Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Saturday 31 December 2005
  Happy New Year 2005 has whizzed by for me, particularly when I consider the couple of difficult years before when time appeared to damn-right dawdle. I'm probably more settled in my life now than I have been for a very long time, helped in no small way by certain individuals.

I still miss friends and family terribly and that is not getting any better, principally my son, who just seems to love life and I only witness that in small chunks.

My visa runs out in the summer but my company and I intend to renew it for a further three years. Six is the maximum one can do on a visa before either leaving the States or applying for a Green Card.

I do love Chicago though and have become a huge advocate for it. However, the traveller in me would like to experience other cultures and cities in this enormous and crazy country. We will wait and see what happens. I for one am not worried about what the next three years hold for me. Just to think, when I was 30, I had my whole life planned out. You know what they say about best-laid plans?

Next year is a big one for me though. It will be my *cringe* 40th year on the planet. I find it impossibly mad to think that I, along with a host of friends, will 40 in the next year or so. I soothe myself in the knowledge however that my generation have pushed back the boundaries on these landmarks. 21 was most welcome, 30 was almost a relief, so I'm thinking 40 will be a breeze. Pass me the zimmer frame my back hurts!

Neverthless I plan to set myself some interesting targets next year. Not the normal resolution stuff, but some achievements that I can be proud off for the rest of my life. Nothing completely ridiculous, just one or two to take my mind off my impending birthday!

I have a sneaky suspicion you might be hearing about some of this stuff on here, so you won't escape that easily either!

So whatever you wish for tonight when you finally get back into bed, I hope you live your dreams. Remember dreams and happiness don't cost a dime.

Thanks for reading What was the score? and have a wonderful 2006.

Chicago Addick. 
  West Ham home.What was the score? Won 2-0 A most welcome victory over the Hammers today. I have a ton of West Ham mates so many of my texts and calls back home tonight were a pleasure.

I listened to the game on the internet and after catching up with some Charlton mates after the game I don't think the commentary portrayed how dominant West Ham were up until the point that Bartlett scored. "I really think he tried to miss!" a mate told me.

In the 2nd half, after a period of time when it sounded that we were just completely shit scared to get out of our half, we eventually found some composure, helped by the workrate of Kish and Holland and the progressive play of Rommedahl. It was good to see his name on the team sheet again when I woke this morning.

Another factor behind the belief we found in the 2nd half must have been the crowd. The noise coming from the Addicks in the 2nd half was the loudest I have heard for some time, obviously I wasn't the only one who had West Ham mates to see or speak to later this evening!

Maybe a fortunate victory but a huge one nevertheless and a nice way to finish off the year after a roller-coaster 2005.

A word on Darren Bent. He scored his 12th goal for us today, 3 of which have come recently in a team with absolutely no confidence. He works so hard, scores different types of goals with not the best service. He offers hope, however bad we are playing. That is a rare commodity.

Reports from those that were there: All Quiet; Charlton Athletic Online; BBC Sport; The Observer; Sunday Times;
  Charlton's Allsports debt said to be £117,500 The Sunday Times has listed Allsports' major creditors in tomorrow's paper following a report by it's administrators BDO Stoy Hawyard.

Huge private equity and venture capital provider 3i is the sportswear companies largest unsecured creditor with £2.5m owed. Not a great return for a company that invested £15m 8-years ago and had a 30% stake in the company. Other large creditors include Adidas, which is due £1.2m, and Puma, with £762,000.

The Addicks were mentioned as being owed £117,500, a lot less than the £700,000 originally thought.

Rather funnily the paper also said that the Office of Fair Trading was owed £1.4m, a fine that it imposed on Allsports in August 2003 after a two-year investigation into price-fixing of replica England and Manchester United football shirts. A spokesman for the OFT refused to comment on why it had failed to collect the money before the company collapsed. (more)

BDO Stoy Hawyard's report warned that unsecured creditors might not receive a penny from the bankrupt company, who went into administration, it was said, after realising that they could not afford to put Christmas stock into their stores. 
Friday 30 December 2005
  Where too for the fox in the dock? Oh and I almost forgot. Put out the tinsel for the return of Francis Jeffers. Shock, horror Rangers have decided not to take up the option to purchase 'the fox in the nightclub' after he failed to find the net in 14 appearances. He did get booked twice mind.

