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


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 !


Sunday 17 August 2014

Sour Kraut !

Herr Rosler

No hair Rosler

What a silly sausage ! Uwe's behaviour was of the wurst kind !

What a good day ! Over a few pre-match beers we were full of hope and anticipation. I felt we might get a draw but ANEM colleague Clive was optimistic of a win having witnessed Tuesday's performance.

I was impressed with things both on and off the field. There were several new offerings of food and drink inside and outside the stadium although it was good to see the traditional burger stalls outside still. I felt obliged to try a Wye Valley beer from the Beer Shack and it was quite pleasant.

The stadium and the pitch in particular looked great. I like the addition of the placards of Valley Legends too, a nice touch.

In the east stand it was interesting to note that blocks A & B were somewhat sparsely populated, In contrast the central blocks seemed fuller, perhaps all those with the complimentary tickets decided to sit there.

The game itself saw us take an early lead as both sides looked to play passing football. Cousins scored a wonderful goal following a lovely cross-field pass from Gudmundsson I think. Jordan cut inside and followed up with a lovely shot that curled just inside the far post. Carson, who received a warm welcome from the home fans, was not going to stop that !

Wigan levelled a few minutes later when the excellent McManaman turned Wiggins inside out and fired home into the far corner. 

The rest of the half was fairly even as the Addicks stuck to the game plan playing nice, neat, passing football. The second was much the same save for the late 10 minutes or so where we created at least three good chances. Fortunately, we managed to take one of them albeit via a deflection that made up for the one we suffered at Griffin Park. 

I felt we deserved the win. Prior to going off with an injury that we hope will not be too serious, Henderson didn't have a save to make and Pope was similarly untroubled whilst on the pitch. 

I was impressed with the new players who pretty much all had good games. The fact fact that there is real competition for places can only be good and allows Bob a degree of confidence in knowing that replacements, if needed, can do a job.

A shame that Rosler had a hissy-fit at the end. This from the man who displayed similar childish behaviour in October 2011 against Notts County when he deliberately block a County player form taking a free kick. He was subsequently sent off. 

I'm not sure how close Bob got to the man whose forefathers invaded slightly more than technical areas but he does seem to he reacted badly opting to use some nasty language that us Addicks fans would never let pass our lips ! 

Got to love the enthusiasm and passion from Big Bob and the way he has us playing. Let's enjoy this win and look forward to another stern test on Tuesday when Derby come a calling. I rate McLaren as a coach, he's one of the best and it will be tough. However, the players rightly seem to be relishing the challenge at the moment and it should be good.

Friday 15 August 2014

No Shorts But Here's Hoping.......

If you knew sushi like I know sushi...........

Bloody typical.............I miss a Tuesday game despite being in the smoke and it turns out to be a goal-fest and a grand performance. The self same thing happened a couple of years ago when we played Cardiff at home and in fact, I was in Camden to be precise on both occasions.  

I caught up with some family and had a really nice meal in Sen Nin a Japanese restaurant. The food is cooked in front of you at your table in a very entertaining style by the chef. Tuesdays are the best days to go as it is half price. 

I'm not a great fan of fish but there are alternatives and I opted for the steak...........very nice. Camden is quite a lively place and I'd highly recommend a visit to Sen Nin if you're in the area.

I digress, so back to the football. Yes, it seems we were rather pleasing on the eye on Tuesday with several good displays from those who'd not played on Saturday. Gomez slotted in well at right back I believe and we will need to accommodate him in the team somewhere if we want to hold onto him. Maybe he'll play against Derby next Tuesday should Solly be rested.

I had reports of a good passing game in the spruced up Valley where, I understand the food has improved but sadly not the beer. Oh well, you can't have it all and in any case I usually don't drink in the Valley aside from when we have an extended hiatus like last year's Doncaster game.

