Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Saturday 28 November 2009
  Queen's visit to Bermuda I've met the Queen, well seen her at close quarters a couple of times in my life (I agree that's not quite the same) but each time I was obviously intrigued and nosey enough to make a small effort to stand and stare. I'm not much of a royalist but I accept them for what they are and soley on the basis that every American I have ever met (if a corgi breaks wind it makes the American news networks) would give their left leg for a royal family I would rather have them than not. Their extended family can take a hike but I am secretly proud of our Queen and grateful for our monarchy and all of it's pagentry and history.

This week was Queen Elizabeth II's first visit to this island since 1994 and it was exactly 56 years to the day after her first ever trip here when she made Bermuda her first stop on her 1953 coronation tour. Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh arrived on Tuesday and left for Trinidad & Tobabo on Thursday afternoon, where she was opening the Commonwealth Head's of Government meeting.

There was strange indifference in the media up until a day or so before she arrived but an itinerary finally came out and we decided not to wait and headed to St George's to see if we could spot her just after the royal party arrived on a British Airways chartered flight (no more royal jet of course) on Tuesday afternoon. We met some friends on the way and joined those assembled in King's Square.

The Royal Gazette headline reckoned on a crowd of thousands but if you took away the people that were made to be there such as school kids, brownies, cubs, girl guides, the island's regiment and local dignitaries, then by my reckoning it was definitely more hundreds than thousands but there was plenty of flag waving and smiles.

After the 21-gun salute went off without any warning and tested my daughter's hearing The Queen and Prince Phillip walked into King's Square and stood on a makeshift platform as the Bermudian Regiment played the national anthem. I held my daughter still and watched others fidget. She then shook some hands and swapped pleasantries with the guard of honour and made her way towards Ordnance Island.

Philip disappeared to one of the two Range Rovers (shipped in for the occasion) but Governor Sir Richard Gozney and it appeared the newly smitten Premier Ewart Brown accompanied The Queen towards us where we had taken up our places on the bridge. The crowd was at it's thinnest here and after some rubber-necking suddenly there she was looking slightly distant but very elegant in a fuschia suit and hat. Do you think Philip has ever seen her without a hat?

Anyway I am sure security were only a sharp move away but we could almost touch her as she walked by and after catching my eye, she continued a foot or so and stopped to talk to my mate, who will make sure we never hear the end of it! And then a minute or two later she was gone as the two Range Rovers and a fleet of governmental cars sped off.

In the end the Bermuda's media finally warmed to the historic and significant occasion and rightly so. During their short stay The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended a Thanksgiving service at the Cathedral on Church St, Hamilton. They took an everyday ferry to Dockyard visiting the Maritime Museum and then by car travelled back to Hamilton passing by schools. The Premier had another chance to mention independence to Bermuda's Monarch at a dinner held at the new Tucker's Point Restaurant on Wednesday night before they were driven past more schools on her way to the airport Thursday morning.
Thursday 26 November 2009
  Giving thanks A month ago today our daughter was born and she broke a massive smile this morning and my heart melted. I took today, Thanksgiving in the US, off and tomorrow we close the office so it is a four-day weekend and in one of Bermuda's more enduring moments the late November weather allowed the three of us to share breakfast outside on the patio this morning.

Our plans to come home in December before Christmas will have to be re-thought as in a more atypical Bermudian moment, the Registry Generals office lost all of Arabella's paperwork, thus meaning we had to refill in the forms (what colour is the baby being one of the questions) and submit again. They called the other day, with good reason as it turned out, to check the spelling of the names and hopefully we should receive the birth certificate next week and then it will be approximately a month before we get her passport back from Washington DC.

We had already planned Christmas here (we have ordered the tree) but really wanted to visit family and friends before then, but it will have to wait now until January. This at least gives us time to find a routine and to get her to hate a bit less her crib, car-seat and pram!

Last weekend we hosted a little party for Arabella which was lovely, tomorrow we hope to drive over to St George's for the afternoon and I'm cooking Thanksgiving lunch for friends on Saturday. No football to worry about of course as we cleverly avoided any stupid cup distractions! Good luck to Northwich mind, at home to Lincoln and Staines Town. 
  Loan deadline news Good news coming out of The Valley before Richard Murray was due to meet with supporters for the rescheduled Q&A tonight (Twitter feed). Reading striker Dave Mooney has extended his loan contract for a further month, although during this period his parent club can recall him at 24-hours notice. Nothing new on Akpo Sodje but despite the loan window now closed existing loans can still be extended. Akpo's deal is due to run out on December 5th and positively Wednesday did sign two forward players on loan today.

On current evidence both strikers would be excellent additions to Parky's squad but a permanent deal for Sodje appears more likely with his contract situation at Sheffield Wednesday, whereas continued success for Mooney may well end up with Reading wanting him back to fulfil his contract but I would imagine a host of differing circumstances at the Madejski will eventually dictate.

Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme returned to Wolves, although only then to move onto goalkeeper-shy Sheffield United on loan. One would assume that Robbie Elliott will be fit for Tuesday. Dean Sinclair (1 app + 1 sub, 1 goal in 28 months) has moved to his old club Barnet, for whom a Mr Alan Pardew paid £125,000, on loan for a month, maybe as a precurser for a permanent move in January.... if he can stay fit. Youngster Alex Stavrinou has moved to Ebbsfleet United on month's loan and no news on Elliot Omozusi, whose contract runs out on Tuesday.

Elsewhere Leeds signed three players on loan (they now have 5 in total). Queens Park Rangers 21-year old winger Hogan Ephraim, the experienced Cardiff defender Tony Capaldi and Liverpool goalkeeper David Martin. Leeds then moved left-back Alan Sheehan on-loan to Swindon, whilst Norwich have taken Swindon's winger Anthony McNamee and Peterborough United right-back Russell Martin until January. Oldham swooped to sign Doncaster Rovers striker Paul Heffernan and MK Dons have loaned Jabo Ibehre to Southend for a month.

Other news announced by Charlton today was that Deputy CEO Nigel Capelin will leave the club after 12-years lightening the somewhat top heavy structure on the football club board. Good luck sir. 
  Soccer in America As it's Thanksgiving I'm going to dedicate a little time to football in America, I'm even for this day only going to indulge my American readers by calling it soccer.

After knocking Chicago Fire out of the semi-final of the MLS Cup, Real (Re-ale) Salt Lake again made a mockery of the competition by beating David Beckham's LA Galaxy on penalties in the final last weekend. I have never seen the MLS' flagship game get so much media attention outside of the States, obviously due to Beckham's appearance. I for one was hoping that for Becks' benefit and to quieten those that scoff at his time in the US, he would collect his 3rd league title in 3 countries (only ever achieved by one Briton, Trevor Steven) but it wasn't to be as the hardworking Salt Lake took the game to pk's (as is the American's want for abbreviations) and despite Beckham converting Galaxy's first penalty, they lost 5-4 and it was Real's captain and their very own Becks, Kyle Beckerman (who looks like he needs a good wash) who lifted the trophy. This after they finished the 30-game regular season with the 8th 'best record' or in fact the 7th worst!

Meanwhile a few weeks back the Columbus Crew who won the western conference ended the regular season with the most points (as they did last term) and collected the Supporters Shield, the kind of thing you might buy for a tenner from your local cobblers. I'm all for a bit of play-off action but I actually like to see the best team win, and I'm unconvinced Real Salt Lake were.

Back to Beckham, after battling through the game with a badly bruised ankle and pain killing injections, those airheads on the west coast might finally stop booing the best player they are ever likely to see in their shirt. He's had to put up with some ridiculous mocking for wanting to prolong his international career by playing for AC Milan. After all, it is not unusual for MLS players to go on loan during their off-season. As an example Chicago Fire's talisman Cuauhtemoc Blanco has rejoined Mexican second-division Veracruz in order to get fit for the world cup and is widely expected to return to the windy city for the 2010 season.

Tuesday night Chicago Fire parted company with head coach Denis Hamlett, who'd been with the coaching staff since their inaugural season in 1998. Yesterday was the MLS 'Super Draft,' American's of course have to insert the words 'super' or 'world' into anything that is a little important to them and drafts are something that everyone except Americans fail to understand but Illinois native and ex-Fulham striker Brian McBride resigned for the Fire and ex-Arsenal youth player Steve Zakuani was the draft's first pick you'll be enlightened to know.

Philadelphia Union, the MLS' 16th team basically picked the majority of their squad at the draft. They will start next season in the eastern conference with their very own 18,500 capacity stadium based right alongside the Delaware River between the cities of Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. Polish ex-Fire manager Piotr Nowak looks like a good choice as Union's first head coach. Two further teams Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers will be added in 2011. After that, it is likely that Montreal will become the 3rd Canadian team and nineteenth franchise with according to this week's media potentially David Beckham selecting and investing in a 20th team.

Two questions then. Does this spread the thin line of soccer talent too finely and where an earth will Beckham set up his franchise, which is expected to cost a cool $40m? There has been some talk into the 20th franchise being in Europe, I can't see it and to me the south-east of America looks ripe for a MLS team, I can see Becks and of course Mrs Becks all over Miami personally.

Also this week it was announced that below the MLS, the second tier of soccer in North America will splinter into two leagues from one. The reincarnation of the NASL seems a strange title to me, but in an effort to squeeze every ounce out of a publicity and marketing effort that is what the owners of the nine teams have done.

Six of those nine teams have come from the United Soccer League (USL) including Tango Man's previously 2nd division Crystal Palarse Baltimore. Who knows where this leaves the USL, which in my mind was always a badly organized and collective riff raff of what basically amounted to local teams, including the financially restrained Bermuda Hogges. Meanwhile the USL have reacted strongly to the defection of it's teams, including the reformed Tampa Bay Rowdies (I used to have one of their shirts) who had previously committed to the USL before joining the NASL earlier this week.

