Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Wednesday 29 October 2008
  Not for the faint-hearted Off to the airport later for a long weekend back in Blighty. A combination of work, play and a joyous day out at The Valley! This is my first trip off island since I came back from the UK last time early August.

It got me thinking how much my life has changed since I lived in Chicago. For the same period last year I took eleven flights, was in 10 cities and also had visitors staying for a couple of weeks. Am I more relaxed? I think the fact that yesterday I played football, had a golf lesson, followed the Charlton game (best way I could) and was in bed last night to watch a Gavin & Stacey re-run on BBC America at 9.30pm shows my life has unquestionably slowed.

I'm looking forward to this weekend, seeing my son of course and also catching up with some mates and my Mum & Dad. The Valley on Saturday won't be for the faint-hearted. I've been there before, although I'm not sure what my son will think off it.

I fly back on election day, November 4th. God knows what will be on American television after the election but I do plan a bit of an all nighter glued to the box as hopefully the free world votes in real change and a president that the rest of the planet can relate too. 
  Ipswich 1 Addicks 1 "I felt that Charlton came here to be beaten and we had the opportunities to do it." - Jim Magilton

Oh the fun of being in the Championship eh? What d'ya mean you can't see the funny side?

Last night sounded absolutely tosh. For 82 minutes according to, well everyone, we were dreadful but then Bailey popped up finished like a dream and along with Weaver saved Pards' job for another week. By all accounts we may have even won it at the death, how funny would that have been. See, told you?

Also heard last night were the first strains of "Pardew out." Away travellers always have first dibs on these kinds of things I reckon, especially those that made the journey last night in appalling weather conditions. Roll on Saturday, I can't wait. Halloween, birthday and Christmas all rolled into one.

Addick thoughts:; Charlton Life.
Pardswallop: "These are difficult times for our club. But I like to think we are a team in recovery."
Tractor Boy thoughts: "We had enough chances to win three games. I felt that Charlton came here to be beaten and we had the opportunities to do it." Jim Magilton
In the press: Sky Sports; The Mirror.
Next: Barnsley at home and I'll be booing from before kick-off ;-) 
Tuesday 28 October 2008
  Memories of Ipswich Town Ipswich Town 2-0 Charlton, Saturday 14th February, 1981
Ipswich and Charlton in recent times have spent many years mirroring each other's fortunes but back in February 1991 our league status could not have been more different. Ipswich Town were riding high top of the League Championship having lost just two games all season. They were soon to face (eventual) French Champions St Etienne in the 4th Round of the UEFA Cup. Ipswich won that tie on aggregate 7-1 and sent shockwaves around Europe. They made the final and beat AZ Alkmaar in what was a glorious time in their 130-year history.

Charlton meanwhile were not doing too bad themselves, it was just at a completely different grade. We sat proudly 2nd in the old 3rd division under Mike Bailey, we were top until the week before when we got stuffed at Chester 4-0. The same day Ipwich beat bottom placed Crystal Palarse Div 1 outfit 3-2.

After wins over Harlow Town, Bournemouth, Plymouth and Fulham, it was FA Cup 5th round day. A real David v Goliath and what makes football so special and as a quiet 14-year old it was also to be my first ever away match without my parents. I went with two older friends and an older gentleman called Pat, who stood for years with us on the east terrace. Pat drove us and I often wonder about him, he was a lovely bloke and I hope I'm wrong but I'd imagine he would probably now be supporting the Addicks from heaven. Of my two mates, one I lost touch with, the other I still see everytime I go to The Valley for a pint beforehand.

We stopped on the way to Suffolk in a country pub, I sipped on a coke, was given a bag of crisps and we played pool. I don't remember much else until we got to Portman Road an hour before kick-off. I had been to many away games but this was something else, 12,000 Addicks crammed into the covered terrace behind one of the goals and sung the whole song book for two and a half hours while our little club containing such luminaries as Phil Warman, Peter Shaw, Les Berry and Martin Robinson gave the league leaders the fright of their lives.

I can still name that famous Ipswich team. They had some terrific players but the midfield of Thijssen, Muhren, Wark and Gates was being given a real runaround by Colin Powell, Dick Tydeman, Phil Walker and Martin Robinson.

At the half it was goalless and to this day I remember standing there with all those people thinking that I will not forget this day in a hurry and I never have. Just before the hour John Wark settled the home side's nerves and put them in front, but we battled away until the end. I remember a couple of half chances that fell Hales, Walsh and Tydeman's way but in the final minutes Paul Mariner undeservedly got Ipswich's 2nd but the Addicks left the field to a standing ovation from all sides of the ground.

I was physically sick when I got home, I think the excitement just got the better of me and I'm not embarrassed to say it. In retrospect those early 80's were tough times for Addicks, we were relegated the season before with just 6 wins but I have some wonderful memories of that 1980/81 season, let us not forget our only one in the 3rd tier for 33 years. Promotion was gained at Carlisle, for what was to be the first time, and without a doubt that day out at Portman Road certainly sealed the love of a 14-year old teenager with I suspect other things on his mind.

Charlton: Johns, Naylor, Warman, Shaw, Berry (Smith 46), Tydeman, Powell, Walsh, Hales, Robinson, Walker.
Ipswich: Cooper, Osman, McCall, Thijssen, Beattie, Butcher, Wark, Muhren, Mariner, Brazil, Gates.
Sub (not used): O'Callaghan
Attendance: 30,221 (this ended up being Ipswich's 2nd highest of the season)
Monday 27 October 2008
  Crunch for Hogges The credit crunch will have immediate effects on life in Bermuda. Tourism numbers have dropped by 10% this year, there are fewer start-ups, meaning less jobs for Bermudian's and less ex-pats are coming to the island to work. Some of the island's largest companies are also under serious scrutiny from the rating agencies and there has already been some redundancies at one of the countries biggest companies XL Capital. Historically companies on the island have re-invested back into the local economy by sponsoring many cultural and sporting events.

