Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
It's a pretty quiet time here in the office, so I thought I would make my nominations for winners of the Centenary Sammy's
which will be presented before the game on Sunday.Greatest GoalkeeperI never had the pleasure of watching Sam Bartram or Willie Duff unfortunately and I would argue that Bobby Bolder was a better goalkeeper than Dean Kiely. However on reputation alone and because it would be pretty ridiculous if a statuette of Sam wasn't won by the legend himself, I choose Bartram.Greatest DefenderTough one. Again I never saw Ufton (in his playing days anyhow) or John Hewie. Richard Rufus and Paul Elliot are the two best defenders I have seen in a Charlton shirt in 30 years with Peter Shirtliff a very close 3rd. Unfortunately both players' career's were ended cruelly by injury but even more sadly The Roof's while in his prime and still wearing the red shirt. It's got to be Rufus, the man is a living legend in SE7. Greatest MidfielderCaptain Peacock epitomises Charlton Athletic and equally Mark Kinsella was the heartbeat of the side that became a 'small club in London' to what we are today. If Scott Parker had stayed he may have walked away with this award. He was one of the best, albeit developing players, I have ever seen wear the shirt. Bastard. I remember Mike Bailey more for his promotion manager year than a player so it has to be Peacock.Greatest StrikerI think this award will be solely down to generation. Are you in the Leary generation, Hales generation or the Mendonca generation? Oh, how we are crying out for a 2005 model of one of these legendary players. For me I was a 70's /80's boy smitten by Hales' quick turns, a one track eye for goal and the famous raised fist to the Covered End. Greatest Manager
Very, very tough and impossible to compare. Jimmy Seed turned us from a Third Division (South) side to FA Cup winners pushing for the league title. He was never relegated in his 23 years at the Valley. Curbs has turned us from a mid-table side in the old Second Division with no ground to a fixture in the Premiership on the edge(?) of European qualification. The record books show that both men won two trophies (ex war football), Curbs in 10 less years. I would argue that football management at the top level is a hundred times harder now than it was in the 40's and 50's so I'll stick my neck out a plunge for Curbishley
.Greatest Overseas Player
I'm surprised that Jorge Costa made the final 3, although he has had a wonderful career. Jeppson and Firmani I never saw play and although I suspect the South African will take the gong, I would choose Alan Simonsen
. Signing him in 1991 was an absolute bolt out of the blue and even made the headlines on News at Ten. He was a fantastic player who was light years away from the other 10 red-shirted players around him. In 17 games he did things with a ball that I had never seen a Charlton player do before and it was pleasure to see him wear the famous red shirt even though those days of Ken Craggs and Mark Hulyer were the prelude to years of pain.Greatest Match
Only 12,535 people were present to witness the amazing comeback from 5-1 down to beat Huddersfield 7-6 in 1957, although it is said that almost half of that number were already making their way home before Johnny Summers did a one-man rescue act. A lesson there surely? Many more people were at Wembley of course, including me and it was one of the truly greatest ever games and touted as one of the best ever in front of the old twin towers. I was at the Chelsea game too - Leaburn being knocked out, Millers deflected goal and being convinced I was going to get my head-kicked in! No competition though for this one, Wembley 1998.Cult Hero
Hales, Gritt, Di Canio, Peacock, Shirtliff, Walsh, Kiely, Illic, Humphrey, Melrose, Leaburn, Lee, Warman, Curtis, Berry, Pearson, Bolder, Costa, Aizlewood, Kinsella, Balmer, Giles, Bumstead, Stuart, Tydeman, Brown, Horsfield, Simonsen, Naylor, Thompson, Flanagan, Webster, Mortimer, Nelson It's bloody hard this. Not many players in my time have had their name sung as much as Super Clive Mendonca and Steve Brown and John Robinson would be fully deserving but my favourite as a kid was Paddy Powell
. He used to speak to the kids on the touchline before kick-off, he liked a little flutter and a pint and now he tends that pitch with the pride he used to have when he wore the red shirt and with the same cheeky grin.Lifetime Achievement Award
It has to be the one and only Derek Ufton
. Peacock runner-up with Gritt third. These like many, many fans bleed Charlton Athletic blood.
I decide not to renew my season ticket
I have made a decision, well two decisions. One, I am not going to go home for the Palace game and two, I'm not renewing my season ticket.
