Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Sunday 31 August 2008
  PNE 2 Addicks 1 Thud. What was that? Me falling back to earth. Who said a week is a long time in football. Maybe it was Pards? I have to say I have a little feeling for Preston, after seeing them last season and now with the addition of The Beast, Barry Nicholson and a fit Neil Mellor, they might surprise a few people. Certainly it appears they were well worth their win yesterday.

Sat at home trying to follow it on the updated scores is of course impossible but even at the half we hadn't sounded convincing this despite us leading and Luke Varney hitting the post.

It is hard to believe that just one change could cause so much disruption to our midfield but clearly it did. And poor JonJo struggled again, and I now wonder if we won't see him for a while. Pardew may have started with a 4-4-2 and made a straight swap for Sam by putting Bailey on the right - I don't know maybe he played there for Southend? But then went to a five-man midfield for the last 20 minutes of the first half before doing what unfortunately has been customary by trying round pegs in square holes as we chased the game late on.

The fact is that we just don't have enough players and in certain positions there are no back ups, such as centre half (Primus is not fit), right back and out wide. Although last week gave us all a massive lift (I still wouldn't change it for the world), I think we expect a topsy-turvey season and that is so far, what we have had.

A word from Pards: "Head Scratching."
Addick thoughts:; Doctor Kish.
PNE thoughts: PNE OS; Alan Irvine's post match comments.
In the press: BBC Sport; The Times; Sky Sports; Kent Online.
Next: A week off , then 13-goal Wolves and Big Chris come to visit. 
Friday 29 August 2008
  Bite tongue and count to 100 Another classic experience with a local company today, this time cable. I'm learning to bite my tongue and count to 100 pretty good. This is a long weekend here as Monday is Bermuda's Labour Day. Apparently lots of union speeches and festivities. Good for them, I'm going to stay in bed.

We are out for dinner tomorrow night at one of islands most formal and sumptuous restaurants (it says here). A treat for my birthday, and I get to wear a jacket! In the morning I will try to hack into the BBC Radio Kent service for the Preston game - the club's overseas commentary agreement is taking a while to formalise, although with the closure of the transfer window and a free international week, one would hope it could be in place by the Donny game.

There has been a lot of talk about Pardew having a B plan following Saturday's romp at home to Reading, a team who we matched up with very well. Certainly our biggest examination will be once again against teams that stick ten men behind the ball or string five across midfield. We have the players still to perform in a midfield-five but I would like us to hone our Plan A first.

Preston have had a decent start and the mere mention of them reminds me of The Valley game last season that I was home for, but we did beat them up there and played well. The spirit is good at the moment in Addick world, hopefully we can make it last a bit longer. 
  "America, we cannot turn back" "But what I will not do is suggest that the senator (McCain) takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America. So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first."

I love this man, I think I want his babies.
Thursday 28 August 2008
  No more Zoom Since we have been here a lot of our friends have shown interest in coming to visit us, which is fantastic of course. The bad news is that the trip may just have gotten more expensive as the only alternative to British Airways filed for bankruptcy this afternoon leaving many passengers stranded at both Glasgow and Cardiff airports.

Zoom Airlines is or was a UK and Canadian operation founded by two brothers, Scottish travel industry gurus' Hugh and John Boyle in 2004. Their business model involved eliminating third parties from the booking process but with the fierce competiton and the even fiercer price of fuel, the budget airline struggled in their services to Canada, Trinidad, Guyana and Bermuda.

Certainly Zoom offered some cheaper deals if you were not choosy on dates but the flight time from Gatwick was a good hour longer than the BA flight as it flew further north over the Atlantic and according to some people I have spoken to often made unannounced stop-overs in New York for refuelling.

With Zoom owing money to air traffic controllers and aircraft owners, passengers sat on an plane at Glasgow waiting to go to Calgary but meanwhile one of the girls in our office was happily telling everyone this morning that her parents were on the Gatwick flight and were due to land at 1.45pm. It had taken off because she had checked. Well they may have problems getting home, but a better problem I would think than those poor sods stuck in Glasgow and Gatwick. 
Wednesday 27 August 2008
  Linvoy deal off or on? The question of course is, was it ever on? Obviously the two respective clubs have had a lot of conversations in the past fortnight but did Portsmouth ever agree to what Pardew wanted? I have to agree with Pardew that having Primus until January is not acceptable. Our short-term loans last year only took away from the squad and did not add to it. Sodje was our most valuable loan and we had him the whole season.

To me it seems Harry Redknapp just wants Primus to play his way back to fitness before taking him back, thank you very much. Well sod that. It doesn't appear that the 34-year old is fully fit, so a lot of the first few weeks will be lost to us giving him a pre-season, and then he still represents a gamble. Over a whole season it presents us with much less of one.

