Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Dirty Leeds; Bloody Fulham.
Most of us have taken our eye of the ultimate goal this week with Jonjo's move to Liverpool causing all kinds of debate. The doomsayers reckon we are close to the administrators door, others brooded over the fact that we are a selling club, who isn't? Some say we got good money for potential, some like me just wished we'd have seen more of the 18-year old before he was sold. Whatever I very much doubt if the man who signed Jonjo for Liverpool will be around next season anyway.
On to tomorrow then and the pressure if off us a little but for four reasons a win would be very satisfying:
1. to secure 5th place, hopefully 4th,
2. to help Millwall get 2nd spot and thus avoid the grief of playing them again,
3. to keep up the play-off momentum,
4. to not have to suffer another promotion party on our own patch.
Apparently Sam Sodje will return tomorrow following a knee injury although according to this
it sounds like he may have got to blow on the head as well! I wouldn't be surprised however if Llera starts and Parky keeps Sodje for the play-offs. The game should be live on the web as it's being beamed back to an expectant Elland Road. I'll be watching.
Finally congratulations to Fulham after their win over Hamburg
last night. I have for a long time had a very irrational hatred of Fulham probably because of their owner and the fact that before it was fashionable Fayed bought them success. Danny Murphy's smug face doesn't help and they have regularly featured in my top 5 most hated clubs.
Nonetheless I found myself punching the air after Gera scored last night. So through gritted and jealous teeth well done Fulham. What a superb manager that Roy Hodgson is.
Shelvey to sign for Liverpool
Jonjo is currently in Merseyside to agree personal terms and undergo a medical. The fee will be £1.7m with further potential
payments depending on domestic and international appearances. (more
Paul Elliot 63
Paul Walsh 98
Robert Lee 314
Lee Bowyer 57
Scott Parker 116
Paul Konchesky 104
Why do I give you those numbers. Well they were the starting appearances for each one of those young players before they left Charlton and moved on to better things. While Jonjo is in Liverpool about to sign for one of the world's biggest teams, it leaves us to wonder why Jonjo Shelvey has started only 40 games after breaking into the first team as a 16-year old.
It is also asks the question that with the play-off's beckoning why sell him now and not wait a few weeks? And I wonder how close the financial shit is to the fan?
It is a real shame to me that Charlton fans never got to enjoy the obvious talent Jonjo has, and honestly it is frustrating in the extreme that he has not been considered good enough to play in the first team for the majority of this season, but Liverpool see something that Phil Parkinson doesn't.
Having no reserve team has probably hindered Shelvey's progress, and as an aside one has to wonder how match fit players like Matt Spring are, but in recent months the first team has been crying out for some creativity, some goals and well, a hero.
Scott Parker, Robert Lee, Lee Bowyer, Paul Walsh, Paul Elliott even Konch all became heroes for Charlton during their formulative years but sadly Jonjo was never given that chance.
After such a wonderful start to the season Jonjo's intermittent appearances are even more surprising given that each one of the players listed above played for us whilst we were on an upward curve, some more curvier than others. but each played at a time when the club was at least moving forward and their respective managers would have had a better pool of players to pick from.
Jonjo mind, hit the first team at a time when we were going horribly backwards and if those that have followed his progress since he was a teenager are to be believed then the current management have not only stifled Jonjo but have also been responsible or partly responsible for taking the club downwards.
Shelvey did the club a huge favour in September by signing a one-year extension to the first ever professional contract he signed last February on his 17th birthday. His move to Liverpool returns the favour because like Paul Walsh, Paul Elliott and Robert Lee before him Jonjo's transfer fee is desperately needed to keep the club afloat.
Thank you Jonjo and good luck mate, but sadly due to the culpability of others, and one can include fellow midfielder Mark Kinsella in that, you sadly won't be remembered by us Addicks in the same vein as other youth team prodigies over the years.
PFA League One Team
I mentioned a week or so ago that back in October we had half a team, if not more that at that point could feasibly have made the end of season divisional PFA selection. However only two did at last night's award ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.This was the League One XI:
GK Kelvin Davis (Southampton)RB Frazer Richardson (Charlton)
CB Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds United)
CB Gary Doherty (Norwich)
LB Ian Harte (Carlisle)
RM Robert Snodgrass (Leeds)
CM Wes Hoolahan (Norwich)CM Nicky Bailey (Charlton)
LM Jason Puncheon (Southampton)
CF Rickie Lambert (Southampton)
CF Grant Holt (Norwich)
In goal was one of our nemesis' Kelvin Davis, who has played well over 550 games (450 more than Rob Elliot). Millwall's David Forde has the best record in the division, so Lions' fans will be upset not to see him in between the posts. Casper Ankergren would have been a good consideration as well.
