Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Saturday 29 September 2007
  Cubs fever Thousands of fans spilled into the street last night around Wrigleyville as the Cubs won the National League Central Division yesterday after finally claiming the title to qualify for the post season play-off's. The Cubs will go into the play-offs as one of the weakest teams but they will be followed by some the countries most passionate baseball fans. The whole away support thing doesn't really happen in this vast country except when the Cubs are in town.

It is said that 30,000 Cubs fans were at today's 4-0 victory over the Reds in Cincinnati. The total crowd? 38,936. As a Charlton fan, I celebrate a corner but to witness Cubs' fans celebrate the smallest thing at a beer soaked Wrigley Field makes me only wander how crazy this town will go if, heaven forbid, it goes through the play-offs to win the world series for the first time since 1907. 
  Coventry City away. What was the score? Drew 1-1 We managed to break the code today and had uninterrupted radio commentary from the game. Admittedly beggars can't be choosers but BBC Radio Kent is sooo much better than BBC Radio London and at the end of the first half co-commentator Bradley Allen described our performance as the best of the season. Certainly the back 5 appeared very solid, it was just a shame that it couldn't last because it was a different story in the 2nd half as Bougherra and then fatally Powell buckled.

Some of our play first half sounded very good, we weathered a spell when Mifsud hit the woodwork but the turning point was when referee Neil Swarbrick ignored which everyone else, including the radio commentator thought was a blatant penalty. Varney clearly impeded as he looked set to put the result in all possibility in no doubt. Lloyd Sam again proved that we don't need the arrogance of Thomas and at the half we sat here quite contented, if not a little hungover.

The 2nd half was very different though and our comfortable play got swept up in some frenzied and heated spells. This suited the Sky Blues and it even got the home fans out of their Old Trafford stupor. Scrambles were aplenty, mostly down our end. This might have weighed on Pards mind when he brought on the stronger McLeod for Varney, when the more obvious choice to me was the cooler head of Toddy.

The clock was ticking away but the victory never seemed assured and sure enough as the game moved towards its conclusion Mifsud pounced on some deliberation by Chrissy Powell to bring them level.

The thought here then was that Cov would go for it but if anything it was us that looked the more likely to win the game with the BBC Radio Kent commentator winning the prize for broadcasting misrepresentation when he had my brother and I up in the air celebrating a Big Chris winner only then to tell us that the header went wide. By all accounts it was a poor miss although the confidence lacking McLeod was adjudged to be more wasteful by Addicks in the ground.

I would have taken a draw before the game but we need to learn how to be more potent away from home and certainly some players are far more effective at The Valley than they are on the road. We get another chance Tuesday and I would expect some team changes.

Who was at the Ricoh Arena: Addicks Championship Diary; All Quiet.
Reports: Kent Online;; Daily Mail; Gary Mabbutt's Knee; Telegraph; Sunday Times.
What Pards' said: "Even more so it is two points dropped when you see that chance go begging. Chris has had a good game but he has got to be disappointed with that because he should have won it for us by taking that chance."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Andy Reid. Pivotal to most of our attacking play. 
Friday 28 September 2007
  Deprived Of sleep. Just totted it up, I have been out 20 of the last 23 nights! Christ, I'm bloody 41 years old, what am I doing? Las Vegas, New York, friends in town, work dinners and now my brother's here, who had the cheek to text me earlier saying that he still felt hungover and tired from last night, and he was lying in the sun on the beach at the time. He should have tried interviewing two candidates for a job this morning at 7.30, whilst trying to keep it together.

I need sleep, but without any doubt before staggering into bed tonight I will set my alarm for 8.30am allowing myself to get up for the Coventry game. My brother adding 1 more Addick to the list of fans that the club continues to ignore outside the boundaries of a BBC London or Kent signal. For those of you going, lets remind Dowie how passionate we were, and don't boo him, just thank yourself that when the nightmare stopped last season, a man called Alan Pardew walked into our lives.

My brother is here until Tuesday, so what's that? Another 4 nights out on the lash, gawd, oh and an old mate and his new Missus arrive in Chicago on Monday for the start of their honeymoon, so we're taking them out Monday night. The wedding is tomorrow and by the way good luck to the best man, who for every minute leading up to him sitting down after his speech, will be wishing he was at the Ricoh Arena.

Tonight we are going on the Untouchables Tour, which is a two hour runaround of all the gangster places of 1920s Chicago. Should be fun and after, ooh let me see, we could probably go for a drink? 
Thursday 27 September 2007
  Memories of Coventry City Coventry City 2-2 Charlton, 24th February, 2001
It is said that being sent to Coventry came about during the English civil war when Royalists were banished to Coventry for their own good. It is not known whether one of them had a rather long chin and went by the name of Hill but Wyn Grant gives a bit more insight into the blight of English landscape that is Coventry here.

