Friday, 24 December 2010

That' it for Xmas Eve (?): To be Resumed

Like others I have been keeping a periodic eye on the news towards the end of the day. Unless something unforeseen happens, then it looks like those concerned will take a Xmas break to chew it all over, and then focus on the final outstanding points.
I shall be continuing with the Czech Budweiser Budvar for the immediate future and hope to catch up with news at the Southampton game.
I cannot add to the speculation, but I have voiced to others on many occasions that I would prefer if Wise was not a part of it or if he is, that Varney and co have a strong lead!
Promotion is the key target which can potentially sort out some of the short term revenue problems.
On the wider front, it's interesting to note just how well both Leeds and Norwich are doing in the quest for a double whammy of promotion (i.e. to emulate CAFC's feat of the 1930's). Our target should be one of continuous improvement as the various motivational management games postulate; i.e. promotion this year, and a challenge next year in the same vein. This year continues to be tough, especially if form is not regained quickly over the Xmas period.
I have never been a Leeds fan. I can recall feeling distinctly unsafe whilst attending some games, especially those vital play-offs some years ago.  Even way after that game, the Leeds fans were in threatening mood returning to London down the M.1. The volume of traffic around 11PM-midnight was amazing and  periodically stationery. It seemed that every other car was a maddened Leeds supporter.
In these days of expensive seats and prawn cocktails (a La MUFC), their support seems a little less threatening, though no one should underestimate their passion.
They have done really well and are to be congratulated;. They have a feet on the ground manager and a good squad.. Lloyd Sam has made not that great a contribution and I suspect if they go up will be surplus to requirements.  Would we want him back? Not me,  he flatters to deceive like Martin and given time I think Martin may be the greater of the two, if we can hang on to him.
Happy Christmas Folks

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Another Blank: and not just on the pitch

I could not make the game, committed to a rousing carol singing event in Central London. I certainly made the right decision.
Given the fixture implication of getting through along with the dire weather warnings I guess on balance it is best we have kept up our Cup record.
From what I have read, I was very encouraged about Jenkinson at right back, (about the only encouragement other then the return of Dailly. is it just possible that he might be selected over Francis for the next game?. Francis has had about 2 reasonable games since joining us and is in the middle of a bad run at present; he needs a rest to recharge, and compose himself.
I was dismayed to hear on several BLOGS of the behaviour of a small element of the crowd, but like some others not surprised. I have seen it gradually coming, not just this season but over several seasons.
The small element who partake in some of the chanting and nutty behaviour just spoil a good day out for the majority. I’m no prude and general ‘football’ language does not offend, but some of this stuff is so pathetic and unfunny it just makes you sad that the reputation of our supporters is on the slide.
Some years back, (at Villa to be precise) the majority of our fans were berated by a small line of our own ‘fans’ behind them; they has specifically got behind them, for not singing.
It was a wet, cold day and our side did little to justify a cheer (which they got ) let alone a song. On that occasion I emailed a club “official”, who was there amongst us, (still in post), and did not even get a reply.
There are some of us who like to cheer and shout but not partake in aimless singing which rarely demonstrates any genuine excitement. Indeed you can see that many of those who “sing” are not even watching the game. On one tense occasion they were chanting to the opposing fans whilst ignoring an opposing corner right in front of them.
It comes to somehting when you have to carefully select where you posotion yourself at away games, just to stay clear of some of the rabble.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Dreadful Non-Event: Takeover Related Factors?

We were dreadful in all departments against Walsall. Our side just did not turn up. There’s not an awful lot more to be said but here’s a few observations:
No inventiveness in midfield and no punch upfront.
The overall perfromance was so poor that inevitably some of the weakenesses of some players, e.g. Samedo do be creative, stood out like sore thumbs.
Subs did not help. Reid made no impact and he focuses on impressing a small element of the crowd with his ball skills and not the overall team objective. His error was at the root of their goal. Martin had a run at them but flattered to deceive again for the short time he was on and looked frustrated at all around him.
Once Walsall scored the only real positive you can identify were some stupendous, last gasp defending by Doherty and others that prevented another 4 goal rout.
The tactic of substituting Fry (who did not play badly) for Reid and moving Jackson to full back again backfired badly. Jackson was our most likely first half threat and removing him was counter productive, and he is not as effective at full back as Fry.
I could not figure out whether the team was still shell shocked from their drubbing at Luton. Or, is the side unsettled about the takeover and any internal rumours?
Is it just a coincidence that their form has dipped following release of the news about the take-over? Do some players fell at risk and it's affecting their game?
If this could be the case then a ‘clear the air’ initiative is urgent
Hartlepool will not be easy and a home defeat against Southampton would pitch us back down the table with everything to do to get back to where we are.
A good position after the Xmas period is essential.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

2026 Front Runner

Insiders are predicting further shock decisions from FIFA for 2026.
Current front runner is Antarctica, which is seen to provide a major challenge to extend the influence of the game and the impetus for infrastructure development. 
A sole senior FIFA official was spotted carrying out some reconnaisance visits:

Extension of existing hotel arrangements are being considered:

And the local side has been undergoing extensive bonding sessions:

Friday, 3 December 2010

Cautious Optimism

I have no illusions of being a person with a good understanding of financial and corporate issues. My knowledge extends little further than IT strategies and depreciating personal investment portfolios.
However, the news from the club regardiing the planned takeover is still uplifting.
As others have noted, caution least is required about the ‘Xmas present’ news until we learn more about it and, most importantly, what group is behind Peter Varney.
Nevertheless, given Richard Murray’s (and his colleagues’) incredible support and dedication for the club in recent seasons you would have to be a real cynical pessimist to anticipate the club going into the wrong hands to a bunch of deviant financiers who had their eyes on exploiting whatever “assets” come as part of the deal. He has held on stoically for a long time, reducing his level of wealth considerably, in discarding some previous potential bids as being unfavourable to the club.
The club owes him and enormous debt in terms of his financial commitment, effort, time, and probable sleepness nights that it has cost him. I hope that any final deal brings him some piece of mind and, most importantly, it finds an important and responsible place for him in any new structure.
It bodes well that it is fronted by  Peter Varney who has undoubted credentials as a CAFC fan and has anm excellent reputation within the football world. It seems unlikely that he would have been duped by dubious financial backers. I would not have had the same confidence with Dennis Wise.
However, let’s not get too carried away by thoughts of some mega-bucks treasure trove being available for a transfer kitty in January. A modest implant of funds to cover investment of additional players in key positions and the retention of other squad players would be a major leap forward given the otherwise reliance on sales or loans to cover any team building.
There has been speculation of Curbs coming back into the fold. If money permitted him to take on some form of Football Directorship that he could undertake productively without interfering or stunting the role of Parks then fine, though this may be a tall demand. Otherwise, it would be a real kick in the teeth for a manager who has done well to get us where we are and make the club more attractive to potential bidders.

