Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Is the truth too much to ask?
Well someone's bloody lying to us.
Murphy: "It's a difficult situation which has risen. I need to focus on what is ahead of me now."
Curbishley: "It's gone 10pm and I've not been told anything, so we'll have to wait and see. If he leaves us it will be none of my doing and it's nothing to do with the club.”
What a fucking royal farce. So we sell one of our best players 15 minutes before the deadline, without having a replacement lined up. No one knows what the fuck is going on. We sell him "in a deal which could be worth up to £2m,"
which is what? £1.5m + money if Spurs qualify for the Champions League? Jeez Ade Akinbiyi went for £1.75m, The Yids are even understood to have received £2m from Fulham for Michael Brown
!"At this moment he's still a Charlton player. I've just come out of the dressing room and it's gone 10 o' clock and I've not been told anything."
Well, let me enlighten you Mr Manager from 4,000 miles away. Why you were spouting more bollocks to us stupid fans Murphy was at Spurs' training ground signing on the dotted line.
It is plainly obvious that this deal was done earlier today, the press sniffed it out yesterday
, but even after pulling the wool over our eyes, Curbishley lies further by saying he knew nothing of the move at 10pm.
Now, don't mistake me for someone who wants a moaning, whingeing piece of shit playing for my beloved club, because I don't but this is a huge blot on Curbishley's CV in my mind.
When Murphy joined the club, just 18 months ago, he said: "I wanted to work with Alan because he is a manager with such a big reputation and he is someone who I think can improve my game."
Well now "Alan"
is the reason he leaves.
I was suggesting recently that Curbishley could become the next England manager
, not because he is the best man for the job, but because of circumstance.
Well circumstances are unravelling, and have been for some time now, that he can neither handle or motivate big named players who don't fit perfectly into his unimaginative, workmanlike and constrained playing model.
Hurrah for Kish, Holland and Hughes. They get my support because they want to play for the club but we deserve more, we deserve better, we deserve a bit of fucking honesty.
West Brom home. What was the score? Drew 0-0
I know very little about the game as I couldn't get the poxy internet commentary to work and I was too busy to phaff around with it.
I got a text at half-time saying it was "shit"
and a phone call after the game telling me it was a poor game, with both goalkeepers performing well but WBA playing for a draw and Charlton playing with no ambition or flair. With Thomas on the bench and Murphy now gone, it is hard to get too excited about the season ahead with a midfield of Mr Clean Shorts and two players who couldn't hit a cows arse with a banjo.
If Bent (D) doesn't score, and he should have tonight, who is? Ignore the back four because if we are lucky they will get two goals between them during a season, so we are left with Romm and Ambrose, two players I would start.
They are two players that can do things that gets your bum out of your seat and two players that can create goals for the front two. Problem is Curbs doesn't seem to know where and when to play them.
Oh well, another point towards safety I suppose.
Reports from those that were there: BBC Sport
; Addicks Diary
JJ, Jeffers, Euell and Murphy all to leave Tuesday?
I was just wondering if we would be clearing out any 'deadwood' tomorrow before the transfer deadline, when I saw on the BBC website
that JJ looks likely to sign for Norwich on loan for the rest of the season. The Canaries are clearly in the market looking to replace Dean Ashton, but are being thwarted by clubs demanding high fees - the words pot, kettle and black come to mind!
Other less likely news stories doing the rounds are that Blackburn are set to sign Francis Jeffers
for a nominal fee (read undisclosed) and with apparently one more first team appearance set to evoke a further payment to Arsenal, Franny's days do seem to be numbered. Jeffers was said to be touring the nightspots and bingo halls of Blackburn tonight to see if the move suited him!
Other late gossip involve Southampton preparing a summer raid for Matt Holland
, a move which would re-unite 'clean shorts' with George Burley. This sounds like a probable tale, unlike (I pray) The Sun
one that says that Spurs are to make a late bid to sign Danny Murphy in an exchange for Anthony Gardner
- christ, this will give me nightmare's tonight. Anyway they will have to find him first, and I for one would rather us keep him close as he and his family get over whatever problems they have, if this is the truth of course?Addicks Diary
reported earlier that Steve Bruce is now in the hunt for defenders and not Jason Euell, although early morning reports say that he could still move Tuesday but perhaps only on loan, a decision that may alert Middlesbrough again.
As for any interest in Kevin Lisbie.....
Balls fall nicely as we get Bees at home
The famous Cup balls landed nicely again for us today. Brentford at home, who are having a good season under Mad dog 'Martin Allen' but surely if we can play to our max we should have every opportunity to progress. Is that asking too much?
And look at all of those all Premiership ties, which probably means we won't be on TV. I wonder if the Bees will learn from Orient's mistake when they come to dish out their 6,000 tickets?Full draw:
Preston/Crystal Palace v Coventry/Middlesbrough
Newcastle v Southampton
Aston Villa v Manchester City
Everton/Chelsea v ColchesterCharlton
Liverpool v Manchester United
Bolton v West Ham
Stoke v Reading/Birmingham
Leyton Orient home.What was the score? Won 2-1
A unusually bold move by Curbs to throw on all three substitutes in the 63rd minute paid huge dividends on Saturday. Has Curbishley ever put all three subs on at once before?
Addicks at the game said Jerome Thomas, gloves and all, was a huge threat out wide and it was good to see a refreshed Smertin weave some magic in the middle. Bothroyd is proving a bit of a super sub, scoring from free kicks three times after coming on in games this season.
Not much has been mentioned of Jon Fortune's goal. I remember he scored a reasonably important one last season too? If that one was memorable
, then this one was well deserved after his recent excellent performances.