I was asked as opposed to sent to Coventry in the winter of 2001 when I got invited to spend the afternoon with some clients in their executive boxes at Highfield Road, when I say executive box I am hugely embellishing this story as the boxes were piled up on top of each other as if concrete shoe boxes in the corner nuzzled in between two stands. I watched the game from what appeared a balcony but there was a steady supply of beer and curled up sandwiches. I was looked at rather oddly by the cross section of life insurance salemen, farmers and auto factory chiefs as I welcomed the players onto the pitch for their warm-up and joined the other few Addicks in the ground an hour from kick-off with a rousing "Chrissy Powell, Chrissy Powell, Chrissy Powell" as he had just that week been selected by Sven-Göran Eriksson in his first ever England squad.

I remember his huge grin as if he couldn't quite believe it himself, later that summer we were to spend a week in his company in Sardinia after bumping into him on our first night. He and his wife are truly the nicest people you could ever meet and I remember the game being punctuated by chants from a healthy number of Addicks of "England's number 3."

Anyway we were having a fine season and were 7 games unbeaten after the 5-0 Boxing Day drubbing at Upton Park. City meanwhile were struggling and would eventually get relegated even with Jay Bothroyd amongst their number!

Highfield Road was made the countries first all-seated stadium in 1981 (they have Jimmy the chin to thank for that) and Cov were a top flight institution without anyone noticing. This was to be their 34th and final season in the top tier and they haven't been anywhere near since, though to be fair their crowds, now at the Ricoh Arena, haven't really changed much since. There were 19,000 at the game that day.

The Charlton contingent were in fine voice but were silenced after 8 minutes by a young Craig Bellamy who tapped in after Ilic dropped a cross. Not long after however we were level when Rufus scrambled home after JJ's shot hit the bar. I went up and got some funny looks. Oh well. We shaded the first half and I retired to another warm can of beer. Start of the 2nd, the farmers were still talking manure as JJ skipped away down the other end to finish coolly. I think it was a Kish pass too, bloody hell.

At this point we were well on top and should have wrapped up the win but John Hartson had other plans and equalised, with again Ilic at fault. All around me ugly descendents of Royalists celebrated as the locals finally found their voices. The game ended 2-2 and although it was a good point, we really should have had all three.

Charlton: Illic, Fish, Rufus, Todd, Powell, Kishishev, Kinsella (Newton 79), Jenson (Konchesky 87), Stuart, Johansson (Lisbie 90), Svensson.
Subs not used: Caig, Brown.

Coventry: Hedman: Edworthy, Breen, Shaw, M Hall, Thompson, Quinn, Carsley, Chippo (Aloisi 58), Hartson, Bellamy.
Subs not used: Williams, Telfer, Kirkland, Bothroyd. 
Wednesday 26 September 2007
  Luton Town away. What was the score? Lost 3-1 I don't like losing like the next man, but honestly should we get too excited about last night's defeat? Luton are a decent side, with a decent manager in most people's eyes except cuddly Ken Bates. They were one of my tips to get promoted, Chris Perry was probably the best centre-half on the pitch and he played for them, so come on let's get over it and move on. Pards certainly has.

I'm not sure what else we could have expected other than a tight game and it did sound like it could have gone either way, although clearly Luton deserved their victory. 11 players thrown together, some making their first Charlton starts, some back from injury, and of course Paddy McCarthorse, you know what I'm saying?

I had a lot going on in my office yesterday but was following the game the best I could via Charlton Life (thanks guys), but for a very pleasant change my post-match mood was helped yesterday by meeting my brother afterwards for a pint and having our little warm-down. As Pards said, no one will remember, although the evening may stay a bit longer with the superb 800 Addicks that made the journey.

Who was at Kenilworth Road:
Reports: Sky Sports; Telegraph;; Luton Town FC.
What Pards' said: "Nobody would remember it if we reached the quarter finals and finished eighth in the league."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Darren Randolph. By all accounts he came out of the match with credit, and showed us that he is a very worthwhile number 2 and very possibly a number 1. 
Tuesday 25 September 2007
  Addick-sickness News that away tickets can be bought tonight on the door has only increased my Addick-sickness. A tin-pot game in a tin-pot cup nevertheless but I would be happy to be there to see what will be a 2nd XI tonight. Pards has admitted more than once that he doesn't know who his best eleven are, which I take as honest and canny as opposed to a failing limitation.

Clearly players are starting to own their places such as Big Chris, Bougherra, Semedo and Sam but for each position Pards has at least two choices and I would expect him to freshen up the team regularly this season, picking teams to win games. Tonight we could see a completely different side take the field and I for one would be happy to see Moo2Kil, Toddy and Holland. By the way is Sodje cup-tied?

I wonder if we will see billy big bollocks Thomas tonight? Once again Pards talked with a large modicum of managerial sense on Saturday after the game about Thomas' attitude. Lets face it he joined as an overweight spoiled brat, credit to Curbs for attempting to turn him around, but now we have a fat-walleted spoilt tosser. Shame, but are we losing sleep over it? Nah.

One player we will see tonight, oops for me that should read hear about from 4,000 miles away via some random medium, will be Chris Perry, who had this to say, "I was happy to see the draw but I was probably the only one in the camp which was a bit gutted it wasn’t away to be honest. It would have been nice to go down there." (more
Sunday 23 September 2007
  Batman returns to Chicago Chicago has been the scene for many movies over the years, but this summer downtown has seen covert filming of the new Batman movie with once again Chicago playing the role of Gotham City. Warner Brothers shot large parts of Batman Begins in Chicago during the summer of 2004 and have returned this summer shooting scenes for the new Batman film The Dark Knight.