The first one is all to do with the team's recent performances. I will be so pissed off if I fork out for a flight home (and it would just be for the weekend) and I have to endure us getting beaten by the scummers and watch them stay up. I would rather not put myself through the pain and the cost. I will watch the game on television either at home or in the bar and will save my money and come home in June.
The choice not to renew my season ticket has nothing to do with Charlton. I have had a season ticket for almost every season since the late 70's - I didn't when we were at Selhurst as I used to go to more away games then - and believe me we have often had a lot less to look forward too. If I was living at home, I would have no hesitation in sending my money off about now.
I know everyone has their own reasons and I'm not going to tell anyone what to do in their lives, but I can't help think those people who are saying that they are not renewing their tickets because of Curbs, the style of play, the end of season slump, the atmosphere or whatever are missing the point of what being a football fan is all about.
The things I really, really miss living in the US - the uncertainty, the excitement of a win, the despondency of a defeat, the debate following a poor performance, the differing opinions on tactics and signings, the belonging, the pride of supporting a team that has come so far in the past 10 years, the team that no one had ever heard of in this country but it's name is now met by approving nods. The fact that you and your mates can make a difference by getting behind the team home and away. You don't know how lucky you are. I miss it, I miss it bad.
I'm not renewing my season ticket because it does not make good fiscal sense. I have been to 4 games this season (3 defeats and 1 win), my son is not ready to become a fully fledged Addick so when I am home on weekends I will still want to see him and that will not involve (just yet anyhow) taking him to games. It would be selfish on my part and I want him begging me to go, just as I did to my Dad when I was 8-years old after the 1974 World Cup. Hopefully this pattern will be repeated after the 2006 one in Germany.
Therefore I am more likely to see mid-week games (as 3 of this season's were) and for these I can use my parents seats as it is unlikely they will make it up from Eastbourne for those matches. I have other pals scattered around the ground that I can beg, steel and borrow from and of course with the expanded Valley on the horizon tickets will become more readily available.
Stupidly I have thought long and hard about this resolution because owning a season ticket has become second nature but it is for the right reasons and not because we didn't qualify for Europe!
The Election from Chicago #1
Frankly no one here seems to care or even knows of the impending General Election at home despite the fact we all had to live through a year of their's but Addick Wyn Grant
is helping to leak the news to the well read folk of Chicago.
He was quoted in today's Chicago Tribune
explaining that unlike the hugely influential and scary religious right here, the UK Conservative party and the populate are not swayed to vote one way or the other on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research. "Britain really is quite a secular society, more like Scandinavia than the United States,"
The article states that Labour had a solid lead in the polls but "It's not that Britons love Blair. They don't,"
However we "haven't warmed up to either of his two main opponents, the Conservatives' Michael Howard and the Liberal Democrats' Charles Kennedy. Howard has tried to make growing public concerns about immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, calling for strict quotas on immigrants and an offshore processing procedure for all asylum seekers. But the immigration issue seems to have done little damage to Blair, and it may even have helped the far-right British National Party siphon a few votes away from the Conservatives, often called Tories."
Ah, Tories, I thought the Tories and the Conservatives were two different parties an American once told me!
Jamie Oliver's school lunches gets a mention in the article as does the other famous Brit "bad-boy"
Prince Harry. No word of Simon Cowell though. Watch this space.
Full article here
Young Bulls show no fear
took a 1-0 series lead on Sunday night beating Washington Wizards 103-94
in the 1st Round of the Play-offs.
I have to say the atmosphere in American sports stadiums can be at best manufactured but the other night spontaneous singing and noise rained down and around the 22,655 sold out arena to create an electric and passionate atmosphere (sadly somehting not seen at the Valley in a while!)
The game was scrappy and close throughout but new fans favourite Argentinian rookie and Olympic gold medalist Andres Nocioni
was the hero netting 25 points and making 18 rebounds.
Another player in his first ever NBA season was Ben Gordon who was on fire again scoring 30 points (the best in a play-off since the glory days of Michael Jordan) and one sensed the Chicago crowd, starved of sports success for so long, think that this young team can recreate the all conquering times of the Jordan era, if not this year in the near future, under the guidance of coach Scott Skiles.
