Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy New Year !

Personally, I'm glad to be saying goodbye to 2013, it's not been a great year.

Hopefully, 2014 will see an upturn in the fortunes of the club at least although as I type, that seems increasingly less likely. Who knows ? There have been so many false dawns perhaps one of them will transform into reality.

Thank you for stopping by over the year and taking time to read my stuff. Even bigger thanks if you've taken time out to post a comment ( Boro and Leeds fans excepted ! ). Thankfully we don't all see things the same way otherwise there'd be little to discuss and comment on.

One thing we can all agree on the common love of our great club that for most of us is in our blood and has passed through the generations. For all its faults, Charlton Athletic Football Club continues to bring friends and families alike together. For the most part it has some decent, honourable and remarkable associated with it. It's a club to be proud of !

Thanks as always to Ketts for hosting me on Doctor Kish. Thanks too, to the East Stand posse for our half time chats.

My gratitude to others who blog. We are fortunate to have a variety of quality blogs each giving varying views on the goings on in SE7.

Enjoy yourselves tonight whatever you are doing. I've got some Landlord to enjoy later.

Any kind of result for our boys tomorrow will be a good end to the festive period and start to 2014.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 15 December 2013

Copy and Paste

I could do the old C & P and save myself some time. As others have said, we didn't want for effort or commitment yesterday and certainly deserved something from the game against a surprisingly poor Derby side.

In all honesty, we never stood a chance with the way we were set up. Sordell must have given up wondering what he has to do to get a start. If we were going to start 4-4-1-1 then he'd ( and few others come to that ) would have been a good bet to play in the hole. He didn't of course and got the customary 5 minutes at the end as part of a 3 man attack.

Yet again Stewart was forced to play on the left whilst a less effective right winger, Green, was selected for that berth. I simply fail to understand that. As I've said, ad infinitum, you must play your best players in their best position. Stewart would get a place in the vast majority of championship sides but doesn't get to play in his proper place.

Given the recent amount of games played in the last 3 weeks or so you'd have thought the squad might have been used to better effect but despite that and the poor results it's been pretty samey. Pritchard hasn't even been on the bench of late and suddenly gets a start and in THAT position !

We should have taken a positive approach and gone 4-4-2 with Harriott on the left and Stewart on the right. I don't say that with the benefit of hindsight either.

Even having started how we did the changes should and could have been made. I'd have done that after 30 minutes or half time even.........sadly it didn't happen.

Our target man, Yann, was often to be seen defending deep into out half and on occasion winning the ball in out own area. How were we going to counter attack with him so deep ?

The ref was awful and we didn't get any luck and the major decisions went against us but as I said we didn't stand a chance the way we set up.

Sir Chris has to learn from all this. I appreciate that we don't have the prospect of any fresh blood but we do have in our squad players capable of achieving a result. However, to do so we must use them to good effect.

Our options are further limited next week as Sordell isn't eligible but even if he were, he'd only get 5 minutes at best eh ?

We can't feel sorry for ourselves, we must keep soldiering on as hard as that may seem.

Come On You Reds !


Thursday 12 December 2013

Ram Raid ?

Sir Chris in his Derby days

Given the way things have gone for our beloved club in the last few weeks it is entirely in keeping with recent events that the fixture computer threw up Derby as our next opponents. They are in a fine run of form in total contrast to ourselves. We would appear to be lambs to the slaughter.

Still there's no point in bleating about it and it's certainly no time to be sheepish. Father Powell needs to look after his flock and even though they walk through the darkest Valley, they will fear no evil.

In keeping with the biblical references, Jiminez and Slater have been seeking false " profits " in apparently asking what appears to be too high a price for our club. 

It all points to Saturday and the Rams compounding our misery. Their fortunes have been on the up since McLaren took over. Despite most people's memory of McLaren being that of a failed England manager ( and let's face it he should never have been given the job ), the brolly and the laughable Dutch accent, he is a top class coach. Since his departure from the England job he has gained further club success and knowledge whilst mostly working abroad. He is one of the top English club managers, make no mistake about that.

Skip is out and so Chris Powell has to decide who should come in to replace him. Of late the only place you could see Bradley Pritchard in December is on the calendar in my kitchen. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a Lazarus ( of Bethany not Paul the ex-Addick ) like recovery.

My preference is for Harriott to return on the left. I fear we may see Green return on the right with Stewart playing on the left again. Stewart should play on the right despite his stunning strike last week. All credit to Alnwick for the assist. He seems to further cement his place in the with each passing game. Hamer really does face a tough task to get back in. 

I assume that Chris Solly will be returned to a starting berth at right back. 

I've given up hope of seeing Sordell start up front with Yann. It will of course be Church and Yann starting. 

Whatever happens on Saturday, I hope that we are positive and use the subs wisely. I trust that if we are ahead we use all our nous to ensure that we hold on to what we have and see ourselves over the line. It's a tough ask but we must all get behind the team, get a long overdue bit of luck, give them support and then perhaps our prayers will be answered. Amen to that eh ?

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 1 December 2013

Any Answers ?

Answers Please !

In some quarters Tuesday's win was greeted with some over-hype of the performance. Let's be honest Donny were very poor and whilst we played quite well, it wasn't anything to get carried away with. However, some did...........Ipswich were always going to be a tough nut to crack.

Our sluggish start was in stark contrast to Town's frenetic approach and appropriately, rabbits in headlights springs to mind. It was clear that it was only a matter of time before they'd score.

At least going behind galvanised us into action and some sort of response. Sadly that came to mean the old approach of banging long balls up front. I thought Yann would need a neck-brace at half time given he spent the first 45 minutes straining to head the ball every couple of minutes.

Alnwick had already shown his pedigree with three or four splendid saves prior to us going behind. His distribution and communication were again first class. Ben distributes the ball quickly and accurately and looks a very tidy keeper. Hamer may struggle to get back in on the first two viewings of Alnwick.

The referee yesterday did nothing to help our cause and has seemingly never heard of " advantage " as he wasted many opportunities to play it, never did and in each case it worked against us. I wasn't impressed.

Clearly Sir Chris had words at half time as a more determined approach was evident. However, we never really troubled Town. When we did create something we didn't have players in the box to take advantage.

Now then, to the answers required....................on Tuesday when cruising to victory and faced with a busy schedule why didn't we get Sordell on for a decent run out ( preferably partnering Yann ) ? Why didn't Harriott get on and give Jackson a rest ? This would have given us a chance to prepare for a possible formation against yesterday's opponents.