No shocking defensive decisions in the team. Doherty was preferred to Dailly and Peter Clarke. Millwall's Paul Robinson may have been also have been a good shout. Aussie Patrick Kisnorbo whose season was ended by injury a month ago was certainly the best defender in the league and joins Doherty. The right back berth was given to Frazer Richardson over Millwall's Alan Dunne with the 32-year old Ian Harte on the opposite side. Harte has scored an incredible 18 goals from left back this season.
Nicky Bailey takes his place in midfield. One could argue that Semedo may have been a better benefactor but Bailey's 12 goals and higher media profile cemented his position alongside Norwich's maestro Wes Hoolihan, once a transfer target for Alan Pardew. A player who was bought by Pardew was Jason Puncheon, and if the finances would have been different at The Valley in the summer then he'd have Charlton in brackets after his name, and our left-sided midfield problems would never have been a topic of so much discussion. The much sought after Robert Snodgrass deservedly collected the other midfield slot.
Other potential midfielders that may have been close to selection must have been Colchester's Anthony Wordsworth, Saints' Dean Hammond and Michail Antonio plus the Lions' midfield fulcrum Abdou.
Picking the strikers was the easiest decision of all. With 65 goals between them Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert, who was also in the divisional team last season, were a slam dunk. 19 goal Adam Lallana and 24 goal Lee Barnard as if to prove Southampton's firepower (and to think we got McLeod, Varney and Gray!) would have gotten good mentions in dispatches as would have Jermaine Beckford (30 goals but only six since Leeds' cup exploits).
Swindon, who like fellow promotion rivals Millwall and Huddersfield have no representation do have Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin who have scored 45 between them were unlucky and ordinarily in another season would have certainly been considered. Other options may have been Steve Morison, Jordan Rhodes and Dave Martin. For the record and ignoring Nicky Forster's 16 goals for Brighton, our highest placed League One goalscorer is Deon Burton in 21st place!
The relegation excitement down in the Conference this afternoon reached epic proportions as Eastbourne Borough grabbed a late winner from the penalty spot
to preserve their status in front of 2,634 supporters at Priory Road. With Gateshead winning
as well at home to nothing to play for AFC Wimbledon, it was Forest Green Rovers who were relegated
after losing at long-time down Grays Athletic.
Rovers were leading 1-0, then Grays drew level but with a point still enough to keep Rovers up Cissoko headed home from an 86th minute corner for Grays to send Forest Green down.Ebbsfleet won
at Tamworth 4-3 but Gateshead and Eastbourne winning consigned the Kent team owed by MyFootballClub
to relegation after 9 years in the Conference. Hopefully this won't be the death knell for the Fleet whose entire squad are out of contract in the summer and now only have 800 MyFootballClub members, a far cry from the 32,000 who signed up when they took the club over in November 2007.
Anyway congratulations to the Borough who survive to play their 3rd season in the Conference. They'll be dancing on the South Downs tonight!
Devon clotted dreams
Exeter City 1 Charlton Athletic 1
I listened as Charton threw everything at the Devonians late on in a result that confirmed our play-off place but also the almost certitude of missing out on a coveted top two place after straight forward hoke wins for both Leeds and Millwall. What that means is, like Norwich last week, Leeds and their supporters come to The Valley next Saturday knowing a win will take them up.
Over a 1,000 Addicks willed Charlton on as we attacked the away end in the second half and once again it was stirring performance but for the 7th consecutive game we failed to score more than one goal. Substitute Kyel Reid on for Racon got our equaliser, given as over the line by the referee's assistant although according to the radio Reid appeared in no doubt. Barnstaple born Wolves loanee George Friend had headed the home side in front.
Twice we hit the woodwork and Exeter 'keeper Paul Jones made plenty of excellent saves as time ran out. In saying that Darren Randolph also did his bit with a very smart save in each half.
There has been plenty of times this season when we have sounded lacklustre at best but to be fair to Parky's charges that has not been the case in the past four games, each one tricky. But at a time when it is results that matter we have only won one of those four matches.At St James' Park
: Doctor Kish
; Charlton Athletic Online
Oh Iain what have you done?
Relegation was practically confirmed
this afternoon for Hull, their results sequence since a certain Iain Dowie took over on Humberside: L, W, L, L, D, L, L, L. Back to the powerpoint Iain.
One eye on Eastbourne tomorrow
My adopted non league team (everyone should have one) Eastbourne Borough's season all comes down to one game tomorrow. The Borough were promoted to the Conference two season's ago and have been punching above their weight ever since.
