Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
euell.... always believing
I was sad to see Jason Euell leave, not that it wasn't the right decision, although "up to £300,000"
seems a measly return for our record signing.
He overcame disabilty (he is deaf in his left-ear) to progress through Wimbledon's youth team scoring on his debut and then becoming a regular for the crazy gang playing 5 seasons in the Premiership. After scoring 20 goals in Wimbledon's first season after relegation, at the top of the transfer market, Curbishley signed him for £4.75m.
He then scored 10 or more Premiership goals for each of the next three seasons, including one in the famous 4-2 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day, 2003.
Not blessed with the best first touch, he made up for it with a powerful attacking style, for which playing just behind the strikers suited him. It was during this season that he pissed off Curbs by stupidly getting sent off against Man Utd. This was the season after, I think, that Euell and his wife lost their child very suddenly. Initially after a short break his form didn't seem affected, but we will never know how that terrible tragedy played on his mind in the coming seasons, particularly when things started to go wrong with him and he fell out with Curbs.
He also had a well documented bust up with fans trying to get his autograph after a game, which did him no favours, especially as he was very popular in the covered end.
Of course Dowie and Palace offered £2.5m for his services back then and we should have bitten that greasy Jordan's hand off, but we didn't for whatever reason. The fact that Dowie's now also willing to let him go maybe proves that he is a different person and talent to the one he was earlier in his career.
In my opinion a player who scored 10+ goals in 3 consecutive seasons in the top flight puts him up there as one of our best ever strikers. Jase leaves with Chicago Addick's
very best wishes and I hope that he can resurrect his career up on Teeside.
omar pouso signs on loan
Remember when all of our eyes were on Darren Bent on his England debut, but that goal Uruguay scored took your breath away (it can be seen again here
)? Well we have today signed that bloke who scored that 35-yard thunderbolt. Omar Pouso is his name and he plays for Penarol
in Uruguay and is considered to be their best player."He's got good ability, he's a good age, he brings athleticism to the team and creativity, but he also has plenty of aggression and competes very hard, which is very important for that central midfield area," Dowie on his 9th signing
. The Addicks will pay Penarol "£337,000 now, and retain the option to buy the 26-year-old for up to €2,250,000 (£1.515m) after 12 months."
the deadline looms
All quiet in the Charlton transfer deadline world mid afternoon in London and the start of the work day in Chicago.
Jason Euell is expected to sign on the dotted line for Boro today, but that surprisingly hasn't been confirmed yet. One website is predicting that Birmingham are about to make a last gasp attempt to "persuade the Addicks to sell"
Marcus Bent (more
). Oh, I do hope so.
Richard Murray was quoted yesterday, whilst at Lingfield races as saying "This is the busiest and most expensive summer I’ve known in my time as chairman,"
He also hinted that one more player may arrive today and it might be a striker if the lazy Bent does end up leaving.
Elsewhere Spurs have signed Steed Malbranque from Fulham
, with Wayne Routledge going the other way in a loan deal but it is West Ham who made the biggest splash so far with the reported signing
of Argentinian world cup stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano on a years loan.
'Arry Redknapp's Pompski have signed two more players in the form of Andrew Cole from Man City
for an initial £500,000 (rising to a £1m, depending on appearances, which sounds a lot to me) and Hajduk Split midfielder Niko Kranjcar
is expected to be unveiled at Fratton Park later. When do you think some of that dirty Russion lucre will be spent on a roof for that away end?Ashley Cole
(yawn) will finally become a Chelsea player later and Robert Huth and Jonathan Woodgate both signed for busy Middlesbrough
. Perhaps Euell couldn't get his Bentley is the car-park? Huth cost £6m quid and Woodgate is on loan. With their injury records, they should have signed for us!
Personally I was sorry to see Giuseppe Rossi sign for Newcastle
last night on loan to January, I was secretly hoping Fergie might give him to us.
diawara.... oooooh..... he comes from senegal
To make up for this disappointment of not being able to sign Cristian Bolanos
on loan (my you think we would've looked into all of this Home Office stuff before hand wouldn't you?), today Senegalese defender Souleymane Diawara signed
from Sochaux for £3.712m. He looks a big lad and is quick. He has been a regular in the French Championnat since 1999 and plays alongside Amady Faye in the Senegal national side.
With Sorondo doing his best impression of Gary Rowett and El Khak looking a shade to slow for quality Premiership strikers, I think that Diawara will be a excellent addition.
