Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Monday 31 December 2007
  Happy New Year Another year, another year older and a time for reflection. This year has flown by hasn't it? I have done so much this year and it has been a bit of a whirlwind. I love my life but have idle hours when I wonder if it is real or sustainable even, and when it will change, should it change?

I have a lot of questions in my head. I mean how long will I be in Chicago? In the summer I turned down a work opportunity to move to another city in America. I was pleased with my decision but it got me thinking, it got my company thinking and I wonder if I will be here in 12 months time.

Work though is something I am very proud off, I have made quite an impression in the four years I have been here. Do I sit on that or do I seek further challenges?

I continue to spend money on getting my home just as I want it. I love my loft and I love city living but oh for a garden and more space.

My relationship is wonderful and something at one point in my life I'd thought I'd made decisions that meant I would never be so lucky. The key now is for me not to take that for granted. I can be self-absorbed and indolent in these situations.

And never a day goes by when I don't feel guilt. My son is 4,000 miles away, he is beautiful and entertaining. I am here, how long can that go on or is it all we both know? I miss my parents and my brother too and those damned Addicks.

See, a lot of questions. Some won't ever be answered, some will need to be. 2008, is it really 8 years since the turn of the century? Wow, how my life is different now.

Life is to be loved though and every last ounce has to be squeezed out of it. That is my philosphy. You only get one shot.

Have a great New Year, don't ask too many questions and always have something to look forward to. Especially big thanks for taking time in your busy life's to read What was the score, and to spur me to write more and also to others who spend time putting their thoughts down for me to do likewise.

All the very best for 2008, Chicago Addick 
  Memories of Colchester United Colchester United 0-1 Charlton, 7th January 1984
Despite years of visiting the great and the good of old stadium in the 1980's nothing really prepared us for the FA Cup 3rd round visit to Layer Road.

Colchester were relegated from the old 3rd Division three years before and they spent the next 7 years on the cusp of getting back up until just missing out on dropping into the black hole of the conference in 1988/89 but then succumbed the following season. The U's spent two years in the Conference and came up in style by the doing the League and Cup double in 1992. The little Essex club was reborn that year, the same as we were and they have improved year on year ever since.

That FA Cup game was the last time we played Colchester until this season and Layer Road by all accounts has changed very little.

A short journey on that chilly January day and 2,000 odd Addicks piled into the terrace behind the goal. It was a dreadful game and the U's with the experienced Stewart Houston and Roger Osborne and the young Perry Groves controlling the game, it is hard to remember a worthwhile effort on now Watford goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain's goal.

The pitch was hard and uneven and the Addicks faithful grew restless and I remember vividly a huge of lump of wooden terrace being yanked up and passed over heads to the watching coppers standing in front.

The 6,296 crowd, twice their league average, sensed a shock, something they couldn't do at home to Man Utd earlier in the season in the League Cup (13,000 watched that and I would've loved to know how they got that many people into Layer Road) but completely out of the blue an Ian Phillips back pass evaded Chamberlain and gave us the lead with 11 minutes left.

We go mad, as if we had actually won the Cup and hang on despite a young Shane Westley getting sent off. The euphoria soon wears off in the car home realising how awful we had played and how lucky we were to be in the 4th Round.

Charlton: Johns, Curtis, Dickenson, Gritt, Dowman, Berry, Harris, Jones, Moore, Westley, Aizlewood.
Sub not used: Little

Colchester: Chamberlain, Farrell (Hubbick 80), Phillips, Hadley, Wignall, Houston, Groves, Osborne, Bowen, Adcock, Leslie.
  Bears go out with win Chicago Bears' season game to an end yesterday at a freezing Soldier Field and I was there to witness it (right). The Bears, last season's Superbowl runners up have had a dismal season, just not delivering enough in games that last year they would have won. In fact yesterday's final opponents the New Orleans Saints have had the same problem. This game a season ago was for the Conference Championship title, yesterday it meant nothing, although the Saints may have snatched a wild card post-season place if they'd won and two other teams lost.

Bears went 10-0 up early and always led as third choice quarterback Kyle Orton threw the ball deep and frequently. The offense, the target for most groans this season from fans, was varied and they rolled in 30+ points for the 2nd consecutive week. The main event was Devin Hester who closed Soldier Field down for the season bringing home two touch-downs to warm the hearts of over 62,000 fans. One a 55-yard reception from Kyle Orton, the other on a 64-yard punt return, one of the most exciting things you can see at an American Football game, and Hester is the best at it. Bears won 33-25.

So the play-off's start next week without the Bears but after beating arch rivals and Divisional winners Green Bay last week and New Orleans yesterday they finally proved their pre-season billing but it was too late.

Wild Card games:
Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants
Jackonsville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans v San Diego Chargers

Four top Seeds:
New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts
Green Bay Packers
Dallas Cowboys 
  On the seventh day of a Chicago Christmas New Years Eve and nothing like getting holed up tonight in one of Chicago's greatest institutions, Gibson's on Rush Street. Popular with celebs, politico's and anyone who likes a big steak and an even bigger dessert, in past years we have always popped in for a late afternoon drink but tonight we will see out the whole night and welcome in 2008. 
Sunday 30 December 2007
  Leicester City away. What was the score? Drew 1-1 Unless you were sat on Ide Hill with a DAB radio then most Addicks not at the Walkers Stadium were in the same boat as overseas Addicks yesterday, i.e. without any clue what was happening at the game. It is was so dull Sky went to the ground twice and the reporter was napping so deeply that he even named Varney as our goalscorer.

From what I could make out the game didn't sound very exciting but after reading some reviews, particulary Leicester ones, it did seem we were the better side in a poor game affected by blustery conditions.

I am pleased for McCarthy. He came with a high profile for this division and has had a miserable time but we need effort, leadership and fighting qualities at the back and the odd goal would be nice from a defender. This is why he was bought. You don't get booed by your old club's supporters unless you made an impression. Let's hope by the end of the season he has on us.

Three draws in our three Christmas matches on the face of it is crap, although it could have easily have been a fat zero points. As if we needed more evidence though the fact that we are still in 5th, four points behind an automatic spot shows how bad this division really is. Blimey last time I looked Palarse were down, they are now just 3 points behind us. Gulp.

Our form is glaringly not good enough, but how much better do we need to be? 10% would probably be enough to beat most teams in this division. I, you, Pards wants a lot more from our performances because despite the candour, we have really only played great football in patches this season.

