Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Wednesday 31 March 2010
  Love Thy Neighbour Anyway back in 1970's Bermuda, the Minister of Immigration has announced that guest workers (as us foreigners are so elegently called) that don't speak English will be deported. (more)

Colonel Burch said that this issue is a "vexing topic amongst locals," perhaps more so than the five people who have been shot in Bermuda this month! The guest workers who are being targeted are those that interact with the general public such as waiters, kitchen workers, cleaners, nannys and caregivers plus those in the health industry such as nurses. Who they think will do these jobs once the government kicks out the Latin Americans, Filipinos and Indians I don't know.

In fact our cleaners are Indian, speak hardly a word of English but are the nicest and most hard-working of people you could ever meet and they seem quite capable of using the bleach on the toilet and don't drink it because they can't read the label. Frankly if they expect me to trust one of the out of work Bermudians that walk around with a bottle of beer in a paper bag in my house with a feather duster they have another thing coming.

What Colonel Burch has also appeared to have forgetten is the amount of Portuguese decendents that live on the island, who add a huge spruce of colour and heritage to the make-up of the country. The Portuguese also tend to own most of the construction and gardening companies too and tend to stay rather cloistered within their own communities but try to find anyone over the age of 50 that can ask you in English if you want your lawn mowed!

Anyway at least the government are having less tourists to worry about. According to Business Week the air arrivals in 2009 decreased by 11 percent compared to the previous year. Arrivals have declined every quarter since the final three months of 2007 and on the basis that the government count every visitor including business travellers and visiting relatives and friends there were only 140,000 actual tourists that flew to Bermuda in 2009, the lowest for more than 40 years. 
Tuesday 30 March 2010
  CAFC Bulletin Anyone else not like the new daily CAFC news Bulletin? What was wrong with the old text email version? It was short, relevant, unfussy, occassionally humerous and perfect for a read whilst walking to the coffee machine to catch up on the day's news.

The new effort is busy, loaded with links and adverts, not printable and completely useless if looked at on a mobile. What a shame.

The club says that they are able to target identified groups with "specific image-led, interactive messages" all powered by emarketing company Green 4 Solutions, who already have 30 or so football club related clients. Maybe I'm too quick to criticise, like I was with the last website re-design, but I personally am not a fan.

The original topical and irreverent email bulletin is The Guardian's Fiver, which managed to go through a complete facelift earlier in the year but despite imbedding adverts and links still kept to the same likeable format.

I don't know maybe it's just all a bit too clever for me. It's not that the club have moved up a gear and are looking to leverage customer data to improve it's business, I am okay with that, it's just that the daily Bulletin was just that, and the new look one just doesn't achieve the same function. I think I may as well unsubscribe. 
Monday 29 March 2010
  Saints alive Pretty sickening to see Alan Pardew strutting around Wembley with his best suit on wasn't it? I had a very good mate Saints' fan at the game texting me afterwards in celebratory mood. The play-off's hopefully are beyond the Saints and they'll need to win at Brighton Thursday night to remain in the hunt but despite Pardew's apparent revival at St Mary's certainly everything is not rosy.

My aforementioned mate is very 'in' at St Mary's, he has money invested and is pretty close to chief executive Nicola Cortese and has been telling me all season that Pardew has not ingratiated himself that well inside the club. The fans have been sceptical and critical of some of his tactical decisions but a Wembley day out and victory plus pushing the play-off race to the final weeks of the season would, one assume, buy him more time.

But that might not be good enough for owner Markus Liebherr, who is expected to go down the well worn route in the summer of chairmen thinking above their station and replacing Pardew with a 'bigger name' particularly as they aim to sell more than the 10,000 season tickets they sold last summer.

From the outside looking in and it makes me want to puke at the thought of it but following the points deduction and after winning just one of their first 10 league games Southampton have shown consistent promotion form, beating Leeds and Norwich and scoring plenty of goals in the process. The facts are though that even adding the 10 points to their current total it would still not put them in the top 6.

No one is surprised that Pardew has splashed the cash (almost £3m mostly undisclosed on Lambert, Barnard, Puncheon, Hammond and Fonte) and brought in a plethora of new signings and loans but remember this is against a backdrop of selling some of their best players in the summer when in administration.

What particularly sticks in the throat is how Pardew can pick Rickie Lambert, scorer of 32 goals this season, but decided on Izale McLeod when he was our manager. McLeod was more expensive too. Or Cheltenham's Michail Antonio over Barnet's Dean Sinclair. I could go on.

Pardew's Southampton if they fail to get up this season will start as pre-season League One promotion favourites, although with potentially Leeds, Millwall, Charlton, Swindon, Huddersfield, Brighton, MK Dons, Colchester, Palarse, Sheffield Wednesday, Watford and Notts County this division will only get harder.

The word down on the south-coast though is that Pardew won't get a chance to finish the job he has started. Mr Liebherr's ego is said to be bigger than Pardew's, hard to imagine, perhaps Roy Keane could spend his money for him instead?
Sunday 28 March 2010
  The Charlton way.... The only way Huddersfield Town 1 Charlton Athletic 1
A good point. An away point to go with equally fine ones at Leeds, Norwich and Swindon. It is those games at home to Orient, Brighton and Tranmere that stick in the throat.

Anyway staying positive we are now as close to 2nd spot than we have been for a month with 8 games left even though we've dropped to 5th place. I said to a friend this morning looking at the table that if we are to do it, we will have to do it the Charlton way.... the bloody nerve-wracking way. It's the only way we know.

