Home truths

In a way, we should have expected this.

i) A very physical Hull side ... in fact, at times, becoming very dirty. Well, their manager was number two to Sam Allardyce so no surprise. But how can their fans enjoy watching that crap every week?
ii) Rubbish ref ... seem to say this most weeks, so what's the point? We knew they were not that great in the Premiership, and these are the refs that cannot make it to that level - 'nuff said.
iii) A bag-load of injuries and suspensions ... although, surprisingly, ZZ and Ambrose were back despite being tipped on the OS as being out with injury.

What we should not expect is the abject display put on by Charlton ... there were times during the first half when I felt I was watching a team playing up on Charlton Park. They were awful! My son pointed out that Hull were one of the worst teams he had seen ... I reminded him that, on the day, we were no better!

No-one came out of this display looking good ... I can't even be bothered to give ratings to the players ... suffice to say, they would all be low. Yes, they can say that certain players were still not fit, but if that were the case, they should not have been playing. We all expected a few of the kids to play yesterday and they didn't. That doesn't mean that the score would have been any different but at least we may have departed from the Valley thinking ... well, they tried under difficult circumstances.

I'll be glad never to play Hull again ... but we have to do a bit more to ensure we are not in the same division as them next year.

And I can't finish this post without mentioning Danny Mills. He had a chance to leave the Valley as a hero ... and instead left as a prat. Surely he should know that we hate play-acting at the Valley, and yet he tried it on 3 or 4 occasions. And then to swear at the ref and get sent off like a petulant kid ... what an idiot! And this guy apparently earns something between 30k and 40k a week ... a good week's work then Danny, eh?

Mills has been a revelation for us this season and I so hoped that Charlton could somehow do a deal and keep him for at least the rest of the season ... now, I'm not so sure.

Two away games coming up, so we should get at least 4 points ... but when are they gonna bring it together at home? Apart from one half against Ipswich and other short phases, we are not seeing a promotion winning team - Maybe that will change on New Years Day.

I have been one of those on Charlton Life stating how much I have been enjoying this season. Not sure why at the moment, but I still am ... however it's getting closer to the time when certain individuals in the red shirt need to stand up and be counted.

Have just read the OS .. good to see that Pards agrees about Mills - quoted as saying it was 'inexcusable'. 'We have been discussing the situation with Man City, in terms of keeping Danny ... I feel it's a difficult time to reflect on that decision right now, so I will absorb the decision over the next few days' said Pardew. Bloody hell Danny, you could have well and truly screwed this one up for everyone including yourself!

Good match report from Wyn Grant, and player ratings from Charlton North Downs - he is far more generous that I would have been and his marks are low already!

Blackheath addicted says much of what I would have said ... but in a far better fashion ... if I could have been bothered to write a proper match report on this turgid display, although I also think his player ratings are too generous!

Have a great Christmas everyone, and enjoy the New Year!!!

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Boing Boing

Excellent game to watch for the neutral and showed a few Premiership sides that there are at least 2 teams better than some of the dross in the lower half of the top division.

Overall, Albion deserved the result, but if Izzy had made more of his chance this may well have been a 3-3 game .. possibly we may have won, even though against the odds.

This is a strange division ... a couple of weeks ago after the Burnley game, I was so annoyed that I could not be bothered to post ... and then we go on to win away at Cardiff, and demolish Ipswich in a superb first half.

Not many teams will win at the Hawthorns when they are in that type of attacking form ... a point mentioned by a few Baggies fans on their message boards ... this was one of their best displays of the season. We had a number of injury / suspension issues, some of our team were not on top form, we picked up even more injuries ... on another day under different circumstances, who knows!

As for my thoughts on the team:

Weaver - could have been a little more forceful at times, but had a good game despite conceding four
Semedo - not one of his best, but was not playing in his preferred position for a lot of the game
Powell - it seems wrong having a go as Sir Chris, but he was definitely not up to it yesterday, same as in the 2nd half against Ipswich last week. Maybe not fully fit yet, but I think time is beginning to tell
Sodje - I'm a big fan of Sodje, but today was not one to shout about
Bougherra - he's a tough player but needs to develop more of his game
Ambrose - after finding that he can play inside, we were forced to push him out again. Almost a cliche nowadays, but he will probably always remain an enigma for Charlton fans
Holland - been well up for it in last couple of games but tended to fade in and out for a lot of the game
Zheng - has been getting better and better and still signs that we have a lot more to see of ZZ
Reid - up and down game let's hope his injury is not bad
J Thomas - looked very dangerous against their inexperienced right-back
Iwelumo - scoring a goal whilst injured from a very difficult angle. No need to say more!
McLeod - maybe he just needs confidence but I keep shouting for him to shoot! Albion were doing it all the time
Varney - will he succeed or not. My vote is still out on this one

The main worry has to be the injuries to Big Chris, Reidy and Dazza - could be tough next week with this lot out as well. Key injuries gives Pardew Hull headache.

Ref was not bad this week but he should have a least given Pele a booking for his trip just outside the area on ZZ. Possibly a key, incorrect, decision at the time.

A few newspaper links from Iberian Valley.

Good reports from Chicago Addick , New York Addick - who blames the shorts ;-), and Blackheath Addicted.

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Burnley Clarets

Should be an interesting game Saturday.

We definitely need a result at the Valley and Pards knows it. Hopefully the players will all follow Danny Mills example and be ready for the game with no complacency.

But Iberian Valley has some revealing stats on Burnley's away form.

Basey would appear to be out with an injury so there will definitely be some juggling around. Perhaps we will see the return of Moo2 ... which I would welcome.

May well be that this time we start with 2 strikers.

