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Monday, October 30, 2006

Only a Point

After the let-down of the promised “Big Week”, with its two supposedly easy games against Fuham and Watford we’ve now just completed "Huge Week" featuring games against Bolton in the League Cup and Newcastle in the Premiership.

So are there any crumbs of comfort to take from the week? Well, one good thing is that, including the Watford game, we’ve now managed three clear sheets in a row which must prove that the defence is coping, with El Karkouri being given man-of-the-match by one paper. But as with life in general when one thing goes well something else fails and so it seems with our attack. We only have one headed Marcus Bent goal to show from our efforts over the three games. Our forwards are getting fewer chances and are snatching at the ones that they are getting.

But be positive you say. If you had whispered in my ear last weekend that your crystal ball had told you that we would end the week unbeaten with an away point and a place in the next round of the Cup, I would have been pleased, surprised but pleased.

But I need more reassurance, more facts and as the wonders of technology have failed to reach the wilderness here I have had to reply on words and impressions rather than seeing for myself. Is it best to read the friendly Blogs first? They’ll be biased, of course. Some players they won’t like because of past performances, conversely some players can’t do no wrong. The newspapers are more open, hopefully, but annoyingly sometimes choose to concentrate on a topic outside the game to make it interesting(!). Harry’s TV problems, the ex-players jinx etc.

The newspapers don't give me much confidence. I read words like “abject”, “feeble” and "dishevelled" that don’t play well with my indigestion. And of course, the players are reading the same reports as well and that can’t be good and if results don’t improve soon the players are going to lose what belief they may have at the moment.

But whatever the reports say, it has proved to have to been a week of lost opportunities. We all hoped for more than a draw against Watford at home, what better chance to get three points. And then meeting a below-strength Newcastle, without Owen, Dyer, Emre, Martins and Ameobi - what an opportunity to snatch something. Fulham went there and did just that coming from behind with 2 late goals to win the three points. How far away are we from achieving the same? Even Monica says we didn't deserve anything. Since when has that been important?

So make no mistake, its only October but we are definitely in a relegation battle. Every game from now on is going to be a cup final; every single one of them is vital if we want to stay in the Premiership. Next up are Man. City, another club suffering from bad results and just 4 points above us. They also have the worst away defence having let in 13 goals away from home.

Going back to the Newcastle reports - telling it like it was is chicagoaddick who says that Marcus Bent was our best player. It shows what a strange game it is that some reports say the team played better when he was replaced. The telegraph is a bit positive and apparently saw the entrance of Bryan Hughes as a general improvement while the Observer as usual dismisses us as abject and feeble. The guardian simply says we were bad.

All the footballing textbooks will tell you to start at the back. First get a strong defence, good goalkeeper and build from there. After three games not having conceded a goal I suppose that we at least have that.

For the record the Charlton team was (4-4-2): Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Hreidarsson; Rommedahl, Holland, Faye, Reid (Kishishev 71); D Bent, M Bent (Hughes 59).
Subs: Andersen (g), Hasselbaink, Fortune. Booked: Faye.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Big Week - Part Two (Watford)

Its time for another Big Game, as far as we're concerned anyway. I'm sure than the rest of the footballing world couldn't care less about a relegation battle at the end of October but that's life. What's important to you ain't worth tuppence to anybody else.

But a "Must Win" game? No, course not, its just another chance to get ourselves off the bottom thats all. But, you're guessed already, it wouldn't be easy and the team will need to be at its best to get the win. As for the fans, well, we'll also have to be at our peak. Sorry, but there's just no room for those petty frustrations to get the better of us. We've gotta make a noise that'll be heard right across the capital for the 90 minutes and no matter what happens on the pitch.

In fact we need more of those "plastic" fans that nobody likes. Ship 'em in from anywhere, just make sure they shout, pay 'em if need be. We're got professional footballers, now we need professional fans, those that shout themselves hoarse just because.

So anyway, back to the opposition. The last time we played Watford was a friendly last pre-season - we won 2-1 with goals by Jefferies and Murphy. Well they wouldn't be scoring today. I wonder what price is there on a Chrissie Powell goal?

