Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Wednesday, 30 November 2005
  Blackburn home. What was the score? Lost 2-3 Surely in a long long list of cup disasters tonight's result must take the biscuit. 2-0 up and coasting thanks to two excellent finishes from players that the manager clearly thinks are not always worthy of a first team place. Then with 15 minutes left, a team that has conceded 8 goals in its past 3 games decides to defend a strong lead. The inspired and attacking substitutions made by Mark Hughes compared to the bizarre and negative ones made by Curbishley tell its own story.

How many times do we have to witness Kishishev make game-changing mistakes? He is a liability. He does somethings well but the critical things he does bad. My boss wouldn't stand for it and nor should Curbishley.

Why did we wait until the 89th minute to play two up front? In fact he played a striker but stuck him, oh wait for it, out of bloody position! Why change the goalkeeper? What about the back four, isn't this where our problems lie? El K and HH is not working but they remain while others have a quiet game and get dropped. It doesn't make sense but then I'm beginning to wonder if Curbishley makes any sense anymore. This quote stuns me:

"If I'm being honest I would have swapped a result tonight for a win on Sunday. Everyone talks about a cup run but I'm not sure how much the fans want it - it was a half-empty stadium out there. The league is what we're all about."

3 home wins in a year = a half empty stadium. Curbs, you do the math.

Reports from those that were there: cafc.co.uk; BBC Sport; The Times; Evening Sub-Standard
Tuesday, 29 November 2005
  Oh how I miss British TV and a fry-up My long weekend at home was very tiring not helped by a bout of man-flu (to the non-medical profession, this is a common cold exagerated by man to be a near-death experience!) and this after two whole weeks of non-drinking. I knew that it was a ridiculous thing to do. Never again.

The weather was freezing, much colder than here and a walk along Eastbourne beach on Friday was most definitely brisk. I had to laugh though about the problems in Cornwall due to snow. In Chicago 2 inches of snow would be considered a slight dusting.

I really don't miss the fuss we make when we have a touch of poor, or good, weather and I don't miss the traffic - two and a half hours to travel the 12.5 miles from SW London to Heathrow on Monday morning.

I do miss the British TV though. I watched whatever was on, including every opportunity to watch eulogies on George Best. There was Little Britain, Question Time, Ready Steady Cook, Jonathan Ross, I'm a Celebrity, The X Factor (god, they were all awful) and even Richard & Judy (what's wrong with her? She looked absolutely terrible although a glass of wine did spark her into life) and a host of kids stuff with my son.

And Bar Bruno on Wardour Street made me realise how I miss a good old English Breakfast. I met my brother there Thursday morning and gleefully there was not a bagel or a donut (sic) in sight.

I did make use of the extended licensing hours and gladly didn't see any 15-years old fighting in small towns like they kept showing on the news. I popped into the new Ice Bar for 45 minutes and a slug of vodka on Saturday - not very ideal for my man-flu - and had a great night at the Jazz Cafe on Sunday watching a birthday tribute to Jimi Hendrix. I had forgotten how good live music was at a small venue. 
  Villa away. What was the score? Lost 1-0 Wretched wasn't it? That is what I read anyway both in the papers at home and by fellow Addicks on the web. I drove back from Eastbourne to London Saturday afternoon with 5 Live on. They had the Wigan v Spuds game on and made only 3 visits to Villa Park for updates, a sign of how poor the game was.

Despite some unusual changes (surely there were more deserving cases for the drop than Murphy and Romm?), the team performance was wholly inadequate again. Four defeats on the spin, blimey is it April already?

No one will blame Curbishley for sticking with the 4-5-1 on Saturday but I have a big concern that it is having a wider impact on Darren Bent. Saturday he battled away up front on his own again and came the nearest to getting us an underserved goal.

The time must now have come to give him some company, whether it's Bothroyd, Lisbie (wash my mouth out with soapy water) or Ambrose. He showed in the U21's that he can excel when playing alongside someone, in that case Carthorse Cole.

Bent has been a precious commodity to us this season and an inspiring acquisition but before he forgets the art of scoring we need to re-ignite his season, and thus the rest of the team. Starting tomorrow.

There was plenty of typically pessimistic concern amonsgt fans that Curbishley had no plan B when we were beating teams at almost ease at the beginning of the season. Their concerns were spot on.