An interesting time for soccer in America then. The MLS has had a slow but steady growth but attendances were down this past season and could have been worse if it wasn't for the very well supported new boys Seattle Sounders, who averaged a very impressive 30,897. The Beckham factor may be losing it's appeal as both Galaxy's home and away crowds were down by over 20%. Certainly the game needs more heroes and they are hard to come by, particularly as the sports media has no interest in creating any.

Personally I like the fact the league is getting bigger, I reckon it gives the MLS more credibility but maybe interest in the game is waning and soccer in the US has reached it's zenith and there is simply no more room for it to grow. Sports fans have no understanding of second divisions either, it is all minor leagues or kids stuff to them and I really can't see the NASL gaining any momentum as it just looks like nine grown men with inflated egos.

I hope soccer not only survives in America but flourishes, and if England can't win the bid 2018 world cup, then let America have it, that will certainly be a stimulus package that everyone from Main St to Wall St can buy into. 
Wednesday 25 November 2009
  3 points by Royal appointment Charlton Athletic 4 Bristol Rovers 2
Owing to a royal appointment (more on that later), I was left to follow last night's game via Twitter. As usual the eyewitness reports at the foot of this page will give you a lot more flavour than I can stuck on an island in the Atlantic, albeit with the Queen in situ.

Nevertheless all was rosy in the Chicago Addick world last night with another 3 points plundered in tough weather conditions against promotion rivals. To me the key thing now is to keep Dave Mooney and hopefully use the next 7 days to get Elliot and one or both of Youga and Richardson fit.

I have said all season that you can only beat what is put in front of you and Rovers under Trollope and Sir Lennie are the league's highest goalscorers away from home. After losing a two-goal lead it was certainly heartening to hear of a stirring fightback. Parky suddenly appears to have a couple of alternatives in his back pocket and with Bailey finding his mojo and Mooney, Burton and Akpo each with two goals in the last three the area we were lacking in is now thriving because the manager now has some good choices.

Reports: Charlton Casual; Drinking During the Game; Blackheath Addicted; Stickleback; Charlton Athletic Online; Addicks Diary; And Nothing Else Matters
Monday 23 November 2009
  HRH The Queen arrives in Bermuda tomorrow with Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh carrying her bags. They land at the airport around 3pm and after being greeted by the Governor Sir Richard Gozney and Premier Ewart Brown, they plan to have a walkaround St George's and I hope to get over there to wave a union jack and take a few photos.

The Queen is here to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the settlement of Bermuda, and I was surprised to read that it is only her 4th ever visit to the island in 56 years on the throne. The last time was in 1994. On Thursday morning the Queen will leave with her rum cake and bottle of pink sand and travel to Trinidad and Tobago to open the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad on Friday. 
Saturday 21 November 2009
  Team full of Sodje's, we want a team full of Sodje's Yeovil Town 1 Charlton Athletic 1
An absolutely tremendous 2nd half performance from Charlton this afternoon in what returning Addicks are describing as the worst weather ever at a game.... even worse than Swindon in '98. The 1,500 or so who stood behind the goal on an open terrace deserved a medal, but at least they will wake tomorrow with some fantastic memories to no doubt go with a sniffle or two.

I have to applaud Parky for bravely changing it at half-time as we switched to 4-3-2 although from the commentary it was more like 2-5-2 as we camped in their half with Youga and Basey pushing forward as we did everything but score again in the 2nd half.

It sounded like Sam Sodje had to go and will get a one game suspension, but when John Obika put Yeovil in front just before half-time I feared the worse but Parkinson did a great job at the break, acted positively, sent them out 2nd half and we showed why we are second in the table.

I look forward to seeing Akpo Sodje's goal, from the commentary he sounded a right bloody handful and witnesses say that his disallowed goal was very dubious too. So a proud performance that derserved three points. Well done to both players and supporters.

Reports: Addicks Diary; Drinking During the Game; Charlton Athletic Online
Friday 20 November 2009
  Boxes It has been an awfully long day starting this morning waking in a New York hotel with a hangover the size of the Empire State Building. It's now nearly bed time in Bermuda and the hangover remains. In fact I've just woken on the sofa after sending both myself and my daughter to sleep by singing the Red, Red Robin. I was doing the singing as she doesn't yet know past the first couple of lines.

24 hours in New York then, split in not equal measure between the office, the bar and hotel bed. My one night to slink away on my own and get 12 hours sleep and I blow it. I tell thee I ain't getting much sympathy here! That final Stella in the hotel bar early this morning was not one of my more prudent ideas. I then had to check in and when I got in my room I thought it was a stock room so full it was of boxes.

Because you can't buy jack in Bermuda except little bottles of pink sand, we bought a load of stuff on the internet (what a great little invention that is turning out to be) and had it all sent to the hotel. It was like Christmas morning when I got back to the room last night. I bet I had a whale of a time if only I could remember!

