Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Daggers Blunted

Charlton Athletic 1 - Dagenham & Redbridge 0.

Hardly a feast of football tonight at the Valley.

The reported crowd of 4630 gazed upon the completely empty North and East stands, while the lower tier of the West stand seemed surprisingly cramped.

One goal, scored by the possibly Greece bound Racon, was enough to see off a spirited Dagenham who seemed to have the lion's share of possession in the first half but gradually lost their way as the game progressed.

It's enough to say that Charlton are in the next round of the JPT but had we been knocked out, I don't think I'd have been that fussed.

A (very brief) Casual Rating.
The Lacoste polo shirt is going to Paul Benson as a welcome to the Valley gift.

 Benson could have had 3 or 4 goals this evening but unfortunately fluffed his lines or encountered a good block or save at each critical moment.

Lee Martin looked lively and Semedo performed his usual spoiling role without flamboyance, Racon took his chance well, (admittedly with the assistance of the upright) and Waggy ran his little legs off but on what must have been a very difficult evening, all things considered, I'm awarding the highest accolade to Benson.

The Primark novelty slogan t-shirt is going to the kids sitting behind us.
Can you remember your first pint?
I think they'd just had it and then their second and third.

Whatever decision the linesman or referee made, even when it was cast iron correct, they reacted with the same "Ref, you're a c**t, f**k off, " "Your wife s**t in the bed". etc etc.

I quite like swearing.
Sometimes, it's the only way I can express myself and show the extreme of my opinion.
Once every third word is an F or a C it really has no impact whatsoever.
It was tiresome beyond belief.

After spending the evening being Billy big balls and trying to impress everyone within earshot with their foul language, they then had a chat about which one of their dads was picking them up.
What would mummy have thought?
Proper gangsta!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Benson Signs! (Finally).

After a rather long and drawn out process, Parky finally got his man this morning when Paul Benson signed on at The Valley for 2 years.

I have passed the time of day with Benson, having had a brief chat with him at the Daggers ground while indulging in a spot of corporate hospitality last season.
My only insight to share is that he seemed to like the shepherd's pie after the game.

Good luck at the Valley Paul.

I can't help feeling I like him after the way he's left the Daggers.
He obviously felt he owed them and didn't move to us just for a wage hike.

He realised that Dagenham had given him his chance and wanted to repay them by helping them stay in League 1.

However, the money the Daggers will receive for their star man might just help keep the wolf from the door if they do get relegated, which they may have done anyway, even with Benson in their team.

I wonder if he'll be playing tomorrow evening in the Paint Drying Cup?

EXTRA EXTRA. Anyinsah signs too

Pardew Gone

It would seem that recent results have little to do with it.

A handsome win last time out hasn't stopped Southampton FC realising that Pardew was probably one of the few things holding them back from their inevitable march towards promotion.

No doubt he'll be pocketing another massive pay out and then sitting his bum on the various media sofas.

Not sure who would take a punt on him now though as he's not really been a roaring success since he made it to the FA cup final with West Ham.
A reputation for tinkering and clashes behind the scenes might go against him for a while.

Probably best to bank your pay out Pards, you might be needing to live off it for a while.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Leaburn Back At The Valley

Yesterday, our heroes didn't quite cut it up there in Yorkshire.

From the commentary on Radio London, (DAB), it sounded as if Charlton were more than in it for the first half an hour, then through a sublime piece of skill from Jordan Rhodes / (goalkeeping error ?), Huddersfield scored.

With Charlton still rocking, only 2 minutes later, Ross Worner could have very easily given away a penalty but the referee kindly offered the hosts just a corner.

Huddersfield probably felt justice was served when they scored from the corner as Charlton made a hash of clearing the ball.

At half time it all seemed over.

And so it proved when a third Huddersfield goal went in, just as Charlton seemed to be fashioning a few excursions into the opposition half.

With the game already over and the commentary team doing their wind downs, Matt Fry scored a rather meaningless Charlton goal on the day but one that might make our goal difference look slightly better in the long run.

We won't be in a very exclusive club, having lost at Huddersfield come the end of the season.

