Thursday, 27 December 2012

Grimacing in the Rain

Charlton Athletic 1 - Ipswich Town 2.




The score line hints at a close run game.
It wasn't.

Ipswich were handed the win in the first half by a lukewarm Charlton performance.
They didn't need to raise their game to beat a very poor Charlton effort that lacked any kind of spark.

Congratulations to the Ipswich supporters who made it to the Valley on a day when there were no tube trains running and overland trains were not stopping at Charlton.

We had a similar state of affairs when we played at Portman Road.
On that day the train line between London and Ipswich was being worked on.
I know this effected our turn out, even though it wasn't a nasty rainy day when people might want to stay at home with their families.

We should have been 3-0 down at halftime.

Frimpong made a stupid challenge- just the kind I was warned about by when he arrived by an Arsenal supporting friend- and Lee Martin who made a name for being a Tom Daley when he was on loan at the Valley didn't even need to pretend.

As solid a penalty as you could ask for.
(Nearly as solid as the one we were denied at Sheffield Wednesday).

DJ Campbell fluffed the kick though and we had a huge let off.

The two goals that arrived before the break should all have been defended better.
A bit of pinball in the Charlton penalty box and some sleepy defending meant the Half Time break couldn't come quick enough.

Stephens had our best chance.
A wonderful free kick curled around the wall to hit the base of the post.
Had Lady Luck not deserted us this season, the ball would have come back to an onrushing forward but of course, it returned at just the wrong angle to be useful.

Pritchard and Jackson appeared for the second half.
Jackson could have scored with his first touch.
He was just shaping to nod home an inswinging cross when Fuller got in his way and the chance was gone.

Pritchard was lively and linked up with Haynes well.
Solly had more chances to run forward as Ipswich looked to protect what they had.

When Solly was upended and Haynes stuffed the resulting penalty high into the net Charlton should have pushed on.
Ipswich looked rattled for the next 5 minutes but our players didn't look capable of taking the initiative.

The East stand linesman was in dreamland for much of the game, missing clear touches of the ball to award throws the wrong way and lifting his flag for offside even when defenders were covering.

As rubbish as he was, he had no effect on Charlton being beaten.

Ipswich are one of the weakest sides I've seen this season yet they didn't have to do much to grab the 3 points at the Valley.
They've improved 100% since Millwall Mick took over but I can still see them around the bottom come the end of the season.

Unfortunately, we'll probably be there too but as I said at the start of the season, anything better than relegation is what I'm after.
This is a consolidation season for us.

It's not as much fun as last year when nearly every game was one we were at least likely to win but that's what you get from moving up a division.

So, a poor turn out on a poor day to witness a poor performance.

There'll be better days.
We just have to Keep the Faith and remember what a fantastic season we had last year to get us to this position.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Season's Greetings

I've had a bit of a blogging hiatus over the last few weeks.

Since our game at Millwall, I've been ridiculously busy at work and home.
The prospect of spending time in front of the old MacBook, chucking out my platitudes connected to a draw against Brighton and two away defeats up North didn't figure too highly on my list of priorities.

Today is Christmas Eve and for the first time in a while I've had time to kick back and take it easy.

My main reason for writing something on here today is to say a big THANKS to all the Addicks (and followers of other clubs) who have taken the time to read my thoughts over the last year.

When I started this blog, I made a conscious decision not to include a counter recording how many hits I received.
I'm a fairly competitive person and I knew I'd end up writing stuff just to bump up my figures rather than because I had something to say.

I can of course, check up very easily on how many people have swung by, as well as whereabouts on planet Earth they were sitting but I don't have this information on general display.

Today, I was astounded to read that over 1,300 people had clicked onto Charlton Casualty between midnight and 2pm, even though I hadn't written anything for ages.

So again, thankyou everybody and roll on the 'Tractor Boys' on Boxing Day.

Happy Christmas.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

A South London Love In.

Millwall 0 - Charlton Athletic 0.
Sometimes, as the calendar swings into December, you are forced to acknowledge the neighbours you try to forget for most of the year.

You may even find yourself having to visit them, if only to remind yourself what it is about them you find so repellent.

They of course think of you as soft, well spoken nerds, only concerned with the minute details of life.

You look down on them for still having that pile of dog crap on the living room carpet, 3 weeks after it was dropped.

On a totally unrelated subject, yesterday Charlton went to Millwall.

Now Millwall have a reputation for being pricks but yesterday, before kick off at least, they seemed to be making the right noises and had decided to call the game Jimmy's Day.

Millwall had their biggest crowd for a generation, (remember families have a quick turn around in those parts), and there was barely a gap to be seen at the Tool Box beyond the areas forcibly kept empty.

Before the game started, I noticed there was something 'different' about the Charlton support.
Nobody seemed even remotely intimidated by the feral locals.

When they sang "No one Likes Us" we joined in, pointing out exactly why.
When they did their "Miiiiiiiiillllll" chant, we joined in, adding Joey Deacon style hand movements.

Charlton are a family club.
We pride ourselves on having women and children as part of our support, as well as welcoming new comers from everywhere.

Yesterday, there was barely a woman to be seen near me and certainly no children.
Around 3,500 mostly blokes, all intent on giving it back.

This Charlton crowd were not going to be a push over.

The teams came out and I realised i was in the thick of it when a few seats away a red smoke bomb went off.
The taste stayed with me for a while.

I'm not a fan of smoke bombs but I can't deny it looked absolutely magnificent.

Yes, it's childish and dangerous and copying the Italians, (not to mention those from Norwood ) but for 40 seconds or so, it was the focus of the entire ground.

The Millwall fans were livid.

The game itself is easy to summarise.

Millwall, as the home team and on an unbeaten run were in command for long periods.
Charlton, without the suspended Morrison and injured Fuller had set themselves up to 'not lose'.

Many would say Charlton parked the bus and it wouldn't be too far from the truth.
The Charlton performance was all about solid defending and this was done in spades.

Charlton rarely threatened the Millwall goal.
Millwall were by far the better team yet ended it with just a point.

A point away from home is never a bad result and when our previous diabolical performance at the same venue is added into the mix, it felt like a win.

We could have nicked it of course with a couple of breakaways but they came to nothing.

With around 8,000 day trippers added to the regular Millwall support they had to learn quickly what to shout.
They seem to have decided upon "Handball!" which was bellowed with gusto whenever the ball went off the deck, near a Charlton player.

Their players seemed to have a problem with gravity too.

Comical.

When the game ended, it felt good.

We hadn't crumbled and could leave with our heads held high.

A few more coloured smoke bombs were launched at the pitch which seemed to wind up the Danny Dyer wannabes to our left.

We had green laser pointers shone in our eyes, bottles and coins thrown at us as well as a few seats.
Needless to say, there were missiles returned and for a while it got a bit lively.

Last time we went to Millwall, we were penned in after the game.
This time there was no such event.

We came outside the ground, into the darkness with the Charlton support bellowing "We're the Red and White Army".

This was no time for shrinking violets.

