Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Wednesday 31 May 2006
  Perry decision doesn't make any sense The morning after and slightly bedraggled after a 17-hour work day yesterday, trying desperately to keep up with the going's on in SE7 and missing all the interviews and kerfuffle at the press conference. The beauty of living here and not around the corner anymore I guess!

What I did manage to do last night at ridiculous o'clock was catch up on all the interweb views and comments, which as always gives a most balanced view, more balanced than being in the pub with loads of mates shouting at one and other but nowhere near as much of a laugh.

Personally I think Dowie will be a success, given some support and patience by us and of course getting that publicity seeking twat Jordan of his tail. This could run and run and I think that the orange ones sole premeditated motivation is to try and derail and destabilise our club.

This is what happens when you have an ego as big as a Sainsbury's Superstore but a brain the size of an economy value pea.

One sad piece of news and actually quite irrational in my thinking is the non-offering of a new contract to Chris Perry. Whilst Jon Fortune was rewarded with a 3-year deal for some more composed performances in an injury-hit last season, our most composed and consistent centre-half has been shown the door. Often he stood out in games that I saw as our best player and his calming influence and experience I would have put down as a valuable asset to our more and more threadbare squad. Rather disconcerting news unless a young centre-half is on the shopping list.

I'm sure like other Addicks, I would like to extend my thanks to Chris for being a great competitor in each of the 84 games he played in, and in Steve Brown parlance, a player that never let us down. Just another forgotten legacy of Curbishley mananging to see things that other managers couldn't. No pressure Iain.

Update 9.54am. Ian Dowie has also released Jay Bothroyd, evoking a contract condition that he can be released if he didn't make a certain number of appearances. That's 4 strikers now departed, but don't fret because we still have Super Kev! 
Tuesday 30 May 2006
  Memorable day for a small club in S London What a memorable day in the history of a small little club in South London. And it was quite eventful for Charlton Athletic too!

I also realised how lucky we are to have Richard Murray, at any other Premiership club today's events would have caused absolute hysteria but that was only evident in Simon Jordan's sunbed frazzled brain.

As for Dowie, I thought he handled himself well and said some good things, and if nothing else I hope what happened today unites Addicks everywhere as we start on what will certainly be an exciting and different direction for the club.

Also from what I read today, I would of thought Dowie could sue Jordan for slander but the club needs to get of the back pages quick and set about determining the future and getting our juices flowing for the new season.

By the way, t-shirt anyone? 
  It's Dowie, Reed & Robson Iain Dowie was unveiled by Richard Murray as the man that will lead Charlton into a new era today. He will be supported by Les Reed and Mark Robson.

"I'd like to say how privileged I am to be here. This was emphasised further when I went to the training ground and saw the development going on there. There's fantastic things behind the scenes, the club is go-ahead and matches my ambition. I want a forward-thinking club that can progress." (more)

Simon Jordan attempted to highjack the press conference by issuing a writ to Dowie on a misrepresentation charge. Dowie of course will have moved at least 7 miles further north so I don't know what all the fuss is about!

I love this comment by Richard Murray afterwards though: "I do know Simon has always been rather envious or jealous of Charlton Athletic because we've had probably the success he's been striving for with a wonderful stadium that we own. Maybe he ought to ring me some time." (more)

More from me later. 
Monday 29 May 2006
  Memorial Day It's Memorial Day in the States today, which commemorates American men and women who died in military service for their country. It's beginnings date back to honour Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. The UK, Commonwealth and France and Belgium have their own Remembrance Day on the 11th November, the same day as Veterans Day here.

It's also a day for putting up pictures, as I just did, or take a a trip on Chicago's architectural boat tour as I will be later and for many families around the US today is national grill out day, as the barbeque gets it's first outing of the summer season. I don't actually own a BBQ (shame on me) but will be out on my balcony this evening as the weather surges past the 90 degree mark smelling other peoples chargrilled fare.

The other long standing tradition of Memorial Day is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held annually over this weekend since 1911. 
Sunday 28 May 2006
  The Dowie timeline The Sunday papers all seem convinced that Iain Dowie will be unveiled as manager on Tuesday. After a slow and careful interview process, one can only assume that the Dowie timeline went like this:

Charlton approach Simon Jordan to obtain permission to talk to his manager. Jordan says no. Dowie upon hearing this, suddenly decides that his family miss him and he needs to leave. Jordan buys it. They hold a strained press conference to announce Dowie's departure. Charlton then approach Dowie. He comes in, impresses Richard Murray. Is then invited to Sparrows Lane on Thursday and is told that he cannot bring any of his staff, with the possible exception of fitness coach John Harbin. Bobs your Uncle.

