Friday 28 February 2014

Chief Scout

Bear Gyrlls
I'm not at Leicester tomorrow as I'll be on a scouting mission for Chris. He doesnt know it, hasn't asked but I'm happy to do my bit.........all without pay ! For someone who loves their food as much as I do it's more a case of Mixed Grills than Bear Grylls.
I've managed to get 2 free tickets for MK Dons who are playing..........Sheffield United ( weather permitting ). A good opportunity to weigh up the merits of our cup opponents. My ticket for next Sunday has been secured today and I hope yours has too if you want one.
Tomorrow will be a real tough test against opponents who'll offer so much more than the fancy dans of QPR. I like Leicester, a good club whose only mistake seems to me to have ever parted company with Nigel Person but they soon saw the error of their ways.
Leicester have always struck me as a decent club that likes to play decent football. I'll like them even more if they can just give us the 3 points tomorrow and then go on to secure promotion in the weeks ahead.
After a busy week team selection is probably even more difficult to call. The first thing I'll be looking at tomorrow when the teams are announced is to see who's in goal. This well be the definitive answer as to whether Chris is being allowed to pick the team.
Make no mistake about it, if Thuram is in between the sticks then Roland is lying through his backside with Chris publicly towing the party line ( as if he has any choice ). I, for one, will be livid if Thuram starts and so this proves the case. I'm sure I won't be alone in that.
Should Thuram start then those Addicks at Leicester should get behind him, it's not his fault. In any case, it's counter-productive to give him any stick.
Good luck to those going tomorrow, I hope you're are rewarded with at least a point.
Come On You Reds !

Sunday 23 February 2014

Money Isn't Everything

Rodney Charlton Trotter

Money isn't everything but it sure helps, however, on some occasions such as yesterday, other factors contrive to bring success. Princes versus paupers and the paupers came out on top.

QPR arrived at The Valley yesterday fully expecting to turn up, play the game and walk off with the 3 points. Why not ? After all they've just come down from the Prem and retain a squad of mostly Premiership quality players. Clearly they feel they have a divine right to be there and they really oughtn't to try too hard to return. 

Our boys had other ideas and such things as passion, pride and desire aren't attributes that can't be bought. Simply our players had that in abundance and in the end thoroughly deserved their win.

As we saw from the recent Birmingham game stats, especially possession ones are meaningless. The only ones that matter as goals for and against. Possession is nine tenths of the law and in football only meaningful if you make use of it.

No shots on target for Redknapp's Rangers is a good indication of their efforts yesterday. They sure miss Austin eh ? However, given all the talent available they ought to be able to cope without him. The achievements of Burnley and Leicester plus a couple of other teams in the playoffs places put Redknapp's management into perspective. The media love him of course but much like another ex-Tottenham manager, Venables, his achievements and abilities are for me, grossly exaggerated. Any half decent manager ought to get Rangers promoted with relative ease. However, I really don't care about them and that's of no concern for me.

I've been critical of Chris and his selections, use of subs etc. Yesterday, however, he got it pretty much spot on although I do think Astrit and Tudgay should have started as should Hamer of course. I'd like to think Chris has a free hand to pick the team but in that one position of goalkeeper in particular I do wonder.

Whilst Thuram may not be everyone's number one choice I do believe that openly singing for the man on the bench won't help any. We should only encourage him anything else can only have a negative effect. 

Tactically yesterday it worked as we allowed QPR to play keep ball at the back whilst we kept all our players behind the ball. Given the opposition and our current position it was the right thing to do. 

There were so many good performances yesterday. Poyet and Cousins played extremely well and in a manner that belied their tender years. Poyet's tackle that led to Astrit's shot that to the corner that led to the goal ( are you still with me ? ) was wonderful ! That tackle alone summed up the commitment and desire from the team. 

The return of Wiggins was a real shot in the arm and he was excellent in all parts of the pitch yesterday. His absence and the even more prolonged one of Solly have played their part in this wretched season.

Chris even got the subs right yesterday. All too often the subs are left to late are not made at all. This wasn't the case against Rangers and Astrit and Marcus gave fresh impetus to the cause.

