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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not Another Striker, Pards!

Some people are never satisfied. Mrs Nelson, fed up with the heat over here, can't wait to get to the UK for a bit of rain and a cool 18 degrees while our Pards is "reported" to be on the lookout for another striker. Not content with Varney, Todorov, Iwelumo, Dickson and M. Bent he's after another.
He's obviously noticed that in our recent Promotion years there was always one striker head and shoulders above anybody else. In 1998 it was Mendonca getting 23 League goals from 40 games. Second best that season was Robbo with just 8.
Two years later, in 2000, Andy Hunt went one better and hit 24 goals in his 43 games and once again far behind was Mendonca with 9.
So with Promotion once again a certainty........who's it going to be hitting the goals this year? Looking at their records, Luke Varney's scored 27 from 95 games at Crewe, .28 per game. Chris Iwelumo's a bit older at 28 but has scored 35 in 92 games in the last three years at Colchester, .38 per game. Svetoslav Todorov, another 28 year-old has notched 71 in 177 games over the last 10 years, .40 per game and all in tier one football. So our new Bulgarian Todorov seems a dead cert to start up front except that there's another 22 year-old Chris Dickson, with figures of 37 from 41 at non-league Dulwich, kicking at the old mans heels.
In contrast, Super Clive was also 28 when he arrived at the Valley and had scored 92 times in 275 games mainly with Grimsby and Rotherham, .33 per game and to add to the symmetry Andy Hunt was also 28 when he was signed by Curbishley and had scored 99 times in his 275 games at WBA and Newcastle, .36 per game.
And if its goals per game that gets the vote, Pards need look no further than Milton Keynes. Izale McLeod, the MK Dons striker, who is 22 and is rumoured to be heading this way has 54 goals in 116 games, .46 per game, over the last three years in Tier 3, being voted Division player of the year 2007. And you'll be pleased to learn that according to MK News yesterday "Charges of grievous bodily harm against MK Dons striker Izale McLeod have been dropped". So come on Pards, sign the boy, he looks a handfull. And another striker would give us the serious chance of a five-man strike force, sorry Marcus. Lone striker, 5-man midfield, I don't think so.
Meanwhile, and nevertheless, the search continues for another midfielder. Despite having unearthed, consciously or not, an apparent gem in the defensive midfielder role of Jose Semedo - the Portuguese that we got for nothing from Sporting Lisbon ( when you've got 25.5 M from manure for Nani, you can affort to be generous ) - and the recruitment of the energetic Dean Sinclair from Barnet, we do need another body. And curiously on CAFCPicks there's a story that the Chinaman could return. Yes, it seems that Pards has been having words with Zheng Zhi.

Monday, July 30, 2007

No More Foreign Johnnies?

So what's the news this Monday morning? With Pardew confirming that he wants two more "senior" players after Saturday's thrashing of Gillingham and the addickted reporting that Thomas is valued at a hefty £8mill, to deter the Big Boys presumably, we can look forward to another few weeks of crazy transfer speculation before the window closes on August 31st. But things do seem to have settled down a bit and its only a selection of home-grown talent such as McLeod, Mullins and even Andy Cole that are rumoured to be coming.

After the rave reviews about Jose Semedo's performance against the Gills on Saturday in the defensive "holding" role, the first Addicks goal by new striker Svetoslav T, the attacking style of our new right-back Yassin Moutaouakil and the defensive partnering of Magic and Souley I got to asking myself just how many foreigners have we got now. Or put it another way, how many UK players are around.
According to wiki we have 16 non-English out of a listed 29 players but there's another 6 UK players in there from Wales, Scotland and Ireland as well and as you can't really call them foreigners we have only 10 foreigners out of 29 and even that includes people like the 19 year-old Tanska and the even younger Mikel Jenson.
But remembering Pardew's remarks last July, reported in the independent about the lack of Brits in Arsenal's Champions League team just how many will be in our first eleven? Weaver, McCarthy (maybe), Thatcher, Reid, Thomas, and Varney or Iwelumo - so 6 at most if you ignore Matty holland. And only 2 English.
But apart from worrying about Pardews consistency in his remarks do we really care whether we're cheering on Brits or foreign johnnies? Obviously it's the relationship, if that's the word, they have with Charlton that counts. Are they just here for the money or do they really care who they're playing for? Are they putting in the effort and can we fool ourselves that they care a fig about us?
To illustrate the results, contrast our affection for a foreigner like Kish compared with a Hackney boy like Lisbie. Although Kish managed to test our patience at the end, there's no contest, for me anyway, which one I preferred in my team. And on the other hand, Danish Dennis always showed himself willing to make an effort to be liked and was always one to applaud the fans after a game along with Holland but then his lack-lustre performances didn't help his cause and neither do his willingness to jump ship and look after himself once things looked bad.
So, all-in-all, the answer is we don't really care whether we're watching Svetoslav Moutaouakil, Jose Iwelumo or Souleymane Christensen as long as they put in a bit of effort, do the business, kiss the shirt every now and again with a bit of feeling and give us a wave. And in return we'll hope that they'll excuse our forgetting their name every once in a while.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gillingham 0 Charlton 5