I did actually predict the result.
For the first time ever I seem to have turned into a bit of a 'Mystic Meg'.
I received an email from Ken Jennings at CAFC Picks this evening, congratulating me on the 4 out of 4 I had called correctly.

Can you hear me Westie?
Francis Drake, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Ben Ainslie, Those 3 blondes who won the Olympic golds, Lord Nelson etc. Your sailor boy is taking one hell of a beating!

Our current heroes having blown it yesterday, it was left to a tall feller from the past to cheer us up this evening.
Charlton Live secured Carl Leaburn as a guest and I enjoyed listening to his input.

I even managed to get Carlo to answer a question when I sent a message through Twitter, enquiring if he went to our Play Off Final in 1998, having left us only a few months before to join Wimbledon.

Apparently, he was given a ticket so he was also at Wembley, felt "pleased" for the lads but the day obviously didn't mean as much to him as it does to most of us, (he didn't recognise the date of 25th May 1998).

Crispy messaged to ask if Carl knew any strikers we should be after, (he didn't) but generally it was just interesting to hear him rapping away about the past.

I hope everybody has something nice planned for Bank Holiday Monday.
Enjoy the lie in.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Charlton Live

I'll be listening to Charlton Live again this evening.

I 'tuned in', (logged on), last week and it was an interesting show.
I'm pretty sure I'll be a regular listener over the coming season.

Throughout the broadcast, I found myself wondering what had happened to those names from the past such as Mark Mansfield and 'Vic' from Charlton.

So those of us with long memories, all together now,

"You've got your tax return, there's one thing you should learn, Gary Sargeant........."

Stalemate at The Valley

Charlton Athletic 1 - Oldham Athletic 1.

Not a game for the purists yesterday at The Valley. 
Ultimately, Oldham gave a much better account of themselves than last season.
They came to play rather than stifle. The result was the same as last season but whereas last season I left the game feeling annoyed with Oldham, this time I felt I owed them respect.
The game had 2 well taken goals, a fussy referee who thought we'd come to see him, a poor crowd (in numbers), a number of let offs for the Addicks that on another day could have seen us losing by 2 or 3 goals and a dramatic ending to the game where it looked like it was all going to kick off with a baseball style bench emptying ruck.

On balance, Oldham were good value for their point.

Charlton weren't bad, the team just didn't 'click' properly.

There are many more games for everything to come together properly.

A Casual Rating

I particularly enjoyed Waggy's second goal in a week but I was really impressed by Furman's equaliser and the general play ofTounkara.
Much as everybody pretends that 'we don't want to see this kind of thing', I think we all enjoyed the antics at the end of the game when Jarrett completely lost his cool after being shown a second yellow card.

I'm awarding the Lacoste polo to Robbie Elliott for his 3, possibly 4 point saving saves, though his woodwork was equally helpful.

The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is going to the bloke who sat next to me.
Have a wash mate.
You stunk beyond belief and it turned my stomach everytime you waved at the referee to share your opinions.
A clean tee shirt is most certainly the order of the day.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Should Have Gone To Specsavers.

News has filtered through that Sainsbury's in Norwood have got themselves a new trolley boy.

Nobody is very sure how well he is going to fit in, especially as he has previously been employed at some of the grandest fashion houses of Europe.
It's a massive step back for him but the supermarket are 'cock a hoop' with their latest capture.

Nigel O'Clearasil was available to comment,

" I'm sure he'll be fine with us. It's true that nobody else wanted him and most people thought he'd retired years ago. I know he hasn't been working since 2008 but you don't just forget how to be a trolley boy."

"He's very excited to be joining us, despite all his mates mocking him and asking him why he wants to do something so menial at his age."

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Matchroom Mob Snookered

Leyton Orient 1 - Charlton Athletic 3

Possibly the easiest away game of all tonight, at least with regards to travel arrangements.

A combination of Central and Jubilee lines, plus a bus home from North Greenwich meant that not much more than 30 minutes after leaving the Matchroom Stadium, I was opening my own front door.

Anybody with an interest in the game this evening, was probably either i) at the game or ii) watching on Sky television.

For this reason, I'm not going to break down the events, especially as those people who were watching from their sofas would have had a much clearer view of what was happening than me.

