Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Good luck Benty
Darren Bent finally signed for Tottenham early this morning
after protracted negotiations between the two clubs on fee.
The deal could total £16.5m, the club receiving an initial £15.5m, with the additional £1m dependent on a number of contingencies, thought to be international caps, club appearances and Spurs' ability to qualify for the champions league.
Ipswich will receive a nice little earner of £2.58m, just enough for them to sign Francis Jeffers
and pay for his drinking habit.
My lasting memory of Darren as an Addick is not necessarily his 37 goals in 79 games, nor his boundless enthusiasm or his bottomless running after lost causes but the way he has handled himself throughout this whole transfer process. The bloke is a class act and I for one was proud to have seen him play for our club. Good luck Benty.
My 2 cents on the plight of Charlton Athletic Women's FC
. My interest in women's sport normally ends at beach volleyball, sorry I know but even the top selling American sports magazine is the bikini issue of Sports Illustrated,
and this in a country that openly encorages professional women's sport, so it's not just me is it?
I confess that I have never spent a penny towards the well-being of the Charlton women's team, so I don't want to sound like others and be all hypercritical, but I do echo New York Addick's post
and feel that this is another PR disaster by the board. The women's budget for the last season was £306,000, which is roughly £5k a week. How bad are our finances that we can't sustain this cost? How much does a Martin Christensen or Mikkel Rygaard Jensen cost? And are they really the difference in returning the club back to the Premiership or keeping a clever and what seemed a progressive initiative 7 years ago.
Two days after the BBC broke the news Peter Varney finally commented on the official site
today stating that there might be a saviour, and I hope there is but surely the damage has been done and in my mind worryingly indicates a Charlton board that is fast losing touch with it's fans and community. Perhaps we have been in the Premiership too long? Or perhaps the problem lies within the greed of the Premiership itself?
Pards buys youth academy
Alan Pardew continued yesterday to rebuild our youth policy Arsene Wenger style by buying another young prospect. 22 year-old Portugal U21 international centre-half Jose Semedo
signed on a free from Sporting Clube de Portugal. He didn't crack it at Sporting, and has played out on loan each of the past 3 seasons but the Portuguese giants do have a renowned youth academy.
Semedo's signing follows that of Chris Dickson, Martin Christensen, Mikkel Rygaard Jensen and Yassin Moutaouakil.
Surprise! Back home
No surprise to me as we booked our flights a while back but it was to my good mate as we appeared at his surprise 40th birthday party yesterday. His family contrived to throw a bash at their house and my mate, who one is not stupid and two hates surprises thus found out and initially refused to go.
Anyhow, he did eventually agree to it, as if he had a choice, and although I would think slightly suspicious he didn't know for sure that I'd show up in his Mum & Dad's garden holding a cold beer around 6pm last night.
It was a top night and really was nice to see so many old friends again, some I've not seen since I left the UK. It was a late night, not getting to bed until it was daylight earlier this morning and after landing around midday Saturday I was out on my feet by the time the goodbye's came around.
I am here all week and unusually look like having a bit of time for myself, so will look to get a bit of r&r. We're staying with some friends in Barnes, an area of town I don't know too well so I may take an opportunity to explore. I had my son today and planned to make the most of staying in town and take him to St James Park and Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard tomorrow but the weather forecast sucks.
The rest of the week will revolve around catching up with some old mates, sleeping, a bit of shopping and family next weekend before getting the extraordinarily early flight back to O’Hare on Sunday morning to return home in time to play football.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup
The CONCACAF Gold Cup
has passed pretty much unnoticed in these parts. North American countries, Central American and the Caribbean nations all participate as well as three South American nations, where Guyana, Suriname, and the French department of French Guiana all add to the exotic membership (full list here
The USA, Canada and Mexico are the only nations ever to win the Gold Cup, although Costa Rica won it in 1989, when it was branded something else.
The Semi-finals were held yesterday of the 12-team 3-week finals and they were played back to back at Chicago Bears' Soldier Field. The US beating Canada first off 2-1 and then Mexico defeated surprise package Guadeloupe.
One has to search the media here for any coverage of the games, even though they have all been held in the US.
