Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Hot in the city
The city will be hot and busy this weekend. The annual Taste of Chicago
kicks off today in Grant Park and the world's biggest food festival will not be for the fainthearted. If the temperature is expected to reach 100F
, the temperature down by the 75 food booths will be way higher than that as the local restaurants fire up a whole host of not so healthy goodies. 350,000 people are expected today alone. LL Cool J, LeAnn Rimes, Donna Summer and Santana provide some of the entertainment. I think I'd rather eat alone thank you.
Then there is part 2 of the inter-city Sox
match at US Cellular Field
. The three game series starts today. The White Sox have the best record in all of North America, sorry the world. Meanwhile my last season's love affair with the Cubbies hasn't rematerialised. I have yet to go to a game this season, although I have turned down a couple of invites to see the Sox, which are the hottest tickets in town. Well, a Charlton fan doesn't change their spots, so Go Cubs!
Further north in the City this weekend around Halsted and Broadway streets in the locale commonly known as 'Boystown
' is the Chicago Pride Celebration
. Probably a different kind of person you'll meet here than at the baseball or food festival me thinks.
Me? Well I will be throwing some money down the toilet at Arlington Park
race course tomorrow. This pretty track about 20 miles north-west of the city was rebuilt in 1989 after it burnt down. With music, barbeque specials and beer (more
), it seems that I can get the best of all worlds there with a little bit of the gee-gees thrown in as well.
Other Chicago news today was the announcement of two pre-season friendlies taking part at Soldier Field in July. Real Madrid will play Mexican's best club side Chivas Guadalajara on July 16th
, which I think I might be away for unfortunately because Real have promised all of their star names. And then on July 27th Chicago Fire will host AC Milan. Meanwhile Chelsea will play DC United in Washington that same week. This trip is the brainstorm of the Anschutz Entertainment Group
AEG are also behind the Real Madrid tour and their game against AEG owned LA Galaxy means that West Brom's pre-season tour to California could be dropped
. Bryan Robson's men were due to play against MLS sides LA Galaxy and Club Deportivo Chivas USA.
AEG own 5 MLS sides: Chicago Fire
, LA Galaxy
, DC United
, San Jose Earthquakes
and the Metrostars
in New Jersey. They also own the NHL's Los Angeles Kings
and have a big involvement in the countries largest (if not the best) Basketball team Los Angeles Lakers
How long until they own a Premiership club I wonder?
Stadium of Light up first
came out today and no doubt a very excitable
Stadium of Light will welcome the Addicks on the first day of the season. Fellow new boys Wigan provide our next game and our first at the Valley and this is quickly followed by the visit of European Champions Liverpool, although this game already has a question mark over it because of the Scousers participation in the qualifying rounds of next season's European Champions League competition.
Other "notable games" include the visit of champions Chelsea on September 17th, Arsenal on Boxing Day and West Ham on New Years Eve.
But I suspect like others, the games I particularly look out for are the first 7 and the last 7. But have no fear we finish with a nice easy trip to Old Trafford, who with a 10-point deficit due to administration will probably need to win to stay up!
Isn't it nice to see all of those Saturday at 3 o' clock fixtures? Of course come next Friday when Sky announce their televised games, this will soon revert back to Monday's, Sunday's and Saturday tea time.
Other news is of The Sun's
breaking story that we are on the verge of signing Reading's Steve Sidwell. Of course, the Current Bun have been known to occasionally get it wrong but personally this signing would stir me from my summer stupor - it's going to be 100F here tomorrow. Phew what a scorcher!
Service Unavailable zzzzz
Looks like cafc.co.uk
has finally dozed off after regaling us of sparkling news unworthy tales recently. "Service Unavailable"
is it's current headline.
We are not missing anything from what I can make out. I know this was last week's news but Mark Fish
has left the club on a free. I liked him but he was susceptible to having a good game but then making one fuck up, which would invariably prove fatal. He was never the same after he fell through a coffee table at home when playing with his kids in March unfortunately.
The end of this month marks the end of many players contracts and Charlton's financial year so maybe then we will see a bit more activity. The fixtures come out on Thursday at 10am (GMT), lets hope that the website is back up and running otherwise we will be relying on mates of mates whose mate is a copper and he knows someone who thinks they heard we have Man City at home first game of the season!
