Thursday 24 February 2011

Comic Timing

" My mother made us eat all sorts of vitamins and supplements, until one day I nearly choked on part of The Sunday Times”

Timing is very important in comedy. That is also true of football. Therefore, it's very disappointing that Sky got its grubby little paws on our game against Notts County. Moving it to tomorrow when I've got tickets to see Milton Jones at the Stables in Milton Keynes ( no relation ) is a real pain. Given the proximity of County's ground it's an away fixture I'd probably have done.

By the way........if you're ever up in MK then I can recommend a trip to the Stables. It's a fantastic place to watch or listen to an act and they get a good variety. Staffed mainly by volunteers, it has been going for just over 40 years and was established by Cleo Laine and her late husband Johnny Dankworth. 

Whilst I'm laughing at Milton tomorrow I hope the viewing public isn't laughing at our team. The omens aren't good having lost the last two games and we all know about our record for live televised games.

In addition, we are playing on a cabbage patch. The powers that be really shouldn't allow football and rugby to be played on the one ground. We're copping it at totally the wrong time. It may be alright for the likes of charm merchant Lee Hughes but not for our boys.

Some might suggest that Sir Chris has a lot to do after Saturday but I'd say not, just a couple of adjustments are needed. I'd move Fry or Fortune into the defence in place of Doherty who clearly needs a rest. Other than that Racon for McCormack and move Ecclston over to the right. Job done.

As I said before you can't legislate for our mis-firing forwards and the shocking defending from Doherty second half that cost us big time. Even allowing for those defensive lapses had we taken just half of our chances we'd have won comfortably.

I'm still with Sir Chris. He has the potential to be a very good manager. He and the current board seem to be going about things the right way. It's a total rebuilding job and they are laying the foundations. We all want instant success however let's be patient. I'd rather see Sir Chris flourish and enjoy success at our club than another one.

Come On You Reds !

Tuesday 22 February 2011

The Magic Boomerang

Boo is the Aboriginal word meaning to return because an ordinary merangue won't come back........with apologies to Milton Jones 

The recent time-keeping fiasco against Peterborough again highlighted the issues associated with time added on. At the end of the first half where we saw the ref stretchered off after some lengthy treatment, two players receiving first aid following a clash of heads and a couple of other injuries but only 4 minutes added on. Then at the end of the second period a full 6 minutes were plucked out of thin air when I couldn't recall any timewasting or injury.

I was taken back to my childhood and a tv programme called.........skippy ! No I'm messing, it's the magic boomerang another one from down under. A lad with the said boomerang with certain qualities used to throw it in the middle of some adventure and time and everyone else would stand still except for the lad. Invariably he used the time to tie up some villains or similar before catching it.

Why don't I take my magic boomerang down to the Valley and throw it whenever there's a stoppage and we can all be happy the requisite amount of time has elasped, no arguments and the ref can blow his whistle safe in the knowledge that he is spot on.

Just one problem........I don't have a magic boomerang and between you and me.......I'm not sure if what happened during that 60's tv show was entirely for real.

Sans boomerang, magic or otherwise how could we address the time issue. If only there was another sport that managed to address the problem without any worries whatsoever ! Da dah ! Step forward rugby union ! Every week they cope quite well. Play stops and so does the clock. Central timing and all is hunky dory. No need for irritable Scottish managers with a love of horology to get tetchy.

Seems to work doesnt it. As ever I don't think there's a cat in hell's chance of it ever happening. Much less likely then to witness a law change that would, a la rugby, not see play stop until the ball is dead. How good would that be ! That'd make some games a lot more interesting.

I can but dream.

Monday 21 February 2011

Rod Lidl

Good journalist and good looks......lucky fella. His mum must be so proud.

Rodney, as most of you are probably aware, writes occasionally for the Sunday Times. Rodney is also a Millwall fan as he's proud to let you know each week. He seemingly can't resist mentioning it in the same way he can't seem to resist having a pop at Charlton. It happens so often that you can't help but think the poor man's obsessed with us. Perhaps it's the result of a lifelong regret of not supporting a better and more decent club, i.e. the Addicks, just a few miles down the road.

Anyway his fixation with oursleves does nothing to improve his sub-standard articles. Yesterday was another masterpiece from Rodney. He divulges that he likes a drink and a really ? You'd never guess that from exhibit A above eh ! One can only hope that for his sake he's under the influence of some substace or other when he produces the tosh that somehow is approved for publication. It surely can't be the product of a sober mind.