To play the 4-5-1 system well, an in-form Rommedahl and Murphy are essential to its craftmanship. But they didn't start on Saturday, yet still no plan B. Why not?

The midfield formation at Villa Park was insipid on paper, let alone in the skin. The time has come for a change of formation and fortune. It's also time to move HH back to left back. Our defence for me is where the tinkering needs to be made to personnel, not the midfield.

HH needs to revert to his more familiar position. Why does Curbishley insist on playing players out of position? We know why he did it back in August but the landscape has changed and he needs to act on it. Bring Perry's cool head back in alongside El Kak or preferably Sorondo, if fit.

November has been our own monthus horribilis but it could all end in smiles Wednesday night. It's a big game and it requires a big performance. Please let me wake up on Thursday morning and find out it's December and not April.

Reports from the unfortunates that were there: All Quiet; Addicks Diary; An Addick For Life; cafc.co.uk
Friday, 25 November 2005
  Georgie Best, superstar The George Best story effectively ended many years ago, his often sad and embarrasing appearances on Sky Soccer Saturday only prolonging the pain to his legions of fans and admirers. But football fans are a forgiving lot and although often a sad sight to look at, my own memories of the best football player of his generation will not be off drunken outbursts or gaunt photographs but those of sublime skill, the disallowed goal against Gordon Banks and trickery with a football that most mere mortals can only dream off.

I have a couple of personal memories of 'Bestie'. One was as a kid in the late 70's watching him play against Charlton for Fulham. He was past his best but amazingly only 31-years old, his every touch drew gasps from the crowd who had basically only come to watch the Irishman, who is undoubtably the best player never to grace a World Cup Finals.

The second memory is was one of legend amongst myself and some friends. I was sat one Saturday lunchtime in a Kensington pub with some friends (still wearing our suits from the night before - its a long story!). Best walked in and sat at the bar, looking worse than us. The next one of us up to the bar offered him a drink. The barman said that: "Mr Best only drunk champagne," so champagne it was. He looked up and gave us a wave before he downed it.

Later, the pub payphone rang, which we were sitting next too. A pal answered it and it was a woman "looking for George."

We called him over and he took the phone. He perched on the end of our table whilst clearing taking a earbashing. He last words were that he would be home soon. He promptly went back to the bar and ordered a drink. Later two different women appeared in the pub and sat alongside him at the bar. Both admiration and pity was shared amongst us mid 20-year olds.

A hotel waiter delivering a bottle of vintage champagne and smoked salmon sandwiches to Best's luxury hotel room once enquired "So, Mr Best, tell me - where did it all go wrong?" There was £20,000 in cash scattered on the bed alongside the reigning Miss Universe! It was a good question. 
Tuesday, 22 November 2005
  Invigorated Hello, you still there? Almost a week without a computer (posted the last two items on someone else's PC when they weren't looking) and you know what? It was actually quite invigorating. There is life outside of the internet and email. You should see how tidy my desk is?

Off to the lovely O'Hare airport in a bit for the Thanksgiving holiday, the most awaited time of year for most Americans. As my boss put it, "It's like a 4-day Sunday. We just eat, drink and watch sport on the telly for four days."

Its a real family time here, so I thought I would go home and spend it with mine. Dinner tomorrow night with one of my best mates and his fiancee. I wonder if conversation will get onto the proposed stag weekend? Bangkok is the latest option. Hmm, we'll see if that one passes the wife and girlfriend test?

Then 3 whole days with my son at my parents in Eastbourne. That'll be great, although he begins every conversation at the moment with a recital of his Christmas list!

Then the Jazz Cafe Sunday night before flying home Monday morning. 
Friday, 18 November 2005
  One up front, or two up front? That is the question. Other Addick commentators have appeared to settle for a 4-5-1 tomorrow but I think it's time to switch to two up front. Curbs has probably tried 12 different formulas in the 12 games we have failed to beat the Red Devils in the Premiership, so why not throw caution to the wind a little bit tomorrow and join Bent up front with Bothroyd?

United have been unusually fragile at the back this season and with recent opponents swamping Murphy and Smertin in midfield to strangle our supply chain to Bent, Ambrose and Rommedahl, lets give them something to think about by playing further up the pitch with two out and out forwards. Win, draw or lose I would like to see us start this way. It may even lift the crowd from the depressing thought that we are 8th in the Premiership. Bloody hell, sack the manager, sack the board!