Skip put in an excellent performance which was rightly acknowledged by the gaffer afterwards. He led from the front and it was entirely fitting that scored the winner. I think he was pleased with it ! Timing is everything and there's no better time to take the lead than in time added on.

I think three quarters of The Valley pretty much erupted, I know I did ! I would have been happy with a point but all three was the icing on the cake. 

It must give everyone great belief although we need to repeat yesterday many more times this season and pretty much twice a week to the end of the season. Whether we can do that remains to be seen. It will require a monumental effort.

Our lack of firepower remains a concern. Hopefully Tudgay can offer something but it is a worry. I'm not impressed by Reza, Church rarely scores and Sordell isn't fancied by Chris on a regular basis. Neither it would seem is Piotr. He had a lacklustre game on Monday by all accounts.  

The cup game tomorrow offers the chance to make some changes in personnel although I don't envy the boss in trying to balance the desire to win that against the need to keep players fresh for the relegation battle.      

Good luck to everyone travelling up tomorrow. I hope you are well rewarded for your efforts.

Friday 21 February 2014

Rover Returns !

Rosie as she left training today.

Today sees the third in our increasingly popular guest writers. Maintaining the animal theme started by Michael Fish last week is Harry's dog, Rosie. Thanks to Rosie who took time out to give us a quick interview from her car just like her master so often does. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks ? 

Let's hope you can though because the last time Harry was in South East London for a league game he didn't prove too good at fetch when someone through him the ball. Fair caught him smack on the head it did and he missed the equaliser in the process. And they say lightening doesn't strike twice !

Woof ! Thanks to ANEM for letting me speak directly to you about Saturday's big London derby. I can't be too rude about my master's team but as apparently he can't read, send texts etc, I don't really need to worry do I ? Ooh I'm such a bitch eh ! Oh ! Yes, I am aren't I ?

Before I get into my preview I ought to give you some background to my footballing pedigree. Although I grew up in Barking and despite my master's association, I'm not a Hammers fan. In fact, I'm a Blackburn fan, Come On Rovers ! How that came about is a long tale but having paused for thought I'll leave it at that although I was very nearly a Huddersfield fan but I went off them because they couldn't hang on to a lead.

QPR are not in the best of form at the moment having been dogged by bad luck of late. Perhaps the arrival of Ravel Morrison will see an upturn in fortunes. Master is very excited by his arrival, he's like a dog with two............bones !

Joey Barton will be missing as he is suspended again, Master is not best pleased and he's taken my place in the dog house !

Mind you with a squad like Rangers have any old fool ought to be able to get them promoted, right ? 

You might expect me to want Rangers to win but I have a soft spot for Charlton that goes back to the days of my favourite Addicks player, Rufus.

I think it will be a close game but a lot will depend on the keepers. I see that Hamer returned to action this week and may takeover from Thuram in goal. Green is an ok keeper although not as good as my favourite, Peter Schmeichel, he was a great Dane. 

There is a danger that Charlton will have half an eye on Monday's cup game and who could blame them. After all it's only two games from a semi-final at Wembley. Unlike the league cup the FA Cup semis are not two-legged matches. I don't like that, as my favourite author, George Orwell, once wrote, " two legs bad ! ". 

For the record my favourite all time eleven is :- Puppy Reina, Didier Dogba, John Terrier, David Barkham, Robbie Growler, Spaniel Agger, Emile Hukey, Danny Shih Tzu, Scott Barker, Brian La Bone and Johnnie Dachshund.

Here's to a good game on Saturday and should the R's lose then I'm sure Master won't blame the pitch like some Tottenham managers are prone to do. 

Our thanks to Rosie for sparing some time to talk to us.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 16 February 2014

My Favourite Waste Of Time

A break from the league, nearly 2,000 Addicks in attendance and a chance to see if the new arrivals could play well together. There was so much to look forward to. Typical then, that in one of the worst seasons in living memory, the game should be called off. Michael Fish got it wrong it seems !

