Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Friday 27 July 2007
  In Sinc. Last Walts. A bit of activity down at Sparra's Lane today. Trialist Dean Sinclair signed after impressing in pre-season. Due to his age we have paid Barnet £125,000 in compensation, for whom the midfielder played for the last 3 seasons, scoring a fair number of goals incidentially. As has been said elsewhere Pardew did pluck Reo-Coker from a poor Wimbledon side for £500,000 and Nicky Shorey from Orient for just £25,000, so potentially a nice piece of buisness but hang-on, Pards did sign Jonathan Spector too!

Talking of bright young prospects, Simon Walton left for QPR for £200,000, a loss on the register of £300,000. Well done Mr Dowie.

On the official QPRhahaha site Walton explained "that he may not always play well, but he will give 100%." Big and strong in the tackle (perhaps a bit to strong judging by his disciplinary record) we will never know how good he could of been. And for reasons I can't think off, particularly with the pub calling, I'm sort of disappointed it didn't work out for Walton with us.

Although to be fair he was hailed by Les Reed as our saviour, so perhaps that tells us all we need to know!

It's Gillingham tomorrow for the Addicks but not for me as my son and I go to Heathrow for a 2-week holiday in Chicago, returning the day before the Scunthorpe game.

I reckon there is more transfer activity to come for us, both in and out, so Chicago Addick won't be too far away from an internet connection! 
Wednesday 25 July 2007
  Today's news headlines "Luke Young will sign for Middlesbrough after proving his fitness by coughing gently while a nurse cupped his swingers." The Guardian's Fiver. Lucky they didn't cup his ankle then, otherwise he would never had passed.

"Rob Lee, 38, and Warren Barton, 41, were held after the Mercedes E220 saloon was taken from Hackney Road, east London, on Tuesday night." BBC Sport. Lee is actually 41, but knowing him reasonably well, I'm astonished by this news. If I find anything else out and can report it, I will. 
Monday 23 July 2007
  London calling Off to London tonight for a work trip, which ends with a free day Friday and picking up my son to fly back to Chicago together on Saturday for 2 weeks. I'm tremendously excited about having him here, I have to tell you.

The past weekend was supposed to be quiet and it really wasn't, not from a relaxing, doing nothing, catching up point of view anyway. The home improvement continues begrudgingly. I did watch Beckham's debut, well all 13 minutes off it. I had to laugh at Sidwell's 'tackle,' but the ginger bloke has made quite a name from himself Stateside, as you can imagine.

Charlton beat Malaga in a behind closed doors friendly 3-0, Jerome Thomas coming out of the game with a lot of credit apparently. There is no doubt in my mind that Diawara, Thomas and Reid will be a class above everyone else in the division if they can stay fit and focused. Just a short note on Phil Parkinson's blog on the official site - sooo much better than previous blog efforts Charlton. Informative, interesting and almost funny.

By the way, why don't we play all of our friendlies behind closed doors? Puts pay to all of that pre-season *doom/hope/guesswork/anecdotal tosh/boredom/cost.
*delete as applicable.

All we need is Parky's blog and a Scunthorpe ticket, right? 
Sunday 22 July 2007
  Soccerball fever It's soccerball weekend on What was the score? Today Chicago Fire host Celtic in an exhibition game. Chicago are the only team in the MLS with a worse record than David Beckham's LA Galaxy. Some friends and I did talk about going, the 20,000 stadium is not a sell-out, but we couldn't be arsed.

Chicago Fire have their very own high-profile signing making his debut today. Mexican Cuauhtémoc Blanco was welcomed by 7,000 fans when he was unveiled by the Fire 3 weeks back. The striker is an iconic figure back in Mexico, spending the majority of his 15-year career there winning every gong possible. He has 97 international caps and the MLS and Fire fans will hope that Blanco can stimulate as much interest amongst the hispanic community in Chicago that Beckham has gained in Hollywood.

Next weekend starting on Friday another exhibition competition takes place on these shores, this time at Chicago's Soldier Field. The Chicago Trophy has been championed by the city's mayor (that means a lot around these parts) and the competing teams are UEFA Cup winners Sevilla, Poles Wisla Krakow, Serie A's Parma and Mexican club Toluca, each carefully chosen I suspect to appeal to football-starved 2nd generation immigrants in the city.

The teams will each play two matches, one on Friday and the second on Sunday and will be awarded 3 points for a win and one for a draw but in a novel feature, teams will earn bonus points for scoring goals. Welcome to America. 
Saturday 21 July 2007
  Beckham, dog fighting & normal blokes playing footie Despite ankle knack David Beckham is expected to make at least 10 minutes of his much hyped debut later tonight for LA Galaxy in a friendly against Chelsea, who are touring the States for the 2nd consecutive season.

