Friday 30 March 2012

The O Zone

It would appear that Chelsea and Stonehenge are most at risk from the destruction of the Ozone layer.

I must confess that alleged eroding of the ozone layer doesn't worry me too much especially if it's going to bring  the sort of good weather we've enjoyed of late. You might say I've got my priorities wrong but I'm more concerned that I'll be paying vat on my pasty. What nonsense that is ! I can only hope that the EU can come to my rescue. 

Tomorrow the O Zone, more commonly known as the East End, descends on the Valley in the hope of being the only team to do the double over us this season. I'm fairly confident that this won't be the case.

My mate Gary, aka Geezer, is an O's fan and we will be imbibing before the game. How things have changed, I recall sharing a jar or two prior to our last FA meeting and him telling me how genuinely pleased he was that the O's were playing a big club like Charlton. We were in the Prem then of course. Tomorrow should prove to be an important and decisive step to getting our fortunes back to where they were. I don't mean the Prem as such but the Championship.

Aside from be able to name just about every East European railway station, don't ask, Geezer has a good knowledge of the lower leagues. He thinks another couple of wins and draws will see Orient safe for another season. He has identified Wycombe as the only one of the bottom four that could potentially catch them although as he rightly observes Bury are in freefall and could possibly snatch a relegation spot.

I believe that their having not only played midweek but winning too means we really ought to be taking the 3 points. That win eased the pressure a little and a win at the Valley isn't as desperate as it once was.

If we are to avoid the unwanted double tomorrow then we'll need to play with confidence and freedom, oh and a half decent referee would be nice too.........they seem to be in very short supply in the third tier !

The O's have found goals hard to come by in this campaign and shouldn't come with a physical approach. For me that means that Pritchard should partner Hollands in midfield. Failing that then Hughes more than deserves his chance, we've always looked good when he's partnered Hollands as he seems to bring out the best in Danny in allowing him to get forward more and scoring too. He was almost prolific at one stage.

I'm assuming that Skip still isn't fit so who will occupy the wide positions ? Sorry but hopefully not Wagstaff. I'd give Cook a start and probably Green. Yann should return so his fellow countryman should be on the bench to come on later to make an impact. I'd like to see N'Guessan up front at some stage.

Cort ought to retain his place in defence alongside player of the season, Solly with Morrison and Wiggins.

Ideally we will find ourselves 3 or 4 goals up early into the second half and Sir Chris can experiment and also rest a few players. Mind you whatever the situation I'll not be holding my breath as I sometimes wonder if he's stuck in a pre-Peacock state of mind.......subs are not allowed ! 

A few old Charlton players return tomorrow not least amongst them " Young Kevin " who will always provide a goal threat. As I've remarked before SKL is a player we let go too early. He'd have done a good job for us in the Championship......another one of Pardew's great decisions ( he's still to refund me my money for the weekend in Blackpool - what a disaster ! ).  

I'm really looking forward to the game and trust the players get good, positive and vocal backing. It's not a time to get on their backs. They have achieved a lot this season and all the other clubs in the league would happily swap places places with us.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 25 March 2012

Reffing Hell !

Old mutton chops - Rhodes Boyson - a lethal combination that did for Charlton yesterday

Back in the 80's the name Rhodes Boyson was very much associated with the Thatcher government of the day, in more recent times it was cause for much laughter when one recalls the interview with Ali G. Sadly Rhodes and Boyeson were no laughing matter for Addicks fans on Saturday and combined to bring about our third defeat in recent games.

For all the lavish praise heaped on Jordan Rhodes in two games against us he's only scored once and not in open play this season and not looked particularly threatening. Possibly, when facing a decent back five ( never sure why the keeper gets overlooked when the so called pundits talk of the defence ) he's not quite as good as those stats would seem to suggest. No doubt he'll be playing at higher level next season so we'll find out eh ?

I've been extremely busy of late as I'm trying to get my house on the market which has ( mercifully for you ! ) left me little time to blog. Yesterday was much the same and I was tidying and cleaning round Shangri-La occasionally glancing at the web page that had details of our game. I shut it down at half time and only later turned on the telly to find out the final score.

Without knowing all the details I assumed we'd huffed and puffed but failed to find a way through. That of course is partially true but doesn't tell the whole story. Weak and inept refereeing saw to it that we were to suffer a rare away defeat. I've not seen the challenge on Wagstaff but I've read enough of reports on blogs from those that were there and if Sir Chris is that irate then I need no further evidence, it must have been bad.