Answers required from yesterday....................having said that Skip was never going to play on the left again, why was he doing just that ? Got away with it against Rovers but not yesterday. Skip's preference to come inside gave us no width.

Why wasn't Harriott not even on the bench ? I'm not aware of an injury. I'd have started him in place of Skip.

Why did we throw Pigott and Green on ? 1. Pigott hasn't Sordell's experience and is very samey as Church. 2. Green came on and played on the right forcing our best right sided midfielder, Stewart, to move across to the left ! I've never been a fan of playing your better players out of position and it was clear from Tuesday that Stewart is much better on the right. 3. Sordell offers something different aside from Joe getting on before him was a slap in the face. 4. In the absence of Harriott why not get Evina on and play him wide left ? 

Sordell came on with @ 5 minutes to go to play as part of 3 up front.......what was he expected to do ? I can't imagine that was practised on the training ground beforehand ! I'm as aware as anyone that Marvin's not pulling up any trees but he deserves more of a chance, he's not going to get any better by getting the odd few minutes and when he does get on we're nearly always chasing a lost cause. That's why some decent time on Tuesday would have helped.

I ask these questions because it seems that many aren't. I love Sir Chris and let me be clear that I've always wanted him as our manager and want him to stay as I think, long term he'll be great. However, I'm confused by some of the selections, approach and use of subs by the management team.

I don't think we always give ourselves the best chance to get something from games on occasions. 

We now face two tough away games that were made harder in light of results on Friday evening and yesterday. The latter of which no one saw coming !

We really need Sir Chris to make the best of his powers of motivation to get something in the week ahead.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Tractor Boys

Myopic Mick.

The good folk of Suffolk come calling on Saturday lured by the bright lights of the metropolis and the appeal of S.E.7 itself of course. 

Present manager, Mick McCarthy, has been in charge for just over a year. Last term he took the team from bottom of the league upto a comfortable 14th place by the end of the campaign. Being ex-Millwall he is unlikely to get a warm welcome on Saturday. That's not just because of that association of course. Most Addicks will recall McCarthy's apparent inability to witness Pat Van Den Hauwe's forearm smash on Shaun Newton when Mick was Millwall boss. Let's hope that McCarthy is afforded a good viewing position at the weekend we wouldn't want him missing anything else would we ?

Ipswich have a rich and varied history. They have won the Texaco Cup, UEFA Cup and FA Cup. In addition they were of course Champions of the old first division in 1961-62. That was under the guidance of Sir Alf Ramsey. Another famous England manager, Sir Bobby Robson, followed in his footsteps many years later.

Sir Alex Ferguson's cousin, the lesser known Massey Ferguson, had a brief almost unnoticed spell in charge in the mid-1980's. 

In more recent times Ipswich have been outside the top flight for even longer than us. One recalls our famous play-off semi-final win over them especially the home leg that saw a screamer from the aforementioned Mr Newton as I recall.

My first visit to Portman Road was in 1981 for a cup game when we were 3rd division and they were 1st division. We lost but put up a good fight. I believe Les Berry picked up a broken nose in the cause. It was a good day out as I recall.

Back to the present day and Ipswich are in a run of indifferent form having garnered 7 points from a possible 21 that includes a few draws. However indifferent their form may be we can be sure that they will pose a far greater threat than Donny Rovers on Tuesday.

Today they have brought in Jordan Graham, a winger, from Aston Villa. It seems he may feature at some stage on Saturday. One time Charlton target Wordsworth may be on the bench. In addition, former loan player during our league one days, Frank Nouble, is amongst the ranks.

It's hard to see any changes in our starting eleven as it appears Hamer is unlikely to be fit. Of course, there's no chance of seeing Solly which is a shame as Wilson had a bit of a stinker in midweek albeit that is something of a rarity given that he has been quite consistent. Pope will be on the bench of course having returned from York.

Alnwick acquitted himself  well on Tuesday and I'm looking forward to seeing him again. 

A win on Saturday would put us level on points with our opponents and that would be great. A draw wouldn't be bad either. 

Let's hope it's a good game and that we can produce the rarity of two home wins in a 5 days, quite unusual for this season.

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Charlton Athletic 2 v Doncaster Rovers 0 ( 3-3 on Agg. ).......

although the Addicks get the 3 points due in large part to Dale's thunderbolt !
What a night ! Train delays held up many fans and some were too late to witness Dale's great strike and some missed the game altogether.

It was an odd evening all round. Season ticket holders were required to use Voucher A for a league game thus giving rise to the possibilty of reaching unchartered waters with the potential need to use Voucher B for a cup game..........well, I never did !

This was a comfortable win for the Addicks who took full advantage of the re-arranged game. In truth we should have won about 7 or 8-0 but some bad luck allied to truly awful and on occasions, hilarious misses meant it wasn't to be.

Sadly my desire to see Yann and Marvin start up front went unfulfiled although Yann and Simon did ok. Church should have scored within the first three minutes as he almost repeated Long's first goal for Albion from the previous evening. Having shown sublime skill in controlling the ball he contrived to steer his shot wide.

Yann hit the inside of the post and it looked like being on of those evenings until Stephens stepped up with his wodenrful volley.

Stewart, who looked a damn sight happier and better on the right had a good night and was unlucky to see a great effort crash back off the bar. I like Stewart and would do so even more if he does away with the standing still with the ball at his feet.......too much of that for me, play on sir !

Alnwick was calm and assured in goal and made one wonderful save in the second half aside from which he wasn't really tested. Clearly he prefers to kick the ball off the floor and his throwing the ball out to do so was reminscent of Weaver. Rest assured that's where the similiarity ends !

The win was much needed and has given us some breathing space. How good the performance was against a very poor Rovers side will be made clearer after Saturday's game. The Tractor Boys will provide a much sterner test of course. With the upcoming games I wonder if Sir Chris will be tempted to rest a couple.............we'll see.

Finally, a special mention to BDL ( for I assume it was he ) for the players leaving the pitch to " Why Does It Always Rain On Me "............nice touch !

Monday 25 November 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different...


News broke last week of a reunion for the members of the Python team. I'm sure it will be good with some classic material updated slightly and perhaps some new stuff. I'm sure it'll cost an arm and a leg to see and will no doubt earn them all a fair amount of dosh. Once they've finished at the O2 perhaps they could make the short trip to S.E.7 and donate some to the worthy cause that is CAFC ! Nudge ! Nudge ! Say No More !

