Thursday, September 29, 2005

When the Spurs come marching in...

Back to reality, Charlton have a tough match this weekend against high-flying Tottenham Hotspur. The build up to a match involving second place versus fourth place would normally get top billing on Sky, BBC, Five Live, and in the newspapers, but don’t hold your breath – we’ll probably get scant mention once more as the media concentrate on the “big” clubs progress in Europe, their failures to entertain and/or get sufficient league points to see them near the top of the table. However, with only five Premiership matches on Saturday, and one of those at 5.15, we should get plenty of exposure afterwards, and hopefully a long slot on Match of the Day.

Charlton’s players have had a quiet week on the training pitch – with no cup or international games – so it will have been good for Curbs to have been able to do some serious, uninterrupted, coaching for a change. This is one of the few weeks so far this season that nothing will have got in the coach’s way. The midweek reserve match versus Fulham will have allowed some of the squad to get healthy game playing time, but it is unlikely, barring any unknown injuries, that many changes will take place to the first team following last weeks win at West Brom.

Any player who is now fit will probably find themselves battling for a place on the bench, and this is the intriguing area at present. Will Deano get a look in after his first competitive game of the season or will Myrhe continue as sub goalie? Will El Karkouri maintain his place ahead of Sorondo and Fortune as first reserve in the middle of defence? Will Holland or Hughes fill any midfield substitution necessary? Is it going to be Bothroyd, Bartlett, or JJ in the reserve forward berth?

We all know that Curbs doesn’t make many changes unless he has to, so the likelihood is that Andersen will be in goal until he makes one mistake too many. He has done very well in my opinion so far this season, proving that he can cut it with the best in the Premiership. He received some criticism for the Baggies goal last week, but that has been the only blot on his record this year so far. Kiely is a bit of a legend at The Valley, but the finger injury in pre-season gave Andersen a chance, which he has taken well, and Deano may now find it tough to win back a starting place. The option of having a goalie who comes out for crosses, who is excellent at shot stopping, and who can kick reasonably well, is one that has meant that Deano has not been missed. I cannot see Curbs dropping Andersen at the present time. This is tough for Kiely, but that’s football: You win your place through injury, form and suspension, and you lose it the same way. Myrhe has also done well for the reserves, and had a good game against Hartlepool in the cup, making one outstanding save. Myrhe’s contract is for a year, so we may not see too much of him in forthcoming reserve games (unless Curbs alternates his goalies, as he has done in the past).

In defence, Young is solid at full back, and kept the captaincy even when Holland played in the Hartlepool match. Powell is also doing very well, but the pace of the Premiership may be catching up with him later in games. He has been substituted in the last two matches when we have been under pressure in favour of the youthful Spector, who has also done well. Centrally, we cannot fault the commitment, experience or skill of Perry and Hreidersson, both of whom should maintain their places this weekend. With Young and Perry being ex-Spurs players, and Powell a passionate if not committed Spurs fan, they will be trying their hardest not to concede even a sniff of a goal to the dangerous Spurs forwards.

Midfield is another area where we will see little change: Kishishev, Smertin, and Murphy are playing superbly together, and all three should keep their places. Murphy will be hoping to shine in front of Sven Goran Eriksson, who will be watching from the Director’s box prior to picking his (maybe last?) World Cup squad and a goal to match the one he got in the corresponding fixture last season could be enough to clinch his England squad place.

Up front, Bent is undeniably the find of the season so far, and he is unchallenged as the leader of the Charlton front line. Thankfully, the beneficiary of The Barclays Player of the Month trophy (for August) has not gone the way of previous Manager of the Month recipients, who followed a great month with a poor one. His supply routes, other than from Murphy, are likely to be from wingers Thomas (who has just had his first international call up for the England under-21 team) and Rommedahl who are both starting to add value to promise.

Tactically, the 4-5-1 system is holding up well, being ideal for away games, and also for home matches against good opposition (like Spurs). The ability to switch to 4-3-3 with the players and shape we have is easy, and with options on the bench, 4-4-2 can be accommodated whenever necessary too. I cannot see a formation change on Saturday being something for our manager to consider.