Pardew clearly jumped the gun, once again in an effort to give the fans (and media) some snippets of transfer activity. Maybe the old Charlton way was bloody boring, but at least when we announced we had sold or bought someone, it was a done-deal.

So Primus not coming, unless Redknapp changes his stance of course, which according the South London Press he might, leaves us incredibly exposed still at centre-half. Maybe Sodje is still on the radar, but he too is recovering from a knee operation. I hope there were others as a back up plan, but the transfer whispers from insiders were certainly only whispering about loans coming from the Naval town last week.

Update Thursday 10.30am: Primus signs for 3 months (more
Tuesday 26 August 2008
  Rooms to let Hotels are a problem in Bermuda. They are expensive and 99% of them need some serious upgrading. Only in April the first new hotel opened on the island for 35 years near me at Newstead. It also includes some fractional ownership apartments too, which is one of the very few allowances non-Bermudians have in purchasing property on the island. They cost between $129,000 to $360,000 for 8 weeks of yearly ownership.

It was just a start. After 35 years of the island's tourist trade relying on it's pink sands and hoary looking hotels to attract tourists, the government realised that the visitors who come in on the cruise-liners on average spend only a few dollars per head before getting back on board for their entertainment.

The government promised assistance and funding in encouraging foreign and Bermudian investment in both new developements and some major improvements to the existing hotels, and in particular the Grand Dame of them all the Hamilton Princess. Michael Douglas' family owned Ariel Sands also has plans of redevelopment.

A number of new hotel projects have been in the works, but many don't make it beyond the planning stage and the current economic climate I am sure is giving hoteliers a few wobbles. However a Ritz Carlton does look likely in Hamilton on the corner of Church Street and Par-La-Ville and later this year at the exclusive hamlet of Tuckers Point will be the Georgian looking Tuckers Point Hotel, affiliated with the Preferred Hotel Group, but owned by a Bermudian company. Then, noticeably not until 2011, the environmentally friendly Southampton Beach Resort being proposed by Scout Real Estate Capital on a 32-acre oceanfront site in Southampton will open to the tune of $300m. Dubai's Jumeirah Resorts are also rumoured to be interested in opening here.

And yesterday, the old Club Med hotel in St George, which has been shuttered for 18 years was finally demolished using controlled explosions, and the talk of the town as the 11 storeys came crashing down watched by hundreds of people on land and on sea (see photo). This will be the site of a new Park Hyatt, set to also open in 2011. 
  Birthday painting On Sunday we went to Bermuda's historical Royal Naval Dockyard to take a look in the Bermuda Arts Centre and have lunch in the next door pub, the Frog & Onion. The Dockyard was finally closed in the 1995 by the British Navy but since then has become one of the island's most popular tourist attractions.

The Arts Centre situated within the old Naval cooperage was established in 1984 and operates as a non profit registered charity and showcases art and sculptures by various local artists. There was a petition, that we happily signed, encouraging the island's government to extend the Art Centre's lease - why wouldn't they? The exhibits change every 6 weeks and there are 5 or 6 resident artists, often in the centre to chat about their work.

One of the problems with living here is the distinct lack of shopping, as my generous other half found out looking around for my birthday present. However what could have been nicer than a piece of local artwork as presented to me this morning all wrapped up? The one I obviously dwelled on for the longest time as we looked around the place on Sunday. 
Monday 25 August 2008
  Addicks 4 Reading 2 The coffee stain on my t-shirt I found last night brought a smile to my face. I think it was the 3rd goal, coffee in hand, ball in back of the net, me standing on the sofa with my arms aloft. Shit, I better check the sofa tonight.

What an enthralling game Saturday's was. It reminded me of the West Ham television game a couple of season's back - not the game, the coffee. That day it was on the sofa.

Despite Birmingham's unbeaten start to the season, Reading showed how hard it is come down and react positively. They reminded me off us last year and Derby are already doing their best Leeds impersonation. There were many things good about our performance. Our wing play, our balance, the bite in midfield, our tempo, the front two but what I really loved was our spirit.

Luke Varney jumping into the arms of Pardew after his goal was magical to watch. Not for the first time was Pards involved in a goal celebration, which goes someway to prove his popularity among the players. I think he's winning the fans back too, with a loud burst of "Soooper Al" echoing from the tele' late in the game. I hope he has the bit between his teeth because this season will not be easy but a smaller, tighter squad must be better for consistency.

