Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Wednesday 31 December 2008
  Happy New Year The last five New Years Eve's have been spent in the freezing cold of Chicago. I miss Chicago, I really do but do I miss the winters? Now that would be pushing it. The weather here tonight is supposed to be fair and about 60°F, and I will put on my newly acquired monkey suit from M&S (my old one has appeared to have shrunk) and head to the Hogmanay Ball in town.

This time last year I asked lots of questions of myself. I ask less questions today which I think is a good thing, although my agreement to support the same football team as my Dad does give raise to some serious examination.

Life in Bermuda is enjoyable. Work is thoroughly more challenging, but life outside of the office is unhurried and restful. Ok, you got me, Bermuda is not a bad place to hang out for a couple of years but I worry about not knowing what is around the corner. Well I do and I don't because it thrills me too. I just want to slow time down a little.

Looking ahead speeds time, living for the moment slows it down. Enjoy tonight whatever you are doing and all the very best to you and your loved ones for 2009. 
  Parkinson made permanent On the official site. No surprise to me.

"I've been greatly impressed by Phil's motivational skills, and with Mark Kinsella and Phil Chapple, both of whom have Charlton running through their veins, supporting him, we feel they are capable of doing the job that is required.

The board will also provide as much support as possible, and it's clear that we need to look at bringing a number of players, maybe three or four, to the club as soon as possible."

We firmly believe the cash that is available needs to be used on the pitch, not on a very expensive management restructure."

I feel greatly let down, it may provide some stability to the bunch of underperforming players we have, although the make up of the squad may look very different come the end of January. But only 16 league games remain after then, and surely our time will be up.

It is plainly and simply all about the money. One can read into the statement a bit too much but "and has huge Football League experience" tells me enough of the board's ambitions. There is also no mention of Parky's contract length.

The board planned to do this along, didn't they? We've been mugged. A 'Strategic Review?' More like a comedy review. 
  Ambrose back I have a mate on the island here who was a season ticket holder at Portman Road until he came to Bermuda around about the same time as me. From what he has heard and seen he will not be surprised to see Jim Magilton fail to offer Ambrose a contract. "What have you done to him, he's a shadow of the player that left in 2003." he told me recently.

Well we've got him back. Probably the most frustrating player to wear a red shirt in recent seasons, and blimey that's a long list. Remarkably he is still only 24. Well we need some goals, he can provide them if positioned properly. I think we all thought we'd never see him again, wonder what Darren thinks. Inspired or dejected?

And our next opponents Nottingham Forest are set to name Billy Davies as their next manager. We know what that means. 
  Waiting "As there can be no further changes to the playing squad until the transfer window opens on January 1st, and as Phil and his coaching and backroom staff know the players, it is our view to give Phil a run up until the end of the year, when there will be a strategic review of the position, We have been very busy behind the scenes, and there has been plenty of interest in the position but Phil - with the support of former Charlton players Mark Kinsella and Phil Chapple - knows the demands of the Championship and is stamping his own managerial style on the team during this interim period.” - Richard Murray 12/12/08

Empty words? Misguided optimism? A load of old bull?

I'm loathe to criticise Richard Murray because without him and two or three others we wouldn't have anything to moan about, but come on, this is getting ridiculous. Ok, so you and the anonymous Derek Chappell can't agree and you don't have any faith in Steve Waggott, but for heaven's sake say something, help us understand, don't treat us like fools. Has Phil Parkinson stamped his managerial style on the players? Is he the man to keep the club up? Have you been following up on other candidates? What are the timelines? How's that Strategic Review going?

Inspire us, give us something to hold onto. 
Tuesday 30 December 2008
  Christmastime Whoosh, there it was gone. Actually being at home for 10 days meant that I actually benefited from having a proper long Christmas. Not just working on Christmas Eve, a rush of presents, food and booze and then back to the office two days later.

Being home for Christmas was great, there was a lot of driving, late nights and early mornings and sad goodbyes, but I'm glad we did it as it's given us some fond memories, at least until the next time.