Lidl hopes that " in form striker Bradley Wright-Phillips gets well and truly clattered one of these days quite soon ". Nice..........

Rodney concludes his insightful piece with " What is the point of football if not for the pleasure of schadenfreude ? ". No surprise in that sentiment from a Millwall fan even if most of them would be clueless to know what he meant by it.

I wonder if next week Lidl might turn his attentions to his own club and supporters who again disgraced themselves on Saturday. Objects thrown at linesman and referee.......ah that'll be the schadenfreude then ! My guess is not. Their manager couldn't bring himself to condemn what happened so why would this third rate journo.

I hope Lidl can receive help for his obsession..........until then I'm not shopping at his supermarkets.


Sunday 20 February 2011

There's a fine line between............

.....hyphenated words.

In addition, there's a fine line between success and failure. That was brought into sharp focus at The Valley yesterday. 3 - 1 looks like a heavy defeat but we could easily have scored 5 or 6 ourselves. At 0-0 Abbott hit the bar, had that hit the underside and gone in then it's a different story. How do you legislate for Doherty being so poor and at fault for, in my view, both the 2nd and 3rd goals ? Why did our players mis-fire so spectularly in front of goal ? All that added to a keeper who made some great saves as well as giving us all a headache.

I think we'd have been better with 4-4-2 yesterday but it's hard to argue against Sir Chris when you look at what we created. I think we'd have done even better with Racon starting instead of McCormack or perhaps Reid on from the start and keeping Jackson in the middle. I though JJ got forward well and had some good chances himself. Central midfield does seem a better place for him.

Some will point to Sir Chris and blame him for the defeat yesterday but as I say it could all have been so different such is the nature of sport. Luck seems to have evened itself out as it always does. Aside from making one or two changes at half time or on 60 minutes as I felt we needed to I don't think we point the finger at the manager. The players had ample opportunity to score and Doherty was woeful.

Good to see a packed although we probably wont see it like that again for some time. Charlton have a way of killing the atmosphere eh. Having worked up the crowd with the tenor that got everyone singing we decide to play an interview with Sir Chris. Now I'd like to have heard that but just not at the moment. In any case you couldn't hear it.............not good any of that !

Sadly there was a fight just behind me in the East Stand. Very distressing for the children around it and all so unnecessary of course. Some kids were in tears. You do wonder what the job of a steward is. The one in front of us remained planted in his seat. Just what is he supposed to do other than sit and watch the crowd ?

The heavies eventually arrived after fellow supporters had managed to keep the two antagonists apart. Not a good advert for us. I've never seen that at the Valley before in recent times but I wonder how many children and their parents would believe anyone that said that doesn't happen every week ?

Back to matters on the pitch. Where do we go from here ? Is it down to the lake.........oh sorry ! For me it's..............go 4-4-2 with Eccleston on the right, Reid on the left, Fry in centre defence which may mean Jackson moving to left back which is a shame as I like him central midfield, bring back Racon. There you go......sorted.

Young Jenkinson did well yesterday and offered us more defensively than Francis but even I have to admit we missed the crosses that Francis can provide. Cqn we merge them both into one player ?

For me it's not all doom and gloom and I'm not ready to write off Sir Chris, I think he knows what he's doing leaving aside the myopia as far as McCormack is concerned ! I'm still pleased and happy to have him as our manager. A couple of loan players would greatly help too and I'm sure the boss is looking at his options.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Insert Cliche Here

 No, not that one !

That's better !

Many would agrue that yesterday's fine win wasn't all down to luck and that's largely true. However, I would just point out that a large slice of good fortune saw that we were sans Benson yesterday. Before the game I said I'd be happy if his backside didn't leave the bench as it turns out of course it didn't even get that far.

We were blessed with a new strike partnership of BWP and Eccleston. As a result we had two players up front who showed good movement and could hold onto the ball. I'm a big admirer of young Eccleston but would like him to calm down when things don't go right. He needs to remember he's playing in the third tier and his team mates are unlikely to play the quality of ball he clearly expects.

The first half is best forgotten and we were fortunate to have only lost one goal and one referee at the break. Talking of officials...........the East Stand lino.........what was that all about ? Dressed like an overgrown teenager and how I wished he'd worn that baseball cap back to front to complete the image............I can only assume that his hair got in his eyes on occasions.

Time added on........hmmm always a bit of fun to guess how much of that you might get. It seems obligatory to have one minute even if bugger all has occured in the way of injuries or delays. How on earth we had only 4 minutes at the end of the first period and then 6 after the 90 minutes is something I'd love to hear explained. Aside from the stoppage for the referee we must have had at least 2 minutes for the two players who clashed heads in the first half. 

