Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Sunday 31 January 2010
  Change it Parky Charlton Athletic 1 Tranmere Rovers 1
I am glad that we now go on the road for our next three games. On form and on paper (Walsall, Swindon and Bristol Rovers) each look very difficult, but as 'Fortress Valley' tumbles down before our very eyes these games might lesson the weight of expectation on the player's (and probably more so the fan's) shoulders.

Yesterday's result means that since the Millwall game we've collected just 6 out of the 15 points available at home. We'd dropped just 4 before that. Whether it is the transfer window or the weather, Parky needs to shake us out of this torper.

I said it last week and I will say it again, the squad's quality's lends itself to a five-man midfield. It worked like a dream early season until it became stale. We now have three good wingers that could excel in this formation. Mooney and Burton are too alike and Bailey and Semedo are not gelling. Bring back Racon or Shelvey to play behind Burton or drop Semedo and play Bailey in front of the back four readily interchangable with Racon with Shelvey or McKenzie as the deep lying striker.

A five-man midfield adds protection to the back four and if played correctly, like it was early season, the system adds more creativity, especially if Racon plays, who will naturally look for the threaded pass and not knock it instinctively long.

Yesterday was very disappointing, expressly for the 16,000 who were there but a long season is not without hiccups and remember this is Charlton we are talking about. Adding Kyel Reid is looking like a good throw of the dice Parky but throw it again on Tuesday please and let's get this season back on track. Come on you reds.

Reports: Drinking During the Game; Charlton Athletic Online; Stickleback; Deepest Darkest; Croydon Addick; Blackheath Addicted; Addicks Diary
  The master I damaged some knee ligaments almost a month ago so I'll be unable to rush up the park this afternoon and recreate one of Roger Federer's backhand slices. At 28, the master continues to be too good for the gathering clan of young players breaking through to challenge his supremacy, and he hardly broke sweat this morning beating Andy Murray 6-3 6-4 7-6 in the Australian Open final in Melbourne.

Murray only came alive in the 3rd set and had enough chances in a long tie-break to extend the match but Roger serenely picked his moments and his shots and comfortably won his 16th Grand Slam title. Murray's demean broke after the game, my other half ridiculed him as tears welled in his eyes and I reminded her that she cried along with Federer last year. So prejudiced she may as well sat there this morning with a Swiss flag wrapped around her but it does prove that Murray still divides a nation. I meanwhile have grown to like and respect the Scot and I am convinced he has the mettle to one day lift an Open Championship. 
Friday 29 January 2010
  Radio silence I am relieved if truth be known to be back sat on the sofa listening to the radio commentary tomorrow morning after Monday night's TV horror show. There is of course nothing like actually being at the game though, and for those of you attending tomorrow, back the boys well please. It is times like this etc..

Undoubtedly the radio commentators make the game sound far more exciting than it really is, Hartlepool for example, however listening to BBC Radio London's Emma Jones is like standing in Sam Bartram Close facing the wrong way with industrial ear plugs on.

I wrote after Monday night that if (and financially that was a big if) we could get a new face in - as Parky says - the building then that would give the existing squad a big lift. If by next Monday night we still have our squad intact, and Parky has said today that we have had no interest for "key players," then that will certainly be a first and most welcome cadbury's boost. Today's signing of left winger Kyel Reid gives Parky a nice selection problem for tomorrow but personally I would revert to a five-man midfield and start Leon McKenzie on the left side. Sam Sodje has to start at the back in place of Llera.

So apart from being on the sofa with Emma Jones my weekend consists of some friends joining us for Jamaican take-out tonight (which wine goes with curried goat?), hopefully our daughter will wake us in the wee hours of Sunday morning to watch Andy Murray beat Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, although sadly my interest has vanished in the African Nations Cup after my bet Algeria got beaten in yesterday's semi-final against Egypt but I will also be out shopping early tomorrow for FakeBake before the company goes bust because Simon Jordan owes them millions of pounds. FakeBake will take their place alongside the Grosvenor Hotel, Toni & Guy and Crystal Palace's first team squad waiting to get paid by administrator Brendan Guilfoyle. 
  Left winger signed Described as an out-and-out left winger Charlton today broke the bank to bring in Sheffield United's Kyel Reid on loan until the end of the season. Dean Sinclair moving to Grimsby yesterday on loan has probably allowed us to pay Reid's wages.

I have never heard of him, and the CAFC official site looks to have cribbed Wikipedia's description of the south London born 23-year old conveniently missing out the bit about his 21st birthday celebrations at a bar in South Kensington, which resulted in a large gang fight in which two people were injured, one being hit by a car and the other stabbed in the neck! 
Wednesday 27 January 2010
  Five in midfield Let's be honest we played our very best football when we had five in midfield and Burton up front on his own. The majority of Burton's goals have also arrived when we played in that formation. Akpo's gone, so has McLeod, most of us have accepted that Dickson is a waste of space, Mooney is too similiar to Deon and that leaves McKenzie.

