Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Another Valley PR flop
More wonderful public relations work from Charlton. A good few weeks ago I downloaded the form for the half-term kids training schools
. I filled it in, sent a cheque via my ex and waited for the information to come back.
Now I know there was a postal strike, so my ex rang the club twice and twice no one answered. And nothing came back, not a courtesy call, an email, nothing.
So I had one very disappointed son at the beginning of half-term last week. Fortunately (?) my ex managed to get him very belatedly enrolled in the local Chelsea kids training school instead and I understand it was very good.
More fortunately I am a bloody better public relations officer than anyone at the club because despite some well deserved grumbling from my son, he is still a fully committed Addick. Some parents may not be so convincing.
And just wait until they cash my cheque, because as sure as eggs are eggs I know they will.
Is it safe to come out?
fcuk, fcuk, fcuk. Oh hello, I'm back but more of that in a minute. 10 days away, 3 games and 3 defeats. What happened?
I went away two Fridays ago thinking that Pards had assembled the best squad in the division and now what? 13 points from the top, Toddy out for the season and we're now on the worst run since Pardew took over, I mean, was it me? Foreign city, my superstitions shot, you know not wearing my lucky pants, missing my pre-game cuppa, not sat in the right place on the sofa perched over the computer.... what went wrong? A few positive comments would be much appreciated as I can't face trawling through depressing blogs and forums particularly as I will be at St Marys on Saturday and I need to be in finer Addick fettle than I am now.
Japan was awesome and I will write more on our experiences in the next week or so. I got back this afternoon, slept like a baby on the plane and need to be in the office early tomorrow. On Thursday I fly to London with work, well work doesn't actually begin until Tuesday, so I will endeavour to catch up with some z's and see the mighty, sorry sagging Red Army as well on Saturday.
Japan was exhausting, we truly crammed a 3-week holiday into 8 full days spending time in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima and travelling 1,200 miles between the three cities. That bullet train is truly marvellous. I've also acquired a nice dose of Man Flu (TM) and the last day or so was a tiny struggle but we didn't waste a drop.
Japan was sensational, its people gracious and affable, the weather beautiful except for one typhooned induced rainy day and seeing real geisha's scurry along cobbled dimly-lit streets in Kyoto, watching school children stand silent heads bowed in front of the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima and to witness the crazy fish auction in the early hours of the morning in Tokyo will be things that will stay with me forever.
Big in Japan
We leave later for 10 days in Japan. I have heard many amazing things about this modern cutting edge yet brazenly traditional country. We initially spend 4 days in Tokyo with a side-trip to either Nikko or Kamakura. Then we get the bullet train to the ancient capital of Kyoto and visit Mt Fuji. I hope we can also cram in a visit to the rebuilt but historically bruised Hiroshima before returning to Tokyo.
The flight from Chicago direct to Toykyo is 14 hours but then we gain an incredible 14 hours by the time we land. Tokyo is 8 hours ahead of Wolverhampton mind, so I calculate that Saturday night I will be enjoying some Shōchū
whilst keeping a close eye on my texts!
Depending on what kind of state my body clock is in, it might be asking a bit too much for me to find somewhere to watch the rugby, but to be honest after what has seemed ages since the World Cup began, I have become a 'Johnny Come Lately' to the competition, so although I am convinced I would've been swept up in the groundswell of patriotism if I was back home, it has been hard for me to follow here and the Japan trip will probably put the kibosh on me seeing what will hopefully be a victory to St George.
Back to Charlton, I'm actually away for three of our games. Plymouth and QPR on the telly (drat) as well as Wolves. It might be a bit quiet on What was the score
for 10 days, particularly since AT&T told me today that browsing the internet on my Blackberry from Japan is about a million dollars a minute. However hotels will have computers, maybe in Japanese, so I might be able to post something. Keep having a nose back. Sayonara.
The next 10
The first 10 games have given us Addicks great intrepidity for the remainder of the season. This new squad gelling far quicker than we could have hoped losing just one game, reaching 2nd in the table and playing some sparkling stuff along the way, if at times looking unsure at the back, but still I have really enjoyed the season so far, this despite having to spend Saturday mornings (my time) in a dark chasm waiting for a carrier pigeon to land on my balcony.
But what do the next 10 games hold? In the first 10 we, as it has turned out only played 4 sides in the top half of the table, although before the season began one could have expected Palarse, Sheff Wed and Leicester to be occupying loftier positions than they are. The Championship table though is always very fluid with teams often bouncing between play-off challenging spots or having their heads above a relegation battle and this season looks no different.
With a fifth of the season gone three teams in particular are already showing well. Watford, West Brom and ourselves. Others have started brightly such as Bristol City, Stoke, Barnsley and Coventry but that stat in itself speaks volumes for the quality below the Premiership, although Sheffield United's very poor start flips the argument or is that just down to poor management? Whatever, the Blades crap start, 10 points behind us, is a bonus to both us and Watford.