Back to Bolanas, I never even saw the bloke play, but he was highly regarded by those that did. I know the work permit rules are confusing but surely there should be someone at the club who understands the needs of the Home Office, after all we shipped him all the way over there and played him in 3 games. It is a real shame, as it sounded like Dowie had unearthed a treasure. I wonder if the same regulations apply if he was signed permanently as opposed to a loan. Anyone know?
back to the keyboard
Feel better for that. 9 days without access to blogger. Just hotel television and live witness reports from Upton Park and The Valley to keep me up with the news. Got home late last night from a misty San Francisco after an enjoyable, if not entirely relaxing vacation on the west coast.
We started in Los Angeles, which most people detest, but I like it's strange quirkiness where plastic tits and weirdos meet you on every corner. In between LA and San Fran we drove the Big Sur and had stop-overs in Santa Barbara, which I liked a lot, Santa Cruz, which reminded me of Margate and the wine country of Sonoma and Napa Valley, where as a birthday surprise I was shoved out of bed at 4am to go on a hot-air balloon ride. Fantastic experience and more on the holiday another day.
So 3 games into the Dowie regime and it was rather refreshing not to be a slave to the internet after the results, rushing to put my thoughts from afar into writing. It was nice to let the comments my mate told me in a phone call after each final whistle roll around in my head. The "optimism"
after the Hammers game, the "disappointment"
following the 2nd half of the United game and "the lack of width"
employed by the new manager. Then the burst of happiness and excitement I clearly sensed from him when he was walking away from The Valley on Saturday. "Great performance, like the old days."
A break now for internationals and just two days to go until the transfer deadline. Both Senegal defender Souleymane Diawara
and Uruguayan midfielder Omar Pouso
could be Addicks by Thursday. Diawara, recently dropped by Senegal because of a breach of of discipline, is said to cost £4 million. Pouso would be a loan deal from Penarol.
The club also wait on whether Christian Bolanas will be given a work permit by the Home Office after today's appeal.
Meanwhile Middlesbrough is set to be the next stop for Jason Euell
after they agreed a fee with the Charlton board. No disrepect to Euell, but with Wigan, Portsmouth and Watford all after his signature, it shows how the transfer window has created some real panic buying.
After the final whistle blows tomorrow I will be rushing off to the airport for a week's holiday in California. We fly to Los Angeles and will then leave on Tuesday for San Francisco, driving the Pacific coastal road, Highway 1, via stops for a night each in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma. The drive is about 400 miles and takes in what is often desribed as some off the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
I have not been out to either LA or San Fran for ten years and they both made an impression on me so what better way to spend the last week of my 4th decade as the 'dreaded 4-0' falls when we're in San Francisco.What was the score?
might be a bit quiet next week, although I will try to update if I can, but driving on the wrong side of the road and typing at the same time is probably not recommended!
The eve of another season, my 31st as an Addick and 3rd as an exiled one. Iain Dowie has said and done all the right things since he 'moved north' from Croydon and I believe we can be really excited about the new era.
A host of players have come in, with Peter Varney suggesting on the radio today that there could be two more by the end of this month. Today meanwhile Simon Walton
went out on loan to Ipswich for a month, whilst young 'keeper Darren Randolph
will be dropped off the Valley Express bus in Gillingham tomorrow for a month at the Priestfield.
Stories that Marcus Bent may leave or be part of a deal to buy another striker persist and I wonder if Stephan Andersen will be at The Valley beyond August?
But back to tomorrow. To me it'll be like a first date - excited but kind of nervous. So splash a bit of brut on, put on your best shirt (a red one of course), be confident and hope we get lucky. Dowie has sent out his battle cry
and I hope the 2,200 Addicks at Upton Park trump that in spades as we look for an encouraging result on the first date of hopefully many happy ones.
Later 11.43pm. Only ID knows who he will play tomorrow, but before I go to bed I thought I would have my say: 4-4-2 as follows:
Myhre; Young, Sorondo, HH, Traore; Romm, Faye, Hughes, Ambrose; JFH, D Bent.
Subs: Carson, El Khak, Sam, Kish, M Bent.
Come on you Addicks.
why has the US academy been dropped?
One other bit of news yesterday that seemed to lose it's way on the official site was that CAFC have decided to withdraw from the Charlton Athletic United States Soccer Academy initiative
. I wonder why? Lack of resources, too much investment needed? I'm probably only mildly interested because I live here but there was quite a lot of media interest at the time and I don't quite know what the Spanish programmes have to do with the American ones.
I was at home yesterday afternoon so I was lucky (and it is rarely I have used that word in relation to England) to watch an inspired first half performance against Greece
. Sure we will play better nations, even though they are the current European Champions, but on this basis our first four games in qualifying all have a very winnable look to them. McClaren sure breathed fresh life into the players as they took the game to Greece with energy, pace and passion. The 2nd half died a little as Greece steadied the ship but it was nice to watch an entertaining encounter after so many turgid performances under Eriksson.
