Monday, 31 May 2010

1940's Festival

We spent Bank Holiday Monday at Hall Place, enjoying the 1940's Festival.

 I've visited Fratton Park many times, so I feel I know a little about the 1940's.
Despite this insight, I thoroughly enjoyed the event today, especially watching the staff and regular members of the public who had chosen to turn up in 1940's gear.

Never have I seen so many seemed stockings and Spiv suits all in one place.
(Perhaps I should spend more time at Westminster?)

We decided that the US army uniforms looked effortlessly cool.

I learned that should I have been called up to fight for my country in the 1940's, it would have been unlikely that Mrs CC could have held herself back from the embraces of the American G.I's!

We discovered the challenges of rationing and viewed a mock up of a weekly allowance.
It made our trip to Sainsbury's on the way home seem rather rude to the memories of all those who went through the period.

Anyone who had a garden or access to a place to grow vegetables might have been able to live quite healthily but I think I would have been walking around feeling hungry all the time had I lived then.

The centre of Hall Place had been made into a garden with a shelter in it for people to poke about in.

All in all, an enjoyable day.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Shopping? Jobs at Home?

With absolutely nothing happening today I'm wondering how to fill my time as the Saturday yawns out before me.

If only there was some football to watch.

It's been an awful week having to endure blue flags on cars and Millwall shirts in public.

People who have never once mentioned that they were off to the New Den in the regular season, are now pronouncing that 'we' are going to do it this time.

The Band Wagon is going to be filled to capacity.

I overheard a conversation between two spanners where one was telling the other where they drank before games.

"When Millwall go to Wembley we always drink near Baker Street".

You bet.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Tangerine Dream

Blackpool 3 - Cardiff City 2.

I'd like you to indulge me for a few moments as I take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of Stalis.

Stalis is a pleasant Greek holiday resort on the island of Crete, only about a mile from the club 18- 30 style boob flashing and vomit in the pool shenanigans of Malia.

Two middle aged blokes are sharing a beer in a convivial open air taverna, people watching and of course, chatting about football.

One of the blokes supports a well known Premiership team from South East London. His team are financially secure, widely regarded as one of the best run clubs in the top flight and get smothered by wall to wall media coverage.

He's saying how he thinks the manager might be getting a little stale, doesn't look like he's enjoying it much anymore and maybe it's time for somebody else to come in and give the club the chance to push on, maybe becoming a fixture of the top seven or eight.

The other bloke is a mad supporter of his local side in Lancashire. They have a ramshackle stadium and no money at all. The crowds are often not much more than 6,000 but it's about the standard expected for League 1.

The Lancashire fella knows all about the Premiership team, their players, the ground, the sponsor, recent results etc. etc.
Why wouldn't he?
The Premiership is the 'Best League In The World'.

The Londoner knows about the League 1 outfits kit, their ground, their manager and very impressive history.
He can't really tell you much more as League 1 football doesn't really register in the rarified atmosphere of top table football consumption.

Both the men laugh together at the prospect of their teams meeting one day on the pitch, probably in one of those rather dicey F.A Cup games played in January.

Fast forward around half a decade.

The Londoner is now looking on with admiration, (and quite a large portion of jealousy), as his friends team complete the total role reversal and claim a place in the Premier League.

The Lancashire side have managed the amazing feat with style, on a baking hot day at Wembley, which many had compared to the 'Greatest Game', one of the Play Off matches in 1998.
The 'well run' Premier League side now haven't a pot to piss in and are about to enter their second season in League 1.

A huge congratulations must go to Blackpool, and their supporters, for their performance - not just in their final but all season long.
Favourites to go down last August, they have played attacking, attractive football which has been rewarded in the best possible way.
They now have the opportunity to annoy Palace fans by singing 'their song' regularly on television.

Only a couple of months to wait and those blokes will be be sitting in the same taverna in Greece.

What to talk about eh?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Bailey Is The Fall Guy, Swindon Win On Penalties.

After a long hard season, it all came down to a fluffed penalty.
(When I say fluffed, I mean REALLY fluffed).

If you want to read a report click here.

There's nothing to add from me beyond wondering how on earth we lost after looking at the statistics from the game.