They started the season well but began to drift to a congested relegation battle way before Christmas and have found it hard to stay above the drop zone. Helped by Grays Athletic's ineptitude Borough have been trying to avoid the last two relegation spots
along with Ebbsfleet, Gateshead, a resurgent Forest Green Rovers and a falling Histon.
With one game left of the season Borough have their fate in their own hands. Beat Oxford United, who have already qualified for the play-offs at home, and they are safe. Lose or draw then that allows Gateshead and Ebbsfleet the chance to overtake them, particularly as Eastbourne have by far the worst goal difference.
Oxford were once runaway leaders of the Conference and it looked as if the U's were to return to the football league but they've wobbled badly in 2010 and offered Stevenage little resistence in their walk to the title. However they have been watched by 6,000 odd at home and have travelled in big numbers. Borough average 1,140 and a 3,000+ crowd is expected at The Priory tomorrow.
Gateshead had a huge chance on Tuesday to move out of the bottom three but lost at home to Stevenage 1-0 and tomorrow they entertain AFC Wimbledon, who have an excellent away record. Ebbsfleet with young Addick Alex Stavrinou patrolling their midfield are at home to safe Tamworth. A point would do for Histon at home to Barrow and Forest Green should win at Julian Dicks' Grays Athletic, who are 16 points adrift at the bottom.
My heart will be in Devon
tomorrow but I will certainly have one eye on Eastbourne Borough, who are probably playing their most important game in their 46-year history.
Not those play-off's
Trying to keep up with my Chicago sports teams. Last night wholly unexpectedly the Chicago Bulls
beat LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the 3rd game of the opening round of NBA play-off's. Everyone had it down as walk over for the Cav's but according to reports the Bulls were huge last night spurred on by a partisan full house with captian Kirk Hinrich going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc on the way to 27 points, my boy Deng getting 20 points, Miller 10 and Joachim Noah seeming to be all over the court.
The Bulls realistically won't get beyond this round but what they may end up getting is LeBron James. The best player since Michael Jordan is a free-agent after this season and Chicago is according to some on LeBron's mind. $50m a season shall do it! Game 4 (of a best of 7 series) is in Chicago on Sunday.
Far better title hopefuls are Chicago's ice hockey team, the Blackhawks
. The NHL is also in Round 1 of the play-off's but the Hawks are making hard work of their series against the Nashville Predators with the tie currently finally balanced at 2 games each. The next game is at home, the same home that the Bulls use, and the day before on Saturday after the Hawks won 3-0 in Tennessee yesterday. Goal tender Antti Niemi performing a miracle in between the posts apparently. I wondered where the old Pompey keeper had gone!!
A nice segue back to footie then. By clicking Google to read about the goalkeeper
Antti Niemi I found that he got paid £450,000 by Portsmouth in 9 months
, playing just two reserve games and warming the 1st team bench once. It is hard to feel too sorry for them, particularly since the company I work for are listed as trade creditors to the tune of £154,000.
Just as I started to plan an further weekend in East Sussex and potentially Devon, I was on the first Bermuda flight to leave the UK yesterday arriving on time around 6.30pm last night. Surprisingly the flight was only two-thirds full and it was nice to have an empty seat next to me. Even more surprising was how deserted Gatwick was. I don't think I have ever checked in and walked through security so quickly.
Whether the sudden decision to open all the airports on Tuesday night caught stranded passengers out or families were happier to give it another day or so I don't know but certainly while I sat in Cafe Rouge having some lunch I made sure I watched a good number of airplanes take off and land before I made my way to the gate. However I am not a nervous flyer and didn't think any more off it as I sat and watched a couple of movies and helped myself to some BA wine.
There was a story doing the rounds this morning that a cargo jet was grounded in Belgium due to ash being found in it's engines but this was later denied
but the RAF halted training
after ash deposits were found in the engines of four aircraft. The slightest evidence that the volcanic ash still presents danger to planes' engines is not worth thinking about and I'm sure there will be many recriminations over the week-long closure of European airspace to come but hopefully the airline and travel companies will get their poor customers home before they start suing the arse off the goverment and it's regulators.
For me I actually loved my extended stay. I picked three winners (and a second) at Plumpton Races
on Monday. I've bought tickets for my parents for the last few years to the Countryside Day at the pretty national hunt course and this year I was able to join them and a big crowd saw Tony McCoy return to the course where he rode his 3,000th winner a year earlier. He eased home on 2/9 favourite Bangkok Pete in the 3.20.
It was a favourites day except for the 9/1 winner Allterrain in the 3.50, which I masterly(!) picked. Aerospace, an obvious selection that I mentioned the other day
, was grounded in second to last place in the race that McCoy won. I should have known.
