Saturday, July 30, 2011

Goals galore!

After the friendlies against Woking and Den Bosch, you'd be forgiven for thinking we had a tight defence and goal shy strikers this season. Now, just four days later the Addicks have shown that you couldn't be further from the truth.

After the glitzy high profile game the night before against the Dutch, Wednesday was a chance for those not involved to continue their build up. A squad similar to the one we saw at Woking.
Jason Euell did get to start at Hayes Lane, and once again the chance to pull on a red shirt after settling for the blue effort the previous Saturday. And how he enjoyed it, scoring the opening goal on the half hour stage.
Francis, Mambo number 5 and Ginger Pele, all got starts alongside some of the youngsters in the likes of Evina, Bover and Pritchard. One notable change for the second period was the introduction of our Spanish star turn, Alonso.
In the second half, substitute Popo scored his first senior goal for the club and Charlton were at this point comfortable for the win. Callum Harriott made it three and then youngster Ade Azeez wrapped it up. Four goals against a near full strength Bromley side isn't a bad evenings work in anybody's book.

And so into the lions den. Millwall against Charlton doesn't sound particularly friendly however you dress it up. A good run out and a strong test to see how equipped we are for next weekend it is though.
Today was a testimonial match for Millwall's Alan Dunne. Dunne has been at the club for twenty years , ten of which as a member of the first team squad. With over two hundred appearances for the Lions, a financial bonus was hugely deserved reward for the Irishman.

Chris Powell named a strong eleven which looks likely to be next Saturday's starting line up too.
Elliot is for the time being the gaffers first choice in goal. Solly and Wiggins flanked Taylor and Morrison in front of our number one. Once again the very impressive Stephens and Hollands were given the role of bossing the middle of the park, with Jackson and Waggy as wide men. BWP and Hayes lined up in front. I think this will be the bosses preferred partnership up front. Paul Benson may well end up with the role of super sub for the first part of the season at least.

Things couldn't of started any brighter for Charlton with Bradley Wright-Phillips getting us off the mark at the toolbox after only five minutes. The first of two lovely free kicks pulled the home side level ten minutes later, only for our top scoring striker to beat the Millwall defence and strike low into the net. By half time however, Millwall had found the net twice and gone in 3-2 up.
Johnnie Jackson levelled things with fifteen to go with great positioning and an equally great header. Former Addick Hameur Bouazza broke Charlton hearts though with a winner five minutes later. A very soft free kick was given after a challenge from Morrison. A beautiful delivery from Bouazza found the top corner.
Chris Solly fired over in the dying moments, but 4-3 to the home side it remained. Eleven goals in two matches then.

It is still a game where the result doesn't really matter. other than bragging rights on Monday morning at plenty of workplaces that is.
Is this Charlton team ready for the big kick off?
Robbie Elliot as i said before is Chris Powell's first choice between the sticks. He may not be top drawer, but he does have a passion for the club and isn't a bad keeper at THIS level of football we're playing at. With Sullivan pushing hard for his place, i can only see competition as a good thing for the pair of them.

The central defensive pairing is one i always see as so important. We've given so many goals away through defensive mistakes in front of goal. I don't think we've yet got another Youds and Rufus just yet though. Taylor and Morrison are both big lads who are good in the air. They both lack pace and i fear could the two of them could be prone to an occasional lack of concentration or communication. Chris Solly always gives his all and made a welcomed return to the side late last season. Our other full back Rhoys Wiggins shows moments of talent, but does again look like he could be a weak link in the chain. His last two appearances haven't been the strongest. The jury at the moment is still out on our young Welsh left back.

Last season's midfield was without doubt a problem area. Chris Powell was quick to address this. Danny Hollands and Dale Stephens look fantastic additions. Against, on paper, superior opposition they have both shone and run the game at times. They could well become the best central midfield partnership in League One this season, i really am that impressed. As i am with Danny Green. These three have been the highlight of pre season, add Johnnie Jackson into the equation and a forward flowing midfield is made. The one tiny question mark is their defensive duties. With an area behind them that could be quite fragile, i have a feeling they may at times get caught pushing forward too often. Midfielders are sometimes defenders too. Our back four may at times need all the help they can get.

Bradley Wright-Phillips is a twenty goal a season striker. That is in no doubt. He is however a poacher and needs someone to play off. Paul Benson we know can do it at this level and will enjoy the inch perfect crosses he receives from Green. Paul Hayes is a journeyman striker who hasn't been on top of game for a while. He'll be hoping to put a poor season in the Championship behind him, and to his credit has improved as the games have come and gone.