Certainly much of our good work came from Nicky Bailey, he's vision and energy plus never say die attitude will make him a god-damn hero if he's not careful. Bouazza, once he realised he had the beating of former teammate Resenoir, impressed with his range of attacking abilities, and of course finished the 4th like a Premiership player. Damaged goods Pardew said.

Holland was a welcome addition back in the team, although Racon and Semedo remain the future, you know what you get with Matty, and he even got a goal (circa Ipswich 2001). Sam was creative too with a hand in each goal, but he was helped immensely by Moots at right back. I know the young Frenchman makes mistakes but I just love watching this boy play.

Gray probably had his best game in an Addicks shirt and he worked well with Varney, who added Hales-like finishing to his pace down the channels and much admired workrate.

The back four still had some hiccups but who won't against a forward line of Doyle, Hunt, Lita, Convey, Long and Sonko at set-plays in this division. Basey struggled in the first half I thought but stuck to his task well, and Hudson does reassure me at the back and although Fortune has performed credibly in the opening weeks of the season, I think we all sighed with relief when it was announced that Linvoy Primus will join us this week, with perhaps Cranie to come as well.

A word for Weaver, who looked more dominant and made some good stops. He was awfully unlucky with his penalty save and I wonder if he moved at Doyle's earlier miss? If referee's blow for a handful of those in all four leagues all season I will be surprised.

It was a great day to be an Addick - more please.

A word from Pards: "Awesome."
Addick thoughts:; Charlton North Downs; Kings Hill Addick; A Red Divided; Blackheath Addick; All Quiet; Drinking During the Game; Addicks Diary.
Reading thoughts: Steve Coppell.
In the press: BBC Sport; Guardian; Independent.
Next: Preston NE away Saturday 
Saturday 23 August 2008
  Bermuda's Olympics The Bermuda Olympic Association only sent 6 athletes to Beijing and they are all safely back on the island disappointed but probably not totally surprised that they didn't bring a medal back through customs. Bermuda's biggest hope was 24-year old swimmer Kiera Aitken, who smashed her own national record in the 100m backstroke but that still wasn't good enough to get out of her heat.

Both long jumpers Tyrone Smith and Arantxa King missed out on the final by inches, Tyrone at one point looked like he might join the elite but missed qualifying by just 3 centimetres but still managed 15th overall. In Hong Kong show jumper Jill Teceira flew through a qualifying round and looked set for a third but her horse Chaka III refused twice in the 2nd qualifier.

Swimmer Roy Burch will be disappointed with a poor race in the 100m freestyle heat, finishing a long way off his national record and young Flora Duffy suffered a similar fate in the triathlon failing to even finish all of the three events. 
Friday 22 August 2008
  Classic Pak 7 weeks I have been here. Someone told me that I will never have that same feeling I had in Chicago when after a month or so it suddenly dawned on me that I actually lived there and wasn't on holiday. This morning I needed convincing though when the alarm went off at 6am, but then I looked out of the window....

Bermuda is a small a place, reminiscent of an English village 20 years ago. People say hello in the street, a mugging is headline news, the shops don't open on a Sunday and the post comes when it feels like it. Work has been occupying a lot of my time, both here in the office and in my head, and the new job needs a lot of attention. Therefore, what with my trip back home, I still haven't found a routine, which despite my temerity for a bit of chaos, I actually like a bit of routine. Anyway more on my early Bermuda discoveries shortly.

My new cable service doesn't seem to have a lot of watchable television on it. A mix of Bermudian and American channels is not going to win many Baftas, but I do have Fox Soccer and Setanta as part of my $68 'Classic Pak' selection! And therefore I can get up in the morning and watch the boys on the box. I toyed with encouraging a Bermudian Charlton contingent to have a pub breakfast but one is away and then I found out that the pub only opens in time for the 'real football' at 11am!

I am beyond team selection and predicting scores, but I do hope for a stirring performance, particularly as Charlton have chosen this game to launch their 'Street Violence Ruins Lives' campaign. A sad reminder of how the country and in particular the area I spent the majority of my life living has changed in the time I have been away.

The Addicks are changing too, but it doesn't mean I love them any less but if they can blow me a big kiss tomorrow, then it will at least make that little part of south London a happier place. 
Thursday 21 August 2008
  Thomas moves for "a small fee" Wait for it. Only if he plays a number of games! Blimey, he must have impressed Harry Redknapp in that 17 minutes he had at Stamford Bridge the weekend. (more)

A small fee. The fire sale continues. How an earth did he go from a £2,500,000 rated player to a small fee, even if he only had a year on his contract left? Just shows that those agents' videos are all they're cracked up to be! I didn't read anywhere that we got an initial fee as part of the loan agreement, but that is another hefty wage of the books. One would now assume ZZ, Gray and Weaver are the only players earning more than 10k a week.