I did travel back today with Jet Blue and there is something very cool about watching the telly on the plane. I was also very impressed with their new terminal at JFK. It was very posh and even had free wi-fi. Fortunately in my condition it wasn't one of the days for a live concert
Thursday 19 November 2009
  Va-va-vroom I felt pretty sad for the Irish last night, I mean I'll get over it, I probably already have but it was disgraceful wasn't it? Le Hand of God eh? Just like Zinedine Zidane Le headbutt of God. What a lovely gracious nation those French are, if only those stupid Ancient Greeks could have had the balls to keep walking with those vines tucked down their tunics we could've just crossed the country of the map.

I am sure FIFA are very happy that they got the French and Portuguese teams to South Africa. The Argentinians, who were probably the worst of the qualified teams, also got there because FIFA make it almost impossible not to qualify from South America and in fact I don't now why Suriname don't switch from the CONCACAF to the South American qualifiers, get old Jimmy Floyd out of retirement and they'd have a great chance.

Anyway Thierry Henry, what a shame. One of a very small list of footballers never to grace an Addicks shirt that I'd pay very good money to watch. A sublime footballer, and a gentleman to boot. I bet Henry's name must have been mud around the Irish Pubs of Holloway and Islington last night, but I am guessing Arsene Wenger never saw it.

If Robbie Keane did it, if Wayne Rooney did it, if Clive Mendonca did it at Wembley in 1998, would the outcry be the same? Doesn't matter does it because it didn't happen. Time for FIFA to preach what that spout and bring some proper fair play to the beautiful game before it loses all credibility. Let's start with an official behind the goal like they ironically have in the Europa League, or whatever it's called. If an official can be paid to ask managers to keep in their technical box, check that substitutes studs are tight and hold a board up to announce injury time, then we at least deserve a sexually frustrated bloke in black behind the goal to mock. 
Tuesday 17 November 2009
  Elbow Beach Hotel I spent a large amount of today and last night in the Elbow Beach Hotel. This grand and historic hotel will close on November 30th after owner Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and operator's Mandarin Oriental decided visitor numbers were too low for it to continue. This combined with the huge and I suspect unavailable amounts of money required to upgrade it's 235 rooms will result in Elbow Beach becoming for many years to come a sad ghost of a once very distinctive building.

The hotel opened as the South Shore Hotel in 1908 and is rare in that it is timber framed. After WWII it enjoyed socialite status and was a popular college break destination for rich kids in the 80's. It's last upgrade though was in 1991 although the 2003 Hurricane Fabian forced the cottages nearer to the beach to be refurbished and modernised and in fact they will remain open to tourists, albeit without the hotel's infrastructure until the hotel re-opens.

Despite somewhat surprisingly in my mind the hotel being named one of the world's top 500 properties this year by Travel + Leisure Magazine, actually for many years the Mandarin Hotel Group have been kind of stuck with Elbow Beach after they took it over in 2000, receiving no encouragement from the island to bring the resort standards up to their demands. They now plan to re-open the hotel on a much smaller boutique-scale in March 2010. The project has been given a $10m budget and will include a refurbished lobby and a new recreation room as well as the complete renovation of the free-standing Bermuda Room, which will be restored to its authentic 1908 design and used as a banqueting and meeting room.

Restaurant's Lido, Mickeys and Seabreezes will remain open on the beachfront as these are not owned by the hotel but sadly to go are the excellent Seahorse Grill and the lobby's Veranda bar, home of my favourite Friday curry night. I grabbed a massage in the spa today - the girl sounded and in fact looked like Tattoo from Fantasy Island - and this will close also and in total 160 jobs will be lost at the end of this month, half of which are held by Bermudians, spouses of Bermudians or those with Bermudian status. Tourist numbers are down close to 25% for the year. These numbers are complete tosh mind you as they count ex-pat workers coming back into the country.

When the closure was announced Premier Brown expressed optimism on the hotel's future saying when it re-opens "it will then be able to compete with brands like Park Hyatt, Four Seasons and St. Regis." You have to give it to him he does have a wonderful imagination! 
Monday 16 November 2009
  It's raining, it's pouring Bloody threw it down all weekend it did apart from around 90 minutes on Saturday when the sun was smiling right over our house. Poured down all day Saturday and yesterday, finally easing up for us to get out of the house around 3pm when the three of us had a nice walk around the Botanical Gardens (left), the best open space on the island and it was great to see it so busy with families and kids exploring it's hidden charms.

I did actually get to play tennis early Sunday but we gave the Rugby Classic final a large swerve Saturday evening as it would've been a mud bath up there. I thought the rain might have suited the Lions but they were thrashed by New Zealand in the final 24-0. The Argentinian Pumas retained the Plate by beating Australia 11-7.

