Wednesday 31 December 2014

Suffolk Punched !

One leg for each of the goals Ipswich scored this season and being a gelding the ratio of testicles to goals scored by us in proportion too !

Best we gloss over last night's Portman Road performance. In truth with the form we and they are in it was only to be expected. Whilst we have pulled a few away results out of the bag such Norwich and Reading it's at home where our failure to hold onto leads or to see out draws that our problems lie.

Bob's earlier glossy sheen is starting to look a little tarnished even accepting a paper thin squad. He needs to make better use of what he does have available.

In respect of some players he's in danger of repeating some of Curbs early errors in remaining too loyal to some underperforming players or those simply lacking in confidence. 

He also should ensure that the best players for each position play there when fit and available. The experiment of Solly in midfield for example was a flawed one.

I'm sure we'd all like to see some new faces in January but only if they are adding value to the squad. Given Roly's intentions of running a tight ship this doesn't seem likely..........we can but hope.

Goodness knows what 2015 hold for the Addicks. For the UK there is a general election looming large on the horizon. As things stand at the moment I'd not be surprised to see a repeat of 1974 with two election in the same year.

The rise of the SNP since the independence debate suggests that Labour will lose many seats to them. Similarly, UKIP appear as though they will take several Tory seats, a few Lib Dems and the odd Labour one too.

A minority Government is a very real prospect. It's not hard to envisage the Lib Dems losing votes all over and they are unlikely to be able to offer the prospect of power to either Tory or Labour in the same way they did in 2010.

None of the parties has much going for them such is the way politics has become so diluted and it's the age of the sound bite rather than conviction politics. Clearly the NHS, immigration and the deficit will be the main focus but no party seems clear on any of it or can be totally trusted in my view. Voter apathy might reach new levels especially if my view is typical !

Hopefully the apathy will be restricted to politics and not spread to The Valley. We need new players, a more positive approach and to return to the early season football that we witnessed in August and September.

Thanks as always to the good folk at Doctor Kish especially Ketts. Thank you to fellow bloggers who do a far better job than me in writing about our splendid club. Thanks to those that comment ( even those lovely Bolton fans ! ). Thank you if you read this occasional nonsense.

May all of you have a fantastic evening and I wish everyone a wonderful 2015 !

Come On You Reds !



Wednesday 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas !

Hey Santa ! Have you got a striker in there for us ?

Last Saturday is best forgotten for a number of reasons. In terms of Charlton lots of lessons to be learned for Bob I think.

Don't play the same team that couldn't secure 3 points against a poor Blackpool side. Don't continue to play a keeper low on confidence when one of your experienced summer targets is on the bench. Don't play your best players out of their natural positions.

As much as Cardiff won't come to the Valley on Boxing Day full of confidence they'll prove a tough nut to crack especially if the displays against the aforementioned rock bottom club and Rovers is anything to go by. 

Let's hope the Welsh side over indulge on Christmas Day and come with a leeky defence ! Who needs cracker jokes eh !

We need to turn the corner and fast. Ipswich away in a few days is hardly what the doctor ordered is it ? I know we've pulled a few rabbits out the hat before but I really can't see us getting diddly squat from Portman Road.

If you're looking for positives then the fact that I'll not be at the Valley on Boxing Day is perhaps one. I missed the 5-4 Cardiff game the last time we played them and I won't be too upset to miss it again provided we get the same outcome.

We always seem to be at home on Boxing Day and it's again a 1pm kick off. Not great for those of us living away from S.E.7. No public transport and with no desire to refrain from drinking on Christmas Day means it's a no go for me. 

Far from ideal for Cardiff fans either. I'm not sure who programs the computer these days but I'm sure I could do a better with pen and paper !

The total nonsense of fixtures sees Norwich at home to Millwall  and Ipswich away to Brentford. The fixture computer...........programmed with you in mind !

I wish everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas. 

I hope you have a great time and may that please include 3 points on Boxing Day !

Come On You Reds !




Sunday 14 December 2014

Doing A Bikey

( v ) to hit row Z in the last minute with the goal at your mercy

Yes, another entry for Footypedia and beautifully demonstrated from 10 yards by Andre yesterday. Clearly Bob has learned from his digging out our other central defender the other week as he appears to be keeping his own counsel on this one.

It was an awful miss yes but the blame for this draw lays across a number of people. Pope had a hand ( or perhaps not ! ) in both goals. A weak punch for the first and for the second he should have come and got the ball, the striker and the kitchen sink ! In the end of course, he did none of those things and ended up trying to chest it away. Oh dear !

May be young Nick needs to grow a beard, that seems to becoming increasingly popular with a number of the top stoppers. A Brian Blessed bushy beast of a beard would be good especially if accompanied by a loud bellowing noise that is associated with the aforementioned thespian.

The starting eleven wasn't one that most would have predicted. I spent some while trying to work out who was playing where and that wasn't made any clearer when play began. I believe Solly was in midfield but exactly where didn't become a lot clearer over the ensuing 90 plus minutes.

Gomez had a reasonable game but I can't see the point in moving your first choice right back especially with his left sided counterpart already missing. In addition, we were missing our first choice central pairing. Almost to a man I reckon Charlton fans would have opted for Buyens and Cousins in centre mid.

I also can't see why Gudmundsson couldn't play on the left allowing for more options of someone playing on the right, Wilson not least amongst them.

Sadly, having taken the lead we rather predictably sat back failing to press on and really going for it. There were options, Bulot or Harriott could have gone over to the left for example. I was astonished when Harriott went off as despite not having a great game, his pace always offers a threat.

Last minute goals such as yesterday and the Ipswich game are bad enough. They are made an awful lot worse against teams like Blackpool who weren't very good. It was clear that set pieces offered their best chance of a goal and we duly obliged, twice.

The tackle by TBH was unnecessary and it was a foul. He went through their player from behind and I'm sorry but you've not been able to do that for years, even if you do win the ball.

At a time when we're approaching the busy Christmas / New Year schedule things don't look great. We are thin on the ground in a number of areas now ( not just up front ) and the loan market isn't available to us until January. Whether we go and buy anyone in the next transfer window remains to seen. 

Maybe the transfer window will have a message behind it that you get with a Jehovah's Witness Advent Calendar ! Let's hope not or we may have another potential entry for Footypedia !




Thursday 11 December 2014

Tangerine Dream ?

