Monday, May 30, 2011

Not Quite '98!

Well done Swansea City on promotion to the Premier League. What a great game of football to bring the curtain down on the 2010/2011 season.
Thirty years on from John Toshack leading The Swans in the top flight with the likes of Bob Latchford and Leighton James in the ranks, we have a Welsh representative at the highest level of the domestic game.

I know we had a game of note at Wembley on Saturday, but the play offs are something we Charlton fans can appreciate a lot more. Messi might be the best now, but Mendonca scored a hat trick at the great stadium the Argentinian can only dream of.

Reading started the game the brighter but on 20 minutes a clumsy penalty was given away. Scott Sinclair not only put that away, but doubled his tally just two minutes later. Stephen Dobbie made it three before the break and that was, we all thought, that.
Credit must go to Reading who really came back fighting. They pulled two back early into the second period and on the hour hit the post very nearly getting to the rebound. It wasn't to be though and Sinclair got his hat trick with another penalty deep in the second half.
Normally a 4-2 Wembley final would be credited as one of the best games ever seen, and good it certainly was. Charlton's victory over Sunderland in 98 however was never going to be matched. The drama wasn't of the same standard, and the free scoring strikers three goals not a patch on Super Clive's. Never has a match ball been so deserved to be taken home as on that glorious day thirteen years ago. That game is still the benchmark for all play off finals to this day.

One very nice touch was to see the Swansea players wearing t-shirts proudly remembering former team mate Besian Idrizaj. The young 22 year old player had died of a heart attack in May last year.
It was very moving to see the team collect the trophy with his face and name emblazoned across their chests.

The other play off finals took place at Old Trafford because of that European final. Today it took place where it should and 80,000 sold tickets meant a sold out stadium and another great atmosphere, not to mention advert for the domestic game at home.

In League One yesterday Peterborough booked a swift return to the Championship with three goals in seven minutes to brush past Huddersfield. If any League One player deserved to get promoted it was The Posh's Craig Mackail-Smith. Huddersfield will i feel, be a huge threat to us again next season.

League Two's final saw both the sides promoted from the Conference the season before. Stevenage had the better of Torquay to seal back to back promotions. What a way to start your Football League existence.

Add to that the Conference play off final with AFC Wimbledon, and once again you cannot argue over the special brand of excitement this system brings to our game. Yes it hurts for the side travelling home dejected, but that's football. It is, don't forget, only two months and it starts all over again.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Big Church Day Out

Over the years, music festivals were a big part of my summer. Glastonbury, Reading, Monsters of Rock at Castle Donnington, even Greenbelt. But that was all twenty years ago. Last year however i went to a christian music festival called The Big Church Day Out and had such a wonderful time, there was no way i was going to miss it this time around.

Normally my taste in music is not what you would label as mainstream. The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, The Wedding Present, it's a punk/indie selection most have heard of. This type of genre is catered for by christian artists if you look for them. I love listening to the lyrics of a song as well as the music, and all the time the words aren't contradictory to the Word of God I'm happy to listen. I really don't feel the need just to listen to music praising the Lord though. There is of course a whole world out there to get amongst and be a part of. And that includes their music! Speaking of christian punk/ska bands, i would so love to see one at next years event. I know my favourite, The Insyderz have reformed and would go down a storm i think. Other christian acts worthy of mention along the same kind of lines are MXPX, The OC Supertones and Five Iron Frenzy. A lot of christian music to be honest is very bland. I like a good catchy tune, but if it's going to be slower it needs to be powerful enough to be anthem like. 'Nice' music has never been my thing!

Anyway, back to yesterday. The event at Wiston House in Steyning West Sussex is only about a forty five minute drive from home. I had to work until one but with the event kicking off around two, i thought i had plenty of time. Heidi had travelled down during the morning with her Aunt, i was to follow on the motorbike and meet the family and the church down there. One o'clock came and went, and no sign of getting out of work. As we were short staffed, i kind of guessed it would please God much more to honour my boss and stay to help rather than run out of the door leaving him in the proverbial. So i got there for half three.

