Friday 30 October 2009

Shake You Down or Take You Down ?

Quite what made Gregory Abbott abandon his successful music career to manage Carlisle is unknown. However, he does seem more likely to take them down rather than shake them ! Incidentally that is one of my favourite tracks.

What to make of this weekend's fixture then ? Well, both sides are experiencing problems. Ours are more concerned with matters on the pitch whereas for Carlisle it's off the pitch. The owner and Chief Exec, who are one and the same incidentally, has just packed it all in. How much that'll affect the players in unknown. I assume it would worry Gregory who, although could return to his singing, must feel a little less secure.

Suddenly we face a couple of long term injuries. A real shame for us and the lad himself that Elliott should suffer a long term injury. He's been very impressive this season. He clearly enjoys playing for CAFC and is as passionate as any fan, which of course he is himself.

A big decision, one of many, for Parky as to whether to play Randolph. I'm not able to offer an opinion not having seen either him nor Ikeme play of late.

A further dilemma at right back. Richardson is very doubtful and Solly is out for many months. I'm very much against switching Youga to right back. I recall Villa playing Luke Young at left back last season and whilst he did fine it didn't make sense to me. Why weaken two areas of your defence especially when as in our case we'll be playing a different keeper.

This is a game I felt we'd win comfortably before the injuries hit. However, I still feel we should win but it's where the goal or goals are going to come from that's the issue.

I'd restore a fresh Shelvey in a 4-5-1. I'd also start with Mooney. I appreciate Burton and think he's best in this formation but clearly he's struggling.....he needs that operation pronto ! McLeod continues to frustrate. I appreciate he has a good work ethic and is fast but there's no subsitute for skill and the ability to find the back of the net. In addtion, the continual diving and silly bookings only add fuel to the fire. McLeod has spent most of his career at this level and below and it's telling that he's regularly booed by the oppo fans who clearly recall his dives. I'd keep him on the bench in the hope that he could do something late in the game as other tire. That seems the best way with him. 

Overall though I don't really care where our goals come from as long as we win. Let's hope we get that.

Good luck to Ketts and everyone else making the long trip up North. For that effort alone you deserve to be rewarded with all 3 points !

Come on you Reds !

Wednesday 28 October 2009

David Shepherd R.I.P

The Trademark Shep " Nelson "

A Typically Cheerful David Shepherd

Very sad news today with the passing of one of cricket's greatest umpires, David Shepherd. The game has lost one of its finest characters.

Shepherd was born in Bideford in 1940 and had a very successful playing career with Gloucestershire. He was a hard hitting batsman. I recall him making a winning hundred in a one day against Kent at Maidstone in the mid to late seventies.

He never left his roots and lived in Instow helping to run the family post office with his brother, Bill. He was president of the splendid North Devon cricket club. I had the pleasure of watching him umpire a game there against a Lashings side a couple of years ago.

He always seemed to have time for everyone and was widely respected by players and fellow umpires alike.

Shepherd was of course famous for his hopping on one leg supersitiously whenever the score was on 111 or multiples thereof. When umpiring, tea would often be announced with the cry of " tea gentlemen, a Devon cream tea with a Hockings ice cream ! ". I can testify to that being a great combination !

Sport in general today seems to have fewer characters which makes David Shepherd's passing an even bigger loss. He leaves behind many wonderful memories and a game much richer for his involvement, and I thank him for that.

Monday 26 October 2009

Raison D'etre

I wonder if they sell this by the gill ?

There you have it, a one all draw and most Addicks seem to think that's a fair result. For the Gills it seems that their raison d'etre is put on hold. I suspect that they spent the rest of the weekend gathering old cardboard boxes and cutting up newspapers in preparation for their hibernation only to re-appear in late March.

I did say that I felt that given the conditions it might come down to one mistake from a player and of course it so nearly did. Nutter's wonderful own goal looked to have sealed the points for us. Of course we were to be undone by Jackson's well taken goal.

The starting line up and formation was as widely predicted. Sadly it didn't work. Was it wrong to start this way ? May be not. It's always a thin line between success and failure. Had we got a penalty and McLeod not missed a good chance as I'm led to believe he did, it could all have been so different.

If we had a genuine goalscorer a la Jackson or MK Dons Easter for example, we'd be doing so much better. Mooney seems to be shaping up well and it may be time to give him a go from the start. I think 4-5-1 with a return for Shelvey would be the way to go for next week's sortie to Carlisle.

We need to get Burton's hernia done. I realise it's not a good time but it does seem to be hampering him and he's not the player he was at the start of the season. Mooney should be given the chance to chance to start. Whether he can operate in a 4-5-1 I'm not sure but it's got to be worth giving it a go.