The Addicks go rolling on without a care in the world, or so it seems. Another tonking of lower League opposition in the pre-season canter, this time its the Tier 3 Gills that got the treatment.
Good performances from Ambrose, Reid, Moutaouakil and Semedo, playing in defensive midfield again, with Reid inevitably involved in the first 4 goals. Central defence was Magic and Diawara until Fortune and McCarthy came on for the last 20 minutes with Thatcher at left-back. Thomas was the wide man with no sign of Christensen. Two strikers in Todorov, holding the ball up well, and Iwelumo with all the others having "niggles".
And with Pardew saying before the game "We've only got three games to go so I'm not going to be playing reserve teams now, this is more or less where it's at. There will be one or two experiments here and there and then maybe I'll show my hand maybe...", so it seems that the finished 11 is beginning to take shape.
And just when we were asking, where the 'ells Amady Faye, why there he is sat on the bench and making an appearance in the second half. Where has he been and what exactly is the point of playing him now? No point looking on the official site for the answers. And to keep us further intrigued there's still no trace of Cory Gibbs who's now appears to have gone AWOL.
So two goals from Darren Ambrose, another from Todorov, a penalty from Thomas and an own-goal were enough and you can read all about it at cafc and there's a good report here from Wyn.
But Pards. Whats the point of all these games against no-hopers? A couple of 5-0's, two 2-0's and a 1-0 with only the behind doors 3-3 against a "Chelski" eleven a blip on the record. We've obviously seriously brimful of confidence with all these victories but don't we need a bit of a test to see how good we are? And to dampen down the wave of optimism that is currently gripping the fans. 'Cause right now its only a couple of dyed-in-the-wool pessimists that don't think we're going to win every single game this season. And its making our predictions a bit bizarre given that as Charlton fans we normally fear the worst.
So after being worried that all these easy results would make you too confident, an easy thing in an optimist, its very encouraging to see that you're only teasing us and that even now you're acting the Oliver Twist part and asking the kind Mr Murray for more 'cause what you've got just ain't good enough.
Yes, its another 3 players required Richard, with McLeod and Mullins top of the list, apparently. Mullins played the last half-an-hour for the Hamsters in their 3-1 win over Southend, yesterday - what, a win at last, Curbs- but then again Scotty Parker is injured, and while McLeod was still missing from the MK Dons team yesterday, our ex-triallist Jody Morris wasn't. But perhaps its time, now that the Premier boys are getting sorted out, for a little talk with the big boys to see who exactly they see as a bit light and needing of further experience. Yes, its approaching loan-time and can we have an Alex Song please.

So the team yesterday was: Weaver; Moutaouakil (Holland 58), Thatcher, Bougherra (Fortune 70), Diawara (McCarthy 70); Reid (Sinclair 74), Semedo (Powell 61), Ambrose (Faye 69), Thomas; Todorov, Iwelumo.
Sub not used: Elliot.
Goals: Ambrose 14, 28 Todorov 39, King og 47, Thomas pen 69

And just as Thierry Henry says he's the best Arsenal fan, so I think all of us are eager to check up to see how our Darren's doing up there at Spurs. Yes, he scored again, twice, and made another and hit the post and...left at half-time. And for anyone who still misses the limelight of the Prem, there's an article here in the observer about the growing number of "International tycoons taking over English football". Makes you glad we're currently living in the real world.

And before we completely forget what he looked like, here's a glum photo of Cory Gibbs who seems to be the only person at the Valley who's disappointed with Chrissie's return.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

£15.3 in the Red..