Lets face it, we are just pleased to get through, what with our Cup record and Orient's away form and their 6,000 'fans' at The Valley. Strangely, probably because most of the fans were not regulars, unlike Yeovil last season, they seemed pretty muted. I don't know what people thought who were there?
It was funny however listening to Orient fans ringing into BBC Radio London on Saturday bemoaning the fact that they couldn't get tickets for the game. Lets see if some of their new found followers find their way to Brisbane Road this season to hopefully cheer the O's to promotion. It was certainly nice to hear that the Covered End cheered and sung our lower division friends off at the end of the game - amazing isn't it how a last minute winner makes one feel very gracious?
The draw for the 5th Round takes place tomorrow around about the time I will be getting out of bed.
Its a big week in the Premiership for us though, and perhaps some difficult selection problems for the management with Thomas, Smertin and Bothroyd all clambering for a place in the team. I expect Marcus Bent will rejoin Darren in a front two on Tuesday night.
Not wanting to end on a negative but wasn't that Thomas Myhre's 2nd mistake in week?
Reports from those that were there: All Quiet
; Addicks Diary
; SE7 Dreams
; BBC Sport
; The Sunday Times
One of the most inspirational Premiership players during the first two months of the season. Last seen throwing a ball to the ground on Boxing Day.
If any one knows of missing person's whereabouts please call +44 (0)20 8333 4000. Potential reward for information.
The amount of pixel space being taken up by the Addicks Supporters Director election has shown how much fans value the opportunity to vote for one of their own to have a voice on the Charlton Athletic FC board.
Of course how much value the position has in reality is unknown, probably because in the past, previous incumbents of the post have failed to satisfactory communicate matters to fellow supporters. Then again how much can the fans' director actually say outside of the four walls of the boardroom? 90% of the content discussed at any board meeting should remain confidential. In these days of intense media coverage, the slightest slip of the tongue could have huge recriminations for the club.
I think Richard Murray sees the role a lot differently to those fans that will vote for one of the four candidates.
The role for me is about linking together the supporters, all supporters, not just those aligned to CASC, to the board. Quite rightly Murray, Simons, Varney et al have always considered themselves closer than most football boards to the men and women in The Valley stands, however I don't believe for a minute they have the time or the inclination to trawl through message boards and blogs or the desire to rub shoulders with fans in pubs around the ground on a matchday.
The board members definitely don't attend many away games, something to many of us that separates the absolutely committed supporter to just
a passionate one.
Therefore this person should provide the chain between the voices on the terraces and the men in the suits. I think it is imperative that this person has no other allegiences within the club. It is a representative role and it is impossible to be impartial when you surround yourself with only a few people. Knowing a lot of people doesn't matter in this context either, we are not looking for a Mr Popular, we are looking for someone who can listen, can communicate, is trustworthy, is engaging, articulate, plausible and most of all different to what the board have had to deal with in the past.
I want this person to mold the role a bit, push acceptable boundaries and make us feel that the supporters director role is valid, because at the moment in many ways the function is flawed.
Success will be in a two years time at the next election when blogs and websites are buzzing at the thought of electing a new fans director because the last one actually made a difference. Otherwise we just let the shareholders pick who they want, because that could easily happen.Inspector Sands
(all you need to know is up in the top right corner of the page), Net Addicks
and the Official Site
have been providing a useful source of information about each candidate, and season ticket holders have until the end of January to vote either online
or at the Leyton Orient or West Brom home games.
Firstly I admire all four candidates for standing. Brian Cole
is a huge character but I think that the board will already have a mindset about his ability. It's a shame because he is a strong candidate and an engaging person.
The fact that the club clearly prefer Sue Townsend
to win is a reason for me not to vote for her. Secret squirrel things aside, her communication skills to anyone outside of Maidstone have been zero. It's 2006, no website, no vote.
On paper Ben Hayes
is a very strong candidate with an excellent track record, he has some good ideas on communication but I think he's not impartial enough and will get bogged down with trying to satisfy people within his own CASC branch, who will no doubt consider they'll have an inside track into the boardroom. I want someone to be able to reach out and be reached by all supporters.
So it was close but it's Vince Nieszwiec
for me. He is more all encompassing, he is different, he is raw, he is tenacious, he ran a smooth and irresistible campaign, he's one of us and he's kissed Derek Hales for fucks sake!
Come on Vince, bring it home son.
Next England manager will be Curbs
So the Svenster is finally going to leave us after the World Cup. What a farce eh? The highest paid football manager in the world, with about an inch and a half of common sense. But who are the idiots in all of this? Sven? The News of the World? The FA? I personally think that the FA, light years behind The Premiership and the PFA in its thinking, have a lot to answer for. Blimey, old Terry Venables could have opened up a second hand car dealership in Soho Square selling all sorts of dodgy deals and would never have been sacked under this administration.
So rather worryingly it is down to Brian Barwick and the other suits to choose the next England manager. On paper, purely judged on ability (*cough* when has that been a criteria?), the best men for the job in no particular order are probably Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wegner and Guus Hiddink. Arsene has always made it clear he doesn't want it, Guus does want it
and Jose's ego would probably fancy it too, although he seems rather too smitten with his own country. How dare he?