There are of course the likes of Alonso, Evina, Wagstaff and Bover to throw into the equation. In places, the squad has quality in depth. In other parts it's a little low. League One football don't forget isn't a rich place for any team. No side is going to have a huge squad and if Chris Powell does bring another couple in we will be, unlike many,  in a very strong position.
It's been a great pre season, I'm certainly ready for the real thing to start. And on the whole i think the football team is too.

Pinkie's Return

At school i remember reading Brighton Rock. Not many things during my time in secondary education left any kind of impression on me at all, but this book really managed to capture my imagination.
I always felt like an outsider in my schooldays and perhaps this helps to explain how i found a strange kind of respect for the slightly 'distant' main character, Pinkie.

One of the reasons i feel that Graham Greene's novel made it into the school reading list is that there are undertones bubbling away below the surface in all the characters. Not only their personalities, but their beliefs and ultimately their actions.

Now, i am by no means a literary genius! With the majority of reading material i take things at face value as opposed to reading between the lines. In Brighton Rock though, character diagnosis is almost unavoidable. I feel the original setting of the thirties, between the wars, as being instrumental to the characters backgrounds in the novel. The fact that the 2010 film is set in 1964 did throw it a little for me at first, but still comes out shining at the end. Youngsters rebelling against a system which they feel has nothing for them is, i suppose, an issue we'll always be surrounded by.

Pinkie is a young member of an underground mob. When their leader is murdered by a rival gang, Pinkie has visions of running the outfit himself rather than the experienced Spicer. Spicer is played now by Phil Davis. It's amusing (and perhaps intended) to see him back on a scooter in one scene, what with him playing a mod in the classic Quadrophenia!
It was Pinkie's job to put the frighteners on their dead leaders assassin, but Pinkie takes it further. Gangsters or not, murder puts the fear of God into all of them, and they will stop at nothing to take themselves out of the frame. In the novel however, Fred Hale, Pinkie's victim is distributing newspaper competition cards. Hale betrays the former leader of Pinkie's gang and therefore our man seeks vengeance on this act.

We now meet a young girl Rose, a waitress spending her lunch hour on the pier. She is a shining example of someone who is in the wrong place at the wrong time. She gets drawn into the proceedings by seeing Hale and Spicer before the murder.This chance encounter  will change her life forever. The only saving grace for Rose is Ida, her boss.

Pinkie and Rose are Roman Catholics and both sin and morality are brought under the microscope during events. Catholicism is strongly challenged throughout. Ida isn't religious, she just has moral beliefs which play on the side of decency rather than doctrine.

Pinkie marries Rose from a completely selfish point of view. Pinkie will hang for what he's done. Rose knows everything and by law she can't be made to testify in court against her husband. She may think Pinkie loves her, but this gangster is a shrewd one. Ida of course knows this and tries her best to change the mind of the young lovestruck girl.

Why doesn't Rose come to her senses? Like many young girls of the time, her drab life is one of chores and a domineering father who relies on his daughters wage. The excitement of dating a gangster and being kept in a lifestyle she had never imagined possible is thrilling and addictive. One of the first things she does after marrying Pinkie is to take money out of his pot and buy a stunning and fashionable new dress. It's important to her to look the part of the hard mans wife as well as having something material that was always well out of her reach before.

Why doesn't Pinkie murder again rather than go to the trouble of marrying this girl? One murder's enough on anyone's plate, and besides, we're given to thinking he's a little fond of her. Not that we'll ever hear him say or show it. Dallow his one last trustworthy comrade knows it.

Ida has seen all this many times. We aren't told for sure, but it seems likely she has been in a similar situation in her younger days. She doesn't want to see her young employee throw her life away. Whether it's happened to her, or just seen friends go down this path, Ida won't rest until Pinkie is brought to justice.

Three very strong main characters that you can really get into the mind of. If you choose to of course.
The novel is a must read book. The first screen adaptation is superb. Made in 1947 this black and white stars Richard Attenborough as Pinkie. It's very rare for me to buy a DVD of an old film, but this is one of a small handful of films i HAD to have in my collection.
You will also see Doctor Who starring as Dallow. Of course, William Hartnell was at this point unaware he'd be travelling through time a decade and a half later.