However that could be about to change. XL Capital have already pulled out of being the title sponsor for next year's ATP tennis tournament at Coral Beach and other events are in danger. On Friday Shaun Goater, president of the island's professional football team Bermuda Hogges told how worries over future finance will mean a tightening of purse strings.

Hogges have committed to another season in tier 3 of the US professional soccer pyramid, their 3rd. However they will do it with just a 20-man squad and have released their two best and most costly players Stevie Astwood and Damon Ming. Playing at the National Stadium the crowds started last season at around the 1,000 mark but they dropped considerably, like the Hogges form, to around the 350 mark by season-end.

Hogges have important sponsorship from Ace, Renaissance Re, Aspen Re and the Bermuda Tourism Board and Goater, probably the most respected sportsman ever produced by the island, plans to sit down with these companies soon to discuss future funding.

The USL Division 2 season starts in April and includes Simon Jordan's sister side Crystal Palace FC USA
Sunday 26 October 2008
  Addicks 1 Burnley 1 "Bearing in mind the events of the week and the evident call to arms from all connected with the club, the first half performance was unforgiveable." - Dave at Drinking During the Game.

The whistle blew yesterday evening at The Valley ending our septimana horribilis, and thank the lordy for that, but there were signs that maybe, just maybe that our plucky little Charlton are back. I used to love that song, you know "Charlton are back, Charlton are back, ello." It was always sung with such pride and passion and although the record books tell us that we are on our way down and not back, I think I have seen a chink of daylight amongst the gloom that only Addicks knee deep in adversity can bring.

First of all we had the previously taciturn Derek Chappell join the Charlton Life forum and engage in debate (it is definitely him by the way) and then PLC and club director David Sumners appears on Glynne Jones' email list. Then after the game at the post game press conference, we have Pards talking almost coherently and finally, heart flutteringly, the covered end choir sung their collective hearts out for the boys yesterday.

Of course the players yet again showed their split personalities, according to those at the game, absolutely shocking in the first half but excellent in the 2nd and fully deserving a draw against a team, let's face it, with a much better chance of getting in the play-offs than us. For those of us sat at home out of range of Radio Kent and instead listening to the hilariously biased Burnley commentary team, a draw certainly seemed like a win.

It is probably best not to dwell on the manager's new formula which gave us some much needed new faces but a strange inbalance to the shape of the team, but credit where credits due, he changed it and said something to the eleven that reappeared in the 2nd half which mightily improved their individual and collective performances kicking into a fervent covered end.

The impact of Todorov was obvious, he has a talent that belies this level but unfortunately not often his fitness. The coaching staff need to lock him up in cotton wool because we desperately need him. I'm ecstatic that Moots kept his place and again his partnership with Sam shows real promise. Josh Wright appeared to come out of a tough debut with a lot of credit and as for Varney, well is that now 3 sitters in 3 games?

Following old 'Arry Redknapp dumping Pompey for Spurs, I wonder how that gentleman's agreement to play Martin Cranie in every game now sits? Because that must be the only reason why the loanee started the game at left back surely? I understand he was better in the middle alongside Hudson though and for once he may well have earned another start on Tuesday.

So, after a rough week, I'm a little enthused by some signs that we might have got the old Charlton back, it must have been like the old days yesterday. Addicks clapping the players off after a draw. Well I never. "If you know your history.... It's enough to make your heart go woo woo woah."

Addick thoughts:; Charlton Athletic Online; Drinking During the Game; Blackheath Addicted; New York Addick.
Pardswallop: "Reached the bottom of the barrel."
Claret thoughts: "I really don't want to talk about the officials but that's what happened and it was a mistake." - Owen Coyle.
In the press: The Telegraph; Daily Mail; The Times; The Wharf.
Next: Tractor Boys on Tuesday night. 
Saturday 25 October 2008
  Golf bore For a long time I've been in the 'can't be arsed' camp regarding playing golf. I have tried many times, played corporate days, hacked around with mates, had lessons, done the driving range thingy, but simply in Chicago I decided at the tender age of *cough* 30 to give up and spend my free time drinking beer and writing a blog. So up yours golf bores.

But, then something happened. I moved to Bermuda with more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world! There are 9 courses on the 21 square miles of land to be exact and after a month or two swinging it around in my mind, I came to conclusion like I have with a lot of things here that I should give it a go.

In short there isn't an awful lot of stuff to do here. If you like the ballet, you're buggered. Gambling, well buggered. Fast cars, er, very buggered. Ballroom dancing, night-life, real ale, shopping, all proper buggered. But beaches, tennis, fishing, sailing, diving, snorkeling, swimming and golf, well it is fair to say you are in some sort of heaven.

I have committed to myself to try all of these things, even deep sea fishing of which last time I puked for the entire 5 hours out on the water. It still sends a shiver down my spine to think of it but I don't want to be leaving this oasis without getting as much out of it as possible.

We therefore decided last Sunday to have a golf lesson. Darron Swan is the head golf pro at Belmont Hills Golf Club, just up the road from us. "You played before" he asked me? "Yes lots, but on and off and not for years," I replied. He asked me to take a couple of shots, I did and he shook his head and said that he will treat me like a beginner!

But it was enjoyable and we booked a block of lessons and I have another one Sunday and I'll expect to do some more after they finish. I don't want to be good, I just want to be competent, and I sincerely hope I'm not one of those blokes that practices his swing at the coffee machine or talks about his seven-iron like it's a newborn, god that would be so bloody boring. 
Friday 24 October 2008
  Derek Chappell speaks I have been critical on here of Derek Chappell and the long spells of silence since he took the role of chairman in March. I wrote last night of Richard Murray and how we shouldn't forget his feelings after Zabeel decided to walk away from their interest in buying the club, but I commented elsewhere that I felt the board, and namely Derek Chappell or Steve Waggott owed the fans, and of course fellow shareholders the decency of a response to what happened this week.

Well late today Chappell was interviewed on BBC Radio London and some of his comments were carried by the official site and then tonight out of the blue, he joined Charlton Life as a member and encouraged the fans to get behind the team tomorrow.

