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 ! 

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Wilde About Dorian

Picture of Dorian - you'll never guess where I found it.....

About the only bright spot from Saturday was how well Dervite played. Somewhat like Andy Hughes towards the end of last season it's a little difficult to put your finger on what he does. He can almost go unnoticed.

I can't recall him having had a bad game. He can and has played in midfield too of course where I think he does an equally good job. 

We'll have to hope that other teams don't notice him too much either as, like so many others, his contract expires at the end of the season. 

Dorian started out at La Madeleine of which Dorian recalls little as he has problems with a remembrance of things past although he remembers it being a piece of cake.

Dervite joined Lille in 1999 and stayed for 7 years until he joined the Tottenham youth team in 2006. Sadly a knee injury in January 2007 sidelined him for a few months. Keen to make up for lost time, he joined Southend on loan in Janaury 2009 where impressed and was runner up for player of the year despite only playing half a season.

In 2010 he joined Villareal B playing just 23 games until his departure in 2012 to join Charlton.

He has played for the French under 16's through to under 21's with his last international appearance in 2009. Still only 25 who's to say that he might not yet make a full international appearance for his country.

Dervite had to wait a while before establishing himself in the team something he has now achieved. Following Saturday's defeat to Boro he has called for his teammates to remain calm, be patient, work hard and approach treat each game with seriousness and respect. Clearly he appreciates the importance of being earnest and this should stand him in good stead. 

Allez Dorian !


Sunday 11 August 2013


Dire about sums it all up. We were woeful and Tuesday evening seems a lifetime away. Only Dervite had anything like a good game. Yann had probably his worst day in a Chalrton shirt which speaks volumes.

A performance that was unexpected unlike the post match comments where unsurprisingly Sir Chris did not make comments about expecting to beat teams like Middlesbrough at home. He duly acknowledged a poor performance by his side something not all other managers do eh readers !

Thursday 8 August 2013

The Middlesbrough Mourinho

The photogenic Tony Mowbray. A copy of his comments will no doubt be on the dressing room wall but probably not his photo........Sir Chris won't want to frighten the mascots !

Mr Motivator comes to S.E.7 on Saturday. Sadly for him he seems only capable of motivating our boys given his pathetic post match comments following our 2-2 draw with them back in April. 

You don't expect to beat any team in this league not least one that is higher placed and on an excellent run. Poor old Tone, perhaps he was trying to deflect from his side's poor run. The club's website seems to be suffering the same affliction as at the time of writing it records Saturday's 2-1 reverse to Leicester as a 2-0 home win !

The poor start to the season continued on Tuesday when his side went of the Capital One Cup to Accrington Stanley. Post match and one expected Mowbray to borrow the words of Stanley's most fan in announcing that " we flippin' murdered 'em ! ". Defeat on Saturday may see the end of his tenure, what a loss that'd be eh ?

Tuesday night's emphatic win will have given Sir Chris some food for thought although if Skip is fit I'd expect just him and Green to come into the side. As well as all the others did in overcoming Oxford, I'd be surprised if he changed the starting eleven other than that.

On the bench there's every reason to suggest that Church and Pigott may find themselves a place. I was impressed with both of them and would like to see them given every opportunity this season.

I'm off to Colchester Zoo tomorrow which I'm looking forward to as it has a good reputation. In preparation for Saturday a visit to Chimp world would seem to be in order. If we win on Saturday then perhaps the press room at The Valley will resemble Chump world as Tone tries to explain away another defeat.

Come On You Reds ! 

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Church Double Leaves Oxford Without A Prayer

Super Simon wins over the Valley faithful

Things didn't look good as the train journey from Milton Keynes was beset with delays that meant my appointment with with a pint or two of Harveys best in Greenwich was a good 45 minutes later than it should have been. Fortunately the Addicks cheered me up later with a fine performance that secured a win. 

The club website promised a couple of changes to the side that played on Saturday. A couple clearly being a euphemism for ten then as only Hamer remained from the eleven that began the campaign at Dean Court.

It's a rare that one is able to report on a comfortable cup win for the Addicks but make no mistake, this was just what is was. When compared to other, and perhaps more fancied sides that exited the competition last night and with more senior players, then it reflects well on our boys.

Oxford never really got going or threatened and you'll find more flair in a pair of Oxford bags ( sorry ). However, they had made a couple of changes themselves and as was shown on Saturday, they will do well this season. Clearly in Potter they have an exciting and attacking player, sadly we didn't see much of him.

Oxford did have a few chances and couple fell to Constable ( wearing the number 9, surely he's lacking another couple of 9's there ! ) who sadly for the U's shot wide.

