Monday 23 April 2012

Champions !

Flying High ! Our Lord and Master........Sir Chris Powell

Lo it came to pass, the Messiah returned to S.E. 7 and it truly was Heaven.

What a fantastic day on Saturday and for once, it went according to the script if not, indeed, scriptures !

It had to be like that as senior ANEM reporter Clive, will not be at the Valley on May 5th and would have missed a chance to celebrate. Why won't he be there ? A good question and I'm glad you asked. Well you've only got yourself to blame if :-
a) your better half is booking your holiday
b) you're not really paying attention when she tells you the date

A + B = disaster ! Oh dear !

Never mind, as we know it doesn't matter as much now that the lads have done the necessary. I always felt we'd keep our part of the bargain in beating Wycombe and also felt that MK Dons would at least get a draw against the Blades. United were always going to struggle, not so much that Evans wasn't playing, more the circumstances that surrounded his omission and the impact that was and is going to have on the club as a whole. The ramifications of that may continue for some time to come.     

Anyway, I digress and we shouldn't fuss or bother over other clubs. What Sir Chris and the team and the whole club has achieved has been absolutely fantastic. This is a season that will live long in the memory. Many records have been broken and may be one more too that would be nice but I won't worry too much if we don't.

Saturday was pretty perfect and the weather too, played its part. A few leisurely beers in the Liberal club before the game helped put us in the party mood and we weren't to be let down.

I could review some player performances with some negative thoughts on a couple of the lads but it seems rather churlish. I will just say how immense Yann was yet again. I, like most others it appears, have cast my player of the year vote for Chris Solly. This was based on his consistent, excellent performances. Allied to that is his gritty determination and no little amount of skill. Solly being home grown had a lot to do with it too.

Many players in any other year would have won player of the year and Yann almost certainly would. I can't imagine where we would have been without him. His has truly been outstanding. He runs his socks off, his heading and first touch are second to none and he takes a mean free kick. There you go and I've not even mentioned the never say die approach of probably the league's most fouled man !

As we seek to build for next season Yann is a player we most definitely need to keep. We'll do well to keep the wolves ( could be the club too ! ) from the door for a number of players. We also live in fear that someone might try and tempt Sir Chris away of course.

The foundations for our success has been laid in our defence and that was acknowledged with 3 of our back 5 in the PFA's League One team. Given what's happened why a certain Blades player was included beggars belief. That aside it was good to see Skip included......we all know how valuable he is to our team.

Post match and all the celebrations, and yes, a few more tears, it was back to the Liberal Club. The place was rocking to We Are The Champions. After a swift beer it was off to Greenwich. We went to the Spanish Galleon, a Shepherd Neame pub and so a few Spitfires were in order. The pub has an in house chip shop too, Ketts would have been in his element ! We didn't eat there but it looked very nice fayre. Plans are in place to visit Greenwich again after the Hartlepool game. 

Docklands light railway sped us onto London Euston via Bank. Back in Milton Keynes a visit to our favourite curry house completed a rather special day.

What a day, what a season and it's not finished yet ! There's so much to reflect on and I feel that may need to be done at a later date. Suffice to say we finally again have a manager and team to be proud of.

Thank you ! 

Friday 20 April 2012

Are We There Yet ?

Hopefully we will secure the title tomorrow and will be helped if the referee's a homer

Three to go then and all being well and right with the world then we'll wrap up the title following last week's promotion. We really ought to keep our part of the bargain and MK Dons have every incentive to at least stop the Blades from winning. It shouldn't be overlooked that the 12 good men and true may also have some say in events.

Sadly, no Doherty for the Chairboys ( wouldn't have minded see him lumbering round the Valley turf one last time ! ) despite the moaning from Ben Strevens et al. No good doing that, it was, as is customary, part of the loan deal. If they get relegated at the end of the season then it won't be on the strength of tomorrow's result alone will it ? I've no real wish to see Wycombe go down and have nothing against BBC's Bill whatshisface who supports them, this is just how it is and I want to see my boys complete the job on Saturday.

It'll be good to see Grant Basey playing at the Valley again, I bet there was a time when he thought might never happen again. I don't believe that Wycombe are bringing that many tomorrow despite their proximity to SE7 or the importance of the game to them.