Large parts of downtown have been closed at night, including a stretch of North LaSalle St, just around the corner from me, as Batman Christian Bale struts around in an all-in-one black outfit, toasty I am sure in 90 degree heat.

Much of the filming has been taking place in the Loop with parts of Canal St and Wacker Drive closed. A lot of activity takes places hidden behind large screens but residents are allowed to get quite close to the action. A post office on Van Buren Street has been rebranded the Gotham National Bank and Gotham Police Department (GPD) cars can be seen tucked away in side roads. See photos.

Filming is expected to bring in $45 million into the cities economy, with money spent in local service industries, in addition to hiring 250 day players and a couple thousand extras whilst they take up occupancy in town.

The film, which is due out next July also stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.

Angelina Jolie's has also been in the city filming Wanted this summer. Unfortunately I haven't spotted old Ange clambering down buildings in a black rubber suit but I did see a sexy looking red car the other week on the way home from work, which according to this article she spends much time sprawled over. 
Saturday 22 September 2007
  Leicester home. What was the score? Won 2-0 "Eased to victory," "a comfortable win," are they talking about us? It sure sounded easy. Two early goals settled us down, it certainly settled me down sat here with my cup of splosh. The 2nd half was a bit of a non-event but the manager and the players cannot be criticised for closing the game out preserving energy and fitness levels. I fancy Megson will get Leicester sparking but by all accounts they were crap today, but maybe we made them look crap, have you thought about that?

Obviously I don't mind who scores, as long as they have a sword on their shirt, but it was satisfying to see both the strikers get on the scoresheet. Iwelumo with his 3rd of the season and Varney getting off the mark against the club he's supported since a boy.

According to eye witnesses Semedo was quality today. I really liked the look of him early in the season and one has to remember that he is only 22 and new to the country and the league. And how much did he cost us? Er, nothing.

Mills and Bougherra also claimed man of the match type plaudits.

7 games gone and we are in 2nd spot with Stoke the one team that beat us in 5th. Officially a bloody good start. 10 games is probably a good time to give the table a good look and the next 3 league games each look tricky in different ways. In fact we now embark on a bit of a road trip as they say here. Luton in the cup Tuesday, a time for some other squad players to stake a first team place, Iain Dowie's Coventry Saturday, who got stuffed today for the 2nd time in 3 games and then Hull away on a Tuesday night, a reet proper tough northern night game.

Who was at The Valley: Blackheath Addicted; All Quiet; Addicks Championship Diary; Frankie Valley.
Reports: The Times;; Sporting Life; Kent Online; The Blue Army.
What Pards' said: "Semedo had his strongest game since he's been here. He made the art of the simple pass look easy. Just like Makalele sets up attacks for Chelsea, he did a similar job for us today."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Semedo. Pardew has spoken very highly of the 22-year old and he has played in every game this season. Has the ability to dominate midfields as he did today. 
Friday 21 September 2007
  A drink it is then We have a friend staying with us this weekend from England. She is a fully signed up member of the Delusionals, even to the point of being unable to control her excitement after I told her of last night's demolition of crack Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta. She has been here before and turned her nose up at the suggestion of art galleries, boat tours and museums and said that she is here to drink. Ok, at least we know where we stand then.

She leaves on Monday afternoon and my brother will pass her at the airport as he comes into town for 8 days which is damn lucky as he doesn't drink at all....

Works been crazy today and frankly I am looking forward to sucking a beverage or two down later when we head out. I love this time of year in Chicago, the humidity disappears, the skies are deep blue and the breeze is revitalizing. The best thing is that in the knowledge that winter is on the horizon Chicagoans make sure they make the very best of the weather before they have to dress up like a North Face mannequin. The weather is expected to be up in the high 80's this weekend.

Tomorrow morning I will be hoping for a bit of assistance from some Saturday morning dork at BBC Radio headquarters who will forget to turn the switch off marked 'foreign bastards' as the Addicks take on Leicester City.

Leicester are one of those sides I have seen play countless times over the years home and away. They were often mentioned in the same breath as us during the pre-season as potential promotion candidates. Martin Allen was somehow allowed to sign a new squad and then was fired because Milan Mandarić fancied Fat Jimmy in a rather large blue kit and Mad Dog didn't. It was undoubtably a dumb move by Mandarić but under new 'boss' Gary Megson, Leicester will still pose a threat.

Pards made another well-informed comment involving the fans today, "The fans have been a big highlight for me because when a team gets relegated it's easy for the fans to make your life difficult and right up until five minutes to go, at 0-0 against Norwich, I didn't hear one single whinge. Everyone was pulling together and the fans were spurring us on to get the goal and eventually we did."

Just remember to try to keep your programmes in your pockets this time and not on the pitch! 
  Lee'd astray "Two former England footballers will not be charged over the taking of a luxury private cab they admitted driving off in on a night out, police have said.

Officers said the owner of the car did not want to press any charges against the pair over the taking of the car. The ex-footballers were told this before they were due to answer bail on Tuesday.