And what about Watford? Powerful, capable, efficient, direct. Yeh, well good luck to them eh? Pards has built a team to entertain, foundations for Premiership survival not Premiership fodder I would say.
So the next 10 games start with three in a week. In fact 10 games in 40 days, as opposed to the long drawn out first 10. Wolves, Southampton, Bristol City, Preston and Cardiff away all look tough on paper although only really Bristol City have a decent home record. Saturday's game is huge after a long break and I wonder if Pards after keeping a settled side for a number of games will make changes. Will Reid play? I wouldn't be surprised if Pards rests him to get him fit, how annoying is it that the Republic patched him up to play a meaningless game?
Racon would be a very able replacement and Sodje could start too in order to improve on our set-plays. Time perhaps for Toddy to begin over Varney. With Thatcher still out injured
, Powell will continue at left back for the foreseeable future.
Moving on, we then have two very winnable home games following the trip to Molineux but then come what I think will be crucial away trips to St Mary's and Ashton Gate. We then strangely play Cardiff twice in 3 weeks, at The Valley first. Quick, stock the burger vans, Jimmy Floyd is coming! Cardiff have been very inconsistent so far and then after the international break we play in front of the cameras at Deepdale where Preston have being doing far better than on their travels.
Bryan Robson, assuming he is still their manager, then brings The Blades to The Valley followed by Burnley four days later, then Cardiff round of another three games in a week to take us to our 20th match of the season.
Our home form will be crucial during the next period, to improve on how to break teams down and eradicate the defensive lapses that have so far seen us give up 4 points at The Valley will be central to our dreams. And away. The Hull game was huge from a character perspective but those kind of matches come thick and fast and we need to keep turning in those performances. Games against Bristol City and Wolves will probably be in contrast to the Hull game though, both will think they are good enough to beat us, we need to prove them wrong and continue to validate the buzz that Pards has created among us around this exciting young team.
I guess I have a kind of kinship with Cory Gibbs because he's American and he's about the only Charlton player you can read about in the media here. Gibbs was an Ivy League graduate
, which is no mean feat and let me tell you no mean cost. After college he decided against playing in the MLS and went to Germany, such was his reputation.
He joined the crazy FC St Pauli
in Hamburg, with it's extreme left supporters and had two good seasons there, although that's if you can call successive relegations successful? At that point St Pauli were struggling financially in the third regionalised tier of German football and after failing to find another European club, Gibbs moved back to the USA to Dallas Burn, now FC Dallas
He made a good impression in Dallas because Feyenoord
came calling in January 2005. Gibbs had a good second half of the season in the Eredivisie, but after that his injuries started, first of all at a game I was at in Chicago
when England beat the USA in May 2005. It was his right knee that kept him out for 7 months and after his recovery he was sent on loan by Feyenoord to ADO Den Haag, but he only played 5 games from January until Curbishley signed him on a pre-agreement contract in May 2006, days before the US national team's friendly against Morocco.
In that game a recurrence of the knee injury forced him out of the game and sadly the Germany world cup. In 18 months he has played only 50-odd minutes for us in a friendly at Welling plus a couple of reserve matches.
Consistent knee problems and then in another comeback game Monday
, an unknown team mate stamping accidentially on his foot in the reserves breaking three metatarsals. Gibbs career at Charlton has been nothing short of a disaster and his foot injury means he looks set to miss the rest of the season. How's your luck?
Contrary to some quarters Gibbs has struggled with injuries all of his career missing long spells at Brown University (left) and at St Pauli and only has 6 International caps to his name plus 100 professional appearances and for someone who will be 28 in January this is hardly prolific. We can blame the previous medical team at The Valley for signing him in the first place, their record on signing duds is second to none but Gibbs is one of ours and I for one would love to see him adorn a red jersey. His contract expires in May 2009.
Not only is he an American playing, well not playing but being payed by my beloved team, from what I have read he seems a genuinely nice bloke and not every professional sportsman is in it just to get paid, when you dedicate your life to something, then surely you want to excel at that particular thing, not sit around on your arse.
Pards: "He’s a really top guy who is so disheartened after suffering this latest injury. It was an impact injury, not one that just happened. I know the rest of the squad will rally round him because football clubs are very supportive like that."
Let's think of Gibbs too.
Managed to blag 2 tickets for the ballet last night, one should do this occasionally I feel to see how the other half live. People of all ages were dressed up at the Auditorium Theatre for opening night of the Joffrey Ballet
season. We saw Giselle, a ghost story set in Bavaria and very lovely it was too, and thankfully short, just two acts 50 minutes long with a Heineken in a plastic glass break in between.
The Joffrey Ballet moved from New York to Chicago in 1995 and is one of the countries foremost ballet companies, the beautiful Charlize Theron once being a student.
After years of touring and performing at different locations in Chicago, but predominately The Auditorium
, the Joffrey Ballet will get their own home in January when they take possession of their new permanent home, The Joffrey Tower
on State Street.