There is an interesting piece in today's Sunday People about Billy Davies, which shows that Andrew Mills will have a big say in the club's future transfer and contract policy. Rumours still persist over our interest in Steve Sidwell and it is being said that Andrew Johnson is waiting on Dowie's appointment and perhaps an Addicks bid before he commits himself to either Everton, Bolton or Wigan.

Oh, Simon Jordan will be pleased! 
  The North and the South side trade blows I didn't report this last weekend but it was the windy city baseball derby (pronounced off course derbee and not darby) series between the 'world champion' White Sox and the world chumps, the Cubs.

The city rivalry goes back to 1900 but the two teams only met occasionally until the National and American League's decided to allow official 'interleague' games in 1997.

Interleague play, better described here, opened up many big city hostilities such as New York Yankees v Mets, Los Angeles Angels v Dodgers and of course the Chicago Cubs v White Sox.

The socioeconomics of the north side and the south side of Chicago are well known but in my experience the seperation of the old days doesn't exist anymore as most homes have fans of both teams around the dinner table.

However these sentiments were not borne out on the field last weekend as a punch up involving most of the players followed a home plate collision between Sox's AJ Pierzynski and Cubs' Michael Barrett. Chaos ensued much to the joy of a packed US Cellular Field, which led to four ejections and subsequent hefty fines and bans this week. The three game series was won by the White Sox 2-1.

The Cubs continue to struggle and have lost 20 of their last 24 games and tonight manager Dusty Baker was given the dreaded 'vote of confidence.' The White Sox meanwhile have the 3rd best record in Major League Baseball behind surprise package Detroit Tigers and St Louis Cardinals
Saturday 27 May 2006
  No time for stress I'm lucky in that I'm not one for stress. Too laid back, not passionate enough, blithe, balanced, level-headed, getting life's priorities right? Whatever but I have seen stress in many forms and it's not pretty and I don't do it. Not until these last two week anyhow.

I have been busy to the point that there is no resolution many times before. The only way out is by prioritising, concentrating and being organised, oh and being able to laugh and have a beer. I don't commute now, but I do have a 25-minute walk and that is my commute, my time to get my head out of work mode and into home mode and the reverse in the morning. However work and play do overlap a lot in my life. I travel a lot, I work from home too much, I find myself time at work by doing some things for me in their time and I mix with people from work socially.

But it has never engulfed me, not until these last two weeks. Work is always busy, period. People always want stuff yesterday and when companies are parting with money they are rarely happy or sentimental.

Work has engulfed me though in the last two weeks and I have felt for the first time in a long while anxieties contributed to by work, have not been sleeping well and have had no time to think of anything else. And that is what has been frustrating and 'stressful' because I'm a thinker and a reader and there has been no time to do either.

Blogging makes me realise how time passes because days start and end and nothing is said and there is always stuff to write about, there is always material to read and there are so many more things to think about other than work. I don't really have time for stress, life's to short.

A walk downtown today saw me pass by the Memorial Day parade and it made me realise that getting shouted at by clients is not stressful at all. Some of those young faces marching along proud and innocent have plenty more things in their future to worry about than me. 
Friday 26 May 2006
  Dowie then or just one big ruse? The club earlier announced that they would unveil the the appointment of a new three-man coaching team on Tuesday, with a press conference set to be held at 2pm.

Within moments the media were installing Dowie into the job and this Daily Mail article confers and also states that he won't be allowed to bring his own coaching team with him, this includes older brother Bob Dowie, Neil McDonald and well respected fitness coach John Harbin.

What is widely expected is that Les Reed and maybe either Mark Robson or Chris Powell will make up the triumvirate, all overseen by Andrew Mills.

However is this just a ruse? It does seem strange that the club are going to wait until Tuesday, even with Monday being a Bank Holiday. The Guardian tomorrow hints that it is not a done deal and that Sammy Lee is still very much in the frame. It is said that Lee interviewed very well and he does have excellent Premiership and international coaching pedigrees.

The other equation could be a three made up of Dowie, Reed and Lee, quite a mouthwatering partnership. A gamble of course but I feel myself getting buoyed by an exciting new era. And just imagine how pissed off Simon Jordan will be?

Palarse's long distance rivalry with Brighton was sparked by Alan Mullery's switch between clubs and maybe this move might wake the media up to the real animosity between the two teams, particularly after the boardroom kerfuffle at the Valley after Jon Fortune (said to have been offered a new 3-year contract as reward) sent them down. This hostility is not felt by Palarse fans of course, oh know, they have bigger fish to fry in Southend!