Benty came on late in the 2nd half and by my reckoning touched the ball twice, both with his head. Understandably he again look desperate to be more involved, but it was another 15 minutes under his belt and hopefully he will take that hunger with him to Upton Park on Saturday.
reid all about it
Well, well, well, that was a bit out of the blue wasn't it? The signing of Andy Reid
, our 8th of the summer, had a touch of the classic Charlton about it with no prior media leakage. Reid, along with Michael Dawson signed for Spurs from the freefalling Nottm Forest 18 months ago - we were widely linked with both players at the time but £4m each was considered too high by the club.
Dawson has impressed at White Hart Lane, whereas Reid struggled to compete in a busy Spurs midfield stable. The Irishman (he has 19 caps) is a tiny bit, well a lot Pete Garland-esque, but lets hope the new fitness regime at The Valley can get him into shape. Not unlike the signings of others this summer, Reid represents a gamble but he does possess a cultured left foot, can score goals and is good at set pieces - gotta to be better than Holland any road.
I'm not sure how the "deal worth up to £3m"
will be paid, but I expect it will include appearance triggers and at only 24, probably a sell on percentage too.
With Thomas, Sam, Rommedahl, Ambrose and Bolanos competiting for the wide positions, I expect Dowie to charge Reid with the role of playmaker. Like Murphy, what he lacks in pace, he more than makes up with his passing and vision. One thought in my mind is that ID could play a 3-5-2 formation with HH, El Khak or Sorondo and Traore playing at the back, with Young, Reid, Faye, Ambrose and a wide man playing in a 5-man midfield, although we have been pretty rigid with a 4-4-2 during pre-season. It is not expected that Reid (injury) or Bolanos (work permit) will be able to start the new season - anyway more talk on team permutations later.
Talking to mates and reading blogs and stuff last night, I'm getting rather excited about the new season.
I had a very enjoyable time yesterday at the Medinah Country Club. 640 acres carved out
of some of the be
st countryside north-west Illinois has to offer (which is not hard). With a unique Byzantine-style templed club house (see photo top left), Medinah was actually designed as a retreat for the masons in the early 1920's. This weekend it will host the world's best golfers and 200,000 people are expected to turn up to see them.
Practice day was fun, we got close to Tiger, Mickleson (who just missed us with a wayward drive) and others as they strolled around the 7,561-yard course no.3. The sun was shining, beers flowed, albeit at $6.50 a piece and with no mobile phones allowed, it was very tempting to bed down and stay for the rest of the week.
Be a Tiger
The best golfers in the world meet at this week's PGA Championship
at the Medinah Country Club
, about 28 miles north-west of the city of Chicago. I will be there later for the practice day. The Medinah course (guide to each hole courtesy of The Guardian here
) was constructed in the 1920's and hosted the 1999 PGA title, won by Tiger Woods and has also been chosen as the venue for the 2012 Ryder Cup.
For many years before I came to the States I used to attend The Open and I loved practice day because you can get much closer to the players and it's not as manic as later in the week. Lets face it, the final day is best watched at home with a cold beer in front of the box and not behind a load of blokes fighting to see a ball in mid-air. Camera's are also allowed at practice and like everyone and his dog I'll be hoping to catch a glimpse of Tiger, although it is well known that he likes to get out on the course before 7am.Making all the news yesterday
was the pairing of Tiger Woods and defending champion Phil Mickelson. Joining them on the first tee will be Australia's Geoff Ogilvy, pitting the winners of the first three majors of the season against each other for the first 36 holes.
I of course will be hoping one of the 48 Europeans can win the Championship for the first time in it's 76 year history. Sadly that number will not include Darren Clarke, whose 39-year old wife died on Sunday
after a long battle with breast cancer.
How much will our shares be worth?
Is it me or are there others slightly concerned by today's announcement that Charlton plan to withdrawal from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM)
?"We will remain a public company with nearly 4,000 shareholders, and there will still be a mechanism for shareholders to offer their shares for sale and, if we obtain the necessary EGM approval on September 6th, I will be writing to shareholders to explain the trading mechanism in more detail."
I will be interested to see it. Whilst Murray states "that this decision will not result in any change in the current ownership of our club,"
it does clearly state that it's their intention to delist and maybe eventually go private, which a number of other clubs have done in recent years after entering the stockmarket became trendy in the 90's.
Once the club delists then there is no true market way in which you can value the club, so how would the shares be valued and what does a trading mechanism allow? More importantly if this were announced after the EGM on September how would we know how to trade shares before we can vote?
Fans outside of the board are said to make up about 17% of the ownership and with 4,000 of us the whole thing is rather moot. However I own rather more shares than a sane person should do so I for one would be keen to learn how much they are going to be worth if they cannot be sold on the open market.