The subs bench of both sides could easily be extended to allow ten reserves this weekend; in Spurs case, they could fill the bench with just midfield players, such has been their transfer profligacy! For Charlton, Pedro45 expects to see Myrhe, Spector, Hughes, El Karkouri, and Sam trying to keep warm along the touchline, although Bothroyd and Ambrose may press for places if fit (both did not play for the reserves this week though). I would prefer to have an extra forward on the bench for home games rather than two defenders, but unless JJ or Bartlett are in-from, Bothroyd is the only viable alternative; Sam can play through the middle but is untested at Premiership level.

Spurs come to The Valley on the back of two One-Nil results; the first a defeat by Division Two Grimsby in the Carling Cup, the second a victory over out-of-form Fulham. While the team obviously has quality (Davids, Robinson, King, Carrick, Defoe), they do not seem to be functioning as a unit yet, and hopefully any improvement will come after this weekends match. Spurs have injury worries over some players (all those mentioned above except Robinson), but have so much talent to call on that on their day they can compete with anyone (given the belief).

As for a score forecast, Pedro45 knows that, depending who is on form, a 4-0 result either way is possible. Realistically, a prediction of a 1-1 draw is where the money from this unofficial Charlton site is at. The player to watch this week is Jerome Thomas, who is starting to show that he has a brain to go with his undoubted show-boating skill.

A draw will be enough to keep Charlton in the top three of the Premiership (and possibly still second) come Monday morning; even a defeat only drops us down to fourth at worst. Eventually, the media will have to sit up and take notice of the team from SE7, and a win against Spurs would be the best way of encouraging that. Come on you reds!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Own goal...

Satire, irony, call it whatever you want, but my bogus administration post obviously rankled and upset a large number of people. It has now been removed. The clue was in Curbs alleged SSN comments - "...nothing in football surprises me that much anymore". There were plenty of other clues as to why it was a spoof, too. I apologise for this post; I won't do anything like it again. I'm obviously old-school, not part of "New Charlton", I worry that other clubs will do anything they can to stop us finishing high in the league and taking away their precious, apparently rightful, league positions. I have come to expect Charlton's league position to come down with the Xmas lights. In this new Addicks age, I must try to become more positive! Slapped wrist duly noted...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wicked website

I found this cool online encyclopedia – Wikipedia - that lists everything under the sun, and I read with interest the Charlton entry. The great thing about the site is that you, me, or anyone else can edit it, and enter updated or amended details. I don’t particularly like the Charlton history section – far to brief - but maybe one of my readers would like to have a go at re-writing it – Rick, where are you when we need you???

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Oh Boy, Danny!

West Bromwich Albion 1 Charlton Athletic 2

Just like buses! You wait ages for a penalty, then along come two in a week. Charlton won their fourth away game out of four for the season with a seemingly reasonably comfortable victory at The Hawthorns.

Pedro45 cannot go into too much detail about events, as he was forced to rely solely on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday for news on the game, Capital deciding to broadcast the Hammers Vs Gunners game. Paul Walsh was the studio summariser, and visits to his chair seemed few and far between when compared to Frank "ufff, how did they not score there..." McLintock who was doing the Man Utd game.
Walshie duly told the watchers about Danny Murphy's 9th minute penalty, after Jerome Thomas was tripped, and Murphy's second goal from a Dennis cross before half time. Early in the second half, apparently Andersen was at fault when the Baggies pulled a goal back. The official match report is here.

Charlton got scant mention after the match on any TV channel, with all the major TV stations - BBC, ITV, Sky - concentrating on all the "major" football teams performances - Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool.

We do, however, sit proudly in second place in the Premiership behind Chelsea with a game in hand, still four points clear of any other "big" club, and with an eight point lead over the European Champions.

Next week we play Spurs, who could be in fourth place come next Saturday, so hopefully we'll get a little more exposure...

Finally, the draw for the third round of the Carling Cup was made early this afternoon, and as luck would have it, the Premiership's top two teams were drawn together! This may also lead to some nice things being said about our great club. Maybe that nice Mr Mourinho will put out a few reserves against us and give us a chance to progress further (but don't bet on it!).

Friday, September 23, 2005

Baggies Trousered?

How to start a preview of an away game versus WBA? We are great, they are useless, so it's three points in the bag, yea? Hopefully...

Charlton have to return to form after two and a half matches where they didn't play to their potential, and I don't mind that our next opponents are not in the best of form themselves.

OK, hanging on for the points at St Andrews was acceptable - soaking up the pressure for second halves was something that Charlton did consistently last season - and the defeat against Chelsea inevitable (even though we hoped it might not be the case). Tuesday nights cup game featuring a whole raft of changes also led to some inconsistencies, but also a large number of balancing positives, so we should look forward to Saturdays match.

