Stoke via SMS

Being in Frankfurt I had to rely on my son to send me text messages from the ground.

Me: C’mon you Reds!

Me: 3-2, ZZ to score first and Gray double.

Son: I’ve just done Zhi to score first and us to win 2-1

Son: 0-0 half-time. Stoke haven’t had a shot on goal. We’ve had about 6 chances.

Me: Good but worrying. Gray and Varney playing?

Son: Gray and Iwelumo

Me: Wrong!!!

Son: Varney just come on for Iwelumo

Me: Good

Son: Sam scored!

Me: Yehhhh, c’mon reds!

Son: Won 1-0. Holland and Moo2 were amazing. Stoke dirtiest team ever seen and only got one booking. West Brom lost. Watford drew. Awesome.

Me: Fantastic, bring on Scunny! The season is turning around.

Son: It sure is. I’ve completely lost my voice. Well up for Scunny. Gray looks pretty decent.

I cannot wait until Saturday, should be a great day at Scunthorpe and hopefully there will be a lot of us there. Call me optimistic, but I am getting good feelings about this season!

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Missed games

I will be back in Frankfurt on Monday so will miss the Stoke game ... typical when it looks like it will be a good night. Once again, will have to rely on text updates from the ground from my son. Although last time that happened we beat Stockport 4-3 ... and I predicted the score correctly. So this time I'm going for 3-2 to Charlton!

Will be back on Friday 1st Feb and going to Scunny the next day ... this is one I have been looking forward to all season. New ground and with our away form, we have a good chance of victory.

Back to Frankfurt again the following Monday but have made sure that I return on Thursday 7th Feb ... I am NOT going to be late for the Palaaarse game!!!

Hopefully it will be the result we need as I have to fly to Singapore on business the next day and that's a long way to travel when you are pissed off. I arrive in Singapore on the Sunday night, run a workshop all day Monday, fly back Monday night and arrive in London early on Tuesday ... and then go on holiday to the Canaries the next day for 2 weeks deserved rest!

It means I miss the Watford home game but I am hopeful that I can find a bar over there that will show the game ... if anyone knows of such a possibility let me know.

A lot of good games coming up ... we should know by the end of February whether we are going for a playoff place or automatic promotion. I'm still optimistic!

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Day the music died

EMI to slash jobs and change the business model.

This has me worried. Actually, no it doesn’t … it completely pees me off. New music is the lifeblood of the medium. Without it, music will die.

And yet the new owners of EMI seem determined to take a short-term approach to the business and destroy any chance that new acts have of breaking through. Short-termism will not work … however many big acts they have on their books, they will need new music to take them through to the medium and long-term.

They certainly understand business and how to make money … but do they understand music?

My work is Product Management, so I know as much as anyone that when a business needs to be changed it has to be either streamlined, re-vitalised, or innovated … but NOT without taking your eye away from the medium term. Short-term solutions have only short-term effects.

I do agree with one of their announcements which is to end huge advances paid to certain artists … this is as obscene as the amount of money that footballers can earn and makes sense. They even intimate that perhaps some acts could be paid salaries or daily rates whilst they work on their new material … I’m not saying this will work but it’s an innovative idea and deserves consideration.

I also like their idea of limiting some bands to single track downloads over the internet rather than trying to force whole albums out of possible one or two hit wonders.

But certain comments from the new owner worry me, e.g. ‘we need to be selective who we provide a service to’.

Does this mean that new bands will not get a look in until they have somehow proved themselves, a impossible Catch-22 situation?

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Tangerine Dream

Well, that was rather good wasn't it. Nice to leave the Valley with a smile our face!

Entertaining and attacking football, with an improved atmosphere in the ground. I suggested on Thursday that we were perhaps in for a lively performance with Moo2, ZZ and Youga and so it proved. There were times during the game that we had so much possession that Blackpool couldn't get near us.

Blackpool were not the best team we have faced this season but to be fair we have seen worse, and the fact is they were on a good run of form. With the games we have coming up in the next few weeks, this was just the right time to put in a real team performance.

ZZ was my man of the match and showed his premiership qualities ... he seemed to be cloned as he was so many places and in the thick of everything. If his English was better, he may well be our captain!

On the OS, Pards rightfully thanks the fans for the noise. He also makes some relevant points on the coming weeks: "Once we go to Watford next weekend, we'll have played the top six away from home,” he said. "Then they've all got to come here, so we are not in too bad a position if we can keep this sort of form and this sort of atmosphere going. We are going to go close.” Just the right time to turn around our home performances!

Sunderland started their run this time last year, and perhaps we can give the push to get ourselves back in an automatic promotion slot.

As mentioned above, ZZ was my man of the match, but on another occasion it could well have been Kelly Youga who put in a strong and confident display. Why did we let him stay at Scunthorpe for so long?