Yesterday's double-header took place in front of 51,000 mainly Mexican supporters, which despite the large Mexican population in the windy city was strange to say the least. Throughout the USA v Canada game the Mexicans booed the American players and backed their Canadian rivals whilst keeping themselves occupied by doing plenty of 'Mexican waves.'"It's never a pro-U.S. crowd when you play in Chicago,"
Man City and former Chicago Fire winger DaMarcus Beasley said after. (more
The American team led by Kasey Keller who marked his 100th cap by lighting up a big fat cigar on the pitch afterwards, are now favourites to win Sunday's final at the same venue against the Mexicans who have struggled throughout the competition.
However with only some bored Yankie dignitaries expected to be supporting the hosts at Soldier Field on Sunday, it would be no surprise if Hugo Sanchez
's team win the game in front of their partisan fans.
Why do I get more excited when we sign an exotically sounding French under 21 captain called Yassin Moutaouakil, as opposed to someone like Paddy McCarthy
? No disrepect if you are reading this Paddy, but you are unlikely to be the next Lilian Thuram, unlike young Yassin here.
The Frenchman was today signed from French 2nd division side LB Châteauroux
for £400,000 and plays at right-back.
The young man's well-reasoned thoughts on his move can be read here
I was sad to see my Mum & Dad leave town yesterday after 2 weeks. It was nice to have them around for a lengthy period of time and for them to witness my life in the city that I now call home. We did a lot of stuff and they got a good snapshot of my existence here. Those telephone conversations in the future explaining what I've been doing or where I'm going will be so much more unambiguous and make our lives more intertwined and closer together. And maybe I won't drink as much wine now they've gone!
This weekend we have more guests staying as friends come into town from London, so the tourist guide will get another good thumbing! And wait.... installment #267, our kitchen may, and I said may be finished tonight!
Update 11.48pm: Kitchen Installment #268, home from being out for dinner and hold those horses, cancel that dinner invite, the kitchen is not finished. Note says back tomorrow. Thinking of suitable reply....
You either loved him or hated him, but I think even the most staunch critic appreciated Kish at one time or another. I was never his biggest cheerleader but I remember when I was at Fratton Park in January
and we were hanging on for our first away victory since god was a small child and being extremely glad that Kish's number came up and he took Rommedahl's place with just 8 minutes left to steady the ship.
His passing and his wild shooting used to have me cringing but during one of our most successful spells as a club in recent history the Bulgarian played the spoiling role very well allowing other more gifted players to shine.
I would think that Kish would be the kind of player that Martin Allen appreciates and that is something he's always deserved. He leaves
with my best wishes because despite his sometimes dramatic inabilities he always did his best when wearing the red shirt and the same cannot be said of others.
I was incommunicado with my friend in New York
earlier and he mentioned something that reminded me that I'm still waiting for my poxy red card
It is around 12 months now since I applied for this piece of gold, sorry red, and at which time I was told that the "membership forms are being printed."
Blimey, I wouldn't like to be the Xerox man down at The Valley as fixing those bloody copiers must be a hell of a job!
Then Mr Rick Everitt, a man I normally believe when he has something to say, left me a note in October 2006 saying the following:"Is the club listening? Yes. With Ian (Cartwright)'s departure, Wendy Perfect and I requested that responsibility for the ISC pass to us in our Target 40,000 capacity, because we think we are best placed to support and develop it. It will take us a few weeks to get to grips with what has been promised and delivered to date. In the meantime, rest assured that the ISC is not being neglected - far from it."
Yes, I didn't know what he meant either, but you know us Charlton fans, a sucker for a good story, eh? Oh and what did happen to the International Supporters Club
? They get Ken
and others all juiced up and then the silent treatment.
Oh well, as long as they get us all to buy season tickets and another kit, then everything is hunky-dory but if someone out there can convince me otherwise then I'm willing to listen, as long as I don't have to part with any money again!
Fathers Day always makes me realise the things that I miss and one of the sad things about unwittingly becoming an ex –pat is that you end up befriending like people, and I am someone who doesn’t particularly go out of my way to find non-American friends, but you do, you can’t help but find yourself drawn to people that have similar backgrounds, or experiences and let’s face it, people that share a sense of humour, ask any Brit, it is the thing that we miss the most being away from home.
But it is nice, it’s all part of the working and living overseas experience, you find parallels and befriend a range people that perhaps one would never have met in London.
Except there is a downside and a sad one at that, these people, these ex-pats, these friends have adventure and travel in their bellies and so often those friendships have to end or take on a different format, as people seek other life and work opportunities in different places around the globe or they simply return home.