Checking on Referee Boyeson stats shows that he's very partial to giving penalties and red cards displaying a particular penchant for them in recent times. Leaving aside my obvious bias, I thought that it was a very weak penalty to give. I wouldn't be too happy if a free kick were awarded outside the box for that anywhere let alone in it. Very poor and he seemed to be very much a homer as has been alluded to elsewhere. That the man's highest refereeing achievement to date has been a handful of Championship games speaks volumes. I hope he never darkens our door again !

We surely missed Yann yesterday. He has been outstanding in so many ways this season. His two assists alone on Tuesday prove his worth to the side. Hopefully he'll be back on Saturday for the Orient. Good to see Hayes get a well merited opportunity. A more than useful player to have with us.

Russell lost it yesterday and being his second dismissal of the campaign I think that may mean a four match ban. Whatever, I doubt we will see him in what is left of this season. He will be very much regretting what he did.   

I thought Wagstaff did well on Tuesday night. No idea how he performed yesterday but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he wasn't great, he never seems to manage to perform consistently well. At least we now have Cook and N'Guessan to put pressure on our usual wide men.   

Huddersfield will almost certainly be in the play-offs but probably won't be feared by many if when playing against 10 men with a willing ref on your side you can only manage a one nil win at home. I'd be surprised if they go up. However, they can at least console themselves with the satisfaction of that unbeaten run eh ?

Another defeat then but looking at the overall shape of the team and things in general I'm not despondent. There's competition in most areas, we are, save for Easter time left with Saturday only fixtures. If Sir Chris chooses to use his squad, drop under-performing players and make subs when needed then we should be fine.

Nothing is too much wrong. We've now completed all the really tough games and we are more than capable of winning all of those remaining if we stay calm and play as we all know we can.

Sir Chris and the lads have all week to work on how we're going to gain revenge on our East London rivals and prevent them from being the only team to do the double over us this season.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Scunny Away

Good job we didn't have midweek game as it's been a busy week for me, mind you working in a school they all seem like that. It's very enjoyable and one thing's for sure........the time doesn't drag !

Being responsible for P.E. and sport, London 2012 has added nicely to the workload. It would be criminal not to make the most of it in trying to get messages across to the kids about the many benefits of sport and not just from playing it. A supportive head and governing body have sanctioned a large slice of curriculum time being devoted to the Olympics. Just a shame that it's not on when the children are at school.

Equally glad of the lack of a midweek game will be Sir Chris and the lads. Hopefully some tired legs and minds will appear refreshed on Saturday. One trusts that they've all reflected on the errors of the last two games and learned from it.

With The Iron having played midweek and us not, I'll be very disappointed if we don't secure the 3 points especially given our away record this season. A defeat isn't something any of us wants to contemplate as it would set them old knees a tremblin' ( not in a sexual way you understand ) ! However, I think the current squad is better than to suffer a wobble.

Winning the next 3 games would do nicely and I can't see any reason why we shouldn't go and do that. Perhaps the most difficult game would be against draw specialists Huddersfield........." it not's the winning it's the unbeaten record that counts ! "  

I'd like to see a loan winger come in and if it is to be the lad form Rangers as widely reported then that'd be great.

Come On You Reds !

Monday 12 March 2012

We're All Doomed

It seems that after Saturday's game following the Addicks is resembling Dad's Army. You're either in the Corporal Jones, Don't Panic camp or Private Frazier's, We're all Doomed !

I'm in the don't panic camp. If the defeats we've suffered this season were evenly spread out then we'd all be in that one.

The seeds for the two home defeats were sown after the Bournemouth game. At Dean Court we looked a very tired team and were a tad fortunate to come away with all 3 points. It wasn't entirely unmerited but it should have served as a warning that some players needed resting and there was a need to make greater use of the squad.

That message was intensified on Tuesday albeit with a better performance. Sir Chris's reluctance to make changes has bitten us on the bum. I've commented before on our refusal to make substitutions when the game / situation is crying out for it. On Saturday we made just the one enforced change. At half time I'd have  made two changes. I know we got back into it and that we should have got a penalty that might have left us at 3-4 with about 30 minutes to go. However, who knows what a double sub might have achieved.

Sir Chris, post-match, hinted at a degree of complacency and he's right and one might argue that his refusal to alter the starting eleven has helped to foster that situation. For the County game at least, BWP should have given way to Haynes and even in the light of young Danny's injury, disruption would have been minimalised.

Stephens certainly shouldn't have been a recent ever present with Russell ( my preference for the last two games ) or Pritchard or Hughes deserving of an opportunity.

Our defence seemed so unsure as to whether to pass back to Hamer and the misunderstanding with Taylor was just awful. Having looked at the replay I feel that the keeper was slow to come and get that when Taylor was just waiting for him to come and get it.