As the two sets of supporters converged, I bumped into Jim and we hastily decided upon a drink.
We snuck away from the main body of Charlton support, heading directly into the mass of Millwall.

We kept our eyes down as we went by a self styled Millwall 'general' commanding their support to "Stick together" and seek out the Charlton.
He could barely focus he was so full of anger.

Silence from us as we walked through the hundreds of Neanderthals, all hopping mad that Charlton had come to their patch and forgotten to break down and cry.

Eventually, we jumped on a bus on Old Kent Road, heading for a drink near London Bridge.

Some pints of Doombar, Sambuca, a telling off from the bar staff for singing loudly and a good laugh ended the evening in time to fall asleep in front of Match of The Day.

An old school football day.

I wouldn't want it every week but it was fun yesterday.

Casualty Rating
Millwall were on top for most of the game but didn't really make Hamer work too hard.
This was due to the immense defending from our team, especially Solly and Cort.
Both were stars for me, though I also appreciated hearing about defender Michael Morrison being in with the Charlton support along with John Sullivan.

Good work fellers.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Wet Weekend

Charlton Athletic 1 - Huddersfield 1.

The weekend started off in fine fashion on Friday evening.
Along with Al and my sister, I was at KOKO in Camden for the Wedding Present crashing through the final date of their Seamonsters tour.

I bought the Seamonsters album when it came out in May 1991, (on cassette!) then upgraded to a CD version just a few months later.
Due to multiple home moves, both copies went missing so I ended up buying a newer version a couple of years ago that has some extra tracks added.

I was pleased that none of the 'extras' were played when the band decided to play the album live.
It wouldn't have felt right to me.

Twenty odd years ago, I ended up having to look after a hamster.
Due to a series of events not worth going into on here, the owner ended up leaving it with me long term.
I renamed it 'Gedge' after David Gedge, the lead singer of the Wedding Present.

Before the show on Friday, David Gedge, (the real one), was hanging around in the foyer so Al went and shook his hand, as did I.

Unfortunately, (as younger sisters are expected to do), I had my veneer of cool completely shattered when she told the bewildered bloke he'd had a rodent named after him.

I tried to laugh it off but I was really struggling.

The show turned into a CAFC love in when Louis and Martin spotted us in the Muppet Box we'd strolled into, (well nobody stopped us), and came to join us.

More drinks at the Cittie of Yorke on the way home ended a good evening.

The Valley wasn't a nice place to be on Saturday.
The wind and rain lashed across the pitch and it seemed impossible for (those players from the North) to stay on their feet.

For a team of supposedly hardy tough nuts who look down on us Southern softies, they did spend rather a lot of time rolling on the floor.

The sending off they received may have been harsh in retrospect but in real time, from my angle, it looked a fairly good decision.
I couldn't give a toss at the time though as I was remembering how we'd been well and truly 'Trevor Kettled' by the most appalling refereeing up at their place last season.

They had won 1-0 due to a penalty, (not debated), a sending off, (maybe the right decision but their player had to go too) and the referee being almost their best player.

Perhaps this was a little piece of justice?

Huddersfield are a strong side and looked dangerous going forward but especially in the dicey conditions looked a bit shaky at the back.

Hulse scored after a well worked build up and from that moment there looked like only one possible result.

Fuller seemed to have doubled the lead, and made sure of the 3 points, but the ball squirted agonisingly inches wide with all around me celebrating then grabbing their heads and sinking back down again.

Charlton fannied around instead of pushing forward and we felt sure that at just 1-0 Huddersfield were going to get at least one more chance or there'd be a defensive mistake that could prove costly.

As the clocked ticked towards 90 minutes it seemed as if the storm, (at least the one on the pitch) had been weathered.

Unfortunately, probably due to the extremely inclement conditions, Hamer spilled one and there was a big scramble in the Charlton penalty area.

From our angle it was impossible to tell what had happened but suddenly the referee was walking away and pointing to the penalty spot.

It would seem that Solly was penalised.

Those with a better view than me said it was a soft decision and just the kind of evener a referee might give if he was having doubts about the legitimacy of the earlier sending off.

Huddersfield were probably worth the point they gained but it was extremely frustrating for Charlton to drop 2 points so close to the end.

A few drinks in the Rose of Denmark after the game made the result sting less of course.

We'll all be looking for a reaction on Tuesday evening against Peterborough.

A Casualty Rating
He went from 'Dench' to 'Drenched' in his Charlton debut.

 I was very impressed with our loan from Arsenal, Emmanuel Frimpong.
Up until he left the pitch with what looked like cramp, he had been the midfielder I've felt we've needed this season.

I'm hoping he'll be available for Tuesday and especially our visit to the neighbours at Millwall next weekend.
It's probably not his style but I'm awarding 'the 'Pong', the regularly handed out Lacoste polo.

Monday, 19 November 2012

DENCH?

Yeah, me neither.
Apparently we have signed Frimpong on loan & he's fond of Bond films or something.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Incredible Scenes

Charlton Athletic 5 - Cardiff City 4.

The team at the top of the league, came to visit a side decimated by injuries and low on confidence this evening.

Nobody would have been surprised to learn they managed to stuff 4 goals past the hapless 'crisis club'.

Yet this only tells a mere fraction of the tale.

The lowly new boys at this level managed to score 5 goals of their own to claim the three points.

This truly was the rollercoaster experience when viewed from the stands.

Cardiff went 1-0 up after just 3 minutes and managed to double their advantage with only 23 minutes played.

Oddly, despite having seen a complete capitulation only a few days ago, the Valley support stayed right with the team. Even at 2-0 down, the Addickted were chanting without cease.

Just before half time, Johnnie Jackson managed to score 2 goals of his own and the Valley was rocking.

Cardiff looked completely rattled and once they returned for the second half, they began hoofing the ball in panic and the composure they'd shown for much of the first half had completely vanished.

A ridiculously long range free kick goal by Dale Stephens set Charlton on the path towards victory.
This was amazing!
@!%£
0-2 down to 3-2 up!
Could it get any better?

The answer was an emphatic "Yes!"

Bradley Pritchard managed to hook the ball back for Danny Haynes to head home in front of the North stand.
We cheered and laughed.
Yeeeeeessss!!!!
The cherry was dropped delicately on the top when Rob Hulse knocked in a 5th.

Charlton had scored 3 goals in just 11 minutes.
Cardiff looked spent.

The score remained 5-2 for the rest of the 90 minutes but a remarkable 6 minutes were added on at the end.

Cardiff scored what seemed to be a mere consolation goal, (the Charlton players didn't complain too hard about the ball being clearly controlled with an arm in the build up).

It was squeaky bums all around the Valley though when Cardiff managed to score a second goal in injury time.

Cardiff now lay siege to Ben Hamer's goal.
Eventually, to the sound of encouragement from 3 sides of the ground, the referee blew his whistle and Charlton had claimed a victory that will no doubt go down in Valley folklore.

Phew!

A Casualty Rating
Cardiff showed just why they are up at the top of the league in the first half.
They attacked with purpose and speed.