I think we are still missing real belief that we can get in the top two, Watford are obviously having the same symptons. We need to believe we can score, that we can out-pass teams, that we are good enough. I still think Pards will tinker heavily with the squad in January, that will give everyone a lift.

Who was at The Walkers Stadium: Addicks Championship Diary.
Reports: Independent; Sporting Life; Daily Mail;; The Blue Army.
What Pards' said: "I am concerned about the lack of technical ability that we should have but haven't got available and when the window opens I may have to bring in a player to improve us in that area."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Paddy McCarthy. Well, well, what a nice surprise. A defender appears just when we needed one, and a goalscorer to boot! 
  On the sixth day of a Chicago Christmas Ice Hockey - the ultimate winter sport. Historically popular in the colder cities of North America, the Chicago Blackhawks were one of the original 6 teams in the National Hockey League and are having their best season for a while. They are at home tonight to Los Angeles Kings. Tickets start at just $15. 
Saturday 29 December 2007
  On the fifth day of a Chicago Christmas Chicagoan's still call it Marshall Field's, but sadly it is now Macy's, nevertheless the huge department store on State Street has carried on the tradition of Christmas window displays depicting a different story every year. This Christmas it's the celebration of the ballet The Nutcracker Suite. The scenes are beautifully crafted starring hand-carved figurines dressed in spectacular costumes. 
Friday 28 December 2007
  Bloody red card "Understandably, asking fans to retain ticket stubs has caused some difficulties, and we are now able to better take advantage of the club's new database system." Then, in true Charltonese "the club is advising fans to hold on to any stubs for the time being."

What a load of balls. 18 months ago I applied and paid for the privilege of being an International member but nothing, cheque was cashed, emails were received, people left, people took over responsibilities, even the normally reliable Rick Everitt left a comment on here but sure enough as Charlton are Charlton bugger all happened.

Then comes the Red Card. I applied, a lady called Sue Hubert takes time out of her busy day to email me to tell me I will receive a red card "in a couple of weeks." That was January 3rd, almost one year ago.

I applied again at the beginning of the season. And er, nothing. You know what? I don't expect an awful lot being a Charlton fan for over 30 years of my life, but sometimes they make supporting them so fucking difficult.

I know full well that there are plenty others, particularly overseas Addicks, that the club blatently do not give a flying toss about, that have never received a Red Card.

So now what happens if I want to go to an away game, like Watford when I am next home? It appears I need to have a Red Card and one of my mates or family member has to have my membership number. Read my lips. I haven't got a card or a number.

Is it me or hidden away on the official site, this story needs a bit more explaining doesn't it? 
  In 2007 by JibJab The annual JibJab American review of the year is always worth a look. Click here and play. 
  On the fourth day of a Chicago Christmas Drink warm Glühwein and mooch around a traditional German Christmaskindl market selling all kinds of German foods and handicrafts such as beer steins, cuckoo clocks, glass ornaments and baubles. There is live music also and the market nestles up against the huge Christmas tree in the Daley Plaza downtown and admission is free. 
Thursday 27 December 2007
  "And it's a world of dread and fear" How is your Christmas? Mine's been good, although despite the big build up, the whole affair ends pretty suddenly here with people returning to work the day after Christmas. Boxing Day is not celebrated or observed in the U.S., but I actually refuse to work on cultural grounds and sat at home yesterday on my own watching football, eating cold meats, cheese and pickles.

Last night we went out to celebrate Boxing Night with some friends, the wife of the other couple being the only American amongst us, and that was very nice and I celebrated with another lie in this morning as I continue to 'work from home' this week.

I did very well pressie wise, although I don't know if you remember but I was in Coach buying the other half a gift last week. All very organised it was. Choose gift, over friendly sales assistant taps it into her pda and then bravo, a little man comes out with said gift all wrapped and in a nice bag. Voilà!

It was Christmas morn, and other half unwraps said package with big smile on face, which soon disappears when she pulls out something completely different to what was on her 'Christmas list' and of course not what I chose in the shop. Er, great. Thanks Coach, great job.

Today is a day for catching up on chores as I sit at home watching CNN's coverage of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, another courageous historical figure's fragile life ended in the most cowardly way possible. 
  On the third day of a Chicago Christmas Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol has been playing at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago for 30 years. The Goodman Theatre is Chicago's oldest and takes it's place in The Loop's theatreland. Tickets are $50 and Ebenezer Scrooge takes centre stage in this captivating and colourful musical Christmas story. Bah Humbug! 
Wednesday 26 December 2007
  Norwich City away. What was the score? Drew 1-1 We've only got 10 men! Well 9 if you don't include supersub Izale McLeod. Our discliplinary woes continued this afternoon at Carrow Road. After taking the lead against the run of play, Sodje then gets himself sent off for an apparent two-footed tackle. No more First Great Western train journeys for Sam then, my his family will be pleased.

In the scheme of things it's a point gained. Norwich one defeat in six, 10 men for an hour and a battling performance, so I'll take a point. And for once according to eye-witnesses we had a couple of nominations for man of the match, Jerome Thomas particularly impressing and also doing well in his protection of Chris Powell.

There was sometimes talk of disciplinary issues during the 'baby Bentley' Pards era at Upton Park and certainly many of our cautions have been for dissent or retaliation, Pards certainly needs to sort it out but I'd like to put it down to inexperience or just over-exuberance, however disturbingly it is another weakness that lesser teams than us can exploit.

Nonetheless a point gained and the Baggies aside, this league is wide open and we have more than enough tools to exploit every other side in the division.

Who was at Carrow Road: All Quiet.
Reports: Sporting Life;; Guardian; The Pink 'Un; Telegraph.
What Pards' said: "I was happy with the point. We really had to work very hard today and the guys gave their all for Charlton."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Jerome Thomas. A better performance from him, I would love to see Thomas take games by the scruff of the neck and show this division how good he really is. 
  On the second day of a Chicago Christmas Santa rides the Chicago EL train for a few weeks around Christmas. The 6-carriage elevated train rides different lines on different dates. The train is decorated like a Christmas tree inside and out and in the middle sits Santa and his reindeer. The 'Holiday Train' costs the same $2 fare as normal is staffed by vounteer elves who hand out candy to children. 
Tuesday 25 December 2007
  On the first day of a Chicago Christmas Happy Christmas to you and yours. Today is the first day of a Chicago Addick's Christmas, come back daily for the next eleven.