I have never seen so many column inches given over the 'soccer' this week. Typing 'Beckham debut' into Google produces 846 results, and mostly from sports sections of American newspapers, not just Entertainment Tonight.

As I wrote earlier in the week I really hope that Beckham's time in the States opens American sports fans eyes to the rest of the planet's game. There has been a lot said about his salary, but it is a lot less than gridiron's Michael Vick, who picked up over $8m last season for the Atlanta Falcons. And I don't expect that Posh & Becks will be hosting illegal dog fighting in their back garden, unlike pea-brained Vick.

Beckham's actual playing salary of £3.3m is dwarfed by today's opponent John Terry, whose new contract is worth £6.8m a year and fat Frank is expected to agree something similiar next week.

Footballers money, illegal dog fighting, it ain't the real world is it? And Vick and Beckham, and even the bloke down my road who had all of his bling stolen at gun point last week, are so far removed from normal blokes it's silly but hang on, it's not all glitz, glamour and having so much money you buy pedigree pit bulls so you can kill them, some of Beckham's new team mates actually have their football boots in the real world.

Courtesy of the public stated MLS salaries, we know exactly how much Beck's new team mates earn, and it makes for some interesting reading. Perhaps when Becks is pulling on his new number 23 shirt later in the dressing room and takes off his Jacob & Co watch, he might spare a thought for some off his fellow players around him that will make just £8,500 a year (honest).

This is the Galaxy team likely to take the field later against Mourinho's Millionaires, and Becks would be forgiven if he thinks he is lining up at the wrong end of the pitch.

GK Joe Cannon $192,000
Born in California. 2 caps for USA. Signed from Colorado Rapids in 2006. Let in 18 goals this season. Spent 7 years in the MLS, 4 times All-Star. He did spend a season at RC Lens in France but never got a game.

DEF Ty Harden $17,700
Born in Oregon. 2nd round college draft in 2007 from University of Washington.

DEF Abel Xavier $175,000
Born in Mozambique. 20 caps for Portugal. One of the game's true itinerants, received a 12-month ban for a positive drugs test two years ago and his reputation has never recovered. At 34, he could fairly be described as entering a career twilight zone. Made his debut in June.

DEF Ante Jazic $114,250
Born in Nova Scotia. 8 caps for Canada. The most famous footballer to come out of Nova Scotia! 2nd season in the MLS, previously played in Croatia for Hajduk Split, then moved to Austria with Rapid Vienna and 2 years in Russia with for 2nd Division side Kuban Kraznodor.

DEF Kyle Veris $17,700
Born in Ohio. LA's big young hope. The giant defender is in his 2nd MLS season.

MID Peter Vagenas $131,875
Born in California. 2 caps for USA. At 7 seasons one of Galaxy's longest serving player.

MID Kyle Martino $55,297
Born in Connecticut. 8 caps for USA. Talented and skilful midfielder signed from Columbus Crew last season.

MID David Beckham OBE $6,500,000
Born Leytonstone. 96 caps for England. One of the most recognisable sporting figures on the planet. Mission: to bring the world's favourite game to America.

MID Cobi Jones $95,000
Born in California. 164 caps for USA (the countries most capped player). 11 years with LA, and 300 appearances. A local legend who is is 37 and played for Coventry City for one season in 1994/5.

FOR Carlos Pavon $180,000
Born in Honduras. 67 caps for Honduras (countries top goalscorer with 41 goals). Another recent signing at the end of his career with 11 clubs under his belt including Napoli and Udinese in Italy.

FOR Landon Donovan $900,000
Born in California. (National team captain). Signed in 2005 after a failed time in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen. Criticised for 'bottling' his time in Europe and carried the can for the countries poor display at the 2006 World Cup. From a sporting family and lives and very low key life despite being married to an actress. 
Friday 20 July 2007
  Memories in the last minute I often wrote it on here or whispered it quietly that I would've loved to have seen Dennis Rommedahl become a truly exciting player for us but it wasn't to be and a long time before the last rites in May even his most ardent advocates had given up the ghost. His goal at Newcastle and his famous last minute one at Palace plus a few mazy runs aside, he just never did it in a red shirt, and he saved his best performances even more gallingly away from The Valley.

Rommedahl's name and form for Denmark was still enough for him to be subject of quite a bit of interest this summer though but he was holding out for a move back to Holland and he today signed for giants Ajax on a 3-year deal for £680,000.

Romm's game is no doubt better suited to the Eredivisie than the Premiership and *takes deep breath* will join Jaap Stam, Edgar Davids and Wesley Sneijder in the Champions League next season. Thanks for the last minute memories Dennis.