Their appalling away record just won't go away though.
Imagine scoring 4 goals, away from home, yet leaving without even a point?

A cobbled together Charlton side performed like heroes.
Well done CP , the players and all the staff.

The recipient of the regularly awarded Lacoste polo is Bradley Pritchard.
He will never, ever, have a better game.

Well done Pritch.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Hmmm.

Charlton Athletic 1 - 'Boro 4
Well that wasn't much fun was it?

If you were at The Valley today, you don't need me to tell you it was a bit of a shambles and if you weren't, well, lucky you.


Charlton scored first, a well taken goal from Rob Hulse.

He took his shot early and gave the 'keeper little chance, such was the power and accuracy.

Once Charlton went ahead, 'Boro lifted their game and came back due to a powerful header from Jonathan Woodgate.


Woodgate? 

I had no idea he was still playing.
He's been off my radar since he sat on the treatment table at Real Madrid, only to return to England to be injured again, just closer to home.

Perhaps our defence were of the same opinion as nobody felt it even slightly necessary to mark him when the free kick came in?


Woodgate's free header resulted in the equaliser 'Boro deserved. 


At Half Time, 1-1 seemed to be a fair score.


The second half was a bit of a 'mare.


All you need to know is Charlton made a further 4 mistakes, resulting in 3 more goals, plus an effort that hit the upright and then trickled along the goal line (before being hoofed to safety).


We would probably have got away with all the howlers last season but today Boro ran riot.

Their ability to pounce on errors and break forward with speed was the difference today.

Charlton did make chances and could, (and should), have scored another 2 or 3 but the belief was gone way before the final whistle.


We knew this season was going to be a very different prospect to last season's parade to the title. 

We knew we weren't going to win as many games as last time.

It all seems a long way away now. 

The long list of first teamers currently out of action doesn't help of course but today we were outclassed.

It's Cardiff visiting on Tuesday.

Another tough game is in prospect.

Casualty Rating

Only Chris Solly came out of the game with much credit, though Hulse took his goal well.
A game to forget for all of us, though hopefully Chris Powell will use it to motivate the squad.

Boro supporters came in large numbers.

They made plenty of noise which was a good thing as the Charlton support had little to cheer about.

It was particularly enjoyable to see a few of them rocking the 'look' of 2003, (Burberry scarf and Paul & Shark caps.)

Maybe it was ironic?

Sartorial matters aside, I won't be remembering today as anything other than 'pony'.


If we are going to keep things topical, I'd have to say today was a Halloween Horror Show rather than Guy Fawkes Fireworks.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Well Earned Point.

Leeds United 1 - Charlton Athletic 1

A point away at Elland Road is more than I expected but it could have been more.

Leeds scored with perhaps their first proper attempt on goal, but only after a heavy push on Cort had been missed by what seems to be our typical official this season.

The BBC London team were tearing strips out of the referee at Half Time and even mild mannered Chris Powell had to be guided away from the optically challenged man in black.

Charlton were by far the better side in the second half.
 Dorian Dervite scored an early equaliser and the team pushed on.

Paddy Kenny kept Leeds in it with some remarkable saves from Solly, Pritchard and BWP.

We'd all have accepted a point but a draw always has a feeling of what might have been? when you finish the game on top and it becomes clear you've been on the receiving end of (another) refereeing howler.

In summary, a pleasing performance, especially after the disappointment at the Valley a few days ago.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

RIP Krasimira Kishisheva

As far as I'm aware, I never met Krasimira Kishisheva.

I met her husband, Radostin Kishishev a few times.
He was never less than charming, as well as being one of my favourite players to wear the Charlton shirt.

I have a signed picture of him on my wall. He was part of one of the 'best' periods for supporting the Addicks.

Unfortunately Radostin lost his wife to cancer this weekend, at the appallingly young age of 38.

My thoughts, (along with I imagine many of the supporters of Leeds, Leicester and Brighton in this country as well as football supporters around the globe), are with Kish and his two young boys.

You Get What You Pay For?

Charlton Athletic 0 - Barnsley 1.

Charlton Athletic as a business made a decision that was essentially found to be a flop yesterday.

The (approx) 11,000 Season Ticket holders were joined by another 15,000 who were keen enough to show up on a cut price ticket, only to be instructed exactly why they're probably better off spending their time elsewhere on a Saturday.

It was a fantastic achievement by the club to fill the ground but as ever, the end product was poor.
I don't imagine many of those 'floating' supporters would have suddenly become die hard Addicks on the strength of yesterdays performance.

Having said all that, I don't give two hoots about the Johnny Come Lately bunch.
They show up for a Fiver every now and again, make the place look busy, then return to their regular Saturdays at Bluewater or Homebase.

I'm more concerned about the rest of us who'll be at the Valley regardless of how the team are performing, or indeed, (shudder), what division.

Barnsley were the better side yesterday.

Had Charlton managed to get anything from the game, it would have been a robbery.
The midfield looked week and there was little spark or enthusiasm about Charlton's play.

The crowd may as well have stayed at home.
Perhaps the watering down of the regulars with the many thousands of day trippers had an effect but even the Upper North were rarely in full voice.

The majority of the noise being made was coming from the visitors section.
They must have been amazed.

"We're playing Charlton.
At the Valley.
They've got their biggest crowd of the season.
Why are they all chewing toffees?"

A dull first half ended with local Olympic hero Gemma Gibbons being interviewed on the pitch.
The poor girl was made to lie through her teeth by proclaiming she had 'enjoyed' the first half.

The second half was more of the same with just a few changes of personnel.
Razak, who I thought had played well, was withdrawn so that Jackson could come into midfield and BWP came on up front instead of Hollands, again in midfield.

The two forwards made us look more like a 'home' team but nothing really changed.

Barnsley scored a peach of a goal.
Green made a fly weight attempt at a challenge and suddenly the ball was in the back of the net.

Charlton never really looked much like scoring, especially when the referee started to break down our attacks.
He became quite infuriating.

I'm not pretending that Charlton weren't fouling as the team certainly were.
What was very annoying was the man in black became eagle eyed when it was a player in red who was making the errant challenge but suddenly resembled Stevie Wonder when the reds were on the receiving end.

Charlton gave away needless free kicks when players were so angry at not getting what they certainly deserved, they then made poor challenges themselves within seconds.

At times, it really did seem as if the ref had a bet on to see how many players he could wind up.
He certainly wound up everyone near me.

It wasn't the officials fault that Charlton were 1-0 down though.
The players have to hold their hands up and claim responsibility for that.
Poor play allied to very little enthusiasm just didn't cut it.

Towards the end of the game, Fuller went off injured and as Pritchard had earlier arrived in place of Green, all 3 subs had already been used.

Oddly, when down to 10 men, Charlton enjoyed their best period of the game.

A goal mouth scramble ended with Barnsley keeping the ball out but many in the ground felt sure the ball had gone extremely close to crossing the line.
It was impossible to tell from my angle but of course the Wishful Thinking attitude had me and everyone around claiming a goal!

