Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Thursday 31 March 2005
  Money, money, money It's all about money isn't it. How often do we hear that in a conversation that involves football? No longer great beard or the referee's a wanker. Well, yes some things don't change.

Charlton being a publicly traded company have an open society financially and our supporters, more than most, understand how this effects what goes on, on the pitch. This week Richard Murray announced interim figures for 6 months ending 2004. As expected they were down after we spent money in the summer and accordingly raised the wageroll levels.

Our turnover for the 6 months was £19.48m, which is still a long way short of Tottenham's £32.9m. The share prices of the two clubs don't respect this though. Our share price has climbed extraordinarily from 7p in January to 28p today, whereas Spurs' is just 2p higher.

For some unknown reason, most definitely not an astute one, I have quite a few Charlton shares so maybe Mr Tim Leiweke wants to give me a call? This is an interesting story and one that Addicks Diary is following closely. Leiweke is president and chief executive of AEG who also own local 'soccer' team Chicago Fire. See we have a connection!

Another interesting story was not Jermaine Pennant being released from jail and being rewarded with a 3 year contract at Birmingham and a nice little signing on fee. Although I did laugh reading David Gold's comments: "He's had some unfortunate issues and I'm sure that our football club is best equipped to help him and he will end up an outstanding footballer and contributor to society." Just like Mr Gold then.

No I'm talking about someone who has actually achieved in their life - Ex-Addick David Campbell, who made 84 appearances for us in the late 70's. This is him (top row, 2nd from the right) in the team line up of 1977.

A 70's pro earnt a slightly different lot to today's players but David has done quite nicely for himself too thank you very much.

Whilst David was at Charlton he studied for an economics degree at the London School of Economics "because it was the nearest university to the football ground.” (more)

Yesterday the asset management firm he ran, Tilney, was backed by private equity money in a management buy-out from owners Refco to the tune of £125m. It was quite a coup for the Liverpool based company and David and three other senior managers will all do very nicely out of the deal. Maybe he can afford to get his haircut now! 
Saturday 26 March 2005
  Scott parked as Cole accelerates past him It would be fair to say that when Scott Parker was at Charlton his progress, his career and his England opportunities were ahead of the then sparingly used Chelsea squad player Joe Cole.

With the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the summer both Cole and Parker lined up with other big named signings and were given a fresh start by a manager with new ideas. Seven months later Parker's season has been a non-event whilst Joe Cole's has been a revelation, prospering under the influence of Mourinho.

Today in England's emphatic win against N. Ireland Cole ran the show for England, with bursting confidence he was involved in everything and scored the all important first goal.

Joe Cole would always win first prize in any keepy-uppy competition but his fitness was suspect as was his overall application in games, often being anonymous. Mourinho has brought the very best out of the boy born in Islington.

What of the boy born in Lambeth? Well, who knows what the summer will bring. 
Friday 25 March 2005
  Moving on up It's moving weekend for the Chicago Addick. No egg hunts and fluffy bunnies for me. Nope, just boxes, bubble-wrap, packing, cleaning, unpacking and more boxes.

I'm at work today as corporate America doesn't observe Easter, amazing for a country so religious but I'm hoping to slip off soon to start my weekend of packing. I move into my new place on Monday and it will be nice to call somewhere my own after living in 3 rented places in 17 months.

I'm tinkering with the idea of watching the England game tomorrow. I find it hard to get excited about the National team normally but being starved of football and the fact I can watch it over breakfast makes the idea more enticing.

I've had another busy week - out Monday night at the Bulls, Tuesday in St Louis, Wednesday night on the lash with some old London pals who now work in Bermuda and Thursday night in Home Depot, which is open 24 hours just in case you wake up in the night and feel the urge to put up a dry wall!

Anyway some bastard has given me a cold in the process and I have a couple of suitcases under my eyes. On top of that I was at the dentist yesterday morning and he wants me to have my four wisdom teeth out! Fuck dat.

Nonetheless some good news. I have some tickets in my grubby little hands this morning. One for a holiday to Los Cabos in Mexico, which I leave for on Sunday week and one for the U2 concert in Chicago on May 9th. Happy days.