Curbs has a few selection headaches to deal with; a few players who may feel they should be playing, a few who hope to make the squad based on Tuesday, and a few who will be hoping not to get dropped after a poor show. What changes might we see? Ambrose and Bothroyd, both of whom may well have featured, have injuries, and are doubtful. Holland will be pushing for inclusion, but with all the middle of midfield apparently fit and well, he may not start. Sorondo looked short of match practice to me, but Spector is ready but may have to wait a little longer.

This is the team I think our manager will pick in the hope of getting three points at The Hawthorns:



If Bothroyd is fit I'd have him as sub over JJ and the seemingly disillusioned Bartlett. If Ambrose is fit (which seems very unlikely), I'd start him in place of Thomas (how we started the season in fact). Curbs has threatened to make changes for this match, but I think it may just be a smoke screen for Robbo along with a gentle nudge to remind players that they are not safe long term if they do not perform.

For the Baggies, we should beware of their forwards - Ellington (who hit two on Tuesday), Earnshaw (we all know about him!), and Gera (last minutes equaliser last week) - who can all cause problems. Unfortunately Kanu is injured, as is Kamara.

My player to watch this week is Alexei Smertin. Our Russian is getting better with each game and I'm hoping he can control the midfield and provide the ball for Murphy and Dazza to hurt the Baggies.

Pedro45's prediction is a 2-1 away win. Up the Addicks!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Fad 25 years old...

I don't know why, but I got around to thinking about shirt sponsors, and it dawned on me that it was 1981 when Charlton first carried a sponsors logo on their shirtfronts. That means that this is the 25th season we've had shirt sponsors at Charlton. By the way, if someone else has written about this recently, I apologise; I don't think I've stolen your thoughts...

Charlton's first sponsor back in '81 was FADS. I seem to remember that they came in mid-season (around February?), but in those days you could not wear your sponsored shirts when you were on TV. As Charlton were having a good season, eventually getting promoted, we seemed to be on TV quite a lot. The bad news was that it seemed that when we were not on TV (ie. when we wore the FADS shirts), we couldn't win! Someone with a much better memory than me will confirm how long it took, but I would guess that we played about ten times without victory in FADS shirts before the duck was broken.

After FADS, we had the Woolwich Building Society. The local BS name adorned our shirt fronts for a few years, and when we remember or watch great match days from that time (like St Andrews in 1987) the team will forever have The Woolwich emblazoned across their chests.

The 90's seemed to be the computer sponsorship years for Charlton, not surprisingly in the lead up to the boom. First we had Viglen, then MESH computers names adorning our chests. My girlfriend actually bought a Viglen computer (in 1997) on the back of much persuasion from me ("if it's good enough for Charlton, then it's good enough for you!"), and I can confirm that it is still going strong (albeit with a different owner)! A typesetters that I dealt with in the late 90's also bought a whole bunch of Viglen PC's and keyboards, and they told me that they loved them. I cannot claim to have helped with that particular sale though...

I don't have much experience of MESH computers though, and have never heard of anyone owning one. While Viglen never really saw much benefit of their sponsorship on TV (compared to the previous and future sponsors), MESH certainly came aboard at exactly the right time. The first time Charlton wore MESH shirts was at Wembley in 1998 in the play off final, the Viglen shirt contract having ended a few days earlier. Super Clive, resplendent in his new MESH sponsored shirt, cut a dashing figure in front of the crowd, and duly smashed in a fantastic hat trick. All captured on film, video, and DVD, much to the MESH marketing managers delight I'm sure. I hope it helped sales.

After MESH, we had RedBus. This was a strange choice, for an investment company cannot get extra sales or such like, only exposure. It was therefore probably a vanity sponsorship, or possibly a tax dodge of some sort. They had plenty of TV time as we played in the Premiership throughout their tenure, but RedBus eventually had money troubles and their sponsorship was ended a year early I believe.

All:Sports, next up front and currently still our shirt sponsor, obviously do get sales based on our deal with them; not only through exposure, but by the tie-up we have with selling Charlton shirts in All:Sports 200-odd shops. All round good sense I would think. I have heard that they are having problems with the recent downturn in customer spending, and that may affect any continuation (renewal) of their deal which is due to end after this season. I think they would like to continue sponsorship, but if we get a better offer, who knows?