A word or two on the ref. He was just awful and I'm not trying to pin our defeat on him ( if only ) just to say that he didn't help. If your serious about officiating, wishing to make a career out of it and one assumes with ambitions to progress then you don't turn out like that. He obviously passed all the relevant tests pre-season but is unlikely to pass Gregs now. I trust that he never refs another game for us.

I was very disappointed with those that left at half time. Hello ? This is Charlton, what do you expect ? I'd not leave if we were 4-0 down with 5 minutes to go. Maybe it's just me but I'd never want to miss anything and with a whole half to go you just never know !

Sir Chris has done such a fantastic job this season in almost every area both on and off the pitch. Aside from the obvious achievements, he's restored pride in the club for both players and fans. He's put players back in touch with the fans and kept their feet firmly on the ground. I'm sure he'll learn from the last few games, he's too intelligent not to.

A week's rest, Scunny playing tomorrow night, our boys playing better away from home are all things that point to us getting back on track on Saturday.


Friday 9 March 2012

One For Sorrow

The lovely Jenny Hanley

The mention of Magpies takes me back to my youth and ITV’s answer to Blue Peter. Magpie was always the poor relation to B P save for one aspect. For me, Jenny Hanley was well worth watching over Valerie Singleton, whatever Peter Purves might say !

I did see the lovely Jenny on HMS Belfast one day when she was doing a “ piece “ for Magpie. If only she spotted me and we could have had a Titanic moment a la Winslett and Dicaprio. Mind you I doubt that she’d have felt like doing that given I was a spotty youth and she was considerably older !

It’s the Magpies of the footballing variety that come calling to the Valley tomorrow. The Barcodes are the oldest club in the world of course.

Manager Keith Curle took over in mid-February and immediately oversaw 4 straight wins. The magic has obviously worn off now though as they only managed a draw at Tranmere on Tuesday night when they came up against another “ new “ manager in Ronnie Moore.

One person missing from the Magpies team will be that awfully nice chap Lee Hughes. He is serving his final suspension following a surprising red card. He’ll be spending the day giving a lecture on remorse.

Congratulations are in order to Sir Chris on his Manager of the Month award for February. This being his third of the season makes it a record breaking feat for Charlton managers.

One suspects that the Gaffer will stick with the same starting elven and probably bench although changes should be made. I felt on Tuesday that Haynes and Russell should come in for BWP and Stephens and I'm off the same opinion for tomorrow too.

Whatever the team we need to bounce back from Tuesday with a positive result if not performance. We’ve not suffered back to back losses in the league this season and that wouldn’t be welcome now.

Let’s hope we see a return to winning ways.

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Reversal Of Fortune

All change from Saturday

It was role reversal for the Addicks on Tuesday on a night when all luck of the good variety deserted them. We had a degree of that on Saturday when securing the 3 points on the south coast.

To compound a disappointing evening I seemed to encounter more than my fair share of motorway roadworks and accompanying cones on return to ANEM towers. I eventually got home at midnight having also survived a close encounter with a coach apparently being driven by some old boy with all the vision of the recent east stand lino. He nearly wiped me out but seemed oblivious to it.

I remarked after the Bournemouth game that we had defended well and that the Cherries had failed to take their chances and so it was with Colchester and us last night. We were very wasteful in front of goal, none more so than BWP who should have been subbed for Haynes on 60 minutes at least. It was quite clear it wasn't going to be our night and even less so BWP's.

On the hour mark Russell should also have come on for the largely ineffective Stephens. In fact, Haynes and Russell should have started. Sir Chris is too reluctant to make changes at times and his lateness in making what are fairly obvious changes is something of an achilles heel not to mention very frustrating.

Stephens hasn't been at his best of late and doesn't seem to play well consistently. In addition, last night's more physical challenge called for the input of Russell. Likewise, Haynes is fresher, a tad sharper and dare I say it, more likely to score than BWP at present. 

Ironically it was probably the best we've played for a while and all the stats, bar the most important one, bear testament to that. We dominated the game. The early goal, which one of some quality, allowed Colchester to set our their stall for the remainder of the game. The time-wasting, feigning injury etc was only to be expected. Of course the ref should have dealt with that and the cynical fouling but at the end of the day we shouldn't and wouldn't have lost had we converted our chances.

The second goal was pure farce and hopefully Hamer will get his act together and get rid a bit quicker in future. 

I thought at one stage that the imperious Solly was going to drag us back into the game single-handedly. One recalls a fine driving run and sumptuous pass to Skip on the edge of the area. Sadly, Jackson hit the wrong side of the bar with a thunderous drive.