Michigan Avenue, The Magnificent Mile is the cities most prestigious street. A week or so before Thanksgiving more than one million lights are switched on in the stretch between the Chicago River and Oak Street by none other than Mickey Mouse. Thousands of people come out the celebrate the tradition which started 40 years ago and signals the start of festivities in Chicago. 
Monday 24 December 2007
  Bulls fire Skiles A year ago today Charlton sacked their manager and replaced him with Alan Pardew. 12 months later the Chicago Bulls did exactly the same and fired Scott Skiles after 5 years in charge.

A childhood Bulls fan, Skiles inherited a ramshackle Bulls side (sound familiar?) but in my time in the city has turned the laughable Bulls into championship contenders mainly by bringing through young players such as Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Tryrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich and blending them with some astute signings, notably four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace.

After season's of desperation following the Michael Jordan era, Skiles took the Bulls to the last three end of season play-off's, last season extending their nemesis Detroit Pistons to six tough games in the conference sem-ifinals before being eliminated.

However this season despite great expectations they have started horribly and after losing 3 of their last 4 matches including an absolute hammering at Boston on Friday and an 18-point loss at home to Houston Saturday, when the team were booed throughout, the underachieving Bulls currently sit bottom of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference with a record of 9-16.

Rumours that Skiles' intense personality was wearing a bit thin on his multi-millionaire players, and talk of splits in the locker room, ongoing contract extension debates plus Kobe Bryant is he coming, is he not to Chicago have been in the media all season.

Lweisham boy and my favourite player Deng said: "This year we were losing games knowing that guys, they just looked like there was no interest out there, a lot of unhappiness. We kept turning it around but it was really hard to do when you’re just not playing against your opponent, you’re kind of playing against each other."

But as we know players don't get sacked but coaches and managers do. Last words to Skiles:"Hardly a day goes by that I don’t demand accountability and stress results andtoday was my day to be held accountable. The fact that it’s Christmas Eve is neither here nor there. The timing doesn’t bother me. I’m not destitute." (more
  Operating losses totalled £23m in 2007 Operating losses last season totalled over £23m, but this was reduced to just under £12m following the sale of Diawara, Young, Rommedahl and of course Darren Bent. It will be interesting to see if Benty does leave Spurs in January if the two outstanding payments will be paid to us. This of course could make quite a difference to Pardew's budget.

Dropping out of the Premiership and two dismal cup runs meant a reduction in our turnover from £41.9m to £35.9m, back to 2002 levels. Expect that to be a lot lower next year.

Richard Murray's annual report dwells on the failure of Dowie's signings, costing roughly £12m plus further outlays by Pardew on Bougherra and Thatcher in January meant that the Addicks spent £15m in their attempt to stay in the greed pit of the Premier League. There is no mention in the report of severence payments to either Dowie or Les Reed.

Relegation clearly brought pressures on capital, and executive directors Derek Chappell, Sir Maurice Hatter, David Sumners, Bob Whitehand and Murray loaned the club £9m in 2007.

It was not surprising to see that merchandising was down, despite the new store in Bexleyheath. Relegation can in part be blamed for this, but having two new replica kits with another defunct sponsor emblazoned on the front is not going to help sales and will not be appearing on many people's Christmas lists.

Two new kits are due out again for next season, but unless promotion is gained, how many fans will want to splash out a lot of money of one or both of them, particularly knowing our embarrassing record with kit sponsors?

The report also stated that the club had all the planning consents in place for the redevelopment of the East Stand and is in negotiation on what the report called 'The South Stand,' although Richard Murray added "it is important that Charlton Athletic is providing an entertaining and successful team on the pitch, which will increase the levels of support for the football club to justify further development."
Full 2007 Annual Report here
Sunday 23 December 2007
  Hull City at home. What was the score? Drew 1-1 Oh dear, I listened in on BBC Radio yesterday, it was a disjointed and abject performance with not one redeemable feature. At what point do we wake up the physical side of this division? And at what point do we stop blaming it? If we are not careful we will join the other mid-table hustlers with stretched ambitions of a play-off place. Maybe that's a bit steep but we have to prove that we are good enough and we have not done that enough in the last month.

It is a bloody slog to get out of the division and sure, I would rather see us play decent football but there are times when we need to be prepared to go toe to toe, like yesterday against Humberside's finest charm merchants.
Lumping the long ball to Iwelumo is also not the answer, why are we persisting with this? We had the players yesterday, admittedly not all entirely fit to play around teams like Hull but they got us just where they wanted us didn't they? January's shopping list has to include a couple of players who know their way around this division, and someone who can open up a defence as well as lead one.

One player who was on that shopping list is Danny Mills. Whether we see him again is now unlikely and whatever the reason for him losing his self-control, it was an act of someone less brighter than he. Happy Christmas Danny, you can avoid those painful train journey's south and spend the rest of the year at home with your missus. Cheers.

For a footballing side who can't deal with the physical side Mills became the 3rd Addick to be sent off this season and his booking was our 43rd! This is the worst disciplinary record in the Championship, in fact it is the worst in all four divisions. Add to that our fines for bad behaviour, how do we explain that statistic?

Who was on the The Valley: Many Miles; Addicks Championship Diary; Drinking During the Game; Frankie Valley; Charlton North Downs.
Reports: Sunday Mirror;; Kent Online; Sporting Life; News Shopper; Sport Hull.
What Pards' said: "I've been in this division and know football well enough to know that you get ugly days, and we had a team that came here to be ugly, there's no doubt about that."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Derek Ufton. Smacked the ball into the net at half-time to celebrate a more encouraging performance 50 years ago to the biggest cheer of the day. 
Friday 21 December 2007
  Bad news day I suppose the fact that our team tomorrow doesn't pick itself is a demonstration of the squad's depth. There you go, that's some positive spin. With Youga, Sinclair and Walker still out on loan (I can't bring myself to mention the other two knobs) there is still some debate amongst fans as to who will play tomorrow.

Chris Dickson was recalled today from his loan a game early, although the Gills game tonight was later postponed. He I am pretty sure will feature at some point tomorrow with McCleod certainly getting a starting berth too. The middle is a problem with Reidy now said to be out for 6 weeks and from past experience he does not seem a quick healer. Thomas and Sam will need to be their sparkling best tomorrow and the role of replacement captain Matt Holland has now become exceptionally important.

I really did not see either 'clean shorts' or Powell getting many games this season but they both look likely to remain features over the Christmas period. I for one was hoping Powelly would be able to put his feet up.