Frankly I was disgusted of Tunbridge Wells when I heard the booing at half time. Never been in favour of it nor done in my life. We'd just won our previous 3 games, we had one bad half and we got that from some quarters. Not needed, Sir Chris and the team knew it wasn't acceptable. They needed encouragment. Give them the silent treatment if you like but keep the booing for panto thanks.

Mercifully Wagstaff was, as he was during during the opening 45 minutes, withdrawn. For me he remains very much an impact sub at best. His contribution of late has been minimal. We can't afford to carry players and the same was true of McCormack who had a shocker. I hope Sir Chris took note of the cries for " Therry Racon ". McCormack played on one decent pass all afternoon and even he'd have to admit that it wasn't intended !

What an impact Abbott was to have. How it made one think of how shameful it was that Parky didn't give him more an opportunity whilst Benson seemed to be the one who shall not be subbed. Pavel won countless headers, brought others into play and showed some lovely touches. He had a great 51 minutes ( time added on remember ! ).

Our second goal was one of the best I've seen from us in many a year. The movement, passing and execution was superb......more of the same please.

Francis is so frustratng. Clearly ok going forward with the ability to deliver a good cross his defending leaves so much to be desired. I felt that Doherty was as awful first half as he was brilliant in the second.

Picking a man of the match is difficult. The whole team seemed galvanised in the second half. Elliot was great none more so than when saving at the feet of two Posh players late on.......very brave and vital. Semedo probably edges it for me as he kept us going. He was everywhere and so good on the ball seeming to have more time than others. I'm overlooking his needless trip for which he was lucky to get away with scot free. Jose was immense especially when you consider how ineffctual his central midfield partner was. McCormack looked unfit and I'm sure he was running through treacle for most of the second half.

Well done to Sir Chirs for making the right changes and the team for responding with a good second 45 minutes plus " time added on ". Plenty of competition for places which can only be good news as we play catch up with our games in hand. 

Saturday 12 February 2011

PC Problems Let's Hope There Are No CP Problems !

Problems with my PC mean no photo in today's blogette and as you know that's usually the only reason to look at it. I have to get my mate who knows about these things to restore my PC to full health. Always a pain when this happens I've so much stuff on files that I need, a lot of it lesson planning for school.........hey ho !

Today we take on a rejuvenated Peterborough not that they were necessarily on a slide. Think they were 7th when they sacked the previous manager. Anyway Ferguson junior is back at the helm at the one club he can seemingly do no wrong at. Not sure if that's the case for all managers but if it is then Pardew must live in the hope he can find such a club before he retires. Got off the hook last week didn't he..........aided by some distinctly dodgy refereeing decisions.

One would have though that 0-0 is the most unlikely scoreline today but it might just be worth a punt. My brother religiously had a put on Rufus to score and of course that particular boat eventually came in so who knows eh ?

We'll see if my belief that Sir Chris has got the defence better organised as a unit is correct or not. I don't think we can truly feel comfortable today as even as 2 or 3 nil up you know Posh are capable of coming back at you. I'm hoping that Bessone is back in the side nothing against Fry who I was delighted to see back with us again albeit only for a few more weeks at present. I like the thought that Fry may be used more as a central defender, he'll do a good job for us there I'm sure.

I thought Bessone offered something going forward. If Reid works on the defensive side of his game then that allied to a move inside for Jackson would add something to our team I think.

I know some folk don't rate Racon but I think he gets a hard time from some. He works hard and does play some quality passes at times. I much prefer him to McCormack.

Hard to see past Joe and BWP starting up front. I'd really like to see Ecclestone get a good run out today and partnering one of those two. I'll be happy if Benson's backside doesn't leave the bench today. As ever opinion is divided on him but he needs to do some stregthening work and man up as he's too easily knocked off the ball in a very physical league.

As ever it remains tight at the top and it won't get any clearer after today's games. That'll be the case until all those outstanding matches are played and for all sides, not just us. I expect that it'll go down to the wire for the play-offs places. I still can't see past Brighton and the Saints for the automatic spots.

Let's hope we get the result today.........another 1-0 with a huge slice of luck will do me just fine !

Come On You Reds ! 

Monday 7 February 2011

6-1 ! That's really taken the gloss of our Ashes victory down under

This particular sporting trophy remains in safe hands.

