Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Tuesday 30 June 2009
  2009 Island Games - update #1 After the 3rd day of competition at the Island Games in Åland, Bermuda have picked up one gold, one silver and a solitary bronze medal. A gymnastics gold going to the women's floor and vault team. However the total of 3 medals is a long way behind medal leader the Faroe Islands, minnows in world football the Danish Kingdom maybe but so far they have won 38 medals, including 10 swimming golds.

Jersey join the Faroe's way ahead in the medals table with 31 medals, also including a big scoop of the swimming golds. Bermudian Jeneko Lottimore Place did win silver in the men's 200m (understandably 2.35 seconds slower than record holder Usain Bolt!), although track and field does start rather more in earnest tomorrow.

Even Sark, with a population of 650 won a silver today in the men's automatic ball trap.... frankly I never thought I would write those four words together in one sentence!

Anyway, also progressing is the football, Basketball, where Bermuda look a good bet for the gold, volleyball and golf, and if with more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world, if Bermuda can't bring a medal home then something is seriously wrong! 
  Book signing Last night we attended a friend's book signing here in a hotel in Hamilton, very cool and for anyone like me that yearns to write a novel, then I was both proud and envious. The Cuckold is a tale of infidelity and passion and I understand rather saucy in parts - I think I'll let my bookish other half read me snippets and I'll wait for the movie! Go buy the book or tell some one about it. Link here
Monday 29 June 2009
  Llera joins club from Franchise The first bit of worthwhile activity down at Charlton since, ooh about 2007. The first official transfer business of the season as today "Charlton manager" Phil Parkinson completed the free transfer of Miguel Ángel Llera from Franchise United.

Llera only had a one-year deal at Franchise after signing from Spanish 2nd Div club Hércules CF last September and new negotiations for an extension failed. Llera's career has been patchy apart from one promotion season at Gimnàstic, but by all accounts he had a good season in Milton Keynes. I have read that he is naturally left-footed with good distribution, but being so tall he can get turned quickly by nippier forwards. He finished the season strongly even scoring the 5th penalty in Franchise's play-off semi shootout against Scunthorpe.

Llera will almost certainly replace captain Mark Hudson, who is expected to move to Cardiff tomorrow or Wednesday for £500,000. Trouble is with Fortune's future undecided, Llera is currently the only centre half now on the books. 
  Sherbert pink An assorted weekend. Dinner with friends at 'curry night' on Friday, a larger than life couple from Long Island in New York and Saturday night out at an excellent new place (we don't often get new places here) with a veritable English couple, him from Withenhoe and her from Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire. You meet all sorts here.

On Saturday I spent most of the day painting. Our office, which will in October become the nursery is now 'sherbet pink.' Yep, we are having a baby and I will be a Dad again. And thanks for asking but yes, I'm showing nicely, am very tired, eating everything put in front of me and have got a real craving for very good red wine!

Seriously my growing other half is doing very well, she is 24 weeks and we are both very, very excited. 
Sunday 28 June 2009
  Island fever What do Bermuda, The Falklands, Minorca and Sark have in common? If you said "they are all islands," then you would be correct but what you probably didn't know is that this week Bermuda and 24 other of the world's islands are competing in the bi-annual Island Games in Åland, a Swedish speaking archipelago in the Baltic Sea that actually belongs to Finland.

Over 3,000 athletes will take part in 15 events including track and field, tennis, gymnastics and golf in the week long event mainly centering around Åland's national stadium in the capital Mariehamn.

Bermuda only first entered in 2003 but 15 islands took part in the first ever competition held on the Isle of Man in 1985. This year's competitors include Greenland (the largest by area), Isle of Wight (the largest by population) and the tiniest of them all Sark, in the Channel Islands, who have sent just 3 men to take part in 7 shooting events. Population of Sark? 650.

Other islands competing in what I think is a wonderful example of sport are: Alderney, Cayman, Faroe, Frøya, Gibralter, Gotland, Guernsey, Hitra, Jersey, Orkney, Prince Edward Island, Rhodes, Saaremaa, Sheltands, St Helena, Western Isles, and Anglesey.

In the past Guernsey and Jersey have tended to come out on top of the medals table. At the 2007 Games in Rhodes, Bermuda won 8 golds and 40 medals overall, and reading the local media they are not expecting much from their 100-strong squad, which is a shame because Bermuda probably has many more advantages than almost all of the nations taking part, but we will see as the week progresses.