How will we cope without him ?

A few weeks ago Saturday's game would have been a mere formality of a home win. However, our dip in form mainly due to a failure to take chances means this is far from the case.

I know Blackpool beat Birmingham last weekend but they remain something of a basket case with  Karl Oyston having seemingly found a kindred spirit in Lee Clark. That tells you a lot as clearly Karl wouldn't know a good manger if he saw one as his treatment of Jose Riga so aptly demonstrated.

The Blackpool squad is a mish mash of players many of whom are on loan. Sadly, Nile Ranger isn't one of them..................imagine that being the case and him playing up front with a young Spaniard called Tonto.  

Young Nile has had a chequered time on and off the pitch. Life is certainly not dull with him eh ?

Injuries will again affect us on Saturday at a time when we could do with all hands on deck as we face the busy Christmas period.

Henderson, Jackson and Wiggins will all be missing. Igor seems to be struggling along and we can ill afford to lose him at any time. One hope that a new striker will be bought but it seems there's more chance of someone buying that advertising slot on Charlton Live before that happens !

How will Bob shuffle the pack ? I'm sure Lawrie won't want to return to the left of midfield. One assumes that the returning Buyens will partner Coquelin in the centre with Cousins going back to the left.

Hopefully Harriott ( Sky commentators please note that's his name, he's not a bloody TV vet ! ) will again play in a forward position that appears to be bringing out his best and on a more consistent basis.

We desperately need to win if only ( I nearly said it'd wipe the smile of Clark's face but I don't think anyone's ever seen one ) to raise spirits ahead of the festive period. We're long overdue now especially at home.

I'm not sure where recent events have left Tucadean apart from a bit lower down on the pecking order. He may get more of a chance in the upcoming hectic schedule but any return of a rejuvenated Church might hinder that.

We don't go into many games believing that we ought to win, however, Saturday is one of those days when we should think so. This is Charlton though and we're bound to make hard work of it.

Here's to a home win, may it be convincing for a change and then we can all go home happy !

Come On You Reds !



   

Sunday 30 November 2014

Missed Opportunities



There's no worse way to lose a game than in injury time of time added on. The sense of anguish is heightened if you've not really deserved to lose, however, if you fail to take some golden chances then in all probability you will get punished.

That's how it proved to be yesterday and with virtually the last kick of the game, Stephen Hunt took all 3 points and with it, our unbeaten home record.

We had great chances in and round the box but our boys simply took too long or were let down by poor technique. Igor and YBG were guilty of wanting to use their favoured foot to control the ball with the result that it ran away from them or they were closed down before they were able to get a meaningful shot away.

Harriott was excellent in his more forward, attacking role. He fashioned chances for himself and others and was positive and direct throughout.

Coquelin was again superb seemingly always available to receive the ball and following it up with a pinpoint pass. The extension of his loan was very welcome news indeed.  

McGoldrick and Murphy were kept relatively quiet by our resolute and well organised defence. Tyrone Mings showed why he is attracting interest from some Premiership clubs. He looks a class act. Luke Chambers was a rock in the Ipswich defence. 

Bob is being a bit harsh on TBH by criticising him for losing the ball high up the pitch but one can understand that he was trying to keep possession. Criticism of Fox from some fans is also unwelcome. He knows more than anyone what he should have done.

On to Forest next week. Thanks fully it's not live on Sky but Forest's home form is very good and having lost yesterday, Pearce will be keen to get back on track.




Friday 28 November 2014

Only Fools and Horses

Following last Saturday’s visit from our friends up the road, it is pleasing to be welcoming Ipswich Town to The Valley this weekend.
 
The Blues, The Tractor Boys or The Horses as they are sometimes called will provide an altogether better atmosphere than the Spanners supplied last time out.
 
The look of hatred and hostility on their faces whilst abusing the likes of Solly was truly disturbing. Most of them would have fitted in well if they’d been incarcerated on Shutter Island.
 
On the playing side they had clearly come for the draw and it was disappointing that given their 5 at the back we didn’t put someone up with Igor earlier. We needed to take the game to them.
 
At the end we departed we thoughts of “ if only “ in respect of George. Two golden opportunities missed in successive games isn’t good especially as I believe he has some ability.
 
Enough already, onto this Saturday. Myopic Mick ( I hope no one ever needs him as an eyewitness even with video evidence ! ) brings his Suffolk side along sitting handily placed in 4th spot.
 
Ipswich have had a good season especially at home whilst on their travels games have mostly ended in draws. Everything suggests stalemate as the outcome but we have an unbeaten home record at stake and are on the telly………..so what do you think !!!!
 
Whilst having a richer history than ours, Ipswich are a club not totally dissimilar to ourselves. They aren’t prone to splashing the cash and McCarthy has, as usual, fashioned a good side without spending a small fortune. Mick’s teams are always hard working and tough to beat.

Hopefully we will have Igor available as we know how valuable he is to us. Sadly no Henderson but I'm comfortable with Pope after an assured performance last week.

Coquelin was superb last week and it is to be hoped that he starts tomorrow and also that his loan is extended.

The presence of the tv cameras doesn't bode well and we can only hope that particular hoodoo won't play its part.

If it's any comfort my Ipswich supporting mate is coming along ( in the away end by the way ) with his partner who he tells me usually means the Ipswich don't win. Let's hope that's a good omen.

The early kick off means a few leisurely beers after somewhere in Greenwich. It'd nice if that was done in the warm glow of having garnered 3 points.

Come On You Reds !

Thursday 20 November 2014

Playing For Pride

Up The Loins !

Don't worry about your typical Millwall fan getting the above, they'll be chuffed that a Charlton blog is promoting their team. In similar fashion they'll fail to see the irony of their manager being named after a famous gaol. However, they'll have a good laugh if they score more " gaols " than us on Saturday.

Much is made of our poor record against that lot from down the road but one does need to bear in mind the time we've spent in different leagues. Our years in the Prem being a case in point.

Nonetheless we do owe them especially after last year's insipid home performance. This was exacerbated by the usual guff about the players, management, tea lady etc. all appreciating what it means to the fans. Fornicate that ! Put in a performance, hopefully win and then make your comments. Talk is cheap !

There are two or three ex-Addicks now plying their trade for the Spanners most notably Ricardo Fuller. How on earth he ended up there, God only knows. He will pose a big threat as always. He was quality in his one season for us but sadly wasn't appreciated by all. There is a general misconception about his injuries and matches missed.

