Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Saturday 31 January 2009
  Burnley 2 Charlton 1 You give them an inch and they take a yard, how Charlton ruin your day no. 455.

Breakfast in a pavement cafe with my poached eggs made all the more scrummy by a Bailey goal and then four of us, including two Addicks and a converted American strolling along Ocean Drive with the sun on our backs admiring the art deco and counting the amount of people carrying their dogs, then wham!

A couple of quick fire texts from a mate and staying up seemed as ridiculous a dream as owning one of the yachts moored at the Miami Beach Marina.

Its the hope that tortures you and kills you after. 
Thursday 29 January 2009
  Work and play Friday I begin 16 days off the island doing a mini work tour of duty cushioned either side by holiday. I start in Miami for the annual pilgrimage to watch the Superbowl. This boys' weekend has taken in a number of spots since I joined the merry band of Brits and Americans in 2004 and this year Miami's South Beach has been set as the venue, just 270 miles from the actual game between Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers in Tampa.

Ironically a week later my work's annual symposium, their word not mine, is also in Miami, so instead of coming back to Bermuda, I've decided to do some visit's to our offices in-between starting with my old haunt Chicago, and then on to San Francisco, Los Angeles and then back to Miami a week on Saturday.

Once the worky thing finishes, my girlfriend, who will join me in Miami, and I will fly the couple of hours to Puerto Rico for a long weekend of sightseeing, and I hope a little bit of chilling out in what is considered a sovereign state of the United States. I am told rainforests, Spanish forts, and hip hotels and restauants all collide and I'm looking forward to visiting the country for the first time. 
Wednesday 28 January 2009
  Charlton 1 Crystal Palace 0 "If they had put that effort in all season and under Pardew they would not be in this position. They are all big earners and they should look at themselves in the mirror because they don't play Crystal Palace every week." - Warnock makes a very valid point.

The below was all I literally had time to write last night before I had to rush off to meet some people for a wine tasting event, so it was Paulliac and not Peroni but it tasted bloody good. Before the game I was thinking of what Kings Hill Addick wrote the other day and that is to think of each game as a seperate event. Just like we did when we were kids, and therefore the emotional tie was just to that one game. As I listened to the commentary I kept going back to that and it held my nerves in check, but equally while we rightly celebrate the moment, on Saturday afternoon there is another completely unrelated game. Those attending today's AGM will do well to consider the same.

From both sides of the divide (I spoke to a Palace friend very generous in defeat) I heard it was a poor game, but frankly we are not looking for total football but total pride and last night that is what we got and credit to the players and managerial staff for that. Some of the actions of the players at the end, and the performances of Hudson and Soares, showed that maybe, just maybe they care as much as we do.

Parky should blow that quote up from Neil Warnock and post it all over the dressing room. Come on Charlton, let's show everyone what it means to be US!

Red Army: Blackheath Addicted; Kings Hill Addick; Drinking During the Game; All Quiet;
Reports: Daily Mail; Telegraph; South London Press; Croydon Guardian; The Wharf;; Kent Online; The Sun
Tuesday 27 January 2009
  I feel a beer coming on YESSSSSSSSSS! Come on you mighty REDS! 
  Chris Dickson has to play "It would be brilliant to be in the first team, make a big impact and give Palace a spanking. It is a huge game and I know how much it means to the fans. Anyone who scores against Palace becomes a bit of a Charlton legend, and that is what I want to be." (more
Monday 26 January 2009
  Stand Up The Lord of Flies was pretty good on Thursday. The actors from the Pilot Theatre did an excellent job portraying the dark side of this famous tale, although paying $65 for what was, no offence lads, amateur dramatics was a bit steep. Poor asthmatic Piggy played by Dominic Doughty and the increasingly deranged Jack splendidly performed by Mark Knightley were stand out performances.

Saturday night's Serious Stand-Up was excellent and the best live show I have seen for quite some while. We had dinner first with fellow Addicks and it was nice to see us each have rare smiles on our faces when departed at the end.

Bermudian Jonathan Young was the first act and compere and he was good, conquering some taboo Bermuda subjects with complete abandonment and wit. The main course was fantastic though. I could have sat listening to John Oliver rage on about all and sundry for hours, the man best known for The Daily Show was bloody funny. On topic, off topic, dealing with the odd drunken heckler, or just the shear irrelevance of his stories was brilliant. From Liverpool, lives in New York, go and see him wherever you can. 
Sunday 25 January 2009
  Sheff Utd 2 Charlton 1 "He's come on today and scored a good goalscorers' goal. He almost got the ball before it hit the back of net and ran off to the halfway line, that's how determined he was to score another goal." - Parky

Less bothered about today's result than any of the other 20 since the beginning of October. We haven't won the cup for 62 years, what's another 12 months between friends? Nope it is Tuesday what matters.

Parky thought we deserved more, bemoans a deflection and some bad refereeing decisions, the back four get it in the ear too, but no one is listening and his words will become quite absurd if he doesn't start Chris Dickson on Tuesday night. Dickson by the way was our first forward to score since Andy Gray and Martyn Waghorn in the middle of December, 8 whole games ago.