According to the NatWest Island Games website after the first day of competition the Swedish province of Gotland is leading the medals table with 3 golds. 
Friday 26 June 2009
  Rock with you Darryl got me thinking of those 'where was I moments.' I remember vivdly when Elvis died, I was on a family holiday at a holiday camp and they stopped the night's entertainment to announce 'The King's' death. I didn't really understand the fuss, but I remember the magician wasn't quite the same after that.

Last night we were in a local bar having our first drinks of a combined stag night for two of the lads in my team who are getting married in the summer. They are not marrying each other before you ask, although they were such lightweights they may as well. Anyway I digress, one of the boys got a phone call from his missus and we made the barman put the television on and like others around the world we just stared at pictures of the hospital as news drifted out of the building that Michael Jackson had had a cardiac arrest and died. His heart stopping is pretty unspecific I suppose, but sadly this story will run and run. Welcome to this summer's news!

I suppose Michael Jackson dying wasn't any shock. Anyone regularly playing 'Celebrity Death Pool' would probably have Jacko down as a yearly consideration. Whatever you may think of him as a person and whether he was guilty or not of some heinous activities, behind his supercilious lifestyle was a very sad story. Jackson once said "I believe I’m one of the loneliest people in the world."

No one who likes music can deny the catchiness of some of his songs. My feet will tap instinctly to 'Billie Jean' or 'Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough' and I'm not embarrassed to admit it. I remember I sat up until 1am one night waiting for his worldwide release of the 'Thriller' video. Come on it was brilliant wasn't it?

Some people will remember the sad and illicit Michael Jackson and that is very understandable but I'd like to remember him as the boy in the photograph with a voice of an angel. Whatever happened to him? BBC Tribute 
Thursday 25 June 2009
  Quiescent Pravda today told us that the players were back for their first day of training. A mate of mine went down to Sparrows Lane to get a closer look and revealed that Kinsella was doing the majority of the drills, but there was no sign of Phil Parkinson. He reckoned there were only 18 or 19 players on view.

As for the club's website I'm not even sure that the photo above and others used in the article were taken today, unfortunately I didn't ask my mate what the players were wearing. The article also re-used some old quotes from sports scientist Nick Davies.

Where this brings me to is how shockingly bad the club have handled communication this summer between themselves and the fans. Is Phil Parkinson going to be our manager for the coming season? Certainly he has been quoted recently in the press after a good 6-week moratorium, when last we heard from him he was saying he had no idea of his future.

Is it too much to ask of Messrs Murray and Chappell to tell us that Parkinson has another season in the job, or do they fear for an abrupt halt to season ticket sales? Clearly the chances of outside investment if patently not a full scale takeover still loom in the background and we suspect that Peter Varney is involved in brokering some of these arrangements. And maybe the closure of the Bexleyheath retail store may have come at the advice of these potential investors, but in the meantime there is a football club to run with valuable and expensive employees and dependable if wavering customers.`

This is no way to run a business, yet a football club and 7 weeks after the last game of the season it has been a piss-poor performance from the board in managing expectations and marketing of a team with a poor recent record in customer satisfaction. 
Wednesday 24 June 2009
  Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta began life as a railroad terminal in the 1830's and was actually called 'Terminus' until the chief engineer of the Georgia railroad came up with the mouthful of Atlantica Pacifica. This was shortened and Atlanta was born in 1847. The American Civil War brought major battles as the Confederate's tried desperately to defend Atlanta under severe attack from Union soldiers. When they fled they burnt everything they could to the ground.

Some time elapsed before Atlanta was promoted at the 'New South' a concept that meant reconciliation with the North and investment and growth came albeit not without some racial tensions, although overall segregation was relatively painless helped immeasurably by a certain Dr. Martin Luther King. In the 1960's the city was a major organisational centre for the Civil Rights Movement, and in fact politicans dubbed Atlanta "the city too busy to hate."

The main boom to Atlanta both financially and in terms of population growth was after the 1996 Olympics. Perhaps remembered by others for the terrorist bomb that killed two and injured 111 in the Olympic Park (shrapnel can still been found in one of the statues), the games made a rare profit but it grabbed the attention of fellow Americans, particularly those from crowded northern cities.

