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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Charlton 2 Villa 1

So its little old Hughsey to the rescue as the Addicks at last grab 3 vital points. The midfielder came on at half-time for the flagging Kish and bravely got in front of keeper Gabor Kiraly in the last minute to head the Charlton winner from a HH knock-down and rightly brought the house down.

All this after falling behind to what many saw as a debatable penalty given against HH in the 40th min for a sliding tackle on Barry somebody. After sterling words from Pards over half-time tea, many mans' player of the game Elk provided the break-through when he lifted a long punt onto Darren Bents head in the 57th min for Darren to score the equaliser with his 10th goal of the season.

As for the papers, after last weeks inept, appalling and relegation fodder we can now read such words as "tower in defence, sterling midfield work, enterprising" in the independent. Amazing what a new Manager can do. More good stuff from the Observer who made Darren Ambrose Man-of-Match with "a purposeful display".

If you are desperate to see how everyone performed then take a look at the points per player in Wyn Grant and he gives MOM to the the Elk.

The telegraph calls us "sharp", tells us Jimmy-F hugged the ref at the end and also gives M0M to Talal El Karkouri. The dailymail provides rather a emotional report entitled Lifeline of Bryan and reckons "that Pardew is likely to remain Manager so for several more weeks at least"

The times appears still to be sleeping off the excitement while there's lots of quotes and stats from the sportinglife including apparent digs at his former employers by our Pards.

Meanwhile the bbc's a bit bland ( probably written by "Mr Lets Move On" ) but gives a couple of quotes.

The Addicks: Carson, Sankofa, Hreidarsson, El Karkouri, Traore, Ambrose, Kishishev (Hughes 46), Holland, Rommedahl (Thomas 83), Marcus Bent (Hasselbaink 80), Darren Bent.
Subs Not Used: Myhre, Fortune.
Booked: El Karkouri, Sankofa.
Goals: Darren Bent 57, Hughes 90.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

21 of 38 - Aston Villa (home)

After the appalling refereeing error on Wednesday nothing short of a victory against Aston Villa can be contemplated. We need 3 points from every Home Game starting today.

And as against Blackburn in early December we meet a team that are badly out of form. Plagued by injuries that are effecting their small squad, Villa are currently bottom of the "current league table" with only 2 away draws against Portsmouth and Sheffield to show from their last 6 games. They have now gone 8 games without a win but before everyone gets too excited it has to be pointed out that their away record is still impressive with only 2 defeats in their 10 away games. Althought seven of these games have been draws it remains worrying that 2 of these were at The Arse and Chelsea.

For the Addicks, we'll still be without the influential but hamstrung Andy Reid, Amady Faye with his ankle problem and Luke Young's dodgey knee ligaments while Jerry Thomas looks unlikely as well due to a virus. Presumably the defence will remain as per Wednesday night so the only expected change will probably see Rommedahl starting on the right with Ambrose moving to the left, although the return of Hughes is a distinct possibility as he definitely made less mistakes than Ambrose. The two Bents seem to be getting to understand each other at last and with no other alternative they'll be up front. The midfield will consist of the willing Kish and Matt Holland.

To improve our mood a bit, Wyn has spotted an article in the Times that reminds us that Pompey only had 14 points this time last year and due to Harry's shrewd buying in January managed to survive the drop. Something everyone else seems to have forgotten.

And if the team needs any more encouragement the good news is that "Mr Lets Move On" predicts another 1-1 draw. We should be printing his predictions on the Dressing Room Door to encourage the players to shove his words back down his throat and get another "wrong" result.

The Result? A 2-0 Home Win.........................

Thursday, December 14, 2006

18 of 38 - Liverpool (home)

I'll start with the amazing and shocking news hot from the BBC Sports Desk that Mr Lawro seems to think that "looking at the Addicks from outside they seem to be everyone's favourites to get relegated."

Well, stone a crows. How does he come to that conclusion? Must be reading them Addicks Blogs I reckon.