World amateur boxing comes to Chicago
In an effort to get out in front of the 2016 Olympic venue decision making process Chicago will host the World Amateur Boxing Championships
here between October 23rd and November 3rd at the UIC Pavilion
. It will be the biggest world sporting event to take place in the city since the 1994 world cup when Chicago's Soldier Field was used four times, including the opening game (Germany played in three of those games and Jurgen Klinsmann scored in each of them).
The competition will serve as qualification for the boxing tournament in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is expected to draw nearly 650 athletes from 114 countries.
It was confirmed last weekend that Jacques Rogge, the influential president of the International Olympic Committee that will decide if Chicago wins the Summer Games, will attend the event, which will give Chicago organisers a shot at impressing the Belgium-born Rogge, who will help narrow the field of seven cities vying for the Games next June. The current seven are Chicago
, favourites Rio de Janeiro
, Baku, Doha
, where I will be next week plus Madrid and Prague
In terms of the boxing, since qualification tournaments were introduced as the only route to the Games 11 years ago and despite of our history at the event, only five Britons have made it, including Amir Khan in 2004 and Audley Harrison as long ago as 2000. 11 young English men will make this year's journey and I could have been there to cheer them on as our company are running an organised trip one night next week.
Good luck to the Brits in Chicago.
May I be the first person to say that Steve McClaren is a tosspot, the first person from this side of the Atlantic anyhow. I didn't see the game, I'll hold my hands up, but he has all the inspiration of a ginger George W Bush that bloke. Well done Steve the first manager to take us to a championship non-qualification since, oh Graham Taylor, whose now works for the BBC, heaven help us. Let's have a look at what Mr Personality says.
"Obviously it puts us in a bad position. It's out of our hands. We've got to rely on Israel getting a result from Russia next month and then we take it from there."
No shit Sherlock.
If the Ruskies win in Israel and we didn't then they deserve to go through and we can have a first summer in 14 years watching the party from behind the curtains.
Gibbs injured. This is not a repeat!
"In the 23rd minute there was another setback for defender Gibbs as he suffered a freak injury to his left foot after falling awkwardly. Despite six minutes of treatment on the sidelines, he couldn't continue and was replaced by Grant Basey, fresh from ending a three-month loan spell at Brentford."
What the fcuk? Anyone there to actually confirm he did play 23 minutes?
The 6am flight to Detroit this morning didn't go according to plan. Well it did until the girl at the end of my row started talking to me. Now normally I go out of my way to avoid all contact with anyone on airplanes but this young lady just turned to me and asked me if I wanted to see her photos.
I ignored her at first feigning sleep but she asked me again, so I nodded and she then talked me through about 20 photographs of her friends and family. How strange?
Only on Saturday I watched the Borat film
and what kept going through my head everytime I turned over a photograph was, well if you have seen the movie, you know what was going through my head.
Then after we done the photo thing, I got the first object out of my bag and started to study it to avoid further conversation or secret family diaries or whatever I imagined she'd show me next and the book I started to flick through was Fodor's Japan
. "Have you been?"
asked the blonde kind of largish lady putting her photographs away. "Er, no not yet,"
I replied."Oh I have, I'm half Japanese, my mothers from Yokohama."
Yokohama, my back botty I thought, "Oh really, how nice,"
I said pulling this article
from yesterday's Mail on Sunday from my bag. Go on tell me you're a Palace fan I thought.
Becks coming to town?
are on the verge of making the play-off's with just 2 weeks of the regular season to go. I can see you're impressed, well don't be. Fire are 3rd from bottom of their Eastern Division but they will qualify as one of the best 8 teams, judged on their points total but like the cities beloved Cubs they will not be expected to dally around what they call the post season for too long.
America's schools lead the way in awarding everyone a gold star, even if you suck and Chicago paraphrase that pretty well in the MLS actually having lost more games than they've won.
DC United, Chivas and last year's winners Houston Dynamo look too strong from what I have seen on the box. I know some ex-pat Addicks up in Toronto follow their local side
, who have struggled in their first MLS season, but I have never got into watching Chicago Fire regularly.
When I first came to Chicago they played at Soldier Field which is walkable but since they have moved out of the city, not having a car has made it difficult for me to get to the new stadium, although I did see them draw at home to Columbus
, which was dire.
Chicago's fans deserve more games though, since their move to the very decent Toyota Park they were averaging 15,000 although since the arrival of Mexican footie icon Cuauhtémoc Blanco they have been packing them in recording near capacity crowds of just over 20,000 for the last 6 home games and this during the height of baseball season.
Their final game of the league season is next Saturday against Mr Beckham's LA Galaxy
. Beckham hasn't played since the end of August but is expected to play in their final home game on Thursday and then again on Sunday in Chicago. Beckham has only played in 3 of a possible 17 MLS games, a terrible return on investment but as he keeps saying he is here for the long term and not just the final half of this season. However I still think he has had a positive effect on the burgeoning sport. There are of course people, who never had any interest in the world's game, still turning their noses up and pretending it doesn't exist but crowds are up as is merchandising. In fact a stat that will surprise most American sports fans is that the season-end average MLS attendance will overtake the National Hockey Leagues
, just over 18,000.