Back in work today and I would do anything not to be here. Even at home watching Henman cough and splutter
his way into the 2nd round! You could have got 9/2 on him winning at 2 sets down. Damn.
I had a most enjoyable week back home, in fact it was probably the hardest time I have had leaving yesterday morning.
The week started with afternoon tea in the Berkeley Hotel
. We drunk a lot of champagne, and not much tea and I think my American colleague, who is working in our London office at present, loved it, my boss won't be too impressed when he sees the bill though! This was followed by some tennis, the Hastings Direct Championships
. The sun was out but it was pretty freezing.
On Tuesday I was lucky enough to have lunch at the Fat Duck
in Bray. The chef is not widely known, does not write books, nor do TV shows or appear on the pages of Hello. Heston Blumenthal however conjures up the most amazing creations from his kitchen in this tiny little restaurant in the village of Bray. He is one of only three chefs in the UK to own 3 michelin stars (Gordon Ramsey and Michael Roux are the others) and the fascinating menu contains such concoctions as snail porridge and smoked bacon and egg ice cream.
It was an incredible, if expensive, experience and despite the arrogance of the unneccesary French waiters - Blumenthal after all was named after the service station near Heathrow and grew up in Shepherds Bush - it was a mind opening afternoon.
More on Blumenthal's non-conventional approach to cooking here
There was no end to my smoozing on Wednesday when I attended the Boodle & Dunthorpe Challenge
in Stoke Poges. This is a pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament set in the beautiful gardens of Stoke Park
. The weather wasn't ideal for a summer garden party, but it didn't rain as anticipated. My friend was rather taken with Thomas Enqvist
but the 37-year old and mother of three compere Annabel Croft caught my eye!
On Thursday I met some mates in the city for lunch and 6 pints and some peanuts wasn't the best preparation for the opera at Holland Park
. Like many a Charlton match the first half did seem to drag but a half-time break did me the power of good and I really enjoyed the 2nd half of La Sonnambula by Vincenzo Bellini.
I am no opera buff but La Sonnambula
, like others, is a simple tale surrounded by dramatic music. The story tells of a beautiful young woman who on the verge of getting married, finds a sleep-walking affliction after she enters another man's bedroom. Yep, yep, yep.
By the way, those looking for an alternative summers evening out would do no worse than visit the lovely Holland Park or my personal favourite, the Open Air Theatre
in Regents Park. Here this year apart from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
, you can see Harry Hill
(unfortunately already gone), The Wind in the Willows
, or listen to Robert Maxwell's side of the story on July 2nd. You can keep that twat Jimmy Carr
Friday night was a bit of good old fashioned culture - the traditional beers and curry. As always it was good to see the boys and hear their tongue in cheek stories of how the Hammers are going to take the Premiership by storm. Shaun Newton, Bobby Zamora, Thomas Repka.... bubbles indeed.
The weekend I was in Eastbourne with my folks and my son. The weather was gorgeous and the old ladies were out in force on the promenade. Eastbourne is one of England's best perserved coastal towns and it is a very pleasant place to now call home when I'm back. My parents, after living all of their lives in London, have settled very well into their new environment and very proud of them I am too. For them their move was as much of a change as mine and I will come back to the town which nestles at the foot of the South Downs in another post sometime.
Fathers Day with my son and my Dad was nice but is it me or do the men get a raw deal compared to the Mums? No flowers, no fanfare and no over the top ad campaigns, just a Sunday to call your own.
And that was that, the Chicago Addick week of Culture 2005 was over and here are some photos: From left to right: Jo Durie, not looking as fit as she did; 16-year old Nicole Vaidisova from the Czech Republic (where do they get all these tall leggy blondes from?); Thomas Enqvist at Boodles; Enqvist & Nikolay Davydenko; Argentina's David Nalbandian; My (very) outside bet for Wimbledon Sweden's Joachim Johansson; Annabel Croft; Stoke Park; Annabel with Todd Woodbridge; Holland Park opera stage; Afterwards at the opera; Beachy Head; On the pier at Eastbourne.
Anyone for bridge?
The week has flown by. I'm typing this whilst sitting in the easy internet cafe
on The Strand. The bloke next to me has been playing online bridge for the last 40 minutes whilst I have been catching up with my favourite websites and of course anything Charlton - not sure whose sadder me or him?