I spent most of the end of last week trying to get out of a work trip this week to Salt Lake City. In the end I managed to get one of my boys to go in my place over the weekend. I have a conference on the island that I am committed to starting tonight and have friend here I would really like to see on Wednesday before I spend 24 hours in New York on Thursday. More importantly I just don't want to be away from home much at the moment, although after 3 defeats I nearly evicted the poor love before kick off Saturday. But after a stern talking to, like those at The Valley she redeemed herself nicely. 
Sunday 15 November 2009
  Five stars Charlton Athletic 5 Franchise FC 1
Wow. What a way to answer the critics. What was becoming a nasty trend can now hopefully be consigned to the blip category after yesterday's terrific performance at home to Milton Keynes' imported football team. I was lucky to be able to watch most of the game on a very good internet feed, which wiped away the memory of last week's fuzzy one, representional of both the dismal performance and picture.

We have been poor recently as our early season stars' floundered and Parky searched for a Plan B. Parky with a small squad tried to tinker with it, he brought in three loan players and perservered with McLeod. None of these worked, but credit to the manager to change it again this week and rebuild belief and courage in our passing game which returned in sync with vastly improved performances from Nicky Bailey back in the middle, Semedo, Burton and Sam. When Lloyd Sam plays well, the team plays well such is his importance even if often he doesn't realise that himself.

Hopefully Richardson's injury will not prevent him from playing next week because his presence behind Sam I feel is vital. I do feel aggreived for Darren Randolph but the potential permanent signing of Akpo Sodje finally gives us a physical presence up front and I was never a lover of Kandol. Greenwich born like his brother, Akpo might turn out to be a smart move by Parkinson. Him and Mooney may well end up joining Burton, McKenzie and Tuna in a very different looking forward force in the new year as we say goodbye to Dickson, Fleetwood and McMuppet. Named due to his petulance rather than Gonzo the Showman.

My parents were at yesterday's game, up from Eastbourne for their first of the season and they witnessed a five goal display for the first time since August 1998. Like others I have highlighted our lack of goals from open play in recent league games but three of yesterday's five were very well constructed and both Mooney and Sodje finished with aplomb. I read that it is 46 years since 5 different Addick's scored in one game!

Despite yesterday's smile-inducing victory against our closest rivals for 2nd spot, I get the impression that faith amongst Addick's is still brittle but Parky and the boys get another opportunity next week at Yeovil to keep this red machine moving forward. Just like we brooded around in negativity last week, let us this enjoy a five-star week.

Reports: Stickleback; Charlton Casual; Charlton North Downs; The return of Addicks Diary; Drinking During the Game; And Nothing Else Matters; Charlton Athletic Online; Many Miles; Doctor Kish
Friday 13 November 2009
  Lion hearts Rugby week in Bermuda ends tomorrow with a repeat of last year's final when the Classic Lions will play the Classic All Blacks. In the plate last year's winners the Classic Pumas face the Classic Wallabies. I have a ticket for tomorrow and depending on the weather might see if I can get the family along to watch also.

I went on Wednesday night and like I said last year I was surprised at how hard these blokes play. Some of them are approaching 50 and if anyone wanted to witness Gallic and British relations close up, then to see these two veteran teams going at each other for an hour wouldn't have left anyone in any doubt of the rivalry. It was a scrappy but thrilling encounter on a slippy surface after it rained like billy-o for the whole day. Punch-ups were interspersed between some not unexpected sloppy play but with Colin Charvis and Mark Regan's quality showing the Lions came out on top 12-7.

Last night in the other semi, the All Blacks beat South Africa 5-0 in a much duller game by all accounts and will Saturday try to wrestle the Classic trophy off the Lions for their first victory since 1996. 
Thursday 12 November 2009
  A very bad case of cup fever Southampton 2 Charlton Athletic 1
As performance's in the cup go, this season has taken the biscuit, and this from Charlton, who ruddy invented the Hob Nob. I used to bemoan the fact we couldn't get past the 4th Round of the FA Cup and occasionally actually believed Curbs when he annually rolled out the "a team like us can win the League Cup" line. This season's cup record for your enjoyment: Defeat at Hereford in front of just 2,000 people, Blue Square North Northwich bloody Victoria in front of a gleeful FA Cup television audience and poxy Alan Pardew in the Paint Pot, a competition we almost got a bye into the friggin final.

I know you worry about me, so you'll be pleased to know I had learnt my lesson from Sunday and spent yesterday afternoon at home (11/11 is a Bermudian public holiday) and avoided the pub, any internet feeds and the online commentary and watched a film called Chéri with my sleepy-other-half, whilst jiggling my daughter on my knee. Time well spent.

Whilst I watched Michelle Pfeiffer educate a young French dude in the lessons of love, previously super Alan Pardew was educating his ex-assistant in the lessons of playing progressive football with confidence.

It appears strange that in early November Parkinson no longer appears to know which formation or line up to play, whereas just two months ago it all seemed so easy. One bright spark apart from McMuppet being suspended for three games, was the late introduction of a Leon and Deon strike partnership resulting in a long awaited goal from open-play. It is said that Luke Holden also make a decent impression, but for me now it is all Parky earning his new contract.

