Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Weekend started yesterday, continues in Bournemouth
Yesterday we were at the Cup Match Classic
, the 107th annual cricket match between Somerset representing the west of the island and holders St George's representing the east. It is a two day, two innings game watched by a frenzied and noisy crowd. For those not at the Wellington Oval, they were either camped on the sides of the road leading into St George's or they got the hell out of here on flights to the US or London.
A four-day weekend for most ex-pats is too much of a carrot not to get off the island but for the locals, this is their Christmas and birthday roled into one. In fact the young lad who works for me returned early from his honeymoon to be at the game and I saw him in the 'Crown and Anchor'
tent throwing away his money. This is the only time of the year when gambling is legalised. No betting, no lottery, no bingo, no nothing here on the island.
On tonight's local news the captains were complaining about the wicket, not surprising as 23 fell today and runs were hard to come by. The outfield was patchy and dusty, shaped more square than oval and surrounded by scaffolding and tarpaulin, known locally I would assume as stands. From these people danced to loud music, waved flags, blew horns and drunk an awful lot of rum. We went last year too and it is very fun.
We never did find out the final score and probably won't until Monday but Somerset were on their second innings about 60 in front with 7 wickets left the last time I heard. We left the ground about an hour or so before the end as my pregnant-other-half was seeking protein different from burgers and beer.
Tonight my son and I fly back to London after a fantastic 2 weeks together. We would have to travel to another country now to cram anymore activity and fun in. I have loved having him here with me, and hopefully subject to us feeling up to it we will head with a couple of mates to Bournemouth Saturday to see what Charlton are up to.Update Monday morning
: Cup Match
ended in a tie for the 3rd successive year (it really does need to be 3 days). So St George's retain the trophy.
Happy 400th birthday Bermuda
Yesterday we were in St George's witnessing the ritual ducking of a nagging woman (photo). My ex-wife will be unhappy to know that my son loved it. "Dunk her again,"
he ordered the Town Crier in charge of this kangeroo court. He duly did. After, we went splashing about ourselves on St Catherine's Beach, a beautifully secluded bay overlooked by the dramatic St Catherine's Fort
and the sadly unused St George's Golf Club
. It is here by the way that the long debated new Park Hyatt hotel
will be built and it's a beautiful spot at this very eastern point of the island.
Our timing was a bit off as the day before on the very same beach there was a re-enactment of the landing of survivors and first settlers from the washed up ship, the Sea Venture 400 years ago to the day. The Sea Venture was on it's way to Jamestown in the Virginia with crucial supplies for the newly established colony but it became separated from the other ships it sailed with on July 24th, 1609 after sailing a more northerly route it encountered a serious storm, probably a hurricane. This area of the seas was known as treacherous and the Bermuda Triangle struck not for the first and certainly not the last time.
So, on Tuesday evening actors rowed to shore at St Catherine's Beach in longboats manned by Sea Cadets in period costume. A service was held on the beach followed by the unveiling of a cross symbolising the one that was left by the survivors before they departed Bermuda for Jamestown. The celebrations featured 150 sailors, including the crew of the visiting Royal Navy destroyer HMS Manchester.
Back in 1609 the survivors, included the Admiral of the Fleet and Bermuda's founder Sir George Somers and one of histories greatest privateers
Christopher Newport plus a dog, 138 men and 10 women remained on this sandy isle for 9 months building two replacement boats from the remnants of the Sea Venture wreck and cedar from trees found on the island.
Two of crew were left on Bermuda to claim the land for England while the two ships continued their journey to Jamestown. Being left behind was meant as a punishment for renowned mutineer Christopher Carter and muderer Robert Waters, who had earlier killed a fellow crewman with a shovel but was later pardoned. Carter and Waters are considered the first ever Bermudians.
Meanwhile when the two new ships, Deliverance (there is a life-size replica of the ship in St George's) and Patience arrived at Jamestown in May 1610 they found death and misery as members of the rest of the fleet had floundered against starvation, disease and unfriendly Native Americans. Just 60 of the 330 men had survived but Somers' men had brought fresh food supplies from Bermuda, mainly salted pork from hundreds of pigs found on the deserted island.
Bermuda's maybe a British colony but it has played a important part in America's history too. In fact I would say despite the many Union Jack's fluttering around the island many of today's generation feel more American than British, encouraged probably by the countries Premier, who "was on vacation"
for the 400-year celebrations. The Queen sent her wishes "Bermuda's history is a testament to the resourcefulness and resilience of the people who call Bermuda home, characteristics shown by the early settlers and through the ages. I am proud of your achievements,"
but refused to pay her respects in person due to the recent spat between Government's over Premier Brown's decision to resettle four former Guantánamo Bay prisoners
without asking Britain’s permission.