I was all for a Plan B but seriously has this produced better performances, more goalscoring chances, a tighter defence, or a more entertaining style of play?

Five in midfield allows us to play Shelvey in a more advanced role and not have him shackled with defensive responsibilites or be forced to play out wide. McKenzie or Wagstaff can vie for the left side, or McKenzie can play instead of Shelvey at the tip, and then we can have Semedo as our fulcrum, where he is so much more effective. Nicky Bailey can continue his box to box role. This system also allows greater flexibility to play Matt Spring and Racon, who I believe has the most tools to unlock airtight eleven men defences. Plan A. What's not to like? 
Tuesday 26 January 2010
  Whose laughing now? I am inclined to be a tiny bit reticent over Palarse's move into administration and their 10 point deduction *takes deep breath*

Sorry, am just trying to pull myself together. Be with you in a minute.... *wipes tear from eye*

Right, I'm back. A whole host of clubs, and their supporters will be looking at this news and be thinking to themselves "are we next?" Us included but then again not many football club's have such an obnoxious prick as a chairman.

It is with interest that this news comes hot on the heels of it being revealed that they owe us £100,000 for the outstanding Paddy McCarthy fee, but I understand that in the long line of creditors football debts will be paid first. That of course is no consolation for local businesses or Jordan's Upper Norwood hair stylist. Perhaps we can have their young goalscoring midfield-dynamo in return, you know.... Darren whatshisname?

It with a certain sense of good old British irony that on the day the UK announces it has come out of recession, once one of Tony Blair's 'Cool Brittania's' brigade faces the indignation of administration.

What will happen now is that Palarse will be at the beck and call of any potential buyers trying to pick them up for nothing, whilst the administrators from a huge position of weakness try to cash in on any saleable assets that have, such as Victor Moses. For the majority of clubs though, their most sizeable and most unrealised asset is their inner city football stadium. Selhurst Park however is owned by PwC.

I don't want to see Palarse disappear (or any club for that matter), it is much more fun having them around, my only concern is that we might not ever see Simon Jordan's enraged orange head again in football circles and that will be a traversity to anyone who likes a bloody good laugh. Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la. 
Monday 25 January 2010
  TV shocker Charlton Athletic 0 Leyton Orient 1
Desperate tonight wasn't it and a real peek into our future if we don't leave this division at the first attempt. To be honest it had been on the cards for weeks, fortunate home draws with Millwall and Swindon was followed by last week's poor performance against the Hartlepools. I will leave our away form because in my book a win is always a bloody good performance on your travels.

We just didn't look good enough to beat a well organised and quick breaking Orient tonight, they fully deserved their victory under the cameras and in front of thousands of smiling faces in Norfolk and Yorkshire no doubt. Drawing level at the top would have been fantastic psychologically, but there is still a lot of drama to be played out before the gongs are dished out in May.

For me what it did show tonight is that we could do with a new face to freshen the squad up a bit, whether that is a centre-half, left midfielder or a striker. Sadly McKenzie and Dickson just ended any real goalscoring threat we had when they came on for Burton and Mooney, and although Mooney constantly getting caught offside was getting on my tits, he and Burton, who I actually thought played pretty well and would have kept on for his cool head alone, looked far more dangerous as a front pair.

It was a lot to ask of McKenzie and Dickson to come on and be saviours but Dickson played as if he'd shown up with his boots looking for a game at 7pm. And I know Jonjo is 17 but he has to be grabbing games by the scruff of the neck if he is going to have the career the media will have us all believe. The poorest player in red was Semedo (and I am a huge fan), he was very disappointing and maybe now is the time for Racon to come back into the starting line-up.

Sam worked very hard and created more than enough half and full chances but on the other wing it was different story. Until Wagstaff came on we were getting mullered out on our left and although I like Basey, Youga can't return quick enough. Same for Sodje as Llera continues to be an accident waiting to happen.

Under the lights, in front of the cameras, with an ex-Addick in the oppo with an unbeaten home record to protect this was always likely to happen but our promotion chances were not decided tonight but they will be over the next month. Another test of Parky's reputation but we also need the experienced heads to come to the fore and show some positive character too.

Tonight's game reminded me of the home defeat to Swindon Town in our promotion season of 1999/2000 and further back and more comparable to our home defeat against lowly Colchester in 1980/81. Both times we came back strong and went on further unbeaten stretches. I was anxious before tonight, a think a lot of us were. We haven't looked like winning comfortably for a long while. It's done, let's draw a line underneath it and move on. Quickly.

Reports: Addicks Diary; Charlton Casual; Blackheath Addicted; Stickleback; Charlton Athletic Online; Drinking During the Game.
Sunday 24 January 2010
  Nanny diaries My other half, or Mommy as she has toe-curlingly called herself, has extended her maternity leave by a month (four months altogether) which is good news all round. Bermudian companies similiarly to American ones only give 8 weeks paid maternity which is pitiless and contrary to their view as being leaders in the free world.