In the black or in the red, I could never figure it out. But whatever, it's quite obvious that we've made a sizeable gain in this summers transfer market as more unwantables leave the Valley.
Another member of Dowie's 2006 summer blitz said goodbye yesterday in the shape of 19-year-old "combative" midfielder Simon Walton. A very mysterious player that not a lot of people actually saw, unless you were at Tooting, he seems to have spent the last year playing for somebody else. He's finally departed for QPR for £200k after being Dowie's first buy for us at half-a-mill and without wearing the Addicks shirt in a real game.
And to remind you, here's what Monica had to say about Walton back in July last year: "Simon is a talented boy and he might surprise a few people. He's very competitive, a very strong runner in terms of power and a great athlete who is very comfortable on the ball. We think he's a very good investment for the future, but looking at his attributes he's a lad capable of playing in the Premiership sooner rather than later as well.”
So all-in-all not good business for the Addicks but whatever, we've already spent the cash on another midfielder, Dean Sinclair for £125,000, who's described as "highly-rated" and Pardew offers us words very similar to Monica's really.
Pardew: "He's a good take for us and the challenge for him is to improve technically and get into the first team. If he does that then we could have a very good player on our hands. All Charlton fans will know that we're short of energy in the midfield and that worried me because my teams are all about energy. I looked at that central area last year and we didn't have the legs to compete in the Premier League. Dean technically needs to improve but the legs are an absolute definite - he's as good an athlete as I've seen and that's very, very important in this division. And he'll get better because he's only young."
Makes you wonder who to believe but probably the key words in Pardew's analysis are perhaps the disappointing news that he needs to say twice that the player needs "to improve technically" to "get into the first team", so maybe not a first eleven player then.
Whatever happens with Sinclair it seems to be clear that Pardew, with assistence from Peter Varney, is proving a good businessman as far as buying and selling is concerned. We're stood firm and got good prices for all the departures and pocketed a total of £18.673M in the form of 2.5 for Young, £673K for Dennis and the massive £15.5M for little Bent.
On the other hand our new look team has cost a total of £3.34M - Varney for 2M, Yassin Moutaouakil for £405k and Paddy McCarthy for £650K. Martin Christensen cost £250k and Chris Dickson a mere £35k. We've got loads of free Bosmans with Chris Iwelumo, Svetoslav Todorov, Nicky Weaver and Jose Semedo. Strangely, unlike last season, we've got nobody on-loan, even seemingly turning-down the offer of Ben Sahar from Chelski.
But there's still two weeks to go and even Pards says "We're not there yet" and there's still a few question marks. On our own side, Amady Faye was last seen walking off at Everton when he was replaced by Holland after 55mins and Cory Gibbs, although he did play the second half at Welling, was not included in either of the two games in Spain. Meanwhile, Marcus B will at least be working in the shop come Wednesday while right-back Osei Sankofa is another player on the sidelines who hasn't appeared either.
Meanwhile, life outside the fizzies continues to amaze. Its reported this morning that John Terry has agreed a five-year contract with Chelski worth a total of £35m earning himself a remarkable, and obscene, £135k a week. And if you really want to remind yourself of that other strange world we used to inhabit you can even buy the JFH bio for a second-hand price of only £2.80 over at Amazon. Its believed he's still writing an update for the latest edition, complete with details of how he managed to string Charlton along for a whole year while laughing all the way to the bank. Or should that read casino?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Its a Midfielder!!

It's unknown whether or not Hayden Mullins made the required phone call yesterday but whatever occurred it seems that Pardew has been looking elsewhere and seen what he likes.
The word is that Dean Sinclair, on trial with the Addicks from the last couple of weeks, has impressed Pards enough for him to made the plunge and sign the Luton-born midfielder for an alleged £125k from Barnet. A little worryingly he's out of contract but because he's under 24 we've come clean, like the honest folk we are, and coughed up the appropriate readies. No dirty business here.
At 22 he's another youngster and I've a reliable report from somebody connected with selling the pies up there that he was Barnets' best player last season when he scored 7 times.
Reports from the Marbella game are that he gets through a lot of work but his first touch can occasionally let him down. Sounds like another Kish except that with figures of 21 goals in 133 appearances for the Bees he looks more like a midfielder in the Pardew mound who himself scored a comparable 27 times in 124 games for the Addicks back there in the 90's.
With the 28 year-old Mullins seemingly preferring to take the money and stay at West Ham, Pards has obviously gone with the young and hungry option.
And with the whole team seeming to get younger and younger I decided to remind myself exactly how old they all are, so after lengthy research here's everybody's age.
Goalies: Weaver 28, Randolph 20, Elliott 21
Fullbacks: Moutaouakil 21, Powell 37, Thatcher 31, Semedo 21, Gibbs 27
Centre-Backs: McCarthy 24, Diawara 28, Fortune 26, Bougherra 24
Midfield: Christensen 19, Holland 33, Reid 24, Thomas 24, Ambrose 23, Sinclair 22, Sam 22
Strikers: Todorov 28, Iwelumo 28, Dickson 22, Varney 24, Marcus Bent 29.
With a likely line-up of Weaver, Moutaouakil, McCarthy, Diawara, Thatcher, Christensen, Sinclair, Reid, Thomas, Todorov and Varney gives an average age of 24.8
But as nothings new in the world I found that someone else has been there first and happened across this which not only shows in one simple page all the info on the Charlton players and staff but lets us know that Andy Reid is without doubt the weeist of them all with Weaver and Iwelumo the biggest. And it also tells us that Amady Faye and Marcus Bent both have 2 years left on their contracts. Oh, dear.
Meanwhile over on the official site, at last it seems that Pards has found a role for old Bent because on Wednesday, August 1st, he's going to be working in the Valley Superstore. Behind the counter, I assume.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Open Letter to Hayden Mullins