The headline is steeped in irony of course, not that an Aussie would understand. Thank God that tedious and meanlingless seven match one day stuff ( excluding the 20-20s ) is over. We lost 6 - 1 apparently........really ? Seems so. Who cares ? Not any true cricket lover or England player. Some Aussie or somesuch may say it matters but that just emphasises how they have to cling to any little bit of glory in the offing !

I can't believe I heard one Sky commentator suggest that was the case ( the edge taken of our fine win ) over the weekend and a former English test player at that......can't remember who it was but shame on you sir !

Despite the seemingly increasing popularity of the one day game, test cricket remains the pinnacle. For any Englishman the aim's got to be to be the top test playing nation and holders of the Ashes at the very least. Who remembers top one day batsmen over top class test players ? Only their mums probably.

Not sure who agreed to those pointless matches after the main event. Good preparation for the world cup I heard some say. Yes indeed we've a sick bay the envy of MASH and confidence lower than a penguin's chuff. Those involved are home for a week and then back off again. Bugger all rest for our boys. All for the sake of stuffing a few more dollars in the ACB's coffers. I know we're as guilty when they come over here. I just wish we'd all accept it for what it raising and perhaps give a run out to the lesser lights....they could hardly have done worse.

In the only contest that mattered we beat the Aussies 3 - 1 and those 3 wins were all by more than an innings. We are so much better than them in all aspects of the game and at the end of the day " that Mitchell Johnson his bowling is sh**e ! "

Don't get me wrong I'm not totally alien to one day cricket, how could I be having been brought up watching Kent win the lot during the late 60's and 70's........domestically it's fine although a county championship is worth an awful lot more than any one day title of course. It's just the seemingly endless round of one day games and the desire to milk it to the nth degree does no one any favours in an already packed international calendar.

That's illustrated by players asking to miss entire test series. Please don't make me play for my country ! Players of yesteryear will be turning in their graves at the very thought. Too many test nations and too many games as a result of trying to keep all cricket boards sweet. Dilute the product at your peril.

It was clear that England's players had had enough after the Ashes and none of them really wanted to be embark on a pointless series of matches. You didn't need hindsight to know that.

It'd be nice if England win the world cup of course but that's all it is.........nice. It means nothing ! Their over-riding aim should be to be the number one test playing nation. Nothing in cricket can top the excitement of a close, hard fought test match...........well perhaps only being the number one test nation !

Sunday 6 February 2011

Perfect Powell

BWP on the goal trail again.

Sir Chris' bandwagon rolls on following his first away victory. 3 wins on the trot and no goals conceded, don't think we can ask for much more than that. Our canny knight has certainly sorted the defence. Sadly Bessone didn't make it and Fry came in for him making the only change to the eleven that started on Tuesday.

I was watching / listening to the t'internet barely able to settle after we went one up for fear of an equaliser or worse should I dare to sit down for a moment. Funny our silly superstitions, during the 97-98 season a particular pair of pants saw themselves all the way to Wembley...........I should make it clear that I was wearing them although I'm sure they were taking on a life of their own by the end !

Not a great game by all accounts but who really cares it's all about the points. I'll be surprised if we don't concede against free-scoring Peterborough next Sautrday and we can but hope that we outscore..........I think a repeat of the 5-1 scoreline at their place is to much too hope for. I'll happily settle for a more sedate 1-0 home win thank you.

Hopefully BWP can reman injury free because we're going to need his goals. Not sure where else we're going to get them from although cleary Ecclestone ought to be able to deliver given a chance.

The weekend started well with England's reasonably comfortable 6 Nations win over Wales on Friday evening. Sterner tests to come but a good start and I think they can play better. The Irish came close to defeat against the Italians on Saturday who so nearly did us a favour.

The sacking today of Roberto Di Matteo is rather foolish one by the Baggies in my opinion. He's a quality manager who has had them playing some good football overall. Their defensive frailities are there for all to see but I didn't view them as being in bottom 3 at the end of the season. However, the reality is that 3 teams will end up there. I believe, like Newcastle beofre them, they've made a big mistake.

I never quite understand the timing of these thngs. Did the chairman really think they'd overcome Man City ? Fact is after going 3 - 0 down they seemed to play quite well in the second half with a spirited display.

Like Hughton he hasn't spent a lot of money and there's a lot to be said for finiancial stability. They'll now be bringing someone in who can't buy during the transfer window. They may well stay up but I think Di Matteo could have achieved that for them.

Such is the depseration to stay in the Premier league that all sense goes out the window it seems. If only we could return to the days of sensible ticket pricing and salaries to match. I can but dream......

Wednesday 2 February 2011

May the fourth ( official ) be with you.........

