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


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


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 !