"We are at our best fighting back against the odds, we've done that for years" (more)

I have to say it has the makings of a wind up, but I am assured it is really him. If that's the case, then kudos to him and I hope he is leading the directors box tomorrow in a rousing rendition of "We'll support you ever more." 
Thursday 23 October 2008
  Richard Murray Spare a thought for this man tonight. We are all hurting, but this man will be hurting more. He and his colleagues and advisors were only going to let what they considered to be the right people into our club, and they have been kicked in the balls.

At the Bloggers meeting in the summer Richard Murray said that he is "only a custodian" of our great club. Well without him, we could argue that we wouldn't have a club. Certainly he should be proud that due to his prudence and leadership the club even appealed to one of the richest men in the world. But they have gone now, off to the sunset leaving us all alone to dwell on what might have been.

I felt sick this morning. Not as sick as I did when I was handed a piece of paper with directions to Selhurst Park on it in 1985 or a year or so before then, when my brother and I used to have conversations about what we would do on a Saturday if we had no one to support. Of course this morning was a collective kick in the balls for all of us and the time requires a deep breath and some leadership.

But I have taken great heart during the course of today from reading the forums and blogs of people that care about our little club as much as Richard Murray does. Blimey worse things happen at sea, and our club has endured many a worse day than this. It is why we love them, it's that siege mentality.

I'm off for a pop now with 'Lookout' from Charlton Life, we probably need one to be honest and I'll toast Richard Murray because he deserves it and I hope he goes to bed tonight still a proud man. I know I'm proud to be a Charlton Athletic fan. 
  Zabeel deal off It is true that in my time I have woken up to some horrors in the morning but stretching out like a saddo for my Blackberry at 6.15am local time I had an even worse one to add to my list. Just 12 minutes earlier a dreaded 'cafcnews Newsflash' told us the bad news:

"The board of Charlton Athletic plc was informed by Zabeel Investments on Thursday that it will not be proceeding with the proposed acquisition of Charlton Athletic plc.

Zabeel Investments has informed Charlton that the decision not to proceed was taken on the basis that its focus moving forward will be on domestic opportunities in Dubai that complement the current Zabeel Investments portfolio.

This, combined with the current debate around foreign ownership of football clubs and the worsening economic climate in the UK, contributed to the decision by Zabeel to pull out.

Furthermore, Zabeel Investments has made it clear to Charlton that this decision was not made as a result of any discoveries during the due diligence process."

I'm truly not surprised, rarely does anything ever good happen when you support Charlton and since Friday 10th, I've tried desperately hard to be guarded in my reaction to Zabeel's "indicative offer."

However I find it a little odd that Zabeel have pulled out following a clear due diligence citing the global economic situation and the debate on foreign ownership. This has hardly changed in the past 2 weeks, although as I said on here recently I think Dubai is an accident waiting to happen, and this was highlighted in a recent FT report.

It is also true to say that Zabeel have recently been adding quite a lot of foreign investment to their portfolio, I just bloody hope they don't bugger off to another club with their dishdashah's and broken promises because that would be heart breaking.

Without trying to state the bleedin' obvious, this morning's news is a huge blow for the club and Addicks everywhere, we are all gravely in need of a lift. Nevertheless, financially the club is in no different a situation than it was 2 weeks ago and the prudent paying down of short-term debt by the existing directors will mean that other clubs will sadly be ahead of us in the queue for administration. Watch that happen because it ain't going to be pretty.

And you know what? I will be there on Saturday week as will thousands Saturday at home to Burnley who supported this club when it was shit. If the moaners and glory seekers bugger off somewhere else, well then perhaps we can get back to supporting the team, because they sure need it. 
Wednesday 22 October 2008
  Trying to be positive for a minute After the game last night, I wrote the couple of lines below, left the office, jumped on the ferry and went home. My understanding other half asked me how we got on. I said: "Oh, we didn't play, it got postponed." She looked at me strangely and said something about the weather being nice in London at the moment.

I didn't want to think about it. I made my dinner, why she checked the weather channel and then I cited a touch of man flu and went to bed and for once happily dreamt of work. I woke this morning in a better place, it was the next day after all and I was in bed. I don't want to think about it, yer Pards, yer Sheiks, yer misery.

But then because I'm an idiot, I, this morning read the reports on the blogs. Bloody hell, I've either got to jump out of the window or write this:

Wasn't the first 25 minutes encouraging? I listened to the game on Radio Bristol, and the two biased farmers on there were exceptionally complimentary about the way we were moving the ball about and creating chances. Barasso, Brasso, Basso, whatever his name is, was having a stormer and I was willing them on in front of my computer.

Pardew (for once) seemed to set them up from the beginning in an encouraging format. My favourite Moots was back (and by all accounts played well - watch him get dropped Saturday), Cranie moved to play where he should be, we had two central midfielders in central midfield, two wide men, Ambrose supposedly in his most productive position, Varney wide as many have called for and a lone striker who can actually play the role. It was a decent team with a decent bench and we got a very promising first 25 minutes, but then they scored.

Ok, forget about them scoring, and forget about them scoring the 2nd goal too. Forget he took Gray off, and then changed the formation. That first 25 minutes was good wasn't it? It sounded good and I could even hear some cheering!

Our problem, alright one of our problems, I think is that we have not got a goalscorer, although that could be rough injustice on Dickson, Fleetwood and Todorov to be fair. But we created 22 chances, hit the post and had nine corners. That's good isn't it? So where is it going wrong. Are we really this bad? And I have my own views on this, but why can't Pardew motivate the players, nearly all of whom he has signed on good money? 
Tuesday 21 October 2008
  Addicks 0 Bristol City 2 "I think there is going to have to be one or two fresh faces on Saturday, whether that's from inside or outside the squad. I certainly need to get a result for the club.” - Alan Pardew

Sorry for those of you that have come here for a read, but I honestly don't know what to say. And I even listened to it on the radio! Perhaps I'm better off not knowing?

Addick thoughts:; SE3 Addick; All Quiet; Blackheath Addicted; Drinking During the Game; Greenwich Addick; Three voices in the Upper West Stand.
Pardswallop: "Lost our confidence, lost our way, lost ZiZi." Lost the plot.