My prediction, 3-1 to Charlton, scorers Zheng Zhi, Sodje and Varney.

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Monkey Business

Great gig by Ian Brown at Brixton last night.

Support were Paul Ryder's (ex-Happy Monkeys) band, Big Arm, who made a good sound.

When Brown entered the stage he immediately launched into a Stone Roses classic 'I wanna be adored' - one of the best starts to a gig I have seen.

Lots of excellent stuff from his solo albums and even brought on Andy Rourke (ex-Smiths bassist) for a few songs.

His band are superb as always, and he has re-mixed a number of songs such as 'My Star' which was much harder and sounded great live.

Two highlights of the evening were an amazing version of 'I am the Resurrection' which got the whole place going crazy and a finale of F.E.A.R. which was brilliant.

Ian Brown has not lost his touch and is still far more classy than anyone else around in the music business.

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Put to the sword

What a rubbish referee ... Halsey got it wrong so many times, and was it really a penalty? I couldn't really tell, and the 2nd goal which he seemed to disallow and then allowed ... what was going on there!

And he never booked any of the SheffU players when they got over-physical, yet he booked Danny Mills when it should have been Bryan Robson.

And .....

But what am I talking about, these are all excuses which I am using to find out why we lost. The simple and obvious truth is that we were utter rubbish.

Can you believe we had the chance to go within 2 points of Watford and not only blew it but fell apart.

The crowd played their part and were terrific, but the players ? I don't know what went wrong, and according to the press interviews, nor does Pards!

Basey did fine, and he cannot be blamed for inexperience. Sam was well off his game and deservedly got taken off. Millsy as always got stuck in and no negatives from him.

Reid has been a hero all season, but Pards ... rest him! He looks like he needs a break. Thomas had some good spells as did Zheng although it was unforgivable the way that ZZ missed and shot the ball over the bar when all it needed was a simple tap-in.

We spent too much of the game, especially 2nd half shooting up high balls to Big Chris ... not attractive and it didn't do anything to win us the game.

On to Burnley at the Valley ... can't see them winning 2 away games on the trot but if we play again this way, then they will !

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Charlton Nil

Well, Jim Davidson's old joke still applies, except these days it's nil goals conceded !

We looked very lively at times and apart from a couple of scares, and despite the pressure from Preston at times, we did not seem likely to concede a goal.

And what is about Charlton and these last minute goals in both halves. If nothing else, this may stop the early leavers! It must be a new ploy to keep fans in their seats ... and it might work!

Nicky Weaver had a terrific game and is fast becoming a favourite of the Charlton faithful ... who would have believed that a while ago!

As for player ratings:
Weaver - as stated above, had a great game ... and I loved his push on the Preston striker late in the game ... Get Out of My Way!!!

Mills - excellent, very important player for us these days

Basey - may be young, but putting in good displays

Fortune - made some important clearances

Sodje - I like having him in the team, got to buy him before other teams notice how good he is

Sam - excellent down the wing, key player these days

Semedo - still often an unsung hero, great at what he does and makes no song and dance about it
Zheng - improves every game, must be going down a storm on Chinese TV

Reid - not his best game, and a few passes went astray but still the right man for captain

Thomas - one of his best games for ages but went a bit quiet in the 2nd half, extremely influential and scared the Preston defenders

Iwelumo - not many teams know how to deal with Big Chris and played a key part in the 2nd goal

Ambrose - not on long enough to decide

Holland- looked useful

Varney - excellent goal

And the fans ... first class. There may not have been many of you but on TV you came across loud and clear ... well done to those who made it up there.

The next few games look very interesting ... the top of the table at Christmas will give a good picture of how this division will pan out, I think we are only now beginning to gell, and yet we are in 2nd place.

As we all predicted, this is an enjoyable season ... and the final result still looks positive.

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Back online !!!

What a ridiculous couple of months. I returned from a business trip at the end of September only to find that I could no longer access the internet.

I use NTL (sorry ... Virginmedia) for my broadband access however they informed me that because my internet service provider is AOL I must call them.

Over the course of a couple of weeks I called the AOL help-desk on numerous occasions (each call taking ages due to waiting in a queue) and received more than a dozen reasons why my service no longer worked, none of which of course placed the blame at their end. At one stage I was informed that my PC must be at fault and I should call the manufacturers. I actually called in a local technician to run a diagnostic test and he found nothing wrong with my equipment at all. Based on this information, I called AOL again and was finally told that the modem software must be corrupted and they would send me a disc in the post. It never arrived and I was then informed that it was not their practice to send such software despite the fact that it had been promised.

At this stage, realising that I was going round in circles, I tried another tack and wrote to AOL Complaints department. They responded very quickly and were a refreshing change to the inept performance of their help desks, and stated that all I needed was a new modem which arrived the next day!

However, the problem did not end there. In order to register the modem, Virginmedia had to come into play ... and they proved to be the final barrier. For whatever reason, the registration did not work.

Realising that I faced a hopeless task, and not feeling like starting the whole process again, I cancelled my AOL subscription and got Virginmedia to set me up with their 4Mb broadband service. I can still access my AOL mail, and the bonus is that the new service is lightning fast. Furthermore, AOL have been kind enough to pay for my first years subscription due to the length of time they took to resolve the problem.

So finally I'm back ... I shan't bother giving updates on the games that I missed posting - plenty of others have done that ... just refer to the links on the right.

Also means that I can finally get back on Charlton Life on a more regular basis!

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Essex and Norfolk

I will be away on business for the next couple of weeks so will miss the Colchester and Norwich games ... as with other international addicks, this will unfortunately mean that I will not be able to watch either of the games ... unless I can find an appropriate TV channel in Singapore.