First on stage and missed completely by yours truly was The David Crowder Band. A christian rock band from Texas. Heidi says they were good and the frontman, Mr Crowder himself was very hairy. What more can i say.

Newsboys were next to take the stage. The pop/rock outfit have released fourteen albums since forming in the 80's. Another band I'm not really familiar with, although they really got the crowd going and did a great version of Jesus Freak, sparking an early entrance from Toby Mac.

By this time, the crowd had warmed up and got very much 'in the mood'. Time for some real praise and worship. Chris Tomlin is an American singer/songwriter, and one of the most famous worship leaders around. Indescribable, How Great is our God, just two of the songs of a wonderful set rounded off by a real tear jerking rendition of Amazing Grace.

Standing in a field with 10,000 other christians singing praise is a really special time. Unlike a regular concert, the band aren't playing to the crowd and the crowd aren't singing back to the stage. It's all for God. All aimed directly at Him and something quite personal.

A stroll around the marketplace was next on my agenda. Apart from a christian bookshop stall and the regular t-shirt and jewellery sellers, the stalls comprised of mainly christian charity's trying to get their plight across to all of us about various problems both at home and abroad. Many of these guys give up their own time to improve the lives of others and i take my hat off to each and every one of them.

Back to the music and time for Toby Mac. On paper, this really isn't my kind of thing. One of the ladies in our group said he is blacker than most black people. In a good way of course! A christian Eminem perhaps. I saw Toby Mac last year and really wasn't looking forward to it, but the show he put on blew me away. The former DC Talk frontman didn't disappoint this time around either.

The current album 'Tonight' was of course the main theme of the set including the very catchy Funky Jesus Music and Showstopper. The classics were however still in there, No Ordinary Love being a highlight. As was his crowd surfing, albeit copying the antics of a man dressed as a sheep prior to this!
In fact, last year Toby Mac left such a lasting impression on me that at Gateway's Got Talent On Ice, or whatever it was called, the church camp entertainment, it was a Toby Mac impersonation that i did. Considering i cant sing full stop, football chants excluded, and my inability to learn words, this was a big thing for me! It is still somewhere on video i do believe, worse luck.

Israel Houghton followed. An artist who blends a bit of everything from rock, jazz, gospel and all others in between. For me however, it does all seem a little like a jamming session. Not really my cup of tea. There were of course many who did love it and he was back by popular demand for i think the third year running.

Just the finale to go. A quick trip round the food stalls first. So much to choose from, but my mind was made up early. We had, like many others, taken a picnic hamper with us full of goodies. By nine in the evening though, i needed hot food. Higgidy pies had their van parked up all day, and one of their fine steak and red wine pies went down a treat. In fact considering the windy, and slightly cold conditions, it really did set me up a treat for the final performance of the night, Matt Redman.

A final hour of pure worship to round off a fantastic day. The Stand, a real anthem of a song and Dancing Generation, one of the catchiest upbeat worship tunes both brought the roof down! A new song, Ten Thousand Years, was a real treasure and a treat to hear. Matt's first song, and encore as it turned out, was so well received the whole crowd were singing it in the car park on the way home. If anybody can tell me the name of it, i would be hugely grateful!

So the music was a treat for our ears and the food a treat for our bodies. That however was not the highlight of a truly special day. Listening to the girl on stage from (i think) Uganda brought a tear to the eye. Sponsored as a little girl through Compassion UK, she went on to get a masters in microbiology at university in England. It's these kind of testimony's that bring it all home. Heidi was always keen to sponsor a child and last year agreed to sponsor a young boy called Abdul in Burkina Faso. Take a minute to look at the link to their website. It really does make a difference to a child's life, not just in the present, but gives them a fighting chance to really do something in later life.

Peter Greig hosted the whole event. During Matt Redman's worship time, he asked anybody in the crowd who wanted to let Jesus into their lives to follow him in prayer. Over one hundred people gave themselves back to our Father last night, to the biggest cheer and round of applause of the day. That is what yesterday was really all about. The entertainment was great, the food delicious, entertainment for the kids and a tea tent for afternoon cream teas. All of these helped, but yesterday was about one thing.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

All Aboard

I love the excitement of summer transfer dealings. The rumours, the shortlists of who you want to bring in, the research on someone once they've signed and the anticipation of seeing an Addick for the first time.
This summer i think I'm going to get spoilt.

