Saturday, 31 December 2011

End of the Year Show.

Leyton Orient 1 - Charlton Athletic 0.



The turning point this evening was most certainly the sending off of Ben Hamer.
Orient are a decent mid table side but no great shakes. Had Charlton managed to keep 11 players on the pitch, I doubt if the O's would have gained more than a point - though they deserved their win.

From my view, admittedly maybe a little fuzzy due to a Jack Daniels haze, the sending off seemed very harsh.
I thought the ball had hit our keeper somewhere between the chest and armpit but the referee seemed to be very sure Hamer had handled it and the rules say he had to go.

Charlton then had to play 85 minutes, plus stoppage time, with only ten men.
Waggy was withdrawn and Sullivan came on between the sticks.

Sullivan was most unfortunate to concede when Orient scored.
(Ex CAFC) Spring hit a ball that was unlikely to trouble the goal until it deflected off Taylor and ended up turning into the most perfect dipping shot.

From that moment on, a combination of solid Orient defending and fairly homerish officiating meant Charlton were heading for only the second defeat of the season.
Having said that, Orient had the ball in the net again but the linesman had his flag up for offside. It looked extremely tight from our angle.

Charlton really went for it in the final 20 minutes and could have scored two or three.
Orient kept one off the line that already had most of us celebrating but it wasn't to be.
2000 of us roared the team on towards what we hoped would be a big finish but the ball just wouldn't go in.

It is a shame the final game of the year was ruined by a sending off so early on but I can't say our team didn't give their best.

To have reached the New Year and only lose twice is remarkable, especially as both of the reversals were 1-0 away defeats due to savage deflections.

I can't help feeling positive about our chances for promotion in 2012.
Well done Leyton Orient tonight but come May, hopefully it'll be the mighty Addicks who'll be celebrating.

One final thing to say is a big thanks to all the people who have taken the time to read my notes on here. Other than a few Oldham and Tranmere supporters most of the comments have been fair, even if people haven't agreed with me.

A healthy and prosperous New Year to everybody, Charlton supporters or otherwise.

Live, Love, Laugh and be Happy.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Catching Up.


We are now deep into the time of year when I'm ashamed to say, I actually lose track of what day of the week it is.

I'm now back home again after a really pleasant couple of days with the family down at Brighton.

Perhaps as I'm only ever a visitor to the town, rather than a resident, I always think of Brighton as a 'good times' destination.
Having family living there just adds to it being a place I particularly enjoy.

Brighton is often described as 'London-on-Sea' but I feel that's doing it a disservice.
It's far more laid back than London and I'm sure the residents are proud of their town, without having it latched onto somewhere else to give it a label.

I love the way Brighton slopes down to the seafront and I'm particularly fond of the way many homes have been painted rich colours.
Mellow Yellow?


Pink Palace?









Blue Hotel?











We all had a lovely time just flopping out, (though my sister probably didn't feel quite so relaxed as she slaved away in the kitchen).

My nephew Jack and niece Lily occasionally came up for air. Jack has recently discovered the Tintin books and Lily was proving how artistic she is on her DS 'Let's Draw' game.

My other niece Daisy, was keeping a regular eye on YouTube to see if anybody else had viewed 'her' video.

I'm very proud to announce we have a (super) model in the family as she is the 'star' of a music video by Brighton band, Running Numbers.

Feel free to watch her in action here- if only to make her happy.
She's the pretty girl who shows up as the music changes around 1.50 and is wearing the cardigan 4 sizes too big for her.

I quite like the tune and ended up buying it on iTunes -(59p cheap at the moment!)
It reminded me a little of a band I used to enjoy called Saint Etienne though I'm probably way off the mark.

While on the South coast, I found out that age has most certainly caught up with me.
 I will never be the master of the Michael Jackson Dance Experience on the wii.
Just Beat It!

Today, despite my better judgement, we ended up doing the Bluewater shuffle.
Shopping centres at this time of year are pretty hellish but we went to have a look at the Christmas in New York currently on at the event space called 'Glow'.

It was really well done and worth a 10 minute stroll, though we didn't spend any money on the skating, tube sledging, hot dogs etc.

Indoor snow









Skaters









Never seen South of the River













I'm now just waiting for NYE, which will hopefully start with a bang as we head over the Thames to East London for our visit to Leyton Orient.

Three points would be a lovely way to see out 2011.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Gifts From Sheffield.

Yeovil Town 2 - Charlton Athletic 3.

Christmas eh?
It's the season for 'comfort and joy'.

I was most certainly very comfortable, though I wasn't really very joyful as today's game hit the 90th minute.

Sheffield Wednesday were winning at Walsall and Charlton were drawing away at Yeovil.

While following the game on an iPhone app broadcasting BBC Radio London, I was physically at my sister's home in Brighton with all the family but mentally in the South West, along with around 1000 other Addicks.

By the end of injury time, Charlton had won 3-2 and the Wednesdays had lost 2-1, having shipped a remarkable two goals during their own added on time!

 Charlton are now 8 points clear at the top of the league.

I'm thoroughly looking forward to the trip across the river on New Years Eve to visit Leyton Orient.

Happy Days.
Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Oldham Get What They Came For.

Charlton Athletic 1- Oldham Athletic 1.

Despite the general euphoria at being top of the league and the feeling we should be beating 'these sort of teams', my pre match prediction was a draw.

I obviously wanted a win but the Oldham team never even dreamed of the possibility. They'd come for a point.

Recent games involving Oldham at the Valley have seen them 'parking the bus' as pundits like to call it.

It wasn't a good game from a Charlton perspective.
There were enough chances to win handsomely but Oldham stayed solid and played to their strengths.

Today, Oldham didn't quite hit the heady heights, (or depths) of 2 seasons ago but they did try to kill the game at every opportunity.
They followed the example of their rather unpleasant manager in his playing days; niggling fouls, kicking the ball away, time wasting and attempting to 'do a job'.

They did it.
Only after Darrel Russell's fine headed debut Charlton goal did Oldham show the kind of team they could be. They moved forward and made a few attempts on goal.

Taylor managed to block a shot but he looked to have hurt himself in the process.
He wasn't moving well and it surely was no coincidence that Oldham scored a few moments later.

With that, Oldham reverted to the most tragic levels of time wasting

A weak referee let Oldham, especially their 'keeper, take as much time as he wanted.
Throw ins took an eternity, all without official reproach.

Due to Huddersfield drawing 4-4 at Sheffield Wednesday, everything stays the same at the top of the table.
We are still 5 points clear.

All teams doing well have little stutters on their way. We are lucky that Stevenage aside, our stutters have still gained us a point.

The less said about the officials the better.
They were booed from the pitch and they deserved every single part of it.
The East stand linesman made some shocking decisions and the referee bottled a very obvious yellow card when he realised it would result in a sending off.

Onwards and upwards.
Top of the league at Christmas and despite the evidence of today, playing good football.
I'll take that.

A Casual Rating.
The Lacoste polo is going to Yann Kermorgant as my Man Of The Match.
For those of us in our 40's, his appearance was reminiscent of Terry Butcher when he refused to lie down, playing on after being patched up again and again.
Well done Kermit.

Morrison also played the hard man when a fierce ball to his face barely made him break stride.

I'd have been off until New Year!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Well Done SCP.

As was expected, (Sir) Chris Powell has been given the League 1 Manager of the Month award for November.

In all honesty, where else was the award going to go?