At the minimum my son can keep me updated with text messages ... although with the time difference, I may not be awake for the Norwich game!

The last time I visited Layer Road must have been back in the early 80's. I remember we lost and it was a very wet day which did not help with the long walk from Colchester station. The ground was very basic then (may well still be the case) with wooden planks as terraces.

Will be back the day before the Leicester game and hoping that I have missed 2 wins ... and then watching another one against the Foxes.

I won't be getting my Coventry tickets until I get back so hopefully there will still be some left! Bearing in mind we are getting 4,000 I presume there will be ... but wouldn't it be great if we could sell out without the club having to arrange another 'Operation' day out.

Anyway, c'mon you Reds over the next 2 weeks ... it's gonna seem strange being away and not catching up with games on the TV ... for the last 8 years it's been no problem wherever I was!

Well ... as those of you who have been to Singapore know, at least I'm going to be enjoying a lot of great food!

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No. 1 in South London

What a day!

Met my son at London Bridge and we had a couple of beers in a nearby pub returning to get the train just after 2 o'clock.

Plenty of police at the station but none on the train. The carriage in front of us had a lot of Charlton inside, primarily fans with shirts/scarves and a few kids. No problems until we reached Sydenham ... then it was clear that something had started in the front carriage with a number of Charlton fans moving back having been attacked by Palaaarse. The thing that got me was that the Charlton were primarily young fans wearing colours, no troublemakers at all ... a very cowardly action from the locals. It appears that the attack was a total set-up as the Palaaarse jumped into the train at Sydenham and then immediately left. Surely this could have been anticipated by the police?

In any event, it meant that we were all ordered off the train and told to find an alternative means of transport. With the cab office telling us it would be at least 20 minutes wait, this seemed unlikely. Fortunately the train was eventually moved on and we got on the following train, eventually arriving at the ground 15 minutes late.

Plenty of Charlton there and for the majority of the game you would have thought it was a home match - does not appear to be a lot of singing by the home lot these days. As expected, Jordan came in for a lot of justified abuse.

As often happens with local derby's, the game was not the best but we certainly ensured that the atmosphere was way up.

Weaver had to work for probably the first time this season, and he made at least 3 great saves ... proves he can still play at a good level. In view of our sometime flaky defence, I had been expecting a hatful of goals in this game ... however, the back four limited the home side to only a few opportunities.

The goal was well taken by Toddy but was a prime of example of how direct football can pay results ... a long clearance from Weaver was the impetus for the goal.

Reidy was magnificent, and ZZ initiated a number of good moves. Up front Iwelumo was perhaps unfortunate once or twice, but the prize for worst finish must go to Izzy in the closing moments ... how he failed to score, I don't know.

Danny Mills was not at his best but the way he got stuck in in the last 10 minutes showed he still has a passion for Charlton - he wasn't going to let anything past him.

Brilliant celebrations at the end not only from the fans but from the players and manager as well.

Reidy was going crazy with excitement as was Danny Mills who pulled his shirt off and threw it into the crowd. He even got Toddy jumping around. Pards showed how important this result was for him as well, by joining the players in the celebrations ... you would have thought we had just won a Cup !!!

And with Chrissy doing his usual at the end of the game to the encouragement of the crowd ... oooooooooooH ... you would have thought we were at home.

It's been a great week for Charlton and we are moving in the right direction.

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Remote Control

Great to use a Clash title for this post but it almost seemed that I was controlling the game remotely last night!

Over in Frankfurt this week so I was kept up to date by texts from my son in the Covered End.

I said to him before the game that we would win 4-3 ... typical that I was not there to put a bet on ... the odds must have been terrific!

My texts:
20.05 - enjoy the 4-3 win
20.39 - in response to Todorov scoring, 6 more goals to go!
20.47 - ZZ scores, c'mon Charlton China
21.18 - Stockport score, 4-3 is still on
21.31 - Stockport score again, no surprise
21.32 - Stockport score, noooooo!
21.40 - Charlton score, now annoyed that I didn't get the bet on
21.54 - 4-3, wondering if the bookies will accept that I had predicted the score ;-)

Well so far this season, I've seen 2 games, listened to one on the radio, watched one on TV, and now followed one by text!

Roll on Saturday ... can't wait to get to Selhurst ... may be quite a few goals!!!

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Fans won the game

Listening to BBC London on the way back from the match, the reporter made a telling comment. Although the fans had every right to be aggrieved about the first half, they still cheered the team on as they came out for the second 45 minutes. And in his opinion ... which I fully agree with ... the fans carried Charlton all the way through the 2nd half and were at their loudest for some time.

The team were rightfully booed off after the 1st half - a display of such ineptitude it was hard to believe that Charlton had spent so much time in the Premiership in the last few years. I thought we had got rid of all the prima donnas that don't give a stuff, but for 45 minutes it looked like we had another lot left - we could have been 3 or 4 down to be honest.

Not a single player distinguished himself in the first half, yet it was a different team in the 2nd half, not just because Thatcher and Bent were replaced by Zheng and Todorov. It appears that Thatcher received a knock but I am not convinced about him so far this season - he does not have the commanding presence that was so important for us previously - hopefully it will return. Marcus receives his first bad report from me this season, totally inadequate and my son and I even surmised that he may have faked an injury at half time just to get out of the game - probably untrue but it gave that impression.

I have just seen the 2nd half goals on TV and all 3 were wonderful. Chris Iwelumo is so strong that he is going to give many defences untold problems this season - once he has a chance to partner with Varney, we may see a wealth of goals from this Charlton team.

Reidy was fantastic in the 2nd half, following on from his great display for Ireland during the week. We have an excellent captain!