We have been for some while in the middle of working on childcare for when she goes back to work. We have a place at a creche already but we have been toying with the Nanny thing for some while. The point of this post was to regale you with a situation we found ourselves in last week when we went along to meet a future Nanny.

Now, as some background almost every resource in this country is either expensive, scarce or simply unavailable. Nannies are obtainable if one is willing to ship them in from the Phillipines unknown, paid $80,000 and given a self-contained room in your house. Or you can be either very, very lucky to find one or super-rich and in both cases that does not guarantee that they'll not be sat around on their fat arses all day drinking your tea and playing the Wii, whilst your child cries in her swing.

You may know me by now and will realise that I was born sceptical, and not super-rich, or even a teeny bit rich. The creche will be fine for our daughter and it accommodates our work schedules. However, we like every other parent wants the very best for their daughter, so we investigated the Nanny scenario.

Back to what I planned to tell you then. Last week we responded to a recommendation for a Nanny share, a more affordable and perhaps a more enriching environment for our daughter to spend her formative year or so in. We went armed with questions, requests for qualifications and references. The house was beautiful but not long after the initial introductions it became very apparent that it was us that was being interviewed. Our questions were met with a sense that we were very lucky even to have the opportunity to allow this woman to look after our daughter (for a very hefty fee).

Clearly it annoyed the buggery out of me, and although I think Mommy and I put on a good performance at being suitable for the position of paying thousands of dollars a month to someone we didn't know, we were told that they'd be in touch.

They didn't get in touch and it took an email to prompt them to tell us we didn't get the position, but they will keep our name on file. What a flipping cheek, we were left to feel like despondent out of work job-hunters. 
Wednesday 20 January 2010
  Knickerbox Not many tears shed it seems from Addicks over this year's worst kept secret.... Gold and Sullivan's takeover of West Ham, although this man clearly didn't read the script! David Gold and David Sullivan have bought 50% of West Ham giving them operational control and yesterday put a move to the Olympic Stadium at the top of their agenda. Interesting move and also odd that the pair suggested they would reduce admission prices if they moved to Stratford as that was the opposite of what they did at their previous club when they expanded St Andrews ground capacity.

Hammers' fans won't be cheered by the fact that Gold and Sullivan took Birmingham down to the 3rd tier in their first two seasons of ownership. What David Sullivan did disclose yesterday was the extent of West Ham's debt. £110m of which £20m is owed to Sheffield United, another £20m on outstanding transfer fees and then £2m to Alan Curbishley, someone Sullivan tried on numerous occasions to bring to St Andrews from Charlton. Then the banks are owed £50m, all in all some very bad housekeeping on the current and previous owners part. I wonder what a certain Terry Brown makes of all this. Brown walked away with £33.4m in 2006.

These debts pale into comparison though when compared to Man United's estimated debt of £716.5m. It recently came to light that my company paid £37m to United upfront for shirt sponsorship that doesn't even start until August. What Charlton could do with a piece of that, blimey what I could do with some of that. That £37m will be lost on interest payments alone.

Gold and Sullivan are rich but they are not Arab princes dripping in gold. They need to secure some further short-term investment to deliver their promises of no one being sold in this window and also to pay some discontented creditors, Curbs being one of them. I had to laugh though at Sullivan sat there in a 'I'm not really a porn baron mauve jacket' declaring his love but not disclosing what him, Gold and Karren Brady will pay themselves at Upton Park.

In the last season at St Andrews Sullivan received an annual fee of £280,000 while Ralph and David Gold’s benefits included annual payments of £140,000 each to Gold Group International Ltd. Brady is still receiving some contractual benefits from Birmingham but last season paid herself a salary of £179,372 plus a bonus of £260,000. I think the most Richard Murray has ever paid himself in one year was £25,000!

Anyway we were only at best a bartering tool and as I have stated before on here I wasn't keen on them sullying our doorstep. The Academy and Knickerbox probably suit each other.

David Sullivan was quoted recently saying that a Premier League club will go bust. He was probably thinking that as he was studying the due diligence of some of Peter Storrie's old tax returns! Pompey are in all kinds of problems with Sol Campbell adding to their woes today claiming he is owed £1.7m in image rights and bonus payments. A class move from a bloke who walked out on his contract at Notts County.

Portsmouth are fighting a winding-up petition from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (they've been busy issuing a lot of writs to football clubs recently) and are teetering on the brink of administration, which would result in a 9-point deduction and I actually wonder if the Premier League even care. 
Tuesday 19 January 2010
  Mankini and Waggy cheer freezing Addicks Charlton Athletic 2 Hartlepool United 1
The radio commentary made it sound a lot more stylish than what I heard it actually was from eye-witnesses later. One thing it wasn't was much of an advert for a new 5-year season ticket on a freezing night in SE7 but it was three more huge points that keeps us nicely in the mix.

I had to explain my rather animated celebration to an American colleague as I punched the air around me in my office after Waggy hammered home the winner from 25-yards but my embarrassment will be nothing compared to the Charlton fan who invaded the pitch in a Borat-style mankini once the frost bite and presumed hangover have worn off!