Yesterday we had three new faces at the club. This to me shows Chrissy Powell is very hard at work while the rest of us count the days away to our two weeks in the sun.

Danny Hollands was the big one. An ex Chelsea youngster, the capture from Bournemouth is one met with applause from the SE7 faithful. A defensive midfielder with an eye for a spectacular goal is what i read on the website. This lad has had a great season with the cherries, and our excitement at the prospect of Danny holding together our midfield is proportional to the disappointment of their supporters at their loss. This is in my eyes a great signing, but it does make you suspicious that our player of the year could be moving on, especially with this offer from Greece. I really hope I'm wrong on this one.

Bradley Pritchard is a young striker signed from Hayes and Yeading. He's come from the conference club on a one year deal and will hope to impress in the few chances he'll get. A similar situation to Ross Worner and Chris Dickson before him. I do however think the squad will be quite small this term so a couple of injuries and suspensions could see the young forward get more time on the pitch than we expect. Time loaned out to clubs short of first teamers could be par for the course for the lad but be warned, if it doesn't go according to plan he could end up well off the map. Chris Dickson is i believe now playing for Nea Salamis Famagusta in Cyprus!

Nick Pope was the third signing. A young goalkeeper from Isthmian league side Bury Town. All i know about him was that he started off at Ipswich Town. Rob Elliot is at the moment the only senior goalkeeper at the club but that is bound to change as i can't see this young lad being any higher than third in the pecking order.

Rumours are still doing the rounds of course. Chris Powell has said there's more signings to come, and when the out of contract players have gone we'll have to bring some more in to field a side!
So who's being talked about?
Yannick Bolasie is a winger at Plymouth. He seems to be the favourite. The 'green army' seem to be very upset at the prospect of him leaving, but playing League Two in August, if we don't get him someone else is bound to.
John Sullivan is free and has already expressed a desire to sign permanently. He's been in Mexico but is back soon so watch this space.
Defender Matt Taylor of Exeter and Andy Barcham a striker/winger at Gillingham are other names banded about.
One things for sure, there's more to come. A lot of Charlton fans seem to expect big name signings, that doesn't happen any more and we have to get used to the fact that we'll sign some unknown names. However, Jason Euell and Andy Reid have both been released. I wonder if................

Monday, May 23, 2011

Romance is very much alive and well.

After all the excitement of Swansea's victory over Nottingham Forest last week, you would have been forgiven for thinking that our domestic game couldn't throw up more of a spectacle.
Oh but it did, and boy what a weekend of drama it was.

The League One play offs were always going to be tough for us Charlton fans to watch. Not just because of last seasons disappointment, it also bangs home our failure this time around. As a neutral, i was gunning for Bournemouth. A lovely 'little' club who had lost their talisman manager midway through the season and were looking at back to back promotions. They served up a real treat of a game with Huddersfield. Four goals apiece after two games meant a tense shoot out which went the way of The Terriers. Brilliant football to watch and i feel more enjoyable than Saturday's Champions League final may well turn out to be.

Then of course we had yesterday's 'Survival Sunday'. The two of five to join West Ham in the Championship next season changed almost by the minute. I speak for all Addicks when i say good riddance to Birmingham. Never a good word will be said of them in SE7 after that infamous junior reds coach incident. Not to mention half time antics of a famous Brummie comedian a few years back.
I did feel for Blackpool though. I'd heard that no side had ever scored that many goals in the Premier League and gone down. They were a credit to themselves and to football as a whole. So no fairytale ending for them. Is football romance dead? Heck no!

I feel i have every right to jump on the AFC Wimbledon bandwagon.
 1, I was born in SW19.
 2, I was at their first ever match. A pre-season friendly at Sutton United. OK, i was rooting for the home side but we'll gloss over that.
 3, I used to be a regular at Wimbledon speedway before it went to Eastbourne.
 4, They lived with Carl Leaburn as well.
 5, Sellout Park.