Winning all games, ending a long 'unbeaten' (sic) run of a challenger in the process, sprinting away from the peloton to carve out a 7 point gap all meant it was a foregone conclusion, at least in this part of the world.

Worries about the Manager of the Month curse can probably be shelved this time too.

Traditionally, a manager wins it when their team have been playing so well, they could be described as over achieving.
Any team who are managing this cunning trick will eventually crash back down to earth and become the regular side they were before.
This is where the curse theory comes in, when in my opinion it is just a natural reversion to the 'way things are'.

With or without the MOM award, I don't think Charlton have been over achieving so far this season.

Chris Powell has been up for the award every time since August. As the team have been doing well all season, I don't see this as being a celebration of one bumper month, it's more of a nod to acknowledge he is in charge of the team with the best record in the league.

Of course, the team may have 'one of those days' against Walsall tomorrow but somehow I doubt it.

The current Charlton squad have belief and momentum, something sadly missing from recent seasons.

An extra cheer must go to Michael Morrison who also received a League 1 'gong'.
He is rapidly becoming one of my favourite players.

Good luck to everyone who is going to, (ahem), Poland tomorrow.

COYA.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

It's Fulham.

Ball number 64 came out, the Chinese fella misread it as 62 but luckily the safe hands of Jim Rosenthal were there to carry the fumble.

Charlton Athletic are away at Fulham in the 3rd round of the FA cup.

Yesterday I said I fancied an away tie against another London club and that's just what we've ended up with.

It's probably not as exciting a prospect as it might be for the majority of third division sides. Most of us can remember playing Fulham quite regularly only a few years ago.

The 'test' that Chris Powell was hoping for has been handed to him and we'll probably go over there and give them a good game.

I can't imagine many Fulham fans will be rushing to snap up tickets for the visit of Charlton.
(Remember how we all 'forced' ourselves to the Valley for the 3rd round when we were in the Premier League).
It will probably be a raucous day out with Charlton selling as many tickets as we can get.

There's always the, (snigger), 'neutral' section should anybody find themselves without a ticket.

Fulham are on a hiding to nothing. They should win with ease.
If we manage to grab anything from the day it'll be a bonus and if not, there's no shame in losing to a team 2 divisions higher before returning to our real job of trying to win the league.

I'm happy with the way things have turned out.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Always Believing.

Charlton Athletic 2 - Carlisle United 0.

An eminently forgettable first half today at the Valley lead to a much better second.

The opening 45 minutes had the feeling of a pre season friendly against a team who were also trying to get their own side match fit.

Carlisle probably shaded the first period but in all honesty, there was little to get excited about.

The second half was much more uptempo.
Chris Powell must have had a nag at his players over the interval as they seemed much more awake.

Perhaps, like me, they'd had a coffee and along with Powell's stirring words the team made a much better fist of attacking the Cumbrian's goal.

Charlton finally got the ball into the net after some fine follow up play from Morrison.
There was no way he was going to be denied when he crashed the ball into the net at the second attempt.

Carlisle looked beaten from that moment on.
Their chances of gaining a replay looked even less likely when BWP and Kermorgant entered the pitch.

BWP could have scored within seconds of his introduction but the Carlisle keeper made a fine blocking save.

The old stalwart Jason Euell made the game safe as the clock showed 90 minutes.
He seemed to score while slipping and the ball just about trickled over the line.
It counted the same as if he'd thumped the ball in from the halfway line and Charlton were home and dry.

It was good to catch up with chums at the Rose of Denmark before the game.

Today, as well as learning that Chris Powell can 'lift' the side after a poor first half, we also learned that under NO circumstances is the Rose of Denmark to be considered a place to buy fine wines. Or even average wines. Or even wines that can be drunk.

After spending last weekend in Italy drinking readily available 'good stuff', Crispy looked like he was trying to down a glass of vinegar when nursing his glass of red today.

I'm in favour of a nice tasty away tie against another London side, or maybe a home tie against Manchester City in the next round.

It's ball number 64 we have to watch for tomorrow.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

#N30

What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud?


Today I was part of the 2 million plus, public sector workers who went on strike.
(A sign of the times is the protest had it's own twitter hashtag, #N30.)

I wasn't just striking for myself and fellow teachers, I also had the Armed services, Fire service and Police service at the back of my mind who don't have the option.
The police in particular are being shafted by a government that nobody voted for, and in my opinion have no mandate to enforce such money grabbing changes.

It is widely known that all the extra money we are being forced to pay 'towards our gilt edged pensions' won't be going anywhere near our pension funds.
There is enough money to keep them going for many, many years, having been renegotiated as recently as 2008.
The extra money is going to be poured into the deficit that not one single public sector worker contributed to.

It was interesting when the right wing press trotted out the tired old argument that many Private sector workers have much shoddier pensions than us, so we should be thankful (for having to pay an extra £80 a month, for maybe 7 more years, to get thousands of pounds less each year when we retire).

The fact that many Private sector workers don't have pension schemes, or choose not to pay into one, isn't a reason for us to race to the bottom , we should be trying to improve the pensions for all, both Private and Public sector.

This evening I enjoyed listening to prominent members of the government wringing their hands as they wept crocodile tears because millions of people had been inconvenienced.

 The country had apparently been shown in a bad light meaning foreign business would choose not to come here, many millions of pounds had been lost in productivity, working parents had been forced to stay at home and (I'm slightly stretching the point here), the poor little kiddies would now miss out on their chance to take up an Oxbridge place due to the gaps in their learning.

Strangely, with all the above in mind, today was also described as a 'damp squib' where people hardly noticed the protest!

I'm proud to have been on strike today and proud to have stood up for what I believe in.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Shattered!

Charlton Athletic 2 - Huddersfield Town 0.

Well that's it.
Sky were expecting a Harlem Globetrotters style exhibition game where the 'invincibles' from Yorkshire put the lowly upstarts from South London to the sword.

Unfortunately for all of those concerned, Huddersfield can stick their record up dot dot dot as the North upper sang.

Kermit and Hogan scored the goals but for my money, we won the game in defence.

Morrison and Taylor were immense, little Chris Solly was in control, Taylor and Wiggins also had fine games.

I don't mind admitting I was more than a little worried about tonight.

When a Huddersfield supporter told me before the game that we should be happy with a point I responded bullishly that it was rubbish. We wanted all 3 points and we were going to get them!

I didn't believe it really but so it came to pass.

The only slight fly in the ointment was Yann Kermorgant being stretchered off in the last few minutes.
It looked serious and I wish him well.

A Casual Rating.

My MOM who, of course, is being awarded the Lacoste polo is Michael Morrison.
He seemed to be just in the right place, every time to foil the Huddersfield attacks.

The Primark novelty slogan t-shirt is going to whoever decided the East stand turnstiles were going to be perfectly fine with some of them closed.
I was still outside with 5 minutes played.

Ref Watch.
Hmm. I wasn't impressed.
We won despite the referee tonight.
He seemed particularly adverse to awarding us free kicks for pushes and tugs yet somehow managed to award a free kick when tiny Chris Solly breathed on huge beast Parkin.

I don't care a stuff.
We are 7 points clear and I'm going to bed with a smile on my face.
Good Night all.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gary Speed.

Like many other football supporters, I was rocked when I heard about the tragic death of Gary Speed.

I first became aware of Speed when he played as a youngster for Leeds United.
He went on to have a superlative career, for a series of clubs and his beloved Wales.

