Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Ben & Jerry's
, founded by two drop-out hippies in Vermont in 1978, still manufactures 75% of it's ice cream in the state and we went along to their first ever factory in Waterbury
today to have a look around and of course get a taste.
Not suprisingly it was busy, but organised, and we walked the half-hour tour (cost $3 each) and ended up in a room originally used as the creative think-tank by Ben & Jerry to get a free taste of the companies latest product 'Chococow late'.... a nutty creamy vanilla flavour with whole mini chocolate cows mixed inside. Pretty tasty.
The freebie was enough for us (we had already been to the cider mill, the chocolate shop and cheese creamery) and the queues to buy ice-cream were long and too many teenagers were sat around buckets of Chunky Monkey with spoons and eyes bigger than their bellies.
Ben & Jerry are almost 60 now and have little involvement in the company since it sold out to Unilever. Hopefully Ben and Jerry who spent $5 on an ice-cream maker in 1978 because it was cheaper than a bagel maker are enjoying their retirement in a hippy commune eating as much Cherry Garcia as they can.
Vermont is beautiful, and we have enjoyed our stay in Stowe but sadly we leave tomorrow. There is something rousing about being in the mountains in the summer. I looked up some scenic drives to do before we came, but there was no need as every windy road is like an oil painting and all around napier green mountains wait for the snow to arrive.
Back to the future
I was in a cafe in Montreal grabbing some coffee and snacks ready for our drive to Stowe in Vermont this morning when I got a text from a mate pointing me to the Official Charlton website.Murray reaches agreement to assume full control
Unexpected news and even more unexpected in a long drought of good Charlton news I felt like punching the air with excitement.
There has been mistakes, and he admits that, but in over a century of existence rarely has a chairman or a patron cared as much or done as much for Charlton Athletic as Richard Murray.
The disharmony in the boardroom in recent years has been obvious, and although I thank the other major shareholders and creditors for their generosity in writing of a lot of money, mistakes cost money.
Richard Murray is 59-years old and is recovering from heart surgery. Maybe his heart was broken? A lot of hearts have been broken but whilst his heart has been mended, his brain has been alive with possibilities. New York Addick
has quickly put two and two together and he is most probably right to make the connection. Murray talking to the South London Press
yesterday about the possibility of cash signings was another odd move, now explained.
The economy has not changed and seeking fresh investment into the football club will still be very tough but suddenly, instantly, Murray brings clarity and potential to watching parties.
What today's announcement probably does is raise expectations and the pressure now falls on Parky to not only sign, but then get the best out of further players he needs to bring in to give us a shot of promotion. I feel Murray won't take 2nd best.
It has been a tough summer for Charlton fans, shit, it's been a tough couple of years but personally I feel alive at today's news. Will Richard Murray take us back to the future? We hope so.
Calling Mont Royal
a mountain is stretching the meaning a bit far as it peaks only at around 700 ft but we had a glorious feet-aching walk up it today and got a birdeye's view of the city of Montreal.
Locals are very proud of their mountain (they are offended when it is referred to as a hill) which inhabits the north of the city. It's winding trail led us past the Lac aux Castors (Beaver Lake) which was busy with pedalo's and not beavers, then the trees gave way to the rustic looking chalet (more interesting from the outside than in) and it's plaza with stunning views of Montreal's skyscrapers and Canada beyond the St Lawrence River.
Nearby is a 103ft-high illuminated cross that has been one of Montreal's most famous landmarks since 1924. Then on top of the mountain lie two vast cemeteries offering a tranquil moment in time.
We could easily be in France, although we have seen none of the snobbery or haughtiness that I read about towards non-French speakers but I can't help think how strange it must be to live in a corner of a vast country and speak the language of forefathers 3,500 miles away.
Anyway we're out to dinner in a minute to find a good steak frites place (there is plenty of choice), although the wine selections will quickly remind you that you are in Canada and not Bordeaux.
Pack, unpack, pack
"I'd rather shut my cock in a car door"
was what a mate told me when I told him we were moving and after about the 27th sweltering run between houses in the car stuffed full of crap I would have done the same myself if I had better co-ordination.
Then I encountered two comedians dressed as removal men on Monday who, paid by the hour, managed to drag the job out for 8 hours. Actually they were alright and I should thank two mates who helped me lump heavy stuff around on Saturday. Adam and Dave - thank you.
Moving is bloody painful and I should know, this was my 10th home move in 10 years. Anyway we are in now, the house is beautiful and I'm never moving again. Honest.
Tomorrow morning we have to find the suitcases, get whatever crap we chucked in there out, and pack for a 8 day holiday. We fly to Montreal
, the Canadian French enclave tomorrow and have four nights exploring old and new Montreal. Then on Tuesday we drive south across the border and into Vermont and onto the ski resort of Stowe
Stowe is a year-round resort and we plan to do nothing but rest and shop, something even the most manly of man would be willing to do if they lived in Bermuda.
I will pack the lap-top to keep an eye on BBC Breaking News to see which striker Charlton have bought.
Facts and fiction?
A lot of Charlton related stuff going on.