I remember my old local of The Greyhound in Carshalton in 1988 when all the armchair football fans became 'loyal' Wimbledon fans for the day sporting brand new yellow and blue scarves. The whole area got excited in those days.
What went on at the end is very well documented. The re-branded franchise that is MK Dons is hated by all real supporters and the new fan inspired AFC Wimbledon was the most famous and reported side ever to play in The Combined Counties League.
That was only nine years ago. In that time they have risen through the non-league pyramid in a fashion akin to their predecessors rise through the football league. History definitely repeating itself.

I know this is a fault of mine but i always feel like i try and find some negative amongst joy. Some small little dampener that i should sometimes keep to myself. Maybe i just want everything to be perfect. I apologize for that. In this case, i wish Wembley could have been the venue instead of Eastlands. South London and Luton are far from Manchester and i think many more people would have witnessed what domestic football is all about if it had been played at the home of the English game. Today however, I'm leaving the soapbox in the cupboard. To quote Terry Brown, 'This has righted one of football's greatest wrongs.'

One last congratulation has to go to former Addick, Jamie Stuart. A very promising youngster who pretty much threw a career away with 'that' white powder incident. At 34 years of age, the defender possibly saw yesterday as his finest moment. He can't have much playing time left and i for one am glad he can finish his well documented career on a real high. No pun intended of course.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A wonderful week in football!

Our season may have finished eleven days ago, but there have been many talking points in the world of football since. Most of which bringing a huge smile to my face.

West Ham became the first club to be relegated from this season's Premier League. This was greeted in South East London with much laughter, joking and delight.
I don't have a real problem with the Hammers, and really do feel for former Charlton loanee, young Matty Fry who i think found relegation quite hard to come to terms with. Scotty Parker is another. Again not that popular with many Addicks, and i can fully see their point of view, but ex Charlton all the same. After a great season personally with an England recall and a football writers player of the year award, relegation as club captain must have hurt. England caps are rare for Championship players, so a summer move must be high up the midfielders agenda.
A stoppage time goal to bottom three rivals Wigan sealed their fate. Better than that was the light aircraft flypast with banner 'Avram Grant - Millwall Legend'. Pure genius. Proof that the spanners do have a sense of humour. Yes, i never thought i'd ever write that either! Grant himself was almost in tears in the post match interview, an hour later he was fired. It's all quite comical to the rest of us, but no-one could have called what would happen next.
The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane hosted the West Ham end of season meal. £250 a head tickets were sold to loyal supporters who got to mix and 'thank' their teams efforts. Police however were called to disturbances after Demba Ba apparently refused to sign an autograph. He says he was racially abused by one supporter, we'll never know the full story. Suffice to say, you couldn't have written a better script and this is exactly the storyline you would expect from a group of EastEnders!

It's play off time again, joy and despair are once again emotions on view for the rest of us to relate to. There's nothing like winning a semi final and having the excitement of Wembley to look forward to.
I was lucky enough to be at Portman Road, Ipswich for the first leg in 1998. We had a wonderful day there and felt like the job was almost done after coming away with a lead and an away goal. After the second leg, i remember losing my shirt and dancing in Delafield Road. I even ran into one residents house to shake the hands of everybody sat in the lounge watching TV. They welcomed me like i was one of the family. These are just a couple of many great memories from a really happy time.
Swansea and Reading fans must be enjoying something similar now. The buzz of securing tickets, a new tacky scarf and car window sticker, it's all part of the razzmatazz surrounding the event.
Who remembers the East stand being opened to watch a Charlton vets versus Charlton youth match which was put on free of charge to those of us who had stood in line all morning to get our hands on Wembley tickets?

After 0-0 draws all round, Cardiff fell apart once again to gift Reading a Wembley showdown. Swansea however had a much harder battle. Two nil up against Forest, old nemesis Robert Earnshaw came on to pull one back. The ex Cardiff striker helped to create an electric finish to the match as the woodwork denied the reds. Swansea however finished the job from the halfway line when they broke from defending a corner leaving the Forest keeper stranded in the oppositions penalty box. Cracking stuff. This is what football is all about. Moments like that stay embossed in our heads for years giving great stories to pass down to future supporters. I really felt for those Forest fans last night, we were there ourselves twelve months ago. But i shared the joy of Swansea. It's a long time since John Toshack took them to the top flight. So long ago, Bob Latchford played up front for them. I remember that but a whole generation of Swansea supporters don't. They re going to have an absolute ball in the lead up to the final and i hope they soak up every minute of it.