Anyway it is a fine achievement for a tiny island 600 miles from anywhere. Happy birthday Bermuda. Click for the full story
of the settling of Bermuda.
Management team announced
Tim Breacker was surprisingly appointed as Phil Parkinson's Assistant this afternoon
. The ex-full back spent 7 years at Luton and 9 at West Ham and has been out of work after being released from his Assistant Manager's role at Leicester after Nigel Pearson took over a year ago from Ian Holloway. Breacker was a lively attacking full back during his playing career with a decent cross if I remember. He has the UEFA Pro A licence and is a renowned fitness freak. Welcome to the mad house Tim.
With Mark Kinsella also signing a new contract as First Team Coach, Damian Matthews role being more clearly defined and Phil Chapple reverting to Chief Scout, finally there is a semblence of organisation about the club with just a week and a half to go before the opening game.
So what does this mean? Have the new investors given their blessing to this management team? One would have thought so. Rumours were again coming out of The Valley tonight that Peter Varney's consortium are almost there and an announcement is imminent.
Whilst the club have turned down offers for Chris Dickson and Stuart Fleetwood, Izale McLeod does appear to be on his way. Parkinson confirmed that Hearts are in negotiation to take him to Scotland
. McLeod has had a pretty awful time at Charlton, but I would have thought that we may now have found his level.
Over 5,000 were at The Valley tonight to see the Addicks beat Ipswich 2-1
. All three goals were penalties, Burton scoring our two. I have some read positive thoughts of fans at the game, and it is nice to finally read about some football. Blackheath Addicted's report is here
Appearing for the whole 90 minutes was 36-year old Christian Dailly. The 6th most capped Scottish footballer ever has had a wonderful career and was playing first team football irregularly for Scottish Champions Rangers last season and I know he was loved by West Ham fans. The question is can a 36-year old get by in Div 3 with guile and experience? Tunisian Radhi Jaïdi and Chris McCready are other centre halves being looked at by Parkinson, who for the first time sounds like he has been given licence to prepare for the new season and bring in some bodies.
A week in time
A week in Bermuda with my son and it has been fantastic. Not a minutes rest, we've run around the island creating all sorts of good memories and havoc leaving no time to blog. My son's highlight of driving a speedboat may well be surpassed tomorrow when he goes to play with the dolphins. We are here until Friday night when we sadly head home.
Let's face it, there is little or no Charlton activity to report on with just 12 days to go until the start of the season. Incredible isn't it and what a mess we find ourselves in. By all accounts the pre-season friendlies at best have been uninspiring with the management surprising most of us by using a couple of the games to put out inexperienced and youthful sides. I would have thought every minute of each game needed to be used to find a starting line up and some cohesion.
While players slowly drift to pastures new as we wait on death row for some kind of saviour it amazes me that the quadruplet of Bailey, Sam, Shelvey and Racon still remain, this despite each name being accompanied by summer rumours, the most believable one being Bailey to Middlesbrough depending on the takeover situation.
With Matt Holland still training with Colchester, but yet to feature in a game, Jon Fortune on trial at Sheffield United, Moutaouakil trying out for Portsmouth, Andy Gray's medical into it's second week up at Oakwell and with bids tabled for both Dickson and Fleetwood by Gillingham and Exeter respectively the bloke who does the squad numbers in the club shop will soon be the next to face redundancy.
By all accounts Fortune would like to stay but like anyone who needs to feed family and pay a mortgage, he'd like to know what his next pay cheque is going to say, if he gets one at all. This remember is the man who turned down Premiership bound Stoke two years ago and is due a deserved testimonial. Bailey's loyalty is there for all to see by checking his appearance record.... Middlesborough would be his 4th club in 4 seasons.
With a reasonably healthy squad, Dean Sinclair aside (yeh, I know) plus Martin Christensen (the best winger you have never seen) busy spending his 5k a week in Lyngby the line up's in friendlies have already looked patched together. Wagstaff has been playing full back, Tuna in midfield and Basey, Youga, Semedo, Spring and A Trialist have all joined either Llera or Mambo at centre-half at some point in games. Yado Mambo was considered not good enough for the reserves last season but seems likely to start at home to Wycombe. Let us just hope that the bloke who irons the numbers on the shirts put's a 5 on Mambo's shirt before he leaves.
Meanwhile Parky remains in his office, the one he apparently cleared in May. He is still under contract and don't we know it, unlike No. 2 Mark Kinsella who isn't. Culpable or not for our plight, Kins' love of the club runs as deep as the 9,024 who have bought a season ticket. Everyone I know well has yet to renew.