His agent Struan Marshall said: "Franny will be returning to Charlton on January 1st. Rangers feel he just hasn't done it for them. Franny is disappointed because he didn't have the best of luck with injuries in Scotland but we just have to accept Rangers' decision and look to try to make an impact at Charlton." (more)

Of course the Scouser did make an impact with an Asian cabbie recently, enough for Merseyside Police to question the ex-Everton player about alleged racist abuse. He is due back in Liverpool for further questioning in the New Year. I wonder if we will see a return to form? If that is what you can call 7 league goals in 4 seasons? 
  Ashton & Marcus Bent head New Year shopping list Hangover's on New Years Day morning will not only signify a late and expensive night out but also the beginning of the mid-season transfer window. It is notoriously hard to move players mid season and last January, despite a huge amount of rumour mongering, we added no one to the squad but in fact reduced the number by allowing Simon Royce, Graham Stuart and Neil McCafferty all to leave on loan. Neither of those three returned.

It was painful last year as we sat and watched hinted target's James Beattie sign for Everton, Dean Ashton sign for Norwich, Matt Dawson and Andy Reid for Spurs and Robbie Blake go to St Andrews.

I would have liked us to have taken the gamble on both Matt Dawson and Dean Ashton at the time but Curbishley clearly did not. Admittedly Spurs paid over the top for Dawson but Norwich's £3m scoop of Ashton from Crewe was nearly enough to keep them in the Premiership.

He scored 7 goals in the final half of the season, more than all of our forwards put together, and has hit 11 in the Championship in what has been an undistinguished season for the Canaries so far, despite high-hopes.

That £3m price tag has now inflated to nearer to £8m and according to reports it seems that Curbishley has now been impressed enough to bid. This could start a much-needed squad clear out, although I would be amazed if any of the players listed, Rommedahl aside, would be worth much more than a bean.

The chances of shifting 6 players in January are slim but Peter Varney said today that "we are looking to bring in players in the transfer window. I'm sure there will be some movement in and out." (more). We wait like expecting fathers.

Varney also thought it was a good time to give his manager a vote of confidence - always a nice Christmas present for any coach. "He has our total support. He's done a magnificent job and I'm sure he will continue to do so," he said.

He also talked about Curbishley's obvious liking for Marcus Bent. 1 goal in 15 games this season is Bartlett-esque and 8 clubs in 10 years does not bode well. However with rumours of Lisbie, Bartlett, Jeffers and JJ all on their way, don't be surprised to see us compete for both Ashton and Darren's namesake and ex-Ipswich teammate during the next 4 weeks. 
Thursday 29 December 2005
  The end of The Berghoff after 107-years I don't know if any of you have ever visited The Berghoff in Chicago? The 107-year old Loop icon is a German styled bar and restaurant and was the first Chicago establishment to get a liquor license after Prohibition ended in 1933 and it was also known for maintaining a separate, men-only bar long after such practices faded.

The Berghoff traces its roots to Herman Joseph Berghoff's desire in 1898 to showcase his Dortmunder-style beer and he sold it for a nickel a mug and offered sandwiches for free. Prohibition forced The Berghoff to stop selling alcohol, so it was made into a full-service restaurant during the dry years of Eliot Ness.

It was a classic old man's pub and has served many a stressed out suit a quick beer after work. However the tradition will come to an end in February when it will pull it's last pint and serve it's last schnitzel.

I am told by older colleagues here that it was the place that all son's got taken to by their Dad's upon turning 21 (the legal drinking age in the US) but they would, I am sure, have been pleased that the men-only tradition ended in 1969 when seven members of the National Organization for Women sat down at the bar and demanded service.