Then on Tuesday I watched my son play football after school and then if being a Charlton fan isn't enough he insisted we went for a curry and a fine place it was too
Fortunately I have delegated next week's work trip to Boston to someone else and therefore will be in Bermuda until we go to Mexico on a family holiday the day after the Oldham game.
Better than airplane food
I should be on a plane now, like hundreds of thousands of others but instead have just enjoyed one of my Mum's roast dinners. Tomorrow my parents are off to Plumpton Races
.... well it's rude not too isn't it? Any tips
gratefully received although Aerospace in the 3.20 has my name all over it.
I am re-booked on Wednesday afternoon's BA flight to Bermuda but with the airspace bans continually being extended by 6 hours (currently until 7am tomorrow) the sudden resumption of flights, particularly long haul ones looks improbable.
Yesterday both KLM and Lufthansa flew Boeing 737's to the usual maximum altitude of 13km (8 miles), the German airline actually put 10 trial airplanes in the sky without any effect whatsoever. More trials were due to take place today in France, Italy and Britain, with BA's CEO Willie Walsh on board incidentially. No doubt in first class. Nonetheless despite how much I am missing my other-half and 5-month old daughter I don't particularly want to be sat on the first plane taking off.
Unsurprisingly the airlines this evening called for a review of the flight ban
. European's biggest airlines are mostly already financially strapped and are estimated to be losing £25m each a day whilst their jets are grounded and their staff sit at home or are stranded like the rest of us. Governments I am sure will be put under pressure very soon by airlines to either prove the science or open their coffers to provide financial underpinning.
I'm supposed to be in Boston the week after this, as you can imagine my fretful other half is thrilled by that prospect. Fortunately at least for me I have the comfort of my parents home, roast dinners and a pretty loaded wine rack unlike many who are misplaced and unsure to where the next bed will come from.
I can tell some untoward travel stories from my life, in fact this year has been a bit of a nightmare to be honest
, but who would have thought a south-eastern wind and a volcano not even considered to be one of Iceland's, let alone the planet's most dangerous could cause so much global anguish and anxiety. The title of the world's most dangerous volcano belongs to Italy's Mount Vesuvius
if you were wondering.
Finally a word for Iceland, who after ruining the global economy, clogging up the world's skies and giving us relegation virtuoso Hermann Hreidarsson, I find myself wanting to stick up for this implausibly beautiful country. I was lucky to visit in 2006
and surrounded by land so cinematic to appear unreal in Þingvellir
I looked deep into the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates and stared for ages into an abyss while my fingers and toes froze. I knew I'd never forget that moment.
Some days they make you proud
Charlton Athletic 0 Norwich City 1
All a Charlton fan can ever ask for is that they walk away at the final whistle proud knowing that the team gave every of ounce of effort. And climbing Charlton Lane around 5pm yesterday with Norwich's noisy promotion celebrations in the background all around me Addicks fans were having the same conversations.
There will always be the what may have beens, and the sequence of home games in January and February will be ours, Leeds, Swindon have theirs and Millwall's are maybe yet to come but we have turned in two promotion displays this week and as/if I head back to Bermuda I do with a confidence that seemed impossible in February.
Scoring goals wins games and with a solitary goal winning each of our last five it tells us everything we need to know about the difference between us and our rivals. But for Norwich's on loan goalkeeper Frazer Forster playing out of his skin, we would have got a hatful but I wouldn't be a Charlton fan if I couldn't be negative for one second and for me, we still didn't get enough quality into the box. Often Nicky Forster was drawn out to the left to put balls in, where Bailey should have been the provider. Forster by the way was again excellent.
I find it hard to criticise Bailey. Many of his 12 goals have won us points this season but although he is carrying a shoulder injury clearly making him less mobile, he just doesn't appear to have the same mental instinct that he had earlier in the season. Plus he is completely wasted out on the left. In saying that he still produced three of our 9 efforts on goal.
Although Akpo was a vast improvement from Tuesday, we carried a lot more of a threat when Burton's intelligence and link up play joined the game before half-time. One wonders why he didn't start as he appeared to have no after effects of his injury.
Of course Norwich have played better this season, but over the two games with them it has shown us to be the much better side. The 68% possession stat says it all and once they got their goal the Canaries became intent of playing the role of spoilers. For all of Frazer Forster's great saves he was also very proficent in time-wasting. Once they reverse the rule of goalkeeper's being allowed to take a goal kick from either side of the goal the better.
Watching the highlights last night one might blame Randolph for not being more authoritative at the corner for Nelson's goal but otherwise I was glad that he kept his place with Elliot returning to the bench. Again Dailly was awesome in the back four and I would love for us to somehow keep him next season whatever our fate.