The Fire v Galaxy game is sold out, cheekily you had to buy tickets for the two games proceeding too but at least Fire fans may get to see old Golden Balls unlike a lot of disappointed soccer fans around this country.
I did get an email from Ticketmaster
the other day asking if I wanted to bid on "two west side pitch level field seats to include two commemorative chairs,"
basically sitting on a deckchair on the grass then. Throw in a hot dog and a blanket and I might consider a ten-spot.
Cup of coffee mate with a splash of Kilroy Silk
I have just seen me in Starbucks coming up for 4 years ago. A smart looking chap asking someone if this was the "queue,"
and then spending 5 minutes trying to explain what coffee he wanted. "Skimmed milk? Sorry I don't understand."
I try very hard to the point that its a personal obsession not to talk like a yank, it is what makes me different, why would I want to change the way I speak after living in London and in Kent for the 37 years? I reckon my accent is pretty neutral, not at all Catford, most certainly not Chelsea, a general Southern England enunciation. People, well Americans like my accent so why would I change it. I so often meet Brits or other foreigners who talk just like an American. Don't do it.
Of course lift, toilet, crisps, fortnight, biscuit, pavement and petrol will get you nowhere so if one wants to eat chips and cookies or need to fill up the car or go for a pee, then granted one has to do what one has to do.
A thought for the rest of the day, do you think girls who order foo-foo drinks in Starbucks that are so complicated they must lie in bed at night rehearsing what they are going to order, are high-maintenance? This bird looks like she might be....
Football or Rugby?
An Englishman in America on a day like tomorrow is difficult. My local football, rugby and all things Irish bar wants $20 to see each game. The footie is at 9am but the rugby is at 2pm. I have offers to go and see both but more than likely will just pick one. What with the cricket as well, tomorrow would be a perfect day to refuse to leave the sofa, is I was at home in the UK.
I am off work again today, probably because at 5.30pm last night I realised I could. Last Friday I was in my shorts, today the weather is 40 degrees colder and it is hard to imagine some of the scenes witnessed at last Sunday's Chicago marathon
. As they say, this is fall in Chicago, with the vanishing summer battling the looming winter for the skies.
This time next week we will be heading to the airport for our 12-hour flight to Tokyo's Narita airport. Am very excited about that, although I have just realised that I will be on a plane for the Rugby World Cup Final. Bah, although if England don't make it, then not bothered.
This weekend will be a quiet one, we have friends over for dinner tonight, I'm playing 'soccer' Sunday and then Monday I have to go to Detroit meaning a 3.30am alarm call. Yikes.
There are a lot of grumpy people walking, running and cycling around Chicago at the moment. It is rare to see someone walking down the street without holding a drink, whether it be coffee, a smoothie or water, or a bottle in a brown paper bag, or is that just me?
People are grumpy and pissed off because the city council are considering adding a 25 cents tax to the cost of bottled water. "People enjoy jogging or driving with a bottle of water and there’s a cost associated with this behavior. You have to pay for it,"
spouted Alderman George Cardenas. (more
What's wrong with taxing fat fuelled fizzy drinks or fags? Well apparently smart-arse Cardenas is claiming that a shortage in water and sewer funds and an increase in plastic bottles filling landfills is all down to people drinking water. A lesson then that coffee cups, soda bottles and fast food wrappers don't affect the environment and each are bloody cheaper than a bottle of water.
Personally I rarely buy water in a bottle as I think filtered water tastes just as good. And if you are ever in a Chicago restaurant and get offered a jug of Chicago's finest iced water or a $5 bottle of some fancy smancy Italian stuff. Save yourself 5 bucks.
Spot the difference
Curbs has a new book out
? Well not exactly he has a paperbook version of his original book out, with a couple of added chapters in it but not about his 16 years at Charlton, oh no but his few months at West Ham when he miraculously kept them up at our expense. Nice eh? I mean who an earth is going to buy that? West Ham fans won't. They may if it was written by a small Argentine or an Icelandic biscuit barrel, sorry baron but Alan 'Mark Twain' Curbishley?
I don't want to bash the bloke, but that book was the
most boring bloody book I think I have ever read. "Woke up, had a cuppa, drove to the training ground, worked on set-pieces, think we will get everyone back for corners on Saturday, did a press-conference, said perhaps 17 times, ignored Deano today because he was asking me too many questions, and I really don't like that Konchesky kid, gets on my nerves, had a pint with Merv, he's a great bloke, drove home, watched Corrie with the Mrs."
I spilt coffee on my personally signed copy of the book, which my son bought me for my birthday after queueing up for it in Bluewater. I was annoyed by my clumsiness but truly if it wasn't for the fact that he bought it for me, my copy would now either be in a charity shop or the dustbin.
Is the Championship the hardest place to manage?
Norwich joined the sack race yesterday and fired Pards' mate Peter Grant
. Without being facetious, is there room on the Addicks bench for another old friend? Don't smirk, Parky could well be a target for Millwall or Norwich?