Brizzle thoughts: "Charlton are a big, big club who were in the Premier League only two years ago, yet we've come here and beaten them in style." - Lee Trundle
In the press: News Shopper; Daily Mail.
Next: Burnley at home Saturday. If there are 20,000+ people there - I'll eat my shorts! 
  Moots is back! The Moots is back! Suddenly an urge of positivism sweeps over my desk. Oops mind that coffee. Varney plays on the right, with Gray up front on his own with Ambrose sat behind. Toddy, Dicko and Josh Wright are three of the substitutes. On paper.... Now to tune into the match commentary. Doh! 
  Uncertainity smells In just 11 days time I will be at the Barnsley game. The Addick world could have changed an awful lot by then. We would have played three games starting tonight at home to Bristol City, then Burnley follow at The Valley on Saturday and then we go to Portman Road a week from today.

November 1st would have been just over 3 weeks since the Zabeel "indicative offer," enough time one would think for the due diligence to have been completed. Will the deal get done or will they walk away due to something they discover or maybe outside forces will drive them into the arms of another club? Who will be our manager in 11 days time? Three defeats would put Pardew under an awful lot of pressure. It is unlikely the board will act with the Zabeel cash offer on the table but by then it could be either in the clubs current account or it could all have seemed like a cruel dream.

The uncertainity is so big I can smell it sat at my computer on an island in the Atlantic. 
Monday 20 October 2008
  Girls show the way I've always taken a passive view to the women's team, I'll look out for the score, just like I do the academy, reserves, the vet's etc but they won't ruin my weekend like Pardew's boys can frequently. I did think that the annulment of the women's team was another horrible PR exercise by the club at a time when patience was really being tested by the board, but did I do anything about it? No, of course I didn't.

However they reformed and under Paul Mortimer in admittedly a mars and venus example, are performing with absolutely huge credit and desire from what I've read. The team got relegated, had half a dozen players but with Morts at the helm now sit proudly 8 points clear of the women's 2nd tier. No tears, no bull, just bloody hard work.

Who else was proud of our girls after reading the Millwall report on the official site this morning? Two sent off, five booked.... just what a Millwall v Charlton game should be about. Are you watching Pards? 
Sunday 19 October 2008
  Cardiff 2 Addicks 0 "The Addicks, who have not won back-to-back games in the Championship since December, 2007, never looked like likely to improve on the dismal record after losing substitute Jose Semedo and skipper Mark Hudson in the second half." - Kent Online

Same old Charlton. That's why we love 'em, eh? Oh. God if it wasn't for the potential Zabeel takeover at the moment I think most of us would be as low as we've been for a long time about the club's future. The next game can't come quick enough but it will be without Semedo and Mark Hudson now both suspended. Watch Pards play Phil Parkinson at right back!

It appeared a decent start for the Addicks but Luke Varney for all his hard work, proved again that he is a long way from an accomplished finisher when again he fluffed our best chance. Ross McCormack scored and the rest was, the same old rest.

Addick thoughts:; Charlton Life; Kings Hill Addick.
Pardswallop: "Tough."
Bluebird thoughts: Dave Jones.
In the press: Kent Online; The Mirror; BBC Sport.
Next: Bristol City at home Tuesday.
Friday 17 October 2008
  From deserts to valley's Back from cloud cuckoo land and onto Wales tomorrow for a bit of a reality check. It will be business as usual for Pards and the boys at Cardiff (yeh, I know sorry to ruin your day,) on Saturday and it'll be interesting to see how the team reacts. Pards said they are "buoyed by the news." and I hope they give us all further cheer as we tilter on the edge of an history changing event.

I'd imagine the potential takeover news has encouraged a few more to make the final journey to the almost a century old Ninian Park. Cardiff plan to start next season across the road at the long delayed Leckwith Athletics Stadium.

As expected there has been few public words spoken this week by either Zabeel or Charlton. I had to laugh at Derek Chappell saying: "I'm not one for using the phrase 'no comment' as I usually have plenty to say in heading up the club, but we have rules to follow in the current situation." Of course mate, we just can't shut you up, can we?

In terms of team news, I have to agree with New York Addick and don't think we will sadly see ZZ again, I'm hoping that Cranie doesn't play otherwise quite a few spots look up for grabs. 
Thursday 16 October 2008
  From Gulf to golf A very enjoyable afternoon at the golf yesterday took my mind of Zabeel for a few hours at least. I used to yearly go and watch The Open and once went to a PGA on the outskirts of Chicago but it's one of those things that I miss, and although the crowds at Mid Ocean were not quite to that size, there were a fair number of people following the four golfers around the course. Having only four golfers - Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman - was strange, as that meant large parts of the course only had the sun and breeze for company whilst the entire crowd hung around the hole that the players were contesting or people bagged that altogether and waited at the '19th hole' and watched events unfold on the television as they made their way to the finish.

Furyk won in a play-off against Harrington, who led by two with seven to play and by one on the final tee much to the disappointment of the bloke stood next to me wrapped in an Irish flag and with a big green hat on his red head.

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is designed for the season's four major winners, but Tiger Woods' injury let in Retief Goosen and Harrington's Open and US PGA double meant another reserve was needed and that reserve was Furyk, who picked up the $600,000 prize*

"I kind of treated the week like I had nothing to lose, I don't go on golf vacations, but it was a little like a golf vacation." said the American afterwards.

After getting to the course, which nestles up against the Atlantic Ocean, I had some lunch with some worky people but then excused myself to walk out to the 12th and from there I followed the golfers back to the 18th, eventually sitting next to the very pretty Mrs Furyk (*call me cynical, but the money may explain it!) and her children on a grassy hillock to watch the players come in. It's gotta to be better than working! 
Wednesday 15 October 2008
  King Edward VII Gold Cup
Back in 1907 to commemorate the 300th anniversery of the first permanent settlement in America at Jamestown, King Edward VII presented the first gold cup to the winner of the celebratory Regatta. His name was C. Sherman Hoyt (I love how Americans do that, I might start calling myself C. Hicago Addick, what do you say?). Anyway after stashing the trophy away in his closet, in 1937 Mr Hoyt presented the gold cup to the Bermuda Royal Yacht Club and an annual event began.