Qatar: a stroll in the sand

What a sad joke the selection of Qatar is for the future of football.
After sterile walking pace games in various hot and humid climates in recent World Cup tournaments (with FIFA efforts to spice it up by unpredicateble plastc footballs)  it goes to a country that has temperatures around 45 degrees or more at the time it will be staged.
Let’s forget about infrastructure, crowd, and training problems and focus on the football. Solar powered power is projected to drive air conditioning that will maintain temperatures at 27 degrees. ( probably wildly optimistic). For those still reluctant to commit fully to Celsius, that’s around 80F.
The South African tournament was characterised in the main by its walking pace, passing from side to side of the pitch and back to goal, and extreme caution displayed by all sides, occasionally sparked into life by the Germans. No wonder the broader non-‘soccer’ devotees in the States find it difficult to get enthused about the game.
The Qatar tournament will do little to enhance the quality and attractiveness of football other than to those in the Middle East who will rise to it in patriotic fervour.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Happy Birthday Phil

I hope Park's has a great birthday and a moment for brief relaxation.
He seems an amiable chap but I have been unable to find a smiling photograph of him, he obviously takes his responsibilities seriously unlike some who have gone before him. I guess with the way the weather is up north he may be able to look forward to a break over the weekend (let's hope for all concerned that if the conditions are that bad that the game is called off early enough to permit that. Nothing worse than a god forsaken trip up the M6 to find it is called off at the last moment).
This BLOG has been consistent in supporting Park's on the premise that he could overcome the hic-cup we had in form prior to the recent run. I suggested that he needed a fair amount of time to get specific good results and / or performances after the team had performed badly after the Brighton game. He did just that and we have marched ahead to get amongst the main contenders.
He has not got everything right but there are not many managers who had to face the rapid shedding of resources close season and the urgent rebuilding with such scarce resources.
The jury remains out on some player acquisitions and only time will tell whether they can dispell current doubts. However, the team he has assembled, warts and all, is getting results and showing an apparent personal commitment to him.
With the forthcoming schedule and complications die to the weather, it's crucial we keep players fit and do not incur unnecessary bookings (unless as is the current vogue, they are 'tactical'!
So, I am hoping we do not pick up silly bookings for dissent along the way.
Have a good one Park's.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Few positives emerge

A dire brass monkeys afternoon at the Valley with lots of negatives and very few positives.
Let’s take the positives first:
Jackson: one of the few players to perform well, made intelligent runs, scored a good goal an d badly let down by the team not passing too him, and Reid ignoring him (and others) when in good goal scoring positions;
Anyinsah: Did well until he tired;
We are still in the Cup!
The overpowering negatives:
Not enough stuff to warm up the freezing dedicated
Francis: His distribution reached an all time low; he really seemed to be colour blind for much of the game. After coming out of a bad patch his last couple of games have seen him sink into the mire again;
Fortune: I am a Fortune fan and felt he should have been alongside Dailly for a number of our recent games. However, at one point he showed an appalling lack of speed that shed great light on all the stories that abounded about him having to get match fit. Until he can get up to speed, Doherty should return.
Lierra: tried really hard and generally had a fair game but still prone to serious mistakes and being given the run around on the ground. Like to think it is lack of first team outings but that may be too generous;
Racon: Did not stamp his authority on non-league opposition and drifted out of the game;
McCormack: Looked forward to seeing what he could do, but after a bright start faded badly;
Wagstaff: anonymous for most of the game, couldn’t beat his man or put in a decent cross;
Reid: Tries, and is player who can turn a game when in the right frame of mind. Not this time, after a good run to cross the ball for the first goal, infuriated mostly (especially in the second half) by either not looking up or blatantly going for the glory himself and not passing to others in goal scoring chances. The epitome of the schoolboy trying to impress with the message “pass to me and I’ll go through on my own”.
Have said it before, if he had done that too many times to "Killer" Hales he would have placed one on him!
Benson: I have been a fan until now. Everyone is allowed a stinker, let’s hope this Tricky banana skin: potential humiliation at Kenilworth Road unless we pull our socks up;
Elliot: He made several good stops but was nowhere near saving a first half shot that hit the post and did n ot make even an effort to stop their second goal.
Over the years Iit has never ceased to amaze me how goalkeepers can get caught 5 yards off their line and l.eae themselves wide open for the looping shot. The old escuse of narrowing the angles (especially when the threat is from 25 yards) has always seemed lame one.
If by a miracle, we get through, it's potentially Stevenage or Dover in the next round!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Performance fails to keep feet (etc.) warm in East Stand

A cold uninspiring night at the Valley saw a point gained rather than lost, even though their keeper made two great saves from Sodje and McCormack in the closing minutes.
The side did not get their passing game going to any effect, not helped at all by the poor distribution from the full backs and the lack of running into empty spaces by the midfield and forwards.
Samedo did his usual spoiling game effectively. Though Racon probably just about won man of the match, the overall lack or creativeness led Parks to sacrifice Samedo’s combative skills to introduce some flair.
Martin did not stop running and cannot be faulted in that respect. However, though his early efforts promised a lot as the game wore on he reverted to failed attempted flicks rather than the simple straightforward option. He increasingly tried for glory ignoring others in better positions, epitomised by his miss in the last few minutes when Benson appeared to be free in the area. We need his inventiveness but he needs to get the balance right.
Jackson saw little of the ball in the first half when it was being constantly directed to Wagstaff who was generally ineffective. Given Jackson is in such good form this seemed a great waste.
McCormack performed promisingly when he came on and was thwarted by a great save from their keeper. With potentially heavy grounds overdue and ongoing injuries and suspensions he may have an important role to play. He is obviously capable of fulfilling the midfield dynamo role, I’m not sure how much of an attacking force he can be.
Sodje was all effort with limited skill but made a positive difference in being a constant thorn to the Rover's defence. He provides a good option as a late sub’ to turn a game. There were no Rudolf Nureyev pirouettes to win the elusive penalty (pity we could have done with one in this game).
As Major Ken of  CAFCPICKS tried to resist the damp cold of the East Stand (which Canada had not prepared him for) he rightly remarked that Benson appeared a half a yard too slow on the night. We missed Anyinsah who seems able to bring the best out in Benson.
The Southampton Boxing Day game is building up, thogh there are a few hgames to win before then. Let's hope it is not the usual anti-climax for us.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Team Spirit and (Our Rudolf) Win the Day

The feeling in the Rose O Denmark was that we would return to form and sweep the West Country Worzills aside. Crowborough Addick was more guarded suspecting a banana skin might be on the horizon.
Apart from some notable exceptions, there are no easy games or free meal ticket in this division.
Even that thrilling victory at Leyton obscured the good football that Orient displayed and we have struggled against other ‘lowly’ teams like Exeter.
There are some notably poor exceptions, e.g. Dagehenham and Redbridge (a comment which will probably go and rebound on me at the next away game there) and by all accounts Swindon at the away game.
Loftier sides like Oldham and Huddersfield gave us a real run for the money.
I don'tgo along with the view that it's a poor division, I reckon things have just evened out and the general standard is not that bad.
Yeovil demonstrated that again with a slick passing game that opened up a good chances early on. We were fortunate to take and retain a lead for most of the game. Had one of their forwards just smashed the ball (like Jackson does commendably from the spot) instead of flashily and limply trying place a short range shot (like too may modern players do) that allowed Elliot to save well, we would have been in more trouble.
We triumphed largely as a result of the great team spirit and 100% commitment that now exists in the side rather than any great footballing display. Over the years, this has not been the case even during good spells.
This presumably is largely engendered by Parks and the coaching staff, but my bet is that some of the leaders on the park, such as the unfortunate Dailly, have a great deal lot to do with it. He was given no benefit of the doubt by a referee who showed numerous errors of judgement.
Picking out players that caught my eye:
Martin showed a great work rate and some good touches but (like Sam) still has to grasp the ability to more regularly deliver on the final ball.
Benson looked good again up front but was hampered by a poor service.
Racon continued his resurgence and scored a peach of a goal
Samedo was generally effective in his negative kind of way, but wouldn't it be great if he had the confidence to exploit situations where he should go forward, overall it was not one of his better performances.
Reid did OK, but his displays over 90 minutes are a pointer to why Parks seems to favour using him as a 'super sub'. I am now beginning to see him in the same light, but would call him on earlier than Parks has done in the past to give him a fair crack.
Fry had a solid display.
Dailly, once again, had a commanding game before leaving the pitch.
Doherty; I'm not a great fan, but am pleased that he has turned in so many good solid performances of late, especially in the air. He was more uncertain yesterday though should not be castigated too strongly for the own goal (just one of those things).
Francis had a really poor run earlier on but seemed to have turned the corner with a couple of good performances, He dipped again yesterday and a fit Solly to contest the position would put us in a better position.
Elliot was generally sound but I had a feeling that maybe he could have got closer to the Yeovil shot that went in hit off the post, though others seem to think had had no chance.
Finally, Sodje's addition the front line added the required spice and 'won' the final penalty that Jackson crashed in with such aplomb. From where we were on the East Terrace (I have not seen the TV film) the defender clearly tugged at his shirt. Whether the linesman was flagging for that or the audacious pirouette that followed I am not too sure.
He followed that up moments later by such an artistic collapse in front of us in the East Stand that he would probably have a good chance of storming though a Covent Garden audition and even being hailed as the new Rudolf  Nureyev!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Posh Coshed By Parky's Addicks