No fewer than 5 of the players on the roster are first year professionals but unfortunately (for me) Lewisham boy Luol Deng is out with a wrist injury.
It is true that baseball is the all American pastime and sipping beers and eating hotdogs in the sun at Wrigley Field is a great afternoon out but Basketball is the one sport that I have really come to appreciate and understand here.
Are the steroid induced pitchers and batters fit? No. Is it rounders in disguise? Yes, kind off. Are the 23 stone American footballers, where the game is broken up into 15 -second plays, athletes? No. Does anyone give a toss about the strike ridden Ice Hockey? However basketball players, all 7ft and 18 stone of them are quick, strong and agile and they motor up and down the court at lightning speed whilst launching balls into hoops with amazing precision under extreme pressure and they play 4 times a week.
It is often said (and is often the case) that you only need to watch the last 5 minutes (which can last 20!) of a basketball game because that is when all the excitement is condensed but it is a simple game, played by athletes that I have come to admire and follow and just like football no other team really interests me, just my local side the Chicago Bulls.
Game 2 is tomorrow night then it is onto Washington for game 3 on Saturday.
Go da Bulls
I am told that the weather this week in Chicago was typically 'Spring in Chicago like'. It was in the 80's on Tuesday and in fact on Monday evening after I got home from the airport I walked to my local grocery store in my shorts. Yesterday, 4 days later I was in my coat as it was snowing and the temperature had dropped by 50 degrees. Unbelievable.
Later today I am going to the United Center to watch the Chicago Bulls embark on their first post season play-off's for 7 years. The young Bulls are not being given much of a chance against Washington Wizards but I am feeling the excitement in the City
and I have become a huge fan.
Charlton's season may be over but the Bulls ain't. By finishing with the 4th best
record in the Eastern Conference (in fact it was 3rd but Boston Celtics are seeded higher because they won their division) the Bulls have the all important home advantage in the best of seven series against the Wizards.
When I think back to earlier in the season when they were 0-9, I saw them get hammered by Phoenix when a mate was in town in front of a half empty stadium. The atmosphere when I was there again this Tuesday was much different and I am looking forward to this afternoon's game. I will post a little report on the outcome of the game tomorrow.
Norwich away. What was the score? 0-1
Nice to see the lads didn't let me down today. I'm not expecting a win but a goal would be nice. Unlikely though eh? And Matt Svensson as well. Quelle Surprise.
2,000+ Addicks still not enough to get them to put on a worthwhile display. The commentary on the radio did sound like we played better in the 2nd half and Dennis was getting good reports but we are now out of the top 10 and have won one game in 11 with Man U and Chelsea to come and then the dreaded Palarse. Horrible thought at the moment.
Curbs is becoming very tedious in his after match interviews and I have been waiting for him to say something inspiring for a few weeks now and it is not forthcoming. And what does he mean by: "If we ever get in this position again, we'll have to do things differently."
If? Come on, where's the ambition?
He was also blaming injuries and suspensions when in my mind we have had the best season for both of those in years.
And a real bugbear of mine is Curbs insistence of playing players out of position (Young today and to a lesser extent JJ & Kish) and not giving the youngsters a chance. How on earth are we going to know if Nathan Ashton or Adam Gross are good enough unless we give them a chance?
There may well be £500,000 for each Premiership place - and don't we know it because Curbs will be bemoaning the lack of transfer funds during the summer - and they maybe "preparing exactly as they have all season"
but lets face it, it ain't fucking good enough. Try something different, play someone different.
Nope, a clear out needed and a close look at the coaching and the people that administer it as well.
Pissed off from Chicago.
Reports from those that suffered by going: Sky Sports
; All Quiet
; Addicks Diary
Villa away. What was the score? 0-0
My first day back in the office didn't agree with me as I spent Tuesday night throwing up! Probably a late night at the Bulls game
watching them secure home advantage in the play-offs didn't help, plus the combo of delayed jet lag and a dodgy burger.
Therefore I spent all of yesterday lying on my sofa watching Premiership action courtesy of my new TV cable provider
. I now have access to all live Premiership games and Sky Sports News.
After watching the entertaining although eventually predictable goalless draw between Chelsea and Arsenal the other results flashed up and I was pleased to see a 0 against Aston Villa's name after the recent over generous defensive performances.