Weather check.... Chicago 35F and snowing like hell, Los Cabos 84F and hot! 
Thursday 24 March 2005
  Joanne gets around to my email. So I have finally received a reply from the now famous Premier League's Customer Strategy Executive Joanne Revell. My email was short and to the point and quite franky I lied about already booking my plane ticket, although I am wrestling with the idea of the going home for the game and a Sunday kick off will be a royal pain in the arse for me. This is what I said:

"I have read with dismay that the final Premier League games have been moved to the Sunday at such short notice with no consideration again for the fans. I have already booked my flight from Chicago to London leading up to that weekend with the intent to see the Charlton v Palace game. I am a Charlton season ticket holder despite living in Chicago. My return flight leaves on Sunday afternoon. Great.

What rights of recourse do we and other fans have?

This just about sums up the attitude of the Premier League. You won't be happy until games are played out in front of TV cameras with no people in the stadiums!

I await your comments."

Joanne Revell replied with the standard response and even forgot to take out the prefix's to insert the dates in the email. Very personal indeed. Although most of you have seen this before, for the record here it is:

"Dear Chicago Addick

Thank you for your email regarding the change of date of the last game of the Premier League’s 2004/05 season. Unfortunately, it has been necessary to move the last day of this season from 3.00pm on Saturday, 14 May to 3.00pm on Sunday 15 May.

The reason for this change is that we have to seek dispensation from UEFA to play during the closed broadcast period which runs from 2.45pm to 5.15pm on Saturdays, in order to play simultaneously whilst also fulfilling our broadcasting contracts. In order to gain permission to do this, UEFA require that the leagues from the other home nations do not oppose our request. On this occasion UEFA did receive an objection and were therefore unable to facilitate our request.

When the Premier League fixture list is published at the start of the season it contains a clear statement informing people that they should be aware that fixtures are always subject to changes and that any changes will appear in the national press, or will be advertised through Club programmes and websites etc. In addition, the Premier League has a Public Information Line (020 7298 1647) providing up to date fixture details, including the likelihood of any movement. I am afraid therefore that neither the Premier League nor its Clubs is liable for reimbursement of costs incurred as a result of a fixture change.

The Premier League regrets that we have had to change the date for the last day of our season, but we have no alternative. We have acted to inform fans as soon as possible, as we do with all fixture changes, in order that they can plan accordingly.

Kind regards"

Premier League clubs met last week and this topic was due to be discussed but as nothing came out of it, we can only assume that Peter Varney was not supported by his fellow Club chiefs and Charlton and the fans are fighting a losing battle. 
Wednesday 23 March 2005
  Earnshaw answers Curbs doubts Well the general opinion of Saturday seems to be a combination of a blip, poor refereeing and good finishing by a player that maybe the over cautious Curbs dwelled on for too long and subsequently missed out on.

Curbs meticulousness is well known and his attention to detail on the training field he carries into his purchases and generally most fans respect that. The one or two mistakes he has made, such as Rowett, tend to come with a safety net - Rowett's transfer fee was staggered depending on appearances.

However I still remember us taking an age on whether to sign Mark Kinsella, we almost and by all accounts should have missed out on him but Curbs was eventually persuaded to part with £150,000. Money well spent I'll think you'll agree. Of course Earnshaw was a little bit more expensive but 13 goals in all competitions including 3 on our doorstep has probably belatedly answered Curbs nagging doubts. His height being one of those I understand.

The ressies won again last night beating Pompey 2-1 (report from Addicks Diary here). Just one more win will guarantee us the title for the 2nd consecutive year and a play-off against the winners of the Premier Reserve League North. Man Utd currently lead the North table, with a game in hand and 3 points on Aston Villa in 2nd. Assuming we win the South League the play-off game I reckon would capture the imagination of Addicks. I wonder if there are rules about playing first teamers in this game?

Jason Euell was the hero last night scoring both goals and said today: "I don't really feel I'll start any games, but we'll have to wait and see. I wouldn't want anyone to get injured, but that might be the way I get back into the side in the run-in. At the moment, for the first team, I'm getting 10 or 15 minutes here and there. It's very tough playing like that and trying to get into games - and trying to make a big impact."