So, 25 years, six sponsors, none of whom have been embarrassing. We should be thankful that, unlike other clubs, we have not had to bow down to Chinese Beer, the local chemical company, the local Council, or the local garage and the like, for shirt sponsorship, yet...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

JJ starts, and Jay finishes

Charlton 3 Hartlepool 1

We are through, not without a few problems, but we made it all the same.

Curbs picked a good side (9 internationals) and gave debuts to Myrhe (surprisingly) and Sorondo. Spector, Sam, Smertin, JJ and Bartlett also started in a 4-4-2 formation.

The official match report is here.

How did Pedro45 rate the new players?

Sam was pretty hyper all night; he had several chances in the first half - just wide, wider, well saved, blocked - and eventually won a penalty, our first for 50 matches! JJ converted well.

Up front, Bartlett and JJ were pretty poor. Our Bokkie in particular didn't look very interested, and I was very pleased to see that Curbs replaced him at half time (with Bent who scored with a fantastic header). If players who want to be in the starting eleven cannot make much effort when they get there (even if it is only a League Cup game) then I'm all for dragging them off and getting sonmeone on who does want to play. Now we have the squad depth, we might see more of this in future.

Sorondo didn't have a good game either; he was beaten in the air many times during the match, and embarrassed a few times on the deck too. He looked a bit of a ball watcher to me, and players pulled off him to find space in dangerous positions. Not the player I thought we were getting on last nights showing.

Spector tried hard, but (playing in the Hermann role) he just didn't have quite the same marauding presence. He did make a few good runs, one of which ended with a good shot, so it wasn't all doom and gloom.

Myrhe made one great save in the second half, when it was one-all, and that may have won us the game in the end. He didn't have much chance with the goal he conceded.

Bothroyd came on for a twenty minute cameo, and what an impression he made! A shot with his first kick, a booking for a late tackle from behind (that could on another day with another ref have been sending off...), and a blistering free kick into the top corner! When he's fit, we may have got a good player. All the talk inside and outside the ground was that Bartlett and JJ may as well pack their bags and leave; the future is rosy red, and the future is Bent and Bothroyd apparently.

The Hartlepool fans, all 300-odd (many more than I anticipated), seemed to enjoy themselves. I hope they all got home safely.

The cup draw is on Saturday, and hopefully we'll get either a nice home game or a trip away to Mansfield, as I haven't been there!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Monkeys arrive in The Valley

League Cup time once more. This year, we have been drawn against Division one side Hartlepool United, a team that Pedro45 has never seen Charlton play before, which is quite unusual! An away fixture would have had Pedro45 checking train times, and calling old friends to see if they fancied a beer or ten in return for a place to sleep that night, before trundling back to the Old Smoke again the next day. But no, we have (yet again) been drawn at home (official club preview here).

It does seem amazing the way our luck has gone when pulling out lower league opposition in cup competitions. I know the draw is seeded at this stage but, maybe, with our record against top drawer teams being so bad we should be grateful. But we aren't, as our cup record overall against anyone is pretty abysmal!

So Hartlepool. The Monkey Hangers. The team of Jeff Stelling of Sky's Soccer Saturday. That's about as far as my knowledge of them goes... They will come to The Valley on the back of a good league draw with high-flying Swansea, and with good overall away form (at home, they have been poor). I expect they will have about 100 supporters cheering them on, most of whom will have come down by coach (I am not being patronising here; It;s a long way on a Tuesday! I welcome them all, but hope they go home a lot quieter than they arrived!). They will have, as with every lower league team we play it seems, nothing to lose. Signal panic stations for every Charlton fan!

But what about us? A good pre-season, four wins on the bounce, and a sole defeat to everybody's Champions Chelsea at the weekend. Good form, and a few of the injured or unavailable are back too.

Holland and Spector played sub roles on Saturday, as did Ambrose who was back from suspension. Smertin is also available again but he may get another night off. El Karkouri, Sorondo, Sam, Bothroyd, JJ, and Fortune have yet to feature much this season. So what team will Curbs pick? He usually says that he doesn't want to fiddle before cup games, but he has once or twice on the past - playing the odd player in need of a game, and resting others. This time round, I don't think he has a choice - he has to give some players a run out. Will it weaken our chances? No, not if they play anywhere near potential, and if they want to get into the first team then they will have to!