If the news was bad about Reid, then today's emotional farewell from Danny Mills on his own website was bloody terrible. With Sodje set to return to Reading and Richard Murray stating there is little money available, Pards will need to don his very best wheeler dealer jacket for the January sales.

I'm in St Louis airport at the moment waiting for a flight. Another presentation this morning, and god was I hungover and absolutely knackered when my alarm went off this morning at 4.45am. Anyway that is it for me, work's done for a while and the holiday season begins at kick-off time tomorrow in front of my computer. If you're going the new banners look great by the way, please give our walking wounded some real Christmas cheer. 
Thursday 20 December 2007
  Memories of Hull City Charlton 3-1 Hull City, 9th October 1976
My brother's 6th birthday present - a trip to The Valley - how unkind can parents be? Seriously I look at the team that day, and it is the one I would always recite, perhaps with Tutt in goal and Penfold as right-back, from my early days of being a Charlton fan. Most of those names are unknown outside of SE7 but not to me.

A fairly decent crowd of 10,345 including my whole family and LWT's Brian Moore precariously sat on a wooden platform high above the halfway line on the East Terrace. Moore, who died in 2001, would throw sweets down to us kids at the front and despite being a Gills fan, I always thought that he had a soft spot for the Addicks.

In those days of course, the next day's paper was the only media outlet for coverage of the game but a couple of times a season we would get chosen for Match of the Day or the London region's The Big Match and the Hull game was one of those rare occassions.

The game is almost entirely remembered for Derek Hales' hat-trick, his 2nd goal winning the 'Goal of the Season' award. Just like I had cause to remember Hales at my first ever game (he got sent off), my brother also went away from his debut game with the chant "Killer, Killer" ringing in his innocent ears.

Hales' first goal came in the 25th minute and he added to it 7 minutes later when Paddy Powell did a trademark lengthy run down the right touchine and with telepathic instinct picked out 'Deadly Derek' with a cross, Hales swivelled his whole body and volleyed into the roof of the net in one movement before giving a trademark fist to the covered end.

Hull's Chris Galvin pulled one back right on the half-time whistle and I remember it being quite open in the 2nd half with Billy Bremner pulling the strings for The Tigers, however Hales put the game out of doubt near the end with his third and sent us back home happy.

It was only early October and that was Hales' 2nd hat-trick of the season. He was later sold to Derby County after scoring 18 goals in 19 appearances that season leaving supporters again feeling the club lacked ambition. We finished the season 8th, four points off promotion but drew 16 games, 12 of those coming after Hales left. If only eh?

I have the match programme sat here in front of me. Richie Bowman was in the Portrait Gallery, an article on Hales stated that he had before the Hull game scored 26 goals in 28 games in Charlton colours and there was a call for witnesses to crowd violence following the West Ham v Charlton League Cup game a couple of weeks before, which resulted in a Millwall fan being killed by a train at New Cross station. A prelude to the ongoing rivalry between the two clubs.

Charlton: Wood, Berry, Warman, Hunt, Giles, Curtis, Powell, Hales, Flanagan, Bowman, Peacock.
Sub not used: Hammond

Hull City: Wealand, Daniel, De Vries, Bremner, Croft, Haigh, Nisbet, Hawley, Sunley (Staniforth), Hemmerman, Galvin.
Wednesday 19 December 2007
  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas And of course we had the classic "I thought we agreed not to buy anything for each other this Christmas" conversation the other night as she was putting my neatly wrapped presents under the tree whilst I sat on the couch slurping on a pint of water following another night out!

So there I was last night out on Michigan Avenue with the masses belatedly doing my Christmas shopping. I think in Coach the shop staff broke the world record for asking me "if they could help my find anything today." I gave up counting at 24.

We have decided to stay in Chicago this year for Christmas. I would have loved to have gone home because Christmas is all about family but timing, cost and the general haplessness of driving 100's of miles to spend far too short a time with family and friends before embarking on another Atlantic crossing a few days later was too much to bare.

I will go back in January for a longer and more leisurely period and will spend Christmas relaxing in front of my telly cooking and uncorking wine. This week has been busier than I expected, workwise, compounded by the fact I have to go to St Louis on Friday but I'm hoping to get everything to a point where I can take the whole of next week off, which will be quite lush. 
Tuesday 18 December 2007
  Reid out, Dickson in Ghana squad Well, the minority that have been bemoaning Andy Reid and his captaincy will get their wish. The little Irishman will miss the Christmas period and the bulk (no pun intended) of January due to a knee injury. To me this is the worst possible news. Yes, we are probably over reliant on him, and yes he does eat a lot of pies, but he has been the heartbeat of our side in so many games this season and is our 2nd leading goalscorer.

So that is our 2nd leading goalscorer and our leading goalscorer injured plus doubts over Ambrose and Powell to contend with. Our sizeable and deepish looking pre-season squad is currently looking a lot slimmer than, er Andy Reid.

The problem with Reid is that we have no obvious replacement. Alex Song, still a member of Arsenal's baby squad but not the first team is whispered to be coming back to us, according to Wyn Grant. Otherwise Racon maybe given a chance, I would be okay with that but the team without Reidy gives me a horrible sense of deja-vu.

Upfront Pards will have to decide between playing both Varney and McCleod or just one of them with five in midfield. At least we get Mills and Sam back Saturday.

Richard Murray today said that there "won't be a big spending spree in January," but suggested there will be some ins and outs plus some loan activity.

One player who will add to our current squad is Chris Dickson, who returns on Friday from his loan spell at Gillingham. In fact it has been a whirlwind 12 months for the striker, who today was chosen alongside Michael Essien in the preliminary Ghana squad for the African Nations. Congratulat....oh hang on, that's not good is it? Let's hope he doesn't make the cut! 
Monday 17 December 2007
  Just Fab An Italian breath of fresh air, if that is not a non-sequitur blew into the dusty old halls of the FA today. Fabio Capello doesn't actually start work until January 7th, so he will miss out on his Christmas bonus and the FA's Christmas party, although how some sherry and a game of crown bowls can be called a party I'm not sure.

I watched an excerpt earlier of his unveiling and was impressed. My he can already speak Italian. How clever is that? If Tony Adams joins the coaching staff then he will be playing the piano by the time we meet Switzerland on February 6th.

I suggested Capello the day after McClaren was fired and although back in the day I like others clamored for an English coach, I can't face another book by Curbishley or seeing Shearer's face like a smacked arse after each excruciating defeat to countries with populations the same size as Kansas City.