Following the expected defeat at QPR where we proved again to be pretty toothless it's time for us to try something completely different. With our French hero seemingly back to full fitness it's time for a fresh approach. It's time to start with Yann and Sordell up front. I think they offer our best option for a striking partnership. Sadly it's not been tried from the start of a game ( as far as I recall ), I know not why but now is as good a time as any. Sordell's spent too time on the sidelines in the comfy chair.....not the comfy chair !

Sordell came with a good reputation and I don't recall too many Addicks expressing displeasure at his arrival. He has been low on confidence but I feel he's not really been given a chance which adds to frustration and players can become over anxious feeling desperate to do something in the short time they have available. I'm not saying he's the messiah ( in fact his mum says he's a very naughty boy ) but give him a go.

I believe these two would compliment each other and unless we give it a go we'll never know ! For me Church, whilst a good player who works hard, is too similar to Yann. Sordell offers more creativity and pace that ought to blend well in Kermogant's buccaneering approach. 

Donny Rovers return tomorrow evening following the downpour of biblical proportions that saw the first attempt belatedly postponed. We find ourselves in need of a win to ease some nerves as we continue a difficult and packed couple of weeks with Ipswich at home on Saturday followed by away trips to Reading and Yeovil  the week after.

Speaking of Yeovil, Rovers won away last Friday and you'd be entitled to think " What have the Glovers ever done for us ? ". Well not a lot last Friday sadly. The game did see Dean Furman sent off and the midfielder will be missing on Tuesday evening. The recently returned Frederico Macheda has just come back from injury and has now signed on loan until the end of December. He will pose a big threat.

We need to approach this game positively and hopefully Stewart, at least, will start in his preferred position. It may be time to welease Wichard as Wood may return if Sir Chris decides to give Dervitte a rest. 

However we line up this is a must win ( just one wafer thin win will do ) and it's no time for shrinking violets. Defeat would lead to the inevitable inquisition and nobody expects that.........

Come On You Reds !  

Sunday 10 November 2013

The C Word....

Cynical of course..........

It was the word on the lips of the vast majority of Addicks as they belatedly left The Valley yesterday. One might add to that another C word..........cheating of course, what were you thinking ?

It seems that Dirty Leeds haven't changed and the ethos instilled by Revie in the 70's is serving as a lasting legacy intrinsically linked with them.  Perhaps it's in the manager's job description, a need to perpetuate that approach to win a game of football. Michael Brown was the epitome of everything that was to despise about United yesterday. Sadly the vastly incompetent referee, Keith Stroud, simply lapped it all up. Stroud and Leeds were a deadly combination and we stood little chance as a result.

The gesticulating Stroud, a useless t**t

No one minds losing to a team that has outplayed you, played decent football in an appropriate manner, sadly none of this can be said about Leeds on Saturday.

Brian McDermott has more hair than I have respect for him.

I was a fan of McDermott but not now. Anyone who seemingly condones, encourages and endorses that approach to the beautiful game deserves nothing but scorn. Shame on you !

I was pleased to see both Harriott and Stewart start but not so pleased to them playing on their unnatural sides. I fully understand the idea of cutting inside onto their favoured foot but Stewart's crossing in the first half suffered as a result. The penalty might not have been conceded had it been Stewart trying to make the tackle as opposed to the left footed Callum. They did swap briefly to their more correct positions ( with Stewart scoring in that time note ) but like the ref, it was all too short.

We didn't deserve to lose this game but to an extent we were masters of our own downfall. Ben Hamer had a very poor game. I know all about the recent clean sheets ( my mate does his laundry ) and he's undoubtedly played a part in those. However, his distribution was awful yesterday. In addition, he should have claimed the ball before the third went in and his positioning for the fourth in questionable as he seemed to be obscured by standing in line with the last man in the wall.

Time wasting was one of the tactics employed by United and Paddy Kenny was commander in chief. In my view he should have been booked well before he was. The linesman should have told the ref ( he had his back to Kenny ) about the sarcastic applause that ought have resulted in a second yellow and an early bath for the custodian.

It would be churlish not to acknowledge the fact that Kenny made several excellent and crucial saves to keep his team in the game. The ones from Church in the first half and Harriott's apparently deflected effort were top drawer.

We should have had at least one penalty but we were never going to get anything from him were we.

The final C word..........clapping. There was no clapping just now at The Cenotaph because it isn't the done thing and no one was asked to. Similarly yesterday the crowd as told that we would be observing a few moments silence...even that was beyond our friends from Oop North. Clap players and others associated with a football club if you like but not those that fell in the two world wars and other conflicts.

A sad day all round. 

Thursday 7 November 2013

From Terry To Brian

Last week it was Terry McDermott who gave the post match interview, this week it should be Brian.

Leeds are next up at The Valley on Saturday. United haven't been very good on the road and including a Capital One defeat they've lost their last 5 away games. It's to be hoped we don't play up to our reputation of being perfect hosts by allowing them to end that run.

A couple of familiar faces return, on the pitch will be Luke Varney who was good in parts during his time with us but never consistent enough for me. He seems to have played most of his best football away from The Valley.........he's not alone in that eh !

Off the pitch Neil Redfearn reappears as Leeds's first team coach. According to the Leeds website " there'll be no old pals act for Neil ". Redfearn was only with us for one season in which he didn't endear himself to me nor many others I'd have thought. 

Redfearn was a major disappointment for the Addicks in the Prem as he maintained an unwelcome reputation for taking teams down. He left as quickly as he arrived. Whether he'd have fared better in Division One is unknown of course, however, we comfortably achieved promotion without him.

If Yann and Wood are fit and available for selection then Sir Chris has a lot to ponder before he names his team. It'd rough on Dervite if Wood came straight back in but hard to argue against given Wood's performances since he came into the side.

There's little doubt that Yann would be the first name on the teamsheet so who gives way for him is a difficult one to call. Whoever is left out, unless Yann is not fit and the gaffer decides to keep the 4-4-1-1 of last Saturday, a change in formation will be needed.

Sadly an evening engagement and me now driving to the game means no pre and post-match imbibing so a second visit to the Old Loyal Britons in Greenwich will have wait a little longer.

Here's to a good day on Saturday and hopefully 3 points for The Addicks. 

Come on you reds ! 