How Green is your Valley?
Obviously not Green enough after we today signed Liverpool's 20-year old Scott Carson
on a year-long loan. I think this is a better goalkeeping deal, and infinitely cheaper. Stories of a £6m bid were clearly way off the mark and West Ham now seem set to sign Robert Green
tomorrow. He is currently injured too and not expected to return for a month. I am one of those fans in the "why do we need a new goalkeeper camp,"
so a loan deal seems a better option.
There is no mention of a permanent deal being part of the arrangement after the year, but it gives us, Carson and Liverpool time to consider all the options. It remains to be seen if Dowie looks to offload either Myhre or Andersen before month end.
Getting back to Green. I think Carson is better thought off in coaching circles and a Norwich mate of mine tells me of stories circling Norfolk in the summer of Green piling on the weight. This leaves to discussion whether the Addicks actually declined to move forward with the bid. It is certainly obvious, bearing in mind the time it took to announce Traore and Faye's signings, that a medical these days is slightly more than checking a heartbeat, which judging by some of players we bought under Curbs used to be the case!
Whilst on the subject of goalies, I notice that Dean Kiely suffered an injury
in a friendly on Saturday, which gives 'Arry an excuse to start the season with new signing David James in goal. However in a severe case of deju-vu, Kiely was quoted as saying today "I would think it an injustice if I was replaced in the side considering my contribution last season."
One other move of note to me today was Ipswich's signing on loan of West Ham's Mark Noble
. I heard whispers that he might come to us but I don't think Pardew was over keen on having him play on loan at another Premiership club.
I came to some decisions over the weekend.
After a day at the races
, I ended up going to bed late on Saturday only to have to wake at 7 on Sunday to play football. We won, thanks for asking. Then when I got home I spent the day putting up shelves, fixing stuff, sawing things and generally making a fine old mess. Last night I could hardly move. So as I fast approach my 40th birthday, and I am
starting to get a bit tetchy about it, I have made a little list of pledges to be carried out after my holiday and until Christmas. These include getting fit and losing some poundage in an effort to not feel like I'm 40. I want to give this blog
a makeover. It is getting tired and so am I. If Richard Murray can instigate change, then so can I.
I have a couple of hobbies that I have long just played at and not taken seriously. I want to develop these. One is wine collecting and two is geneology. And lastly before the year is out I want to do something reckless, which is most out of character. More on that another time.
Thank you for listening.
The Arlington Million
is meant to be one of the nicest racetracks in the US, and we are lucky to have the picturesque course just north of Chicago. The main stand suffered a massive fire in 1985 and didn't re-open to 1989. The race course originally opened in 1927 and was the first course to have a public-address system, an electric totalisator and a photo-finish camera.
In 1981 it also become the home to the world's first $1,000,000 race. Other races now carry larger prizes but the Arlington Million is still considered one of America's premier horse races.
I used to love going horse racing at home and have been to a lot of Southern England's best courses but Arlington Park's beautiful setting and facilities would not look out of place in deepest Sussex. The sun shone on all 12 races today, and it shone on me too, as I picked out a fair number of winners and places including Gorella in the 2nd biggest race of the day
In the main race, the much fancied Ace
came nowhere after Kieran Fallon was denied a licence
by the Illinois Racing Board due to the current allegations hanging over him regarding race-fixing charges back in the UK. Four horses had travelled from England, Ireland, France and Germany but it was a horse from California, Tin Man
(photo right), that led all the way to win the Arlington Million by a length
A way of life
A week to go. I will be at Chicago's O'Hare airport without any hair gel or sun lotion. My brother and a few mates will be in the away end at Upton Park. I will be waiting for a flight to Dallas, which is where we will transfer onto a flight to Los Angeles. My mates will be enduring the first 90 minutes of a brand new season. I will have to hum to myself without an ipod. Charlton voices will be getting behind the boys. I will be hoping for a painless couple of plane journeys after this week's latest terrorist fears. Charlton fans at Upton Park will be hoping for a joyous beginning under new coach Iain Dowie.
The week leading up to a new season always brings excitement and apprehension in equal measures. Whereas expectations of promotion probably exist in supporters of about 20 teams in the Championship, the same equality unfortunately doesn't exist in the Premiership. However for Addicks, it is all change and I think we need to be prepared for a tough journey, like rattling along in a haunted house with different hazards at each turn, but when it ends we will have a smile on our face, and want to do it all over again.
Give Dowie a chance. It will be different, no doubt, but Richard Murray saw the need for change, and change is what was needed and what we got. Be patient and supportive. Remember we absolutely hammered Sunderland a year ago. What did that end up meaning in the great scheme of things? Change is not immediate, it is progression towards a way of life.