Lee, from West Ham, east London, played for Newcastle United for 10 years and was capped for his country 21 times."

The last time I saw the rather excessive gated Lee household it wasn't in West Ham, and I do know that he was rather embarrassed by this whole story, and equally oblivious to it, particularly as he was asleep in the back of the limo at the time, whilst Barton was having a pee behind a chip shop. The local constabulary by all accounts found it very amusing and were more interested in autographs, I suspect Mrs Lee might not have been so delighted! 
  "We're proud of you, Charlton" You may have seen this as a thread on Charlton Life yesterday but to jog the memory today is the 22nd anniversery of Charlton's final game at The Valley before being carted off to Selhurst Park, like a dying man to a hospice.

The piece below is quoted from Rick Everitt's fantastic book Battle for the Valley. It's a truly inspiring story.

"In the days leading up to the game, fans broke into the ground overnight and daubed slogans on the terraces and buildings, attacking both Gliksten and Fryer. But still the plaintive plea "Keep football here" went unheeded.

And so, on Sept 21st, 1985, The Valley's 66-year career as the home of Charlton Athletic came, apparently, to an end. The ground had seen many great occasions, and certainly far better matches, but it had never known a more poisonous atmosphere.

Anger, sadness and above all bewilderment hung obstinately in the air. A pre-match ceremony introducing some of the club's most famous sons coincided with the first of many pitch invasions, this one culminating in the laying of wreaths on the centre circle. The football itself proved so marginal to proceedings that its doubtful many people would have noticed if the teams had stayed in the dressing room.

Later it would be said by some the protests were muted, but it would be more accurate to say that they were not organised. In this respect the supporters club failed its members lamentably, because as a body the fans might quite easily of prevented the match from taking place. They could of watched in stony silence. They could even of sat down in the roads around the ground and refused to enter. However, no one seemed prepared to take the lead, so instead it was only a shambles of discontent.

But protests there were. Before kick-off, a group of a hundred or so fans invaded the East Terrace, and sat down in the middle of it until they were gently but firmly shepherded by police. Throughout the match, a large section of the 8,858 crowd persisted in explaining to Fryer precisely where he could stick his Selhurst Park.

The next pitch invasion came during half-time, delaying the resumption of play by nearly ten minutes. Wave after wave of young men clambered over the low railing in front of the terrace that divided the main stand with the Covered End, appealing by gesture for the fans behind the goal to join them. The sheer weight of their numbers overwhelmed the efforts of the police to restrain them. The more conservative patrons of the seats declined to join them, perhaps because they were prevented from doing so by the formidible fence. Instead they showed their support by applauding, and chanting "We're proud of you, Charlton".

When the pitch had finally been cleared the game resumed, but still the crowd chanted its slogans. "We hate Palace" echoed around the old ground, a reminder that the directors had further compounded the folly of leaving by choosing the wrong alternative venue.

When the final whistle went, the players and officials fled as if for their lives, and now the fans, young and old, poured onto the pitch and the protest began in earnest. But it was much, much too late. The directors had left their places and the chants of the angry crowd were directed only at empty seats.

My mind, like the crowd, was a confusion of emotions. Most of all, however, i was simply frustrated that the directors could not, or would not, see what was blatently obvious to everyone else. Namely that what they were proposing to do simply could not work. It would not fail just because of the chaotic South London traffic system, it would fail because Charlton Athletic and The Valley were one and the same thing. It was playing in Floyd Road, SE7, that gave the club its identity and the team its legitimacy in the eyes of the supporters.

Take that away and eventually you would have nothing but a gang of mercenaries in red shirts"

The atmosphere being described as poisonous and a shambles of discontent are exactly what my memories are of the day. Many would argue that this was the day that Charlton fans united, in fact going through the pain of leaving The Valley would be the springboard to a new and brighter chapter in the club's history.

As I said, I was there that day and was on the pitch after the game, finally getting on from the closed East Terrace once the old bill gave up the chase. I remember only leaving after a man who had climbed the floodlight pylon, was finally coaxed down.

I took some turf home dug from the pitch and planted it in my Mum's garden. It died. My brother and I used to drive to the vacated Valley on Sundays and break in, well it wasn't really breaking in, it was climbing in and we would wander around and read the grafitti that others had left. We used to have conversations regularly about which team we would support when Charlton died.

I got an email from a Chelsea fan today bemoaning the loss of Jose Mourinho and going into one about the blackest day in their history and that Avram Grant is the new Les Reed. I told him he should support a real club. I do.

*Photo taken by Steve Bridge. 
Wednesday 19 September 2007
  Jose goesy A hectic day of meetings but beginning with breakfast this morning at a hotel just a 15 warm September's day minute walk from home to meet some clients in from London, and a surprise guest, An Addick. I had met him before but was not aware that he would be joining us and as those around us talked boring work stuff, we huddled and attempted to piece together the game last night. He knew a lot less than me as he was out in the 'burbs yesterday locked away in a meeting room and of course he hasn't got a ouija board, unlike me. We parted happy and agreed that we rather like this Championship lark.

One thing that was great to see last night was the re-emergence of Yassin Moo2kil. I was under the impression he would be out for a longer period, but in the cloak and dagger world of the Charlton physio room, he suddenly appeared on the bench last night and then played a full 90 minutes today in a private friendly at Sparrows Lane.