Yassin had a great game and is turning into a very exciting attacking defender. Paddy and Boogie also put in good displays. Lloyd Sam had a very quiet game, but didn't actually do anything wrong ... I am sure that by normal his standards he will be unhappy.

Holland put in a great captain's performance and was unlucky not to score.

I don't want to nit-pick on the game yesterday, but if there is a downside, it is Ambrose. Stop being enigmatic and start being consistent!!!

We guessed that Big Chris would not start yesterday and so it proved ... Varney and Izzy up-front instead. And didn't it make a difference! No long balls right down the pitch ... ball played to feet and very exciting it was at times too!

Varney looked very good up-front and may have had more on another day ... started to show why he had previously been rated so highly. Izzy also could have scored, but I still need convincing about him. Dickson came on to great applause from the crowd and, as with the Albion game, came close. He is certainly a confident character, mentioning in the press today that he expects to get 20 goals for Charlton!

One annoyance from me ... Jerome, stop trying to get into the showboat section of SoccerAM every week - that back-heel was pathetic and could have caused problems.

Oh ... and I cannot stop without mentioning the referee. I have continually castigated refs on here, so let's give credit where it is due. An excellent performance from Mr. Singh allowing the game to flow yet being authoritative whenever needed. Can you ref us every week!

Elsewhere, a good report from Blackheathaddicted as always, and we have similar thoughts on the players. Good reports also from Wyn Grant and CharltonNorthDowns.

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Scunthorpe Away

Got 2 tickets today for myself and my son. Nice to see the online ordering system working efficiently (although it was not up until after 10.00). I had tried to phone but it appears that I cannot use the 0871 number from my overseas office!

I'm looking forward to this game as it will be the first time I have visited Scunthorpe. Last visit was at their old ground back in 1973 which I missed.

Hopefully a lot of Charlton will be getting tickets for this one ... at the start of the season, it was certainly a game in which many showed interest.

I was also hoping to get to the Blackpool game later in February but will now be away. Hopefully for those who are going, it will be better than the time I last went quite a number of years ago. One of the coldest days I can remember with gale-force icy winds. Most of the shops and bars were shut and the ground was rubbish. Interestingly a group of Blackburn fans turned up as their game had been postponed and proceeded to support Charlton ... at that time I didn't realise that they disliked each other so much.

As for Blackpool at home this weekend, I feel rather optimistic ... at least I did until I read Iberian Valley. The stats do not make good reading!

According to the OS, Blackpool new signing Stephen McPhee may be playing and, if so, it will already be the third time he has faced us this season having scored for Hull in October.

Up-front I have a feeling that Big Chris will be on the bench for this game with Varney and McLeod or Dickson replacing him in a 2-man attack.

Moo2, Youga and ZZ should give us a lively presence and it is only to be hoped that we can overturn the recent doldrums at the Valley. A return to the form displayed in the first half against Ipswich would be ideal!

Check out Blackpool Mad for a review of a game in 1952 that ended up 8-4 to Blackpool (although Sam Bartram wasn't playing!). And no ... I wasn't there ... I'm not quite that old!

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4-5-1 ... at home ... to the team that is bottom ... and as far as I am aware have not won in about 14 games.

Pards ... change the tactics ... it ain't working! And before he loses his recent confident scoring touch, try Dickson. He may end up being as ineffectual as some of our other strikers but at least give him a go before he gets disillusioned.

Having read a number of blogs today, there's no point in my repeating the comments. Suffice to say, most agree how bad we were ... although Blackheath Addicted has a different perspective to most ... maybe he is right , but it's difficult to feel that way this morning.

For other good reports check out Wyn Grant (I fully agree with his final match analysis), Inspector Sands (very good points about a number of the fans at the Valley ... also being in the East Stand, I can confirm he is absolutely right ... there are fans around me who seem to go not to support, but to complain!), Frankie Valley (always entertaining and pertinent), Drinking during the Game (entirely right about the formation), Pedro (same old, same old ... yup!), and Chicago Addick (he wasn't there but felt it just as much!).

Where do we go from here? Well, from a cup perspective, it doesn't look good with the Baggies coming to town ... but perhaps trying out a few new players (Dickson, Youga ?) may bring us some good cheer.

More importantly, what about the League? We are apparently in our 'easy' run of games at the moment. Mid-January onwards looks tougher with Watford (twice), Stoke, Palaarse, Bristol City, Burnley, Ipswich and Albion.

If previous seasons are anything to go by, the transfer window will be critical in deciding who can move onward and upward. Albion look a good bet for the top spot, but it is no foregone conclusion with 2 other teams on the same points. Despite some abject displays we are still very much in there. Contrary to my pre-season confidence, I'm not convinced that we will make an automatic spot (but hopefully will be proved wrong), but play-offs should definitely be attainable ... this is not a particularly good division.

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