As I noted before, Sir Chris had to balance the desire for a cup run against the need to keep his regulars fresh for the game on Saturday. He got it just right yesterday.

Clearly the team had been instructed to play a patient, passing game as we prodded and probed for openings. Sadly a few Addicks desired more direct approach but when we did do this long balls were mopped up by the U's and possession surrendered.

I can't think that any player had a bad game. Captain Cort put his body on the line a few times as he led by example. Wood didn't put a foot wrong in tackling well and was commanding when heading the ball. Church showed good awareness and movement and of course, bagged a brace.

I'd not seen young Pigott play before, however, I now fully understand why folk are so fulsome in their praise of young Joe. He really does have some promise and I hope we get to see him at the Valley for a good few years to come.  

Church's first goal on 18 minutes settled the early nerves for us supporters, if not the players. It appeared to come from rebound off Pigott that left Simon with the goal pretty much at his mercy. He fired home comfortably to get off the mark in his Charlton career.

The rest of the half witnessed more patient play from the Addicks with a splattering of half chances for both teams. A goal late in the first half or early in the second is always good and Green provided just that on 48 minutes when his low driven free kick went through a sea of players to find the back of the net albeit possibly via a deflection.

It was just reward for Danny who was impressive and I hope he retains his place for the visit of Boro.

You'd expect to find a Church on the end of a cross and on 53 minutes we saw exactly that as Pigott delivered one but sadly Church had lost his way and was unable to convert from 6 yards. Salvation was just around the corner though as on 57 minutes a neat turn and first time shot saw Simon double his tally for the evening. 

3-0 then and for once we could relax a bit and I was hoping that Cousins and Jordan would get at least 15 minutes each. Sadly we only got a 5 or 6 minutes cameo from Cousins who managed to win a penalty in that time as he was upended in the box.

Fortunately for those of a nervous disposition or long standing Addicks as we're other wise known we were to witness only this one penalty and not the usual ten that results in us going out of the cup !

There was then a bit of a bun-fight over who should be taking it between the legal sounding trio of Pigott, Green and Sordell. It was unclear as to who Sir Chris wanted to take the penalty although I think we can safely assume it wasn't my mate Clive whose Club Day penalty wasn't the best to grace the Valley !

I'm pleased to say that Pigott won the argument and he dispatched the spot kick to cap a very good evening for the young man. Well done sir !

We can look forward to Thursday's draw. I'm hoping for a Prem team at home with Everton being my team of choice. In the meantime, we have Boro on Saturday..........I'm looking forward to that.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

University Challenge

Abraham Lincoln above appearing under the pseudonym Booth. He could safely enjoy a night out at The Valley.........little danger of a shot on target !

Oxford come a calling on Tuesday evening bringing with them a couple of Daves, a couple of Ryans but surprisingly no Dons. Following their win at Portsmouth on Saturday they will provide a stiff examination, let's hope we're up to the test.

The U's have a few players who are worth studying.......much travelled and experienced striker Dave Kitson is the most notable. Former Manchester United youth product Danny Rose is another. There are a couple of loans players, Ryan Williams from Fulham and Asa Hall ( s of residence ) from Shrewsbury.

Oxford manager Chris Wilder spent some time on loan with us in the early 90's but I can't recall him myself. He has been in charge since 2008 and under him The U's graduated from the Conference in 2010.

Trying to work out the outcome of tomorrow's game is something than even Inspector Morse would struggle with. The lessons learned from our recent history of cup matches suggest that it should add up to a defeat for us. Whatever the outcome I'm sure we won't be reading about a classic in the papers on Wednesday morning.

Given our financial situation another cup game, especially if drawn at home to a big club, would help a bit so Professor Powell has to balance the desire to progress against the need to keep key players fresh for Middlesbrough on Saturday. I assume he'd like to give Green and Stephens a run out and to some degree, a couple of reserves appearing is a possibility. I guess we may get to see Church try and outsmart a ! Let's hope Chris gets it right and doesn't end up looking like Professor Plum.

I'm looking forward to the first home competitive match of the season and my thirst, if not for knowledge but a decent pre-match ale will probably take me to a different pub in Greenwich where a pint of Brains would seem appropriate. 

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 4 August 2013

We're Doomed

" Nurse, fetch the revolver ! "

That's it then, season over, don't know why we bothered renewing our season tickets. Blimey, what an over reaction from some quarters. Funnily enough in all my years supporting Charlton I've never expected us to win any game, hope, yes but expectation.........never ! Yesterday was no different, I didn't think we were about to go and blow them away.