As for the game, it didn't sound overly exciting but with Huddersfield's home record the onus was on the Yorkshiremen to take the game to us. My head went down when they took the lead but Charlton's didn't and it was heartening to see us come from behind and what a corker of a goal it was by Kyel Reid. I was happy too that Randolph deservedly got the nod in goal and without Bailey and Burton, the result was all the more impressive.

It was a good point. We have a raffle ticket and we have as much of a chance of winning than anyone else. Onto the next game. Come on you reds.

Bloggers: Doctor Kish; Addicks Diary.
Photo: Addicks keeping the faith at Huddersfield courtesy of @CAFCofficial
Friday 26 March 2010
  MLS new season preview - part 2 In the Western Conference it is big boys LA Galaxy that are the resurgent team but they like England will be unable to call on the $6.5m a year David Beckham. I always wondered what team mates on $40,000 a year think of Becks' deal. Anyway Landon Donovan is back after an excellent loan period at Everton where he squashed his detractors such as me. Donovan loves the Galaxy but I think he should make this his last season in LA and tap up David Moyes for a move to Goodison next summer. Boss Bruce Arena has added three young Brazilians and acquired Clint Mathis from Real Salt Lake but a lot rests on the shoulders of Donovan.

Seattle Sounders beat new boys Philadelphia Union 2-0 last night in the season opener and the new boys themselves last year had a equisite first season. They won the US Open Cup (their equivalent of the FA Cup), made the play-offs and were backed by over 30,000 every home game making the Sounders the most popular American soccer team since the days of New York Cosmos. For this season Seattle have sold a record 32,000 season tickets and I think they are the team to beat.

Freddie Ljungberg has made a spectacular recovery from his Upton Park nightmare and his experience alongside the 20-year old Colombian Fredy Montero will continue to cause teams all kinds of problems. Add Kasey Keller's experience and the promise of Steve Zakuani and I think Seattle will have some more fun this season. Swiss international Blaise Nkufo will join after the world cup to add more firepower. A little known fact is that the BBC's Arlo White is the Sounders' in game announcer.

Real Salt Lake are the current champions but to me made a mockery of the word 'champion' by ending the 30-game regular season with the 8th 'best record' or in fact the 7th worst! A strange looking fella called Kyle Beckerman, who deserves more credit, is the driving force behind Real (Re-ale). They do play a nice fast-paced game and are tough to beat at home. Highly sort after 16-year old Luis Gil will hopefully get a game or two.

Houston Dynamo won the MLS Cup in both 2006 and 2007 and reached the Conference Final last year but they will miss Stuart Holden (now at Bolton and one of Owen Coyle's first signings) and Ricardo Clark who signed for Eintract Frankfurt. Leading the line is along with Donovan, one of the USA's major hopes for world cup success, Brian Ching and Brad Davis could also stand out this season in midfield. Head coach Dominic Kinnear has impressed me though and I think Dynamo will have another good season.

Texas rivals FC Dallas improved after a dreadful start last season aided by Jeff Cunningham's 16 goals in the final 14 matches plus a bunch of assists from playmaker David Ferreira. If they are sustain a season-long challenge this time around they will need to tighten up a defence that now includes veteran goalie Kevin Hartman. Goals is not a problem though. San Jose Earthquakes also had a flimsy back line in 2009 and they are still trying to find their way in the professional game after returning to the MLS in 2008.

Darren Huckerby was one of many players that left in a bit of a shake-up. In 2008 Huckerby did well but he spent most of last season injured and retired with a hip injury at just 33-years old at the end of last summer. Frank Yallop's Quakes look a bit light on the ground to me, they need a big season from Bobby Convoy and the form of Ramón Sánchez will be key.

The third Californian team are Mexican owned Chivas, who share the Home Depot Center with Galaxy, which can provide a fiery derby fixture. They will miss head coach Preki who decamped to Toronto. Martin Vasquez, who was number two at Bayern Munich took over in a nod to the club's Mexican roots, so he at least will be given some time by their fervent supporters. A lot of players departed over the post season and Chivas look lightweight, especially up front and will be forced to rely heavily on defender Mariano Trujillo and keeper Zach Thornton.

Colorado Rapids have one of the best strike forces in the MLS. Conor Casey and Omar Cummings combined for 24 goals last term. The Rapids added two decent midfield players from New England Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson, who sounds like a crime writer. I think Colorado could surprise people in the Western Conference if they can stay clear of injuries.

My predictions for final Western Conference placings: 1. Seattle 2. Houston 3. Colorado 4. Los Angeles 5. Salt Lake 6. Dallas 7. Chivas 8. San Jose

So two conferences of 8 teams, there has been some discussion of making it a single 16-team league which would give the MLS more credibility but American sports fans are used to geographical divisions and with only two clubs making any money last year (Toronto and Seattle) finances will continue to dictate that more games are played in a closer vicinity encouraging bigger attendances.
A lot of the games are on the box, and the standard is light and day to what it was 8 years ago (although I'm comparing that to a different level mind) so I plan to watch plenty of the games as we get into the summer.
MLS website
Thursday 25 March 2010
  MLS new season preview - part 1 Threats of a player strike have been averted and the MLS is all ready to kick off it's 15th season tonight when Seattle Sounders welcome league new boys Philadelphia Union in front of a 35,000 sell-out crowd.

The proposed strike could have ended badly with the beginning of the season seriously in doubt up until last weekend when the league and players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement for 4 years. I have read through the agreement, I don't understand a lot of it to be honest, but what jumps out of me is that the minimum annual salary for first-teamers, that is first team players is now $40,000. Compare that to the riches to found in the Premier League.