Meanwhile only a medical separates Luke Young from joining that hot-bed of football passion Middlesbrough this weekend. Young has had previous medical problems due to a dodgy ankle, notably at West Ham. This might explain why the fee of £2.5m is a lot less than originally suggested. However it's more cash in the bank with a ready made replacement in Moo2 and negotiations continuing with Hayden Mullins.

I hated Young when he first came. Luke-warm? He was postively tepid that first season, but to be fair to the bloke, he got better, gained in stature, was a decent captain and I was proud to see his debut for England here in Chicago two years ago.

Anyway, lets hope the medical team up at The Riverside are as crap as ours used to be!
  Washington DC - A 2nd look If you ever get a chance to visit the capital of America, please do so. The city reeks of importance and power but is also a walking homage to the political and military history of this giant of a nation.

I spent a weekend here in February last year and you can read all that that by clicking here, and this time I did some of it again but also explored other areas of the city such as the historic Georgetown, the student-y Dupont Circle and the wonderfully named Foggy Bottom.

Foggy Bottom is one of the districts oldest areas, and is a low lying area besides the river and was said to be forever shrouded in fog, hence the name. However today Foggy Bottom is associated with two things. Firstly the nation's State Department HQ is located in the neighbourhood, and second is the main campus of George Washington University (GWU).

Also worth visiting here is the impressive Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with its opera house, concert hall, and theatre and the Watergate Hotel, now a huge crumbling relic of times past, including the Richard Nixon Watergate scandal when burglars under Nixon's command broke into hotel rooms in June, 1972, to gather information about the President's election opponents. The word 'gate' now automatically follows any kind of scandal of course.

Dupont Circle is one of many ‘circles’ in DC that are an American attempt at a roundabout and historically the middle of the circle would contain some over the top monument recognizing some historical figure, this originally a chap called Samuel Francis Du Pont and then surrounding the circle would be home to wealthy residents all trying to outdo each other with their grand houses. Today within the circle is a park, a favourite spot for chess players, who play on permanent stone boards and political rallies.

The actual neighbourhood stretches north and one can imagine the bohemian feel of the 1960’s with anti-war marches and street artists and bars smelling of hash. Nowadays it is a student area with bars and pubs smelling of..... you get the picture, although there are actually many nice looking Edwardian looking residences and upscale condominiums, occupied by those government officials that have long since paid off their college debt.

Georgetown is a must see. This part of town pre-dates the establishment of Washington DC and was first settled by Europeans in 1696 and named after the English monarch at the time King George II. Sat alongside the Potomac River and with veins of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal stretching inland the area grew into a thriving port transferring tobacco.

In the first half of the 20th century Georgetown was an industrial hotspot, and many of the original buildings can still be seen, some carefully restored into offices and homes as well as a Ritz Carlton hotel, once a refuse incinerator.

There are some beautiful homes north of M Street, the main commercial artery where the majority of the shops and restaurants can be found. Of course a thriving industrial corridor brought money into the area and some of the houses are magnificent and equally so are most of the very English style terraced homes. And just as I was thinking about this being the perfect place for a small holiday home, my eyes caught a glimpse of a realtors window. Oh well.

The prices started rocketing around here when John F Kennedy (left) was a resident and now the area is home to politico's, media gurus and investment bankers. In fact despite being famous for having the universities main campus and medical school sat high up on a knoll with it's iconic spires peering over the town, college kids are pretty scarce around these boutique laden streets.
Georgetown University is older than the District itself, having been founded in 1789 and is the nation's oldest Roman Catholic affiliated body of higher education. It's main campus is vast with over 100 acres and includes 58 buildings and of course athletic facilities that put the UK to shame.

Most of Georgetown is quietly residential, strikingly hilly with a number of small parks and a couple of cemeteries, such as Mount Zion and the gothic looking Oak Hill. Near here is Dunbarton Oaks, a mansion where the United Nations was first created in 1944.

The busiest area of Georgetown is around M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, spoiling visitors and locals for choices of restaurants and pubs. K Street gives a good vantage point of the waterfront. Down here by the river there is a lively little area of bars and restaurants, and a river sightseeing tour is recommended.

If you are a film buff then the 'Exorcist steps' (right) can be found connecting Prospect St with M Street at 36th St. The classic 1973 horror film was set in Georgetown, and 75 stone steps that Father Damien Karras hurls himself down can be seen with the blood now cleared up. Actually the steps were heavily padded for the stuntman the throw himself down and it is said that at the time university students charged onlookers $5 to watch from their dorm windows.

The historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which stretches 184 miles between DC and Maryland is certainly worth a stroll. Mule-drawn boats, worked by men and women dressed in early 1800's attire carry visitors on the canal at Georgetown. Hundreds of original structures, including locks, lockhouses, and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal's role as a transportation system during the canal era.