On February 28th Herman Berghoff, the 70-year-old grandson of the restaurant's founder, and his wife, Jan Berghoff retire. The Berghoff's still own the building at 17 West Adams St and they will lease it out to their daughter Carlyn Berghoff's catering company, but it is her who has decided to change history by renaming the bar 17 West at The Berghoff. She will open a cafe next door but will reserve the dining room, cloaked in rich oak and graced with pictures of old Chicago, for private events.

If you are in Chicago between now and the end of February, add The Berghoff to your list of things to do.

The Berghoff in 1959 and inside the other day. 
Wednesday 28 December 2005
  Snow go Despite the fact the people of Newcastle happily walk around their lovely city in short-sleeved t-shirts and flip-flops in 2 inches of snow, the cities council gritters were unable to get their fat arses of their chairs and out to the streets surrounding St James' Park this afternoon to chuck a bit of salt around.

Referee Mike Dean despite "having to walk the last half a mile after arriving at the ground at 5.20pm in his people carrier" did not foresee others having the same problem and actually gave the game the go-ahead at 6.30pm, only to postpone the game 45 minutes later because of the diabolical state of the roads around the ground. That must of come as a big shock to him!

Nevertheless the referee does only have authority over the state the pitch and not the surrounding areas, so blame must lie with the local authority.

Peter Varney was fuming saying: "I came in a car that was sliding all over the road and there were cars sliding into one another. There seems to have been no gritting undertaken at all, which is an absolute disgrace." Of course he was actually being paid today as his fruitless journey was considered work unlike the 500 poor Addicks who had a complete wasted journey and having spent a fair few quid in the cause of cheering our hapless lot on. Lets hope they found some solace in some decent Tyneside pubs?

Of course the ridiculous fixture planning, knocked by the club earlier in the week, is looking even more ridiculous tonight.

By the way, I understand the team tonight was going to be:

Myhre, Young, HH, Fortune, Powell, Kishishev, Holland, Hughes, Romm, Bent, Bartlett.
Subs: Perry, Lisbie, Andersen, Ambrose, Spector. 
Monday 26 December 2005
  Arsenal home. What was the score? Lost 1-0 A vastly improved performance from the Addicks this afternoon, or at the crack of dawn, if like me you watched it in your jim-jams on the sofa this side of the Atlantic.

Necessary sweeping team changes were made and we started the game in a 4-4-2 formation for the first time this season, but with Thomas and Smertin missing, this was at the expense of any real flair players.

Nevertheless it could be argued that passion and workmanlike were the required adjectives as Curbishley tried to halt our depressing run.

It wasn't to be, but the 90 minutes showed some much needed traditional Charlton hallmarks as the midfield four harried and closed down their North London opponents at every opportunity and the new-look defence produced a much more co-ordinated and organised display. Sorondo in particular impressed me until his terrible injury misfortune continued in the 65th minute.

Arsenal were probably more beatable today than at any time in our Premiership lifetimes, yet they still pinged the ball about exceptionally and once again as an opposing fan you can only watch Thierry Henry's quick feet with awe.

The goal was unfortunate following sterling efforts by Sorondo and Myrhe to keep the ball out. Indeed Myrhe impressed me too with a steely command of his defensive teammates and a couple of excellent saves which insured that we stayed in the game.

Lisbie showed flurries of what might be in a partnership with Bent late on after he replaced the hardworking but inefficient Bartlett.

A final word on Steve Bennett. He has shown more red cards this season than any other Premiership referee and after booking 5 players in a game that wasn't the slightest bit deserving, he milked his big moment for all it was worth when he sent Danny Murphy off for bouncing the ball in front of him, thus earning his second yellow.