So let's see who's going to play?

Andersen in goal? Yes, probably; can't see any point in giving Myrhe a go, and Deano isn't fit yet. Curbs has a history of maintaining the first choice keeper, even when he has had a chance in the past to swap things about.

Young at right back? Yep, team captain, will defo play.

Centre backs? Well, Sorondo needs a game, and it may be a case of who plays alongside him - I'll go for El Karkouri, with Perry rested, and Fortune as sub.

Left back I'll have Spector; Curbs may switch it with Spector in the middle (in place of Elk or Sorondo) and Hermann at full back, and I don't see any problem with that. Chrissy needs a blow, and I doubt Youga will play.

Midfield: Holland is a definite, as is Murphy I think, though he may need recovery time (in which case I'd put Smerts back in). Ambrose will fill one wide slot, with a winger on the other (I'm suggesting 4-4-2 here). I think Dennis will be given a night off (we shouldn't need his pace and heads may drop if he has "one of those games") so it's Thomas or Sam. I'm a fan of both, but feel that we should get as much experience into Sam as we can, and I'd play him here.

Up front I'll give Bartlett 90 minutes, plus Bent, with Bothroyd as sub.

So my guess at the team is:

El Karkouri


This side should be strong, eager, and experienced enough to do the job (it's eight full internationals plus three more on the bench!). I know we may have said that before previous games against Luton, Walsall, Dagenham, Leicester, Exeter, Yeovil, Rochdale, Blackpool, etc etc, (the list seems endless!) all of whom gave us some (or many!) very dodgy moments, but we seem to be playing at a new level now. I do not expect to see us struggle under the lights in the cup this year. Pedro45's prediction is a 3-0 home win - come on you reds!

Casting a Spell

Sometimes it really makes me scream when I see bad spelling, especially the incorrect spelling of Charlton players names on Charlton blogs/websites. Now I know, before everyone jumps down my throat, that I am not perfect and Pedro45 regularly gets them wrong too; Even after a year I have yet to perfect the spelling of Dennis's surname on a regular basis, and as for Hermann, well, nobody really goes for that too often do they?!?

So let's set the record straight and run through some of our foreign players who prove troublesome on the keyboard showing the correct spelling of their names:
Hermann Hreidersson - not Herman, and not Hriederson or any other variation!

Jonatan Johansson - JJ has two S's!

Shaun Bartlett - Shaun not Sean, and three T's in Bartlett!

Dennis Rommedahl - Two N's in Dennis and one R in Rommedahl!

Stephan Andersen - Not Steven, or Stephen, and Sen not Son!

Rurik Gislason - new boy hasn't made many headlines yet, but it's one we may need in future!

Talal El Karkouri - Nicknames of Elk and El Kak are OK, but two R's in Karkouri! And it's Talal not Tahar (so the bloke well behind me can stop the Alan Partridge impression OK, please?!?)!

Radostin Kishishev - Some of you may not like him but it's Shev, not Chev!

Alexei Smertin - Even our Russian has got fed up with people getting his name wrong apparently, so any forename of Alexey, Alexei, just plain Alex or Smert's is fine!

I think most of the others take care of themselves - it's tough to get Mark Fish wrong!

(PS Did anyone else see Feeeesh on Sky yesterday morning talking about the previous days Premiership matches; he'd had a bet with a friend to name as many U2 song titles as he could during the hour chatting in front of the camera and got up to around 7 or 8. He finished by saying it was "a beautiful day" to be on Sky....ahhhh! Makes you wonder how many other footballers are brainy enough to do that...)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Blues strike the reds

Charlton 0 Chelsea 2

We tried, honestly we did, but Chelsea were simply too good for us. The official club match report is here and it tells it much like it was.

Yes, we are disapponted; yes, mistakes led to one of the goals, if not both; yes, we didn't get a shot on target the whole game. But were we awful? No. Did we compete? Yes we did, for all of the first half at least. Ask Sven!