During last week the 60th Edward VII Gold Cup was contested out on Hamilton Harbour just by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club marina. Races were sailed simultaneously each day between 24 skippers and their crews including British Olympic winner Ben Ainslie.

We were lucky enough to be invited out on a catamaran by one of the sponsors to watch the final on Sunday, the weather wasn't the best but with plenty of boats out watching the action, it was a colourful afternoon. A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other in a dual around a short course. Blocking tactics are used as each team makes the very best of the wind and currents

Ben Ainslie sadly got knocked out in the semi-final on Saturday and the eventual winner was the Swede Johnie Berntsson, who beat Kiwi Adam Minoprio in a first to three final.

Tuesday 14 October 2008
  No Whitehand or Chappell "Charlton directors have pulled out of tonight's meeting of the Bromley branch of the Supporters' Club on the advice of bankers Rothschild who are heavily involved in the club's proposed takeover by Dubai-based Zabeel Investments." (more)

However the meeting will still go ahead if your planning on going with Ian Wallis and Ben Hayes hosting an AGM and a Q&A. If you want to attend it will be held at Bickley and Widmore Working Mans club, Tylney Road, Bromley.

UPDATE 10.49am: On Official Site here
  Bad debtors This was the post I had in draft for most of last week, you snooze, you lose, eh?

Have you seen the debt some of (most of) the Premier League clubs are carrying? I know New York Addick believes it, and so do I. One of these big boys is going to go bankrupt sooner rather than later. The game is leveraged by television money, an arbitrary monthly outgoing that many families will be thinking twice about. Falling television receipts will only emphasise club's considerable levels of debt, and believe me when the banks have finished sorting themselves out that debt will not be looking pretty.

So called millionaires, billionaires even are no longer such. Before the entrance of camels on the horizon Charlton very prudently paid down short-term debt, ensuring that banks will ignore us when it comes to withdrawing credit, perhaps it might have forced us into administration? Other clubs lower down the food chain will not be so lucky. How many teams will end this season with a points deduction due to forced upon administration?

As New York Addick points out, many clubs and West Ham are sadly the greatest example are 'backed' by 'funny money' and not real cash. That funny money is not particularly funny anymore. Add in the potential fine due to the Tevez debacle and XL going tits up plus £142 of debt and the Hammers have big problems. However they have the potential, geography, fanbase and history to find a new suitor but do Fulham (£182m in debt) and Middlesbrough (£84.6m in the red) if their current sugar daddies decide to ditch their 'investments'?

Manchester United's debt is seven times that of Bermuda. Recent figures put United's debt at £764m and the Glazer's had to pay £81 million in interest alone last year. Even a dodgy referee is not going to let them get away with that. Chelsea can't even beat Man U in the debt league! They come a close 2nd with a whopping £736m, but then they have Abramovich, who after a bad few weeks at the office is down to his last few billion. Chelsea's debt nevertheless is underwritten by Abramovich at let me see, a slightly better interest rate than those elsewhere in the Premier League.

Liverpool and Manchester United, meanwhile, were taken over or partially bought by American businessmen using a private-equity type model, borrowing heavily to buy the clubs, and then loading them up with the debt. Liverpool's debt is said to be £350m, most of which was due to be refinanced in 2009. The old Kop might well be standing for a few years yet.

The chairman of the FA, Lord Triesman touched a sore nerve among England's top clubs last week, and also I expect raised some unwelcome eyebrows in some of their banks. Some of the other Premier League club's debts are as follows:

Arsenal £318m, but nearly all tied up in the new stadium and those new flats. Oh.
Man City £103m, but soon to be wiped out by petrol dollars.
Newcastle United £69.7m, with the club on the market for £400m with Dennis Wise thrown in for nowt.
Aston Villa £63m but with a rich and seemingly well informed sugar daddy.
Bolton £43m with Eddie Davies looking to sell.
Portsmouth £41m with huge wage bills and an owner running short of money.
Sunderland £35m and big spenders.

A lot of doom and gloom but whatever happens to our beloved Addicks, at least Richard Murray and others have allowed us to walk down to the ground on a Saturday afternoon with our hopes and dreams. Others might not be so lucky.

For excellent up to date news on the football economy, check out The Political Economy of Football. New York Addick of course can be read here
Monday 13 October 2008
  National Heroes Day Monday and no work for me as today is Bermuda National Heroes Day. Yep thank you dear old Dame Lois Browne, the countries first female barrister and first female Attorney General was chosen as Bermuda's 2008 national hero, the first one. Next year Shaun Goater. Only joking. Problem with this holiday is that next year the government has moved the Queen's Birthday, previously another national holiday, to the 2nd Saturday in June. Oh well, think we'll go for a bit of lunch and a massage later. There's a lot of tension in these there shoulders!

Yesterday afternoon we were invited out on a boat to watch the final rounds of the oldest match racing sailing competition in the world. Since 1937 the King Edward VII Gold Cup has been contested out on Hamilton Harbour and Ben Ainslie and others have been racing here all week. It was fun and I'll write more on it and download some photos later in the week.

This is a busy week on the island with the PGA Grand Slam of Golf on Tuesday and Wednesday, today is the practice round. It's being held at the private Mid Ocean Golf Club in Tuckers Town. Padraig Harrington, Trevor Immelman, Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen's are all here and the tournament is only open to the winners of the four major championships. No Tiger unfortunately. Whilst on topic, come on Seve, you can do it.

