Friday, 26 August 2016

Roast


Just to give you an insight into the hilarity in our house let me tell of yesterday's pre-dinner conversation. My missus asked if I was cooking a roast.
" Yes " I said.
" With roast potatoes ? ! she enquired.
" Of course ! "
"Well, don't make them too oily ! " she replied.
" Don't worry, I'm not doing it before 7pm ! "

Can we give Bolton a roasting a la Shrewsbury on Saturday ? Highly unlikely I'd have thought. The Trotters are top of the table and aside from a slip up in the League Cup ( I refuse to call the EFL cup - what nonsense ) have won all their games.

Bolton arrive with some familiar faces in the shape of Phil Parkinson, Dorian Dervite and Lawrie Wilson. All were good servants of the club and as such, are due a warm welcome.

Parkinson's efforts in his time with us were perhaps not appreciated as much as they should have been. I know I'm guilty of that. Given the background to his tenure at The Valley what he achieved was to an extent remarkable. His subsequent success at Valley Parade and Bolton to date are testament to his ability.

One missing ingredient on Saturday is THD. Having been part of the squad for all league games to date he has moved onto to Huddersfield for a reported £400k. If we thought so little of him why was he involved each matchday squad ? Why didn't we put up a fight to keep him ?

I understand Mr Slade saying he doesn't want to keep a player who doesn't want to be at the club but he is a very promising player. THD's chances were very limited although he impressed greatly when I saw him play. He was a very probable solution to our left sided problems. Why he wasn't given a chance to play in front of Fox in left midfield I don't know.

There you have it, another young player is allowed to depart and we can now watch from afar as we no doubt see him flourish elsewhere. In all probability fulfilling Katrien's wish to see our players moving to appear in the Premier League as that is the raison d'etre of our academy eh ?

Huddersfield are nicely set up for promotion this season so it won't surprise me if they are in top flight next season. In the meantime we leave ourselves with a further depleted squad and no real cover at left back.

Saturday's game should be a good one with in form teams. My wish is that Mr Slade would have them play out from the back more. I'm a bit bored of seeing everything from Rudd banged up to Magennis.

Brighton showed that it possible to do this when they won the league a few years ago under Gus Poyet. It was no better illustrated than when they beat us 4-0 at The Valley when Kishishev ran the show. It would be nice if we tried to play in a similar style.

I appreciate you need a certain type of player to do so and that we are lacking in midfield but we really ought to try and be able to do so. I can but hope.


As I said it should be a good game on Saturday with Bolton no doubt bringing a few thousand to the game and will be in good voice. Sadly we may struggle to match them due to our current low turnouts. No doubt, like the team, we'll give it a good go though.

Come On You Reds !





 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Ricky Butchers The Shrews !

Ricky !

They say football is a simple game and so it is when you do the basics right and last night, Holmes made it look elementary. 

Ricky used his pace, skill and determination to take the game to the oppo. Whenever he had the ball he took upon himself to make teasing positive runs at  their defence and usually resulting in a teasing cross.

He thoroughly deserved his two goals. However fortuitous the second was as the result of a superb run and sublime finish from the edge of the area. The second from the corner saw the Addicks 3-0 up after 31 minutes and left me wondering when we last 3-0 ahead going into the break.

Skip's goal the second in successive games had me wondering when he last did that it probably goes back to our last time in League 1 when he scored against both Sheffield teams.

Mr Slade had opted to go with exactly the same starting eleven and bench and his faith was duly rewarded. Konsa was impressive and with Lennon, Bauer and possibly Tex in reserve it's clear in which area we have strength in depth.

Sadly, the second half didn't see any goals for The Addicks and in fact, in the early stages the Shrews had the better of the exchanges but for Mellon's side it was to prove a fruitless evening.

Lookman came on to show what he can do and he was somewhat reminiscent of Ricardo Fuller in the way the ball stuck to his foot. It was a shame that Mr Slade didn't take the opportunity to give a couple of other players a run out. I'm sure that Bauer in particular would have benefited from a few minutes on The Valley turf.

I guess we have to accept a lower level of refereeing in this league but last night's official was overly lenient and inconsistent. An increasingly tetchy Toney was lucky to stay on the pitch and could benefit from some anger management. 

If we can keep our better players and add a couple more then we are capable of mounting a real challenge. As I've observed before we need a good dose of luck with injuries for that to happen. 