Capello is a winner. 14 titles have come under his tutelage and more importantly he takes no shit, and apparently does not have a penchant for young blonde actresses.

I'm pleased, I rarely get moved by anything the national teams does (the odd penalty shoot-out aside) and I feel a little skip in my step tonight as an Englishman.

"I believe that being the manager of England is obviously different from club management. It's easier to be strict when you have the players every day. As I will only have them occasionally, my behaviour will have to change. As will theirs - because wearing the national jersey is very important. I believe that English people and footballers have a will to win and a love for their country. It's just a question of getting it out of them. I really hope to be the man who can do that."
Sunday 16 December 2007
  Beaver Creek, Colorado Not exactly roughing it. That is Beaver Creek's proud tagline and roughing it, it is not. Man-made by people who have too much money but know a good thing when they see it, the Beaver Creek ski resort was opened in 1980 as an extension of Vail and the idea was to blend Swiss charm with American hospitality and 27-years on both of those ideals very much exist.

One thing that didn't exist before we got there was snow, but 2 foot of it fell between last Thursday and Friday which cheered the locals no-end. I had not been skiing for a long time and enrolled in the beginners class. As my Aussie instructor told me.... if he could give me a lobotomy, then he could make me into a pro-skiier within a week as it is my subconsciousness he is training not the rest of me. A few simple skills is all that is needed and of course no fear whatsoever. A slight problem for someone as uncordinated and poofy as me.

And what can I tell you after a few days of lessons? Well I do still have the same brain and I still ski like Bambi but it was fun, although my calf's were bloody killing. Those boots are not made for comfort.

Of course the most frustrating thing about skiing is that everyone else always looks brilliant. Kids not old enough to speak fly by you at break-neck speeds with goggles covering their whole faces with not a care in the world. Just wait until I catch one of those blighters.... and you never can.

Four mountains make up the resort - Beaver Creek, Grouse Peak, Bachelor Gulch, Arrowhead and are all connected, although a lot of the runs and lifts were still not open because the season is yet to start in earnest. This suited us though because the place was quiet, cheaper and unbeknown to us, you get the full benefit of the experienced professional ski instructors before the season takes off. In a week or so all the best instructors disappear to teach people with more money than balance, leaving the rookies manning the minions.

We were lucky and met some great instructors and people both avant and apres ski. The resort was extremely cosmopolitan, the variety of foreign accents actually making us strangely homesick.

The resort consists of three villages - Beaver Creek, Arrowhead and where we stayed at Bachelor Gulch. A excellent bus service runs constantly between the three and other outposts, allowing time to rest weary legs and gaze at picture post card views and eliminate the need for a car.

Beaver Creek village is the main draw with it's ice-rink, theatre, restaurants and boutiques. Very neat, very tidy, very er, Swiss. At the base of the mountain the ski school dominates and gondola's and ski lifts combine to take you 11,440ft to the summit. This is not a late night place to go wild, Vail will satisfy those needs but blimey I had trouble staying up until 9pm. Did I mention my poor legs....

Bachelor Gulch itself is dominated by the Ritz Carlton, crowning the top of a mountain like a Bavarian castle. Flickering log fires take centre stage in most of the huge communial rooms with only the freshly fallen snow outside enticing you to leave it's sanctuary. The new Wolfgang Puck restaurant opened a week before we were there and old Wolfy came and joined us when we ate there on Saturday night, charming us alongside his Argentinian business partner.

We were prepared for a walking holiday as it was early in the season, so it was wonderful to see so much snow and be able to (attempt) to ski. I'd imagine that this place gets really busy between the middle of December to February, 800 instructors alone are employed by the ski school over the New Year period. I would definitely go again, skiing in Colorado is very different to skiing European resorts. Less snobbiness, less money but certainly not roughing it. 
Saturday 15 December 2007
  West Brom away. What was the score? Lost 4-2 Up at 6am this morning I watched the game online bleary eyed. This potentially was the toughest game of the season, particularly with the restrictions Pardew had on selection.

West Brom are the countries top goalscorers and today some of their movement, passing and crossing, especially their crossing was excellent and the best team won no doubt.

However we worked very hard for 15-20 minutes to get back to 2-2 and at that stage I thought we would walk away with a valuable point, however our defence is so fragile that those remaining minutes were always likely to be frantic unless we had the wherewithal to close the game out. We didn't.

Taking nothing away from Brunt or Gera, they are fine players who played to our weaknesses and poor old Sir Chris was definitely that. I know we have umpteen left backs injured but surely there must be someone else that can give Powell a rest. Yes he still reads the game well, but he no longer has the stamina or the speed of thought to compete consistently at this level and alongside Bougherra, who I knew little of before we signed him, and almost a year later, I still can't work him out, our defence with Semedo out of position was not for the first time our achilles heal.

The middle five looked out of sorts too, with Ambrose again reporting missing out wide and ZZ having a disappointing afternoon. I wished we could have got Thomas more involved, he had their right back in his pocket but he faded as he often can.

There were some positives though. Namely that despite being second best, we played our part in an entertaining game, and were just 10 minutes from snatching a point. I'm pleased for McLeod, who got his first goal and looked lively alongside Varney, who had another decent spell as sub, surely he deserves a starting berth, perhaps now with Big Chris injured?

Defensive frailties exist and we have further injury worries but West Brom are head and shoulders above most, if not all the teams in this division. The transfer window opens not long after the final advent calendar one, so let's move on, we can play better and will.

Who was on the The Hawthorns: Addicks Championship Diary.
Reports: About a Ball; Sky Sports; Kent Online; Sporting Life; Daily Mail;;
What Pards' said: "Zoltan Gera scored with two identical headers and though I don't like criticising my players in public, I'm bound to say that Chris Powell will be disapointed he didn't do better in the challenges."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Izale McLeod. If he can add confidence to pace, then perhaps he will survive the Sparrows Lane swing door in January. 
Friday 14 December 2007
  Memories of West Bromwich Albion West Brom 0-1 Charlton, 5th February, 1995
There were and always will be those eve of days when a little voice in ones head convinces the subconscious that one needs to do something particularly ridiculous. Like getting out of bed early and driving halfway around the country to see Charlton.

A bit like tomorrow, the easy option is to stay at home or go down the local, but the only option really is to get yourself up there and give it large. Of course I'm not going to knock anyone not going tomorrow because I won't be there myself, although the current sales are very disappointing for what is the biggest game of the season so far.

