Thursday 28 February 2013

Last Saturday ? Forgotten All About it !

" Get back you bastard, I'll break your legs ! "

It'll be a case of beauty and the beast on the touchline on Saturday as Sir Chris meets Sean Dyche. Sean has the appearance of a man who'd happily punch if you so much as look at him....all those years at Millwall I guess.

So Burnley come a calling and I've read ( on Wikipedia so it must be true ) that the club colours of claret and blue were adopted in 1910 in tribute to the dominant club of English football Aston Villa in the same way as Man Utd adopted red and white in tribute to us.

Burnley are on a bad run and lost to a poor Huddersfield team on Tuesday evening. Sean was angry after that one, glad I wasn't there to see that ! Mr Dyche has offered to make wholesale changes in an attempt to reverse the club's away is probably ideal for them then !

Jamaican Dane Richards made his league debut as he replaced Dean Marney on 15 minutes in midweek only to produce such a poor display that he was himself replaced on the hour mark.......oh dear ! Shades of Carlton Cole on the final day a few years ago against Sunderland unless I'm mistaken.

Charlie Austin poses a real goal threat and is the second highest scorer in the league. Hopefully he won't get into gear and he'll himself in a footballing cul-de-sac.

The Clarets go from Turf Moor to turf poor and it to be hoped that our pitch is in better fettle than it has been of late. The same of course could be said of our home form, we desperately need an uplifting display as it's been very disappointing fayre this season at the Valley. So much so in fact that even I'm going to Peterborough on Tuesday evening in an attempt to see what the fuss is all about !

I wish I could tell you what the team and formation will be on Saturday but hell, only Sir Chris knows that and it's foolish to try and second guess him after we witnessed Wagstaff up front last time out.

Last weekend I hoped for a great game with two sets of player playing some quality football. In the end of course it was awful and the weather was sh...... not great ! 

Therefore, I anticipate a dire ( Alex ? ) game from two teams that are in terrible form and played in really low temperatures with driving rain. There, that should do it !

Come On You Reds !

Monday 25 February 2013

We've had better days......

In contrast to the previous home game, Yann made sure he wasn't the last player to leave the pitch. In fact he left the remaining 21 players positively trailing in his wake !

The incident occured right in front of me and the sending off seemed ludicrous and over the top. When watching later at home I relaised it was the correct decision. It was wrong that Halford escaped scott free and his late booking should have been accompanied by a red for a second yellow.

The ramifications of Yann's dismissal did not manifest themselves in this game as we'd have lost anyway one feels. The effects will be felt in the upcoming 3 games when our French talisman is not available for selection.

I had been anticipating a good game of football on Saturday morning but the way we set up and our subsequent approach ruled that out almost immediately. Clearly if we were going to change things at home we needed to be positive against an attacking Forest side. Seemingly we were 4-4-2 but what on earth did we hope to get from Wagstaff being one of the two ! I believe that Yann was as frustrated as the rest of us and was probably one reason why he was wound up.

Sir Chris should have acknowledged the mistake after 10 to 15 mins, held his hands up and withdrawn either Stepehens or Wagstaff. I couldn't believe that we didn't change things even after Yann had gone. Leaving Wagstaff up there to see out the rest of the half defied logic as well as belief. He wasn't winning anything or creating any problems when Yann was with him, on his own there was no chance !

How good it would have been to be able to have Hulse come on in those circumstances. He would have been ideal.

The changes at half time should have seen Wagstaff and Stephens replaced by Fuller and Haynes with the latter playing wide right. His energy would have seen him get up and down with pace enough to get up to suppport attacks.

I'd love to know what the thinking was behind our formation and the players selected. Off the pitch it was every bit as confusing, we had 3 forwards on the bench ! Was that the plan B then ? We were going to go 4-3-3 or something ? That's about as believable as the declared attendance.

That so few players came away with any credit made the whole day deeply depressing. The weather did nothing to help and it was an awful day all round. Only Forest's passing and movement made it worthwhile. Andy Reid was superb as we always knew he would be.

I'm not sure that Hamer can survive into the next game. He has been good for most of the season and made some top drawer saves, however, his mistakes of late have proved costly. It doesn't do any player any harm to drop down now and again when they're not at their best. No one should be taking their place for granted or not feel under any pressure.

Home again next Saturday then and let's hope that we will witness better fayre than that. Sales of Findus lasagne is likely to be higher than those of our season tickets at present. 

Friday 22 February 2013

Reid All About It !

Andy as we'd like to remember him best, in the red of Charlton

Tomorrow sees Andy Reid return to once more grace The Valley turf. That's worth the entrance fee alone. His absence for a large part of our relegation season along with that of Darren Bent were a large part of the reason for our downfall. I was very sorry to see him go. Years later he remains a class act as his goal last Saturday clearly demonstrates.