The boys can now travel to Walsall in good spirit and with some confidence.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Gribbling Not Dribbling !

The Gribble, Oving nr Chichester

I missed Saturday's game as I was at my mate's wedding in Chichester on Friday and had decided to stay down in West Sussex on the Friday and Saturday night to make a weekend of it.

The wedding itself was a splendid occasion helped in no small measure by the happy couple having chosen the splendid Gribble pub in which to hold the reception. They have a wonderful selection of their own ales plus a good selection of spirits etc.

The pub also provides good quality food and we were treated to a bbq and the food was excellent and plentiful. Add in some wonderful weather and it was an absolutely wonderful day !

If you find yourself anywhere near Chichester and have the time make sure you head direct to this fine watering hole !

The Saturday saw me trying to keep abreast of events from West Wittering beach. This is a place I'd not been to before and again I'd highly recommend it should you have the time. Miles of golden sands with sand dunes just back from the shore, it is a beautiful place.

It does cost £8 to park for the day but it is well worth it and I understand that the money is used by an estate management company comprised of local residents to maintain and preserve the area. If you go prepared ( we didn't !! ) you can save money by taking your own food and drink or a picnic. The refreshment outlets have something of a monopoly and are a tad expensive.

We were just heading out of the car park when I learned that Skip had scored and secured a draw. I could have used the term " salvaged " but what I've read of the second half it sounds as though we deserved to win and their keeper was forced to make some fine saves.

Overlooking the continuing mess off the pitch it does seem as if the team is starting to take shape. If as reported a couple more players ( hopefully decent midfielders ) are coming in then we may have a squad capable of mounting a challenge. The return of Diarra and Kashi can can't soon enough but it will be a real boost when they do.

Of course, for this to happen we need to get lucky with injuries not only our own by those of clubs from whom we've loaned players not least Norwich City ! Added to that if we can keep Tex and Lookman and Mr Slade can get them to gel and the front line scoring then it has a chance of becoming reality.

Onto tomorrow and we face Shrewsbury managed by the alliteratively named Micky Mellon. Like us they have struggled in front of goal in the league failing to score to date. Of course it would be totally out of character for us to allow them get off the mark !

The effects of Roland and Katrien disastrous management were reflected in the stands on Saturday where the crowd was reported to be just over 11k. That includes all the freebies and absent season ticket holders like me of course. Tuesday night will give a truer indication of things especially as The Shrews are unlikely to bring many on a Tuesday night.

Hopefully we can go one better and record a win. Here's hoping.

Come On You Reds ! 


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Not Good

This is the view Addicks fans had on Saturday. As you can see the team didn't turn up.

A day that started brightly turned to mush not long after the referee sounded the first whistle.

A sunny day, cheap rail travel and having not visited Gigg Lane before meant I was anticipating a good day. That the Swan and Cemetery pub ( well it seemed appropriate given our opponents ) the place of pre-match imbibing lived up to expectation only served to enhance the mood.

Upon arrival at the ground we entered at the same time as the piper who was heartily playing " Valley Floyd Road ". Charlton fans were in good voice and gave the team great vocal support from the off.

Sadly the players gave the impression that they'd only just met and playing like strangers did little to threaten the Bury keeper. The result was that The Shakers had a comfortable afternoon and Cameron for them was particularly impressive.

Despite that they carried little threat really and the needless penalty turned the game which otherwise would probably have petered out into a draw. However, we shot ourselves in the foot in defending set pieces to carry on from where we left off last season.

I've never been a great fan of Fox but he didn't have bad game but still got some undeserved stick from some quarters. Subsequently I've read that some have written off Ajose and Novak. What ? Based on 90 minutes off a terrible game where our midfield was a mess.

Ajose is never going to get much change out of your average centre half if balls are banged up in the air to him. I'm certain he needs better service than that !

Novak didn't look great but I'm not going to write him off on the basis of just 90 minutes.

Whatever your view of Roger I didn't think he did that badly. I know he he's not been good since his return to S.E. 7 but like Fox he got abuse as some won't allow him any benefit. That of course seems unlikely following that it seems he had a go at some fans after the final whistle.

It was an awful display and it only served to highlight how desperate we are to improve the quality of this team by adding decent players with experience of this level. Should they already be in place ? Perhaps but a number of factors hamper Mr Slade not least the ownership of course. 