A lot has been said about Euell's season but to be honest he has kept his thoughts pretty much to himself and even in this frank interview he puts the team before himself. It's one of the season's downsides that the formation has thwarted his campaign (he has started just 2 games since mid-September) after arguably being one of our most popular and consistent players over the last 3 years.

And finally is it a surprise that Bolton's assistant manager Phil Brown thinks that it is a great idea that Mark Halsey trains with them?

"He asked if he could train with us and that relationship has grown from there. We know Halsey’s problems on a Saturday and he understands our problems as well.”

Would that have anything to do with his performance at The Valley then last Saturday? Oh, and he's a Bolton fan as well by all accounts! 
Sunday 20 March 2005
  West Brom home. What was the score? 1-4 Spurs. Big crowd. Fish for Perry. Earnshaw. Bloody typical eh?

Other words fail me! Lets move onto Saturday quick.

More words than me: Addicks Diary; All Quiet; The Observer;
Thursday 17 March 2005
  Spare a thought for Rob Elliot Among today's happy Addicks, spare a thought for 19-year old Rob Elliot. He was minding his own business learning the trade from the bench, and doing pretty well, at hapless Notts County, when suddenly their first choice goalie gets injured and the youngster is thrown in for his league debut against Boston.

76 minutes and all is well, Elliot is keeping a clean sheet and has made a couple of vital saves but then in the last 15 minutes the Magpies defence crumble and they concede four goals (2 in the last minute) mainly down to defensive cock ups including one from the Addick himself when he messes up a clearance.

It was so bad that the County manager today felt compelled to issue an apology: "The defending was just so poor for the goals and you can only feel for our fans who paid good money to again see us beaten," Ian Richardson said.

And then to top it all off, poor old Rob finds out today that during the game he may have broken his nose! 
Wednesday 16 March 2005
  Spurs home. What was the score? 2-0
Ooh, I bet Danny boy enjoyed that. Booed at every opportunity by the delusionals, he stepped up to blast the nail in the coffin from 25-yards to send The Valley into raptures. My moby's been a bit hot this afternoon at work as croaky friends call me to relay the story I heard unfold on the radio.

It was a fantastic start and it sounded a wonderful strike by ex Gooner Jerome Thomas. We then weathered, maybe fortunately according to Steve Brown, a storm as Tottenham looked to get back in the game with ex Addick target Andy Reid causing us problems.

The half seemed to end in a catalogue of fouls with Thomas being on the end of quite a few of them.

I was then called into a meeting during half-time, so I missed the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half - do they not realise what's important? I ask you?

But when I got back to the radio, we seemed quite comfortable, and appeared to be holding the ball up sensibly. Then came a spate of injuries and I hope Rommedahl, Bartlett & Thomas were taken off as precautions and not necessities.

Worrylingly for a while Steve Brown didn't seem to know who was playing where following the introduction of JJ, Euell and Feesh. Bartlett had already headed off the line (again) and I was hoping we weren't going to sit back and defend, especially with Judas Defoe on the pitch.

No need to worry because Murphy showed The Jimmy Seed stand what they could have had if he wanted to join a mid table side. I would have loved to seen his celebration, although I didn't do too bad myself. If anyone saw me, I don't care, they wouldn't understand.

There will be Addicks everywhere having sweet dreams tonight.

Reports from those that were there: All Quiet; Addicks Diary; The Times;; An Addick For Life
  Ex Spurs & nearly Spur to show what they missed It's a big game tonight. Most of us know Spurs fans and many suffer from delusions of grandeur, still thinking that they are in the same league as Arsenal & Chelsea and not us and Bolton.

Our record against them at the Valley in recent seasons has been poor but tonight signifies the start of a stretch of three winnable games. As we try to consign our recent end of season's to long-term memory it is imperative that we start a run now on the back of the last three away games where we were undefeated.

It is the first home league game for 6 weeks and then we have 2 in a few days, then an international break.

The 4-5-1, 4-4-2 debate will no doubt continue over a few pints before the game. I really can't see Curbs changing this, particularly as we were so successful with it at White Hart Lane.