In my time in Chicago it has happened three times. A German girl I got to know went back to Munich after her 2-year contract ended working for a German company here. An English couple (who we will stay with next time we come over) went back to the UK after his 6-month secondment ended. Our relationship with them was like a holiday romance, we saw so much of this couple in the time they were in the city, and then they were gone.
Then yesterday another couple of great friends upped and left us. She was Chicago born and bred and worked with me and he was her husband, and a top bloke at that, this despite being an Aussie and a Gooner.
It’s not fair but it’s what happens. No doubt one day I will do the same.
Desperate for a pee, I walked down the steps of the Charter One Pavilion
and out to the toilets and what I saw explained the subdued atmosphere of those sat inside watching. There were people everywhere, drinking, eating, chatting to each other or chatting on their phones and the VIP area was rammed, the prawn sandwich brigade I thought had arrived at music concerts.
I was at The Fray
gig on Wednesday and at times they were an irrelevance to their surroundings and the people that came to stare. To be honest they didn't help themselves, lead singer Isaac Slade didn't actually say anything until half an hour into their performance and the 'piano rock band' struggled to build any relationship with a young, very young, crowd and their gas-gurgling SUV driving mothers who sat staring at their feet.
The Fray, who hail from Denver, weren't actually that bad, in fact at times they were quite good, not that the crowd seem to recognise it. Only their biggest hit Over My Head (Cable Car)
got any kind of rousing response.
The band ran through their How to Save a Life
album as if they couldn't wait to get back on their tour bus, a few new songs were thrown in for good measure and then completely out of character the four piece did a take on Shakira's Hips Don't Lie
, which was actually quite humorous, but of course wasted on the VIP lounge.
They did finish with a decent rendition of Look After You
after the shortest encore in history as all around us people poured out of the outdoor arena. In fact when they finally signed off with a wave to a half-empty venue, there was a collective sigh of relief.
It was a shame because the Charter One (its a bank) Pavilion on Northerly Island
is a wonderful setting, with the lake and it's fireworks behind it and Soldier Field and the Chicago skyline framing the stage perfectly. But no one seemed to care. Shame.
Hammers throw the biscuit barrel at Benty and he says NO
Amazing news tonight that Darren Bent has turned down a £16m move to West Ham, which would have included Hayden Mullins coming to us."We set a valuation for Darren and West Ham were the only club prepared to meet that valuation. This morning we gave them permission to speak to Darren, which he did, and he has decided not to join West Ham."
Benty was said to have flown in from the Caribbean last night but has decided against the switch, a move that would have paid him around £70k a week. Will he stay with us in the Championship? I still find that unlikely and rumours of a preference for Spurs seem out of whack with Keane, Berbatov, Defoe and Mido already battling for the striking positions.
Upton Park would have at least seen him be their number 1 striker and reunite him with a manager that signed him from Ipswich. Of course the tractor boys are probably the most pissed off my Benty's decision tonight.
Whether Valencia or Liverpool would be considered more attractive propositions to him or not remains to be seen, and the Reds do have the carrot of Carson, if he would agree and if we want to take a player in exchange and thus reducing our pay-off to Ipswich.
What tonight's news does say is that Charlton will only let him go if a valuation of around £17m is matched, a figure which might even be out of Liverpool's and Valencia's range, let alone the Spudz.
Varney's bullish public statement
also tells us that we are prepared for him to stay and we don't neccessarily need the money either, although I would think a rather more emotionally detached Pards may be cursing his luck tonight that he won't have a new midfielder and a load of wonga to spend in the next few weeks.
So for the meantime Benty stays a Addick, and we love him even more, but there are a lot of days and nights left until Scunthorpe come to town.
"Iain Dowie has been found guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation. Where that leaves his standing in the game, I don't know. But the game has the ability to be able to forget very quickly, doesn't it? It's not easy to spend three days in the witness box but you rise to the challenge and if you have the truth on your side and you're open and honest, then you'll be more comfortable than someone who hasn't got the truth on his side."
The smug orange one speaking from his home in Marbella, probably pouring himself another creme de menthe as he spoke to the gospel, which is the Evening Standard
Of course "the game"
does have a short memory, which is probably lucky for Jordan. A decision on the financial implication to Dowie will be made next week but it is expected to be nowhere near the £1 million compensation, said to have been waived by Tango Man because Dowie wanted to move nearer to his family in Lancashire.