I agree with his view that there's little point in getting players in just to boost numbers. He's right that he should be getting the players he wants and those that really want to come.

That the transfer windows closes after the season starts continues to be a nonsense but there it is. As ever the trickle down effect of the Prem clubs sorting their squads and subsequently deciding who to sell and send out on loan also plays a part.

The good support that the team got form the start somewhat fell apart as the second half progressed. There was an unnecessary flare was thrown on the pitch after 5 minutes. Why ? What was the point of that ?

Then we were treated to several renditions of The Addams Family song. I know we have a dearth of songs but is that the best we can do ? I thought we'd left that nonsense behind.

" Your ground's too big for you ! " also rang out. Hmm.........I think we might hear that at The Valley a few times this season. Perhaps we were being ironic.........

Anger at both the referee and scoreline led some to make their way to the edge of the pitch in a menacing manner. One of our finest did get on the pitch and ran over to the Bury fans. He was soon on his way out.

Post match and it kicked off outside too. All totally unnecessary and all brought about by our fans. As my lad observed " it's not Bury's fault that we're s**t ! ". Very true.

I fear that some " fans " feel that the dispute with Roland is an excuse to behave how they like. It isn't and CARD has always stated that protests etc should be legal and peaceful. 

If the trend towards this behaviour continues then there will no doubt be sanctions. One of these may well be a restriction on away fans so it's somewhat counter-productive in a season in which a number of fans will only be attending away games.

Aside from that I don't want to be associated with that and it damages our reputation. It makes one feel even more removed from our club at a time when connection to it is severely tested already.

All in all it made a bad day even more depressing. To make matters worse I couldn't get a post-match beer near the ground as a direct result of the actions of some of our boys ! 

Let's hope things are better on and off the pitch at Cheltenham tonight. Mr Slade got a few things wrong on Saturday. Hopefully he can put that right this evening. I'd go with the strongest team he can play. We need a good performance never mind result. 

I'm hoping to be in a better mood come 10pm tonight.

Come On You Reds !




Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Lanzarote To Bury !

Hola !

I´m taking time out from the pina coladas and sangrias as I interupt my holiday. I´ve also put down the biographies I was reading. Just finished Young Winstone ( Ray´s early life funnily enough and as he might say it´s a blinding read ) and now started on Danny Baker´s second volume.

I appreciate I´m a bit late on both but I´ve not had an opportunity to read them until now.

The weather here in Lanzarote is great and I´m getting nicely tanned much like our boys in many games last season !

There was an unwelcome guest in the bathroom last night, a massive cockroach. My attempts to get him merely resulted in him going into hiding in the shower....oh dear. Couldn´t find him however, I´m pleased to say that " Roland " ( well what else was he to be called ! ) was later found in a drawer. He was quickly captured and unceremoniously evicted with a glass and a bit of card..........if only it were that easy in S.E. 7 eh !

I note that were still severly lacking in numbers and in a bid to help Mr Slade I´m conducting a search for new squad members on the beach later. I´m calling it " Search for a Palaya " ! Geddit ! Oh well please yourselves !

Should anyone look like they remotely know what they´re doing I´ll get them off the airport a bit lively and on their way to Floyd Road !

I´ve not brought my mobile with me so when I get home I know they´ll be loads of goal alerts from the latest friendlies !

It’s certainly been a dramatic couple of months since I last posted anything with the political scene in the UK undergoing quite a seismic change. Things have not changed that much in S.E. 7 and whilst there has been moves towards a better direction they have been undone by others. A classic example of two steps forward and one step back !

I fear that this will continue to be the case not necessarily just whilst Roland is owner but all the time Katrien remains in situ. She really has made a mess of just about everything that she is responsible for and seemingly never learns from any mistake.

Her propensity for mistakes and comments that alienate the fans doesn’t seem to be diminishing. She remains for me wholly unqualified to do the job and any real chance of unity and stability seems unlikely whilst she remains.

Anyway I need to be positive as my hirsute friend, Noel, recently told me that negative thoughts aren’t good for me !

With that in mind how I’m looking forward to Bury away. The famous four ( well me and 3 others ) have managed to secure train travel from Milton Keynes to Manchester for £8 each way as part of the Virgin summer sale…..how good is that !

In addition, with the tickets costing £18 a go that reflects the level we’re now at makes it  relatively cheap day out. The chances are that time for a beer or two may ultimately form part of the itinerary and the odds are that it will be cheaper than prices in the Metropolis so it’s a win all round !