When i heard a remake of the film was made last year i was a little suspicious. We all know how new versions of classics can frustrate, disappoint and even anger at times. As i said earlier, setting it thirty years later didn't inspire me with the greatest confidence. It really does work though and i think with each viewing I'll enjoy it even more.
I love British films. When they are set a few decades ago, then I'm in my element. I recently saw Made in Dagenham set in the sixties about the women machinists striking at the Ford car plant.
A similar time period at the seaside with Mods and Rockers then has got to grab my attention. It was mainly filmed in Eastbourne as it's easier to make look old than Brighton actually is, but you'd struggle to notice unless you set out to pick holes in it!

Sam Riley plays a delightful Pinkie. He has the looks a young woman would fall for, like Attenborough before him, whilst still managing to let the darkness seem like his natural exuberance. There's something about his eyes that really make it believable.
Andrea Riseborough is an actress who I'd seen before without really registering. That statement does her an injustice though as she's talented and perfect as Rose. Maybe that's the sign of a great actor as she's had great performances in films i've seen without making the connection. She looks, and more importantly sounds so innocent and naive at the beginning. You can as the film progresses almost hear the loyalty in her voice as she declares her love eternally to her husband.
Helen Mirren plays Ida. Do i really need to say more about that particular piece of casting?
It doesn't stray too far from the original and has all the makings of a 'cult' film. I hope i haven't given too much of the film away, it was never my intention to re-write the book. Just to give you a little insight into one of the best and most gripping stories I've enjoyed. Don't just take my word for it though, go on you never know, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One In The Cabinet

Start as you mean to go on. The season hasn't even started and we've got our first piece of silverware, snatched out of the hands of the Dutch, who by the sounds of it probably didn't realize this until the morning considering how much they 'put away' in The Rose of Denmark last night.
Now just for the title, the paint cup, the Carling cup and who knows, the FA cup to make the set.

Chris Powell fielded an impressive starting line up with maybe only Dale Stephens in the middle of the park and Paul Hayes instead of Paul Benson up front as the only slight surprises.
After a strong start from Den Bosch who played a 4-3-3 formation, Charlton began to find their feet. Rhoys Wiggins and Danny Green both had very strong games and look to be the fantastic signings we expected them to be. Hayes had a much better game than we had seen from him before which must be a great confidence boost for himself whilst also impressing and reassuring the gaffer.
The surprise of the night had to be Dale Stephens. He looked good at Woking but last night against significantly better opposition threatened to run the show. I think he may well line up alongside Danny Hollands against Bournemouth on the 6th of August.

Only the one goal separated the teams, a stunning lob from Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 76th minute, but the woodwork kept out The Addicks on a number of occasions. Green, Hayes and skipper Johnnie Jackson all saw their efforts denied by the framework of the goal.
Den Bosch had their chances as well however and Robbie Elliot had by no means the quietest of nights.
The Addicks held on and the crowd of just under four thousand got to see the trophy resplendent in red and white ribbons lifted aloft.

Chris Powell has said today of his intentions to bring a fourth striker into the club. Poland's Grzegorz Rasiak was in the crowd watching proceedings. The striker is a big target man and has had plenty of experience in England with Derby, Tottenham and Southampton among his former clubs. The young German Jeffrey Schlupp of Leicester also seems to be a name banded about at the moment on the rumour mill that is Twitter. He did impress on a loan spell at Brentford last season with a Wembley appearance to his name in the aforementioned paint cup.

One very good piece of news is that today Johnnie Jackson signed up for another two years with an extension on his contract. With his injury that ruined the end of last season now behind him, he sees a bright future for this club and wants to be a part of it. Don't we all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bish Bash Bosch

It's fair to say things have been pretty busy in our particular part of South East London this summer. So much so, without the likes of twitter etc it would have been quite a mission to keep up to speed with all the events.
Writing a blog, i can now sympathize with all those journalists, papers and magazines who have made great use of the footnote 'details correct at time of going to press' over the years.

Where are we at then going into our first, and only, friendly at The Valley?
Alan McCormack who left the club by mutual consent has signed for Swindon Town. Things didn't work out for the midfielder here but i wish him all the best with The Robins. Without meaning to sound harsh, League Two could be the level most suited to his abilities.

Notts County came in for Paul Benson with an offer the club were happy to accept. Chris Powell said  he wasn't in a position to offer Benno more than the one year left on his contract, the player quite understandably listened to what was on offer as security is everything to your journeyman footballer. Notts County only offered two years, the third dependant on how the second panned out.The man from Southend he say no! Benno held firm for three years and talks broke down. Show me an Addick that isn't happy about this. We all want to see him on the end of Danny Green's crosses this term.