Chelsea are a group of very good players, and Mourinho is building them into a formidable team. Cech wasn't tested today and the defence in front of him is solid, and yet to concede a goal all season. Gallas is quick, Terry huge, and Ferriera and Carvalho experienced. We tried to put Bent up against anyone but Terry but he was a forlorn figure up front on his own, and any ball toward him was quickly lost. The Blues midfield is awesome, and it is now very true that Frank Lampard is the weak link. Makelele won every tackle, and was only embarassed by Dennis' pace (for which he was deservedly booked). Essien looked like a great player to me - class, skill, vision, pace. Wow! If only he could shoot straight! The wingers were controlled for the most part by good defending by Powell and Young, and Crespo was all movement and looking for a half chance. Their switching of positions was something that I hadn't seen before, with Robben and Duff all getting a go through the middle as Crespo went wide. Of course, all of this was initiated by waves of the managers hand... I won't mention the subs (all £55m worth!), as they didn't contribute much.

Overall, Charlton had a good first half, and kept themselves well in the match. Any shots they had though were off target. Even Murphy's three free kicks failed to breach the wall 8 yards or so in front of him.

Second half, it was very different. A problem Charlton have seen in the past came to light once more - if the lone front man is isolated then you will end up defending all the time, as the ball is once more played in and you are under constant pressure. Against Chelsea this is match suicide. Was it our fault this time? Probably not to a large extent; Jose's half time team talk obviously said get stuck in and win the ball, and Kishishev's was the victim of a couple of muggings when he had no obvious "out" ball, one of which led to the opening goal.

I would have liked to see Curbs go for it a little after we fell behind, with Bartlett brought on and 4-4-2 played for the last 20 minutes, but the subs came on and the formation did not change, and the pressure continued. Putting two up front may at least have allowed passing options and periods of non-defending. As it was, the re-arranged midfield didn't change much in the way the game played out.

So where do we go from here? Is it all doom and gloom like the blokes behind me think? Is Kish a waste of space? Should Ambrose (or anyone else) have started? Was Curbs crazy to take Thomas off? All these were comments heard by me between 4 and 5pm today. The answer to all is "no".

We have just played against one of the best teams in the world, and we made them compete for much of the match. Charlton are getting there, but cannot beat teams that cost ten times the value of our squad, yet.

Player ratings:

Anderson - made a few very good saves; no chance with the goals.
Young - coped well with Duff/Robben; got forward without effect when he could.
Perry - played well, but no chance against Crespo for the first goal.
Herman - very good game; tried his heart out.
Powell - did well, and handled the pace up against him by using experience.
Kish - no out ball meant he was tackled on too many occasions; not his best game...
Murphy - little space to shine; three free kicks into the wall.
Hughes - tried hard but didn't have enough class to impress.
Dennis - lots of pace but little final product, a familiar scenario.
Thomas - plenty of skill but again little end product.
Dazza - almost no good ball to him, a lonely figure up front.
Holland - got involved but did nothing of note.
Spector - looked OK, and will have learnt from playing against SW-P.
Ambrose - Off the pace and little involvement.

Tuesday, we are at home to Hartlepool in the cup, and I expect we will see a few more of the squad players, especially those that need a game and whom we want to push for competition. Holland, Ambrose, Spector, Sorondo, Smertin, and Bartlett should all get some action, giving a rest to Powell, Perry, Hughes, Rommedahl and others.

Next weekend, we go to play the Baggies, and pressure will be on some players to get into the team or keep their place. That is good. They will be there for the taking (hopefully).

This is a small set-back (as we didn'ty really think pre-season that we'd get any points from Chelsea); what mustn't be allowed is the result to affect the way we go about our next few games. Keep the confidence. We are still playing pretty well!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Blues times two

100% records.
Just one goal conceded in 9 matches.
18 goals scored.

The combined records of Charlton and Chelsea so far this season make awesome reading, and it needs to be said that Charlton are substantial contributors to the above statistics (Official club preview in title link above). This fact is missed by large parts of the media, who still see Charlton as a team that has had a good start but cannot be considered when it comes to end of season honours; a team of minnows compared with others like Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Newcastle. Well I suppose we are! But we are a Premiership team, and one look at the current league table in mid-September has Charlton above all of those other teams.

Charlton have a great (and I mean, GREAT!) manager; they have a fantastic (and I mean really FANTASTIC!) Chairman, and a fine board of Directors; they have a small (by Premiership standards) but compact stadium that is truly loved by the fans; they have (mostly) superb fans; and they are still considered to be the second most loved team by large numbers of football supporters in this country after their own.

They have also started this season by winning every game, up until now.

Yes, it is pretty awesome being a Charlton fan at the moment.