I'm hoping for another good performance from Konchesky and Murphy of course also has reason to shine and control the middle of the pitch. Perry and Young will both be pleased that they moved across the river and will hopefully do well. Young especially has had a great 3/4's of the season.

Let's make sure we get behind the boys tonight. I will be doing all I can from behind my desk listening to the game on the internet.

Come on you Reds. 
Tuesday 15 March 2005
  Are we seeing too much of Varney? The Charlton boardroom is not widely known outside of those of us who support the club and that is how we like it, but Chief Executive Peter Varney has recently started to gain some newspaper inches and I was wondering if this was good for the club?

Sure, the blast at the Premier League and UEFA about changing the last day of the season is warranted although he seems to be getting no active support from his peers.

Last week he told the media that "we should be seriously worried in this country about the future of the England team," (more) due to the PFA's decision to reduce payments to fund youth development programmes by £1.5 million to £5 million.

This of course was the precursor to the announcement of the Charlton Athletic United States Soccer Academy (CAUSSA), which is due to open in Arizona during the Summer. “Our fans have an affinity with players who have been brought through the club’s academy ranks and I think we’d get a good response from them if we were to produce a player from America.” said old Reg.

Varney also revealed plans to open another academy in China at the same time as questioning the wisdom of allowing so many overseas players to play in the Premiership.

And lest we forget it's election year, so "over in SE7, the health secretary (John Reid) joined Charlton chief executive Peter Varney, (Charlton Athletic Community) trust chief executive Steve Waggott, Eltham MP Clive Efford, Greenwich Council leader Cllr Chris Roberts," (more) and MP for this and MP for that in trying to hit a cord and squeeze a vote out of the couldn't care-less electorate.

So what do we think? Do we have another Doug Ellis or Ken Bates on our hands? No, of course we don't. It comes with the territory of being one of the top 8 clubs in the country, and if no one other than league table watchers realise that then Varney is quick to give the club good publicity on a whole range of issues, from the virtues of youth academies, to our activities in the community, the clubs generosity following the tsunami and to the qualities of maybe the next England manager.

His comments are nearly always well thought-out and his sticks to subjects that he has researched and therefore fully understands. He doesn't open his gob before engaging his brain is what I am trying to say.

It's a tough world amongst those football CEO's and I think Varney is well regarded by the many ego's and fat wallets he has to surround himself with and we should be pleased to have him and not one of the many other football chairmen / chief executives you could now roll off your tongue if you thought about it! 
Monday 14 March 2005
  Painting the river green
So what have I been doing these last few (still freezing) days. Oh yes, painting, painting and more painting, oh and stuck at Detroit Airport for five and a half hours on Friday. Something about having a seat on a flight booked for 5pm Sunday night when it should have been 5pm Friday night. Great.

The weather is still cold, we were dumped on by a huge snow storm on Friday night as the winter in the Windy City continues. I spent both Saturday and Sunday decorating at my new place, helped by my Aussie mate yesterday but I did find time to get out for another friends birthday on Saturday evening and stayed out a bit longer than intended.

I read on Casino Avenue about the St Patricks Day parade in London. Well the whole thing is huge here and lasts for about 2 weeks. They famously colour the Chicago River green (photo's above taken from my apartment) and there are two massive parade's - one on the North side and one on the South. Of course you won't meet anyone Irish, just lots of drunk American's wearing silly green hats and beads.

Not surprisingly I have become patriotic since I have been here and if the red cross of St George gets bad press at home, then it certainly doesn't here because no one has a poxy clue what it represents.

Last year on April 23rd I took some colleagues out for a pint of warm bitter and a pie in this quasi English pub in recognition of St Georges Day and with this year's falling on a weekend I plan to step up the celebration.

I agree with ex home secretary David Blunkett that we should stop being "apologetic about our history" and start to positively celebrate St George's Day. (more)

As for a public holiday, we don't even get Good Friday off here because it is too politically incorrect! 
Saturday 12 March 2005
  England coming to Chicago Chicago's impressive Soldier Field will host England's first visit to the US since 1993 on May 28th, which is Memorial holiday weekend here. Sven has promised a full squad except for Real Madrid's Michael Owen and David Beckham whose La Liga season does not finish until the next day.