Yesterday I think the general feeling was of delight after reading the announcement of Christian Dailly's new one-year deal
. Rumours of Danny Wilson at Swindon stealing a march on us quickly went away as last season's player of the year agreed to stay at The Valley, I hope as club captain.
'So that's Doherty, Dailly, Lera and young Mambo (No.5) as centre-halves. Free agent Liam Chilvers, ex of Preston is still considering a number of offers including one from Charlton and then there was the surprising news that Jon Fortune may also sign a contract.
Fortune is still only 29 and played 170-odd games for us, many in the top flight. I don't know what his injury or fitness status is but witnesses say he looked pretty slim and dapper at Welling on Tuesday night
Fortune is 'proper-Charlton' but may just be down at Sparrows Lane keeping fit and getting his name back out there, but wouldn't a fit Jon Fortune would be a tremendous acquisition. The question does then emerges though to whether we need five senior centre-backs?
Lera can do a job on the left too, which with Grant Basey up in Aberdeen on trial
, might be necessary as Kelly Youga sounds a long way off from full fitness. Johnnie Jackson will probably start as first choice.
Back to Basey, I've always liked him as a player and always felt that he would make a fine centre-back or a holding midfielder. He lacks pace, but has a good football brain and a sweet left foot. But if Charlton are to offer him just a year and no guarantee of a first team football, a two-year deal north of the border, with an opportunity of European football looks hard to resist. Refer Darren Randolph.
Addicks with nothing to do (like me) have been furiously clicking on cafc.co.uk to see if we have signed Kyel Reid on a permanent basis after his release from Sheffield Utd. Sky Sports
are saying that we have agreed a deal. Remember they got the Doherty deal right. I like Reid, he is an exciting player who makes things happen and would be a very fine signing indeed.
What else? Oh yes Deon Burton has got his dream overseas move. Greece? No. Italy? No. Malta? No. Azerbaijan? Er, yes.Azerbaijan side Gabala
have a rich sugar-Daddy and recently paid Tony Adams £1m for a one-year contract as the club strive for a Champions League place. Good luck to Deon, I am sure he will earn a fair few manat's in the tiny 2,000 year old city.
Burton was always likely to move on but it underlines our desperate need for new strikers. Talking of which rumours are doing the rounds that Izale McLeod has accepted an offer
put to him by the board to cancel his contract. Let's hope so.
Money is short down at The Valley, not helped by Cardiff bloody City owing us £500,000 for the 2nd installment of the Mark Hudson transfer fee. The Daily Mail
is reporting today that we have reported the Bluebirds to the FA. Good.
Tomorrow the players go on a mini-tour of the A6 playing Kettering tomorrow and Bedford on Tuesday, after which Parky will decide on signing trialists Guillem Bauza and Etienne Esajas.
Man Utd launch new shirt
If I was still working in Chicago I no doubt would be heading across the street to Millennium Park
later this morning to attend my companies worldwide unveiling of the new Manchester Utd shirt
blazoned with my companies name on the front of it. Last night clients and employees were invited to watch players train at Toyota Park
and today globally Aon have closed their offices to enable employees to host community days to celebrate the shirt launch.
Aon signed a 4-year £80m deal a year ago
and we have been miking it ever since, even changing our corporate colour from burgundy or Aon Red as it was known to a brighter red colour.
There has been plenty of articles written about Aon being a Glazer benefactor and ally, but I don't see this at all. If every Man Utd season ticket holder refused to buy the new shirt, that affects Nike not Aon. It is the name recognition in the Far East that is far more important to the firm. Nike also allegedly asked Aon to support them on the clamp down of fake kits but it fell on sympathetic but ultimately deaf ears.
Aon's £80m is a drop in the ocean compared to the club's total debt of £716.5m
and no doubt the Green and Yellow campaign will continue whatever name on front of the shirt. For Aon, it's hopes are that the biggest billboard in the world is cheaper than any marketing campaign. It is off to a good start as Aon's chairman is joined by Dennis Irwin and Bryan Robson in ringing the bell to open trading (remotely from Chicago) at the New York Stock Exchange this morning.
The Man Utd home shirt is a very simple 1970's look - following the Charlton trend no doubt? The away kit yet to be released is supposed to be an equally plain white shirt with dark blue and red on the shoulders. I did see some leaked photographs that showed the away kit as being green and yellow but it's hard to imagine that was ever a consideration. For those that were moaning about the cost of Charlton's home shirt
, United's is £45 and £50 for long sleeves.
I will admit it was hardly matadors versus total football, but I found the World Cup Final
quite riveting. Blood, thunder, sweat and tears.... it was all there and I was glad it was won within the 120 minutes and not have to go to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.
Of course I was saddened by the Dutch defeat but less bothered by the way the Dutch played than almost everyone else. 'It was dancers versus thugs'
screamed Italy's La Repubblica
.... Kettle. Black. The Dutch were the inferior side but they set out to win the game, in fact Robben's pace nearly brought them the title. Some of the tackling was X rated, but the constant diving by the Spanish in my mind destroyed any moral high ground the Spanish may have deserved.
It was a terrifically hard game to referee but I thought Howard Webb did pretty well in the circumstances, although how it took until the 109th minute for a red card is a mystery. I felt that Webb tried hard not to be centre-stage but it was difficult when he was (mostly correctly) blowing for a free-kick every 3 minutes.