My version of events focuses on the 'live' experience.

The Charlton support seemed very loud from within the East Stand, possibly even louder than last season when there were at least 1000 more Addicks in attendance.

I've no idea if this volume was picked up by the television microphones but I really don't think our supporters could have done any more to get behind the team.

The first goal this evening for Charlton, by Alan McCormack, almost caught me out as I was checking a text message and I very nearly missed it.
From what I saw, the Orient defence were being quite charitable with the amount of space they left.

Charlton were to pay Orient back, leaving McGleish unattended to equalise early in the second half.

Only a few moments later, the sending off seemed a little soft at the time.

Without the benefit of any kind of replay, it looked to me as if Dailly stretched to get a loose ball that was probably beyond him.
 His yellow card earlier in the game seemed to be a little unfortunate when he gave away a handball as the ball struck him.

This earlier yellow card was to prove extremely costly as the referee really had no choice with the second card.

Going down to 10 men for the second game running was unfortunate in the extreme.

The team now seemed to go further and further back, playing very deep, hoping to merely hold off Orient and I was worried we weren't going to be able to repel them for the rest of the half.

Luckily, just at the point when I felt Orient were starting to make inroads, Scott Wagstaff cut in from the right and scored the goal of the game.


The celebrations from the Addickted were beyond joyful.
The feeling was very similar to when Reid scored in added on time at Southend last season.

When Waggstaff cut inside again, with 90 minutes already played, he laid the ball on a plate for Chris Solly who had only just come on to kill time!
Was it his first touch? Perhaps.

A good result for the homegrown players tonight, with both Solly and Wagstaff scoring.

So, we are top of the league, (at least for a few hours).

It was brought to my attention on the way home, that tonight was the first time we've scored more than 2 goals since the home game against Millwall last season.

I'm also pleased that our television hoodoo might have been exorcised, -though Leyton Orient also believe they have a bit of a duff record in front of the cameras so I suppose someone had to have a turnaround.

Other than the sendings off, this season couldn't possibly have started any better.

Let's hope the good results continue.

A Casual Rating.
The Lacoste polo is going to Scott Wagstaff for his performance tonight.
He really wasn't on form last Saturday against Bournemouth but tonight he was fantastic.
His well taken goal changed the game, just when it was starting to look bleak for Charlton.
A special mention must also go to Lee Martin who ran tirelessly and always looked dangerous.

As for the Primark novelty slogan t-shirt, nobody really had a howler, (even the much maligned referee).

If it's possible, the Primark top is going to be awarded to the gods of weather.
It was extremely wet this evening, not that anybody connected with Charlton Athletic cared one jot of course.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Let's Go Oriental

Despite previously stating there would be no chance of Leyton Orient selling tickets on the night, there's been a 180 degree spin and they are now available for all.

Over 1500 Addicks are already committed to attending but the predicted rain showers might put off many others joining us, despite most people enjoying the fixture at Brisbane Road last season when we had 3000 (plus) roaring Parky's boys to victory.

The weather plus the game being on Sky will no doubt lessen the attendance but I'm hoping for an entertaining and enjoyable evening, returning home with a win.

Our record in front of the live television cameras is dire.

My not at all perfect memory thinks that last season we were seen by the viewing public 7 times.
I only remember 2 wins.
(We did 'beat' Swindon in the Play Off semi at home but then lost in extra time).

I remember a rather humbling loss at Northwich and also a home defeat to Leyton Orient.

A perfect time to start a new cycle would be at the start of a new season.

Come on you Addicks.
Let's go top of the league tonight with a win.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Views Of Melvyn Bragg.

Bloody football.
Bloody Charlton.
Bloody Andrew sodding Lloyd Webber.

All in all, not the best evening.
The Adelphi theatre, showing Love Never Dies, must have been nearing 35 degrees C.  
Despite our tickets being in the 'upper' price band, my left leg became stuck to an octogenarian lady next to me due to the sweat, (me), and Lily of the Valley, (her), we were producing. 
The seats were obviously designed for Ronnie Corbett.

A bar of chocolate turned to soup and I thoroughly regretted wearing long trousers rather than the more laid back attire I'd sported all day.