Alex Ferguson promised the same mind, when United played Bayern Munich here last summer but instead played a side made up of youngsters. Let's hope this game does more to help 'soccer's' popularity here because that game was truly awful.

Tickets become available on March 31st and start at $28. 
Monday 7 March 2005
  Flaming hell
Rather ominously after leaving my new home yesterday early evening following day one of it's makeover (god, I ache today), I came across a dozen fire trucks on a street two blocks away attending a fire in a loft building not dissimilar to mine.

I read some stats recently (they were a couple of years old mind) that there are more fires in Chicago than any other major city in the US although the number of fire related deaths reduced last year. Fortunately no one seemed to be hurt yesterday.

There were 507 fires attended to by the Chicago Fire Service last year, so it's not surprising that every morning's news headlines includes one, but surely they are not helping themselves! 
  Fulham away. What was the score? 0-0 I was in Home Depot on Saturday so I didn't make it to one of my favourite away grounds, Craven Cottage, so I obviously didn't see the game but what resulted I have seen many times before.

3 draws from 3 tricky away games is on the face of it a good return. In two of the games - Newcastle and Middlesbrough - we could have snatched all 3 points or gone home with nothing but seemingly on Saturday only one team was good enough to take all the points. And that was us, so fucking annoying then that with 15 minutes to go we shut up shop and feel grateful we didn't lose. Hands up those of you, particularly among the 5,000 Addicks in attendance who, given our current league position and fixtures to follow, would rather us go for it in the last 15 minutes and get the winner or sit back and take our 40th point?

In my book, it's called entertainment, it's called sensing a win, it's called having the tactical nous to win the 3 points that are there to be taken and it's also called encouraging 5,000 Addicks to go out and get Pompey tickets.

Anyway, 10/10 to the Charlton fans at the Cottage, 1/10 to Curbs for throwing the Finn on the wing on for the last 15 minutes and not the fox in the box and not acknowledging the excellent away support at the end of the game.

Reports from those that were there: All Quiet; The Times; The Independent; BBC Sport
Saturday 5 March 2005
  Chicago Sun Times Building update

The Mayor of Chicago is a powerful man. In fact King of Chicago would be a more realistic moniker. He normally gets what he wants. Now, you would have thought that Donald Trump is also used to getting what he wants. But in discussions about the new Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago it looks like the Mayor is going to win. The local papers have had a lot of fun with this as two of the greatest mouths, sorry minds grapple with each other over whether to put a spire on top of the proposed structure.

But the Mayor wants 'his skyline' to have a spire on it and that is that. If the latest design for Trump tower is topped by a pointy spike, it could make the building the second tallest in the city and in America, not to mention the seventh tallest in the world.

"He does like spires," Trump remarked of Richard M Daley (his father was also Mayor) after they met in City Hall last month over a glass of Merlot.

City bureaucrats will have to approve the new plans. If they do, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago would become the second tallest building in the city, well above the 1,136-foot Aon Center (where I work) and the 1,127-foot John Hancock Center, but still 90 feet shorter than the 1,450-foot Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building.

It would make Trump's skyscraper 90 feet taller than the 1,250-foot Empire State Building, which is, after the Sears, the countries runner-up.

Though Trump's Chicago tower will clearly secure a place in the global pantheon of tall buildings, it likely will slip before long. The planned Freedom Tower at ground zero in lower Manhattan is supposed to rise to 1,776 feet, a height that would symbolically refer to the year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The world's tallest building is the 1,667-foot Taipei 101 in Taiwan, but Chicago based architects Skidmore, Owings & Merril last year announced construction had begun on a multi-use 'city in a city' skyscraper in Dubai that will soar to more than 2,000 feet. (more
Friday 4 March 2005
  The American dream I've done it. All signed and sealed today. I am now contributing to the American economy and have become a houseowner. I'm following the American dream, next up will be some new 'American teeth' and little bit of botox! 
  Lofty expectations
Its a big day today in my Chicago life as I close on my loft. Yesterday I cleared my bank account out of every nickel and dime in order to rustle up the remainder of the deposit and by 5pm tonight I will become an American house owner. Tomorrow you will mostly be seeing me in Home Depot hiring sanders and wallpaper steamers and buying dust sheets as I get to work on it. I will move in at the end of the month.