In many ways the Final summed up the whole tournament. It often took us to the periphery of something special but the competition never took off. South Africa will be remembered as magnificent hosts, but despite home advantage the nation's teams made no impression, alt
hough South Africa's victory over France was one to cherish and Ghana are young enough to come again.
France were rubbish, Italy and England just abysmal, but that wasn't entirely unexpected in Italy. We just got a reality check, but don't worry 'the best league in the world' starts in a few weeks and the FA can go back to finding that hole in the sand their head was buried in before June.
South Africa 2010 will be remembered as the stage the big stars flopped with the world watching. Rooney, Torres, Kaka, Ronaldo, Drogba, Eto'o even Messi each saw their stock fall.
Mexico, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand all left good impressions. The young Germans were scary good and must be a shoe-in for the Euro's in 2012. Spain were worthy winners although they passed the ball impeccibly for such long periods that when the ball was finally moved into a goalscoring position, their forward men were half asleep. Impressive that David Villa was, he still missed plenty of good chances. Anyway wasn't it Catalonia
that won the cup?
For people like me that think Brazil and Holland should throw tactics out of the window and just play expansive kamikaze attacking football, then we were disappointed, especially with the Brazilans and Dunga paid the price. Perhaps we are seeing a seismic shift in South American football following the admirable displays from Paraguay, Chile and especially tiny Uruguay.
Of course Diego Maradona did not let us down. Passion, desire, humour, he's a complete wacko and obviously has never taken a coaching course in his life. Too busy having 'fun' I suppose?
So lasting memories for me was the god-awful television coverage we had to suffer in Bermuda, although the commentator who did every game, I suspect from his front room, did a first-rate job.
The 'round' jabulani ball ruined almost every long distance shot and pass, unless you were Diego Forlan. Even in yesterday's game, the 64th of the tournament Casillas mis-judged a long distance free-kick when the Dutch turned the ball back after a stoppage. Now that would have been funny and one in the tentacles for Paul the octopus.
Despite some horror stories of wet concrete, empty seats, terrorist attacks and crowd trouble we were given a wonderful spectacle from some magnificent stadiums and settings. I just hope the poxy vuvuzela doesn't travel so well.
Sepp Blatter may have brought the World Cup to South Africa but the way he held off President Jacob Zuma to present the trophy to Spain last night reminded us all of what an egotisical chauvanist suit he and others at FIFA are. The FA aren't much better.
Anyway to finish, I have picked my World Cup XI based on the games that I saw. What do you think?
GK: Maarten Stekelenburg (Netherlands)
DEF: Sergio Ramos (Spa) - Carles Puyol (Spain) - Ryan Nelson (New Zealand) - Philipp Lahm (Germany)
MID: Xavi (Spain) - Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany) - Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
ATTACK MID: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
FOR: Diego Forlan (Uruguay) - Thomas Müller (Germany)
MANAGER: Joachim Low (Germany)
I've written many times of how I first fell in love with the game of football. I accept that as a 7-year old my life was lived behind rose coloured spectacles, but that Johann Cruyff led 1974 Dutch team played the game as if it was a dream.
Without any help I can recite that 1974 Dutch team (right) and I cried my little eyes out when The Kaiser lifted the trophy in Munich.
In 1978 I was watching live football regularly and understood the intricacies of the game better. With no England to cheer, although brave Scotland were represented again, I reverted to my first love, the Netherlands.
I was allowed to stay up late for the matches beamed into our tiny screens from Argentina. The games, stadiums and ticker-tape atmosphere were from another galaxy. Again the Dutch were undone by the hosts in extra-time at the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, a stadium I have since had the pleasure to watch a game in
The Total Football generation ended abruptly without a deserved title and the Dutch national team disappeared into the wilderness for ten years, returning to win Euro 1988 back under the tutorship of Rinus Michels. Captain Ruud Gullit, a player who could have easily fitted into the 70's Total Football side starred with Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard the Koeman brothers Ronald and Erwin.
Dennis Bergkamp came to prominence at USA 1994, a player that could find space in a jam jar and one of the best to have graced the Premier League. However for the second consecutive World Cup, the Dutch were eliminated by the eventual winners, this time Brazil.
Four years later in France, Bergkamp was joined by Marc Overmars, Phillip Cocu, Edgar Davids, Frank de Boer, Ronald de Boer, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert and it was the tournament of Bergkamp's unbelievable goal in the quarters against Argentina. Back in the semi-finals for the first time in 20 years, they suffered heartache going down to Brazil in the penalty shoot-out.
The Dutch didn't qualify in 2002 and it signalled the end of that gifted group of players but incredibly for such a small nation, this next century has again produced another assemblage of top players sprinkled around Europe's best leagues.
Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie plus elder statesmen Mark Van Bommell (once rumoured to be coming to Charlton, hard to believe eh?) and Giovanni van Bronckhorst have all shone in South Africa during an unbeaten run which started way before the finals began.
Sure this 2010 vintage doesn't have the glitter of the Dutch teams of the 70's, 80's or 90's but then again it also doesn't have the bickering and ego's which slammed the self-destruct button so often either.