I never met Gary Speed but I liked him.
He seemed an honest pro who looked after himself.

Despite having more reason than many to boast, he seemed a very down to earth, ordinary bloke.

He was a handsome bugger but I don't remember reading any stories of him taking advantage of the girls who no doubt threw themselves in his direction.

As both of us were born around the same time, I enjoyed fantasising that perhaps I could still put in a bit of a shift on the pitch (instead of lolling about on the sofa) as we approached 40 years.

Especially now, at a time when the ethics of the press are being investigated, I hope the media give his family some space.

R.I.P. Gary.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bogey Picked.

Brentford 0 - Charlton Athletic 1.



The Bees of Brentford.
The 'B' seemed to stand for Bogey as far as Charlton Athletic were concerned, especially when the fixture was taking place over in West London.

I'm pretty sure yesterday was my 5th visit to Griffin Park and until then, I was yet to witness a win for the Addicks.

My previous visits had taught me to bring a nice tasty Melton Mowbray pork pie in my pocket and to not expect much from Charlton on the pitch.
Without fail we have filled the away end but the raucous backing hasn't been converted into strong performances on the pitch.

"Here we go again!" I thought as Brentford completely dominated the first half and probably should have been 2-0 up by the interval.
The fact that the score was still 0-0 was completely down to our own good luck and some very Lisbie- esque finishing from Brentford.

Just before halftime, I moved from my position to the right of the goal and went in search Al who had messaged me to say he was at the other end of the stand.
It was no mean achievement but I spotted him along with a rowdy bunch of supporters who had made it to the game on a party boat from Greenwich.

Saying they had the air of over refreshment would be pretty accurate. There was a fug of alcohol hanging over the area as the ethanol escaped through their pores.
It was probably the drunkest football related crowd I've been a part of since watching Jack Charlton's Ireland beat Italy at the World Cup finals, USA 1994.

Unfortunately, I wasn't actually at the game, I was inside The Irish Centre Northampton, discovering long forgotten fake Irish ancestry as we all drank Guinness and tucked into stew that could hold a standing spoon.

From my new vantage point things seemed to improve.
Morrison showed admirable skill to escape a dicey situation and had me shouting "ole!".

In the second half the Addicks attacked the goal surrounded by our supporters. We had the perfect view of a pretty awful collision between goalkeeper Lee and defender Logan.

BWP had been haring in on goal and attempted to push the ball past the speeding 'keeper. The ball went wide but by then not many people were looking as it was pretty obvious there was something seriously wrong with Logan.

The medics from both teams raced onto the pitch and over 8 minutes elapsed before he was stretchered off, to the sound of sympathetic applause from all 4 sides of the ground.

The break in play rattled Brentford.
Soon after, Danny Green sent in a delicious low cross that only needed a touch from somebody to make it 1-0.

It came as no surprise to see it was BWP who bundled the ball over the line.

Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!

The away end erupted in the way only a terrace of very tightly packed, refreshed, standing supporters can do.

It became a bit of a mosh pit for around 30 seconds and bloody marvellous it was too!

Could we hang on?

There were a few dodgy moments, not least when Skip Jackson crumpled down near to the advertising hoardings and Charlton kicked the ball out so he could receive attention.

After the long wait for Logan you'd have thought Brentford would have given Jackson the same courtesy but as he was already off the pitch, they just picked up the ball and attacked from the throw in.

Charlton were outraged.
The referee was powerless as no real offence had occurred but it did seem rather petty and really didn't show Brentford in a good light.

There were "a minimum of 10 minutes of added on time" for Charlton to see out when the clock hit 90 minutes.

It ended up being around 14 minutes as the ref had to sort out his paperwork when there was another case of Brentford losing their cool. So incensed were they at losing a game they probably should have won they went in hard, and late, on their old boy Hamer.

There was an outbreak of pointing, pushing and restraining but it was all what the pundits call 'handbags'.

Once that was over, the referee finally decided we'd all had our moneys worth and blew for time.

Three sides of the ground emptied pretty sharpish but the 1800+ Addicks stayed behind to applaud the team, have the team applaud them back and to sing about being "Top of the Leeeeaaague!"

A few pleasant pints in a pub at Kew before heading home just finished off a pretty good day.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Top Weekend.

A brief post.
When I left work on Friday evening, the weekend stretched out before me, and what a good weekend it proved to be.

On Saturday morning we went to visit my mum and took her out for lunch at a local hotel.
She said many times how much she enjoyed the meal but I think it was feeding the ducks at a nearby pond, (using bread rolls we'd pinched from the hotel) that gave her the most pleasure.

On Saturday evening the ex Charlton players lead England to a fine victory over the reigning World Champions at Wembley.
Not many people had given England a sniff of a chance but the national team poked Spain in the eye to win 1-0, somewhat fortuitously.

I must confess I found a John Terry and Wayne Rooney free side much easier to feel warm about.

Later on Saturday I hopped on the tube to head over to Hammersmith to see Motorhead rocking out.

As a kid, Motorhead were in the "What's that racket?" department as far as my parents were concerned.
Needless to say, young me loved them all the more, even sporting a Motorhead tee shirt in my very first passport photograph.

Old me has changed of course.
Much as I still enjoy the sound of Lemmy and co, nowadays the prospect of the 'Loudest Band In The World' means ear plugs being worn under my beanie hat!


Today, a rare opportunity to enjoy Charlton playing live on television didn't have the embarrassment the television executives were hoping for.  Charlton wrecked ITV's plans to show the world how far we've fallen by actually being quite good.

The commentators sounded almost suicidal as Charlton managed to put 4 goals past a spirited Halifax.

We are supposed to be crud on television so Andy Townsend and friends were licking their lips at being able to bring the viewing public a 'Giant Killing'.

I remarked as the game progressed, that had I set up a drinking game before kick off where I had to take a swig every time our defeat to Northwich Victoria was mentioned, I'd never have seen the end of the game.
I'd have been blinded by alcohol poisoning!

I was particularly taken with Chris Solly's performance, (quality!!) and also very pleased for Bradley Pritchard who scored the final goal and his first for the club.
He was looking to be a really good prospect before his injury lay off so it's great to have him back.

So, another 4 goals scored!

Roll on the Bees of Brentford next week.

Do we bet on 4 goals?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Five Star Performance From Charlton.

Charlton Athletic 5- Preston North End 2.

I'm going to swerve past the most obvious statement for November 5th, (the one proclaiming there were 'fireworks at the Valley') and I'll leave it to imagination free sub editors on the Sunday papers.

If you were at the Valley today, you'd have seen a fantastic first half performance that was as near to perfection as I've seen in many years.

Before the game, we'd commented that 10 goals in a week probably meant there'd be none today.

The record now stands at 15 goals scored in just 4 games!
Heady times.

The Charlton goals were all well worked. None relied on defensive errors or goalkeeping calamities.

The scoring order was Jackson (16 minutes), Morrison (22 minutes), Jackson again with a penalty (26 minutes), BWP on 38 minutes and finally, my favourite goal from Hollands on 69 minutes.

I'm being honest here and owning up to only brief memories of each of the goals (other than the sublime Hollands one).
I was just sitting back and enjoying Charlton taking apart a team that are expected to be in the Play Offs at least by the end of the season.
I do recall the penalty was well dispatched (down the middle?) after Yann Kermorgant had been scythed down by the goalkeeper. Oddly there wasn't a card of any colour shown to the fortunate custodian.

