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.