I recently in my holiday mood have started to feel pangs of sympathy for Parkinson however. Others have said the same, and it cannot be easy working in a darkroom with a very muddled heirarchy above you and a tunnel ahead with no exit, just a list of fixtures. To his credit I have not heard him once wallow in self-pity, something his predecessor often did. One of today's Sunday's declared that Curbs will come back to the club if Peter Varney's "proposed takeover"
happens. Maybe we can entice Richard Rufus out of the Ministry too.
We have the mouth-watering prospect of Ipswich Town and Roy Keane gracing us with their presence at The Valley on Tuesday. Parkinson will surely put out his 'strongest' team but I suspect Bournemouth on Saturday will appeal to more Addicks, a game I hope to be at too. My only Charlton, you make me happy when skies are (very) grey.
46 hours off island, of which 13 or so were sat on an airplane. Thinking about it spending a few hours in Bluewater
seemed to be a bit of a waste, but if you have ever been shopping in Bermuda, then you will realise the temptation. Saturday night was spent in a pub in Hornchurch, the latter hours in an Indian restaurant, those a bit more sketchy than the ones earlier.
Several hours spent in the company of some of my best mates and one in particular who has really been through the ringer healthwise this year was a beautiful thing, in a man kind of chicken bhuna way of course. Oh and 9 out of 10 for the shower gel DG.
Yesterday my son and I flew back from Gatwick and today we played tennis, mini golf and splashed about on the beach late this afternoon. Tomorrow's a whole new day of fun.
Statement from club
It took a long time to put the following sentences together but the late Friday evening announcement
by the board tells us that an offer for "some"
of the assets and liabilities is still very much on the table:"Further to the recent speculation surrounding the future of the club, the board of Charlton Athletic plc would like to inform all supporters and shareholders that it will, as always, act in the best interests of Charlton Athletic plc and the football club.
Over a period of months, there have been approaches from interested parties. One such approach, an offer for the football club (through an acquisition of some of the assets and liabilities of Charlton Athletic plc), is being progressed, and the board will make a formal announcement at the appropriate time.
Following relegation from the Championship last season, we are mindful of the financial consequences and will continue to work towards ensuring that Charlton are prepared for the new season, both on and off the pitch."
CAFC Supporters Trust - want to get involved?
The idea of a Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust is one that has been bandied around for a few years by Addicks but frankly we all believed so much in the board that it was felt by the clear majority that one wasn't needed. Maybe until now.
With still nothing but silence coming from The Valley boardroom, which is bluntly humilating and pathetic, there is in true Valley Party style plans afoot to investigate the appropriateness of setting a Supporters' Trust up, giving us more influence and control on the club's decision making.
If you want to read and understand more about Supporters' Trust then visit the Supporters' Direct website
. Owning CAFC shares these days, and I have a fair few, gives one little or no leverage but together fans umbrellaed under a Trust will always have a louder voice, both financially and numerically. There are over 140 Supporters' Trusts in the UK, with Stockport County, Brentford, Exeter City and Notts County all owned outright by supporters. The largest Trust incidentially is Manchester's United with 30,000 members.Proposed by ex-supporters' director Ben Hayes
a meeting has been set up on August 4th at 7.30pm at the Conservative Club in Charlton, 51 Charlton Church Lane. If you have an interest in helping or finding out more please attend and pass this message onto fellow Addicks.
Home for the weekend
Tonight we kick off our first Lamaze
baby class. I had no idea what Lamaze was, because I am sure last time we did NCT so I looked it up and was slightly put off when I read that Dr. Lamaze was influenced by Soviet childbirth practices. Anyway despite the possibility that it will be run by some butch Russian woman with sideburns I am willing to learn all over again and the classes run for the next 5 weeks.
Meanwhile on Friday night I fly back to the UK to pick up my son and bring him back for two weeks here in Bermuda. I have been looking forward to this for ages and can't wait to have him on the island. We fly back to Bermuda on Sunday from Gatwick and he is threatening to bring his newly acquired football trophy for best team player of the season, his first ever award. Frankly he has more chance of being a brain surgeon than a footballer when he grows up but you never know by then he'll probably be able to walk in to Charlton's first team, heck I will too.
Statement due "in near future"
The Fans Forum
that originally initiated the Murray/Chappell/season ticket holders meeting last week that got cancelled have finally got a response from the club on when they will be making some form of statement in response to the Mail on Sunday
article about administration that has led to mounting speculation from Addicks everywhere.
In response to an email from the Forum's Dave Rudd, CEO Steve Waggott said "The Directors are all aware of the Mail on Sunday story and its contents and are in the process of preparing a statement explaining the current situation that they will release in the near future."
The three B's
Despite brunch, baby stuff and the beach, yesterday was spent almost entirely attached to the internet, mostly Charlton Life
which has become like an online therapy centre for neurotic Addicks, like oneself.