An exciting game started with CAFC pegging the Posh in their half for the first quarter. After such an encouraging start those who have seen it all before feared the worst!
Posh had a few breakaways and Elliot came to the rescue with a diving save.
Wagsaff had clipped the bar before our wildest dreams materialised on 15 minutes of this 'top of the table' clash when a great ball was threaded through to Wagstaff. He was tripped with one man to beat ( a sending off offence?) and Jackson fired one straight down the middle over the hapless keeper.
Already, the die hards anticipated a typical 'backs to the wall' to keep 'em out type of game, but no; just when everyone appealed for a penalty for a trip on Martin (on for the injured Anyinsah) Racon ignored the pleas and thundered it into the roof of the net. 
It all happened so quickly that the guy next to me was awaiting a penalty as Posh lined up to kick off after succumbing to Racon’s goal.
Two more goals followed unbelievably quickly and the Moyes terrace was in delirium.
(On a slightly negative point, those at the front of the terrace were pretty pissed off when a large number of our fans careered down the terrace after Martin's second goal. A guy at the station indicated he was concerned that his youngsters were going to get crushed. Pity as standing on the terraces was a welcome change with a great atmosphere, but it’s plain how the mindless are still capable of buggering it up for everyone else).
After Posh's 3 half time changes, they inevitably pressured.
Park's has got to sort out what appears to be a solid defence that conceded its first in 5 games (a penalty). It is not as solid as it seems, and this game was no exception. The opposition had a number of good chances following chaos in our penalty area.
This may in part be due to the fact that Parks’ current tactics appear to take the game to the opposition whether it's home or away, as many of us have been pleading for a while. So, I for one am not going to complain.
Posh clawed back a goal with a well placed free kick that one felt that Elliot could have made a better effort for. He pulled off a number of good saves to counter that but again looked suspect on the crosses.
It was impressive how the players threw themselves into tackles all over the pitch and did not tire, if anything they looked fitter than Posh at the final whistle.
Before Anyinsah went off Parks seemed to have fielded what definitely seems to be our best 11, other than perhaps not picking Fortune, but Doherty again had a good game.
Parks secured the required results against Carlisle and Sheffield Wednesday, followed them up with an excellent run in games at Swindon, Barnet, Southend and now achieved a fine result at Peterborough.
The team appears fully committed to the cause and they seem to be really playing for the manager, so full marks to Parks.
Samedo got an unnecessary booking for  time-wasting in the last 5 minutes. I see CAFCPICKS speculates that this may have been planned, which seems to make sense. Martin picked up yet another for mouthing; he needs to get this aspect f his game in order, though he was certainly fired up to a frenzy at Posh in Gascoine style.
With the results going the way they did, we have an excellent chance with two home games to come to cement ourselves in the top six and, most importantly, get into a good position come Xmas.
It’s too early to rejoice but it’s great that Parks seems to have turned the corner and vindicated those who had the patience to give him a fair crack of the whip rather than call for his premature departure.
Well done Park’s and the team.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Brazil (and Others)

It's interesting, and not just an exercise of egotism, to delve into the 'audience' statistics sitting behind your blog.
It reveals interest (or at least random'hits') from unlikely places such as Iraq, Korea,Czech Republic and Russia.
Places like Slovenia and snowier nearer spots on the continent may reflect our fellow supporters trying to stay in contact whilst on the piss (I mean piste), rather than my own visit out there back in the summer.
Other postings from far flung places may reflect lonely ex pats on long contracts abroad with their companies or the Government, British Council etc.
Some sources of interest sometimes let the imagination rip. In particular, my modest Blog seems to attract a regular and reasonable level of interest from Brazil.
Is this just a love of the beautiful game and all things Brit by that great footballing nation?
Does it reflect a fanatical interest in the British game that even manages to drop down to Division 1?
This may be the case, but I like to think it may also reflect memories from some in South America that may still be alive of CAFC's trip there many years ago (involving old prop' planes, dodgy coaches and probably cheap hotels for our former underpaid heroes).
I must look up that trip in the archives and determine to what extent we did the rounds in Brazil.
Meanwhile, it would be good if any of you out there in far flung parts of the globe can let us know the origin of your interests in our great club.
Please keep up your interest, great things may yet happen this season for Charlton Athletic!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Patience and Faith is a Virtue

Well, my last post reaffirmed my belief that Park's had deserved time to pull things together with the squad that he has, and reported that the last two games had done nothing to harm his credentials. I advocated patience with the team and Parks and (at the moment) and this seems to have been vindicated.We had some early luck (plus some great defending) but did not manage to achieve the totally commanding type of performance I would have liked.

We toughed out the early Swindon pressure and gradually took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and, with a bit of luck, would have got a couple more had it not been for goal line clearances.
Our front two runners further cemented their new partnership and both got on the score sheet , with Jackson popping up yet again (which is encouraging as, apart from his previous couple of goals, he had that blinding shot well saved by Weaver in the last home game).

Good to see that Parks was able to keep his full side on the pitch without bringing on substitutes so he could let them absorb the "highs" of the result and the travelling fans' adulation.
Well done the team, and well done Parks for the overall performance and for holding your nerve.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Rumours of Parky's Demise are Premature

I have always veered on the side of caution on Parky's credentials. He has done well with a generally indifferent squad and little money and his efforts to get replacements in at reasonable prices have not been bad.
I said he needed to get the team to perform in the last 2 games and that a good performance at Carlisle (preferably at least a point or a great fighting performance even if no result) and a spirited win against Sheffield Wednesday would go a long way to answer critics.
Well the team did it, so though he has not won the battle he has certainly improved his position.
It was not all hunky dory today.
I felt he should have selected Fortune but am prepared to say that Doherty turned in a good performance.
A great performance in the first half was thwarted by some plain bad luck and some inspiring goalkeeping from Nicky Weaver in keeping out a couple of blistering shots and more.
However, it seemed that either we dropped into the trap of taking our foot of the gas in the second half to let Sheffield Wednesday threaten and almost steal a point (or more) or we were just plain knackered?
As usual, we laid back too far and worse of all we did not keep tight on their forwards giving them the opportunity to run at us, and with Clinton Morrison they had someone who can do that quite effectively.
Parks had previously admonished the team for doing just this so I can only hope it was a combination of us being knackered and the opposition stepping up the pace. If Park's instructed the team to lay off in the second half then in my view he would lose a lot of kudos. However, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.
In view of my celebratory drink in Greenwich and meal at London Bridge I am late to the post and have therefore had the opportunity to view other Blog posts.
"Blackheath Addicted" doesn't say much I can disagree with in his excellent player assessment.
The only points I have to add are:
Elliot: good game, but still feel uneasy when high crosses are put in;
Francis: Best game for the club to date;
Doherty: I was hoping that Fortune would play, but after some iffy performances Doherty had a good game;
Fry: good game; got stuck in. I'm still not sure what his best position is; he lacks authority in the middle of the back four, but seems to lack a turn of speed at left back;
Dailly: Can’t fault him; a players’ player, and a great captain;
Jackson: toiled away and held onto the ball well, unlucky to catch Weaver at his best;
Semedo: Good strong tackling holding game; if only he had more confidence to go forward or get something out of threatening positions he finds himself in. He has the skills, but does not have the bottle at the moment;
Racon: Seemed transformed to his best of last season; as Blackheath said, he as even tackling well. Is it fatherhood?! Good news as I thought he was at the beginning of an unstoppable decline in form;
Wagstaff: All enthusiasm and a good goal, but he still does not do enough otherwise and makes some bad errors when we are threatening, as noted by “Blackheath Addicted”;
Anyinsah: we may have found the man to play alongside Benson and bring out the best in him;
Benson:  excellent with his distribution, heading and effort today. Looks a better player alongside Anyinsah. He certainly didn't miss the chance which opened up following Martin's wizardry at the end; it was a great effort just getting there and coming so close;
It really annoyed me how some entries on the web had him written off before he had had time to make an impact, and before the rest of the team had provided him with a reasonable number of opportunities to test his credentials.
Like the elements who want to hang draw and quarter Parks, I hope they too have to eat their words.
Martin: Made a positive impact with his skills almost setti9ng up a goal to seal it for us;
Good job we got these points; Swindon will be difficult but maybe not as difficult as last year. Peterborough will be a stern test.
I'm setting aside the two cup games for now; both could be real banana skins.
After our pre-season fixture, Barnet have little respect for us and with that slope a real potential banana skin.
Let’s get behind the team and give Parks some praise (and lay off him for the time being).