What was not open to debate was the way Chris Solly was clattered as he pulled his foot back to shoot on goal.
Stevie Wonder was quite close to the action and very theatrically motioned that the defender had won the ball.
He may well have done but he had to go through Solly to get there, from behind.

We all know it would have been a penalty up the other end and we'd have been cursing our player for making such a ridiculous challenge in the penalty area.

Barnsley got away with one there.

The game ended with a whimper, we all trudged out safe in the knowledge it'll be much easier to get to the toilets and buy a half time drink next time.

Other than lamenting Charlton's dire performance, there was only one talking point after the game.

Depending upon where your seat was, people were either 100% sure 'it was a pen' or said that it certainly looked like one but they'd have to see it again on the highlights to be sure.

Well done BBC Football League Show!
What a useless bunch of (polite editing) Wallys.

Of course, the one incident we all desperately wanted clearing up wasn't even mentioned.

hmmm.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

New Role?

Blackpool 0 - Charlton Athletic 2.

For the first time in a few seasons, Charlton played a game without me either a) being present or b) following the action via commentary on radio or the CAFC player service.

Today, I didn't head up to the North West coast to enjoy the unexpected away victory.
I was at the Lakeside shopping centre over in Essex!

Until I got a text message from Crispy congratulating himself on his betting prowess, (Cort to score), I had no knowledge of events at the Seaside.

A later message announcing Chris Solly had belted one in from outside the penalty area put a little bounce in my step.

Knowing how these things can work out, it was the Final Scores on the radio while exiting the car park that made me finally relax and do that ridiculous fist pump we all do.

I had been to our two previous games at Bloomfield Road and left there cold, wet and disappointed on both occasions.
It didn't seem much of a hardship to stay at home instead of doing a long schlep North, for what seemed like a pretty obvious home win.

Well done to Chris Powell, the players and back up squad for winning a game not many people would have predicted..

I received a few messages this evening with a common theme, that being I need to stay away from Charlton games more often!

I don't really fancy that role very much.
Sorry.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Gutted

Charlton Athletic 1 - Watford 2

Just home.

Walked past all the gloating 'fake London' Watford fans with their cheery faces and bright eyes.


In all honesty, tonight would have been the very best type of away victory for them.

Winning away, with just 10 men, is the kind of game you remember at the end of the season as one of your highlights.

The fact that Watford were battered for the majority of the game wouldn't matter one jot.

The scoreline is everything in these situations.

Charlton started strongly and it came as quite a shock to go 1- 0 down.

A rather unnecessary corner was given away and while Charlton supporters were moaning about the kick being taken from outside the arc, it was whipped in and a combination of wayward marking and flukey rebounds ended up with the ball in Ben Hamer's net.

Hoban was credited with the final touch.

Travesty!

Charlton came back and carried on as before, sending mostly one way traffic towards the Watford goal.

The expected equaliser finally came when Fuller ran onto a slide rule pass and tucked the ball away.
He never really looked like missing.

Just before Half Time there was the critical moment in the game.

Forestieri made the most appalling attempt at winning a penalty.
 His dive was so blatant it gave referee Mike Dean no choice but to issue a yellow card.
I'd forgotten he'd already received one for not retreating 10 yards at a free kick so it was an early bath for him.

This gave the Watford supporters a feeling of persecution.
They couldn't see how justified the decision was from their end and booed the officials.

In the second half, it was one way traffic again.
Watford barely got a sniff of a chance.

Referee Dean probably felt his dismissal of the Watford Tom Daley was enough for Charlton and gave us absolutely nothing throughout the second half.

The winning goal, when it came, was an absolute peach.

Watford were never going to score from open play.
Luckily for them they didn't need to.

Leon Cort gave away a foul and one of those 'wonder goal' free kicks was curled around the wall, leaving Hamer stranded.

Oddly, a few moments later, exactly the same kind of challenge occurred up at the other end, inside the penalty area this time, yet Mike Dean just waved play on.
The Charlton players were incensed.

We hear plenty about consistency with decisions.
This was yet another time when things just didn't fall for us this season.

Every single attack Charlton made, (and there were many), was blocked in the Italian fashion by holding down the forward and pushing the runner.
Very skilful when done well, which often it was -but there were also many times when it was just an assault.

BWP was put through on goal and he had 3 defenders tugging and pulling at him.
He did really well to stay on his feet but being pulled back so sharply meant his eventual shot went high and wide.
It looked the most obvious free kick in the world.

Yet it wasn't given.

 I was hugging my knees with the score at 1-1 due to the missed chances.
Surely we couldn't be so far and away the better side yet have to settle for a draw?

As it turned out, it was worse than that.

Fair play to Watford.
They had so few forays on goal, yet scored 2.

Charlton played well for most of the game but just needed that tiny little bit of luck to get what was deserved.

We can all criticise the referee but despite his odd decisions, especially in the last 20 minutes, it was down to our players to get the ball into the net.

Which they failed to do.

Sometimes football is a real sickener isn't it?

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Score Draw

Charlton Athletic 1 - Blackburn Rovers 1

The image of Blackburn Rovers in the media over the last year, has been one of a (chicken in a) basket case of a club.

Rovers have had sections of their fan base boycotting both home and away games, a manager who to the outside world seemed to be a dead man walking, plus a rather odd foreign investment from India, run by people who appear to have little clue about football.

The night before our game, Steve Kean finally cried 'fowl' as the 'poultry' amount of influence he had on affairs slipped from his grasp.
He headed home, leaving Rovers managerless for our encounter.
The fans had got what they wanted and the first fixture of the post Steve Kean era ended with their team grabbing a rather fortunate 1-1 draw.

Had Kean managed to get that point they'd probably have booed him back to the dressing room but all the Rovers supporters seemed to be quite happy with their haul at 5pm.

 Charlton were by far the better team for all but the opening 15 minutes.
 Nuno Gomes and Jordan Rhodes were largely anonymous, despite both arriving at the Valley with reputations to make defenders shudder. 

Morrison and Cort marshalled the defence so well, neither of them got a sniff all afternoon.

Ben Hamer won't be needing to wash his pristine white kit before our next match on Tuesday. 
He was mostly a spectator.
His major act of the first half was picking the ball out of the net when Charlton went 1-0 down.
Etuhu got through Solly and pushed the ball past Hamer, giving Rovers the advantage.

At that point, I imagined the depleted Addicks side were going to buckle but it seemed to be the kick in the pants the team needed.
From that moment on, Blackburn were never in it.

Cort was dragged down in the area and Jackson stepped up to smack the ball home from the penalty spot............... except he didn't.
The trailing leg of Paul Robinson kept the ball out.

Jackson was to wait less than a minute to make amends. 
His cunning deflection gave Robinson no chance and Charlton were flying.

Danny Green hit the post when all around me were already celebrating the goal. 
It was one way traffic towards the Blackburn goal until half time.

The second half was more of the same.

Unfortunately, bad luck arrived again when Jackson went off injured and was replaced by Bradley Pritchard.
Pritchard was lively and had a good game, adapting to the pace straight away.