Smerts will return for Hughes and I would leave Ambrose on the bench in case we need him to help perform a game (or formation) changing performance a la Pompey.

Thomas is injured and Spector is unavailable. I would simply switch the Chicagoan for Chris Powell and its Andersen in goal for me.

I wonder what impact, if any, will be had on Roy Keane's sudden announcement that he has left the Theatre of Dreams, of which he has starred in a fair few?

United are of course not the same side that they were and we match up more equally than at any time since we have been in the Premiership.

It is one of those games though that we are not expected to get anything from, but lets hope that Curbs reminds them of our performance against them at the Valley last season. He has been quoted as saying it was his lowest ever Charlton moment. They owe him and us.

I have a slight problem tomorrow and therefore it calls for a different routine. My laptop is sick, very sick and is off being reconfigured, rebuilt, re everything. So no live commentary for me over breakfast, however television has it on 'live repeat' 3 hours later so I may avoid the score and any form of communication and wait until then.

Lie in and early Christmas shopping or wait for the phone to ring? Full of questions aren't I? 
  Chicago welcomes in the winter The throng of people at the gate at New York's LaGuardia airport, which vie's with O'Hare for the skankiest airport in the US, told its own story on Wednesday night. We were informed that their were "weather delays" between New York and Chicago.

When we left Chicago on Tuesday afternoon the weather was a pleasant and mild 16C (60F) but when we landed (two and a half hours late) on Wednesday evening it was a chilly -4C, a drop of 40 degrees in about a 30 hour spell.

Snow covered the ground, the famous wind blew and it was bloody freezing. Thank god for my coat which I had sweltered in walking around a balmy New York earlier in the day.

This morning the walk to work was brutal - the coldest day in 8 months in the windy city, -7C. Hello winter. 
Wednesday, 16 November 2005
  30 years of love 30 years ago today my Dad did something unknowingly that would go onto change the course of my life and for that matter my family. The 15th November 1975 was a Saturday and I remember it very well indeed. It was the first day my Dad took me to The Valley.

God, I had been going on about for over a year. The 1974 World Cup was the catalyst for my love affair with football. Well over a year later I was still desperate to be taken to a game. In hindsight my Dad played me well. My ‘support’ of Man United was he decided a school ground fad, and he cleverly drew me into the Charlton web, slowly indoctrinating me to the team from afar and promising that one day he would take me to see them play.

My Dad was a lapsed Addick, after he met my Mum he used work most Saturdays but following Charlton’s promotion from Division 3 the season before, he finally succumbed to temptation and a fair amount of nagging. I maintain to this day it wasn’t only me who was looking forward to that game like a 9-year old.

We were home to table-topping Sunderland that day, who still had a number of players in their line-up from their historic 1973 FA Cup Final win over Leeds United (incidentally my first football memory). It wasn’t my first ever match, that was at Aldershot – fortunately The Recreation Ground didn’t grab me like The Valley.

I remember that I had never seen so many people in one place (the attendance was 22,307), we stood on the south terrace (now the Jimmy Seed stand), there was a lot of red and white in the crowd (added too by a big Sunderland contingent), the Big Match camera’s were there with Brian Moore balanced on the East Terrace and that we lost 2-1 (Killer for us) but I didn’t care one iota and I was totally smitten. It was love at first sight.

The programme is still a treasured possession and despite being only 20 pages (and costing 10p) it is a cache of information and history.

In the Comments section, the editorial wrote that the club were increasing the price of admission for youngsters from 35p to 40p due the persistent running onto the pitch after matches! This would take effect at the next home game against Luton (we lost 5-1, typical Charlton, eh?).

Sunderland’s team included Jim Montgomery, ‘Pop’ Robson, Bobby Kerr, Vic Halom, Bobby Moncur and FA Cup hero Ian Porterfield.

Our line up included the famous four of Hales, Flanagan, Powell & Peacock plus Graham Tutt, Mark Penfold, Jimmy Giles, Phil Warman, David Young, Richie Bowman and Peter Hunt.