Charlton is a way of life. Whatever happens. Come on you reds.
Bent & Young back in but no sign of Parker
Strangely despite being originally named in the England U21 squad and Steve McClaren going to the effort of explaining the reasons here
, Darren Bent was this morning named in the full squad
for the friendly against Greece next Wednesday. And with Luke Young recalled too, this has to be a great boost for the club with only 8 days to the new season.
Dean Ashton, who we were linked with continuously before his big money move to West Ham is also included and rightly so in my mind are Kieran Richardson, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Michael Dawson. Sensibly Rooney is not in as he will miss the European qualifiers due to suspension and there is no place for ex-captain David Beckham. Will the talismatic Becks be left with 94 caps?
There was also no mention of Scott Parker. He and us can only wonder if things might have turned out differently if he'd stayed at Charlton.
Sox show huge gulf between the two leagues
Despite heavy rain which delayed the start of the game by an hour and half, the Chicago White Sox saw of the New York Yankees just after midnight to win 5-4
, and the series 2-1. Sox pitcher Javier Vazquez threw 111 pitches, most at 85mph plus, which is no mean feat with no run up. During the game I was trying to work out how many cricket overs that was, it is almost 19.
Ozzie Guillen, the enigmatic Sox manager was thrown out of the game in the 6th, after a verbal assault on an umpire which lasted about a millisecond. "What did I say?"
Guillen asked. "I only said one thing, but I can't say it. I said something and he didn't like it."
The White Sox now take on league leaders Detroit Tigers in another massive three days on the south-side. What has become obvious, even to my novice eyes is the shocking disparity in quality between the American and National Leagues. The fact the White Sox are struggling even to get a wild card entry into the play-off's illustrates the point.
Despite playing far superior opposition the White Sox's record is almost as good as the New York Mets, who are by far the best team in the NL and the wild card place will end up going to someone not even good enough to just make .500. How can the MLB work to improve on this crazy inbalance because it's a shame that the countries best teams won't be on the stage come the end of the long season.
Long distance flights just became longer
Only last week I was at an airport and saw the sign "No hot drinks allowed on board."
There I was with my Starbucks coffee and thought "whatever bloody next?"
Well after this morning's news
, long distance airplane journeys are going to become ever so longer. There is of course nothing we do, it's sadly the world we live in and it's thanks to the efforts of the police and security services that we don't have another horrible date to remember in future years.
It would be nice if the airplane companies reacted positively to this and it sparked an improved on-board service. Maybe they could serve water and juices a bit more regularly, improve the entertainment, or have a mini library in economy class, just to make the whole long haul experience a bit less of a drag. Of course they won't, they will continue to overbook flights, increase prices and charge for any conveniences that once used to be complimentary.
And it is was always bad enough worrying that your bottle of aftershave would survive the battering your case got each end of the journey let alone your laptop, ipod, mobile phone, blackberry, valuable gift for Auntie Pauline etc.
Oh well, we'll get used to the disruption, caused by these pathetic pricks, because we always do.
Ambrose and Walker to be added to strikeforce?
I personally take a lot of encouragment from the last two day's work at Charlton Athletic.
75 or so Addicks, including Inspector Sands
, were in Antwerp to witness a much better performance against Belgian side Germinal Beerschot last night. Goals from Walker and Youga giving us a 2-1 win. The official site report is here
Misbie got some good press after coming on for an unfortunately injured James Walker. This brings up a couple of questions? Has Walker signed a new contract because he has obviously impressed in pre-season. And does his injury mean the tefal coated Lisbie will be involved at Upton Park?
Benty also got another 45 minutes but the number 1 goalkeeping position is still open to debate with both Andersen and Myhre getting on the field.
The signings of Djimi Traore and Amdy Faye
have not exactly got people jumping out of their new tops (that's if they managed to get one, since the club have sold the box they had!). Both players come with a lot to prove, although at various times during their stays in the Premiership they have impressed. Despite stories that Traore was the butt of every Liverpudlian's jokes, he was there for 8 years under two managers and has more medals on his sideboard than the whole of the Charlton squad can muster. Here is one Liverpool fan's view
. And from I have seen of Faye, he could well be the answer to our central midfield axis problem. Lets face it, a couple of summers back we were signing squad players from Birmingham (Hughes). Faye has to be a step forward in the right direction.
More exciting is this afternoon's decision to sign Cristian Bolanos
on a one year loan deal from Deportivo Saprissa
. This is subject to a work permit and has possibilities of a permanent move."He has a good physique and an all-important change of pace. He showed an ability to move quickly with the ball, become almost stationary and then move off again, leaving defenders trailing."