The fact was that Dowie lied to Jordan or at least misled him into thinking that he was only ever going to consider a job up north, of course as is obvious he had his beady eyes on the vacancy in SE7. However what has not been widely reported is that Charlton were not implicated by Mr Justice Tugendhat and that Dowie was at no stage interviewed by Charlton before May 23rd, the day he left Selhurst. (more
This is what Dowie had to say about today's decision here
So two dates for your diary then: Sept 1st Palace v Charlton and Sept 18th Palace v Coventry. Roll on the new season.
Had to be didn't it? Scunny at home on the opening day. I've never seen Charlton play Scunthorpe (too young, see) but hope to get a ticket for my son and I as I've planned to be home for that weekend. *winks and touches nose at how clever he is*
Stoke City follow next at the Brittania and I have a good mate that is a Stokie and drops by here
occasionally, so hi and then we have Sheff Wed at home followed by the tiny matter of a trip to Sainsburys on September 1st. *checks calendar*
Of course you would have already studied this, but if you've been under a rock today, here is the Addicks' full fixture list
The Swindon League Cup game
by the way has been fixed for Tuesday August 14th. I also jotted down the time of the planned soon-to-be-announced televised Sky Championship games and they will be at the slightly more sociable 11.20am on a Saturday and the less so 7.15am on a Sunday morning. Don't worry these are Chicago times.
Swindon memories revived
The magic of the cup. Our first appearance in the 1st round of the League Cup
for 10 years will be at Swindon's County Ground on either Tuesday August 14th or 15th.
I have great memories of Swindon and it's Magic Roundabout
and their open away seating. I don't think I have ever been as soaked at a football match as I was there in April 1998. Steve Jones scoring with 10 minutes to go at our end was the culmination of a fun if wet day out.
Of course our record in this competition is on a par with Paris Hilton's driving, so I can't get overly excited as the league, to use a well-oiled expression, is what we should be concentrating on.
The Carling Cup draw is a nice little appetizer for tomorrow's fixture list, which is slated as being announced around 10am GMT.
- years since I penned my first post
on What was the score?881
- the number of posts written since.137,180
- visitors to What was the score
. Thank you for popping by.59
- days until the new Championship season kicks off.3,963
- miles I will travel home to see our first game (as long as it's not on the Friday!)1
- there is only one team
The new away kit
Rumoured to look something like this. The all black kit will become the 'third change kit' and the red will be replaced before 2008/09.
Land of Osei
The first official sighting of a new contract being signed down at Sparrows Lane. "Osei Sankofa has celebrated his most successful season to date with a brand new contract."
The 22-year old will now be contracted to the Addicks until 2008. In his performances last season he went from looking completely out of place to reasonably comfortable at right back until Young reclaimed his position.
This decision probably means Sankofa was given a guarantee of more starts next season and will open the door further for the club to sell Luke Young.
Meanwhile Charlton have signed another young player from Danish 2nd division club Herfølge Boldklub called Mikkel Rygaard Jensen
. Let's hope we see more of him and fellow Dane Martin Christensen under Pards, than we saw any teenager under Curbishley.
St Patricks Day
Another signing of a player I've never heard off, let alone seen - life in the Fizzies eh? Patrick McCarthy, also cleverly known as Paddy (he must be Irish then) was signed today from Leicester for £650,000. The Leicester fans' websites I have just glimpsed were not too complimentary but those little foxes always did have ideas above their stations - Upton Park 1992 anyone?
The 24-year old appears to be a bit of a hot-head collecting 7 yellows and a red last season, him and Simon Walton will get on well, but despite that he was Leicester's skipper last term. Stories of Matt Holland going the other way initially seem unfounded.
"He has all the right attributes and that fact he was captain of Leicester City shows he is a leader and proven at Championship level."
When is someone, other than an ill-informed journo, going to tell us who is leaving?
Rather excited today anticipating my parents arrival from the UK. They will be here for 2 weeks and it's their first visit to Chicago. It's kind of strange and rather unnerving though that I can't actually remember when the three of us last spent that long together in one stretch, probably a family holiday in my teens.
I have already become pretty accomplished at being a Chicago tour guide, although 2 weeks may be testing my abilities, however I have lined up plenty to do, although last time we had family to stay they were so jetlagged they spent most of the time asleep on the sofa.