I didn't actually sit at my desk today and log in until 2pm, so tonight before I leave for home I've been catching up on the footie news and what do I find trying to see if Peter Taylor still has a job? Jose Mourinho has resigned, or sacked or been buried under the patio. Wow, just shows what 5 games without a win can do. Love him or hate him the Premiership will be a much less charismatic place without the special one even though he couldn't ever bring himself to accept that we beat them in the Carling Cup.

"There's loads of speculation that if we don't win Jose gets fired, but that's not the way we think." Peter Kenyon yesterday before the Rosenborg game. Sure Pete, whatever you say. 
Tuesday 18 September 2007
  Norwich City at home. What was the score? Won 2-0 Well that was exciting wasn't it? Following Charlton in the 21st century by means of an ouija board, morse code, chinese whispers and good old texts. Absolutely ridiculous that the club can't help fans outside of Greater London and parts of Kent, but strangely exciting nevertheless.

I followed on Charlton Life, which is kind of like being there with your mates but without a game to watch and via the Sporting Life text update service, which was pretty good, if you are a bit of a statto but scared of crowds.

The best info of course came from inside the ground, and my mate, who has only missed one game league and cup all season, said it was a sparkling performance, the best so far and that Varney looks the dogs doo-da's.

Despite all of the pressure, 20 shots at goal according to Sporting Life and the woodwork hit 2 or 3 times, our attacking play had not resorted in a lead after 80 minutes. McLeod then entered the fray for Varney and his bursts of speed and trickery twice won us penalties, the 2nd may have been outside the box but whatever, as they say in the US of A.

So two penalties and three points takes us into 3rd place after 6 games. Interestingly we have now had 4 penalties in 8 games, which is about 1,000,000% better than during our Premiership years, which just goes to show how we are dominating and hurting teams with our forward play in this league.

I'm going to put my ouija board away now until Saturday. Come on you reds.

Who was at The Valley: Blackheath Addicted; All Quiet; Charlton North Downs; SE3 Addicks;
Reports: Sporting Life;; Norwich Evening News.
What Pards' said: "We mustn't get carried away. You only get performances like tonight four or five times a season, but it will give us confidence."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Luke Varney. The little blonde bombshell set The Valley alight tonight with a scintillating full debut.
  Lets be having you Do you think its old age that is making me forget to take my contact lenses out at night? And before you ask, I was sober. That's twice now in a week. Rather scary looking in the mirror at myself with contacts in at 6 in the morning, let me tell you.

Did you see that Neil Redfearn got the sack from Northwich Victoria after just 9 games in charge? He's had some clubs that boy.

Naaarwich tonight. Lets hope for a bit less Jekyll and Hyde and a smoother ride. You never know I maybe able to crack the security barriers again at BBC Radio for the online commentary. That would be nice.

I don't know about you but I expect both Varney and Sodje to start tonight. Come on lets be having you.... 
  Memories of Norwich City Charlton 2-1 Norwich City, 10th March, 1987
Many people say they attended the earlier rounds of the Full Members Cup in 1986/87, Birmingham in the 1st Round attracted 821 hearty souls and at the next round at home to Bradford the official Selhurst attendance was actually 817, although I reckon I have actually met in person at least 2,000 Addicks who swear they were there. Well I wasn't and who could have blamed me and others.

However I was drawn out of my pit, as if by curiosity more than anything else, one March evening to see the semi-final of the Full Members Cup against Norwich City after we made our way there by spectacularly beating Everton at Goodison in the quarters on penalties.

After all, it was a bloody semi-final see, you didn't/don't (*delete as applicable) get many of those as an Addick do you?

So a bumper crowd of 5,431 including some Canaries showed up that night obviously buoyed by our win over West Ham 3 days before on the same ground as we battled against relegation in our first season back in the top flight under Sir Lennie.

I had never seen a Charlton semi-final, which applied to most people around me in the Arthur Toilet stand under the age of 50 and there was an eerie atmosphere, well no atmosphere at all to be honest as the game kicked off.

For 89 minutes neither team took the game by the scruff of the neck and as the game looked to be petering out to extra time the tall Robert Rosario headed in what to everyone in the ground looked like the winner for Norwich.

But then after 89 minutes of mind-numbing football, drama suddenly intervened. With Addicks' fans streaming, well as streaming as 5,000 fans can be, for the exits, the ball bounced around a bit in the Norwich box and it fell to the trusty left peg of Colin Walsh who slammed it home. 1-1. Pandemonium broke out around us and it was game on.

The final whistle blew to signal extra time and a few hundred Addicks fans started to trickle back into the ground, those who were not already on their way home. The game kicked off again and within 3 minutes Johnny Humphrey burst down the right and put in a speculative cross and we all watched as Ian Butterworth stuck his leg out and deflected it past the stranded Bryan Gunn. 2-1, what was it that Brian Clough once said?

And as the game turned scrappily in our favour for the remainder of ET, the final whistle blew and it wasn't until we were stuck in traffic on the south circular that it all started to sink in.... Wem-ber-ley, Wem-ber-ley....