I will be at the golf on Wednesday and for some unknown reason we have some clients on the island this week, one of whom I'm seeing for dinner tonight, but time for a rub down first! 
Sunday 12 October 2008
  Timeline Not much of note in today's papers about us and Zabeel. The late Friday announcement might have have done for article deadlines in the broadsheets, in fact Millwall fan Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times wrote about debt in football and potential investment but failed to mention us. He did dwell on the Hammers problems though and made me laugh with this:

"I’ve never loathed West Ham United quite as much as I should, for a Millwall supporter. Geographic and demographic proximity, with an ancient contretemps over a dockers’ strike (in which my lot were the blacklegs, I believe) are the supposed causes of our mutual hatred. But I could never work up the requisite level of animus, not when there were those arriv-iste monkeys down the road at Selhurst Park, with their Sainsbury’s superstore, kit appropriated from Barcelona in a magnificently misplaced intimation of greatness."

I think we need to be careful during the next week or two, there will be a of radio silence punctuated by some lazy journalism. I don't expect that there will be a lot more from the club and it will be interesting to see if Derek Chappell and Bob Whitehand attend the Bromley Addicks meeting on Tuesday. If they do, you should go along.

Due Diligence in my experience has scuperred many a deal. Normally over an agreed timescale it allows the purchaser to investigate the company into which it has entered into, in this case "an indicative offer" to make sure everything is as has been proposed. Zabeel will look at the club's assets, it's debts, intellectual capital, contract situations, staffing, transfer records, insurances and verify material facts that Richard Murray et al would have disclosed to Zabeel and their advisors during negotiations.

Equally of course it should provide a great level of comfort for both parties, done wrongly though you get a Mike Ashley and Newcastle United balls up.

On a daily basis newspapers carry stories of takeovers and investments in football clubs. Most are consigned to holding Friday's cod and chips, in our case the offer appears to carry a lot of more weight. 75% acceptance of shareholders is needed to allow the takeover to be agreed. It is thought that the directors hold almost 90% of the total existing shares, so that piece of the puzzle looks a formality.

Hold tight for not much to happen in the next 10-14 days, however spare a thought for the companies employees. Merger and takeover speculation leads to nervousness and instability. Are job's safe, what is the future for members of the first team squad, the coaching staff and dear old tinkerPards? Derek Chappell, Steve Waggott and recently appointed managing director Stephen Kavanagh will all naturally be thinking inward and not outward. I wonder how training will go tomorrow?

Interesting times ahead, God, what an understatement! 
Saturday 11 October 2008
  All Al Burj the gravy train Wow. Yesterday until late afternoon there was no Blackberry service on the island and as I was sat outside a bar tucking into yet another bottle of chilled Sauvignon Blanc, I was pretty oblivious to what was going on at the table next to me, let alone in SE7. I finally poured myself into a taxi at a time I don't recall, got home and went straight to bed. I woke this morning with a humungous headache, loads of of emails, texts and missed calls. I read one, then another but thinking I was hallucinating I stuck my head down the toilet and went back to bed.

Later, well only now yesterday's incredible news in slowly starting to register. Of course I would never make a newspaper reporter, so already the Addick blogging world has reacted whilst I was trying to get the top of the aspirin bottle off.

Pedro45 tells us all we need to know about our potential new owners. All Quiet summarizes the national media's thoughts on Zabeel, From the Hill to The Valley tells us to hold on tight, Deepest Darkest questions Pards' future, Wyn Grant makes me wobble at thought of Charlton being "serious contenders." Blackheath Addick's already waving his dishdashah in the air, CND is dreaming and New York Addick has taken a break from throwing himself out of a Wall St window to write another wistful post on Friday's sensational news.

And what do I think? Well I'm a bit old school and a bit of a worrywart when it comes to our beloved Addicks. I'm happier that the money is coming from Dubai and not Russia, although I only commented on Charlton Life the other day that the hurried growth in Dubai is an accident waiting to happen but the $5 billion private equity company Zabeel Investments doesn't appear to do things by accident.

With the 35-year old Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi as it's leader Zabeel has had a massive impact in Dubai helping transform a emirate that contrary to perception does not have a lot of oil reserves. And recently Zabeel have made some clever investments abroad too taking large financial stakes in Airbus parent company EADS, US hospitality company The Light group and Sony.

So I'm not jumping up and down, not yet anyway and it wouldn't do my sore head any good. Not sure how some people can call yesterday best day in the club's history. Clearly they weren't standing outside Woolwich town hall on a chilly April night in 1991! I'm encouraged that Richard Murray appears happy with the approach and will still be involved at the club, so I'm in the guarded excitement camp but as someone wrote on one of the blogs, "this being Charlton I'm sure that we will find a way to balls it up." Made me laugh anyway. 
Tuesday 7 October 2008
  Sox & Cubs out in a blink So in an effort to remain unbiased, just a quick announcement that the Chicago White Sox are crap too. They were overpowered at home last night by the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 meaning the Rays took the series 3-1 and progress into the final of the American League. The White Sox limped into the play-off's with injuries to Carlos Quentin, Joe Crede and starting pitcher Jose Contreras for the final month or so and according to some just did well to make it, but with Cubs exit the baseball lights have been turned off in the windy city for at least another year.

It is hard to fathom for both sets of supporters that after a 162-game season that starts and ends in almost winter the Cubs lasted just four days in the post season and the White Sox five!

Now the Rays will play the lucky Red Sox for the American League title and in the National League conquerors of the Cubs, the LA Dodgers will play Philadelphia Phillies. Games are best of seven. 
Monday 6 October 2008
  Pink sand A walk along the beach last evening ended a nice weekend. Horseshoe Bay was still quite busy with families sat on the pink soft sands when we went down there for a walk in the sea an hour or so before the dark drew in.

Horseshoe is one of Bermuda's most popular public beaches and it is said to get very crowded in the summer, but around 6pm last night it was beautiful with it's large rocks at either end acting like craggy bookends. The rocks also help make a number of little coves, perfect for paddling whilst staring out at the still Atlantic.