Add to that the fact that a pitch inspection just an hour earlier would have saved a lot of folk an awful lot of hassle, only serves to pour oil on troubled waters. It must have been clear when the groundsman arrived at 7am that it wasn't going to go ahead. Clattenburg should have ensured he was there to inspect at 9am at least.

We reached J23 ( Loughborough area ) when we heard it was off. Living in Milton Keynes that wasn't as bad as it was for some others. I really feel for those from further afield and especially those on the 10.26am train I think it was.

We left at 10am in the knowledge that there was an inspection at 10.30am but had we waited until news that the game was going ahead would have been nearly an hour behind, so took the gamble anyway.

There we are then, another blank Saturday when the fixtures continue to mount up. Another Tuesday night game beckons and we're going to do well to complete our fixtures especially if we do progress in the cup. The pessimist in me says we won't overcome Wednesday but finally, an away tie with Everton would be a good one for me. Please let it happen !

The lack of action on the loanee front last week was very disappointing. The need to have a bigger squad with some experienced league players has just intensified. Surely Roland can see that an outlay of some sort is needed to give ourselves even the slightest hope of getting out of the bottom three. Hopefully, we'll be bringing some in next week.

It's half term next week and you'd have thought it an ideal week to schedule the whole league for fixtures. No, apparently not.........can't understand that.

We'll keep fingers crossed that next week's game against QPR goes ahead because we clearly can't afford to add another one to the list. It's all well and good having games in hand but you've got to win them and that's not easy with the relentless slog of two games a week. Points on the board is a more preferable situation.

Pray for good weather and the arrival of those loanees in the days ahead.

Friday 14 February 2014

Sheffield Saturday ?

Michael looking good there.
Despite the mixed reaction to Anna Gram’s preview of last Saturday’s game ANEM has decided to try again with a guest writer. Previewing the cup game at Hillsborough is appropriately, Michael Fish. 
It’s been a bad spell of “ wether “ recently hasn’t it ? ( My apologies, be prepared however, as this isn’t the last of Mike’s meteorological mirth ).  
There have been a number of deep depressions caused by events both on and off the pitch. This has led to Chris Powell coming under heavy pressure. This is mostly coming from the continent and Belgium in particular. Chris will be hoping his “ rain “ as Charlton boss continues for some time.
The poor run of weather looks set to continue today and tomorrow. Some of it has been exaggerated though with one lady phoning me this morning to say she thought tomorrow’s game will be off. Don’t worry, it won’t. I can confidently predict that temperatures will reach 20 degrees Celsius with sunshine all the way. 
Wednesday have been on a good run lately but this is the cup and although I normally keep my predictions strictly to my one area of expertise, however, I’m happy to predict the score tomorrow. It’ll be a flood of goals for the Addicks. Yes, the boys in red will win 5-0. A hat-trick for Church with a brace for Pritchard with both coming off the bench to score.  
I’d like to predict that Cousins will score but I saw him shoot last week and he “ mist “. Thuram will save two penalties. I know this all sounds like bravado but I’m confident although that confidence is buoyed by the fact that I’ve just had a few bevvies in the Iso Bar. 
Hopefully the lads will keep their heads, we don’t the referee to have to send one of our boys off for an early shower.  
As ever it’s difficult to tell what side Chris will put out, even I’m not that good ! Here’s the eleven I’d send out for this one :-
David Rainey, Dominic Blizzard, Tony Gale, Suzanne Charlton, Johnnie Jacksun, Chris Soliel, George Ray, Sun Jihai, Dean Windass, Per Wind, William Flood. 
I trust that all those going have a great day and don’t forget to pack the Factor 25. 
Come On You Reds ! 
Thanks Michael, er, I think !

Sunday 9 February 2014

Narrow Minded

Another bad day at the office in this most dreadful of seasons. There have been some bad ones but this one is right up there and should things carry one in the same vein it may secure a place in the top 5. There's little joy to be found with the Addicks at the moment.

Possession and all the other stats count for nothing at the end of the day and as we know the only stat that really matters is goals scored and conceded. Although we didn't deserve to lose, if we don't score and especially at home then we're unlikely to get anything and so it proved. That we were denied on several occasions by an ex-Addick made it slightly more galling.