With Norwich and Colchester closing in on us all the time, every game becomes vital and gaining maximum points even more so.

As ever a lot for Parky to think about this week. He's not been afraid to ring the changes and has shown to be flexible of late. Let's hope he gets it right.

Saturday 24 October 2009

Love Don't Live Here Anymore

There seems to be a lot of angst amongst the Gills fans towards us. Not sure why, didn't we help them out some years ago with fund raising and attending one or two of their games ? It seems the manager and chairman are at the forefront of this. Hey ho, no matter, I've nothing against the club personally.

In goal of course is Simon Royce. Funny things you never knew but Wikipedia has just confirmed that his mum, Rose, had a hit in the seventies with " Love Don't Live Here Anymore ". I wasn't sure about that, infact, at first I was afraid, then I was petrified.......but then who can doubt Wikipedia eh ? Funny what you can DISCOver !

I always liked Simon when he was at Charlton and thought he did us proud. He seemd only to play when Ilic was injured but he kept several clean sheets. However, Ilic always got back into the side. Curbs, I think later admitted he'd been too loyal to Ilic who, if we're honest, was a one season wonder.

I note that several ex-haddocks are amongst the Gillingham squad. It all adds a bit of interest to an already spicy game.

Leaving aside my views on McLeod, I think Parky needs to go 4-4-2 again this week. With that in mind, I suspect he'll keep the same starting eleven as last week save for Semedo coming in for Spring. Hats off to Spring by the way, he always gives of his best and never seems to complain.......very much the team player that Parky seems to favour.

I believe that this is one game that Gillingham definitiely want to win and so with 4-4-2 we should be matching them up as we will, of course, on the shirt sponsor front ! I'd think about going to 4-5-1 against Carlisle ( allowing a fresh Shelvey to return ), a game we really ought to win.

Sadly, I'm not going today. My sporting action will be watching Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks. Suspensions and injuries for the Saints make this a closer game than it might otherwise have been.

I digress, back to's game will be played in difficult conditions and so it may come down to a mistake or slip somewhere. Let's just hope that it's not someone in a red shirt that makes it !

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 18 October 2009

Narrow Win ?

Was this a narrow win in more ways than one ? Hmm. Certainly parity at half-time was about right. I felt we had more of the game in the second half and could ( and perhaps should ) have added at least two more. To be fair Huddersfield had their chances too. Maybe it's bias but I felt we deserved the win and a draw would have been a bit harsh.

It is just me or has the pitch been narrowed ? We really need an aerial view of the pitch.
" Yes, it definitely looks narrower to me ! "

If this is the case then it's not a bad idea. Whilst it may negate the impact of Sam slightly it means Bailey is a litte more central.

I was greatly and pleasantly surprised to see Parky ring the changes, I really thought he wouldn't do it ! Sodje made an instant impact of course. That made me regret my not betting on him to score first....the odds were good too ! Going 4-4-2 was a sound move and made us look better and create more.

We were subject to another poor refereeing display. If he wanted to show he wasn't a " homer " he certainly achieved it. Some quite ludicrous decisions. Hopefully we won't see him again.

The substitution of Spring was much needed although he'd had a fine half. He worked hard and played several fine through balls. Semedo though offers that little bit more and helped to nulify Huddersfield midfield and attack.

Youga had another great game, I'm really enjoying watching him this season. What asight going forwards. Richardson nearly matched him in the second half with a terrific run that sadly broke down at the last.

What then of McLeod ? I was going to headline with " inanimate object scores goal " but that's probably a bit harsh. Best leave that one at the Stadium of Light.

Yes, he did score, not a great goal but a goal nonetheless. However, for me it was the one positive against a number of negatives. I really want to like the bloke and appreiate what he does but he makes it so hard !

Early on he went down twice at least with blatant dives. The result was that when he was geniunely fouled he didn't win the free kick. He did the same in the second half.........never going to get a penalty.

He continued to miss chances, the one he blazed over the bar was shocking, only need to be on target.

Yet again he removes his shirt when he scores. At a time when we've had to call in another striker he takes himself to the verge of suspension with his fourth booking of the season. Absolutely brainless !

Enough of that, I should be happy and overall I am. We've reached the top albeit having played two games more than Leeds. My hope is that we can still be top two at Christmas and strengthen from there.

Next week offers a tough game the Gills. Let's hope that with great support we can get something from it.

Saturday 17 October 2009

Eee A Reet Useless Lump !

It's official. Charlton have been playing with a useless lump in attack ! However, enough of McLeod.....I was saddened to read about Burton's hernia. Let's hope that gets sorted soon. He started the season so well and we need him to recapture that form.