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Benson Barks to give a lifeline to Parks

Well this was the result that Parks needed to keep his survival hopes alive.
On the positive side the team ultimately did not give up on the game and Benson began to justify the faith in the management in their relentless pursuit of his signature.
Although the final fight back demonstrated the spirit that we have been calling for, the side once gain demonstrated to the feint hearted amongst us that a lead of at least 3-0. is required to give us any confidence of holding on.
The selection was in line with Parks’ warnings about changes. Martin was conspicuous by his absence and Wagstaffe somehow clung on to his place and responded by setting up Benson for one of his goals.
Did Doherty do enough to be selected ahead of Fortune; I think not after his shaky game against Brighton. Did he retain his place due to his aerial strengths alone? Maybe he did to combat the Cumbrian’s anticipated assault, but Fortune is no slouch himself in the air.
I suspect the jury is still out with Richard Murray but a win against Sheffield Wednesday ( which needs to be  convincing in terms of spirit, fight and superiority) would place us back in the frame towards the right end of the table and do no harm to Parks’ own position.
Given this result and despite the fragility of it, an away win at Carlisle should not be sniffed at and all those who played their part should be congratulated.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Why not Join the Speculation?

My last posting included the following:
"The question right now is whether something has gone terminally wrong, or if it's a blot on the landscape that some rigorous training and bonding sessions can remedy before the next string of crucial games that will shape the season".
I still veer on the side of giving the management the Carlisle and Sheff' Wednesday games to turn it around, in terms of performance and results and I hope they can do it.
I look with interest at the various names put forward for coaching (some good 100 per centre names put forward) and for management which includes the interesting option of Lennie Lawrence, who can claim to have done it before.
Curbs for me would be too cautious.
I wonder if Murray has pondered a second of two on the possibility of Steve Coppell resurrecting his career in South London? He says he has packed it in, but might we present the right kind of club and challenge, at  the right time, and  have the right kind of chairman?
How's about that for a wild card? (A little mischievous perhaps?
(No doubt some will think it's good for a laugh!)

Monday, 18 October 2010

14/08/10 "Committed Addicks Past the Test"

That was my post after the Orient game.
The question right now is whether something has gone terminally wrong, or if it's a blot on the landscape that some rigorous training and bonding sessions can remedy before the next string of crucial games that will shape the season.
Its likely that for all the reasons previously stated and understood by most fans (inc. financial implications)  Parks and his team will get that opportunity to put things right whilst we remain in some touch with the 6th spot, at least.
We all need to briefly stand back, pause, let the dust settle and take stock after the last game.
I won't be influenced unduly by the more voiciferous rantings of the crowd in the immediate short term, as I can clearly recall their loud gushers of praise for "Super Alan Pardew" before he fleeced us by his own rantings and inability to accept responsibility for the shambles he left in terms of the team, the morale and worst of all some of the players he acquired and left us with on fat contracts that the club could ill afford.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Desparate Stuff

Difficult to find any positives from this. Parks prob. selected the best side he could with resources available.
After Dailly had done well at right back last week he went for safety by playing him there again to try to counter the threat from Brighton's  left wing.
Whether Doherty should have started after a flaky game last week is not so certain, but with Lierra also plagued with errors and uncertainty of late it was a difficult choice.
However, unless Fortune took a knock, it is difficult to fathom out why Parks decided to take off Fortune instead of Doherty after the latter had committed several errors, one of which resulted in a goal.
Brighton played a good passing game (that bordered on the dull at times in the first half, with the number of sideways and back passes). Charlton had three reasonable efforts, a Martin blockbuster just tipped over, a good header from Abbot (after we managed to get in one decent cross (from Martin) and a blocked Benson shot.
Other than that we did not threaten and Brighton began to turn their possession into total superiority.
While Brighton’s first two goals were largely down to errors, they always looked as if they were coming as Brighton had several chances arising from a mixture of some good passing movements but equally from some lax, lay-off marking.
We came out with no real new ideas in the second half and unlike recent games where we have turned up the quality of our game and the pressure, on this occasion we just descended further into gross mediocrity.
Elliot made a couple of good saves but looked uncertain on several occasions and whilst LuaLua fired a blinder in for their third goal, it was a long range effort and Elliot was nowhere near it (though from our position on the East Stand it was difficult to see if it swerved wildly).
In midfield, Racon was too lightweight, Samedo is solid but does not have the flair whilst upfront Benson and Abbot again had poor service but Abbot in particular just does not seem to have the right first touch while Martin again flattered to deceive.
Once again we seemed reliant on Reid to beat his man and make chances, but he was as guilty as anyone of a succession of poor final crosses when we actually got forwards into the box. With him seemingly suffering a bad knock the portents for the next couple of games are not good.
In fact, with 2 difficult away fixtures and a home game against Sheffield Wednesday (who seem to be hitting form) a mid table position looks the best we can hope for at the moment and a relegation scramble is beginning to look a distinct possibility.
Parks has done a reasonable job in putting together a side on next to no budget. However, they are at best a mid table team at the moment and there is increasing doubt as to whether he can mould this side together to play with the required commitment, passion and spirit to move us ahead, especially when the chips are down.
What Murray thinks at the moment is anyone’s guess.
If he senses that we are losing touch with the promotion hopefuls over the next 2-3 games and the team is not playing with the required craft and spirit he may just think that a change at the helm is required. Given the apparent state of the finances the commercial implications of a change would be another big gamble that, if it backfired, would move us further down the path to disaster.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Youga: A Major Blow

Our concern for Kelly Youga has been made on this and CAFCPICKS site for many months.
The latest news, and previous lack of news, had heightened our fears and now the regrettable bombshell has dropped.
His attacking play and crossing had given the side a different dimension in the past when we had totally ineffective wingers. His contribution was key to past successful runs and will now be sorely missed.
Indeed, the fans who sit immediately around me in the East stand felt that his return to fitness might just have been the additional key we need to turn the season around.
We wish him well in his fight for fitness. He should take some encouragement from Corey Gibbs.
The club (Curbs) signed Gibbs when he already had a record of a serious knee problem. He never made an appearance during the two years he was on contract due to the debilitating nature of the injury.
However, after returning to the USA MSL league with Colorado Rapids he moved on to New England Revolution where he is now, making 10 appearances for them last season and only being troubled by a groin injury, the knee and the knee apparently not holding him back.
Here's hoping that Kelly has some luck.
I am not sure how long his contract extends for but it is hoped that he will return to fitness and either see his contract out or get it extended through merit (in time for promotion?)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bent gets the Scent but Beanpole Sees Green Light