The weather has turned warm, although the humid air is often punctuated by crazy thunderstorms, like the one last night when I was out stocking up on wine and beer. On Thursday
powerful thunderstorms are expected along with 90 degree temperatures. Let me look at what I have planned for Thursday..... oh, drinks on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building
Er, and this is what exactly?
Father and son(s)
I mentioned here
a month or so ago that the older of ex-Addick Robert Lee's sons was moving through the ranks at West Ham. In fact Rob's younger son, Elliot is said to be even better. Well, this article appeared in The Evening Standard today
. For full disclosure the story is actually written by one of my mates, who works at The Standard.
It is not known whether Oliver and Elliot's economic rights are owned by his Mum, Dad or a dodgy Iranian businessman!
There will be a few smoke filled eyes tearing up today in Hornchurch, Essex as my adopted local and that of a lot of my mates finally closed its doors. The Kings Head pub, which has stood on the same spot on Hornchurch High Street for 400 years is set to be turned into a pizzeria. Quite a shock as the only culinary edge the place has ever had is pork scratchings and roasted peanuts.
My Essex mates have been going down the Kings Head since they were 16, bum-fluff, low voices and all. As a whole on average these blokes held out pretty well to distractions such as wifes and kids and amazingly kept up their Friday night institution of going out for a few pints and putting the world to rights well into middle-age. And as time moved on, and their lives changed this way and that, the smoke-filled Kings Head always remained a constant.
In fact up until the last couple of years when finally girls and kids intervened they were very much part of the furniture and had their own place at the bar. In fact in all the times I have been there I never stood anywhere else but at the back of the bar, and have rarely entered through the front door, "er, we don't go down that end,"
would be the stunned response if I suggested it, even if it was closer to the curry house and the bank atm.
When I moved to Hornchurch in the early summer of 2002 after breaking up with my then wife, the Kings Head became part of the healing process. Mates rallied around me like mates do, and our pub conversations game me optimism and laughter in equal measures. I will never forget those often dark and terribly sad times, because in that pub with those mates, there were also ocassions when I laughed so much I thought I was going to have a coronary.
One bloke, who I didn't know before I moved to Hornchurch, in particular was going through the same circumstances as me. Now him and I are what is commonly known as chalk and cheese, but our bond, stood together in that pub was terrific and him and I will always have an alliance that is hard to describe. He's also to be fair, a bloody nutter, and I wouldn't like to be his antagonist!
Those boys, and one in particular, well two in particular, just that one had the pleasure of my living with him for 18 months, and for that I will be ever grateful, although he'd be lying if he said he didn't like us washing our smalls together on a Saturday morning before I went to The Valley and he went to Upton Park. Those boys and those times in that old pub I will always treasure.
There would be weeks when I would be in that boozer every night of the week, and don't get me wrong, the pub was never going to win any prizes, not for it's beer, its ambience or the quality of clientele, I think girls were barred because I rarely looked at one twice. The only prize the Kings Head would win would be sponsored by Febreze.
The Kings Head for 18 months was stability to me and of course 12 blokes could have stood around a camp fire and made each other laugh so much that it hurt, but we didn't, we stood at our end of the bar telling stories, just as we do when I go back now on a Friday night.
However, sadly next time I'm home, the people will be the same, and so will the laughs, but a little cherished piece of my life will have turned in pepperoni pizza joint.
A bear with a sore head
I'm nursing a cracking hangover today after getting all dressed up last night to attend a charity ball at Lincoln Park Zoo
. The theme was Bollywood, which I didn't get, unless it was something to do with the champagne that was flowing.
I'm trying to tell myself that it was for a good cause though. Lincoln Park Zoo is one of only 3 free entry zoos in the country and is well worth a wander around. Situated bang in the middle of the city, it is open every day, has 1,250 animals and was founded in 1868 with a couple of swans. Now you can see everything from polar bears to gorillas.
I was pleased to get this week at work over with, which probably accentuated my taking advantage of the free booze last night. The month of May is my most stressful at work, although September is already looking like it may compete. Something I realised Friday was that it is now a month since I was out of the office travelling, which must be some kind of record.
Of course at work I have an element of control over my destiny unlike my kitchen installation, which installment #96 is still looking like Laurel & Hardy were hired to do it.