Bum, Bum, Bum.

So, when do the fixtures come out for the 2010/11 campaign?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Charlton - Swindon thoughts

I've just returned from a Sunday morning amble around the district.

I don't normally head to the Valley unless it's a match day or I need to pick up tickets for away games but somehow this morning I was drawn over there.

Despite tickets for our crunch game with Swindon Town, (tomorrow, 7:45pm), having been on sale for around 2 weeks in one form or another, I was (pleasantly) surprised to see a steady flow of punters turning up to buy tickets.

One feller seemed to be holding at least 5 as he walked away from the Commercial Centre*

*That's the ticket office to you and me.

The picture was taken at 10:20 am and though it's not heaving, I was surprised to see anyone there at all.

While we have clearly been seen by many as a big fish in League one, we also seem to be constantly beating ourselves up over attendances at the Valley.

The fact is, we are highly unlikely to be selling out the Valley again unless we start to climb up the divisions.
We might get close, but I feel 27,000+ is asking too much for us while we are a team in League 1.
Other teams from one or even two club towns and cities might manage it but we have far too much local competition.

As a one off, tomorrow evening should generate a large gate but I still don't think a sell out is likely.

As for the game against Swindon, they are in the driving seat and we need to let them know we want it more than them right from the off.

I'd be prepared to come away from the Valley disappointed if I truly believed that everyone had tried their hardest and there was nothing more that could have been done.
After the Norwich game I was proud to support Charlton, even though we had lost.

I'm hoping of course that we can beat Swindon, I know it's more than possible.

However, should the season end tomorrow evening I don't want a Summer of 'if onlys'.

I want to remember a brave performance with everyone fighting for the cause and the crowd being supportive, even if we go behind.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Half Time Break

Swindon Town 2 - Charlton Athletic 1

Our 'live on television' jinx continued last night in the countryside of Wiltshire.

I had a deep sigh of relief typing the score just now. We are still in the tie, despite being battered for much of the game.

We were a very second best for the first half at the County Ground but I consoled myself with a half time pint of Fuller's London Pride.

Swindon had thrown everything at us, yet we had remained firm, not least due to some fantastic stops by Darren Randolph.

We could hold our heads up. As the away side our role was to soak up the pressure.

Those of us in the Rose of Denmark on Woolwich Road, gasped in disbelief as Nicky Bailey beat the 'keeper, only for his swerving long distance shot to come spinning back off the post.

No sooner had we thought our luck was turning than a poorly defended cross beat everyone, for Charlie Austin to score.
The country boys went mad, only to be sent into ecstasy, (XTC for all you 80's kids!) less than ten minutes later when Danny Ward caught us napping at the back and accelerated past our defenders.



The Rose of Denmark became a seething mass of ugliness as angry patrons shouted their displeasure.

I exchanged SMS messages with Crispy.
We both felt the tie was now dead.
Ketts, (at the County Ground), stated he felt it was now even more important we scored so we'd have at least something to bring back to London.

The Rose of Denmark erupted when a long hoof by Randolph was raced onto by Deon Burton.
He showed bravery to beat the onrushing 'keeper to the ball and nod it into the yawning goal.

(The gods of symmetry sent London Pride onto my trousers and then Crispy announced he'd nearly wet himself.)

The rest of the game was a far more cagey affair with Swindon worried they were going to blow it and Charlton worried to leave too many gaps at the back.

Swindon should really have restored their 2 goal cushion late, late into added on time when Vincent Pericard managed to miss an absolute sitter, sending his free header against the base of Randolph's upright.


I walked home feeling mightily relieved that Swindon weren't out of sight.
They most certainly looked the better side and had far more shots on target, yet we had far more corners and our possession in the second half, according to Sky, was at times a 60:40 advantage.

Swindon will be on a high after their impressive performance.

However, it's only half time and we have at least another 90 minutes to earn that trip up the Jubilee line from North Greenwich.

Parky knows what we have to do.

Attack! Attack! Attack!

We need to push forward and show the same kind of purpose shown recently against Norwich and Leeds.
I'd give Mooney the shove, bring in Forster, (who apparently 'always' scores against Swindon), move Bailey into the middle and Kyel Reid onto the left, sacrificing Racon.