Our striking options have been boosted by the addition of Mooney from Reading. Don't know anything about him other than what I've read. He's surely got to get on the pitch ahead of you know who !

The injury to McKenzie has probably removed any chance of Parky going 4-4-2. That's a shame because we really need to do that. I fear that we're about to witness a game very similar to last week. If we do then let's hope that Parky has the good sense to make changes at half time and not leave it all too late.

For me I'd be dropping Llera today and resting Shelvey and Spring. Obviously Semedo comes in along with Sodje and I'd start with Mooney. I don't care if he's only just arrived most half decent strikers can sort out some understanding. In any case it's another must win at home and the 4-5-1 didn't look good or work last week did it. When we changed to 2 up in attack then we created chances........simples !

I'd bring Basey in at left back and push the excellent Youga up into left side midfield. Racon would miss out with Bailey moving into the middle.

All of this is a pipe dream of course. I worry that Parky won't even leave out Llera. Sodje should so obviously come straight back in. Let's see anyway.

What of our opposition ? Well, another team travelling down from oop North. I'm not expecting any great attacking intent or flair. That's pretty common in this division. Let's hope I'm pleasantly surprised and that we may see a good game.

Another busy week for me has seen the delay of me posting something until today. Let's hope that the Addicks are more on the ball than me.

Come on you Reds !

Sunday 11 October 2009

Hey Youga, Off McLeod !

Old Ham played their part in a pig of a game. To be fair so did we and of course, Mr Horwood, the er " referee " ! Not one that will live long in the memory, well, not for the right reasons anyway.

I'm not sure that I'd be happy as an away fan to travel all that way to see my team be negative and time-waste. If the ref had clamped down on that earlier we might have seen a bit more football. That only one minute's time was added at the end of the first half was incredible.........he'll never ref at Old Trafford !

Youga had an excellent game again. He has really impressed me this season. Going forward he is a real threat and defensively he's not making silly mistakes. Contrast that then with McLeod. Oh dear ! His air shot was laughable as was most of his performance. I failed to find any even dark humour when he missed the sitter laid on a plate for him. I felt like leaving Charlton player has ever had that effect on me before ! There really is no hope for him. McLeod was the inspiration for the picture above....he really can't hit a bovine's behind. Let's hope some gullable manager puts in a bid and we can be rid of him. All this is happening as Dickson gets rave reviews whilst on loan.........that's not looking such a good idea right now !

No goals in the last three league games is cause for concern. Changes must be made, time for Parky to be ruthless and earn his corn. He's been loyal for long enough to those players who've got us in to a good position. Perhaps there's a feeling of being too comfortable with the main eleven.

I'd give Shelvey a rest, he was ineffective yesterday and to be honest, has had little impact of late. Sodje should come straight back in for Llera and McKenzie should start. In addition, I'd bring Basey in and play him at left back whilst pushing Youga up to left side midfield. If Semedo's fit then this means dropping Racon or Bailey. Probably Racon as Bailey would add some steel to the centre of midfield. A bit harsh on Racon perhaps who's not done a lot wrong but we need more balance in the team and this formation offers it.

Whatever happens, Parky mustn't be guilty of doing nothing. There's not a lot wrong, we still have a good side capable of playing attractive football but it's definitely time to change or teams will just come to the Valley and do the same week after week. Not sure I can stomach more games like yesterday's !

Friday 9 October 2009

Old Ham and New Blood

At the end of a personally exhausting week I'm looking forward to a few beers, a curry and my trip to the Valley.........perfect therapy !

Hopefully we can give old ham a bit of a roasting. I note that the team from the typical northern industial town that is Oldham, is on the up of late. Manager Dave Penney is receiving good reviews. The team itself has a couple of useful players. This should be a bit of a test but one we must pass if we're to get the lift we need following the recent dropping of vital points.

Last week's Elland Road encounter sounded and looked like a very good effort from the boys and so if we perform at that level then we ought to be celebrating 3 points come 5 o'clock tomorrow evening.
There are a few injury worries, most notably Lloyd Sam and he'd be a big miss tomorrow. However, it's up to those who've largely sat on the bench, ( Peter Garland reference ? ) chomping at the bit, to grab the opportunity with both hands and prove a point.

The paint pot trophy did allow a run out for new ( fresh ) blood and hopefully they'll rise to the occasion if needed. BTW caught the highlights today........a couple of cracking goals !

Speaking of new ( perhaps not so new then ) blood, it's great to see Peter Varney back at the Valley. I don't think many of us realised just what an asset he was to our club before he left. Hopefully his return will further enhance an upturn in our fortunes !

