Thursday, August 30, 2012

What's in a name?

Would you still support your team if they ran out wearing hessian sack cloth rather than some rather stylish and fancy design of shirt created out of the latest man made breathable material?
Of course you would, it's still your team, you just probably wouldn't be buying replicas for the family.

It's only a football kit, some you like some you don't, it's the players wearing them and the badge on the shirt that counts. So why do so many fully grown men get so excited and sometimes extremely agitated about football kits, especially when most of us are far too old and a little too chubby around the mid drift to actually look good in one anyway?

Whilst the rest of the country are getting either emotional over the Paralympics or worried, nervous and fidgety over the last days of the transfer window, it's a different piece of news which this week caught my attention. In the words of someone a football shirt really wouldn't suit, Peter Griffin, this really grinds my gears. Yes, i deliberately referenced from across the pond.

England football kits could soon be adorned with one of the most American of all logos, no not the golden arches but the Nike swoosh.

Umbro, the kit suppliers to the national team, from Manchester were bought out by Nike four years ago. Nike however wanted to keep the name for their refreshing 'tailored in Britain' range.
Depressingly on Tuesday Nike announced they are selling the Umbro name, and the client list of course isn't part of the deal.

Nike always conjours up pictures of basketball to me, and with Converse in their locker as well, we have baseball, that other great worldwide sport. Be content in the knowledge that with the swoosh we're getting ourselves a part of everything that made the good old US of A great for our pound notes.

Just look at Charlton. We've had 'the Yanks in' for only a handful of months and they've already taken over the club shop and re branding it as a 'Nike store'. Don't be surprised if in a year or so you'll be able to buy the latest Jordan air's or whatever they are called as part of your match day experience. I don't believe heritage is high on Nike's agenda, either in SE7 or on the national stage.

Umbro first produced the kits for England in the fifties. Before that St Blaise, and for a couple of years a company called Hope Brothers had the contract. Shirts were a simple white and plain in design although blue and red would appear on the shorts and socks from time to time. The shirt was a sacred canvas though, remaining unadulterated whoever got their hands on it, right through to the early seventies. Enter Admiral.

Admiral won the contract in 1974. The Leicester based firm first came to the public attention with Leeds United and were the first manufacturer to adorn the England kit with their own logo alongside the three lions. They produced kits for their home town club, Leicester City and along with Spurs and the greatest of all Wales kits, the tramlines, made Admiral THE kit manufacturer of the seventies.
As you can see from the likes of Keegan and Francis above, they threw a splash of red and white onto the sleeves and collar, to me the greatest England shirt since Geoff Hurst scored his hat trick at Wembley.

Considering how well remembered the Admiral shirts are with a certain generation, it's amazing to think in the nine years they were the official supplier, they only really had the two designs.
Emlyn Hughes models here their second creation, a personal favourite which will always be associated with the World Cup in Spain back in 1982. Would this open the floodgates for the more creative of designers to plaster stars or polka dots on the national teams shirts? We were less than a decade away from the craziest ever period of football kit design, research what Beaver International did for Barnsley in the 89-90 season to see what i mean. Thankfully after the golden days of Admiral, Umbro were to get their hands back on England.

Umbro made it all the way through the late 80's and early 90's without once turning to drugged up art students or a kaleidoscope for inspiration. Well, maybe a school geometry set for some of the fine detailing on the red away shirts of the day but we'll gloss over those.

In time for the homecoming of football they played their trump card with a gem of a design for Euro 96. This was so classy it didn't even have the diamond logo on anything other than the socks. It proudly spelt out the word 'Umbro' above the centrally placed three lions crest. It was a bold statement that Umbro and England go together like port and stilton, fish and chips, Dave and repeats, Palace and losing. sorry, couldn't resist that one......

Other than the awful little crosses in red, blue and purple(???) across the shoulders a year or two ago, none of Umbro's creations have been too adventurous. Dropping blue from the latest offering did get tongues wagging as to the lack of attention to history, but other than that each kit will have a special meaning for all of us as we can tie them in with different World Cups and European Championships from recent times. All emotional, all full of disappointment, but all full of pride.