Curbs in his Sky interview seemed pleased with the back to basis keep a clean sheet at all costs display and so was I. Like a couple of thousand others I was at Villa Park to see Danny Mills 89th minute winner but since then we have not performed well there.
The only bad news of the night (there was plenty of good with Norwich winning and WBA getting a point whilst Palarse lost) was Hermann's injury but on the basis that Curbs only signs players who can play in 3 positions we have Young who apparently has "played there before plenty of times"
and no doubt Franny Jeffers can fit in there too!
So onto Norwich then, where I seriously hoping the boys can prove me wrong and pick up a win before the fat lady sings the end of season number.
Reports from those that were there: Addicks Diary
; The Times
Time for a clear out
I am suggesting a big clear out in the summer as Curbs works out what it really needs "to push on from being a mid-table club."
Clearly you do not clear out your closet before realising you have nothing to wear on a Saturday night so any surgery on the squad has to be done in tandem with bringing players in.
Last summer the departures of Di Canio, Cole and Jenson were not of Curbs' doing but as the season draws to another disappointing end, disappointing not in the overall context of the season but once again in our European dreams abruptly ending, he needs to have a serious look at the players that are clearly not good enough as a unit or individually to take him as a manager and us as a club to the next Premiership level.
Lets begin with the youngsters. Winning Reserve South titles is all very well and good but it does not bring home the bacon. If they are not good enough to play in the Premiership, then get rid. If Sam, Long, Fuller and Sankofa and longer term Weston & Walker are good enough then lets see them given more opportunities to be part of the first team squad.
The old chestnut of not wanting to play youngsters at the end of the campaign because there is too much at stake is clearly bollocks looking at our form these past 5 years and the 'we have our summer bags packed' attitude of the first team players.
It is time that Jason Euell moved on, I will be saddened to see him go but in hindsight we should have taken the £2 mill in the January window. Politics, television, whatever Mark Fish ends up doing has to be better for us than wondering around the back four with his hand in the air being a liability. Thanks Mark but get your coat.
Next on the list are JJ and Lisbie. Time to say goodbye JJ. Thanks for everything. Lisbie, thanks for the hat-trick against Liverpool and, and, erm....
Now if Curbs decides to move on Rommedahl and Jeffers then credit to him for admitting that he made a mistake. However I for one would be very keen to see how Dennis performs next season with a year under his belt.
Signing Jeffers was a mistake and a season loan would have been a better bet. A fox in the box he might be but a lone striker chasing long hopeful punts he is not. Nevertheless I still think he is the most talented goalscorer we have possessed since Super Clive.
The national press have belatedly picked up on his honest interview in Saturdays programme and his goals to games ratio is very impressive for Everton, Arsenal, England and us. I would be gutted if he left and realised his potential somewhere else by knocking in 20 goals, of which playing in the right system with the right service he is capable.
My son would be very upset at finding out that his little buddy had to leave his school because Dad has lost his job but Bryan Hughes would do a good job for another team (probably not a Premiership one) but he is not whats required by us.
Do you remember when Mark Kinsella was sold and how devastating it was but deep, deep down you knew it was the right thing to do? I think Curbs must ponder making a similiar decision with Matt Holland. Being quietly effective, competent and never getting booked does not get you into the top 6. Just ask Keane, Vieira, Lampard and Gerrard.
I, like everyone else like Holland but we have never replaced certain key players that we have lost in recent seasons and when I say replaced I do not mean in a positional sense but in characters. Steve Brown, Paulo Di Canio, John Robinson and more recently departed Chris Powell and Graham Stuart were all players who inspired and had Charlton in their hearts.
No doubt Simon Royce will leave and end up at Loftus Road and good luck to him. This will allow Curbs and Day to make their traditional summer goalkeeping signing. They collect goalies like women collect shoes.
Of course contracts, money, whether anyone actually wants to buy our players (the ones wanting rid off anyway) and who we get in will all be factors in the summer horse trading but it is obvious to me that the time has come for change.
Strategic and thoughtful change that is not shoddy and knee jerking. We need to increase the desire and the ability in the dressing room so we can match expectations and come on lets face it we will all start next season looking for 40 points, but lets realise the potential and not knock it down.
Bolton home. What was the score? 1-2
I'm not sure who had had enough and wanted to go home first - me or my 5 year old son!