Thomas by only signing a one-year contract also puts himself at risk, and one would hope he gets back to playing as well as we know he can if he has any hope of being at Fratton Park beyond next summer.

Meanwhile it was good news, bad news yesterday down at Sparrows Lane. Therry Racon's prognosis is that he will be out for 3 months and Grant Basey is carrying a slight hamstring strain but it has come to light that Chris Dickson has signed an extension to his contract plus Darren Ambrose and Svetoslav Todorov came through a reserve game last night. The team line-up emphasising our new waif-like squad. 
  Response from Steve Waggott Well actually it was from his assistant last week notifying me that Steve has had a very busy summer in his new job and will respond in due course on the work going on behind the scenes to try to reactivate internet commentaries for our games.

Strangely on Saturday for Addicks sat overseas, BBC Radio London burst into life with words from a commentary team at Vicarage Road, they weren't very encouraging ones but they were words nevertheless! This I believe bemused Addicks' officials as they negotiate with the different parties.

From someone who himself has just started a new job, I know how difficult it can be to assert oneself and keep everyone happy in the initial weeks, so I trust that Steve is working diligently behind the scenes to give fans outside of the narrow broadcasting areas an online commentary offering.

Original email dated May 30th here. 
Wednesday 20 August 2008
  Proud Awesome isn't it? To watch those young men and women stand on the podium with pride dripping out of them whilst singing the national anthem. It further makes the countries Premiership football players look even more like the attention seeking mercenaries they are. And despite football being the best team sport in the world, I often now look at footballers as individuals whereas our athletes in Beijing have reinvented the word 'team'.

Being British has always been about coming second, or being brave losers, or purring over how great the Aussies are at sports (ooh, they don't like it up 'em), but not at this moment in history. We are right to be proud of our Olympians, who have only reached the pinnacle of their young lives by dedicating most of it to their sports, often for little reward of recognition.

And for those men and women sat in tiny offices around the UK begging and borrowing for more financial commitment, well they deserve medals as well. The Lottery has helped fund the GB team to the tune of £264m and when the Premier League gets £1.7 billion from Sky and Setanta, don't tell me that isn't money well spent.

The 2012 Olympics is still underfunded to the tune of about £100m, let's hope some private investors can be stirred away from the boredom of the Premiership to the excitment of Team GB. 
Monday 18 August 2008
  Wagstaff to join sick note Scott Wagstaff went out on loan today in a sensible move to get the Tunbridge Wells lad some first team experience. He joined relegation threatened Bournemouth (also sponsored by Carbrini Sports incidentally), who sit second-bottom in League Two with -15 points. Wagstaff will have 36-year old Darren Anderton to learn some wing-skills from.

Also this afternoon the club confirmed Dean Sinclair's loan to Cheltenham Town. The midfielder I would suggest will be keen to make another impression under Keith Downing as I wouldn't be surprised if Sinclair was allowed to move permanently if not before August, then in January.

Cheltenham failed in their attempt to also sign Stuart Fleetwood though, the Addicks I expect waiting on the fitness of Svetoslav Todorov, before allowing the ex-Conference top scorer out to taste league football.

I like looking out for young players that we having knocking around the lower leagues. Aswad Thomas joined Barnet last week, but didn't make their 16 on Saturday and at Hereford Darren Randolph has seen defeat three times in a week as the Bulls find it hard to adjust to a higher level.

Jerome Thomas meanwhile came on with 15 minutes to go for Portsmouth, did a couple of step overs, cut inside a few times before driving off up the Kings Road in his Bentley convertible.
  Beachy Head My 11 days in England, spent predominately at my parents near Eastbourne was fantastic, only wetted by the tears that my son and I shared when we separated on Sunday. Hard is not the blimmin' word.

My Mum & Dad live less than 5 miles from Eastbourne and it is a perfect base to explore the surrounding East Sussex countryside. The Miniature Steam Railway at Lottbridge was full of grandparents and kids alike riding the little gauge steam train around the beautiful countryside, as was the Holmes Hill pottery studio, the result of which I now have a colourful pirate sat on my desk at work. The Arlington Reservoir is another idyllic place to walk and is a haven for trout fishing.

Why many south coast towns are depressingly decrepid, Eastbourne in the shadow of the South Downs thrives with a busy and colourful seafront. For my son the beach and the sea are a constant magnet but this time we had a good chance to explore some other parts a little further afield. The tiny seaside village of Pevensey Bay, with it's medieval castle and Roman fort was one such place, the fish and chips weren't half bad either and at the westerly end of town sat at the foot of the South Downs is a charming little village known as The Meads. Beautiful houses, sparkling views, a couple of enticing pubs, and some nice places for a cup of tea and a sit down was enough for me to be looking in estate agents windows.