However I believe that the FA will bow to public pressure and choose an Englishman. Who will that be? Well, let me tell you:Sam Allardyce
A bubbly and likeable personality who has been arguably the most successful English manager in recent seasons. Proven ability to deal with big named stars (JJ Okocha, Ivan Campo) as well as managing to get the best out of players of limited ability (Anthony Barness, Kevin Davies). And despite his attitude being considered that of an up and at 'em age, his training methods are very 21st century. However he can be prickly with the media and Bolton's style of play has drawn much criticism. I also think that the Newcastle job will come calling first and he is sensible enough to see that as a stepping stone to bigger things.Steve McClaren
The most overated manager since David Brent. Fergie's ex-oppo and now Sven's, lest us not forget. In fact he is an English Sven, Faria Alam dalliances aside perhaps? Dour with a personality of a small insect, even the Boro' fans find him passionless. If we are looking for inspiration, then we would have chosen the wrong man. After the recent 7-0 defeat to Arsenal: "I've told the kids they're going to be good players in the future."
Bit late by then Steve. Over £50m spent in the transfer market and with only one top half Premiership finish.Stuart Pearce
He epitomises everything that is good about being a passionate Englishman. Psycho would be a popular choice but not yet. He has only been in charge of 30-odd games and although it hasn't stopped Jurgen Klinsmann or Marco Van Basten, Pearce himself has come out and said the thought of him being the next England manager is "ludicrous."
I think I speak for many when I say though that at 42, his time will come.Paul Jewell
His stock is rising quickly and deservedly so following Wigan's rise and fantastic first Premiership season, but Jewell also suffers from a lack of experience at the top level. His pedigree is not great and nor is his exposure to big-name players but the media have taken to him and we mustn't forget what he did at Bradford too. Like Pearce, another one for the future.Terry Butcher
A bit of an outside bet. Another player who literally bled for his country - remember the famous headband? Failed miserably in England managing Coventry and Sunderland but like other English managers has had to build a less attractive club up from nothing. In this case Motherwell in the SPL. Butch played under some of the great coaches and is bright and thoughtful. His lack of success in England will go against him though.Martin O'Neill
Mine and other people's favourite. He has done the small club made good thing (Leicester) and has also taken a huge club (Celtic) with all the pressures that go with that and made that a raging success too. O'Neill has tasted European success and was a hell of a player. Ok, he's not English but he is the best man for the job. Intelligent, thoughtful, funny and liked by the media. Downside? He doesn't need this job now. He has made it perfectly clear that he won't entertain any offer until he nurses his wife back to good health. Even then, I think he is the kind of coach who needs the daily fix of club management.Alan Curbishley
Not the best candidate, not the best coach but I really do think he will get the job. The bookies and the media are starting to think that way too, and a change in Charlton's fortunes will, I believe, increase the clamour for him to get the biggest job in football. Curbs' has faults, we know that, but others think his shit don't smell. I worry about his tactical acumen, others think he is a genius.
The obvious downsides are no fault of his own. No previous exposure to superstar players (Barnes, DiCa
nio aside), and because all the top jobs go to foreigners, he has always had to settle for the relative success that he has had at The Valley as opposed to foray's into the Champions League.
Well respected by many of the Premiership's top managers and now with the support of the equally well respected Richard Murray he will have a number of fans in high places when it comes to the vote, particularly if that vote does not include Hiddink, Scolari and O'Neill.
Candid, if not hilarious in front of the camera, his integrity and popularity is just what the FA will be seeking after the Sven era. As a player, as a manager, he has played the game the right way. And with a retentive brain for players and other teams style of play I think he could manage without the day to day grind as long as he was studying games and planning campaigns. Expect Steve Bruce to be named as his part-time number two.
Curbishley for England? I really think it's going to happen.
Good luck Deano
It is fair to say that without Dean Kiely we would never had survived those early season's back in the Premiership. Manager's say that good goalies are worth 10 points a season, well that estimation is way below what Deano was worth.
Today was a sad, if not inevitable day for Charlton fans as Deano moved to Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee
I remember him signing for us just after we got relegated in 1999, and scrambling for the record books to find that we had signed one of the best lower league players in the country. It gave me hope and showed real ambition that we were looking to bounce back into the Premiership. For the next 5 years as the undisputed owner of the Addicks number 1 shirt he became one of the best top league players in the country.
The memories of Deano are many, that
impossible save from Dugarry at St Andrews being just one of many phenomenal saves that made me rise to my feet and scream until I croaked: "Dean-o, Dean-o, Dean-o!"
Unfortunately more recently we have focused on the negative aspects of his game such as his kicking and his insistence on staying rooted to his line. However no Charlton fan will forget the good times and there were plenty, the man is a legend. Best wishes and good luck Deano.
Kiely close to leaving, Bowyer not close to joining
Feeling very envious of Wigan Athletic's achievement
tonight. Oh what I would give for a semi-final cup victory over Arsenal and a day out at Cardiff. Maybe Mervyn Day will make himself useful and stick the newspaper report onto the wall of the changing room at Sparrow's Lane tomorrow? Congratulations to Wigan though, they are having a truly memorable season.
Transfer speculation tonight that Dean Kiely will be a Pompey player within the next couple of days. The two clubs are said to have agreed a £750,000 fee, this has re-ignited stories of us seeking to sign Norwich's Robert Green, something that Curbs' has already denied.
Newcastle's managerial turmoil (like groundhog day isn't it?) has appeared to have put the spanner in the works of us signing Lee Bowyer. Supposedly Fat Freddie has put a kybosh on any movement of players until Graeme Souness' future is resolved, possibly at the weekend. Mea
Birmingham have switched their attention to Rangers in-form striker Peter Lovenkrands, although Steve Bruce is understood to ideally want to sign the Dane and Jason Euell.
Stories also link us with Fulham's 6'5" defender Zat Knight again and I heard today on the grapevine (text message actually) that Danny Murphy's enforced absence from the team is due to "personal problems,"
of which sort I don't know.