Admittedly we showed a bit more fight today, evidenced by the (remaining) fans clapping at the end which was returned by some of the players but it was a thoroughly depressing drive back to my parents home in Eastbourne.
I wasn't looking forward to the game, despite the fact that I was taking my son to his first ever match, I had a feeling we would get beat and Bolton, equal to us in so many ways, were yesterday on the pitch a long way ahead in skill, passing and team spirit.
The only shining light was a goal from Jeffers and some dazzling moments from Rommendahl. In the games I have seen him I still get that little lift of expectation when he gets on the ball and I think next season (if he stays) he will deliver the anticipation that we all felt when he was signed.
Curbs is blaming the whole team. Maybe it is time to look at himself too. We were crying out for a new striker and centre half in January. Both Ashton and Dawson were available but he didn't want to take the 'gamble.' The players do not look motivated, the team has let in an embarrassing 50 goals in the league plus 6 in the Cup. We do not create enough chances and when behind have rarely looked like we have the craft and tactical guile to win the game. There are obviously too many players in the squad that are unhappy with their lot.
Our season is over, and it is so frustrating again. I have to say I really cannot see us winning another game. I told you I was depressed.
My son turned to me near the end and said: "Not to worry Daddy, pretend we have scored 2 more goals and we are winning."
I looked at him, and he said: "See, you are smiling now."
If only it was that easy, it will be a couple of more years before he realises how hard it is being a Charlton fan.
Reports from others that were there: cafc.co.uk
; All Quiet
; Sky Sports
Relax, Lisbie's back!
Woe is me! I'm back in blog land and blimey you can't go away for 5 minutes can you?
Charlton are well ensconsed in their traditional end of season nose-dive, the message boards are full of idiots shouting for the managers head, Franny's getting plenty of blame - cos its all his fault isn't it? Never mind we'll have Lisbie Saturday. Happy now? 4-4-2 was always a bad idea, oh hindsight is a wonderful thing. Bartlett "he's shite he is,"
is injured. Well, whose gonna be heading of the goal line now then? Not the other 9 outfield players that Mervyn Day tells to get back at any sign of an opposition attack.
I've not got the time or the energy to add my two pennies following the last 3 terrible performances. There's enough of that eloquently written elsewhere
Meanwhile tomorrow I take my son to his first ever football game. Mine 30 years ago resulted in a defeat, lets hope he has better luck tomorrow but more importantly goes home with that wonderful feeling of excitement, awe and belonging. There is, I still believe, no better feeling than being an Addick.
My holiday in Mexico was wonderful and I will write about that when I get home (to Chicago). I have been back in London since Monday afternoon and have been a busy bee, but I'm just off to meet some old mates for lunch followed tonight by going to see the couple whose wedding I was best man at in their new place in St Albans.
Oh, and you can't escape the election can you? When I get back to Chicago I will try to work out what the Yanks and their media make off it all - probably not much.
Curbs and the players need us tomorrow. I have come a long away to get behind them. Let my boy have our songs ringing in his ears on the way home tomorrow night.
All gone quiet over there
You will find What was the score?
a bit quiet over the next couple of weeks. I do hope to post something tomorrow after the Man City game - it's live on the tele here at 5.45am, that'll take some doing and an early night tonight, which isn't on the agenda - but on Sunday I'm off to Los Cabos in Mexico for a nice little vacation.
Then on Sunday 10th I fly back into Chicago landing at around 6pm and then leave on the 10pm flight to Heathrow all ready to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed at a meeting with clients at 2.30pm the next day, followed by a trip to the theatre in the evening to see We Will Rock You
. Not my choice obviously. I can just imagine the conversation, "oh, what a quaint moustache that Freddie guy has got" and me snoring.
An awkward game tomorrow me thinks. No Kish, no El Camel so hopefully Perry will be reinstated to the line up. JJ in for Romm? I expect so.
I will be at the Bolton game on the 16th and I plan to take my son for his first ever game. He struts around in his top and tells me that "Charlton are the best team in the world,"
probably influenced by having Hughes' and Hreidarsson's son in his mini football team at school. Anyway the time has come. An occasion I first thought about the day of his birth 5 years and 2 months ago. It will be weird and I expect I'll be a bit emotional too but very, very proud.
Come on you Reds.