I always look forward to my trips to the Valley ( even during last season ) and given all that has occurred during the summer, tomorrow even more so, if that is possible. For the first game last term I wore my shorts and I'm sure they played a part in securing a win for us but sadly tomorrow they may not get an airing as I'd hoped as the sunny weather has disappeared quicker than a Huddersfield Town manager.

Despite an absence of shorts I'm optimistic of a good performance and probably a draw from the lads. Big Bob has some selection issues of the nice kind and that's good. One hopes that the league cup game will have further lifted confidence and team spirit and increased competition for places can only be an added positive ingredient.

The fixture computer or at least Nigel who programmes it has not been very kind to us. Wigan and Derby at for our first two home games isn't exactly what you'd have asked for but perhaps we're better playing them now before they really hit their straps.

Wigan manager Uwe Rosler was, of course, previously in charge of last Saturday's oppo, Brentford and so nearly matched his replacement's achievement of promotion. Possibly, had they been devoid of Europa Cup commitments last season they'd have gone up automatically. 

They will be a tough nut to crack and give us us a good idea of how we can expect to do this season. Callum McManaman will pose a big threat and I'm surprised he hasn't been snapped up by a Prem club. However, at 23 years old he has time on his side and it's good to see a promising youngster not jump ship at the earliest opportunity.

It's early days in terms of trying to predict what Bob will do ( he caught most of us out with team selection on Tuesday ) but I'd be surprised if he changed the starting much if at all. I'm so full of anticipation of seeing our new players and style of play.

Here's to tomorrow and catching up with folk and hopefully seeing our Athletic beat the other Athletic.......shorts or no shorts !

Come On You Reds !

Tuesday 12 August 2014

All Change !

A disappointing weekend on the sporting front in contrast to the social one. I failed miserably in my attempts to get tickets for Griffin Park and experienced an ultimately pointless trip to Rugby School on Sunday as Kent's game against Warwickshire ( Birmingham / Bears - take your pick ! ) was totally washed out.

Bbqs on Friday and Saturday were splendid affairs and on Sunday my return to MK ended up with a few bevvies in my old cricket club.

I think most would have taken the draw prior to kick off on Saturday with a team that saw so many new faces with a manager to match. Ultimately it was frustrating not to win given that it appeared that we had the better chances and as per so many occasions last season, we conceded a goal to a deflection.......arghhh !

However, the performance was encouraging. Like many others I hold little store with what happens in pre-season as it never offers a true indication of the team's potential. On this early showing then I'm hopeful that we will fare better than last season...........well, it wouldn't be too difficult would it ?

Tonight we return for a home game and it's at home where we really need to see some improvement in performance and results. Last term it was dire and it must improve, not just for us poor sods who witnessed it but with the aim of getting new and lapsed folk back into the ground.......why should we suffer alone !

Having said that I won't be there tonight as a family commitment, ironically in the metropolis, rules me out. My first sighting of the revamped Valley and team will have to wait until Saturday.

Traditionally the league cup first round games see us put out a changed side from the league one and whilst I've no idea how Bob views things I'd be surprised if he didn't follow suit even if he seems reluctant to wear one.

Last year's tie against Oxford saw Cousins come to the fore and ultimately establish himself in the first team somewhat ironically ahead of Diego. If given the chance Gomez might well view this as a similar opportunity. Fellow centre half, Morrison will certainly have that view as one can't imagine he'll be too pleased at missing out on Saturday.

It's not hard to envisage the entire back five being altered with Pope, Wilson / Nego, Gomez, Morrison and Fox all adequate and probable replacements.

There's potential for changes across the whole team of course and a front pairing of Pigott and Church wouldn't be the biggest shock either.

Colchester flirted with relegation for some of last season before a decent string of results saw them finish in 16th place. All their summer transfer activity both in and out has been devoid of any money changing hands as they've been free transfers or loans.

Joe Dunne's team will pose a threat as these games are never easy but it would a big disappointment if the Addicks don't progress to meet Huddersfield in the next round. Bob may put out a strong bench in case things don't go according to plan.