Likewise Semedo played like he was a level above everyone else on the field and while I understand Parky's need to throw more goalscoring options up front when he brought Kyel Reid on, Semedo's absence caused our level of tempo to drop and not for the first time this season. If I could have found a POTY vote collector I would have been very torn.
Sadly Semedo nor Racon are going to get us goals but the Frenchman also had an excellent game and the cameo role by Shelvey described perfectly by New York Addick
as a quarterback did produce some our best long forward ball passing all game. I still think Jonjo is going to have a big say in our season.
Defeat then (my first of the season incidentially) but a display to be proud of and thoughts in my head during the drive home were of what can be and not what may have been. Although if only that last ditch free kick would have been better thought out and Randolph got his head to it....
The day started well for my son and I too. He got to probably eat the best pub hot dog I'd ever seen courtesy of the barbeque in The White Swan
, which is under new management. The manager a cross between Roberto Donadoni and Benny from Crossroads and his English wife have made the Village pub unrecognisable from what it used to be and I hope it succeeds. It was a nice setting to have a pint with fellow bloggers
and friends before the game.If I am still in the UK
on Saturday Dave
has promised to join me at Exeter. Keep it going you Reds.Other Bloggers at The Valley
: Drinking During the Game
; New York Addick
; Doctor Kish
; Charlton Casual
; Addicks Diary
; Blackheath Addicted
; And Nothing Else Matters
; Charlton Athletic Online
Particles of hope
I'm on my Mum and Dad's computer with about 8 windows open hoping to see that the Eyjafjallajokull volcano is continuing to spew out tiny particles of molten glass across Gatwick's two runways, BA's homepage telling me that Bermuda flights have been cancelled for a week (if my other-half reads this my balls will become tiny particles) and looking at train tickets from Paddington to Exeter.
Of course the chances are that I will have to go home before the end of the season, but I will see my second consecutive game tomorrow against promotion bound Norwich City and my son and I will drive up from East Sussex still with springs in our steps following the pulsating, if not classic win over Colchester.
First the Chicago Addick
family will sit down tonight to cheer on Huddersfield at home to Millwall. I have no idea if that is the result that we want, but I can't bring myself to cheer on the Spanners, so I'll worry about the consequences later
after the wine has worn off.
Still suffering from a stiff neck after watching Akpo Sodje attempt to win a header on Tuesday night I do hope that Burton is passed fit and starts alongside Nicky Forster. Probably not the ideal striking partnership, not unless we can learn to play the ball forward to feet. Otherwise Bailey has to begin the game in the middle and I would like to see Kyel Reid be given a starting berth, his direct play can't but help to give us more offensive opportunities.
Let's hope The Valley is in as fine as fettle as it was on Tuesday night and we can put those Canaries back in their cage.
A performance to put the colour back
Charlton Athletic 1 Colchester United 0
I know most of you have had to put up with some real dross this season, but I left The Valley last night thrilled at seeing a fighting and committed display in a pulsating match. Remember this is the 3rd Division, even from afar I long gave up on watching 100 grand a week fancy-dans performing tricks with a Mitre size 5.
Colchester are the modern day version of Wimbledon and lofted the ball into our box at every opportunity. Christ I looked at Clive Platt as he came over to the East Stand and wondered if he was actually wearing a pair of my blue trousers so long were his legs. And then there is Kevin Lisbie, a reminder of the glory days and how far we have fallen. Oh.
Obviously we lack in the striking stakes, my mate said to me as we all watched Akpo Sodje hopelessly mistime an attempted header for the 150th time (see photo), "People used to moan about Burton but he is head and shoulders above the rest."
Akpo is simply a 3rd Division lump, and not a very good one but like Laurie Abrahams he gave me and others around me a good laugh. That is really what one pays to watch. You can stick your Alan Shearers.
Nicky Forster mind knows his way around a penalty box, a superb bullet diving header from a much more engaged Lloyd Sam's peach of a cross. Sam turned the unfortunate John-Joe O’Toole inside and out so badly that he had to be carried off on a stretcher
. He got a warm round of applause for his embarrassment. Meanwhile Forster gave it out to the Colchester fans behind the goal after he scored. You got to love that.
For spells we played some nice committed football, too many long balls for Forster for my liking coinciding with Racon losing touch with the game in the 2nd half but no one can question the players commitment against a side that stuffed Swindon on Saturday and are a serious play-off contenders.
Dailly was immense and showed terrific awareness and concentration the whole game despite marking players almost a head taller than him and a bloke with his hair in an elastic band who thought he was playing for Argentina circa 1978. Then whilst his brother up field had trouble spotting the ball in the air as it headed down towards his head, Sam's rubber neck was working overtime heading every bullet back with interest that was fired in his general direction. I blame the parents.