For sheer magnificence though head no further than Beachy Head. 530 feet above sea-level, the views from the chalk cliff are amazing. Famed for having two lighthouses, but only one in the water after the 1828-built Belle Toute lighthouse was decommissioned 9 years ago and moved onto land in one piece to prevent it from succumbing to coastal erosion.

Beachy Head is popular and can get busy, however sat on the grass looking out into space, despite the amount of people there last week it can also be a quiet place for reflection. Since the 1600's Beachy Head has had a sad reputation for suicide and over 20 people jump to their deaths here every year, while many are talked out of it by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and volunteers. A telephone box with details of the local Samaritans and the national helpline was installed 30 years ago but crosses and flowers mark spots as a sad reminder of those that ignored it. 
  Watford 1 Addicks 0 ""(The penalty) obviously changed the game in terms of making it very difficult for us." Few neutrals would disagree with Pardew, whose team also produced some pleasing stuff." Telegraph

A welcome return Saturday morning to live commentary from BBC Radio London, although it didn't do much to prevent me spending long spells working in the garden. Reports of the game suggest we were better than what the commentary team relayed, although after we lost Youga the final result, in my head anyway, always appeared conclusive, this despite last season's sterling 10-man performances, in which we never lost on albeit too many occasions.

Losing wasn't the biggest disappointment though, it was the injury to Therry Racon, my man of the match last week, and again appreciated by Addicks at Vicarage Road yesterday until his late exit with a broken metatarsal in his foot. Shelvey and Holland can each partner Nicky Bailey, but I feel at present anyway the young Frenchman was our best option.

The performance and effort then was not lacking but any creativity and decisive forward play was. One could argue that Torres and Keane would struggle to score in this Charlton team but I for one am waking up to the fact that we won't be seeing players of that quality for some time again down at The Valley.

A word from Pards: "Harsh."
Addick thoughts:;New York Addick; All Quiet; Drinking During the Game.
Watford thoughts: The Orn Identity; Tommy Smith comments.
In the press: Sky Sports; BBC Sport; Telegraph.
Next: Reading on the box next Saturday breakfast time. 
Friday 15 August 2008
  One-way street "But of course the transfer window is far from closed and there is still a month to go. We have interests in other players, too, so it's not going to be a one-way street." Derek Chappell continues to undo all the trust that Alwyn, Norris, Simons, Stevens, Ufton, Richard Murray and others had tirelessy built with the clubs fans over a couple of decades.

Jerome Thomas is the latest player to bid farewell and there could be others this week, and maybe not just Faye and ZZ. Pardew is being used as a mouthpiece in all of this, and understandably using it to gain support from the fans as the squad is rattled down to skeleton staff. Yes both Bouazza and Bailey have joined, but then both Sinclair, a pointless signing if ever there was one, and one that I am sure draws some finger-pointing from the boardroom and Stuart Fleetwood left yesterday for Cheltenham for three months, news than wasn't quite interesting enough to make the Official Site.

As for Jerome Thomas, love him or hate him, he was along with ZZ, our last player of Premiership quality. Martin Cranie coming the over way may have softened the blow a bit mind.

As I said before, we deserve more from both Derek Chappell and Steve Waggott, although I have received a reply from Waggott's PA about my email in May. It doesn't say much but I will comment on that later or over the weekend.

We know the club is in trouble financially but 15,000 season ticket cheques and the parachute payment did arrive on the door mat in the summer, so are we in a worse financial state than Watford or Sheffield United, and if so, then why? With the supporters director role ended, we need some dialogue from the face-less wonders that have invaded our football club. 
Wednesday 13 August 2008
  Olympic blackout Having been glued to the BBC since last Friday I get back to Bermuda to find out that the Olympic coverage on television here is almost zero. The Bermudian Broadcasting Company (BBC) and overseer of two of the Bermudian stations bought the rights to air the Beijing Olympics on the Island and as a result the largest television provider in homes, CableVision has blocked any other channel showing Olympic coverage, i.e. the American ones, namely NBC.

There are two Bermudian television providers, CableVision and the newer digital service WoW, both showing the four or five local channels and then sourcing their pictures from the American networks.

CableVision is the most the popular on the island but it's 45,000 customers can only watch the Olympics on Bermudian Broadcasting Channel ZBM, which is airing a dodgy feed from the Caribbean (think two blokes sat in a shabby studio) and some NBC coverage. Tonight the sports-crazy island gets an hour and a half of 'live' Olympic coverage. What absolute bollocks.