It's great to be an Addick just now.
I'll record the Football League Show later and hopefully find out what happened if they can squeeze the goals and chances into our regular 40 seconds.

Preston managed a couple of consolation goals with the game already won and only a couple of minutes left to play.

I'm hoping that Chris Powell uses those final few minutes of relaxation as the driver for the team to kick on next time, just as defeat at Stevenage propelled us into the present situation.

As it stands, we are 5 points clear at the top of League 1.
Obviously I want us to win every game but we can afford to only draw against Brentford and even lose against Huddersfield, and still sit at the top of the pile.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

I'm off to enjoy the fireworks at Blackheath.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

That Was The Week That Was.

This last week, I was lucky enough to be able to choose what to do as being a teacher, it was Half Term break.

I really enjoy my job and you won't find me grumbling too hard about our present conditions, (though of course, I feel pretty differently about having our pensions stolen).

Much as I'd like to pretend I was working hard, due to staying as late as the caretaker would allow me for the two weeks before the break, I didn't really have too much to do.

The week started well with the previously reported on 4-0 win over Carlisle.
Sunday was pretty laid back with plenty of coffee, toast and favourite sounds to listen to.

On Monday, I trotted over to St Pancras station to join the Eurostar train to Paris.
I've travelled Eurostar on quite a few occasions. I still enjoy it and marvel at the engineering of the tunnel, along with the fact that it is now not much over 2 hours before you can be sitting in a 'Paul' with a nice sandwich or cake and an espresso.

I love Paris and I've seen most of the tourist sights many times. For this reason I didn't go charging around with an itinerary, I just ambled around, propping up bars, sitting in cafes while taking in the life of a city geographically very close but culturally very different.

I do enjoy visiting the Tour Montparnasse for the wonderful panoramic view of the city. It has the benefit of rarely being busy and never having the long lines of clueless tourists that wreck a visit to the more famous Tour Eiffel.
From the top the view is spectacular.

In recent years the roof terrace has had glass added around the edge which is a bit of a shame, as part of the 'fun' used to be nearly being knocked off your feet by the wind as you opened the door to climb the final few steps.

I only spent a short time at the top, though I did make use of the excellent cafe a few floors below.



Despite actively not wanting to be a 'tourist', my  iPhone was out of my pocket like greased lightning to take the above snap.

Over the next few days I enjoyed ambling about, kicking my heels by the side of the Seine, though I particularly like the atmosphere around Pont Saint Michel and Saint Germain.


I can kill an afternoon here, just doing absolutely nothing. A cafe, a newspaper and I'm as happy as can be.

Unfortunately, I had to take refuge in an Irish Pub when the heavens opened.
(Poor me).
The rain came down so speedily that being outside was just impossible. The ancient streets were quickly deep enough to lose your shoes, as happened to an unfortunate girl who had stepped out in a variation on the flip flop.


My favourite place to be in Paris is at Montmartre, especially in the evening when the sun goes down.
I love heading up to Sacre Coeur to see the lights come on over the city. It is most definitely a feel good moment for me.







Again, I just couldn't help reaching for my iPhone to take some pictures, almost identical to all the others I've taken in just the same place.

On this particular trip I managed to find my current 'best salade Nicoise in the world'.

Along with my permanent quest for the best coffee, the best beer (real ale), I will nearly always choose a 'SN' when one is available.
The one I had at a fine eaterie in Montmartre hit all the notes, including good quality green beans, not skimping on the anchovies and the most perfectly 'just so' slightly runny eggs.
I also detected some basil oil had been used.
It was perfect.

I started to walk back to my hotel, passing through the seedy Pigalle area (with the coach loads of tourists all arriving for the Moulin Rouge) before hopping on the Metro as it started to rain.


I had a very enjoyable rest of the evening listening to Charlton put Wycombe to the sword through the online commentary.

A great result away from home. (2-1 win).

The next morning I sat at a pavement cafe, reading and thinking how happy I was.
 Easy Life.
I spent most of the morning at the ultra modern la Defense region on the western extreme of the city.

I particularly like the Grande Arche, (it's huge!) and how it is perfectly lined up so you can stand under it and also be looking through the Arc de Triomphe way off in the distance.






The Arc de Triomphe is in the distance, I promise!

My journey home to London was event free.
 Even when a young mum, carrying crying twin babies threatened to sit near me, it didn't change my blissful existence.
(Luckily, she'd got the wrong seat).

On Thursday morning I got up and drove South in order to enjoy my dad's birthday. He had requested we all visit the Still and West Portsmouth.
My dad was born at Southsea, Portsmouth and this particular pub is a place of pilgrimage for our family.
It's a great pub that my gran, (his mum) and her sisters used to frequent in the 1930's and after.

We always comment and nod as we pass 'grandma's chair' where she would spend time in a bygone age.
What she'd have made of customers (me) asking for the WIFI password and the Gales Ales now being Fuller's I don't know but it's always special for us to visit.

The family enjoyed a fine meal while watching the ships going past the window.




Portsmouth has changed a bit over recent years but we weren't going to visit Gunwharf Quays or the Spinnaker Tower, we spent the afternoon going around HMS Victory.

It's many years since I went around the Victory and it was great to share the experience with my nephew Jack.


I stayed with the family until Saturday afternoon when I drove home, arriving just in time to listen to Charlton stuffing Hartlepool 4-0.

Back to work tomorrow and for once, I feel I've used my time off constructively.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

"I Have A Really Good Feeling About Today".

Charlton Athletic 4Carlisle United 0.

Yes, prior to the game today, a (fairly heavily refreshed) young lady wearing Carlisle colours, told us she felt that today was going to be their day. She had the 'feeling'.

I hope she enjoyed her time at the Rose of Denmark as she would have been pretty miserable once she got settled at the Valley.

Right from the off, Charlton looked to be completely in control.
Danny Green, who had seemed quite lethargic last weekend at Stevenage, was like a different player.
He was a man possessed as he raced onto every free ball.

Green was not alone. The entire home team were keen to erase the memory of defeat in Hertfordshire.

The first goal was a beauty. Kermit nodded the ball into the net after some fantastic approach play down the left from Wiggins.

Goal number 2 owed plenty to a great kick from Hamer, then BWP chasing down the defender who completely ballsed up his clearance so Bradley could stuff the ball into the far corner.

The 'dreaded' Charlton two goal advantage? Not today.

I commented to Jeff, (Crispy being airborne on his way to Tokyo), that it seemed like men playing against boys and for once it wasn't hyperbole, just a fact.

Goal number 3 was the culmination of a bit of a scramble where perhaps 5 Charlton players could have poked the ball into the barely guarded net.
Again, Kermit was the Johnny on the spot who wheeled away in celebration.

There was just time before the interval for Carlisle to completely shoot themselves in the foot.
Robson was already the holder of a yellow card when he made the sort of ridiculous challenge that must make managers despair.
A second yellow followed and even the most pessimistic of Charlton supporters must have thought we may just be heading for 3 points.

Once Charlton returned to attack the Covered End, it became even better.

There was one of those goals that receive an equal amount of cheering and laughter.
Danny Hollands speculative long shot from around 25 yards, surely didn't have enough quality to beat a professional 'keeper but the ball squirmed through his grasp as if it was wet soap.