Borrowdale impressed me, especially in the first half and Richardson looked back to his early season best, but man of the match, and there were plenty of candidates, for me was Semedo. He was an absolute rock in the middle ostensibly involved in every single tackle and tussle. The Covered End responded with his fellow countryman's Jorge Costa remix.
All around me people were in good spirits, although Mooney's introduction was not well received. The bloke behind me said the cupping of the ear will never be forgotten. Hopefully Deon Burton can join Forster up front on Saturday.
Finally the atmosphere and noise last night was fantastic. My son and I got to my brothers in London Fields after the game with hoarse voices, a red glow in our cheeks and springs in our step. Next please.Other Addicks at The Valley: Drinking During the Game
; Charlton Athletic Online
; Addicks Diary
; Charlton Casual
; And Nothing Else Matters
; Doctor Kish
Into The Valley
Homeward bound tonight to spend the second week of the Easter holidays with my son and parents, and a few thousand Addicks tomorrow and Saturday.
Tomorrow night at The Valley has all the makings of a nervy night for my son's first ever game under the floodlights. A decent crowd will hopefully remain patient and give the players a platform to play well. I personally would dispatch Lloyd Sam and find a place for Jonjo. Perhaps moving Bailey again, this time to the right and moving Shelvey into an advanced role between the midfielders and Forster.
Having said that, I haven't seen Forster play, at least for us, but he's not the tallest and unless we are discliplined to play the ball along the floor, he might not be best suited to play the solitary role. Therefore without knowing the status of Burton's injury I'd play Shelvey alongside a sitting Semedo with Akpo Sodje up front with Forster. Colchester will be big and ugly and having Akpo in there will help us on the niggly battles front. Racon has to be relegated to the bench, even though I am a big fan and I layed out bets at Bournemouth that he would get 10 goals this season. It must have been the seaside air.
Frustratingly, a lot this season we don't appeared to have played to our strengths, escalated by Parkinson, like his incumbent seemingly not knowing his best team or formation. To be fair to the manager even more frustrating is that not one player has broken out into having a stormer of a season. Many of them, in fact most of them have just played well, often exceptionally well, in parts.
If the player of the year voting sheets were out tomorrow night, who would you vote for? I think this underscores my point and probably explains the position we find ourselves in and Dailly aside each player has been droppable on at least one occassion. Also ask yourselves how many Charlton players will appear in the League One end of season team? In September we could have realistically expected Elliot, Richardson, Dailly, Youga, Bailey, Semedo, Racon, Shelvey, Burton and Sam all to have a shout. I reckon Bailey might be our only one.
Anyway 41 games have been consigned to the record books and the next five or eight are all that matters and this is the focus Parky needs to bring. The Southampton game, despite by all accounts a decent performance and a fighting finish, is done. Saturday only proved what we knew already, that we are not a top-two side.
I'm hoping to see a bit of adventure tomorrow night, dictating the play early and I hope to be in fine voice. A couple of pre-match beers will help. Hope to see you there.
Pardew 1 Parkinson 0
I find myself still looking down as opposed to up after yesterday's defeat, thus Tuesday night's game is huge and I'm glad I will be there to watch it.
Judging by the commentary - although Tony Hudd is a miserable bastard and puts pessimism to a whole new different level - we played alright but lacked as we have now done for months any real cutting edge. Our three major chances all falling to Nicky Bailey says a lot.
Kelvin Davis has been a thorn in our sides before and he pulled off a number of excellent saves to deny us a goal so overall the performance gives me some confidence as we enter the final five, potentially eight games.
I have been crusading for a 4-5-1 for somewhile and was pleased to see it but quite frankly without Sam on his game the system is useless. It annoys me so much that our longest serving player, who has seen our demise first hand, does not appear to have the longing or desire to take the game by the scruff of the neck and is seemingly unable or can't be bothered to play to his full ability. I hope Newcastle United have not had any scouts watching him since Christmas.
2nd place seems even more beyond us today with Millwall and Leeds showing us how to dispatch teams at the bottom. Millwall certainly show no signs of buckling and Leeds may have just come out of their torper.
We gave it a proper go at the end which was great to hear, even Randolph coming up for corners and staying up in the dying seconds as we piled the pressure on. Entering the play-offs is all about the team that shows the most desire and form. Togetherness and whole hearted support is paramount. Let's be that
team.Witnesses: Doctor Kish
Inches from history
At approximately 1am this morning I was up out of the sofa and watched like 70,930 others in the stadium and millions in living rooms around America as Butler's Gordon Hayward threw the ball from halfway down the court with the final buzzer gone. The trajectory was true. The arc was good. The ball took for ages to hit the backboard, then rammed off the front of the rim and bounced harmlessly to the floor.
