Sunday, June 30, 2013

From The Mail with love

All quiet on the western front. Or so we thought. Charlton fans woke up this morning to news that a Russian consortium were in talks with Tony Jimenez and Michael Slater to buy the club, if The Mail are to be believed.  Yes, I realise the comical assumption i made in that last sentence too.

Jimenez has property in Cyprus, a country I know relatively well and which has been bombarded by Russian businessmen over the past few years buying up hotels, property and anything else the cash strapped locals think they can sell. Forgive me if I assume it was actually a golf club (or even a whole bag of them) that was the main text of these supposed talks.

There were no facts, no names, just that Jimenez was 'understood' to have held talks with the Russians. I could 'understand' things all day long and compose lazy journalism for the needy and rumour hungry (if someone paid me to), so don't start bothering yourselves on which players we'll be outbidding Chelsea for, or how we'll lose any personal relationship with the club during the course of the season. We won't be selling our soul to buy the league any time soon, we've heard these kind of rumours before and they remained just that.

No news always used to be considered good news, I mean to stand by that. The club have nothing really to say, still living off the back of last season publishing daily the latest of their twenty best moments of the campaign, whilst trying to get us enthusing about the release of the new away kit next week. We've seen pictures of the first team squad returning to training, I presume something for the kids to get excited about, but that's all there is. No transfer stories, no breaking news, perhaps Powell and company are just quietly enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon or the music at Glastonbury for now. I expect they've certainly been following the pointless Confederations Cup in Brazil in between rounds of golf with the boss man in Cyprus.

For those desperate for 'proper' news, the first pre-season friendly at Welling is now less than a week away. It won't be long before you can't blink without missing something, let's just enjoy a moments peace while we still have it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A new season, a new sticker album.

How many stickers is a 'shiny' worth? It probably varied from playground to playground but these glittering childhood treasures were, at the end of the day, just run of the mill Panini items. The Football Attic however have gifted us with true collectables, albeit unlikely to eventually reach the same dizzy heights financially as the Panini variants of yesteryear.

This is the second League of Blogs sticker album and, as good as the first one was, this has a far more traditional look to it, enhanced by the inclusion of each blogs crest alongside their kits. The design is a credit to the lads from the Attic, the paper and printing is of a high quality and once again the finished article is alluring and professional.

You can read how I chose both the badge and kit designs in a previous post blatantly 'borrowing' inspiration from both the club and football kit supremos Admiral, but suffice to say they had more than a little impact as they made the front and back covers respectively.
Charlton content is aplenty amongst the albums pages, as both Charlton Casualty and Hungry Ted two great Addicks bloggers have entries. The Stone Roses influence is loud and proud with the bucket hat in one whilst the other has a real brute of a man, the sort of chap that would have Subbuteo's Tommy Smith quaking in his base, modelling the kits.
Mine wasn't the best by a long shot, the creativity included in the pages is phenomenal from a Stormtroopers head to detailed goalkeeper gloves, kits with road signs on to a complete map of the world on another. I may need to up my game to be a contender next year, my thinking cap is already on!

Once again, a huge thank you to The Football Attic for the idea, it has been a privilege to be involved in such an enjoyable (and rapidly becoming established) aspect of a football bloggers year.

PS Rich, I see Tesco printed the books again, your good lady must love the clubcard points!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are we nearly there yet?

They say a week is a long time in football. This is true, unless of course it's the start of the summer interlude when a week just seems like a long time full stop.

After a lovely summer holiday in Prague with my wife, the next 'light at the end of the tunnel' to get me through the working week will be the pre-season friendlies which start less than three weeks away at Welling. The past seven days have seen the Charlton machine gathering momentum with almost daily 'breaking news', I went to the Czech Republic blissfully unaware that every time I found a WiFi hotspot my phone would vibrate like the clappers, timelines more congested than border control at Gatwick.

Before departing we had the news of the St Mirren friendly in Spain, it was then announced that the Addicks would play a second match whilst abroad, this time facing a Gibraltar XI. As much as I cannot afford (or get time off work for) another European jaunt this summer, I'm a little saddened I cannot venture to Spain. How many of us can boast we've seen Gibraltar play football at their national stadium on Winston Churchill Avenue? These truly are little football 'bucket list' gems aren't they! And as for St Mirren, well I've a true soft spot for Scottish football as a whole and The Buddies side of the early 80's did of course contain the legendary Jimmy Bone. Need I say more?
picture courtesy of The Football Attic   

Charlton, as faithful a dealer as there ever was, are still going to give me a little injection of Scotland though as they announced that for the only home friendly we will be hosting Inverness Caledonian Thistle, a side I've followed with some interest since their inception and their Highland League days, an amalgamation of two teams far more successful than anything Robert Maxwell attempted a decade earlier.

Another game now confirmed is a League Cup fixture at home to Oxford United. Not something to get particularly excited about I know, given our record in the tournament and last season's poor showing against Leyton Orient. The ground will only be open in small areas, the atmosphere will be non-existent and it will, in fairness, feel like one more friendly but for me again another soft spot.

When I think of Oxford I always picture Paul Konchesky making his debut for the first team against a side featuring former Sutton United man Stuart 'yes I did eat all the pies' Massey. Then of course there was their old Manor Ground, a random collection of sheds and steps, possibly the allotment of all old football grounds..........

And so came Monday evening, I'm at Prague airport and looking for an internet connection. I was well aware of an event taking place at The Valley, the unveiling of the upcoming season's new home shirt, the second home offering from N**e.

New signing Mark Gower along with Under 21 captain Bradley Jordan sported the new attire complemented by two very meticulous haircuts. The fantastic free WiFi in Prague's impressive if somewhat disorganized airport meant I too could share the moment with them. The lighter shade of red is a traditionally more Charlton colour (it's not a variant of orange we are told), the trim is white but that is where my positivity ends. The collar/neck is, we are told, buttoned at the front although they are obviously invisible when done up, this to me just makes it look like a Velcro fastening. The thin white trim on the sleeves isn't overpowering and a nice touch but I don't think we'll ever go on to consider it to be a classic, not like this beauty!

The internet had been full of creations by amateur kit designers on possible new Charlton shirts, some of them ripping off old templates, others creative, fresh and intriguing. Maybe some of these big brands should take note of what's achieved on lap tops around the capital. Perhaps these ideas fuelled my anticipation and heightened my disappointment of the real thing.  As all the wise old heads on twitter are quick to point out though, it's the team that matters, not the shirt and, if truth be told I wouldn't be giving N**e any of my money for one no matter how lovely a design so who am I to  moan.

Tomorrow morning sees the announcement of the fixture list and the final piece to shape the landscape of the impending season. People supposedly 'in the know' have already tried to leak opening day fixtures, I expect to achieve more virtual followers or friends, I'm happy to sit it out and ponder the possibilities for another twelve or so hours. Then I'll start scribbling dates on the calendar and making travel and work plans. Are we nearly there yet? Almost.