Anyway, back to the game of football with the visit of Liverpool on Saturday. For a Champions League winning team like Liverpool, their away record in the Premiership this season has been nothing short of appalling, with only 1 win and 2 draws against 5 defeats in their 8 matches. Their results have been Sheffield Utd 1-1, Everton 0-3, Chelski 0-1, Bolton 0-2, Manure 0-2, The Arse 0-3, Middlesbr' 0-0. Of course the very bad news is that in their very last away game they managed to turn everything around and beat the pants off Wigan to the tune of 4-0. Before that they'd only managed to score 1 goal in 7 matches, then they get 4 all at once. And we're next!

Of course the Addicks at home are a different keetle of fish to them Wigan Pier folk. The Addicks take note are currently 1 of only 6 teams that have not been losing at home at half-time. Amazing. The poor old Arse have been losing 3 times at 45 minutes, Sheffield U 4 times and Middlesbro 5 times. Those poor old Middlesbro fans have only seen 1 goal at home in the first half in 9 games - No wonder they stay at home! And the Addicks have only conceded 1 goal in the first half at home, only 1 team, Man. City can beat that.

Another thing we're good at is scoring in stoppage time. We've done it twice - no other club in Premiership goals has beaten that this season. So you says we give up.

And if you believe in fairies and good omens, last seasons 3-1 defeat at Spurs back in February was followed 3 days later by a 2-0 win over none-other than Liverpool at the Valley.

Three Wins out of Last Four
As for the past years we are 9 wins down with Liverpool having won 28 of the games between us and the Addicks only 19 with 13 draws.

But just recently, much like White Hot Lane!, we havn't done too bad. It doesn't do any harm to reministe on recent games, so to recap, we won last years game 2-0 with goals from Darren Bent and Luke Young in the last 3 minutes before half-time. A reverse the previous year of 2-1 after leading 1-0 at half-time through Shaun Bartlett and of course the previous year 2003 was Lisbie's day with his hat-trick in a 3-2 win. A 2-0 win was ours in 2002 as well. In 2001 we lost 2-0 ( but recovered to win 4-2 at Highbury the following week). And the previous season to that is also best forgotten with a 4-0 beating leading to Liverpool capturing the final Champions League spot.

So this century, in the 6 games played at the Valley we've won 3 and lost 3 with our three wins coming in the last 4 years. In total at the Valley is very close with the Addicks having 13 wins, Liverpool 12 and 2 draws.

The Opponents
Only One Away Victory
Top goalscorer is Dirk Kuyt with 6 goals then Craig Bellamy with 3. And surprisingly for someone so cautious as Rafa they certainly have plenty of people who can score goals with 11 different scorers of their 23 goals in the Premiership. Shows you what lots of money can do.

The Addicks
Same Team?
There's no news on the injuries to Kish and Reid last Saturday so we can only keep our fingers crossed that at least Reid makes it. Our best player for the last 4 or 5 games, he has been the only creative spark this season. Kish had a good game for a hour at the weekend and if fit will surely make the squad. Although he'll want to return, its probably too early for Traore to return.

As for the rest, and casing a quick look at the bareness of the bench, its clearly more than possible that Lou will put out the same team, if he can.
Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Hreidarsson; Kish, Faye, Hughes, Reid; Sam, D Bent.

Subs: Myhre, Fortune, Rommedahl, Holland and Hasselbaink.

Home Win
Mr Lawro sees a 0-3 away win and of course he's always right as far as we're concerned. But for me its a 1-0 Home Victory against all the odds.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Total Support!

There's a lot of talk these days about the Addicks needing to prepare for the Championship. Its all going wrong they argue, irretrievable mistakes have been made, it's getting too late to save ourselves, nothing can be done, be sensible and face the facts we just ain't good enough. Plan Now for Relegation.

So it therefore follows that there's lots of suggestions and helpful hints on how we should handle the situation and plan for the worst. First and foremost seems to be the suggestion that we should cash in now on our biggest asset - Darren Bent.Now I'm not saying that that may not be a bad idea in a business sense but business sense is a quality I expect from the Board.

And if its a one-to-one in a pub I wouldn't mind but here we are broadcasting to the world ( well, OK a couple of dozen ) lots of negative views and it doesn't feel right. It implies one thing - Giving Up.