I note that John Barnes has finally been sacked along with the erudite Jason Macateer. How they survived so long is beyond my comprehension. I'm afraid John totally lost it and recently said after being roundly booed after yet another defeat...." the fans aren't annoyed with me...just the results " !! Yes John, of course. Still football's loss is T.V.'s gain........what a natural !

Here's to a good win tomorrow and a return to the top of the table !

Come on you reds !

Monday 5 October 2009

Dodgy Barnet

Could it be former CAFC player Jonathon's dad ?

Little excitement or interest in this one for me and maybe most Addicks. I believe that Barnet are only bringing around three dozen supporters. Imagine if Barnet win and they all run onto the ptich ? It'll be first time we'll have seen " 38 Bees " on the field of play since Erica Roe all those years ago !

The ludicrous rules of this competition mean that we must field 6 of our regulars ( information garnered from other blogs........I had no idea tbh ). Something of a dilemma then for Parky. Personally I'd make 3 substitutions inside the first 10 minutes with players feinging injury. More opportunity to then use the game to blood some youngsters / non-regulars while protecting the main players.

I'd certainly rest Dailly, Shelvey, Burton, Richardson and Sam ( who may be injured anyway ). I assume that Semedo is still injured or won't be risked.

I suppose at least it offers the likes of Solly, Tuna, Basey etc. an opportunity to get a run out.

I appreciate the carrot of a Wembley appearance but feel our efforts should be focused on the main prize which will spell disaster if we don't get it this season.

This trophy offers the opportunity for a plethora of weak gags ( Matt finish - if Spring scores, best gloss over the result if we lose, it was like watching........etc.etc ) and little else.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Leading with Leeds

Sat down to watch the Football League Show this morning and I was pleasantly surprised to see our game first on ! Can't remember if that's ever happened before with any football show bar the Big Match with Brian Moore and consider that it was coverage of London teams.
Having seen the highlights and read various reports it seems that we did well and indeed might have sneaked a win. After Tuesday's poor effort, the display and point gained are well received.
Good to see Sodje return with a decent performance and I believe he threw his shirt into the crowd....... after the final whistle......... I hope McLeod noted that !
It was a real shame that Shelvey didn't convert Richardson's cross following a terrific run.
Spring seemed to have a good game yesterday, hopefully he's got fitter and upto match speed.

Pleasing to read that Bailey moved in to central midfield although I can't see why Basey or Youga don't take up the left side berth if that happens.
The next couple of weeks will be interesting. Parky has to bring Llera back next Saturday given that Sodje will be away. I wonder if he'll use Tuesday's game to try a different central partnership. I'd be inclined to do so as there's nothing to lose other than a meaningless game.
I believe that on Tuesday we have to play 7 or 8 of the starting eleven ( or is it squad ? ) from yesterday under the silly rules of this competition. That's a tough one for Parky. I guess the elder statesmen and Shelvey will sit it out.
Personally I hope we get out of the thing asap. Whilst the ultimate prize of a Wembley appearance would be nice, we don't need extra games.

Friday 2 October 2009

Leeds United

Numbered sock ties, Revie, Bremner, Giles and Gary Sprake ! Those were the days. The 70's were a good time for Leeds as they enjoyed much success. They won many football matches but few friends. It was generally accepted that they were a somewhat " physical " team.
Since then we've all been able to laugh at Peter Ridsdale..............all goldfish and ludricrous player salary negotiations.
The Leeds of today has survived Ridsdale....just. They have an excellent manager whose record against us is very good. They seem destined to go up this season. Their style of football from what I've seen from two televised games seems quite attractive.
A tough test then tomorrow for our boys, especially following the awful perfomrance against the U's. What on earth was going on for that first goal ?
I've had my concerns about Llera for some time. He makes some good headers ( Tuesday aside ! ) and strong tackles but worrying lacks any pace and gives away silly free kicks, most notably around the edge of the box. Time for Mr Sodje to take his place me thinks.
Also time for Baily to move into the centre of midfiled assuming Jose's not playing. Basey or Youga then need to be employed in either of the left side roles.......they're interchangable for me.
Shelvey has clearly needed a rest for a couple of weeks now and why he wasn't rested against the U's is a mystery to me.
We seem stuck with a system and unable to adapt. What was a week ago a quite important game is now a crucial one. A defeat will further damage morale and confidence leaving aside the implications of a potential drop into third place.
We need at the minimum a good performance and hopefully at least a point to go with it. I'm trying to remain optimistic but am struggling to any reason to be.
Come on you reds !