One assumes the same starting eleven and bench as per last week barring injuries and illness. With the pressure of promotion off the lads ti'd be nice to see them go out and put on a polished performance, scoring many in a free flowing display of quality football. They couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to do so.

I know we're getting greedy now but hopefully with the title in the bag come 5.55pm or whenever the game finally completes then it'd be great to go on and beat Fulham's record league one tally of points.......think it's 101.

My wishes for tomorrow clearly outlined then with just one more if I can.............please God, can player of the year Solly score ? I don't care how, a Sir Chris special off the knee will suit me fine, it'll just complete a rather special season !

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 15 April 2012

One Small Step For Yann, One Giant Leap For Our Club

I was going to make a joke about a wooden step in the corner of a field that doesn't belong to me but that's not my stile.........

I'm typing this quietly as I know there'll be a few sore heads today that won't appreciate a lot of noise.

There have been a few times when Charlton Athletic has made me shed a tear or two, yesterday was one such occasion. What ultimately made me do that was seeing our fans stream on the Brunton Park pitch. It happened again when I heard and saw Sir Chris give his interviews. This is what football is about, not so much the success, God knows we're aware of that ! No, it's the emotions, memories, passion that your club can evoke. 

Other occasions include the return to The Valley, the play-off final and our first relegation from the Prem. I wasn't so upset the second time for some reason, probably because it was a long time in coming, similarly with for our following descent into the third tier.

Sir Chris paraphrased Neil Armstrong in it being one small step for our club but a giant leap forward, he is so right. Everything he said and did after the game was typical Chris Powell..........pure class and you find yourself agreeing with every word. He even summed up my feelings by referring to how the fans who were not there would be feeling....what a man. Just when you think you couldn't love him any more than you do already !!

Mr Powell took his time to shake the hand of Greg Abbott and the other Carlisle staff before going on to celebrate. He really knows how to conduct himself and sets such a great example........I wonder if Mr Megson was watching ?

Yesterday was just reward especially for all those who made the long trip up to Carlisle and had invested in a train ticket or made plans to be there some time ago. Well done to you all.......I'm very jealous and like many others wished I'd been there too of course.

For the second away game running I followed events on twitter and think I will continue to do so as it again resulted in a win. That victory at Oldham was a vital one and its significance isn't lost on any Addicks fan I'm sure. A number of folk had long predicted promotion at Carlisle and how right they were. Something had to give with one of the Sheffields and it did so at Colchester yesterday.

I've only seen the customary brief highlights from the football league show and know little of the game but suffice to say we scored, they didn't and the Owls could only draw. The rock and indeed foundation that is our defence again stood firm and another clean sheet.

What a truly magnificent season this has been and I doubt any of us has seen the like. So many away wins, so few defeats, so many clean could be a long time, if ever, before we witness that again !

To clinch promotion this early means that the club can start making plans for next season's's never too soon ! We can all relax a bit although there's a league title to be secured first of course. We really need to do that. Again this could be completed at home next Saturday and how marvelous that would be.

Sir Chris has been superb in galvanising the whole club, not just the playing staff and his team ethos has worked wonders. We were already proud to support such a great club but he has enhanced that.

My brother went to watch Leicester City a couple of seasons ago with his Foxes supporting mate. Wearing his Charlton hat my brother passed Sir Chris, " you're in the wrong place " quipped Sir Chris........." no, I think you are ! " replied my brother.

Well, thankfully Sir Chris is now very much in the right place and long may it continue !

Saturday 14 April 2012

Yippee !

Sometimes a blog just writes itself !!!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Happy Days

Carlisle - the home of Ken Dodd

Those Addicks travelling up to Carlisle will, of course, be happy as the team is top of the league. This is increased not only by our current position and the recent history of promotion success associated with Brunton Park but that Carlisle has just been voted the happiest place to live in England.

However, given this week's news of injuries to two of their players allied to a recent dip in form, the natives level of happiness will no doubt have dropped down a notch or two. Sadly for the Blues top scorer Lee Miller ( 14 league goals 2011-12 ) and Chris Chantler have both been ruled out for the season. As a result some United fans have written off the club's play-off chances. I'm sure the rest of the squad and manager, Greg Abbott won't have done.

Carlisle is the birthplace of the custard cream but it's a ginger nut in the form of Jordan Cook who'll pose the biggest threat on Saturday. Cook is on loan from Sunderland and has been their most impressive player in recent weeks.