Anyway my point is that Grant is the 10th managerial casualty this season, still a long way from the 45 to lose their jobs last season, although obviously chairmen get more twitchy as the season progresses. There is a huge turnover of managers in the Championship though, a place where 20-odd teams think they can make the play-off's.
In the fizzies, 9 of the 24 managers have currently held their position for less than 12 months, a bulk of which was actually the summer. Three teams, Palarse, QPR and now Norwich don't have managers at all, and we have just reached the 10-game point of the season. Most clubs don't have money and allow new managers little to spend, but each are looking for the silver bullet, and the play-off's give more hope to more clubs, but also provide a real false dawn for many and their supporters.
Chairmen and owners get particulary edgy when the parachute money starts to run out as fans and boards alike start to pine for the Premiership. Leicester, who have never been out of the top two divisions, are currently on their 7th manager since getting relegated. Coventry are on number 9!
Skirting with relegation has already cost Peter Grant, Peter Taylor and John Gregory their jobs this season proving the Championship is one of the hardest leagues to manage in, particularly in the timeline allowed to be successful. Few teams consider consolidation a success any more, perhaps only Scunthorpe, Blackpool and Colchester and maybe Plymouth and Barnsley, although their good start will have increased expecatations.
Only four of 24 clubs — Watford, Bristol City, Burnley and Cardiff — have had the same man at the helm for more than 2 years, with Burnley's Steve Cotterill the longest in the hotseat since June 2004. Previous incumbent Stan Ternent had the job for 6 years, which says something for the board at Turf Moor.
If only these trigger happy chairmen would look at some of the most succesful clubs in the country in recent decades where very few, if any have had a high turnover of managers. Lets hope that Pards adds weight to that argument.
Dickson nets hat-trick
Josh Wright has been getting all the plaudits from the Charlton bulletin and official site
recently, and after a drought of young players in recent years, it is heartening to know of potential first team players not only being talked up but also doing the business. In the past many have disappeared on loan to the nether regions never to be seen again (and I bloody well hope that applies to Faye and Bent), but hopefully Wright will do a Scott Parker and come back knocking on the manager's door for a first team place. He does play in the middle of midfield as Parker did.
Grant Basey is back in the Brentford side after injury and another player who went quietly out on loan last weekend was Dean Sinclair, and after an apparent good debut on Saturday he then scored tonight
for them in an impressive 3-1 victory away at Swindon in something called the Johnstone's Paint Trophy
Naturally the player most Addicks are looking out for is Chris Dickson. Dickson has spent most of the season so far out on loan, first of all at Crewe and now Gillingham. He has been frustrated and not got many games and feedback from Gresty Road suggested that he still had a lot to learn. Well that may be true but from what we have seen in his reserve appearances, one thing he doesn't have to learn about is where the net is, and in his first start tonight for the Jills, he hammered home a hat-trick, all according to this report
goal-poacher goals. When was the last time a Charlton player scored a first-team hat-trick? Kevin Lisbie?
Sackings all round
News from around the lower divisions:
The south London and north Kent unemployment office was bulging with activity this afternoon. Tango Man fresh from his citrus intake this morning was first to stick the knife in just after breakfast when for the 11th time in 7 years he changed his manager. The unusually media-shy Jordan announcing Peter Taylor's demise in two lines on the club's website
Jordan would do well to remember his first act as owner of the Palarse which was getting rid of Steve Coppell after a couple of pre-season losses. Back in 2000 Alan Smith was the soup de jour, with Coppell not considered good enough. Hmmmm.
Mouthy git Neil Warnock has of course been lying in wait and one suspects that the Orange one will pass the reigns onto the Yorkshireman for his 9th managerial job. However as the saying goes, if you put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig. Just maybe an orange one.
Palace could always turn to Willie Donachie though, who got shown the door at the rust bucket this afternoon. "This decision was taken by the board with a heavy heart,"
spouted deputy chairman Heather Rabbatts
as little Willie was seen being buried under the concrete of a building site on the Old Kent Road.
Now I know Murray et al tried their level best to up our average last year when it came to managers but The Lions will now be looking for their 7th manager in 2 years. Donachie only signed a new contract in March and with a lack of funds ex-cheeseroll Richard Shaw may get the job permanently but I expect Millwall fans will be calling out for someone more experienced after a succession of 'young up and coming' managers.
Also this afternoon the Gills got rid of Mick Docherty
(son of Tommy). How that idiot Scally can blame him over Iffy Onuora for Saturday's drubbing at Swindon doesn't make any sense, but rarely does that funny looking man make any sense at all. Gillingham remain without a manager but are known to be keen to interview one of the Valley Express drivers, proven to be able to bring fans into the ground.
Marathon halted due to heat
The 30th running of the Chicago marathon
ended in confusion today when the race was stopped due to severe heat conditions. Temperatures reached 90 degrees on the flat downtown course. The winner Patrick Ivuti from Kenya beat Moroccan Jaouad Gharib by 5/100th of a second in a photo-finish and we watched them and other elite runners fly past us at the 12 mile mark.