Still very difficult to make a decision on Weaver ... after 3 games I don't think he had yet been tested so we wait and see. Paddy had again a very poor game and seems afraid to receive the ball. I had assumed that Magic would have a stormer against his old team but it didn't materialise ... although a couple of runs into the Wednesday area showed what he is capable of ... and has not yet delivered. Fortune was OK but nothing special. With Moo2 out, defence is going to remain a problem area.

From my perspective, Zheng transformed the game when he appeared at the start of the 2nd half ... we are going to see great things from the Chinese captain at this level ... very capable and set up one of the goals. Semedo is a strange player ... there is no doubt that he brings a lot to the game and is very important to our structure, yet you never really see him doing too much ... not usual in this day and age of player histrionics. Like Zheng, a capable and important acquisition.

Jerome looked good but he may need to cut down on some of the show-boating - of course we enjoy it, but at this level, there will be a few players willing to cut him down to size.

Unlike others, I was not too impressed with Toddy ... I still think he goes to ground too much.

Which brings us again to the enigma that is Ambrose. I seem to say this in every report but he is the most frustrating player ever. At times, moments of sublime skill and confidence, and in the next an error of such extreme that you want to scream him off the pitch. Will the real Darren Ambrose please stand up!!!

After 45 minutes I was dreading going to Selhurst next week ... now I cannot wait ... bring on the Palaaaarse.

As a side note did anyone notice the comment from Reg in the programme that we are seeking planning consent for a state-of-the-art training complex on Heath Farm (by the way, where is it?). Is this the end of Sparrows Lane? ... I guess the land in New Eltham must be worth a fortune.

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I think most of us would have been happy to come away with a point before the start of this game, and at one stage that looked on the cards ... even maybe 3 points.

But the injury to Moo2 gave the Potters an opportunity to break through an unsettled defence and later to grab the winner.

I was a little surprised at the start of the game to see that Fortune had been given a place instead of Paddy but circumstances would prove this to be a good move ... albeit ruined by the injury to Moo2.

Stoke had most of the first half with Charlton only coming into the game in the final third of the half.

Nicky Weaver once again had relatively little to do most of the game so it's still difficult to assess how good he will be for us ... one thing I am not too happy about is the way he punches balls out rather than catching them but that may well have been due to the wet conditions rather than anything else.

Magic is not yet doing what we expected of him and it is another case of wait and see before we can make any real comment. Fortune had a fairly decent game, but Ben Thatcher does not seem to be having the best of seasons ... all too often his clearances were only half-hearted and went straight to a Stoke player.

Our best player, Moo2, had to be replaced early in the 2nd half to a rather rash tackle ... which did not even earn a yellow card for Stoke ... and Charlton fell apart for a while. In fact, I was not altogether convinced with Paddy when he came on ... he has the potential but needs to settle down in this team.

Semedo once again had a game where he does a job but does not stand out too much ... very different to Ambrose who plays the same type of game every match, either getting stuck in or non-existent - he needs to be available for a complete game!

Reidy had a good game being involved in most things including taking the free kick which led to our goal ... claimed by Fortune due to a deflection. But as with Thatcher, there are too many occasions where Reidy's passes go astray.

Lloyd Sam looked good and was a real threat but only lasted the 1st half to be replaced by Jerome Thomas when the players came out for the 2nd half ... Jerome looked OK but I am not convinced that the change was right.

Pards had obviously decided to change tactics at half-time and bring in some height in the form of Iwelumo ... Izzy was the one to suffer and to be honest that probably made sense for this particular game.

Marcus had a capable game up-front but I feel he should definitely have scored - if he is to reach his own target of 20+ goals this season he has more to do ... but as previously stated in other posts, he is a different player to last year and that is a real plus.

I know we need time to bed in all the new players but in my opinion next Saturday is a must-win. Sheff Wed at home is not a game for which we can consider even a draw if we want to be up there at the end of the season.

It's definitely far too early to panic ... Sunderland were near the bottom for a few weeks last year ... but improvements must be evident as the weeks go by to prove that we do have the squad that can take us back up.

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Marcus re-vitalised

I must admit that I do not enjoy listening to games on the radio ... but I should be thankful that I at least have that option unlike many of the overseas Charlton who now have no way of listening to the game.

The first half made it sound as if we were being overrun by Swindon, but Stevie Brown put it into context when he rightfully pointed out that the wind had a lot to do with the way the game was going.

In fact, by the sound of it in the 2nd half, we could possibly have scored a couple more.

Weaver appeared to have very little to do in goal ... and one of the only notable comments made about him by the commentary team was that he is growing a Hales-like beard!

In defence, Fortune seemed ok, but Steve Brown again made a very good comment in that Fortune has now been around a long time and it is about time he took on more responsibility with leading the team.

Magic had a better game than Saturday and Moo2 once again showed us that he is an excellent prospect for the season. It is probably unfair to make a comment based on listening to the radio, but it seemed like Chrissy Powell was not on top form at all last night.

In midfield, Reidy had another good game, whilst Ambrose proved to be his normal enigmatic self, in the first half almost non-existent and then getting more involved later on.

Llloyd Sam sounded very active and as I mentioned in earlier posts, I hope that this will finally be his season to break through. Difficult to assess Semedo's impact on the game ... it seems like he does all the right things without being too noticeable.

Up-front, Izzy sounded like a big threat once again particularly in the 2nd half.

But I should save my main praise for ... Marcus Bent !!!

I never expected to be saying that this season. He was fully involved, unselfish, committed himself to the team and ... well ... looks like a great asset for us this season. It's almost like having a new player.

Keep it up Benty !!!