I fully expect Carlisle to be up for it as one can't imagine they'll give up now having come so close. Not only that the other clubs around them still face some tough fixtures.

They have some experienced players on their books in the shape of Tony Caig ( remember him ), Graham Kavanagh and JP McGovern. Mind you they are mostly used in a coaching capacity these days but Kavanagh or JP may be called into service at some stage.

We have of course beaten United twice this season with a comfortable 4-0 in the league and an equally untroubled 2-0 win in the FA Cup with a weakened side that saw Jason Euell score probably his last ever goal for us. The league fixture saw goalkeeper Collin gift us the fourth goal.......a repeat of that at the weekend would be most welcome.

That counts for nothing on Saturday of course and we'll need to be at our best to overcome a decent side for whom Abbott has worked wonders in my view. A win would be great of course especially given how nervy our boys have been at home of late but a draw would be fine by me.

As ever one can't see Sir Chris making many changes. He may opt to bring back Wagstaff for N'Guessan and leave the rest of the side as it was against Walsall. I'd bring back Green if fit and have N'Guessan start ahead of BWP. In addition, I'd have Cook on the left with Hughes replacing Stephens to partner Jackson in midfield. 

Please, please, please can we have a decent ref ? God knows we're long overdue one. There must be one somewhere. What ever happened to Jurnal Singh ? He was one of my favourites as we always seemed to do well when he officiated our games. 

Good luck to all those Addicks making the very long trip up there. Let's hope the lads get the three points, play well and send you all home.............happy !

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Come On You Reds !

The successful Solly, wearing red of course

Premier League

1st. Manchester United


1st. Southampton

League One

1st. Charlton Athletic

League Two

1st. Swindon Town

We've always known it of course..............successful teams wear red.

Come On You Reds !

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Hard Slog

Players leaving the boundary Park pitch on Saturday

Obviously Saturday's vital win took a lot out of our boys. Sadly we never really got going yesterday against a side we'd realistically expect to turn over quite comfortably. However, they have proved hard to beat of late and as I said, Saturday was a draining experience.

Although the three members of the ANEM team left feeling a bit deflated after the game, I guess the saying that the result is everything is what we must hold on to. Nerves, as well as physical and mental fatigue are no doubt playing their part.

Yann was his usual self and was full of running whilst getting hacked on a frequent basis. Player of the year, Solly, again turned in a polished performance and dealt with whatever came his way. In fact, the defence as a whole was its usual efficient self and one couldn't really see Walsall scoring.

I believe that Stephens had a good game on Saturday, however, he was largely anonymous yesterday and for me isn't deserving of his place at present. Pritchard continues to impress seemingly to have more time on the ball than most. He is calm, rarely panics and makes good, simple use of the ball.

BWP had another poor game for me. No excuse of tiredness for him. He had two or three poor attempts at goal. In addition, he also seems to be caught offside all too often. He needs to work on that and generally work harder if things aren't going for him. At present N'Guessan should start ahead of him as Yann's strike partner.

The midfield remains the one problem area in the team. It shouldn't be with the players we have now. Jackson should partner Hollands ( when not suspended ) or Hughes or Pritchard in midfield with Cook left and Green / Wagstaff on the right. It appears clear to me so why we don't see it I don't know.

I was again frustrated by the use of the subs yesterday. BWP for the second home game running should have come off a lot earlier leaving Haynes to attack a tiring defence. Stephens should have been replaced by Hughes too. Sir Chris needs to appreciate and learn that as I feel we've got away with our poor employment of the subs.

I shouldn't moan really as we are in a position that all other League One teams would love to be in. It's just that we can make life so much easier for ourselves and we do need to look to next season when, if we do go up, the oppo won't be so forgiving.

Carlisle's recent faltering hasn't helped us in my view. I had hoped that they would have cemented their play-off spot by now. We travel up there next Saturday in the hope that we can keep them quiet and that nerves will get the better of them. We have played better away from home this season so let's hope another good display will bring home the 3 points. 

In reality 4 points from the remaining 4 games should be enough see us promoted automatically. I'd love it if we could seal that at home to Wycombe. I can't see either of the Sheffields losing any time soon so the title will have to wait a while longer.