Whoever you see, see Billy Elliot
My third visit home in 6 weeks and probably the reason why it was harder to get back on the plane this time than it has been for a long while. A more relaxing week without the need to go into work. Plenty of coffee and beer as I caught up with some people I hadn't seen for a while. It's always difficult choosing people to see when I go back. I always want to see my family but mates I tend to have to group together or put off until the next time. I have learnt to only tell people I plan to see that I am back in town as time is always precious and they sometimes get a bit narked that I don't find time to see them. A nice problem but as other people in the same situation will tell you, a difficult one.
The first weekend I spent down in Eastbourne with my son at my parent's house. We swapped presents and ate turkey but the weather was awful, therefore not allowing my son the opportunity to find buried treasure on the beach with his new metal detector!
The rest of the week I scurried between Oxford (seeing the Kassam Stadium
from close quarters
whilst their game against Darlington was being played Saturday) and London. I spent one enjoyable afternoon in the company of family friends back home in Catford, now complete with it's own Chicago Pizza restaurant I noticed.
Then that evening I saw Billy Elliot
at the Victoria Palace Theatre, without any doubt the best show I have seen for a long while. On Friday I killed a spare morning by going to the Science Museum
. Before I left London I vowed to re-visit all the major museums and saw precisely none, so I am trying to see them retrospectively.
The Science Musuem was much more modern than I remember, with an IMAX
cinema, the space
, the history of flight and the making of the modern industrial world
exhibitions my personal favourites. And it's free entry too.
American population to reach 300 million in October
The population of America will reach 300 million by October this year, just 39 years after the country officially welcomed it's 200 millionth baby, Robert Ken Woo Jr.
The growth is through immigration and not childbirth and the Bush government seem happy that this keeps the average age low (35), unlike in Europe, Australia and Japan, where it is greying.
After the 1st World War the greatest influx of immigrants came from war torn Europe - Italy, Poland and Germany. Now they come from Asia and Latin America."The 300 millionth will be a Mexican Latino in Los Angeles County, with parents who speak Spanish at home and with siblings who are bilingual,"
said William Frey, a demographer with the University of Michigan. (more
There is thought to be 10 million illegal immigrants in the US, although this number appears conservative. Hundreds of Mexican's pour over the 800 miles of Mexican / US border daily in search of the 'American Dream.'
The US Census Bureau estimates that in the second half of this century whites of European origin will be in the minority.
Chelsea away. What was the score? Drew 1-1
Back home in Chicago with a good night's sleep and an 8-hour flight to ponder yesterday's magnificent point at Stamford Bridge. It was not only a return to the battling performances we know and love but it was punctuated with some good possession football as well.
I have read that we were not at the races in the first half but I don't remember Chelsea causing us too many problems, other than the goal, which was Myrhe's fault. We kept our heads and tried to play football, albeit we were very shy going forward. Rommedahl did look a threat though and I hope his injury, caused by a clash with Luke Young, is not anymore than a knock.
In the 2nd half, we grew in confidence, with Darren Ambrose driving our ambition forward and with Stamford Bridge quiet, on the verge of bored by their status, we started to become less star-struck and eventually found our reward as Marcus Bent assuredly headed over the advancing Cech - the first Charlton goal I have seen in the flesh this season - from another long Ambrose assist.
Amazingly after that I felt pretty confident of our ability to hold on, even with four added minutes. I tried to dispel fateful thoughts that we could even snatch it, but we nearly did with Ambrose and Darren Bent, following excellent attacking play by Young, going close.
Maybe we lacked a little ambition after Carvalho was sent off but the final whistle was a time to celebrate a wonderful team performance and not criticise it. Lets hope this result has the opposite effect of whatever it was after our win in the Carling Cup.
Ambrose was the Man of the Match I understand - John Terry was announced as MoM at the game! - but it could have also gone to any of the our back four. A word about Jonathan Fortune. Introduced for his first start of the season against Arsenal on Boxing Day, he has been excellent, proven by nobody (including me) shouting for him to be replaced. Maybe the Palace goal, a need for him to quietly buckle down and some patience from us fans means that we have finally got an Academy player to be proud off. I hope so.
Around me Chelsea fans were asking who that "number 22 is?""Surely it's not Chris Powell?"
they said. Well hello, it was and what a fantastic game the boy had. HH and Young too. Holland and Hughes are not Smertin and Murphy but their inclusion is well deserved at the moment. Kish, heading for a player of the year nomination at the moment (god, I must be jet-lagged or something) put in another top performance.
Finally Marcus Bent not only scored on his debut, he plugged a gap wide out on the right to maintain the shape that we started out with, he worked hard and was an extra defender when needed but he also did something that will remain in the 700 away Addick's minds this week. After scoring he ran straight over to celebrate his debut goal with them. We like that. Well done Marcus, well done Charlton.
Reports from others that were there: cafc.co.uk
: Addicks Diary
; The Times
: BBC Sport
Photo: Addicks in away end before kick-off.
If you need me....
I am in the pub buying drinks. Vodka anyone?
Marcus Bent, Bent, Bent....
Halycon days and Plastic Blues
Another day, another hangover and the customary London cold (read man-flu!) probably caused by sleeping in too many different beds and drinking out of too many wet glasses.
Last night I was in Essex catching up with some good mates, trying to convince them that this summer's big stag event should be my side of the Atlantic and not theirs. Copius amounts of lager was drunk, which fuelled a good debate - think Vegas is looking good! - and this was followed by a curry in this new foo-foo place. It really wasn't our bag, nor the other drunk people in there at midnight and I don't expect it will be there next time I go back.
One of my mates was berating me last night for not updating What was the score?
for a few days, so DG this is for you.