Looking back over time, we lead Watford by 20 wins to 14 with 18 drawn games. And at the Valley it stands at Charlton 14 wins, Watford 4, Draws 8. Last time we played them in the league was back in August 1995 when we won 2-1 through goals by Bowyer and Leaburn. More of the same, please!

Talk the Talk
Monica obviously understands exactly what's in store come tomorrow as he had this to say to the press yesterday - “The match against Watford on Saturday is important. We don’t want to go into it with fear. We must have fire in our bellies and win the physical battles.”

The Opposition
Adrian Boothroyd's side will probably contain another ex-addick or two in Dan Shittu and possibly one other. After Claus Jenson's first game for a year and first goal for even longer, we could now face the awful prospect of seeing Chris Powell in an opposition shirt. If Jenson was our favorite in times gone, what would you call Chrissie Powell?

So anyway who have Watford played so far?
On their travels they've managed a 2-1 defeat at Everton, a 1-0 defeat at Bolton, a 1-1 at Wigan and, most recently, a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.

At home they started with a 1-1 draw with West Ham, then a 2-1 defeat by Manure, a 0-0 against Aston Villa and lastly a 3-3 against Fulham.

So four draws and 4 defeats, not bad exactly for a first year pupil with a Play-Off winning team and until the last two games when they've shipped 6 goals they seemed to be holding up well. Whatever they've changed they'll be trying to get back to holding the opposition and keeping the chances offered to a minimum.

The Addicks
With the need to combat the style of play of Watford we'll need to spread the play and make them work harder. We'll need plenty of tall bodies to combat the aerial threat and plenty of passing ability. And lots of hard work. And there's no room for any half fit players. We'll need Rommedahl and Thomas out wide. We'll need Diawara and El Karkouri in the air. And we need Reid and Faye in midfield.

As for the rest, they almost pick themselves, Carson, Young, Hreidarsson and Darren Bent. Which leaves just the one place up for grabs. Its an important spot because we can't afford to waste anything on Saturday.

So who's it to be? Hasselbaink, Hughes, Marcus Bent, Ambrose, Kish or maybe Pouso? It'll be a battle for sure and I'm not sure that Hasselbaink, Ambrose or even Pouso are suited to battles, so I think it'll be Marcus Bent to add muscle to the attack with Hughes, Kish, Fortune and Myhre on the bench, plus Jimmy-Floyd to scare the opposition.

From a man who got 8 Premiership predictions right last weekend we have lawro predicting a 2-1 Home win. Not sure whether that makes me I'm happy or sad. Meanwhile Sporting life also go with a 2-0 home win saying that the pace of Bent and Rommedahl will be crucial. The big apple settles for a conservative 1-1 while Pedro45, seeing that Watford have let in 3 goals in both their last two games, goes overboard with a 3-0 victory for the addicks.
It has to be a Home Win but being a pessimistic Charlton fan it'll probably end 2-2

It's all a Conspiracy!

Its a Friday and already most people are getting heated about tomorrows game and its importance. Well, not me. I'm for following Monica who is trying to keep things calm and in perspective and I can't blame him. Heated up footballers don't perform too well.

So I turned my mind to other things and I'm made a discovery. The whole thing's a conspiracy! Just take a look for yourself. Open the paper and turn to the premiership table. Yeh, the table I told you we should all throw away a few days ago.

Look at it. You see any thing strange about it. Now type the table into your computer and sort it A to Z. See what I mean, its almost the same, isn't it. Go back to the original and you'll notice that all the A's, B's, C's, E's and F's are in the top half of the table and all the L's, M's, N's, S's are in the bottom half while down at the bottom are the 3 W's. Its almost completely alphabetical isn't it!

OK, there's a couple of teams that don't do what they're supposed to do and I'll explain them later.

It's seems obvious that there's this weirdo programmer in charge of the fixtures and he's determined to prove that the whole thing is all a complete waste of time by making sure that the table finishes the same as it started, in alphabetical order. He's trying to poke fun at the sponsors, probably got something against Barclays, wouldn't give him a loan or something.

What about the teams that are out of seq you say. Reading, Portsmouth, Manure. Well, who was going to say that Reading and Portsmouth would be playing as well as they are. By rights they should be where they belong in 14th and 15th places and by the seasons end that's where they'll be. And Manure? Well, who's going to believe it if they were down in their proper 11th position.