Anyway I will follow my adopted team Chicago Fire, who lost again in the Eastern Conference Final last season but have gone through some changes in the winter. Firstly and I think most significantly their 'designated player' Cuauhtemoc Blanco has returned to Mexico in an effort to make their world cup squad. I was never impressed with him personally but he was hugely popular especially with Chicago's Mexican soccer-mad immigrants, of which there are millions and he did become Fire's talisman. It will be interesting to see what the loss of Blanco does to the home attendances as well.

Fire also have a new manager, previous El-Salvador national coach Carlos de los Cobos who has promised an attractive attacking style, which will be a new direction for a team for over a decade built on firm defensive foundations. Joining de los Cobos is Salvadoran international winger
Julio Enrique Martínez and ex-Fulham striker Collins John, who is surprisingly still only 24. Mind you goals will be needed from Brian McBride, 14 years older than John.

Chicago can still be a force in the MLS and play on Saturday night at Austrian-owned New York Red Bulls new 25,000 capacity stadium in New Jersey. The stadium took donkeys years to become a reality and I wonder how well it will be filled. Star-man is ex-Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel but otherwise it is mostly a young team and new manager Hans Backe, late of Notts County's aborted world dominance fame, has a big job on his hands.

Still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference are Columbus Crew. They have in effect won the league in the last two seasons with the best record (almost every club then enters the play-off's to decide the eventual champion). Crew under Polish head coach Robert Warzycha's have the deepest squad and kick off at home against Toronto FC this Saturday.

The Canadians now have MLS legend Preki at the helm which should give them more joy this season after inconceivably missing out on the play-offs. Toronto's squad without the now retired Danny Dichio looks a bit threadbare but in midfield they do have the Canadian pairing of Nana Attakora and local hero Dwayne DeRosario.

New boys Philadelphia Union are the MLS' 16th team (I hate the word franchise) and will move in July to a new stadium on the banks of the River Delaware. Ex-Chicago manager Piotr Nowak has had a long time to prepare his team who will wear navy blue and gold, representing the primary colours of the Continental Army's uniforms during the American Revolutionary War. Philly's first season aspirations might be just short of surrender but with strikers called Fred and Torres there must be goals surely?

Steve Nicol has pretty much rebuilt the New England Revolution after nearly a decade as one of the countries soccer powerhouses. The Revs will miss Taylor Twellman this, who no doubt will be joined on the treatment table by new signing Cory Gibbs. Kansas City Wizards hit the media spotlight by signing Indian football's superstar Sunil Chhetri. Linked with Celtic last summer and 'signed' by QPR only to be refused a work permit the diminutive striker is only the 3rd Indian footballer to play outside of the country and generated feverish interest in back in India. Ex-Arsenal, Millwall and Palace midfielder Ryan Smith also joined the Wizards for the new season.

Kansas City play DC United this weekend and the Capital boys also begin the season with a new coach. Curt Onalfo late of the Wizards has added some bodies including Australian Danny Allsopp signed from Qatari side, Al-Rayyan. Allsopp played a fair bit in England and scored goals at Notts County and Hull City. Star man again for United will be the eternally dangerous Bolivian forward Jaime Moreno, the MLS' all time leading goalscorer with 131 goals.

My predictions for final Eastern Conference placings: 1. Columbus 2. Chicago 3. Kansas City 4. DC United 5. New England 6. Philadelphia 7. Toronto 8. New York.

Western Conference preview tomorrow.
  Loans galore Two more loan players joined Charlton early this evening as Parky took the loan tally to 7. 36-year old journeyman Nicky Forster who has scored 16 goals this season and won the League One Player of The Month award for October has joined from Brighton until the end of the season plus young West Ham defender Matt Fry has also been snapped up. (more)

I have no idea where the money is coming from, Forster must have been on a decent screw down at Brighton but his contract is up in the summer and potentially the move could end up a permanent. He came on as sub last week for the Seagulls and scored a penalty in their win over Brentford and Fry was on loan before Christmas at Gillingham.

Burton, Youga and Elliott are all injured and Akpo, Semedo and Sam are all doubts for Saturday's vital visit to Huddersfield. 
  Denzil checks in Despite Millwall being considered financially stronger than us according to Parky, today we outbid the Lions to sign 35-year goalkeeper Tony Warner. Although not confirmed on the official site reports suggest the free agent has signed until the end of the season. The question of course is will Warner start or play second fiddle to Darren Randolph. Personally I feel Darren deserves his chance.

Warner spent 9 years at Liverpool and never started a game (a la Bobby Bolder) and earnt the nickname in Anfield as Tony Bonus because he got so many win bonuses but never got his shorts dirty. After that he has been a bit of a loan-ranger but did play 200 games for Millwall and was well respected in Bermondsey where he inherited the nickname of Denzil. Most recently he was at Hull but played his last first team game while on loan at Leicester City almost a year ago.

The loan window shuts tonight and we wait and see if the board can dig even deeper into threadbare pockets to bring in a striker.
Wednesday 24 March 2010
  A look into the future Rob Elliot
Chris Solly
Yado Mambo
Carl Jenkinson
Jack Clark
Scott Wagstaff
Ben Davisson
Alex Stavrinou
Grant Basey
Tamer Tuna
Lewis Perkins

Is this a little look into the future at the team we'll be watching in a year or two's time if we are still in the 3rd Division?

It is always nice to see the club offering second-year scholars professional contracts, although they tend to be only for a year which doesn't allow for any reverse in progression or much room for serious injury. Five out of the nine second year academy players were offered professional terms today, compared to only Jack Clark and Alex Stavrinou a year ago.

Sadly goalkeeper Jack (Ja Ja) Binks, centre-half Jordan Anderson plus midfielders Liam Bellamy and Harry Pell will leave the club in the summer and I hope they all come back and make the grade with other clubs so we can all moan that they escaped the net at some point in the future.