Fuller's goals aside, many also overlook his numerous assists and ability to win free kicks in dangerous areas. I won't enjoy seeing him doing similar for them.

We ought to be looking forward to this game with confidence especially following a decent away win at Reading last time out. However, this fixture stands alone in that form and relative strengths of teams go out the window. A shame as Millwall's form of one win in the last ten games is poor however, " Ollie " might want to dress it up.

Hopefully the international break has seen nearly all our injuries clear up and a start for Igor is essential for our success I'd suggest. I wouldn't mind seeing a start for Francis Coquelin get a start and wouldn't mind seeing Skip playing just in behind Vetokele as a knock on effect, Whatever I do hope that Francis gets a decent amount of time on the pitch.

Big Bob has already in his short time at the helm established himself as something of a cult figure and a loss on Saturday won't greatly damage that. However, a convincing performance and a win will go a long way to enhancing that.

Let's hope for the 3 points and we can go off and drink Charlton's surrounding areas dry or at least those that have watering holes open !

Come On You Reds ! 


Tuesday 4 November 2014

Desmond....

was the score and with Redfearn only getting one point from the last two games it seems that Archbishop Tutu, seen above complete with flat cap, could be in the running should the Leeds owner fancy a change of boss.

A brace each for Mowatt and Gudmundsson at Elland Road meant that the Addicks recorded another draw, their ninth of the season. 

It was disappointing that Igor wasn't on from the start as Harriott, Gudmunsson and Wilson all came into the starting eleven. 

It seems that a fairly lacklustre game came to life in the second half with Leeds twice taking the lead with excellent goals from Mowatt. Gudmundsson equalised first with a shot from a narrow angle that their keeper should have done better with.

JBG's second came from the penalty spot after TBH took a tumble. There were complaints from those of a Leeds persuasion but unless TBH's shirt rode up of its own accord then it looked a fair shout to me. The penalty was dispatched with some aplomb.

An injury late on to Wiggins meant we played the last 10 minutes or so with ten men. However, as Mowatt was unable to conjure another goal the score remained two all.

Elsewhere the Championship threw up some unexpected results. Bournemouth have been one of the more consistent teams and the Cherries now sit top of the league, well done to them.

Reading secured a confidence boosting 3-0 win at home albeit to Rotherham. A tough task awaits on Saturday especially if we are without Wiggins just as he was starting to return to form.  


Monday 3 November 2014

Hoof !

Excited Leeds fans await their turn to be offered the hot seat

Rumour has it that at the time of writing former £1 million Charlton player, Neil Redfearn is the latest manager at Elland Road. The Italian owner doesn't hesitate to replace a boss but won't offer the job to just anyone................
Colin..........it's only a matter of time again surely.

Of course the one decent manager they did have didn't wait around for too long.......
the great Brian seen here with David Harvey, the former Planet of the Apes star.

Following a draw against T'Wednesday on Saturday we now face another team from T'Yorkshire in the form of Leeds United. A draw was about right at the weekend although I felt we had the better chances. The appearance of Igor and Gudmundsson showed how much we missed them and underlined how few options we have. We have to hope they stay fit.

The club has today recruited Francis Coquelin from Arsenal. The Frenchman has joined on the briefest of loans as he is with us, initially at least, only until 1st December. He has gone straight into tomorrow's squad. 

Judging by the goals conceded by Leeds at the weekend it seems our best approach is to hoof the ball downfield. Forget about playing a nice passing game, a pump up the pitch seems to spread panic in the heart of the United defence and confusion reigns. 

Last time out at Leeds we managed to come away with a 1-0 win courtesy of a Reza goal and a Hamer penalty save. Remarkably only 5 of the 18 man squad remain from that night. A similar result would be most welcome although a draw is probably the best we can hope for.

I trust we won't be wearing the strip d'orange tomorrow. That needs to be consigned to the bin.

Good luck to those going oop north to support the lads. Remember, if you're a bit late for the game, be careful where you run..........you never know who you might bump into and may end up missing the game.

Come On You Reds !



Thursday 30 October 2014

Back To The Valley

The cover for Saturday's Valley Review

Following two successive away defeats The Addicks will be relieved to be returning to S.E.7 on Saturday to face the blue side of Sheffield.

Those two defeats were interspersed with a win against Bolton some of whose fans took time out to comment on my last piece to congratulate us on a fine win. 

Wednesday's season has been quite similar to ours as there have been plenty of draws and they don't score a lot of goals. They will be hoping the recent acquisition of Taylor-Fletcher on loan from Leicester will change that. The Owls main goal threat will come in the form of Stevie May who looks quite a capable player.

Addicks fans will of course be hoping that Igor and Gudmundsson return to the starting eleven. It may be too early for Wiggins who picked up a foot injury last week.

I'd like to see George start up front with Igor as this is potentially our best strike partnership and I don't think it was given enough time earlier in the season. 

At home Bulot really ought to play on the left and Gudmundsson on the right even if this means leaving Cousins out of the starting eleven. Jordan has been great this season and gives it everything but he is wasted out there and our attacking threat is curtailed without a more natural left sided player. 

I was pleased to Buyens have an improved game against the Trotters although he was still a bit short of his early season performances.

The first half on Friday evening was awful but it was good to see the lads come out and give it go in the second half with a more determined effort. The injuries we had and with Fulham playing a lot better than at the start of the season it was always going to be a tough ask.

Clearly our squad is on the thin side and a couple of experienced additions would make a tremendous difference to the team. I understand the cautious approach from Roland and his desire to run a tight ship whilst giving youth it's chance. Grant Holt is a case in point of someone who would have been a superb addition to the squad. There are others out there still but it seems unlikely that Bob will be able to add anyone unless we're right up there around the end of the year.

We need to go for it from the start on Saturday and maintain that for the rest of the game. In August we showed at home what we are capable of and we have to get back to that level especially with two tricky away games coming up.

It is good to see that the club is to focus on Remembrance Day with a commemorative programme, a plaque to be unveiled and a minute's silence before the game. 

The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1 has served to remind us of the sacrifices, horror and reality of war. Naturally with less and less people surviving from the great war then it disappears from living memory and as with all conflicts the desire that " we should never forget " is more important than ever.