At this point I must admit to believing a lot in what the Seneca, the famous Roman Stoic had to say. Being a Stoic is defined in the dictionary as "a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining." To come to believe in that he must have a supporter of a former version of the Addicks. He understood that life was difficult sometimes and there were always things that you couldn't change and therefore it was best to accept them without making a fuss.

But he never talked about Giving Up, quite the opposite.

And the reasoning for all these arguments is not fair. Number One Rule is that we demand that the man in charge never gives up. He's always got to be there encouraging the team, trying to get the best out of them and always demanding Passion and Committment in every game. You can argue that the players are not good enough and he or somebody else shouldn't have employed them in the first place but that's irrelevant. Today that's what he's got.

But it seems that on the other hand the fans can just give up. This is hopeless, we're never going to survive, we're going down.

The main problem with airing all those thoughts is that we are in the business, not only of playing football, but of winning. Its a business of success. There's no border line. Score more than the others and you win, pure and simple. You can be crude and play like Wimbledon and Sheffield Utd or you can try to play pretty. But it doesn't matter really as long as you win. Failure to win and you go down.

And, of course, as everyone will know when they play any game against someone else be it a game of football or cricket, or even Monoploy, its not only your ability and experience that matters, its also your Confidence. Confidence and belief can win almost anything and can make up for any deficiency in skills ( just look at Sheffield ) and here we are being negative and basically giving-up and undermining the efforts of the management in trying to build up belief that we can get out of this by talking about accepting defeat and its not even Christmas yet.

Now call me simple but I've always believed that the supporters main function is to get behind the team and support them. That's it first and foremost. Reed wants to build up belief in a Fortress Valley and its part of the fans job to make it so.

So make no mistake, and my apologies to all the unfortunate people in the world who have suffer a Real War, but for the Addicks this is a war and every game is now a battle. And any defeatist talk is Out, ask Churchill. The thing that's needed now from us is - Total Support!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Superman Flies to the Rescue, Supposedly...

I'm sure there's not many people out there that bother reading the Guardian's "Clogger" section in the football pages. Its full of silly pictures, an on-going conversation between Pardew and Boothroyd ( which I suppose will now thankfully end ) and other meaningless paragraphs that appear to have wandered over from Private Eye.

So I suppose I shouldn't pass on what is probably either a complete load of nonsense or one of their little jokes about little old Charlton, that yesterday they had one tiny paragraph headed "Money Man Li Ka-shing - Charlton Athletic."

The "report" reads: "The worlds 10th richest human - one place higher than Roman Abramovich - has made a fortune out of electricity so should be able to create another shock by giving a struggling side the power to surge up the table. Should know when to pull the plug."

And that's it, no further explanation is given. Its not April 1st and I can find no other mention in any other paper so I don't know what they mean. But before we throw the story into the rubbish I can tell you that Li Ka-shing is from Hong Kong, is 72 and is called Superman.

And to prove that the report is best ignored, Li Ka-shing is not Mr Electric as stated but is into Ports, Phones and Oil with a few flowers thrown in. His conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, is the world's largest independent port operator, with facilities everywhere from China to Panama to Britain. He has control of Canada's Husky Energy Inc. and has gained from rising oil prices. His decision to sell his stake in the British telecom company Orange PLC in late 1999 sparked a rush into European telecoms. By the time the dealmaking was complete in February, Li and other Hutchison shareholders had netted a $22 billion profit.

Like all good Chinese businessmen, Li, was a refugee from China who started out selling plastic flowers in the 1950s. The very bad news is that he is a renowned and cold-blooded asset swapper. After a hard-won battle for a German telecom license, Li backed out of the deal in August, saying it was too costly. Since then, telecom stocks around the world have tumbled.

Apparently his ability to sniff out good deals and walk away from bad ones has made Hutchison one of Hong Kong's largest companies. He won't think much of the Addicks then.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Medicine - Part 17 of a Continuing Series

"General lethargy and waywardness" , "shockingly naive " and "the manner in which they crumbled was disturbing".