One other point. The club interviewed 2o candidates and only a few names are known to have been seen or approached - Taylor, Davies, Dowie, McCarthy, Jewell, Parkinson - which leaves a hell of a lot of others where they and/or their clubs have kept their silence. Do I hear Chris Coleman anyone? I still think there could be some twists yet to come in this story over the long weekend. 
  Ambiguous statement from official site! We know that sometimes the official site is not all it should be cracked up to be but today it was damn right misleading! "Striking trio set to leave," the headline screamed. Christ, Benty's off and a couple of Under 16's I thought?

No it was that Shaun Bartlett, Jonatan Johansson and Francis Jeffers have been released by the club, but strikers? Well, well. Who knew?

Actually on a more serious note, it was interesting to note the three players goalscoring records in their time at the club, which were as follows:

Jeffers - 5 goals in 24 appearances. 1 in 4.8
JJ - 33 in 167 appearances (14 in his first season). 1 in 5
Bartlett - 26 in 139 appearances. 1 in 5.3

Not surprisingly there was no quote from Jeffers, but both JJ and the Bartlett had good things to say about their stay at the club.

From my point of view, JJ looked like he would score in every one on one situation in his first season, a knack he appeared to lose but he does have a habit of popping up with the odd goal and will serve a Championship side well I feel. I used to be a neighbour of Shaun Bartlett and he and his family were always very nice. I think it was a symptom of how much our expectations had risen that the South African became a popular player to almost derided, particularly as he was picked on the basis of his defensive qualities, a decision I am sure rankles with any striker worth their sort.

As for Jeffers, I had very high hopes of him, even though he was a non-typical Charlton signing. His goals at home to Aston Villa two seasons ago got me all excited but clearly his journeyman cv and attitude is always going to stand in the way of a promising career.

I also noted in the US press a few days back that Cory Gibbs had taken a knock in the friendly against El Kak's Morocco. According to the OS today that 'knock' will rule him out of the World Cup, which sadly means that there will no Addicks in Germany. 
Thursday 25 May 2006
  Idol result in. Look away now I'm still more busy than an Italian referee's phone line on a Friday night however I still found time to watch someone resembling my Uncle dancing at a family wedding winning American Idol last night. What is the world coming too, particularly when more Americans voted for him than any president ever elected?

Also seems like Billy Davies will not be coming to the Valley after the board elected "not to pursue" their interest. Big shame I feel, mainly because I'm worried about who is left unless it's Martin O'Neill?

Yesterday we were told there would be no comment from Charlton until Tuesday, which indicated they had made an offer and were giving the potential man the weekend to consider it. 
Wednesday 24 May 2006
  The wheels on the bus.... This is a real busy time for me at work and it is much as I can do to keep up with the other Addick blogs and the manager merry-go-round.

Whilst still nothing comes out of the club, and you have to say that Charlton have handled the situation exceptionally so far, I am personally excited about the prospect of Billy Davies because I think he will bring a real drive, zeal and intelligence to the club. He has proved himself at different levels and seems to have a real driving ambition and tactical ability to be able to move up to the next level. "It's now just a matter of looking at the whole picture and making the right decision." So we will have to wait and see.

Meanwhile down at Sainsbury's, the store manager and the deli manager have had row about the size of their sausages. It's funny because I didn't think they cared about us but, "I would be disappointed if Iain were to turn up at Charlton. He understands my view." Er, I think we all know your views suntan boy.

And down in the Isthmian League at Millwall, Nigel Spackman has been appointed the 5th manager in 12 months at the New Den, The Sky pundit has never seen out a full season as a team manager, spending 9 months at Sheffield United in 1997 and 10 months at Barnsley in 2001. Apparently he is a demon on Championship Manager though! Don't get too comfy Nige. 
  Gold star for DeMerit I, as you know, try to look out for any Chicago based 'soccer' players. Now, as you will agree I was a great advocate for Jonathan Spector? Ok, moving swiftly on.... congratulations to Watford (1, 2, 3.... give me a Double U) on their fantastic season, which once again gives every fan of smaller clubs hope in a sport dominated by money and fat bellied businessmen at the top level.

I noticed that a tropically named fella called Jay DeMerit (something I've not seen since my Catford Boys school books) was Man of the Match (MVP to my American readers) in the play-off victory over Leeds on Sunday. Jay grew up in freezing cold and grid-iron loving Green Bay in Wisconsin but went to college at the University of Chicago and then played for Chicago Fire's reserves before hopping on a plane with just a few dollars in his pocket to play Sunday football in Hertfordshire before signing for Northwood FC. Watford's scouts soon snappled the defender in 2004 and now he will join them in the Premiership.

After the game DeMerit, send a big hello to his "buddies watching back in Chicago." 
Saturday 20 May 2006
  Young pulls out of England standby list Luke Young has taken himself out of England's World Cup standby list after not recovering from an ankle injury. According to Sky Sports he pulled up in training on Friday and will join Darren Bent in missing out on the World Cup which starts in 19 days.