At 4-0 up, I was really hoping we'd go on and give Carlisle a bit of a spanking. There was still only one side in it but the chances were either narrowly missed or in some cases, missed by quite a large margin!

It mattered not one jot.
It was a joy to be a Charlton supporter and heaven knows there's been enough times when it's been a pretty miserable existence in recent years.

The referee was poor in the second half. He must have been officiating from a position of sympathy for the Cumbrians.

He let two footed challenges (from behind) go, gave free kicks for clean challenges and also tried his best to get the Carlisle back into the game when he awarded them a penalty. The ball clearly hit Wiggins arm- though it was also clear there was no intent and it was ball to hand.
We've all seen them given. This referee was obviously one of those refs who 'gives them', (yet when exactly the same thing happened later on up the other end, he waved play on.)

It was completely Charlton's day, as proved when Hamer made a spectacular save to deny Carlisle from the penalty spot.

A thoroughly comprehensive win.
Still top of the league and for now at least, it's great to be an Addick.

Casual Rating.
The Lacoste Polo is heading to Rhoys Wiggins who was immense today.
The Primark novelty slogan t-shirt is heading to Mystic Meg from the Rose of Denmark.

I think she needs to polish her crystal ball.

It's been a good week for Charlton Casual.
My team won 4-0 and the Stone Roses, after 16 years reformed.
Happy Days.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Run Ends.

Stevenage 1 - Charlton Athletic 0.


Not much to be proud of up in Hertfordshire this afternoon.

The day started off well with a few drinks in the town centre before a (not necessarily by the most direct route) walk to the ground.

If you weren't there, the Stevenage set up is a bit like Welling, only with a fairly decent stand for the away supporters.

The reported crowd of around 4,700 seemed ridiculously small. It really felt like there were many more inside but I guess the cramped surroundings just made it difficult to tell.

Even before the game had kicked off I was shaking my head in embarrassment.

Charlton 'supporters' were fighting among themselves. It went on for a good five minutes, with all the usual posturing and threats making the atmosphere quite unpleasant.

We were close enough to feel we might get sucked in if the problem escalated. The stewards didn't seem interested in intervening so it carried on until the protagonists ran out of steam.

It was all a bitter disappointment as Crispy's young daughter Hannah was experiencing her first Charlton away game. This was most certainly not a good introduction.

Once the game started, the morons stopped squaring up to each other and spent most of the first half abusing the stewards.

Stevenage started well and really did try to spread the ball about. They were keeping pace with the league leaders and not letting Charlton settle on the ball.
Even their most ardent supporters would have to admit their goal was down to 99% luck.

A tame shot was never going to beat Hamer but for the second week running, a savage deflection left him with no chance at all.

Stevenage now reverted to type and became the pub team of cloggers we had been warned to expect.
This isn't a criticism of Stevenage, just an accurate description of the tactics they employed.

Crunching tackles, pushing off the ball, shirt pulling and time wasting were now what the hosts were dishing out to the guests.
The officials were pretty poor and just seemed to accept this was the way Stevenage played but when Charlton tried to mix it, suddenly the whistle was blown or the flag raised.

I was most annoyed by our duffers in black when Cort used his strength and guile to shepherd a ball out for a goal kick, right in front of the Charlton support.
Oddly, despite over 1,500 people baying at the error, a corner was given.

Though on the receiving end of a very physical approach, Charlton ended the game with 4 yellow cards while Stevenage had just the 2.
Go figure.

Charlton were better in the second half and on another day could have gained at least a point.
When BWP raced through on goal, we could all see the net billowing as he pulled the trigger but for once his shot beat the keeper but not the far post.

The keeper Day, (named after how long it takes him to take a goal kick?), made a few fine saves, not least the one from Cort, who really must have thought his header was goal bound.

Late changes bringing on Evina, Hayes and Waggy were somewhat nullified by the dreadful time wasting.
Even the Stevenage ballboys seemed to have been briefed to be as slow as possible when handing the ball back to the Addicks.

When the final whistle blew, (with still a full minute of the 6 added on to play, not including the probable 3 minutes that could have been added for time wasting within that period), the Stevenage players celebrated with their supporters as if they'd won the league.

The Charlton players seemed more interested in rounding on the officials.
The picture at the top of this piece is the officials waiting to leave the pitch.

The officials were crud but we didn't lose because of them.
We lost because, for the second week running, the team failed to find a way to unpick a side with no interest in playing football, only in getting points by any means necessary.

If we want to get out of this league we need to be able to stick it to teams who are tugging shirts and kicking off the ball. We can't moan and say this isn't fair, believing we deserve better.

We are in tier 3 for a reason. We were bad enough to fall down this far, we now have to prove we are good enough to climb out.

A loss isn't always a bad thing. Purely from a mathematical perspective, a win and a loss is better than 2 draws.
We just need to win next week against Carlisle.

A Casual Rating.
Due to apathy on my part this will be brief.
Stevenage deserve respect for having a game plan and keeping to it. It wasn't pretty (at all) but today it proved successful.
The Lacoste polo is going to Jackson who was tireless in his running, never giving up right to the end.

The Primark novelty slogan t- shirt is going to the idiots who were fighting in our section.
Sod off to follow Millwall.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Time Bandits.

Charlton Athletic 1 - Tranmere Rovers 1.


A well drilled Tranmere team came to the Valley and did a job on us that could have grabbed all three points.

They were by far the better side all through the first half, creating swift attacks from the opening minutes while Charlton never really got going at all.

The goal they surely deserved, had a touch of good fortune when a shot from the left deflected off Chris Solly, giving Hamer no chance.

Crispy had another of his Nostradamus moments, pronouncing that he could see them scoring soon, only about 4 seconds before they did!

At the time, it looked like a wonder strike as we couldn't see the deflection from our angle.
Whatever the method of the ball entering the net, it was just the kick in the pants the Addicks needed to raise the energy levels.

Unfortunately, the much called for improvement didn't materialise.

Despite their vastly superior efforts, Tranmere had obviously decided that should they sneak an away goal, they were going to kill the game with time wasting, niggly fouls, pushing off the ball and generally being annoying gits.

Half time came and Chris Powell had an opportunity to lay into his charges.

Green and Kermit had been given the nod over Wagstaff and Hayes. Other than these two players, it was the same side who had weathered the first half storm at Sheffield, before running away with it in the second.
Green still seems to be suffering from his virus but I was quite impressed with our Breton boy. He won header after header and is gradually forming an understanding with BWP.

Could we have another good second half to grab the 3 points?

BWP didn't have one of his better days. He was clobbered early in the game and visibly jarred his back. He wasn't running too well afterwards and perhaps this effected his game.

Our team tried harder in the second half, the crowd woke up and there was more of a buzz around the Valley.
Unfortunately, the blatant time wasting and Tranmere gamesmanship was ruining any kind of tempo.

I had my own Nostradamus moment when I announced I thought we'd need a penalty to score as we didn't seem to be creating enough.
Within 5 seconds we had one!

I had little idea what the penalty was for, - there was so much pushing and shoving going on in the area I missed the incident but I was very thankful.

Jackson stepped up but I became more and more convinced he was going to fluff it as the Tranmere players performed their well rehearsed jiggery pokery to put him off.

They had players stand in the area blocking the ball, they then started a long discussion with the referee, they also tried to start conversations with Jackson.
 The referee could and should have yellow carded at least 5 players, not least the goalkeeper who refused to retreat to his line but he seemed to have lost control.
Once the ball had finally been placed, it was picked up and taken away by the keeper...... it went on and on.