To coin the old adage then, at the time of going to press, Scott Wagstaff still belongs to us. There's been talk of him going up north to Burnley but i find it hard to believe they will look at Waggy as a replacement for the soon to depart Chris Eagles. The fact the Academy graduate started at Woking shows to me that he will be a bench warmer for the best part of this season. This is only my opinion of course, but i really don't believe he's of Championship ability. Not even League One champions ability. Yes he's had moments when he's looked rather good. That has more often than not been in a mid table and very average team. No, i think the young gun will be a useful squad member here for at least the next ten months. And as i tweeted earlier, he can be thrown on with twenty to go in the hope of a speculative goal when we're desperate!

Onwards then to 'The People's Cup'. When i heard about this opportunity for silverware against foreign opposition at such an early stage of the season, i have to say i cringed. Anglo-Italian cup, Emirates Cup, Amsterdam Tournament, all pretty meaningless really. Well maybe not the Anglo-Italian, i do have memories of Sutton United in that one and have heard stories of supporters of 'my' non league side travelling abroad to support their local lads.
Why the need for silverware in a pre season friendly though? It turns out that there's a nice heart warming story attached to The People's Cup.
Den Bosch went through the tough times a few years ago that many clubs face today. The dreaded prospect of the club folding which is becoming a little too common in football nowadays. As Charlton fans, we can understand more than most what they have been through. So the Dutch supporters did their bit to pitch in and today supplied a trophy, not to mention a donation to a local charity. Their claim, 'Giving football back to the people'. Catchy and very well meant. Another 'football for a fiver' venture from the hosts ensures us doing our bit for the people as well.

Whether we get to see a future Ruud Van Nistelrooy or not for the blue and white dragons remains to be seen. It will though be a lot of peoples first glimpse of the new boys, and their first Valley reception.
Chris Powell has said he knows pretty much his starting eleven for the season proper, Green is of course suspended, and we'll expect to see that tonight. Those not involved will get a ninety minute run out at Bromley tomorrow.
It wouldn't surprise me to see Jason Euell have another cameo role tonight, especially in front of the home fans. With the possibility of a penalty shoot-out to decide who takes the cup home, a fairytale penalty could be on the cards for him. Or maybe I'm just letting my imagination run away with me....................

One last point of interest from Saturday, is Woking's ground. We all know about the large stand behind one goal, but i had a look on their website yesterday and discovered something else that made me chuckle. I was looking as i wanted to email the club to say thank you for the wonderful hospitality we received from everybody, fans and staff alike. Whilst 'surfing' through the pages i found a stadium plan.
Number 12 on the diagram to the right of the directors stand is Moaners Corner. How wonderful is that! You've got to love non league football.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Friendly Day Out

I love pre season friendlies. A chance to see new signings mixing it with the old favourites, and that's just on the terraces! Everything about a day out with nothing resting on it is enjoyable.
Today was a prime example.

Woking is a little town near Guildford and only about a forty minute ride on my motorcycle from home. The chance to get out of work on time and get my first glimpse of the side this season was too great to pass up. So, i did get out on time, that doesn't happen often, and already I'm expecting too much too soon. Quick change out of the overalls, run to the bike and press the starter button, click, nothing more. Flat battery. Here we go, a mad run around looking for jump leads and van keys. Hey presto, it's running and the journey to Woking will put enough 'juice' back into the battery for the return leg.

Knowing a few of the CAFC twitter crowd are meeting for a pre match pint, Time is of the essence. I did better than expected for at two o'clock i roll into the Kingfield Stadium car park. The beauty of the bike is being allowed to park where most can't, in this case right next to the turnstiles!
A very friendly steward made sure i was OK and gave me directions to everywhere i could possibly want before I'd even paid my entrance money. Eight pounds didn't seem too bad, especially when i hear that Crawley charged seventeen for a game against a Chelsea XI last week!

First stop the bar. A very nice pint of London Pride even if it was on a tap, in a real glass! I'd forgotten what the non league clubhouse was like.  Sutton United was the last one I'd been in and that was a few years back now. Upstairs were the loos and we had to be careful not to splash on the carpet. This really is a different world to The Valley.

One thing i love about these days, other than being able to stand, is the non segregation and the great banter. The Woking fans in the clubhouse were very welcoming and a real credit to their club. In fact everybody from the lady selling programmes to the staff in the burger van were happy to see us and polite and courteous. Unfortunately a pie from a kiosk in the covered end doesn't come with that kind of smile.