So up and until today I had not decided which television provider I would choose. Well crappy CableVision made my mind up for me, and off I went an hour or so ago to the WoW shop and signed up with them for full unabridged live Olympic coverage. Mind you it ain't cheap, but was is here, but it does include football lifelines, the Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta
  Nicky Bailey signs
"The all-action engine-roomer has moved from Roots Hall in a package that could reach £750,000, and goes straight into Alan Pardew's squad for Saturday's Championship trip to Watford." (more)

The new Mark Kinsella? How wonderful would that be? 
  Addicks 0 Yeovil Town 1 "I don't know why I continue to go to these games. I have been to all of our home Cup games for over twenty years and I have seen about half a dozen matches that I have been excited or pleased about." Kings Hill Addick

Why was I not surprised that when I switched my phone on after I got off the BA flight from Gatwick to Bermuda yesterday evening it told me that we'd lost. The big silver tin foil cup and Wembley hat can stay back in the box under the bed for another season. Oh hang on, there's still the FA Cup.... yeh right.

A word from Pards: "Dysfunctional"
Addick thoughts: Kings Hill Addick; New York Addick; All Quiet; Charlton Life.
Yeovil thoughts: Yeovil Town OS; Ciderspace.
In the press: BBC Sport; Sporting Life; Daily Mail.
Next: Tricky game at Watford on Saturday 
Monday 11 August 2008
  Addicks 2 Swansea City 0 "With Jerome Thomas giving Matthew Collins a royal runaround, the red-shirted kids exuded both menace and joie de vivre against a defence who persisted in playing too close together." The Times

A day or two to let victory sink in. How enjoyable it was to witness us get off to a winning start, despite being outplayed for large parts of the game and being outsung for all of it. If the players can perform better, then one would hope so can the fans!

It was a perfect start by captain Mark Hudson, who looked confident and reassuring at the back, even inspiring often maligned Jon Fortune into a good performance. The main thing for me was that we were not the better team but still won, rather comfortably in fact, Varney should even have got a 3rd in the final minute. That I don't believe happened at all last season, and I take that as an encouraging sign.

Although the signing of Hameur Bouazza took me by surprise, two more additions at centre-back and in midfield will give the squad a greater depth.

As has been said elsewhere the game was being played around Jonjo, and he knew it when he was substituted, but the reaction of the crowd was as it should be when he left the field, and he has plenty of time to go down as a Valley hero. Holland certainly changed the powerplay in midfield, and the sending off of Monk after a foul on him, certainly gave us some breathing space.

Swansea passed the ball around excellently but lacked a cutting edge with only a couple of spills by Weaver offering them goalscoring potential, but our own play was sometimes good, sometimes not so, but overall it was good to see a young team play with will and spirit, none other than Racon, who I was very impressed with.

Both Gray and Thomas looked bundles fitter and Thomas, who can frustrate and delight in equal measure at least looked like he felt proud to wear the new shirt. My son was too, as we made a quick detour to JD Sports in Bugsbys Way on the way to the pub to pick up a shirt, after the club shop had sold out of them.

So a gratifying way to start the season then in what could have been a tricky opening fixture, I hope Pardew doesn't make too many changes to the line up tomorrow as I would like the bulk of this team to play together again, particularly the front and back two.

I will be on a plane at kick-off time back to Bermuda. The Carling Cup could be a decent fillip to an exciting league season, lets hope we approach it in the right manner.

A word from Pards: "Endeavour"
Addick thoughts: New York Addick, Many Miles; Deepest Darkest; Charlton North Downs; Drinking During the Game; Addicks Championship Diary; A Red Divided.
Swansea thoughts: Roberto Martinez;
In the press: Independent; Telegraph; Times.
Next: Yeovil Tuesday night in the Carling Cup at home. 
Friday 8 August 2008
  The new season - no place for moaners There was an air of positivity over the Addick blogwaves last night and you know what? I feel it down here in Eastbourne. I've watched Pardew on Sky Sports and I've read this interview and feel much more heartened, excited even, yes bloody excited. It's the first game of a brand new season, bring it on and if you're going to moan in the car, on the bus or on the train on the way up to The Valley Saturday, then please stay at home. You will have your moment, I'm sure you will, but not this Saturday, eh.

Chicago Addick and family will all be driving up for the game and I am going to get behind those red shirts, like, well like it's the start of a brand new season.

As for the team, it does appear to pick itself Saturday, particularly with Moo2 suspended, Ambrose injured and Holland and Toddy unlikely to be ready. You never know we might start seeing some regular faces, maybe we can invent some player songs? Okay, I told you I was a bit excitable.