Initially we were in deepest Essex, well Hornchurch really, then we spent a couple of days in town and in particular around my brother's manor, London Fields near Hackney. London Fields itself is almost 500 years old and includes a Lido and a BMX track. It's cycle path runs from pretty much my brother's place to the lively Broadway Market. The food market on Saturday morning was perfect to blow away a night's excesses and lying next to the Regents Canal it is a great spot for a stroll. And just 10 minutes into Liverpool St station, it was a convenient base.

One day I had the pleasure of meeting an old mate for lunch who took me to Sweetings Restaurant in the city. The restaurant describes itself as "probably the oldest fish and oyster restaurant in London," certainly it had much elegant charm, as did the Polish lady who served us our lunch (the skate was fantastic) at our very own mahogany counter. That night my brother took us to Shoreditch House, as contrasting an experience as you can get in one day. That was a great 24 hours.

I found myself drawn to Harvey Nichols more than once, as did my credit card. The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (below) was ace and just around the corner from the Mandarin Oriental where we spent a night after dinner with some friends. Then on Sunday night we were at the Oxford Ice Rink watching proud-other-half's niece in an ice skating show. Caffeine was the order of the day let me tell you. Monday into Covent Garden and a drink in the Punch and Judy, that gaff hasn't changed and nor have the customers since I was last in there about 20 years ago.

My 2nd curry of the trip after the traditional Essex one was Monday night in Chislehurst, a jolly night out with some old friends, and then Tuesday Wagamamas, the "red snapper will make you purr like a pussy cat," said our excitable waiter. I had the Teppan. And then Tuesday night I picked my son up and Christmas really got started. His face Christmas morning as he stared at the snowy footsteps and half eaten strewn carrots in my other half's sister's living room was a treat to behold.

Christmas Day in a little village in Oxfordshire, Boxing Day in a little village in East Sussex, it didn't snow but it had everything else. 
Monday 29 December 2008
  2008 animated An animated look at the American year by the clever Jib Jab brothers. Click here to watch
  Blades 3 Addicks 1 What happens now? Do the board wait until Friday to start the 'Strategic Review?' 3 points from a possible 24, stretched over a season that is 18 points, 8 less than an all club league record!

Desperate times call for sane and rational measures. Appointing Parkinson will send two messages. One that we have accepted relegation and two that the board loses all credibility and walks away with the most comical club of 2008 award.

The vast majority of Addicks were willing Parky to succeed, perhaps just one win might have swung it his way and there has been signs of improvement, but when Parkinson took the reigns on November 22nd, we were flirting with the bottom three, now at year-end we are 5 points adrift of safety. Our win to lose ratio for the remaining 20 games puts us in an almost impossible position. The board have allowed us to throw away 5 winnable games whilst they faff around deciding what to do. Enough.

Yesterday we again showed promise for half a game. we got our noses in front, but were unable to keep a clean sheet again (there has been only 4 in 27 games this season). Then again in the second half Parkinson did not have the ingenuity to overcome the opposition or alter our tactics. An argument says that the players are utter rubbish and even Sir Alex could not improve them. Really? I don't buy it.

Paul Jewell resigned today, probably with one eye on the job at Forest. Will Forest and Derby have new managers whilst the Charlton board write the agenda for the 'Strategic Review?'

At Bramall Lane: Charlton Life
Saturday 27 December 2008
  Addicks 2 QPR 2 The last leg of our Christmas tour is at the village of my parents home in Wannock near Eastbourne in East Sussex. Currently everyone bar me is asleep in front of the television, a long tradition in our family that is not solely a Christmas custom. Later this evening we will embark on another Chicago Addick family ritual - we will go the pub. No doubt my poor weary other half will at some point in the evening be forced to listen to my family debate the villainous state of our beloved football club.

As we walked through the door yesterday carrying gifts and smiles we were greeted by groans. Dexter Blackstock had just put QPR 2-1 up. We came back of course, nearly lost it, nearly won it but another draw and it was back to the bottom of Division 2, with the ghostly whispers of Division 3 getting louder in our ears.

I have been absent from these pages for the entire Christmas period because frankly I was having too much of a good time to seek out a computer terminal. One day last week I actually walked into an internet cafe on The Strand but any sign of creativity and constructive positiveness deserted me as soon as I dug some loose change out of my pocket.