Roll on Saturday ... unfortunately I cannot make it so hope I have a chance to watch the game on TV.

The next major milestone is Monday ... please let there be tickets left for the Palaaaarse game !!!

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Sometimes I should listen to my head not my heart. In my post yesterday I stated:

But to be honest, with the Irons really up for it (and 2000 of them in the Jimmy Seed stand), and with a brand new Charlton team getting to know each other, it may be be a draw.

And then I decided to be positive and predicted a 3-1 win. No wonder I'm not a betting man!

It wasn't the greatest of displays by Charlton but there are some positives to come out of this. Moo2 looked excellent and could be quite an exciting prospect this season. Reidy never stopped running and although he didn't get it right a couple of times ... and perhaps should have scored ... he definitely looked a real danger.

Lloyd Sam seems like he may finally be able to break into the team on a regular basis but he needs to work on his crosses - a number of runs were wasted due to his inability to get the ball across into the area ... a feat that was managed very capably by Izzy when he came on. OK, it was only a short time Izzy was on the pitch but I believe he will cause a lot of teams problems this year ... a very tricky and fast player.

Marcus Bent gave a capable display ... but let's be honest ... so he should at this level. He should have finished with more than one goal and I was disappointed at the way he went to ground a couple of times ... the refs at this level are just not going to listen. Toddy was perhaps even more guilty of going down too often.

Semedo didn't show too much yesterday but by all accounts he will do so once he has settled so let's wait and see.

It was great to see ZZ on the pitch before the game and he will definitely bring some strength to the middle.

Perhaps the main concern from yesterday was the defence ... as mentioned above Moo2 was great but it wasn't the best of displays by Magic and Ben, although Paddy looked reasonably good. Weaver had very little to do so not much to say on him as yet, but he must have been pleased by the reaction he got from the Covered End.

Ambrose sometimes flatters to deceive ... a few good touches but overall not enough - he is capable of far more and we need to see it.

The linesmen and ref were awful - I thought we had the worst of it in the Premiership but logically I suppose they must be the best - the standards at this level were appalling. No yellow cards when a few should have been given to Scunny players, and then Iwelumo picks one up late on - I didn't see the tackle too closely so don't know if it warranted a card but the goalkeeper definitely milked it and stayed down far longer than needed.

As the Inspector put it last night, we can and WILL get better - Scunthorpe will not.

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Charlton in Europe

Been quite a gap since the last post due to holiday and commitments at work. However, first day of the new season so a good day to re-start!

Holidaying in Vilamoura in the Algarve, we had to make sure that we spent a couple of nights at the only Charlton theme pub in Continental Europe (run by Algarveaddick). If you happen to be in the Algarve make sure you visit. It's in Albufeira and you can find the address on their website Floyds Bar. We stayed in Vilamoura and the taxis had no problem in finding it.

Quiz night is particularly good and you will find Perry and Karen to be terrific company. The interior of the bar is packed with Charlton memorabilia so take a camera ... there a couple of reasonable restaurants very close by the bar.
So ... on to today ... who will be in the lineup.
In goal would seem to obvious with Nicky Weaver, and defense seems pretty clear with Paddy, Moo2, Thatcher and Magic.
Midfield likely to include Semedo, Reid, Ambrose and Thomas.
Upfront we almost seem to have an embarrassment of riches for this level, but I expect Toddy and Bent to start. I'd rather it hadn't been Bent but that seems to be Pard's thoughts at the moment.
As to the result, if Varney had been fit I would have gone for 4-1. But to be honest, with the Irons really up for it (and 2000 of them in the Jimmy Seed stand), and with a brand new Charlton team getting to know each other, it may be be a draw.
However, I like to be positive. I am sure there will be goals in the game and we should have plenty of goal-scoring subs, so will go for 3-1.

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Come in No.4, your time is up!

Down to the refurbished Earl of Warwick last night, and managed to get served far more quickly than usual for a Charlton game. The pub did not seem as packed as in previous years but there were still plenty of fans in the ground.

As is usual with the Welling friendly, the first job is to work out who is who.

The public address system was not too efficient (apart from later in the game when the announcer continually asked the ‘boys behind the goal’ to get back over the fence), and I spent the game gradually identifying the players, although I didn’t manage at all to find out the number 8 – clarified by the official site today as Dean Sinclair, a trialist formerly with Barnet.

So, how did they do … Randolph was fine but had to go off early due to an injury. Replaced by Elliot who had a reasonable game, although to be honest, he didn’t have that much to worry about.

In defence, Moo2 who was reasonable but nothing special, McCarthy who I thought was not yet ready but did show signs that he will be strong for us, and Chrissy being what Chrissy always is – dependable and enthusiastic.

Souleymane had a great game throughout and I was very impressed with his attitude from start to finish – let’s hope the talk from his agent is rubbish and he will be staying – he could be a very important player for us this season.

Martin Christensen never stopped running the entire game, probably deserved a goal, but perhaps let himself down by being a little too greedy occasionally – overall, I think we have a good player here.

Todorov didn’t look match fit, but if he can stay injury-free, we have a player with that bit extra who can help us fight our way back to the Premiership.

Varney was a handful all game, and definitely deserved his goal … will now be interesting to see him at a higher level, as it will be for Chris Dickson who scored a wonderful goal from a very acute angle.

Jerome got stuck in and was the subject of a few heavy tackles from the Wings, but overall he did well.

Gibbs and Arter came on in the 2nd half, and both looked promising as did Pedersen. Rhys Coleman, who I have never heard of, looked like a reasonable prospect. Josh Wright also played but I do not recall too much about him.

