a much better team than Burnley. Indeed, the difference between us was really Charlie Austin who scored the winning goal.

Chris Powell changed things around for this match and it didn't really work. Admittedly, he had to change things around with Kermorgant suspended and Solly off sick. Dale Stephens was dropped, with some justification, and Button brought in for Hamer, again with some justification. However, it was the formula of three up front that didn't really work with Haynes uncertain about his positioning.

Once again, there was an almost complete lack of creativity with the midfield disappointing once again. We were often hesitant on the ball and too slow to it. The ball was also in the air far too much, particularly in the desperate closing minutes. I also don't think the condition of the pitch, which has deteriorated further, helps us very much. I know that both sides have to play on it, but I think that it discourages any attempt at flowing football on the ground.

After the game I heard some negative comments about Chris Powell on the lines of 'He hasn't got a clue' and 'I've had it with Powell.' One should always remember that any other manager would have to deal with the same bunch of players and Powell was reportedly prevented from bringing in all the signings he wanted over the summer.

Pessimists, always in abundance at Charlton, are already chalking up a loss at Peterborough on Tuesday. We have to remember that this is an away match, although the Posh have hit a streak of form. Hopefully, we will have Chris Solly back and we missed him yesterday as one of our few Championship quality players.

Match report

Arriving at Charlton Station, someone let off a very loud firework and the Boys in Blue set off in (moderately) hot pursuit and seemed to have got their man.

The sides changed ends at the start of the match, which always makes me uneasy. It meant that we weren't attacking the Covered End in the second half which is my preference. Burnley put the ball in the net after 11 minutes, but it was ruled offside. Wilson turned provider for Fuller, but his header missed. Lee Grant in the Burnley goal punched the ball out from a Jackson corner and then made a good save from a header from Fuller. Another Charlton corner was unproductive. Jackson was not far opff within an effort. An error by Morrison gave the visitors a corner. Fuller had to go off for treatment.

A Burnley corner led to an effort that was way off. The referee refused to give anything for what looked like a back pass to Burnley's keeper and this led to the move which created their goal. We had been giving Burnley too much space and Austin found plenty to power the ball into the top corner of the net from 30 yards out leaving Button with no chance.

HT: Addicks 0, Clarets 1

Charlton won a corner in the first minute of the half but it led to an eventual save. The hapless referee managed to fall over, giving some light relief. Burnley won a cheap corner. Wilson combined with Fuller but a Charlton corner was all that resulted. This led to a second and the move petered out in a throw in. A Charlton free kick was put over by Cort.

With the game entering the final third, Obika and Dervitte were taken off and Green and Harriott brought on. Wilson was held back by Austin who received a yellow card. Haynes won Charlton a corner which was caught. Lafferty received a yellow card for a foul on Fuller. Green won Charlton a corner, followed by a second. From a half clearance, Morrison found himself behind the defence but put the ball just wide. Another Charlton corner led to Morrison missing an open goal at the back post. The cynical fouling continued with Vokes, who had just come on, receiving a yellow card.

Charlton started an aerial bombardment as the minutes ticked down, but this artillery fire was unproductive. Fans kept shouting 'get it in the box', i.e., hoof it, but it would have been more productive to play the ball along the ground. Five minutes added on created no real chances, although Paterson got a yellow card.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Lawrie Wilson who showed real skill and determination, made some good runs forward and kept the ball on the ground. Button spilled the ball once, so he has something of the same problem as Hamer. He wasn't tested that much, but was perfectly competent. Whether he is any better than Hamer is doubtful, but it was worth a try. Morrison squandered two good chances to score and did make some errors. Cort was solid and caused Burnley some problems when he switched to the centre forward role late in the game. Wiggins got forward well and showed his pace, but was often isolated when he did so. Made an excellent last ditch tackle on Austin. Dervite was an improvement on last week and his withdrawal was for tactical reasons. Pritchard really struggled to make an impression and when he did get in a good position he failed to take advantage. Difficult to say whether he should have been wider or narrower, but he looked out of his depth. Jackson lacked pace and his set pieces failed to deliver. Some were calling for him to be taken off. Obika really made little impression and does not look like any improvement on Wright-Phillips. Haynes looked uncomfortable in his initial position and contributed more when the formation changed. Fuller tried his best but never really got in a decent shot on goal. Green did manage to play the ball on the ground and did make use of his long throws. That it led nowhere was not his fault. Harriott looked lively when he came on and showed some skill. He is definitely showing promise.

Juneau the Soccer Cat awarded the Hiss of the Match to Burnley's Martin Paterson who clearly had a very high opinion of himself as he charged around the pitch and then engaged in a cynical foul in time added on.

Friday 1 March 2013

Burnley regroup as they seek revenge

After what is described as a 'miserable, uninspiring display' in their 0-1 home defeat by Huddersfield in midweek, Burnley are regrouping and looking forward to the chance to secure three points against the team with the worst home record in the Championship: Burnley

Manager Sean Dyche insists that there is more to his side than goal scorer Charlie Austin.

There's a very detailed Burnley fan report here: Clarets Mad. They're aggrieved about our win at their place and hoping to end a run of six games without a win.