Blackburn appeared content to sit back and hopefully counter attack. 


BWP got in the way of a certain goal from a Morrison header but the main talking point after the game was another "Did it cross the line?"

It was the first thing everybody mentioned in the post game discussions at the Rose of Denmark.

Odd that the BBC Football League Show didn't even include the incident in their highlights, while also hinting that Blackburn hadn't managed to get the deciding goal their strength deserved.

Anybody at the game knew that was a complete load of cobblers of course.

BWP almost claimed the victory for Charlton in the dying seconds. 

His rather spectacular volley was saved by Robinson and that was that.

It was a game we 100% deserved to win but in the circumstances, a point was gratefully received. 
 The injury / illness ravaged team lined up against what looked to be an extremely strong Blackburn side. 
We seemed set for a torrid afternoon.

As it turned out, the team, (all of them), held firm and gave what we like to believe is a Charlton Performance.
Well done to every one of them.

The anticipated return of former Addick Danny Murphy was a bit of a damp squib as he showed his legs have finally gone. 

His influence on proceedings was minimal, other than receiving the first yellow card of the game.

My memory tells me he left us under a cloud, very late in a January transfer window. 


His D list celebrity wife made enemies of Charlton with her comments about the club, (once he'd gone), in her newspaper column.


She was on the receiving end of what is now called 'banter' but to anybody old enough to vote should really be called 'abuse,' at our FA cup game against Fulham last season.


Some people really do deserve to be mocked. 

(I'm thinking Simon Jordan here). 

Personally, I don't think wives, children (or other relatives) of players and managers fall into that category.


I was quite happy for a chorus of boos to greet Murphy's first touches of the ball but less happy to hear thousands of people singing that his wife earns her money by dropping her knickers.


I think we're better than that.

A Casualty Rating.
I'm hopefully grown up enough to recognise a good performance when I see one, regardless of the shade of shirt the player is wearing. The Man of the Match was surely Blackburn's Paul Robinson. 
He was inspired.
 Robinson gained a point for Blackburn with his fine display.

The Charlton Lacoste polo is heading towards Lawrie Wilson who had a very good game.
I wasn't really a fan of his on first viewings. Of course, I wanted him to do well but things just didn't click for him a few weeks ago. 
I'm holding my hands up and acknowledging he had a good game at Ipswich and yesterday he was part of a fine defensive unit that looked quite unlikely to be plundered for the last 70 minutes of the game.

The Primark novelty slogan t shirt is heading to referee Deadman who had an aversion to any type of advantage being played.
Sooooo frustrating!

See you on Tuesday.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Sammy Clingan to Sign?

There have been rumours all day about the ex Coventry club captain making his way South to the Valley.

The Belfast born player was well thought of at the Ricoh but apparently the thought of playing tier 3 football just wasn't on the cards for him.

At 28 years of age, he's old enough to know the game but still young enough to hare about.

As other Charlton folk have noticed, his Wikipedia page already has him as 'playing for Charlton' but this means very little when you realise how easy it it to change an entry.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

William & Kate, - Topless.


I would really hate to be a 'celebrity'.

I find it bad enough when I'm out shopping and a past or present pupil shouts my name across the supermarket.
 I know I'd find it extremely tough if I was followed by the pondlife known as 'paparazzi', who get paid for taking photographs of famous people walking out and about, just like you and me!

I'd find it very difficult to become friends with someone who's job it is to be such a rodent, (and I can count long standing Palace fans among my close circle so I'm not that picky).

However, I'm nothing but loyal to my readers and today I had a stroke of luck.

By accident, I was forwarded a picture of Prince William and 'smashing' Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.
Both completely topless.

I'm sharing it with you.

Because I care.


Promise you won't tell anyone?
















Hope I don't get into trouble...


3 Points on the Road.

Ipswich Town 1 - Charlton Athletic 2.

Firstly, I must say I was very impressed with the number of fellow Addicks who made the trip to East Anglia.

The travel gods had made the journey an awkward one by refusing to lay on any trains from London, (unless you were prepared to keep switching between rail replacement bus services).
With this in mind, I used the Charlton 'Valley Away' bus service.

'Away' is a pretty good description of my day.
It did seem as if those people making the decisions were trying their hardest to keep me away from where I wanted to be.

We embarked at Charlton, then instead of heading along the A12 for a nice direct route to Ipswich, we whizzed up to near Stansted airport for a half hour stop over.
We'd only been on the bus 40 minutes when we stopped so unless your bladder is the size of a pea, there was absolutely no need for a break.

I was quite keen to get to Ipswich for a meet up and wander around but apparently this is 'verboten'. You buy a ticket on the bus knowing you are more or less sacrificing any chance of having a look at the place you are visiting.

The time dragged but I was amused by the pictures I was receiving from home. My pocket vibrated time and time again as a new fashion disaster arrived in my inbox.
Top Cat was being dressed in the clothes found at the back of a cupboard. They had originally been bought, many years ago from Build a Bear.
shamefully, not Adidas.
We arrived at Ipswich around 2:20pm and most of the anoraks headed straight to the ground, only about 400 metres away.

I headed to the Waterfront area to have the speediest drink ever and to stretch my legs in the glorious sunshine.

Ipswich does seem to be a really 'liveable' place.

I know I was seeing it at its best but it's a remarkably clean, quiet place with interesting architecture. The town planners of the 60's and 70's don't seem to have completely wrecked it and the previously mentioned Waterfront area is gorgeous.

In all honesty, I can see myself going there for a weekend break when the fixture list allows.

I met up with some of the RoD crowd, who had rather sensibly made the journey by car, and then walked back towards Portman Road.

I like Portman Road.
It's a proper 'football' ground, not one of the identikit bowls we see around the country at places like Boro, Southampton, Reading etc.
There's a sense of history about the place.

However much I like Portman Road, the environment is not worth the quite staggering £34 the away supporters were expected to pay.
I can't make up my mind if they are cunning chancers or disgusting thieves but the hierachy at Ipswich need to take a good hard look at themselves.

I know there are many people who refused to go, purely because they weren't willing to be so obviously fleeced.
When the travel problems are added to the mixture, it was an easy game to miss.

Those of us who did make it were rewarded with a pretty good display from the Addicks.
I've been to see Charlton play at Ipswich many times over the years. Yesterday I found myself in almost exactly the same spot we were when we played there in the Play Off semi in 1998.
An omen?

Who knows but the first half ended 0-0 with Charlton having the lions share of the chances and possession.
From our angle we 'scored' 2 goals but unfortunately the ball slipped the wrong side of the post and hit the side netting on both occasions.

At Half Time we were joined by 'Ted' from the Hungry Ted site and his company seemed to make all the difference.

Jackson scored a belter when it looked as though BWP had missed a wonderful cross.
We jumped about and Ipswich looked crestfallen.

Only a few minutes later, Ricardo Fuller pinched the ball and went on a mazy run, slotting the ball into the far corner.

Charlton went mad but so did Ipswich.
The boos around Portman Road were pretty nasty.