I'm now sat on an Inter City train (do they still call them that?) and it reminds me of halycon Saturday's of the past travelling to away destinations.
Of course 3pm Saturday kick-off's are not the norm these days, more likely a 1.30 Sunday lunchtime and with £48 tickets, with none or little concessions and live on Sky to boot it is no wonder we moan about our away support.
As mentioned last week I will be at the Bridge tomorrow courtesy of a mate and his bosses new found love affair with one of the best club's in the world. Of course he didn't fancy a Sunday lunchtime game against little Charlton, but luckily my mate knew someone that would.
Talking of Chelsea fans, I was talking to someone yesterday who proclaimed to be one. I asked him who he had supported before Chelsea and without a moment's hesitation he said Arsenal!
Well the £48 will stay in my pocket tomorrow, thanks to a plastic blue, but if we get a result I will gladly depart with that money in a local public house afterwards, even a Russian one.
Come on you reds!
Sportspages on Charing Cross Road closes
News reaches What was the score?
that the Sportspages shop on the Charing Cross Road closed its doors yesterday. I have spent many an hour idly whiling away the time missing trains reading fanzines and magazines as have many other people I know.
Of course it's heyday was during the late 80's and 90's as fans all over the country began to voice terrace feelings into print with Charlton's very own Voice of the Valley
one of the very earliest examples. However the internet has pretty much killed off the paper format of fanzines, replaced now by websites and blogs like this one.
In fact Sportspages had another reason to blame the internet for it's demise. The original owner split the business into two when he walked away from the company two years ago. The shop was bought by employees and the mail order part sold to Sportsbooks Direct
. Of course the mail order and website grew, whilst the shop trade dwindled.
Another side issues of course to the changes in football, it's fans and it's culture.
Bent (M) signs, Euell move hits snag
I'm not overly excited about the signing of Marcus Bent
, and particularly the cost involved, but being a superstious type I will once again write these immortal words: "I have some slight reservations about the signing of Marcus Bent. The price represents a gamble. He is not an out and out goalscorer but then who is for less than £10m?"
It clearly spurred Darren onto eat my words
, so hey why not.
West Ham are said to have tabled a £7m bid for Dean Ashton
, mine and others preferred signing but clearly out of our price range I would suggest.
Word on the grapevine is that Jason Euell's proposed transfer to Birmingham has been delayed. Steve Bruce wanting to widen his options, and maybe look for an available player who has played more regulary than Euell in the last year.
An interesting and perhaps worrying statistic is that Euell, despite missing the last year of his career, has still scored more Premiership goals than Marcus Bent.
Euell out and Bent (M) in today?
It was over 2 weeks ago that Peter Varney let the cat out of the bag
about the club's desire to sign Marcus Bent, which shows us how long an actual transfer process can take to come to fruition. Today he is expected to be unveiled at the Valley after the club agreed a £2.5m fee with Everton. The story is running on the BBC website
, but interestingly has been removed from Everton's
official site after they announced the news late last night.
The BBC are also running the story that Jason Euell will today sign for Birmingham City for a fee "thought to be around £1.5m."
Remember Charlton's official site
may well be last with this news today but at least we'll know that when it's on there, the deals will be done and dusted.
Birmingham home. What was the score? Won 2-0
When we signed Darren Bent I had some reservations, I said in my post dated June 1st, 2005 that "he is not an out and out goalscorer,"
just shows what I know because he put that 2nd goal away on Saturday like an absolute dream. Charlton fans have not seen a striker this good since the days of Super Clive. I could watch that goal, and the pace that left Melchiot treading in glue, over and over again. I understand the buzz around The Valley after his goal was that of seeing someone in a red shirt do something very, very special. He is an absolute gem and we should be very proud of him and credit the manager that snappled him
up and not some of the other strikers that we were all banging on about last summer.
I was glued to Sky with one eye on the scores and one eye on the clock when Jeff Stelling announced that we were heading to The Valley because there has been a late goal. "Have Birmingham snatched a late equaliser?"
Jeff suggested with a grin. My heart sank until Alan McInally told me that Darren Bent had raced away to score. Game over. I wish they wouldn't do that.
A Hughes goal from a set-piece and a clean sheet but overall a poor game, with us defending very deeply again for long periods of the match but a massive 3 points when, not for the first time, the win was more important than the performance. But then again there was that Bent goal, a lesson to anyone that leaves football matches early.
Reports from those that were there: Addicks Diary
; Sunday Times
; All Quiet
; Charlton Athletic Online
Before I left on Friday the city was getting worked up about the Bears chances to get to the their first Championship final in 18 years but I imagine Chicago was a quiet place last night as fans came to terms with the end of the post-season, just as it had started.
Winning the NFC North title gave the city's famous gridiron team a bye and home advantage in the 'semi-final' of the Divisional play-off but despite the growing belief that the Bears could emulate the White Sox and be the 'world champions' they came badly unstuck at Soldier Field yesterday losing to the Carolina Panthers 29-21
It was the celebrated Bears defence that let them down yesterday, shredding 434 yards and 3 touchdowns, the last after Jason McKie had scored to pull back to 23-21 early in the fourth quarter with the crowd and the wind behind them. But it wasn't to be as the new-look Bears failed to create legends not seen since the days of Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and William 'The Refridgerator' Perry.
Homeward bound again
Remind me not to stay out late again and then get into bed and realise that I have to set the alarm for 4.15am to get on a plane to go back to Chicago to spend a whole day in meetings, including 3 hours with the CEO! It's not big and it's certainly not clever!
I'm then out again tonight, think I will soon be auditioning for this show
, and then need to get up early in the morning to pack for London.