- David Pleat in December 2005. (more
From what I have been told the 22-year old Costa Rican made quite an impression on Addicks' fans during his pre-season trial and the Central American's signing is evidence of another different direction for the club. I am intrigued to know if this means that ID has Ambrose earmarked as his 6th striker alongside the Bents, JFH, Lisbie and Walker? I wouldn't be surprised.
Talking of Ambrose, him and Darren Bent were today included in the England U21 squad
, meaning that last season's top English goalscorer won't be named in McClaren's first senior squad on Friday. Lets hope that makes Benty even more hungry, but not hopefully for a sandwich!
Still three players are expected to join this week. The latest rumour surrounds the attacking midfielder Scott Brown from Hibs
A week or so of sporting events is on the agenda for me starting tonight on the south-side of Chicago. I have tickets to see the Chicago White Sox
host the Los Angeles Angels
in a crucial game if the 'world champions' are to extend their season into the play-off's. Sox have lost 7 of their last 9 home games and tonight begins a run of 11 consecutive games in Chicago.
I will be back there on Thursday as a guest to greet the team everyone outside of the Bronx loves to hate, the New York Yankees
. The Yankees have the largest professional baseball payroll in the country
, a sick $194m, and lead the Eastern Division of the American League
. Interestingly the 14th highest payers, Detroit Tigers
, are by far the best team in the country at the moment. Wouldn't it be refreshing if the Premiership was like that?
On Wednesday I will be at Arlington Park
race track to watch the gees gees and probably lose a bit of weight in the wallet area. And then in a wonderful lesson of how to throw good money after bad I am back there on Saturday to watch one of the countries premier races The Arlington Million
Tis is the season for jollies, so I wrap up next Tuesday with a day at the PGA Championship
, which is about 30 miles west of here.
Right, back to my expenses....
Old friends and foes
A couple of interesting stories regarding old Addicks and their foes.
Following in the wake of Niall Quinn, Back to the Valley star Lee Power has been named Conference side Cambridge United's new chairman
. I don't expect for a minute Power gathered the wealth that Quinn did from the game but I wonder how many more of the modern day players will go into the ownership game as opposed to management or the media. Back in the 70's it used to be common for old-pro's to go into running boozers.
Talking of chairman, old Palarse fool Mark Goldberg has turned up as manager of Bromley. Goldberg cleverly spunked £40m of his own money making Palarse a force in the English game, oh hang on that's not right..... Anyway, his brother-in-law is Chairman of Bromley and decided young Mark needed a helping hand. Article here
from The Times
I also read with interest yesterday that someone called Danny Murphy is on his way to Portsmouth after playing just 1o games for Spurs. Didn't he once play for Liverpool? Wow, how the mighty have fallen?
It has been nice to see Dowie put more emphasis on youth, but one of those that got away was Danny Shittu, who yesterday signed for Watford for an initial fee of £1.6m, which could rise to £3m. I once remember seeing him being interviewed early in his career and the reporter asked him absurdly if that was "really his surname.""It is,"
he replied, "but you can call me Big Dan."
I actually tried to sponsor his shirt once, when he first got into the 1st team squad, but someone had beaten me to it.
And finally in Curbs' book "The Valley of Dreams,"
he is said to exclusively reveal that he once got offered a bung
(probably from Lisbie's agent), he was disappointed with the FA's handling of the new coach situation, his sister lives in New Zealand and his favourite pre-match meal was lasagne!
I have visited the tiny islands of Bermuda 6 times since I have been living in Chicago, the last time a couple of weeks ago.
The idyllic setting and it's offshore business jurisdiction with no direct taxes help make it popular with business people and cruise liners, and although the island struggles to compete for tourists because its so expensive once you are there compared to some of the Caribbean islands further south in the Atlantic, Canadians, Brits and Americans have been visiting the island since the early 20th century.
Of course don’t ever call Bermuda a Caribbean island because it is not. Situated in splendid North Atlantic isolation 600 miles east of the Carolina’s, it is the oldest colony of the United Kingdom in existence.
Marine geologists say that 100 million years ago the chain of little islands was part of the lip of a huge volcano, now long dormant. The part of Bermuda that is above the surface of the sea is surrounded by a wide platform of underwater coral reefs meaning a stunning inshore sea of stunning blues and greens and a haven for divers. But these reefs, a turbulent gulf stream and centuries of heavy ocean traffic has created decades of mythical stories of the Bermuda Triangle
Discovered by Spanish explorer, Juan de Bermudez (hence the name), the storm-wracked conditions prevented any kind of permanent settlement until Sir George Somers'
expedition to the English colony in North America known as Virginia came unstuck on the reefs near Bermuda in a huge storm, which left the survivors including Somers to settle on the island. In 1615 the island became the Somers Isles, which actually remains an official name for the country.