There are no boundaries to Atlanta, no oceans, no mountains so it just grows and grows, meaning sadly it lacks a real heart as other nearby conurbations try to wrestle investment, employees, residents, shoppers and tourists. We stayed in Buckhead, just 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta and dubbed the 'Beverly Hills of the South.' High end shops, restaurants, hotels and tall buildings sporting names of big corporations pierce forests and parkland.

We stayed in the year-old Mansion on Peachtree hotel managed by my favourite hotel group in Buckhead, and honestly we just shopped like we had never seen a shop before so I can't tell you much about Buckhead, apart from the hotel was fantastic and we did make a little excursion to Horseradish Grill (ok, 6/10), near Chastain Horse Park.

We did spend a day in Atlanta and took the only trolley tour around town, when I say around town, the trolley covered 20 miles surveying Atlanta's urban sprawl. You could get on and off and we spent a fair bit of time in the Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta's lasting legacy to them holding the Centennial Olympics in 1996. The park features walks and statues and hosts many events. It's centrepiece is kids favourite the Fountain of Rings where synchronized water streams dance in the air. Shows are four times a day to familiar tunes complete with sound and lighting effects.

Across the street from here are Atlanta's two major tourist attractions. Georgia Aquarium, the world's largest and the World of Coca-Cola, that doesn't need any explaining. We would have liked to have gone into the Aquarium, but it needed half a day and the $15 entrance fee put me well off the Coca-Cola advert with a roof.

We did pay for the CNN Center tour, the media companies global headquarters. I wouldn't recommend it unless it was serious newsday, and despite the over-excited tour guide (who reminded me of Willy Wonka) talking up the Iran crisis, the newsrooms had as much activity as my office on a Sunday. To reach the various studios one takes the world's longest free-standing escalator takes up and over the ground floor food court, that appeared to be an air-conditioned base with 24-hour television thrown in for the homeless!

Back on the seriously hot trolley bus we drove by Atlanta Braves' Turner Field, previously the 85,000 seater 1996 Olympic Stadium. The oldest park in the city is Grant Park, which was pretty lush considering the heat and the park also contains Atlanta Zoo. Oakland Cemetery is huge and is the resting place for an estimated 6,900 Civil War burials, of which about 3,000 are unknown soldiers. They were all of Confederate ilk and the section is marked by a 65ft tall obelisk (above right).

Martin Luther King was born in the house pictured below in Atlanta 80 years ago. The area is not the best, but all the parts dedicated to MLK are immaculate and have a certain reverence to them. There is the National Historic Site, that also includes Ebenezer Baptist Church, where a young King used to preach. Across the street is the memorial park with MLK's gravestone on a brick and concrete plaza with an arch-covered walkway and chapel partially surrounding a reflecting pool. At the centre of the pool raised on a pedestal rests his crypt. On it is engraved the immortal words: "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I'm free at last."

Gone with the Wind was written by Margaret Mitchell, who is another of Atlanta's most famous residents. Her house and a museum can be visited in Midtown. The downtown area is really not exciting except for the gold topped State Capitol Building, the High Museum of Art may have grabbed our interest but it was off the beaten track and by this time we were bloody hot and it was time for a drink. We'd passed Varsity a number of times but our thirst got us at the wrong point of our journey, however Varsity might have been worth a stopover as it is the largest drive-in in the world, something Atlantan's must be very proud off!

Atlanta is the city that never ends, literally and therefore is a myriad of 8, 10 and 12-lane highways and with an incredible 71 roads named Peachtree that doesn't do anything to ease orientation. Traffic is a big problem as nearly everyone lives in the suburbs and drives everywhere, this despite a reasonable transportation system. Despite this, Atlanta is still one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and has more than it's fair share of Fortune 500 companies headquarted in Atlanta or it's vicinity meaning there are plenty of exclusive enclaves such as Buckhead that have the look and smell of new money. 
Tuesday 23 June 2009
  Hygienist I have just returned from the hygienist. And no, she knew nothing of any potential Charlton takeover, I did ask. When I was in Chicago I used to see the hygienist, a lovely little thing by the way, every 3 months to "right my English teeth," as those nice Americans would say.