Well Benty appears to have lost out to some over zealous training and tackling at Wembley during their ‘keep the ball’ session.
So we are now landed with the beanpole for another taste of looping crosses and playing to his strengths. To be fair to him he has notched up goals for England but does it do our national game’s reputation that much fielding a player with such physical attributes being his main claim to fame?.
I would prefer both Bent and Davies (who should not have been overlooked for so long) as being capable of adding better all round skills and a touch of style and excitement to our game. Surely we want a team to exude style that we can be proud of?
Of greater concern is figuring out why players succumb so often to significant injuries during training or on match days.
One factor is that players seem over trained in order to get maximum power and speed. As a result, their bodies are tuned to so highly that the slightest contact, stretch or over enthusiasm can pull a muscle, ligament or tendon here there or anywhere.
In years past, we never had the same profusion of hamstring pulls or medial ligament problems, nor incidents where players get injured during game warming up and have to be substituted before KO.
The ridiculous emphasis on style of boots being worn by our players doesn't help. Trendy coloured plastic styles designed with an emphasis on speed & comfort afford little ankle protection which had previously helped to avoid foot and ankle injuries. You would prob. not have got Derek Hales or Chopper Harris wearing them (or the unfortunates who had to play against them).
Finally, why do they get involved in such antics during training before a ‘big; game at Wembley? My guess is its because the players (who seem to have the power) like a ‘keep the ball’ fun game together with the need for the coaching staff feel to ensure they are sharp having missed their weekend games due to the break.
They would prob. be better off keeping sharp by fulfilling the weekend fixtures and taking a chance on injuries, then taking things easier before the mid week game with some less arduous training?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Benson ends the Tension again

Not highly crafted blistering shots but crucial poacher goals for Benson.
If he can slot in a few to remember over the season that will be a added bonus but if he regularly demonstrates a poacher's talent to put away goals like his last three nobody will feel short changed.
I was impressed by his persistence. In partcular the first goal at Plymouth which had a bit of Mendonca, Hales and Matt Tee's bravery all rolled into it.
Reid "terrorised" the defence again and Martin  had a good spell on the wing (apart from another booking) and as previously stated, these can provide an effective twin winh attacking force even at the expense of Wagstaffe's goalscoring run.
It was good to see Dailly back even if he was forced to take on the captain's responsibility by filling in for Francis. The injury to Solly has exposed us at right back to an injury to Francis (or a run of poor form as in the last few games).
Doherty redeemed himself (to be fair may still be suffering from post flu symptons) with that headed cross for Benson after a shaky game. However, Fortune and Dailly promise to be our best back four selection option.
Regrettably it was  still a game of two totally different halves which I bemoaned in my last post, and this still needs to be sorted but credit to Parks for at least cranking up the performance after half time.
Here's hoping for two halves of 90 minutes committted effort against Brighton (and the odd penalty decision like that down on the Sussex coast yesterday!) 

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Selection: getting there; now the tactics!

After much opinion around the web, including my own, we seem to be nearing the side that many feel we need with Reid starting the game (and actually staying on for 90 mins), Fortune partnering Dailly (with the stead Doherty an excellent choice if injuries and yellow cards beckon), and Lierra there to draft in especially if we face 6ft 4 inches battering rams.
At MK Dons, Reid as usual was the key to opening up the defence and at least he had 90 mins to try.
Decisions have to be reached on midfield creativity and who to play up front. My own view is that Martin would be best employed as a sub to liven up the side if required unless a brave decision is taken to play him instead of Wagstaffe given the latter’s goal scoring to date. However, my view is that that does not make up for his general lack of contribution and Martin should be given the opportunity to be a second winger alongside Reid .
Benson and Abbot deserve a run and if we select Martin and Reid on the flanks they might get a decent service.
Even if we eventually get the selection right, we must sort out the tactics.
I cannot agree more with 'Drinking During the Game' more regarding our tactics. A number of us have been saying for a couple of seasons that we cannot understand why we start (away games in particular) in such a low key, negative way. In so many games, out of desperation at going one goal behind we bombard the opposition and sometimes get the required one of two goals (as per Swindon last season) or alternatively it comes as too little too late.
With the right team and tactics we may have a chance of getting a run of good results (which will be a real challenge given the imminent threatening fixtures).

So, once the selection is sorted, let's go at the opposition from the first minute.
Better going one or two up, even if we are to mistakenly try to hold on to it, than going one to two down. It may be better for the nerves of the travelling support!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Duane: For those who remember!

A slight digression; for a change!
Saw rock guitar legend Duane Eddy at a packed Royal Festival Hall,  London on Saturday night.
Just flown in from the States from Nashville which has seen monsoon conditions, floods and many deaths (inexplicably not reported here) and is reported to have lost 30 of his guitars that were in 'safe storage' in Nashville.On top of that he had a diabolical cold to combat.
In spite of all that, the 72 year old gave a great professional performance, provided an encore and was generous in his thanks to his UK fans.

Reminded me of the '60's when Duane's "Because They’re Young" and " Ballad of Palladin" echoed around the Valley as I walked around the Sam Bartram end on my way to taking up my position on the East Terrace.

Our side needs to demonstrate Duane type spirit against Brighton which is already a crunch game.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Continuation of the Same

I do not idolise Reid but it seems plain to see that he is one of our few players who can take on the opposition and give them the fright of their life.
Once again, he was on the bench and only brought into play in the second half whereupon he did enough to make a late goal for Wagstaffe and encourage a late rally.
I am still unsure as to whether he is carrying an injury that causes Parks not to select him at the outset. My view is that if he is fit enough to come on late in the game and cause problems, then why not select him at the start.
There are so many games that we have played away from home over the last couple of seasons where we have defended furiously going 1 or 2 nill down only to come back to dominate the last 20 minutes and either draw level or finish up losing by the odd goal.
Reid has been instrumental of late in supporting the fight back so why don’t we start the games with an objective of taking it to the opposition and getting a goal in front rather than have to persistently fight back, often against inferior opposition.
Francis defensive frailities exposed us for one of their goals but without Solly and Youga to challenge we have no options.
I have expressed fears about Youga's fitness in the past. When Parks was recently describing progress on the injuries front, Youga was conspicuous by his absense. I hope this is not a really bad sign?
Getting it right seems to be a combination of instilling the right attitude and belief into the team, the right tactics and the right team selection. Parks has got to juggle these so we get it right or it is going to be a long painful season and he is going to be under increasing pressure.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Reid feeds Benson to end the Tension

It was another poor yawning night of football at the Valley but this time it was the right result to lift the gloom.
Parks made the moves that a number of us had been suggesting: Fortune in, Fry at left back and Jackson to midfield.
In general, there were positive results, though Jackson will need more time to fit into a midfield role.
Once again we created in an inadequate number of chances though Sam the man nearly got onto a good through ball (thwarted by his lack of goalscoring panache) but almost amended with a tremendous shot that was too close to the keeper.
Once again, unless he really is seriously nursing an injury, Parks left it almost too late to replace the ineffectual Wagstaff with Reid. I am one of the believers that feel Reid needs more than about 15-20 minutes to make his mark. Whenever he comes on he gives us the width, ability to beat a man and, more importantly, the ability to get a good cross in. We were woeful in that respect with only Jackson provbidiong some good crosses while Martin, Francis and Wagsatff showed their defficiences to some embarassment.
I had said prevoiously that Besnon had every right to complain the Parks about the lack of opportunity he was being given by the pauslack of decent balls to test his scoring instincts out.
Again, he ran and ran to little avail; and paucity of decent passes, until Reid fashioned a great low cross which he cheerfully put away to open his account.
Could this be the turning point?. If we could scaramble a draw or more at Brentford the Brighton game is now nicely set up.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

One more like this and it's looking bleak!