Come On You Reds !

Thursday 7 August 2014

A New Dawn

Chabuddy G - do not buy tickets or Sean Paul Gaultier perfume from this man

Happy days ! The football is back and I've discovered my laptop again ! I can hear the audible sighs of relief, if not they wouldn't be audible would they ? 

There you go, in three short sentences you realise that following the hiatus this blog hasn't changed..........oh dear !

I did try and get tickets for Saturday but like a Norman Hunter tackle, I was way too late ( I've not lost my love for contemporary references ). Whilst some might suggest going along and trying to get a ticket from someone like our friend above I'm not taking any chances. No, I shall stay at home and tune into Kurupt FM as I believe they are carrying the game live.

Plenty of water has passed under the bridge ( and elsewhere ) since the last league outing, that wonderful away win at Bloomfield Road. Ironically, Riga needn't have ever left as he has now changed dugouts having saddled himself with a seemingly bigger basket case than even ourselves !

If anyone can save the Tangerines then it has to be Jose and good luck to him. I for one, will never forget the truly remarkable job he did in saving us from relegation. Fortunately, I had the chance to thank him personally at the end of season dinner ( perhaps I drove him away ). 

In what appears to becoming something of a tradition we start the league campaign away to a promoted team. Similarly, we start at home in the league cup. We have to hope that we fair better than last time, at Dean Court. At least our midfield is unlikely to be as aged as it was on that occasion.

It does promise however, to be every bit as tough as last season's opener. Brentford have recruited well, not least one time Charlton target, Alan Judge. In Mark Warburton they have an excellent manager who seamlessly took over the reigns from Uwe Rosler. There's plenty to admire in Warburton who has established himself in coaching / managership by self-funding his learning after taking the risky decision to pack in his lucrative, if stressful career, as a trader.

Brentford have plans to move to a new ground in the next couple of years and one assumes that unlike Griffin Park, the architect has not included a pub in each corner, a shame. Some will call the increased move to new stadia progress but I think it's a shame as we lose the tradition and character of the older grounds.

I feel the same, if not more so, in cricket with the Rose Bowl being a prime example for me. A cricket ground should allow you to wander round its entirety with various viewpoints as you do so to gain different perspectives on the game. It should have different stands and seating too. 

Sadly, this is being reflected in football too, grounds are becoming like the Rose Bowl, continuous rows of seating all joined together and devoid of character.

For the Addicks it has been a summer of intense activity both on and off the pitch. There has been a lot of investment in both areas and it looks on the face of it to be quite promising and in stark contrast to last season.

I haven't shared the frustrations of some in the owner and his team not meeting to face intense questioning from various quarters. As ever, actions speak louder than words and in the last few months those actions have spoken quite loudly. It may of course all end in disaster but for now it looks ok to me.

We have an as yet unproven manager but then again so was Jose and he turned out ok. Let's hope that Peeters can at least emulate his achievements. It would seem on early showings that he is keen on the team playing a decent passing and that is to be applauded. It would nice to see some aesthetically pleasing football, especially at home.

Sadly, after many years I have moved seats, lured away as I was by the offer of cheaper seats further along in the east stand. Those who've had to suffer my swearing and inane comments will be mightily relieved but for me it is tinged with sadness as I was rather fond of my seat and the view it afforded. However, for the sake of moving along 30 or so seats I was able to purchase three rather than two season tickets and save £150 at the same time.

Who knows what to expect on Saturday ? Should we lose and play badly then we can expect to hear that " the team needs time to gel " but the last time we recruited to this extent that didn't apply as the players became a team very quickly. Let's hope that can be repeated and we get off to a good start as we'll need it given that we have a testing batch of opening fixtures. 

If you're going to West London to see the game then I hope you have a great day out especially if you're one of those making the trip by boat. Hopefully we can start with a win and settle any early season nerves.

Come On You Reds !