As we seem to spent most of our time trying different ways of cheering ourselves up especially on a Monday morning, my eye wandered to the state of our fellow strugglers in the Premiership. So you'll be gladdened, if that's the word, to read that the descriptions above not only referred to the Addicks but were also to be found in reports on West Ham and Fulham performances last weekend. In the Guardian, West Ham were termed lethargic and naive whilst losing 4-0 at Wigan while Fulham visibly crumbled losing by the same score at Anfield. And its more of the same in other papers, with the Independent telling us that Fulham's "strength, structure and spirit disintegrated".

Not surprisingly, these are the only teams below us on current form, West Ham with only 3 points from the last 18 while Fulham, like ourselves and Blackburn only have 4 to show from their last 6 games. West Ham's problems seem the greater though and stem from takeover talk affecting the players and injuries changing the lineup and don't look like improving with the visit of Manure to Upton Park on Saturday. They have now lost 5 out of the last 6 games, scoring but one goal in the process, and are also the only team to have suffered more Premiership defeats this season, 11, than the Addicks.

Blackburn are also struggling at the moment with another player sent-off on Saturday and they comfortably lead the Bad-Boys table with 4 reds and 36 yellows and more importantly have only won 1 of their last 9 games. And they too face a tough Christmas with Reading, Arsenal, Liverpool and Wigan next on their shopping-for-points list.

Elsewhere around the country there's a little bit of feative cheer as well. The Independent continues to do its best with little jokes and tell us that "The only threat posed by Middlesbrough's forwards on Saturday was to future Riverside gate receipts." But then reminds us that their forthcoming match on December 23rd against the Addicks is crucial to their season. That makes two of us..

And although the reports on Everton 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth remind us that we really should have beaten them two weeks ago it does at least tell us that other strikers apart from ours are also finding trouble scoring, "Andy Johnson's prolific spell is but a distant memory. He has not scored for 11 games."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Spurs 5 (FIVE) Charlton 1

"Hi, Doc."

"Hello Nelson. Whats the problem today?"

"Well, Doc, I'm getting these violent mood swings that I don't understand. One minute I'm up in the clouds, on top of the world, and the next I'm down in the gutter with my chin on the ground. What can you do?"

"Well, I think I know what it is. I've seen several people this very morning with the same symptoms. Its a new affliction that I'm terming CRAP - Cronic Recurring Addick Syndrome."

"But that would be CRAS."

"Yes, I know, but they all come in there mumbling 'its crap', 'its crap'."

"But do you know what causes it?"

"I think its caused by too much dependence on a single thing, in this case something called addicks. Don't know what they are, some new video game I suppose, but everyone comes in here on a Monday morning complaining about them. You need to get out more at weekends, get a life, go out for a walk in the country. No more scanning Teletext every minute on a Saturday afternoon, desperately hoping that things will change."

"But can you do anything for it?"

"Well, there's no magic formulaes, no 442 or 4312, although there's hope around Christmas, of course, January always appears to give people hope, something to do with the Sales I think."

"Can't you give me some pills, or something?"

"No, there's no pills that will solve this problem. It comes from somewhere deep in peoples psyche due to bad upbringing, lack of proper parental guidence. However, people seem to pick up a bit when I offer them one of my red and white smarties."


And if there's anyone out there with the CRAP who has the stomach for it the papers can explain everything. "Early sharpness" but then "woefully ragged capitulation" in the independent while the dailysnail calls it a "turkey shoot". The times seems strangely to have a hang-up with Rommerdahl and Dowie's dismissal while the observer simply calls it an "humiliation" and points out that Andy Reid was again our best player. The telegraph tells it like it is and calls us a "shambles" but then makes the "amazing reflection that for a third of the afternoon Spurs had been even worse than Charlton....."

The sportinglife report doesn't say much but the stats kindly supplied point out that we had earned more yellow cards that had shots on target. Says it all really.

Charlton: Carson; Young, Hreidarsson, El Karkouri, Diawara; Kishishev (Rommedahl 53), Faye, Hughes, Reid (Hasselbaink 67); Sam, D Bent.
Subs (not used): Myhre, Fortune, Holland.
Goals: Dawson og 42
Booked: Hughes 12 (foul on Lennon), Sam 86 (foul on Stalteri), Diawara 88 (foul on Lennon)

Friday, December 08, 2006

17 of 38 - Spurs (away)

This week we can offer two contrasting views of the game between Spurs and Charlton Athletic tomorrow.