Today was my first dental visit for a year, I am seeing the actual dentist next week, and bloody hell was the hygienist rough. A Canadian lady with hands like shovels she was telling me off, shoving my head around and trying to manoeuvre my mouth into positions it clearly wasn't going to go. I came out exhausted and why did I feel guilty when I told her I flossed every night before I went to bed?

Two Tall Ships are back in Hamilton, both on route to Boston to pick up the 4th leg of the Atlantic Challenge, sadly the rain is bucketing it down and has no sign of stopping so a tour is unlikely.

Meanwhile the Dutch ship Tecla is first overall as they approach Charleston for their next stop. 
Monday 22 June 2009
  What happens.... If nothing happens? Tomorrow is the 23rd day of June. The day the International Olympic Committee was formed in 1894, the day the Battle of Bannockburn began in 1314, oh and Slash from Gun n Roses 44th birthday! But will it become legend in Charlton Athletic’s 104 year history? June 23rd talked about in the same breath as December 5th, May 25th and April 26th.

No one has any evidence from what I can tell that something will happen tomorrow, a takeover, new investment, a new managerial team, a new CEO? But what if nothing happens?

The news blackout from The Valley this summer isn’t quite of Iranian Government proportions but for us addicted to Addick news or just plain worried about the lack of activity, it is not far behind. We know that Weaver, Todorov, Yussuff, Aswad Thomas and Harry Arter are leaving with Ambrose going to Palarse, although unconfirmed by the official site, rapidly becoming the new Pravda. But what else? Have Fortune and Holland accepted new contracts? Has ZZ’s supposed contract re-negotiations sold enough season tickets to allow for him to leave quietly now?

We have been linked with players and other clubs have been associated with ours, Hudson to Cardiff, Gray to Palarse the latest unconfirmed rumours. So who has been doing these negotiations? Parkinson or Waggott, Murray or Chappell? The players return to training in a few weeks, in preparation for a very important 9-month campaign. Has the club ever been so ill-equipped approaching a new season?

On news outlets our competitors, perhaps Southampton aside are already putting into place plans for the new Division 3 season. Do we have a plan, a plan B even if Pravda stays silent tomorrow night. You know I'll be ok if nothing happens, but I blimmin’ well hope we have some kind of strategy because bad planning and wrong decisions are the reason we are here in the first place. 
Sunday 21 June 2009
  Georgia on my mind Our last night in Georgia's state capital Atlanta, well Buckhead to be more precise and back to Bermuda tomorrow. The Atlantan heat, reminiscent of walking behind a huge hair dryer, reminded me of Chicago summers. Atlanta is not Chicago but it has enough to pique the interest. We went on the cities only Trolley bus tour today, and it only emphasised how spread out the city is, in fact it sprawls 134 miles and every bugger has a car attached to their arse. More on Atlanta when I get home.

Meanwhile back in Bermuda, Premier Ewart Brown has survived a motion of no confidence following the backdoor arrival of the four Guantánamo Bay Uighurs. The last time Bermuda had such worldwide media coverage was probably in the late 70's when there were race riots.

I heard that over 1,500 people demonstrated peacefully against Ewart Brown's leadership on Friday at Parliament Hill in pouring rain. That must have startled the hords of American tourists off the cruise liners? 
Thursday 18 June 2009
  Adobe No not the software. We were way up close to the Colorado border today in Taos, New Mexico a place where America's oldest continuously inhabited village can be found. I asked around and no one knew anything of a Charlton takeover.

It is thought Taos Pueblo was established between 1000 and 1450 A.D., and around 1,000 relatives of native americans still live on the 95,000 acre reservation. We were told that the tribes values and past oppressions, of which there are many will go untold due to the tribe's secretive nature, which I reckon is a shame.