In fact, I don't want to hear anything from Parky from now until after the game on Tuesday. Actions speak louder than words. And finally whilst it was good to see Racon on the bench anyone else surprised not to see Josh Wright in the 18?
Anyone there? Charlton Life thread.
Reports:; Sky Sports; Yorkshire Post; BBC Sport; News of the World; Mirror.
Saturday 24 January 2009
  Jan Poortvliet joins the club Jan Poortvliet joined the growing list of managers in the Championship relegation battle out of work this morning. I was led to believe by both a mate and the media that the Dutch man still had some backing at St Mary's despite their precarious league position and owning one of the worst home record in all four divisions. Unlike at The Valley, Carrow Road and Pride Park, the locals did not turn on the likeable manager and their mainly inexperienced squad.

Poortvliet, an unsung hero of the Dutch 1978 world cup team (no. 2 in photo) had stuck to his guns of insisting that his players played the game to a style and tempo that he lived and breathed by and therefore Saints fans were saving their fury for chairman Rupert Lowe and his board. In fact a demonstration was planned for their home game next week.

Southampton's financial problems are noticably worse than ours, but Poortvliet and previous manager's Nigel Pearson and George Burley had at least groomed a number of decent youngsters and by all accounts a lot more pride on the pitch.

Poortvliet joined Pardew, Glenn Roeder, Paul Jewell, Colin Calderwood, Aidy Boothroyd in leaving their positions, whilst Simon Grayson walked out on Blackpool. Doncaster are the only club in the bottom 8 that haven't made a managerial change, perhaps saying more about their ambitions than the others.

Poortvliet has been replaced by his assistant and fellow Dutchman Mark Wotte, the same cheaper option that Charlton and Norwich followed. 
Friday 23 January 2009
  No win game Up for the Cup? Nah, I didn't think so. No sign of Operation Bramall on the Official Site, although judging by this article anyone of the brave and let's face it, and I mean this in the nicest way, unhinged soles who make the journey might even get a game tomorrow. I think last week's debacle on the other side of Sheffield has certainly knocked back once and for all the 'all weather loyal Addick away traveller.'

Saturday is a no-win game for Parky and his band of hopeless individuals. The response to the Norwich cup-tie put pay to any crazy signals of a renaissance. I might attempt to sleep through Saturday's game, I could do with the kip. Let's face it, it is all about Tuesday evening. If they can't muster one inch of pride for that one then I hate to think what kind of sinister atmosphere will surround The Valley.

A defeat would be league number 19, and at 11am the next day in the Millennium Suite the AGM takes place. Work, distance and cash will mean I won't be in attendance despite holding more shares than is rational. However questions will be asked and in public the board will come under further increased scrutiny of their financial gaiety, despite Pardew's seemingly persuasive powers.

The lure of a free season ticket is looking more like a con with every passing day, particularly in light of these naive comments from Steve Waggott. He was appointed after the free season ticket offer was announced, however the ambition to finish a place higher than the previous season is hardly giving promotion a real go.

Much of the shareholders ire we be aimed at the board's appointment of Parkinson. An appointment that apparently was based on "results not performances." No go on laugh, because otherwise you will cry.

I have already been sent a whole play-list of songs from a Palarse mate and one can only imagine how much they are preparing to enjoy themselves. Of course it is nights like these that suddenly one remembers what it means to be Charlton. Little Charlton, proud Charlton. Come on you reds. 
Thursday 22 January 2009
  Bermuda Festival To help celebrate Bermuda's 400 year anniversary the island is hosting a festival of culture over a seven week period using various venues to showcase differing types of entertainment from both here and overseas. Tonight we are off to see Lord of the Flies at a place, which I have no clue where it is called the Ruth Seaton James Centre. From the back catalogue of my memory labelled 'School,' William Golding's novel was a masterful piece about human flaws where anarchy defeats order and when I looked at the listing's a month or two ago this jumped out at me.

We are going with two friends and I'm looking forward to it, particularly as it is being performed by a touring theatre company called Pilot Theatre, who when not on tour are resident at the York Theatre Royal and from their blog they seem to be enjoying their stay!

Then on Saturday we're off with some other friends (gosh we are so popular) to see a show called Serious Stand Up. Two Comedians, one local and the other Englishman John Oliver, who has made his name on The Daily Show with John Stewart and he also hosts The Times podcast, The Bugle. Should be good. 
Tuesday 20 January 2009
  President Obama "This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath." Inauguration speech in full.

A rather strange experience for me today. I got invited to an Obama Inauguration lunch at the Elbow Beach Hotel hosted by the US Counsel General to Bermuda Gregory Slayton, which was very nice.

However I was astonished by the reaction of the Bermudians in the audience of about 100. They were absolutely besides themselves and were in awe of a man, who is not (sadly) their countries leader. I know around the world the election of Obama has been widely acclaimed and I feel a little bit of added affinity with him because of my Chicago connections, but blimey you should have seen these people, calm yourselves down I was thinking, it was truly incredible, even more incredible when one considers Obama has indicated he will close tax loop holes for American companies doing business with Bermuda.

We were invited by two Long Islanders from New York, two of only a few American's I would say in the audience, and rightly it was a very proud and historic moment for them. Over a million people gathered in the National Mall and the scenes were poignant and joyful. If you have never walked from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill, I would urge you as it is a very stirring experience.