As for the football, well it was goalless and a little flat at times, especially the second half. This was definitely Chris Powell's second string, the starting line up was ( i think) Sullivan; Francis, Mambo, Doherty, Andersen; Wagstaff, Stephens, Pritchard, Davisson; Popo, Hayes. I was just happy to have Mambo number 5. If only there was a song fitting for that scenario.
In all honesty it's thanks to a certain Mr Liam Happe that we knew who we were watching. Thanks for tweeting the line up fella!
The Doc did OK, Francis looked one of our best, but the shining performance of the day went to the Woking keeper. I think the phrase I'm looking for is 'played out of his skin'.
A couple of changes came throughout the second half. The young French trialist Alexis Honore will probably be remembered more for his lilac boots than his efforts on the field of play. Callum Harriott who looked promising towards the end of last season got a run out, but the cheer of the day was to see Jason Euell pull on a Charlton shirt again. He got around fifteen minutes to entertain us, I'm not reading too much into it though. It's good for his fitness and keeps his eye in as it were.

Nothing to write home about then, but once again it's the first ninety minutes most of these lads have had. The majority of today's participants will be squad rotation players at best, last resorts at worst. There were little glimmers though that show why the gaffer has faith in them. I'll be interested to see how many of them feature on Tuesday night at The Valley as opposed to running out at Bromley the following day.

One last shout out is to the very kind Woking supporter who came to my rescue with jump leads so i could ride home. A 1400cc motorbike is as heavy as a small car, not the easiest thing to push for a bump start. The Charlton team coach had pulled in and things were looking like I'd be hitching a lift back from them before this particular kind gent showed his face. A new battery will be bought Monday!
I'll sleep well tonight and dream of what could have been. Jason Euell and Chrissy Powell giving me a push start. I'm sure they would have delegated it out to the lad in the lilac boots though.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aldershot on a Wednesday.

The Charlton squad returned from sunny Spain to a very damp South East London this week. After the chance of facing sterner opposition in the form of a tale of two cities, Bristol and Cardiff, it's back down to earth with a bump. Aldershot on a Wednesday night.

There is very little i can say about the trip to Spain that hasn't already been said. The win against Bristol followed by defeat against the Bluebirds have been documented elsewhere, and with a lot more attention to detail than i can give. With limited press and media following the trip, it meant relying on other clubs footage and reports. Bristol City excelled in this! The official Charlton Athletic web site does however contain a very entertaining blog from goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts that i strongly suggest reading.

Aldershot on a Wednesday night then. Work dictated that i was never going to make it, i have to wait until Woking on Saturday to catch my first glimpse of the lads, but a good couple of hundred Addicks did make the shortish trip to Hampshire.
With the added bonus of the Charlton Live team giving us our first commentary of the season (except for missing the start of the second half and Paul Benson's goal) and normal service was well and truly resumed.

Now i have a very poor excuse of a reason for despising The Shots. A club that have been through plenty of the heartache we have, more so in fact with a new club being formed and competeing in an incredibly low division, i should have more sympathy.
There was however a gentleman whom i shall not name that i used to work with, a big big Aldershot fan. That's fine, i like to see a bit of passion about your side, but there was some real arrogance and nastiness in his Charlton baiting. Add to that a bit of trouble when they came to Crawley, although from what i can make out Crawley aren't exactly saints, and all in all i'm not a massive fan of the rising pheonix.

Back to tonight's match. The starting eleven for Charlton was a very strong looking team. Elliot, Solly, Taylor, Morrison, Wiggins, Bover, Hollands, Jackson, Green, Benson, and Wright-Phillips. The first half did however fizzle out into much of a nothingness. Two items of note only. A Danny Green strike which rocketed against the crossbar. He's becoming a popular signing this boy, his name was mentioned frequently tonight.
Then a penalty for Aldershot. Morrison brought down his man in the box and presumably due to it being a friendly, no card was shown to the centre half. No need to worry, Danny Hylton fired it high and wide over the bar. I fear he had been watching the Womens USA team taking theirs at the weekend. Note, no Nicky Bailey gags here!