A similiar tale to this was in 1995, a season when we were nowhere near as good as we are now. We had just thrown a way 3-1 lead at home to Derby to lose 4-3 Charlton style, then under Curbs and Gritty we got hammered 5-1 at Bolton (a game I was at) before we rolled into the Hawthorns 8 days later to play West Brom in front of the cameras.

We had not won a live TV game since the 1947 FA Cup final and it was becoming one those monkeys on our back that was frankly embarrassing.

West Brom with a prolific Andy Hunt in their side and ex-Addick Tony Lange on the bench were on a roll and there was no valid reason to get oneself up the M40 from what I remember apart from why not?

About 600 Addicks made the journey, similiar to tomorrow yet our home support averaged around 10,000 then, and each and everyone was prepared to get behind the team despite being outnumbered twenty to one.

The game wasn't very exciting, I could imagine non-Addicks and Baggies switching over to watch Ski Sunday at half-time but in the 2nd half we came out bright and in front of the away end Garry Nelson, captain for the day, latched onto a Mark Robson pass and slipped the ball under Stuart Naylor to score his 6th goal of the season before running over the celebrate in front of us.

We sat back a bit after that but never looked like conceding and went onto win the game ensuring an enjoyable journey home washing away any doubts we had had on the way up.

Charlton: Salmon, Brown, Stuart, Jones, Rufus, Balmer, Robson (Bennett 79), Nelson, Pardew, Whyte (McGleish 88), Mortimer.
Sub not used: Petterson

West Brom: Naylor (Lange 71), O'Regan, Lilwall, Bradley, Mardon, Raven, Donovan, Smith (Ashcroft 46), Rees, Hunt (Taylor 60), Hamilton.
Tuesday 11 December 2007
  Not so Big Easy Home from an invigorating long weekend in Colorado. I missed out on skiing the last day due to a horrible bout of altitude sickness. I thought my head was going to explode at 3am in the morning when I woke in a sauna of a hotel room. My legs were absolutely killing me so I may have only done a half-day anyhow yesterday but my body gave me a clear signal to take the last day easy. Note to self: Add get fit to my new year's resolutions for the 10th year running.

It's late now, so off to bed in a minute because tomorrow I have to fly to New Orleans for the day! A few of us are flying there and back for a one and a half hour presentation to a prospective client. Yes a 18-hour day and 2,000 miles for a 90 minute meeting. The things we do.

Christmas is coming which also means a busy week of ahem, drinking. I'm out Wednesday and Thursday night plus Friday is our team lunch, which historically if I have anything to do with it carries on way into the night. Sleep is for wimps. Yawn, pass me my cocoa. 
Sunday 9 December 2007
  Ipswich Town at home. What was the score? Won 3-1 Rarely as a Charlton fan can one leave the action at half-time confident of 3 points, but that is what I did yesterday being forced to leave the online community at Charlton Life knowing that we were 3 goals to the good and head off to my ski lesson.

Whilst I was on the chair lift a text gave me confirmation of victory despite an only expected stirring Ipswich fight back. I got a full report later by phone and having seen the ITV highlights it looked an amazing game, with a little of everything. One must expect a team of Ipswich's quality to throw everything but the kitchen sink at us in front of their travelling fans in the 2nd half but an incisive attacking display in the first 45 minutes had already put the game out of reach. Although being a long suffering Addick, I know how important Weaver's penalty save was early in that 2nd half.

I wrote recently of Pardew's tactical aptitude and he has got it wrong a couple of times recently but not yesterday sending the players out in unexpected positions and going at the Tractor Boys from the off. That first 45 minutes must have been mouth watering to watch. Then in the 2nd half the introduction of Semedo was timed perfectly.

Darren Ambrose has cut a frustrating figure at The Valley. I don't think many of us doubt his ability but I for one has said for a long while that he offers far more in an advanced position, a place where he most regularly played for Ipswich and the England U21's. I am glad that he turned it on yesterday and it gives Pards yet another option, particularly as I actually feel ZZ's energy suits him better in the middle of the pitch.

A great home win then, just what us Addicks had ordered the only blemish being Fortune's stupidity at the end. We now go into next week's crucial game at The Hawthorns without Mills, Sam and Fortune, each suspended and perhaps a concussed Powell. Another test for the squad that Pards has assembled to win us promotion.

Who was on the The Valley: Blackheath Addickted; Drinking During the Game; Addicks Championship Diary; Charlton North Downs; Frankie Valley.
Reports: Telegraph; Independent; Sporting Life;; Green 'Un.
What Pards' said: "In the first half we were sublime, it's nice to be able to show the fans what we can do."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Darren Ambrose. Was that really the same Darren Ambrose in the first half?
Friday 7 December 2007
  Ski school An exhilerating day of ski school. My legs are killing me but they are still attached to the my feet and waist, which is a good thing as people that know me will confirm I am one of the most uncordinated people I know.

Due to past experiences I only booked one day of ski school, perhaps thinking I could take a break tomorrow (particularly in the morning as my mind will be wandering to a little corner of the world a long way east and about 11,000 feet down from here), however I have signed up again for Saturday and Sunday, as I really want to get the most out of the experience. That plus my goggles cost me $120 and I need to get the use out of them, because they won't cut it in my local pub.

Charlton North Downs commented on here recently that he needs to 'live' more. I don't know about that, but listen to my Aussie ski instructor's life.... He was a professional surfer. He now spends 6 months of the year in Colorado as a ski instructor, and he was bloody good, 3 months in Bali teaching surfing and 3 months either side of summer back home in Australia chilling out. Now that is the way to live. 
Wednesday 5 December 2007
  Bend ze knees Wow, this has come around quick! Tomorrow we go to Colorado skiing for the weekend. Last New Year we were supposed to join some friends out there but didn't make it due to appalling weather conditions. So we had the flight credits and a little while ago we re-booked them, got a hotel sorted and we leave in the morning and come back Monday afternoon.

I'm no Franz Klammer, more Franz Kafka (I wish), and haven't been skiing for eons so should be interesting. We are staying in Beaver Creek and it has been snowing steadily this last week, although saying that we've had a fair whallop of the fluffy stuff around here the last 24 hours.

Heavy snow in the resort has been forecast for tomorrow and Friday - one or two feet - god, I now have visions of us not getting there again.... Anyhow I should be able to get in a few lessons and some bunny slopes whilst my accomplice bolts around the black runs.