Never have I wanted a penalty to be scored more.

Jackson stuffed the ball in the net and surely we were up and running?

Well, no.
Charlton created more, were more lively down the wings after the introduction of Waggy but Tranmere's  time wasting was getting everyone so frustrated, it was making our team rush when in reality there was plenty of time to score a winner.

BWP had a glorious opportunity to stuff it to the cheating Tranmere but scuffed his chance from only a metre out.

We could have lost the game of course.
A calamity at the back, involving a Norman Wisdom style collision, left the ball spinning away goalwards but luckily none of the Tranmere players were able to reach it, to tuck it into the unguarded net before it went out for a corner.

I left the Valley feeling a little flat.
Then I remembered we are still top of the league and unbeaten. There will be many, many teams who would love to swap places with us.

I'm hoping next weekend at Stevenage will be a game when our team 'click' and give the opposition a bit of a lesson.
Whatever happens, it'll be better than my last (only?) visit to the town.
 I ended up at the Lister hospital with snapped ligaments when 'helping out' at a campsite event for kids and falling in a rabbit hole!

I shall watch my footing carefully.

A Casual Rating.
My Lacoste polo is going to Jackson for keeping his cool to convert the penalty while madness seemed to be going on all around.
Well done JJ.
I'd like to add another award to Kermit Kermogant who is adding touches of class. Once his team mates work out where his flick ons are going, our attacking play will have another dimension.

The Primark novelty slogan t - shirt is going to the whole Tranmere team (except the impressive Showamuni) - but especially the goalkeeper Fon Williams.

What a horrible, horrible cheating team.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Poor In The Paint Pot.

Charlton Athletic (B) 0 - Brentford 3.

If you saw this game, either live or on the tellybox, then you don't need me to report what you saw.

If you didn't see it then consider yourself lucky, unless you are a Brentford supporter.

Brentford scored within 2 minutes, were given a perfectly correct penalty and then in the second half put the game to bed, despite the linesman flagging for offside in the build up.

It mattered not one jot.
Losing by 3 goals is no better or worse than losing by 2 in a knock out cup competition.
As a club, we often seem to save our very worst performances for the television cameras or the cups.

A minor cup competition, live on Sky, was always likely to be a bit of a high hurdle to clear.

I would have loved to have won this evening but I'm not too bothered about losing. The league is everything this season.
Well done to Brentford who showed last year they like to take this competition seriously. They obviously plan on pushing for Wembley this time too.

I saw us play Brentford 3 times last season- ( 2 times at theirs and once at the Valley). We failed to win any of those games.
After tonight, should we add games against Brentford to those on Sky, those in the North West and those in the cups as fixtures we often struggle in?

Let's hope the team can give Tranmere a good spanking on Saturday to make up for this evenings disappointments.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Charlton Too Hot For The Blades.

Blades 0- Addicks 2.

As London basked in the most glorious heat wave today, how did I choose to spend my precious free time?

Wearing just a pair of shorts, I lay on a towel, spread out on the sofa, with a cooling fan clattering near my head.
My MacBook was 'tuned' to the commentary provided through the Charlton website and I had a large bottle of Sprite to work my way through.

I'd started off thinking I'd sit outside to listen to the game but after a short walk to buy a newspaper and then a trip to the bins, I realised I'd be more comfortable indoors.
Phew, What A Scorcher!

I heard Gravesend had broken the record temperature for October, touching 29.9C.
The lady on television had helpfully explained that because Gravesend is 'near London', it often comes top of the the temperature charts, as London's warm air is blown down to Kent where it arrives at the town.

Needless to say, South London itself was unseasonably warm. Going through the area around Blackheath Standard (in my air conditioned car) felt like cruising around a Mediterranean village in high season such was the prevalence of short dresses, summer shirts, shorts and flip flops.

Up in Yorkshire a well refreshed Charlton crowd were certainly 'up for it' if the various twitter messages were to be believed.

The first half, just as at MK Dons, was largely forgettable from an Addick perspective.
It seemed as if Sheffield United were the better side and probably should have been at least a goal up at the interval.

The game changed when Hayes came off for our new Breton hero, 'Kermit' Kermorgant to score with his first touch.
The commentators had been suggesting Green should come on for an out of sorts Waggy but Sir Chris had a moment of inspiration and sent the Frenchman on instead.

The #cafc hash tag went into meltdown, only for it to happen all over again a few moments later when BWP scored our second, after what sounded like a bit of a defensive cock up.

We reminded each other he's "Better than Shaun" and I could clearly hear those 1000 plus Addicks at Bramall Lane agreeing with the sentiment.

Despite our recent record when defending two goal advantages, Charlton managed to hold on, (to the delight of the worldwide Addicks using their 140 characters to continue praising the team).

In added on time, United could have scored a consolation but managed to hit the post instead.

At the beginning of the week, I'd have been most excited if a crystal ball gazer had let on that we were about to gain 4 points from two tough away games, only conceding once, (and even then not from open play as MK relied on a penalty).

We are now sitting pretty at the top of the pile, 5 points clear of our nearest rivals.

Heady times for Charlton supporters.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Marching On.

Franchise 1 - Addicks 1.


I didn't head up to Buckinghamshire this evening but I did have the benefit of the cafc twitter feed, SMS texts and the Radio Kent commentary being broadcast through the Charlton Athletic website.

Despite rather divergent opinions on the penalty ranging from "Never a pen" to "Clear cut, poor challenge", everyone was unanimous the Addicks were pretty dire in the first half.

Charlton went in at half time still unbeaten in open play but unfortunately 1-0 down due to Williams 21st minute penalty.

The second half was much more positive from the Reds.
Franchise were still pressing forward and could very easily have doubled their lead but a combination of fluffed chances and strong defending kept them at bay.

On 66 minutes Green came on for Wagstaff and then Kermorgant  replaced Hayes on 72 minutes.
This proved to be the turning point for our side when the two substitutes combined, Green crossing for Kermorgant to head home the equaliser.

As with any draw, either team could have won the game.
Both teams had opportunities to snatch victory in the closing minutes but a point each was to be a fair result.

At half time, I most certainly would have settled for a point.

So, again, we are still undefeated this season.
We are top of the league with 2 points to spare and unless my maths is a little shaky, whatever the results on Saturday, the worst that can happen is we plunge to the terrifying depths of second place.

It's good being an Addick right now.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Satisfied

Addicks 3 - Spireites 1.

Since I last posted anything on here there have been three games.
Firstly, there was a League cup game, at home, to PNE that was another run out for the fringe players.
This ended with 'disappointment' though very few people were in fact 'disappointed' to be out of the competition.

The players who had seemed more than a match for Reading in the previous round came unstuck against a bigger, stronger and more direct Preston side.

As I walked home I wondered if I had seen the last of Simon Francis in a Charlton shirt.
He had been magnificent against Reading but had a complete stinker against Preston. He only lasted until half time but was lucky not to have been red carded and quite frankly was a bit of a liability on the night.

A game up at Rochdale came next.
I wasn't there and relied upon a couple of genial Northerners who somehow had managed to get the gig commentating through the Charlton website.
Strangely, when Charlton had a 2 goal advantage wiped out they seemed quite upbeat about our chances to go on and win it.
Anybody with more experience of the Addicks would have feared the worst but Compo and Clegg were proved right when Charlton ran out winners.