I know from first hand experience that our schools are playing their part in ensuring that today's children are educated about the two world wars, naturally with a greater focus on the first in this Centenary year.

I hope to get along to the see the poppies at the Tower of London as many friends and colleagues have been and tell me what a moving experience this is. In the meantime I shall, along with others, pay a silent tribute on Saturday ahead of the game.




Wednesday 22 October 2014

Perennial Strugglers 2 – Bolton Wanderers 1



Charlton have one of the smallest and least experienced squads in the Championship. Last night that squad was hampered by injuries to several key players but still managed to emerge victorious against a plucky Bolton side that had a typical physical edge to it. That isn’t to suggest they were dirty, just that there were lots of niggling fouls that last night’s ref should have done more about. 

Newly installed Bolton boss Lennon labelled us “ perennial Championship strugglers “ and that of course is total nonsense. In my many years of supporting the Addicks we have rarely struggled and whilst not frequently troubling the top of the table, I’ve not seen us in the third tier in more than a handful of seasons. 

Possibly the seeds for the delusions of grandeur from Lennon have been sown by chairman, Phil Gartside. Back in the Allardyce era when the Trotters were  enjoying Premiership football, Gartside was rarely out of the media. He had plenty to say, most notably about establishing a Premiership 2. Should Bolton drop to League 1 this season I wonder if Gartside will still be so keen on the idea ! 

Given the players available I thought pre-match that we’d do well to emerge with a point. In addition, Saturday’s results and performances from both teams did little to suggest an Addicks win. The lads do like to surprise us though and dug deep to bag all 3 points. 

The opening minutes were end to end stuff and it looked as though there were plenty of goals to be had for both sides. However, there was little end product for either side despite some promising moves mostly involving the impressive Chung-yong as far as Bolton were concerned. 

It was a real surprise when George demonstrated no small amount of skill to give us the lead. He scored the goal he always looked like scoring – heavy on the irony there ! 

Tucadean went down far too easily and I thought he was doing his best to blow a golden opportunity for himself. However, the way he took his goal and the assist for Jackson’s goal reminded us all of the potential he showed when netting against the Rams earlier in the season. 

A few extra hours down the gym will certainly aid George because you need to be strong at this level. 

Once again the defence did well with Bikey and TBH showing what a great partnership they are and how good their understanding is. I note that Wiggins is getting some unwarranted stick in some quarters. I am led to believe he wasn’t great at Bournemouth on Saturday and perhaps that influences the views of some. However, I believe that Solly didn’t cover himself in glory either but he didn’t attract a lot of criticism.   

Feeney went off because he was getting no joy down our left and Davies, his replacement, played in a more central role I noted. 

Someone else attracting complaints from a few around me was Cousins. I can’t believe that some folk don’t appreciate that he is playing out of position. He’s the footballing equivalent of Dennis Waterman not writing the theme tune, singing the theme tune etc. but taking corners, playing on the left, on the right, there’s little that’s not asked of young Jordan. 

I don’t see him complain or ask for a rest like that Liverpool’s Stirling. Buyens had a better game last night and sadly picked up a fifth yellow. The one good thing that ought to come out of that is Jordan moving inside. I hope he grabs the opportunity to impress Big Bob on Friday. 

Skip also did well and broke up many attacks and got in some vital blocks. His contributions are so often overlooked. 

Last night’s result eases the pressure on Friday’s trip to the Cottage where a point will represent a good return given their recent upturn in fortunes following the sacking of the hapless McGath.


Monday 6 October 2014

A Player Is In An Offside...........

position........forget it, just look at the picture above Lee.

Lee Clark, having already established himself as someone it easy to take an instant dislike to, managed to go one further and make himself look a fool too on Saturday. Trying to claim that Clayton Donaldson wasn't offside for the disallowed goal was laughable.

Possibly he was trying to outdo the odious Steve Evans who claimed that Skip virtually put the ball up his shirt the other week when bemoaning the lack of a penalty for his team. 

Add Uwe " we should have won " Rosler into the mix and it seems we're coming up against some managers who seem intent on making it appear as if Arsene Wenger has twenty twenty vision.

Enough of Clark whose offside nonsense remarks were probably borne out of jealousy at our unbeaten run and his suffering another defeat at the Valley. 

Saturday's script pretty much followed that of other recent games. We start brightly, go in front and sit back. I've not minded too much upto now but against a poor looking side like Birmingham then it was disappointing.

As others have observed I'm at a lost to understand why the formation was changed as soon as went ahead. Cousins in particular was doing fine. It didn't help us.

Clearly something needs to be done in terms of increasing our attacking threat. We aren't creating nearly enough chances especially for Igor. He is our most potent threat yet is devoid of a suitable partner or a team-mate who can load the bullets for him. Our midfield on Saturday often failed to spot his runs and he was chomping at the bit to be played through. 

Buyens has been a major disappointment in the last few games. The player that in August displayed a fine range of positive and attacking passes has for some reason regressed. This culminated in an error strewn performance at the weekend. Quite how Skip came off and he stayed on I really don't know. Johnnie's reaction to being subbed spoke volumes.

I understand and largely agree with the club's policy of not spending vast amounts on players and associated wages. However, it seems a real shame to see a player like Grant Holt go to Huddersfield when you know he'd be ideal for Igor.

Ironically for someone who's classed as a defensive midfielder, Cousins has, of late, shown that he is more than capable of producing a telling pass. 

In terms of Saturday's substitutions then I was saddened that Harriott and KAG didn't set foot on the pitch. There was an opportunity to go for it and both players had incentive, not least Callum who has a point to prove.

In postmatch comments Bob suggested that the players were tired after a tough Championship schedule. They shouldn't be as we've already had one international break already and the lads aren't playing twice a week, every week. 

The Addicks seemed to cope ok playing twice a week for 7 weeks at the end of last season with little change in personnel and under some pressure too. Therefore, I'm not sure why the class of 2014-15 should be suffering particularly this early into the season. 

I know all of the above sounds and probably is quite critical of Big Bob. It's not meant to be, just a few personal observations on how I think things could be even better. I'm more than happy with the progress being made by the club and it is reflected in a number of areas.

The 4 points earned form the last two games were as excellent as they were unexpected. In addition, I think Bob has been fantastic to date not least with the unbeaten start in the league.

It doesn't seem as if we're going to be signing Fabregas or Costa anytime soon so I hope that we can find someone from within the club who may be able to do a fairly decent job in either position.