The television camera's also clearly showed Arsenal defender Pascal Cygan putting arm to ball in the penalty area just minutes before Murphy's dismissal. The unnoticed foul on Sorondo that ended his participation and allowing Reyes to run back onto the pitch at a threatening moment only added to an exasperating performance from the Orpington referee.

But overall then some positive encouragment to take to St James Park on Wednesday. The corner has not by any means been turned but hopefully we have the indicator on in readiness.

Reports from those that were there: New York Addick; All Quiet; Addicks Diary;; BBC Sport; The Times
Sunday 25 December 2005
  Merry Christmas Landed back at a rather damp and mild 'windy city' earlier this afternoon. Off to some friends for an Australian Christmas dinner a bit later - I will let you know how roast kangaroo and Fosters goes down!

It was a sad time back in the UK last week but there is nothing like Christmas and fond memories for bringing out the positives in people. Thank you to those of you who left very kind comments.

I'm off work for a while too now, unless you count the habitual checking emails and messages as work, so I'm going to enjoy some lazy days. I'm still working out if overdosing on Christmas spirit tonight will allow me to get up at 6.45am tomorrow morning to watch Charlton play Arsenal.

The photo here is one I took of the huge Christmas tree, not 'Holiday tree' as some preposterous politically retarded Americans have taking to calling it, at Daley Plaza recently.

Merry Christmas to you all. Enjoy it and be safe.

Chicago Addick 
Saturday 17 December 2005
  Home unexpectedly I am heading home tonight unexpectedly to attend a funeral early next week. Why do these sad times always seem to be at this time of the year?

I booked my flight on Thursday and will fly back on Christmas Day. So, What was the score? will be respectively quiet for a week. 
  Wigan away. What was the score? Lost 3-0 Obviously Curbs does not spend the week asking the team to defend like a blind school, however it takes a big man to take some kind of responsibility and I am not hearing that from the manager at all.

"Our defending was comical and unbelievable and we are saying this every week and things have to change. I will change things around because I have players who are desperate to come into the team." Desperate maybe. Good enough? I don't think so.

It was another embarrassing defeat but it is not the losses but the way they are coming about. Questions remain about the quality of the coaching, the manager's current ability to motivate the team and not fall out with half of them, and some more curious substitutions. Spector for Ambrose? I ask you. How on earth does that inspire Rommedahl sitting on the bench at 3-0 down, when your manager brings on a left back for an attacking wide player? How does it inspire the hardy travelling supporters?

Answer: It does not. Those of us (and that's me included) that have stuck up for Alan Curbishley need to start being true to ourselves and accept, what to most of us, is the unacceptable.

I said it after the Man City game and I will say it again. Kiely, sad as it is, should have played his last game for the club. Yes, last week he probably won us 3 points (which in hindsight shows us how bad Sunderland were for us to beat them), but the consistency has gone and it is time to move on.

The same applies to Bartlett, JJ, Lisbie and a whole host of others. We have too many players alike, almost cloned, but not a leader among them. The side is crying out for leadership, motivation and inspiration. Too many players drop their heads at the slightest set back. What happened? We used to have a team full of born leaders - Kinsella, Parker, Brown, Fish, Di Canio, Kiely, Rufus, Stuart, Powell, Konchesky, Robinson.

Has Curbs sucked every ounce of confidence and belief out of them? He's starting to do it with me.

Reports from those that were there:; BBC Sport; All Quiet
  Marshall Fields For 147 years Marshall Fields department store has sat proudly on State Street. Architecturally impressive from the outside with the Great Clock leaning out from the corner of State and Washington Streets. Inside with it's Tiffany Ceiling, the largest glass mosaic of its kind and the first ceiling ever built in favrile iridescent glass. The same year the ceiling was constructed, 1907, also saw the opening of one of Chicago's oldest restaurant's The Walnut Room.

But it's this time of year that Chicagoan's and tourists flock to the store, not just to crane necks to see the 48ft Christmas tree reach up to the Walnut Room but to see it's famous Christmas window display. Field's has been decorating it's windows for the Christmas holidays since 1897, and it was during World War II that the windows along State Street began telling a story as onlookers walked from one plate of glass to the next.