Tomorrow whilst I'm flying out over the Atlantic Ocean we will be at Sheffield United trying to close the year out by matching the 53-year record of the most games without a win. By all accounts our second half performance yesterday was spirited but Phil Parkinson will probably be the first ever manager of anything to be given a job whilst incontestably failing to inspire any results whatsoever. The board will be collectively praying for a chink of light tomorrow at Bramall Lane as I suspect they are desperate to appoint him next week as our full time manager, this despite there still being various options of other managerial candidates either out of work or in clubs where compensation would not be exhaustively suffocating.

Personally I would rather us spend money on obtaining a new manager than on some second rate loan or desperate signing in the January window. A well thought out sensible long term appointment is not just for Christmas unlike some of the pointless loan players we have wearing our shirt.

I find it hard to knock Parkinson, to me his only crime was being part of the 'team' that oversaw the shambles that went before. However a bloody new broom is needed as one of the worst years in Charlton history comes to an end. Has the board got the stomach and balls for it? Can any two of them agree? I don't think so.

Mixed reviews from long suffering Addicks: A Red Divided; Charlton Athletic Online; Kings Hill Addick; Deepest Darkest; Blackheath Addicted; Drinking During the Game; Doctor Kish.
Parky: "We looked like a team in the bottom three but in the second half we looked like a team who were in the top half of the table and we were excellent." 
Friday 26 December 2008
  Festive rock Oh bollocks, have we another game today? I was having such a nice time to.

Out from under my festive rock this morning but back in the car in a minute. Be back soon. Come on you rip roaring goalscoring Addicks.... I must stop taking these hullicinating man-flu Sudafeds. 
Thursday 18 December 2008
  Lets be havin' you We left the blue skies of Bermuda last night for the greyer ones of London. Greyer but more Christmassy, even though the Bermudians get very into the Christmas spirit. Trees and decorations adorn the streets (see photo top right) but spotting large inflatable snowmen on lawns outside houses was kind of weird.

The flight last night probably rates as one of my worst ever. Kids outnumbered adults two to one and the plane resembled a postnatal ward. I can still hear the crying and wailing. I'm over in Hornchurch at a mates and have had a quiet day ready for a couple of lagers tonight. I did pop out to Roy's Pie & Mash shop for lunch though. Yummy.

So Christmas has started for us, we are here for 10 days and by my calculation we will sleep in 7 different beds! I'm looking forward to it though and I'm trying to work out if I can get to Norwich on Saturday, I'm not gathering much succour from my comrades however. I'm willing to go it on my own but I have to be back in the west end Saturday night, if I don't get to Carrow Road, then it will be the first trip home mid-season that I've not taken in a game.

Bermuda's useless for shopping unless you are buying a watch, sand in a bottle or a bottle of rum, so I plan a bit of shopping in town although the internet has been a godsend this time around. I did pop into Woolworths today, pick n' mix 20% off? Very sad. 
  250,000 I feel immensely proud. Some time yesterday afternoon around 2pm Bermuda time someone clicked on here to read my lastest epistle and unwittingly became my 250,000th page view, or hit. I remember stumbling across All Quiet in the East Stand in the late Spring of 2004 on a very slow dial-up computer in an apartment I used to live in Chicago and thinking, "wow this is my artery to SE7."

No more having to wait for lazy journalists to decide to update their websites, no more frequent long distance calls to mates, this was Daily Charlton news and opinion at a click of a mouse. And I joined in.

1,408 posts later and a lot has happened to me and to our beloved team but I'm still here, you're still here and thankfully the Addicks are too, if not quite in the same place as before, but then again nor am I. Thanks to everyone for making these pages part of your routine. 
Wednesday 17 December 2008
  Park City, Utah In 1847 Brigham Young led the first band of Mormon pioneers from Illinois, where they were mistreated and misunderstood to Salt Lake City and the state of Utah. At this time Utah was in the hands of the Mexicans and there wasn't much here apart from barren deserts and stunning mountains, but this was exactly what the Mormans were looking for so they could practice their religion without interference and persecution.