Thankfully the door has now closed on the catastrophic Bush era and Obama's time has come. For a man which such oratory he fluffed his lines a little as he was sworn in, but his inaugural address had all the trademark mantras and dynamism, although hinged with a sombre realism of what he has inherited.

The 44th President often sat with his eyes closed during the whole Inauguration event and I tried to imagine what he was thinking. Soon we will know.
Saturday 17 January 2009
  Normal service resumed. Wednesday 4 Addicks 1 The general feeling last week was that Norwich were crap.. they must have been but Glenn Roeder's gone and Bryan Gunn has now got as many points in one game than Parkinson has got in 11, and as many goals in 90 minutes as we have in 450!

Today was a real blow, after the lift of Tuesday night we, the fans got kicked in the stomach this afternoon by a manager and players that supposedly care more than we do. He is having a fucking laugh.

Today wasn't a loss, it was an embarrassment. Richard Murray said he has "seen a huge improvement and we could have won almost all of the games that Parkinson has been in charge of." Well, I count Derby as the only game we could have won. Sheesh, how even more shameful would it be if we didn't get the points against Swansea, Doncaster and Ipswich that we didn't deserve?

And how skint are we? Is it really good business sense to sign Spring, when we have Wagstaff or Soares when we have Wright, Waghorn when we have Dickson and McLeod and the most obvious one.... Murty, when we have Moots? Save the bloody money and, ooh I know get a new bloody manager!

The epitaph on the gravestone of our season as we slowly stop breathing will be:

"I'll be trying to change this team round so I can get some stronger mentalities in." Yes Pards, sorry Parky.

Those who really care at Hillsborough: Charlton Life; Blackheath Addicted.
Reports:; Kent Online; Sky Sports; Yorkshire Post.
Parkinson: "I won't be calling the players in for extra training on Sunday because I think it's in the best interests of everyone that the players and myself take a break from each other." 
Friday 16 January 2009
  Winter Yesterday was a truly shit day at work. My January no drinking proposal ended prematurely on Tuesday night at a client dinner and it was properly terminated after I got home last night!

It has been a busy week with a lot of clients coming through the office, key officers of Bermuda domiciled companies are (mostly) not allowed to travel to mainland America on 'business' and therefore clients have to come here to meet them, nothing to do with the golfing at all but the tax laws instead. We have two more weeks of visitors and then I am off on the road for a couple of weeks myself, more on that in time.

I have another early start today with another busy day scheduled but then have hopes of a quiet weekend although we do have some friends coming to dinner tomorrow night, and they're never dull. Another tennis lesson on Sunday afternoon completes the weekend. My tennis is starting to come together, but similarly with my golf the best thing to do now is play some matches.

The 'winter' is here according to the locals, with a fair amount of rain this week and the temperatures dropping to, ooh the mid 60's. I have to laugh at the way they wrap up in their ski jackets and Uggs. The minute I complain about the "freezing weather" is when I'll realise it's time to move on. London and Chicago are experiencing proper winters. 10 miles to the west of downtown Chicago it was last night minus 41 degrees below zero with the wind chill. Now, that is winter! 
Wednesday 14 January 2009
  Tom Soares The Official Site is not carrying it but the normally reliable Kent Online is citing that Charlton have signed 22-year old midfielder Tom Soares from Stoke on loan for 93 days. (more)

This news is hot on the trail of last night's first win for over 3 months, and in which no loan players were in the 18 that either played or sat on the bench. Soares had a very fine reputation at the Nigels and has done well at Stoke City featuring quite regularly so the news both surprises and enlivens me. His preferred position has been central midfield, so I wonder if this will mean a departure?

Rumours have been doing the rounds all day after it was mentioned in this morning's Daily Mail, that Andy Gray will going in the reverse direction joining the Potters on loan to be closer to his family but it appears to have fallen through. 
Tuesday 13 January 2009
  Yippee-i-a. Canaries 0 Addicks 1 "To get that first win I felt we had to add some character from outside so we could get it. So that's what I did tonight, I added youngsters who at times showed their naivety but also played with big hearts. The heart they showed tonight made up for their naivety.” - Phil Parkinson

Woooooohoooooo! And not a loan a player in sight, .... E-i-e-i-e-i-o-up the football league we go.... Oh hang on it was the cup, but who cares, It feels good doesn't it?

Thoughts of those at Carrow Road: "The best thing for me was the celebration at the end, with players and fans embracing. To me it showed they cared and they have been hurting like we have." - Thread on Charlton Life and another.
Reports: "A season that was dying on its feet burst into life for Charlton on Tuesday night." - Daily Telegraph;; Kent Online; The Mail; Norwich Pink'un
Monday 12 January 2009
  Fighting and injury talk "We, as a board of directors, will not let the club go into administration. We care too much about Charlton to let that happen. But we need to remain positive, relegation is not inevitable. We will fight until the very end." - Richard Murray in today's South London Press.

That is certainly a Cadbury's Boost, although Richard's further comments: "If you look at our recent performances, I have seen a huge improvement and we could have won almost all of the games that Phil has been in charge of. I know we need to get a win soon, but I have complete faith in Phil," is more a Cadbury's Fudge than a Boost!