One has always felt that the confidence around the club has been brittle, both on the field and on the terraces. Last night's result and the inexplicable dropping of Randolph hasn't helped the doomsayers, of which there are plenty but I hope the fans give the team a chance on Saturday because we have to stick together and it's not been very often we have started games in 2nd place this last decade. Come on you reds. 
Tuesday 10 November 2009
  Good old moan When living abroad one misses conversation and debate about all walks of British life, whether it be the weather, politics, culture, the price of a pint of beer or football and as other ex-pats will no doubt tell you whenever one gets an opportunity for a 'good old moan' with another Brit then it makes for a refreshing and thought-provoking occasion. Trust me, it does.

However after results like Sunday it is with a happy acceptance that I do not have to go into work the next day to be ridiculed about my football team and can chose effectively to ignore the media gleefully rubbing their hands over a 24-hour newspaper story that will wrap fish and chips come midweek.

Since Sunday's final whistle I have only read fellow blogs. I forwent the comments and (with apologies to Danny and Adam) avoided Charlton Life like the plague, which I imagine has become an online institute for the mega-depressive.

Fortunately for me this blog has always been about other things in my life, and not solely about Charlton Athletic. It is about everything that my life brings and that I am passionate about including my 35-year love affair with Charlton. Nonetheless despite giving me a different perspective the fact I see so few games live Chicago Addick would never have lasted this long if it was solely about the rise and fall of Charlton Athletic, and although our dramatic demise has stimulated plenty of material, I would have probably chopped my fingers off by now.

On the back of heaps of negativity and pessimism Wyn Grant today decided to surprisingly suspend his Addick's Diary blog, the most judicious of us all. The erudite New York Addick has also announced the closure of his, although I hope that second thoughts prevail once he gets back to the UK. Frankie Valley disappeared and the provocative Inspector Sands, the inspiration for most of us Addick bloggers, long lost real interest in All Quiet, for many of the same reasons as Wyn describes today. The Inspector doesn't hide behind anonymity anymore and at 853 continues to chronicle his life, which now includes running as a Green Party candidate at the next Greenwich elections.

There are plenty of new Addick bloggers on t'interweb because for however despairing and cynical we all are, in true Charlton fashion we like to do something about it. If you haven't taken a look I would recommend And Nothing Else Matters and Charlton Casual for a different take on matters plus Big Dave Lockwood has also announced a comeback.

I find writing gives me a vocation I never had, it allows me to express myself, I have had someone to talk to, it opens my mind to stuff, it keeps a diary, it has allowed me to meet loads of great people and blimey, has it given me a chance to have a good old moan over the years. 
Monday 9 November 2009
  Rugby week This week is commonly known as Rugby Week in Bermuda as the island gets invaded by big strapping blokes well past their prime, but not when it comes to drinking. Eight nations consisting of France, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Argentina and a Lions squad showcase ex-international XV's in what was last year the best sporting week of the Bermudian calendar.

The Bermuda Rugby Classic started yesterday and continues until Saturday and not surprisingly involves a lot of drinking. I could if didn't value my manhood go every night but I have decided just to do Wednesday, which is the first night of the semi-finals.

A quick glance down the squad lists and 'a Google' tells me that Colin Charvis (Wales), Breyton Paulse (South Africa), Lisandro Arbizu (Argentina), Jeremy Paul (Australia), David Auradou (France) and Axel Foley (Ireland) are the most recognisable names but like last year JPR Williams and Willie John McBride are part of the Lions official party and will be cheering on from the beer tent/sidelines. All joking aside though I have to say that last year I was taken aback by how hard the players played, to be fair rugby players of any level don't know how to play any other way.

Yesterday the Lions dispatched a Classic USA team 29-5 and I am told that the French and the Wallabies drew 0-0, but then after two periods of extra time in what was an awful apology of a match, the bar was calling and they held a penalty shoot-out. Has this ever happened before? Stuart Pinkerton missed and the French won 3-2! The Lions won the title last year but a little birdie told me that a strong Argentinian outfit are the team to beat. 
Sunday 8 November 2009
  Little short of a disgrace Northwich Victoria 1 Charlton Athletic 0
To think I wasted 2 hours of my life to watch that load of bollocks. Fiddling around with internet feeds, listening to some bloke doing a thankless job in front of the television, and all the time I could have been enjoying my family, been outside in the sun or putting my odd socks into pairs. The couple of hundred who made the journey deserve an apology and I heard they didn't even get acknowledged by our lot at the end.

From start to finish we were second best in every way. I wasn't expecting a great performance but I was expecting some heart. Rapidly this season is quickly following the pattern of the last three and the low blows to Addick fans everywhere keep on coming.

Ultimately the FA Cup this season doesn't bother me, I suspect like most Charlton fans, but what does bother me is that losing was no suprise. Come on, who's surprised? The only surprise is that was only the first time we've lost to a non-league team in the club's history! Taking nothing away from Northwich though, they thoroughly deserved their win.