Green again played a part at the start of the second half with a cross for Benno to get his head on and hey presto 1-0 Charlton. Technical difficulties (apparently) meant us listeners missing that piece of action. Commentators propping up the bar is a more likely scenario though.
A goal for the home side against the run of play by Luke Guttridge caught Charlton napping midway through the second period. Otherwise nothing really to complain about. It's a friendly, results aren't the be all and end, and to be fair it's the first time they've had a competative ninety minutes. Before tonight Chris Powell had fielded different eleven's either half, so it was a good step up for the players.
Danny Green looks good, young Ruben Bover (a heat seeking ferret?) got glowing reports and may well be knocking on the first eleven door quicker than expected.

A successful evening, if things go according to plan, it should get better by the game. Woking first, then Den Bosch at The Valley for the people's cup Tuesday.
Footballs back........and about time too!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'll huff and i'll puff............

Charlton are off in Spain enjoying some team bonding and the sunshine. More of that at a later date. Back here, just a mile from Gatwick airport, life gets more chaotic by the day.

It started with our roof. One chimney was taken down earlier in the year as it was unsafe. Then we got squirrels making a home for themselves in the loft. I went on a stakeout up there with an ex-serviceman friend and 'dealt' with those little fellows.
So we needed the builders to fix the hole that the squirrels made to get in, and also block the other chimney as birds have nested in it and frequently fall down the thing two floors, requiring us to rescue them.
Upon inspection, this second (and thankfully final) stack was a little (lot) on the wobbly side. One strong gust of wind they said and.....................doesn't bear thinking about.

So up went the scaffold in a passageway all of three foot across, between our building and the empty derelict one next door.
Now if you're removing bricks you'll have to remove them and dump them somewhere. Or just throw them down a large hole that's staring you straight in the face. Great in theory, disastrous in real life. With every brick that would block Santa's path came dust clouds, pouring out of every crack in our ageing walls. The motorcycle shop downstairs had a good centimetre of dust over everything when i opened up that morning.
Change of plan then. Meanwhile the demolition men turned up next door to start pulling down the six empty shop units with flats above that have been uninhabited for a much longer time than our stay outside the Premier League.
With roof tiles flying in every direction, the race was on. Our builders needed to finish putting up before next doors team of workmen pulled down as otherwise there would be nothing supporting the scaffold.

I'll point out that during all of this, we had a visit from a gas board engineer. Turns out a new gas main is being laid in our road very soon. This will not be compatible with the existing pipework to the building, so therefore all our pipes need to be replaced first. If it wasn't for the fact my home and place of work would both vanish, i was tempted by this point to maybe just ask the demolition team next door not to stop when they got to us.
They don't seem to be the sharpest pencils in the box though, they may not yet need my prompting!
With no regard to anybody else's safety, and even less for their own, i had no choice but to complain to health and safety. Bits of roof were falling onto the pavement below which was not closed to the public. In fact, at around half past three we get a good hundred or so school kids walk past on their way home from the local secondary school.
Men with clipboards did turn up and things seem to have improved but the game they play of smashing asbestos into tiny pieces with a pick axe still gets played daily!

More disaster. Our two builders had finished their work on the roof and got an emergency bit of plumbing work thrown into the bargain as well. Apparently the washing up water from my kitchen sink had ended up on a rail of brand new motorcycle clothing directly below.
Then the bombshell. Whilst clearing the rubble which didn't go down the chimney off the scaffold, a brick struck one of them on the head. This knocked him out cold and a trip to hospital became a necessity. Fractured skull and internal bleeding they said, he's going nowhere fast.
My lunch break today consisted of standing in for the wounded and helping clear up the debris. Jack of all trades me.

I have though had some opportunity this week to escape the dramas. Monday was Heidi's birthday so a weekend of festivities were had.
This culminated in a quite 'just the two of us' evening on the day itself. A romantic meal at the local curry house was followed by a film and a drink back at home. I won't bore you all with the soppy stuff but i will recommend the DVD.

Wild Target is a British film with Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt. Hilarious, slightly dark humour but funny nonetheless although a little odd. Very much my cup of tea. As was the musical score accompanying it. The main song for the opening and closing credits is Mayhem by Imelda May.
Now, Psychobilly is very much my kind of style. Rockabilly not so much. Jools Holland loves this girl and her band though and on this evidence i can see why.

I bought the album 'Mayhem' on iTunes for under a fiver and have enjoyed it all week. It has the uptempo delights of the title track, and the first single off the album 'Psycho', to the relaxing and very bluesy Kentish Town Waltz. Add to this a wonderful cover of Gloria Jones (not Marc Almond's) Tainted Love and a bonus track of Johnny Got A Boom Boom, a highlight off her first album, that will definitely get your foot a tappin'.