However only 4,000 runners finished after officials halted the race at the half-way mark 3 hours and 50 minutes into the race. Word is that even those as far as mile 20 were sent confused and disappointed back towards the finish line at Grant Park. 305 people were taken to hospital and a 35-year old collapsed and died near the finish, which I assumed accelerated the postponement.
It was also estimated that as many as 10,000 runners failed to show at the race start this morning due to the expected heat. When we left home at 8am this morning, the temperature was already 84 degrees.
It will be interesting to see how the LaSalle Marathon officials deal with this in the coming days, particularly as many runners sited the lack of water and refreshments on the route. The city, hoping to win the 2016 Olympics, will face an embarrassing few days of questions from runners who had spent months training and from doubters who think that Chicago will not be able to host an Olympic games.Update Monday 10am: Five people remained hospitalized in serious or critical condition
Arizona Diamondbacks finished the Cubs off tonight
leaving one of the most famous baseball teams in the world to go into next season celebrating 100 years since their last world series title.
The Diamondbacks were always in charge after Chris Young whalloped the very first pitch from Rich Hill into the capacity crowd. In the fifth the Cubs had the bases loaded with one out but blew it when DeRosa (left) hit straight at an Arizona player and the inning ended in a double play. The Cubs left 27 players on base in the 3 games, with their three key batters Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee all failing to bring in a run.
The turning point in the series might have come in Game 1 when coach Lou Piniella removed Carlos Zambrano, his ace pitcher, with the score tied at 1-1 after six innings. The 'Big Z' had only thrown 85 pitches and looked as fresh as a daisy. Carlos Mármol replaced him and they ended up losing game one 3-1.
The young D-Backs never looked in any doubt tonight as the crowd prepared themselves for the worse. It was bad, a 5-1 defeat, the countries most lovable losers lose again.
Barnsley at home. What was the score? Drew 1-1
My 7-year old son was disappointed with the draw, probably because including a Chicago Fire
game, that was the 5th consecutive draw that he has seen! Otherwise he had a great day, joining in the singing in the Covered End but not surprisingly being a little confused about the song that began "Swing Low,"
not in his Addicks song book that one!
With only one Premier League Saturday 3pm kick off (don't you miss that?), Jeff Stelling's Soccer Saturday
was on Fox
here and Charlie Nicholas was at The Valley. At the beginning of the 2nd half they put something else on mind, but I managed to continue listening to it on the net.
Charlie's view was that it was an open game, with us playing some very good stuff at times, with ZZ and Reid at the core of it. My head was in my hands though when Jeff Stelling announced with 90 minutes up, "Charlie, you said that Charlton have been bossing the game, but I believe there has been a goal...."
Mind you it sounded like they could have grabbed all three when McCann contrived to miss a sitter right on time.
Barnsley are obviously a decent side and Simon Davey has got them playing some good stuff, but yet again reports from those there suggest we were a class above, although if late goals and indecision at crosses can be iradicated then I will feel even more confident.
Nontheless this was a tough run of games and now with 10 games gone, a true look at the table can be taken and I would have snapped someone's hand off if they put that in front of me coming out of the game against Scunthorpe on August 11th.Who was at The Valley
: Drinking During the Game
; Addicks Championship Diary
; Frankie Valley
: Sporting Life
; Kent Online
; Total Tykes
; Guardian Unlimited
.What Pards' said: "We're unbeaten in eight and our results are very strong and the club are where I wanted to be at the start of the season."
A bottle of fizzy pop for
: Andy Reid. My son's choice, it's not just his ability that endears him to fans, but his drive and determination too.
"Le Frog is a little piece of England. It has gone absolutely bananas. Queen's 'We Are The Champions' is now blaring out and there is going to be one almighty party in here tonight."
From the BBC Website
The Kite Runner
The film The Kite Runner
has been shrouded in controversy the last couple of days following the announcement that the worldwide release has been delayed for at least 6 weeks because of concern that pirate DVD's could flood Afghanistan and spark troubles due to the delicate issues the movie confronts, specifically an upsetting rape scene.
Particular concerns are over the safety of the child stars in the film, each one lives in their native Afghanistan and 6 weeks will allow them to finish their school year and then leave the country if they wish. (more
The film will only get a limited release in December to allow it to qualify for Oscar consideration but its said that it won't be widely available until January, which means for at least 6 weeks only the 500 or so people sat hushed in the Chicago Theatre last night will be honoured to see it because it is a beautiful and moving piece of art. I never read the book
but this is a startling adaptation and an absolute must-see. The Kite Runner is the story of the well to do Amir, who wins his father's respect but then hides an awful secret for which he only exorcises later in life whilst living his new life away from his destroyed homeland.
The movie obviously depicts the kite flying and there are some stunning scenes. Watching the film, it took me back to days on Blackheath as a kid. Kite fighting was huge in Afganistan but has been outlawed by the Taliban.