I had brunch with an old friend after I spent a couple of hours searching around for any crumbs of comfort on the net after I woke, then we practiced strollers and car seats until we gave up, me citing heat exhaustion so I could go back to the internet. Around that time the players did put in a decent workout to beat 2nd tier Irish side Wexford Youths 3-0. For a proper report including the names of the two trialists that don't appear on cafc.co.uk
, click here
And then yesterday late afternoon with pregnant-other-half getting more agitated by my furious tapping on the keybooard, we went and sat on the beach and had a swim to cool down. My laptop was not the only thing that was hot here yesterday.
Mick Collins was the source of Saturday night's story in the Mail on Sunday
. Mick has impeccible sources but without any ratification from the club, then we are all left to speculate. What we can summise though is that the existing directors want as much returned on their investment, i.e have their loans wiped clean as much as possible, whereas the buyers want to get their trophy for as little as they can. So a stalement has ensued. There is plenty more to ruminate and be sure that is what bloggers and posters will continue to do but a thought for this morning.... can you imagine the friction at this time between Richard Murray and Peter Varney?
"Brink of Collapse" - Sunday Mail
I don't normally believe anything I read in the Daily Mail
, however this appears in tomorrow's edition:"Charlton are poised to be the next club to fall into administration, with a takeover bid on the brink of collapse because of debts of up to £40m. A group of local businessmen who had been in talks about a £30m buy-out were alarmed to discover the extent of the League One club's liabilities."
The Mail also broke the denouement of the Zabeel takeover and the more I think about this the more I worry about the statement. There is clearly a reason why this whole process is taking a long time. Football club takeovers do not ordinarily present an array of issues in the M&A world as clubs generally are pretty transparent and simplistic organisations. We know there is debt but we were under the impression, because we were told so, that it was friendly, i.e. owed to existing directors.
Richard Murray was quoted recently saying him and others are set to write of millions if a takeover happens. However as New York Addick
pointed out, I too think individual directors are disunited and at complete loggerheads putting their own motives, rightly or wrongly first to the detriment of new capital investors.
Meanwhile I am sure Peter Varney's love of the club is spurring him to go way beyond the line at where others might walk away. The finances have fallen a long way since Varney was last involved with the club, something Zabeel I am sure were too very concerned about after their due diligence.
It is said the takeover could be completed very early next week, it could also very easily collapse and propel us into administration, particularly if Murray, Chappell, Hatter et al call in their debts taking us very much to the brink.
Right back where we started
As the Charlton players jet off with their new kit to Ireland
they were to be joined at the airport by the latest in a long line of right-backs. This one we have actually signed for two years unlike the others who mainly just raided our coffers and fcuked off. Let's hope Frazer Richardson
becomes a player we can fondly remember. Thoughts of a Leeds fan on Richardson here
The 22 players who tried out in the game at Welling
did not include Gray (injured), Racon (slight knock) and Sinclair (who knows) plus one other that the club has entirely forgotten about. Charlton, so his profile on the Official Site begins "fought off competition from Spanish giants Barcelona, Lazio of Italian Serie A, France Ligue 1 runners-up Marseille and Scottish Premier League champions Celtic as well as Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Everton for the signature of Yassin Moutaouakil."
and the former France U21 captain's career has been inexplicably ruined by Alan Pardew and Phil Parkinson.
Yes rumours do exist of Yassin being a bad influence, a bad boy and a bad trainer. Sorry but not everybody is perfect and Pardew and Parkinson were and are paid to manage and coach a medley of young men and personalities. It is what diffentiates good managers from crap ones and we know what cards we were dealt.
My memories of Moutaouakil are of a player that cared - he celebrated wildly a number of times with Charlton fans- and he showed skill, pace and more ability than most of the no-marks who have randomly embarrassed us by wearing our Charlton shirt in the past couple of seasons. Yes, I also watched a player who made mistakes, but then doesn't that comes back to the coaching? And if he had a poor attitude then that is something scouts from Charlton, Barcelona, Marseille, Celtic, Villa and Everton all failed to pick up two years ago.
I read with interest yesterday how Southampton's new owners waited just a few hours before they dispatched with Mark Wotte's services
, just day's after he was given a rolling 12-month contract. It didn't roll very far did it? Wotte's record actually stands up very well against Parky's. The Saints acquired 19 points under the Dutchman, compared to Parky's 23, but then again Parky did begin his managerial stint over 2 months before Wotte. Food for thought, and I wonder if any potential new Addick owners will be as ruthless as Markus Liebherr?