The funniest of all the weeks football events though is what happened to the Ajax goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg. After winning the Dutch league, the Eredivisie, the team did the good old bus tour of Amsterdam. Now you would have to agree that the goalkeeper of the champions should really have the safest hands in the country. That may not be the case here though as he proceeded to drop the large plate. Please note that this isn't the same trophy as the one presented to the womens singles champion at Wimbledon every summer. Watching it fall from the top of a large bus is funny enough. Seeing it bounce as it hits the tarmac is priceless.
Watch for yourself!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finals Day

In hindsight, I'm glad we were beaten by Tottenham in the third round of the cup at White Hart Lane back in January. I don't really think i could have handled making it to the final and not being able to attend the Wembley spectacular in person.

Heidi's operation Friday went well and she has started her road to recovery. This of course means having me running around after her attending her every need. Doing that from north west London would have been an impossibility. I am therefore, the only Addick glad we aren't in this end of season showcase. Although it isn't really that this year. To me, it seems to be another example of the FA undermining this competition. Yes we're hosting the Champions League final at Wembley, why couldn't that have been fitted in around the annual events that take place at the stadium? Can you tell I'm not really a big fan of the UEFA competitions?
It also seems unfair to me to have left the possibility open for other Premier League events to overshadow the more and more out of favour competition. Stoke may not be there again for years, nothing should be able to take anything away from their day. Rant over.

Everyone has stories of childhood memories of cup finals, watching build up from mid morning right through to laps of honour, without taking that fixed stare off the box. For me Ipswich beating Arsenal has many fond memories of spending the day with my Grandad and getting excited together.

I've never had the chance to go to an FA cup final. I can only imagine it's like the play off final but with ten times more tacky merchandise and a much more international media interest and audience.
Good luck to Stoke, I'm rooting for them simply because they haven't been able to buy success. Having said that, prior to kick off, Manchester City haven't either.

This evening is another final. One that i haven't missed in all the years i can remember. For me, the eurovision song contest is the opportunity to make a party out of a regular Saturday night. Score cards are drawn up, a few bottles of fine ale and wine are purchased, just to add to the atmosphere of course, then the laughter and cringing begins.

I'm not a fan of Blue, but it's the UK entry so they'll get some support from me. Unlike Jedward who i, along with the rest of the country, would love to see get nil points. The outfits, the songs, the side show theatricals are all part of it, although this year many countries are being a little more conservative. The likes of Lordi from Finland may never be seen again as more established artists and songwriters get involved.
This year we have countries like France and Switzerland for example with songs that wouldn't sound out of place on a national UK radio station.

We are guaranteed one real gem though. Moldova's song is called 'So Lucky' and that's how you'll feel after watching it. Big, and i mean big, hats, a girl on a unicycle, trumpets and a guitarist worthy of any punk band for energy alone are the highlights. It's upbeat for sure, but the trumpet parts definitely have slight undertones of a more traditional Moldovan sound, and i like that. New and old blended together in a way that surprises everybody. Europe's number one song competition is always a talking point whether you love it or hate it. This year will be no exception.

The only thing missing is Terry Wogan. His humour turned it from good viewing to great viewing for me but nevertheless, it's time to get the flags out that we'd put away after the wedding and cheer our nation again. And those wonderful underdogs that have brought tears of laughter to our eyes. As the Champions league will overshadow cup final, i won't let royal weddings etc overshadow Europe's premier music event.

Oh by the way, tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Moldovan. The way the political voting goes, they're a much safer bet.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Funny Old Game

As catchphrases go, Jimmy Greaves had one of the best. Everybody uses it and in every possible context. Whether the former England international knew it or not, he certainly coined a phrase that can be, and indeed is, used in all aspects of life.
As Charlton start their summer clear out, you have to wonder how some the young lads will react to becoming free agents. Take Ross Worner for example. A funny old game for sure, and what a difference a season can make.