Waggy has now scored five goals, one more than Lloyd Sam who had another frustrating stop-start game. Llera once again reminded us of his imperfections but overall the defence sounded strong against a Pools side who a few weeks ago had ambitions of a run into the play-off places and at least came to The Valley to play with ambition giving the admirable away following of around 100 something to cheer about. I was wondering if that is the smallest away following since our return in 1992?

Reports: Drinking During the Game; Blackheath Addicted; Charlton Casual; Stickleback; Doctor Kish; Hungry Ted; Addicks Diary; Charlton Athletic Online.
Photo: Courtesy of CAFCofficial
Sunday 17 January 2010
  Captain marvel Wycombe Wanderers 1 Charlton Athletic 2
Oh Nicky Bailey you are the love of my life.

A brilliant virtuoso performance from Nicky Bailey yesterday galvanising the team together, especially in the last twenty minutes to give us a vital win at a misty Adams Park. My personal pessimism barometer was going up and down all game not helped having to endure Emma on BBC Radio London giving me no direction whatsoever to what was actually happening on the pitch. Think listening to the shipping forecast and it ending without giving you any guidance of what the weather is going to be like out at sea.

We started off a bit ring rusty, understandably after a long lay-off, but Jonjo put us in front against the run of play and the frustrating thing was that we didn't add to our lead before half-time. As Norwich were running riot at Colchester and Leeds were losing I was getting anxious that we couldn't finish the game off and sure enough old doomsayer Tony Hudd predicted the inevitable equaliser.

Parky made three brave changes and rallied by noisy support, Shelvey and our captain we regained the lead and held on for a very important win when one considers what concluded at Cuckoo Farm and St James' Park and we now we move on to The Valley Tuesday.

Paul Lambert produced a remarkable double yesterday and Norwich are not only winning but knocking teams out of sight. Leeds meanwhile are looking slightly agitated and with two big cup games this week and Jermaine Beckford's on-off departure taking all the headlines they've suddenly become less invincible. Colchester meanwhile have conceded 12 goals in two games. The race is on and we are in it.

Drinking During the Game; Addicks Diary; Hungry Ted; Kings Hill Addick; And Nothing Else Matters; Charlton Casual; Charlton Athletic Online; New York Addick
Friday 15 January 2010
  2009 Top Five - CAFC Defining Moments Well the year certainly improved with age and I believe we got some of our Charlton back but we survive on a knife-edge financially and the next 5 months could well determine the next decade of Charlton Athletic's history. Unsuprisingly being a Charlton fan a lot of stuff happened in 2009, but here are my Top 5 CAFC Defining Moments:

1. CAFC 2 Blackpool 2 and relegation confirmed
I had witnessed every one of our promotion and relegations in my 34 years as an Addick and I so my heart ruled my head and I flew home to see us drop into the 3rd tier for the first time since 1975. Throwing a two-goal lead away summed our season up well.

2. Transfer deadline day
On September 1st the Official Site entered melt down as thousands of Addicks' fans logged on to see who we had sold on transfer deadline day. The answer was no one, well at least no one that mattered. We even made a couple of signings in the form of Sam Sodje, Leon McKenzie and Luke Holden. It was a real lift after a 100% start to the season.

3. Yeovil 1 CAFC 1
A day when courageous Addicks stood in some of the worst rain ever witnessed at a Charlton game and watched a heroic performance from the players. History might overlook this point in the west country, although the 1,600 will be talking about the rain to their grandchildren, but for me it was a day when we saw once again something in a Charlton team that reminded us why we all supported them in the first place.

4. "Brink of collapse"
We are all still haunted by this headline written by Charlton fan Mick Collins in July and although administration didn't arrive in the summer thanks to a £7m cash injection from existing board members this story I suspect is still sat in draft on a lot of reporters laptops.

5. Phil Parkinson contract extension
The timing was perhaps surprising but Parky was rewarded with an extended contract in November. Certainly I feel a general warming to the man, and although there will always be a few detractors the majority are right behind him as very importantly are the players. Parky's first game after his contract extension mind was the shocking performance at Northwich, then we lost at Southampton in the JPT but after that it was 5 league wins out of 6. 
Thursday 14 January 2010
  2009 Top Five - Albums Music soothes me, inspires me, makes me happy, makes me sad but my iPod is never too far away from my ears. These were my Top Five favourite albums from 2009:

1. White Lies - To Lose My Life
Stunning debut album from the Ealing boys.

2. Doves - Kingdom of Rust
It took almost four years for this album to come out after the wonderful Some Cities. It was well worth waiting for.

3. La Roux - La Roux
Takes me back to my wedge in the 80's. Upbeat synth dance music from Flock of Seagulls reincarnate.

4. Jack Penate - Everything is new
This soulful collection of songs by the Blackheath born Charlton fan grew on me.

5. The Temper Trap - Conditions
This Aussie band first came to my attention when some of their songs were being used as backing tracks for various television shows and commercials. Plenty of singalongs on this album.