It's a real joy, albeit a departure from my norm, and has given me moments of escapism and peace from the chaos and disorder of everything outside my front door.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Well in at the weekend.

The first opportunity for many Addicks to see their new signings happened on Saturday afternoon at the traditional pre-season opener at Welling.
It's a game that i haven't in all honesty been able to attend for a good few years now. Never though have i known this fixture to be viewed with so much anticipation.

Prior to all this excitement however on Friday, Charlton announced yet another signing. Now we could in theory field a completly brand new side with the number of new signings now well into double figures! As Jose Semedo went north, Michael Morrison came south.
Morrison came here after a very disappointing time with the Yorkshire club. Starting his career and coming through the youth ranks at Cambridge United, he moved upwards and onwards in 2008 with a move to Leicester City. It was here with The Foxes that he first came to meet Chris Powell. Powell obviously felt that Morrison's unhappy time with The Owls was very out of character and therefore another three year contract was offered by the club. As seems the norm these days, the fee was once again undisclosed.

I have to wait a couple of weeks until the trip to Woking before i can watch the lads for the first time myself. Thanks to one very popular chap at the moment, i along with many others got the chance to watch twelve minutes of yesterday's action with my own eyes.

Once again a bumper crowd of over two thousand fans made a day out of it. The majority with a couple of beers to the good, had to play a game of guess the player as team sheets were rare and names missing from the shirts. Now, with only a week of training under their belts, you are never going to see football to set the world on fire in this encounter. We do however get a glimpse of what is to come. Danny Green i feel has won over the Charlton support already with his forty five second half minute display. Chris Powell fielded as expected, two different sides. The first half side was skippered by Johnnie Jackson, nice to see him wearing the red shirt again after the injury of last season. Doherty wore the armband for the second period. The two Charlton sides were, in full

First half
Elliot, Warren, Wiggins, Taylor, Mambo, Wagstaff, Stevens, Ruben Bover, Jackson, Hayes, Popo.

Second half
Sullivan, Solly, Andersen, Morrison, Doherty, Green, Hollands, Pritchard, Davisson, Benson, Williams

With eleven new signings to choose from, i don't think anyone would have guessed the first goalscorer to be A. Trialist. Sam Williams released by Yeovil, on trial in SE7, it was though to break the deadlock ten minutes into the second half. Morrison made it two on his second day at the club, then Green finished it off with a screamer to get an early goal of the season contender in. All this on his birthday!

So the boys flew out to Spain today for some time in the sun. Bristol City and Cardiff are the opponents in Seville. A handful of supporters will time their holidays to coincide with this. Of them i am jealous, although when i heard a trip to Spain was on the cards i did expect the opposition to be local sides. I doubt twitter will be quite so full of match updates as it was yesterday!

Why wasn't i at Welling then? Well, i had to work till not long before kick off, then in support of my mother in law i went to Heidi's parents church. There was a talk conducted by Philip Bell of creation ministries. A very informed presentation discussing the creation/evolution argument and studying the facts and hard evidence with a good scientific approach. This is something Heidi's mum feels very strongly about and she had worked hard to get Philip to their church. As much as i love my football and my Charlton, i have to put my family and more importantly my God first.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bringing the roof down.

Amazing to think this could actually happen, but it did. By the grace of God it didn't happen during an actual football match, we've had enough of those disasters over the years, yet one death is one too many.

This is the scene at the ground of Dutch club FC Twente, former employers of Steve McClaren. With rebuilding and stadium improvement work ongoing, the capacity of their De Grolsch Veste ground is on the increase from an original 13,500 to a proposed 32,000. The roof literally came crashing down on them today when two large supporting beams buckled, killing one and injuring fourteen others.

I've been to so many football grounds over the years without any concern for my own safety. Well perhaps being a little wary of which pubs to frequent on away trips being my only sensible consideration. Never though have i thought of any possibility of major disasters happening that change peoples lives.
I know it does happens, and i have the deepest sympathy for survivors and family of those affected by Hillsborough, the Bradford fire, the Heysel stadium, Ibrox and all other sporting tragedies. You just never think it could happen to you.
I can't for one minute imagine this design of roof has never been used before and structurally was designed for this one project alone. It is however a one off occurrence which would have been a lot lot worse if the season had already started. My thoughts and prayers go out to the club and all it's supporters. Fans who now must be wondering what will happen to their season and where their side will be playing.