Charlton: Bolder, Humphrey, Reid, Peake, Thompson, Miller, Curbishley, Lee, Melrose, Shipley, Walsh.
Subs not used: Stuart, Leaburn.

Norwich: Gunn, Brown (Elliot 106), Spearing, Bruce, Phelan (Biggins 78), Butterworth, Crook, Drinkell, Rosario, Gordon. 
Saturday 15 September 2007
  Colchester Utd. What was the score? Drew 2-2 I managed to listen to the commentary today, well eventually just as we went 1-0 down, and then after, quelle surprise Lisbie scored a 2nd, I almost turned it off but I perservered and it was nice to be able to follow a game more closely. We have the look, or should I say sound, of a team that is going to score goals and I think that the sending off decision ultimately went against us even though we equalised afterwards.

The problem of course is with the defence. It was often at sixes and sevens this afternoon, this against a front line of Lisbie, Sheringham, described by the BBC London commentator as "still one of the best players in the country when given space," and the huge Clive Platt, last season's strike partner of Izale McLeod. Hardly the best in the division, although the U's are the division's top scorers.

Although Nicky Weaver made a couple of good saves, one from a Lisbie one-on-one, he was also culpable alongside McCarthorse and Fortune in almost throwing the point away when up against 10 men. Mills and Powell are a poor imitation of Moo2Kil and Thatcher and Pards needs to sort it out because we just can't keep giving teams 2-goal starts.

Reid was rested surprisingly but Ambrose cannot produce the killer ball like the Irishman, and he had to be introduced at half-time, although he seemed to lose his head late on and with Fortune ending the game playing up front after getting an injury a point has to be considered a good one. I would definitely taken one before the game.

The timing of Toddy's goal was crucial and was in fact the Addicks' first league goal scored before the half-time break this season. Food for thought for Pards and I can imagine there may be some changes for the game at home to Norwich on Tuesday, even though a point took us into 5th place.

We are well poised with two home games coming up and 5th place following two wins, two draws and a defeat proves that we haven't got to improve much in order to start dominating the league table.

As for the much welcomed BBC London radio commentary, I don't know how it slipped through the rights restrictions but don't tell anyone and why does Paul Parker hate us so much, what have we ever done to him?

Who was at Layer Road: Addicks Championship Diary; Drinking During the Game; 100 Miles from Home; Charlton Athletic Online.
Reports: Kent Online;; Sporting Life; ColUonline.
What Pards' said: "I thought we had improved defensively against Crystal Palace two weeks ago but we were never solid against Colchester. I told the squad at the end of the match that the performance was not good enough for this club."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Zheng Zhi. He played in about 5 positions today, scored the important equaliser and never stopped driving the team on.
Friday 14 September 2007
  Sleepless in New York New York is the the city that never sleeps and Chicago Addick is the blogger that never sleeps. After a rousing weekend in Las Vegas it was onto New York with work for 3 days of meetings and two nights of serious drinking. Last night we stumbled, literally, over the Hogs and Heffers bar in the Meatpacking district. Made famous by the movie Coyote Ugly, almost everything goes, including ties and bras which should be removed on entrance.

I arrived on Tuesday evening and caught up with New York Addick and another 4 hours of our friendship flew by as did a few pints, all of which were on the house, at least that was my understanding.

The work days were long this week as were the nights. I'm at home now, and although just after 5pm, I can hear my bed calling me.

Tomorrow morning I will be up and sat in front of my laptop to find out by whatever means possible what is going on at Layer Road. My brother and a mate will be there and have confirmed that they will offer me regular updates of their day out. I just hope it won't be at 6am like the Palace game, ringing to tell me of their first beer!

At least a 1,000 Addicks will be at the game tomorrow and despite a dormant Charlton news fortnight, there is an excitable buzz amongst Addicks. Ex U's striker Big Chris Iwelumo is sure to start and the questions in my mind is will Pards partner Toddy alongside him or ask him to play upfront alone? And I wonder if Pards will decide to give Racon his first start.

One last sad note brought to my attention by Charlton North Downs. Ian Porterfield died of colon cancer on Tuesday at the age of 61. His famous goal in the 1973 FA Cup Final and the performance of other Sunderland players was my earliest football memory. I also saw him play for Sunderland at my first ever Charlton game in 1975. If only for these reasons Ian Porterfield will always hold a special place in my football world. RIP. 
Wednesday 12 September 2007
  9/11 For the 2nd year in succession I spent 9/11 in New York. The anniversery of the terrorist attacks on America is definitely one of those 'do you remember where you were?' moments.

6 years ago I was with a client walking by the Lloyds building in the city when word was out that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. We walked into a nearby office and watched the tragic drama unfold on a television. My client had a sister in New York and was desperate for news of her, while I thought about my colleagues that occupied 7 of the top floors in the No. 2 tower. 176 of them sadly lost their lives.

Tonight downtown New York had an eerie silence to it as American flags fluttered in the breeze and tourists took photographs of a sad city.