True, the Ashes win and England's pathetic Belfast showing have taken some of the gloss off our fine start. And the midweek shenanigans of Rooney and van Persie plus Everton's traumatic humbling to the third best team in Bucharest last night may have taken the gloss off many of this weekends matches. But we really do have a true top of the table clash at the Valley tomorrow afternoon.

1 Chelsea 5 5 0 0 10 0 10 15
2 Charlton 4 4 0 0 8 1 7 12

Normally, we just get to see our boys play the top of the table team (be it Chelsea, Arsenal, or Man Utd); but not this year. This year we are up there with them, challenging.

So how will our first (or is it second or third) big test of the season go? Can we make an even bigger name for ourselves than our club has done so far this season?

Curbishley has to make at least one change tomorrow - on loan Smertin not being allowed by rules to play against his contracted team - but he may make others. It's only when you look at the opposition though, that Curbs will consider if he needs to juggle things about a bit. If we were playing any of the other clubs that are deemed on a par with Charlton, then I doubt we would see anything other than Holland, Hughes or Ambrose coming in for Smertin. And look at the oppo we need to do, as they are by far the best team in the country now (even if they aren't really playing like it yet), and possibly Europe come next May.

Let's do some match ups:

Powell versus Robben/Wright-Phillips; Chrissy is playing really well, but would you fancy him to match either of the Chelses players pace? No, nor would I.

Perry vesus Drogba; "The Rash" was m-o-t-m for the last two matches, but Drogba is much bigger, quicker, and better in the air than Pandiani, or Yakubu.

Bent versus Terry; If JT is fit, Dazza is up against the best centre back in Europe. With Gallas or Carvallho alongside, will he get a kick all day?

Murphy versus Makelele; Spud is also playing really well but will the loss of Smertin mean he gets time on the ball? Will one kick early on from the Frenchmen put him out of the game?

I could go on (and on) but it would be so negative...and I don't do that.

Let us hope that Anderson plays as well as he did at Stamford Bridge back in May. Let's hope that Dennis and Jerome (didn't they make a record about ten years back?)can speed down the wing and put in decent crosses for Dazza to get on the end of. Let's hope that the centre backs can snuff out any danger from Drogba or Crespo. Let us hope that the midfield plays as if they want to play again on Tuesday and next Saturday when Smertin is back in contention. Lets's hope Joe Cole plays tomorrow as he did at The Valley for West Ham (ie crap). Let's hope theat Jose changes his team from those that played in midweek and rests the dangermen.

I hope to see El Kakouri back, in the midfield role that he started a few matches in early last season, and replace Smertin. Other than that, I can't see much point in changing the team, even though Spector, Sorondo, Holland, and Ambrose are fit and ready. If we get tonked, then all those guys will get a run out aginst Hartlepool on Tuesday with a view to playing them next weekend; if we get a result, then they will still get a run out on Tuesday as some of the first team will be rested.

Deep in my heart of hearts I hope that we get something out of tomorrows match. The realist in me says that we cannot score; cannot compete in midfield, and are too weak at the back. The romantic in me says we can nick a goal (or two); can mix it with Chelsea's reserve midfield (Jeremi, Cole and the like) and our defence and goalie will play out of their skins and restrict shots/chances to a minimum.

Pedro45's one to watch is Hermann, who has scored against the Blues before, and will be key to how the game goes tomorrow.

The ref is Howard Webb, who took charge of our first match of the season at Sunderland (and sent Darren Ambrose off!) which was won. He also reffed our games versus Everton (a) and Villa (h) last season which were won, and the nil-nil draw versus Boro (a) the season before. It seems we haven't lost when he's been in charge before...

The prediction however (oh how I hope I am wrong) is a 2-0 win for Chelsea.

Pretty in Pink

Another story that I came across when searching out Charlton material was this sad story from the High Court. I'm presuming that she was involved in the womens team, and not the mens...or did that year's end of season slump have wider effects than we previously knew about?

No info on how it was resolved, but let's hope that partner and family shared the loss equally.

The Welsh Groin Problem

Here's one of the interesting results that came out of my search for all things Charlton this morning - Mr Diesel has been busy. Click on the title above to find out who's been tapping him up for info...

Having worked in medical publishing for a while, including on a journal called British Journal of Sports Medicine, I know that a large number of studies take place amongst (usually Premiership) football clubs. The respondents have to remain anonymous, but I've always wondered when reading about this club or that who had this set of injury problems or that whether Charlton were indeed the club (or one the clubs) involved If you read a set of stats that say, for instance, that players at a club had a cigar burn to the eye in season 2003/4, or a non-malignant tumour behind the nose in 2004/5, then I guess that narrows the field down quite a bit.