Monday 4 November 2013


Terry McDermott - Birmingham's Assistant Manager

So disappointed was Lee Clark on Saturday that he sent out his right hand man, Barry Chuckle, to face the media. As ever with Barry there weren't a lot of laughs to be had. I don't think he enjoyed the experience as afterwards when Lee asked Barry how it went, Barry replied " it might have seemed like a good idea to you, to me.........."

Thankfully our gaffer is never one to dodge his responsibilities and I expect a number of Blues fans were at best disappointed not to hear the boss's thoughts on why his team had lost.

Another spirited performance by the lads saw us garner the three points and keep another clean in the process. Dervite seems to have seamlessly replaced Wood in the back four and Jackson, whilst not quite Yann of course, led the troops in fine style.

By all accounts it was a comfortable win that should brought more goals. However, whilst I'm sure we'd all like more goals, I'm sure we'd settle for a 1-0 win every time at the moment. Hopefully we will be able to add to the firepower soon.

Dale Stephens came up with the winner and no doubt hopes that it came to the attention of another manager just across the city, Paul Lambert.

Leeds come a calling next Saturday at the Valley and it'll be interesting to see how we fare against them. As ever I hope that we can be more positive than we have been to date at home and can match the spirit that seems evident form last Saturday.

A few returning from injury, note notably Yann of course, would be most welcome.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Have I Got Blues For You

Birmingham manager Lee Clark

Okay so it's Patrick Monahan but shut your eyes when either speaks and you'd be hard pressed to know the difference until Patrick starts talking about football.........he knows his stuff, unlike.......... !

I have to say that most big cities and towns in the UK have at least two major football teams and it's like chalk and cheese in just about every case for me. I like Sunderland, can't stand Newcastle, I've some affection for Everton and none for Liverpool......and so on. 

Now I realise that Baggies fans would add their club into the mix and so we could go to three clubs in Birmingham. I really like Villa for a number of reasons, hold no issues with West Brom but dislike Birmingham. This is down to how their fans are and historically they've had some issues with us. Yes, us ! Mind you I get the impression that like Millwall that extends to pretty much every club.

The club went further down in my estimation when it decided to employ Marlon King. Sod's law says we'll lose to them even though they are below us in the league ( albeit on goal difference ) and played a league cup game complete with extra time and penalties on Tuesday.

The match saw Wade Elliott sent off at the end of the first half meaning City had to play 75 minutes with 10 men.

The Blues have taken 1 point form their last three games and that came last Saturday from a creditable draw away to Derby.

The club has just given a two month deal to Polish midfielder Dariusz Dudka and I guess he'll expect to feature somewhere on Saturday.

Sir Chris may need to have a new face or two himself if, as seems likely, Yann and Wood don't make it. A real shame for both, Yann because he's just come back and Wood because he was playing so well and had just established himself as part of the team.

If Dale Stephens still harbours a move to Villa then he can give his cause a real shot in the arm with a good display at Brum. If the team shows the same resolve and drive that it has in the last few games then they could expect to come away with something.

Good luck and well done to all those going on Saturday, I hope that you have a great day out and are rewarded with a decent display from the Addicks and perhaps a point or three.

Come On You Reds !

Tuesday 29 October 2013

More Is Less

A crowd of over 23k witnessed a goalless draw on Sunday. Not a great game but at least it wasn't the defeat that so often accompanies a club promotion.

It was good to see The Valley approaching capacity but I have to be honest and say it didn't enhance my matchday experience. Longer queues at turnstiles, toilets and refreshment areas added to lengthy delays getting out the ground and subsequently onto the train.

The atmosphere was not as good as usual, there was little singing and clapping from those around me. In addition, most were devoid of any passion. May be that's to be expected but it really pi**ed me off.

Don't get me wrong I appreciate that the club will have increased revenue and perhaps attract a few new and / or lapsed fans. Added to which I naturally want to see the club well supported. If we were to return to larger crowds on a regular basis then I hope the club and surrounding infrastructure is better able to cope with it.

There was a clear handball in the second half that denied a goal scoring opportunity and had most of the East Stand got on their feet to appeal / protest then it would have put some pressure on the ref. As it was the player concerned escaped without so much as a talking to !

Both sides had clear cut chances with Wigan marginally more guilty of missing the easier ones but it was to be one of those days. Incidentally one of those that I experienced that day before. I went to see Brackley Town v Barrow in the FA Cup and that too finished without a goal. The two teams try again tonight as Brackley make the long trek upto Barrow. The winners play Gillingham away in the first round proper.

Sir Chris opted to leave Skip on the bench and that surprised me albeit that I think it was right to do so. I was disappointed that neither Harriott or Evina got a start on the left. As a result Stewart had to play on the left side of midfield. I'm well aware of the arguments of cutting inside etc but we lost his ability to beat his man and deliver a decent cross from the right.

I'd also question why we didn't have Pigott on the bench. At home it's good to have two strikers amongst the subs and it might have served us well at the end although maybe not if we're going to go 4-5-1.

I do wonder how many more points we'd have if we had been more adventurous at home this campaign. I remain concerned that it will really cost us in the end.

On a more positive note it was another clean sheet and perhaps that's testament to the excellent Wood, he has been magnificent since coming into the side. His injury is a concern and with Yann again damaging his ankle we may need reinforcements in both areas if they are not fit for Saturday.

I'm not a big fan of Stephens but I'll happily admit that he has been good of late and had a great game on Sunday. He has been very creative and paying more attention to his defensive duties too, all good to see.

Post match on Sunday and I paid a visit to the Old Loyal Britons pub which has recently opened in Greenwich. It's just round the corner from the Cutty Sark station on the DLR. Richard the landlord is an excellent host and I can fully recommend a few pints of Morning Glory.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Addicks v Latics

£6 to watch Charlton ? On occasions this season it's been too much to pay !

Football on a Sunday due to Wigan's Europa Cup involvement and the clocks go back an hour at 3am in the morning purely to give the Latics an extra hour's recovery time. At least we all get an extra hour in bed.

Given that the week that follows is half term that the game is being played on this particular Sunday is most welcome as it allows me the enjoy my ale as usual. As part of that I'm hoping to get along to The Old Loyal Britons pub in Greenwich for a few post-match beers. This pub opened earlier this month and is run by a Charlton fan. The beer looks good so should be a treat.

The free Saturday gives me the opportunity to return to St James Park to see how Brackley Town fare in the next round of the F.A. Cup. Their opponents are fellow Conference North team Barrow who will be making the long trek south. Brackley are 4th in the league with Barrow in 17th so one would expect a home win but hey, this is the cup so an upset can't be over-ruled.