I can't help myself, I am a latent L'Oranje man. The Netherlands deserve their name engraved on to that famous trophy. They have given the football world so much joy, they deserve a little back. Kom op Nederland!
Bermuda bans mobile phones whilst driving
Seven years after using a mobile phone while driving was banned in the UK, next week Bermuda's Senate also passes a new law
to stop the multi-dexterous task of driving and talking.
Of course it is not necessarily the distraction of talking that is the danger, it is the holding of the mobile phone device and ever since my arrival in Bermuda I have been astonished to how many car drivers use mobiles while they drive. In a country where the longest journey can't take longer than an hour before you fall into the ocean, it is honestly rare to see a driver without a phone pinned to their ear as if the call couldn't wait.
Bermuda has one of the worst road traffic injury and death statistics in the world, and it is no surprise to see a young lad on a moped weaving in and out of the traffic on narrow roads either with their mobile rammed in the gap between ear and helmet or texting. Yes texting.
Many times when driving, I look in my rear-view mirror and watch a motorcyclist looking down whilst tapping into his phone. I hate to admit it, but often I have thought about slamming the brakes on, but I couldn't bear the mess it would make to my white car!
Where in America the state authorities blame the critical mass of the country for it's belated outlawing of mobile phone use whilst driving - just six states ban use outright
, Bermuda's government blamed the time it took doing it's "research and consultation."
It is a big place after all!
Interestingly the new law also bans the use of in-car televisions, probably because in Bermuda, they are bound to be above the steering wheel and also tinted windows!
Fit to wear the shirt
Another busy day down at Sparrows Lane.
The new kit was revealed and I like it's simplicity. Ignoring the KRBS.com it is probably the most unfussiest shirt since the 1980/81 season
. And a mighty fine season that was too. The shirt will be worn tomorrow at AFC Wimbledon and is on sale next week. Any ideas on the away shirt anyone?
The shirt on the OS was modelled by Jose Semedo
, for who if the club need a sponsor for a security guard to keep an eye on him until the end of the transfer deadline, then I am willing to cough up some coin.
Plus Scott Wagstaff
is holding the new shirt after announcing his signing of a new two-year contract. Good news, the 20-year old changed games last season and can only get better and will hopefully be able to dictate more games that he starts as well.
By the way there are better photos of the new kit on CAFC's Twitter page here
The South Lions Press
yesterday said that Parky is "working hard to make the (the signing of Christian Dailly) happen."
But injury-prone Sam Sodje may chance his arm next season in Greece.
News also reaches us that Richard Murray is recovering from a heart operation. The very best wishes to Richard for a very speedy recovery. Coincidently a very good mate's Dad went into hospital yesterday for a heart op, I have no idea how he has kept it secret from me for 25 years that his old man is Richard Murray!
And finally Lloyd Sam has signed a two-year contract with Leeds United
ending his 12-year association with the Addicks. I have it good authority that once Lloyd put his pen down after signing his Leeds contract he bent over double, puffed out his cheeks and put his hands on his knees!
Sky Sports would have been furiously scribbling notes last night as LeBron James, or 'The King' as he calls himself, went on national American television at peak viewing hour and told the world which team he was going to sign for after he allowed his contract with Cleveland Cavaliers to run out.
Imagine John Terry allowing his contract at Chelsea to expire and leave 'on a Bosman' and one night in July sitting next to Richard Keys to announce his new team? I know, it's going to happen isn't it?
LeBron James easily convinced ESPN to put on a one-hour special called 'The Decision' and after plenty of arse licking James modestly announced that he will "take his talents to South Beach."
In fact once the Heat secured the multi-million dollar contracts of fellow star players Chris Bosh from Toronto and Dwayne Wade, who was already at Miami, to most fans except the dreamers in Chicago, New York and his hometown in Cleveland, his decision already looked made for him.
All three had decided long ago to coincide their contracts to expire at the same time, the three are friends, and play with each other for the celebrated Team USA.
'The King' has never actually worn the crown of a championship title, and he wants one badly. According to experts he would have had more chance of doing that with the Chicago B
ulls, but with their developing team it might have taken a little while longer.
He would have been even more of a superstar in New York under the auspices of part-owner Jay-Z. James would have made more money by staying with the Cavaliers, whose distraught fans burnt his jersey in the streets last night upon his decision.
But James followed the model laid out successfully by the Boston Celtics (and Chelsea) and no doubt with fellow royalty Wade and Bosh, 'The King' thinks the title could be won by the bizarre collection of talent and egos in their first season.
However unlike in the Premier League, the NBA has salary caps, big ones but still a cap and therefore James, Wade and Bosh will have to be surrounded by lesser and cheaper players.
Think of a 5-a-side team of Terry, Gerrard, Rooney, Miguel Angel Lera and Akpo Sodje, with a bench full of unknown minimum wage youth players. That is what Miami Heat's team will be next season.