But you can have too much positivity, so we were further depressed today by the news that, by most accounts our best loan player, Jay McEveley has gone back to Derby permanently. Watch a disarticulated shoulder improve as he trains like a demon to get the attention of new Derby icon Nigel Clough. And Semedo is out for two months with an ankle injury. At least we might get to see ZZ before he is sold on the 31st. 
  Mopeds There are over 14,500 mopeds and scooters on this island and for most people it is the cheapest, easiest and most convenient way to get around. However it is certainly not the most safest. In 2008 17 people were killed from motorcycle accidents in Bermuda, which is ranked among the worst of the world's developed countries for road fatalities.

We own a Vespa, but I have never taken it beyond our drive, my jaunty-other-half uses it periodically, and ridden sensibly with care and concentration they can be exceptional fun. However some riders on the narrow roads here abuse their right to live by riding like maniacs, specifically the local young Bermudians. I watch them ride side-saddle, texting whilst they are riding, riding side by side having a chat, undertaking, overtaking on blind bends and worse. Fcuk them, I don't care how cheap their lives are, but it is other road users and pedestrians I care about.

In eleven years 117 people have lost their lives from road fatalities in Bermuda. This year's count of 17 equates to 23 per 100,000 people, which is among the worst in the world. By comparison, Malta had 3.2 deaths per 100,000. Extrapolate this year's Bermudian road deaths out to the UK population and it would equal 15,000 people killed from accidents mainly involving scooters under 150cc (the max size allowed). Blimey that would get the Daily Mail going.

But what are the government doing about it? Not much it appears, a lot of bluster, some blithe sincerity. Some policemen on the roads would be good, particularly late at night. Sod pulling vehicles over in the morning checking licenses and dishing out parking tickets, how about speed cameras and sobriety checks. The drink driving here is shocking. There were 41 crashes alone in the week of Christmas. Perhaps the Police Commissioner George Jackson might put it top of his 2009 agenda, his son died on Christmas Day, the 16th victim of this deadly year.

And then on Friday, just the 9th day of 2009, another young person died after hitting a parked car in the early hours of the morning.

A word of warning for visitors. Tourists are unable to rent cars here, just scooters for which you get a one-minute lesson. If you are proficient then watchout for the nutters and if you are American drive on the opposite side of the road. 
Sunday 11 January 2009
  2008 Top Five - Memorable Days The last in a week of Chicago Addick 2008 Top 5's. A tad self-absorbing I'll give you but thanks for sticking with it. There were a number unforgettable times that particularly stuck in my mind from last year but those listed below were my top 5 memorable days in 2008:

1) Grand Canyon, May
Not only this year but a day to stand alongside any day. Flying from Sedona to the 17-million year old Grand Canyon, sailing down the Colorado River and witnessing truly one of the natural wonders of the ancient and modern world. And then being allowed to fly our little Cessna 400 back by our guide and pilot was the icing on the cake.

2) Christmas Eve, December
With two people I love on the eve of a day that has become joyous again. The company, the laughter, the sausage rolls, the anticipation.

3) Eastbourne, August
A day in the sunshine with my parents and son firstly at Holmes Hill, then lunch in Meads Village followed by playing around on the putting course with the rushing of the sea for comfort.

4) London, December
Home, real home. Walking around a festive city Christmas week, I met a mate for lunch in one of the city's finest eating institutions, Sweetings and then for complete contrast in the evening hung out with the cool cats in Shoreditch House with my brother and his girlfriend.

5) Bermuda, July
First day in a new job is always a step into the unknown. But walking to work in this unique and unconventional place was exciting, yes but bewildering too.
1st day at school 
  18 and counting. Addicks 0 Forest 2 "The fans care but no-one cares more than me and the players; it's our livelihoods." - Phil Parkinson

It must have been harrowing watching that yesterday. I felt physically sick after Forest scored their second sat here listening to the commentary. We were so bright and energetic early on with Shelvey pulling all the strings, but chance after chance went begging and, let's face it we were all thinking the same weren't we?

Defensive lapses did for us again, and Forest rolled in two goals in as many minutes, the 10th time in 13 home league matches this season we have let two or more goals in.

7 points from safety, 8 in reality taking into account our goal difference and this group of players will be remembered for generations with the worst record in our 103 year history. Is it really the worst team though? Confidence is horribly non-existent but are defenders Murty/Cranie - Hudson - Fortune - McEveley/Basey/Youga really that bad? How many players signed under the current and previous regime have improved under their tutorship and coaching? I'm finding it hard to think of any over the past 3 seasons. Perhaps a title for another post another day.

As I said yesterday I am warming to Parky, but was anyone else offended by what he was quoted as saying (above) post match yesterday? Livelihoods? Well to hell with them, they are obscenely well compensated and will soon be off spouting their loyalty crap somewhere else whilst you and me are still sat shivering in the East Stand with our scarves on. And livelihoods? Ask some of the non-footballing staff at the club about livelihoods when they are picking up their P45's in the summer.