Earlier in the day I'd washed the car and the Vespa, and just after I'd finished and sat back to admire my handy work, the clouds opened. Typical, but the rain disappeared later in the afternoon in time to get some sand in between the toes on what is often said to be one of the world's loveliest beaches
  Addicks 2 Ipswich 1 "Cranie once again failed to show the quality he is supposed to have and capped his underwhelming performance with an own goal. He was rightly withdrawn in favour of Semedo." - Wyn Grant

A welcome win Saturday for the Addicks. I 'watched' us go one ahead via 'live in-game text' on the official site. When I say live, I mean about as live as UKTV Gold +1 television. Fans glued to their radios on Charlton Life told me that Ipswich had pulled the game back and we were unable to assert ourselves after again taking an early lead. Meanwhile had us comfortably winning 1-0. Unfortunately Bermuda is 4 hours behind London and not 4 hours and 15 minutes, what a waste of time. So, with the thought of Super Kev still to enter the game I decided to go out for a cup of coffee.

But later texts from relieved family and friends came through that we had won and for those wishing for another defeat and the fast forward of Pardew's exit, well they must have gone home disappointed. I'm not sure I'd ever go to a game wanting us to lose but there does seem to be an undercurrent of those that at the present are. They for sure were certainly not around in the early 80's.

It was an important win with Varney seemingly benefiting from the presence of Todorov and the side overall performing a million times better with Jose Semedo on the field in the 2nd half, at the expense of Cranie. "Now Cranie has to sweat to see if Semedo gets the nod for the next game." I flippin' hope so Al. Hopefully Nicky Bailey's hamstring will benefit from a two-week break.

Addick thoughts:; Blackheath Addicted; Drinking During the Game; Deepest Darkest; Addicks Championhip Diary; Charlton Athletic Online; From the Hill to The Valley; Charlton North Downs.
Tractor Boys thoughts: TWTD fanzine; Jim Magilton comments.
In the press: South London Press; Kent Online; The Times.
Next: Cardiff in the Welsh Valley's in two weeks time. 
Sunday 5 October 2008
  Online commentary almost Hopefully my letter to Steve Waggott in May helped a tiny bit in the clubs efforts to solve the lack of CAFC live commentaries. I think Waggott needs to be applauded for what was I am sure some careful negotiation in keeping the independence of the official site, yet sourcing the rights from the Football League for games.

The club made an announcement on Thursday when it said the yearly cost will be £34.99 but without a proposed start date. The deal will include highlights and video interviews.

One thing I have to take exception to is that "around 90 per cent of the club's fanbase can tune into BBC LONDON 94.9 and BBC Radio Kent 774 MW to listen to commentary of Charlton games broadcast over the radio." That is certainly not my perception and I wouldn't mind you Kent readers giving me your thoughts on those numbers. 
  100 years of hurt Holy Cow! The Cubbies have flunked again. Why most Americans tuned into Saturday Night Live last night for their comedy, poor Cubs fans watched their beloved baseball team get beat by the Los Angeles Dodgers for the third time in a week. This after going through the whole summer with the best record in the National League with 97 wins. A week later it meant nothing.

Only in Chicago can they sell 30,000 t-shirts proclaiming league title winners (the 6-team Central Division) and then a week later they're confined to gyms and bedtime! It is a 100 years since the Cubs, arguably one of the most famous and best supported baseball teams in the world, won the world series and for Cubs fans last night it might as well be another century before they claim the world series title. Newcastle Utd fans..... you have it so easy!

Cubs lost in LA 3-1 to get swept in the series as they did last year to Atlanta. The summer in the northside of Chicago is over. The snow is coming.

But wait, down at Sox Park at on W 35th St, the sun is still shining as the White Sox beat Tampa Bay 5-3 tonight in game 3 to hang on in the American League series. Game four in tomorrow night. 
Friday 3 October 2008
  Naughty girl
It's pretty quiet on here on a Saturday morning, so a good time to announce that I saw Beyonce live at the Bermuda Music Festival on Thursday night and let's be honest, who wouldn't want to spend a night with Beyonce? The concert was the 2nd night of the annual festival with The Whispers opening it up on Wednesday, UB40 headlined last night alongside Bermuda's own Collie Buddz and tonight Alicia Keys ends the $2.5m extravaganza at the National Stadium.

It was my funky other half who decided that we couldn't let the weekend go without getting involved ourselves so she got us tickets earlier in the week and I tootled along with low expectations. Firstly however I have to say how organised the event was, not to the standards that I have been getting used to that is for sure!

My first visit also to Bermuda's National Stadium. It's in the parish of Devonshire near the capital and the organisers had done a fine job converting it into an outdoor concert arena. We had seats in the first row of the grandstand behind the on-pitch seating, thus avoiding the rain and screaming teenagers in short dresses with high heels sinking into the wet grass.

Call me an old cynic but I expected a shortened show, with some local dancers and a half-hearted effort from a rumoured pregnant Beyonce but nope for 95 minutes she hit every note while she and her dancers shaked their hips. Her band (all women) were excellent and she put on a passionate show and looked absolutely stunning. We had about five costume changes and I'm glad my other half brought her binoculars, even though she never got to use them! It was a great show and certainly a match for Madonna, who we saw a couple of years ago.
Thursday 2 October 2008
  The Chicago L world series? I understand the broad streets of Chicago are awash with Bud Lite and expectation as the city gets stuck into some Baseball play-off action. For the first time in 102 years both the southside White Sox and the northside Cubs made the postseason. Last time they both made the play-offs, in 1906, there were only 45 states!

Chicago as I've often said is absolutely sports crazy and fans there can only dream of a Cubs v White Sox 'world series.' Twice in recent history there has been what they call a 'subway world series.' In 2000 the Yankees and Mets met in New York, and in 1989 the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants contested a Bay area climax. But no disrespect to those sides, a Chicago North v South finale would be far, far bigger, I mean Mets and Yankees fans even like each other and the only excitement in the Bay Area 'world series' of '89 was an earthquake that disrupted the series for 10 days.

The Cubs and White Sox 'L' world series would be fervent bonkers. End off, and I would want to be there. Listen to this quote from Sox manager Ozzie Guillen upon being asked about the prospects of it happening:

"One thing about White Sox fans, they show up and watch the game (a dig at those who are perceived to go to Wrigley for fun, not games). The Cubs haven't won in 100 years, and they're the f****** best. F*** it, we're good. F*** everybody."