The programme listed a certain Derek Hales as the division’s top-goalscorer with 12. We were currently in 8th place behind leaders Sunderland and Bolton. Bristol Rovers were in 5th. Below us in the table were Chelsea (no Ruskie’s gazillions in those days), Nottingham Forest (soon to take Europe by storm), Orient (no Leyton in those days) and York City who were bottom.

Our home attendances showed the fluctuations in our support. 8,000 against Oldham and Oxford in the league but then 16,000 against Southampton and 32,000 for the then 1st Division QPR in a League Cup replay (12,000 more than there were at Loftus Road in the first game).

Echoes Across The Valley contained news of a ‘topping out’ ceremony for a new block of flats overlooking The Valley. Sam Bartram attended and Greenwich Council was expected to name some of the flats after him.

In the middle pages were black and white photos of the previous weekend’s clash against Fulham at Craven Cottage. On one side “Jimmy Giles rising above John Lacy and Peter Mellor to head our equalizer” in the 1-1 draw and the other a photo of “an anxious Bobby Moore heading clear of Derek Hales.” Wonderful.

And I have just found a amazing personal link. The referee that day was the legendary Jack Taylor (Wolverhampton), the same man who refereed the 1974 World Cup Final. Oh, how I cried that day when the Dutch lost but on this one 30 years ago, I was the happiest boy alive. 
Monday, 14 November 2005
  More 6-year olds at White Hart Lane than usual! My brother was at the U21 game on Friday night, unfortunately without the 10 foot Charlton flag that he owns! Lucky as it would have gotten very wet but at least for once it wouldn't have come home smelling of beer. That's the flag not my brother! Here is what he said:

"After getting a soaking from Seven Sisters to White Hart Lane finding out there was no booze available in the ground and then sitting with 30,000 under six year olds, I wasn't enjoying my first visit to White Hart Lane since boxing day a few years back.

France passed the ball around a lot better than England and were no doubt by far the better team for 88 mins.

Bent was always a threat and was very unlucky not to score in the second half after somehow Zubar sprinted back to clear the ball off the line. Ambrose, meanwhile, was seeing more of the ball as the game continued, and slid in to level the game at 1-1 with just minutes left.

It made the trip, the rain and no beer worth it in the end. Now.... lets find a warm North London pub with no children or Spurs fans in it!" 
  My Chicago - #4 River North River North is the neighbourhood in which I live. Bounded by the curve of the Chicago River the neighbourhood, also known as the gallery district, begins at Clark Street to the east and ends at Chicago Avenue to the north.

When Chicago's downtown employment shifted dramatically from manufacturing to professional services in the 1980s, the Lower North Side industrial areas, just across the river from the Loop and a mile west of the famed Michigan Avenue was transformed into River North, a focus of arts and entertainment.

By the 1990s, developers had converted thousands of acres of former industrial lands and warehouses near the north branch of the Chicago River into offices and housing. The artists, bars and restaurants moved in and a familiar pattern emerged as speculators began purchasing property.

Just a few blocks north of Chicago Avenue though remains an area known as Cabrini Green, one of the most infamous and dangerous housing projects in the world. As new townhouses spring up all around the 1950's boarded up, part-demolished public housing high-rises, plans for its transformation continue both in litigation and by developers mechanical diggers.

Development is everywhere in River North, just up the street from me they are building 16,000 sq ft mansion homes. You could lose a football team in there, let alone a family of four. Vintage loft buildings mix with modern architecture, studio buildings, furniture and antique shops and galleries.

River North is home to over 70 art galleries and it has the largest concentration of them in the United States outside of Manhattan.

It is also a mecca for restaurants and bars. Some of my favourites in the city are all within strolling distance of my home. Japonais (600 W. Chicago Avenue), Coco Pazzo (300 W. Hubbard St), SushiSamba (504 N. Wells St), Shaws (21 E Hubbard Street) and the place I always take people that want to taste Chicago's renowned steak Fogo de Chao (661 N. LaSalle Drive). Starve yourself for a week before you eat here.

Other treats not to be missed out on is brunch at Ed Debevic's on 640 N. Wells Street, a pint at the Green Door Tavern (678 N. Orleans Ave) which was built a year after the Great Fire in 1872 or try my most recent haunt The Kerryman (661 N. Clark St). Chicago is famous for its blues and there are few better clubs than Blue Chicago at 736 N.Clark St. Its also famous for its Italian Beef sandwiches. I've never been but there is always a queue out the door at Mr Beef (666 N. Orleans St).