Update: Photo of the twin ghostly beams of light at the site of Ground Zero on Tuesday night. 
Sunday 9 September 2007
  Leaving Las Vegas Day blends into night and night blends into day in Las Vegas. We were there for 3 days but it did seem like two weeks. The town does have that effect on you and christ are my eyes sore what with the oxygen pumping through the casinos and the dry heat of the desert.

It was a superb bachelor weekend and rates right up there with some great stags I've been on. It was eventful and included a trip to the Emergency Room for one of our group and some hilarious situations. Oh and lots of plastic boobs. Plastic and money, often confused, sums up Vegas perfectly.

Money does talk in Sin City and a return ticket comes well recommended as I cannot imagine what a prolonged stay there would do to your wellbeing and sense of realism.

Some printable highlights were hiring a cabana at the private beach club at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. People watching at its most extravagent. The recently opened and impossibly hard to get into Jet nightclub catching a glimpse of Nellie Furtado with innumerable bodyguards. Timbaland was there too, yes I thought he made boots as well and then yesterday spending an afternoon drinking copious amount of beer 20 miles out of town in the desert.

A lot of my mates here, the groom-to-be included are from Wisconsin and attended the university at Madison. The weekend coincided, not incidentially, with Wisconsin's American Football team playing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and you might turn your nose up at the prospect of this but let me tell you, watching the 'Badgers' is quite an experience.

UNLV has a small 'football' stadium in college terms (37,000 capacity) but the place was packed to the rafters as 30,000 Wisconsin fans descended on the stadium in the middle of nowhere, each wearing a red shirt and it was quite a scene as they outnumbered the home fans 4 to 1 1,700 miles from home.

My week this week is not conducive to recovery as I play football (of the real kind) at 9pm tonight and then I'm out for dinner on a work thingy Monday evening.

Then on Tuesday I fly out to New York for work meetings, hopefully preceded by a couple of pints with New York Addick Tuesday night.

At least we won't have plastic boobs to distract us as my neck can't take anymore of it! 
Friday 7 September 2007
  Vegas Day two in Vegas. Day one was rather eventful. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, isn't that what they say? Well I'm sat here in a cabana poolside at The Mandalay Bay Hotel.

But I'm afraid that is all I'm obliged to tell you.... 
Wednesday 5 September 2007
  Fergie makes me right Sir Alex Ferguson was talking last night about his retirement, "the thing is I have not made my mind up when I'm retiring," but he was also asked about who would replace him or managers in the game that impress him.

"Pardew at Charlton has got something about him, he is a good young manager," he said, agreeing with my comments I made about Pards yesterday.

Not surprisingly Roy Keane came in for praise as did Newcastle's Sam Allardyce. (more)

Sir Ferg also made thought provoking observations about his old prodigy David Beckham raising the profile of 'soccer' in the USA.

"Supporters don't travel so you are missing that rivalry between fans, so you have a problem." (more)

Also this good deed by the club will probably go unheralded but once again shows that the board may not always get it right but they have a Charlton heart. It follows the unprovoked attack on Charlton families sat on a train at Sydenham on Saturday. The British Transport Police are looking for witnesses. 
Tuesday 4 September 2007
  What we have is priceless All you ever read is Jordan this, Jordan that - "I have 15 cars. Nine are in Spain and six in London. My favourite is the titanium silver Aston Martin Vanquish. I bought that a couple of years ago for £200,000. I also have a McLaren SLR, a Mercedes SL65 AMG, a Jaguar XJ, a Porsche Carrera, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Ferrari 612 and a Ferrari 660. I also have a yacht moored in Marbella. I bought it nine months ago for £3m. It costs £150,000 a year to berth it, £60,000 a year to clean it and about £200,000 a year just to take it out – all good fun." (more)

So wasn't it nice that the fans and the players said it all for Richard Murray on the pitch and then to the press after the game Saturday? Despite Pards' previous allegiance and not wanting to get into any pre-match mud-slinging, he and the older statesmen at the club clearly made each player aware of the historical significance of the game to both Richard Murray and us fans.

And how the players responded afterwards, just reward for the magnificent backing they received the whole game from Addicks in the Arthur Toilet end. Andy Reid leading by example, how much has his stock increased with supporters since Saturday at 5pm? And how distant could you get from one of Curbishley's teams, when his players couldn't wait to get back in the dressing room after the final whistle, Matt Holland besides.

A wonderful day, even for me living out here in faraway planet America. The voices of my brother and mates shortly after the game on my phone brought a lump to my throat. Pride, what a wonderful emotion it is.

After 6 games we have shown superior quality, some great technical ability (at this level) and seen no other Championship team to frighten us. At times we have appeared as if we could score goals at will, true we've had some bad moments at the back too, although a clean sheet Saturday was hugely positive, plus two new defensive signings and a growing cohesiveness of an entire new squad that only comes with games. Then Saturday we answered another question. Have we got the fight, spirit and bottle to win 3 points on the road when it is more of a battle not a football field?

Yes and along as the players respond to the fans in they way they did at Selhurst, then they will keep coming to games away from The Valley.

One thing that Pardew gives this fledgling team is togetherness and a sense of realism as well as a tactical flexibility and cleverness that shows we have got a bloody top man in charge.