So which other team is left out of sequence? Charlton, of course. We stick out like a sore thumb. What's a club starting with a C doing at the bottom. Which of course proves the whole conspiracy. They simply had to be a team that was out of position, just the one so as to complete the sick joke. And it's us. This sick person has obviously got it against the Barclays branch in Vanbrugh Park, Charlton.

If you can't find a table, here is my pathetic attempt to illustrate the whole conspiracy.


1.Man Utd..........8..........19
6.Aston Villa......8........14
8.Reading ..........8........13
12.Man City.........8........9
16.Sheff Utd.........8........6
18.West Ham.......8........5

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Whose Playing Who?

A very wet Thursday morning in Spain, so I thought I'd play around with one of those spreadsheet jobbies that I used to be so fond of. And what better thing to do than try to figure out what Monica's been doing with his team selection over the last 8 games.

So here are the total minutes played, per player, for what its worth.

Goalkeepers - 1
Carson 720 minutes played (out of 720 total)

Defenders - 7
Young 720
El Karkouri 720
Hreidarsson 626 - one Red Card
Fortune 315
Traore 165 - one Red Card
Diawara 142
Sorondo 61

Midfield - 9
Faye 667
Hughes 593
Ambrose 372
Rommedahl 338
Reid 306
Holland 292
Kishishev 219
Pouso 57
Thomas 18

Strikers - 4
Darren Bent 720 - 5 goals scored
Hasselbaink 626 - 1 goal scored
Marcus Bent 165
Lisbie 100

Players Used:21 - Injured Players ( and suspensions) - 10

So it terms of our 8 games so far the "usual team" has been:
Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Fortune, Hreidarsson,
Rommedahl, Faye, Hughes, Ambrose, Hasselbaink, D.Bent

The most interesting facts are the number of players used and the lack of goals from anyone else other than Darren Bent. And while the defence has at least been "settled", the midfield has 7 players having played over 200 mins showing how unsettled it has been. there's also the fact that, judging from the fans, there are in the "usual team", three players who are not really good enough, or not playing well enough at the moment, and in the Premiership thats probably 3 too many.

Its also interesting to compare this line-up with what Curbs was doing last season. In our first 8 games the team was:

Anderson, Young, Hreidarsson, Perry, Powell, Rommedahl, Murphy, Kish, Smertin, Thomas, D.Bent

with only three other players having a single game each, Ambrose, Hughes and El Karkouri, so only 14 players used against Monica's 21 and Perry, Rommedahl and Murphy had also scored.

It all goes to show the effect that a difficult start in terms of fixtures, a plague of injuries leading to forced changes, plus a changed squad trying to familiarize itself with the play of the others can do to results.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm a Believer

Belief! Apart from talent, its the most important attribute in a sportsman. Coolness under pressure comes a close third and already we're got enough stickers for a manager to pin on the wall. Tell them they've got talent, pick out the ones that can ignore the pressure and get them to believe.

Problems for a manager is that talent doesn't go away but its either good enough or it isn't and you either have coolness under pressure or you don't. The trouble with that is you don't know who has it till you've under pressure.

But belief is the tricky one. You can argue that this season we are only 2 points worst in the same games against the same teams as we were last season. A point at West Ham and Chelsea and a home win over Portsmouth gave us 5 points, we currently have 3. We scored more goals in the same games, 6 against currently 5. That'll make them believe that its not so bad.

But there's a thing called a "Table" showing you how well you'd done against the others in the same class. And its this thing that provides the pressure because every week in this class there's an exam and after the results the table is shown to everyone and the world.

Bottom of the class and you get laughed at and people say that you're no good. It might be true and it might not be but peoples' laughter can upset some people. It affects the belief that they may have had in their abilities and makes the next exam all the more difficult.

Its a pity that we can't do away with the table and that's what leads to the idea of "we take it one game at a time" implying that the table is a lie, all that matters is the next game, in isolation.

So its good at least to see that our Monica is a believer. His job is to convince the players that they believe in themselves and that they have the talent to succeed.