Five is a decent number, although it might reflect our new found league status but that should take nothing away from the joy the young lads must feel tonight and Steve Gritt, Damian Matthew and Steve Avory should be very proud. This all achieved without the aid of a reserve team and a very bad winter but Charlton have made good use of the non-league work experience programme.

All fans love to see home-grown players come through into the first team, and I'm disappointed that Tuna, Solly, Wagstaff or in fact Shelvey haven't featured much this term. However if we don't make it up this season we would do no worse than to take a few steps back and re-build the squad around youth together with a good spattering of more experienced and work-man-like professionals.

Good luck to Yado, Carl, Tamer, Ben and Lewis. We look forward to hearing your name read out on the teamsheet. 
Monday 22 March 2010
  Angst Charlton Athletic 2 Gillingham 2
I was expecting a response on Saturday following the embarrassment of the week before but what did we get? A couple of cosmetic team changes plus a new loanee, nothing earth shattering there. Jonjo Shelvey remained glued to the bench again. Am I the only one who thinks this vital 9-game run-in is desperately seeking a hero? Isn't Shelvey potentially that man? It ain't Lloyd Sam that's for sure.

What else did we get? A point against a team who had not won away all season and hadn't even scored more than a goal on anyone else's ground up until Saturday and then finally we all got a lecture from the manager afterwards.

"If there any supporters out there with the odd million pound floating around and they want to donate it to us to go and get a proven striker, like Norwich City did when they got Grant Holt, then I'll gladly go and get it." Maybe you should have a word with Alan Pardew Parky, you must still have his number in your phone. I would say he might be a better revenue stream than your average Charlton season ticket holder and comparing finances to Colchester and Millwall? Really Parky?

On a positive note Parky's outburst shows that he has some balls. Mooney's ear-cupping meanwhile only proved the average intellect of a professional footballer. I agree with Kings Hill and would be happy not to see that kind of crap in a Charlton shirt again. He's hardly going to score a goal like that every week is he?

It's all about to implode isn't it? Leeds have done this the last two season's, Forest before them. I think we all need to take a collective breath. Yes Parky we are third (I checked the league table yesterday as you asked me to), we have promotion still in our own hands. A run now until the end of the season will I think almost certainly secure a top-two place. We all need to do our bit and a couple of away games might be just what we need.

There is a lot of angst I know but the time for booing and moaning isn't now. It has been no carousel ride for Charlton fans these past few years but we need to stick together just for these last few weeks and then we can spend the summer calling for heads and watching player's walk out of the door all the while the club try to flog season tickets.

I will do my bit at the Colchester and Norwich games as I've just booked my seats. We have to stand together now. Let the manager motivate, the player's play and the fan's support.

Bloggers: Kings Hill Addick; Drinking During the Game; Doctor Kish; Charlton Athletic Online; Charlton Casual; Deepest Darkest.
Saturday 20 March 2010
  RIP Bob Curtis My sugar-coated memories of when I was first started to go The Valley in the mid-seventies with my Dad are that the starting eleven rarely ever changed. The back four was always Mark Penfold, Phil Warman, Jimmy Giles and a certain Bob Curtis.

Last night very sadly Bob lost his battle against motor neurone and Pick's disease, a rare neurodegenerative illness. He was just 60-years old.

By the time I had been introduced to Bob Curtis he had already been at Charlton for over 8 years, becoming the first team regular right back after Billy Bonds moved to West Ham. Bob played 372 games for the Addicks, scoring 35 goals before moving back to his home town of Mansfield.

My lasting memories of Bob apart from his wicked sideburns will be his penalty kicks. He scored 20 in total for us and I can picture him now running into the box and wrapping his right foot around the ball and placing it firmly into the top right-hand corner of the net, unreachable for any goalkeeper. Alongside Mark Reid, Bob was without any doubt the best penalty taker I have ever seen in a Charlton shirt.

We lost a Charlton legend last night but keep taking those penalties Bob no one will save them upstairs. RIP.
Thursday 18 March 2010
  Memories of Gillingham Charlton 2-1 Gillingham, Saturday 2nd May, 1981
I and other blogs have often this season compared it to our promotion year in 1980/81, nonetheless it is a little bit flawed as back then it was 2 points for a win and 3rd place was good enough to guarantee promotion. Mind you at this point in the season 29 years ago we were pissing it, sat top 5 points over Portsmouth in 4th place (effectively 3 wins with our superior goal difference).

Early April and we still sat pretty but then to no surprise to anyone who has ever followed us we went kaputt. We lost our next four matches (3 to promotion rivals) before steadying the ship with a point at home to relegation threatened Oxford United and then going up to beautiful Brunton Park and winning. A victory that gave us promotion (see dressing room photo below) and set up a right old knees up at The Valley a week later.

We ended up three points above Huddersfield in 4th with Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham and Barnsley finishing one and two with Chesterfield back in 5th.

(Hopefully) my Mum has still got my Fads hat with the holes in it that the majority of the home crowd wore on that warm Saturday in the first week of May. A few Gills fans sprinklered themselves around the now seated Jimmy Seed stand as we all stood around looking very pleased with ourselves that the Addicks had won promotion at the first attempt back to the (old) 2nd Division.

Mike Bailey was the man behind our promotion, an ex-player (151 games) with an unruffled and friendly exterior but sadly our success led him to being offered the Brighton job, who were in the (old) 1st Division at the time. Incidentially the man who he replaced, Alan Mullery (who I still can't abide) took over at The Valley.

Bailey's team was pretty much unchanged from the side that were embarrasingly relegated the previous season but was added to by the emerging talent of Paul Walsh and the not quite as talented but competent nevertheless, Kevin Smith. Bailey instilled a good morale and a winning attitude and with much help from Nicky Johns our defence was water-tight with 20 league clean sheets.