The biggest and best (and most expensive) health club in the city is down the street by the river. I am told you will likely be on the rowing machine next to Oprah Winfrey at the East Bank Club (550 N. Kingsbury), but I would have thought you more likely see her at Dance Chicago (415 W. Huron St).

Right on the north-side of the river is the huge Merchandise Mart, which is the world’s largest commercial building and the largest wholesale design center in the United States. The impressive building encompasses 4.2 million sq ft and spans two entire city blocks and rises 25 stories.

River North is an exciting place to live, it is ever changing and is both lively and quiet. People pack bars, while others walk dogs along tree lined streets by the river. A familiar noise though is the sound of horses trotting by my bedroom window late every night after a day of escorting tourists around the city in carriages. I've still to find out where they go though.







L to R: East Bank club; Gallery district; New housing; Converted warehouse; Montgomery Ward building development; Apartment building; River looking north; Ed Debevic's; Mr Beef; River looking south; Merchandise Mart; SushiSamba. 
Sunday, 13 November 2005
  "American's are all about winning" Interesting comments on the American people's psyche regarding their sports from the USA National team manager Bruce Arena after the friendly game with the Scots yesterday.

“I would think a majority of people in the United States probably think we failed at the last World Cup because we’re all about winning,” Arena said. “That’s all they understand, that’s the way it is in our country."

“We win in all the other sports. We are the world champions at American football because nobody else plays it and our NBA champions are the world champions at basketball. That’s the way it is in the United States, you have to be a world champion."

“Our women’s national team won the World Cup and the Olympics so people think why can’t we do that? So I may just create my own sport, win a game and call myself a world champion! But I don’t think we are legitimate contenders for this World Cup — I think Brazil will win it.”

This is a source of constant conversations that I have with American's about their attitude to sports. Winning is the only thing that matters, they don't do draws, they don't do 2nd, they don't do silver. There is no interest in national teams, and even the far flung franchises struggle for headlines over its star individuals. They are considered of greater consequence than the teams that pay their hugely inflated salaries.

Whilst on soccer, the LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup this afternoon beating New England Revolution, who are managed by ex-Liverpool player Steve Nichol 1-0.

The MLS also announced today that a new Toronto based team will become the 13th league franchise in 2007. San Diego, Philadelphia, Tulsa, Atlanta, Cleveland and Milwaukee may provide a 14th.

Meanwhile Charlton fans will be interested to know that San Jose Earthquake owners AEG, rumoured to be interested in investing in the Addicks, are on the verge of moving the west coast team to Houston (1,890 miles away!) unless a new buyer can be found. Franchise football at its best.

AEG owned Chicago Fire have played their last game at the huge Soldier Field and will begin next season in Bridgeview, which is 12 miles south-west of downtown. The 20,000 seater stadium is a pain in the arse for me to get to (if I ever wanted to go) but will be a better home for the small but noisy band of 2nd generation Poles, Italians and Mexicans that make up most of the support. 
Thursday, 10 November 2005
  A quiet time on the Charlton front.... Although you could read about Jerome Thomas injuring a hamstring and being doubtful for Friday's England U21 play-off clash against France. It'll will piss my brother off who is going and was hoping to see a three-pronged Addicks attack. Both Ambrose & Bent are expected to play.

You could read about Luke Young forgetting his ahem, lucky boots last Saturday and sticking them in a taxi.

Maybe you should gloss over the ridiculous story that Thomas Myhre is unhappy at suddenly realising he is 3rd choice. Er, rearrange these words: coffee, wake, smell, up.

Or there has been a story developing that Matt Holland maybe on his way to West Brom in January.

Alan Curbishley is 5/1 to get the Rangers job should they sack Alex McLeish. Well I must be 4/1 then!

That other Chicago Addick fellow is happy with his form and thinks he is "beginning to grow as a player," after 3 consecutive games. I know some fans won't agree with that but he gets another chance to impress in the US national team at Hampden Park on Saturday.

The press are hoping for a headline writers dream with stories circulating that we may bid for Everton's Marcus Bent in the January window.