Can you imagine being at work and a company coming in for you, offering you a position that you've always dreamed of. Not just any company, but one of the national ones. They've seen what you can do a local level, been impressed and felt you trustworthy of a place on their team with a view to building them up. So you work your socks off for the next nine months giving it your all, and those who've seen your work praise your efforts and results. However, half way through this period of employment, your boss (and his bosses) have changed. Now your face doesn't fit and they aren't so sure you are in fact the best man for the role. So it's a wave goodbye and some serious CV writing in the hope you wont be joining the dole queue for too long.

I realize that a goalkeeper aged 21 is about equivalent of a striker aged 16, but that's still got to be some disappointment for the young lad. Last August a dream move from Woking to the Addicks, this summer an unknown future. Like the TV pundit said to his companion the saint, it's a funny old game.

Of the four that have so far left, Ross was the only one I've seen play. Lewis Perkins is a striker i know nothing of whilst midfielder Alex Stavrinou had some great reviews from Ebbsfleet where he'd been out on loan. Tamer Tuna is the fourth. For the simple fact that he has one of the greatest names I've ever heard, i am going to miss him, and he scored a first team goal for the club! The songs we could have come up with for the boy!  The mind boggles. As Hamilton Academical's most famous fan would have said, it's a funny old name game!

Rumours are of course rife. Kyel Reid's departure seems to be the most common. In all honesty, it wouldn't surprise me. He is in receipt of one of the bigger pay packets and although being quite a gent, does i feel seem to have been a bit of a luxury player this season. With young Callum Harriott waiting in the wings behind other wide options, i can see Reid's wages paying a couple of future league one Addicks.
Bessone appears to be on his way out of Leeds and has said of his wish to sign permanently in SE7. A nice week in Spain pre season with the club might be a lovely little sweetener?
Rumours of John Still replacing Chris Powell are however complete nonsense. Even that former Tottenham and Chelsea hit man wouldn't have fallen for that.

As i said before though, it's a funny old game can be applied to life as a whole. Things far more important than football are on the horizon for Heidi and myself.
Our desire to start a family has been hampered as many of you know by certain biological problems. Tests have been carried out, courses of drugs have been taken, all to no avail.
The thing is, ever since we started trying, just about everyone we know seems to be falling pregnant or giving birth. Shut up Mr Greaves, not now....... Strange how it goes though isn't it?

So tomorrow Heidi goes under the knife. I'm nervous enough, Heidi even more so. But we have great trust in the surgeons and great faith in the Big Man upstairs. Not to mention a wonderful team of friends praying for us.
Heidi will need a few days of being waited on hand and foot. I'll be cooking, cleaning and generally doing all the things i promised her in my marriage vows, proving to her (and just as importantly myself) what a great husband i can be. If i end up hand feeding her grapes though, i know she'll have taken advantage of the whole situation!

So I'll be out of circulation this weekend. Yes, I'll be a little disappointed to be missing my chance to be part of Charlton Live this Sunday, especially now I've heard i could have met my all time number one Addick, Mr Eddie Youds, as he's the guest! (funny old game my arse!)
Even church on the Sunday morning isn't a definite, thankfully i wasn't scheduled to be part of the children's ministry team this week. On the plus side, Heidi can't drag me round any boot sales this weekend........come on Jimmy, that's your cue....................

So it just remains for me to say thanks to everyone for the support you've given us, i pray that soon I'll be able to give out some great news about a very successful operation.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hello's and Goodbye's

Yesterday afternoon Charlton played their final match of a very disappointing season. Apart from a screamer by Frederico Bessone that rocketed off the crossbar, and more than likely fractured it in the process,  was of very few talking points. A 0-0 draw was an appropriate scoreline to finish with and sums the last nine months up a treat.

One talking point had to be possibly the last Charlton appearance of Jon Fortune. It's always sad to see any player stretchered off with a major injury and it appears to be Jon's Achilles which has got to be one of the most painful of things to endure. I'm sure everybody wishes him a speedy recovery and back playing as soon as possible whichever club shirt he'll be wearing.