The pueblo with it's adobe houses could have belonged to a film set but in each adobe house tiny elderly men and women greeted us warmly and offered their crafts for sale. One friendly lady upon finding out our nationality talked excitedly about the upcoming Wimbledon tournament. Stood inside her world talking of Rafa Nadal's injury we could have been anywhere, but as we left I stepped back and looked up at the multistoried structure with ladders traditionally the only entrance and exit and the thick walls of the adobe, made solely of clay, straw, sand and water. The imposing mountains of Sangre de Cristo stood silently behind. It was a different world from a different time. 
Wednesday 17 June 2009
  A chance to earn some respect again The Coca-Cola League One Fixture list was revealed this morning. We start with Wycombe Wanderers - I would have put a lot of dough on that if I knew how to - and then Hartlepool, Leyton Orient and Walsall plus a League Cup tie at Hereford all appear in our lives like a slap in the face with a soggy haddock during the first fortnight of the new season. What do managers say? The league table says a lot about the rest of the season after the first month, by which time we would also have travelled to Tranmere and hosted last year's League Two champions Brentford. Excited yet?

Personally I am a little disappointed because I am due back for my first taste of the new season in early September and I was hoping for a mad away game and I've realistically got the choice of Brentford or Southampton at home. I do have my eye on the Brighton game on December 1st, a Tuesday night. By that time of course a lot would have already been revealed about our providence.

Something that was revealed today was a mini pre-season tour to Ireland. After the Welling game the club will travel to the south-east of Ireland to play Wexford Youth and then Bray Wanderers on July 12th and 15th respectively. The Wexford game has got the internet scuttlebutts off on the likelihood of a potential coincidence between a possible takeover and Wexford owner and manager, construction magnate Mick Wallace. All I can tell you is that Bray is the birthplace of Darren Randolph. FACT!

The pre-season schedule is now as follows:
Wed July 8th - Welling United (a)
Sun July 12th - Wexford Youth (a)
Wed July 15th - Bray Wanderers (a)
Sat July 18th - Forest Green Rovers (a)
Tue July 21st - Crawley Town (a)
Sat July 25th - Barnet (a)
Tue July 28th - Ipswich Town (h)
Sat Aug 1st - Bournemouth (a)

Back to Wycombe then. Who can forget that disgraceful night under Les Reed, when two and half years ago the club well and truly put it's foot on the downward spiral. Well in a little over 7 weeks time the club gets a chance to begin to earn our respect again. Not support because they will always have that, but our respect. 
Tuesday 16 June 2009
  New Mexico Back to work only until lunchtime as I really feel it is time for a holiday! Yes yesterday was a holiday too but this afternoon begins a vacation.

I have never been to the sparsely populated state of New Mexico and later we fly to Albuquerque, via Atlanta and then drive the 60 miles north-east to Santa Fe for 4 days. I have only read good things about Santa Fe and it's urbane and artsy town. and lying outside of Santa Fe are centuries-old adobes and pueblos standing proud and just waiting to be explored.

Next weekend we end up back in Atlanta until Monday, for some power shopping and the last few days of our mini break.

This past extended weekend was excellent, helped by having a good mate staying with us to witness the gaiety the Tall Ships provided, although yesterday's trip out on the catamaran was somewhat disrupted by bad weather and a late start but we did get a chance to wave goodbye to those incredible barques as they raced off to Charleston. 
Monday 15 June 2009
  RIP Tony Kempster No national heroes here in Bermuda but football lost one of it's true unsung heroes on Sunday evening when Tony Kempster lost his battle against cancer. Tony's attention to detail was incredible and his website was an essential place for fans that loved football facts and stats, particularly on a Saturday night when he would race to post all of the day's non-league results and attendances.

I wrote about Tony here in May and one hopes that following his sad passing his legion of followers can continue his wonderful legacy. RIP Tony.

Tributes: BBC; Supporters Direct; Two Hundred Percent; Non League Daily
  No national heroes A few weeks ago the government bowed to public pressure and moved it's National Heroes Day holiday from October to today. Previously Bermudians celebrated today as the Queen's birthday but the government last year decided to scrap poor old Queenie and go for something with a more civic meaning. People didn't seem to be bothered about what the holiday was called, they just preferred a day off in the summer. Well people power won, and the government moved the day but haven't named a National Hero, which after last year's fuss, seems a bit silly.

Talking of silly, we have the countries Premier, who forgot to tell anyone last week about he accepting four Chinese Muslims, known as Uighurs onto the island fresh from their 8-year stint in Guantánamo Bay. Like most inmates at Guantánamo, the Uighers have been cleared of any terrorism activities and are not considered non-threatening, which is good to know.