One hopes that Wigan will have a very tiring game against Rubin Kazan with the Russian side making them run all over the pitch chasing the ball. Hopefully our boys will then be fresher come Sunday.

I can't recall the last Charlton game I saw on a Sunday. I remember my first which was away to Orient and I recall being given a team sheet rather than a programme which I guess was due to trading laws perhaps and not being able to sell programmes on a Sunday ? 

I also recall Stan Bowles coming out much later than the rest of players and only just in time for kick off. Perhaps he set his clock too far back !

As we're now unbeaten in 3 and have kept clean sheets in the last two one ought to be optimistic for something from the game. However, we never seem to do well when we should be the fresher side and I'm always gloomy about our chances !

On the plus side Yann should be on from the start. Not sure anyone should give way for Skip and certainly not Cousins..........I'll be very unhappy if that happens. Sir Chris loves Jacko of course so it wouldn't surprise me to see him back in from the off.

Wigan have a very talented side of course so this will be a tough game and no mistake. Hopefully the gaffer will be positive and approach the game in that state of mind. Our negative tactics and long ball game hasn't served us well at home to date so it's definitely time for a change.

I take it everyone enjoyed Redknapp getting hit by the ball against Millwall, very funny especially as he missed the equaliser ( no, not Edward Woodward ). Interestingly the highlights showed Redknapp turning up on crutches, however, they nowhere to be seen when he got hit and he should a neat turn of foot as he tried to discover who'd done it.........hilarious !

I'm really looking forward to Sunday.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 13 October 2013

Billy Don't Be A Zero

Billy Turley - an embarrassment to Brackley Town.

Yesterday's Championship hiatus gave me the opportunity to take in some non-league football. My choice was the FA Cup game between Brackley Town F C and Boston United F C. 

I love going to non-league games, the fans are die-hard supporters and the clubs rely on raffles etc to keep them going. Mind you it seems that there's been some investment in Brackley of late as evidenced by new terracing and general work ongoing around the ground.

You could walk around the whole ground as the tannoy blared out a variety of 80's hits, both sets of supporters mingled as a further reminder of how football used and ought to be....it proper took me back.

In addition to all that the refreshments were decently priced and the chips ( £1.50 ) were to die for ! All helping to make the day.

What took the edge off the day was Brackley keeper, Billy Turley. I'd seen him play before for Northampton Town and then Rushden and Diamonds. Turley was sacked by Rushden after testing positive for cocaine. Whatever lessons, if any, were learned by Turley it hasn't made him shy and retiring.

Fellow players were treated to a stream of abuse if they didn't do as he expected. Even when making a right cock-up himself in giving the ball straight to the oppo on one occasion that nearly cost a goal, didn't quieten him down. No one was safe from his vitriol The management team were told in no uncertain terms how they should be getting the team to play.

Even the ballboys got it after the ball went out of play and didn't return as quickly as Turley liked. " Why are the ballboys so f*****g slow ? " bellowed the keeper.

What appeared to be gamesmanship, some would call cheating, in feigning an injury, denied Boston a good chance of an equaliser.

Turley's " team spirit " extended to him feeling that didn't need to join in the warm down after the game with the rest of the team. How Brackley's management team can allow one player to behave like this is beyond me.

Sadly for Boston United fans their keeper didn't cover himself in glory either but in his case it was for purely footballing reasons. Just before half-time Ashley Timms allowed a fairly innocuous shot from just outside the box to trickle through his legs.

The first half had been largely Brackley's as they created the better chances. after the break Boston upped their game and fashioned many chances and were unlucky not to get an equaliser. Only resolute defending denied them. Brackley were to score a second on 86 minutes as Boston pushed forward in search of a goal.

In some ways this was most unfair as it happened very shortly after a Boston player was dragged down as they were about to attack. The subsequent yellow card didn't seem sufficient punishment at the time, that Brackley went on to score the decisive second goal soon after merely added insult to injury.

A good game and day out and I may well return to Brackley especially if they rid themselves of the irritating Turley.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Nothing ventured, one point gained.........

Jordan Cousins, an absolute joy to watch.

Following our defeat to Burnley most of us would probably have settled for 2 points from the Forest and Blackpool games. However, the performance against Forest should have delivered all 3 points and we were desperately unlucky not to get them. As a result expectations were raised for the Blackpool game.

Yesterday saw plenty of effort, even Stephens was winning tackles, but little in the way of finesse and in the final third we were poor.

I'm under the impression that the general consensus is that yesterday's point was a good one and we should be pleased with it. Should we though ? I wonder if we learn from week to week or game to game ? 

Some cite the absence of Jackson, Kermogant, Solly and to some extent Cort as reasons to be cheerful for the point. However, I recall the insipid performance against Millwall characterised by our endless hoofing the ball upto the front two only for the ball to come straight back as their taller, stronger defenders won the ball time and again. 

Yesterday we saw a repetition of that. I simply can't recall any of our players winning the ball as it was repeatedly lumped upfield. This played into the hands of the big back four especially McKenzie whose only strength is winning headers ( or perhaps acquiring red cards ! ).

Surely someone on the management team can see this ? Are the players instructed to play like that ? It just doesn't work and in Yann's absence only serves to hand possession straight back to the oppo and we put ourselves under pressure.

Why don't we look to feed one of the defenders or midfielders ? In my view Hamer is slow to release the ball when he does have options to do so. This needs addressing.

Harriott was wasted behind the front two yesterday and it clearly needed him to be playing wide so that he could have a run at them. Too often he was too central or on those rare occasions he wasn't found himself out on the right and then having to check back on to his left foot to cross the ball. 

We all know that our home form is crucial to any hope or survival or a decent place in the league even more so when we're not repeating the success of our campaign on the road of last season. Our approach is over-cautious and we're paying the price ( or will do if we're not careful ).

We've got to look to attack more at home and I fail to understand why Cameron Stewart is spending so much time on the bench. The home games against Millwall and Blackpool needed us to show more attacking intent, had we done that there's every chance we'd have 2 more points and be sitting a tad more comfortably than we are now.

I got very frustrated at the time it took to use the subs again. Pigott should have got much longer as neither Church or Sordell carried much threat. As I said, Stewart should have been off the bench earlier.

Sorry if this sounds negative but I get the feeling the lack of Yann is clouding some issues. All teams lose their most valuable players at some stage and yes, he is a big miss but the rest of the squad have shown they are capable of more.