Ipswich looked a beaten side. They lacked ideas and even the moments of good play were coming to nothing when concentration let them down.

A moment of supreme good fortune gave Ipswich a way back into the game when a tame effort from Jason Scotland wrong footed Ben Hamer.
The savage deflection left him no chance.

A combination of poor refereeing decisions, 5 minutes added on time and Ipswich suddenly waking up made the last 10 minutes of the game seem much more stressful than they needed to be.
 Charlton held firm to claim the 3 points that were fully deserved.
Phew!

The team plus Chris Powell came to acknowledge the Charlton support and love was expressed from both parties.

It was then back to the 'Magic Bus' for a Stone Roses marathon on my headphones.

A Casualty Rating
The regularly awarded Lacoste polo is going to Ricardo Fuller.
The injury in training to Yann Kermorgant definitely speeded up his inclusion in the starting line up. His appearances as an impact sub have been very good but I didn't really imagine him starting just yet.
Ricardo ran and ran, scored a goal and looked a handful all game.
Certainly a new Charlton hero has emerged.

My only slight annoyance is I'd attempted to lay a bet on him scoring while on my way up to Ipswich but I lost all internet strength as we headed through the farmlands.

I took that as a sign it wasn't to be and left it.
My original bet on Charlton winning stood but a very small part of me was annoyed when Fuller struck.

The Primark novelty slogan t- shirt award is clear cut.
I rushed back to the bus after the game and sat in my place ready for a speedy exit.

My companions sat too, waiting.

and waiting.

Eventually, two people who had got 'lost' strolled up to climb on board.
By the time they arrived, we were behind all the other people in the carpark and in a long queue to leave Ipswich.
I know the coach users have a reputation for being a bit simple, (in general the people who wouldn't be able to find their way there if they weren't dropped off outside the ground) but I found this ridiculous and also quite disrespectful to other passengers.

I've now realised why Charlton find it necessary to run coaches to places only a few miles away such as Fulham, Brentford, Palace, Milwall etc.

I sat in my seat, looking at the side of the football ground, trying to understand how it was possible to get lost on such a short journey.

Despite this hiccup, it was all worth it and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Suffolk.

Monday, 17 September 2012

London 0 - Croydon 1.

I've been having a bit of a hiatus of late.
I didn't go to our game at Nottingham Forest and I don't really care enough about the football played during the international breaks to crank up the aging MacBook.

Even the truth finally emerging about the Hillsborough disaster didn't get me going, though of course I instantly remembered where I was when I heard the news all those years ago.
(I was walking with a mate on Queen Street, Cardiff as I was a student there at the time).

Friday night didn't really inspire me to rush away and make any notes either.
 I went to the Rose of Denmark after the game but I was probably the first to leave.
I just wasn't in the mood.
A relatively early night, studiously avoiding all social media as I was convinced there'd be mass wrist slitting and daft accusations from sections of the Charlton support.

I've now collected my thoughts a little so here goes.

When we came down from the Premier league, one of our first games of the new season was an away trip to Selhurst Park.
How we laughed at Palace!
They seemed slow, unable to cope with the skills our players possessed and we absolutely battered them, despite the score finishing just 1-0 to us.

The gulf between our two sides was just too huge. Andy Reid ran the show on the day and Palace were chasing shadows.

On Friday there was another gulf in class.
We may have been streets ahead of anything put in our path last season in League 1 but we are in danger of becoming a team who gives it a go, only to fall just slightly too short if a few problems aren't ironed out.
Only when Danny Green came on late into the game did we properly penetrate down the wing.

There will be many teams much better than Palace who will be knocking at the Valley this season so we should use Friday as a cautionary tale.

Palace looked by far the stronger team for long periods of the game.
They could have been two up within ten minutes but luckily their players seemed more interested in showing how fabulous their close control was than letting off shots at Hamer's goal.

When Palace did shoot, the fashion in their dressing room for smothering the front of their boots with vaseline came to our rescue.

Despite their inarguable dominance, I don't really remember Ben Hamer having to make a proper save all game.
There were quite a few glorious opportunities that ended up being calmly caught in his chest but no diving full length pushes around the post, or 'one on ones' against an onrushing forward.

As the first half went on, Charlton came more into the game, this despite Wiggins going off injured and Chris Solly having to switch to left back.

Probably against the run of play, Charlton had the ball in the net, only to find the linesman was out to make a name for himself and (incorrectly) raised his flag for offside. BWP timed his run to perfection and nodded the ball home.

Had the goal stood, Charlton would have had something to build on but what actually happened was the team looked deflated.

The Palace goal, when it came, was a cracker.
The chesting of the ball onto a volley combination is just the kind of 'goal' I like to score when messing around with balloons.
The Palace crowd went wild as well they should.

A few thoughts on their crowd.
Despite quite obviously not caring about us at all, they filled the Jimmy Seed stand and made a racket all through the game.
I'm not really a fan of the 'Ultras'.
It all seems a bit sad and suburban to me.
Perhaps if I was a spotty teen, the thought of turning up at football all in black, wearing a scarf across my face in an attempt to look menacing might appeal.

As I'm a middle aged fart who started going to football in the early 80's, I fear my window of opportunity has closed.
Can't say I'm that bothered.
I'm sure there'll be many Palace supporters who are painfully embarrassed by their group of cheerleaders.

I wonder how the choir rehearsals go?

"Ok lads, after 3, I'll let off a smoke grenade and then it's straight into Glad all Over......."

Despite them not caring, I have to acknowledge the Palace support was one of the best I've seen and heard at the Valley for many a year.
The flares, bangers and smoke must have made quite a spectacle on the television but I have to question the wisdom of bringing them inside a football ground.

I'm old enough to remember the horrors of the Bradford fire and I was under the impression that such items were forbidden.
Whatever the case, it does seem pretty stupid that kids are having the lids of their fizzy pop taken from them under the guise of Health and Safety but in another part of the ground you're in danger of having the back of your legs burned off - in a non smoking stadium!

A final flurry of activity, all in the Palace penalty area gave the game an exciting climax.
Fuller could have made himself an instant hero but his snap shot squirted just the wrong side of the post.
Fuller also made the keeper pull off a finger tip save to push the ball onto the crossbar but it wasn't to be.

It comes to something when probably the best goal scoring chance Charlton had all night was when Hamer ghosted into the area and had his strong header saved on the line, after it had beaten the opposition keeper!

Despite the Palace superiority, a draw should have been the result but again duff officiating ruined our day.
Our last home game saw another perfectly good goal chalked off.
That's TWO in two home games! Those extra 3 points would make us look far more comfortable on the league table.

The hapless linesman was good enough to apologise to Chris Powell but of course it was too late to do anything about it.
SCP was measured and calm when dealing with the media.
I can only imagine how 'Colin' currently at Leeds United would have reacted in similar circumstances!