Two weeks ago he was expected to take his place in the Addicks team for the final game of the season at Old Trafford. Rumours continue on whether he will even be a Charlton player next season with West Ham and surprisingly Bayern Munich interested. 
  Billy Davies to sign a 4-year deal Monday? Despite us Addicks fans desperately seeking any form of hard news this week regarding potential managerial appointments, it had been pretty quiet up until yesterday.

So what do we now know? Peter Taylor was interviewed but was clearly passed over for the job by the board and in order for him to keep face up in Humberside the Addicks signed off on his "I think I should stay put" press release to ease tension that was gathering amongst Tigers' fans, not helped I have to say by his big mouthed chairman.

Colchester were approached to seek permission to speak to their manager Phil Parkinson, which was duly declined. The same message was sent to Ipswich and Derby. Remember the little Essex team ended up in court over George Burley. Of course no word from the man himself but he would be the first football manager in history to let the small detail of a contract stand in his way if he decided to pursue one of his suitors. Somehow I don't see Richard Murray wanting to fight the Colchester board's decision, but it was good to ask anyway because Parkinson undoubtably has a big future in the game.

Sammy Lee's name has been thrown into the frame too. The Mirror said that he has left England's training camp in Portugal to have "secret talks" with Charlton. It's news to Bolton though, where he is their assistant manager, according to this report.

The more interesting news came this afternoon when it was announced that Preston have given permission for the Addicks board to meet Billy Davies on Monday. Yesterday his odds on Betfair fell to 8-13.

In fact tomorrow's Times actually goes as far to say that he will be paraded in front of the press on Monday. "The Preston North End manager will hold more talks with the South London club over the weekend with a view to signing a four-year deal that could be worth as much as £2 million." (more)

The article also states that Paul Jewell was our first choice. Jewell, reminding us of Curbs 6-7 years ago, has a good relationship with his chairman and obviously would rather stick with what he has built as opposed to investigate greener pastures.

The idea of Davies has always sat well with me and I was suggesting his name to friends at the turn of the year as a long shot potential hire if the unthinkable happened to Curbishley. Craig Brown's assessment of him on the LMA site is very impressive and a budding appointment excites me. One other thing. Preston fans, and I have a mate who is one, will be mightily pissed off if he leaves, a recommendation in itself.

I do wonder though if Charlton will wait on Watford's end of the season Sunday to inquire about Adrian Boothroyd.

Searching the internet late tonight I also saw this in The Sun, which tells of Preston lining up Iain Dowie to replace Billy Davies, who "is heading south to take over at Premiership Charlton."

Sounds like we are getting close. 
Sunday 14 May 2006
  Gerrard bursts Hammer's bubbles I watch the FA Cup final out of habit more than anything else but I'm sure glad I dragged myself out of bed and to the pub this morning because it was an absolutely great game. It had everything with the pitch looking like a hospital ward in extra time only adding to the wonderful drama.

As always it was a shame the game had to be decided by penalties but the players that stepped up to take them in Liverpool shirts compared to those in West Ham showed the difference in quality nonetheless the underdogs more than played their part in one of the best finals for many years with Gabbidon, Ashton and Reo-Coker all proving that there are many players who can make the step up from Championship to Premiership. It was just a shame that Shaun Newton didn't get a place on the bench - after all he would have been good for a penalty!

Afterwards I couldn't help feel that Charlton would never have been so adventurous in their play and a UEFA Cup place is fully deserved by an obviously intelligent manager in Alan Pardew. The much vilified West Ham board also take credit for sticking with him when it would have been easier to sack him and appease their critics.

Like Henry and Rooney I can watch Steven Gerrard all day, you just knew with the time ticking down he would have one last say. What a player, unlike Peter Crouch, whose manager had no hesitance in pulling him off a good hour before much better players decided the game.

I plan to slip out of work on Wednesday to watch the Arsenal v Barcelona game. More of the same please. 
Saturday 13 May 2006
  Fair play Reg While Richard Murray and Andrew Mills (general manager - football) signed their second player in a week, previously on loan and out of contract Gonzalo Sorondo, Reg Varney said today that the board have made their final list of managerial candidates but won't make any further comment until a person is unveiled. (more)

It won't be Steve Coppell though as he signed a new contract at promoted Reading yesterday and Phil Parkinson has become favourite for the Ipswich job after they sacked Joe Royle on the same day.

And in other Addicks news the manager might have the added bonus of UEFA Cup football after we won the Fair Play League. Charlton's name will be added to 10 others in the draw on June 4th. If, by minor miracle, we are drawn out then early qualifying games could jeopardise the club's planned trip to South Africa.