All in all this is a beautiful setting, and if you find the whole monument watching in the nations capital a bit tiring, then spend some time in Georgetown. You won't regret it.
Thursday 19 July 2007
  Expendable I have been in New York, actually only for 26 hours, but it took me 10 hours, watch my lips, 10 hours yesterday to get from LaGuardia to O'Hare airport due to the thunderous conditions over Chicago last night.

LaGuardia Airport has a very short runway and therefore planes have to take off with less than a full tank of fuel, so after circling around for an hour or so, the pilot was forced to land at Grand Rapids to get re-fuelled and sit out the storm. We then took off again only to be told that O'Hare was once again shut and we spent 2 hours in a 'holding pattern' somewhere over Lake Michigan.

With fuel running low the pilot finally landed the plane expertly as lightning lit the sky all around us. Exciting, but I'd rather have been in bed.

I was in NY with a client doing some face to face pitches to markets. They’re a great client and makes travelling fun and particularly a night in the big apple. I go with them to London next week, although one of their assemblages was unfortunate to lose her job last week after new owners "eliminated" her position, this after she was down in Bermuda with one of my young colleagues just last week doing the same thing as we were doing in NY. It's times like these that bring home how expendable we all are.

Anyway back in the office early doors this morning, a quiet weekend is planned although out with some friends Friday, and we have a drunken history with them. I might watch Beckham's debut for LA Galaxy, which is being shown live on ESPN.

"Saturday's game, part of the four-team World Series of Football, is sold out and ESPN will televise it live, using 19 cameras to track Beckham." (more)

But of course the blokes only gone and got himself injured! 
Sunday 15 July 2007
  Why American's don't get us Brits. Part 1,458 Try this quiz, currently up on the NBC's website to welcome the postively posh Posh and the cuddly cock-nee Becks to America.


How many did you get right? 
Saturday 14 July 2007
  Coming to America "Footb…., sorry I mean soccer, I’ll have to get used to that!"

David Beckham will have to get used to a lot of things after he was officially unveiled by LA Galaxy on Friday. Beckham has been hailed as the second coming to American 'soccer' after Pele was the first back in 1975 (aged 35), and despite a few years success with the NASL, which also included Mike Flanagan, Colin Powell and the legendary Laurie Abrahams. The NASL proved a false dawn for the world’s greatest game and folded in 1984 (Chicago Sting were the last champions).

David Beckham is many things but naive and apathetic are not two of them, Beckham is clearly not just in America for the ride although hanging out with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes is probably a nice little bonus (I couldn’t imagine anything worse, but you pick your own friends) and of course keeping his dreadful wife happy also makes his new life slightly more cushdy.

Beckham doesn’t need the money, ok he and the missus crave the fame, although he refused to appear in his wife’s reality TV show, which starts on Monday and actually believe it or not his celebrity stock will be a lot less in LA than any other city in the world, but at just 32 (5 years younger than Chris Powell) taking the easy route to St James’ Park, Upton Park, Ibrox or even staying at the Bernabeu would in many ways been an easier ticket.

Beckham’s getting paid a fortune by the MLS, although most of the money will come in a cutting edge deal from sales of Galaxy jersey’s (read kits) and ticket sales. To put that into perspective Real Madrid recently announced that they had sold £300m worth of Beckham #23 kits in the 4 years he was there. His actual salary is £3.2m and West Ham’s Lucas Neill’s annual £3.9m puts that into some perspective.

Coming to America in a blaze of media frenzy Beckham puts his career, his reputation and his coveted England place on the line. He is under immense media spotlight to perform and stand out in every game he plays, and whether he likes it or not, Americans’ minute attention span to sporting ‘plays’ will mean he will be expected to score every free kick he takes.

He will be kicked up in the air and wound up by fresh out of college kids on $15,000 a year, he will have to play and attempt to spray 40-yard passes with his golf-iron-esque right foot around some of the worst pitches he would have played on, some with awful astro-turf, others with gridiron field lines painted on the pitch and many with both.

It won’t be easy, and Becks, since getting sent off stupidly against Argentina in 1998 has never had being a football star easy – he’s right, he doesn’t dribble around 5 players or score 3 goals a game, but for many years at United, Madrid and with England he was the team’s driving force and talisman and I for one hopes he can be the talisman for footb…., sorry soccer in this country. 
Thursday 12 July 2007
  My Chicago - #10 Andersonville Once a Swedish enclave, this residential area 5 miles north of the city's downtown and just a spit from the lake was the place I spent last week's Independence Day. American flags battled with Swedish and Turkish ones for prominence as locals sat and drank coffee and walked dogs making the most of a midweek break.

Andersonville is actually in Edgewater, which is home to many poorer immigrants from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey, whereas the area surrounding Clark Street in between the Red Line 'El' stops at Bryn Mawr (meaning big hill in Welsh, there are no big hills around here incidentially) and Berwyn is more affluent.