Thoughts of those at The Valley: "I am looking at the wall and the writing is on it. I have never felt so despondent about a season as this." - From The Hill To The Valley; Drinking During the Game; Addicks Diary; Blackheath Addicted; Kings Hill Addick.
Reports: "Shelvey was a delight throughout" - Guardian;; The Times; Sunday People; Telegraph
Friday 9 January 2009
  Spring in our step Game on tomorrow as the pitch passed the referee's inspection this afternoon, although it's pretty cold I understand around The Valley tonight and the game could yet fall to the freezing temperatures.

Parky continued to sculpture his own team at the end of this week with the introduction of Graeme Murty and then late today Matthew Spring. I used to like this lad when he was at Luton and Watford, he was certainly instrumental in Watford's promotion under Bothroyd, but he was a Luton man at heart and went back to Kenilworth Road and stayed loyal to them last season despite their off-field problems.

He actually scored against us in the Carling Cup, when we embarrassed ourselves there in September 2007. He was one of a number of players shipped out of Kenilworth Road in the summer to save wages, and was loaned to Sheffield United to team up again with Kevin Blackwell, who had signed him originally from Luton.

Like Bouazza that season-long loan didn't mean much as he went back to Luton and was signed permanently by Parkinson today on a 18-month contract. The amount was undisclosed.

Parkinson remember has been around these divisions for a while and hopefully will be more adept at picking players with the right mentality. Spring's loyalty to Luton says a lot about him and he can nick goals from midfield, something Bailey aside, none of our other midfielders can do. I would expect him to play left side midfield tomorrow.

As for Hameur Bouazza, well I think the team lacks pace and he was one of the few who was quick. He offered a good threat getting in behind defences, although mostly his finishing failed him, which would explain his absence from the Premiership. However he's gone now, was never one of ours in the first place, so no tears here. I don't imagine for a minute he cared an awful lot about our fate, even though we were reportedly paying all of his wages.

What is required is battle weary pros, who want to get stuck in and are prepared to fight for the shirt. I didn't have Bouazza in that camp. Spring and Murty and rumoured signing #4 Wayne Brown's resumé certainly lists loyalty and balls in their previous experience and character.

Dean Sinclair, poor bloke (although's he's probably actually not very poor) has been packed off again, this time to Grimsby. Was there ever a signing that was more of a waste of time and money. Ok, I give you Martin Christensen. What's that at the back? Oh Stuart Fleetwood, yep agreed and he has another month at Brighton. There's definitely a theme developing here isn't there?

Whilst I haven't got off my high horse about the state we find the club in, and we as supporters and stakeholders have a damn right to know what the bloody hell has happened, tonight I feel drawn to think only about tomorrow's game with Forest. I have kind of warmed to Parky, I think he is trying to do right for the club but endeavour won't be enough and we all know what we really desperately need.

"This a big club and people have got to be ready for the 20 cup finals ahead of us." That's right Phil. Come on make us proud, come on you reds. 
  2008 Top Five - Favourite Tunes 2008 was a year stuffed full of manufactured music and comebacks. The top 20 at Christmas was very disappointing when I sat listening to it in the car back at home but I don't know why I was surprised. I had to dig deep for some top tunes this year but five jumped out. Here are my five top tunes from 2008:

1) Adele - Hometown Glory
Adele leads the soul revival and I loved this Beautiful and haunting song, even if it is supposed to be about Tottenham!

2) Coldplay - Lost
It's probably not still cool to like Coldplay but I still adore this album and I played Lost and it's various remixes over and over.

3) Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
From my favourite album of 2008. They've come a long way from when I slated them in 2005.

4) Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Infectious and slightly mad. Is Reggie Robert Smith reincarnated?

5) Jennifer Hudson - Spotlight
The song reminded me of my first few months in Bermuda and my heart went out to this Chicagoan in October after her mother, brother and nephew were killed on the south-side of her home town.

Honourable mentions go to: Estelle - Come Over (Video); Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová - When Your Mind's Made Up (Video); Guru Josh Project - Infinity (Video); MGMT - Time to Pretend (Video)
Thursday 8 January 2009
  2008 Top Five - Worst Things Shit happens, some you brush off, some sticks. A few things went a bit awry in 2008 for me, some sadder than others. My worst things to come out of 2008:

1) Charlton's flight to dereliction
It's hard to sum up in a few words. Maybe when the board put an advert in the Daily Mail seeking a new manager after Curbs left we should have known that we were heading for trouble. However I have this irrational inclination to get back and see a few games, because despite how much they are hurting us, they need us more than ever.

2) The Global Economy
Wish I'd invented the words 'credit crunch.' I wonder who did? From sub-prime mortgages to banks going bust to the closure of Woolies, 2008 was a horrible year for the world economy and financially it hit me pretty hard. Luckily I can still afford to go and get a couple pints, unfortunately there are those that can't even do that.

3) Ankle Ligaments
In April I badly sprained ankle ligaments on my left ankle playing football. It wasn't the first time and I spent a couple of painful and boring weeks on crutches. It led me to question my yet acclaimed football career but I am still playing twice a week.
Bag of broccoli for my pains

4) Leaving Chicago
My Kinda Town and it certainly was. I left Chicago with a heavy heart at the end of June. If someone would have told me that I would end up spending almost 5 years in the windy city when I first arrived in the freezing (they were all freezing) winter of 2003, I'd have thought they were insane.
My Kinda Town

5) Bump on head
Recently, and I was too embarrassed to blog about it at the time but in a drunken mess I fell over and banged my head. Limoncello was to blame, that and the fact I'd completely forgotten it was many moons ago that I was a teenager. Idiotic and stupid and never again. 
Wednesday 7 January 2009
  Derek Chappell's Annual Report "As your new chairman I am pleased to present the company's annual report for the year ended June 30th, 2008. The presentation of this report and accounts allows me the opportunity to introduce myself to shareholders and other readers of these accounts since my appointment as chairman in March 2008.