Looking at some positives, then the emergence of Cousins is certainly one of them. He is calm and composed on the ball, uses it well and does the simple things to good effect. A very real talent. Wood too has turned in some good performances and has established a good partnership with Morrison. Yesterday's clean sheet is testament to that and they can't be faulted for Forest's goal on Tuesday.

The defence did well to contain Fuller and Ince. I had a little chuckle to myself as some Addicks got wound up with Ricardo winning fouls in the same manner he did so many times for us. He is a big loss for us and one wonders where we'd be if he were still with us. His skill, experience and nous are sorely missed as our lack of goals demonstrates only too well.

Much as I'm not a fan of Stephens he put in a good shift yesterday and Wiggins had one of his better games although his crossing was a disappointment.

The international break will hopefully allow for our injured players to recover and be available for selection. I will be very disappointed if Cousins has to make way for anyone though that simply can't happen.

We have been fortunate in that those teams around us have not garnered more points, if they had we'd be in deep trouble. We do have a squad capable of competing in the championship and I sincerely hope that Sir Chris adopts a more offensive and proactive approach as this will bring better rewards. At home in particular the onus is on us to take the initiative.   


Sunday 22 September 2013

That's Life !

I've really no idea what prompted today's headline.......

Has anyone got any funny shaped vegetables ( not wearing a red shirt please... ) that they can show me ? I could do with a laugh !

As many others have said I can take a defeat against a side that has played well where we have given our all and played with passion, heart and desire. Sadly that was missing from nearly every player in a Charlton shirt yesterday. 

What was it Yann said recently in response to a remark that the fans do not expect to win every game....." but they do expect effort ! ". Exactly and all that and more were missing yesterday.

I can't recall in recent times a worse Millwall side than that which pitched up at The Valley yesterday. They were marginally less bad than us ( I've omitted a four letter word there ).

It's pointless talking up the game before hand and how much each player appreciates the history and significance of it to the fans if when you set foot on the pitch you serve up a pathetic performance almost beyond compare.

Sometimes in victory it's not fair to single any one person our for praise, in this defeat it's hard not to lay the blame on just about every player.

However Sir Chris set us up to play I can't believe that it was to hoof ( see picture above ) it up field all afternoon. Even if it were I'd like to think the players have sufficient footballing nous to appreciate that the Lions defence was mopping it up all afternoon and a change of approach was needed.

We needed to go at Millwall from the off and so the omission of either or indeed both of Stewart and Harriot ( especially in the light of Yann's ongoing injury ) was criminal. That they didn't come on at half time leaves me speechless. If one or both of those doesn't start next Saturday I've no idea what we're doing.

Our striking options aren't great right now. It was too much to throw young Joe into this game for his full league debut and it speaks volumes about Sordell's performances and confidence that Joe got the nod over him. We could do with loan signing of a striker ( one from Man Utd would seem to be ideal judging from elsewhere in the Championship yesterday ! ) but I'd love Obika to come back but Brighton will probably prove more attractive.

Next up is Burnley who are proving the early surprise package and currently lie 2nd in the table. At present you'd say we've not a prayer but if eleven or so of their players get injured against Forest in the league cup on Tuesday...........

If our boys can't get themselves up for Millwall at home then things are very bleak indeed. I guess we've got to be philosophical and accept that it's all part of the rollercoaster ride that is Charlton Athletic. I hope we're heading back up soon !

Thursday 19 September 2013

You're Having A Laugh !

Indeed we were with Jack Dee in Northampton.

I do like a good laugh, it helps to relieve the stress of watching The Addicks and wondering where the next point will come from !

Last night I went to see Jack Dee, a comedian who I’ve be wanting to see for some time. Next in the pipeline is Lee Mack in November……2014 ! At my age it’s risky me booking tickets that far in advance so it’s a bit of a punt.

Jack is notoriously grumpy and plays up to this very well. He told us of his 4 children ( the youngest is 14 ) and makes reference to their teenage years and much of his excellent sit-com Lead Balloon isn’t that far from the reality of his own household you’d imagine.

This lead nicely on to references to the teenage Jesus of whom, as Jack correctly observes, there is little mention in the bible.

He naturally found plenty to moan about but found a positive on the subject of his son being stuck in the bedroom playing Grand Theft Auto online via the internet with his mates, as he neatly observes to his wife “ leave him alone, his playing with his mates and the bastards aren’t in our house ! “

Being of a not totally dissimilar age to Jack I can relate to his grumpiness as one finds oneself increasingly grumpy especially with Charlton doing little to improve that situation !

I think I’ll need to fill the comedy void that now exists until Lee Mack so will have to check the listings. I’ve seen Michael McIntyre, Tim Vine, Milton Jones, Steve Hughes ( very underrated in my view ), Stewart Francis, Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard, Sean Lock, Frankie Boyle and Gary Delaney to name but a few.  

If anyone has any suggestions of someone especially an up and coming comedian then they’d be most welcome.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Here We Go Again !

It's Tuesday evening, it must be Huddersfield away.

The Addicks face a long trek to the John Smith's stadium on Tuesday just 3 weeks after our previous visit in the league cup. Both sides will be changed from that game.

It won't be easy and I doubt there'll be too much to choose between the two sides. Good news for The Addicks is that James Vaughan is suffering a goal drought, he failed to score in the last game at home to Doncaster !

Vaughan presents a real threat as the former Everton man who joined in the summer from Norwich is getting his career back on track most of it seemingly plagued with injuries. When Huddersfield score is usually Vaughan that scores. His goals this season include a hat-trick in a 5-1 win at home to Bournemouth. 

Jazz Richards has just joined on loan from Swansea and will probably feature. In goal they have the excellent Alex Smithies who can also take a mean penalty when needed !

The Terriers are yet to lose at home this season.

Given that Solly is unlikely to return from injury and given its success so far, then 3-5-2 would seem to be the order of the day. I assume that Cort is still injured and so Wood will be expected to retain his place.

If Yann hasn't recovered from his ankle knock then one of Sordell or Pigott will come into the side. Of the two I'd prefer to see young Joe start, he has real promise and is a strong player more in the Yann mould than Marvin. However, I'd fully expect Sir Chris to favour Sordell.

Unless the gaffer decides to rest some players ahead of that match on Saturday then the change up front is the only one I'd envisage.

Well done to everyone making the trip up North and as always I hope you are rewarded with a win and a fine performance.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 15 September 2013

Buon Punto Ben Fatto !