Just my opinion of course but we all know there's no point in sitting back.

Home advantage worked for Swindon, we need to make it work for us too on Monday night.

See you there!

Casual Rating
Deon Burton for his bravery and Darren Randolph for his stops are earning the Lacoste polo this time. Well done fellers.

The dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirts are going to the supporters of Swindon.
 -The television close ups of their crowd made it look like they all have loyalty cards at budget shopper paradise Matalan anyway ;-)

I can't have been the only one who found the incessant 'clackety clack' from their strange cardboard contraptions unbelievably annoying.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A Cautionary Tale

A huge congratulations to Blackpool who managed to beat Nottingham Forest over two legs, to reach Wembley for the Championship Play Off final.

Blackpool won both legs, the home leg 2-1 and the tricky away second leg 3-4, commanding an impressive aggregate score of 4-6.

I would be very surprised if any other Addick chose to follow the game online by logging onto the CAFC player service and then choosing the Forest - Blackpool game to listen to.
My reasoning was due to our friend 'Chis' being the commentator covering the match for Radio Lancashire.

I was really impressed with his performance.
He was partisan towards Blackpool of course but even when Forest scored, he didn't let it colour his descriptions or make it obvious he was supremely gutted.
A solid, professional performance.

We should all be aware that Blackpool were universally assumed to be the weakest team in the Play Offs, yet they have made it to Wembley.
Forest were the form team.
Apparently, Forest hadn't even conceded a goal at home since late February!

Lowly Blackpool with their small crowds and half built stadium, were thought by some as highly likely to crumble when faced with the 28,000 crowd at the City Ground with their passion and volume.

We should be aware that Swindon will be fancying their chances against us, starting on Friday.

Their relatively small and unglamorous ground, lack of large support plus being beaten on the last day of the season will mean nothing and neither will their visit to a relatively large ground on Monday.

We need to focus, concentrate and show Swindon the respect they deserve for reaching the Play Offs.

As Ian Hollaway said about 10 days ago,
"There are 4 teams in it. Someone has to win it and get promoted. It may as well be us."

Blackpool have shown that other teams past successes or misfires mean nothing. We need to forget about what's happened and go forward together.

Charlton would do well to emulate the Tangerines.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Impossible Dream

This was my 'handheld', showing the state of play at 4:17pm today.

We were up!

Unfortunately, events changed and we can now look forward to the Play Off semi finals against Swindon.

I wasn't up at Oldham for the game.
( I find myself staying for the weekend on the Hampshire / Surrey border.)

Despite the much trumpeted invitation to listen to the 'Promotion Push' on the Charlton CAFC player service, it wouldn't work for me so I ended up listening online to BBC London.
(Someone please remind me why I pay for the Charlton 'service').

It's still to be decided if this season ends in success or disappointment but we have certainly caught the winning / playing well habit at just the right time.

Come On You Reds!!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Christian- Top of the Pops.

Well done Christian Dailly, (and second placed Jose Semedo) who won the annual popularity contest this evening.

I'm delighted for Christian and Jose.
In my humble opinion, our supporters got it right with both of them deserving the accolade.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

"We Only Need One Goal"

Charlton Athletic 1 - Dirty Leeds 0

Today's game was a throwback to happier days.

The large crowd, the opposition and the general positivity of our support, transported me back 5 or 6 years to a time when we were mixing it successfully with the big boys in the Premier League, in front of an adoring public.

A thoroughly entertaining afternoon could have started badly had Sam Sodje's misplaced backpass been punished but Randolph stood firm in the resulting 1:1 to deny Leeds United the dream opening.

Becchio and Co. worked hard at conning an extremely gullible, supposedly 'Premier' referee, Lee Probert.

Leeds seemed to be a Teflon side for much of the first 45 minutes, winning dodgy free kicks and getting away with pushes in the back, holding and plenty of examples of the much reported 'Dirty Leeds' shenanigans.

Leeds were marginally on top throughout the first half in my opinion, though I did feel we were partly playing the referee as well as the Yorkshire side.

In the second period, it was all different.