Duke 61, Butler 59
. That shot would have been played for ever more if it had dropped through the net.
The game was close throughout but for me Duke, the clear favourites and the gold standard in college basketball were always in control, but Butler's stingy defence and undeniable courage kept them hanging in there. The smallest college to reach the NCAA Championship final for 25-years were down by 5 points with just 2 minutes to go but came back to within one with 30 seconds left but missed a tight baseline shot. Giant Duke centre Brian Zoobek collected the rebound and scored one of his two free throws after being fouled and then came the last gasp miracle effort from Hayward.
My mates down in Indy are a bit quiet today but Butler will be back.
Play it again Sam
Charlton Athletic 1 Carlisle United 0
Phew! With everyone winning today - the reverse of what happened on Saturday - another win, however it came, was essential in a race for 2nd place that is as tight as a gnat's chuff.
Six points from the Easter programme was excellent, and another one-nil, and thus clean-sheet which I would take all day. Sat at work I was on the edge of my seat listening out for the roar that would have greeted one of those many 2nd half chances that went begging. It never came and young Shelvey was especially guilty although I was happy to see him start in what sounded like a very advanced, if not forward, role.
The timing of the subsitutions was again ace by Parky, as Akpo and Bailey lifted the momentum and we really should have got that killer 2nd. Sam and Richardson were causing mayhem down the right hand side and by the sound of it were putting in some peach of some crosses. Blimey, we are going to hammer someone one of these days.... yeh, maybe not!
Marching on together, keep it going Charlton.Quote: "Good game, dear?" "Yes, I booed an 18-year-old who's going to have more women and more skill than I'll ever get in my sad old life" All Quiet
. Brilliant.Bloggers: Blackheath Addicted
; Drinking During the Game
; Addicks Diary
Cadbury's creme crackered
No Easter Monday here, just a normal back to work Monday unfortunately. Football later
at a pre-lunchtime kick-off here in Bermuda and tonight I'll hopefully be in good spirits to watch the final of the NCAA Basketball Championships
where my adopted Butler University
have upset everyone and won through to tonight's final to play Duke. It is a 10.21pm start though, and I am absolutely knackered.
Can you imagine if English football went down the route of bowing down to advertisers and kicked off at 3.21pm or 8.02pm? I remember when I was in Chicago and the White Sox won a sponsorship deal with the convenience stores chain 7-Eleven and from then on all night matches began at eleven minutes past seven.
Anyway I am knackered, partly my own fault warranted but mostly, and she's too young to argue, my daughters. As my other half said to me last night: "Will we ever go to bed early ever again?" "Only when she moves out when she's 30,"
As all parents will know full well, containing a hangover when you have young children is impossible. I had a hangover on both Friday and Sunday. Not big, not clever. Sunday's was extra painful because she came with us to friends for a dinner party Saturday night and when we got home, I flung my clothes off and downed a big glass of water, dropped a couple of aspirin
and was ready for bed, my daughter though was ready to play. 2.15am I was still jiggling her around in her room listening to Il Divo trying to get her to sleep.
The weather here this weekend was perfect, although it did rain a bit on Friday morning deterring kite flyers a little but by the afternoon it was glorious as we spent it outside with some friends. And yesterday we had tradtional afternoon tea at the Hamilton Princess
(photo) with a friend and old work colleague from Chicago.
Afternoon tea at the Princess with a stroll around the 125-year landmark hotel's gardens on a day as lovely as yesterday was a very good way to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live here.
My favourite. What's yours?
Massive 3 points
Milton Keynes Dons 0 Charlton Atheltic 1
Immense performance from Charlton today and for once we helped ourselves out as others around us fell. We now have a vital game on Monday which Parky and the players have to approach positively.
The radio commentary team were full of praise for Racon, Semedo, the back four and in particular Darren Randolph, who made three spectacular saves. Spare a thought for Randolph sat on the team bus tonight, he has waited patiently a long time to reap some lavish praise. Well done Darren.
We are way past the period of the season when it is about pretty football but passion, bottle and intelligence are far more important characterisations. The noisy 2,500 Addicks were the 12th man in the 2nd half and as I have written before whatever the opinions and idealogies, we now all need to be as one.
Nicky Forster showed his vast experience after winning the penalty and had a long wait before he stepped up to slot home for the massive winner. Parky also showed good common sense with the subsitutions. Shelvey and Akpo were both very involved holding up play and providing excellent channels for Racon and Semedo and Sam and Reid.