Watford Library - quiet with lots of loans.

The vast majority of us would have settled for a point before kick off so that we're perhaps a little disappointed not to come away with all three indicates how expectations were exceeded.

I wasn't there yesterday which is somewhat crazy given it's my closest league fixture but finances and other commitments played their part.

The 3-5-2 continues to serves us well and especially suits Wilson and Wiggins although one wonders where this leaves Chris Solly. When it's working so well it's hard to make a case for changing personnel no matter how good they may be. Sir Chris may justify any change as a result of 3 games in a week.

Indeed, it was Wilson who won the penalty that Yann so wonderfully converted. I hope Foxes fans took notice of that ! 

Our next road trip is to Huddersfield and the John Smith Stadium. Never the most enticing away fixture made even less so following our recent league cup match there. However, that was the game that saw the emergence of the current formation. if we can defend better than we did last time there and match the spirit of the last two league games then we can come away with more than the one point. 

I see the Lions warmed up for next Saturday and I don't mean on the pitch ! Hopefully Lomas will still be in place come next Saturday and it should be a good time to play them but we all know how it goes usually ! In the meantime we can amuse ourselves by trying to guess what the attendance will be at The Den on Tuesday. 

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Dyke's Dream

Mr Dyke's trusted assistant handed the task of saving the England team. He saved TV-AM but his next task might prove beyond even him !

I apologise now if a search engine has led you to this blog and you were expecting something altogether different. This about nothing more sordid than a piece about Greg Dyke and his vision for English football although that could be equally as fanciful !

FA chairman Greg Dyke laid it on the line today and set targets for the England team. GD believes that that national side should be aiming at the semis of the 2020 Euros and win the world cup in 2022.

Apparently " English football is a tanker that needs turning ". Dyke is after more consistent starts for English players. Apparently a commission is needed to discover why so few English registered players play in the Premier League. A quota system might be needed and a mid-season break might possibly help too !

Well, good luck with all that Greg ! He might just manage to pull off a mid season break but given the unpredictability of our weather he may end up with even more egg on his face. I've never felt our overpaid pampered footballers need a break in the season anyway but imagine how ludicrous it would seem if the leagues took January off only for it be lovely bright sunny weather to give way to a severe and bitter February ! You can put in undersoil heating at grounds but the not yet heat the surrounding roads and pavements eh ? That's to say nothing of our flaky public transport system which often fails to perform in the most innocuous conditions ! 

Aside from all that your average football fan wants unbroken football to keep us sane during those winter months to say nothing of what Sky might feel about interference with the ace in their television pack. I really can't see them being over keen on the situation. Lest we forget, he who pays the piper calls the tune eh ?

In addition, it's hard to envisage overseas owners such as those that now own the majority of Premier League clubs allowing interference in the players they buy and teams they put out. Whilst so much money remains in the top flight at least then nothing is going to change. Why should it ? They've little to no interest in the fortunes of the England side.  

Greg would be better of in investing some of the vast amounts of cash swishing around in football on developing and improving schools and grassroots football. The aim being in raising the standard and hopefully the knock on effect would be that those few English players that do turn out regularly in the Premier might be able to control and pass a ball in a half decent manner !

If that is achieved then the FA can turn their attentions to recapturing the public's affection and interest in the England side. They are currently flogging tickets for this Friday's game against Moldova from £25 and £60 for a family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children. If interest in attending the game were anywhere near decent then it's safe to assume they'd be selling them for a much higher price. After all, they're not slow to grab an opportunity to fleece the public if they can.

Roland is the rat that's joining, rather than jumping off, a sinking ship !

Sunday 1 September 2013

Bete Noir Et Deja Vu Encore !

Yann - Il est magnifique

Le samedi, elle était charmante et ensoleillée contrairement à samedi dernier et il était donc trop pour Athletic Charlton sur le terrain.

A la grande surprise de tous les Addicks gagner!

Un performance tres bien d'Athletic Charlton !

Matty James est un enfant terrible avec les mots grossiers à l'arbitre ! 

Le trois cinq deux formation a été une surprise !

Le gaffer, Monsieur Chris Powell est le tactician supérieure !

Le keeper de Cité - les shots, tres bien - les crosses, médiocre ! Monsieur Schmeichel comme son père sans le nez rouge !

Tout le monde a été fantastique !

Les specators étaient fantastiques !

Un jour formidable !

Allez les rouges !

* Today's post was dictated to Philippe by Monsieur Kermogant. Merci Yann !

Friday 30 August 2013

Over Land and Sea........

Sir Chris's good friend and mentor Nigel Pearson

We couldn't really have a tougher game tomorrow than playing Leicester. In some ways we'd probably be better off playing almost anyone away given our current situation. The players seem low on confidence, the pressure is on and the natives will no doubt be restless.

The transfer window still being open doesn't help and one or two players may be making their swansong appearances on Saturday. The sooner the window closes the better and perhaps players can be more focused without that distraction.

Our defence which has served us so well over the previous two seasons suddenly seems all at sea. Prior to the start of this season it was obvious we were unlikely to match the achievements of last term. I felt that mid table would be a success. I was confident we could do that given that the first choice back 5 were still here. For some reason and probably as part of the general malaise the rearguard has been more of a chocolate fireguard. 

It's difficult to be positive about any aspect of the club whether on or off the pitch. However, this is Charlton and the majority of us has been there, done that and got the t-shirt. It's not easy been a fan of most football clubs with Charlton it's mostly been bloody hard work.........yet we're still here eh ?

Those tough times ( too many to mention ! ) were not for the faint-hearted and they're not now. However, frustrating it may be we really need to get fully behind Sir Chris and the players not matter how poor any of them may be. Moaning and especially booing won't help in any way whatsoever. We saw against Cardiff at home last season how positive and vocal support can help the team..........we need the by the bucket load at the moment.

Leicester are a good side and in great form and they have an excellent manager in Pearson who is now in his second term at City. He has twice missed out on play-off success in recent times both as a result of penalty shoot outs such is the fine line between success and failure in sport.

Missing out in such fashion usually has a galvanising effect on a team and Leicester's start to this campaign suggests that is the case for them.

I'll be glad if we get anything from tomorrow but I can't see it myself. Aside from what I've written above we still don't know our best side or come to that, formation. I do hope that Cousins starts as I really like the look of him, he has great promise.