After a good start with a crashing shot from Martin against the bar following a good run, we proceeded to tear D & R apart only to miss around 4 good chances. Benson was not at fault on any of these, and it looked promising as were playing the ball from the back and for once making chances; however it has to be said that D & R looked poor. Liera scored easily from a corner against a suspect looking defence and it looked promising. But once again, we failed miserably to capitalise on our superiority only to then give away a dodgy penalty just before half time.
The second half disintegrated into desperation with long ball stuff and some nervous defending from Liera. Much as I admire his enthusiasm and commitment, if he misses or loses a tackle against a reasonably fast forward he is done for as he has no turn of speed. This happened a couple of times and we were lucky to get away with it.
Reid came on after the ineffectual Wagstaffe was substituted belatedly. I'm afraid he was anonymous again but in mitigation he is a right footed player on the left wing (we have done that a few times over recent years) so was never able to go around the full back apart form cutting inside (which is far too predictable). He also decided to cut in right and fire a shot that was saved when a more spontaneous left footed shot would prob. have had their keeper in trouble. Reid eventually went off limping; has he been carrying an injury for some time? If not I cannot see why he is brought on so late as he generally causes opposition defences trouble once he comes on.
At the end of a poor second half devoid of any quality football, Parks gambled on bringing Fry at left back to release Jackson to move up after Reid went off injured. It paid off with a neat headed Jackson goal into extra time.
Just prior to that we were adopting our usual desperate hanging on game and resorting to long balls for the two front runners to chase; and, as usual, making a weak opposition look good.
Their play down the right had been threatening throughout the second half and our reserve keeper saved our bacon on a couple of times though he made you lose a heart beat every time they punted one over in the air.
The substitution then backfired badly when Fry, playing at left back, was turned inside out and the resultant cross enabled a last minute equaliser.
We have just about kept touch, but if our season is to be decided by form and results in this and the next MK Dons home game then without a convincing 3 points against the Dons it is looking bleak.
(One trailing thought, I watched the last 25 minutes of the Man City V Chelsea game on the screen behind the East Stand. Much of the play was sideways or backwards and if I were served up this every week as top quality "Premiership" stuff I would seriously question the ludicrous admission prices: the Germans as usual are showing us the way on this).

Thursday, 23 September 2010

RIP - Bobby Smith : Spurs & England

I read with interest and admiration the articles praising Bobby Smith after his sad death yesterday.
I watched Bobby on TV during his Spurs and England days but he was in the Spurs team in the away FA Cup game January 961 when we lost 3-2 (I remember it as a thrilling game with my hero Sam Lawrie keeping us in the game just after half time). Unusually, he did not score against us.
His record spoke for itself; 208 goals in 317 games.
Like Puskas, he appeared to be a portly figure, but that was deceptive as he was solid (prob. from his days down the pit) and had a genuine turn of speed. As my knowledge of his play is confined primarily to the TV, I will leave Spurs fans to dissect his career, performances and skills.
He epitomised the old fashioned bustling centre forward: one who knew where the back of the net was (like our own Eddie Firmani, Stuart Leary and Derek ‘Killer’ Hales) the former two of who were around at the same time.
Bobby was the son of a miner and I suspect (but don’t know) he prob. liked a pint, like ‘Killer’ (as it’s rumoured!). Like ‘Killer’ (and perhaps less like Eddie and Stuart), he took little nonsense from defenders and made them pay for any indiscretions. As the Daily Telegraph reports: “Smith recalled a conversation he had had with Spurs manager Bill Nicholson prior to Spurs' 5-1 win in the 1963 European Cup Winners Final against Atletico Madrid: "Bill Nick told me that their centre-half would come up and hit me hard the first time. And he did. The second time he tried it, I elbowed him in the gut. The ref came up to me and said 'Well done!'"
Those were the days: when referees invigilated more in the mould of a rugby official, letting the game proceed without incessant interruptions and treating players as grown men rather than the over protected, overpaid prima donnas of today’s game with their coloured plastic boots.
Thanks Bobby for gracing our game and providing so much entertainment.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Lest We Forget

Lennie Lawrence will be a welcome visitor next week on the anniversary of that 'Last Game' at the Valley. Here are a few pics I took on that day inc. one of the "4 Unjust Men" as I called them on the day (for those who can remember the TV programme bearing a similar name), a Nicky Johns goal kick and the famous East Terrace with its 30,000 plus capacity.
In retrospect, they prob. saved the club and enabled it with the efforts of Roger Alwen, the other directors, the Valley Party and others to ultimately return to the Valley and enable Richard Murray and the board to embark upon the stadium development that has given us a stadium to be proud of.
I was talking to an Arsenal supporter yesterday (I'm not proud) who had only been to the Valley years ago once but marvelled at the old East Terrace recalling that the ground was the only real natural ampitheatre in the league and was the biggest in the football league (with a 75,031 ground record, plus those who broke in for free on the day, and an even bigger capacity for the '70's 'Who' concert).
A lot of water (much undrinkable) has passed under the bridge since then but (like 'Chicago Addick' facing the current hurricane in the Atlantic) us South Londoners are made of stern stuff and certainly masochistic!
We have not returned to the heights of recent years and still await that 40,000 capacity ground which could result from that success but we will hang on in there and cross our fingers that things progress both on and off the pitch.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Apprentice Steps In

Darren took this call but unfortunately it was not from CAFC to extend his contract.

If rumours are to be believed his exit to Motherwell was primarily because he wanted a 2 year contract that the club were unwilling to come up with. Perhaps, wages came into it but I have not picked up anything on that, but who knows.

He performed magnificently in the run-in to the play-offs and it seemed that some reward may have come his way but that was not to be.

We have signed Luke Daniels who looks a good prospect with previous England Under 19 caps. However, he has no first team experience other than Tranmere and Shrewsbury when he was 20 and 21 years. So it's a tall order to now step into the fray in our vitial promotion push.

However, we all wish him well and like others before him perhaps this loan will offer him a breakthrough in his fortunes. I notice that he was unlucky enough to have had one loan spell cancelled in the past following a back injury: so let's hope he keeps clear of the Charlton goalkeeper injury jinx during his stay with us.

Coincidently, he had a brief loan spell at Motherwell before Darren Randolph joined them.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

No PR is Bad PR

As ACD reported the comedy "Albert Memorial" on the box last night culminated in David Jason burying their old war mate in Germany with a CAFC flag draped over the coffin.
He also made an earlier ref to CAFC in the programme.
I recall that Jason also made a ref to CAFC in his "Trotter" days in "Only Fools and Horses". Trotter was based in Peckham, more adjacent to the dreaded 'New Den' foes, so to mention CAFC was indeed generous.
Not sure whether Jason has any affiliation to the club but we are grateful for the mention.
I passed on details of this BLOG to one of my contacts who after looking at it sent me an email which included the following.
" I know someone else who is a Charlton fan - he told me that when they were in the premiership they were really good value as you got to see all the big names from Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal etc at far less than anywhere else but that otherwise it is a bit of a rollercoaster ride! Looking at your blog I think it is aimed very much at those in the "know". I have no idea what CAFCPICKS means and have to admit that that initially I thought it might be about Chelsea until I saw a reference to Charlton but I'm not a football fan".
Quite a reasonable resume?!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

3 Points To Savour (even though)

There are some good summaries courtesy of "Forever Charlton"; here's some additional thoughts, apart from the fact that we got 3 points by the skin of our teeth and prob. undeservedly.
I don't totally agree with others about Matt Fry. I thought he looked unconvincing in the air and found the power of Hughes a real handful (though most others prob. would have as well).
Liera must be feeling pretty fed up; yes he paid the price for his error at Exeter, but he was a hero at Orient and prob. would have dealt with Hughes better in my view who missed two sitters (even if one was marginally off-side) as well as the penalty and was a constant thorn in the side. Fortune got a good reception and was a candidate for inclusion, assuming he is fully fit.
The bad news was that the midfield was equally as dire creatively as it has been in other games. Much has been made of McCormack and Samedo being too similar, but the other options that remain are none too convincing creatively.
Racon added something but was nowhere near his form of old. Maybe Jackson (if/when Youga returns) and perhaps Fry might spice things up.
Martin looked classy but, like Reid, also has to deliver more and shut up mouthing the referee as he already has too many unnecessary yellow cards.
Benson toiled away and had some good touches in the air. He looked fully match fit and no more tired than Abbot who should have been the one replaced by Sodje. Taking him off looked to be a potential demotivator to me.
One major grouse: why cannot referees demonstrate something near consistency.
Every free kick within range of the goal should be paced out for 10 yards. He refreshingly did this for one free kick then when it mattered most, when we had a free kick on the edge of the area, totally chickened out. Had he pushed their line back to inside the goal area where they should have been a goal may have been on the cards, if we could have kept the ball it below the bar!! Subsequently, he reverted to pacing out the yards again: why not every time!!!
Benson had every right to remonstrate to Park's after the game on the lines of :
"You told me when you signed me that someone would pass to me and maybe even offer me the odd opportunity to score"