My key responsibilities are to oversee the strategic direction of the company and to manage the executive board that, in turn, manages the day-to-day running of the football club. I shall also channel my energies into lifting our football club back to the top flight of English football once again."

Full the full gloomy story click here.

I've had a flick through and remembering these are up to the end of June 2008, the most damning of the statistics are as follows:

An £11.5m loss compared to £9.9m in 2007.
The club's ongoing debt is £37m.
Turnover was £26.7m, down from £35.9m previously (and this includes parachute payments).
Ticket Income/Sponsorship/Banqueting and Retail income was £13.2m (down 21%).
15% of staff lost their job in the last year.
TV Income was £13.5m compared to £19m previously.
Season Tickets were down 2% to 16,800.
Average attendance (based on tickets sold and issued) of 23,159, down 12%.
Wage Bill down from £34.3m to £23.7m (down 30%).
Wages were 89% of turnover, it was 96% in 2007. It has to be less now surely?
Total cost of running the club of £41.7m.
Means the club are losing over £210,000 a week!

Gulp, and that does not take into account Mr Pardew's severance package! It is true that key members of the board are subsidizing the club daily, however let's not lose sight of the fact that is was they that took far too many gambles and made too many mistakes as stewards of our great club. It was only 4 years ago that the club made a 11m profit? What the f*** happened?

Ok, the fans said we were boring. Vanilla ice cream's bloody boring, doesn't mean that Ben & Jerry's stop making it does it? 
Tuesday 6 January 2009
  2008 Top Five - Good Things 2008 will be remembered by most for being miserable, Addicks probably remember it even less fondly. Nonetheless I have re-read through some of my past 12 months of posts and have come up with my Top 5 good things to come out of 2008:

1) Moving to Bermuda
Well, look out of my window. The sun's out and people are smiling. Ok, I am still in a transition period, it's a weird place but I'm getting used to it and living in this little pink-sanded bubble has to be a good thing, right?

2) Barack Obama
I championed Obama's cause since he first came to prominence in Chicago in the spring of 2004. The world became engulfed in last year's US election and hopefully we now have a leader that can change the way the world looks at America and the way America looks at the world. I wish I could have been in Chicago that night in November.
Yes we can!

3) Gavin and Stacey
The funniest thing I have seen on television for years. Everyone knows a Smithy, everyone knows a Pam, everyone knows a Bryn *cough, cough* and I could watch the 16 episodes over and over again. Roll on series 3.
Gavin and Stacey

4) Bermuda Addicks
I can't tell you how many times I sat lonely in bars rooting for my team thousands of miles away on my lonesome when I lived in Chicago but I already know of four others on this small island, and they include a couple of top blokes, one of whom is probably even more consumed by this sad love affair than me.

Credit where credit is due. Careful negotiation by Steve Waggott and others managed to bring us exiled Addicks, i.e. those out of reach of the BBC Radio Kent signal back in from the dark as far as live commentary and highlights are concerned. Apart from a hiccup in week one, it has worked well for me. My only complaint is that the service should come 'X Rated.'
  2008 Top Five - Best Events Chicago like London is an unrelenting concoction of live events and shows, Bermuda isn't quite like that. Yes we had Beyonce and Alicia Keys here in the summer but, put it this way, we've joined the local video shop. These were my Top 5 best events, either watched on the box or live in 2008:

1) Wimbledon Men's Final
Enthralled like everyone else, I did not want the men's final between two of the world's greatest athletes Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer to end.
Legends both

2) The Beijing Olympics
The majority of which I spent sat at home in the UK soaking up the nation's pride at our biggest medal haul since 1908. Next 2012 and then hopefully a Chicago Olympics in 2016.

3) Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors
In June at Chicago's Shakespeare Theatre a superb take on The Bard's play directed by Barbara Gaines. The theatre's small courtyard setting added to the play's authenticity.
Comedy of Errors

4) World Rugby Classic
Bermuda did do this well. A mini Rugby World Cup for veterans played over the course of a week in November. Throw in some warm evenings, a lively crowd, unbending competition and plenty of beer and bobs your uncle.

5) Superbowl XLII
Myself and a group of friends hung out in Charleston for a weekend in February, with the key purpose to watch the Superbowl. It was a fantastic game with everyone's underdogs New York Giants defeating champions elect and previously underfeated New England Patriots.
Jolly Blue Giants 
  Another right back on loan Oh well Yassin, well played son but back to the stiffs you go. Put the poor lad out of his misery fergodsake.

Graeme Murty, aged 34 hasn't played all season due to a calf injury. On the plus side he did play a fair bit in the Prem last season and even made an appearance for Scotland, of course what really matters is if he gives two shits.