Ohhhh … and there was a player at number 4 … one that I am sure we haven’t signed yet… Pards, we DO trust in you … but DO NOT sign this total waster !!!!!!!!!

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No Nicky and Algarve Wednesdays

Looking forward to the Welling game tonight … and meeting my mates before the game in the Guy, which judging by the weather at the moment may be where most Charlton fans stay for the whole game!

According to the official site, Pards is not going to make the same mistake as Dowie last season and will be taking a 'proper' team along. So it seems like we will get the chance to see Luke Varney, Svetoslav Todorov, Paddy McCarthy and Yassin Moutaouakil. Unfortunately, it looks like Nicky is going to the Tooting game … such a pity, Welling would have given him a good opportunity to make his mark with the fans … I am sure he would have got a bit of stick, but judging by his recent comments, he would have responded positively. I must admit I am beginning to change my mind about him … I know players have to say the right thing when they join a new club but he seems pretty genuine about it.

OK, I’ll start it now’ ‘England, England’s number One !!!’.

Also a pity that we will apparently not see Iwelumo as he is in the Tooting squad.

But it looks like Chrissy will play… should be a great reception for him. And will we manage to see Cory Gibbs? Tipped by our fans director to be player of the season!

And next Wednesday night should also be a lot of fun. I am off to the Algarve and intend to spend the night in Floyd’s bar, the only Charlton theme bar in Continental Europe! Wednesday is quiz night so hopefully a good chance to relax and have a few drinks with Perry.

According to Leapfish.com, my domain name is only worth $21 ! Maybe I should change the name and try to get a quick profit by re-selling … although 'Charlton Athletic' is only worth $11 ! 'Ian Brown' gets $31, but I’m sure that’s been used ;-) Just tried ‘London', that gets $121, but I won’t get away with that one! Found it, I can get $161 for ‘Dave’!!!

On a different subject I went to see Die Hard 4.0 last night. If you want a couple of hours suspending belief with a great action film, then this is for you … I must admit that I enjoyed it. Bruce Willis may not be the world’s greatest actor but he is good for these, primarily non-speaking, parts.

And before I forget, go out and buy the new Chemical Brothers album – superb!

… and download the Glosoli video by Sigur Ros from iTunes, it’s one of the best videos ever.

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I don't believe it!

Weaver !!!!

This is ridiculous - the history between us and Weaver is well known. OK, some are saying we should treat it as just that, history, it's in the past. Well, I can't do that.

It just fills me with concern ... if he has a couple of bad games the crowd will quickly turn against him - this does nothing to lift the team.

If he does not perform consistently well at a high-level from the beginning, he will not be able to convert most of the fans and that helps no-one.

I like the majority of Pard's signings and continue to trust in him - I sincerely hope he proves me wrong ... and whatever happens, you won't find me booing any players ... but you can be sure that many will if this does not work out.

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One out, all out

Returned to Frankfurt yesterday and it seems that every few months I have to leave even earlier to get through the Blackwall Tunnel. A couple of years ago, it was sufficient to leave my house at 6.30 to get a flight at 8.00, but due to heavier traffic this changed to 6.15 and then eventually 6.00. With the ridiculous closure of the contraflow system in the tunnel, I had to start leaving at 5.45 ... and let's be honest, the closure is nothing to do with safety, it is all about introducing the congestion charge. Now we have the increased security at airports, I had to leave at 5.30. However, security was not as bad as I had expected ... my cab received a cursory check by the police on the way into City airport, and the driver was still able to drop me off at the front of the airport. From what I heard, it was not so easy an hour or so later when the traffic was a lot heavier ... a number of people were unable to get too close to the airport and walked the remaining distance.

Will be interesting on the way back later in the week to see the situation then.

And in Germany today ... there is a train strike! I pointed out to my German colleagues that you don't see this sort of thing in the UK nowadays ... neglecting to mention the recent postal strike ;-)

Fortunately, I only have a 5 minute walk to work from my hotel so has not affected me today ... but the office is very empty, hence the opportunity to catch up with my blog!

The Charlton clear-out finally happened over the weekend, and to be honest, there are very few surprises. There seems to be a difference of opinion on some Charlton message boards and blogs as to whether or not some of the players should have been retained, but I have no real problems with the changes.

JFH - never delivered anything near his potential and no loss ... in fact, a big gain as we no longer have his wage bill.
Talal - I would have liked to keep Talal but, as far as I am aware, he had already made it clear that he did not want to drop a division - good luck to him and I hope he gets a good move.
Myhre - I actually thought he had gone in January, but it does leave us rather short in this area! I assume a replacement is planned!
Lisbie - about time! Earned a lot of money for scoring 3 goals against Liverpool. Having said that, I hope he finally does realise his (apparent) potential at his new club ... rumoured to be the Gills.
Nathan Ashton, Rurik Gislason, Alistair John and Myles Weston - I don't know enough about these to make much of a comment - I guess it's down to, 'Trust in Pards'.

A number of sites again speculating that we are linked to Freddie Eastwood - as long as we don't get screwed on the price, I think this is a good move. I would prefer him to Ellington with whom we are also linked.

The home friendly with Jorge Costa's team, Braga, has been announced - I'm looking forward to getting back down the Valley for this - it seems like a long time. The annual match at Welling is next Wednesday and thankfully I will be in the UK to see this ... although to be honest, it's more an opportunity to catch up with mates in the Guy Earl of Warwick ... incidentally I was in the renovated Guy at the weekend and spoke to the new owners. Business is not that robust at the moment, but they hope to have a lot of customers for the Charlton game ... I reassured them that this would be the case!

Incidentally, Iberian Valley has come up with a very amusing blog recently. Amazing to see how many Charlton bloggers we have out there, including a number of new ones such as myself.