This year's eleven windows depict Cinderella. Last year it was Snow White and in my first year here it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

However, despite assurances, locals expect this to be the end of an era. In February of this year Federated Department Stores and Field's owners, May, merged in a $11m deal. Federated own the Bloomingdale's and Macy's brand and in September announced that they will change all 62 Marshall Fields stores to the Macy's name.

At the time Federated's Chairman & CEO Terry Lundgren said: "While the store's name will change, much of what customers love will stay the same, including Marshall Field's traditions and its outstanding record of community and charitable giving. As part of this name change process, we will do everything we can to honor (sic) the Marshall Field's heritage, particularly in its Chicago birthplace."

The locals are not convinced, and although when I first visited 2-years ago the store's 10 floors looked desperately tired, it had perked up in the last year or so, taking its lead from Selfridges' and their hugely successful move to creative, vibrant and individual concessions.

However in a walk around the other day, that approach has appeared to have been halted as Federated decide on the landmark store's future. Whatever they decide, lets hope that they keep up the Chicago tradition of Fields' Christmas window displays.

Here are a couple of photos I took the other day (click to enlarge):

Friday 16 December 2005
  The 2-0-5 Round Up I don't know if you have ever been to before but their short animated piss-take of Bush and Kerry during the run up to the 2004 American General Election was seen over 80 times online.

Last night The Jay Leno Tonight Show aired their latest work - "George Bush's 2-0-5 Year Round Up." You can see it here. Very funny. 
Tuesday 13 December 2005
  Phew, what a stinker So what The Sun says is not always true then. Well knock me down with a feather. In today's rag they announce to the world that "Rising football star Jay Bothroyd was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs last night." There are probably two inaccuracies there, and one of them according the club and the player's agent is completely erroneous.

In fact, the truth of the matter is that Bothroyd was in his Porche driving 10mph and blacked out before hitting a small wooden post. Police came to the scene (there lies probably The Sun's snout) and he is now in hospital undergoing neurological tests. The striker suffered a similiar blackout 6-years ago.

Shortly after he impressed us with his substitute's appearance against Man City, it is hoped medical examinations will uncover the reasons behind the latest incident. Get well soon Jay. 
Sunday 11 December 2005
  Spanish company become new shirt sponsors The swiftness of today's announcement of a new shirt sponsor proves that there has been many discussions going on in private with potential suitors following the demise of all:sports.

The name of Spanish building and civil engineering company Llanera SL will adorn our shirts with immediate effect after the club signed a record sponsorship deal today worth at least £6.6m. The contract will initially run until the end of the 2009 /10 season.

Like Charlton, Llanera has seen substantial recent growth and the company, founded in 1988, already provide sponsorship to their local La Liga side Valencia (not shirt sponsorship).

Llanera president Fernando Gallego: "Initially, we considered approaching those clubs most likely to secure Champions League qualification. To be truthful we entered into discussions with Charlton unsure whether they were able to help us reach our goals. Our very first meeting, however, lasted for more than four hours and it was immediately clear to us that because there were so many similarities between our two businesses, Charlton are the perfect partner to work with in the UK to meet our business objectives." (more)

The £6.6m should give Curbs extra spending power in January, although in saying that we are £700,000 out of pocket from the all:sports deal. The Llanera contract is far bigger than some our considered peer teams such as Blackburn, Everton, Fulham, Man City, Middlesbro and Birmingham.

The countries biggest football sponsorship deal is Chelsea's Samsung one of £11m per annum. A full list is here courtesy of the excellent Political Economy of Football website. 
  Blackhawks - the forgotten team I was asked recently on here about the fortunes of the Chicago Blackhawks, and I realised that I didn't have a scooby. With the Bears doing so well, White Sox fans still bathing in their World Series success and the Bulls' youngsters producing regular exciting displays, such as last night's win over Washington, the cities Ice Hockey team struggle for bar talk and newspaper column inches.