Hi Hayden,
I see you didn't make the team last night at Milton Keynes. And yet another defeat, 2-3 this time, doesn't bode well does it? After defeats against Lazio and the Czechs Sigma Olomouc last week that's three losses in a row and despite you being in the "other" team on Tuesday, the Hammers, in a 1-1 draw, couldn't even beat the Orient. And that nights' midfield of Bowyer, Etherington and you does look a bit like "reserve" written all over it.
And after all that spending, there's obviously a bit of anxiousness in the camp I would guess and all those continuing probs with that Tevez gezzer. And what was that I read a few weeks back, that you're "out of favour". Oh dear.
But never mind, Hayden, there's people over the other side of the water just panting with anticipation at the very thought of you appearing in their shirt. And their manager seems a real fan of yours, even got all the videos of your goals.
So what's the problem? Is it the money? Don't fancy a red shirt? Still think that Curbs will maybe use you a couple of games this season? But being realistic most times I guess you'll be up there in the stand reading the programme, watching little Scottie Parker doing your old job and looking forward to......well, not much actually. More of the same, really.
Watching Premiership football is alright I suppose, especially when you're getting pay just to sit down at weekends but if I was a footballer, you know what? I'd really like to play football, you know pull a shirt on, enjoy the banter in the dressing-room and get a regular game of footie and kick that ball around 'cause sitting there reading that programme and trying desperately to look interested in what's going on on the pitch can be really tiresome and, let me say, boring.
So Hayden, think straight, get on that blower right away before we change our mind and get someone else to do the job. The numbers 020.8333.4000. Just ask for the boss, they'll know who you mean.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

UD Marbella 0 Charlton 1

In a day when Vinokourov is found cheating and sent home to Kazakhstan (wherever that is), and Lord Stevens, and his company Quest, are reportedly employed by Ferrari in the 'Ferrari-gate' investigation and the boring Tevez affair approaches the High court, the Addicks were having a innocent afternoon X-Factor contest in the corruption ridden atmosphere of Marbella before taking the field in the evening to play a game of football. And despite our new goalie's attempts to please the crowd, honours in both seem to have gone to striker Chris Dickson.
So, the Addicks continued their pre-season with another win over lower league opposition last night with a 1-0 win over Spanish Third Division team UD Marbella. It was the Spanish side's first game of pre-season and the Addicks created several chances before substitute Chris Dickson scored the only goal 15 minutes from time from a through ball by our new Bulgarian Slav Todorov. The team fly home today after a week in the sun with the next run-about planned for this Saturday against Gillingham. So to recap here's the teams in both games.
Versus UD Marbella: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Powell, Fortune (Diawara), Bougherra (McCarthy); Christensen (Dickson), Semedo, Sinclair (Holland), Reid; Ambrose, Iwelumo (Todorov).
Versus Malaga 'B': Elliot, Semedo, McCarthy (Bougherra 46), Diawara (Fortune 46), Thatcher (Powell 46), Christensen (Moutaouakil 46), Holland, Sinclair (Ambrose 46), Thomas, Iwelumo, Todorov (Dickson 46).
And as life's all about learning, what exactly can we gleam from the past week? Well, assuming that everyone got a run-around as we're told, we seem to have taken 19 players to Spain including the triallist Dean Sinclair. Left at home were the injured Darren Randolph and Luke Varney. However, gone AWOL are Marcus Bent, Amady Faye, Cory Gibbs, Simon Walton, Lloyd Sam, James Walker and Osei Sankofa. While the last four could be considered as reserve team players there's a question mark over Bent, Faye and Gibbs. As all of these players were his predecessors buys and with Pardew's keenness to stamp his own style at Charlton its more than likely, unless injuries or other reasons are forthcoming, that there's a large question mark over their future at the Valley.
So just to remind you, first team selection looks like being, at the moment, from the following:
Goalies: Weaver, Elliott, Randolph(injured)
Fullbacks: Moutaouakil, Powell, Thatcher, Semedo
Centre-Backs: McCarthy, Diawara, Fortune, Bougherra
Midfield: Christensen, Holland, Reid, Thomas, Ambrose, Sinclair (triallist)
Strikers: Todorov, Iwelumo, Dickson, Varney (injured)
Meanwhile, and elsewhere, its reported that while Curbs is seemingly happy with a 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient, little Bent has scored his first goal for the yids down there in Cape Town. "Darren Bent scored for Tottenham as the north London side edged to a close win against Orlando Pirates in Cape Town yesterday. The £16.5 million signing, partnering Jermain Defoe for the first time, put Spurs ahead in the first half before Wayne Routledge extended the lead after 83 minutes." The thought of "our Darren" playing alongside Mr. Defoe, and scoring, brings confused feelings and I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No Sign of Nerves in Marbella.

The Addicks face their toughest challenge so far in pre-season against UD Marbella tonight.
A club that's only 10 years old, the previous Marbella closed down with money problems, not an unusual case in Marbella where corruption is a real problem. The last two mayors are in prison along, it seems, with half the population while the previous one was the notorious Jesus Gil y Gil who was famous for transferring money from the Marbella council coffers to Atletico Madrid, where he was president, all for the honour of running out with "Marbella" on their shirts.
Anyway, after climbing through the regional leagues UD Marbella are now in the same Division, Second Divison B Group 4 ( Tier 3, region 4 that is) as the weekends' opponents, Malaga B, and while Malaga's reserves finished the season bottom of the League Marbella finished last season in 7th place.
So, a team on a roll and at home in their own little 9000 seat stadium and in 30 degree heat. It'll be a tough test for the Addicks and it'll be interesting to see how long Andy Reid lasts and is Marcus B still around?
The parting of the ways of Dennis R to Ajax for 1M Euros ( I just knew you wouldn't choose Getafe, Dennis) , seems to have improved our chances of the Tier 2 title and the betting now has us at clear 6/1 favorites and with Pardew's wallet getting fatter by the day with another 2.5m obtained for Luke Young when is he going to unveil his star purchase? There's no word on Hayden Mullins but the arrival of Freddie Ljungberg can't have improved Mullins' chance of a place in West Hams midfield while in Spain Dean Sinclair continues as Pardews current answer to a midfield dynamo.
Meanwhile, Pards continues with his search for the perfect 5-man forward line with Izale McLeod, not another striker, apparently coming from Milton Keynes Dons.
But lastly its reassuring that despite Andy Hunts comments about the last Addicks relegation team and Curbs' nervousness, this time, despite all the pressure and expectation, there doesn't seem the slightest sign of nerves in the Addicks camp. In fact quite the opposite.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Malaga B 0 Charlton 3