Unbelievably this area was a large cherry orchard around the mid 1850's but after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, wooden homes were outlawed in Chicago so Swedish immigrants with a proclivity for using wood in their buildings moved further north and before long the area around Clark Street was dominated by Swedish businesses.

Some 2nd and 3rd generation Swedes remain and the area still celebrates its past with an annual Midsommarfest and a Swedish American Museum (5211 N Clark) that was opened to the public in a ceremony attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 1961.

Today Andersonville like other popular neighbourhoods is home to a diverse assortment of devoted residents and businesses, including one of Chicago's largest gay and lesbian communities, it also has a large collection of Middle Eastern restaurants and bakeries, I am sure this is only a coincidence!

However the yellow and blue flag can still be seen outside Erickson's Deli (5250 N Clark), Wikstrom's Gourmet Foods (5217 N Clark), Svea Restaurant (5236 N Clark) and the famed Swedish Bakery (5348 N Clark), which was unfortunately closed "to celebrate the declaration of Independence" the day we were there!

In Andersonville you can find a number of theatre's including the Griffin Theatre and The Quest People's Theatre, described as the 'theatre with a conscious,' and the Chicago Chamber Choir.

For a pint of Swedish Pripp's Lager head to Simon's Tavern, which dates back to 1930 and has had a colourful history. The original owner (a Swedish immigrant named Simon Lundberg) became a bootlegger during Prohibition and cashed people's paychecks whilst sitting in a bullet-proof booth, which is still there. The back bar is modelled on an American WWI war ship and the now owner of this friendly bar will give you a tour of the place if you ask nicely.

For a bite there is Andies Mediterranean Restaurant but better is Chicago institution Reza's whose Persian restaurant downtown is only a block away from where I live. It doesn't matter though as they are next door to each other, you can sit outside both and watch the dog-in-handbag set walk by and you'll find cracking finger-licking Middle Eastern food at both locations.

Someone told me that there are more independently owned shops in Andersonville than any other Chicago neighbourhood, which makes nosing in shop windows far more of a surprise. Old time watch shop Erickson's, chocolate heaven bon bon, wine merchant In Fine Spirits and quirky gift shop Green Sky will all entice.

The streets that head out towards Edgewater Beach such as W Catalpa Ave, W Balmoral Ave and W Berwyn Ave are tree-lined with family homes but it is Clark Street where most of the action is with the vast Gethsemane Garden Center (5739 N Clark), a real treasure trove for urban gardeners at one end, the neon lighted Philadelphia Church in the middle (I can't find an explanation of why this is here) and the Swedish flag painted water tower at the other.
L to R: Jesus Saves (as long as you are from Philadelphia!); Andersonville pavement slab; Gethsemane garden centre.
Wednesday 11 July 2007
  Tooting & Welling If you came here looking for reports on tonight's games at Tooting and Welling, then you came to the wrong place as I was sat here at my desk in Chicago stupid. However there were plenty of people on Charlton Life that did go, so click below for reports and comments:
Tooting 5-0
Welling 2-0 
Tuesday 10 July 2007
  Come on you Iron Thanks to a mate my son and I now have a ticket each for the Scunthorpe match. I told my boy earlier and he gave me a rousing rendition of "Sooooper, Super Al," brought a tear to my eye it did. He then hesitated before asking me if Pardew was still our manager - I guess that's what happens when you witness three in your first season of being a fully fledged Addick.

My son will be spending 2 weeks with me in Chicago before we fly back to London on the Thursday night before the opening game. *taps temple with forefinger for being so organised* So our own pre-season should be very enjoyable indeed.

I'm averaging a paltry 4 games a season live since I've lived in the States. Not particularly good but tainted by previously coming home and preferring to see my son down in Kent than go to a game. Well, it's a new world now as my boy wants to go at every opportunity, so with more games, and with tickets likely to be more available, I'm hoping for an increase in that average this season.

I am well over my disappointment now of being relegated. Watching the so corrupt its laughable Thaksin Shinawatra take control of Man City, Jamie Carragher, someone I previously admired, whining about his England opportunities, Francis Jeffers turning his nose up at Ipswich's nightlife (7k a week clearly not enough!) and the whole Tevez fiasco, Scunthorpe at home in the fizzy's cannot come quick enough. 
  Neighbourhood Heat When they started building $7m homes on the next block to where my 1898 loft building is, I thought this was a good thing. Recently they have slowly started to become occupied and one in particular, after a nose through a window, was looking particularly cool I thought. Then during the last couple of weeks a number of shall I say pimped-up looking vehicles were to be seen parked outside this particular house, whereas the others were still tinged in privacy.