My own personal favourite saw the single red stripe which was worn by Beckham and co for 'that' free kick against Greece. Like i say, we all remember each one fondly.
Terry Butcher's blood over the crew neck in '89, Beckham getting sent off against Argentina at the '98 world cup wearing arguably Umbro's boldest effort. All gems, all engraved in our minds.

Will Nike, or Nikeee as i refuse to pronounce it, generate the same emotions as i felt researching and typing this? Umbro are in essence, and have been for a while, the same company. Who knows if the designers will stay with the parent company, will the new owners only be buying the badge and the name?

It is just a name on a shirt at the end of the day, but it's been the same name for thirty years. I don't really do change, especially when it involves an England kit especially designed for the world series........

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I see a little silhouetto of a man.

This is a lifeboat. It was on standby today at The Valley taking the place of the more traditional stretcher.

Rain is, of all the weather conditions, the one that people often refer to the bible for. Is there ever a report of thunder and lightning with torrential down powers that doesn't mention the phrase 'biblical proportions'. Overused it may be, but I'm surprised the Charlton Live team didn't mention the ark hurriedly being constructed in the west stand car park to take the visitors back up to Hull.

After the wonderfully exciting and nail biting evening on Tuesday, i was once again stuck at work and reduced to the precariously positioned lap top balancing on the tool box at the furthest reaches of our modem. Did CAFC player keep cutting out or was the wi-fi straining just to much to stay connected? Maybe it was the constant hammering of  the rain and electrical storms outside. Biblical? I certainly didn't take His name in vain but did ask a couple of times to re-connect me to the commentary with some urgency.

Another poor crowd (less than Tuesday's) did brave the elements to witness a deserved point gained for Charlton, however, the only goal they saw wasn't given.

Hull City are another good side that have recently played top flight football, thus continuing this tough start to life back in the Championship. You have to wonder when the easy sides will come around. I'm not pre-empting anything and saying September 14th honestly! (Although they did lose again today and remain bottom.)

Chances in the awful conditions were few and far between, Kermorgant and Wright-Phillips both coming close and on one occasion getting the ball in the net, with the Frenchman duly dispatching it home, but the linesman was already flagging for a presumable off side.

The best efforts fell to the Tigers in the second period when the heavens (there we go again with the bible references) really did open.
Up north they probably train and practise both in and for this weather a little more often so maybe, just maybe the conditions weren't the same for both sides?

Sone Aluko produced a wonderful double save from Ben Hamer towards the end, i can't be alone in thinking our number one is looking to have really grown in stature and confidence from the keeper he was last season. Aluko also missed an empty net when he only had to make some contact to score according to the commentary. I can't wait to see that one on the highlights.

We played the same starting eleven as we have on our previous outings but today all eleven played the whole ninety minutes. Perhaps the dugout had flooded and the substitutes had all gone down with trench foot? I'm sure the gaffer knew what he was doing.

Three games in, five points gained, possibly four lost (at least two), and still unbeaten. We'd have all taken that at the beginning of the month.

A trip to Nottingham Forest next Saturday, then a week off before the south London derby against Palace. No need for the lap top then, I've booked a Friday evening off work for a game that's bound to better the poor attendances so far, even with the offering of an armchair at home and the Sky television cameras.
If the rain is again anything like today, even the camera's will find it hard to pick out the tiny silhouettes on the pitch..........

Forest, like ourselves, have also picked five points up from the first three fixtures and with the exception of Bolton, have possibly had an easier start than us, if there is such a thing at this level.
Another stern test will no doubt again ensue.

Come on you reds!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Boo boys always get silenced. Fact. Jermaine Defoe is guaranteed a goal when lining up against Charlton. It's an unwritten rule.

How satisfying must it be from a players perspective, after listening to supporters boo your every touch, to then run up to the noisiest, ugliest of the bunch and hold your finger to your lips. Just ask Yann.
The only other thing he could of done was to sing 'over land and sea, and Leicester at them', but in French i believe that loses something in translation.

It all stems from a penalty miss during a shoot out against Cardiff in the play off semi's, although it must have really had a deep effect on one Leicester fan who had far too much time on his hands judging by this song.