Crystal Palace are geographically one of our nearest teams and whatever their supporters pretend, we are a team they'd love to beat.
Friday was the first time they have won at the Valley in the League since I was a babe in arms.
We haven't done so well in the derbies recently.
(I'm not counting the Orient and Brentford 'derbies' of recent seasons. They were fun but only because we took huge crowds and we could all get home on an Oyster card.)

We failed to beat Millwall either home or away last time we were paired with them and our previous meeting with Palace also ended in 1-0 defeat.

I hope we have more luck against Derby County on Tuesday evening.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bank Holiday Washout

Charlton Athletic 0 - Hull City 0.
Another very disappointing crowd of below 17 000 (come on, we aren't Crystal Palace), witnessed a game that for periods looked like it had nil nil written all over it, yet by the end had me hoping we'd hang on for that score.

Not much to report about the team other than Taylor went off during the warm up and SCP didn't feel it was necessary to make any changes between the Kick Off and when the players were back enjoying the warm showers and Imperial Leather.

Hull didn't really show much but they certainly looked better than the teams we were used to seeing last season.
Aluko looked very lively and will probably be back up North this morning, wondering how he didn't score at least one.

The main reason the game ended 0-0 was due in equal parts to a couple of errors from the officials and a superlative goalkeeping display from Ben Hamer.

I don't mind admitting that at the end of last season, I was sure we'd need to have a 'keeper upgrade as I really didn't see how young Ben would cope with the Championship.

He seemed to have moments when his concentration went for a Burton, he argued with referees and wound them up with silly time wasting, he seemed to flap at crosses and didn't command his six yard box very well.

I am delighted to have this stuffed right back in my face.
Ben is now much more vocal, is assured around his goalmouth and (so far) hasn't been winding up the officials.
Ben's shot stopping abilities have never been in doubt and yesterday he pulled off some remarkable saves, one towards the end that seemed almost impossible to reach.

The officials in the Championship are 'better' than league one but not immune to cock ups.
Without heading into a rant, I fail to see how a defender diving in to stop the ball with his hands raised and subsequently stopping a shot, goalkeeper style, cannot be given as handball.
When it's inside the penalty area it's a spot kick, end off.
Except yesterday it wasn't.

Charlton had a perfectly good goal chalked off due to incompetence too.
In fairness to the East stand linesman, he raised his flag very early and there was still a good 4 or 5 seconds of play before the ball hit the net but none of the players knew his flag was up and they all carried on.

BWP rushed onto a ball, from an onside position but the lino raised his flag. Those of us level, moaned instantly that it wasn't the case but I found myself thinking it didn't matter so much when BWP's shot rebounded back behind him.
However, Yann followed up with a belter but due to the linesman's original error, it wasn't to be.

Subsequent forensic investigations using television pictures have pronounced "we was robbed", not that they could be bothered to say it on the BBC FLS.

It was a day of the most atrocious rain.
Not only rain but thunder and lightning too.
 I wouldn't mind betting there'll be some fantastic photographs taken with the sky lit up behind the West stand.

By the end of the game, I think most of us felt a draw was a fair result.
It probably should have been a 2-2 game but I imagine both teams will take solace from a clean sheet in what must have been very, very difficult conditions.

A Casualty Rating
Without a shadow of a doubt, Ben Hamer is taking the Lacoste polo for a goalkeeping performance to remember.
Even on a dry, windless day his saves would have been remarkable but on an afternoon that resembled monsoon conditions he was ridiculously assured.

For the second game running, Fat Bloke To My Right was there to warble nonsense towards the pitch.
The fact he takes up a seat and a half is annoying enough, (especially when he goes searching for things in his pocket and I end up feeling like a teenage girl at a party) but yesterday he added eye watering arm pits to the equation.

He's getting the Primark novelty slogan t-shirt.
Keep it freshly laundered pongo.

It was really good to finally meet up with the Lord Lucan of Charlton blogging Hungry Ted after the game.
Crispy and I remarked how he is quite obviously a friendly and sociable type, yet nobody we know had met him due to his solitary Charlton supporting existence.

Don't be a stranger matey!


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Still Smiling

Charlton Athletic 2- Leicester City 1.

Unfortunately, I'm coming to this rather late as I was forced to drink Guinness until 1 o'clock this morning, celebrating the remarkable victory.

My take on the game is simple.
Leicester were far, far better than Birmingham were on Saturday, yet they ended the game in a worse position.

Charlton were fantastic at repelling the waves of Leicester attacks in the second half but also made errors that weren't properly punished.
(Jackson and Wilson both lost possession in very dangerous positions that really had 'goal' written all over them.)

The game was won in the first half.

BWP, who ran his socks off all night, scored an early goal that did seem rather out of the blue.
He took his shot early and picked his spot with precision.

My favourite moment of the game was Yann Kermorgant scoring our second. It was written in the stars that he'd score.
Football fans never learn.
Players who are on the receiving end of abuse often raise their game and Yann was no exception.

Yes. Yann missed a penalty for the Foxes, (an important one admittedly) but all players make errors.
He didn't leave them for a bigger wage packet or refuse to play, he missed a penalty he was actually trying to score.

Our own example of missing a critical penalty in a Play Off semi, Nicky Bailey, retained his hero status to most at The Valley but then, he's not French is he?

I laid down my bet for Big Yann to score and settled back safe in the knowledge I'd be collecting.
If only football betting was always this easy!

Kermorgant was booed from way before kick off by the majority of the East Midlanders. It continued throughout the entire game.

I've never wanted a player to score more.

The end of the game was a bit dicey. Leicester could and should have scored at least twice within added on time.
After the equaliser on Saturday it must have been on all our minds that there might be a last second sickener.

The referee missed a blatant push that gave one of their players the space to advance.
We were lucky Leicester wasted the guilt edged opportunity.

A poor crowd of below 17,000 made the Valley rock.
By the time the 4 minutes of added on time had been played- (this actually took 7 minutes), it felt like those old days when there wasn't a spare seat to be found.

Phew!
Well done Charlton. Four points from six is beyond most of our hopes and expectations.

A Casualty Rating


The Lacoste polo is going to Michael Morrison for his outstanding defensive work and an extra one is going to Yann for sticking one to the Foxes and earning me some money at the same time.

The Primark novelty slogan t shirt is going to the 'rotund' bloke who sat to my right. I do hope he's not my new Season Ticket mate.
His wide girth plus marauding elbows threatened to wreck my evening, even before he opened his mouth to deliver his nonsense advice to the players.

It's Hull on Saturday.
I hope the game is as exciting as last night, and more people will be there to witness it.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A Pleasing Start.

Birmingham City 1 - Charlton Athletic 1.
There'll be more days like this over the course of the season I imagine.

Last season, everything seemed to go our way.
There were games we deserved to win, and obviously did, yet others when we seemed to show little and ended up grinding out a result.

I couldn't help thinking of our away game at Bournemouth, just a few months ago, as I plodded out of St Andrews stadium yesterday.

At Bournemouth, we looked out of sorts and for my money, probably deserved a draw at best.
We could tell we were having 'one of those seasons' when all 3 points were claimed after a bit of a scramble, deep into injury time.