The ideal scenario is promotion secured at home to Wycombe, the title away to Preston, leaving the final game at home to Hartlepool for a big celebration. However, this is Charlton Athletic F C............ !!!


Sunday 8 April 2012

That's Champion !

Trevor Kettle, as always making blood rather than water boil

For the third consecutive Saturday the Addicks were presented with another incompetent official. Looking at the number of cards dished out you'd assume it was a dirty game with players at each other's throats all afternoon. Look at the highlights and listen to the views of all those present and you'll soon realise that this was far from the case.

The dismissal of Wagstaff was probably the icing on the cake. One wishes he did show more aggression so when I heard he'd gone too it only served to confirm what I was reading. 

Appropriately, for the first time, I followed the game via Twitter. It was with great trepidation that I clicked on the latest tweet as each time I was fearing another booking or dismissal. There were only two that gave me any joy.........Yann's goal and the final whistle.

Surely someone should be reviewing the performance of these officials. I read early on how bad the pitch was and yet Kettle didn't seem to take that into account. Nor did he consider that it wasn't a dirty game. All he did was ruin it as a spectacle for the paying public.

Fortunately the lads put in a Champions performance and came away with the 3 points. Possibly the most important 3 points of the season. This will enhance self-belief and is a major step forward as we seek to get over the line.

We all love Sir Chris of course and his post match interviews were both emotional and dignified. No over the top ranting about Kettle but wholesome, sincere praise of " my players " and " my club ". What class, what passion, what a man !

With both the Sheffields winning this was a vital win. Victory over the Saddlers tomorrow would be another massive step towards promotion. Again it really is another must win game as Carlisle will prove to be a very tough fixture.

Walsall are battling against relegation and come to the Valley in fine form. It won't be easy. They've lost only once in their last 12 games to put themselves 4 points above the relegation zone. In Emmanuel Ledesma they possess a real goal scoring threat from midfield. The talented Argentinian bagged a brace yesterday against Chesterfield.

 I don't believe that the recent display of red cards will hurt us that much. If anything it will help force Sir Chris's hand in making the changes that he's been reluctant to make on occasion. 

Hopefully Green will be fit enough to come in and play on the right, a change I'd have made anyway. Hollands should have been rested yesterday in my view and now of course will miss the next three matches. If Skip is fit to return then he can play in central midfield alongside Hughes or Pritchard. 

I'm N'Guessan ( ho ! ho ! ) that BWP will return in place of Dany up front. I say that only because that's what I believe Sir Chris will do. If so, let's hope that Bradley is truly up for it. He always carries a goal threat but on occasion doesn't work hard enough for me. 

It would be good if Haynes is fit to return to the bench as I like the look of him and his pace will always be a threat. 

A win tomorrow would really make it a happy Easter. Let's hope the lads can deliver that before we see out the season with the remaining games mercifully being on Saturdays.

One final wish for tomorrow..........please can the powers that be find us 3 competent officials, surely there must be some.

Come On You Reds !


Thursday 5 April 2012

Boundary Dispute

Oldham Athletic Club Badge

Sir Patrick Moore

The drought has meant I've had to cancel my plans for colonic irrigation this weekend.....damn ! Looks like I'm not the only one disappointed as the owl and Paddy look like they could use a bit of that too.

Oop north again on Saturday then as The Addicks head into the final six games. We are saddled ( geddit ? ) with two games in three days as we face Walsall on Easter Monday. Oldham don't score many but have proved hard to beat at home. However, we really ought to win this game for the same reasons that I felt we'd overcome The O's relatively easily last Saturday. Oldham played in midweek and are not a great side despite having the erudite Dickov for a manager !

The Latics occupy 14th place in the table but do have cause for concern that they may get dragged into the relegation dogfight especially in light of their recent form. They will be battling hard for a win I've no doubt. Looks like they'll have to do that without Taylor who got injured on Tuesday. 

As for us I guess we'll see an unchanged starting eleven and probably bench too. If it were down to me I'd bring in Jackson, if fit, to play in central midfield alongside Hughes whilst dropping Hollands and Stephens. Hollands purely for the rest and Stephens because he's been poor for some time now.

For me Cook and Green or Wagstaff as the wide men. The defence remains the same. I'd have N'Guessan starting ahead of BWP. However, as I said that's me not Sir Chris and I think he'll retain the same players. 