Pundits are often heard saying the best way to answer critics is to do it on the field of play. Last night Kermorgant quietly said 'I'm better than you' to the 1600 in the Jimmy Seed stand. We booed their left sided full back a little in the safe knowledge he doesn't score many goals.

Although the good performance and the point at Birmingham had given us a confident start, we really didn't know what to expect on Tuesday evening against one of the bookmakers favourites for promotion, Leicester City. A match that Chris Powell would have been relishing when the fixtures were announced.

It wasn't just Kermorgant and the gaffer this stood out to though, Michael Morrison had a spell with the Foxes whilst Paul Konchesky (even though he's getting on a little, i still want to call him 'young Paul Konchesky') did the opposite and last night returned to where it all began.

Another footballer to make an appearance on The Valley turf was Ricardo Fuller, unveiled to the fans at half time, who we had learnt in the Rose of Denmark prior to the match had signed for the club yesterday.
An experienced head at this level, it's not just about the earrings but the strength he'll bring to the squad, he won't be content keeping the bench warm.
Signed on a one year deal, the 32 year old will insist on giving Powell some selection problems. Our strikers will see it as even more pressure to get their shooting boots on and find a rich vein of form.
If this was Chris Powell's intention, it was a masterstroke.

Leicester started well but Charlton got stronger and stronger as the minutes ticked by, spurred on by a great atmosphere from the home support. A disappointing crowd of under 17,000, that made the noise of double that.

Eighteen minutes in and what appeared to be a bit of a speculative shot from Bradley Wright-Phillips found the back of the net. Just under a quarter of an hour later Yann Kermorgant did the same with a similar kind of effort. Cue the big man's celebrations.

The Valley was rocking, it could have been more than two, as Leon Cort tried to emulate what he had done on Saturday but was thwarted by the keeper..........Kasper, you're a ghost, Kasper Kasper you're a ghost........

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson made a couple of changes at the interval after what i guess was a fierce dressing down to a shell shocked team. It worked.
We looked very stretched at times during the second half as Leicester played some lovely football. They passed the ball around with confidence and set up chance after chance.
Andy King, not the Everton legend but the Welsh lad, was one of the arrivals after the break. Less than ten minutes later he'd pulled one back.

Charlton weren't going to give this up without a fight though. We all sang 'we all dream of a team of Kermorgants' yet in reality we had eleven hero's on the pitch. Rhoys Wiggins showed great vision going forward, Hamer did what he needed to do comfortably and without unnecessary flapping, and Bradley Pritchard looked totally at home on the right. It's hard to believe this lad was playing for Hayes and Yeading just over a year ago.

Someone at the heart of our rear guard though was immense last night. Michael Morrison, was a tower of strength putting in a collection of challenges and breaking down wave after wave of attacks.

There was a time when only the nimblest of fancy footwork superstars could wear coloured boots. I appreciate these days you can only purchase black boots from a referee's outfitters, but to wear orange boots still makes a bold statement of courage in my eyes.
We saw at Brentford last season some of the magic footwork Morrison is capable of. Last night we saw some more as the centre half threw in a couple of delicate step overs as he brought the ball out of defence.
Near the end Morrison went in bravely and came away with blood on the face forcing the ref to restart with us down to ten as the defender was cleaned up on the sidelines. The second half, as a whole, saw the tackles getting harder and harder as a mixture of desperation and desire got the better of both sides.

I never thought anyone would challenge the great Eddie Youds in my own Charlton hall of fame. How that particular scouser must be clinging on to this mantle with just a little sweat starting to appear on the brow...........

As the clock ticked down, my compatriot Jim stood next to me finding it harder and harder to watch. It had the feeling of a cup tie or an end of season six pointer, even their keeper was coming up for a August!

The relief at the final whistle was staggering, you couldn't do that week in week out, could you?
I'd predicted we'd get one point out of our first two games, we got four. And Palace are bottom.
You've just have to smile!

Hull Saturday......