The show was fantastic if you like that kind of thing.
Unfortunately I don't.

The wonderful electronic scenery, the freaky props and the very fit looking acrobats were very,very impressive but I found myself exchanging those "I can't believe this is so cringey" looks with Mrs CC.

I really can't abide it when characters sing to each other.

My idea of a musical is some acting, some dialogue, then a bit of a tune.

When people meet up and sing, "hello, you look well", to each other with no particular tune, just faffing about with a few random notes it's like finger nails on a blackboard to me.

Until last night, I didn't realise my iPhone lit up like a Christmas tree whenever there's a score update pushed through on the iFooty app.

Sitting in the dark, my aged, sticky legged friend, was able to follow what was happening at Shrewsbury nearly as well as I was.

A bit of a disappointment that our reserves didn't manage to hang on to a 3, (THREE) goal advantage but ultimately I couldn't really care less about the Carling Cup.
We weren't ever going to win it and our wafer thin squad can't really stretch to any extra games.

I was at the last game we won in the competition, three years ago, against Carlisle and we very nearly threw it away then too.
Our record in the competition is terrible so no surprises we lost.

It's all about Friday now.

I'll be there and I'm hoping for a completely different and much more entertaining time.

* Melvyn Bragg had absolutely no input or interest in this post. I'm sure he wouldn't be bothered by either Charlton Athletic or Andrew Lloyd Webber.
(He's more of a Barbara Cartland man anyway.)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Opting Out

I seem to have taken advice from Dave at Drinking During The Game.

I'm opting out this evening.

I won't even be listening in on the CAFC player as I shall be part of an evening of culture.

I shall be spending the evening eating yoghurt

This evening, we will be sitting through our countries favourite Toad lookalike's most recent opus as we endure  enjoy Love Never Dies at the Adelphi on the Strand.

Neither of us are particularly looking forward to it but we know someone in the cast so we are off to show support.

I can't imagine there will be any Lacoste polos or Primark novelty slogan t- shirts being awarded by me at the end of the night but you never can tell.

I'll be the bloke with his iPhone in his hand, looking at the score updates from Shrewsbury.

Monday, 9 August 2010

August 9th Memories.

August the 9th.
I was there.

I didn't quite realise it at the time but it was going to be one of those events where people who missed out, would tell me how lucky I was for years to come.

Queen had played at Live Aid the previous summer and had blown the rest of the acts off stage.
Their stock rose immeasurably.
 Even people like me, rushed off to purchase Queen's Greatest Hits, (on cassette!) and Freddie Mercury became recognisable to everyone from grannies to school kids.

When Queen announced a 'Magic' tour, the tickets were snapped up all over Europe.
I tried in vain to get a ticket for one of the Wembley Stadium appearances.

Queen were playing with Status Quo.

"It should be a good game", my dad guffawed.

Despite some of my so called 'mates' going as a group to Wembley, I stayed at my Saturday job at Woolworth selling records and tapes from the 'Music Bar'.

I've lost the connection through the mists of time of how I ended up getting a ticket for the last show of the tour at Knebworth.
I do know that I travelled up to Stevenage with two pals called Harry and Tim who I'd known from secondary school and were now at the same college as me, doing 'A' levels.

We exited Stevenage railway station and attempted to push our way onto a bus with the handwritten cardboard sign on the front reading 'Pop Concert'.

I remember feeling decidedly ill at ease.
All around us were big, hairy, leather clad greasers who were looking on with amusement at our trio of suburban soul boys.
I remember feeling very conscious of my rather clean looking Diadora 'Borg' tennis shoes and my Kappa  polo shirt. We'd dressed for the weather, (it was due to be a scorcher), and heavy denim or leather seemed a bit pointless to me.

After moving about half a mile in 10 minutes, we jumped off the bus and followed the crowds towards Knebworth on foot.

There were huge bins by the gates, where people were having to lob their mostly still full beer cans. I remember one fella was on the floor in the recovery position. Perhaps he'd decided to drink his days supply rather than give it up?
We had our sandwiches with us but no beer so we were ok.