The only thing that could possibly spoil the day is that the Addicks put on a poor display and lose. Of course being a Charlton supporter for over 50 years I know this isn’t even a remote possibility !

The end of the school year has kept me pretty busy and with so much going on in S.E. 7 it’s almost impossible to keep up ! Due to my upcoming holiday that sees me return to Blighty in the early hours the day before the game I need to publish something now.

Come the day of the Bury game and no doubt many players will have come and gone. Heck ! We may even have a goalkeeper over the age of 17 and who has some league experience and dare I say it….a centre half !

I know little of Bury other than they are sponsored by Pickfords. Apparently the sponsor’s pre-season party was one not to be missed……all the movers and shakers were there !

We need to get off to a good start but despite  new medical team we still seem to be beset by numerous injuries ( and I note we´ve got Thrush too now ). Not a good sign !


I think Mr Slade will do a good job as he knows the league well and is more than capable at this level. He also talks a lot of sense. His chances of getting us back up would be greatly helped by an owner with a better business plan……preferably one that involves a competent CEO !

Therefore, he may do well just to have us in the top ten come May 2017. It my take a couple of seasons to challenge for a proper stab at promotion.

Must go as the ice in my cocktail may begin to melt.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Farcical End To A Farcical Season

Yesterday's protest were the most vocal and angry to date.

Yesterday perfectly encapsulated our season as if it were summed up in a nutshell as the club got most decisions wrong on and off the pitch and yet another resignation.

There were many goodbyes in S.E. 7 on Saturday. On the football front both ourselves and Burnley said goodbye to the Championship sadly going in different directions with our exit the wrong one.

Many players said goodbye to The Valley as they won't want to stay any longer than they have or they'll be moved on by an owner who seeks to recover some money that he's wasted after a series of stupid and incomprehensible decisions.

Many more fans also said goodbye to The Valley and they'll not be back until this fool of an owner has sold up and gone. 

Finally, Jose Riga said goodbye to The Valley for the second time and I doubt we'll see him return as our manager again. He's made it clear what he thinks of the owner as he resigned. Jose becomes the latest in a number of recent high profile club resignations. Of course the one resignation we do want shows no sign of happening no matter how bad it gets.

Total misjudgement in a number of areas ensured that it was a memorable day for all the wrong reasons. The over the top security checks were as much a nonsense as they were a waste of time as banners and flares found their way into the stadium.........what a joke ! In addition, the majority weren't bringing in stress or beach balls and the amnesty buckets remained empty.

Burnley fans were allowed to bring in all manner of inflatables including one phallic one that made me do a double take as I thought Roly had finally turned up for a game !

The game itself like most recently pretty much passed me by although it was clear that we were more than a match for the Clarets in the first half. Sadly the old defensive problems ensured that two more goals in the space of two minutes ensured that Burnley could start celebrating a title win that rarely looked in doubt.

It was almost inevitable that at least one or two fans would run onto the pitch as the collective anger intensified. I'm not sure what briefing the stewards had but they were largely devoid of common sense. One fan made a small run onto the pitch and was heading back into the stand with no real damage done but rather than let him return our friends in high viz seemed intent on manhandling  and making a point.

This silly situation became even more ridiculous as thousands of Burnley fans poured onto the pitch with little to no attempt to stop them. You didn't need the benefit of hindsight to know that this was a likely scenario but the club failed to even consider this a possibility.

Fortunately all was good natured and Burnley fans joined in the protests as well as celebrating their title success. At the same time with thousands of Charlton fans seeking to get on the pitch clearly to protests and not seek confrontation with the oppo several over zealous police officers decided they ought to try and stop some of them. 

What was the point ? As with earlier attempts to tackle pitch invaders it merely inflamed the situation. We then had the remarkable sight of officers forming a line in front of the goal. I'm still not sure what they were trying to achieve perhaps they didn't. Maybe they were protecting the ludicrous netting that had been erected behind the goal.   

The much cherished fans sofa later became a casualty of the fans anger and its symbolic destruction soon followed. Katrien tells us she's keen to engage with the fans but the only people our fans are engaging with are the supporters of other clubs. Much like Brighton the Burnley fans also caught the mood and joined in with the protesting.