Come on you reds!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cort off guard

If you're honest with yourself, what would you say would be a good target for this season? I guess at least 75% of you would plump for mid table mediocrity, i know I'd be over the moon with that. Just consolidate our position back in the second tier, let this squad get used to their surroundings and build on what we have for a promotion push in the next couple of seasons.
Let's face it, there are enough Norwich's and Southampton's in this world. It's not cast in stone that you have to have back to back promotions.

Birmingham City however would consider anything less than promotion an under achievement. Last year after a strong campaign only losing the once at home in the league, they self destructed in the play off semi finals against Blackpool.

Chris Hughton's efforts were worthy of a call back to the top flight to replace Paul Lambert at Norwich so a familiar Charlton adversary from Huddersfield, Lee Clark, has taken over the reigns at the blues.
As i picked my three to go straight up for the CAFC picks website, i confess Birmingham City were amongst them. I really expected Charlton to get a big taster of what life will be like back in the Championship.

I was asked recently to describe in three words or less last season's overview and preview this one's expectations. You can see all 92 clubs verdicts here, but i put 'educational' down for this season.
I thought we'd be taught a lesson at St Andrews. We were, it just wasn't from the text book i was expecting.

Making do with a radio commentary on a stifling hot day at work whilst melting in my overalls and hob nail boots, i realised i really hadn't forgotten at all how nervy and at times quite uncomfortable listening to the football can be.
Charlton seemed to miss chance after chance, yet from all accounts stroked the ball around like the team giving the masterclass.

Borrowed from Barnsley, "it's just like watching Brazil" could be heard from the sixteen hundred travelling addicks. At times i think just sixteen could have been heard as the notorious Birmingham fans failed miserably in creating any kind of atmosphere.
From seeing the amount of empty seats on the television, almost 12,000 of them, i was surprised to discover a club of this size only averaged a thousand more per game last season than were in attendance yesterday.

Leon Cort's first goal for the club at the far post, after a little headed combination from a corner, was only what the visitors deserved with seven minutes of the ninety remaining.
I threw my spanner so far in the air it almost came back down on the bike i was working on, I'd have gone crazy for an opening day point.
Three? Well that's just dreamland. It's almost like last season was just continuing rather than Chris Powell's team starting afresh.
Other than Jordan Cook coming on for Wright-Phillips, we even had the same players on the pitch.

Wilson and Kerkar were also on the bench but there was no place for our fourth new signing of the season, Dorian  Dervite-Vaussoue. The Frenchman will provide great cover at the back if his performance at Crawley is anything to go by.

Birmingham, deep in stoppage time, played a long ball out of defence. Their midfield won it and played it straight through ours for substitute Nicola Zigic to strike the ball home with the visiting back four practically looking on as spectators.

Last season we could afford the odd lapse of concentration, often without getting punished. This term moments like that can and will cost us dearly.
Hopefully a lesson learnt, every minute of every match needs one hundred percent focus, not just ninety but ninety three, four and five as well.

A point away from home is still a good return, and we entertain Leicester and Hull over the next few days. After these the table will start to take a little shape.
It'll be nice to still be above Palace and Millwall then.

Come on you reds!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

False Start

The final pre season match has come and gone, and the new season has started, almost. The thing is, it doesn't really begin until Saturday, the league table is still in alphabetical order, yet we have already endured the bitter taste of defeat.

Once upon a time there was only the one season curtain raiser, the Charity Shield. Back in the day this was a hotly contested and almost meaningful match, just ask Kevin Keegan, but today unfortunately it plays a poor second to the lucrative tour of either the far east or America.

Most clubs will now have a competitive interlude between actual friendlies and league fixtures in this modern football world, with the first round of the League Cup, or COC as it's now known, due to 1, sponsorship and 2, a good name for the referee's used for the competition.

After the impressive 'behind closed doors' friendly victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage last Friday, many would be forgiven for getting a little above themselves with their hopes of what will unfold over the next few weeks. What we all needed was a little reminder that this season is going to be a lot harder than anything this squad has come across before. Thank goodness Charlton delivered.