Almost hidden in the week's events was the announcement of some pre-season's friendly plans. They are:

Welling (a) date to be arranged
Millwall (a) July 22nd - Alan McLeary testimonial
Proposed trip to South Africa End of July
New Zealand (h) August 5th
Tba (h) August 12th 
Friday 12 May 2006
  Bulls busted, Bonds busted, Cubs busted The NBA play-off's continue at a rate of two games a night. The final is not until June and will be without the Bulls who bowed out to Miami Heat in 6 games.

The NBA season is a long slog, 82 games over 9 months which does truly deliver the very best team at the end - you don't get many FA Cup type upsets when you play 82 games - however the excitement of the play-off's prove to me that at least a third of the regular season games are pointless.

The current state of play in the East and West conference is as follows:
Miami Heat 1 - 1 New Jersey Nets
Detroit Pistons 2 - 0 Cleveland Cavaliers
San Antonio Spurs 1 - 1 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns 1 - 1 Los Angeles Clippers

The weather has turned a bit grey here in Chicago the last few days, which matches the Cubs' fans outlook on their season's prospects. They are way below .500 after 35 games and already getting left behind in the haul to the play-off's. They did however manage during this week's series against San Francisco Giants, to stop drug cheat Barry Bonds getting the single home run that he needs to draw level with legend Babe Ruth's 714.

Much debate continues in the bars and media here if the game should even acknowledge known steroid user Bond's 'achievement.' Clearly he was and is a great player but I don't expect English football fans or its officials to be quite as lenient on say, Alan Shearer coming out as someone who has used performance enhancing drugs for the last 5 years.

Meanwhile the south side White Sox continue where they left off last season. I watched them last week steam-roller Seattle and the current 'world champions' again have the best record in the country.

The 'soccer' season has started in earnest but with a lot less fuss than baseball and basketball. Because Chicago Fire's new stadium in the south-west of the city won't be ready until June 25th, they have been forced to play their first 12 games away from home, a tough schedule by anyone's standards. They lost their opening game of the season to FC Dallas, but they are undefeated in their last 4 games. The Fire play Youri Djorkaeff's New York Red Bulls tomorrow.

To celebrate the opening of America's newest sports stadium at Bridgeview, an All Star League team will entertain Chelsea on August 5th
Tuesday 9 May 2006
  'New management structure' to include Powell? It is supposed to be the end of the season, for Charlton anyhow, but by the time I get into work in the mornings, 6 hours behind people at home, I'm already struggling to keep up with the news involving us.

Yesterday's hot topic is not best dwelled on, there will be plenty of time for that but I would like to elaborate on our new signing Cory Gibbs. It does seem rather strange that we have signed a player without any management or first team coaches in place, but sign one we did and he will be the only name you will see flash up on your screens during the world cup finals with the words (Charlton Athletic) after it.

The 6'1" Florida born defender had a trial with the Addicks after leaving the Ivy League Brown University 5 years ago but a work permit was a non-starter. After a spell in the MLS, he then went to St Pauli in the Bundesliga. After 70 games he left Germany to sign for Dallas Burn but then got the opportunity to move to Feyenoord. Contrary to other stories I read, he was a regular there and played in the UEFA Cup but was keen to move to the Premiership and once Feyenoord learned that Gibbs was not going to renew his contract they shipped him out on loan to ADO Den Haag.

Gibbs wanted to sign for us, we desperately need a left back, he has 17 caps and sounds like a decent addition for no fee. USA national head coach Bruce Arena thinks it's a good fit too: "Cory is one of the first names I put on my teamsheet and is an outstanding defender of international quality. I am sure he will be a big favorite with the Charlton fans and I am not surprised that so many Premiership clubs tried to secure his signature once he made it clear he would be leaving Feyenoord. I wish him every success with his new club."

Today's top story was the departure of Mervyn Day and Keith Peacock. No surprise about fat Merv, who used to get a fair bit of blame from some Addicks' fans, rightly or wrongly we will never know. I expect him to turn up with Curbs whenever and wherever that will be.

As for Peacock, who I first saw play in 1975, he has been given some extended time off but is expected to be involved with the club again in some capacity.

Richard Murray has appointed ex-agent Andrew Mills into the new position of 'general manager - football.' as he "intends to reorganise the football management structure and to bring in a new management team to take the club forward." Interesting.

Word is that Murray and Mills will talk to out-of-contract players Chris Powell, Kevin Lisbie, Francis Jeffers, Chris Perry, Jonathan Fortune, Shaun Bartlett and Jonatan Johansson this week. Only Perry and Powell are expected to be retained. Powell may well be offered a coaching role in the new "football management structure."

Finally Adrian Boothroyd enamoured himself further to Addicks fans tonight when he sparked a 22-man punch up during Watford's 2nd leg play-off game against Crystal Palarse, after he reacted to Fitz Hall grabbing the ball off him.