The second international break of the season will allow for injuries and niggles to clear and we can go again away to Bournemouth. The chances of extending our undefeated start were helped by Yann's red card on Saturday. We know often our ex-players, most notably the strikers, come back to haunt us.

In the meantime we can relax as the national team goes in search or more glory !




Tuesday 30 September 2014

Who Else ?


Skip - back amongst the goals

Well, I didn't see that coming but who's complaining ? The Addicks certainly picked a good time to break the recent run of draws. 

Charlton lined up much as expected with Solly rested again and Wilson coming in for the injured Gudmundsson. 

As ever the possession stats were heavily in favour of our opponents.

I understand that Norwich had much the better of the first half with a more even second and like Saturday, it saw us press on seeking a winner in the latter stages.

That winner duly arrived of course and no real surprise that it should JJ who comes up with the goods. As I've said before if we allow to play further forward he will more often than not get you a goal.

I was delighted to see the 17 year old KAG get on for a few minutes. I'm not sure what happened after the whistle with a couple of Norwich players apparently turning on him. Disappointing to say the least, I expect better of Norwich.

Into October then and we remain unbeaten in the league. The team and in many ways, the club itself , continues to develop and progress. That's about all we can ask for.

The decision not to pay inflated prices and wages for and to players seems to be the correct one. That's not to say that I wouldn't welcome a couple more players to bolster the squad. However, we need to note that Gomez is getting regular chances and perhaps KAG will do so also from now on.

It remains to be seen if Fox and Harriott can make the most of what opportunities come their way. If they can demonstrate sufficient quality and determination then they can be sure of a good run in the side. It really is up to them.

Elsewhere Brum beat the scum in front of another meagre home crowd. The Blues should expect a tougher game on Saturday in South East London.

A day full of surprises then as we won and Pardew is still the Mags' manager and incredibly appears to remain so even if they lose again on Saturday. As David Coleman would have said " quite remarkable ! " 

I guess there is some reason that Ashley is keen to retain that odious character aside from the Newcastle owner wishing to appear a total cretin !

Enough of that club ( it's a massive one too you know ) ! ". It's time to enjoy tonight and the ongoing unbeaten run. Well done to all concerned especially Skip.

I can't wait for Saturday. Please fast forward to it.


Monday 29 September 2014

Birds Of A Feather

" Back of the net ! "

North Norfolk's finest sports reporter will no doubt be in attendance at Carrow Road tomorrow as I'm sure he won't want to miss this one. Enough of Partridge though, it's Canaries we need to be wary of.

Norwich perch nicely at the top of the ( bird ) table ahead all teams including The Owls, The Bluebirds and The Seagulls ( what a shame we're not still called The Robins ).

Norwich away is always a good trip and one I've done more than most others albeit that I don't do many. My favourite of these was a 4-1 win with a Mendonca hat-trick. A couple of delicious pasties bought and consumed within the ground helped too.

I guess with Delia on the board the food ought to be good. Ironically, given the TV chef's connections Stephen Fry and Roger Roast are among their directors.

This will probably be our toughest test to date. Norwich are the league's top scorers whilst conceding under a goal a game. They have a large squad that has a lot of skillful players and Neil Adams has them playing some nice football.

Despite not having a great game on Saturday I think Skip should still be in the starting eleven. Prior to Saturday's game against Boro I was looking at some games from last season and noting how often JJ chipped in with a goal. When I look at the line up for Saturday I wondered if Jackson might be playing just in behind Igor with Bulot and Gudmundsson being the wide me. Sadly this wasn't the case of course. A shame as I think giving Skip licence to get further forward could pay dividends. 

Ideally what we need is a quality strike partner for Igor. I still live in the hope that George could be that player. If given the chance tomorrow then he really need to show more urgency and desire than of late. Tomorrow really would be a good time to come good again !

Good luck to all those going and as ever I hope you see a good game and us come away with something.

Come On You Reds !

P.S. if you've read this far then I have to confess that Roger Roast isn't really a Norwich director which is a shame. In fact it's a real shame if there's no one anywhere called Roger Roast. 


Sunday 28 September 2014

A-Ward Show

" I'll have the ball thanks lads. When you're playing football the crowd aren't looking at me ! "

Save for the last 20 minutes or so this was a dull game that won't live long in the memory and referee, Gavin Ward, did little to help matters.

Gav's was inconsistent all afternoon. He pulled one of our lads for a foul early in the second half and to totally ignore the same offence by a Boro player two minutes later. Gav stopped play to book TBH when Boro had a promising attack. He was overly fussy regarding the taking of free kicks and that only served to slow down a match that was hardly free flowing at the best of times.

The Addicks were better in second half and kept pressing for a change especially following Adomah's dismissal. Bulot hit the post and there was a shot cleared off the line although I'm not sure whose it was.

Boro were disappointing. They were keen to make cynical fouls and sadly Mr Ward let them, rarely picking up on them.

I'm not sure what happened with Bikey and Bamford but I'd have thought that if the Chelsea man had copped an elbow from the beast then he'd not have recovered so quickly and we might have seen some claret !

The early season panache seems to have gone missing for now. Buyens in particular isn't performing as he was in August when he displayed a range of positive and probing passes. Skip didn't have a great day and we looked better when young Jordan went into the centre.

Cousins deserves a lot of praise as he is coping manfully whilst playing out of position. Clearly it doesn't come naturally to him but there's no lack of effort on his part.

Igor barely got a sniff yesterday and that's not all due to Boro's defence or their manhandling of him. He clearly needs an effective strike partner. To that end I was disappointed that young Aherne-Grant wasn't given a go yesterday.

As always a few folk left before the final whistle with some leaving as early as the 80th minute. They missed some of the best of what action there was and I'd include the guy who ran onto the pitch and grabbed a corner flag. I assume he was a Boro fan as he ran towards the Smoggies in the Jimmy Seed.

Post match was spent in The Old Loyal Britons where it was warm enough to sit outside. Very pleasant. 

I bumped into ( not literally ) a Norwich fan at Euston. He seemed a bit worse for wear although thankfully didn't start shouting " where are you ? we need a twelfth man here " etc. etc. However, in between some incoherent mumblings ( his not mine ! ) I was able to determine that he felt the Canaries were better playing away than at home.