A blind man wouldn't have known the Cottage was empty last week, the home end still as vocal as normal. He also wouldn't have seen Monday's announcement of the squad numbers.
I hate squad numbers with the player's surnames boldly written above. It should always and forever more be 1 to 11, we know the names of our players and don't rightly care who the opposition are.
When Stuart Balmer wore the number one shirt in defence we took a different view of the system and inadvertently threw an anarchic spanner in the works. Bring it back i say!

There were few surprises, as is usual the unwanted and soon to depart are given the low numbers behind the up and coming youngsters.  Last season Rob Elliot won the honour, this time around Paul Hayes and Leon Clarke know where, or more appropriately don't know where their future lies, wearing 39 and 40 respectively.

Kevin Lisbie and David Mooney returned once more to The Valley with Leyton Orient (disguised as Millwall in their blue and white away strip) for this low key London cup tie.
It's not a competition we've excelled in, even the word average would be an over statement in trying to describe our performances and our record in it, still, we're a club on the up and eager to let rip into some poor unsuspecting team. Just not right now.

Chris Powell didn't field an actual second eleven but it was a side noticeably missing of the 'names'. Kermorgant, who has this pre season increased his popularity and standing at the club to quite an extent was a notable absentee whilst skipper Johnnie Jackson and top scorer Wright-Phillips were both on the bench.

Those that did start can all stake a claim to a place in the normal eleven though. These are all players knocking on the door as opposed to a Charlton XI in it's true meaning.

New signings Lawrie Wilson, Jordan Cook and Salim Kerkar all got a competitive debut and there was also a start for Michael Smith who, i thought, had a great pre season for us.

Is it too early to say we are concentrating on the league? Chris Powell obviously wanted to win this one as his frustration, rather surprisingly, got him sent to the stands (for throwing a water bottle at the ground).
It just wasn't to be our day, the East Londoners wanted this a little more and it was the O's who held the winning lottery ticket at the end.

A goal apiece after ninety (and forty five) minutes, both sides had an effort cleared off the line during extra time. All to no avail, it would be a late journey home for those hardy souls in attendance.
We've had great penalty memories with Sasa Ilic and co, and awful ones with Nicky Bailey, they have certainly made their mark in our history. Last night's penalty shoot out won't be remembered for long in the memories but summed up 'Charlton and the League Cup' as hopes of a cup run once again fizzled out.

Johnnie Jackson is up there with Clive Mendonca in the penalty taking stakes, but even super Clive must have missed one. If the skipper misses you know it's not your night and we are just one in a large handful of Championship teams that have fallen at the first hurdle.
Included in this unfortunate group are Millwall who also went out on penalties to Crawley Town. After losing to the League One new boys in West Sussex a couple of weeks ago, Crawley completed an impressive double at The New Den.
Result of the round however must be Scunthorpe's win at Derby, again on penalties. After ninety minutes this was five all! How did they manage to both keep a clean sheet for the thirty minutes of extra time?

Orient have been rewarded with a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in the second round. We of course don't need that kind of fixture congestion at this early stage of the season.

The real thing gets underway Saturday at Birmingham. Kermorgant had better be starting that one!

Come on you reds!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's football, but not as we know it.

Football in the Olympics. There is possibly no other way you could have made the beautiful game less appealing to so many people.

Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if it didn't involve creating a brand new team for us to support. I say support, a large number of their catchment area wanted to see failure from the off.
In all honesty, i had only a small flicker of interest in Stuart Pearce's Team GB when the former England international named his first 'long list' and included the name of our very own Chris Solly on it.
Once Solly had failed to make the next stage the whole affair was dropped from my radar, except for a small moment when i clicked on a JD sports advert for the Team GB kit.
That was a mistake, it's up there with Joe Hart's green 'spearmint' keepers shirt for vulgarity. Oh well, i won't have to look at it again.

Due, i believe, to fixture congestion, the Olympic football competition started before the tournaments opening ceremony. Scotland played their part in what was already feeling like a possible fiasco, destroying any chance of Korean peace by showing the Southern flag whilst the Northern players took to the pitch.
Funniest tweet of the day said that this is why Scotland can never have Independence, they always embarrass themselves on the world stage!
Fortunately for national pride, the opening ceremony was a great spectacle and huge success, as has been the rest of the Olympics the past week and a bit.