Sam Sodje I mentioned yesterday more in hope than judgement, then my parents' Daily Mail quoted me and today Pardew mentioned his name at the press conference. He didn't mention Nicky Bailey though. A new player or two would certainly give us all a lift.

Swansea are, so people more familiar with the situation, a better team than Scunthorpe last season, which if true means they won't go straight down. Spanish manager Martinez added another four fellow countrymen to his squad in the summer, although their best business was keeping influential Dutch defender Ferrie Bodde.

What of the other teams? It is hard to look past the three teams that came down isn't it. Oops sorry, I just cut and pasted what I wrote last year. Seriously I think Birmingham have an exceptional squad for this league. Derby have found themselves in the same boat as us last term with 11 in and 8 out. Reading have a wonderful manager but I reckon others will follow Nicky Shorey out of the Madjeski before month-end.

Many are tipping Neil Warnock's current and old teams. Nick Carle appears a good buy but I think the stripeys will miss Morrison and Hudson. I think the Blades have done much better in the transfer market and finished strong last season. A play-off place beckons I feel for the Yorkshiremen.

QPRhaha will I believe become this season's laughing stock replacing last season's bundle of laughs Leicester. I can't see Garry Johnson's Bristol City repeating their superb season, although Johnson remains a better manager than any of the three promoted.

Other contenders I think could be Coventry, I always rated Coleman although Freddy Eastwood will need to prove his worth. Wolves will always be there or thereabouts and they pack a lot of firepower. Two of the best signings have been made by Norwich with Wes Hoolahan and Arturo Lupoli giving the Canaries a real chance and Ipswich will be no slouches either. And finally Southampton's total football under Jan Poortvliet could go either horribly wrong or stunningly right.

See nothing to worry about. Come on we're stuck with them, so lets give them every ounce of support we can. New season, new start, renewed belief. 
  8/8/08 - The Olympics is here. The Olympics, the greatest show on earth and the true embodiment of human achievement and spirit, and in China. Hmm. We don't have a tele' at home in Bermuda, well we do, but they're not plugged in so it's quite a result that I can watch the first couple of days here in Eastbourne.

I love the Olympics. Coe and Ovett, Derek Redmond, Steve Redgrave, Daley Thompson, Ben Johnson (oh I felt so bloody cheated), Olga Korbett, Michael Johnson, Ed Moses, Zola Budd and sports I'd would never give two hoots about such as hockey, shooting and gymnastics. What they're British.... Come on.

From what I've read there appears to be high hopes for the British in Beijing, but perhaps not from Bermuda's team of just six that I will try to follow as well. Each one of them will be just as proud though as one of them tries to emulate the achievment of Clarence Hill, who won a boxing bronze in 1976, Bermuda's only Olympic medal.

Some of the events and Olympians I'm looking forward to seeing are Usian Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell in the ultimate race, the 100m, triple jumper Phillips Idowu, ZZ in the much higher profile Olympic football, the USA basketball team out for revenge plus the world's most recognisable Chinese man Yao Ming. The Murray brothers in the tennis doubles, the unlucky but inspirational Paula Radcliffe, superhuman Michael Phelps aiming for 7 golds, BMX racer (see the two-hoots bit above) Shaneze Reade, hurdler Liu Xiang who could achieve immortality in his home country, the rather attractive Victoria Pendleton on her bike and the amazing 14-year old Tom Daly in the diving, who will flutter many a mother's heart. 
Wednesday 6 August 2008
  Come in number 4 Sod the pre-season friendlies it is at this stage of the season when I start to get excited. The squad numbers were announced today and if you're like me, then you'll read a lot into them.

The first XI actually reads like this:

1 Nicky Weaver
2 Yassin Moutaouakil
3 Kelly Youga
5 Zheng Zhi
6 Mark Hudson
7 Jonjo Shelvey
8 Matt Holland
9 Andy Gray
10 Svetoslav Todorov
11 Darren Ambrose

But in fact that is only 10 with only one centre half, probable captain Mark Hudson, named. 16 year-old Jonjo Shelvey is straight in wearing the famed number 7 shirt, one I will co-sponsor with fellow members at Charlton Life. Andy Gray will also be honoured in the same way. 25 goals should ensure god-like status!