I am sure these four gentlemen are very nice chaps and the island could do with a decent Chinese restaurant (it is rumoured they will be given the funds to start one) but whilst us guest workers spend a fortune on rent, have our jobs advertised to Bermudians at a drop of a hat and have no hope of status, the Uighurs have been offered homes, jobs and passports. All rather perplexing.

Rarrely does anything that happens on this island make the world's headlines but Dr Ewart Brown's autocracy has made him front page news and not much of a National hero. The British government, whilst taking a break from doing it's expenses, are up in arms at their lack of involvement as they are supposed to oversee the foreign and security policy of this British overseas territory. All a bit of a cock up, particularly as it was also done behind the British Governor of Bermuda's back and almost everyone else in parliament.

Of course this will all be brushed under the carpet and good luck to the four Uighurs, but at some point many people in Bermuda will be waiting for the quid pro quo that Dr Ewart Brown did with President Obama. When no other country has opened their doors to former inmates from Guantánamo Bay, why did this sleepy sub tropical financial paradise?

Obama has talked consistently about clamping down on tax havens, of which Bermuda is considered one and also Dr Brown's son is currently standing trial in Los Angeles for molesting an alleged 12 victims including an undercover vice officer and a 15-year-old girl.

Meanwhile I saw the Premier looking very relaxed having dinner on Saturday night. Perhaps it's because he knows he has a day of work today? 
Sunday 14 June 2009
  Bounty hunting I have never seen Hamilton as busy as it has been this weekend as 22 of the world's Tall Ships rest proudly in Bermuda waters alongside Front Street. We strolled amongst them yesterday afternoon and it was a glorious sight. The ships are used for a variety of naval training, educational programmes and racing and vary in shapes and sizes from the huge Russian owned 376ft long Kruzenshtern with the baby faced crew to the 74ft Jolie Brise, based in Hamble, and the first winner of the Fastnet Race in 1925.

The HMS Bounty which was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty by MGM Studios to tell the story of the famous maritime mutiny that occurred in the South Pacific in 1789, was one of my favourites. Samba music was being pelted out by a band on the Cisne Branco, the Brazilian ship built as recently as 2000 but inspired by 19th century clippers but with added mod cons.

The drums were beating onboard the Capitan Miranda, based in Montevideo and used as a training vessel for the Uruguayan navy. The bright welcoming sun in the Uruguayan flag formed most of a huge colourful spinnaker above this 80-year old beauty.

None to suprisingly bearing in mind the amount of American tourists on the island this weekend, the most popular ship was The Eagle. With more than 20,000 of sail and 20 miles of rigging there was a lot of crew. 'US Coast Guard' was proudly blazoned across the bow and this Tall Ship acts as a training ground to future coast guards. And The Europa had me just staring up at it as a Dutch flag fluttered on top of a sinew of masts, rigging and ropes.

Excited people of all ages clambered aboard the ships open to the public and it was an incredible scene and tomorrow we are fortunate enough to have been invited out on a catamaran to witness each one of the Tall Ships parade out through Hamilton Harbour to the start of the next leg of the Atlantic Challenge off St Davids Head. Earlier this evening I was watching some old television clips of the last 'Parade of Sail' in 2000 and the scenes were extraordinary. 
Wednesday 10 June 2009
  Bermuda Tall Ships Festival 400 years ago an ancient Tall Ship named the Sea Venture happened across this perilous reef encircled island in a raging hurricane. The crew marooned, made the best of what shelter the island gave them and thus Bermuda was settled.

This week a flotilla of 22 Tall Ships will idle over the horizon and onto this sunsoaked shore, and a party awaits these majestic watercraft and their crew, most of whom are in a 7,000 nautical, three month race. The race, the Atlantic Challenge started in Vigo, Spain at the end of April to Tenerife and then from the Canaries 2,600 nautical miles to Bermuda. The race then continues to Charleston, Boston, Halifax in Nova Scotia and finally ends in Belfast during the middle of August.

The 2nd leg of the race actually ended over a week ago as the lack of wind and completely flat sea conditions left these huge vessels almost motionless out in the Atlantic. Captains logged their positions and location and turned on their motors. Quite appropriately The Spirit of Bermuda (top right) was first to show up on Bermuda's doorstep on Saturday and as rivals arrive in Bermuda they will first dock at either end of the island, St George's or Dockyard and then will make their way into Hamilton tomorrow afternoon for the start of the Tall Ships Festival, slated to be the most memorable of Bermuda's 400th anniversary celebrations.