The day was spent sitting in the sunshine, listening to people moan as the H-U-G-E screen was tuned to (then relatively new), MTV.

One bloke really lost his cool when Jackson 5 parodies '5 Star' had their opportunity to show their latest video.
He kept saying louder and louder, "Look at everyone's T- shirts, we don't want to see this shite".
He ended up having a vicious argument with his wife/girlfriend/ sister, who went off in a huff and we didn't see her for the rest of the day.

The support act of Belouis Some was quite frankly, cack.
Bottles and half eaten sandwiches started flying around the crowd which must have been a nightmare to clear up afterwards.

Status Quo arrived by helicopter, landed, ran on stage, put their heads down, crashed through their set, then got back onto the helicopter and flew to Switzerland for another show.
The highlight of their appearance was one of their roadies climbing about 100ft on top of the giant screen, to play along with what looked like a blow up guitar.
Everyone cheered madly and the Quo didn't know what was happening.

Apparently they sacked him when they found out.

Big Country managed to torture their instruments enough to make that strange bagpipe sound but Stuart Adamson didn't manage anything as good as his 'Into the Valley' by previous band Skids.

As the light began to fade, more than 125,000 people pushed forwards, (though many reports have the attendance at over 300,000), some rather strange blow up characters resembling the members of Queen inflated and flew above the stage and suddenly we were off.

I won't bore you with the set list but recalling the lights being shone onto the crowd for 'Radio GaGa' as everyone clapped in unison still brings a shiver to my spine.

Freddie Mercury had everyone in the palm of his hand.
It was the show to end all shows.
He must have known he was ill and possibly believed it could be his last live appearance, with no new shows on the horizon.
He gave it everything.

As we now know, that show was the last one Queen ever gave, (at least with Freddie Mercury).
It seems strange now but not only did we not realise Mercury was ill, we also didn't even know he was gay!

In retrospect it all seems so obvious, even down to the name of the band but I can remember getting home, eventually, at around 4 am, then waking for breakfast and proclaiming the show being "brilliant" but the singer sometimes sounded "a bit poofy" when he spoke to the crowd!

All these years later, I still look back on that day with fondness.
I wasn't in The Cavern for the Beatles but I was at Wembley Stadium For the First Division Play Off Final, May Bank Holiday 1998 and I was also at the final show by Queen.

Both of those events I will take to the grave.


I've just realised that today is the 10th anniversary of the tragic death of Pierre Bolangi.

R.I.P Pierre.

Beach Boys Beaten

  Charlton Athletic 1 - Bournemouth 0.

It was brought to my attention last night, that I still haven't got my act together to comment on here, despite being at our game against the Cherries on Saturday afternoon.

So, back from holiday and yes, very relaxing thanks for asking.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, we arrived back to a very wet, cold and miserable England which was very different to the parched, dusty, warm environment we had so swiftly become accustomed to.

A few hours in bed and then it was a new season to look forward to.

In the time we were away, players had arrived at the Valley from Southend, Oldham and Ipswich among other places and I wondered how many of the starting line up I was going to recognise.

And so it came to pass.
The first game of the 2010 / 11 season.
The Nay sayers had been given their many opportunities to Nay, the Knockers had spent the close season, well, knocking and those with their glasses tinted a shade of rose, had all shared their views.

Now it was for real and we all wanted to see some clues as to what the season might hold for us.

Firstly, we all now know that the venerable old Keithy Peacock won't be popping up this season to regale us with half time of tales of "Valley Gold not being around when I was coming through the ranks....".

I'll miss his regular invitation to part with my cash, despite the missing pixels seeming to add 5 years to his age with every appearance.

The electronic scoreboard has been a bit of a laughing stock over the last couple of years and it has now delivered it's final message.
I didn't realise how often I looked at it until it wasn't there.

Parky has assembled a squad that, on paper, and at first viewing, doesn't look much weaker than the one we finished with last season.

Alan McCormack gave a good impression and in Crispy's eyes, could be a kind of Nicky Bailey without the histrionics.
Doherty linked well with Dailly and they had a very solid afternoon. At their ages, three games in a week might be too much so Llera could be getting some game time soon due to injury or fatigue.