I spent several moments in the first half playing spot the ballboy. Someone without telling me took that to a harder level as upon commencement of the second as it appeared they must have been in the warm enjoying a leisurely cola as their keeper wandered slowly over to the corner to retrieve the ball for a goal kick.

Fortunately, someone in the backroom staff realised something needed to be done and a gentleman came down and organised the lads into better positions with a word in their shell-like to move with greater alacrity should the ball go out of play. Sadly the same advice wasn't given to some of the boys on the pitch.

This was a rare game where Yann got little change out of the oppo, mind you neither did anyone else and yet we continued with an aerial route for most of the game. It was crying out for us to keep the ball on the floor but that message, like most of our attacks, wasn't getting through

In this record breaking season it is a shame that we won't end up unbeaten at home in the league and that would have been a truly remarkable achievement. Along with that went the stat that we had scored in all home league games. 

Hey ho ! One can't really complain given what's been achieved this season and if we give Notts County a good stuffing on Saturday it'll quickly be overlooked.

Onwards and upwards. Another game Saturday and one that'll present a different type of challenge, however, as always it's one that we're more than capable of overcoming.

Monday 5 March 2012


There is an alternative, he could have called himself David Charlton

Colchester make the short trip down the A12 on Tuesday and like so many other teams in the third tier it's unlikely to be very pretty. We probably need to make some changes and use the squad as Sir Chris often suggests he will. There were some very tired looking players at Dean Court on Saturday. Who can blame them. Just two or three need a rest and they can still be on the bench.

Russell, Haynes and perhaps Pritchard would be good to start. I doubt Sir Chris will make any changes but he should strongly be considering it. I'd like to see Haynes got a lot more than 20 minutes and certainly in his more favoured striker position.

It's to be hoped that Hamer is fit to play given that he's found a degree of consistency and confidence of late.

The results of others on Saturday not only enhanced our result but put some of our recent matches into perspective. Whilst we were disappointed with draws against Bury and Rochdale, at least we've not been guilty of throwing away two or three goals leads. At no stage this season have we done that and some of our  displays have demonstrated a strong will to win and to give nothing away. There's wonderful character and team spirit in this side.

We will need to dig deep again tomorrow night in another awkward game. It won't be pretty but a point or even better would be another big step in the right direction.

I see that on Sunday Pardew was spotted acting with all the usual grace and civility that one has grown accustomed to seeing from him. He truly is a bizarre person. Perhaps he felt intimidated by a manager who's achieved so much more than him. Pardew's biggest achievement to date, aside from screwing us over for every last penny, was to secure a ludicrously lengthy contract with current employers. Clearly a person with no sense of shame. I'm ashamed that he was ever our manager. Fortunately Sir Chris would never behave like that.

Let's hope we can do enough to claim another 3 points tomorrow.

Come On You Reds !


Sunday 4 March 2012

Getting Over The Line

It's a marathon not a sprint

Some may have doubted that the ball was over the line yesterday but it's indisputable that Charlton took another big step towards their goal of overcoming the most significant line, the one for automatic promotion. Unlike Italian runner, Pietri ( later sadly disqualified for being assisted ) above, we don't need any help. Whilst we may have been fortunate to come away with all 3 points, our defence stood up well to the task and it's up to the opposition to take their chances.

Superb support from a large Addicks contingent yesterday that got behind the boys and made some noise from the off. A poster had drawn my attention to our mascot yesterday and from what I saw it appeared that young Oliver enjoyed a fantastic day. He lapped up applause from the Charlton fans and it's to be hoped that he's one for the future and will extend the line of fine Addicks's keepers. 

In the first half it was immediately evident which team had played midweek and which hadn't. We were sluggish, off the pace, slow to close down and struggling to get a foothold in the match. As with most of our recent opponents, Bournemouth lacked a cutting edge. They did fashion a few chances but failed to take them in what must have been deja vu for the Cherries fans following a similar performance against the MK Dons the week before.

Stephens and Green in particular had little impact in the first period. Stephens upped his game in the second, getting further forward and in general made a more telling contribution. Sadly, Green went into his shell even more and hardly seemed to get a touch. Fortunately, he remained on the pitch to deliver his one decent corner of the day for Yann to head home. My vantage point in the East stand, dead in line with the goal line, allows me to confirm that the ball well and truly crossed the line.

We seemed to be shot-shy in the first 45 minutes. This improved in the second and Flahavan was called upon to make a couple of fine saves from rasping drives.

I was disappointed the Sir Chris didn't freshen things up earlier than he did. The first sub was an enforced one with Hamer having to leave to an ankle injury and one hopes he'll recover quickly form that. Young Ben has played with a greater degree of confidence of late and it'll be a shame if he has to miss some games now.