With a little adaption like putting Messrs Sheldrake and Kaye's faces on this picture and adding the word " official " could turn turn it into hot selling t-shirts............

We witnessed one of the more interesting decisons ( did I say one ? ) last night as I'm sure all present will agree, however, more later. I felt a whole lot better than I did over the weekend and was able to make the trip to the Valley. Nursing myself gently back to full fitness involved an all day breakfast ( with bubble.......not had that for years ! ) at the Valley Cafe.......very nice. Followed by a pre-match pint in Bartrams. All very pleasant.

I was pleasantly surprised to see our two new recruits come straight into the team even if Mr Ecclestone wasn't so enamoured of the decision. You've got them in so you might as well play them and let others know they've got a fight on their hands. Both acquitted themselves quite well with our new left back not performing as badly as we might have been led to believe.

How he might might play was the subject of some discussion on the journey down and we reflected on numerous players who've left Charlton and you'd have told a fan of their new club......." waste of space " " good luck with him " etc. only for them to go on and be world beaters ! Perhaps a change of manager / enviroment etc spurs a player on, who knows. Anyway our new man looked ok to me and seemed able to play with both feet even with a slight preference for his right I thought on occasions ?

I felt we showed more patience than under Parky with a greater desire to pass rather than hoof the ball upfield. This was aided by Elliot's willingness to feed the defenders ( thankfully not in a Razor Ruddock kind of way.........did you see the FA Cup draw !!! ).

Some in the crowd got impatient with this but mostly it bore fruit with a chance of some kind at the end. We do need better finishing and not just from the strikers. We spurned some golden opportunities. Sir Chris will no doubt be working on that. Just as he will with Master Ecclestone who was no doubt in the headmaster's study this morning.

Young Nathan needs to learn that twittering your spleen isn't the best idea. If you've got something to say go and knock on the gaffer's door and have a word in his shell-like. I have sympathy for him, Benson coming on ahead of anyone isn't good for self-belief but there are ways of doing these things.

Back in the day most of our players couldn't string 2 words together let alone write enough down to make a whole sentence but they could play football. Social network sites have a lot to answer for. I was equally unimpressed with McCormack's twittering on his trip the Oxo place the other day after a pi** poor game. I wasn't interested and that he was happliy tucking into a nice meal with equally nice wine in a place I can't afford to go and it didn't cheer me up and as a professional player he shouldn't have either.

Semedo was the stand out player for me last night. Wagstaff did nothing until supplying the cross for the goal and a lovely turn late on...........all well and good but not enough for me. Francis posed more attacking threat than he as he supplied several good crosses.

Sadly for our Simon it's not that simple ! He's playing as a defender but sadly that's seemingly the worst aspect of his game. He landed young Robbie in the brown stuff early on with a sloppy back pass....sadly things didn't get much better. His distribution was shocking. I read in one of the programmes recently that he was a bit of a rugby player and nearly ended up doing that. As revelations go this wasn't a shocker. It won't surprise me at all if one day he just picks the ball up and runs off with the fu**er !

I thought everyone else did okay and Dailly marshalled the defence with the usual aplomb. He'll have harder nights than having to deal with the ineffectual Mooney who played his customary 90 minutes. Memories of the duracell bunny.

I'm sure it was Napoleon who said something about lucky generals, we'll Sir Chris is looking like one of those eh ? He got a bit tetchy yesterday didn't he ! I was fearing his being banished to the stand only for Mr Sheldrake to consult the excellent Mr Kaye and make the right the end !

Now as I saw and heard it...........the ref blew for offside before the ball hit the back of the net. I thought it was offside although not perfectly in line. The lino didn't give it of course but the ref had blown and I think a couple of our players had stopped as a result ( I don't include Francis in this as I think he was still reacting to something that happened in the first half  ! ).

Whether offside or not having blown he couldn't give the goal. It was both incredible and ultimately funny as the decision was reversed twice ! Anyway....hats off to Mr Kaye and Sir Chirs for getting mean !

A lovely finish by Bradley Wright, Wright, Wright ( how do we keep coming up with these songs eh ? ) saw us to victory despite the 7 minutes added on. As was observed elsewhere, good on Mr Sheldrake for resisting what didn't seem totally unreasonable penalty appeals when there must have been some temptation to give one.

We've looked more solid in defence in the last couple of games and are playing a more patient and in my view attractive style of footbal but we do need to take our chances. We can't rely on BWP to get all our goals so others will need to deliver. Ecclestone's turn may come, I hope it does whilst he keeps his tweets to himself !