I was at the Scunny game and have otherwise 'listened' via text, email updates and seemingly morse code but I'm truly enjoying this start to the season more than many, many others in recent years. 
Monday 3 September 2007
  Saugatuck, Michigan Last weekend we drove the 150 miles around the bottom of Lake Michigan, through Indiana and into the state of Michigan, that stares at Illinois across the 118 miles of Great Lake for a day in the small but welcoming town of Saugatuck.

Saugatuck is a known arty destination for weekenders, the actual population of which is only 1,000 people but it swells to three times that in summer months as Chicagoans and others descend on the dainty bed and breakfasts, independent boutiques and art galleries.

The old lumber town surrounds the Kalamazoo River, which runs out into Lake Michigan. Fine beaches with large sand dunes can be reached by getting on one of the oldest hand-cranked chain ferries in America. Apparently Oval Beach has been rated by Conde Nast as one of the top 25 shorelines in the world. Hmm, its nice but....

A number of scenic parks dot the lakeside, which encourages walking and lazing, specifically in the gazebo where you can watch sailboats, kayaks and pontoons go by.

Further along the River Kalamzoo you can't miss the Scottish built 350-foot passenger steamship, the S.S. Keewatin. For 60 years until retirement in 1966 it piled the Great Lakes. Today, the steamship is now a floating maritime museum.

Restaurants and pubs line the River and we had a nice lunch sat outside The Mermaid Bar & Grill (360 Water Street), the town itself is famous for its ice cream and fudge. And they come recommended too, try Kilwins for ice cream. Butler Street has a very charming feel to it and each shop displays rainbow flags outside, which may or may not be due to the relatively large gay population found here and in the neighbouring Douglas.

Douglas is a short drive and the two towns get grouped together in visitor guides. This was a wonderfully picturesque and quiet place and home to the very recommended cafe Everyday People. The Respite Cappuccino Court was a good place to watch about one car go by every 30 minutes too.

For the more active (and that didn't include me) there is plenty of decent golf courses, kayak's, canoes and scuba diving equipment can all be rented or you could hike up the delightfully named Mt. Baldhead. 282 steps will take you to the top of this unique sand dune looking over the Lake.

On the way into and out of Saugatuck you will pass endless fruit farms and wineries. Great places to take home something from your road trip.

I'm not one for relaxing, which is a habit and not a quality but despite a few hours drive each way, last Saturday in Saugatuck was the most relaxed I have been for a long time. 
Sunday 2 September 2007
  Bachelor week It's a long holiday weekend here in the US, Labor day being just the excuse I need to relax and get some 'jobs' done and not have to get up early on a Monday morning or have to go to bed thinking about work on a Sunday night. In fact we may go out tonight and have a couple of bevvy's, after all we are celebrating aren't we?

I have a couple of days in the office until Thursday when I leave for Las Vegas for a stag weekend, sorry batchelor party. I will never be able to say that. I can do elevator and bathroom but bachelor party, soccer and pants just won't happen period, sorry I mean full stop. Do you know that Americans don't have christian names or surnames? No neither did I until recently....

Anyway Vegas for the weekend, the first time I have been there since the mid-90's and I am sure very different. A work mate, who has been a good friend to me since I have been in Chicago, is the groom to be, and its a fun set of lads going and I'm looking forward to it. I did recently turn down a 'proper' stag weekend in Estonia, which is in a couple of weeks. A very old friend is getting married late September and 30 odd blokes are heading to Tallinn for some sightseeing! Believe me that will be very different to 10 guys gambling and drinking in Vegas! 
Saturday 1 September 2007
  Crystal Palarse away. What was the score? Won 1-0 As a kid it was always Millwall that I considered to be our real rivals, probably because I didn't know any Palace fans, but that September day when a piece of paper was stuffed into my young adult hands at The Valley telling us of our impending move will be a day that I will never forget and the proceeding years at that shit hole made me abhor and pity that rubbish club and their sad fans.

Ok, I know they don't care about us, we're pikeys, we're not worthy of their rivalry, we're nothing etc.... hahahaha there goes another rib, well good I don't care because that club, their "tosser" of an orange chairman and their laughable fans will always be an irritation to me.

I followed today's game courtesy of Charlton Life and a couple of great people who gave regular updates - thanks again if you're reading this - and my brother and mates in the ground were also texting and calling from a couple of hours before kick off. It truly helped me feel part of a great day, even the butterflies when 5 minutes of injury time were called. But when my mobile rang with 15 minutes left I had to assume good news and sure enough a cacophony of noise greeted my ear with the shout of "we're leading mate, 1-0, Toddy. I hope you can hear me, bye."

Its a great day to be a Charlton fan and the news that Reidy and the other players celebrated wildly with the fans at the end showed how much they too care. That, you see is the difference between being us and being them.

Who was at Selhurst Park: All Quiet; Many Miles...; Drinking During the Game.
Reports: Sporting Life; Holmesdale Online;; Independent; Daily Mail.
What Pards' said: "I was always going to put Todorov on. It was so important to win this match and pleasing as always to come out on top in a derby match."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Nicky Weaver. He has got some stick recently, perhaps by people waiting for him to fail, but he made a crucial save with 5 minutes to go and gleefully joined in the celebrations at the end to prove he is now one of us. 
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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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