Nonetheless from Chicago's perspective it frees up a lot of cash earmarked for the James signing. Sadly one of my favourite players Kirk Hinrich
has left for Washington to free up even more cash but with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and new signing the wonderfully named Carlos Boozer
already in the house, there are still exciting times ahead
for Da Bulls.
is back at The Valley as our latest recruit. The ex-Notts County player impressed whilst on loan with us last season, where he stood in at left-back but I expect to see him fill the left hand midfield berth this coming season. Mind you Kelly Youga's injury situation is unclear and Grant Basey has yet to sign a new contract, although he has been training with the squad.
Jackson is a good signing in my opinion, and an old team mate of Gary Doherty at Spurs
Hopefully Addicks will get their first chance to see Jackson, Doherty and McCormack alongside trialist Etienne Esajas
and Icelandic international striker Gunnar Thorvaldsson
Famous Bermudians - Shaun Goater
The first in what will believe me be a short series.Shaun Goater
Clearly recognisable by his charming smile I often see Shaun Goater driving his kids to school or just hanging out talking to some of the locals. There is no hero- worshipping here though despite his achievements elsewhere, Goater is more respected than revered by Bermudians.
Born in Court Street in Hamilton in February 1970 Leonardo Shaun Goater grew up in a houseful of women during a socially tough time for Bermuda. Brought up by his mother, grandmother and a couple of Aunties this didn't restrict his interest in football and he would play at every opportunity on any open space he could find.
Goater was offered scholarships in the USA at both Colombia University in New Jersey and Wake Forest in North Carolina, which has an excellent history in sports, especially football but during an autumn break back in Bermuda playing in midfield for North Village against some travelling English youth teams, Goater got spotted by scouts from Man Utd.
Encouraged by his football-obssessed Mum and well known Bermudian football coach Andrew Bascome, Goater at 18 left his tight family unit and travelled to Manchester for his trial, and thus forfeited his scholarships."Once I agreed to the trial I had forfeited my scholarship because I was deemed to be a professional. Looking back, it was a huge gamble that I took. I don't know what I would have done had it not worked out. I was confident that this was what I always wanted and knew that if I had turned it down, I could have spent the rest of my life wondering what might have been."
Shaun played two games on trial scoring once and Alex Ferguson gave him a contract. However his work permit took forever and Goater couldn't get anywhere near a first team that included Brian McClair, Mark Hughes, Danny Wallace, Bryan Robson and one Ralph Milne! One thing that did happen for Shaun though was his conversion from a creative midfield player to a striker but after less than a year he moved to Rotherham United in the 3rd Division for an opportunity to play first team football.
However Shaun was missing home and was struggling with the English weather. "It took me a good two years to get used to life in England. At first I thought the sun never shone and it wasn't for me. I found it hard to get used to life but gradually I accepted what the country had to offer."
But Goater made a lot of friends in Yorkshire and spent seven seasons at Rotherham. He learnt too even at Millmoor that professional football was a team game. In Bermuda he was a one man show, easily the best player on the island but not so in England. He had to buckle down and take the game more seriously. He was told at Man Utd that: "If you smile the next time you miss another chance, you will be on the first plane to Bermuda."
He made himself a good reputation at Rotherham as a striker who could score goals in the lower leagues. He scored 86 goals in 262 games and played at Wembley in the 1996 Auto Windscreens picking up a winner's medal as The Millers beat Shrewsbury 2-1 (right).
He fell out with manager Archie Gemmill though during that 95-96 season and decide
d to move on. He was now married to his childhood sweetheart Anita and had gotten used to the English weather so despite offers from Spain and South Korea, Goater chose Bristol City
. It was Joe Jordan at Ashton Gate who finally lured Goater away from Millmoor for a fee of £175,000 and City began the 1996-97 season as one of the favourites to win promotion.
City finished 5th and reached the play-offs only to lose to Brentford. Goater got another 24 goals. The next season City did win promotion but by March after scoring 40 goals in 75 matches Goater had left Ashton Gate and won his dream move to Maine Road. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
At home on deadline day Goater waited by the fax machine to get confirmation of his £400,000 move. He remembers the machine jamming and the clock ticking past 5pm but he was thrilled when Joe Royle finally got his man.
The thrills didn't last and the trouble was whilst Charlton were on the verge of a play-off place and that
game at Wembley, Man City were about to drop down to the 3rd tier to replace the Bristol City team Goater had just left and despite scoring twice in a 5-2 win at also relegated Stoke on the last day of the season City dropped to it's lowest level of their 105-year history.
That was a tough summer for Goater with the whole club in the doldrums but City won promotion straight back but only after a dramatic two goals in the last minute took the play-off final against Gillingham into extra time. City beat the Gills on penalties 3-1.
Goater scored 21 goals in that promotion season and he won over sceptical Blues fans, which seems ridiculous bearing in mind his scoring prowess. Goater felt that Paul Dickov was too popular for City fans to find room in their hearts for him, but another blistering start to the 1999/2000 season saw the famous chant of "Feed the Goat and He Will Score"
start to reverberate around Maine Road.
Around Maine Road Goater was always the one player who was happy to talk to the local press, meet the fans, walk into the schools, sign a kid's autograph book. Never forced it was a natural part of who he is. As Man City won promotion for the second consecutive season, this time to the Premier League, finishing two points behind champions Charlton, Goater scored 29 goals (including both against us) and City were back in the big time.