Well, before we get too carried away with another victory on the road without conceding a goal there are a number of things to bear in mind.
The first point is that it's clear from the Malaga website that it was the B team in action against the Addicks. Run separately from the first team, there's no reserve league here and Malaga B play in the regional Spanish Third Division. And they appear to have finished last season in bottom place in Group 4. It's consistent with Pardew's policy of playing against lower league opposition during pre-season but it seems odd that the official CAFC site doesn't admit the fact.
There's no time given for the encounter but with evening temperatures remaining high it appears to have been very hot down there with temperatures probably around 30 and after 6 half time changes its not surprising that with a 3-0 lead from the first half no further goals were added during the last 45. Like everything in Spain, pre-season starts a bit later here and it was Malaga B's first game of the season and with a second half improvement they do seem very happy calling it an "honourable defeat".
The report on their website only mentions four of the opposition, the "quality" of the wide men Christensen and Thomas, the good work of the captain Holland in the middle of the park and the splendid link-play of the overlapping Semedo. They had no complaints about the two penalties which is saying something over here, the first from Thomas after 30 minutes followed by a second on 39 minutes. And we do seem to have found a gem in the young Martin Christensen in a Dane that can score goals. A "brilliant play" apparently ending with a "un chut seco" in the 42nd minute. And with his eyes open apparently.
Strangely there was no sign of Andy Reid, suffering from the heat no doubt, and although Dean Sinclair is still with us Jody Morris seems to have been left behind. And was the first half pairing of McCarthy and Diawara a pointer to what's in Pardew's mind?
The Addicks team was: Elliot, Semedo, McCarthy (Bougherra 46), Diawara (Fortune 46), Thatcher (Powell 46), Christensen (Moutaouakil 46), Holland, Sinclair (Ambrose 46), Thomas, Iwelumo, Todorov (Dickson 46).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hey, Dennis....Is it Spain or Not?

57 Premiership appearances plus another 18 as sub. Seven starts in the cup plus another 2 as sub. Equals a grand total of 64 starting appearances plus 20 appearances as a sub.
A total of 6 goals scored. At Palace and St. James Park. At Middlesbrough and Portsmouth and a couple in the cup at Hillsbrough. But none at all at the Valley.
A total of 27 league starts at the Valley over three seasons but not a single goal to show for it. So you can understand Dennis that we're not too upset by your departure especially as you made it quite clear early on that Tier 1 football for yourself comes before the Addicks.
OK, your goals were good when they came. A cracker at Selhurst to give us a win in the last minute. Another at Fratton Park to give us our 5th away win on the trot, a record for us in the top-flight. And you got the first goal in our 3-0 rout at Middlesbrough in August 2005, voted performance of the week by sky, that was really the peak of Curbishley's reign. It all started to go wrong from there.
So have you been a success or a failure? Always ready to applaud the fans along with your mate Holland after games, it rankles that you can't, unlike Holland, face staying with us when the fizzies come to town.
And your on-off attempt at an escape seems to be in character. While HH, in contrast, as soon as the relegation was confirmed, actioned his get-out clause and jumped, you Dennis still seem to be dithering. Better sort it out before the weekend, 'cause on Sunday you're a year older and at 29 there's not so many years left.
So whats it to be Getafe, Auxerre or Galatasaray? With Getafe offering the best deal for the Addicks it was all supposed to be done and dusted last week but nothing's been heard for a week now.
Maybe you've having second thoughts, the money's not so good in Spain is it? Especially for little clubs and they don't much smaller than Getafe. Nice new little stadium but its a grotty area around there isn't it and the nearest beach is a good 4 hours away. And after Schuster has been prised away to become the next Real manager there's a new man in charge, your old friend the nice Michael Laudrup with his new attacking ideas. However, it doesn't take much imagination to see that if things don't work out under the new management the paying fans will start to show the traditional lack of Spanish patience, which is probably even more pronounced in the working class areas in the South of Madrid. Disposing of the Wimbledon style of play that has got the club where it is ( its now got two Tier 1 seasons under its belt) and a new right winger not pulling his weight in the tackle department wouldn't go down too well. Better get one of those tall SUV's, Dennis with the darkened windows.
And thinking back, Dennis, as a player you do seem to encapsulate and typify our short period in the Premier. At times we promised a lot but in the end we proved just a tad too fragil to stay there, just like yourself really.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Come In Number 32.......and 33