I have yet to see the Blackhawks this season but I do hope to go before it ends. They have been averaging about 14,000 at the United Center, where their form hasn't been too bad. On the road they have struggled though losing their last five on opponents ice.

However they are currently 3rd in the Western Central division, way behind Nashville and Detroit but still in with an outside shout of the play-offs. What will please Hawks fans is the presence of rivals St Louis Blues moored to the bottom of the division with a country-worse record of 5-17.

Meanwhile the Bears will head down to Pittsburgh tomorrow seeking their 9th consecutive victory in this season's NFL. The Steelers will be no push overs though. Throw off, or whatever you call it is, is at 12 noon tomorrow and I might just try to get out of bed for it. 
  Back to winning ways It was a huge result yesterday. The consequences of not winning or even worse another defeat are not worth thinking about. Mr Murray has a very sensible head on his shoulders but it would have been hurting if we'd lost to clearly one of the worst sides to grace the Premiership.

Curbishley said this week that he had thought about resigning but his overwhelming desire to put things right meant that he disregarded it. The players, led by three of the most articulate Luke Young, Chris Powell and Danny Murphy also gathered together for a 'team meeting' this week in an effort to revive togetherness. It worked.

Of course some people are still not happy, but we won and in spells showed our old spark. I can't blame Curbishley for defending the lead but he gave the impression that it was the players who were anxious in the last half an hour but it seemed to me that, that anxiety was coming from the bench. Once again the substitutions raised an eyebrow, although Bent was carrying a knock.

A couple of questions remain. I would really like to see Rommedahl back in the team on Saturday. His pace gives Murphy and Smertin many more options and it will scare the hell out of Wigan. However what to do with Ambrose? Another goal and another good performance but he is not a wide man. At every opportunity he comes inside and is a real threat but equally to perform the 4-5-1 at our best we need two players to hug the touchline and that is someone he is not.

Anyway the memories were stirred yesterday and the win felt good.

In other news Charlton are due to make an announcement regarding all:sports sponsorship of the kit. New owners JD Sports have no interest in paying us the debt so with immediate effect the club have suspended selling any more kits. I wonder how many they have sold since this all came to light?

The club will also announce in mid-January the candidates for the new supporters director, from now on in known as "not a cucumber sandwich job." What the fuck does that mean? Anyway What was the score? will try to follow the election from afar.

Barclays have boosted the coffers to tune of £650,000, allowing the club to extend and improve the training facilities at Sparrows Lane. The 35 acre New Eltham site is prime real estate but most of us are wondering where the next academy star is coming from and not the womens development centre.

Chris Powell, who is working on his coaching badges, has been appointed as the new chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA). He takes over this high-profile role from Dean Holdsworth. Other players on the management committee include new Man U captain Gary Neville, Everton's David Weir and Reading goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. Shame the picture of Chrissy on the PFA site is a bit old. Gary Neville looks about 16 too.

And finally did I say that I got a little mention in last week's official match programme? The Inspector did, but I haven't seen it. Nice one and thanks to editor Matt Wright. 
Saturday 10 December 2005
  Sunderland home. What was the score? Won 2-0 Phew!
  Back to the beginning I'm not going to bang on about this for too long, because frankly I am tired and emotional, well drunk, and I need my beauty sleep. If I'm unfortunate enough I will remember in a minute or so to set my alarm for a few minutes before 9am and then have the dubious pleasure of being able to listen to tomorrow's game live on BBC Radio London.

This blog has long trumpeted the return to 4-4-2, especially at home but I am having second thoughts. Now, we've all had a beer, or is that just me, but tomorrow is all about getting back to basics and where better to start than against Sunderland, the team we beat so conclusively on the opening day. Lets not be clever and just simply revert to the team that did us so proud in those opening weeks:

Ambrose / Thomas

I would actually start Thomas instead of Ambrose after his efforts on Sunday but Rommedahl, Andersen and Kishishev (yes, I know) would for me be automatic choices.