But for Goater it was his first experience of top flight football and as he wrote in his biography 'Feed the Goat'
he noticed changes. "In came the big names (Paulo Wanchope and George Weah had both signed). I saw families wanting an autograph get ignored as the stars headed to their flashy cars. I am there thinking 'well. why not sign them.'"
That summer of 2000 Shaun was awarded with the Freedom of Bermuda and 5,000 people lined the streets to welcome him. I expect in those days a lot of City shirts would adorn Hamilton on a Saturday afternoon, today it is mostly the red of United.
City were relegated in their very first Premier League season and despite missing the beginning of the season to injury Goater still ended the season City's top scorer with 11 goals. Joe Royle carried the can and was replaced by Kevin Keegan, a man who admitted to never rating Shaun Goater.
Despite this, Keegan still had the sense to play the fan's favourite and was rewarded with 32 goals - the fourth consecutive season Goater had finished City's top goalscorer. Darren Huckerby scored 26 as City hit 153 league goals in total and won the title by 11 points.
This time around the Maine Road board made their intentions clear that staying in the Premier League was paramount. With Keegan at the helm City signed Nicolas Anelka for £13m and Jon Mackem for £5m. Goater stayed but his opportunities were limited under Keegan but he still scored 7 goals in 14 starts including three against arch rivals United
in the two Manchester derbies, his 2nd a lob over Barthez in the final derby game to be played at Maine Road was Shaun's favourite career goal."I suppose that wasn't the correct way to say thank you to Alex Ferguson for bringing me to England,"
chuckled Shaun after his two goal haul in the win at Maine Road.
2002/03 was City's last at Maine Road and Goater had decided to move on, and despite his wearisome relationship with Keegan he was asked to lead the team out in City's last ever game
at their 80-yea
r old ground against Southampton.
Goater was adored by City's fans and his decision to look for a final move at the end of his career was one that took months of soul-searching and led to an outpouring of goodwill at Maine Road.
Keegan said at the time: "I think Shaun Goater will end up coming back to this club one day, but I am not sure what he will do. He might be working with the youth or he might be manager but I think he will walk back in here one day and carry on that love affair with the fans. I hope so because they love him and I know the feeling is mutual."
Goater was awarded a MBE
for services to sport and young people and in the summer of 2003 moved to Reading for £500,000 signed by Alan Pardew
, but Pards then left for West Ham just weeks into the new season. The move you will remember was met with much acrimony. Goater said at the time: "If he goes, it'll be very disappointing as there's a lot of respect for him."
New Royals manager Steve Coppell came with different plans and set about rebuilding the squad and Goater lasted just two seasons playing infrequently but he did score 12 goals.
Shaun went on loan to Coventry and at 33-years old considered quitting but eventually signed for Steve Tilson at Southend
on a free in August 2005 for one last season as a pro. It was a fantastic season and one to treasure for The Goat. Southend won the League One title and were promoted to the Championship. Goater played in 34 games, often partnering a young Freddy Eastwood up front, and scored 11 goals.
Goater's final game, his 551st, provided a fairytale end to his glittering career in
England. Southend had to win to claim the league title at Roots Hall
(right). They did by beating one of Goater's old clubs Bristol City 1-0 and it is said that over 400 Manchester City fans travelled to Essex on the day to serenade their hero. Bristol City fans also gave him a standing ovation afterwards.
Fans also travelled from Bermuda to cheer Shaun on to spark an outpouring of love for The Goat at the final whistle. Bermuda Hogges part owner Paul Scope was also in attendance that day and when asked what makes Shaun Goater so special, he said: "British fans love his attitude, his special smile - and they love someone who takes what they have in ability and makes more of it."
Goater returned home to Bermuda to an official welcome from then Prime Minister Alex Scott. Southend United also made the journey and played Bermuda's national side in an exhibition match.
By the end of his 17-year career Shaun Goater had scored 260 goals plus 32 in 36 games for Bermuda's national team.
Since being back in Bermuda Goater turned to coaching and giving back to the game that took him away from this island and to a career of reverence that he could never have dreamt about as a young lad kicking the ball along the street.
He studied for his UEFA coaching licence as well as for a marketing degree and is currently the business development officer
for local firm East End Group Ltd
, a kind of mini-conglomerate on the island.
Goater is also co-owner of Bermuda's only semi-professional team, Bermuda Hogges
but strangely has no involvement with the coaching or management side as that responsibility falls to the Bermuda Football Association
(BFA), something that clearly rankles with him: "I've applied for a number of positions at the BFA and have either been turned down or told there is no position, only for there to be a position available a few months later."
It is incredulous that Goater has never been involved with the Bermudian national team, this is a man who has worked with Sir Alex Ferguson, Kevin Keegan and Joe Royle. "Outside of Bermuda people can't believe I am not involved. But who knows what will happen in the future."
Meanwhile Shaun continues to coach his old team North Village
, runners up in last season's Bermuda Premier League. He has often doubted the desire of young people in this country to make it is the sporting world. If it is obvious to me that Shaun Goater is the undeniable choice to change this, then I don't understand why it isn't to others.Feed the Goat
Wish I had ginger hair too..