Another event to note was the full debut of Callum Harriott. A young player who shows great promise for next season. Guessing by recent weeks, i expect that he is going to feature heavily in Chris Powell's plans.
I'm hoping that John Sullivan will be as well. I had the pleasure of chatting to John's parents on the train from SE7 back to London Bridge. His time at Millwall has come to an end and he's hoping to discuss terms with the Addicks upon return from holiday. Of three or four clubs interested, Charlton are by far and away his first choice. If rumours about Rob Elliot and Newcastle are true, of which i stress i have no idea, we may well need a new number one.

So as i clapped the squad off from their lap of honour, or more to the point, their lap of appreciation to the loyal support, i was saying goodbye to some for three months and some for good. There were however, a lot of hello's as well though yesterday.

Before the match myself and Heidi arrived at The Rose of Denmark for a pre match drink or five. The picture at the top of this article shows how many of the CAFC twitter folk got together. It was wonderful to put faces to people i chat to every day, yet still very bizarre to all meet as friends without recognizing anyone.That's social networks for you. This is the modern age! Special mention must go to Bruce who i discovered went to the same school as me in Wallington, albeit ten years earlier. Another high was bumping into Mick Gebbett after the match. The name will be familiar to many of you as he was one of the supporters elected to the board of directors many years ago. It had been a long long time since I'd seen him and it was great to catch up with such a lovely bloke. It was as if no time had passed, but thinking about it, probably seven or eight years.

A special mention to finish must go to the Hartlepool supporters. They took the challenge of fancy dress at your clubs last away game to a whole new level with a group of about thirty (educated guess?) Oompa Loompas. It was a special sight to see them with some Santa's (no idea why before you ask) bouncing in the Jimmy Seed stand arm in arm. Almost as funny was Heidi asking me why they had brought so many members of the boys brigade to the game. Two of them were even kind enough to have their photo taken with a certain drunk Londoner who pounced on them at London Bridge. Great lads!!!

Yesterday was a truly wonderful day. A big thanks to Dave Lockwood and Tommy Chuckle. You guys know why. Today however i have paid the price. I got to church on time but Sunday School was very very hard work.................

Monday, May 2, 2011

He comes from Portugal

Over the past few months, part of my regular Sunday evening schedule has been to listen to CharltonLive on the world famous and rather unstable CAFC Player.
Without chancing the prospect of their heads swelling to an even larger size, the show makes pretty good listening. Post match analysis, interviews with Charlton legends (and unsung heroes), and to top it off, general silliness with listener/supporter participation. Seven till nine on a Sunday evening is now a hotly contested spot with the likes of Lewis and co. struggling to get my vote.
Last night, the crew pulled off a real humdinger of a show. It was the annual player of the year awards held in crossbars at The Valley. The show was broadcasting from the event letting us that were too tight/lazy/busy, delete as appropriate, the opportunity to hear the events unfold.
After a slightly shaky start with the sound quality we got to hear everything as it happened including Benno's eating habits! Then to top it off, a succession of interviews with members of the playing squad AND Sir Chris Powell himself. In the end the show kept going until they ran out of interviewees or they were all too drunk to make sense. Best bit of three hours radio all in all.

There had been many people, i won't call them fans, on twitter moaning about the event. They said none of the players deserved recognition, that the event should be cancelled and then mocked the results.
As far as I'm concerned, the players know just as well as us how poor the season has been. We won't concentrate on excuses, suffice to say, none of those players stepped onto the park deliberately not putting in a shift. We saw glimpses of what can be achieved and although things weren't wonderful, I'm still thankful for what we do have. I've been a Charlton supporter since the nomad days. League position isn't everything even if sometimes it does seem like it. And last night they proved what genuinely nice gents they are. These guys Saturday evenings are as depressing as ours when it's all gone horribly wrong on the pitch that afternoon.

So congratulations to Jose Semedo. I felt he deserved it, and i loved hearing him declare live on air that he hated the spanners. The evening turned into an absolute success, nobody in attendance would have said the players didn't deserve the night. Next year I'll make the time to get there, and hopefully it will be very hard to pick one player out of a promotion winning squad.