It makes our own news back in SE7 appear very unimportant. Big Joe has signed for Bristol Rovers, AFC Bournemouth want to buy Simon Francis, Miguel Llera has found a club and today our player of the year Jose Semedo has signed for Sheffield Wednesday. Good luck to all of them. I feel Big Joe Anyinsah will get the least abuse. Well loved at Charlton albeit hampered by injuries, good luck messages have been pouring in to the front man.
Simon Francis can't get more verbal anywhere surely than he has in his time with The Addicks. It's been a while since anybody has come in for so criticism as the full back has this season. A shame in my eyes as i don't think for one instance the lad hasn't stepped out onto the park without trying to give it his best shot. Every club needs a scapegoat though when times are tough.
Jose Semedo will, i fear, go from hero to villain. After such a dedicated job, first as defender then as midfielder, for the club, a move to another League One side won't send the best of messages out to the Covered End. I hope I'm wrong, Jose was out of contract and would have made a career move to the advantage of his family in the long run. Wanting to see his playing days out in Charlton may have been an honest remark in May, but two months is a long time in football.
And Llera? We wait with baited breath to see where he's ended up. Rumour has it we'll all be a little surprised!

As for all this talk of Sol Campbell coming our way..................................behave!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Don't blink....'ll miss something!

I pondered for a while on whether to write this post or leave it for a while. The day after i published the last one, we signed another player. That was Thursday. Friday, yep you guessed it another! I figured that being the weekend, no business will be done and I'd have an opportunity to catch up.

Rhoys Wiggins is a left sided full back signed from Bournemouth. Much to the disgust of The Cherries fans, who feel there may be an aspect of 'moneygrabbing' in the mix, we signed another star from their play off hero's. We weren't the only ones interested in the young Welsh under 21 international, Championship high-flyer's Watford were keen for his signature. I suppose it's something to be excited about that he chose to sign a three year contract (again for an undisclosed fee) with The Addicks.
I, like many others, thought Evina was going to be the first choice at left back (with exception to Youga of course), but Chris Powell did say the young lad loves pushing forward. Competition for Johnnie Jackson then, young Callum Harriott's going to have his work cut out to break into the side!

Friday we saw the capture of Matt Taylor on a free transfer. The former Exeter City defender was much loved and had a real hero status at the club. According to Joe Hellier an Exeter fan (worth following on Twitter guys) who plays a big part on Grecian Player, Matt is a Terry Butcher type of defender who would play through a broken leg. My first thought was our own Sweaty, Stuart Balmer. A real favourite ex player of mine who certainly wore his heart on his sleeve.

It turns out Taylor does have a dodgy 'Cilla' so we may not see the very best of the defender week in week out. We're used to that though, what with big Joe Anyinsah last season.
It's nice to see a central defender signed however, especially as Llera was one of the notable absentees when the club returned to training this week.

Someone who might wish he was reporting to Sparrows Lane is Jason Euell. I read an article in the week, an interview with the unattached former Charlton front man, which stated he would seriously consider a return if the club approached with the right terms. I'm going to get shot down in flames here, but i don't think we need him. I don't see it as a forward move. In fact, i was never overly struck on him first time round. I can already feel those daggers! I feel it would be a large wage for very little return. Yes he's got plenty of experience for the dressing room and would be an inspiration for the younger members of the squad, but so did Christian Dailly. That didn't really help in our on pitch confidence last season. If it's experience we need, look at the management team. Chris Powell played for England, there's nothing he can't tell the youngsters. And Paul Hart has an exceptional reputation. A good squad is coming together, let's look and concentrate on the future rather than still clasping to 'the good old days'.

This blog is very much a Charlton blog, but not just a Charlton blog. Things that occur in my day to day life may well get a mention or complete post. This is the same with many blogs written by Addicks. It's an on-line diary which we like others to read. I was saddened to hear this week though about comments left on a friends page. I'm not mentioning names or articles, suffice to say, it was a post about something he loves that plays a big part of his everyday life. If it was a racist or illegal type of post, i could maybe understand it, but it wasn't. Just something that has great bearing on his present and future. We do have freedom of speech and that is something so many others strive for. If you don't like what you read, close the page. Simple. Don't leave arrogant, uneducated or rude comments, no-one wants to read them. There is enough of that kind of rubbish on sites like You Tube (ever looked at the comments?, don't bother) and a certain football club forum.
Happy reading folks.