Bailey wrote in the Gillingham programme: "Certainly the last few weeks have been nerve-wracking for all of us but I never really doubted that we would make it in the end but I had a few sleepless nights on the way."

He also praised the 300 Addicks who were at Carlisle the week before saying: "Certainly we have been disappointed by the numbers attending The Valley this season considering our position in the league table but the quality and enthusiasm of our ardent supporters especially away from home has been magnificent."

As for the game Steve Bruce captained Gillingham, on what was their last visit to The Valley, Micky Adams was in midfield and Trevor Lee, ex of Millwall, also played. Meanwhile for us Paddy Powell was making his 56th appearance of the season (a then record).

A crowd of 9,367, only bettered by games at home to Fulham and Millwall, and over 2,000 higher than our average saw us play some relaxed football with 19-year old Paul Walsh putting us ahead with his 18th goal of the season in the first half before Trevor Lee equalised right on half-time.

All kind of celebratory stuff took place during the half-time break and a Kevin Smith shot on the hour gave us the victory to round off a great day before I and many others got on the pitch after the final whistle and welcomed Bailey and the players out into the main stand.

Team: Johns, Naylor (Gritt 80), Warman, Berry, Madden, Tydeman, Powell, Walsh, Hales, Smith, Robinson.
Attendance: 9,367
  Borrowdale borrowed "Borrowdale departed the Eagles when his contract expired to team up with former Palace boss Iain Dowie at Coventry City, a move which eventually cost the Sky Blues £650,000 at a tribunal."

Christ on a bike another left back. 24-year Gary Borrowdale has been er, borrowed by Parky for 28 days as cover to Youga, Basey and the now departed Johnnie Jackson. There is an argument rightly for a dedicated left back but from where I sit, despite guarantees to the contrary, that is just too many loan players and I would rather play Solly and await Youga's return.

The opening quote made me spit out my morning coffee. Good old Dowie is the only manager ever to spend a fee on Borrowdale. He played just 20 league games for the Sky Blues. Anyway good luck Gary, it will at least be nice to escape the mad house that is QPRhaha, although you may have swapped the mad house for the depressingly haunted house!
Wednesday 17 March 2010
  Iain Dowie presents: 'Turning around the Tigers' You have to give it to the bloke and no one should stand in the way of a bloke being able to earn a crust but that must be some motivational speech that he lure's football league chairmen with.

Maybe Adam Pearson chose Dowie because he pioneered the headset look, although I am not sure Phil Brown's weekly sunbed appointment will do much to his looks. Of course Dowie's powerpoint presentation has become legend in football. 'Advancing the Addicks' I am led to believe still sits in Richard Murray's bottom drawer.

Dowie has 9 games to keep Hull up including matches against relegation rivals Portsmouth (although they are effectively down), Burnley, Sunderland and Wigan. They end the season at home to Liverpool, who one would assume will be fighting for a Champions League/Europa Cup place.

Sadly the fact remains however that Charlton are playing third tier football and Iain Dowie is managing a Premiership team with an apparent carrot of a £1m waiting if he can overcome Mick McCarthy and Brian Laws. Eminently do-able I would say. 
Tuesday 16 March 2010
  Ring of Fire My job allows me to wallow in natural disasters. Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, tornadoes they have always oddly intrigued me. Seismic shifts below the earth's surface resulting in small tremors happen all the time, the ground often moves in our house according to the other half....

On a serious note an earthquake shook Los Angeles early today, it was only a 4.4 magnitude, and fortunately there was no sign of any significant damage or injury but this was one of over 700 quakes in that region during the past week.

Californian's live with the threat of earthquakes every time they walk across the cracks in the pavement. Friends of mine in San Francisco have dedicated family disaster plans ready to put into action when the 'Big One' happens. Slightly more reassuring at home we have a smoke detector and window locks to prevent 'disaster.'

Researchers have calculated a 70% probability that southern California will be hit by a large earthquake in the next 30 years. The forecast is based on the frequency of past events but predicting earthquakes is notoriously difficult. Forecasts tend to be very general, specifying a range of decades rather than years or weeks for possible activity but the only thing that is certain is that it will happen.

Earthquakes are produced when the earth’s tectonic plates shift against or collide with each other and recent activity in Haiti, Chile, Japan's Ryuku island, Taiwan, Indonesia and eastern Turkey have made me look a bit closer at the huge horseshoe shaped oceanic trench that encircles the Pacific Ocean and 90% of the world's earthquakes occur along what is unabashedly called the Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire is a 40,000km (25,000-mile) long zone where tectonic plates rub up against each other in the unlimited expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The area is named for its many active volcanoes but it is also the most seismically active zone on Earth.

After the Chilean quake the immediate focus was on the threat of tsunami, a powerful wave that travels from the epicenter of the quake across the ocean basin, and because Chile's quake occurred offshore, when the underwater plates shake, they push the water up above them, creating the beginning of a wave, not unlike dropping a stone in a bathtub, waves incidentially that travel at roughly the speed of a passenger jet!

The Chilean quake, which was so powerful it actually moved cities and shortened the day, occurred six weeks after the catastrophic tragedy in Haiti, which asked the question whether we are entering a new era of seismological disasters? But the two quakes were unrelated, as was the one in LA today, occurring each on different fault lines.