Birmingham looked as poor as any team that have visited The Valley this season and should have been beaten. It's looking increasingly bleak and I'm struggling to see a way out. I think if Chris stays in charge then sadly we're doomed whatever.

As I've said before I love the man and always believed he was the best man for the job and that he would just get better and better as he grew into the role. Sadly that doesn't seem to be happening or at least not at the rate that we require. I don't think we've got that much time available.

Relegation doesn't bear thinking about and we will surely lose players such as Cousins and Poyet to name but two. That would be dreadful as the emergence of them and to a lesser extent Lennon is one of the few pluses this term. We've got to hold on to Championship status and look to move forward with them next term.

Chris is not using his resources to his best advantage. Cousins was again on the right and as such offered little all afternoon. Seemingly this is to allow Skip to play. Wilson was at right back but would probably have been better deployed in right midfield. Nego could have played right back.

I'm probably in a minority in that I thought Sordell did ok without pulling up any trees. I thought he linked up well with others. He can't play with Reza on the evidence of yesterday though as the rather comic collision proved only too well.

One has to question the use of the subs again. Wrong choices for me and all of them took too long to make. Why was every sub kept waiting on the sidelines for at least 5 minutes ? Why Piotr didn't come on when Church did I just don't know. We needed a goal and Simon is unlikely to give you that.

We lacked width again and this needs to be addressed. Ajdarevic looked good and I believe was meant to be playing wide left but he played as though he had a free role. Fair play upto a point and he may well be better suited to playing as an attacking midfielder.

As has been suggested elsewhere we may be better advised to go for a 4-2-3-1 formation. That would be with Poyet and Cousins in front of the back four with AA in the middle of the three. Reza could from part of the three too with Piotr up front.

With next week's cup game allowing a break from the trials of the league it offers the chance to try something different and since we're drinking in the last chance saloon then there's no better time to try it or something like it anyway.

As I observed last week Chris, isn't helping himself by repeating the same mistakes. These can't be blamed on previous or current owners. These are decisions that he and his team make. I'm not sure on the thinking. I can only think that a change is required I'm afraid. Some will cite Chris's abilities as a motivator and a man manager and this is undoubtedly true but I'm afraid set against the background of the weaker aspects of his management it is not enough.  

There are some good managers out there or in the case of Nathan Jones a potential manager that would offer fresh impetus and renewed hope I believe.

I hate writing this but sadly I believe it's in the club's best interests. I'd love Chris to prove me wrong, I think we all would but I don't believe he will.

Thursday 6 February 2014

That Narcotic Hell

This preview of Saturday's game has been written by our genius guest blogger Anna. Welcome Anna.

Saturday at the Valley, weather and pitch permitting should see the visit of I'm Barmy Itching, the midlands team. We ought to be full of optimism because they are in a bit of bother. However, we can more than match them in the terms of a club with problems.

Where we will probably see a major difference is between the two keepers. Our former keeper, Plan Or Hard Nerd, left us when he wasn't getting a chance of regular football and after a spell north of the border has moved to Itching and looks good.

In between the sticks for us is a keeper that we neither needed nor if truth be told wanted. Ho-Hum An Unreality doesn't seem likely to follow in the footsteps of a beloved recently departed Gallic hero in the legend stakes. With his tendency to punch rather than catch then it's likely that Itching will be aiming balls into the box for Laicizing Ok to cause all kinds of problems for our seemingly hapless custodian.

We are fortunate that following last weekend's injury to Why I Grossing that Nicer Advice is still with us and able to deputise or will he ? Folk may recall that Chris opted not play a recognised left back at Doncaster recently preferring to give that honour and a full debut to young Horny N Learn.

One of our other young players who has distinguished himself with good, consistent performances this season must be hoping that he'll be playing in his preferred position of central midfield. However, Son's Junior Cad will probably have to wait and see like the rest of us.