Boothroyd and Phil Parkinson continue to be the most talked about names as Curbishley's successor but expect Billy Davies and Iain Dowie to be mentioned in Valley boardroom conversations this week after the deadline for applications passes tomorrow night. 
Monday 8 May 2006
  What have the FA ever given Charlton? Yes F.A. I have been so annoyed today. I truly can't believe that Benty is not even on the standby list. It is astonishing.

"I've seen him perhaps three times in training and (at Arsenal on) Saturday I saw him play 11 against 11 on a half pitch." Fuckin' whoppee-doo! Absolutely outrageous.

You know what? We have been absolutely shafted by the FA this season. First of all they get Danny Murphy all lathered up for nothing. He throws a sulk and declares that he has to leave to get International football (that's a laugh), this leads to our season going to pot.

Then the FA make appointing a new manager into a complete farce, interviewing Curbishley, getting caught by the newspapers, telling the world. He, O'Neill or Big Sam come to think of it were never going to get the job and as Curbs has often said the whole tawdry process was a complete distraction.

And now the final kick in the balls. The Swedish tosser leaves Benty out of the England squad and prefers Hargreaves and Jenas to another striker, despite chosing one who has not played for three months and one who might not play for the next three months, one who has never played and a bloke who has scored 71 goals in 270 appearances. And then to really kick us when we are down he selects the 6th best striker in the Championship as standby. What about Marlon King? Instead of watching Arsenal train, maybe Eriksson should have been at the 1st leg of the play-off on Saturday. 
  The man's a complete fool Well my first thoughts are fuck England and that idiotic Swedish fool and support Cory Gibbs' USA team instead.

How an earth can he take just four strikers, two of which are injured, one's a lanky piece of piss and the others a 17-year old who has never played in the Premiership, let alone scored?

Then to add salt into the wounds Andrew Johnson is chosen over Bent for the standby list. Some minor statistics which according to some people don't lie:

Bent 18 Premiership goals
Crouch 8 Premiership goals
Defoe 9 Premiership goals
Johnson 15 Championship goals.

I have no problem with Aaron Lennon going to the finals, he has had a good season but why hasn't Eriksson tried him out in a friendly? I see his lovechild is going too, Owen Hargreaves and Jermaine Jenas is another shocker. No pressure at all then on Gerrard and Lampard to get all of our goals!

The excellent Ledley King and Sean Wright Phillips miss out, both he and Parker's ommission must, you would hope, be huge warning signs to future young stars considering a move to Chelsea's reserves.

Luke Young is on the standby list but it is a sad day for longstanding Addicks like me who long to see one of our players represent England on the world stage.

Provisional squad:
Robinson (Tottenham), James (Manchester City), Green (Norwich); G Neville (Manchester United), Ferdinand (Manchester United), Terry (Chelsea), Cole (Arsenal), Campbell (Arsenal), Carragher (Liverpool), Bridge (Chelsea), Beckham (Real Madrid), Carrick (Tottenham), Lampard (Chelsea), Gerrard (Liverpool), Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Jenas (Tottenham), Downing (Middlesbrough), J Cole (Chelsea), Lennon (Tottenham), Rooney (Manchester United), Owen (Newcastle), Crouch (Liverpool), Walcott (Arsenal).

Carson (Liverpool), Young (Charlton), Reo-Coker (West Ham), Defoe (Tottenham), Johnson (Crystal Palace). 
  Man Utd. What was the score? Lost 4-0 Dreadful wasn't it? It's the end of a magnificent era, 15 years and 729 matches but it looked liked an amateur had prepared and chosen the team that kicked off our final game of the season.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the lack of bitching in the press at Curbs' departure, you know the kind of thing "fans force out legend," type headlines but performance's like today in front of a live television audience showed that we badly need a change, however worrying that change is going to be and I just pray that fans give the new bloke a chance because he has a hell of a job to do with this current set of players. If I was to pick a team for next season now, based on players that will/could be off and those that will stay and are good enough then it would be as follows:

? Perry ? HH
Romm Ambrose ? Thomas
D Bent ?
Subs from: Myhre, Randolph, Kish, Sam, Gislason, M Bent

Worrying eh? One thing is for certain we need to build a team around Young and Bent (D) and not cash them in, although how frustrated must Darren Bent have been in recent weeks? Major surgery of course equals cash, but picking the cream of relegated Premiership players and Championship ones would be a good strategy and done us no harm before.

Regarding the game, it was nice to see Curbs get a warm reception by Sir Alex and 73,000 others (a Premiership record) but Andersen aside, who was solely responsible for keeping the score in single digits, the rest were abysmal.