It sounds like the weather in London is still cold, I couldn't believe the snow when I was home last weekend, it was especially bad at my parents in Eastbourne. It was also the first time my son had ever seen snow and it made me realise that I need to get him here soon.

The weather here is still cold as you will see from the picture I took yesterday but the days are getting longer and the sun is high in the sky which I prefer a shed load more than the low cloud we get at home.

My time at home was fun. I managed to clock up over 600 miles, watched SpongeBob SquarePants at the cinema, got drunk on Monday night, had two much missed curries and managed to fulfil my role as best man, I even got a few laughs during my speech, although I didn't realise how nerve-racking the whole experience was until I picked up my champers at the end to toast the bride and groom and my hand was shaking like a shaky thing. I didn't spill another drop all night though!

A busy work month lies ahead and by my reckoning next week will be my first full week in the office since the turn of the year. "I don't how you get away with it," someone said to me yesterday. Oh well, you've either got it or you haven't! 
Thursday 3 March 2005
  Charlton pioneer American soccer academy I knew my Sunday morning 5-a-side performances were not going unnoticed! That long range effort the other week, well it was kind of a tap in, obviously stirred the Charlton scouts because today they have announced the establishment of a Charlton Athletic United States Soccer Academy (CAUSSA).

This follows similiar initiatives in Spain and South Africa and must be welcomed. CAUSSA managing director Paul Topping said: "I consider this to be the next evolution of youth soccer development in America and is a tremendous opportunity for all boys and girls involved, or looking to get involved, in youth soccer." (more)

Soccer (excuse my language) is the fastest growing sport in America and what with the hammering baseball is getting at the moment because of drug use and the realisation that American Football is not really a sport, the future will see more kids who also excel at other sports choose a career in soccer.

At the moment, college kids are drawn to the much higher media profiled Baseball, Basketball, Tennis and American Football. Because of sponsorship and media bias the rewards are much, much greater too.

But with the new expanded MLS season kicking off in a month and well known American brands such as Budweiser, Kraft Foods and Frito Lay backing the new 10 team league, times might be changing.

In fact it is interesting to note that six of the 14 major sponsors for the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany will be American companies.

Charlton's breakthrough into the vast American market must be applauded. There are a number of ex Pro's living and working in the US offering coaching but the Addicks are the first British club to establish themselves with a full time academy linked to the club.

The two best known soccer schools in the US are the Premier Soccer Academy (PSA) in Cleveland, Ohio which is supported by arguably the best player the States has ever produced, Brad Friedel and the IMG Academy on the west coast of Florida where the US under-17 national team are based.

Ajax of Amsterdam, you will not be surprised to hear, were the pioneers in having a full time school here. That is also based in Florida, another reason I suspect Charlton choose a west coast base of Tucson, Arizona.

Chicago Fire were pretty crap last year but I might get my arse along to watch a couple of games this season, just a shame that John Robinson didn't take up the offer to join New York Metrostars
Wednesday 2 March 2005
  Ooh ahh
It is 'Cantona Day' at Selhurst Park on Saturday and 4,000 Man U fans plan to celebrate the 10-year anniversery of that infamous and hugely funny evening by wearing Cantona masks and the replica No. 7 jerseys.

However Simon Jordan and his pals have decided to ruin the fun by issuing a statement tonight saying that "any supporter visiting Selhurst Park on Saturday will not gain admission to the stadium or will be ejected from the ground if they are in possession of any kind of face mask."

Of course United's fans generally ignore most warnings and Jordan's threat doesn't appeared to have put them off marking their hero's day (more) and of course it coincides nicely with one of the Addicks biggest away following's of the season gathering at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

As of yet there is no mention that Mohamed Al Fayed will be looking to ban face masks. Just a thought! 
About Me
After living in Chicago for four and a half years, I moved to the beautiful if bewildering island of Bermuda in July 2008. This blog is about being an exiled and depressed Charlton Athletic fan and whatever else the day brings.
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