So those Southend morons who booed Nicky Bailey's every touch last season will hopefully feel slightly less acerbic now that the money winging it's way to them for the cut of his transfer fee to Middlesbrough will probably save them from being wound up this week.
The Ginger One's long drawn out transfer to Boro was completed today
for £1,400,000. We paid £500,000 to the Shrimpers, and therefore they will get 25% of the profit, i.e. £225,000.
Meanwhile we add the remaining £675,000 to the money we received from Liverpool for Jonjo and the £450,000 we received for Richardson, although I suspect only half of it was upfront, but then again one never knows with Pardew, to allow us to keep afloat, build a hungry and competitive squad and please, please be able to keep Jose Semedo.
I look forward to Saturday's team at AFC Wimbledon
being made up of players called A. Trialist.Update July 8th
: Southend avoid Administration
5 years ago today
It's hard to imagine that is was five years ago when terrorists tried but failed to stop Londoners getting on with their daily lives. 52 people died and over 700 were injured on their way to work.
Four suicide bombers tried to rip the heart out of London, all they did was make Londoners even prouder of their home.Let us never forget
McCormack walks in swing door
Out of the frying pan into the fire for Alan McCormack, revealed as Parky's second signing today
, just an hour or so after Frazer Richardson was sold to Alan Pardew's Southampton.
McCormack, 26, was out of contract at Southend United and is a box-to-box midfielder, and ex-midfield stable mate of Nicky Bailey, although it is rumoured that the two had fisty-cuffs prior to Bailey's departure.
Another Irishman, McCormack's strike rate is not anywhere as good as Bailey's, hence £1.4m = free. He played 165 games for the Shrimpers scoring 18 goals. Parky said: "The thing that struck me about him more than anything else was his hunger."
Well I guess we haven't seen a lot of that lately.
Southend are in the High Court on Thursday
and have a large tax debt as well as owing money to the PFA and have cancelled Saturday's friendly with Ipswich as they can't get a team out.
McCormack had his contract cancelled mutually after Southend's relegation as they couldn't afford him and recently he has been outspoken
about him and his ex-team mates consistently being paid wages late last season.
As I said frying pan and fire.
Next: Fraser Richardson
This post began congratulating the club on the acquisition of Gary Doherty but it now has a pessimistic tone as the Official Site screams: Saints swoop for Frazer
Richardson was pivotal in our play-off run last year and deservedly appeared in the Divisional Team of the Season and will be a big loss.
The £450,000 is clearly much needed. "Southampton expressed an interest in me and then made an offer to Charlton that I don't think they could refuse."
There is a well known football dictum that you don't sell your best players to your promotion rivals. Well as Southampton get set for a pre-season trip to Switzerland, we go on a tour of non-league grounds. Something clearly not right there in the Administration v Solvency argument!
We now all hope that Semedo stays and we find it in our power to sign Christian Dailly for another year, yet the signing of Gary Doherty may hint that'll not be likely. Doherty meanwhile signals a good start to Parky's rebuilding job but it is one step forward and one step back.
Doherty was a bit of a cult hero at Carrow Road and played 44 games for the Div 3 champions last season. Interestingly centre-half Gary Doherty, who started his career as a striker, scored more goals last season than every Charlton player except Burton and Bailey.
No work today, supposedly somewhere people are celebrating their independence
, so we decided to close the office. Nice one.
Our weekend was spent packing our stuff into boxes as we have decided to move house after our two-year rental deal expires at the end of this month. Our current house is very nicely situated but it is old, very old and needs constant attention, something that my landlord is not prepared to give all time he is pocketing my monthly rent, which will total $192,000 by the time we leave. No, that is not a typing mistake.
We have found a house bigger, nicer, cheaper, a million times more modern and a 7-iron from the ocean and move in two weeks and we can't wait.
Continued difficult trading conditions and consolidations has resulted in redundancies as well as closure of businesses plus there has been some re-domiciling of Bermudian companies to other countries with favoured tax environments meaning simply that more ex-pats are leaving the island than coming and therefore the hugely inflated rents are reducing and there is a lot more choice.
Work will quieten substantially now July is here, which will allow me to concentrate on the house move, which is really only 10 minutes away west of where we are now in Southampton
. Then a week after we move we are off on a holiday splitting 8 days between Montreal and Vermont.
Today is not a day for working though, although the other-half has to, so my daughter and I are off having fun together. The packing can wait.
After previously dominating the tournament I suggested that the last four in South Africa might not contain any South American teams but when Ghana's Asamoah Gyan hit the bar from the penalty spot with the last kick of extra-time it put a knife through every African's dreams and lifted the Uruguayan's for the shoot out.
Incredibly Gyan stepped up again and dispatched his spot-kick but the experienced Abreu, who has played for 17 clubs, did 'a Di Canio' and clipped the ball into the middle of the net and over the sprawling 'keeper. What an amazing finish to a match.
I didn't take the the bet for all the South American teams to go home but I did do Holland and Germany in a double and the two European nations wrestled power back from the South Americans to dominate in their games against Brazil and Argentina.
Ever since 1974 I have had a soft spot for the Le Oranje and they put paid to the favourites and five-time winners on Friday. Then yesterday the Germans exhibited a devastating display of counter-attacking football. The Polish born Miroslav Klose, one of five non-German born players in their squad, is now just one away from Ronaldo's all-time world cup goalscoring record.