150 years later and there still isn't a lot here with vast parts of the state uninhabited. 80% of Utah's population live along the Wasatch Front, centering around the state capital, Salt Lake City and it is here that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has it's headquarters.

In the late 19th century over 70,000 Mormon's were said to have come to Utah, but later the construction of the first transcontinental railroad and the precious metal mining boom brought many others and economic growth. Nowadays summer and winter outdoor recreation is the major reason why people visit the Wasatch Range, the most populated area of the 13th largest state in America and a long, narrow mountainous stretch running from the north to the middle of the state.

In 2002 Salt Lake City proudly hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, commonly regarded as one of the most successful in recent times and the area has high hopes that it might be selected again in the future. And it was the Olympic Slalom and Freestyle Mogul course that took me to Deer Valley recently, well not really but Ski Magazine had voted this the best ski resort in the US for 3 out of the 4 years so it had a lot to live up to.

Deer Valley is just a short drive from the nearby artsy Park City and was originally used for skiing by the mining community (many of the runs are named after the old silver mining claims) but was only developed into a resort in 1981 by an American ski enthusiast called Edgar Stern. He died recently but he would have been very proud of the legacy that he has left behind.

A few things stand Deer Valley out from other ski resorts. They prohibit snow boarders, they groom the snow every night from the minute the lifts shut until they re-open in the morning, there are over 500 snow cannons making manmade snow scattered around the 99 runs and the resort limits the amount of lift passes sold each day to avoid overcrowding.

Overcrowding wasn't much of an issue for us, the odd 'B celeb' aside, taking part in the annual Celebrity Skifest outside our hotel. Hardcore skiers were sensibly waiting for the odds to improve on the snow, and the Sunday was dead, something to do with 60% of the state being Mormon, but it was perfect for us. I once again had lessons each day and was happy to bound around the bunnies and greens. A more zealous skier would have got bored with only 6 runs open however.

Six mountains make up the resort, with the highest elevation being Empire at 9,510 feet and the total ski acreage is over 2,000. Boredom would not be an option later in the season I can assure you. All around the resort are tiny lodges and villages full of ski shops, accommodation, cafes and restaurants. The lunch facilities at both Snow Park and Silver Lake were excellent and not overly pricy. The Mariposa restaurant nestled within the Silver Lake Lodge was superb and we ate the best meal we've had since leaving Chicago. The house special Sablefish dish was to die for.

We stayed in the Stein Eriksen Lodge named after the, I was going to say famous but I'd never heard of him, Norwegian skier and gold medalist called funny enough, Stein Eriksen. For 50 years Eriksen has lived in the US, and has made Utah his home and although the hotel carries his name and flaunts about, no exaggeration, 250 framed photographs and artwork of him, he doesn't have any ownership in the business. The hotel does have an impeccable position perched on the mountain just a short downhill ski from numerous ski lifts.

Fireplaces burn away in every nook and our second room was very hospitable (our first room was shit and we asked to move), and the Glitretind Restaurant (named after a, er famous mountain in Norway) served good breakfasts and a fine meal one night we were there. But.... you knew there was going to be a but didn't you? The service in the hotel, the restaurant, the bar, the concierge was absolutely shocking.

The hotel did run free shuttles every half hour though into Park City, which I liked. Park City was a mining town containing some of the richest silver mines in the world. Between the death of the mines and the birth of skiing Park City was a ghost town, but not anymore and as a constant reminder there are over 1,000 miles of silver mine workings below the slopes at Park City and Deer Valley.

Actually beyond Main Street in Park City there isn't an awful lot to gawp at, outdoor malls and mountains aside, but at 7,500 feet above sea level Main Street represents a nice amble amongst boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and bars.

Phoenix Gallery is located in a beautiful building showing contemporary work, sadly the Park City Museum (middle of photo left) was closed for renovation when we were there but the Egyptian Theater has a packed calendar of interesting performances and has been here since 1922, and although this building looks slightly out of place the remainder of Main Street still retains that look of an old mining town.