As tribal as football is fans recognise when clubs and the very integrity of the game is being threatened and this has been no better demonstrated than in these last two home games where all four corners of the ground are united in their hatred of Roly, what he stands for and what he is doing to our club.

The only other occasion in my lifetime that fans have taken to the pitch in anger is in 1985 when we were moving away from The Valley and going to Selhurst Park. Twice in over 50 years ! There is real and genuine anger at what this man and his CEO sadly aided by Richard Murray have done. Our fans aren't given to this kind of response but that's what Duchatelet has driven fans to. He won't be forgiven.

Our situation remains largely misunderstood by many. I have friends and others who tell me you'll do ok in League One and will come straight back up. Despite all the publicity it is largely not appreciated just how bad things are. We all know that League Two is the most likely scenario at things stand.

Not all was lost yesterday as post-match my lads and I went on a pub crawl in the lovely London sunshine that took in the Lamb and Flag, The Freemasons Arms, The Princess Louise, The Enterprise and The Knights Templar. Many nice beers were had and they went down with considerable ease ! Sadly, we didn't get to the last three on the list The Old Bank Of England, The Devereux and The Coal Hole.

May be next time we'll manage them all especially if we have cause for a celebration and if that is Roly's departure then we might go round twice ! I can but dream.













  

Friday, 6 May 2016

And Now The End Is Near....





And we do indeed face the final curtain as far as this awful season is concerned. Despite assurances to the contrary the owner, CEO and chairman have learned from their mistakes and they haven’t listened. 


There have been so many opportunities to rescue this wretched season but stubborn refusal to listen or even acknowledge where there has been error has led to where we are now.  


We have a better squad of players than most teams in the Championship. As I’ve remarked before I haven’t seen one team at The Valley that has really impressed me. I’ve never felt there’s been a team that we’re not capable of beating. After all we’ve beaten 3 of the teams in the top 6 and after tomorrow that could be 4 out of 6. 


You’d have thought that Mr Murray with all his experience would have been able to point the owner in the right direction. Maybe he’s tried but I’ve seen no sign of it. If he has then he ought to come out and say so. 


Look at Rotherham United. The Millers were 6 points adrift of safety with 16 games to go when Colin took over on 11th February. They were subsequently 9 points clear of safety with 5 games to go. Says it all really. 


None of us has needed hindsight and even the most myopic of CEOs ought to have learnt enough by now to know what was needed. Even if you didn’t you have only to ask !  


On to our final game with The Clarets then and they are to be congratulated for their achievement in getting straight back into the Prem. I admire that they didn’t overspend when they were there before and didn’t splash a load of cash when in the Championship. Very much a team effort and one that largely mirrors our efforts in 1999-2000. 


A little disappointing to see that some of their parochial fans are moaning about our protests. We’re trying to save our club from destruction and whilst I understand there is a title at stake it would serve them well to see the bigger picture. Brighton managed that and their need and desire is no less than Burnley’s. 


As has been the case for many months there’s little point in previewing the game, looking at potential formations, examining the opposition etc. That has all become secondary to the greater need and that of course, is to remove the people have managed to take our club to the brink. 


God knows how Riga will motivate himself to select a team and send it out to put in a performance and try and win a game of football. I assume that will be down the professionalism with which he operates and that too of certain players who still wear our shirt with pride. 


I suspect that this is the last time that we’ll see Jose Riga in S.E. 7 but with these fools in charge who really knows ? We can be certain that it’ll be our last sighting of the majority of our squad as Katrien fulfils on at least one promise…..that of selling our players on so that we can delight in seeing them turn out for Premier clubs. 


The exodus is going to be massive and probably on a scale that we’ve not seen before. It may make the clear out that Erith & Belvedere suffered when players left to join Tooting & Mitchum many years ago seem insignificant. 


They will be missed to a lesser or greater extent. Those we won’t miss are those who should never have been recruited or simply haven’t stepped up to the plate this season. 


Some will leave and move on to bigger and better things and as is the way will be a reminder on a regular basis of what could have been. 


Even with the adjusted figures of ticket sales it’s unlikely that The Valley will be as full for some while as it will be tomorrow assuming Roly stays. It promises to be an even more depressing season next term…….that really doesn’t bear thinking about. 


I’m off on a pub crawl in the Metropolis post match tomorrow. After this season I’m going to need that and I doubt I’m the only one who’ll be seeking solace in alcohol ! 


Come On You Reds !