Taos, New Mexico
It came as a surprise to me to find out that Santa Fe
was actually over 7,000ft above sea-level. And a drive to Taos 90 miles north via the celebrated High Road takes you even higher firstly to Chimayó
, then Cordova, a fine place for authentic locally produced wood carvings if you need some. Next stop was to an 8,000 foot mesa called Truchas, about halfway between Santa Fe and Taos. In-between farmlands and badlands, this is an old New Mexican town, whose families looked to have lived here for ever. Peering over it is the 13,000ft Truchas Peak
The Picurís Pueblo
is next where the 375 Tiwa citizens consider themselves a sovereign nation with their own tribal council government. The people of Picurís have been here since 750AD and interestingly own both the Picurís Pueblo Museum
as well as the Hotel Santa Fe
located in the capital's historic downtown area. Not bad work if you can get it.
This drive to Taos is about two and a half hours but it can be done following the course of the Rio Grande
(below left) via State Road 68 and that's only about an hour. The town of Taos
has a lot of history with plenty of galleries and shops to peruse and even a ski resort
but the sole reason to visit is the 1,000 year old Taos Pueblo
a couple of miles north of the city.
Taos is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA and is part of a 95,000 acre reservation with a wider population of 1,900 but realistically only a 100 or so Native Indians actually reside on the pueblo where no electricity or running water is allowed within the pueblo walls.
The Taos Pueblo is also self-governed and the conservation and preservation of it's history and culture is considered sacred. It is said that the Taos community is one of the most secretive Indian tribes, and with schooling done on the reservation by tribal members very little is known about these very conservative and religious people who ancestors archaeologists say lived in this valley long before Columbus discovered America and for hundreds of years before.
Standing in the dust looking at the adobe homes side by side and piled up on top of each other was a stunning sight. At one time the only entry way into the homes was by ladder t
hrough an opening in the rooftops. These entrances guarded against intruders and was additionally a source of light. The adobes have doors now but the ladders remain. The walls of the adobe, several feet thick, are made solely of clay, straw, sand and water. The exterior of the houses are restored annually while the interiors are coated with washes of white earth to keep the rooms bright and clean.
Most of the adobe's were selling all kind of crafts. I always find it so frustrating that you can go to one of earth's most fascinating places and yet all of the goods are made elsewhere or in bloody China! Not here. Everything is made by the man or woman greeting to you as you walk into their homes. Pottery, moccasins, drums, sculptures, paintings and jewellery were all great gifts to cherish
plus the yummy Fry Bread
, baked each morning in outside Horno's
We spent a good 2 hours wandering around the pueblo. Just beyond the old wall boundary was the ruins of the original San Geromino Church, with just the desolate cemetery left to stare at and then the new (built in 1850, so hardly new) San Geromino Church with finely carved wooden beams within it's roof.
All around drying racks stand upright from the barren ground, once used for drying game and harvests as well as hides. Then the fast running Red River Creek runs through the middle of the 30 or so adobe buildings dividing the pueblo in half. The creek is the sole source of drinking water for natives, and kids are seen carrying little pails of water to-and-fro to the homes.
High above in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is the sacred Blue Lake, where this crystal clear creek water enamates. The Blue Lake was returned to the Taos people by the US Government in 1970 after a long history of struggle
and people outside of the Pueblo are forbidden now to go near the 48,000 acres of wilderness.
Most of us consider Europe or the Far East to be home to this kind of history but Taos Pueblo is very much part of America's ancient history. Visiting this Pueblo was a great experience and I'm glad we made the drive up from Santa Fe. The $5 camera fee was a bit of a piss take to be honest, but for 10 bucks it was well worth a peak into a different world from a different time.
A busy news day
I like the new shirt from the glimpse
we were offered on the OS before tonight's game with Welling. And a new sponsor Kent Reliance Building Society
or KRBS paying us over £100,000 for the 3-year deal. It was interesting to read that 30 English clubs are yet to secure sponsorship for the new campaign so credit to the club again. The deal I believe was done by ex-commercial director Steve Sutherland before he got made redundant. There is some irony in there somewhere.
Two things jump out at me about the KRBS deal, one is that with Charlton's record with shirt sponsors I would pull all of your money out now of "the most innovative building society in the country"
if you're a customer before they go tits up! And secondly how do you feel Mr Scally feels about his ground and shirt sponsor getting in bed with us bastards? Oh I can see the steam coming out of his caravan from here!
Also, in a busy day for the club website
, Parky announced that ZZ and his agent have decided that they will move on despite the offer of a new contract. Let's face it, I could ask Jessica Biel out for a date, but it's unlikely she would say yes. However I enjoyed watching ZZ play in a Charlton shirt, I loved his energy and intelligent play and without a doubt the team improved with him in it at the conclusion of last season. Good luck and thanks ZZ.
With Matt Holland weighing up his options, he's training with Colchester at the moment and Fortune and Randolph yet to sign new deals, we are looking very thin on the ground. Holland doesn't owe us anything and he may feel he can get more play time and more money somewhere else. Randolph meanwhile has read like we have Parky's supposed interest in other 'keepers. I suspect though that any plans, including the future's of Parkinson and Kinsella, who is working without a contract, will now be on hold until any takeover takes place unless sanctioned by the new owners.