I fly home again tomorrow night to spend some time with my parents, brother and son and have a belated Christmas! Hope you still got that tree up Ma?
Then I have the whole week to catch up with some folks, do some chores and take in the Chelsea game the following Saturday - my 2nd game of the season and both against the Blues. Why can't I arrange it that I can see someone we might beat? Oh, I know why. Because I am not the Messiah, that's why.
Anyway the good thing is that I haven't got to get out a 2nd mortgage to pay for the ticket. A good pal of mine (Spudz fan, but surprisingly well-grounded) has some work freebies, so hey, never look a Russian gift horse in the mouth.
Talking of Blues, we have the Blue noses first up this weekend, a more crucial game you could ever meet.
My kinda town
For the new year a regular posting on what catches my eye in the local newspapers. Some serious, some irrelevant, some noteworthy, some humourous and some just plain ridiculous!Chicago has been named as the US' fattest city
. "Men's Fitness magazine has named Chicago the nation's fattest city, blaming Chicagoans' love of television and lack of exercise."
The report said that 6 out of 10 people that live in the state of Illinois are overweight. Jeez. The Chicago Matadors
(right) who 'perform' at Chicago Bulls' games probably don't do anything for the city's rep.
Las Vegas was listed as 2nd with LA 3rd and Dallas 4th. Baltimore in Maryland was named as the countries fittest place to live.
Since my time in the city, the downtown riverwalk
has remained at best a building site, punctuated by the odd placard promising Gardens of Eden and Parisien cafes. Mayor Daley's original plan was to build 35,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space with docks for water taxi's to jet people up and down the river.
That has remained a plan on a drawing board in the mayor's office until now. Following the opening of a recent Vietnam War memorial, the city hopes to issue licenses
, before the summer, for 5 riverside cafes and a farmers market between Michigan and Franklin Streets along the southside of the river and to eventually finish lighting, fencing, stairs and ramps so that the space can open to the public.
Sadly every morning when I turn on the news, there always seemed to have been a fire overnight in the city. Early Saturday morning the landmark 115-year old Pilgrim Baptist Church in Bronzeville
was gutted by fire
. This might not mean anything to most people but the south side church was the birthplace of gospel music. It is alleged that contractors working on the roof caused the fire.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is asking churches worldwide to take up special collections today to help Chicago's Pilgrim Baptist Church rebuild. "Besides its own history of gospel music and the like, when Dr. (Martin Luther) King came to Chicago in 1966, many church doors were closed in his face. Many pulpits were closed to Dr. King, right here in Chicago",
he said. "Not Pilgrim. Pilgrim's pulpit was open to Dr. King"
Mayor Daley (he will mentioned a lot in these postings I fear) has declared that he wants Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics
. Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco have also shown some interest, although it is not even known whether the US Olympic Committee will even bid to host the summer games.Chicago's bid
is a long shot and appears a completely flawed one. This lady
doesn't thinks so and nor does the never publicity shy mayor.
However without an adequate large Olympic stadium plan the idea looks doomed. Soldier Field's playing field is not big enough and nor is the capacity and I don't know how they would add 20,000 seats to the current 61,500. Transportation is another big issue, the two major airports are already too busy with no sign in sight of the city getting a third. The 'L'
would also need a complete modernisation and extension.
And it goes without saying that funding for any such event is a hot topic. A new 80,000 facility has been estimated at costing a $1bn, not forgetting the cost of any failure to have worthwhile use for it afterwards.
I really hope I'm wrong because Iwould be over the moon to see two cities very close to my heart host consecutive Olympic games. I do think however, that the 2016 Olympics may end up in either South America or India.
I see that amongst the odd-balls in this years Celebrity Big Brother
is ex-Chicago Bull hero Dennis Rodman
, generally considered as a complete freak of nature. Perfect for the programme then, I expect.Amongst other things
, Rodman is the current Commissioner of the Lingerie Football League
, I kid you not! I look forward to hearing of late night conversations between Rodman, George Galloway and Pete Burns!
Sheff Wed away. What was the score? Won 4-2
Our defence is still as leaky as a leaky thing but not for the first time this season we had goals in us today as we brushed aside, not over convincingly, Sheffield Wednesday in the 3rd round of the Cup.
Despite Curbishley insisting that we have everyone and their dog back for corners and set-pieces, Sheffield Wednesday added themselves to the long list of sides who sniffed out our huge weakness by scoring twice from them.
Dennis Rommedahl, who is answering his critics (which I think only numbers one) in bundles, scored a magnificent early goal to settle the nerves but once again we conceded almost immediately, which means we have only kept two clean-sheets since early September!
However Holland, who again sounded like he played very well, scored another excellent goal to put us back in front before Romm gave us breathing space, scoring a 3rd in the critical few minutes before the break.
A knock for Rommedahl sadly meant that his game was over and Ambrose took his place at the half. Then of course it was panic stations as Wednesday threw everthing they had at us. Myhre made a good save from another set-piece before Paul Heckingbottom (a Yorkshireman if I've ever heard one!) scored again.
However, listening to the commentary (which was painful as it kept breaking up), it always appeared that our forward play was too good for the Championship side, and sure enough the telepathy of the two Darren's worked again as Bent screamed away from the home defence after latching onto an Ambrose ball. Bent rounded the goalkeeper and tucked away his 13th goal of the season to, I am sure, the delight and relief of 1,200 Addicks in the ground.
A couple of other observations. The attendance was crap. I thought only the 'big' sides considered the FA Cup a consolation prize
? 14,851 when they got over 25,000 against Crewe on Monday. Although I did note that they also got 14,000 against West Ham when they played them in the Carling Cup. Does the blame lie in the pricing of match tickets for a non-season ticket game?