Throw in a massage, couple of beers and it should be a nice weekend. 
  Kyoto 京都市 The bullet train (Shinkansen) is a magnificent example of a country investing in it's infrastructure. Opened in time for the 1964 Olympics, Japan Railways (JR) were privatised in 1987. Central to the reform at the time was that the new private companies were profitable and unlike Britain, the operating companies also own the lines, trains, stations and so on ensuring total responsibility is taken by one company. This does mean high ticket prices but the Japan's success with their railways proves people will pay for efficiency, quality, safety and speed.

In 40 years the Shinkansen has carried 6 billion passengers and in that time there has never been a passenger fatality due to derailments or collisions (including earthquakes and typhoons) and only once did a train actually derail, during the 2004 Chūetsu Earthquake. No one was injured.

Trains run regularly at 190mph and in 2003 a JR bullet train recorded a world speed record of 361 mph. My favourite stat though is that the Shinkansen's average arrival time is within six seconds of the scheduled time! And if the train is more than a few minutes late, Japan Rail employees greet passengers with notices apologising for the delay, so they can pass them onto their bosses. Love that.

We got the train from Odawara, not far from Mt Fuji, to Kyoto. Kyoto station is the countries 2nd largest train station and the huge building is like a city in itself and includes a tourist office which was our first stop. Our first couple of nights in Kyoto we stayed in the east of the city at The Miyako Westin hotel. The books call it the grande dame of Kyoto hotels, I would call it a grande dump.

In complete contrast, on our last night in Kyoto we stayed at a ryokan and what an amazing experience that was. Ryokan's are imbued with the traditional culture of Japan. These inn's date from the Edo period and feature multi-purpose rooms measured by tatami's (mats). Doors slide, there is lots of cedar wood and stonework, all extremely minimalistic and we were looked after as if kings by our very own personal nakai. Upon arrival we removed our shoes and were served tea. A very hot bath was run for us, using extremely hot water from a nearby hot spring (onsen) and then after a good dip we slipped into our traditional yukata and relaxed.

Dinner was phenomenal, 12 or so heaveningly tasting and beautifully presented dishes, called kaiseki, plus sake all served to us by the wonderfully attentive Keiko. The meal and total experience was nothing like I had known before. Then after dinner our dining room was completely cleared away with the minimum of fuss and a bedroom was created ready for an early night of peace and tranquility with a rather full stomach.

Then at 7am we were woken by Keiko and once the room was re-arranged again we were treated to another full-blown banquet for breakfast. I was rather kicking myself for given it the biggun' when we checked in and asking for a traditional Japanese breakfast (raw fish, pickled vegetables and tofu) and forgoing the muffins, coffee and eggs!

The simple elegance and impeccable service was absolutely top quality. People know I like to have a good old moan about hotels and their service but honestly this place was amazing. We only stayed the one night because a) it was not cheap and b) I don't know how you could possibly be pampered and eat so much food two nights running!

As a home to artisans shopping in Kyoto for more traditional items is much better than in Tokyo. We were recommended a road called Kawaramachi Dori by our hotel to seek gifts, which we did. The areas around Shinmonzen Dori, Shijo Dori and Sanjo Dori are also excellent for browsing but if you want a one-stop-shop then visit the Kyoto Craft Centre, you won't be disappointed.

Take a walk through the eye-popping Nishiki Market (right) to watch the locals buy their week's provisions. Goods of all descriptions and some I couldn't possibly decribe fall out onto the street. There are samples aplenty but if you are picky be careful, as often you won't know what you've just eaten.

I adored Kyoto, whereas Tokyo was very obviously culturally different, it was after all a huge and busy city, like many others on the planet. Kyoto hasn't escaped the modern world but this is also the centre of the Japan's heritage and you can see it everywhere.

Kyoto was Japan's capital for more than 1,000 years from 794 to the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when it went to Tokyo. Originally known as Heian-kyo, the city was and still is, laid out in a grid pattern borrowed from the Chinese with streets running north, south, east, and west. And there I was thinking the American's thought of that! The city is historically very significent and was spared during World War II. You cannot turn a street corner without seeing a beautiful temple, shrine, traditional wooden homes called machiya or an imperial palace.

Ginkakuji (The Temple of the Silver Pavilion) by the pretty canalside Walk of Philosophy, Nanzenji built in 1264 with its beautiful gardens and fabulous buddhist restaurant (go for another wonderful experience) Kenninji, which was the first Zen temple to be established in Japan, and Chionin, with it's 80ft gate, were just four temples we spent some time at - there are over 2,000 altogether!

History smiles at you from every corner, there are 17 World Heritage Sites in Kyoto and walking around places such as Gion, Arashiyama with it's lake and Gion with it's canals transport you not only to another era but a different world.

At night the areas of Shinmonzen and Gion are alive with activity. Gion Corner is a touristy but easy way to see Kyoto's various arts. Tiny bars and cafes sit next to lavish restaurants, tea houses (ochaya) and some less than salubrious joints where I believe Japanese men find their fun before heading off to the capsule for the night.

My lasting memory of Kyoto though was mooching around the cobbled streets of Hanami-koji and by the Shirakara Canal at night and seeing the geisha girls or geiko as they are called here. Immaculate and beautiful, doll-like, with their faces 'painted' white, they shuffled along the streets between appointments, hefty wooden sandals covering little feet. I grappled for my camera but just stood and watched as they hurried past. Fantastic. Kyoto, memories of a geisha indeed. 
Tuesday 4 December 2007
  Cardiff away. What was the score? Won 2-0 Would you Adam and Eve it as they say down on Michigan Avenue. With Addicks fans as fed up with the future as Scrooge, 400 or so headed down to south Wales this afternoon and sang their little hearts out stood behind the goal on the John Smiths' Grange Terrace. Pints of John Smiths' all round then tonight on the long journey back as this win should be dedicated to the John Smiths' 400.

It's all about believing and with tonight's results again showing that this division is all over the place, it will be those that keep their nerve that succeed. Who would have thought that debt-ridden Coventry about to be slapped with a 10-point fine, would go to the Hawthorns and dish out West Brom's first home defeat of the season? Watford had to come from 2-0 behind to go one better than us to beat Colchester. Wolves lost for the first time in seven and Ipswich lost away again.

Stoke did to Sheffield United what they did to us 7 days ago, Plymouth lost at bottom-placed Norwich, Preston put pay to Hull City's little revival and Burnley could not beat Leicester at Turf Moor, which means we are still the only team to beat The Foxes on their travels.