We had a fabulous meal in a restaurant called Purple Sage. Beautifully decorated, this old 1895 telephone exchange was cozy and intimate and the food superb. By the way regarding the bars, Utah is not a dry state but many strange and antiquated laws exist. Most of the bars on Main Street can only sell alcohol to 'members.' Once in a bar, you will be offered membership on an annual basis or just weekly, it's normally only about $3 to $4 to 'join.' Restaurants can serve booze because they are providing food but watch for some hotel bars or cafes that insist that you eat as well as drink, not ideal if you're about to go somewhere else for dinner!

The main annual event and for what Park City has become synonymous for is the Sundance Film Festival, which takes part every January. Robert Redford, who lives at the Sundance Resort began this coming together of independent filmakers and actors in 1978 and it is grown beyond recognition. For 10 days as I understand it, Hollywood and it's entourage comes to the slopes and venues such as the Egyptian Theater and the Park City Library are used and 200 films are shown.

A free Trolley bus runs up and down for what seems the whole day and a ski lift can take you from the bottom of Main Street up to the ski resort (snowboarding is allowed here). Main Street provides a much better après-ski experience than Deer Valley, if like me you yearn for that cold beer after a day twisting and turning your legs and hips into positions they are usually unaccustomed.

Deer Valley may have been voted the number 1 resort, and perhaps to the aficionados it is fully deserved. I actually preferred Beaver Creek in Colorado, and to be honest the service in the hotel did countenance this, but even so Deer Valley is a beautiful resort and Park City is a sophisticated and charming town. 
Tuesday 16 December 2008
  Dicko asks for move No surprise to hear that Chris Dickson has put in a transfer request. The board taking advice from Parky and Kinsella I presume have accepted it. I never saw him play really, a couple of late substitute appearances aside and I think his lack of finesse and also that rather hushed up accident in a hotel lobby before an away game at Stoke last January, has put pay to his Charlton career.

Addicks' fans talked of a natural goalscoring machine in the Ian Wright mold, well maybe the jump he made from Dulwich Hamlet in the 8th tier of the league pyramid to us was too far. A small fee perhaps to a lower level side and I have no doubt he will be a success. Doncaster Rovers below us on goal difference maybe tempted with a bid however. I hope not.

Meanwhile Martyn Waghorn has extended his loan from managerless Sunderland to January 17th, coincidently announced just hours before Dickson put in his transfer request. 
Monday 15 December 2008
  Charlton 2 Rams 2 My heads probably not in the right place to post anything constructive after that heart-wreching goal by Nathan Ellington well after the 4 minutes of injury time, which was a fucking joke in the first place.

The Charlton team did fill me with pride and encouragement tonight, as did the noisy Covered End but Derby's late goal was a killer blow, more to our confidence than our hopes of staying up. My normal pessimistic state of mind when it comes to all things Charlton was giving way to some good vibes in those last 10 minutes when we used the ball well and were defending stoutly. Grant Basey looked disconsolate at the end.

In what has to be a much improved performance, one that wasn't pretty but combative and organised it was devastating not to win though. 3 points would have been a massive gorilla off our backs approaching Christmas. However there are more battles to be fought and trying to stay positive the general look of the team was far better. I liked Gray and Waghorn up front together, Sam had a good game and avoided drifting into the middle.

The back two gave an excellent performance and practiced safety first and Elliot looked very assured and perhaps could have got to that ridiculous penalty, but I'm not knocking the boy, he did well as did Cranie.

We missed better than good chances however and bloody sods law, who has it's own chapter on Charlton hit us on the back of the head hard after Bouazza's two opportunities, one a sitter and although I thought we may have got away with it after the disallowed goal, we didn't.

Oh, and how rubbish was Varney tonight? Or should I say, how same as always was Varney tonight?

We were outnumbered by Derby fans in the pub and had to endure the game on the big screen from an internet feed. Horribly parts of the last 20 minutes were in slow motion as the website lost it's signal. God, the things we have to put up with. Mind you, it was great to see the team live again.

The burden now falls to Parkinson to raise the team, they certainly gave everything for him tonight. Listen to this interview, Parky sounds like he might have done a bit of shouting! 
  Manic depressives The fledgling unofficial Bermuda Addicks supporters club will take to the pub later today to watch the game. Derby's record recently is only marginally better than ours with Paul Jewell perhaps under more pressure to win the game than Phil Parkinson, this despite the Rams run to the Carling Cup semi-finals.