So its time to throw the league table out of the window and tell ourselves that Charlton are a better team than last year. Now, after injuries, our defence is better than last year. With the addition of Faye and Reid our midfield is an improvement. Last season we only had one forward Darren Bent, now we play with two. Maybe two is one too many. For of the total of 7 goals in 9 games played, Darren Bent has scored 6 of them so maybe its time for a Plan B.

Meanwhile there's one word that we must ban - Worry. That's the evil nonsense that eats at your belief and tells you that your useless. Makes you loss sleep and makes you loss energy and its a complete waste of time.

So worried! No, course not, its not even close to Chrismas and who knows when the clocks are going to be changed. Time to worry, about football anyway, if you're playing crap and we ain't, yet........

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dear Iain

Dear Iain,

Just one thing I want to say, well several things actually. I don´t want you getting all moody and dispondent now, ´cause of what has happened. Its normal to get upset and angry but that doesn´t do no good does it? There´s another game coming and you´ve got to be thinking of that.

You´ve got to be tough and make tough choices. I´m not going to give any advice, you know what needs to be done. You had to build a new ´cause the old wasn´t good enough, we all know that. The teams improved since last year, with your new players Carson, Diawara, Reid, Faye, all good additions and better, obviously than the players from last year.

But the most important new addition is You. So we need to look after you by supporting you. There´s no talk about Saturday being break or bust, its just another game in the 38 we have to play. Keep being positive to get them players heads up and it´ll turn around.

And don´t you go thinking you´re on your own in this situation, man at the top, lonely life and all that. No, you´re got 20,000 people in this boat with you, all supporting you. There´s a couple of hundred tossers, of course, there always is, always complaining about life and how hard it is but come hell or high water the most of us we´ll keep shouting, "Come on you Addicks".

What did you think? That we were out there crying and looking miserable and depressed just ´cause we´re losing. F**k No! We´re Charlton fans, we´re as tough as old boots, we´ve been there before, so don´t go getting worried about us.

And don´t you get worried about any pressure - pressure is what you have when your names Fabio Capello, and your 5 points behind Barca and just lost to a team from a little suburb of Madrid without even managing a shot on target. That´s pressure.

Bottom of the league, bah! We all knew we´d lost the first 8, in fact we´ve done better than we thought by getting 3 points. In fact some people are even enjoying it!

And we know Rome wasn´t built in a day. So forget last night, that´s past news. Just tell us, who the F**k is Next!

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Big Week - Part One - (Fulham)

So, like that unavoidable visit to the dentist that you always book weeks in advance, D-Day has finally, and inescapably, arrived. And for Monica himself, the exam results are waiting for you right there on the doorstep. It remains to be seen in the next 24 hours if we have passed or not. For us fans there's no escape, although I suppose that staying at home and watching on Sky is close.

With no away victory for nearly a year ( Portsmouth 2-1, October 22nd 2005) we now we expect the Addicks to raise from the ashes of bottom place in the table and perform a miracle. Well, it's only Fulham you say. But a Fulham in 12th spot and we haven't won there since 1986, 20 years ago. So not as easy as we might hope but belief is the main thing at the moment. And I suppose that for Monica, whose season starts today, an away draw might be seen as a victory.

I have to say I have no idea what's going to happen. With our opponents in 12th place, there's more at stake for ourselves than there is for Fulham. And perhaps they can afford a defeat, we cannot.

Everyone seems very optimistic about the game with nobody predicting a defeat. But that would be seen as defeatist, I suppose, and as I say belief is the most important thing at the moment. But I remember the same optimistic feeling against Portsmouth a few weeks back. Despite their unbeaten record, how were we going to lose to Pompey? And after an hour we were clearly on top, but we couldn't break them down.

But Fulham are no Portsmouth at the moment. In fact they are a bit topsy-turby. While only scoring twice at home in the league they have managed 6 away! And while they have conceded more goals in the first 20 minutes of Premiership matches this season than any other club they have scored more in the last 10 minutes than any other. So clearly a fit bunch, high on confidence. The Addicks, on the other hand, are clearly better in the first half, for of the 13 goals we have conceded, 10 goals have been conceded in the second half - that's more than any other club.
So obviously the plan will be to hit them hard from the word go, score a couple, bring on Diawara and shut up shop.