It is interesting that the middle four in the last two games has been much more joined together than when Bailey was playing. Nicky of course has been so important to where we currently sit in the table but as others have said I felt he was sometimes more of a hindrance than a help, this fact not aided by Parky's constantly tinkering. Conversely the Nicky Bailey that we all love will be absolutely raring to go when he comes back from his injury.
So a massive 3 points. Keep it going Charlton.Bloggers: Addicks Diary
; New York Addick
; Doctor Kish
; And Nothing Else Matters
; Kings Hill Addick
; Charlton Casual
Courtesy of Twitter.com/MartTheTaxi
Almost 6,500 fans create war chest
Credit to those 6,000 Charlton fans blinded by love that have already paid for next season's season tickets
without knowing our fate. As many have said on various forums they, their friends and families pay to watch Charlton and not our opponents. Hurrah for that and 6,000 is an impressive number particularly as I actually don't personally know anyone that has renewed but I am sure the majority will.
These early signs suggest that crowds should still be in the 14-15,000 mark next season, even if that is in Division 3. The current total, which includes half-season tickets is 10,434. This season's average Valley crowd has been 16,973 so far, the 4th highest in the league but with three potential bumper crowds to come - Colchester, Norwich and Leeds.
Even more striking perhaps was the number of fans who have bought 5-year tickets. The 405 Addicks plus the 6,000 season ticket sales creating roughly around £2.5m of funds, a valuable war chest to help the board get through the summer period and avoid administration.
College sports is a totally American phenomenon, none more so than March Madness the culmination of the college basketball season. 65 teams begin the series which takes place in different brackets in different cities over three weekends.
In America, college sports are normally dominated by the large, well funded, make that rich, schools that compete for the best athletes when frankly academe doesn't come into to it. On the flip side college sport is adored by Americans because it carries none of the professional razzmatazz, egos or obscene wages.
The two most watched college sports are basketball and (American) football, although you could wile away the hours quite happily watching a very decent tennis match or soccer game. I learnt in my time in Chicago, and it manifested itself pretty quickly, that in college sports, particularly for those playing basketball and (American) football, it is all about raw ambition, wearing your school colours with pride, making history and that very, very slim one in a million chance of perhaps earning a professional contract.
Unlike the U16's pony-trekking schools cup in the Highlands, the NCAA's College Basketball Championship
is one of the year's most watched television events and on Saturday Butler, Michigan State, Duke and West Virginia contest the semi-finals with the winners tipping off on Monday for the final with the whole event taking place at the Lucas Oil Stadium
in Indianapolis in front of 70,000 people, yes 70,000 people to watch kids bounce a ball around.
When it comes to college football my heart will always be with University of Wisconsin
because it was in Madison
that I lost quite a few hours of my life but gained a lifetime of friends, but for basketball one of my best mates in Chicago convinced me to adopt a little known university in Indiana called Butler
. A small but proud 150-year old liberal arts school with a very decent soccer team (I used to play with a few graduates), so I was in.
The Butler Bulldogs play basketball in one of the oldest arena's in the country and is actually a designated national landmark. And I like this fact a lot, a bit like the glorious Valley, it was once the largest basketball arena in the United States, and it retained that distinction until 1950. A fact not really known outside of the Hinkle Fieldhouse
, but something that every Bulldog is proud off.
The film Hoosiers
, the ultimate feel-good basketball movie starring Gene Hackman was filmed at Hinkle Fieldhouse and on Saturday 6 miles down the road from their very own school Butler will be hoping to create Hoosiers 2. Michigan State
, Butler's opponents in Saturday's semi-final is gigantic by comparison and has 50,000 students to pick five players from. How hard is that?
The other semi-finalists are Duke
, which is one of the best basketball universities in America (apparently you can study nursing there as well) and West Virginia
, a public-research university (quite), with a set of unruly fans and 30,000 students. Pah to the big boys.
To add a little more spice to the occassion Butler are the first team since UCLA in 1972 to play a Final Four in their hometown although it is very unlikely that many of the 4,000 students will be able to get tickets. Tickets that are as hot as a basketball court sized-pile of hot cross buns.
But, I could have had a ticket. yep, got offered one by a friend going from Bermuda, however in my new found life, flying to Indiana for four days of drinking over Easter just does not cut it anymore. But I will be in front of the box texting my mates and cheering those proud Bulldogs on.
We'll sing the Butler war song
We'll give a fighting cry
We'll fight the Butler battle
Bulldogs ever do or die.
And in the glow of the victory firelight
Hist'ry cannot deny
To add a page or two
For Butler's fighting crew
Beneath the Hoosier sky