Friday, 10 September 2010

Good Cover & Encouraging Injury News

Really bad luck for Dailly, and a tragedy for the first team, to lose him for up to 4 weeks. He seems the kind of guy (like 'sweaty' Stuart Balmer) who would soldier on in pain and blood given the option. However, the nature of the injury makes those less inclined to wince at the mere thought.
For once, the club seem to have a good level of cover over the next few games.
Doherty is proving more reliable than I anticipated, Liera is forever willing and solid in the air (but has always been prone to serious errors);' the same can be said of Fortune (though he made mistakes less frequently and is generally solid); let's hope he really can get fit.
I have always praised Mambo's potential and maybe he may yet get a real short term opportunity.
With Fry potentially able to fill in, a major disaster seems to have been averted. Well done Parks for some good work behind the scenes.
The above looks rosey, I just hope tomorrow vindicates this view!
The most encouraging news relates to Youga. He now at last seems to be now genuinely on the mend (if we are to believe current reports). I've expressed many times my previous fears about the prospect of a career threatening injury and it would be great if he is on the road to a full recovery. His attacking flair contributed more than most.
A return for Youga at left back could threaten Jackson's position but maybe Jackson could provide the missing creative link we need in midfield?

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Poker Patience Rewarded

Well done Murray & Parks in staying the course to the 23rd hour.
D & R were playing a chancy game themselves in holding out for the best deal but so were we, though maybe Murray & Parks knew that D &G wanted the money as much as we wanted the man.
On paper Benson sounds like a the kind of player we need. A reasoable goalscoring record at a lower club & division and something to prove and capaitalise upon in the twilight of his career. Let's hope he can come somewhere close to emulating Mendonca.
Though he has some height I am a little concerned about a suggestion that he is lightweight; it would be good if that concern is unfounded.
Do not have a view on Anyinsah but the recruitiment of another winger is interesting (especially if you consider that Martin might be better suited to playing on the flank regardless of his own preference).
The Fortune deal is a good one providing we get some reward and he is not sent out on loan only to return for a protracted period on the bench.
Fortune may have provided the option to recoup some money for Liera in the transfer market to fund other signings. However, it seems that this will not occur and in any case though Doherty has been solid I felt that Liera was unlucky to be dropped after the Orient game.
It seems Mambo may go out on loan when Fortune returns; my plea is that this promising youngster is not sidelined and forgotten.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Parasites (and Shelvey)

Sooner we get these agent parasites out of the game the better, even if Parky and Millwall seem satisfied at the fees paid last season.
Good old Pards has relentlessly piled on the transfers, loans (and fees) for our rich mates down at Soton. If we cannot get the buggers out then at least trim their fees.
Of course, it is difficult for common sense to prevail when the top Premiership clubs and their paymasters condone the situation and continue to stoke up the fees.
They may just be doing that all the way to the grave. No doubt the Liverpool saga will continue and eventually be settled but I bet there are a few wobbly knees there at the moment.
Whilst on that subject, with the change of management and the pressure on the new manager for results, what is the likelihood of Shelvey being given much of an opportunity in the near future,
I hope he is, but is it possible that he will be farmed out on loan to some lowly Premiership club. If he finishes up at Wigan, apart from the money, he may begin to regret things.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Committed Addicks Pass the Test

Cannot add much to the other excellent blog reports and am peering through a haze of contentment after a late night return up the Peterborough line last night.
The 100% commitment on the night was great in the face of another 10 man trial. The true grit and 50/50 challenges were evident (apart from a few notable exceptions but let's not be a damp squib). At last a performance on the box that may sour some on to watching us again and even paying some money at the turnstiles.
Though the squad is undeniably thin, my initial panic about forthcoming games that struck after Dailly was sent off was quelled by the solid performances of Lierra and Doherty and the knowledge that Mambo is there in the background to stake his claim.
Francis could maybe fulfill a role in the centre back position, though his marking on the night was a bit suspect. Martin and Abbot ran their socks off and McCormack impressed me again, I think he will a more than adequate replacemeent for Bailley apart from maybe being a regular goalscorer, though he has made a good start.
I was sceptical about Wagstaffe and still veer in that direction though after a relatively anonymous start you have to hand it to him for his goal and work to set up Solly. Maybe this will add to his confidence and spur him on to more consistent performances.
Apart from his duff corners, Spring had a cultured game and never stopped running. As others have noted, his grey locks have mysteriously disappeared and he looked even slimmer and never stopped running. I felt he was underrated and his record st CAFC was as much to do with lack of opportunity and the role he was given rather than lack of ability. It looked as if he was on good mutual terms with all the CAF team and coaching staff at the end.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Learning Curve Pain

A tactically selected team with youth / reserve players ahead of the Orient game provided a predictable result, even if the manner of throwing away a 3 goal league left a bitter taste.
However, Abbot and Martin are off the mark and several young players have been blooded in a fiery cup encounter.
It's part of an early learning curve and one best got out of the way in an insignificant cup match.
The opportunity was taken to assess the likes of Stavrinou (prob. like Tuna needs more time), Racon (who should have been motivated after smarting for not being selected on Saturday), Smart and Martin who looks like a regular selection once fit.
Had we been thumped 0-4, I would be a worried person today but this game and the result should be viewed as a training exercise with some distinct positives.
A decent draw or win at Orient will assign it to the long forgotten.
However, a better result will be highly desitable, if unlikely, in the FA Cup)
(Pretty dispicable admission, especially after the histrionics by the Bournemouth player, that Samedo's foul was not that bad).

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A Lennie Lawrence type Occasion

As Parks and Breaker said, this was certainly a fresh start.
After some trepidation at seeing a totally changed line-up, it was in the end a quite an exhilarating performance which added considerable interest among us watching pundits in the East Stand, once we could recognise who was who.
The occasion reminded me of a previous opening game when Lennie Lawrence presented us with Shipley, Pender, Pearson, and (Mark) Reid and we went on to win promotion to the old First Division. Well just maybe?!
The crowd (though maybe overstated by missing season ticket holders) stood up well with the covered end and East stand looking almost up to capacity.
Parks and his talent spotters have come up with what looks to be a real set of good value acquisitions. My general view for what its worth:
Elliot: solid and not afraid today to come out and pick balls out of the air, not always his strength;
Solly: Got stuck in and provided a solid performance;
Doherty; seemed a little suspect at time, but not a bad debut;
Dailly: usual impeccable self, leads by example;
Jackson; a really good buy with a sweet left foot; maybe exposed by lack of speed at left back, but left side of midfield beckons;
Midfield and Upfront:
Wagstaff: average, did not look up to it today; hoping it’s a one-off aberration;
Samedo: generally fairly quiet and competent, bad luck on sending off; looked harsh;
McCormack: 100% effort, looked to be one of our best acquisitions. Apart from his goal scoring credentials, will fill in well for Bailey;
Reid: great ball skills and always a potential match winner. Howevber, can be frustrating when he tries to overdo it (a la Sam). Our group have fears that if he continues to ignore Abbnoot when in good striking positions we may have another Hales / Flanagan show!!
Abbott: not that effective on the day and jury out; but perhaps overkeen to make his mark. Looks to hav e good ball skills and not afraid to get into the action. Lacked a decent service from the wings, especially Reid who does follow the adage “pass to me and I’ll go through on my own”!)
Sodge: Known limitations but took his goal well and seemed to be more up for it, we need him to be sharp enough to score the kind of goal he got at Yeovil
Looked good when he came on, but gave the impression of being p****d off at the end for not being picked. Did he have a niggling injury or was it tactical. His inclusion over Wagstaff would have added some creativity;
Martin: Looked determined to make his mark, perhaps lightweight but looks really skilful and might just have the creativity we are looking for to set up Abbot.
Looking at the number of clubs he has played for after his early promise at Man United, CAFC could just be his saviour;
Francis: A late sub but looked an absolute powerhouse. He looked like (and appeared to have the same qualities as Herman HreiĆ°arsson, a real “Herminator 2!.
Though Solly played so well he is going to get serious competition from this giant.
So; we seem to be well set up for having a go at the division, especially if we can supplement the front line over the next couple of weeks.
A final bright light on the horizon was the anti-climax at Southampton which provided some balance for the disappointment of Samedo’s departure.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Moving in Right Direction: but still work to do