The Opposition
Fulham have obviously got a few problems at home. After drawing with Bolton with a Bulland penalty in the last minute, they then managed to beat Sheff.Utd 1-0, again with a single Bulland goal. They then managed to lose against Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup ( no advertising here), before losing to Chelski 2-0. So four games in all and only 3 goals scored, and 4 league points, to show for it. And tonight here's no Bulland! But as far as points on the board are concerned, Coleman is probably happy with 4 from the vists of Sheffield Utd, Bolton and Chelski.

Their away form is, however, much better as far as scoring is concerned with late combacks being the style. After a howler of an opening game 1-5 at Old Trafford, they beat Newcastle 2-1 with both goals coming in the last 8 minutes and then managed a 3-3 at Watford after being 2 goals down.

Talk The Talk

Monica says: "We have had patches showing what we are capable of - and that has not been done enough. Now everyone should be embracing the new ideas and they all know what I am about, what we are trying to achieve. We have had a period where we have had some difficulties, but now we all have to kick on."

Our record against Fulham is about equal with a total of: Fulham 18 wins, Charlton 17 wins, Draws 17
At Fulham the record reads: Fulham 12 wins, Charlton 6, Draws 8
Whilst in our 10 games against them in the Premiership we have only won 2, so recent history is not all that bright.

The Addicks
The injuries, at long last, seem to be improving with Diawara, Pouso and Jerome Thomas all making a comeback in the closed-doors friendly against Arsenal last Tuesday. Is it too early for them to take a part? That's the first question for Monica. He would like to include the experience of Diawara in his defence but it may be too early for him as well as Pouso. Thomas should earn at least a place on the bench and the rest really pick themselves.

Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara ( or Fortune), Hreidarsson, Rommedahl, Reid, Faye, Hughes, Hasselbaink, D. Bent.

Our own Frankie has us down for a win while armchair-cynic Lawrenson gives us no hope with a 2-1 home forecast. Wyn goes for a draw (but points out that the Times rates a home at 58%, an away win at only 20%) and Pedro45 also hopes for a draw.
But a Defeat! Well, I'll take it on the cheek and get ready for Saturday. Rome wasn't built ( or even rebuilt) in a day....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Who's David Healy?

Its good to read that the official Charlton site have at last heard of Blogs and have given Les Reed the chance of having a few words here. And very interesting stuff it is too.

He tells us about an email he got from his mate in Dublin saying that Andy Reid was Irelands' best player in the 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic and then gives us a forecast of "9 out of the next 15 points". So everyones pretty confident inside the club as well.

But what was the man doing in Copenhagen watching Denmark v Northern Ireland? There's only one reason that I can see and that is that it was his turn to watch David Healy. He seems to have liked what he saw because it appears that Monica himself then gave him the once over at the following Northern Ireland game last Wednesday v Latvia game, where he scored the only goal of the game.

As all quiet told us via the times we're been keeping tabs on 27 year-old David Healy of Leeds for a while.

He's been scoring a lot recently and back in early September was the first Northern Irish player in 15 years to score a hat-trick in an international. As the game was against Spain, it was shown live on spanish TV. He took the three goals well, the second a replica of Chris Perrys' last season at Middlesbro but the third was his best. A long clearance from Maik Taylor, Healy ran through a static spanish defence, followed the bouncing ball and without trying to control the ball, simply lobbed Casillas from outside the box.

D-Day Minus 1

D-Day minus 1 and the tension is growing in the Head Coach household.

“So have you decided on your team for tomorrow yet Dear?”
“There’s still a doubt over Jerome’s fitness for a full game and Amdie will have a late test but its starting to come together.”

“But what about Omar, dear?"
“The Uruguayan, dear. The one thats learning english with Souly and Kish”
“Oh, him. He might be ready, I'm not sure yet.”
”Well, tell me the team then. I'm dying to know.”

“Don't be silly. You don't know who could be listening.”
“Iain dear, don't get paranoiac about them neighbours again. They can't hear a thing through that wall.”
“Its not that. You don't realise how many people read this blog. Before you know it it´ll get back back to Coleman and he´ll know the team.”
“OK, Iain dear. Tell me their squad numbers”

“What! Don't be stupid - all he's got to do then is buy a program before the game to find out.”
“OK. Tell me their nicknames, then.”
“Right. But I'll do it in reverse order to really fox anyone.”