Derby are arguably in more dire straits than we are financially, although their attendances have been holding up pretty well, but then again officially ours have been too.

I was calling for the side tonight to be made up of Charlton contracted players, I doubt that will be the case though with Gillespie and Burton probably starting. Waghorn's loan ends tonight, so is it really worth seeing him start?

Meanwhile just for you statto's and manic depressives I believe our worst ever sequence of games without a win in a season was in 1998/99 in our first season in the Premier League - 13 games. Ok, I'll get my coat. 
Saturday 13 December 2008
  Parky life "We, as a board and a football club, now need to bring back the pride, passion and performance levels that sustained us through our darkest days and then took us to the Premier League that will ensure we maintain our Championship status come the end of the season.” - Richard Murray

A Saturday not ruined. How nice. Somehow waking up this morning to the world didn't appear so troubling. The board then have publicly stated that they will give Phil Parkinson until "at least the start of 2009." This at least prevents a game by game pressure on the caretaker and his players. Four more games will have given Parky 8 in total until his name heads an agenda the board are calling a "strategic review." Hopefully something more strategic may come out this review than the one announced in August 2007.

Richard Murray and the board are clearly hoping there won't be a need to replace Parkinson. I reckon they are desperate for him get the players motivated and start to turn our season around and although outwardly the results have not shown any changes at all, I have to presuppose that privately they have been impressed in his efforts to try to reform a hugely underperforming and demoralized squad of overpaid panzies.

I remain sceptical of Parkinson's ability to turn our dreadful situation around but equally I don't particularly like our other options either and for one am willing to at least support him into the new year. Just don't ruin my Christmas son.

So today has been a more pleasurable one, a bit of shopping, had my haircut and tonight we are off down the road to one of our friends' house for dinner.

It is the t'season after all and Utah's snowy slopes have made me very Christmassy, and Wednesday night we head home to see friends and family for Christmas in the UK. I also have my son on Christmas Day for the first time in 5 years. Talking to him yesterday he is just about hanging on to Santa Claus and spending a day this week at Lapland UK at Bewl Water in Lamberhurst has dampened his suspicions, but probably I expect for the final year of his short life.

Skiing, work and Christmas has meant I've been out every night for about 3 weeks. I'm bloody knackered but I imagine when I'm spending December nights at home watching soaps and doing Sudoko my life will have become one I'm not too excited about. For a couple of night's this week I had my old Chicago boss on the island. He took a gamble on bringing me to Chicago and I thoroughly enjoyed his support and friendship for the five years we worked together and it was great to spend some time with him again this week.

Last night we had the continuation of our indoor football team's Christmas lunch causing a bit of havoc around town. In the spirit of Christmas my company have banned departmental Christmas lunches and general fun, so I will dig into my own pocket and take my guys out for a couple of dark n' stormy's on Tuesday. And Monday of course is always a bad day to wake to the shrill of the alarm and I'm sure to be twice as peevish when I climb out of bed and think about the day's prospects. 
Wednesday 10 December 2008
  Addicks 1 Cov 2 "All I'll say is that (chairman) Richard Murray and the board have worked tooth and nail to get this club in the position it is in. We have the responsibility as a group to keep it there, but it's fairly obvious change needs to happen." - Phil Parkinson

Not an awful lot to add from this end on last night's dismal display. My only saving graces are that a) I no longer have a season ticket and b) I live 3,500 miles away and therefore am not forced to troop along like others. Although amazingly over 6,000 season ticket holders decided to stay at home last night.

I feel the pain though deep inside me. What is happening to our club is close to an atrocity. I still reckon that the season has plenty of time left in it, for us not to be resigned to relegation. However we are only headed one way at the moment, and the brakes ain't working.

I wrote the other day how I don't like all this loan stuff. Nothing against these individuals, but if this useless lot are to join the record books as the worst Charlton team in almost 30 years, then at least let the record books show that they were our flippin' players, and not borrowed from some other club. Really, honestly what is their vested interest in our future. Fans of football clubs, once they are out of pubescence realise that football players (generally) are only borrowing the shirt, for it is us that are married to this rollercoaster for life. So explain to me what pain Waghorn, Burton, Primus, McEveley, Bouazza, Crainie and Gillespie are feeling right now?