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Bowing to the inevitable

Back from Frankfurt last night and, to be honest, quite surprised that Darren was still with us. I've kept up-to-date with developments whilst I have been away on the various blogger sites and Charlton Life, and was even beginning to hold a faint hope (misguided, I know !) that he might stay. Every newspaper report just seemed to be a copy of another, so I wasn't entirely convinced he was going.

And then I log-on this morning to Forever Charlton ... crap, he has left ... and as expected by the media, to the Spuds. Can't say I am overjoyed by this. If he was to go, I had hoped it would be to a better team. Unless they sell, he may find himself on the bench quite a lot, definitely not something he is used to. I hope not, because he deserves far more than that.

At least we stuck to our guns and got a great price for him. A lot of (jealous) fans from other clubs (particularly Palaaaarse) were telling us that we had blown our chances by not selling in January and if we were relegated we would be in such a state of weakness that we would have to sell at a far lower price ... yeah, course we did!!

And respect to Darren for not moving just for the sake of money ... the Hamsters would have been a far worse move despite the salary you would have obtained.

You go with our best wishes Darren and leave us with a lot of great memories. Just make sure, when you get re-sold again, it is to a team that is more admired.

I wonder how the Spuds fans will react. They have been all over our sites shouting that Bent is over-valued and they do not need him. Same on their own Rivals site. In fact, the spat that they had on Frankie's place was one of the funniest things I have seen this year. I wonder if they will now go back and say how brilliant Darren is ... ;-)

I asssume Pards will be happy as he will hopefully now be a given a share of the money for the transfer chest. Whilst Pards appreciated the value of Darren, I think he had his eye on him leaving from day one. Remembering his comments during the January transfer window, he knew that he needed more funds in order to re-build the team, and if it hadn't been for the fact that Darren was injured at the time, he may well have gone then.

Oh well ... on to another era ... and it seems to involve a lot of younger players. Semedo looks an interesting prospect although he hasn't been able to guarantee a first-team spot at his previous club. I intended to give a summary of my thoughts on the current squad, but found that it had been done far more competently than I could have done by New York Addick.

Just noticed in Addicks Premiership Diary that Mattie has signed a further one year contract. I'm pleased with that as I am sure he can still do a good job for us for one more season.

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Another day ...

... another rumour. Apparently Rafa thinks that Darren's valuation is too high. And according to the Guardian , Varney is now prepared to accept a reduced offer of £16 million in the next 7 days from Spuds. Much as we would all love him to stay, the signs are very clear that he will be going. I'm not convinced that White Hart Lane is the right destination for him. Apart from the fact that I don't really want him there, I do not see how he will fit in with their current line-up unless they sell someone.

Again, if we believe the rumours, they may be selling, as Defoe has been mentioned on a number of occasions as the player to move out. Berbatov and Bent with Keane behind them sounds very strong, but it may still not be enough to take them to the next level. Perhaps Berbatov will go, but having spoken to some Spuds fans, this would not go down well, and in their mind would prove that Spuds do not really believe they can make the next jump up.

As far as I know, the transfer window does not close until August 31st, so there is still a lot that may happen. If Darren is going, then the sooner the better, so that we can take advantage and get some more new players in.

On a separate subject, it was my wedding anniversary yesterday and we went to the Chapter 2 restaurant in Blackheath. Excellent service with good food and a great wine list. Prices are not that bad considering the location and I recommend it to anyone in the area. It is our 3rd visit in the last couple of years and we will be returning again.

I've been working from home most of this week (apart from Monday, more of which below) but will be back in my Frankfurt office again next week. Being someone who has to travel a lot on business (26 countries in the last year on top of my usual stints in Frankfurt!), this is when I really value the Charlton blogs and sites such as Charlton Life enabling me to keep up with what is happening. I know there are quite a few others that travel frequently and, of course, there are many ex-pats in various parts of the world including some with excellent blogs. Keep up the good work - I really enjoy reading these when I get the chance.

As to Monday of this week, I had to visit a client in Stoke-on-Trent. Buying an advance ticket some weeks ago from Virgin trains, it cost £184! And to make matters worse, my train on the way back was cancelled due to 'operational dificulties', which meant that the next train was completely packed and I had to stand all the way back to Euston - scandalous!

Have a good weekend.

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Welling v Charlton

Just been to Park View Road and purchased tickets for the game on 11th July, £10 terraces.

They inform me that there are still plenty of tickets left for the terraces but seating in the stand expected to sell out fairly quickly.

Hope to see plenty of Charlton as usual in the pub next door, Guy Earl of Warwick.

It will be interesting to see who turns out for us on the field, and perhaps just as interesting to see who will not be there!

C'mon you Reds!

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Mou are ya?

Yassin Moutaouakil - interesting buy although I haven't a clue how to pronounce his surname. Seems to be very well rated and a number of clubs such as Lazio, Barca, Celtic, Everton etc have apparently been after him. You have to wonder why he signed for a Championship club but I like the way he has explained this on the official site.

"Many clubs tried to sign me but Charlton did a good job convincing me that this is the best move for me. The media in France have been critical of my decision to move to England because, as captain of the U21s, they want me to stay and play in France. But I chose Charlton because I feel that this is an ambitious club and I believe that I will progress well under the manager here. Charlton have shown great interest in me, for which I am very grateful, and after the discussions I had with the club I wanted to be a part of this project. I did not want to sign for a club just because they are a big name, or for the colour of their shirt. The most important thing for me is the trust and the confidence that I have in this club. It is going to be a difficult season but it is essential that we get back to the Premier League next season for the club and its supporters. And I believe we will do it with this team and this manager."