Charlton came out of the traps as if they had something to prove.

Kyel Reid was fantastic. He ripped Bournemouth to shreds as he glided past their static defence to cross a pinpoint ball onto Sodje, who managed to send the ball into the Jimmy Seed stand by way of the crossbar.
A few moments later, Reid was at it again but this time Sodje managed to steer the ball home.

1-0 and totally in control.

At this stage, it looked as if Bournemouth were on for a real tonking.
They lost their discipline and started tackling wildly. 

Referee Hegley seemed as if he wanted to help the Addicks along and gave some really odd decisions in our favour, much to the displeasure of the Dorset folk on their big day out in the Smoke.
None of the decisions were match altering but he'd make up for it later.

Abbott was running around in much the same way as Mooney used to, though he doesn't look to be as lightweight as the crowd dividing Irishman.
Semedo was doing his mopping up roll dutifully and Jackson was giving Reid the back up he needed when he advanced forward. Solly seemed happier to be playing on the right.
Only Wagstaff seemed a little out of sorts.

How the score remained 1-0, I really don't know. 
Charlton looked as if they were a class apart and Bournemouth looked as if they had no ideas beyond trying to clog the danger men, (very surprising for a supposedly passing, 'footballing' side).

When the teams returned for the second half, Harry Arter had been replaced. His dream 'return' to the Valley really hadn't worked out well for him and possibly due to trying too hard, he was a bit of a liability and looked a likely candidate for an early bath.

The game turned on the hour mark. 
Semedo stretched to reach a 50:50 ball. 
Both players were fully commited and Semedo, from my angle, seemed to win the ball, (though obviously due to the attentions of the Bournemouth player Symes, it wasn't particularly cleanly).

I believe Semedo's foot made it through to make contact with his prone opponent but it could quite easily have ended up being the other way around.
It was just the kind of challenge a referee might decide is worthy of a yellow card if he's trying to stamp his authority on the game.

The players, and Semedo in particular, were amazed and appalled when the referee made a very speedy decision, rushing forwards while taking his card out.
A red card did seem very, VERY harsh for a tackle that was strong but honest.

From that moment, the game was up.
Bournemouth tried to make their extra player count but they really were quite toothless up front. 
Charlton were quite happy to hold onto what they already had.

There was a heart stopping moment when a clean tackle inside the Charlton penalty area was judged to be a foul. Having decided it was a foul, the referee had to give a penalty kick but strangely then decided the offence had been just outside the area.

It was a ridiculous decision, one of many odd ones Hegley gave to Bournemouth in the second half.
Both sets of supporters could quite honestly moan about the referee. 
He was actually a bit of a homer for periods of the first half but after the break he obviously remembered those wonderful childhood Summers spent at Poole harbour and completely favoured the Cherries. 

Racon replaced Abbott and then Lee Martin came on for Waggy with around 15 minutes to go.
Martin looked lively and could be a very useful addition to the squad this year.
Sodje was the final change as he made way for Francis with only about 3 minutes to go.
Unfortunately, the referee chose to add 5 minutes to the game, giving him an opportunity to book Martin for supposedly kicking the ball away and then booking Cooper for throwing the ball away only 30 seconds later.

My watch showed that well over 6 minutes additional time were actually played due to the ref quite clearly, enjoying himself as the centre of attention. 

A 1-0 win puts 3 points on the board and was a decent leg stretcher for the busy week ahead.

A Casual Rating

The Lacoste polos have been hanging in the wardrobe for 11 weeks now, so I've decided to award two this time.
Kyel Reid is the recipient of the first one for his superlative first half performance.
Chris Solly has added to his reputation with a stellar second half showing and is being awarded one too.
Well done to the both of them.

The Primark novelty slogan t-shirt is, naturally, going to the referee.
Nothing to do with Semedo's sending off.
The red card was given in real time and second guessing from the comfort of my sofa, with the benefit of a pause button really isn't fair.
My gripe with him was he seemed to be looking for fouls in order to even things up rather than just refereeing the game, resulting in some very odd moments.

As I've said before, while we are languishing in tier 3, we'll be getting tier 3 officials so we had all better get used to it.