On July 2nd, 1959 black movie goers protesting at segregation in
Bermuda's cinemas started a two-week standoff which ultimately led to the end of segregaton not only in cinemas and theatre's but also hotels, restaurants and schools. Seems incredible doesn't it?
However to celebrate the 50th anniversery a small park has been established across the road from my office and opposite the cinema where the protest took place. Honestly it is a bit of a nonentity to look at, and incredibly took almost 4 months to complete but it does come with a striking eight-foot bronze statue by Bermudian sculptor Chesley Trott
entitled 'When Voices Rise'
costing a cool $140,000.
As I passed it daily I watched this project with interest, which included cutting down a couple of trees, and replacing them with concrete pavers. However it is a credible undertaking to honour the end of institutionalised racism on the Island, particularly at a tricky time in the countries next chapter of race relations
Thursday's Q&A cancelled
Richard Murray and Derek Chappell have been given "no choice"
but to postpone this Thursday's question-and-answer evening at The Valley after receiving "extensive legal advice."
Murray said: "Our advisors have warned us it would not be appropriate to attend a public meeting, and the current situation means that we would have been unable to answer or contribute to many of the likely main points of discussion, which would have been wholly unsatisfactory. It might sound strange, but I hope fans take this as a positive thing, and of course we will rearrange the event the moment we are able to speak more freely."
The plot thickens, but can we take this as positive news about some potential investment or a takeover or is it just another illusion to deprave fans of answers? It also begs the question of why the Q&A was ever offered in the first place, particularly in the knowledge that this was going on behind the scenes?
Whatever the scenario, at least the silence has been broken even though this whole summer has been like playing with a huge CAFC jigsaw puzzle.... with plenty of bits missing.
Four years on - a fitting memorial
Four years ago today scumbugs tried to rip the heart out of the best city in the world and the people that live and work in it. They failed. This memorial
unveiled today in Hyde Park is a beautiful and fitting tribute to the 52 people who were murdered on the morning of July 7th, 2005
The memorial, designed by architects Carmody Groarke
comprises a field of 52 closely spaced columns, each cast in stainless steel. They are arranged on a common grid, but are subtly separated into four groups, the number of columns in each corresponding to the number of deaths caused by one of the four bombs. I will have to make sure I put this little corner of Hyde Park, between Lover's Walk and Park Lane on my places to visit next time I am home.
More rumours in advance of Q&A
More rumours persist on the world wide wind up tonight. Millwall's South London Press
have cranked the old handle with this: "And the South London Press understands that their takeover could be completed within the next couple of days - allowing them to be in control within two weeks."
The timing of this is actually very interesting because it is Thursday that Richard Murray and Derek Chappell host a question and answer session
for fans at The Valley. Probably not helped in anyway by my complete blithe attitude to all things Charlton at present, I expected the Q&A to be a complete waste of time. Yes fans will show up with good intentions to get answers to tough questions but will never be as prepared as their hosts and will end up going home full of Murray's charm and goodwill and Chappell's BS.
Danny at Charlton Life
has sent this letter
to Derek Chappell and Matt Wright to be considered before Thursday and I think this is an excellent starting point to a conversation that is long overdue after a bewildering silence. The club were looking for more numbers last week, which is shameful quite honestly, but for those that are going please don't be duped or outwitted. We all deserve more after a wretched time in the club's history.
Elsewhere today Josh Wright, who wasn't offered a new contract signed for Scunthorpe
. The youngster was clearly not in Parkinson's plans and I understand had a couple of offers on the table. I was impressed with Wright when I saw him play, although tabloid photos and stories of insolence didn't do him any favours. Nonetheless whose judgment would you back? Nigel Adkins or Phil Parkinson?
CPR & First Aid
On Saturday I ticked another box of things I always wanted to do. We attended an Adult and Child CPR and First Aid course held by the Red Cross
and an absorbing 7 hours it was, helped significantly by an excellent tutor. Next Saturday morning we complete the certification.
Saturday night we had dinner with some friends whilst watching the fireworks from Coral Beach
and listening to the American's whoop. The 5-minute show hardly competed with some of these displays
stateside but the thought was there and July 4th is meaningfully more important in Bermuda than St George's Day.
Yesterday I was glued to Wimbledon, I couldn't see a winner at one point during the 5th set but was chuffed it was Federer
, the bloke is amazing but I did feel for Roddick, one of the nicer guys in sport, who sat devasted afterwards. He too would have been a worthy champion and my support now turns to him for the US Open
After the match finished we collected our stuff and headed out to play tennis, it reminded me of being a kid and rushing up the park after the FA Cup final for a kickaround.