There's a whisper too that Curbs has taken an interest in ex-academy starlet JLloyd Samuel, who once decided that Charlton wasn't good enough for him and left us for Aston Villa. Interestingly he has now decided that England's not for him either and he wants to play for Trinidad and Tobago instead. But Fifa won't let him.

Or, if you have made it all the way down to the bottom of this post, I will finish by telling you today's big news.

What was the score? today reached a special milestone by receiving it's 50,000th visitor. I don't know who you were because I wasn't looking but I appreciate it. Thanks to everyone who pops by. It means a lot. 
Wednesday, 9 November 2005
  Chicago did you know? I love New York but every time I visit I'm always dismayed as to why late at night the whole of Manhattan turns into a huge dustbin. At the end of each day the cities litter and rubbish is to be found sat on every street corner.

You never see this in Chicago, but why? The reason is the 1,900 mile network of alleys - more than in any city on the planet.

Chicago is prettier and greener because of its alleys, with much of the messiness of city life moved around back out of sight. In fact, Chicago's alleys are older than the city itself. They were laid out as part of a 58-block grid in 1830, three years before Chicago was incorporated as a town and seven before it was chartered as a city.

Bright lights installed in the 60's helped cut down on crime but nevertheless they are still home to some unsightly scenes. But the fact is they are tucked away, out of sight and out of mind, unlike in New York where, like a lot of its people, it's in ya face. 
Tuesday, 8 November 2005
  Happy birthday Al
Happy 48th birthday to the oldest 'young up and coming manager' in football. Lets not forget this man puts his heart and soul into our club. Lets hope tonight Curbs can enjoy a pint with his family. 
Monday, 7 November 2005
  Coffee nation Starbucks in this country can be a scary place. You line up behind a long line of expert coffee ordering Americans, you know the types - "two shot, skinny, latte, no froth, venti." - and one after the other of alien sounding orders, the lady at the cash till finally gets to you. "Er, um, oh just a tea please?"

"With honey?"

"Honey? No just water!"

But nowadays Starbucks feels more welcoming and that is because I have become American!

I used to be a tea man. Morning, noon and night. I rarely drunk coffee, just maybe an espresso after a meal but now I am addicted to the black stuff. On the way to work, in the afternoon and I now have a cool espresso machine at home, so I drink it in the evening and at weekends too.

I haven't yet gone as far as to own one of those ridiculous beaker things that the American's walk around the street with but for someone who liked nothing better than a nice cuppa, it is a worrying development.

It wasn't helping that when I asked for a 'tall Americano' in my local Starbucks in the morning, they never understood me and used to think I said two and not tall, so, well obviously two cups was only fuelling my new found addiction!

Now, I have to go through this ridiculous routine in the morning. "Hello, what can I get you?"

"An Americano please. "

"An Americano, great. Oh, what size?"

"Tall." And that means I only get one cup, and not two. Saving me a fortune it is!

So I'm now a coffee freak but please if you ever hear or see me stand at the milk counter in Starbucks and pour in 4 spoons of sugar, a slug of full fat milk, some nutmeg, a shot of vanilla, a whirl of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon then that is the day you need to tell me to get on the plane home. 
Saturday, 5 November 2005
  Blackburn away. What was the score? Lost 4-1 I slipped out of my training course today and called my mate Chris. The phone conversation went like this:

Chicago Addick: "Hey, what was the score?"
Chris: "Oh mate, I am so pissed off."

My heart sank.

Chicago Addick: "Assume we lost then?"
Chris: "No, we didn't lose."

My heart lifted, maybe we were 3-up with 5 minutes to go and only drew?

Chris: "We got hammered!"

Both of us now pissed off. Depressing further 5 minutes of phone call.

Before the Bolton game Curbs said: "If we can manage to follow it up (after Chelsea) then it's no longer a great start. Ten games is not a start as far as I'm concerned, it's a big chunk of the season."

Well, it was a fantastic start but I sense the players need to stop congratulating themselves and knuckle down. It was clearly poor today and both our awful north-west form and more importantly our SE7 form needs to be addressed.

There is no need to push the panic button though with a band-aid required and not plastic surgery. However the important process of team morale rebuilding will once again be annoyingly interrupted by an international break. Only Thomas Myhre being involved in a crucial game.