The manager will be getting it in the neck, at least until he has an opportunity to right today's humilation against a team 76 league places below us. Yes Parkinson select's the side (agreed McLeod as a lone striker appeared a rough choice even before kick off), sets the team up, prepares them and gives them the belief and encouragement to play but apart from Randolph, Dailly and Sodje the entire team should be lying in bed tonight embarrassed by their day's 'work'.

Doubt has taken root for a few weeks now and after 3 completely ineffective displays against inferior opposition it has well and truly starting to sprout. It is paramount that the next week brings positive results so we can erase today's nightmare otherwise the doubt flower will be in full bloom and it will be time for the shears.

Quote: "We lost 0-1 to that team so far below us!! Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr." - An email from my son after the game.
Reports: All Quiet; Out in the rain.
Media's glee: Telegraph; Guardian; Independent; Daily Mail; Times.
Photo: Courtesy of Big Dave Lockward
  A damp squib We tried our first road trip on Saturday with AC, 12-days old time to see the world we thought. It's not like you can go far. Shaped like a fish hook, at each end of Bermuda's 21 square miles is 20,000 leagues of the Atlantic Ocean, and in between only a couple of roads extend the whole length of the main island. So in the afternoon we headed west as we drove to Dockyard.

Once the principal Atlantic base for the Royal Navy now a tourist trap we drove the 20 minutes from our house and pushed the pram around closed or mostly empty shops, galleries and art studios. The drive back didn't go so well with 20 minutes of crying. Perhaps she didn't like my driving or the radio, the local stations make me weep.

Then in the early evening we planned to do the 2nd leg of our exploration by driving as far east as you can go to St Catherine's Fort in St George's to watch the annual firework display from the sanctuary of our car (we went last year). This is more like a 40-minute drive (remember the 35khm speed limit) but this time we got five minutes down the road and the car was reverberating to a pissed off 12-day old now fully aware of how to get her way. We turned round and went home. Hmm. 
Saturday 7 November 2009
  Away days Just 204 making the long and laborious Sunday trip to Northwich despite the fading attraction of the cup and a new ground to boot, but who can blame Addick's for choosing ITV and a roast dinner or pub food over travelling. It's just a shame for the famous Blue Square North club that they will lose out on the atmosphere but revenue-wise they should come out on top receiving £67,500 for the disruption, much needed as the Vics continue to battle to come out of administration.

With a run of five out of six games away from home including Carlisle, Yeovil, Southampton in the Paint Pot also on the box and Northwich, then it is asking a lot for people to dig deep in pockets and probably irritate partners and family. Nevertheless our away following, much derided in recent years has been I think superb this season, and up until Saturday was averaging 1,646, only bettered by Leeds in the division. The 646 at Carlisle on Saturday I actually thought was a splendid turnout considering most of the 30+ brigade had probably been there and done that.

Our start to the season, and a flurry of new or long since visited grounds plus I think a big dose of old boys coming out of the closet and feeling the urge to back the team has all helped the numbers but with just 600 sold for St Marys on Wednesday I think we all need a morale booster, especially in front of the cameras to keep us all on an upward curve.

The club announced late this week the ticket details for Brighton and I can only congratulate them on how they have planned the allocation, which rightly rewards loyalty. I have never been to the Withdean (although my son has) and initially the Tuesday night game might have coincided with a home visit. My chances, justly so, of getting an away ticket are non-existent but I do have a Brighton supporting mate that has offered me a ticket if I can be back in the UK for the end of the month. Unfortunately the babies passport will I suspect take a bit longer.

Throughout my years I used to be a regular away traveller and I'm determined to clock up a new ground this season, I did do Bournemouth, but I mean a proper away day if I can time the trip and assemble together some of the lads. You cannot beat a good day out following the Addicks and I hope the hardy couple of hundred who make it to Northwich's ground in the old salt mining district of Wincham are richly rewarded tomorrow. I meanwhile have pretty much resigned myself to an internet feed or the CAFCTV commentary live from someone's living room! 
Friday 6 November 2009
  Bermuda's new political party Bermuda got it's third political party yesterday when the Bermuda Democratic Alliance (BDA) was launched by ex-United Bermuda Party (UBP) MP Shawn Crockwell. Bermudians have watched the UBP navel watch and splinter, then just 6 weeks ago key MP's Crockwell, Mark Pettingill and Donte Hunt walked out on the UBP and announced they were to begin a centralist party to compete against the governing Progressive Labour Party (PLP) and the stagnated UBP.

I missed it but yesterday at the House of Assembly Crockwell talked about a "better way," which judging by the amount of times he used it will become the BDA's tagline. Both the PLP and UBP are over 40 years old and have systematically used race and class as a battering ram and it was good to hear Crockwell say that the party, which includes former members from both of the extant parties plus the business and education sector, will "reject the use of race and class as a means of political success."

The BDA party had 622 Facebook members tonight, just 48 hours after it opened. 
  Red flag One thing I have noticed being back at work is the huge Union Jack flag (photo) that flew proudly over Hamilton on Front Street has gone and been replaced by a Bermudian flag instead. I suppose that is their right and I always thought it strange but it disappointed me because seeing it flutter in the breeze always made me feel proud and homesick in equal measures.