UK immigrants account for almost a third of the 65,000 population, and there is also a big Portuguese heritage, the result of immigration from Portuguese islands, especially the Azores and Madiera and there has also been sustained immigration from the West Indies and Canada more recently.
Bermuda's location and tax status means it is home to 12,500 foreign companies, many American and the
y directly employ 3,224 Bermudians and non-Bermudians (2000 figures). With tourism struggling, international business is growing and it is considered one of the biggest markets in the world for reinsurance (my reason for going there, not as some colleagues believe, the Dark 'n Stormy's!
) Incredibly Bermuda has the highest GDP per capita in the world, $69,900, twice as big as the USA.
This goes a long way to explain the cost of living on the island. It is hideously expensive. A bag of groceries can easily cost $50, as almost everything is imported as the lands are mostly unsuitable for farming. The World Bank
estimates that Bermuda is 380% more expensive than the USA and 220% more than the UK.
I have friends who pay $6-7,000 a month in rent to live in (admittedly beautiful) 2 bedroom apartments, monthly rent b
egins at $4,000 for the smallest place and a very nice family home near the water could cost as much as $20,000 a month. The price of everything from a beer, to a hotel room to a meal in a restaurant is enough to scare any tourist away.
all around you are beautiful lush gardens, pink sand
and picturesque limestone pastel coloured houses (left). The weather is dictated by the gulf stream and therefore can be quite humid in the summer with regular showers, which is a good thing as Bermuda has no source of fresh water.
In my visits there I have got to know the 27 square miles pretty well. Most of the activity is based in the capital of Hamilton
, including the business district, the Historical Society Museum, the City Hall and Arts Centre plus the main shopping area of Front Street, opposite to which normally sits a huge cruise liner or two (170 are due to dock this year
). The historic St George's shows no signs of the impact business has had on Hamilton, whilst the once major British Royal Navy outpost at the other end of island is now home to the Bermuda Maritime Museum
, Dolphin Quest
, a shopping centre and the Frog and Onion Pub
Flatts Village is one of my favourite areas on the island, with its own inlet and small bridge. Tuckers Town is stunning complete with its museum, private golf club
and millionaires that are the only ones that can afford to play and live there. If you play golf, you will be in heaven as Bermuda has 9 course, the highest concentration per square mile anywhere in the world!
Activities on the island are nearly all outdoorsy, and normally involve the water. The national football team, coached by Bermudian Kyle Lightbourne
, is ranked 160 (out of 196) in the world. Clyde Best and Shaun Goater are both legends on the island. One of the biggest couple of days in the calendar is Cup Match
. Bermuda grinds to a complete halt for two days every summer (it was last week) when Somerset Cricket Club in the west end challenge the St. George's Cricket Club from the east end. Proving its British heritage of idiosyncrasy the popularity of the annual game was such that it caused continued absences from work. As a direct result a 2-day public holiday introduced back in 1947 and has been in effect ever since. Nice work if you can get it, and tax free!
There are a limited number of pubs on the island. The Pickled Onion
is worth a visit as is the Robin Hood, particularly to watch the Addicks. They are both in Hamilton or one of the two Swizzle Inns
on the island, which is credited for starting Bermuda’s national drink, th
e 'rum swizzle', a potent rum cocktail containing Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
There are a lot of business type restaurants, with stuffy dress code policies, but my favourite place involves sitting on the beach with a pair of flip-flops on at Mickey's Bistro
, which is part of the Mandarin Oriental operated - although owned by a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family - Elbow Beach Hotel
As I approach another decade of my life, I am buoyed by not knowing what is around the corner. Christ, I thought I did as I approached my 30th birthday almost 10 years ago!
But as I have hinted on here before, despite my love for big cities, reservations of so called 'island fever' and those wacky shorts! I would at the right time of my life be tempted to Bermuda
. My job would make the suggestion possible and I even understand that I wouldn't be the sole sad Addick sat in the pub Saturday mornings!Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.L to R: The Dockyard; Hamilton Princess Hotel; Only one car is allowed per household, so mopeds are the main mode of transport; A cruise liner docked in Hamilton; Gosling Rum Building; Royal Bermuda Yacht Club; Rich pickings; An extravagent office headquarters; Man in Bermuda shorts; A pink island bus.
$25 to watch Chelsea train? No thanks.
Chelsea are in Chicago today playing against a Major Soccer League (MLS) XI at the impressive Toyota Park
, which Chicago Fire only moved into in June. The game is a 22,000 sell out, with other people obviously not put off like I was by tickets costing between $50 and $125. And you thought 10 quid was a waste of money at Welling last week? For $25 I could have today gone and watched them train. Nah, I don't think so!