First a look at the fixture from the point of view of one of them Spurs fans.
Yeh, well tomorrow we've got them fishcakes that call themselves the addicks. As you all know they're hopeless away from their little home down in SE7. Twenty-Two (22) games on the road without so much as a single win and only 5 points out of a possible Sixty-Six to show for it. What a useless bunch and with stupid fans too, for it seems they are so determined to suffer even more that over a 1000 of 'em have brought tickets to see another rout at the Lane. Nothing stranger than folk, apparently a 1-0 demolition of Blackburn makes them think they're gonna come here and win.

Well, hell'll freeze over first, I reckon. After our 8th (8) home win in a row over Middlesbrough on Tuesday, we can't wait to make it nine with a thumping 3-0 victory. Injuries to Keane and JJ and no Zokora don't worry us, 'cause we've got more than enough quality to make mincemeat of 'em. We'll wheel out Spud for a game just to show 'em what they're missing and old Edgar Davids will give us the bite to stop 'em getting uppity.

The Addicks Viewpoint
Eight Straight Wins
In their home games Spurs started the season with an easy home win 2-0 over Premiership new boys Sheffield United back in August but then suffered a surprising reverse by the same score to Everton. This proved a minor set-back however as a goalless draw with Fulham followed, then 2-1 win over Pompey just as they were starting to lose games, a 1-0 win over West Ham followed and then the priceless 2-1 win over Chelsea for the first time in donkeys. ( please note: this was followed by a 3-1 reverse away at Reading ), then a 3-1 win over Wigan and finally another win, 2-1 over Middlesbrough. So 8 Premiership games at home, 6 wins, a draw and only that 1 defeat by Everton......

Also to be added to the list in are a couple of home UEFA Cup victories over Slavia Prague 1-0 and Club Brugge 3-1 and also a win over Port Vale 3-1 in the LC 4th round. So in total their record now starts at 8 home wins in a row....

They are currently 6th in the Form Table over the last 6 games with those three consecutive home victories. In fact they're the only team in the top 15 not to have won an away game, so it shows how important is their home form.

The last time the Addicks enjoyed back-to-back wins was back on 24th Sept 2005 with the 2-1 win at West Bromwich. Our last away win followed a month later at Pompey in October, now 22 games ago... But although we are without an away win so are 4 other teams and we can score away from home. There are 7 teams that have scored less than the Addicks on their travels. Our problem is that although we have had 4 clean-sheets at home, we've got only 1, at Newcastle, away from the Valley.

The History

Only 1 defeat in last 7 at the Lane
Just to put the match into some perspective, our recent record against Spurs at the Lane is very good. In the 7 games played since our promotion in 1998 we have won 3, drawn 3 and lost only one, the lastest, last February. Overall at White Hart Lane its not bad either with Spurs having 11 wins, Charlton 8, and draws 5. In fact of all the 48 games between us they've beaten us more times at the Valley than at home. Overall totals are: Spurs 23 wins, Charlton 16, draws 9.

Last season's game saw a 3-1 win for Spurs who were 3-0 up after 46 minutes and then relaxed enough for us to bring on Jerry Thomas who scored our consolation goal. Two years ago, of course, we enjoyed one of best away days with a 3-2 win after being 3 goals up in 50 minutes. Then three years back we also won 1-0 with a Carlton Cole goal.

In December 2002 we were again 2 goals up but two goals in the last 20 minutes from Spurs meant the game finished 2-2. And in the 2001/o2 season we finished up 1-0 winners with the goal coming from the knee of none other than Chrissie Powell. And the season before that it finished a goalless draw. Even in our relegation season in 98/99 we managed a 2-2 draw with both goals coming from Andy Hunt.