I try not to be too unkind on Kish and don't want to pick on one player because other than the goalie they were all pants, but as I need to go to bed I will. I think he gave the ball away almost everytime he had it today and if you're going to guard the post at a corner....

Oh well, it's bedtime in Chicago and I'm closing the book at the end of the chapter. Lets hope the next one is more John Le Carre than Hans Christian Andersen.

Reports from those that were there to hold up a red card: BBC Sport; The Times; Sky Sports;
Sunday 7 May 2006
  Montezuma's revenge I for one would have rather watched the drama unfold at Highbury and Upton Park than our pasting at Old Trafford, our game did seem a weird choice for Sky. But not for the first time this weekend I did chuckle at other people's misfortune. I bet my mates at Upton Park loved seeing them putting one over on Spurs and what a great season the Hammers and Wigan, who made a real game of it at Highbury, have had.

It was rather fitting for Thierry Henry to score a hat-trick and kiss the ground in front of the North Bank after his 3rd. I could watch him play all day and hope he starts the new season for the Arse at Ashburton Grove.

This afternoon I saw an interview with Martin Jol and he was very gracious in defeat, especially considering some dodgy prawn sandwiches caused their squad so much grief overnight, although not enough for Danny Murphy (remember him?) to get a game. But I suppose him and his missus are getting to more premieres these days. Spurs did try to get the game postponed, but the Premier League turned their request down. That is what you get for having a 40-man squad of course.

On a more serious note Tottenham's failure to reach the 'Champions' League with their large, expensive but mostly talented squad just shows how hard it really is to break the monopoly of the big four.

Tomorrow Sven will announce his last England squad and a rather important one it is too. I have a feeling that the unfortunate Luke Young may miss out but it would be a travesty if Darren Bent didn't make it. Bent was substituted at half-time by Curbishley as a precaution, which might mean the departing manager knows something we don't.

A final word on the vacant manager's job. I think it is essential that whoever is chosen considers it a step-up from their current job. Paul Jewell in his post-match press conference said in response to questioning about vacant positions that "Middlesbrough and Charlton are smashing football clubs and have fantastic chairmen." (more)

And with Pascal Chimbonda slapping in a transfer request right after the game (nice!) and with Jimmy Bullard on his way to Fulham, Jewell might just be thinking it's time to move on. 
Saturday 6 May 2006
  Well I never.... A lazy evening after another day of decorating and I was perusing the internet and did something I don't often do, which was look beyond the Premiership table and to the lower leagues below and blow me down Crystal Palarse made the play-off's and celebrated by getting hammered by Watford 3-0 at Sellout. Oh how I laughed. Adrian Boothroyd or Iain Dowie for manager then?

Cheeky chappie and proper twat Simon Jordan recently said in 4-4-2 magazine that he would like to give the Charlton Chairman "a kick up the arse." Maybe he should practice on his team first.

Then to round things off nicely before I opened a freezing cold bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, I noticed that Millwall had been relegated after finishing 2nd from bottom. Just 7,000 witnessed their last game so no wonder not many people knew about their sad demise.

Congratulations to Leyton Orient though after their first promotion in 36 years. Sadly their last gasp victory sent Jim Smith's Oxford tumbling towards the Conference after 44 years in the Football League.

Tomorrow we go to the Theatre of Dreams for Curbs' last game in charge. I understand that travelling Addicks will be holding up red cards to celebrate, seems a strange thing to do, old fashioned singing would surely be a better send off. Nonetheless we go there with absolutely no pressure whatsoever. We have never beaten Utd in the Premiership and wouldn't that be a great way to end Curbs' 15 years in charge?

If you haven't seen this, then there was a nice interview with Curbs in today's Independent.

The game is on PPV here tomorrow so I will be in the pub for breakfast before playing football afterwards. 
  Raise a glass of vodka or tequila Just a few days after 300,000 people marched against changes in the immigration law in Chicago, today thousands of American Poles paraded through downtown celebrating their heritage and the Polish Constitution of May 3rd, 1791.

This was the 115th year that Chicagoan Poles have held the parade, the biggest outside of Poland. Poles settled in big numbers after the civil war and more came after being 'displaced' after World War II and long surnames ending in 'ski' are very common in the city and surrounding areas.

Yesterday I downed a few margarita's in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, as locals mixed with Mexicans to celebrate it's independence from Spain and eventually running the Spanish, French and the good old Brits out of their country in 1862.

Whilst American culture is ridiculously politically correct, they do know how to celebrate other people's heritage, and no more so than in Chicago. 
Thursday 4 May 2006
  Boro join Newcastle and Addicks in race for new boss He's annoying me already, look at his stupid grin. What a very uninspiring choice. And what a load of old bollocks that Brian Barwick spouted today eh? "My first choice was always Steve. That might be difficult for people to get their heads across." Well yes, because according to everyone in the know Barwick preferred Martin O'Neill.