As there's no news on the "behind closed doors" game with Chelski we still have only last weeks two games to judge how things are progressing with a grand total of 35 players used in the two friendlies. While three of them were trialists (Morris, Sinclair and Pedersen) and all appearing in front of Pards at Welling, that still gives us 32 Charlton players on the pitch(es) plus the 6 missing ones ( BEN Thatcher, Sankofa, Faye, Young, Rommerdahl and Ambrose) equals 38 players altogether which goes some way to explaining why the Ladies had to go!
Anyway, Pards played a number of Academy kids and Young Pro's - Arter, Coleman at Welling - Woolley, Staunton, Basey, Saunders and Yussuff at T& M - which if you assume that they're not yet ready, gives us 31 players in line for first team selection.
Last seasons total was 33 numbered players so with a couple more reported to be coming in that'll get us back to the magic 33 number.
But, then again, who's shortly going to be saying goodbye? Young and Rommers look the most likely as they've at least got some value as far as readies are concerned but with Faye at 30 now and Marcus at 29 age is becoming a factor and consequently they're both lagging behind in job prospects. The first three didn't feature at all last week which is a good pointer to their Charlton future whilst Big Bent was a starter at T&M. The other main doubt concerns Diawara, whose agent obviously thinks its time to move on, to Germany, France anywhere really where he can charge his percentage. Pards clearly wants him to stay, Diawara that is not the agent, and as he usually pretty persuasive we can only hope that his agent sees sense and looks elsewhere for his new Merc.
Young's value has been quoted at 4 to 4.5 very big ones but its more likely that we'll get around 2 point something for him probably from Villa or Newcastle. Rommers has been looking for a move for several months now with the latest talk being over £1M from the Spanish Tier One minnows getafe now managed by Michael Laudrup. Previously playing in the Wimbledon in-your-face attitude as befits a team in Tier 1 that really belongs in Tier 3, Laudrup is reported to be keen to change the clubs style to an attacking as opposed to an offensive stance and with his knowledge of his fellow Dane sees Rommers as the answer rather a big question mark. And its clear that either we're got it all wrong with Rommers or the article is complete bunkum as its reported that Laudrup calls him a left-winger. As for Faye and Big Bent it could be that they start the season with the Addicks. Goans from the back..
Here's the two Charlton teams from last week, one via Welling that clearly has the First Eleven stamp on it ( apart from the wee little fella). Pards knows that the only question about Reid is "will he last the season" and if I only had exactly one month to get ready, I sure as hell would want to see as many of my first team playing together as soon as possible. So the A team, plus trialists, in front of Pardew at Welling was: Randolph (Elliot 36), Moutaouakil, Powell (Gibbs 46), Morris (Arter 66), McCarthy, Diawara, Christensen, Sinclair (Wright 66), Todorov (Pedersen 66), Varney (Coleman 71), Thomas (Dickson 46).
Goals: Varney 45, Dickson 82
And the B's with Parks versus Tooting: Weaver (Woolley 78); Staunton, Fortune, Bougherra (Semedo 70), Basey (A Thomas 70); Sam, Walton, Holland (Saunders 70), A Reid (Yussuff 46); Iwelumo, Bent (Walker 64).
Goals: Iwelumo 16, 23, Bent 24, A Reid 29, Walker 81.
With nothing available yet about against Chelski, the only evidence from the other game is a short report on heybridgeswifts that tells of a 3-2 Addicks win but only gives the names of Joe Woolley, James Walker, Josh Wright and Harry Arter.
So what of number 32? Knowing Pards, he's not after Tier 2 people, he's looking at tempting a couple of Premier boys that are not looking forward to sitting down waiting all season and and are dying for a bit of running about. Come on, Mullins. Make your mind up.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pre-Season Clues

