Monday 29 July 2013

I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside !

The Brighton& cricket ground !

I missed Paddy's testimonial on Saturday due to a long standing commitment to what would normally have a cricket tour weekend in North Devon. However, no such tour this year and a reunion in Hove took place. As such, the opportunity was taken to watch Sussex & James Taylor take on the Aussies.

Good weather, beer and company ensured that it was a great weekend. Only 40 minutes of play lost on Saturday to rain. Sadly cricket isn't immune to the difficult financial times we find ourselves in and Sussex, like many other counties now call their Hove ground by a sponsor's name, the Brighton& county ground.........arghhh ! 

You'd never have predicted this nonsense a few years ago nor indeed that these days you can locate cricket grounds by looking out for the floodlights !

The Aussies remain less than convincing and I'd be surprised if Agar retains his spot in the side although who on earth would replace him is anyone's guess. For a youngster presumably brought up on endless fielding drills in an era of the big bash / T20 etc you'd have thought he'd be quite good but his fielding is shocking. He shelled a relatively easy chance yesterday aside from generally being less than convincing. There's no energy in his bowling action and one wonders how he got in the side in the first place. Can only have been punt on the part of the Aussies selectors with Pietersen's weakness against slow left arm playing a major part.

Lyon didn't impress and Hamlton-Brown took him to the cleaners on Saturday with relative ease. The spin cupboard is bare for Australia which, given an anticipated turner in Manchester, doesn't bode well for them.

I assume that Warner will return for the Aussies at Old Trafford, I can't see how he can't.

Sad to see our pre-season unbeaten run end on Saturday. From what I read the game served to highlight how critical our need for a couple of strikers is. I really hope that we can secure Fuller and Obika but that increasingly appears unlikely with nothing done at this late stage although Spurs signing of Soldado may give some cause for optimism but that's against a seemingly awful financial background.

There's some way to go before the window shuts at the end of August with Premiership clubs still to finalise their squads but it's hard to be positive about our chances of recruiting anyone decent unless a buyer comes in or miraculously some money is found somewhere.

Hopefully something will happen before next Saturday and that our boys will enjoy their weekend beside the seaside as much as I've just done.  

Monday 22 July 2013

Watt A Day !

Tom Watt - engaging and knowledgeable

Quite a good day at The Valley yesterday as Charlton held its club day. The glorious weather continued to make it an extremely pleasant day all round.

ANEM's very own  Clive had been lucky enough to win a golden ticket that saw him take a penalty on the infamous Valley turf. Ben Hamer's less than glorious record for saving penalties was never in any serious danger of being further damaged as Clive's Michael Gray-like effort tamely made its way towards the goal.

Clive had needed to report in at 11am and so an earlier arrival than otherwise needed was called for. Upon arrival we wandered around the car park and I took advantage of the 6 for £5 offer for old CAFC dvds.. A very good deal and I'm really pleased with my purchases. 

I also, finally, managed to sign up to the supporters trust. I'm glad to have finally done so at last !

A quick beer was quaffed before entering the ground to witness the training session. It was never going to be an intense affair but was interesting enough. The session was compered by Tom Watt.As most will know, Tom is an Arsenal fan  with a deep knowledge and love of the game and so he was an entirely appropriate and suitable choice for the job.

I later met up with Tom for a photo and from chatting to him I gather he's a close contact of Sir Chris. I reminded him of the time a caller to 606 was moaning about Charlton being in the Prem and how we didn't deserve to be there. Tom pounced immediately and asked the caller if he knew the history of the club. Suffice to say Tom put him in his place..........I've never forgotten that and it's not hard to imagine an entirely different scenario had it been Alan Green !

The light training session was interspersed with interviews with Sir Chris and the support staff. All quite entertaining and fun, not least Sir Chris's penalty and subsequent celebration. After the penalty shoot out we retired to Bartrams for more refreshment. Whilst sitting outside we were invited along to the Q&A session with Hamer, Jackson, Harriott, Gower and Roberts, Bloom and Umut.

The session was again hosted by Tom who asked the written submitted questions and posed some sensible, appropriate supplementary ones too with good humour. No shocking revelations unless you consider the news that Jackson and Hamer use Shockwaves on their hair as earth-shattering. However, it was clear they all have an affection for the club and are aware of our history. Jackson stressed how important the fans support is and cited the Cardiff home game as how it played its part. Skip also said that he felt that result was pivotal to the season's success as it gave them all real self-belief.

Had we not attended this q&a session then the day wouldn't have been as enjoyable. I would like to have attended the one with management team but it was not to be.

A couple of improvements could be made. I didn't understand why the q&a sessions were restricted as these could easily have been held on the pitch thus allowing everyone to submit a question or at lest hear the replies to them. I really couldn't understand why this didn't happen.

No bar was open in the West Stand. Why ? Surely that was a missed revenue opportunity on such a hot day. They could have opened a small part and sold beers at £2 a pint and soft drinks at £1 a go, say and still made a tidy sum.  

I know Bartrams was open and some folk did bring in a drink from there but I couldn't be arsed to go out to get one from there. 

Anyway, overall a good day and one that I hope will be repeated next year and an adoption of those ideas above plus an opportunity for everyone to meet more players and the great man himself would make the next one even better.