Anyway last night it became obvious to who lived there when my road was cordoned off by cops. "Miami Heat basketball player Antoine Walker was robbed at gunpoint in his Chicago home Monday evening." (more)

So much for improving the neighbourhood eh? 
Monday 9 July 2007
  "The fans gave me plenty last season" According the Scunthorpe website, they have signed the forgotten Kelly Youga on loan for 6 months. Nothing is on our official website, which is still leading with the signings of Todorov, Weaver and Alan Simonsen no doubt.

It will be interesting to see how Youga performs in The Championship, particuarly as few Addicks have had the chance to see him play. The 21-year old, now behind Thatcher, Gibbs and 37-year old Chris Powell in the left back pecking order, will not be allowed to play against us on the opening day.

Talking of Nicky Weaver, he passed his first test with Addicks fans by not sweeping the 'previous' under the carpet but talking admirably about the "past history and banter," between himself and our lot. As long as that twat Jody Morris doesn't sign, I might just be able to deal with Weaver in a Charlton shirt.

Finally sad to read All Quiet's post on Dean Kiely getting attacked by a Wolves thug in a pub in Warwick. One good piece of news for Deano is that he won't have to share a training ground with Andy Todd again (the last time he got larruped allegedly) as Todd has chosen Derby over the Baggies
  Art & sausage I'm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin tonight. I drove the 95 miles north along Lake Michigan from downtown Chicago this morning for a client meeting and have a dinner here tonight, probably consisting off cheese and sausage. Actually that's unfair, Milwaukee with it's lakeside Santiago Calatrava designed Art Museum is pretty cool, that's if you can avoid the myriad of road works.

It was a quiet weekend in scorching temperatures. Yesterday at midday we played football and a building nearby was showing the temperature at 99 degrees.

This week, Wednesday I have a mate in town from London for dinner and then Friday I make a second visit to the nations capital for a weekend trip, this after I went to great lengths to tell others to avoid the summer months in one of the countries most popular tourist attractions. 
Saturday 7 July 2007
  Tevez - what happened to the 'gang of four'? I know it's none of my business, like. My team are languished in the fizzy pops, all those big clubs and obnoxious salaries and badge kissing seems like a long time ago, but surely in the name of sanity something has to be done about this 'Tevez saga' doesn't it?

I mean he will move to Man U, right? Fair enough, he's a bloody good player, ok Man U can't match Egg Heads salary offer, who can? But he deserves his move, even though, and this is only from memory, because I'm a Championship fan now, Tevez plays in an identical role to Rooney.

But naïve question 1, who will receive the money for said transfer? West Ham? Yeh right, course they will.

What royally gets on my titties is that no one else seems to care, clubs I mean. What happened to the 'gang of four'? Are we still in Sheffield United's corner, or are we just keeping our heads down? How many other clubs are making official noises to the Premier League? I remember Sir Alex coming out publicly and supporting Sheffield United but here they are now embroiled in a bucket load of further evidence - will they dish it?

We as fans, even fizzy ones, and especially dirty filty lucre Prem ones shouldn't turn our backs on this - its a bloody joke. Even the old polish lady who cleans my office with the biggest smile and only a few words of English knows that Kia Joorabchian actually "owns" Carlos Tevez's magical footballing body.

As fans can't we do something? They, the Premier League, are screwing us, West Ham fans included. You know what? I'm pleased we are out of that money grabbing, cold and callous group of football clubs called the Premiership. We deserve the truth, and they all deserve each other.

Bring on Scunny! 
  First midfielder on his way? Hayden Mullins could be a welcome addition to the midfield ranks as early as Monday as reports suggest that he has turned down Reading in favour of linking up with Pardew again in a £1m deal. Mullins was originally a makeweight in the offer by the Hammers to buy Darren Bent.

Hammers fans were always very complimentary of Mullins and he was one of their better players in the first half of last season until Curbishley arrived and used him sparingly preferring the £1.5m Quashie instead. I know who I'd prefer.

Meanwhile Bradford have failed in their attempt to sign Kelly Youga on a season's loan. Youga played 11 games for the League Two side last season.

Bradford manager Staurt McCall said: "It's a pity because Kelly did well here but he doesn't want to drop down to League Two and I can understand that." Barclays Reserve League South it is then. 
Thursday 5 July 2007
  1923 v 2007
What do you think? 
Wednesday 4 July 2007
Two new signings today, both on a free and both making me feel totally underwhelmed. I give you Portsmouth's injury stricken striker Svetoslav Todorov and fat boy Nicky "what's the score?" Weaver.

Weaver has had untold stick from the Covered End over the seasons, often doing himself no favours, although to be fair by all accounts he took it pretty well last year. The bloke's got balls, I give him that and I am sure he is sitting their tonight with a plate of chips knowing that he has a lot to prove to crack the Addicks fans next season.