Off to bed now to have probably a disturbing sleep until 8.55am, and it won't solely be down to the drink! 
  Snow brings tragedy to Chicago After being out for my team's Christmas lunch today I have finally got home a touch before midnight - it's been a long day. The snow here in the last 24 hours has been phenomenal with a projected months snow falling in a 10-hour period.

I remember my first winter two years ago and being stunned by the amount of snow here but these last couple of days have been the most dramatic I have seen. After living in London all of my life I still love the sight of snow. Last night, despite the freezing and treacherous conditions, there was still something fairytale and romantic about it as I traipsed home late, well before the diggers and gritters were out, in 7 inches of fresh snow. Let me tell you, I was dying for a snowball fight.

The weather men are saying that between 4pm and 10 pm last night the snow was falling between 1 and 2 inches an hour and with cabs a scarce commodity walking around downtown last night and today has been fookin' cold and it plays havoc on your shoes!

The real sad news late yesterday was the story of a Southwest Airlines plane coming of the runway, whilst landing at Midway airport in thick snow and crashing through the steel barriers onto a busy Central Avenue that runs alongside the City's second airport. If you were a passenger on that plane you would be right to fear for your life as it bumped and crashed to a halt.

However all 90 people on board survived the crash but a 6-year old boy sitting in the back of his parents car singing a Christmas song on the radio was killed instantly when the 737 ploughed straight into the side of his parents car. They survived but their son, anticipating probably the most exciting few weeks of his short life didn't. 
Wednesday 7 December 2005
  Chicago passes smoking ban in City Chicago City Council has followed New York, Boston, LA and Dublin in banning smoking from public places. Smoking will be barred from nearly every public place in the city, from concert arena's and sports stadiums to building lobbies and shopping malls. The ban takes effect on January 16th but the ruling didn't go as far as to ban smoking in freestanding bars and taverns, or within 15 feet of any restaurant bar, not until July 1st, 2008 anyway.

It will be interesting to see what impact this has. I have to say on "the smell my clothes in the morning test", they rarely ever smell of smoke bad as they did when I lived in London. And I can't remember the last time (probably in London) when I was asked in a restaurant if I wanted a smoking or non-smoking table. 
  Things that make you smile 2
Yep, just about says it all. 
Monday 5 December 2005
  Things that make you smile? Well we all need some cheering up don't we? Take a look at Wyn Grant's story of what happened 10 years ago today.

I remember I flew back from a holiday in Sri Lanka and the snow was so bad that it took an age to get back from Heathrow, so even though I had a ticket I missed the match. My brother and a mate were giving me regular updates from a mobile (which in those days must have been the size of a house brick!).

Oh, I always loved Kim Grant. 
Sunday 4 December 2005
  Man City home. What was the score? Lost 5-2 How to ruin your weekend by Charlton Athletic part 236.

Today we were absolutely rubbish from start to finish, two excellent finishes by Bent and Bothroyd only partially disguising an absolutely woeful display from the Addicks. Questions need to be asked and that includes the unthinkable. Is it time for Curbs to go?

It's not so much the run of results, our fragile defending or our league position but team selection, tactics, how they are prepared before the game by the coaching staff and the seemingly complete lack of managerial acumen during a game.

There is an old adage that once the players are on the field there is nothing the manager can do. Well there are 5 replacements as chosen by them to use, a 15 minute break and touchline encouragement. The body language of Stuart Pearce and Curbishley on the sidelines was about as different as you could get.

Lets look at the team selection first. Kiely and JJ should have played their last games for us today. I want to remember Deano for the good memories but he is not the same player. 8 goals conceded in 2 games (not all of his fault) plus lest we not forget a number of hammerings at the end of last season too.