Then last week he was in Lisbon with the FA lawyer and a job contract under his arm, only for Scolari to run away citing reporters in his front garden.

And of course now we have Middlesbrough and Newcastle to compete with for a new manager. Although interesting today to see that the The Premier League rejected Newcastle's request for dispensation to appoint Glenn Roeder as their manager. The ex-West Ham boss does not have the required Uefa Pro Licence to take the job on a permanent basis.

Meanwhile the Charlton manager's job was advertised rather strangely in the Daily Mail. Riscardo dug it out here. The deadline has been set for next Wednesday, which doesn't seem long. So expect after Sunday the rumours and hearsay to go into overdrive.

I have seen the following all 'mentioned' in the last few days: Chris Coleman, Adrian Boothroyd (was flattered to be linked), George Burley (our old friend Rupert Lowe has issued a 'hands off'), Billy Davies (concentrating on the play-offs), Iain Dowie (his family live in the North and Boro or Bolton is a more expected move), Steve Coppell (Madejski confident that Coppell will sign a new contract) , Glenn Hoddle (who sounds like he is staying at Wolves), Phil Parkinson, Mark Bowen (just signed new Blackburn contract), Mick McCarthy, Roy Hodgson, Mike Newell (might pick himself this weekend to win bet), Alberto Zaccheroni (eyeing Premiership job and was said to be at the Valley on Saturday) and Martin O'Neill. 
Tuesday 2 May 2006
  Honolulu At times fortunately it was easy to forget that Honolulu is in America, but then turn your back on the beach and watch traffic bumper to bumper surrounded by skyscrapers with Starbucks coffee shops dotted inside them and you're quickly reminded that despite being over 5 hours from the mainland you are still in the land of Uncle Sam.

Completely formed by volcanoes and comprising 19 islands extending across a distance of 1,500 miles, Hawaii is the ultimate cultural melting pot. No more so than on Oahu, home to 900,000 of the total states 1,200,000 population.

I was told that there are actually less than 50,000 Hawaiian natives living in America's 50th state and in fact down in Waikiki it is so predominately Japanese that shop and road signs are written in Japanese and English is rarely heard.

The city is comprised of two parts; the financial district which includes many historic buildings such as Aloha Tower and America's only royal palace, Iolani and the world famous if tiny Waikiki Beach. Not a place for a nice stroll as bodies cram any sand and then beyond the beach Honolulu's very own Rodeo Drive-esque shopping strip, with Japanese tourists pouring around them like bees around the preverbial honey pot.

I was disappointed in what I saw of Waikiki Beach. It was busy, the hotels were tired looking and there was a lot of construction. And don't come for the nightlife as Japanese shoppers go to bed early as do honeymoon couples!

The general consensus was that this was a stopover to visit the beautiful extinct volcano of Diamond Head or the chilling Arizona Memorial marking America's entry into World War II at Pearl Harbor before heading of to one of the other islands such as Maui, Kauai, Lānai or the island of Hawaii itself, known as the 'Big Island.' More South Pacific than South of Chicago I believe. 
Monday 1 May 2006
  The land of the free? I don't quite know what I make of the "A day without an Immigrant" marches across the US today. 300,000 people marched through the streets of Chicago before gathering in Grant Park, which I can see from my office.

Chicago has an estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants living in the city, including 35,000 Poles and an alledged 7,000 undocumented Irish. In the main they work hard doing jobs that frankly American's don't want to do. 40% work in agriculture and today Gallo Wines in Sonoma, California closed and Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, shut 11 of its plants and as it had no one to work them. Across Chicago restaurants were shut as were building sites as employers closed to allow their workers to march.

Here to chase the American dream and follow generations of other settlers from all over the world, who painted onto a blank canvas what America is today, they marched peacefully in a bid to pressure the U.S. Congress into granting rights for up to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country and in the meantime scuttle a proposal that would criminalize them and anyone who tries to help them.

Other big rallies were planned for Los Angeles and New York, and smaller ones in 50 other cities as the media drag Race onto the front page of newspapers.

Of course the flip side is that people like me had to go through a long and expensive process to obtain a working visa, a procedure that has become more difficult and cumbersome since the advent of the Patriot Act, passed after 9/11. I also pay American taxes and Social Security, and there of course lies the nub of the matter.

The government supposedly understands the economic value of having immigrants in the country but they don't get the tax benefit. If interested and I am certainly not, one can become an American citizen, as long as you pay $300, can speak pigeon English, give up prior allegiance to other countries, i.e. my British passport, defend the American Constitution and laws of the United States, and serve the country when needed. (more) Tempted? 
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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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