But hold on, both sides have to get there. Cubs are favoured but they lost their first game of the National League Divisional Series last night to the LA Dodgers. Plus they have the famous hoodoo where just about every black cat and witch comes out in Chicago and puts the 100-year curse on them. The Sox, who got a wild card, play Tampa Bay tonight. Having the Tampa Bay Rays in the play-off's is like Charlton qualifying for the Champions League.

The other best-of-five Divisional Series play-off games are: Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels (who had the regular season's best record) and the Milwaukee Brewers v Philadelphia Phillies. The Brewers are so close to Chicago the people that live there think they're Chicagoans, it's almost like having a third windy city team in the play-offs! Ooh, my mates from Milwaukee will love that!! 
  The Grand Canyon Think I need to lighten the mood on these pages, so let me tell you it was over 4 months ago since we had a day at the Grand Canyon but honestly if it been 40 years ago my memories of that day wouldn't have diminished any. This was the same trip that we visited Palm Springs, the Joshua Tree National Park, Las Vegas and the red rocks of Sedona and also *sits up proud* the day I flew an airplane. That was later in the day back to Sedona though, flying into the Grand Canyon's West Airport terminal early morning I only had one thing on my mind, and that was to take as many photographs as possible of one of the most amazing natural icons on the planet.

The Grand Canyon is an overwhelming experience and superlatives often fail to do the landscape justice. I will write this and hopefully you will read it but please promise me that you will actually go there yourself. For those who don't know, the Grand Canyon is a massive canyon carved over several million years, six by most estimates, by the 1,450 mile long Colorado River as it cut through layer after layer after layer of rock as the gigantic Colorado Plateau was lifted up.

It is not the world's deepest canyon, that title belongs to Cotahuasi Canyon in Arequipa, Peru but the Grand Canyon is far more famous due to its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. Geologically it is significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon.

5 million visitors come ever year to stare at the jagged elevations and blindingly beautiful layers of rock. The canyon's elevations range from as high as 9,000 feet to the banks of Lake Mead at just over 2,000 feet. Our guide took us to the West Rim. After landing we immediately got into a helicopter and flew a mile deep into the canyon itself. Soaring vertically down, it was an incredible experience. At the river's edge we jumped onto a pontoon boat and caught our breaths. We spent about 20 minutes floating down the Colorado River in between gold and red cliffs. The silence was as golden as some of the rocks.

Also at the West Rim is the fairly new (opened in March, 2007) Sky Walk (right) and at 4,000 feet above sea level it wildly claims to be higher than any skyscraper in the world. You know I love skysrapers so I couldn't resist paying the $30 to walk on it. No cameras are allowed but official photograhers are happy to take photos, of course they are, which by coincidence you can buy in the shop. The Sky Walk was commissioned and is owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe and it caused much consternation at the time, but an indian's got eat, right? And blimey looking at the ones trying to sell their cliché-ridden Wild West crap to tourists, they sure do like the odd burger. It is a fact that one quarter of people that live on most Indian reservations suffer from diabetes, brought on by obesity.

The Sky Walk was just about worth it. Horseshoe shaped it protrudes 65 ft beyond the edge of the canyon facing what is called Eagle Point (left). Hurricane and earthquake proof the walls and floor are built from 4 inch thick glass and no more than 120 people are allowed on the semi-circular walk at anyone time. I have to say that quite a few scratches were already visible on the glass floor when we were there, so make sure you have lunch after as we did in the Sky Walk Cafe, hideously touristy but the grub wasn't bad.

Unlike the South and North Rim, Grand Canyon West is not part of the Grand Canyon National Park. We literally flew in and flew out of the Grand Canyon but many thousands camp each night at the North and South Rim. Before you attempt any of these though seek advise as in a lot of areas hiking is discouraged and permits are needed for camping. Whilst the West Rim is only accessible by a 12 mile dirt track, the South Rim is much easier to get to and has the most amenities, including hotels and lodges. Watch for heavy traffic in the summer months and the freak weather that I endured the last time I was there in the 1990's.

The North Rim does not have the transport options that the South does, but a seasonal shuttle does run between the two. For the adventurous whitewater rafting, mule riding, elk and mountain lion spotting, cycling, hiking and running are especially popular and there are many overlooks accessible by car for those even more lazy than me. There is a less known East Rim too, this has a lower elevation and a scenic drive. Visitors there can actually look into the canyon up close as opposed down from high. Plan your trip though, whether it is a plane or helicopter day trip or a longer stay, this place is so vast but so unforgiving.

Before we headed back on our plane to Sedona, we spent a few hours exploring the rocks and gazing at it's magnificent chasms, vistas and ravines. Stare at the rocks long enough, its shapes and it's colours and you'll start to see faces and animals. I thought it bull as well, but look again. At first freaky, then friendly and finally amazing. It was a monumental day for a monumental thing. The Grand Canyon is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It is better than that, it is a superstar of the natural world. 
Wednesday 1 October 2008
  Palarse 1 Addicks 0 "That was bad. Very bad." - my brother walking out of the ground last night

There isn't much I can add to the reports on blogs circling around last night and today. I had the displeasure of listening to Palace Radio, and during the 2nd half the scissors sat on my desk were becoming an attractive option.

It is easy to be brought down by the euphoria of a defeat that for the majority of us is the game we most want to win each season. However Pardew is rapidly losing or has already lost the fanbase, and I'd imagine in particular almost all of the 2,700 who were at Sellout last night for what has been described as a gutless performance.

Pardew paints very pretty pictures of pre and post games with words, I'd rather he concentrate on motivating the team, we don't need to be motivated. I was digging up weeds on The Valley pitch when he was playing in tight shorts at Palarse and I will be a Charlton fan until my dying day, while he will no doubt be writing bullshit human behaviour books - nah, stick your bloody words up your arse Pards. Concentrate on the team, motivate them, not us because actions speak louder than words.

Addick thoughts: Drinking During the Game; Kings Hill Addick; All Quiet.
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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