I've had a great week, done a ton of stuff and I will fill you in next week on the abundance of culture I have experienced these past 5 days.
This afternoon I am heading over to Hornchurch to catch up with some pals tonight. My brother is accompanying me, he has had a bit of a shit time recently so it will be good to sink a few pints and catch up. Then tomorrow we will pick my son up and take him back to our parents in Eastbourne for the weekend. I fly back to Chicago on Monday.
Another post-season week is coming to a close and by Mr Murray's reckoning we should be on our third signing by now, however Addicks are finding other things to keep the boredom away.Inspector Sands
had 57 comments in reply to his argument
for both sides on the formation of the Charlton Athletic Independent Supporters' Trust (CAIST
) and then got slated for his trouble on the mailing list, which frankly I don't waste my time with.
Meanwhile supporter Derek Chappell has had a slightly more productive week investing a "significent" portion of the 9.2m new ordinary share-issue
on Wednesday. This will raise an additional £5.525m. "We're allocating around half of the money to Alan and the other half is going to be used for working capital in the company,"
explained Plc chairman Richard Murray (more
This has had a dramatic effect on the club's share price. There was a lot of activity yesterday and it hit 38.4p at one stage, ending at 37p by close, the highest since April 2001.
The 100 year centenary party, well there were two of course, took part last weekend. "Hundreds of fans journeyed to The Valley on Sunday to join in the fun organised by the supporters' club."
). Can't help think the whole thing has been a bit of a damp squib though.
And meanwhile, to cheer me up before I head over to deepest darkest Essex. Lennie Lawrence is the latest in what is getting quite a long line of people to turn down the vacant Millwall job. Ex- Coventry boss Eric Black is the latest name in the frame.
Happy birthday to me
Just less than a week after Charlton celebrated their 100th birthday, it is mine today. One year to the day What was the score?
began life as a note pad to vent my thoughts, gripes and dreams. 365 days on and 241 posts later it has become an important extension of my life.
Many thanks to Charlton, my friends, American's and my alarm clock because without these things there would be very little to write about.
Thanks also to you. On that Sunday night a year ago
I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that after a year I would be averaging about 100 visits a day.
Keep coming back and I'll keep dreaming.
The heat has really taken it out of me this week, it has been up in the 90's each day and I still can't believe that this city can be so cold and then so hot. Real extremes, that we just don't get at home. Walking around the Loop earlier today I had that feeling you get when you step off a plane somewhere tropical. It is that hot, and in fact less so the nearer the lake you are as that operates like a little cooling system.
I am at home tonight and need to start packing in a minute because I am flying back to London tomorrow for just over a week. Pure holiday, no work. Great.
For the first time I am flying during the day. The flight leaves O'Hare at 9.10am and arrives at Heathrow at 10.35pm. Not sure how my body will take that as it is used to flying overnight. But it was so much cheaper, so an easy decision.
A bit of culture in store for me next week. Tennis, the opera, lunch in a very nice restaurant, oh and a fair few pints in Hornchurch and a curry (oh, please let there be a curry!). Plus we are taking a colleague who is currently in London for a month to afternoon tea on Sunday. I've warned her the sandwiches maybe on the small side!
I was tied to my desk today and I had this acute desire to have a bet. I'm not much of a gambler, but I do have a UK internet betting account. So, there I was finding myself listening to the live racing channel on sportinglife.com
and I had a bit of a flutter. Initially taking the presenters tips, until I realised they were rubbish and then just choosing randomly myself. No form, no inside information, nothing.
I lost 5 races on the trot but then in the last race at Chepstow, a little beauty called Pure Imagination
romped home at 6/1. You can't beat that to make the day go a bit quicker.
Oh and hands up who was not surprised in the least that we didn't sign a player this week? No, me neither.
100 years young
A great big thank you today to those teenage lads who 100 years ago unknowlingly formed a football club which would go on and make many people happy and proud.
I hope their memories lived on just like mine will. Of course there has been sad and less than joyous moments in our history, generally caused by people who didn't have Charlton in their hearts, but for my family and like many, many other's Charlton has a very special place in ours.
Happy 100th anniversery Charlton Athletic Football Club.
Off, off, off, off....
I played football at the crack of dawn this morning. 8 o'clock kick off and already the temperature was touching 80.