In a game of less excitement Spain beat Paraguay and their semi against Germany should be a titanic battle of some of the best passing and movement we have seen in the competition. Light years away from what we saw in the English games.
is the latest player to depart The Valley after signing an undisclosed 2-year contract with Div 4 Hereford United. Sources suggest that the Bulls paid us £20,000 up front with the eventual amount circa £100,000 depending on appearances, goals scored, and promotion whilst a Hereford United player, plus a potential sell-on fee.
If true that isn't bad business for a player who played 8 minutes for us in two years. That Alan Pardew can certainly spot a player! Exeter were favourites for the west country boy but were holding out for a free transfer and were only prepared to offer a one-year deal.
I think the number of players left in the building to coin a Parky phrase
, is now less than a football team. Expect plenty of trialists and rumours as he goes about building a squad in time for the new season which starts in 5 weeks time.
The last eight
The cars here are slowly dispensing with their flags, which makes for a less colourful Bermuda and a realisation that we only have 8 teams left in the competition.
Apart from some sporadic potent attack play (Argentina, Germany) and some uncomplicated but intelligent passing (Spain, Brazil) and some quick counter-attacking (Netherlands, Ghana and Uruguay) the World Cup has still yet to burst into life and see a game worthy of the four-year wait.
I've seen a lot of the games and my interest has not diminished since England's embarrassing exit, but I'm hoping that the competition sparks into life today and tomorrow as the last eight become four.
The South American's have dominated and even Chile, who went home gave a very good account of themselves. Nonetheless I think there is a chance that the remaining four could all be knocked out in the Quarters but then again my tipping has been atrocious.
As for a personal favourite, I'm really just hoping for some cracking games now, but I've warmed to Maradona's Argentina, I have a lengthly longing for Holland and Germany have excited me more than most. I know, I'll wash my mouth out with soap in a minute.
I love an underdog me, who doesn't? And the romantic in me would cherish a Ghana victory or what about Uruguay, a country I have visited
and one of the continent's tiniest, 80 years after they hosted and won the inaugural World Cup tournament.
Brazil v Holland is up in an hour.
Diplomacy not a science
Anyone else think that appointing a Head of Sports Science
when we haven't got two pennies to rub together is a bit strange? On the back of Steve Gritt
being given his P45 earlier in the week and the majority of Charlton's non-footballing staff being on redundancy watch, I for one thought a splash on the website was a bit inconsiderate.
Donough Holohan is considered to be something of a muscle and strain specialist hopefully with only 12 players on the books he can fill in upfront as well.
Randolph next out the door
Darren Randolph signed for Motherwell today
. The SPL and Europa League qualifiers have given the Irishman a 3-year contract after he turned down just a year at The Valley.
It's hard to blame Randolph who has been more than patient in his 7 years at the club. In fact at the end of last season Darren had his longest spell in the first team even keeping the fit-again Robbie Elliot out of the side during the last 12 games of the season. Many Addicks felt that Randolph was actually a better keeper than his rival for the number 1 shirt.
I just hope now we don't get any offers for Charlton fan-Elliot and wish Darren all the best of luck up in North Lanarkshire.
Yesterday the released Matt Spring signed for Leyton Orient
on a 2-year deal.
This morning one of the world's best athletes LeBron James
became a free agent by allowing his existing contract to run out. The 25-year old who earnt $43m last year now awaits offers from around the NBA for his services.
But unlike Deon Burton or Darren Randolph where their agents will no doubt be begging and harangueing clubs for offers, LeBron James will host potential suitors at an expected lavish but secret location in north-eastern Ohio, a couple of hundred miles from his beloved home in Akron, OH (believe me I spent a lot of time in Akron, OH and I don't see it's appeal).
LeBron James is the world's best basketball player. He may even be better than 'His Airness' Michael Jordan, but after seven years of single-handedly giving the Cleveland Cavaliers success that before James was unthinkable, the Cavs nor James never won a NBA Championship title.
Jordan won six titles, all whilst wearing the colours of the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant has won five, the same as Magic Johnson and if James is to be talked about in the same breath then he needs to hurry up and start winning.
But where will that be? Salary caps will eliminate a lot of NBA teams, as will geography. James is not going to be signing for the Oklahoma City Thunder and live in Choctaw, OK for example. James likes the good-life and any potential new home will need to offer that as well as a team that already has the foundations of potential champions. LeBron James can't afford to hang around.
The New York Knicks think that the cities bright lights will inspire James to move to the Big Apple. New Jersey Nets' Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Dmitrievitch Prokhorov will have a copy of Roman Abramovich's business plan on him when he meets LeBron, Los Angeles Clippers will offer dreams of Hollywood while Miami Heat will try to coalesce Dwayne Wade, who is also a free agent and James together to build a title winning team in Florida. And there is still a chance that no one will tempt the Ohio boy away from his home town and he will stay in Cleveland.
But surely if LeBron James is to become not only the best, but the best ever it is to Chicago that the King without a title ring must head. James has said he will make a decision on his future by July 5th.