It's hard to be upbeat but tomorrow morning I'll set off in anticipation as always because on a Saturday where else would you rather be than at The Valley ?

We will follow the Charlton over land and sea etc !

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 25 August 2013

Long To Reign Over us !

We were witness to all of the above yesterday....the heavy petting came after they scored their third...urghh !

The weather played its part in ruining the fortunes of both my favourite sporting teams this week. I was at Canterbury on Wednesday and Thursday as Kent played Gloucs. On the Thursday heavy rain saw a delayed start but following a 2pm pitch inspection play started at 2.20pm. Very impressive especially when one considers the farcical situation at The Valley yesterday. Sadly yesterday's rain also put paid to Kent's chance of winning their game too.

How can it be that cricket can dry out an area so much larger than that of a football pitch. Why would every league football club not a have a super soaker or whatever it's called. Why could covers not have been placed over the pitch on Friday / Saturday prior to kick off ? Not an entirely unreasonable expectation in this day and age. The expenditure would soon be recouped I'm sure.

What of yesterday's officials then especially referee Collins ( pictured above ). At kick off there was an enormous amount of surface water. I didn't arrive until kick off but it should have clear to him that it needed addressing as the rain was not easing off. He could easily have delayed the kick off whilst the ground staff worked on the pitch or to see how the pitch was going to be affected.

In the lead up to their second goal a cross from the right stopped dead on the penalty spot before it was hoofed away after Hamer was unsure whether to collect it or not. I'd say it may be possible to continue the game if an area, say by the corner flag, is saturated but in the middle of the goal ? I think not.

The pitch was at its worst in our half and more so on the East Stand side. I'm not going to criticise our defence under those conditions as I don't see how they could perform with any degree of confidence.

The referee and his indecisiveness was truly awful. I'm sorry but I fail to see how anyone can defend him. As I said it was clear from the opening 5 minutes that the pitch wasn't playable. The amount of water coming up every time any player ran on it was testament to that. It got worse and so it dragged on.   

Irrespective of the score the only questions the referee had to consider was whether the pitch was fit for purpose and safe. Clearly it wasn't. The decision to suspend the game was madness especially as it still raining and it didn't stop when he decided a resumption was in order. I had retired to the bar during the hiatus but I understand that the referee and his assistants didn't come out and try passing a football in all areas of the pitch. Absolute folly !

Prior to the restart the ball was being bounced in our penalty area ( by Pope I think ), well I say bounced but it was in fact dropped and never got off the ground !

I don't care how new / inexperienced Mr Collins is but it was just a case of common sense, unlike the weather, he was distinctly balmy !

Donny fans may feel aggrieved ( and I had a less than erudite conversation with one of them on the station later on. Apparently our players are pussies etc. I did point out who made the decision to call it off but he wasn't listening and seemed keen to use his fists rather than words so I left him to his own devices ! ) but the game had to be called off and shouldn't have gone on as long as it did.

During what play was possible it was clear that Cousins is more than comfortable at this level particularly if he can perform under those conditions. I do hope that Sir Chris sticks with him he's looking like the one person capable of providing the creativity we need from midfield.

We now face another Yorkshire side on Tuesday and Sir Chris faces a difficult task in selection. Personally I hope he keeps faith with the players who served him so well against Oxford. Let's hope it's a dry late August evening eh ? 

Saturday 17 August 2013

JC Inspires Church of Valley Faithful To Comeback From The Dead

JC praise be !

I wasn't at Oakwell so can only report on what I've read from others. Obviously a poor first half and for the early part of the second. For those of us who've been critical of Sir Chris in his use of the subs then he wasn't shying away from the use of them today. The introduction of Cort and Cousins at half time shows that.

It was ultimately to pay dividends of course with Cousins scoring the first of our two goals. Church added a second in scoring his debut league goal for us and repaying Powell's faith in starting him ahead of Sordell.

It seems as if Stephens has already been transferred, mentally at least, judging by the feedback from fans at the game.

It may only be one point but hopefully that one point and the manner in which it was gained will kick start the season for us. Next week will be another big game and don't let anyone think Donny will be easy, they won't.

Elsewhere....... if you haven't seen the lead up to Watford's penalty today then make sure you do. Ludicrous. I thought that Chris Ashton has swapped sports ! No change for Watford from last season then it seems. 


Friday 16 August 2013

Old Jokes Revisited No.354

Ian McMillan walks into a pub.....the landlord says " you're bard ! ".

In honour of Barnsley F C's poet in residence, I've penned a poem myself ahead of tomorrow's game.

The Clash Of The Titans

Forecast says dull and grey,
For Barnsley..... away.
And the weather looks no better.
Clash of the Titans.

Our fans hope for a repeat of last season's feat,
But let's be honest,
Just one nil would be neat,
Clash of the Titans.

Our fans on the ale consuming some firkins,
Before later on the day,
The midfield chases Perkins,
Clash of the Titans.

Others drink ale by the yard,
Ahead of the last game,
We play sans Pritchard,
Clash of the Titans.

A tough start for Powell,
But he'll not throw in the towell,
It's just not his style,
Clash of the Titans.

We'll watch and we'll listen,
But whatever the score,
Win, lose or draw,
We'll be back at TheValley,
As always, next Saturday,
Clash of the Titans.

Rather like my pathetic attempt at poetry, tomorrow's game is not exactly a mouthwatering prospect. As always respect to those travelling to Oakwell. I hope you will finally see the lads secure the first points of the season.

None of the off-field shenanigans helps us and no matter what some folk might say, players are bound to be affected in some way by it. That's not me trying to defend last week's performance, that was shocking and very uncharacteristic of a Chris Powell side. No, just an observation that with seemingly no player's future or even the club's being in any way secure, it sure don't help !

How should we approach this game I don't hear you ask. I think we need to go for it given that Barnsley will be as nervous as us and they should be under more pressure given that they are at home. A possible 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 I'd suggest. Church probably deserves a chances and no matter what I'd get Piggott on at some stage. He has shown enough and is keen and can play without fear.

It saddens me to say but Green doesn't deserve another chance and I feel Wilson is now the better bet. I'm certain Solly plays better when he or Pritchard is there. It seems Stephens wants to go up north, we're playing there tomorrow so why not give him a chance to impress ( I won't be sad to see him go, just gutted we didn't take the Villa bid.........even Mr Magoo would have seen that as a good opportunity ).

I'm far from confident surprisingly but let's hope we can get our season started tomorrow.

Come On You Reds !