How we cheered.

Yesterday, the boot was on the other foot.

Charlton took the game to Birmingham.
For the majority of the game we looked in control and most certainly worthy of a place in the Championship.

There were many chances missed though and at Half Time I was quite worried that Birmingham were going to come back in the second half, energised and filled with purpose.

As it turned out, they really couldn't be bothered and it looked as though Charlton were going to return home with a totally deserved 0-0 draw.
I know for a fact I'd have been pleased with that outcome, had I looked into a crystal ball before the game.

On 82 minutes, Cort nodded in at the far post and the 1600 + Charlton support rose as one to cheer, climb on each other and generally muck about with gay abandon.

It was the catalyst for hundreds and hundreds of Blue Noses to make for the exits, many with faces twisted into more ugly versions of the quite frankly acne ridden ones they had just moments before.

Some seemed to be offering out our support as they made throat slitting gestures.
Ah, kids of today eh?

Those more loyal Birmingham supporters suddenly came alive as they tried to (finally) get behind their team.

I took a picture of the scoreboard, expecting it to be a triumphant memory.


Lee Clark made a switch and a Serbian bean pole came on for the final 4 minutes.
He made quite an impression.
He jogged on, head butted a Charlton player, (difficult to see who from my view), then scored the equaliser with the last action of the game.

A shame not to hang on to all 3 points but the performance must have given Chris Powell and his players a massive boost of confidence.
Pre game, I was worried our team may have been good enough to canter to promotion but may well struggle in what is effectively Premier League 2.

After yesterday, I think we can all sigh a little bit, have a few 'what if?' moments but finally remember we were within seconds of beating a team that lost only once at home last season.

A Casualty Rating
The Lacoste polo is going to Rhoys Wiggins.
He looked composed and fully at home at this level.
"Viva Rhoys Wiggins!" we all sang.

The Primark novelty slogan t -shirt is going to the Birmingham support.

The main reason I haven't been to St Andrews since our game there in 1998 is due to the incredibly intimidating atmosphere outside the ground as I left.
 I'm too old to be chased down unfamiliar roads and I'd sworn never to return.
In the event, I thought I'd give Birmingham a second chance.

Oh dear oh dear.
Birmingham used to be one of those grounds where you couldn't chat to the person next to you because of the terrific passion and volume of their fans.
(I'm not pretending the Valley resembles the home of Galatasaray as we all know it can be pretty quiet too but then we don't trade on our fearsome 'lions den' reputation.)

The period of uninspiring football under McLeish must have sucked the life out of this once quite volatile set of supporters.

So, it's home to Leicester on Tuesday.
I'm pretty sure big Yann Kermorgant will be really up for this one!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Bad Timing.

A few months ago I was congratulating myself on my fantastic planning abilities.

The scare stories commenting on how appalling London was going to be during the Olympics had led me to believe we were going to be in permanent lock down, with transport chaos and the world laughing at our silly little island in the North Sea crumbling under the pressure of holding a big event.

To this end, we decided to 'endure' the first week of events and then "get the hell out of Dodge", to enjoy a sunshine break.

This last week has been fantastic. My bum has barely moved from watching the games.
I've either been at events in person, sobbing in front of the television or enjoying one of the fantastic communal viewing areas dotted around the city.

Today we head off to Crete.
I've been looking forward to this trip for ages but somehow, now we are off, I really don't want to be leaving this Greatest City in the World.

We will be enjoying our plastic lasagne, eaten with plastic cutlery, served by women with plastic smiles as the 100 metres semi and final are taking place.

Doh!

It seems wrong.
Greek television had better be pretty good or I'm going to be using up ridiculous amounts of data over the next few days.

Yesterday will go down as one of the greatest days in British sport.
Six gold medals, (plus a couple of other near misses), was beyond the imagination of most of us.

Kids all over the country will be looking up online the details of their local rowing, running or cycling club.
Even as an old fart, I'm feeling inspired to get back to my fighting weight and play more of the sports I lived for only ten years ago.

One final thought.
I'd love it if a new generation of youngsters now looked up to our glorious athletes rather than those muppets from TOWIE and Big Brother.
That would be a success to me.

Has anybody seen ITV over the last week?
Didn't think so.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

We were there ....

My own Olympic marathon in front of the television continues but my attendance at events has now ended.
My previous post mentioned our visit to the Gymnastics at nearby North Greenwich Arena.

On Monday, I met my niece Daisy at Victoria train station and then we headed over to the Olympic park at Stratford.
We sat out on the grass, watching the big screen and enjoying the atmosphere.

Daisy was most excited when BoJo strolled by.
Her scream and jump made him smile.
I was more impressed when Dame Kelly Holmes walked near us, waving at the adoring public who broke out into spontaneous applause.

We had tickets for the Women's Basketball and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

We saw Canada narrowly beat GB and then USA beat Angola.



On Tuesday, it was my nephew Jack's turn.
 I met him, again at Victoria, and we headed off for a boys day out, involving a ride on the cable car running over the Thames.

In the evening, we went over to Earls Court to see GB play Australia at Volleyball.
Despite the event being held at Earls Court, there seemed to be as many Brazilians as Aussies in attendance. (Brazil were playing in the game afterwards).

Great Britain were quite royally stuffed by Australia but we didn't care, it was just fun to be a part of the event.

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Greatest Show on Earth.

Last night we went to see the Gymnastics at the O2, (AKA North Greenwich Arena as O2 aren't one of the Olympic 'family' of sponsors.)

All I can say is it was a joy from beginning to end.

Living just around the corner, the subject of transport hadn't really been much of an issue.
However, we were most impressed with the free service offered direct to North Greenwich from outside Charlton station.

We had planned to catch the 161 bus from Woolwich Road but once we'd spotted there's a non stop Olympic shuttle to North Greenwich, we jumped on that instead.

My top tip to anyone who lives locally and needs to travel via North Greenwich, even if you aren't going to an Olympic event, is to use the shuttle as it's speedier than the regular buses and you don't have to use up any credit on your Oyster card.

The buses, all decked out in just the right shade of Olympic pink must have cost a fortune. We counted a fleet of at least 8.

Once through the airport style security, we ambled about, dodging the crowds and watched people spend a fortune on Olympic tat that is for sale without queuing, and much cheaper, in all our High Street supermarkets and Sports shops.


Something has happened to London.
People are smiling and wishing each other good cheer.

All the greeters, helpers, security personnel, TFL workers and food outlet staff are currently trying to out do each other over who can be the most amiable.
The crowds are good natured and very, very different to my usual football experiences.
I like it.

I'm not someone who knows much about gymnastics so I really appreciated all the films shown on the big screen, explaining what to look out for and how the scoring works.

I was amazed at the little rubber people and what they can do with their bodies.
I came away a big fan of Romanian Catalina Ponor.
At the age of 24 she's quite 'mature' for a gymnast but her work on the beam was incredible.

London knows how to put on a show and last night was no exception.

It's basketball for us tonight, over on the 'other' side of the river.
I've certainly caught the Olympic bug.