Despite scientists having a huge amount of knowledge of the earth's fault lines, the only thing that is vaguely predictable is that the next earthquake will almost certainly take place within the Ring of Fire's boundaries of interconnecting fault lines under the sea. Unfortunately prediciting where the epicenter and subsequent fallout will be is beyond mere science. 
Sunday 14 March 2010
  Action not words Millwall 4 Same Old Charlton 0
The most disgusting thing about yesterday was that it wasn't any surprise. All that old tosh all week from Kinsella, Bailey, Parkinson et al. What a load of bollocks, same old Charlton. They really f**king know how to piss you off don't they?

For 40-odd minutes we actually appeared to be playing alright, matching them in the battling stakes, silencing those moronic inbreds but we weren't really threatening and more worryingly Llera and Dailly were sounding rather pedestrian in the centre of defence. Then bang, who else but Darren bloody Ward heading in unmarked just inside an unoccupied upright right on half-time from a corner.

Together with team selection, game tactics and substitutions, half-time team talks separate good managers from average ones and Parky failed yesterday on every level. He apologised for the whole debacle of course, but words are easy. Pardew was an exceptionally good wordsmith. Curbs wasn't. No doubt spouting from Sparrows Lane all week will be atonement but I don't want to hear anymore words I want to see some action.

Not for the first time in my 35 years of supporting Charlton, the only people that came out of yesterday with any credit were those men, women and children who paid to watch that gutless performance. The 3,000 Addicks were awesome first half making a load of noise over the Millwall commentary team I was listening to on CAFC TV as our own link didn't seem to be working (add in own analogy here).

In fact as I've mentioned them, despite being understandably wetting themselves with joy, the three-man Millwall commentary team (one of whom was a gruff Les Briley) put bloody Emma and that other idiot to shame. They commentated (COMMENTATED) on the game with knowledge, passion and energy. Maybe our commentators are picked to mirror our team.

The 2nd half was an embarrasing capitulation. It is days like yesterday and I will remind myself of this again tomorrow when I walk into the office, that I'm pleased that I live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean because, at least in my office, unless you support Man U, then no one is bothered. I feel for everyone who has to carry the affliction of being a Charlton fan around with them this week, I really do. I've done it, I've lived with the pain after many, many Millwall games at school, at home (our neighbours for 15 years were Millwall season ticket holders) and at work.

There are no excuses for what happened in the second half yesterday, we literally rolled over. No fight, no balls, no answer. It was embarrassing but this was not a freak result, we've played spasmodic at best for a while, Yeovil probably our best footballing performance in the dozen games since the turn of the year.

We have to go back to the Bristol Rovers game on November 24th for the last time we beat a team in the top half of the table. Saturday's result was not a blip it has been written all over us for months. Words just ain't going to cut it Parky.

Reports: Charlton Casual; Addicks Diary; Doctor Kish; Charlton Life Forum
  David Beckham He may not have played in South Africa, he may not have even gone (of course he was going) but David Beckham tearing his achilles tendon today will almost definitely count him out of this year's World Cup. Like a lot of Englishmen Beckham inordinately grew on me and there were England games when he literally won them on his own, read Wayne Rooney now.

Yeh, yeh he can't head the ball, he can't tackle and his left leg is for standing on but ignoring his other peg, his experience, personality and positive presence in the team camp would have been invaluable in what would have been his 4th World Cup and he must be devastated. I am.

His chances of resuming his career appear slim tonight, yet alone being fit for South Africa in 3 months time but I always thought, and this terrible news made me think it again tonight, that if I ever got picked for England (any sport) then I wanted to stand there and bellow out the national anthem and be as proud as David Beckham is to play for his country.

Update Monday 5pm: Beckham's World Cup over
Friday 12 March 2010
  Be there I've just returned from a walk around the neighbourhood, the first time I've been outside for 3 days since collecting the "bug that is going around." Tuesday night's excruciating stomach pains and a night sat on the pan gave over to fatigue, fever and spiteful headache, of which I still own.

Sadly tonight's visit to friends for a curry (probably not a good idea) had to be postponed but at least I have caught up on some sleep and been reintroduced to the wonderful fruit of bananas, as that is all I have eaten for 3 days.

Anyway I am glad I shared that with you. Tomorrow's game is of course kill or cure, any result in our favour and you can have no doubt that I will be cart-wheeling around the house probably to the amazement of the other half as I haven't lifted a finger since Tuesday. An inglorious defeat meanwhile will have me searching out the doc's phone number for an extended leave of absence.

I have stopped reading the words coming out of the club about how important the game is and knowing what it means. Just be there Charlton, make us proud. 
Thursday 11 March 2010
  Jackson gone but Youga back? Johnnie Jackson has gone back to Notts County after being ruled out with a torn hamstring for 6 weeks. I watched his debut at home to Yeovil and was impressed with the intellect and simplicity in which he played the game and losing him is a big blow for Saturday.

On first thoughts that is 3 left backs we have now lost this season, but incredibly from nowhere Kelly Youga today declared himself fit to play. I've followed the injury of Kelly via quotes on the official site and it doesn't look at any time since his last game at home to Bristol Rovers in November that he has realistically been anywhere near full fitness.

Youga's absence has coincided with our drop in form and on past experience implausibly our defensive frailties too so I would love to see him back but is he ready for the cauldron of Saturday? Does Parky go with Solly and risk a young man playing on the wrong side or Llera maybe a better bet to add some solidity to a back four with Sodje returning to partner Dailly.

The other choice is Semedo (also right-footed) but I personally want to see him patrol our midfield as I think we will get overrun without him. This brings me onto Therry Racon. What has happened to him? On the way back from the pre-season game with Bournemouth I was laying down bets that he would be our player of the year and get 10 goals. Hopefully my car-mates that day have forgotten that conversation..