I do hope he doesn't do that and in addition, makes better use of the subs. I keep banging on about that but sadly it doesn't seem to change. Someone does need to have a word in his shell-like. 

With Huddersfield winning in midweek it's getting very tight behind us, however, that won't matter at all as long as we keep on winning. Two wins over these next two games will go a long way to not only securing promotion but also the title.

Congratulations to Sir Tom Finney whose 90th birthday is being celebrated at Preston on Saturday. Well done to him on reaching the full ninety........let's hope there's plenty of time added on.

Well done too to all those Addicks making the long trip to Oldham. I hope you're rewarded firstly with the 3 points and secondly a good performance from our boys.

Come On You Reds !

Tuesday 3 April 2012

1984 ?

I believe the tache is meant to be more Hitler than Chaplin

Well, at least now I know I have one regular reader as some poor sap in GCHQ is forced to read this just to ensure I'm not planning to put a whoopee cushion under Her Majesty or anything. They'll be monitoring for subliminal messages so I need to be careful. No mention of our aerial threat, Morrison launching the ball into the box or Green bombing down the wing.

Saturday saw a return to winning ways and in the early stages also the positive, attacking play that was the hallmark of our early season play. I thought we were going to go goal crazy but sadly the imbecile of a referee put paid to that. 

I'm not sure about BWP's penalty appeal and saw nothing wrong with Cort's " goal ". In both cases though if he felt he was correct then Brown should have booked both, surely ? The bloke seemed to love it, the worse he got the more he seemed to be enjoying himself. You can be sure he was bullied as a child.

An early goal from Wagstaff settled everyone down although a second was always going to be necessary as the anticipated avalanche of goals just didn't happen. Orient kept plugging away largely without success but Spring was always threatening to create something via his intelligent and thoughtful passing. 

Lisbie and Mooney, in particular, had games to forget. Mooney seemed out to prove a point and did so in confirming our thoughts about him........he hasn't been missed.

Yann was his typical industrious self but not as effective as usual in large part due to the close attention he received from a surprisingly at times physical Orient. With little to no protection from referee Brown this was no surprise.

The bits in between the goals were largely forgettable aside from both keepers making a couple of good saves. Rachubka made a double save with one effort from Cook who according to the BBC highlights was impersonating Solly.......really, some people will do anything to receive the player of the year award !

Late sub N'Gueussan duly dispatched Cook's quality cross to put the game beyond any doubt and to send us all home happy.

It's interesting to read various views on Cook and Wagstaff. I do believe that different standards are applied when reviewing their performances. I thought Cook did well and had a pretty good game delivering some good crosses not least for the second goal of course. Wagstaff did okay.......for him. And there's the nub of the Wagstaff's standards. He ran a lot as always, got into a good position to score an easy goal and credit where it's due, he was there to put it away. I suspect that there's a greater weight of expectation for Cook.

I still prefer Green on the right, whilst not great and he does lack consistency, Danny is the better, more attack minded player with the ability to produce a good cross on most occasions. He also carries a threat from set pieces. 

Stephens wasn't very good again and often got in Hollands' way. Danny himself looked tired and probably needs a rest. If Skip is fit, then why not play him in his best position which is central midfield alongside Hughes or Pritchard with Cook on the left and Wagstaff or Green on the right. That gives the midfield a much improved look about it.

I remain frustrated by Sir Chris's use of the subs. BWP should have come off after at best 60 minutes. Our leading goal scoring didn't look up for it as he often does on occasions and you know it's not going to be his day. N'Guessan is clearly a good striker, will cause problems and in my view deserves a start on Saturday......I know he won't get it though.

Sir Chris was, I hope, watching Man Utd last night and he would have seen a positive and timely use of the subs from Sir Alex. 

Sir Chris is like Curbs was in the early Prem days and is remaining too loyal to some members of the team. It's not necessarily a case of dropping one or two so much giving them a rest as I suggest with Hollands.

Saturday's opponents, Oldham are playing tonight and the odd suspension or two for them would be most welcome. Again you'd like to think that they'll be a little jaded from that thus making our task a little easier come the weekend.

Six to go then and we really ought to be able to garner sufficient points from the remaining games to not only get automatic promotion but secure the title too. I think we'll all be disappointed if that doesn't happen after being top dog for so long.