ZZ will occupy the 5 shirt, but may never get to wear it. One assumes that Varney (12), Thomas (14) and Semedo (23) will all take to the field Saturday and I think Josh Wright (15) could feature frequently too. But what about the vacant number 4? Martin Cranie? Sam Sodje? 
Monday 4 August 2008
  St George reigns supreme I was talking to an old mate at Cup Match last Thursday and he said that if he's on the island he would always go to the game. "Why wouldn't I?" he said, and I thought how true. What an experience it was even though we were only there for a few hours and rain delayed the start.

Most of Hamilton's scaffolding from the many building sites had been 'borrowed' to help construct precarious watching areas (stands would be an exaggeration) and spectators blew horns, whistled and danced to loud music whilst slowly getting wasted on colourful drinks.

Of course a dare mention of the word 'Caribbean' elicits a frosty stare because this is Bermuda boy! Nevertheless the atmosphere was West Indies-esque, and I can only imagine it got more steamy and drunken as the two-day game progressed.

A cab driver explained that a draw for the away side, St Georges would be enough for them to retain the cup and a draw it was, despite Somerset's efforts to attack the bowling at every opportunity. Cup Match was a Bermuda I had heard about but had not seen in my short stay, I'll look for more soon. 
Saturday 2 August 2008
  Can this man be trusted? Derek Chappell has sat in the shadows all season, but he finally spoke on Friday after the club sold another player. The time that Bougherra's transfer took tells me that he really didn't want to go. I am sure an agent worth his salt could have engineered a move much earlier if the player was desperate to leave, the Algerian finally went to Glasgow Rangers, perhaps a sensible move, although Betis would have sought his style better.

Now I haven't seen a lot of Magic in the flesh, but I think it's fair to say that Addick fans didn't see him pull that many rabbits out of hats in the 37 games he played for us. It is not that he is gone that worries me, it is the timing following the advertisement of a fire sale by Pardew and then the empty words that followed.

"Apart from reconfiguring the squad, I think it's desirable that we should have a squad of player that are settled at the club and a club that is also settled with its players."

I've read that statement a few times and I have no idea what Chappell is saying. The communication between fans and board despite Ben Hayes' sterling efforts has got gradually worse during the last couple of seasons. I never did get the courtesy of a response from Steve Waggott following my email dated May 30th, although I know the issues were discussed at board level.

With ZZ set to follow Bougherra I think the fans have deserved better this summer from the two new individuals at the top of the club. They have personally not endeared themselves to me, but hey I don't live in Kent and won't be buying a season ticket.

It has been left to us with too much time on our hands and a life of following little Charlton to work out the maths ourselves. The £15m rights issue and the sale of anyone worth any money has allowed the club to operate from a Championship cost base. It's a sensible plan, and I'm assuming it was Chappell's not Richard Murray, from the side-snipe by Pardew.

The board are rightly getting their costs under control which means that if we have another average season, we shouldn't become another Southampton or Leicester. Astute planning but at what cost to ambition, team spirit, the supporter's faith and the mindset of the manager?

"There are some decisions that I can't dictate. I'm never going to interfere with finances as the bottom line is the security of this club and if I'm told a player has to go for that reason, then he has to go." (more)

There was once a two-year plan, that I reckon has actually become a one-year plan, and yep Pardew blew it. The upside is that we re-invent Charlton to the one we all talk about when we've had too many shandies. Journeymen, exciting youngsters and players that give a shit.

The downside is that Pardew walks, we are not good enough to compete and the fans after being duped into buying a season ticket to watch a promotion chasing team lose trust in the board. Timing has never been the club's best strength.... it could be a difficult week being an Addick. 
  Eastbourne Borough 1 Bromley 0 My son and I decided to give The Valley a swerve this afternoon, well I did anyway, and instead we made the short journey to Priory Lane instead to watch Eastbourne Borough's last friendly at home to Bromley, a side that an Addicks XI played a few weeks back.

They won with a last minute goal from stalwart Darren Baker after looking unlikely to break down an impressive Bromley defence all afternoon. In fact as the Borough contemplate life in the highest non-league level for the first time, I have a feeling they may struggle against better and mostly professional teams such as their first three opponents Rushden & Diamonds, Stevenage and Oxford Utd.

Bromley were quicker and more inventive in the first half but following a number of changes both Jay Lovett and the well travelled Frenchman Jean-Michel Sigere helped improve things in the second period. However late on Bromley forced a fine save from Winterton and hit the bar before Baker gave the home fans encouragement for the new season just before the final whistle slotting home from a corner.

When I look down Borough's fixture list though, I think avoiding relegation will be considered success for a team that were playing in the Sussex County League 8 years ago. 
About Me
After living in Chicago for four and a half years, I moved to the beautiful if bewildering island of Bermuda in July 2008. This blog is about being an exiled and depressed Charlton Athletic fan and whatever else the day brings.
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