2009 Island Games - update #2
The closing ceremony ended in Åland less than a couple of hours ago and that's it for the Island Games
for two years. Next stop the Isle of Wight and then in 2013 Bermuda will become the hosts for the first ever time.
Bermuda finished the Games well, winding up with 32 medals, 22 of which were in the Gymnastics arena. The Faroe Islands came top of the medal table
for the first time with 34 golds and 81 medals in total with the Isle of Man in 2nd place, Jersey in 3rd with Bermuda 7th.
Sadly the islands of Alderney, Falklands, Frøya, Prince Edward Island and St Helena all went home without any medals but Sark won two, both silver in the automatic ball trap, a form of clay pigeon shooting.
In the final hours of com
petition Bermuda's basketball team collected gold when they beat Menorca 83-75, and yesterday a strong sailing team won the men's event gold and as I'd hoped the golfer's
swept up with Jarryd Dillas collecting the individual gold and Daniel Augustus bringing home the bronze. The golfer's won the team gold by 15 shots and Bermuda's women grabbed their team gold by 4 shots. Unfortunately the highly regarded women's volleyball team missed out of on a consolationary bronze after losing to Menorca.
Finally in the men's football final Jersey beat hosts Åland 2-1 and in the Games' final event Åland's women footballers beat Guernsey's women 2-0 to give the hosts their 16th gold and 53rd medal overall. I am sure this small country of over 300 habitable islands and it's 27,000 people are justifiably very proud tonight.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
If you're an artsy fartsy person then Santa Fe
is for you. If you are interested in American history, then Santa Fe is also a place for you. If like me, you are interested in meandering around a beautiful and intriguing small city with great restaurants, and an air of sophistication sat at the foot of sloping mountains, then you too should visit Santa Fe.
I liked it, I really did. It reminded me of a cross between Santa Barbara and Sedona with Mexico thrown in for good measure. To all intents and purposes it is Mexico but sat in the contiguous United States. Meanwhile a good sprinklering of Native Americans bring an historical and enriching element to the city, New Mexico's state capital.
Spanish colonists first settled in these parts 400 years ago. They didn't take into account the power of the Pueblo Indians however, who drove the Spaniards out of the area in the only ever Native American uprising in 1680. The Spanish took it back in 1893, and then the city came under Mexican rule in 1821 before being being claimed by the United States after they declared war on the Mexicans in 1846. In 1912, New Mexico became the USA's 47th state, with Santa Fe as its capita
l. The Palace of Governors
still today resides as a memory of those various seats of power, and is considered to be the oldest continuously occupied building in America. It is now an exhibition centre and $7 to go in.
Out front of The Palace of Governors
facing the shady Plaza can be found Native Americans selling arts and crafts from very early in the morning. Once teeming I'd imagined with traders, livestock and farmers the Plaza is now a place to sit, meet friends and people watch, and is the universally accepted point of orientation. From here stem crooked streets with Pueblo-style architecture, many buildings centuries old and some a lot newer but thoughtfully built ask to be explored on foot.
There are a lot of museums, the oldest being the New Mexico Museum of Art
that celebrates the region. Not far from here is the Georgia O'Keefe Museum
, O'Keefe was an abstract painter and a major American artist. O'Keefe died in Santa Fe in 1986 and the Museum in her name was opened 11 years later a
nd is an impressive building. From here a walk down Grant Avenue will give you a good slice of some older and well cared for Santa Fe homes. Burro Alley, once the city’s bawdy nightlife district now features some neat cafes and a statue of a Burro, a small donkey that were used to carry goods around the city.
rds up San Francisco Street past pottery shops, jewellers and the Plaza and staring down at you is the grandiose Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi
with it's round towers beckoning you towards it. Most of the stained glass windows came from France, and the building is a mixture of architectural styles. Adobe and French-Romanesque. Out front is a statue of St Francis of Assisi dancing on water and Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native America
n to be made a saint.Loretto Chapel
was around the corner, with the mysterious staircase
. DeVargas Street has it's own history and many superlatives, some of which I have considerable doubt over. The narrow road heading east away from the Old Santa Fe Trail contains both purportedly the oldest house in America and the oldest church.San Miguel Mission Church
(left) has original adobe walls and altar built by Tlaxcalan Indians who came north from Mexico with the Spanish in 1620. This area was formerly known as Barrio de Analco
, and I did expect any minute to see a cowboy and indian shoot out. At 215 East De Vargas Street is a sign hung on a house calling it the oldest house in the United States, built circa 1646. Underneath was a sign pointing us to the Oldest House Shop and ATM. Quite naff. All that is truly old was the foundation. We took a photo and moved on.