Yesterday, the biggest crowd seen at the Valley since last seasons Exeter game witnessed a bit of a cracker.
Football for a Fiver backfired last season.
We packed the Valley with people who perhaps hadn't been in a while and then reminded them why they don't come anymore.
Yesterday those holding the cheapo tickets might just be thinking they'd like to see some more of this particular Charlton side.

The game started with Chesterfield taking command, using their bigger and more powerful players to make inroads into the Charlton half.
Soon Charlton took over and it became a bit of a procession towards the Chesterfield goal.

At half time, if Charlton had been 6 goals up it wouldn't have been flattering.
We had to be content with the dreaded two goal advantage after Hayes had deflected the ball into the net and Jackson had scored from inside the penalty area.

The second half was completely different.
Chesterfield came out believing they could get something from the game - perhaps they'd been told about our record with two goal advantages?
Chesterfield manager Sheridan was sent to the stand for throwing his toys out of the pram when a very hopeful penalty appeal didn't go his way.

Later, Waggy wasn't given a foul - (he seemed to be involved in a personal battle with the East stand lino) and the ball was ushered up towards the Charlton goal.
Morrison missed his challenge and a soft, though correct, penalty was given.
Clarke walked off in a huff as he wanted to take the penalty but Whitaker got the nod and scored with ease.

This seemed to wake Charlton up. After hardly troubling the Chesterfield defence for around half an hour suddenly the team came to life.
We were feeling jumpy as Chesterfield were still pushing forward but we got the chance to relax when Taylor was brought down in the area for the most obvious penalty.
It was at least as strong a case as the one given to Chesterfield but amazingly Taylor got up to be shown a yellow card for diving!

It was an appalling decision.
Having believed we got the benefit of some 50:50 decisions at the last home game, it did seem to me as if there was a little bit of payback going on.

Chris Powell may have been very angry, (I know we were), but he showed Sheridan how to react to a setback.
Our team got what they deserved when BWP scored to finish off a fantastic team goal, diving at the far post to end a magnificent move.

A 3-1 home win to keep us top of the league, with a game in hand.
We've experienced a steady spiral of decline for so long it feels really, really good to be doing well again.
You have to experience the lows to really appreciate the highs - something supporters of the Sky endorsed 'Big Clubs' will never know about.
An Arsenal supporting friend has been almost suicidal over his team due to losing a few games!

I feel we as Charlton supporters can trump that with bells on having had two relegations, falling crowds, financial problems and having to become used to visiting teams where you've barely heard of a single player.

Yesterday, it was a little reminder of what it used to be like.
A nearly full Valley watching our team play well and looking forward to what is to come rather than dreading it.

I'd say I was more than satisfied with the way things are going.

A Casual Rating.
I enjoyed the game yesterday and I believe the majority of the just over 22,000 crowd would agree.
Chesterfield didn't come to defend, they played their part in an open, entertaining game.
The Lacoste polo is going to the marketing team who managed to get around 8,000+ (my estimation), extra people into the ground who probably wouldn't have been coming anyway.
A five pound offer is good enough to get bums on seats for a tier 3 game and hopefully many of those bums will be returning.
(No offence if you are one of those bums).
The Primark novelty slogan t- shirt is heading towards the East stand linesman who most certainly was making some decisions against Wagstaff for personal reasons rather than what he had seen happen.
He also must have had a fairly clear view of the 'dive' for our non penalty but didn't seem keen to get involved.

Ref Watch.
Started off well but got progressively worse as the game went on.
Perhaps, as a tier 3 referee, he wasn't very used to larger crowds?

Finally, in non football matters, I cannot believe it's now 20 years since Nevermind by Nirvana was realeased.
It became one of my favourites very quickly and an album I used to play very regularly.
It will always remind me of mad rushes to Heathrow airport on Friday evenings to head to Amsterdam to visit my ex wife for the weekend (before we were married).
I was actually in Holland visiting her when I heard Kurt Cobain had died which only added to the time capsule feeling of the album.
In Bloom will always be part of my Friday evenings on British Midland to Schipol, being played through a Sony Walkman!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Over the Line.

Charlton Athletic 2 - Exeter City 0.

If I ever choose to think back on the events of yesterday, I won't be remembering a 2-0 win, I'll be remembering the feelings of injustice I experienced throughout much of the first half.

Until yesterday, I really felt I was a true 100% Charlton supporter, totally in support of our team and sod the rest.

I learned yesterday that winning isn't enough for me. It has to be done 'right'.

From our seats in the East stand, it was beyond clear the ball had trickled over the Charlton goal line after a bit of a defensive shambles. Daniel Nardiello really didn't catch the ball with a lot of gusto but it was enough for it to squeeze past Hamer, before he pulled it back, presumably to hide his shame at being beaten by such a tame effort.

We couldn't believe it.
 A clear goal but the linesman and referee seemed oblivious.
The Exeter team didn't seem to complain too much at the time, considering the circumstances but it was clear that we had 'got away with it'.

Five minutes later there was a break in play for an injury to be treated and Nardiello came over to the East stand linesman to have a chat.
Despite it all happening directly in front of us, I have no idea what he was actually saying but his body language didn't look aggressive, it was more of a general, "You've made a hash of that one mate and you'll realise it when you see it on television".

Whatever was said, the linesman took exception, called over the referee and Nardiello was having an early shower.
At worst, I was expecting a yellow card but off he had to go.

I was stunned.
It seemed to me, Exeter had been denied a perfectly good goal and then been double punished by the officials when the error was highlighted.
(Apparently, the error was highlighted using some choice language, which if true was a stupid thing to do but also if the officials had done their jobs, it wouldn't have been necessary at all).

At the time, I had no idea that Chris Solly also had a shot cross the line up at the other end of the pitch, which would have made me feel much better about the situation. I'd have been feeling that as the officials had been crud for both sides, let's just get on with it.
 Congratulations must go to Chris Solly who managed to bite his tongue and carry on playing without going off on one, if he realised his effort had also been wrongly missed by the men in black.

Just before half time, BWP ran on to push the ball past Pidgeley in the Exeter goal and give their  supporters yet another opportunity to abuse him for being an ex Plymouth player.

The teams left the pitch with Charlton 1-0 up.
Most of the talk over half time was how we were lucky to be in the lead.

The second half was frustrating as Charlton seemed incapable of breaking down the ten men from Devon.
The game only became 'safe' from a Charlton perspective, with ten minutes to go when BWP turned provider and teed up Dale Stephens.
Stephens managed to send an identical chance way, way over the bar on Monday night but he kept his head down and buried it this time.
2-0, game over and a chance to relax.

I was relieved the second goal went in as mentally, it had felt like a 1-1 draw up until then.
(As I said before, I had no knowledge of the Solly effort until I got home).

The performance was not a cracker but it's another 3 points and Charlton are currently in an automatic promotion spot.

Things could be far, far worse.

A Casual Rating.
From a footballing perspective, this wasn't one to remember but it will definitely go down as one of those "I was there" games.
I'm not sure the Exeter supporters will want to recall the game though.