The Opposition

Top goalscorers in the Premiership for Spurs are Kish's Bulgarian teammate, Dimitar Berbatov and the charming Jermaine Defoe with 3 Premiership goals apiece but Berbatov has plundered another 4 in other competitions to head the list with 7. Last Tuesday their midfield was Lennon, Zokora, Huddlestone and Malbranque with Spud getting on for a minutes running around at the end. Unfortunately their version of Makelele, Ivory Coast player Zokora was red-carded and will therefore be missing from Saturdays game.

Other problems for Spurs are the injuries to Keane and Jenas. Keane has a medial ligament strain and will be out for five to six weeks. Jenas took a blow to his ankle against the Arse and he'll probably be out for four weeks.

Of course, a worst case scenario would see Spud Murphy curling in a free-kick from another Faye foul and Defoe tapping in a Lennon cross while standing off-side.

The Addicks

Will Reed keep the team that did so well on Tuesday? It seems highly probable with the only questions being, did Kish, Hughes and Sam do enough to retain their places? With the team selection settling down at last its quite possible that the same team will face Spurs although Diawara will return due to Traore's hamstring keeping him out of the game.

So: Carson; Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Hreidarsson, Kish, Faye, Hughes, Reid, Sam and D Bent.

Subs: Myhre, Rommedahl, Holland, Fortune, Marcus Bent.


To recap then, Spurs have won their last 8 games in all competitions at White Hart lane. The Addicks have gone 22 away games without a win and 14 months since back-to-back victories. So it doesn't take a genius to predict the result in such circumstances and if Mr Lawro was not on an apparent holiday, he'd lead the way and have it down as a definite Home Banker.

After their 8 wins in a row, Spurs home confidence will be difficult to overturn, so knowing the Addicks as we all do, we'll probably revert to our normal form. It wouldn't be a 3-0 defeat as our over-the-water friend foresees but a fighting 2-1 loss. But then so obvious a home banker is just asking for someone to have a little bet, at 11/2 apparently, and it makes you wonder if we can get something out of it. Come on, you Addicks.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Valley Exploded!

Can any other phase do justice to Tuesday night? Seconds from the end of Added Time, El Karkouri dramatically curls a 22 yard free-kick into the bottom corner to snatch possibly the most valuable 3 points the Addicks have ever earned. Its a first win for Les Reed after 4 games and it takes us off the bottom for the first time since September.

Forget the importance of the win, savour the moment for this is what it feels like to be a Charlton fan. After the appalling stomach-renching heartache of Saturday comes the absolute euphoria of a Tuesday night. Can anybody else serve-up such a roller-coaster ride? You may not enjoy it all the time but hell this is sport, this is how it's supposed to be.

I said a few weeks ago that I was felt sad for Manure fans and now doubly so. All they ever do is win for Gods sake.

And if its heroes that you want, step forward the Elk, Talal El Karkouri, our man from Casablanca, who we all thought, Mr Curbs included, wasn't good enough. That his 4 goals in a month back in Dec 2004/Jan 2005 was a fluke never to be repeated. It takes a brave man to stand up in such circumstances, in a game that had to be won and with seconds left push aside our very own Puskas and then have the coolness to curl the ball around a wall of defenders.

And Les Reed? Already taking stick after only 3 games for his team selection, choice of formation and substititions, and being accused of being too cautious by many. He also showed his metal by dropping Rommerdahl, Ambrose and Holland and in came Kish and Hughes and Lloyd Sam was handed his first Premiership start.

Perhaps we were forgetting that stressful times produces heroes and people with the stomach for hardship. And for all those still harping on about Monica, who do they think was responsible for grabbing Scotty Carson, finding Diawara, persuading Traore and Faye to come and turning Andy Reid into a midfielder? Probably the very same people who have now brought back none other than the old war-horse, Mark Kinsella, to the fold. Boot Room or what?

And after all the euphoria on Tuesday perhaps Les's most apt remark was "You don't like the pupil putting one over the teacher," he said.

The papers were also full of our spirit and good football, with "commendable spirit" and "enthusiasm" from the independent while the always pessimistic guardian calls the win deserved but refers to a series of glaring misses. Yes, that happens in football.