Our success this season has very much been built upon our solid defending and of course that was very much the case yesterday. Compare and contrast the two right backs and you'll see that the gulf in class was as evident as the one in stature. Solly was again immense and overlooking a couple of wayward passes early on didn't put a foot wrong. Francis, was well, Francis.................he's not been missed and it seems he's now lost the one asset he did have, an ability to deliver a decent cross. 

Many players are in the running for the player of the year trophy but I'm firmly favouring young Chris. He is ever improving and I'm more partial to our home grown players. He'll have do something quite bizarre not get my vote when it comes to the election.

Not far behind him would be the goalscorer, Yann.......what a man ! Another tireless display. All over the pitch, winning numerous headers and wonderful lay-offs to colleagues. There was a superbly chested ball in the first half to a team-mate, think it was Green, that was an absolute delight.

BWP, like many of his colleagues, didn't have his best game. It's hard and perhaps a tad unfair to be critical of our leading goalscorer but he can make his game so much better if he positioned himself a little closer to Yann on occasions. He doesn't appear to correctly calculate the pace on the ball and get himself to where he should be. On the flip side of all that our midfield lacks vision on occasions and from my position, high up in the stand yesterday, I could see him making positive early runs which our midfield boys mostly failed to spot. 

Both sets of fans warmed up for the panto season with the expected booing of Francis and Wiggins. Neither player seemed unduly surprised or concerned by this and both performed as expected I'm delighted to report !

Our record breaking 13th away win in this season that is sure to see a few more achieved before its finished. What a remarkable one it has been and continues to be. Best we make the most of it I feel !

Elsewhere some wonderful results affecting other teams at the top of the table. In particular, Simon Grayson has fitted right in at Huddersfield and they remain unbeaten during his reign. Are the Terriers about to embark on another record breaking run I wonder ? 

In the seemingly never ending round of twice weekly fixtures, Colchester United  are next up at the Valley. It's one we'd expect to win and one hopes we have the energy to go and get the result. Probably time to rest a couple of players if we are to do so.

Thursday 1 March 2012


Brownsea Island - home to the infamous scout camp

There were reportedly a few scouts at the b2net on Tuesday evening to watch our boys in action. Dib ! Dib ! Dib ! What were they thinking ? The Addicks travel to Bournemouth on Saturday, the closest ground to Brownsea Island the site of the famous scout camp. The fools ! They'd needed only to wait another 4 days to see our boys in action so close to home. I really don't know what Sir Chris's ancestor, Chief Scout, Baden Powell, would have made of that. I can't recall that there was a badge for common sense and now you know why.

I'm looking forward to Saturday although I acknowledge that it'll be a tough game. My excitement is not purely born out of the ticket and petrol being paid for by my lad. I always enjoy an away game and with the Addicks playing well it should be a delight. Sadly, I'll be driving so won't have the chance to taste the local ale, which I think is from the Boscombe brewery unless I'm mistaken.

I'm not relishing the prospect of a long drive there and back but hey ho I hope it'll be worth it.

I've been to Dean Court only once before and that was a pre-season friendly in about 1995 or 1996 I think. One of the trialists was Mark Kinsella and I was impressed. Sadly it took about another 6 to 8 weeks as I recall before we signed him from Tuesday's upcoming oppo, Colchester United.

I'm sure that Wiggins can expect some abuse from the home fans. They'll also see Hollands return but he doesn't seem to have upset them as much as Rhoys. Our friends re-united come in the shape of the Wardrobe ( Simon Francis - big but not very mobile ) and Anger Management (  Harry the hothead Arter )........some issues there methinks ! One can imagine these two having blinders as most of our ex-players seem to.

Baring injuries it's hard to imagine Sir Chris changing the starting eleven or indeed the bench. The one disappointment for me to date is Clarke. He isn't doing it at the moment and should be enjoying coming on when most of the oppo are tired and we're in the ascendancy. Perhaps he only flourishes in adversity as his record at basement club Chesterfield would seem to suggest. I'd like to see Haynes come on ahead of him as he looks much more the business.

Following Tuesdays' record equaling 12th away win of the season could it be lucky 13 for our lads ? Let's hope so and another two or three from BWP and perhaps one for the hardworking Yann would be most welcome.

The games are coming thick and fast at the moment. It's Colchester on Tuesday and Notts County the following Saturday. Talking of well, thick, I note that the delightful Lee Hughes picked up a straight red on Saturday and assuming a three match ban, means we might not have the pleasure, as Her Majesty once did, of entertaining him. What a shame. 

Here's to Saturday and hopefully 3 points to continue our push for promotion.

Come On You Reds !