The last time the Tall Ships came to Bermuda was in 1990 and given the huge task of organising these races they only happen on average once every 10-15 years, so all the more remarkable that 22 of the world's 57 Tall Ships, each with fascinating histories will spend their weekends here.

One of them, the Kruzenshtern I will be lucky enough to be on tomorrow night. The 83-year old Russian owned ship is the 2nd largest Tall Ship in the world. Saturday some of the others are open to the public to tour and on Monday, which is now a bank holiday (sorry, didn't I mention that?), we will be out on the water watching the ships parade to the start line past Fort St Catherine on the North Shore for the race to Charleston. More on the Tall Ships over the weekend.

Current race standings / List of Tall Ships / Race tracking / Tall Ships Blog 
  The Roseway Schooner We had a very nice evening last night aboard the Roseway. Drinking with Bermuda's glitterati, it was just a shame my parents couldn't have been there as originally the night was scheduled a couple of weekends back but the Roseway got delayed on it's journey from St Croix in the Virgin Islands to Bermuda.

The 137ft long wooden schooner was launched in 1925 from the coast of Massachusetts and was restored over a period of two years at the turn of the century. She is now a fully fledged National Historic Landmark.

The Roseway is now operated by the World Ocean School, a non-profit educational organisation based in Maine and journeys between St Croix and Boston and is used to inspire, educate and connect underprivileged kids.

The crew of 8 were a pragmatic lot, mostly cool kids using college breaks to do good and get themselves some adventure. One pretty thing from Hamilton, Ontario told us that she'd never been in warm weather before and therefore was very fond of her newly acquired white bits. An interesting conservation but not as interesting as the one with a 50-year old Canadian woman who met a rich sugar daddy in Antigua 5 weeks ago and hadn't been home yet.

Downstairs the boat was full of gleaming oak but just one 'head.' I'd imagine especially when accompanied by nine kids, the toileting may take some planning! Meanwhile the great and the good of Bermuda told old stories to us outsiders just happy to be here and drunk merrily away like old sailors. We made our escape to the sanctuary of land but it was a fun old time.
Tuesday 9 June 2009
  Bermuda through different eyes My parents left us last night after 3 weeks, we will miss them being around but one thing their visit made me realise was how alluring this little island is. I saw it at closer quarters and through different eyes these past few weeks, and despite it's foibles Bermuda is truly idyllic.

We have a quick turnover at the Chicago Addick Hilton as a good mate from Chicago arrives on Friday for the weekend, just in time for the Tall Ships Festival - more on that later in the week.

Meanwhile I need to get my head down at work and put a few hours in, today was an early start but I hope to be able to later step onto the historic Roseway schooner, currently docked in Hamilton Harbour for today only and we have tickets to have a mosey around later this evening. 
Monday 8 June 2009
  What about Damian Matthew? Not surprisingly, to me anyway, Charlton have announced they will operate in the future without a reserve team. The writing was on the wall once we gave notice to Ebbsfleet at the end of last season. I'm not sure how I feel about this, yes the trend has been to allow younger players to go out on long term loans to one, allow them to improve and gain experience in a first team environment and two, to lower the short-term wage bill. Yet in my mind reserve football is still a critical part of a young player's development as well as a convenient place for injured players to get back to fitness by playing competitive football.

Sure I suppose our locale will offer us the opportunities to play various non-competitive friendlies to serve a purpose, I just hope for those that enjoy watching these games they are allowed access to them.

More importantly is what is going to happen to Damian Matthew? Matthew was "promoted" to reserve team manager following Mark Kinsella's upgrade to Parkinson's assistant. Once part of Chelsea's youth set up, he has in some quarters been compared to Brendan Rogers, the now manager of Reading and many Addicks feel he could do a similiar job at Charlton.

Steve Gritt swallowed the U18's role within his function as the club's Academy Manager and I for one am worried that we may lose the services of Matthew. No doubt this conundrum will be added to the list of others waiting news of the much coveted takeover.