Honourable mentions to: Florence & the Machine - Lungs; The Big Pink - A Brief History Of Love; Andrea Bocelli - My Christmas (Album). 
Wednesday 13 January 2010
  Poll: Who will be sold? Okay, so a new morning and a bout of pessimism has struck. Like in September if we survive without selling anyone and add Mooney and Sodje for a little longer then I will be happy. Sure a left-sided midfielder or a 20-goal a season striker instead of Sodje would be perfect but we left that world a long time ago.

I have created a little poll over there on the right hand panel asking you: If we are forced to sell in the January Transfer Window, who will it be? And I have listed 8 players. Now, this is depressing I know but think of it like putting a bet on our opponents to win, you're royally pissed off when it happens but at least you can tell your mates "I told you so."

Make a selection and let's all wish it doesn't happen. 
  2009 Top Five - Bermuda Events Sun, sea and sand. Financial safe haven, a cruise liner drop off point, scuba diving spot. A far outpost of British naval history, hurricane magnet, home to gazillions of tree frogs as noisy as a Metallica concert but what else happened last year on this 21 square-mile rock? My Top Five Bermudian events from last year were:

1. Tall Ships Festival
Easily for me the highlight of the 2009 Bermudian social calendar. The last time the Tall Ships came to Bermuda was in 1990 but in June a flotilla of 22 idled over the horizon and onto this sunsoaked shore. It was a week-long party for these majestic watercraft and their crew, most of whom were taking part in a 7,000 nautical mile race.

2. Boat Parade
The last official event of the island's 400-year birthday celebrations in December. It was a colourful sight with boats of all shapes and sizes, some as long as 60ft following each other in a tight line in the pitch black across Hamilton Harbour.

3. The Queen's visit
The only Queen I would have previously rushed to have seen was Freddie Mercury's lot, but it is funny how patriotic one suddenly becomes when you live abroad. There we were front row with month-old baby in November chatting to her Majesty in St George's on her first visit to Bermuda since 1994.

4. Serious Stand Up
The annual Bermuda Festival threw up a nice treat last January when we saw Liverpudlian come New York resident John Oliver rage on hilariously about all and sundry one night. The man best known for The Daily Show Oliver was bloody funny and it was a shame when it had to stop.

5. An evening aboard the Roseway Schooner

This is what living in Bermuda is all about. A beautiful June evening drinking with Bermuda's glitterati aboard this lovingly restored 137ft long wooden schooner moored in Hamilton. 
Tuesday 12 January 2010
  He who blinks first We haven't proved to be that good at poker in the January transfer window in previous years. As a Charlton fan I move quickly between pessimism and optimism but during this month I lean more towards the former. Once bitten twice shy.

Norwich, Leeds and Huddersfield fans are all sat with us around this imaginery poker table. Leeds fans after more than a couple of damaging years are probably at least safe in the knowledge that if they lose one hand, they can at least afford another one. Rumours are that the Yorkshiremen may even raid one of their promotion rivals for a midfielder, fortunately not shades of Robert Lee but Norwich talisman Wes Hoolihan.

20-goal Jermaine Beckford will almost certainly be plying his trade elsewhere later this month with Newcastle and Wolves favourites to sign the ex-Wealdstone player. Interestingly this Yorkshire Post article says that Charlton were also sniffing around the then 22-year old back in 2006.

Despite much bravado Norwich fans have the most cause to be nervous in this window. The Canaries are £23m in debt and chairman Alan Bowkett said that selling off their ground was one option as the board tries to tackle their mounting financial problems. Axa would be the most likely buyer and the French insurance giant are owed £11.5m with Carrow Road, Norwich's home for 75 years, valued at what I would consider a rather hefty £34.5m.

The basket case that is Crystal Palace are the poster child for what could happen if an uninterested 3rd party own's your football ground and with Palace pawning their best players around the leagues, I will be interested to see if Norwich's board resist offers for Hoolihan, Grant Holt or Darel Russell as the deadline gets nearer.

Meanwhile with a surge in the manager merry-go-round Simon Grayson, Paul Lambert, Lee Clark, Ady Boothroyd and even our own Phil Parkinson are all getting admiring glances from clubs higher up the leagues. Reading, who have yet to appoint a permanent manager, think very highly of Parky who played almost 400 games for the Royals.

Talking of Reading the BBC yesterday announced that we had secured the currently injured David Mooney on loan until the end of the season in a story that said that Chris Dickson will stay until his contract expires in the summer (Dave is not so sure) and Izale Mcleod has moved to Peterborough to replace the potential Leeds-bound Aaron McLean. Watch Izale take his shirt when he no doubt scores on his debut!

Akpo Sodje's current loan deal ends this week and Parky must now discuss his future with new Wednesday boss Alan Irvine, who has stated he wants a clear-out at Hillsborough and is looking to bring in Luke Varney on loan from Derby.