Besides from the 10 major museums, there are also over 200 galleries in Santa Fe and the bulk of these can be found on Canyon Road
. You don't have to be an art collector to appreciate the ambience of strolling up Canyon Road with it's mix of trendy upscale galleries and folky art shops interspersed with inviting cafes and restaurants. A car may have been handy here, particularly when it rained but one would miss the pretty houses with hidden gardens and statues.
It is about a mile walk, and of course a mile back.
Seven miles north of the city is the famed Santa Fe Opera
, recognised as one of the countries leading cultural centres but in the middle of nowhere, a longer stay would certainly have encouraged a visit. Whilst on things we didn't have time to do, how about the Santa Fe Southern Railway
. A 4-hour round scenic desert trip to Lamy
on a historic freight train.
d close to the Plaza at the Inn of the Anasazi
, a southwestern styled small hotel not perfect but it served us well, especially Sean the Bermudian working on the front desk who couldn't believed we were in Santa Fe.
We had booked dinner in the Inn of the Anasazi
but cancelled it when we realised the superb choice of cheaper options in the city and we picked well. Two wonderful Mexican restaurants that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Firstly The Coyote Cafe
, but the rooftop Cantina
not the sparse restaurant. On a Wednesday night it was packed, lively and fun and the food was excellent. The next night we came across Los Mayas
, a pretty courtyard restaurant hidden slightly on West Water St, but busy with tourists and locals alike. The grilled chicken was fantastic, and the two guys on guitar chef Roberto and cousin Fernando made the chili pepper decorated margaritas taste all the better. Breakfast was equally as fulfilling at the Plaza Cafe
. A New Mexican funky menu, bottomless coffee and a step back in time diner atmosphere. I loved the sign on the wall listing important phone numbers including President Obama's.
We picked Santa Fe because we had heard it was very different to many of America's small cities. It was. The temperature was perfect and it had a nice feel with a rich history and I loved it's laid back gait, which was what was required as it might be the last time we'd be on our own on holiday for a long time. Gulp!
The 'oldest house' in America, Canyon Road, St Francis of Assisi, New Mexico Museum of Art, Inn of the Anasazi.
God bless America
It is days like today when I love working for an American company. Tomorrow is July 4th
to those without a diary, a day that American's celebrate as their Independence from Great Britain and the nation's 233rd birthday. In 'observation' of American's fatties eating lots of pies and setting gazillions of fireworks off we have closed our office today. God bless the star spangled banner!
Tomorrow night there are in fact fireworks (illegal to buy here) at numerous places in Bermuda including I believe Dockyard, Elbow Beach and Horseshoe Bay. My with-bump-other-half will be driving me to meet two other English couples for dinner, where we will nonchalantly ignore all the flag waving and sparklers and enjoy our own little 'Liberation' dinner. I might even wear my union jack pants if I can find them.
A day off today times nicely with the men's semi-finals at Wimbledon
. I might practice my own serve later, carry out a few chores and if it can stop raining for half an hour, wash the car.
Hudson to Cardiff for £1,075,000 plus
Gotta love Peter Risdale, probably in the top 10 worst businessmen on the planet.
Risdale: "How much you want for that lump Mark Hudson then?"
Murray: "£500,000 and we will pay his train fare to Cardiff."
Risdale: "How about we give you a million.... no you know what make it £1,075,000. I have some brown envelopes in my desk somewhere. What you say?
Murray: "Wow Pete, that's great. Fantastic, but he's not very good you know?"
Risdale: "Yeh, we know. Anyhow just in case he turns out alright, what about a sell on clause?"
Murray: "Really? Blimey. You do know he took us down?"
Risdale: "Down? He's taking us up.... ok my final offer £1,075,000 plus a sell on and another £250,000 when he get's us promoted."
Murray: "Er, done."
Great job by the club, and whoever negotiated that deal
This is the shoulder of the shirt all the best dressed football fans will be wearing around Leyton, Walsall, Hartlepool and their like this winter. The OS
claim they will be giving us a little bit more of the kit leading up to it's debut at Park View Road next Wednesday in the Addicks first pre-season friendly.
So, what can we see of it? Well it has a collar, which is nice, it looks slightly more burgundy than red, which worries me but then again one would need to look at the whole jersey from a little distance to get a true look and it is made by Joma, their last year of the manufacturing contract.
It appears to have a white bar down the side of the shirt and we are told there will be white shorts and red and white socks - all good. There is no sign of a sponsor, perhaps if one can't be found we can adorn the name of Demelza House
on our shirts, or some such good cause.
This is the 3rd home shirt in four seasons, and the new away one (yellow apparently) adds to the white, black and seahorse blue (or whatever it was called) all produced in the last couple of years. Of course if we replace Joma next summer, then expect a couple of more new kits in a year's time.