Reports from those that were there: BBC Sport; The Sunday Times; SE7 Dreams
Friday, 4 November 2005
  Where did the away support go? Ah, memories of Blackburn....

Me, my bro' and my Dad walking along a cobbled Lancashire street in midweek thinking we were the only idiots to make the 250 mile trip. We walked into a non-descript pub and were met by about 200 Charlton fans singing the place out. Sends a tingle up my spine thinking about it.

It was a FA Cup 4th Round replay and a certain Darren Pitcher scored that night (there was a *slight* deflection) and we had a whale of a time in that away end. Blackburn were in their pomp in those days - Shearer, Sutton, Sherwood, Flowers etc whilst we were being mediocre in the 2nd Div (it will always be 2nd to me!).

Interesting stat: The home draw attracted 8,532 but there were a good 1,200 of us at Ewood Park on that cold January night, this on the back of 4 away games without a win. 11 years later? Well, I will be surprised if there are more Addicks there tomorrow. What went wrong?

Of course, we all have our reasons and I have a novel one. I will be on a work's training course all day Saturday and will be out of earshot of a radio commentary let alone a small Lancashire town.

Benty's back, I will be thinking of you. Come on you Addicks! 
Thursday, 3 November 2005
  Old Red-Nose Stephan's inspiration It has been mentioned on here and elsewhere that one of the key differences in Stephan Andersen's game to that of Dean Kiely is his distribution.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel is our Stephan's hero. They both started their careers at Hvidovre in Denmark and it would seem Schmeichel has followed the 23-year old's career carefully, once inviting him to train with him at Aston Villa.

"Peter was a hero. He is the best goalkeeper ever. He was good at it all: a good thrower, a good reaction goalkeeper and a good shot stopper. He was an inspiring figure. He told me I could do it in the Premiership. If people compare us they compare our throws because he had a great one and mine is quite good too." (more)

During our history we have had some fine keepers don the number 1 jersey. If Andersen is ever as good as the red-nosed one, then we might just have to think about putting another statue up alongside Sam.

Elsewhere the mailing list is getting all het up about the January transfer window, which is a bit premature - Bowyer (yes, no, immoral), Hartson, Ashton, Sidwell, Nolan, Lita?? But meanwhile another of our existing players, Mark Ricketts, this morning signed a months loan at MK Dons. The defender is the 6th Addick to be out on loan (surely a record) and may make his debut for Franchise United in the FA Cup 1st Round on Saturday.

I was quite pleased that they have decided on the Wednesday for the Carling Cup game v Blackburn. Last week I booked my flight home for the Thanksgiving Weekend (26/27th Nov) and out of the corner of one eye I looked at the fixture list and saw Tuesday November 29th as the proposed 4th Round date.

I shook my head at my stupidity and promptly booked my return ticket to Chicago for the Monday. That evening we played Chelsea, the rest as they say is history.

I would therefore have been mightly peed off if the game was to be played on the Tuesday, but the Wednesday night would have been stretching my stay and wasn't really an option. 
Tuesday, 1 November 2005
  Chicago Trump Tower update A few weeks ago trucks drove from the largest privately owned ready-mix company in the U.S (just a couple of miles from my home) to the site of the Trump Tower for nearly 24 hours carrying 5,000 cubic yards of concrete to the construction site and dumping it into a single hole called the 'mat.' This steel-reinforced opening that measures 200 feet long, 66 feet wide and 10 feet deep will be a below-ground level anchor for the 92-story building and on that will sit the core walls of the worlds tallest tower to be built post 9/11.

The Trump Tower has a $600 million construction budget, and the concrete-only portion will be an estimated $130 million of that total. The building is expected to require 180,000 cubic yards of concrete when it is completed.

Unlike the Sears Tower, Aon Center and Hancock Building, which are all steel-reinforced, the Trump Tower is using concrete because there is less room available on the site for the foundation. Therefore the Chicago Trump Tower, when finished in 2009 will be the world's tallest concrete-reinforced building. That record is currently held by the CITIC Plaza in Guangzhou, China, which is 80 floors. 
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After living in Chicago for four and a half years, I moved to the beautiful if bewildering island of Bermuda in July 2008. This blog is about being an exiled and depressed Charlton Athletic fan and whatever else the day brings.
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