Anyway it's bloody miserable without any football isn't it? Saturday's vital game at Wycombe looks likely to be played and the club has announced that last Saturday's game against Hartlepool will be replayed next Tuesday at The Valley meaning three consecutive home games followed by three away, thus 7 games in three and a half weeks. 
Sunday 10 January 2010
  2009 Top Five - Hotels I stay in a lot of hotels, some because I have to, and some because I choose to but I have long had a fascination with them. These were my Top Five hotels that I stayed in last year:

1. The Mansion on Peachtree, Atlanta
From the stable of my favourite hotel group. Easily the best place I stayed last year. An elegant building, huge rooms and flawless service. The oil painting posing as a flat screen television took me a while to work out, but we didn't want to leave. Highly recommended to anyone staying in Buckhead, Atlanta.

2. The Standard, Los Angeles
Busy ultra trendy hotel in downtown LA. Half of me loved it, the grey hair and paunch thought it was noisy and over the top. A great roof top bar sits atop this old Standard Oil building. Reasonably priced too.

3. Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe
Another from the Rosewood collection, and to be fair not one of it's finest but it's still a charming hotel superbly situated steps away from Santa Fe's main plaza with a warm and cozy atmosphere. Our stay was enhanced by the personal service of Sean, a Bermudian who worked the front desk.

4. Gild Hall, NYC
After lots of searching for a good and reasonably priced financial district New York City hotel I got recommended one in the summer and have stayed in the Gild Hall three times recently. It's quiet, efficient and modern with a lively bar and a good restaurant.

5. Fontainebleau, Miami
I definitely wasn't captivated by the staff and the quality of service in this South Beach behemoth but we were there not long after it opened in February. Reviews still appear mixed but nevertheless one cannot ignore the imposing resort that has replaced Morris Lapidus' original design.
Friday 8 January 2010
  2009 Top Five - Blog Posts Onwards and upwards with my 2009 Top Fives. This time my five favourite Blog Posts of 2009:

1. Sad - January 2nd
A year is a long time in football. "Friends of mine who support other teams now give me an apologetic look. It disgusts me that it has got to this." (more)

2. 21 days in jail or $210. How'd you plead? - May 27th
My court appearance for speeding. "Another chap, dressed in motor oil and sweat told the Judge that he was unable to accept the 5 demerit points as he never had a driving licence." (more)

3. Little Charlton are back - August 7th
On the eve of a new season. "At least it is in the backwater of the lower English divisions where Charlton have come full circle from the day's when I used to go with my Dad with a wollen scarf tied around my wrist eagerly anticipating every game win, lose or draw." (more)

4. Injection - October 22nd
Trying to move the pregnancy thing along. "Today at the hospital a nurse recommended a medicinal injection to encourage labour, I have no idea what she meant but I am personally recommending a stinking hot chicken madras tonight for tea." (more)

5. CAFC Team of the Decade series - through December
My favourite Charlton team of the noughties. "Richard read the game brilliantly, his tackling was almost flawless, he had the pace of a cheetah and when he scored that goal at Wembley my life could have stopped right then because whatever was to happen next would never have been so beautiful."
Goalkeeper; Full Backs; Centre-Backs; Wide Mid: Centre Mid; Up front
Thursday 7 January 2010
  Wossy Apart from the reds another Saturday tradition in our house is listening to Jonathan Ross' show on Radio 2 and if I miss that then downloading the podcast is a must for the work journey on Monday. BBC America on a Friday night also repeat his chat show from a week earlier, and if nowadays we can stay up that late, we watch Wossy on that too.

I also follow him on Twitter and it was this morning that I read "Good morning. My day is turning out to be far more interesting then I had anticipated! See you later - have a good one." And later in the day we realised what he meant.

As you can probably tell I like Jonathan Ross, his irrelevant humour and quick wit make me laugh. However since his comeback his Friday Night chat show has become so watered down and littered with 'stars' trying to 'flog' themselves that it has become easily missable. Mind you, very few chat shows are worth watching these days because they have all become platform's for self-promotion, which was the reason the ultimate chat-show host Parky gave it up in 2007.

Larry King is the champion chat show host sycophant but frankly Ross was becoming as bad. His hour with Barbara Streisand a few months back had me reaching for bucket I normally keep under the bed, although believe me watching Ross flirt with young actresses is nowhere near as disgusting as seeing the 76-year old King do it with his leather braces holding up his pants.

Ross clearly felt handcuffed after his suspension from the BBC and his very large and very public salary was constantly being used to hit him over the head with by his bosses, the media and moralists. His pre-recorded television chat show was dying, although when I was home I enjoyed watching his Film programme and his Radio 2 show still managed to make me laugh as it appeared more spontaneous and unscripted albeit also pre-recorded.