Curiosity not only finished of the moggy but also got the better of me as i found myself tuning into Team GB's first match against Senegal.
With no songs to sing and a crowd predominantly made up of school children, it was no surprise that the Theatre of Dreams was quieter than an MK Dons fixture at Craven Cottage.
The saving grace as far as the actual match went was my correct score prediction in a Peaceful Hooligan facebook competition, not that i won anyway!

And so that was it for me. My little interest at the beginning had wained even further and i wasn't to watch another Team GB kick in the competition.
My Olympic viewing was almost over before the thing was officially underway. I'm glad to say I've seen plenty of other sports since as i have followed suit with the rest of the country and found myself carried along by the 'feel good' factor of our country's success.

With so little enthusiasm for the men's competition, you can imagine how interested i was to note the ladies had a go as well.

I know very little about women's football.
I believe Charlton have a side who were once rather good at it, making a couple of cup finals a few years ago.
I've heard of Faye White as she was born in this small town i now find myself living in.
There was a film called Bend It Like Beckham where girls played football.
That's it.

I'm the first to own up that it's a very chauvinistic view. Girls have netball and hockey don't they?
It's not that i mind them playing football, just don't expect me to watch it, it's all too nice. What sort of banter can you have with the opposition fans at a women's match? It's just too different from what i know, a little out of my comfort zone perhaps.

Not great morals, or a good stance to adopt on the sport i grant you. In fact i felt slightly guilty just typing it, but you'll be happy to know my views are changing.
I watched a women's football match last night and i enjoyed it!

Why i switched it on i really don't know, more out of boredom than anything i suspect, but I'm glad i did.
A North American quarter final battle between old rivals Canada and the USA, both these nations appear to be stronger in women's football than in the men's game. I've since learnt that the USA are the major force in the sport.

There was nothing cagey about this match, both sides setting off at a cracking pace, keen to put an early stamp on proceedings and take control of the game.
Good flowing football, played in a good spirit. The challenges were hard yet fair, some girls really didn't hold back, and although there were schoolboy errors occasionally, they were spread evenly between the two sides.
If I'd been playing with them i fear I'd have looked like a girl amongst women, they were both fit and technically very able.

I was also impressed with their resilience. When they went behind, the Americans never gave up, no matter how often it happened, and the Canadians never looked like settling with just being in front and always looked to increase their lead.
On an individual level, the girls got back onto their feet as quickly as they were knocked off them. Even when they really were hurt they refused to make a meal of it, in much the same way as they do when they catch a cold!

The Canadian number 11 looked like her leg was snapped backwards in one challenge during extra time. This appeared at first glance to be the sort of injury that ends your season but this girl came straight back on again and ran it off. Huge respect.

With about thirty seconds of stoppage time left at the end of extra time, and the cruelty of a penalty shoot out looming, A lovely headed goal won it for the USA, the first time they had led in the whole match. It was very cruel on Canada, but a great goal to give them a 4-3 victory.
I couldn't tell you the scorers name, i refused to get 'that' into it!
If you've got a spare moment and want to see the highlights you can watch them here, you'll be surprised.

When i think of all the 0-0's I've sat through over the years, I'd have taken this match any day. They can't all be like this though surely? Do they have bore draws in women's football?

I've discovered today for the first time that Charlton ladies have their own page on the CAFC website, you never know, one day i might even go and support them.

What i do know for certain, is they don't get photographed drunk leaving nightclubs, they don't all drive sports cars and i bet they don't sleep with each others boyfriends!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Everything's all white now!

It's felt like a long time coming, but last night i attended my first football match since Hartlepool's visit to The Valley back in May.

And did i need it! As wonderful as the European Championships, the Wimbledon fortnight and, of course, London 2012 were (and still are as we win a shooting gold plus a first and second in the canoeing as i speak), there is nothing quite like watching your team play.