But the telegraph doesn't go overboard either, pointing out that we had "aggression and sporadic penetration but there were still so many sloppy mistakes", although they don't elaborate. But they do again give Andy Reid the man-of-the-match award. And a rather bland report from the times says we deserved victory over a weak Blackburn.

We said we wanted Passion last night and the sportinglife says we got it and talks about our "fierce endeavours" and "plucky showing".
So what better adjectives can you ask for in a team at Rock Bottom - Spirit, Enthusiam, Plucky, Fierce, Aggressive. But can we carry it forward to White Hot Lane on Saturday?

Charlton: Carson; Young, Traore (Diawara 26), Hreidarsson, El Karkouri; Kishishev (Holland 89), Faye, Hughes, Reid; Sam ( M Bent 72), D Bent.
Subs (not used): Myhre, Rommedahl.
Goals: El Karkouri 90
Booking: Hughes 33 (foul on Pedersen).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

16 of 38 - Blackburn (home)

So with only 4 games to go until the half-way mark, the Premier League boys have given us a present at last. After a tough fixture list that set the tone for the campaign they have decided to give us a Home Fixture on our Birthday. Thanks guys, we appreciate that.

For as you all know, today's the 14th Anniversary of the day when we finally returned to the Valley, and to emphasize how important its been to Charlton, we have never lost on this day since then. After Colin Walsh's goal against Pompey in 1992 we've then won at both Millwall and Stamford Bridge on a day never to be forgotten.

We all know that today is a Big Game - when you're at Rock Bottom they all are. But to provide us with a glimmer of hope that our run will continue let's remind you that we haven't lost at home since Sept 30th in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Arsenal. Plus the all-important fact that Blackburn are currently bottom of the table on form over the last 6 games, having only got 1 win, 1 draw and 4 defeats in their last 6 games. And they haven't scored away from home since 29th October at West Ham where David Bentley got a last minute consolation in a 2-1 defeat.

Looking at their away games, Blackburn started the season badly with a 3-0 defeat at Portsmouth, followed by a 0-0 at Sheffield, a 1-0 win at Middlesbro' and a 1-1 draw at Liverpool. A 2-1 defeat at West Ham followed and then a 2-0 defeat at Villa. So only 3 goals scored away from home in 6 games and only a single victory.

Maybe their participation in the UEFA Cup is affecting their league form for in Europe they have fared much better beating SV Red Bull Salzburg in the first round 2-0 at home after drawing 2-2 away. In the Group stage they have drew away from home with Feyenoord 0-0 and beaten Wisla Krakow 2-1.


We've played Blackburn 58 times with total of Charlton 20 wins, Blackburn 25, draws 13. But at home we are in front with Charlton 15 wins, Blackburn 9, draws 5.

The Opponents
Blackburn are a bit of multi-national outfit with long strange names, and out of 29 players they only have 6 Englishman - the Addicks in comparison have 13 out of 32.

Top goalscorer is the well-travelled South African Benni McCarthy with 4 Premiership goals and David Bentley with 2. Four others have got a goal each. And if you thought that Sheffield was physical, let me point out that only one team has collected more yellow cards - 33 - than Blackburn and they've also have 3 players sent-off. Watch out for the infamous Robbie Savage and someone going by the name of Zurab Khizanishvili who both have 5 yellows each. The Addicks bad boys are, of course, HH ( who probably will be on bench for the first time for a long while ) and Faye with 4.

They have our old boy Francis Jeffers who's only started 3 games in the Premiership, no surprise there then. Let's hope he stays well away, can't stand the thought of that little upstart scoring against us. And of course, old favorite Andy Todd is still at Ewood Park but has only started twice this season. They've also got the other Reid, Steven, that plays alongside Andy for the Irish.

The Addicks

The defence will be reinforced by the return of Diawara, gloves and all, adding a bit of class to the defence. But today we don't really need class, today is about Heart and Passion. The Team? Choose the eleven players that are going to fight for it. Show them the Table and get them angry, these players shouldn't be down there. We want, we demand, Passion tonight. The same fight and determination that we showed against Everton in the Second Half. And Les, as soon as anyone drops their head, get 'em off....

So Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Traore, Rommerdahl, Faye, Reid, Holland, Darren Bent, Marcus Bent.

Whatever the result tonight we can only take heart from the standard of football that was displayed last night in the match between Man. City and Watford. Neither team could string 2 passes together, it was over a hour before I saw a shoot on goal and skill was non-evident. There was passion, however, shown by Watford, something we can only dream of.

Anyway back to tonight, one good thing about todays game is that Mr Lawro will not be giving an opinion. For me its either a shock 2-1 win to the Addicks or a 3-1 misery for Blackburn - you choose, I really can't decide......

Monday, December 04, 2006

Maximise the Opportunity

There's me thinking that there was not a lot for anyone to say after Saturday's numbing defeat at the hands of fellow "strugglers" Sheffield. Well, seems I was wrong as Les had plenty to say.

And if you're looking for a pick-me-up, by far the most encouraging thing was that he, and apparently the players "are all quite pleased we can go straight into the game with Blackburn on Tuesday and not have a week of pondering about what went wrong today." And there's most of the fans wondering what else they can do on Tuesday night to avoid the Valley....

Obviously tired of explaining away frequent flucks and wonder-goals as the reason for our constant defeats, he's now putting it down to a "a certain lack of confidence but that's because of the position we are in in the league. Our away record is bad but that's not necessarily been this team and these players."

And Monica's obviously been giving him lessions in manager-speak as Les looks forward to the coming month, "We have four games at home coming up and we'll be looking to maximise that opportunity. "

He did, however, slightly spoil his copybook by adding "We have a lot of creative players who like to get the ball down and play." I wonder who that is then.

In his defence, however, it has to explained that being bottom of the League and worst of the bunch is an obvious way of losing confidence and looking at the last 5 goals we have conceded we've not had a lot of luck, 2 have come from unmarked headers from a cross and a corner (mark the buggers!), 1 was set-up from a deflection over a defenders head, 1 was an own-goal deflection from a header and the other "a breathtaking/stunning volley".

And, at the moment, we're not getting walloped - a year ago today remember we were hammered 5-2 at home by Man. City. (Lets hope tomorrow doesn't see a repeat!) But, having said that, we have now conceded the most goals - 23 - in the Premiership (along with Fulham), have the worst goal-difference, now -12, and if Les is looking at home games to save us, it should be pointed out that we have scored less goals at home than anyone else, a meagre 5 in the 7 games. Hope springs eternal, I suppose.....

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sheffield United 2 Charlton 1

Haven't been here for a while, in fact I can't even remember when I was last here. Maybe in the dark days of 1987 or was it 1988? Its dark, miserable and depressing and not very pleasant. I'd ask someone to put on the light and give us something to see but down here as you know nothing works. I thought we have got here a couple of weeks ago but I was wrong - that was only a mere stopping point for there was a lot further to fall - and back then I really thought that things couldn't get any worse, well, they just did. For this is it, this is Rock Bottom.

And its difficult to know what to say. I expect Les or Lou, or whatever his name is, thinks exactly the same. The one result that he said couldn't be allowed to happen just did and he was powerless to stop it. Despite our good second half against Everton it appears to have been the midfield that let us down again. People will say he shouldn't have played Ambrose or Rommerdahl in such a tough, brutal encounter and maybe he shouldn't but who else does he have?

Hughes is no better liked by anyone, Pouso is still missing and obviously lacks the pace of English football. And there's no-one else except the youngsters. Maybe Kish should have started earlier but we don't seem to have enough players who can battle and from now on every single game is going to be a battle.

Come January, Simon Walton will return and we can have a look at him and the famous "wheeling and dealing" has to be done if we are to survive. And it has to be said that there are still too many of Curbs' ex-players still left. We have to do a "Redknapp" with whatever funds we can get our hands on to find some heart and determination - or its curtains.

The Addicks: Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Hreidarsson, Traore, Rommedahl (Marcus Bent 67), Holland, Faye (Sam 90), Reid, Ambrose (Kishishev 79), Darren Bent.
Subs Not Used: Myhre, Diawara.
Booked: Young.
Goals: Reid 17.