Whatever, we face a tough game on Tuesday and whilst some were disappointed with a draw yesterday, another one on Tuesday would be a good return.  

Friday 26 September 2014

Possessio is nine tenths of the.........

word !

Statistics ! Interesting aren't they ? Well no, of course not unless you're someone like John Motson......nuff said eh ? However, sometimes they're worth a look especially if it relates to " my favourite team ".

Recently our games were showing that the stats relating to possession were heavily in favour of the oppo but the more important ones, i.e. those relating to goals scored were marginally in our favour. In the last 2 games however, the goals stats have shown 50% to each side. On both occasions were ahead early on.

Seemingly a combination of teams being aware of approach to games allied to our taking the foot off the gas slightly when ahead have moved us towards draws rather than wins with an increased threat to our unbeaten league record. It would appear that Big Bob has acknowledged this and is demanding a more positive approach this weekend ( good news even if only driven by a desire not to be seen as a mark 2 version of the odious Lee Clarke ).

I got quite excited by the football we produced against Wigan and Derby and it'd be good to get back there especially at home. This Saturday our Smoggy friends come a calling. When both sides were in the Prem this was rather bizarrely a game oft selected for live television.

Boro have one of the best squads in the league and it's another tough home game for the Addicks. I don't expect Boro to be affected by their midweek exploits on Merseyside. Jose Riga managed to keep our boys firing on all cylinders playing twice a week for 7 weeks at the end of last season when under great pressure so I don't envisage a problem for them or any great advantage for us.


Striker Kiki ( looking decidedly more French than Spanish above ) is one to look out for. Adam Clayton ( ex-Huddersfield ), Albert Adomah ( ex-Bristol City ), Lee Tomlin ( ex-Peterborough ) and Patrick Bamford ( Chelsea loanee ) are others.

Last season under Chris Powell our starting eleven was extremely difficult to predict. This term, notably on Saturdays the team is pretty constant. Last week's eleven at Rotherham containing Moussa was probably the biggest surprise to date.

I'd like to see a start for Freddie Bulot. That would mean one of Jackson or Cousins dropping to the bench. I'd keep Skip in as he still an important cog in the set up whilst I appreciate the promise of young Jordan.

The squad of 20 players is smaller than Bob would like I'm sure but it is one that is over-achieving and in keeping with Roly's wishes isn't over stretched financially. There is every encouragement for younger players should they wish to take their chance when it comes along...Callum take note !

We are progressing as any comparison with this time last year clearly demonstrates. That is all we can ask for and in Big Bob we have a promising manager who appears to understands our club and shares a passion for both it and good football.

After a dearth of home games we now have two in a row either side of Norwich away. Sadly after next week's game versus Brum nothing until 1st November with the visit of The Owls.

It'd be great if we are still unbeaten by the time they arrive !

Come On You Reds !



Sunday 21 September 2014

Away Point

Gudmundsson, the man from Iceland scored with a lovely finish, all very Scandinavian.

Another draw on the road and another in which we were ahead for the large part only to concede later on. We do still seem to be creating chances but clearly need to be more clinical. 

I was pleased to see Igor start following an injury scare and that there were returns for Solly and Johan. Moussa got his first start in the league. I'll be interested to hear how he fared yesterday.

Steve Evans ( no one likes us - no it's just you Steve ) clearly has the Millwall mentality. Ungracious after the game and then accusing Big Bob of snubbing him. Perhaps Bob couldn't wait for Evans to waddle over after the final whistle. 

The Millers shout for a late pen didn't look too convincing and once Mr Deadman appears to have made the correct decision in a game involving The Addicks.

Elsewhere Pardew is still boss of the Mags and that will continue to delight the Sunderland fans.

We now have a full week to plan ahead of the visit Middlesbrough next Saturday. They face a trip to Liverpool on Tuesday in the League Cup. We hope for extra and penalties of course.

Dean Whitehead won't be setting foot on The Valley turf though as he was red carded in their 4-0 win over Brentford. 

Last season I upset a few of the Smoggies because I criticised Saint Tony of Mowbray. Amongst other things they told how great he was and had a wonderful job etc. etc. Mowbray was sacked soon after ! 

We can enjoy a week off and look forward to Saturday's encounter.

Thursday 18 September 2014

The Big Apple

Good Evans - sadly not !

Apparently Rotherham's stadium is called New York after the area it's built on. New York in Yorkshire ! Who'd have thought ? Seemingly another reason for naming it as such is the belief that it could bring investment from New York itself. Deluded Yorkshire folk.........who'd have thought !

It's been quite a week as another two Championship managers have bitten the dust as Fulham and Cardiff finally lost patience with their respective gaffers. Quite how Felix lasted so long is a mystery. He never seemed to have a scooby. Similarly Solskjaer looked out of his depth and in any case he's only got himself to blame for agreeing to work for Vincent Tan.

Meanwhile Pardew is still in management..........hmmm.

Speaking of temperamental managers, this week Channel 4's Come Dine With Me unearthed a worse loser than Uwe Rosler in the form of Heather Horsfall. It's still available on 4OD if you're sufficiently interested. Worth a look to also see Sean Lock moonlighting as a landscape gardener ( well, that's how it seemed to me ).

Tuesday night was an evening of missed opportunities. Had we taken some glorious chances we could have been three or four nil up at half time. Not necessarily deserved but it could have been so nonetheless. 

I'm desperate for George to do well as I believe he has something but he was guilty of some wasteful finishing. Clearly he can do it as he showed against Derby. Hopefully he can regain that.

We remain unbeaten in the league and it's a welcome change from the start we had last season. Our smallish squad is only an injury or two away from running into problems as Igor's late knock highlighted. Hopefully he'll be ok for Saturday. The club is to lauded for its stance in not rushing out to get players for the sake of it but it's a bit risky.

I'd like to see Bulot get a start as he clearly has some potential plus pace and will give us more threat out wide. Wiggins hasn't made the greatest start to the season but to an extent he''s not helped having Cousins in front of him. That's not to criticise young Jordan per se but it must be acknowledged that wide left is not his preferred position and it doesn't help Rhoys an awful lot if we're honest. 

Rotherham have made a steady start under Steve Evans who's not someone you'd describe as a " good egg " given his chequered history. To me he looks more like a rugby league manager.

It should be a tough game but if Igor is fit and Gudmunsson or Bulot play then you'd have to fancy our chances of getting something from it especially if a poor Bolton side can score three times against them.

