Ain't No Easy Way

I wasn't able to make it for this game and after receiving a text from my son just before five yesterday afternoon stating the score, that was probably a good thing.

According to Pards the red card changed the game. He believes the card was over-harsh, but on the positive side praises Nicky Bailey on his debut. But more worrying is that Therry Racon may have fractured a metatarsal on his foot during the second half. Our team is down to 'bare bones' already and this is not going to help.

Kings Hill Addick also wasn't at the game, but highlights that, in current circumstances, losing a game 1-0 away from home to a team that was relegated from the Premier League with us and with ten men doesn't sound like a disaster ... fair point.

Dave Peeps was there and makes the point that we deserved something from the game but the red card 'by a poor refereeing decision aided by an inept Linesman' obviously did not help. I have to take heart from his summary that we showed enough belief to expect to get a win against Reading.

The Inspector also emphasises the inept ref and linesman but adds to that the 'tedious, time-wasting antics' of Watford.

New York Addick saw us as the better side but spoke about the lack of quality. Sounds like it was a bit of a long-ball game.

Dr. Kish relied on text message updates but makes an interesting point that Youga's red card was an accident always waiting to happen.

I will be away for the Reading and Preston games so will also have to rely on text updates as to what is happening ... both off and on the pitch. Back for the Wolves game and hopefully a couple more points on the board. I expect us to get a win against Reading, but we may come away with nothing from Preston as they are looking quite strong at the moment.

On a final point, I hope that ZZ is still with us when I get back ... although the signs are not positive. The Baggies have made an increased bid, and it's hard not to see him back in the Premiership. But Charlton should be aware ... his value is much higher than a pure transfer fee ... there are many intangible benefits to having him in the team. When I was in Singapore a couple of weeks ago, the first question asked by the taxi-driver at the airport, after checking my destination, was 'Would I be following the Olympics?'. I pointed out that I would, but had a particular interest in watching the football because one of the players of my local team captained the China team.

Ohhhh, he said, you support Charlton Athletic! And, the same conversation and result ensued on a number of occasions both in the office and outside. OK, this is not a direct financial benefit, but it is definitely something that can be leveraged in some way. My fear is that Albion may now reap the benefits.

Ain't no easy way - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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These things take time

Well I got the score wrong ... my prediction was 3-1 ... but at least I had the 2 goal differential correct. This was always going to be a potential banana-skin game for Charlton, just as with Scunny last season, but a stronger defence ensured that this time we got through with all 3 points.

We had a dream start with the well-taken goal from Hudson, and despite a good passing game from Swansea, I didn't feel as if we were ever going to lose this game ... although I won't deny that the 2nd goal came as quite a relief. As can often be the case it is not always easy playing against 10 men, as we did from the 70th minute, and Swansea seemed to overcome the loss of their captain pretty well. I know that managers often tend not to see the truth of the matter with sendings-off, but Martinez should have been more accepting that Monk had to go, it was a bad tackle on Holland.

The Swansea fans did exactly as expected and were in full voice throughout most of the game ... there was a fair bit of noise from the Covered End but once again,the acoustics of a full Jimmy Seed stand drowned out our singing ... and I am only 2 blocks away from the Covered End in the East stand.

As for the team, there were a number of bright spots, but at times we did not look as comfortable as we should ... with a smallish squad, they will get a lot more time to play together and hopefully can gel and improve the confidence.

Weaver - reasonable game, not severely tested, and managed to scramble away a shot near the end with a strong punch.

Semedo - as previous readers of my blog are aware, I am a fan of Semedo, but he didn't seem at his best today. More to come, and I see him as a key player in the team

Youga - some excellent play at times, and good link-up work on the wing with Thomas.

Hudson - very good debut, well-taken goal, and looked strong. Cannot be a coincidence that our defence looked less vulnerable with him in the team.

Fortune - not convinced that he is the right player to take us through, but needs must in current circumstances. Perhaps I am too hard on him, as he should be good enough at this level. But he has under-achieved for a long time. As Steve Brown has said in the past, we should be seeing more from Fortune.

Sam - had a reasonable game, and I expect to see further improvement in the next few games.

Racon - liked him a lot. Made some excellent passes, and caused a few problems for Swansea.