As I said yesterday I can't remember the last time I've played a proper outdoor 11-a-side game with a referee. This league is also co-ed (mixed) and the standard wasn't great, a lot like my fitness.
We lost 4-0, but the game (honest guv) was a lot closer than the score suggested. A couple of things happened that made me chuckle on the way home. Firstly I was put through onto goal, managed to find a bit of room, looked up and saw their goalkeeper storming off his line, so I attempted to lob the ball over his head.
I was frustrated to see that he jumped up and caught the ball. Shit, I thought until I looked down at the pitch and realised that he was bloody 3-4 yards outside his penalty area.The referee immediately sent him off, which then almost started a mini riot amongst the opposition players, all American's of course."You don't know the rules ref." "He can do that, he was only protecting himself." "Goal tenders can't be sent off." "Come on ref, you haven't got a fucking idea, you need to read FIFA's rules."
The guy who screamed this was also given his marching orders!
I just looked bemused, pissed off that it should have been a goal and flabbergasted that the ref and I were probably the only people on the pitch that did in fact know the rules.
Then late on at a corner, this a true story, a girl on the other team asked me where I was from. I told her and we introduced ourselves and then she said: "I could make out with you right now, your accent is so sexy."
At the final whistle she completely wrapped her arms around me and told me we could go into the bushes! That never happened at Catford Boys, I can tell you!
Whose more whacko? Chelsea or Jacko?
Pretty quiet around here. I started to watch the Scotland game this morning but made a good decision to get outside and spend the day mooching around in the sun. I ended up in Bucktown and it gave me the idea of writing a summer series called “My Chicago”.
I’m no Fodor's
but I will try to give you a little insight into the diverse neighbourhoods that surround Downtown Chicago, using my words and pictures. More tomorrow.
I guess I haven’t shaken the football bug just yet though because I’m now sitting here watching the USA v Costa Rica World Cup Qualifier (3-0 at mo if you're interested). And tomorrow at the very unsociable hour of 8am I’m due to play my first outdoor 11-a-side game for many a year.
Promised transfer activity will keep me, and these pages occupied hopefully but what the flippin hell is wrong with Chelsea
? Is there any end to their arrogance? Kenyon, Ferdinand, Cole, Parker, Eriksson. It seems only Richard Murray
, once again, is not prepared to turn a blind eye.
It also looks like Ashley Cole
has made his last appearance for Arsenal. A sour end indeed, will this mean that the Gunners will ambush Celtic’s proposed bid for Paul Konchesky
I will wean myself off it eventually, I normally do, perhaps it’s time to get myself up to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs
or there’s the Lions tour
, or the ridiculously one-sided test match
, maybe the Federer free French Open final
or perhaps I’ll get into the media frenzy surrounding the Michael Jackson trial
After keeping myself at arms length from it, I guess it will start to warm up quite nicely now but after 14 weeks of testimony by 130 witnesses, including some of the most famous people in Hollywood, don’t expect the jury to make a quick decision.
It's funny because television here hasn’t been as saturated by coverage of the trial as I would of thought. In fact many think the Brits are far more absorbed than the Americans. "In the same way that Americans have a fascination for the British royal family, we have this fascination for Hollywood superstars, for us it's the trial of the century."
Jackson will now wait at home in Neverland for the next god knows how many weeks awaiting his fate to be decided by eight women and four men who will judge if he is just crazily self-absorbed, badly ill-advised or guilty of something far worse than that.
Bent at the double
I have some slight reservations about the signing of Darren Bent. The price represents a gamble, what lower league player at £3m doesn't? He is not an out and out goalscorer but then who is for less than £10m?
I like the fact that he is ony 21, and he gives us even more pace but as a lonesome signing I would be worried. I would rather see Dean Ashton personally.
However every quote coming out of the club today has been very encouraging with regard to this being only the start of the transfer rush and I do think Bent would augment other signings - an enterprising midfielder and a big strong forward - very well.
Clearly learning lessons from last summer Richard Murray said tonight: "We are looking to sign five senior players, starting with Darren. I'll expect there will be one more signing next week, and another one the week after that and so on for the next four weeks."
Lets hope Murray & Curbishley can weave their magic in the transfer market early and unlike last year when everyone knew our budget and negotiated with us accordingly, this summer the details of that seem unknown to only the man holding the wallet.
Exciting weeks ahead for Addicks.