I'm awarding the Lacoste polo to Chris Solly who had a fine game, whipping in a few crosses that Waggy now seems incapable of, being solid in the tackle, beating his man and, (as I now realise) fully deserving a goal.
The Primark novelty slogan t- shirt is being awarded to the 'Belmarsh Bullies' who act as our stewards for the away support.
Was it really essential to go in mob handed with at least 10 + running heavies to take out two rather weedy looking blokes who had been banging on the advertising hoardings?
Removing one of them head first seemed rather over the top to me.
Ref Watch.
If I use my usual criteria of not really noticing the officials as a barometer for their performance, added to getting most decisions right and any bad decisions not really changing the course of the game, I'm sorry to have to say this particular showing will go down as an 'epic fail'.

Before the game had kicked off, I remarked that we could be in for some problems as our short in stature referee looked like he was all set for a 'Napoleon' performance.
He generally tried to let the game flow but missed some critical events and did change the game.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Big Brother.

I'm not really- (actually not at all) a fan of this show.
Nobody could have cared less than me last summer when Channel Four decided to scrap it, presumably due to their executives all agreeing they could no longer carry on pushing that crap without it staining their careers.

Unfortunately, Channel 5 stepped in to fill the void and revived the franchise this Summer.

I've just had the misfortune to witness the final 5 minutes of the show, apparently a 'Celebrity' version.

Needless to say, the winner could stand next to me tomorrow morning and I wouldn't recognise him.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Same Again.

Charlton Athletic 1 - Sheffield Wednesday 1.

Well, we didn't lose and perhaps last season we would have done.
Charlton had a fantastic opportunity to take the game to Sheffield Wednesday when BWP scored a wonder goal from outside the area with less than 5 minutes played.

Despite dominating the next half an hour, Charlton couldn't score again and seemed to lack any belief that they could break down the strong Wednesday defence.

Sheffield Wednesday were playing the normal horrible Megson tactics of shirt tugs, nagging niggly fouls and little attempt to make anything of the game, just purely focusing on stopping the opposition.

I was very impressed with the Wednesday defence.
They were strong, well drilled and often didn't seem to make the tackle as they were so good at blocking and harrying.

They gave away lots of free kicks but that was their game plan.

Prutton was very lucky to stay on the pitch after he brought down Waggy.
 He received a yellow but it should have been his second yellow, after an earlier awful challenge the referee decided to treat with just a warning.

Charlton were undone by a set piece (again).
It was the only way Wednesday were going to score quite frankly but score they did.
Clinton Morrison came on as a substitute and with what may have been his first touch, scored at the far post with his head.
He did his best to miss, scoring off the underside of the cross bar from less than a metre out- but the ball crossed the line.

Charlton rarely threatened and Wednesday looked as if they were satisfied with a draw.
The game drifted on until finally the referee put us out of our miseries.

The second half was a disappointment for Charlton, especially after playing quite well for the opening half an hour.

The unbeaten run continues.
I'm quite satisfied with a point after tonight. We could and probably should have won but also it was just the kind of game where we could have lost.

We'll just have to win on Saturday instead.

Can We Beat the Television Hoodoo?


Tonight we play Sheffield Wednesday at the Valley, under the lights with an unbeaten record behind us.
There's always something slightly special about evening games.
The crowd always seems that little bit more up for it and the spectacle on the pitch always seems just a little more exciting, even if it's a dull game.

I remember learning while doing Modern History A level, that Adolf Hitler would always prefer to have his speeches either at night, or indoors, under fierce lights to make himself seem that little bit more special.
He had some dodgy ideas but nobody can deny he knew how to make a speech.

Despite feeling quite excited about our ,(seemingly ever expanding), current crop of players and thinking we have the beginning of a team that might be able to grab a Play Off place at worst, I'm feeling a little worried.

Of course, we will lose eventually. Tonight may be that night, though not because of a superior Wednesday team but because over the last *(insert your own number here)* years, we have consistently saved our worst performances for the television cameras.

Can we put to bed this odd Charlton tradition?
I believe we've already poked the other Charlton oddity in the eye when we won at Bury.
(We always seemed to come away with less than we deserved in the North West).

So, what's going to happen tonight?
Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Charlton pass their Reading test.

Charlton Athletic(B) 2 - Reading 1.


Wow!
What an absolute cracker.
On the evidence of this evening, Chris Powell has a strong squad to play with this term. 
When the inevitable injuries and suspensions start piling up later in the season, it shouldn't mean half fit players being played out of position in order to raise a team.


Every player wearing red put in a top notch performance.
Benson was running around, chasing lost causes and giving the impression he was playing for his Charlton Athletic future.
He was unfortunate in that he had to leave the action early with what looked like a hand injury. Benson was really catching the eye and even arch Benno hater, 'Mr Grumpy,' who sits a few seats away couldn't find anything to moan about, especially as he opened the scoring.

Charlton were in total control for all of the first half.
Reading couldn't have complained if they had been 4 or 5 goals down at the interval.

The few times they pressed forward, Hamer showed he has an assured pair of hands.
Should Elliott take the Pardew pounds for the chance to warm the Newcastle bench, I'm more than happy with the obvious replacement.

Pritchard was running the midfield, the much derided Francis played a blinder, Green could have scored 3, Mambo seemed to grow in confidence as the game progressed, Evina looked very skilful and Euell was showing good movement.

Charlton seemed as if their brief was to pass Reading off the pitch. There were few times when either team resorted to a hoof up the pitch, both teams attempted to keep the ball on the grass and play football.

At half time I was worried all the missed chances may come back to haunt us.
The second period started and it just produced more of the same.
Pass and move.
Charlton were purring.

Eventually, Jason Euell popped up to knock home the second goal of the game.
It was most certainly deserved. At that point Charlton had hit the post and had two certain goals whipped off the line by spectacular gymnastic clearances.
Charlton added to this total when Bover hit the woodwork later on.

The Doc was replaced by Morrison.
One thing I was taught many, many years ago was never, ever make a substitution when defending a set piece.
Perhaps CP has now taken on board this little nugget as Morrison came on to defend a corner. The ball quickly ended up at his feet (before he'd had an opportunity to calibrate his boots), he made a horlicks of it and Reading had their goal.

The next 5 minutes were a little shaky for Charlton but they soon regained their superiority, despite the best efforts of the referee.

When the news came through that there were to be 4 minutes of added on time, every Addick must have wondered if there was to be a repeat of Saturday but Reading were not as sharp as Scunthorpe.

A 2-1 win and into the next round.

It's quite odd to think that a League Cup game, and a first round one at that should be one of the best games I've seen in yonks.
Definitely worth a tenner.

A Casual Rating.
What an absolute belter!
If you weren't there, you missed a treat.
Lacoste polos are going to all the Charlton players who seemed determined to make CP have a selection problem.
Well done lads. You all played your part but my MOM is Pritchard.

The Primark Novelty slogan t-shirt is going to the bloke in Floyd Road who picked me out of the crowd to hand me an English Defence League, anti Muslim demo flyer.
I may have a shaved head but I'd like to say I find their views repellent.
Sod off to Millwall.

Ref Watch.
Oh dear oh dear.
Charlton won, despite the referee's officiating this evening.
He had a stinker.
One (of many) appalling decisions was when a clearance went out for a Reading throw, at least 10 metres down the pitch.
The Reading player went to pick up the ball to take the throw but to his amazement, was told it was a corner!
It wasn't even close.
Despite the referee having a 'mare for much of the second half, he didn't ruin the game, though he did have a long talk at Jason Euell when Jason pointed out how cack he was being.
Euell could have received a yellow card so maybe he was fortunate to just receive a finger wagging.