Following our win over Leicester on Tuesday I said I expected that Forest would come and play attacking football. One person commented that given Forest's 6 goals against Huddersfield on the same night that this was a fair assumption. Fair comment and made me smile, however, I was wondering whether they would adopt such an attacking approach away from home. I know that under Sean O'Drsicoll this would have been the case but Davies has yet to oversee an away game in his latest spell in charge and that remains unclear. 

Given the players at his disposal it's difficult to envisage Davies being negative. In addition to Reid, Radoslaw Majewski is another skillful player who should be a joy to watch. He bagged a hat-trick against Huddersfield  and so comes full of confidence which I believe is fundamental to his game.

Henri Lansbury and Lewis McGugan ( probably off the bench ) provide other attacking options and will also be worth seeing.

We will need to nullify their midfield and are capable of doing so. We'll need to stifle the creativity which could be achieved by closing down quickly and giving them little room. 

Billy Davies as stated above has returned to Forest. Not so long ago he could have been sitting in the home dugout but that never materialised. One assumes that Billy will be able to find his way to S.E. 7 tomorrow and keep this particular appointment.

The Forest owners have hardly endeared themselves to the fans. Sacking Sean O'Discroll was crass in the extreme, this was followed up by appointing Alex McLeish and then declaring that potential signing George Boyd had an eyesight problem ! Not many Championship defences let alone opticians agree with that ! Fortunately Boyd has now joined up with Hull and so we won't face him on Tuesday week !

The appointment of Davies is the one sensible decision the owners have made as Forest seems to bring the best out of him and he out of Forest.

Our 2-1 win over Leicester was a terrific performance with 2 quality goals from us. Very few saw that coming. The lads should approach tomorrow's game with increased confidence as a result. I'm optimistic of a really good game, let's hope I'm right.

I trust that Fuller will be restored to the team. He is a truly class player and probably best used by playing once a week. In any case we should look to go 4-4-2 at home. Yann really ought to retain his place. Danny Haynes will probably feel he deserves a start and it's hard to argue against that other than he does seem to do best when he comes off the bench when he can use his pace to exploit a tiring defence.

The return of Wiggins is tempered by the fact that it's at the expense of Evina. Ceddy has been superb since getting a run in the team. Had he been selected earlier in the season he would have finished the season playing in about 75% of the games.

Plenty to look forward to tomorrow then with some good players on both sides that hopefully bring some good football in return.We need to be positive throughout, concentrate throughout and make good use of the subs.......throughout. If we do that then we give ourselves a splendid opportunity of taking the 3 points.

Come On You Reds !


Wednesday 20 February 2013

A Tail of Two Cities

Yann and Danny go to Leicester.........Boom ! Boom !

At least Basil's one fox who's still smiling. The Fox's tail got tweaked last night as we gave them the brush off ! Good idea to give Yann almighty stick, remember how it served Leicester so well last time at the Valley ! On some of their forums their fans were even grudgingly forced to admit that he might not be too bad a player.

Few saw that result coming and after the criticism that Sir Chris has had from me and many others regarding subs, I'm pleased to say he got it spot on last night. After Leicester pulled level the decision to put Haynes on was positive and brought an instant return.

Moreover, Sir Chris got the set up of the team spot on as he reverted to the 4-5-1 that has served us so well away this season. Clearly our formation against the other City, Hull wasn't so successful and the great man gave some thought to that and also the personnel.

All credit then to the management team and the players for what is seemingly a wonderful performance and response to end the recent poor run that we've been in. As has been highlighted elsewhere our consistency or lack of it has been our downfall this term. The late goals have been an issue of course and even the most positive Addick would have been fearing another one of those as we entered the closing stages. However, it was not to be.

I understand that Sir Chris received a round of applause from the Leicester fans after the game to show that they're not totally blinkered and do at least recognise a decent manager ( and human being ).

We can now look forward to Saturday even more. I assume that Mr Powell will revert to 4-4-2 as we seek a rare Saturday home win. I assume Forest will look to play attacking football and hopes are high for a good game with some nice football.

In the meantime let's bask in the glory of a double over a good Leicester side. Mr Dickens couldn't have scripted a latter-day version of his classic novel better himself with Yann and Danny representing the cities of Paris and London.

C'est magnifique !     

Sunday 17 February 2013

Flipping Hull

I managed to temper the headline today much as I felt like being more earthy !

I felt we might get something from yesterday's game not least because they'd played midweek and we hadn't. The manner of our draw last week led me to believe we might see a reaction from the lads. Perhaps there was I can't be sure but it didn't manifest itself in goals if it did happen.

I'm not sure about the set up yesterday given to believe as I am that Yann was wide left at times. We need two proper wingers in my opinion and it's something we need to address.