The childhood scenes between Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) and his servant friend Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada) are both tear-jerking and hilarious. In this country Afghanistan rarely gets a mention, hopefully this wonderful film will propel this culturally rich but forlorn country into the forefront of people's minds.
The prelude to the film on the opening night of the Chicago International Film Festival
was a long tribute to film critic Roger Ebert
, who is America's very own Barry Norman. Ebert's power over Hollywood in this country should not be underestimated and his television show alongside Richard Roeper is syndicated throughout the world. However for the last few years he has been very ill with cancer of the thyroid and latterly the jaw and has not appeared on the small screen since last summer, although he is now back writing for The Chicago Sun Times
, something he has done for 40 years.
The Kite Runner director Marc Forster plus author Khaled Hosseini and Khalid Abdalla who plays the older Amir in the film, all stood and gave emotional tributes as did other movie types. Ebert is one of Chicago's most famous son's and was presented with a Lifetimes Achievement award.
The 43rd Chicago International Film Festival runs until October 17th.
Mental health day
A day off today - a mental health day as I described it to someone yesterday. Much needed. I am sat here in my local coffee shop (not a Starbucks) with laptop, mug of joe and rather large muffin, not one of those toasted things, but a calorie laden chocolate one. Anyway opposite me are two oriental looking gentlemen each playing with a rubik's cube, totally ignoring each other and just staring madly at the square coloured thing in their hands, whilst they turn it frantically.
The sun is out, although we had a huge downpour this morning according to the telly, I can't be sure because I was asleep. Out of the window mental health days seem popular as people walk dogs, sit in the park by the river and jog. That reminds me that it's the Chicago Marathon
Monday is Columbus Day in America, a time to celebrate the arrival of Europeans to the country in 1492. Kids and those lazy bastards who work in banks have the day off but the rest of us are expected at work, harumph.
But the weekend comes in between and a time for consolidating on my sleep and liver recovery. It's Barnsley at home tomorrow and some little known facts about the South Yorkshire town can be found here
My son will be at the game tomorrow, and I am indebted to one of my best mates for taking him. His excitement was audibly hyper when I spoke to him yesterday. His views will be relayed on What was the score
shortly after the final whistle.
Cubs on brink
With the ticker tape from the downtown Cubs rally still flapping around in the wind, the euphoria which met their first appearance in post-season since 2003 is quickly fading. A young Arizona Diamondback team put away a costly assembled Cubs outfit on both Wednesday and Thursday night and tomorrow at Wrigley Field could see the curtain drawn on a season just 6 days longer than usual.
The D-Backs comfortably beat the Cubs 8-2
last night after winning game one 3-1 the night before. One can blame the heat of the desert but tomorrow's temperature here is expected to be 88 degrees when he players enter the hallowed turf for game three of the divisional series. There is an air of despondency amongst the fans, lets hope coach Lou Piniella can lift the north of the city to keep the winter from coming quicker than expected.
Memories of Barnsley
Charlton 5-3 Barnsley, 2nd March, 1985
Another one for those that hark back to the 'golden era.' Just 3,832 saw this Saturday afternoon cracker, in fact that season only 4 of our games, home and away, attracted more than 10,000 people. The final game of the season an extraordinary 47,000+ watched Man City beat us to gain promotion, a wonderful indicator to how we have grown as a club compared to City in the past 20 years.
Stood with my family on the wide open spaces of the East Terrace we glumly watched the Yorkshiremen rush into a 3 goal lead within 25 minutes, all of them coming from Ron Futcher. A quirky fact is that Ron Futcher, brother of Paul who also played that day, only scored 5 career goals for Barnsley in his one season for them, 3 of them coming in a 10 minute spell at The Valley!
We were dire that season, using a total of 28 players as Lennie Lawrence tried valiantly to try to turn a frog into a prince. Even a 30th minute goal by Steve Dowman (now that was a quality centre-half) did nothing to lift the gloom at half-time.
After the break an ageing Derek Hales came on but it was 19-year old Robert Lee, fresh from letting people in for nothing at the Harvey Gardens turnstile, who pulled another one back and suddenly The Valley was awake. Then in a crazy 10 minute spell the game turned on its head when Barnsley were awarded a penalty to surely put the game out of our reach.
Gordon Owen stepped up and wellied it over the bar into a deserted away end and about 25 Tykes dropped their heads. Three minutes later we were level when Mike Flanagan smashed home from close range. Game on.
Ron Futcher, who played in the NASL, was getting riled. Earlier booked for dissent he then got into a row with a lino just after Flash scored and was then sent off by referee Keith Cooper (Pontypridd). It was all us now and I remember the atmosphere being electric and its equally hard to remember there being so few people in the ground.
73rd minute and Flanagan's header is sure to be a goal but its handled on the line by a Barnsley player - nowadays a sure sending off, then I don't think he even got booked! Ronnie Moore converted in front of the Covered End, 4-3.