Upon research the Corporation of Hamilton have given the I think rather sappy reason that it is for simplicities sake. Apparently the Corporation are unable to fly the flag at half mast without consent from Buckingham Palace, but they can do what they like with their own standard, which for those unfamiliar with it is a red ensign with the Union Flag in the upper left corner, and the coat of arms of Bermuda to the right.

This story passed with little attention, and no one else is probably bothered but I'm just disgruntled by what apparently appears little thought into changing something that has been in place since 1815 when the flag was first raised over Hamilton when it took over as the island's capital from St George's. 
Thursday 5 November 2009
  Paternity Back to work today after a week's paternity leave and a little added holiday. I guess I have a job which never allows me to switch off, then again maybe that's my own fault but I reckon what with the office being 10 to 15 minutes away I could quite easily work from home. No need to buy work clothes because I am equally as efficient in front of my laptop with my jammies on, no need to buy lunch, drink shit coffee or actually have to see anyone I don't want to. Perfect. And they could save on all my intrinsic costs, and pay me more.

Just to think I used to stand on that platform and squeeze onto trains and spend half my life commuting and vowed never to work from home. Then in Chicago I used to walk the 2 miles in every day (unless it was freezing then jumped a cab for $7), now I am just a mile and half away by road or a ferry across the harbour, but I have decided I would rather work from home. Menopause or nappy brain or something.

Oh, and I can stay up later and have lie-in's, well at least I could've. I did stay up late last night to watch those damn New York Yankees win their 27th 'world' series by seeing of the Phillies in game six 7-3. Had to roll my eyes at those New Yorkers pumping their chests and screaming at reporters that it had been a whole nine years since their last title. Chicago Cubs fans have waited and continue to wait. 1908 being the Cubs last victory, and 1945 their last appearance. 
Tuesday 3 November 2009
  No Parkinson signs So should Parky have been rewarded with a contract extension then? I personally think it was a well timed bonus for Parky despite the obvious drop in form. The board have always, since 2006, had faith in the man and I suspect they feel that he handled himself very well throughout a very difficult and uncertain summer. Add to this that the more veteran board members feel PP is 'more Charlton' then I think you have the answer.

I suspect Richard Murray, and maybe Derek Chappell had privately given Parkinson until this point of the season to weigh up their options and consider the manager's position. He passed and perhaps, a small perhaps the board wanted to avoid any 'Curbs coming back' or 'Parkinson for Reading' headlines causing an unwanted distraction to the season's goal, promotion. Money became available, a couple of younger players have been recognised with pay rises and so now has their boss.

A third of the season gone but the table hides some growing concerns doesn't it? Where has the spark gone, the domination of midfield, the exciting counter-attacking, the confidence? Questions Parkinson with his new contract needs to answer and soon otherwise we are going to undo all of the good work that started at Sparrows Lane on warmer days.

We are going to lose games. We lost 13 in 74/75 including a thrashing at lowly Aldershot and 12 in 80/81, which included a 4-0 stuffing at Chester and eventually relegated Colchester did the double over us. I looked at Parkinson's Colchester promotion camapaign and they only won one of the first eight games. He is proven at this level and despite the paucity of the squad, it contains some of the best in the division. However he will be looking for some of the characters to step out of the shadows. No time like Sunday eh?

Yes I am a little anxious but then again I know how fickle I am, a couple of wins and I will be back on the straight and narrow. Losing games inspires good teams, and Leeds' last two games have underlined that.

A very simplistic view and mine is to go back to what was working at the beginning of the season. 4-4-1-1. Bring Shelvey back, god he must be chomping at the bit. Play to Burton strengths (unless we allow him to sort his hernia out) by allowing him to hold play up with his back to goal and enable Racon, Sam and Bailey to flourish in a more flexible midfield five. Funny, well not funny at all, that it's the players who were, well excellent in the first nine games - Bailey, Sam, Racon, Burton - who are now the most off form. Plan A Parky, that is why it is called Plan A.

Finally before I change a nappy, great result for the youth's tonight at home to Gillingham in the first round of the FA Youth Cup. Good inspiration to the first teamers I hope. 
Sunday 1 November 2009
  Turner deal a work of art? This seemed to have been overlooked.... "Premier League investigates Michael Turner transfer." (more)

So the undisclosed fee was only £4m, when the media reported it could have been nearer £12m, and let's face it the press normally have a good insight on transfer deals. Whether £12m represents good value is irrelevent here particularly when Sunderland paid £8m for Anton Ferdinand a year before. Good to see that Charlton and Brentford are pushing the The Premier League on this.

Hull City is turning into a calamity of large proportions and are fast becoming and will possibly exceed every previous example of mismanaging Premier League dreams. I find it curious that Adam Pearson has returned to Humberside, and it looks like he will have a busy first week what with the Turner investigation and Phil Brown hanging on by his manicured nails. 
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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