The referee had a change of heart with his halftime cup of tea.
He suddenly started to notice the niggly pushes and fouls the Leeds team were dishing out and amazingly we started to win a few free kicks too,- one or two that seemed rather fortuitous.

Forster and Burton had been running tirelessly upfront but their hard work had nothing to show for it.

We were however, starting to dominate and whatever Simon 'Larry' Grayson said after the game, Leeds did not look totally in control.
Sam Sodje managed to head the ball over the bar while all around me were already celebrating the 'goal'.

The volume of the crowd lifted the players and Parky made a brave triple substitution, swapping Mooney for Forster, Akpo Sodje coming on for Forster and Kyel Reid replacing Racon.

Charlton were going for it and it was wonderful to see.

I did fear that it was going to be another game like our recent match against Norwich, where we had chance after chance without troubling the scoreboard.

Leeds talisman Jermaine Beckford had entered the play only a few minutes before the Charlton substitutions.
Sanchez Walt and finally Mike Grella were to join him for the final ten minutes leaving Leeds with 5, (FIVE!) forwards pushing up.
The game became stretched and Leeds understandably started to look even more jittery at the back.

The Leeds supporters implored their team to attack, chanting "We only need one goal!"
They were right of course.
Millwall were losing at Tranmere so a win at the Valley would have promoted them.

They got the goal, just not at the end they hoped.

Akpo Sodje's headed effort was deflected off Richard Naylor to send 3 sides of the Valley into raptures.

Leeds have made a habit of getting out of jail when the clock has ticked rather closer to 100 minutes than the more normal 90, so when 5 minutes of added on time were flashed up we could have been forgiven for fearing a comeback.

Jermaine Beckford missed his chance, though it was more to do with what looked an impossible save by Darren Randolph from point blank range.

Kyel Reid was unbelievably unlucky not to crush Leeds completely when his swerving free kick hit the post and then spun clear.

When Lee Probert finally decided to blow his whistle, it was time to celebrate our win but also the chance to stick one on Leeds.

The Leeds online support had been rather cheeky in the week before the game, surmising they only needed to turn up with 11 fit players and clean kit for us to roll over in awe of the mighty Leeds.
We had little to play for you see.

There was a distinct lack of respect.
Their supporters had been making plans for their 'inevitable' promotion at the Valley and where they were going to celebrate in London.
With 'Away' tickets scarce, some had apparently managed to secure vast sections of seating in the home areas of our ground to kick off the promotion party.
Yeah, right.
All baloney of course.

The bunch of Yorkies who were in and around the Rose of Denmark before the game seemed friendly enough, (who was the bloke dressed as a whoopee cushion and why were many Leeds supporters wearing head bandages akin to Terry Butcher in Sweden?) but in general, the United support were especially up themselves.

Yup, schadenfreude.
I'm not proud of it but I did enjoy seeing the Leeds miserable faces in the drizzle after the game.

We may only have delayed the Yorkshire celebrations by 7 days but at least they didn't have them on our patch.

.....................................................................................Jonjo who?

Casual Rating
A whole box of the regular Lacoste polos are being awarded today.
Every single player who pulled on the Charlton red shirt, even the much maligned, (by me again), Mooney who was fantastic when he came on, can have a polo shirt.
Parky, Kins and all the backroom staff can have one too, plus the ballboy who gave a mouthful to a Leeds player who was yacking at him can hang one in his bedroom as well.
The crowd were supportive and loud.
As I said above, it was like the old days.

The referee can carry the dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt home with him, partly for his fussy, preening performance, fully believing in excess of 23,000 people had turned up just to see him. He was conned too often, - how on earth did Semedo get booked and he missed too much in general.
As I've said before, 3rd division football has 3rd division officials but today we had a 'treat' of a supposedly top dog to show us what we have been missing.
Can't say I noticed.

In the last few weeks we have outplayed Norwich and beaten Leeds, - the current top two.
It's all looking much more positive for the Play Offs.

Tomorrow we'll all be glued to the BBC as they show the stripey Nigels attempting to avoid a relegation down to our current standard of football.
Luke Varney might, just might, find himself a Charlton hero again if he scores another double against Palace.