So, its benty, jimmy, hughsie, amdie, reidie, romme, the ice man, soly, el tal, youngie and scotty.”
“Oh, no! Not hughsie again. What's wrong with Omar.”
“Look. Hughsie a good player. And I've even heard McClaren is thinking of calling him up. Just ask Darren, he swears by 'im. All them great through balls."
"He swears to him more like. Well, who're the subs then?”

“Can't tell you that.”
“Why not?”
“Cause Omar hasn't got a nickname, yet. Well, a couple of the boys call him argie to wind him up. Thats nearly started a fight, I can tell you.”
“Well, call him Sharif.”
“Good idea. So its Tom the cat, Kish, Sharif, Jerry and big benty.”
“Iain dear, which one is Jerry?”
“You know, Thomas, tricky winger. Can get you points out of nothing. B**ger. Look what you made me do. Now they'll all know who the subs are.”

”Don't worry so much, Iain dear. Just wait an hour, call a press conference and tell everyone that that blog got it all wrong as usual and you´ll got loads of friends and team spirit couldn't be better. Oh, and you've never heard of anyone called Jerry."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Happy Days

In the good old days they used to shoot messengers of bad news. String-em-up and quarter the buggers, that'll teach 'em to go around upsetting people. So bad news was a cause of some concern and it was often ignored for as long as possible. When Stalin went into a coma, they ignored him for a whole day, so scared were they of telling him he wasn't very well.

Well, obviously Charlton fans are made of sterner stuff. All across the internet, followers of the Addicks clearly seem to have a problem with what exactly is the meaning of "bad news". Beaten again last time out, for the 6th time on 7 games, and now rock bottom of the league is clearly not appreciated as "bad news" or a situation worth worrying about. Where most people would be crawling about on their hands and knees in the garden shed looking for the rat poison, we shrug it for as nothing. "Who's next", we say?

Bad News, course it ain't, the reason is this or that, dreaming up excuses like innumerable injuries and more positive stuff than you can shake a stick at. What's going on!

One reason could be the way we're playing. We were "unlucky" against Chelski and we deserved something against The Arse. This has obviously given everyone heart and it's almost as if we are looking forward to the Fulham game, not a common occurrence for a team at the bottom.

Even our own frankie - whose prediction of an opening 8 defeats isn't so far wrong - goes for an away win and if Monica can do it on Monday - our last chance to prevent a year's winless away run - we'll carry him all the way home.

Bad News! Thats for the opponents to worry about - here come the Addicks!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Just When you Thought Things Were Looking Up!

Oh, no. With all the encouraging news regarding Diawara, Thomas and Pouso returning from injury on the eve of Charlton's most important match for ions we once again are stuck down with terrible news.

Lisbie's out for THREE months. How depressing is that? Will our luck never change? What chance have we got now on Monday. Means we'll have to endure Rommedahl out wide and Darren Bent, minus his cushion, up front. Seems Kevin feel awkwardly and damaged his shoulder in a freak accident in training.

And in keeping with his recent history young Kevin, who at 27 isn't that young any more, it was reported it was funny the way he landed. Sorry, that should read "he landed funny".

It also seems that in my search for players that have had more sub appearances than starts, Young Kev joins the pacy Martin Pringle in the hall of fame with a total started games of 68 and a massive 95 appearances from the bench, all for a total of 19 goals. Well, OK, Kev we do remember the 3 against Liverpool.

Well enough of the bad news. Central defender Diawara played for exactly an hour in a friendly against Arsenal on Tuesday and doubled his time in a Charlton shirt while Uruguayan Omar Pouso played the full 90 minutes. And there's more good news with the return of Jerome Thomas in the same game who also left the field after 60 minutes. Monica showered him with praise with a "He's a lad who can grab you points out of nothing." Well, that's encouraging because points is exactly what we need.

Back with the defence, its only to be hoped that the full hour on the pitch will be enough to see Souleymane Diawara back in the back-four on Monday as he's sorely needed, although he does seem to have blotted his copybook with an own-goal against Arsenal.