Wossy will I expect take it easy for the next year or two, he has a fascination with America and it's media so I suspect he will appear on the box there after his contract runs out in July but Sky and ITV will be idiotic if they don't plan a show around his talents, and they never extended to being the BBC flag bearer. 
  2009 Top Five - Best Days Five days when I went to bed and lay there and loved my life last year. There were many others mind including a scenic drive to the adobe village at Taos Pueblo in Colorado and a chilly summer's day arriving at Gatwick at 6.30am and picking my son up to watch the pre-season game at Bournemouth. They didn't make the Top Five Best Days, but these did:

1. The birth of my daughter
October 26th, at precisely 5.37pm Arabella came into our lives and they will never be the same again, only better.
New arrival

2. Chicago
August 17th. A Monday night and as I once used to say the best night to go out as it was the start of the weekend. I was back in the windy city on the balmy summer's day and I gathered all my old mates and we basically just got on it.
Chicago and an ounce of Stella

3. Lille
April 16th. A single long day with my son in Lille with him practicising his French on passing strangers together having a lot of fun. It was a day to cherish.

4. Zip lining in Puerto Rico
February 13th. An an exhalting experience, gliding on cables sat in harnessess a 100 feet up flying through a jungle of palm trees and African tulips in the forests of Guaynabo in Puerto Rico. I plan to do more zip lining for my son's birthday in February.
Zip lines

5. Ducking of the wench
May 30th. FA Cup day but it passed my parents and us by as we had a cracking day watching wenches being ducked, walking on beaches, eating ice creams and having dinner while the sun went down.
Ducking of the wench 
Wednesday 6 January 2010
  2009 Top Five - Restaurants Next up on Chicago Addick's 2009 conveyor belt are my Top Five Favourite Restaurants from last year:

1. Il Mulino, Puerto Rico
An outpost of this highly rated New York Italian restaurant. Fabulous attention to detail, a varied menu and first-class tucker.
Website (not particularly informative)

2. Los Mayas, Santa Fe
A pretty courtyard restaurant hidden slightly on West Water St, but busy with tourists and locals alike. The grilled chicken was fantastic, and the two guys on guitar chef Roberto and cousin Fernando made the chili pepper decorated margaritas taste all the better.

3. DeVito, South Beach
Named after the little bloke in Taxi. Think South Beach, tall blondes, flash cars and big bills but the food was excellent and the atmosphere provocative.

4. Union Square Cafe, NYC
The food was inventive and tasty at this place just west of Union Square Park. I remember now the waiter having being a little too gay and useless but it did not distract from the food or the experience.

5. Sunda, Chicago
This place has been royally hyped since it opened last winter but I went with a mate in the summer and was very impressed by the innovative menu. Our variety of food picks were excellent and the decor and atmosphere classy but relaxed in true Chicago style.
  2009 Top Five - Favourite Places Yes, yes I know we are already almost a week into 2010 but please indulge me in a look back at some of my personal 2009 Top 5's. First off, my Top Five Favourite Places:

1. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
It is like the people of Old San Juan have taken all the best bits of American life and masterly blended it into their own colourful culture and history.
Old San Juan

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
If you're an artsy fartsy person then Santa Fe is for you. If you are interested in American history, then Santa Fe is also a place for you. If like me, you are interested in meandering around a beautiful and intriguing small city with great restaurants, and an air of sophistication sat at the foot of sloping mountains, then Santa Fe is definitely for you.
Santa Fe

3. New York, New York
I have been to NYC a lot of times in my life but it is only recently that I have started to appreciate it's allure. Sadly visits are no longer as much fun as two of my favourite people have left, one you might know.
So good they named it twice

4. Hamptons, New York
One after another of neatly manicured towns, hidden beaches and growling seas. Lot's of cute dressed up kids, and less cute dressed up dogs. A great place to see and be seen but don't go in the summer.
The Hamptons

5. Lille, France
The Eurostar (when it is working) brings this city with 10 centuries of history within touching distance, so close that you can almost smell the cheeses stacked beautifully at F & PH Armand's Artisan Fromager Affineur.
Monday 4 January 2010
  Burj Khalifa I have a slight obsession with tall buildings, and today the world's newly crowned tallest structure was officially inaugurated in Dubai. How high exactly had been a closely guarded secret but the Burj Dubai, which was surprisingly renamed the Burj Khalifa was revealed to be 828m (2,716ft) high, far taller than the previous record holder, Taipei 101. Reaching over half a mile in the sky the hotel, luxury residential homes and office building is twice the height of the Trump Tower in Chicago, a skyscraper I blogged on regularly since it was a hole in the ground opposite the apartment I used to once live in.

Known as the Burj Dubai throughout it's construction, the tower was renamed after the leader of Dubai's oil-rich neighbour, Abu Dhabi and the recent sponsor of Dubai's very significant overdraft.

When I was in Dubai in 2005 we took a trip to the site where the Burj Khalifa now stands and tried to imagine it's potential awe. To be honest it was hard to imagine the future of Dubai at all with a desert full of cranes and construction sites. Certainly it was easy to get wrapped up in the hype, glossy sales brochures and man-made islands but it wasn't difficult envisage the Sheikh's plan falling down either like, well like a gigantic pile of building blocks.