He has in fact got just one goal, a late consolation against Bristol Rovers, and has looked terribly off the pace in recent months. His best form came in the early season five-man midfield with Semedo doing his defensive work and Bailey his attacking but Racon was a useful conduit and made some swaggering runs. There is a football saying that players are just too good for certain divisions, one I don't accept, and he impressed when at Brighton at the same level (4 man midfield too) two years ago.

Pardew never rated him (even though he bought him) but many still see Therry as one of our most naturally gifted players. Without a doubt he is more gifted than say, Nicky Bailey but like his forgotten right-back countryman unless you have the right attitude and work rate then it doesn't count a jot in the 3rd tier of English football.

With massive games coming up and the playing surfaces improving I still hope that Racon can play his part in an historical Charlton season. 
Tuesday 9 March 2010
  Saturday A good result for us last night then and it's a big week as our rivals play catch-up games. Leeds go to Tranmere tonight for their game in hand. Tranmere, who were bottom at the end of November have moved four points clear of the drop zone under Les Parry. Swindon make up one of their games over us when they visit Franchise FC (their other game in hand is next week at Southampton) and Millwall make the long journey to Carlisle. Hopefully their bus will break down on the way home in the wilds of Cumbria and they don't get to eat or sleep for a week.

It will take an age for 3 o'clock Saturday to come around in my head. I hate those bloody neanderthals. I am so pleased that we sold our 3,000 tickets and without a doubt could've moved more. The whole away end will be packed with Addicks except the end blocks in the lower tier to prevent any over excitement. Come on Charlton be loud and proud.

As others have rightly stated we need to remove the subduedness from our play. The Den (new or old) is no place for a passionless performance. We will get completely rolled over. I have made my thoughts clear in recent months on my preferred formation and it must include Semedo and I would play Shelvey too, but whoever plays they need to be as ballsy and fervid as every man, woman and child sat in that rust bucket of an away end. It will be Millwall's largest crowd since Barry Kitchener was under 10 stone, they will be so up for it. BELIEVE Charlton BELIEVE. 
Monday 8 March 2010
  Bernews There is a utter dearth of worthwhile online Bermudian resources so it is nice to see a welcome addition. The "multimedia news and culture magazine" Bernews despite it's unimaginative title has started well since it's launch at the beginning of March. Bernews takes a broad look at news and stories on the island as well as a being a much needed depository for all kinds of interesting facts and figures, the research of which must have taken some time.

Bernews can also be found on 
Sunday 7 March 2010
  Oscars 2010 Getting ready for Oscar night, and I will have my customary stab in the dark at the winners in a minute. Before we moved to Bermuda I was a regular movie-goer, for 10 notes it is hard to beat a trip to the cinema. Yet in 20 months on the island we are yet to see a film at one the four cinemas mostly disheartened by stories of them resembling school playgrounds inside. According to everyone there will be no panic rustling to turn of a ringing mobile phone here, oh no a 10-minute conversation is likely to ensue. "I'm at the movies, what you up to?" Video shop membership has never been so exciting since the first one opened down the street from us in Catford in 1980.

Anyway, whereas in past years my knowledge of Academy nominated films was pretty goood as we had seen most, if not all of the films selected, this year I will just have to discount films still yet to reach the video shop.

The Academy picking 10 movies for Best Picture will only add another hour to the already ridiculously long show, but I only saw four. The Nick Hornby written An Education was excellent but it came a second for me to the low budget Hurt Locker, the shuddering story of a Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

Sandra Bullock is favourite to win Best Actress for Blind Side, which I haven't seen. Last night she surprisingly showed up at the Razzies to collect the award for worst actress, so winning an Oscar tonight for what is her first ever nomination would be quite a double. I'm going to go though with Meryl Streep for her leading role in Julie & Julia, her 17th Oscar nomination although a win for Brit Carey Mulligan is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Crazy Heart does not appeal but Jeff Bridges is odds on to win his first Oscar (the Academy has a history of rewarding overdue veterans) but my pick for Best Actor is Colin Firth who starred in the elegant and emotional A Single Man.... he won't win though, it will be Bridges.

Best Director is again being billed as a straight fight between ex-husband and wife James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow. I saw both Avatar and the Hurt Locker and I really hope Hurt Locker wins, it was a remarkable film and Bigelow would be the first ever female winner. I have my doubts that Avator will sweep up as much as people think, for example technically Art Direction goes to imaginative sets and not digitel ones and Cinematography is meant traditionally to inspire epic scenes but Best Visual Effects should be a no brainer.

Ok, I have my popcorn and a plastic beaker of diet Pepsi as big as the Isle of Wight. Laters film buffs. 
Saturday 6 March 2010
  What do points make? Charlton Athletic 2 Stockport County 0
After the first ten minutes I thought I might have to go and fetch my calculator to keep count but alas as often can happen after such a dramatic start the game fizzled out in the second half as we struggled to create any real chances, but with Leeds slipping up again and Swindon losing it was a very valuable 3 points.

We started well and the Stockport commentary team appeared to except it was only a matter of time before we would take the lead, although the goal sounded a real fluke. Nonetheless after shoddy starts against other relegation candidates at home recently it was gratifying to hear us start so strongly. A quick second, a fine header from Akpo from a Richardson cross lifted any nervousness. By all accounts a definite penalty should have been awarded for hands just before the break, which one assumed would have seen us in at the half three goals to the good.

All the same with the shoots of spring around the corner it is about points now and as Norwich move away Leeds play their game in hand on Tuesday at Tranmere, although most Addicks minds will undoubtedly be focused on our next game.