Is it me or do we seem we are putting all our faith in players we don't really know. After so many signings during the summer, due to injuries, we still haven't seen the best out of anyone except Scott Carson. And its now that we read that there's a clause in his loan deal where he could (!) go back to Liverpool in January. I think its time to start praying now.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Different World, Apparently

We all have different opinions and ways of thinking - thank god for that or we've have a world full of Addicks fans. How bizarre would that be?

But its nevertheless a bit of an irritation sometimes. For example, how many times have you gone to a football match and then the following day picked up the paper and realised either you or the journalist were at a different match. The paper says how unlucky we were, when, in reality, we played crap. Then they say that so-and-so was our best player when we all saw that he was diabolical. How can that be? We've all got eyes to see, ain't we?

So it was with the same feelings of surprise that I read an interview with Andy Hunt on Now I must admit I liked Hunt. Held the ball up well, he was strong and he knew where the goal was. So it was with some interest that I looked towards his answer to the question - "Who was the best player you ever played alongside?"

Must be Mendonca surely? But no, it wasn't. Hunts choice for the best strike partner ( apart from Bob Taylor at West Brom) was.................................Martin Pringle!!!!!

Hunts answer was: I had a great partnership with Bob Taylor at West Brom for several seasons. But Martin Pringle was an absolute joy to play with at Charlton. He could tear teams apart with his pace and created so many opportunities for me. Plus he was very unselfish so would always be looking to provide me with goal scoring chances.

Tear teams apart, what's he on about? And there's me thinking the man was shite! The only player I can find whose had more subs appearances than starting games, a striker who scored 8 times in 58 games and was crap every time I saw him. How can this be? Was my eyesight deceiving me?

Now I know there have been the same comments on frankies page about jungle juice and Andy Hunts' mental powers going AWOL sometimes but maybe we're all wrong. Got me to thinking that maybe I was wrong about other players.

Is it the same problem that we have with Brian Hughes, perhaps. He gets picked again and again and we all don't understand why. In years to come will we read read Darren Bents autobio and he gets asked the same question, "Who was the best player that you ever played with?

"Well, I enjoyed my time at Real Madrid and playing for England under Curbs, of course, and Real had some really great players everywhere on the park, but the one player who really comes to mind, who was always great to play with, was when I was at Charlton, old Brian Hughes."

So I started checking up the numbers, again. Maybe I was wrong about Leaburn as well and do you know what I found? Who do you think scored the most goals for the addicks, Mendonca or Leaburn? Wrong, it was Leaburn, 53 against 40. Well, he did play a million games.

Well, anyway, I'm going to try something. Next time I see the Addicks, I'm going teetotal. I'm going to lay off the Guinness and watch stone cold sober, see how that works. I think it'll work miracles. All those players that I thought were crap will suddenly be seen in their proper shining light. I'll be able to see why players really get picked and maybe I'll see a different game as well.

And then maybe I'll see an away win for a change and tell you what - I'm going to start on Monday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

International Duty, Not

The reason we're all sleeping a little easy these days is because there's no club football to worry about due to "International Duty". Not that many of our international contingent will be enjoying themselves too much. Of those that are playing both Hreidarsson and Reid face difficult games against two teams that have 100% records in European qualifying.

The Herminator's Iceland are at home to top-of-the-group, Sweden, while Andy Reid joins Irelands pointless squad ( ie No points after 2 defeats) as they face the their top-of-the-group the Czech Republic in Dublin. Meanwhile, Kish is probably the only Addick that's going to enjoy himself as he plays away to the minnows from Luxembourg although Myhre can also take it easy as Norway, 2nd in Group C, don't have a game.

Of the remainder, six are still injured ( Traore, Rommedahl, Sorondo, Pouso, Gibbs, and Diawara) , a couple ( Holland and Jimmy-Floyd) have retired from playing for their country and it seems the remainder are deemed not good enough, athough El Karkouri is playing friendlies with Morocco.

Closer to home, there's one player thats going to be sitting on a bench way out there in the Balkans in Zagreb. And that, of course, brings us to tonights all important question. Will Darren get a look-in tonight against Croatia? Will he hell! It'll be the usual mismatch of Rooney and Crouch with Defoe in the dying minutes if he's lucky. Take some warm underwear, Darren!

On a brighter note, at least we have a goalkeeper that regularly turns out for England U-21 and we can only hope that his season-long loan can be extended next summer.