"Of course we would like to make some permanent signings, but throughout January there tends to be a lot of sparring with other clubs, and people testing the water with players." (more)

Perhaps more worrying is that with Murty and Deon Burton that is already two of our "three or four" new players. The third by the way may end up being stroppy ex-Walsall winger Ishmel Demontagnac, who plays in the reserves this afternoon. *holds head in hands* 
  2008 Top Five - Defining CAFC moments What a blimmin' year for us Addicks. The enormity of our demise is probably yet to unravel. We can only hope after trawling the depths of despair that we can once again rise from the ashes. There were no good Charlton bits to 2008, but there were some critical points, here are my Top 5 defining CAFC moments:

1) Peter Varney leaving
When was the last time football fans sung the name of their chief executive? Just how important Reg was to the club is sadly becoming more obvious by the day. A mediator in the boardroom, a strong negotiator with a brilliant business brain, what will it take to have him back 'at home?' His reasons for leaving are lamentably also becoming clearer too.
Peter Varney

2) Andy Reid being sold
Sold after Pardew said he wouldn't be, how many times have we heard that? Our most productive, influential and by far and away best player sold to Sunderland on deadline day in "a deal worth up to £4m." We got Lee Cook and Greg Halford in return!
Same old, same old

3) Zabeel
For 13 days we were the richest club in the world.... and then we woke up. Credit crunch or some sort of nonsense. These things never happen to us, and we'll probably never know how much further the Zabeel deal rattled the club.
No Zabeel

4) Phil Parkinson
Maybe one day in the right circumstances we could all applaud this man being made our manager. As it is, he is kind of last man standing and now he holds the future of our great club in the palm of his hands. The communiqué of Parky's appointment was a joke, and no one's laughing. Good luck Phil.

5) Barnsley at home
I watched a couple of games last year with my own eyes that probably entered the top 10 of worst ever Charlton performances in my lifetime. Preston in March was bad but Barnsley in November took it to a whole new level. In truth Pardew should have gone that night, allowing the board more time to dilly-dally.
Monday 5 January 2009
  2008 Top Five - Restaurants One of the downsides of living on an island 21 square miles that has to import almost entirely everything is that the restaurants aren't much cop. It may have come to your attention that I like eating out, it has certainly come to my waist bands attention. My Top 5 restaurants in 2008 were:

1) The Mariposa, Deer Valley
The best place I ate last year. A wonderful location with a real elegance without being pretentious.

2) May Street Market, Chicago
Oh how I miss Chicago's restaurants. This was the best one I went to before we left. Gloriously simple and reasonably priced. The service was exemplary.

3. Copley's, Palm Springs
A beautiful setting at what was once the home of Cary Grant. A great meal sat under a sky full of lucent stars in Palm Springs.

4) Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas
I loved this over the top place tucked away within the MGM Grand. We sat at the bar and ate from the enterprising menu paired with some equally bold wines.

5) Purple Sage, Park City
An intimate setting decked with purple accents. This long and narrow restaurant could easily be missed on Park City's Main Street. Don't miss it, the food and atmosphere was fantastic.
  2008 Top Five - Tourist Attractions The first half of the year was as had become customary with my life in Chicago hectic and tiring, predominately driven by work and it was not unusual for me to be on an airplane twice a week. That has changed now, and in fact since I arrived in Bermuda at the beginning of July I have only left the island three times, and each time for the UK. I was lucky to see some beautiful and dazzling things in 2008, here are my Top 5 favourite tourist attractions:

1) Beachy Head
530 feet above sea level the views from these white cliffs are amazing, nevertheless it's tranquility allows for reflection because Beachy Head has a sad reputation for suicide.
Beachy Head

2) Las Vegas Strip
We were there in May and the credit crunch hadn't appeared to have reached Vegas, I suspect it may in 2009. If you can avoid the casino's walking The Strip allows you to forget your woes by being a fantasy land of the overstated, the bizarre and the remarkable.

3) Joshua Tree National Park
Just like U2 had done in 1986, I stood in front of these peculiar items of nature, some a 1,000 years old and shivers ran down my spine.
Joshua Tree

4) Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
I like heights, I notice a lot of my favourite things seem to be up high. A 10-minute journey in one of the world's largest rotating tramcars up North America's sheerest mountain to 8,516 feet was a great way to see across Palm Springs and the surrounding desert.
Palm Springs

5) Coronado, San Diego
Coronado means 'Crowned One' in Spanish and is connected to San Diego by a very long narrow bridge. It is enchanting and pretty and worth a visit. The Red Bull Air Race added to the scenery when we were there.
San Diego
  2008 Top Five - Favourite Places I normally do a January review thingy, best bits etc but like Rob in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity I've always been a bit of a top 5 kind of person. So this year that's what I'll do instead. Beginning a short mini-series of 2008 Chicago Addick Top 5's I'll start with my Top 5 favourite places:

1) The Grand Canyon
A previous visit due to poor weather and visibility did not by any stretch of the imagination do this staggering monument justice and I am so glad I got another opportunity to go. The day at the Grand Canyon in May will long live in the memory and being allowed to co-pilot the little 7-seater Cessna back the 100 miles to Sedona airport was an absolute thrill, even though for the last 20 minutes I thought I was going to be sick. We were so lucky that just the two of us had booked the trip for that day, and I will be forever grateful to our superb guide and pilot (and flying instructor) Chris for allowing me the chance of a free lesson.
Grand Canyon

2) Charleston, South Carolina
Many cities in America lack identity and history but not Charleston. It is a fabulous walking city steeped in tragic and magical history. Charleston played a significant role in what America is today, but sadly at one point in history the city was disfigured and scarred but it came back fighting like all good things do.