Who says this division is not exciting? Oh.

Anyway there is life in the old dog yet. Holland proved some critics wrong and although I personally prefer Semedo, the youngster doesn't really look like crossing the half-way line, yet alone scoring, and with the forwards, i.e. Big Chris stumbling, we need all the goals we can get. So credit to Reidy for scoring his 7th of the season from the spot.

Addicks will sleep better tonight, especially those with a few John Smiths' inside them.

Who was on the John Smiths' Grange Terrace:
Reports: Telegraph; Sporting Life;; The Sun; Cardiff City Online.
What Pards' said: "This was a big win for us."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Andy Reid. The Orish fella finding his spark again in the middle of the pitch. 
Monday 3 December 2007
  Pards thinking gone awry I stuck my neck out when I blogged Friday afternoon about Alan Pardew's coaching and managerial ability. I thought briefly about holding the article back and posting it this week, but then again premeditated writing is not really what a blog is about. But then munch, munch, munch.... what's that? Me eating my own words.

Never mind, it would have been easier to write it after the Preston game, but my view is a long term one and that is the point.

Tomorrow night though is a real test for Pardew. He is up against a very experienced manager, who would have taken away valuable lessons from The Valley 3 weeks ago and we are in Wales. That has nothing to do with it of course but 417 hardy Addicks in blustery Cardiff on a Tuesday night is not an easy place to go. I bumped up the numbers by the way to include the players, subs and Pards and Parky!

I will say this again. I am a huge Pardew fan, however last week I thought his thinking went a bit awry. I kind of always got what he was trying to do, even if it didn't work. 4-5-1 works for this squad, period. We have the players that can make it work, and the brain-power and the quality. Then Pards inexplicably changed it at half-time on Tuesday. And things did not get better, it got worse.

Since half-time on Tuesday he has replaced quality and skill with workmanlike cogency. Holland has a place in the squad, Ambrose I'm not sure about but the fact is I don't think we have a good enough midfield pairing to play just two in the middle, let alone force Varney and Iwelumo to work together up top. Reid needs to roam, and will do so whether we like it or not. Semedo is perfect at providing a second coating of the defence, and my does it need it. He's also an intelligent player who so often instigates our short patient passing game, allowing Reid to look for the ambitious ball and ZZ to push forward whilst the wingers stretch the pitch sideways.

Sure change the players but until we find a front pairing that can collaborate together and a midfield two that provide both defensive protection and offensive support, lets stick to 4-5-1.

With apparent injuries to Sam and Thomas I would have no hesitation in playing either Varney wide right or Moo2kil. And what about Martin Christensen? Plus if Pards wants to rest Semedo again, I would think Bougherra could do a good job as the holding midfielder. Racon I believe is an attacking midfielder so he could take ZZ's place, although I wouldn't drop the boy personally.

Also in front of 400 staunchly passionate Addicks, what about starting McLeod up front? Even though Iwelumo just won the Championship player of the month, clearly Saturday was after the voting booths shut. I would have him on the bench.

Meanwhile Chicago Addick will be sat at his desk tomorrow afternoon pretending to work whilst frantically surveying about 20 Internet Explorer windows opon on his computer trying to track down what is happening in Wales. 
Sunday 2 December 2007
  Juno & Into The Wild I watched two great movies in the last week. I don't believe they are out yet in the UK, but I properly recommend them. Juno is the kind of film that you want to tell everyone to go and see but describing it sounds a little sappy. 20-year old Ellen Page’s performance is truly divine in her role as a 16-year old free-spirited tom boy, who falls pregnant after more than a fumble on a chair with her dopey best friend from school.

The film is laugh out loud funny and the script delivers razor sharp lines from start to finish as we watch how Juno and her family cope with the bombshell and simultaneously how potential adoptive parents, one being Jennifer Garner, deal with their own changing situation too. It is a true gem.

There was another stand out performance from 22-year old Emile Hirsch playing Alex in Into The Wild. A true story about a bright college graduate, who couldn't wait to get away from his parents hypocrisy. He gives his colleage fund to Oxfam and flees civilization for the wilds of America culminating in the untouched haven of Alaska. Desperate for solitude Alex finally reaches his destination but in a desperate conclusion he realises that this idealism is not everything.

Hirsch is a revelation whose charisma and determination as Alex knows no bounds. The film is based on a book by Jon Krakauer and directed by Sean Penn with some fine performances also from Hal Holbrook, Vince Vaughan and William Hurt. 
Saturday 1 December 2007
  Burnley at home. What was the score? Lost 3-1 Head in the hands again this morning, just like Tuesday. Our home form is now officially awful. Thank god we go back on the road during the week. Promotion today seems very distant but before we all get too carried away, there are 27 games left and realistically if someone told me in the summer we would be 4th at the beginning of December, then I would have taken it. The league down to the bottom half is very tight and the key is to stay in the play-off positions, whilst keeping the top two in sight. As we have found out, things can change very quickly in this division. 4 wins, 4 clean sheets, then two horrible home defeats and 6 goals conceded. The games come thick and fast and it's time for inspiration and not examination.

I stand by what I wrote yesterday but add Owen Coyle to that list of managers. Pardew should be judged over a course of a season not 180 minutes, just like people weren't throwing his name in the hat for the England job after 4 consecutive wins. Let's back him because we have no divine right to expect this journey to be easy - no one ever said it would be.

Of course I only know what I read and Tony Cottee's occasional comments on Soccer Saturday but I was surprised Semedo was dropped, and we don't appear to have enough fire power at home to really damage teams. Toddy would certainly be playing now and we desperately need to add a striker in January. I'm bewildered too as to why Dickson wasn't recalled from his 2nd month on loan.

The midfield was changed a lot today and that is fair enough because he has the players to do that but once again it was the defence that was left wanting. Two similiar goals conceded in 13 minutes makes winning almost impossible whether you are home or away, or in the Premiership or Conference South. Simply not good enough, the story of our week. Monday we begin a new one.

Who was at The Valley: From The Hill To The Valley; Addicks Championship Diary; Drinking During the Game; Blackheath Addicted.
Reports: Observer; Sunday Mirror;; Clarets Mad.
What Pards' said: "Where we are now is that we have to improve. We have dug ourselves a hole, and we go to Cardiff on Tuesday night, which is not an ideal situation."
A bottle of fizzy pop for: Luke Varney. The only player to come out of the game with any credit, strangely he was substituted for his efforts. 
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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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