Work began on the Burj Dubai in 2004 and continued rapidly. In 2005 we were told that new floors were being added almost every three days, reflecting Dubai's raging push to reshape itself over a few years from a small-time desert outpost into a cosmopolitan urban giant packed with skyscrapers. Today of course it is a different story and from the photos I have seen of the finished Burj Khalifa the surrounding area of soulless part built office towers and sprawling residential developments are sorry excuses of what might have been.

At one point some apartments in the Burj Dubai were selling for more than $1,900 per square foot, they are now on a thoroughly depressed market for half of that as Dubai teeters on the edge of defaulting on it's vast debt and many buyers who jumped the gun to own a slice of the tallest structure in the world are left counting their losses.

Designed by Chicago firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill the building dwarfs both the world's previous tallest building, the 1,666 feet tall Tower 101 in Taipei, and the 2,063 feet KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota, the tallest man-made structure. It is so high, the temperature is said to be 10C cooler at the zenith than at the base.

Nonetheless ignoring the rest of the city and it's problems for a minute the pictures of the (not yet totally completed) Burj Khalifa look stunning, the building reminding me of a giant rocket launch pad. The ascending steel spires said to bridge the gap between Islamic tradition and ultra-modern western architecture.

After our visit in 2005 we vowed to return one day to Dubai to see how it has changed and despite it's financial problems it is still a promise I'd like to keep.

An excellent analysis by the Chicago Tribune today here
Sunday 3 January 2010
  Dirty Leeds come up smelling of roses I suppose I watched Leeds performance at Old Trafford in some kind of awe this afternoon, few teams if any go to the Theatre of Dreams and win, let alone a team from the third tier in the FA Cup 3rd Round. It was a very sweet moment for Leeds' fans who have been through the ringer in the past few years.

I found myself getting behind (dirty) Leeds from the couch and astonishingly you just could not see Man U scoring as the game went on. Beckford and Becchio made Wes Brown look like a 3rd Division defender. Howson impressed me and Leeds' back five coped admirably.

From our perspective a Leeds cup run has to interrupt their concentration on the league especially over the next few weeks with Tottenham on the horizon. Then of course Leeds' players were front and centre of the January transfer window today and Beckford's goal once the celebrations die down may come back to haunt estastic Leeds fans this month.

Meanwhile whilst no one was looking Norwich jumped over us into 2nd place yesterday after beating Wycombe away from home. It is the first time we have been out of the top two all season. Norwich and Leeds have been so consistent in recent months and it would take a miraculous endeavour for that to continue. They just have to slip up at some point with half the season remaining. We just to need to worry about ourselves and keep tucked in there ready to pounce.

Finally how freaky was Colchester's result yesterday? Managers always want to test themselves against a middling club from the next level and one can only wonder what Aidy Boothroyd made of yesterday's 7-0 defeat against managerless Preston, whose fans protested against Alan Irvine's surprise dismissal last week. "They got the deflections, a penalty that probably wasn't, but we can't make excuses," Boothroyd said with his fingers firming crossed before adding "it was a very, very, very poor performance." 
Saturday 2 January 2010
  Frozen Banks's I have to ask why officials at Walsall announced that they felt confident this morning that the game would go ahead and why if the pitch was unsafe at 9.30am, then how was it expected to be any better just over two hours later. By that time of course nearly all Addicks except one or two that live locally would have started their journey. Charlton fans arriving at Walsall's frozen ground have the choice of watching a game at Villa Park, The Walkers Stadium or turn around and drive back down the M40 to give Wycombe a much-needed cheer at home to Norwich. The more cultural may well stay in Walsall and take in a Van Gogh or a Picasso at the Walsall Art Gallery or the more cultural still might want to visit Banks's Brewery in Wolverhampton.

If the game had gone ahead it may have done us more harm than good and another seven days will allow for some injuries to further heal. Norwich's postponed game is the week after next and I hope that our game can be rescheduled as quick.

Photo: Courtesy of 
Friday 1 January 2010
  Holden goes back to Rhyl According to the Rhyl website Luke Holden has returned to them after Charlton decided against turning his 3-month loan period into a permanent move. A fee in the region of £10,000 had been agreed if the trial was successful. I never saw Holden play but in the 30 solitary minutes he got at Southampton in the JPT he got some decent reviews.

One could blame the lack of proper reserve games for both Charlton and Holden not maximising this opportunity but in three months Parky must have had a good look at him and clearly thought he wasn't going to make it, which would explain his continued absence from matchday squads.

The Welsh Premier League has seen Norwich's Owain Tudur Jones recently(ish) make the break into the English leagues but the gap in standard is huge. One wishes Holden the best of luck in the future and I hope the 21-year get's another chance. 
  Chicago Addick's CAFC Team of the Decade My Team of the Decade then based not on ability alone but also on consistency, the desire to give everything in a red shirt and how many memories they left us Addicks with during the past 10 years. I have picked Chris Powell as my captain. What do you think to this lot:

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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