Frankly whatever team dear old Parky picks out of the hat on Monday evening, I'm expecting tosh anyway, but at least to give me some pride and consolation, let us see a young home-grown Addicks team selected around the more experienced Hudson, Fortune, Holland and Todorov. They can't be any worse. 
Tuesday 9 December 2008
  Flight to dereliction I will be on a plane or two later this evening when the loyal and hardy will be gathering at a stunned Valley. I guess if I was that way inclined I would turn my back from 4,000 miles and not worry about Charlton's plight and just think about something else. But I can't, Charlton fans are made of sterner stuff, although I can foresee that many thousands of others could be joining me in infrequent visits to The Valley if our flight to dereliction continues.

Personally, and its easy for me to say, I'd rather be at games at the moment, there is something slightly less hopeless being there than hearing of abjectness second hand. I went on record that I'd give Parkinson until Christmas to stabilise our slide and put us back onto the right path. He has had 3 games with another 3 to follow. Bottom at Christmas does not statistically have the same impact in tier 2 than it does in The Premiership, despite how deperate the situation might be.

40 applicants were said to have applied for the vacant manager's job, one we assume is the incumbent. I don't believe the job was advertised but Waggott, Chappell and Murray need to be carefully studying those applications because we have to hope that somewhere amongst them is a miracle worker. 
Monday 8 December 2008
  Real snow Our last day in Deer Valley has began with snow, the first of the fluffy stuff to fall in this part of Utah for a week. Just 6 of the 99 runs have been open (which is plenty for me) and 85% of the powder has been man-made, so the locals will have given a huge sigh of relief this morning when they drew their curtains. 300 inches of snow will fall here in the Wasatch mountains by the time the season ends though.

I'm resting my aching legs this morning and so am sat in the hotel, which could pass as a Swiss Alpine lodge, looking out onto deserted mountains being dusted by new snow. I do miss seeing the fresh snow drift to the ground and it is making me homesick for Chicago, but hey what gives, I'll be back in the 70 degree warmth of Bermuda tomorrow night.

The hotel has been very quiet despite the best efforts of the staff to talk it's occupancy rate up. Even the weekend's 'celebrity skifest' didn't appear to do much for trade. Just about scraping the 'b list' of celebrities were hairdresser Paul Mitchell, ER's Gloria Reuben and actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but they were hardly being chased by autograph hunters. A non-discreet member of staff told me yesterday that the hotel has had a lot of cancellations. The plus side is that group ski lessons have been private ones and the queues for ski lifts non-existent.

I've really enjoyed my skiing this year, although I preferred Colorado's Beaver Creek in a number of ways. Whilst lying flat down in the snow the other day I did chuckle to myself. Why has it taken me into my early 40's to start learning how to ski, golf and play tennis? What an earth was I doing the last 20 years! 
Sunday 7 December 2008
  Blackpool 2 Addicks 0 Good news. We got our luggage. Bad news. I ate quite a bit of snow yesterday. Sad news. Have you seen the ruddy league table. This is a desperate time in Charlton Athletic's history and it beggars believe to how far we have fallen. Many years ago we used to say to each other that it was Leicester City that we wanted to emulate. Hang on, one can wish for too much.

Even at the beginning of last season, the hope for our future was palpable. We were told we had the most technically gifted squad and that we were going to play ourselves out of this division, well what the fu*k happened? This year has truly been a horrible one for us Addicks.

The 1979/80 season ranks as the worst I have witnessed in 33 years of supporting Charlton, from memory we had some half decent players around in those days - Walker, Hales, Johns, Powell, Robinson but we had bloody awful ones too (although they were at least 'ours'). We couldn't buy a win that season and not from the want of trying, we were simply not good enough, and as a parallel to now there was some managerial chopping and changing too during that lamentable season.