Leicester on Tuesday was always going to be a really difficult game but I'm struggling to see how we'll get any kind of result now especially as they rested over the weekend. I pray I'm wrong of course but it's difficult to envisage much other than a defeat against a strong side seeking revenge for the early season defeat at ours ( yes, we really did beat them at home ! ).

The ongoing uncertainty over our place in the Championship does little to help with season ticket sales. As you know the prices were announced last week. The cost of my ticket is rising by about 17.5%, an increase which is making the train price increases seem positively philanthropic !

I understand we are told that prices have been suppressed in recent seasons but we've been in the third tier and I don't see that is was possible to charge more realistically in recent seasons. Anyway I felt that we were all somewhat overcharged in the previous Championship days when we were offered a free ticket if we got to the Premiership. As much chance of that now as then !

I realise that the cost of football has little in common with whatever the present rate of inflation or even with reality itself when viewing transfer fees and players wages but I'm sure most will find this rise tough to take. This is ever more so if like me you need to add the cost of travel living as I do some distance from the Valley. As always the owners will rely on us buying a season ticket no matter what the cost and that's true as it's like no other commodity I can think of.

It's most likely the overwhelming majority of fans will wait until early April to make a decision on renewing. We don't know what the " post early bird " prices will be. Should we find ourselves ( God forbid ) looking like potential relegation candidates then I suspect many will not renew at all.

Should we go down then the club will find itself in a bit of a pickle. I don't suppose they would offer refunds to the early bird folk and at the same time would feel obliged to charge post early bird folk a higher price, however small that may be.

The only commercially sensible thing to do in that event would be to offer some discount or the same price to the early bird folk for the following season in order to appease them.

It all looks like an uncomfortable few months ahead then for us Addicks both on and off the pitch. I do understand the financial position we're told we're in but with seemingly little investment in the playing staff it's a tough one to take.

None of the above is intended as a criticism of Sir Chris by the way. He's not perfect and I've highlighted and criticised what I think are mistakes on his part this term. However, given that he's not been receiving total support not least financially then he's done a bloody great job to achieve what he has to date.

Le'ts hope that we can retain our place in the league and go into next season with fresh impetus, new players and renewed confidence.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Deja Vu All Over Again

Marlon King is used to having his activities being restricted by a court, yesterday was no different.

So, Lee Clark thinks Birmingham deserved a draw yesterday and King thinks he's a striker. Yeah right......

Charlton so outplayed a very poor Blues side that over some 24 hours later it's hard to believe we didn't only win but also by some emphatic scoreline. That we didn't was down to poor finishing and the now traditional conceding of a late goal.

When Yann nodded home I couldn't really see how even the Addicks could bugger this one up but yet...! Sir Chris had done pretty much all things right but one might question the use of the subs again. Green for Wilson was spot on as Lawrie was struggling to find a decent touch or cross, seemingly having lost his way. However, having managed to restrict Birmingham to anything remotely approaching a clear cut chance all afternoon the late midfield change seemed to do for us. Dervite came on and issued fresh instructions to a defence which for nearly 90 minutes had done its job perfectly. I can't say it was the reason for their goal but the change appeared to do little to help seeming only to confuse. 

That confusion extended to a fellow Charlton fan I met in a local ale house later on...
Fellow fan, " I don't know why Powell brought on Devito ! "
Me " His name's Dorian not Danny ! "  

BWP on for Fuller seemed sensible as fresh legs up front made eminent sense. Ricardo had a rather splendid afternoon and showed why he is easily the best striker we have. His touch, craft, guile and ability to ghost past defenders is something else. I only wish we'd got him all those years ago when he was on trial from Tivoli Gardens.   

I can't really fault anyone's performance, the defence was excellent with Evina having a superb game. I was glad Chris stayed loyal to him resisting the temptation to put Wiggins in. The midfield did their job although an out and out attacking winger able to deliver a decent cross is something we lack still. Yann and Riccy were great up front.

Someone whose performance can be and was roundly criticised is Andy D'Urso what a useless t**t ! I really couldn't decide if he set out to deliberately make an a**e of himself. It was a most inept display. I hope we never see him again.

All week the talk was of needing to see out games and again we shot ourselves in the foot. The number of points we've thrown away at home is incredible. We need to secure our place in this league as soon as possible, not just to calm nerves but to hopefully see Sir Chris blood some of our youngsters.  

Yann was clearly gutted at the end and might still be on the pitch now if it weren't for Hamer coming over to console him at the end and lead him off. 

On a more positive day was brightened by the return of The Voice. Even in this day of Blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc there'll always be a place for fanzines especially if they're of the quality of VOTV. I still have my collection of old editions including the short lived A4 sized ones. Welcome back old friend !