Chelski have brought their full squad to the windy city, except Gallas, with Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack expected to make their debuts. Meanwhile only one Chicago Fire player is in the MLS squad, striker Nate Jaqua
by the way are having a dismal spell in the MLS. After playing there first 9 games away from home, whilst waiting for their new stadium to be finished, they managed to only lose 3 games but after starting well in their new surroundings they have now not won at Toyota Park for 5 games but that did include a 1-1 draw against runaway league leaders DC United in front of 15,000 fans.
DC United, with Freddy Adu at last showing signs of what was once mass hysteria potential, are by far the best team in the country but in a tight Eastern Division
Chicago are still in with a shout of making the ridiculous lengthy play-off's at the season end.Update: MLS XI 1 Chelsea 0
Bids accepted for Faye and Traore
According to Sky Sports Charlton have agreed fees for Djimi Traore and Amdy Faye
The 29-year old Faye was signed by Newcastle in the 2005 January transfer window becoming a hot property after turning in some intelligent performances in the Pompey midfield. Fulham and Villa vied for his signature but it was Newcastle who got it for £2m. He went on to be a feature in Newcastle's midfield under Souness but Roeder appears to prefer Parker, Emre and Butt over him.
He could be the first part of Dowie's central midfield rebuild but rather worryingly the Senegalese international has never scored a goal in the Premiership since coming to England 3 years ago.
Come in Number 1
The 2006-07 squad numbers
were provisionally announced today, no real surprises except the lack of a number 1 goalkeeper.
There will be no number 1 after Andersen (16), Myhre (36) and Randolph (33) all kept their jersey's from last season, with no one stepping into Dean Kiely's vacant shirt. What does this tell us about Dowie's goalkeeper preference? Is he keeping it under wraps for Swedish national keeper Andreas Isaksson, who Dowie is rumoured to have agreed a fee of £1.2 million for?
The Swede certainly has a good pedigree - Juventus, Rennes - so maybe Dowie wants to break up the uncertainty surrounding the first choice Addicks' keeper. If Isaksson did come in, I would expect Andersen to leave with Myhre staying as number 2 or 36.A couple of season's ago
I noted my displeasure that Kish had become our number 7, but to fair to the bloke, whenever he pulled on the red top, he did give it his best shot, even if he wasn't Robert Lee or Colin Powell, but as for Marcus Bent?Here are the provisional squad numbers:
2 Luke Young
3 Hermann Hreidarsson
4 Gonzalo Sorondo
6 Radostin Kishishev
7 Marcus Bent
8 Matt Holland
9 Jason Euell
10 Darren Bent
11 Darren Ambrose
12 Kevin Lisbie
14 Jerome Thomas
15 Talal El Karkouri
16 Stephan Andersen
17 Cory Gibbs
18 Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink
19 Dennis Rommedahl
20 Bryan Hughes
21 Simon Walton
24 Jonathan Fortune
26 Kelly Youga
27 Rob Elliot
28 Osei Sankofa
29 Lloyd Sam
30 Myles Weston
31 Alistair John
32 Michael Carvill
33 Darren Randolph
34 Jani Tanska
35 Nathan Ashton
36 Thomas Myhre
37 James Walker
39 Rurik Gislason
Its hot everywhere except in Welling!
Thunderstorms should put a temporary end to the heatwave in Chicago tonight. The temperature reached 97 degrees here today, although it was cooler than New York, where I have been for the last two days. It touched 103 degrees in the Big Apple, although it felt more like 110 with the humidity, before I flew back this afternoon.
New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg was urging residents and public buildings to scale back on consumption
of air-conditioning, making restaurants and my hotel still uncomfortable. Lights on top of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings were turned off, Wall Street companies dimmed lighted signs and New Yorkers were being urged to keep large-screen televisions off when they got home tonight. A perfect night to listen to the Welling game
on the radio New York Addick!
Talking of which, is it just me getting worried about the new season? I think most Addicks are showing an unusual patience this summer but 5 promised signings became 1 or 2
earlier in the week and tonight's defeat to Welling (56 degrees incidentially) was in itself not disturbing but the "youthful team"
did include players such as Youga, Walton, Sam and Gislason who have to be considered squad players and M Bent, Euell and Fortune who are supposedly Premiership ones!
Four trialists also took part tonight fuelling some much missing speculation although to be part of that abject failure wouldn't have done them any favours.
The trialists were Spaniard Xavier Farinos, Costa Rican Christian Bolanos
and a couple of young players from the Ivory Coast, Ismael Fofana and Me Aboucar Diomande.
Ok, I'll finish with a rumour. Instead of Sidwell, Mark Noble will join us on loan with a view to a permanent move from West Ham before the season kicks off.