Andersen is the future for me, maybe not yet the finished article, but I believe he will go on to be an excellent goalkeeper. He is 12 years younger than Kiely, who served his apprenticeship in the lower leagues whereas Andersen is doing it in one of the most scrutinised leagues in the world.

I watched the game on TV and missed the teams being announced. It was 35 minutes before the commentator mentioned JJ's name. He didn't mention it again until he was substituted. Spector is not good enough, at least as a full-back. He reads the game poorly and he looked so out of his depth (not for the first time) today. I, like others, am bemused that Curbs persists with furthering one of Fergie's youngsters and not our own.

Holland is another whose Valley days must be numbered. Hughes should have been the obvious replacement for Kish today and yes, we really missed the Bulgarian's battling qualities.

Why didn't Thomas start? He was our best player when he came on by a country mile. Even at 5-2 he was willing to chase loose balls. And where the flying fcuk is Rommedahl? What has he done so wrong to be totally excluded from the starting 16? To be effective Murphy needs width and there wasn't any again today. He's not the quickest and he needs space to turn and spin to enable him to put through the 'killer' pass, which Romm and Thomas were the greatest benefactors off early in the season.

Why was there a left-back on the bench? Surely it should have been a centre-half? I think we had the left-back spot covered don't you? Well, figuratively speaking anyway. Trevor Sinclair didn't see much of one all day!

Tactics. What are they exactly? Our corners are, and have been for years, atrocious. The long hoof is suddenly the new short-pass. The formation argument has frankly become redundant as Curbishley sticks square pegs in round holes and his stubborness is becoming quite scary.

We don't know what exactly Mervyn Day adds to the club in his role but quite obviously he is no Les Reed. Whoever prepares the team, coaches the team, works on set-plays, defending, marking and passing is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

More questions. How many of our recent players have had their best season's in their first year? Players are getting worse not better. When was the last time an academy player broke into the first team? Is this not what the coaches are paid for?

Kiely's kicking, Murphy's head dropping, Ambrose playing out of position, Spector's total lack of awareness, the hopeful punts to Bent, Kishishev being caught in possession, Rommedahl's non-existent tackling, Lisbie being caught offside, our defending of corners, El Karkouri's diving in and giving away free-kicks, Holland not getting his shorts dirty. Surely these are all things that can be worked on the training field and coached out?

Can Curbishley still motivate the players? Can he motivate himself? Again today we started the game like we did not give a toss. The use of substitutes and the complete lack of judgement during the game has become a worrying flaw in the make-up of a team if nothing else would fight and battle, even if the quality wasn't there. How often do we come from behind to win games? When was the last time that Curbishley made a game-changing substitution?

We were fucking embarrassing today and something has to give. I note that Curbishley mentioned the fans today and actually felt some empathy with us, which is a u-turn from Wednesday's stupid comments.

"I think the fans have been fantastic,” he said. "They've been fantastic so far and taken it on the chin - but how long can they do that for?" Don't worry about us Al, we will be here for another 700 games. What about you?

Others whose weekend was ruined: Addicks Diary; All Quiet; New York Addick; Charlton Athletic Online;
Saturday 3 December 2005
  Give them some Christmas cheer I'm on my 3rd advent calendar chocolate, I bought a Christmas tree today, 4 inches of snow is expected tonight in Chicago, I'm out every night next week except one and the pantomine season has began down on the South-Coast (ridiculous isn't it?). So, it must be December, which hopefully means that the Addicks disastrous November is now around the corner.

I ventured out this morning for some early present shopping (it was horrible) and I sent my brother a text asking what he wanted for Christmas. "A home win," he replied.

Lets hope he's been good this year and Santa gives him what he wants!

I will watch tomorrow's game in the pub and I don't really think it matters what team he puts out frankly, I would hope that whoever pulls on the shirt tomorrow will know exactly what is expected of them both from the management and the fans. Lets not dwell on the past, the goose is getting fat, so cheer them on from the beginning if you are going tomorrow.

Come on you Addicks. 
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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