At 19 Weaver was being raved about at Maine Road and in fact holds the City record for the most clean sheets kept in a season (23) and was the regular England u21 keeper for a couple of years. However despite talk that he was the next David Seaman, his next few years were plagued with injuries. But only last season he kept known Dowie target Andreas Isaksson out of the City team for the bulk of the campaign and eventually played in 31 games, keeping 10 clean sheets.

Todorov was offered a new contract by Harry Redknapp at Pompey, who originally signed him for West Ham in 2001, but he turned it down in favour of a one-year deal with us. His best season was in 2002/03 when he finished the league's top scorer when Pompey won the First Division title. His Premiership career was curtailed by serious injury, although he came back strong at the beginning of last season, scoring a couple of goals before being shipped off to Wigan on loan, where he scored nowt.

Incidentially both Weaver and Todorov are exceptionally well regarded by City and Pompey fans respectively, which has made me slightly less underwhelmed!
  Denim and Seahawk Denim and Seahawk. I bet that's not what they called it in 1923. I have Googled seahawk blue and it only comes up with NFL team Seattle Seahawks (their jerseys are described as seahawk blue), and a search on denim blue brought up Levi's. No shit Sherlock. Looks like we are going all Yankee Doodle. 
  The Declaration of Independence So what did Americans do with their freedom, won from us Brits 231 years ago? How do they spend their precious national holiday? The answer is Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Whilst your normal American will consume 150 million hot dogs today, never failing to miss an oportunity for the 91st time the world's most famous hot dog eating contest, a status I imagine not that difficult to achieve, will take place later today. Last year 30,000 people actually attended the event, whilst incredibly, but this is America, another 1.5 million households watched legend unfold live on ESPN! Sorry, I get indigestion just watching someone on a bus eat a sandwich.

The competition is held in Coney Island in New York, which is the original home of the famous Nathan's hot dog stand and according to one lardy official the event is "rich with zeal and pageantry, the Nathan’s Famous International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest puts the basis of human endeavor on display for all the world." I am now officially scared and nope I have never had one either.

According to legend, on July 4th, 1916 four immigrants had a hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous stand in Coney Island to settle an argument about who was the most patriotic. After twelve minutes, James Mullen had eaten thirteen hot dogs and was crowned the victor. 13? Girl.

Now the event sponsored by Heinz attracts 'competitive eaters' from all over the world, well America and Japan anyway. Like most things these days the Japanese are dominant and only one Yank has won the competition since 1996. Sadly last year's winner Takeru Kobayashi is a late fitness doubt with a case of "creaky jaw." Last year Kobayashi ate 53¾ hot dogs and their buns in 12 minutes, a gut-busting record munch.

Only in America. July 4th, the day the Brits came to their senses!
Tuesday 3 July 2007
  Faye do's Damn, Steve Bruce has just had the shit removed from his eyes. "I don't know where that's come from," said Bruce on rumours that Amdy Faye was on his way to St Andrews for 400 grand. "It's not true." Oh say it is Stevie, say it is....

Meanwhile Souleymane Diawara's agent Roger Boli has told anyone that will listen that Borussia Dortmund are tripping over themselves to sign him. I would rather he stay as I think he'd be a class act in the fizzys and think of all those gloves the club shop could sell at Christmas.

Talk today also points to Freddy Eastwood deciding between a move to either Watford or the Addicks. Both clubs have had £2m bids accepted by Southend plus add-ons. 
  Chris Powell is back "I'll be telling the boys what it means to play for Charlton, what it means to pull on the red shirt and what it means to get back up into the Premiership."

Welcome back Chris. More 
Monday 2 July 2007
  12 gone - Eastwood next in? Blackheath Addick led me to a list of players released from Premiership clubs. 65 players in total and including Robbie Fowler, Boudewijn Zenden, Chris Powell and Shaun Newton. Full list here.

Being realistic and taking wages into account, perhaps the three goalkeepers Magnus Hedman, Richard Wright and John Filan could be of interest unless Pards is really prepared to go without any goalkeeping experience at all in our squad.

We led the list with 8 players being shown the door. These were no surprise following weeks of speculation in the press, presumably fuelled by the players' agents.

Jimmy-Floyd Haselbaink and Talal El Karkouri were obviously big wage earners and although it remains to be seen if JFH can get further fat and happy some place else it, rumours are that El Khak, who played 39 times last season, will pick up a nice payday in Qatar.

The list also includes Thomas Myhre, who unless I dreamt this actually signed a pre-contract agreement for his first ever club Viking back in January. The others were all young players that in the eyes of Pards, Parky, Robson and Kinsella were obviously not ready to step up. So Nathan Ashton, Rurik Gislason (reportedly Hibernian are interested), Alistair John, Myles Weston (being chased by Steve 'Rambo' Thompson at Notts County) and a certain Kevin Lisbie were all denied new contracts.