Meanwhile I read that ex-Addick Ray Tumbridge (top right) passed away on Saturday aged just 54. When I was a wee nipper Ray was mostly a member of Charlton's (ex) reserve team but did make 48 first team appearances at left back mainly deputising for Phil Warman. He was released at the end of 1975/76 season and joined Weymouth. Sad news. 
Thursday 4 June 2009
  Takeover. Yawn. Parky. Yawn. Friendlies. Double Yawn I just clicked onto and the headline was an article about tumbleweed. Honestly. Whilst radio silence greets all things Charlton insiders and outsiders are left to use their dodgy calculators and put two and two together to make five.

Where was Peter Varney spotted today? Or was he just going to the bank to get some beer money? Have Phil Parkinson and Mark Kinsella cleared their desks at the training ground? Or have they just tidied it before they went on their summer holidays? Have the season ticket sales been so bad, that the club are embarrassed to announce the post June 1st number? Or are they still counting the applications?

One would assume those players out of contract have been told that they are free agents, even if the rest of us haven't? Surely it is only fair on those players in the ultra competitve summer free transfer market to know where their futures lie? Ambrose we know has signed for Palace, Harry Arter and Aswad Thomas have dropped down to the Conference South and joined Woking but what of others?

Anyhoo, if we can cobble enough players together and have a manager he will take the team on this very, Bournemouth aside, uninspiring list of pre-season matches beginning in a little more than 4 weeks:

Wed July 8th - Welling United (a)
Sat July 18th - Forest Green Rovers (a)
Tue July 21st - Crawley Town (a)
Sat July 25th - Barnet (a)
Tue July 28th - Ipswich Town (h)
Sat Aug 1st - Bournemouth (a)

How ironic that Barnet play Southend United in a friendly a couple of days after us as part of the Nicky Bailey transfer deal between the two clubs. He since left Southend and could well have left us too by July 25th. See 2 + 2 really does equal 5! 
Wednesday 3 June 2009
  Manchester United's new sponsor In the next few hours my employers are set to announce that they will become Manchester United's new shirt sponsor from the beginning of the 2010/11 season in a deal worth £80million over four years, the biggest shirt deal in football history, eclipsing AIG's annual contract by £6m!

How do I feel about that? A little pissed off to be honest. When a successful company freezes pay, severely cuts it's bonus pools and makes people redundant citing the global economic downturn just a few months back, one has to accept that there are many people worse off than you. But then out of the blue when they hand the world's richest football club $132m something doesn't quite add up. "An astonishing revenue generation opportunity," blurts one suit from our London office, hmmmm if I was a Chelsea or an Arsenal fan working in our London office today after not getting a pay increase for two years, I would understandably be asking a lot of questions.

My company is not a recognisable global brand, but by having their name emblazoned across one of the most famous walking billboards in world sport, then it will surely become one, and putting a price on that is highly subjective. Certainly the firm is not looking for the great and the good of Salford to be ringing up looking for car insurance, but expanding it's reach into Asia, Europe and Africa is something they are.

I understand that Nike have already produced United's kit for next season and despite pressure from the American Federal Government for AIG to cancel the last year of their deal, pulping the replica jerseys is not an option, so my company will take up the sponsorship in August 2010.

The analysts like my company, as does Wall Street and I am sure they will like it even more when trading opens later today. But blinkered Man U fans aside, will the employees like and respect the firm more today? Unlikely. 
Monday 1 June 2009
  Ambrose off to Palarse Nothing official but stories have been developing today that one of the club's biggest enigmas for many a year, Darren Ambrose will move across South London to Palarse on July 1st once his 4-year contract expires at The Valley.

Incredibly still only 25, Ambrose potentially has another 7-8 years ahead of him in the game, but you have to consider if Ipswich and his old team mate Jim Magilton couldn't drag the best out of him, who can?

Many Addicks have criticised Ambrose for being everything that is wrong with the modern player. He made a major impact in his debut season with Ipswich Town 7 seasons ago scoring 11 goals in 37 games before making a big money move to Newcastle, signed by Bobby Robson after coming highly recommended but ever since his career has faltered for whatever reason.

Those that know him describe him as affable and compassionate. Others that perhaps don't know him appear to have little time for him. Whatever, the first high profile player out of the door this summer is hardly a surprise, perhaps where he has gone is although I hardly expect him to earn anywhere near what he has done playing for us. Ambrose made 125 appearances and scored 16 goals in 4 seasons. 
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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