3) Sedona, Arizona
The wild west. Driving into Sedona is something else. At every turn there are huge mesa's of rocks so red they look like they are bleeding. Stop dreaming of Cowboys, Indians, vortexes, unimaginable sunsets and heavenly juicy pork ribs. Go to Sedona.

4) Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
The most famous and biggest beach in Bermuda, yet on a warm Sunday evening one christens the pink sands with their very own footprints. A stunning beach with large rocks at either end acting like craggy bookends. Pinch and remind myself that I now live here.

5) Park City, Utah
At 7,500 feet this old mining town woke up one morning and realised it sat below stunning snow-topped mountains. Now an artsy and cool centre for skiiers, hikers, hippies, actors and foodies.
Park City
Sunday 4 January 2009
  Addicks 1 Canaries 1 Well a kind 4th Round draw leaves our road to Wembley clear. Order the open top bus. Continuing on the bright side, yesterday's draw means the replay at Carrow Road will allow us to extend our run of games without a win. But first Forest and John Pembleton, now that's what I call a caretaker manager, and they still decided to appoint someone else. Blimey even Derby got a new manager-lift yesterday as they battled back to beat Forest Green Rovers.

I listend to Emma on the radio yesterday, I blame CAFC TV you know. As soon as Tony Hudd suggested we needed a second goal, then I knew it was time to go and sit in the bathroom, lock all the doors and cover my face with a cold wet flannel.

Another sterling 45 minutes for it all to unthread in next 45. Some more positives though. Shelvey obviously, Burton appeared to play well until Parky shut up shop by playing with no forwards for 10 minutes. Holland at centre-half plus Yassin and Sam on the right linking play during our best moments in the first half. 9,500 Addicks gave us a sign of things to come (picture courtesy of Dave Peeps), but still a crowd higher than QPR, Watford and Ipswich and almost as many as the next basketcase Pompey.

I hope the great Sailor Brown can have a word with someone upstairs.

Views from those at The Valley: Doctor Kish; Drinking During the Game; Kings Hill Addick; Blackheath Addicted
Saturday 3 January 2009
  Bermuda 400 years old The island slipped into 2009 and is ready to celebrate it's 400th anniversary with a number of celebrations, exhibitions and events planned, starting tonight with the official launch on Front Street in the island's capital of Hamilton.

Although Bermuda was discovered in 1503 by the Spanish explorer Juan de Bermudez, the island remained uninhabited until a group of British settlers, originally bound for North America and the English settlement of Jamestown arrived in 1609 after their expedition came unstuck on the reefs near Bermuda in a huge storm.

After fighting for three days against the hurricane, the survivors and the ship's captain Sir George Somers were forced to come onshore. During the survivors time on the island, they built two new ships from the wreckage of the vessel, the Sea Venture plus local cedar wood and then continued their way onto Virginia. Somers' story was the inspiration for William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Bermuda is rightly proud of it's history and are describing 2009 as a "momentous year," I'll keep you up to date of how the celebrations go. 
Friday 2 January 2009
  Sad Sad. That's how I feel about our club. I resent that the board and in particular individuals I have long respected and admired have cheated me out of a proper and deserving explanation about what is going on behind the scenes at the club. As others have written and said I have nothing against Parkinson, but he clearly got the job because he was the cheapest option, and between the divisions in the boardroom and their bullshit anouncements, they have half-cocked the situation and with it duly accepted relegation to Division 3.

It pains me to read idiots like this take the piss out of our once proud club. Friends of mine who support other teams now give me an apologetic look. It disgusts me that it has got to this. How once again we have been taken for idiots by people who used to call us one of their own. How fucking dare they. So they've put money into the club, some a lot more than others. Well they should have taken slightly more care of it then.

I sometimes think the tea lady and the kitmen they made redundant last season were the wrong people, they should have put them in charge.

What a mess. If Parkinson was the right man for the job, then give the bloody bloke the job 6 weeks ago. Forest acted in less than 5 days to remove Calderwood and replace him with easily the best Championship manager available. All the while our board were drawing up powerpoint slides for the 'Strategic Review.' I wonder if it includes a free season ticket offer for next season. Pull the other one, it's got baubles on.

I'm not going to get into the slanging of Parkinson because the self destruct button is pressed so far down that he needs our support. He'll get it I hope, but will he get it from those useless underperforming nobs that have pretended to wear our shirt this season. I hope so, because I don't hold out much hope for the transfer window.

Deon Burton, who can't even get into the first team, is now permanent. Whoppee-do. "January is a very important time for the club," Derek Chappell said. How many times have we heard that Delboy? We only sold our best players when we were good.

Being laughed at and supporting shite and cheering a corner I can somewhat abide. I have loved Charlton Athletic longer than I have loved most other things or people in my life. Love is not written down, or said, it is inside, in the heart. I feel cheated and am not dealing with it very well. 
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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