Park's signings look sound given the financial situation. I have not been able to view them as yet and am reliant on others for assessments.
General view seems to be that the new midfielders look up to doing a job, but creativity is deependent on Racon. At the beginning of last season I would have thought fine, but his stuttering form from mid-season suggest we need another signing, but this seems unlikely.
Abbot looks a good acquisition for his experience and cunning (Chicago compares him to a fit Todderov)and Reid is an excellent buy based on last season's form and his outing at Watford.
Park's has been trying to augment his talents with another signing to support Abbot as though Tuna will come good he needs time to mature and develop phisically. There seem to be a few irons in the fire so lets hope we get the right one!
I anticipated Doherty being a sound addition though reports from Watford suggest he was prone to error and lacked match fitness. Mambo will come good (a great prospect) and I feel that he can get there sooner than perhaps the club thinks.
For all his detractors, a back four which included Fortune (if he were signed) plus Dailly, Mambo, and Liera would have provided a more than adequate central back four. If Liera were sold to obtain much needed revenue then the signing of Doherty makes more sense.
I feel confident that Parks will find a goalkeeper though I noted that my nephew was impressed with our young reserve keeper at Bedford.
Finally, good luck to Grant Basey. The decision to release him was said to be solely based on hois wages, though I feel the club though impressed with his his overall talent noted several important lapses in concentration and his lack of speed to cover left back (though he preferred playing centre back). Lets hope Youga has recovered and quickly comes into contention.
What is unfortunate is that the club's financial position prevented it from offering a contract that would have enabled it to recoup some transfer money at a later stage, and balance the books further in respect of Valley Gold investment.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

5- 19

CAFCPICKS "Squad Status" tab provides a timely reminder of the scale of the close season's shake-up (so far!) : 5 players into the club: 19 out.
"Reduced expections" is likely to be the phrase of the moment and given those statistics that should be no surprise. If Parks manages to make a run at the play-offs then it would stand him in great credit, and be a nigh miracle: but all us season ticket holders will be clinging on to such hope as the season unfolds.
Let's hope the final statistics ramp up to about 9-19 and that a quality experienced striker and a young sidekick with potential is included in the figures.
Meanwhile the dedicated CAFCPICKS UK and overseas 'predictors' have a deadline of August 1st for their final season's predictions and will be hoping that something is firmed up quickly to help finalise some realistic submissions.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Catching Up & Hoping

Have just returned from Slovenia. Fortunately did not have to take any ribbing about the World Cup which we came close to ballsing up against Slovenia. For a country with just over 2 million population one cannot help admire their feat in the tournament and ponder upon the pausity of our own prima donnas once again.
Still catching up on our slow progress on signings.
Obviously, the key signings that will make or break us will be whoever we manage to bolster our strike force with. Sodje provides an option but he is obviously not the answer. The signing of Reid is a welcome addition.
I have hopes for Tuna and Wagstaff but the latter has much to prove, and I remain of the opinion that Tuna looks useful but is for the medium term.
The squad brekdown on CAFCPICKS provides a good quick visual appreciation of where we stand. I am unable to cast a view on Johnnie Jackson but must assume that he will be a useful addition in view of Park's reported long term interest. (Any opionons /views on this player would make good reading). Jackson seems to be a good squad signing and is particularly relevant given the liklihood of Basey departing.
I have expressed serious concern on CAFCPICKS that we may have seen the last of Kelly Youga due to his serious injury. Hopefully, the latest news about his return will prove me wrong as he was a key player at the beginning of last season and was missed badly. Indeed, his return could be the best news of all, bar a proven goalscorer.
The back four is shaping up, though I am not aware how solid Doherty is these days; a lot of water has passed under the bridge since his Spurs days but he is only 30 and has been pretty solid over the years.
Losing Richardson was a serious blow and, though I feel sorry for him, his inury provides a nice present for SAP (hopefully it is not serious).
Christian Dailly's signing is great news (and why shouldn't he be captain).
Once again, I really hope that we do not put Mambo out on any kind of loan that would prevent his early recall; he is a great prospect and not far off first team potential.
So, that leaves a need to get 'keeper cover and that elusive striker!! Here's hoping.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Forget Pundits: Bloggers’ Common Sense Required

I have just listened to so called specialist pundits’ reasons for the dismal result and England’s recent performances. They are inventing new ones to supplement the old "no break in January" and "tired players" hackneyed arguments.
The primary reason is staring us in the face. The Premier league imports and fields most of it teams from players from abroad (Arsenal being the prime example) and gives our youngsters little opportunity. Until that changes, the standard of the national team won't either.
The day of reckoning may be near. If world loses its fascination with the Premiership and SKY’s hard-nosed businessman reduce or eliminate their television sponsorship a rapid period of adjustment and pain for clubs and their prima donnas will rapidly follow. Most will be glad they took the money when available.
I generally have time for Graham Taylor, but now he is saying our kids must be skills orientated (fair enough) and never play in an 11 a side game until they are 14 years of age, so they are not branded into specific positions too early.
In my youth, we played in 11 a side teams on a Saturday against other primary schools when we were 10-11 years of age (after learning the skills in a tarmac playground with a tennis ball). It was that generation that last won the World Cup.
Taylor also postulated about the problems these young kids would face due to the size of the pitch. My recollection is that most of our pitches were cut down and not full size pitches for competitive games.
In addition to the Premiership problem, our kids are most often not interested in playing on Saturdays and would prefer computer games or a weekend job. Even if they did show interest, their teachers seem are increasingly unprepared to turn out to officiate. I would put money on these problems not being a major factor on the continent.

Friday, 25 June 2010

We can only hope

Let's hope the East Stand is as free of the dreaded Vuvuzela as it was at the "Last game at the Valley" prior to Selhurst Park.

A Good Deal for Bailey!

The reported £1.4M sale of Nicky Bailey looks like a good deal to me. The size of the fee in the current climate surpasses what most anticipated. There is a suggestion that this could be "an initial" fee with top up amounts possibly forthcoming, maybe based on appearances or 'boro's performance next season.
Pity we are not able to bag the whole fee though, given Southend's recent equally perilous situation, maybe their share of the fee should not be begrudged (especially as we prob. got him on the cheap from there in the first place).
I have mixed feelings about Bailey, who bore a striking resemblance to our old Millwall import Dave Mehmet.
He was without doubt a combative little player, in the same mode as Strachan but less skill. Though he scored some impressive important goals last season, he also lost us several with either sloppy passing or writhing on the floor complaining about being fouled when he should have been on his feet defending.
I think his reputation for this put referees increasingly on their guard for his tantrums before games even started to his and our disadvantage. This can result in such players not being awarded obvious, genuine fouls and being given no benefit of the doubt.
However, I wish him well and with the right attitude he could do really well at 'boro and may well go on to prove his worth in the Premiership.
I just hope that the fees we received for Shelvy and now Bailey gives us some breathing space.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

FIFA Tinkering

I expressed reservations about this bloody ball before the tournament. This new example of Anglo German, FIFA induced technology has as much to answer for ruining the tournament to date as those blessed horns blown by a new generation of not too knowlegable fans.
Though most of the players are much maligned on the quality served up so far, I cannot believe that so many full time pros are blasting crosses to the other touchline and shots 20 feet over the bar (a La Bailey).
This incessant tinkering by FIFA to try to find a ball that will result in more goals and popularise the game for the armchair viewers has further ruined the tournament. Various parties are trying to get away with saying it is all due to the thinness and general air characterstics and atmosphere: balderdash!
If promoted, we must resist 'moving with the times' and not be coerced into adopting this ball.
I sometimes wonder whether a good old fashioned leather ball would improve the game!!