19-year old striker James Walker was though, and talks progress between him and the club, although with news that we have entered the race to sign Southend's Freddy Eastwood tonight, perhaps playing the role of 6th-string striker would not appeal to the youngster, who had good loan spells at both Leyton Orient and Notts County last season.

With Benty's big move, Hreidarsson activating a 'I'm too good to go down clause' and Kishishev and Hughes moving to other Championship clubs, that is 12 players released so far, with only Matt Holland and Walker being offered new contracts.
  Ben Sahar joins on loan According to today's Guardian we have signed young Israeli striker Ben Sahar on loan until January. Sahar is just 17 and was signed by Chelsea from Hapoel Tel Aviv when he was just 16. He played 3 times for the Blues last season.

Sahar is said to be one of Israel's brightest talents and was nabbed by Chelsea's famed spotter of young players Frank Arneson. This was the original Sky Sports article when he signed for Chelsea in May 2006. It makes good reading and continues Pards move towards young players.

Sahar will compete with Chris Iwelumo, Luke Varney, Marcus Bent and Chris Dickson. Hopefully a midfielder will be next, and I expect Pards will bring other loan signings in and will not break into too much of the loot received from Spurs for Darren Bent.
Sunday 1 July 2007
  Rain & terror Back from my week in London, it was relaxing although yesterday’s drive from Oxford to Portsmouth to Hornchurch, followed by copious amount of beers and a chicken tikka dansak was not the best preparation for a 4am start this morning.

My flight wasn't as comfortable as it should have been today after tactically getting myself into the best seat possible by paying an economy fair I got asked if I would move to a worse seat to accommodate "two young children who wanted to sit together."

My look of "No" clearly didn’t work as the steward kind of embarrassed me into moving as the two 'children' gleefully took my nice seat and the one next to me.... they were each about 18-years old!

And then after I studied the movie listings, it took me a good 15 minutes into the start of them to realise that the actual films being shown bore no correlation to the advertised list. I explained this to the snotty air-stewardess who looked at me blankly and just said "so," before strutting off.

Central London was a place for the brave, the unknowing and the resolute again last week. I spent some time in both Haymarket and Park Lane at the beginning of the week before two cars were fortunately and courageously unearthed before parasites yet again tried to deadly interrupt or end the lives of Londoners and its visitors. And then yesterday driving on the A3 listening to eye-witness accounts of people at Glasgow airport left me with a lump in my throat.

I had a lot of free time last week, which is unusual on my trips home, and I found myself glued to the television, I really do miss the box, even Big Brother. I can’t tell you how much better the programming is than here, particularly when a big story breaks such as the attempted bombings or the incoming prime minister – the 7th in my lifetime incidentially, and I can remember then all pretty vividly.

I had an amble around Barnes, where I spent most of the week. Very nice too, although bumping into the 'coming home from school crowd,' there weren’t an awful lot of London accents. In fact I spent a couple of minutes watching a loud American kid pitch a baseball to his Mum near the duck pond (right).

My son and my parents and I witnessed the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, something they are thinking of charging for in the future – bloody cheek. It’s funny I was saying to my Mum, that the old Palace needed a lick of paint.

And how bad was the weather? It rained everyday and I don’t miss that. Standing outside The Lamb in Leadenhall Market on Wednesday freezing my wotsits off was great because I was with plenty of old mates but blimey, it is supposed to be summer. And to think I used to laugh incredulously when American's used to say that it always rains in London. I actually think it does!
  Who is Kevin Lisbie? I having been searching the normally reliable football player databases for word of a Kevin Lisbie, who was one of 8 players released by the club on Saturday. According to some reports he was our longest serving player, I must have missed his testimonial then.

If anyone can help me locate some detail or even send me a picture of this player then I would be very grateful. My big concern is that we have let slip through the net another promising young player. 
  Hull is a long way to go for tea I felt for my son and his little school mate that he’d have to leave his school at the end of term to start a new one somewhere he couldn’t remember after the summer holidays.

Hull City was another new name to conjure with for my son as I tried to explain why Darren Bent had chosen Tottenham and Bryan Hughes had chosen Hull as their next career destinations. "Darren’s better isn’t he Daddy?" drew the end of the conversation.

I suppose if I had been a bit more on the ball I could have put two and two together on Thursday night when after speaking to my son on a return from tea after school at the Hughes’ household, the Dad was missing, away overnight apparently, and probably holed up in the Hull Marriot.

It didn't surprise me that Pards offered the 31-year old a new contract but I suspect it was only a year and he got 3 at the KC Stadium. I think he will score goals in the Championship but unfortunately it won't be for us.

I wish Hughes and his family well in their new surroundings. My son will miss his son and I think we could actually miss his Dad.
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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