It was an amazing turnaround, a modern day Huddersfield, and it wasn't over yet as 'Super' Steve Dowman got his 2nd and our 5th to end a wonderful afternoon of entertainment. It was just a shame that only 3,832 were there to witness it.Charlton
: Johns, Curtis, Friar, Madden, Dowman, Aizlewood, Lee, Curbishley, Moore, Anderson (Hales 46), Flanagan.Barnsley
: Baker, Joyce, Law, Ronson, Jeffels, P Futcher, Owen, Thomas, R Futcher, Agnew, Campbell.
Sub not used: Goodison.
The 8th night of drinking with my brother ended on Monday when we put a couple of newlyweds on their first night of their honeymoon on the path to love and happiness, although the groom admitting that he had already purchased the $29.99 hotel porn package for their 3-day stay did concern me a little!
My brother completed the set of Chicago Addick
family members in Chicago this summer with my parents here in June, my son in August and then my brother. They were certainly all good times and each enjoyed the city in different ways.
So with just 3 nights at home in almost a month, last night I was in bed at 8.30pm. It was fabulous and I slept like a baby dreaming of Big Chris' 2nd goal at the KC Cauldron as I managed to see it on You Tube
before I poured my bedtime cocoa. By the way did you read some off those Hull fans' reactions
after the game? "Charlton are a team of overrated, cheating, nobodies,"
was my personal fave. You know when you are good when opposing fans spout that kind of tripe.
The next few weeks will be relatively calm. Work should drop off some, my liver should get a well-deserved rest and hopefully the continuing great weather
here will help the bags under my eyes change to match the rest of my complexion.
Tomorrow does signal the beginning of the Chicago International Film Festival
and we have tickets to the Kite Runner premiere tomorrow night.
On Sunday my football team hope to continue their fine form. We moved up a level after winning the 'summer league.' It's now the 'fall league' and we are doing well. My brother was witness to me scoring, making one and winning a penalty on Sunday night. A strange role-reversal as I used to drive him all around London when he was younger watching him play, once being made to run the line and giving offside to rule out a 30-yarder from him in the days before interference with play. He never has forgiven me.
Keep an eye to the right of this page
to see how the Cubs progress in the play-offs, tonight being the opening game.
And then soon enough October 19th will come around and we go on holiday to Japan, which should be fascinating. Has anyone been?
Hull City away. What was the score? Won 2-1
Is it over yet? Christ 11 minutes of injury time, what the f%^@! Absolutely fantastic result tonight, they are the kind of victories that will get us promotion. I 'listened' in alongside 36 others on the Charlton Life
forum, and when the server went down at the end I stared anxiously at the Sky Sports
scoreboard until it changed into bright orange signalling the final whistle. As I've said before.. welcome to being a Charlton fan in the 21st century.
Hull on a Tuesday night will never be an easy place to go and I don't expect it was very pretty as we knuckled down, got embroiled in an on-field punch up, scored with our first real chance and then killed the game off. What also impressed was how we came out 2nd half. Organised and committed we clearly learnt our lessons from Coventry when we fell foul to Coventry's aggressive tactics, but not tonight.
In front of the away end Iwelumo scored his 4th goal of the season and made up for his miss on Saturday, although to be fair he earnt plaudits for his performance up until that. Varney snucked out a poachers goal and the back five put in a much stronger performance, this in a pressure cooker atmosphere.
No doubt there will recriminations after tonight's brawl. Phil Brown has taken a side swipe at us in his press conference but how you condone a bloke who made a poor tackle and then whack a player three times and hold him in a head-lock is beyond me. Recriminations maybe but the Reds keep marching on.Who was at the KC Stadium
: Daily Mail
; The Sun
; Sport Hull
.What Pards' said
: "That incident perhaps affected them more than us. They tried to knock us out of our stride and they did that to some degree. We've now had two tough away trips and did look a bit tired. But technically, there's no doubt about us being good enough."A bottle of fizzy pop for
: Danny Mills. Another absolute stormer, its like he never left and he even was the peacemaker tonight!
There was a rally held downtown here on Monday to celebrate the Cubs qualification for the baseball play-off's
, slightly premature I would say. But in what was one of the closest ever finishes to the American League season, Chicago Cubs were joined by the Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies and the Cubs first round opponents the Arizona Diamondbacks from Phoenix. After 162 games it is incredible to think that the 3 divisions all came down to the last weekend.
From the American League the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and the LA Angels make up the octet, no place for my New York friend's Mets
. Cubs qualified from conceivably the weakest division but it no longer matters, nor does it matter that they have the worst record of any playoff-bound team in 2007. None of it matters, because as soon as the 162nd and final regular game is played, all statistical categories go back to zero.
What doesn't reset however, is the wave of momentum the Cubs will triumphantly ride into the Arizona desert. While the Cubbies suffered a 2-4 record against the D-Backs this season, things are looking much better for them than they are for their opposition, and most MLB analysts are picking them to take the series.
The first of a best of five series starts tomorrow night 9pm Chicago time and I will keep you up to date on the right hand side of the page.