Good luck to all those making the trip on Saturday. Have a nice day !

Come On You Reds !






Tuesday 16 September 2014

No Jackett Required

Kenny

It's 3rd v 5th at The Valley on Tuesday evening, something you'd not have predicted prior to the start of this season as Wolves have enjoyed a similarly good start to the season as ourselves.

Despite his Millwall connections it'd be churlish not to acknowledge Jackett's ability to successfully manage teams at League One and Championship level. Since leaving the Spanners, not so Young Kenny, has got Wolves promoted and eased them into the second tier of English football.

There are another couple of familiar faces arriving too as former players Carl Ikeme and Leon Clarke return to SE7. Both may appear ever so slightly dog-eared given the amount of time they've spent out on loan. The old saying of " having more clubs than Jack Nicklaus " could have been invented just for them.

The similarities don't end there as both made a handful of appearances for The Addicks and neither managed to score a single goal between them. Fair enough in Carl's case but I still recall watching Leon's efforts to score. Efforts may be giving him too much credit as it appeared to me that there was a total lack of it. All this from a player who I thought would have point to prove following an inglorious departure from Swindon Town.

No doubt Leon will go on to deliver a peerless performance and sink us with a hat-trick now I've said all that !

One player I'm looking forward to seeing, our players aside of course, is Michael Jacobs. I last saw him play for Northampton Town about 3 seasons ago. I was very impressed with the winger. He went onto join Derby but for some reason got little opportunity there. He has now joined Wolves permanently following a loan period.

If we are continue our fine home form we need to show more attacking intent and not sit back as much as we did on Saturday. Nothing wrong with keeping the ball of course but we need to get forward and pass the ball quicker. We know we can do it as we witnessed in those opening minutes against Derby.

It remains to be seen if Gudmundsson starts. I thought it was folly to start him on Saturday and he really should have been given time to fully recover after international duty saw him pick up a knock.

The only other doubt is whether Gomez comes in for Solly as has been the case for midweek games this season. I don't think it weakens the team if Joe does play such is his maturity and ability.

Tuesdays evenings at The Valley have been great of late, even during the wretched 2013-14 campaign. Let's hope tomorrow will see another great night with The Addicks clinching another 3 points to send us all home happy !

Come On You Reds !


Sunday 14 September 2014

Yellows !

Sadly one of the biggest memories from the game - Andy and his yellow cards.

The visit of Watford was always going to increase the amount of yellow on show and ref Andy Madley was keen to add to it as he brandished several cards of the colour during the afternoon. It was a poor display from the official as whilst I'm pleased he turned down Watford's appeal for a pen, it certainly was one. Of course it made little difference as there's no doubt Henderson would have saved it anyway !

Watford were fortunate to still have eleven players on the pitch at the end. There's plenty of argument that their central defender who hauled down Vetokele when through on goal in the first half was one candidate. Another was their number 6 who, when already booked, pulled a shirt ( Cousins' I think ) the ref acknowledge it as he waved play on but failed to follow up with a second and the subsequent red.

The Addicks needed to defend well yesterday especially as our friend Andy managed to find an extra 10 minutes of play. We were under pressure for a lot of the time especially in the second half but solid defending allied to poor Watford finishing meant we were to secure the three points.

It's a new manager for Watford but the same old antics on the pitch. Plenty of diving and cynical fouls. Pudil was one of those and he was very lucky to escape a yellow following a blatant dive in the second half.

Obviously Bikey took exception to a Deeney tackle on TBH as he clearly felt he left a foot in. It threatened to boil over after some pushing and shoving but fortunately it didn't get worse than that.

Deeney, who had an off day in front of goal, admirably kept his cool and sense of humour late on in the face of goading from some fans in the east stand. Incorrectly accused of a serious offence in charmless fashion by some, he merely smiled and winked at them. Taunts of " you fat bastard " only led to Troy lifting his shirt to expose a six pack.

Our great start continues then but the team still lacks a couple of players at a minimum as it is realistically a small squad. Another striker and a winger remain a must. One hope that this will be addressed soon.

We lacked urgency yesterday after we went ahead. We needed to pass and move quicker and with more intent. When we do that we look as great but we can't sit back for long periods as we will come a cropper at some stage.

Vetokele was again impressive yesterday. His strength and pace are awesome and his is vital to us. He will increasingly be noticed by other clubs if this continues and it's to be hoped that we can keep hold of him. If we stay up at the top of the league then there is greater hope of course.

The club clearly intends to look after the pitch now that we've got it sorted. For the first time in my life I saw the lawn mowers come out within minutes of the final whistle.



Elsewhere in the crazy world of football sees Russell Slade being told he must win on Tuesday or he'll be sacked. Wonderful reward for a manager who's worked wonders for the O's. Conversely Pardew and Felix aka Penfold ( above ) are still in situ when they really ought not to be. Sunderland fans and ourselves respectively will hope that they do for a while yet and in our case, at least until we play Fulham on the Friday at the end of October...........I can't see it myself.

Visits to The Valley are a whole lot more enjoyable this season as the performances and results will testify. Next up on Tuesday are Wolves who sit one point above us in third. It'll be another tough test of our home record. Let's hope that we can add another win to those already achieved this season.


Thursday 11 September 2014

Hornettos

Just one hornetto !

The Italian hornets come a calling on Saturday following a good start to the season that has been even better than ours. The fixture computer clearly didn't want us to have an easy start at home. Our unbeaten league record will face a stern test.

If the game is anything like the one that secured our championship safety at the end of last season then it should be a cracker. The same result would be more than welcome of course.

 


Prior to kick off, I hope that we all have the opportunity to pay our respects to David Whyte who passed away at the tender age of 43 this week. Like many others I have some wonderful memories of an excellent striker who lit up the early years following our return to The Valley. I hope that a chant of David Whyte-Whyte-Whyte will once again ring around The Valley.

It seems an age since we last played at home and during the break it's not just Huddersfield Town who have recruited a new manager. Watford have appointed former Brighton boss Oscar Garcia as the head honcho. He inherited a pretty decent squad from Gus Poyet and they squeezed into the play-offs last season losing out in the semis,

Watford have a strong squad where the main striking threat will come from skipper, Troy Deeney. I'm amazed that he didn't move to a Prem club during the summer and Watford have done well to hold onto him. Deeny is showing some loyalty to a club that stood by him during difficult times.