And he scored against England in an U-19 match a couple of years ago!

And I cannot leave today's posting without adding my belated thanks to Kish. It's a pity that he has left us for Leicester as I believe he could have done a good job for us next season. Yes, I know the usual complaints that he often lost the ball and he could create problems for the team, but for me he was the perfect example of the things we love in a Charlton player, full of honesty and commitment. He will definitely get a good reception when he returns.

On the non-Charlton front, I listened to the new Editors album yesterday over on Myspace - it is excellent and as good as the first album - well recommended.

My wedding anniversary today and among the presents from my wife, a superb CD 'The Best of Asian Dub Foundation' - if you don't know this band, visit their website and check them out.

Will be going down to Park View Road later today and getting tickets for the Welling v. Charlton game - hopefully not yet sold out!

My condolences to Charlton North Downs on the death of his mum - also a new blogger this year although he started a couple of months before me. I feel privileged to be part of the Charlton blog world and long may he and his fellow bloggers continue.

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Points total

Interesting to recall how many of us felt when we last returned to the Premiership - it was incredible to go up and then the fixture list came out and reality dawned. It looked tough!

And yet, year by year, we lost a lot of the fear - games that previously seemed unwinnable suddenly appeared to be worth a point or maybe three. We started to believe that we belonged at that level. So relegation should hold no fear - we were until recently an established Premiership club, so what's the problem?

And yet, when I look at the next fixture list, I start to think, well actually it's not that easy at this level either. Sure, I know that Colchester were there or thereabouts all of last season, and if they can do it, we certainly can ... but it's certainly not a foregone conclusion that we will be at the top.

Looking at the first 5 games:
Scunthorpe at home - they will be on the crest of a wave, promoted last year, playing attractive football according to the reports, and are bound to come at us seeking a notable first scalp.
Stoke away - certainly not a walkover.
Wednesday at home - not that easy.
Palaaarse away - local derby, who knows.
Colchester away - very hard to beat on their own ground last season.

If I'm honest, I still think we will get quite a few points from that lot, but ... famous last words and all that!

After 5 games last season, Cardiff led the way with 13 points, followed by Norwich, Palaaarse, Brum and Wolves all on 10 points. However, Sunderland were 2nd to bottom and Derby 19th which shows how much it can change. By the end of the season, no team had lost less than 11 games, so a bad run certainly won't finish anyone off.

If we have 20 ponts on the board after 10 games, then based on last season we would be well placed. Only Cardiff managed to exceed that figure ... however, it is also worth pointing out that Cardiff didn't go up and ended up in mid-table mediocrity.

Well, after writing that lot, I at least know where I stand now - we will finish ..... CHAMPIONS!

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So here we go again... the rumour mill seems to be buzzing since Darren turned down the Hamsters with Spuds still being his likely destination. Can't say I will be too happy if he goes to White Hart Lane, plus the transfer funds being quoted are lower than expected - still it is all paper talk, so take it with a pinch of salt.

Chelsea and Arsenal also being mentioned ... I don't see Chelski as a good move but if Henry moves on then the Gooners may be an interesting place for Dazza to end up in. But for the moment, let's all take heart that he is still an Addick - you never know, we can still dream he will be with us next year.

Excellent piece in 'From the Hill to the Valley' http://hilltovalley.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-we-dont-like-palace.html on why we don't like Palace. The only extract that I would contend with is that for many of us, our hatred towards Palaaarse goes back a long way before ground-sharing. I remember as a kid in Cherry Orchard Estate in Charlton that whilst we obviously did not like the Spanners, the animosity towards Palace was always much more. Maybe because we did not consider them as true South East London, whereas, despite never liking them, at least Millwall were part of the local area.

As a separate rumour, Simes the Orange One seems to have us in his sights as his next court case - hopefully this will be the one that he finally loses.

On a quick visit to Bluewater yesterday, it would seem that our support is still in clear view despite relegation. Lots of kids and adults wearing the ubiquitous Chelski, ManU, Arse topes, but at least a dozen Charlton shirts being proudly displayed. At least we can say we are the most popular team outside the Premiership!

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Charlton Athletic

So we are back in the Championship. It's a strange feeling - I still don't know how I really feel about it. Back in December/January, most of us were resigned to it, but Pards got us in a position wherein we felt we might escape ... which perhaps made the ultimate relegation even tougher.

Perhaps the release of the fixtures list this week has made it sink in properly now. Scunthorpe at home first game! I'm actually looking forward to it - being a long-standing supporter of Charlton means I have memories of the old 2nd and 3rd division days and despite our moans and complaints at the time, we did have a lot of fun. A higher percentage of our crowd followed us away and games at home were always noisy.

But who am I kidding - the fact is that even then we always wanted to be in the top division. And I am using rose-tinted spectacles if I say that everything was perfect in those days. There were many occasions when the crowds were so low we had to wonder if we would survive.

So I can take another season outside the top level, but I hope we get back in May. There are a few new grounds to look forward to, and some old favourites re-surfacing. Pity that Blackpool and Scunthorpe away are in February but I still predict a good turn-out. Norwich away on Boxing Day is also a pain, but the lure of the pub by the river and Delia's pies should persuade a reasonable number to travel.

Will Darren Bent be with us in August? I guess not, but I am very pleased that he chose not to go to the Hamsters. They are already looking like a pseudo-Charlton outfit with Curbs, Day, Peacock, Spector, Konchesky, Parker, Bowyer, etc etc. They have even now planned a pre-season friendly at http://www.wellingunited.com/ Welling United! What's next, a transfer request for Floyd and Harvey?

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New blog - if I get time it will be expanded

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