Shelvey - I cannot say any more than the comments made by Pards, 'Jonjo worked very hard but he was caught in the headlights a little bit. He'll learn from that though.' Exactly as I saw it. But I am still concerned, for selfish reasons, that the press are building him up so much. If he can have a quiet game, and we still win, then that works for me. I don't want him to yet have a high profile before the January transfer window. I have just been re-reading Mick Collins book, The Rise and Rise of Charlton Athletic, and the reminder that West Ham took Jermaine Defoe a month before his 17th birthday has resonations that I do not want to see again ... Shelvey is 17 in February!

Thomas - had a good game, and I hope he continues like this. But he still has a lot of fans working against him ... there is a woman behind me who seems to spend most games slating Thomas ... OK, a lot of the time he deserves it, but yesterday she totally ignored the many bright spots, and as soon as he made one bad move, screamed abuse ... and she is not the only one. It doesn't help!

Varney - still not doing what we expect him to do ... he should have had a goal today, and I hope he can develop the partnership with Gray which will take us up.

Gray - still more improvement needed, but he is getting there ... and with a goal, I'm not going to complain too much.

As for the subs, Holland looked his normal industrious self, and will be a good player to have on the bench for certain games. Basey looks bigger and stronger each time I see him ... definitely a key player for the future. Too soon to comment on Bouazza, but he appears to be a good loan signing.

My original prediction for the season was very optimistic, and not in line with most fans, as I predicted we will finish 2nd behind Birmingham ... and our current position (admittedly after one game) is ... 2nd.

After yesterday's game, my revised prediction in 5th ... more realistic, and it will be interesting to see how my viewpoint changes over the course of the season.

These things take time - The Smiths

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The Sunnyside of the Street

Just got back from a business trip to Asia, so not had much time to prepare comments on the game with Swansea tomorrow ... so I decided to cheat and link to some of the previews I came across this morning.

There's always some good stuff out there in cyberworld from various Charlton bloggers, but my favourite is definitely the return of the Inspector, under the heading 'New season, new look, same attitude'.

I'm totally with him when he states "I realised there was something not quite right about Charlton stuff on the web. It'd been taken over by miseries." I couldn't agree more Inspector. And his summary that he wants his Charlton back, and fun on Saturday afternoons, so get behind the team or sod off ... absolutely right and I remember saying something similar on one of my reports last season.

Nelson gives us a good summary on Iberian Valley, and I expect his prediction of the team for the day is correct, but result prediction too pessimistic. Confidence levels have dropped? Maybe, but the youngsters should be going out there without fear, and as long as certain elements of the crowd desist from booing, I think they will be ok.

A Red Divided gives some good advice ... it's gonna be a long ride this season, so get some rest ;-) Will be interesting to see his thoughts as the season progresses.

Chicago / Bermuda Addick is back in the UK and will be at the Valley for the game. New season, new start, renewed belief ... good words.

Over to Wyn Grant and I agree with him, it's not the fixture we wanted to start with, but Wyn still predicts a 2-1 win for us.

An interesting retrospective from New York Addick on the comparison with 1997/98 - well worth a read.

That's all I had a chance to look at today, although there are a number of others around.

As for me, well I'm definitely looking forward to the game ... and despite concerns, I'm going for a 3-1 win.

C'mon you Reds !!!

The Sunnyside of the Street - The Pogues

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Interesting comments from Derek Chappell on the OS.

He pointed out that the sales were part of a strategy to strengthen Charlton's finances in addition to gaining a squad that shared the same ambitions as the club - but insisted that the Addicks would also be looking to invest in the transfer market before the end of August.

"We have to remember that we had a big squad last season. We're very pleased at the progress that has been made over the last two or three weeks, and our finances are much improved. We are getting ourselves financially straight, but of course the transfer window is far from closed and there is still a month to go. We have interests in other players, too, so it's not going to be a one-way street. Apart from reconfiguring the squad, I think it's desirable that we should have a squad of player that are settled at the club and a club that is also settled with its players. If interest is shown in any of our players by other clubs, I'd like to get to a situation where the player isn't unsettled because he is enjoying his time at Charlton and wants to stay at the club, and from the club's point of view, we have a settled squad full of players who want to play for Charlton, share the club's ambitions and are not tempted to leave. We don't want any distractions to our overall aim, which is to progress the club and get back to the Premier League.”

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