It would appear that unusually a lack of organisation when defending a short corner cost us for the first goal. Given that it seems there had been a couple before we really shouldn't have got caught out by that but we were slow to react.

A superb strike from Yann restored parity which gave some reward to the travelling faithful. One has to hope that no one outside S.E. 7 noticed as our need to hold on him cannot be overstated.

Sadly Grabban went on to score a second from a quality strike although he was given too much time and space.

A late and uncharacteristically rash challenge from Pritchard saw him see red from referee Andy D'Urso and as much as I don't like D'Urso, I think he had little choice.

The loss of Skip before kick off to a niggling calf injury didn't help and he was sorely missed. Hughes who didn't really feature in pre-season was brought in to replace him. Sordell made his debut.

Sir Chris gets most things right but I would question the formation yesterday. Having played with a 4-5-1 set up for most of pre-season ( mostly out of necessity I admit ) I'm not sure that the move to 4-4-2 was a good idea. Given the late arrival of Sordell and Church, I assume we'd spent the most part of the build up to the game working on 4-5-1 so I'm not sure a late alteration will have helped.

In addition, it seems that Pritchard, playing wide right, didn't have a great game and he is better in a central position. Danny Green by all accounts had a good pre-season playing with some determination with a point to prove. It would have been nice to see him start with Pritchard moving inside as I said.  

As with last season the team needs our support and that's from Tuesday and going forward. Oxford secured a good win away to Portsmouth yesterday with an impressive 4-1 win so they will be buoyant. We don't need the doom and gloom mentality.

Away from the Valley you've got to feel some sympathy for the fans of Coventry City. A ten point deduction further punishment in addition to having to play all home games at Northampton's Sixfields stadium. A large number of those " home " games will be played on a Sunday. Like ourselves at Selhurst, I believe a large number of their fans refuse to go to Northampton so things are unlikely to get better for them for some time.

Let's hope that we can improve our own fortunes on Tuesday with those rarest of things for Charlton....a cup win !

Thursday 1 August 2013

Summer Madness !

And so it begins ! The season kicks off ridiculously early on Saturday. We've not yet played the 3rd Ashes test and I've yet to see my beloved Kent live this season, something that will be righted in the next couple of weeks.

After a pretty good pre-season there seems to be much doom and gloom surrounding the club. We have released a few players ( most of whom didn't feature a great deal last term ) but essentially what has changed ? Clearly we need a couple of strikers but the release of Smith on loan very much suggests that at least one or two are probably on their way in. Rumours abound of Marvin Sordell coming in and he'll do for me. I do hope that one or both of Fuller and Obika sign up soon.

Button has left but he clearly wasn't happy at not securing a more lengthy go when he came in for Hamer but he didn't cover himself in glory and can't really have too many arguments on that. Obviously he wants first team football on a regular basis as evidenced by his decision to drop a division for the second consecutive season and his release has made some room on the wage bill. Should Hamer get injured or suffer a dip in form then we can always dip into the loan market. Keepers are the easiest to merge into the team.

We have managed to keep ( so far ) the nucleus of the side that served us so well last season. I wouldn't lose any sleep if Stephens left but that aside it's not a lot different to the one we finished with.

Sir Chris has said we may need a couple of seasons to consolidate and without any great financial input that's got to be the aim. The impact of FFP and the current financial climate has seen very few clubs spend a lot of money so we are not alone in that although God knows how Millwall are able to finance their signings especially on such poor attendances !

What of Saturday then ? Firstly, I hope the weather is good for all those travelling down especially if you're down there the weekend. I envisage a tough game, Bournemouth have been on an upward trend and in Eddie Howe they have, like us, a manager who is seemingly comfortable and content in his current environment and doing a good job. Ideally you don't want to face a new promoted club early on and they'll be keen to start well at home.

Bournemouth have some injury concerns up front and with our defence it's hard to envisage there being many goals in this one. A scoreless draw or a win one nil either way is the most likely outcome.

I assume that we'll be starting with a 4-5-1 formation. I'd like to see the midfield comprised of Harriott, Gower, Jackson, Pritchard and Green but assume we'll see Stephens in with Pritch out wide right. A shame for many reasons..........Pritchard is better in a central position, Green has seemingly had a good pre-season is keen to impress and offers more in attack, Jackson is able to get forward more and in my view, Stephens offers very little.

Yann is in for a long, hot and testing afternoon but as we know if anyone can, Yann can ! He'll battle all day.

Good luck to you if you're going to Dean Court, I hope you are rewarded with a win and good performance to lighten the mood.

Come On You Reds !