Following all the recent departures and arrivals it's hard to predict the make up of the side. Will our new Polish player start ? Surely he has to be on the bench at least ? He sounds the most promising of our new players so much so that doubt has surfaced if he was really purchased for us or is he, in fact, destined to feature more regularly in the land of beer and chocolate ?

Such cynicism from our our very own, give yourselves a slap. You can rest assured that our Polish striker will be happily plying his trade at the various outposts of League One next season.

I've resisted the obvious temptation to mention some of our other new players such as Nag Arch John Doe Haze ( I know disappointing isn't it ! ) much as it was temptation for me. I don't know why I'm inexplicably drawn to it !

Perhaps we can market an Addicks version of Scrabble that permits the use of names, I'd love to have a couple of our current players on a triple word score.

Never mind the vast amount of points that would garner all we want for Saturday is to bag an important 3 points for That Narcotic Hell that is Charlton Athletic.

Come On You Reds !

Anna Gram.


Sunday 2 February 2014

An Interesting Week

Not sure we'll see or indeed want another seven days like that ! A cup win overshadowed by two league defeats and transfer activity that is something of a curate's egg. Add to that the growing uncertainty over the boss's future.

Views vary on who is responsible for or to blame for the last two league defeats. I think it's fair to say it can be shared around. 

The awful defeat at Donny is a tough one to take. The team selection was a strange one however big a fan you are of Chris. The excellent central defensive pairing of Wood and Morrison  wasn't reunited and neither was the equally good central midfield pairing of Cousins and Stephens. In addition, Jackson was again brought in for reasons that elude me as he was asked to play his third game in a week and neither Evina nor Fox started at left back.

More curious was the decision to play Cousins on the right. I can't fathom that at all. The result was that at full time we had been comprehensively beaten. Add to that the unwanted stat of one shot on target from 180 minutes of football.

I appreciate that we went down to ten men in the first half but with the way we set up I don't think we'd have come away with anything with the full eleven.

Surely time in the days before the trip to Wigan to take stock, settle the immediate futures of the club's more important players and get in some players to boost the team.

Some odd decisions and it's hard to believe that the majority of them were fully endorsed by Chris. The failure to meet Yann's not unreasonable contract needs is a mistake. it would have cost little in the overall all scheme of things to do so. 

Dale's departure was not so surprising but the leaving of Alnwick most certainly was. Easily the best of the three keepers we have it seems clear that Roland decided one of them had to go and it wasn't going to be Thuram. 

At least Wiggins was tied down until 2018, thank goodness for that.

Prior to the takeover and I'm guessing that Chris hadn't identified Standard Liege as central to his plan to rescue our season. In fact, I dare say he wasn't looking outside English league football. Clearly players are being foisted on him although it's fair to say that they're not all duds.

I'd still love to know who decided that we didn't need to keep Smith. He clearly deserved a chance with us but sadly didn't get it. A big mistake made there.

Despite my concerns over Chris this season I have to say he did extremely well to get us close to win yesterday given the background to the game. Whether better selection or use of subs would have secured us a win is arguable, however, it was a valiant effort.

What the future holds for Chris is uncertain. Roland doesn't say much and what he does say you have to pay to hear and I'm not doing that. In any case, when a chairman / owner comes out and backs the manager at times like these it means nothing.

There is a view that if Chris goes that Roland would opt for a foreign manager. I'm not sure if that's purely because he is foreign himself or he's prone to appointing them. The best replacement for Chris would be someone with a depth of knowledge and experience in the Championship. That person would most certainly be a British manager. 

I'd love to say I had confidence in Chris's ability to steer us away from trouble, however I can't. To be honest I'm not sure I could even if he'd been allowed a greater say in transfer targets. Now, with what appears to be interference from above I really can't see it. 

All Charlton fans love the man and his status in the club and his place in our hearts and affections won't ever change or diminish. If he is to go I just want him to have a dignified departure.

No matter what happens, no matter who owns the club or manages the team, like most fans I shall continue to get behind whatever eleven men take to the field in the glorious red and white. We've been in worse positions than this and at the end of the day we don't really have a choice do we ? Charlton is for life not just the good times, however few and far between they may be.