Secondly, please let Murphy have an injury. Remember Scott Parker's "stomach strain"
which left him out of the Cup game at Gillingham, which meant he was not cup-tied, and now Murphy isn't either. Then again a "groin strain"
kept Dean Ashton out of Norwich's game at home to West Ham!
In his post match interview Curbishley denied any interest in Norwich's Robert Green
: "I'm not looking for goalkeeper. I've got three goalkeepers here and I'm comfortable with that."
Maybe it's all a smokescreen for a bid for Ashton with Lisbie and Jeffers to move the other way? One thing is for certain, we need to add to our best players not sell them.
Reports from those that were there: Addicks Diary
; BBC Sport
Sifting through the transfer junk
If crappy website Fans FC.com
is amongst your regular news searching this January transfer window, then please ignore it.
Taken from the 'Charlton Athletic Journo'
page:"Charlton Athletic 'keeper in loan moveJames Walker has signed a month loan deal with Hartlepool United Football Club. The young goalkeeper is rated highly by Charlton Athletic and has been training with the first team this season, yet will now aim to gain some experience with the League One side over the next month."
We know that Walker is highly rated both by the management and by fans that have watched him but hang on, he is no Steve Brown yet!
3rd round memories
I love FA Cup 3rd round day, despite our god-awful record in the Cup, I always wake with a huge buzz thinking of twin towers and trips the Wales! Admittaely the excitement one has as a fan of a smaller side and potential giantkiller is replaced with complete fear once one's beloved team become an established Premiership club.
I was racking my brain today on a flight back from New York for 3rd round memories and there are loads. My earliest 3rd round memory was playing Maidstone
in 1979. The 1-1 draw at home was remembered for the Hales and Flanagan punch-up lof course and then in the replay at London Road, with us leading 2-1 the floodlights went out! The game was held up for about half an hour before it was restarted and we hung on to win.
The following year we went to Wrexham
dreaming of Wembley. We lost 6-0. In 1982 I remember my Dad taking me to Brisbane Road, we were regular visitors to the O's
in those days. The weather was awful, we were awful, we lost 1-0.
The following season we played the very well regarded Ipswich at home and I remember Eric Gates
diving in the penalty box like he'd been shot by a sniper, to earn them a 3-2 victory and he basically admitted so to the press afterwards. A great day out was had by all the next year (1984) when we went on mass to Colchester's Layer Road
. Excessive bouncing meant that broken wooden terracing had to be lifted onto the pitch in front of the away end as a flukey goal gave us an undeserved 1-0 win.
The 3rd round match in 1985 gave me one of my favourite ever Charlton moments. The away terracing at White Hart Lane was dangerously overpacked and my brother and I were pushed and shoved all around the end as we vociferously cheered the boys on against our, then, more illustrious opponents.
Before the game started red balloons were released by Charlton fans up in The Shelf
and this set the scene for an electric atmosphere. Crooks scored for them but then we were given a 2nd half penalty at our end. It was saved but Flanagan (I think) put in the rebound. We celebrated like we would never see a goal ever again. Flanagan nearly won the game late on, his shot rolling inches wide of a post. I really, to this day, do not know what we would have done if that had gone in.
In 1986, a televised game at Selhurst, saw us lose unluckily to West Ham. The year after in front of a sparse crowd we were beaten by a very impressive lower division Walsall
team 2-1. In 1991 we hosted a very good Everton
side but lost narrowly 2-1.
Up at Elland Road in 1993, we held the 'mighty' Leeds United
to a 1-1 draw. Gary Nelson's excellent goal for us being eclipsed by Scott Minto's remarkable clearance of the line in about the 5th minute of injury time.
10 years ago this weekend we beat the Premiership's Sheffield Wednesday 2-0. Wyn Grant
described it then as "The best game I have seen since the return to The Valley - we played superbly."
In January 1997, in front of the TV cameras we faced Newcastle United and Robert Lee played out of his skin in the 1-1 draw. The ex-Addick got their goal but Mark Kinsella earnt us a replay at St James Park
. We were awesome up there, as Addicks fans swarmed the Quayside before the game, but we were undone by a trade-mark Alan Shearer free-kick in extra time.
It was a top of the table clash in 1998 when we met Nottingham Forest
at home. We won 4-1 and played superb (one of our best performances since the return to the Valley in my
opinion) and a week later I received a letter from the club because of complaint's about my language from Forest fans in our end. Hey, but that's another story, for another day....
3rd round brings excitement and apprehension
Just what we needed - a no-win game
. Curbs has stated that he will put out his strongest XI tomorrow, which is a rather radical move because I don't think he has a clue what that is.
Danny Murphy, the subject of transfer speculation
all week, is fit and apparently is fit. Smertin and Thomas, who has a virus (he gets a lot of virus' does our Jerome), are not.
The news that Uruguyan centre-half Gonzalo Sorondo will be out for up to 8 weeks
is a huge blow. We have hardly seen the boy but he looked pretty useful in the game at home to Arsenal until Fabregas put him out of action. An incident that referee Bennett thought was not even worthy of a free-kick, but the bouncing of a ball a sending off offence. Twat.
I assume then that we will continue with two front men but the question remains: Kishishev or Hughes? Both could bring different aspects to the game. Kish's battling qualities will be needed as Wednesday no doubt try to unsettle us physically in midfield. Hughes has a knack of scoring against lower level sides.