With the first week of training over, its interesting to see how Pards has planned our pre-season. There's only one game against first-class opposition, Sporting Braga, whereas last season we faced teams from the Tier 1 of Scotland, Spain, Belgium and Holland as well as the New Zealand international team.
Seems that Monica was keen to test himself against more quality opposition, while failing completely to understand the history of the Welling fixture, and impress with results. That said, while Monica's pre-season had the likes of Millwall, Welling, Hibs, Germinal Bersholt, FC Utrecht, Valencia and New Zealand all but the last were far away from the prying eyes of home fans.
Perhaps we are acclimatizing to life further down the ladder but there does seem this year a conscious decision to avoid the stiff test in front of the pubic and concentrate on more basic things than just getting results and pleasing the fans. This season we have the more down-market Welling, Tooting, Gillingham, Marbella (Tier 3 regional, 2006/07 - 7th out of 20), Bromley, Ebbsfleet and Aldershot, and then the only real test against Jorge Costa's Sporting Braga, who finished 4th in Portugal last season, in the last fixture.
Behind doors we also face a Chelski eleven and a Malaga ( Spanish Tier 2, 2006/07 - 15th out of 22) team. Pards is clearly placing more emphasis on getting them fit, already impressing new boy Varney and seeing who is his best eleven rather than getting results on the board.
So what else have we learned so far? Apparently, there's a couple more signings to come but already the predictions are being made as to who will be on the field come the Iron. All of the new boys featured against Welling and Tooting, along with long-term absentees Reid and Gibbs, so perhaps we'll have another American full-back after all. And in marked contrast to last season, it looks clear that the first eleven will be from those that played at Welling with the notable exception of Andy Reid who played at T & M, while even Pards maybe doesn't know the first choice goalie.
Also worth noting was that several of last seasons regulars were strangely missing. With the sparkling performance of Martin Christensen on the right-wing, it obviously won't be long before one missing face leaves. Goodbye Rommers. Faye was also missing, although he's not off to Birmingham, apparently. Surprisingly, after no transfer talk all summer, we all expected Ambrose to appear but he again was strangely missing. On the other hand Jerry Thomas was on hand and is staying, or so says Pards.
And after all the reports of moves to Borussia, there was Souley Diawara doing his stuff as if nothing has happened, could the money and the fact that he actually likes it here persuade him to stay? Cory Gibbs was also seen although Mark ( alright, Ben) Thatcher was another missing face. We've got ourselves a new promising right-back so it won't be long before Luke Y moves on but only if the price is right apparently but where was Sankofa?
There was also the appearance of several trialists in the two games with Jody Morris, although he appears to have done well, getting almost as much stick as Weaver. Perhaps he should take a few lessons from the god-like Chrissie Powell, back as if he'd never been away. There was also midfielder 22 year old Dean Sinclair (released by Barnet) and striker 19 year old Nicholas Pedersen (from our Danish connection, Herfolge ).
So what have we got? The fight for the number one will probably go to Weaver, despite all our reservations, while the defence looks settled if Souley stays around as being Moutaouakil, McCarthy, Diawara and Gibbs.
Bearing in mind Pardew's remarks about Varney, the betting on the two strikers looks like being a choice between Todorov(?), Dickson or Iwelumo to partner Luke Varney, and no I haven't forgotten M. Bent.
Purely guesswork here but Pards seems to be one of those optimists that leave the biggest problem till the end of day to sort out. The midfield. It would come as no surprise to see his two remaining buys being at long last, midfielders. Several names are in the hat with everyone's non-favorite Jody Morris in there as well. The talk on Hayden Mullens seems to have gone very quiet and there's now speculation about the Norwich midfielder Youssef Safri while it seems that Birmingham's clemence has been snapped up by Leicester.
So at the moment we can only guess that the two new boys are likely to fight with Holland, Ambrose and Thomas for the two remaining midfield places and join Andy Reid and Martin Christensen in the middle of the park.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ben and Gone? Or a Tale of Two Ladies?

The signing of Chelski's Ben Sahar on a loan deal was announced by addickted a week ago and although they didn't give their source they're usually pretty reliable in these matters. However, seven days later and there's still been no official comment.
Perhaps its the terms of the loan that need ironing out. Just three months for him to get a bit of first team experience obviously isn't good enough. There needs to be some continuity in a squad and our Pardew is thinking long-term. But its clear that this youngster is a bit special and Israeli's answer to Theo Walcott.
So come on, Pards. Make your mind up - the poor kids obviously waiting for an answer and his mum wants to buy a box to see her little boy play football. As you can see from the neat listing on CAFCPicks we've only got 6 strikers and that includes one M. Bent who clearly is on his way in an outward direction.
So, in a nutshell we need more. Forget all this hoohah about midfielders, tell the defenders to hoof it downfield and got the forwards to chase for it. This is the fizzies remember, no need for any elaborate passing. And this boy does look a bit promising, an Israeli international already, three appearances and 2 goals at 17 already.
But it's obvious that the real reason for the present stalemate is the question of his mum's box. Anxious to take over the box vacated by Darren's mum it's clear that while special arrangements and a small level of re-building may need to be taken against any possible Palestinian terrorists lobbing a rocket or two over the wall there's the question of the transfer fee.
After recently signing a box contract for four years its obvious that Mother Darren doesn't want to let it go cheaply so the ladies are said currently to be in a rather lengthy negotiating wrangle that could take several weeks. Anxious to recoup some of her outlay, Mother Darren is still holding out for the full £18M but is this just a tad too much? Its understood that Mrs Ben has argued that football in the fizzies is not all that special to write back home about and is therefore only offering a miserly £8M and there seems no way to reach an agreement. Its rumored that at their last meeting handbags were raised but there's been no official word on this sorry development.
Will sense prevail? How much does Mother Ben want to see her favorite son notching goals in red and white? Or would she rather see him forlornly waiting on the bench wearing a blue tracksuit and only getting a 2 minute runabout at the end of a game? So come on, Pards. Sort 'em out. Get them talking so that peace can be achieved and a way forward can be reached. Or should we call on our Middle East expert, T. Blair and ask him to spare us a moment.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Slav, Freddie and.....Weaver