One other striker to look out for is Fernado Forestieri but make it quick or you'll miss him. Two seasons ago the diving Italian was dismissed just before half time following two yellows for simulation. I understand he is supposed to be a good player but good players don't need to dive.

Of course in our ranks we have Igor, the Championship player of the month for August. Well done to him. Long may his good run continue.

Hopefully Gudmundsen will be fit but if not then I assume that Lawrie will come in for him. 

It seems our zonal marking has cost us recently and I hope that we have abandoned that. Wiser heads than me frequently criticise it as a defensive plan and as a system it always seems odd to me. Suffice to say you don't get a lot of people slating " that man to man marking " and for good reason I think !

Now that most folk have returned from their holidays it'll be interesting to see what sort of a crowd we get on Saturday. Watford have sold their allocation with the potential for a good atmosphere and banter with A block.

I'm really looking forward to Saturday especially after such a long break since our last home. Let's home we can remain unbeaten and may be even add another win.

Come On You Reds ! 




Thursday 21 August 2014

Home And Away


Following three home games in a week with wonderful symmetry we now face 3 games away in a week. To make it perfect symmetry the midweek game is the same Tuesday opponents as this week.

First up is Huddersfield who have not had the smoothest start to the season in losing both the game and manager on the opening day. They lost their second league game away to Cardiff but managed to win away to Reading on Tuesday.

We know all about Huddersfield of course having had numerous cup encounters in addition to the league fixtures in recent seasons. The Terriers saw an exodus of several players during the summer the most notable of which is Adam Clayton.

I've not seen any news on injured pair Henderson and Tucadean. Hopefully both will be fit and following a good game or half anyway on Tuesday, George would be a big loss if not available. One assumes that Solly will come back into the team replacing the impressive Gomez. 

If we can maintain the form that we've displayed at home then there's no reason why we can't mirror the outcomes of those last 3 home games in these away ones.

I'm off to sunnier climes on Saturday and will be enjoying my first foreign holiday for some time. I'm looking forward to seeing the sun again as the British summer seems to have gone into decline in the last couple of days.

This means a break for you dear reader. When I return I hope that we will have progressed in the league following a 1-1 draw at Derby where we went through 7-6 on pens ! In addition, I hope that we'll remain unbeaten and perhaps will have garnered another 4 points at least............that'd be nice.

It'd be good too if by the time I return the club has added a quality striker and winger as they appear to be the final pieces in the jigsaw.

Come On You Reds !


Wednesday 20 August 2014

George's Marvellous Medicine

G.T.

The Addicks impressive start to the season continued last night with an impressive win over a more than useful Derby side. It was a pleasure to see tow teams playing decent football in the correct manner. All credit to both managers for that. 

Derby kept pressing and didn't let up much like their fans in the Jimmy Seed who gave their side good vocal support.

Charlton got off to a fantastic start and the first 10 to 15 minutes saw us play some wonderful passing football. That was rewarded with a lovely goal from George that for me was reminiscent of the great Mendonca..........there can be no higher praise.

Derby responded by seemingly adjusting their formation and pushing the full backs on and they put us under great pressure that ultimately delivered Ward's equaliser. I was happy for the teams to go in level but George had other ideas. A lovely run into the box saw him tripped and Buyens had no hesitation in taking the resulting spot kick and dispatched it with some aplomb.

It was of course a great time to score. Inevitably it was important for the Addicks to weather the storm early in the second half and they did so well. Sadly, George went off at half time with an injury that we'll all hope is not too serious.

Clearly we were going to need a third goal and it duly arrived when Jackson's cross was nodded on by Wilson and then put away by Igor.

Still Derby pressed and got a lifeline when a mistake from Pope saw the ball squeeze through his legs. The Addicks held firm and went onto secure a second home league win and maintain our unbeaten start.

It is pleasing to note Steve McLaren's post-match comments that weren't bitter but an honest assessment of the game. I'm sure County will be up there come the end of the season. If we can carry on playing like that then there's every chance that we will be too.

In total contrast to last season the trips to The Valley this term look like being thoroughly more enjoyable affairs. The calm, passing game even when under pressure is lovely to watch and those opening minutes last night were the best I've seen from a Charlton team for some time.

A number of good performances from Charlton players and special mention should go to young Joe. A calm, competent and assured display that belied his tender years. He is a real prospect.

We now face three away games in a week before the international break. Frustratingly we've no home game until Saturday 13th September and that seems an age away !

We must travel in expectation having won the last two games. Picking up points away will be essential if we are to challenge in the top half of the table. The addition of two more players of decent quality will go a long way to ensuring that. For me, they need to a be a striker and a winger. Here's hoping.....



Monday 18 August 2014

Derby County Part One - The League Encounter

Derby County boss - Steve McClaren

The last 7 weeks of the 2013/14 saw us playing twice a week and the first 3 weeks of this one is no different. On Tuesday night we entertain Derby precisely a week before playing them away in the League Cup.

One hopes there aren't any silly spats as they will no doubt carry over to the following week's game. Thankfully we're not playing Wigan in the cup or it'd possibly be on the touchline where the greatest potential for some fireworks would lie !

Steve McClaren is a good coach and has done a great job since taking over at Derby and County were totally robbed in the play-off final that only served to show how lucky Redknapp is. Once cruelly dubbed " the wally with the brolly ", I expect McLaren will come looking to get all 3 points.

One hopes our own " wally with the grolly " has been identified and banned following that idiot's actions in spitting at Carson on Saturday.

Derby have a strong squad and will be aiming for automatic promotion this term. Goals have been hard to come by for the Rams to date but that will change soon, I just hope it doesn't start at The Valley tomorrow night.

It should be a good game and The Addicks will be full of confidence following an unbeaten start to the season. It's hard to see many unforced changes in the starting eleven. Pope will come in for the injured Henderson of course. There is the possibility that Solly will be rested and the question then is as to whether Wilson or Gomez replaces him. 

That decision may be affected by Jackson's fitness. Skip was rumoured to be ill on Saturday and if he doesn't start then we may Wilson in right midfield with Cousins moving into the middle.

Hopefully we can maintain our unbeaten start whilst continuing to play an attractive passing game. Any kind of result will further enhance the team's confidence in what has been a very promising start to the season.

Come On You Reds !