I'm as keen as the next person to jump on the Team GB bandwagon, but club football and in particular Charlton Athletic are where my heart and soul lay.
Yes I'd been counting the days away (or sleeps as is the current trend) for my first trip to The Broadfield Stadium, named after a less than desirable part of West Sussex's 'new town'.

Living on the doorstep of Gatwick airport, this was in fact the most local game i will attend all season and was only a short bus ride away. Last time i was able to get the bus to a Charlton fixture we played our home games in SE25.
I can't find any place in my heart for my local side though. I'm not from Crawley, i just live here now and last night's visit did nothing to change that. Not that there was much wrong with the ground or i suspect the club now a certain person has left, but there wasn't much to write home about either.
A club that we feel has bought success, everything i saw last night felt very average at best. I'm sure if you're there week in week out you get a different feel for it.

Just a few hours before kick off as i sampled a beer in The White Hart in the town centre, Charlton announced their third signing of the summer.
Free agent and trialist Salim Kerkar, a 25 year old French Algerian, signed a one year contract with the club after impressing in the games in Spain and North London of late.
French speaking, he'll be relying on big Yann Kermorgant for companionship off the field, whilst his experience with Rangers last season in the SPL will prove valuable on it.

Another new signing helps put our minds at rest as we've had another name depart the boardroom this week. Charlton Life has been full of doom and gloom, stories of the gaffer close to walking out and the money long since run out.
We'll just have to wait and see if their is any truth in the rumours, i think I'd rather be in the dark than spend my days worrying. This does all seem to be part of the modern game for all clubs outside of the elite few. If you believed everything you read on-line we'd be in a worse position than Glasgow's 'newco'!

A much stronger squad travelled down from London than the one that visited Bury Town the previous evening, with just the one unfamiliar name in Dorian Dervite playing at the heart of the defence. Once on the books of Tottenham, he had a spell on loan at Southend before moving to Spain.
He has played at all levels up to under 21 for the French national team, but don't make the mistake i made, Dorian from Birds of a Feather is a different person entirely.
He looked solid though, i hope he stays around for a run out at Gillingham as well.

Running out in the new black away kit, Charlton certainly looked smart, no-one more so than Ben Hamer in his white goalkeeping attire. Even after a couple of diving saves this particular number seemed to still be gleaming. I can see mums all over South London loving this one!
Nearly as impressive as his shirt was his Barnet. Looking like a member of a boy band, his 'extra strong hold' hairspray never faultered, his whole persona seemed as clean cut at half time as it did at kick off.

The second half saw him in front of the home terracing so I'm not so sure how it handled the torrential rain we enjoyed towards the end. It's possible he went from catalogue boy to Catweazle but i doubt it.

We stood directly behind the goal, it was the decision of the lads i was with, and as my eyes get older i find looking through obstacles a little harder. The action up the other end of the park was quite difficult to make out at times, yet Danny Green's perfect free kick midway through the first forty five was clear for all to see.
A well taken set piece, it was the moment of the match, yet Crawley were no pushovers and threw a lot back at us in search of an equalizer.
The almost famous Sergio Torres looked threatening for periods for the home side but as the game got into it's last quarter changes came thick and fast for both sides taking the sting out of it. At one point i think Crawley made about six at once at which point we kind of gave up trying to follow it.

It is always pleasing to win, our pre season has been better than normal in this respect and we have of course another clean sheet. This is all made even more satisfying in the knowledge that Millwall lost on this same ground last Saturday. I believe Brighton have a local derby there a week tomorrow, another stern test for the League One new boys.

A good crowd of over 1400 watched the game, three of whom certainly won't forget me in a rush.
As i was releasing one of my pre match beers in the Gents just before the interval my phone rang. Being a modern man I'm quite capable of turning my hand to a little multi tasking, so i answered the call from my wife.
'Ello darling said i and with that three lads turned and stared at me. Lots of laughing ensued as i think i talked my way out of that one.

The call was an offer of a lift home as the rain was getting heavier and heavier. We were treated to a brief respite at the final whistle but as i waited for the car the cats and dogs came back.
So quarter past ten and i was home from an evening Charlton game, unheard of. And that included stopping at the local kebab shop en route.

My season has started and I'm loving it already!