So another forward signs for the Addicks but is it the Right One? Seems we've been chasing Freddie Eastwood for weeks now and at the last minute to agrees to sign for Wolves instead of Charlton. At the same time Svetoslav Todorov arrives to claims of good business from Pards.
Wolves, under Mick McCarthy, you may note are the bookies joint favorites, with us, at 7/1 to win the fizzy pops this year and it doesn't sound like good business to let a striker join a rival team for the sake of a couple of mill.
But who is the best of the two? Todorov is 28 and after 177 appearances at Tier 1 and 2 levels in Bulgaria and England has scored 71 goals in the process. 42 caps for his country and another 6 goals at international level. And his goalscoring touch looks very impressive after seeing the You Tube offering from newyorkaddick. Against that you have to accept that most of these goals were scored a few years ago and at last out of favour with Redknapp he's clearly after first team football and turned down the offer of a new contract at Portsmouth. He's also been injured and was out of action due to damaged knee ligaments for a couple of seasons and failed to score for 2 and a half years. And perhaps revealingly, he's only been given a one year contract by Pards while Weaver, another 28 year old, gets a 3 year deal.
Freddie Eastwood at 23, meanwhile, is a very impressive goalscorer when looking at the numbers but at non-league and Tier 2 and 3 levels although last season he managed 16 goals in a relegation season in the fizzies with Southend. 157 games and 90 goals in total. He, sadly, is a manure fan and even had two trials with them before joining Southend and even rejected a third trial "because it was too far from home" in Southend. Unlike other Romany's, he's obviously not one for roaming very far then.
So which one will has the vote? We'll just have to wait until May to find out. Have we got ourselves a bargain or have we missed out?
Whatever, Pardew continues his fixation about our forward line with the odd leap into the market for young defenders. Now he's also got himself another, more experiencd, goalie. Shame about the history. No player having reportedly suffered as much abuse as Weaver whenever he appears at the Valley so we can only guess that either Pardew is unaware or more likely is convinced that Weaver will do for us what he did for the Massives. But this is a business we're in and we can't afford to get hung up on old feelings. In fact, feelings ain't got no place here at all unless your name happens to be Chrissy Powell.
And already we're starting to lose count of the number of new players arriving. By the official count, after Todorov and Weaver its eight but what about Chelski starlet Ben Sahar and dane Martin Jensen - are they too young to count? Surely its a least nine or is it eleven now? There's a listing on cafcpicks but even they've forgotten Sahar but they have just made sections in the player listings so that you can easily see just how many forwards we have.
Counting Chrissy, who may get a game, its now a grand total of 12 with Dickson, Christensen, Iwelumo, Jensen, Varney, McCarthy, Moutaoukil, Semedo, Ben Sahar, Todorov and Weaver.

Monday, July 02, 2007

First Eleven Coming Together...

So with the Addicks reporting for training this morning we have to ask ourselves "have we got a real team together yet?" One that can made the grade and get us back up?
Well, it's quite obvious that we have. There's been several new names that have appeared recently and there are bound to be more appearing before August 11th but you can see from the current teamsheet that we're almost there. There's a good mix of eager, fit youngsters that'll chase any old story and several old-timers to add that bit of experience, nostalgia and sheer bloodymindedness!
So without further ado here's the team and with so many strikers around you'll not be surprised to see its a 4-4-2! The choice for man-between-the-sticks was difficult, but based on his deftness with the coffee cups, and therefore hopefully the half-time tea, and with his towering presence, and despite his worrying spelling mistakes, it had to be the Kappocino Kid from Forest Hill and his Hill to the Valley.
At full-back you need people that can get up and down that wing relentlessly and provide back-up to the winger so at right-back its our frequent many-miles traveller just back from Frankfurt stonemuse. At centre-back its reliability and dependability that's needed and someone that can be relied upon to know all the facts its the knowledgeable Wyn Grant, and as every back-four needs a foreign body these days he's paired with another old-timer chicago addick; well Chicago's foreign to me. And at left back, where nobody ever wants to play, it has to be Pedro45 mainly due to his having the longest list of Charlton blogs available and the fact that he's obviously half-spanish.
Now we all know midfield is important not to say vital, so we've gone for two Addicks that can take the hardest hits, stay calm under pressure and deliver, and predict, results. For his clarity and thoughtful influence in midfield, its Inspector Sands alongside relative youngster but the ever incisive and sharp newyorkaddick.
On the right it's a surprise choice northdowns selected because of his obvious ability to link up with stonemuse in their watery hobbies down that wing and over there on the left is the only place for our very own atheist blackheath addicked.
Up front its 65 miles that gets selection as anyone that continues being an Addicks fan after a 5-1 defeat at home to Luton on his first visit deserves another chance and alongside him there has to be the sharpest boy we have, never missing a trick and ever ready to made up something out of nothing, the one and only FrankieValley.
There's also a strong line-up on the bench where it's chockablock full , as my old man would say, of people that we don't see so often but that can spring a frequent surprise - confidentialrick, roehamptonaddick, upinthebox, 100milesfromhome and an old favorite jakartass who'll obviously go far, if only he can keep his mind on the football.