I also wonder if Hermann will go back to left-back with Spector coming into the middle. Today it was confirmed that the Chicagoan will stay at The Valley until the end of the season
. This brought another head-scratching quote from Curbs: "....he picked up an injury and since then he's been in and out and playing left-back when his best position is centre-half."
"And Hreidarsson's best position is left back but I play him at centre half and Ambrose should be in the middle but I play him out wide, yadda yadda...."
More than 1,200 Addicks will make the journey to Sheffield and despite our horrible form I would love to be there tomorrow. The 3rd round of the FA Cup is a day-out steeped in excitement, anticipation and apprehension and I miss that terribly. I wish I could be there tomorrow, let's face it, they need all the fucking help they can get.
If you're going to Hillsborough give them a song for me.
Turkey, Bulls and cowboys
Nothing like a nice long break to blow away the cobwebs and get you back into the swing of things at work, or maybe that's a nice long break to make it even harder to get into the swing of things at work? In fact I won't actually be back in the office until Monday as I fly to New York early tomorrow morning for a couple of days to see a client.
Shouting at the radio during the Charlton commentaries aside I've had a quiet festive period.
After arriving back into Chicago Christmas Day I had an Australian themed dinner around at a friends house. After seeing the crackers on the table I soon realised that an Australian Christmas is very much like a British one. My mate's parents were there too (from Australia) and told me that they would resist any talk of going down to the beach for a barbie on Christmas Day. It was roast turkey with all the trimmings, cooked in the sweltering heat of Queensland. I had planned to pick up crackers back at home because I have never seen them here in the shops but was glad I didn't.
One American tilt on the Christmas dinner theme was the turkey and the way it was cooked. I have witnessed first hand and you have read here about the American's love of all things deep fried. Well, how about deep fried turkey?
And tell you what, it was very good.
On New Years Eve I broke with tradition and avoided overpriced bars packed full of amateurs and went out for dinner instead. Midnight was understated and we drunk some very nice wine and ate some very nice food. It was something I might have done any other night, and it was good not to feel pressurized into doing something 'special' or 'different', when realistically it never is at all.
Otherwise I have been doing some constructive thinking about joining a gym and putting a new kitchen in. Both projects have involved meeting salesman and women, and my the gym bloke was a million times more forceful than the kitchen people. More thinking required on these.
I had some people over for dinner last week and again on New Years Day, which was fun and I've seen a couple of films, chosen for no other reason than they were due to begin at the time I arrived at the cinema.
Arthur Golden's bestseller the Memoirs of a Geisha
is very good story and worth a watch and then today I saw Brokeback Mountain
, a different take on a cowboy love story involving two male ranch hands in Wyoming. Beautifully shot and prime Oscar bait if you ask me.
On Monday night I went to watch the Chicago Bulls
play Milwaukee Bucks. (picture below)
Now, watching the Bulls at the moment is like watching Charlton. Coach Scott Skiles
does a mean impersonation of Alan Curbishley
and the Bulls 93-92 defeat was their 7th on the spin. Update 10pm tonight: Bulls lose 8th consecutive game against Seattle Supersonics.
"I'm really embarrassed by what happened out there, I thought we came out in the second half and pretty much, we were as soft as I've seen,"
Skiles said on Monday night. (more
I was asked afterwards, quite seriously, "why I always support crap teams."
It was a fair question but you don't choose teams, they choose you. Of course I don't expect rational people to understand that do you?
Everton away. What was the score? Lost 3-1
How is it that you can sign 10 players but then 4 months later say that the squad needs freshening up? But that is precisely what is required after another defeat today - the 6th time in 10 games we have conceded 3 or more goals.
We did create chances, and were a combination of unfortunate and crap in front of goal, but it was at the back where we were undone again. A penalty, given when Rommedahl found himself the last man between himself and the goalkeeper, and then two set pieces where defensively we were just bullied by two Tim Cahill goals that were enough to give us our 4th consecutive away loss. Clearly the win on New Years Eve against the Hammers, like the victory over Sunderland, was again more luck than judgement.
Curbishley blamed tiredness, even though we played less games over the festive period than Everton, although blimey that long first-class flight to and from Newcastle must have really taken it out of the players!
Regular visitors to What was the score?
will know I do not walk around wearing a "I love Kish"
t-shirt, however he has been one of only a couple of players to have come out of the last 11 games with any credit. I always believed we could sign Lampard, Gerrard and Viera, yet Curbs would still play the Bulgarian. So, did I miss something on the first day of the transfer window? Curbs' decisions have always caused debate, but at the minute they are causing serious disconcertion.
More concerns include the continued head dropping of Danny Murphy. I don't want to contemplate it but I really worry that Curbishley will consider selling Rommedahl and Murphy in an effort to reconstruct the squad. The squad that he added 10 players too in the summer! Fuck it, chuck Bent as well.
I'm getting myself worked up here. Time for bed, I'm sure it will all be alright in the morning. Goodnight.
Reports from those that were there: Daily Telegraph
; BBC Sport
; Addicks Diary
Bears stroll into Play-Offs for first time in 4 years
The Chicago Bears
swept to their first NFC North title
since 2001 last week and they did it in the best way possible beating old rivals
Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin 24-17 on Christmas Day.
Yesterday the Bears could afford to rest a number of their best players, with the semi-final play-off berth already secured. They lost to the Minnesota Vikings
34-10 but it didn't matter as they ended the regular season 11-4.
Winning the NFC North means that they avoid the first round of the Play-Offs, which start next week. In a very confusing system
, the Bears will play either Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they win their play-off game against Washington Redskins or the victors of the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers match up.
I have taken slightly more interest in this season's NFL because of the relative success of the Bears. More on their prospects of reaching the Superbowl soon.