Quotes: "So the day will live long in my mind for the opportunity to shake Killer’s hand in the club shop and if we get promoted it will be viewed as a good day in the record books. At this stage of the season that’s fine." Blackheath Addicted

"If I live this life again, I will leave this match after 15 minutes, get home to a warm house and watch The Battle of the River Plate on Film 4." Stickleback 
Friday 5 March 2010
  The 2009 Gellies™ Yes, yes I know you Googled Shower Gellies and you got sent here and I won't disappoint you. For some years I have been championing hotels dispatching worthless shower caps and little buds of cotton wool for more usable personal items such as fluffy slippers and shower gel. Bubbly liquid soap in a plastic bottle can in my experience be found in pharmacies and supermarkets all over the world but why is it that hotel companies decide to omit them from their rooms but insist on giving you a plastic shoe-horn instead?

Anyway I have made it my life's work to study hotel shower gels or lack thereof and I give you my Chicago Addick awards for the 2009/10 Gellies™ as follows. Drum roll please:

"You want more what?" The BYOB (bodysoap) hotel award
Winner: The W Hotel, New York
Once trendy and the place to be seen. The W on Lexington Avenue has been left behind by far more shower gel friendly hip hotels in the area. Requested additional bathroom supplies did not materialise, so I took to slipping additional toiletries from the maid's cart into my pocket and waved to the security camera as I did so.

The I have seen more shower gel in the bogs at Priestfield award
Winner: Hilton New York
A Brobdingnagian of a hotel in New York's Mid-town. A cold and uncongenial place full of dull businessmen obviously not as perterbed as me by the thimble of body cleanser in the rooms.
A dishonourable mention to: The Fairmont, Chicago
For the 2nd year running, the otherwise very nice Fairmont Hotel in downtown Chicago let me down. Thank god for the Walgreens across the street.

Shower Gel Bubbly heaven award
Winner: The Mansion on Peachtree
This place is soap-sudded heaven. A Rosewood Hotel property and they obviously understand a man's shower gel needs. Not only this but the hotel's swanky 29 Spa ran by Lydia Mondavi (of Mondavi wine clan fame) has a sommeliers selection of wine on a spa menu alongside smoothies and healthy rubbish as well as heated slippers.
Honourable mentions to: Royalton, New York
When Phillipe Starck designed this stylish gaff he didn't forget the Radox. Good boy. Also Loews Miami Beach. Plenty of squeezy bottles in the jumbo-sized shower here.

Previous Winners: 2008 Winners, 2007 Winners, 2006 Winners. 
Wednesday 3 March 2010
  Suicide My head hasn't been in a good place this week. On Monday I found out that my son's best friend's Mother had committed suicide Sunday night. My ex-wife found her lying on her bed with a bin-liner over her head attached to a gas cylinder. She had conveniently left the back door open and ten minutes later it would have been my son and his best friend who would have walked in on the appalling scene.

The boy was who I took with my son for his 10th birthday to Go Ape a week or so ago and bloody hell he was the nicest kid you could ever meet. How a mother could make a decision to leave a 10-year old all alone in this world is inconceivable at least to me.

Since Sunday night my son has been distraught. His friend was whisked away with his father to where he lives in Milton Keynes and as far as my son is concerned his little mate, who are like brothers, has vanished from the planet. A 10-year old can understand death and it's reasons but not a young woman to whom he looked up to and spent a lot of time with, killing herself. Our phone calls have been very distressing and I seemingly have no one able to wrap their fatherly arms around him on my behalf.

In my other life my daughter started nursery today as my downcast-other-half went back to work after 4 months. Bermuda is surely one of the easiest countries to live in with both parents working (the nursery is 5 minutes walk away from both of our offices and on a good day a 10 minute drive from home) but nonetheless this morning's startled look from my daughter will stay with me for a while as will my other-half's weeping.

Not a good week then. Sleep deprived, a shitty cold and guilt building like a giant ant-hill. 
Monday 1 March 2010
  Chile Prior to knowing that we were pregnant with our daughter we had already started to explore a February 2010 holiday in Chile so hearing the sad news Saturday my other half and I gave each other a sideways glance as the story of the massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake rolled onto our television screens.

The epicenter was 200 miles southwest of the capital Santiago and the force of the 7th strongest quake ever recorded shook the area for 90 seconds. Sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific, and located on a fault line, Chile is prone to quakes, but this was the largest in a century and the force was felt as far away as Buenos Aires and even further east (1,800 miles) in Sao Paolo.

February is considered the end of the holiday season in Chile and our planned trip was to centre on the capital of Santiago and the wine regions west and south of there in Casablanca and Maipo. South of here the wine areas of Curicó and Maule have been badly affected but naturally the focus is on search and rescue although wineries will be crucial to the area’s long-term economic recovery.

In 1960 Chile suffered terribly at the hands of a seismic wave when the world's strongest ever quake with a magnitude of 9.5 triggered tidal waves and volcanic eruptions, leaving 1,655 dead and two million homeless. Two years later Chile still managed to hold the World Cup Finals using just four venues and I'd hope their national national team will get a lot of neutral support in South Africa this summer although one can only wonder at what their preparation will be like.

Saturday' death toll is now over 700 compared to 230,000 in Haiti even though the Chilean earthquake was far more powerful. Far superior building codes, a GDP about has far apart as you can imagine and a shallower intensity of the earth movement are all reasons for this but however one feels for the impoverished Haitian's Chile no doubt will be left mostly on it's own to recover. No collections, no US military help and no foreign humanitarian agencies flying in to the countries airport.

But hopefully recover it will as this beautiful and heterogeneous country of Chile is still on my bucket list and I'm as keen as ever to sample it's wines, it's mountains and it's culture. 
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After living in Chicago for four and a half years, I moved to the beautiful if bewildering island of Bermuda in July 2008. This blog is about being an exiled and depressed Charlton Athletic fan and whatever else the day brings.
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