If we don't win on Tuesday night it will equal our record from that 79/80 season of 12 games without a win. It's a hopeless situation we dramatically find ourselves in, and people say that teams have "that look," well Parkinson, anyone, please take it away. 
Friday 5 December 2008
  Anniverseries Still no bloody luggage, and to think I had to have a row with the numpties at Bermuda airport to stop them wrongly charging us excess baggage! So no skiing but a relaxing day mooching around the very distinctive Park City. As someone said to us earlier "3ft of snow and we'll be all set." The Deer Valley resort opens officially tomorrow and "several runs" are planned to open with it and all day we have watched the snow cannons attempt to create more snow high in the mountains.

Tonight we went to the cinema (it's in the top 3 of things I miss in Bermuda) and saw Quantum of Solace (less gadgets, more killings, twice the action). We went for dinner and a couple of beers afterwards.

It was kind of ironic having a beer tonight in America's most conservative state when it comes to alcohol as today is 75 years to the day that the state of Utah ratified the 21st Amendment to the Constitution and thus ended prohibition. I celebrated with a couple of Unitah Cutthroat Pale Ales, not bad and I am sure tastier than moonshine!

Of course today cannot pass without mentioning another anniversery, 16 years ago today - get in there Walshie! 
Thursday 4 December 2008
  Travelling light We are on the shuttle driving out of Salt Lake City and without our luggage, so there won't be much skiing happening tomorrow!

Our flight from Bermuda to Boston was three hours late leaving and obviously we sped from gate to gate at Logan Airport just making our connection but our bags and ski's didn't. According to Delta they should be at the hotel in Deer Valley by 2pm tomorrow afternoon. Well I reckon these underpants have at least another day in them! 
Wednesday 3 December 2008
  Searching for snow We leave for Deer Valley in Utah on tomorrow for an extended weekend of skiing*. Getting there and back is a bit convoluted from here and travelling will take the bulk of both Thursday and our return on Tuesday. Deer Valley is part of the Wasatch mountain range at the very western end of the Rocky Mountains and stretches from Utah north to the border of Idaho and I'm particularly excited because I have never been to the state of Utah before.

*Skiing of course is only possible with the natural element of snow and so far according to the local guides, there hasn't been a lot of it, but enough to have some lifts and runs open. This is what it looks like on the webcam now >>>>

Going skiing this time of year does narrow our chances of snow, but the timing works well from a work perspective, it's cheaper and it gets us off island for a long weekend - I don't think I have island fever but I am certainly missing strangers, tall buildings and space. A year ago we hit pot luck in Colorado, when two foot of snow fell in the week before our arrival.

If we don't see any snow then Salt Lake City is less than 40 miles away and artsy Park City is even nearer. There are a ton of restaurants near where we are staying and this weekend there is a Skifest in Deer Valley. The Skifest website indicates celebrity ski racing, sleigh rides and plenty of boozing. One would hope they'd planned for snow. I think I'm actually looking forward to seeing some snow again, hope I do. 
Monday 1 December 2008
  Away days Every game is practically an away game for me these days but the next two will be even more so as on Saturday I'll hopefully be up a mountain in Utah hopping over moguls and then on Tuesday we will be somewhere back en route from Salt Lake City to Bermuda via Chicago and New York.

Following Charlton has been like skiing downhill recently, and skiing like me and not Franz Klammer. However today I feel slightly more assured about the black run ahead of us. Parky has in just over a week shown to be his own man, and although I do not have a good feeling about the loan situation, the trio of Burton, McEveley and particularly Gillespie have initially at least appeared to have added to the squad and not taken away.

The loan system and the way we have employed it is a bit of a joke though. Personally if we are going to be shit, then I'd rather it be our own shit and albeit as an expatriated supporter but from someone who takes an overly close interest, I have great trouble recognising our club at the moment.

Despite all of that and the what the table says, I'm leaning towards sticking with Parky in the interim with Kinsella in a more pronounced role. As others have said I believe the board had this in mind as a succession plan anyway, and so far he has taken to the job ably and gets my support to see us through until Christmas. Each of the next five games offer opportunities as does a snowy mountain top, it is just good navigation, braveness and a fair chunk of luck that we need. 
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After living in Chicago for four and a half years, I moved to the beautiful if bewildering island of Bermuda in July 2008. This blog is about being an exiled and depressed Charlton Athletic fan and whatever else the day brings.
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