BJSM is actually quite a good read, especially if it has footie articles, and the ex-editor was a really nice (Northern) Irishman who the girls all fancied rotten!

Searching out our heroes

It's amazing what you find when you put CHARLTON into various search engines. This morning I did just that and came up with some interesting hits!

The number of times that our beloved show up is also variable. Yes, I know that unless you put Athletic too you will get hits for Mr Heston, Sir Bobby, Big Jack, a town in Massachusetts, and the like, but if you do add Athletic to the search you miss out on a large amount of the true (ie FC) hits.

The stats from this mornings search are as follows:

* AltaVista (17100000 links to Charlton)
* Ask Jeeves (2871000 results)
* Technorati (15189 results)
* Feedster (4354 results)
* Daypop (84 results)
* Bloogz (116 results)
* BlogDigger (2195 results)
* IceRocket (14877 results)

NB: Some of these engines only search blogs though you can configure most of them for news too.

I'm sure you guys use other search engines too, but I would hope that combing through all the above pages would just about cover everything, and it would certainly be a good long read!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Season's predictions

I posted some season's prediction on my other blog, and as they are football related, I'll add monthly news on how they are doing to this site from now on. A reminder of what they were and how they are doing is shown below -

1. Chelsea will go through the league season unbeaten. Still unbeaten, but with obviously their sternest test of the season this Saturday!
2. Chelsea will concede less goals in a season than anyone has done before (the record is 15 by Chelsea last season) Chelsea still to concede, but Dazza will be trying to break the duck this Saturday (and hopefully will!).
3. Graeme Sounness will become the first Premiership managerial casualty of the season - he might not get sacked, but with a dodgy ticker, he might need bed rest come October! Has signing Owen saved him or not? Just one goal so far this season, and a host of injuries, means this could still be uncannily accurate.
4. El Hadj Diouf will spit at a fan...again! Not yet...but I'm confident this will come true before too long
5. Charlton will win a game featuring Mark Halsey or Graham Poll as ref!!! Mr Halsey at St Andrews, and a win secured (no thanks to said ref apparently!). Mayber we can break our Poll duck too (or is that asking too much)?
6. Arsene Wenger will claim to have seen the reason one of his players got sent off. Clasic case of Arsene seeing it last night (van Persie vs FC Thun) but the ref got it all wrong, apparently. Come on Arsene, admit the ref was right; at least Fergie agreeed that Rooney should have walked!
7. Rio will be boo-ed. Yep!
8. Rooney will swear at a ref and be sent off. Getting closer all the time! Lots of swearing at Becks and Rio during the England games and a handclap for the ref got him sent off last night. Just wait a week or so before a pompous English ref gets a chance to get his picture in the paper, then Wazza will regret missing Premiership AND Champions League games.
9. Several England regulars will get long term injuries just after Xmas and will be forced to miss the World Cup. We have had a few niggles recently (Gerrard, Neville, Terry etc), so long term, I'm still confident this will be true (if we qualify).
10. Rangers and Celtic will once more attempt to join the English league through the back door (Why don't they enter a team in the lower pyramid and work there way through a la AFC Wimbledon, Aldershot etc?). It's been a bit quiet as neither have made a good start to their SPL season, and Rangers won a Champions League game (well done Franny!). Later in the season the issue will re-appear.

Murray's mint

Another excellent article from one of this weeks papers here
- could all this exposure be because we are playing Chelsea in a top of the table clash of the 100%'ers at the weekend??? Probably...

The Independent writer has a nice chat with our esteemed Chairman - Richard Murray - and discusses the inequalities in footballs Premiership finances. Interesting to see that Murray says Charlton have had a wage cap of £10,000 a week in the past. How far back he doesn't say but I'd be surprised if contracts signed by Parker (just six months before he left), Euell, Johansson, Kinsella, Kiely, etc were not for a lot more than this figure.

The comparisons between Chelsea's transfer outlay and ours is open to doubt, but the turnover figures will be accurate as they will come from published accounts.

Bearing in mind New York Addict's post earlier in the week where the question of Sky TV money was raised, and the problems it has caused longer term, Murray has an interesting slant on how he thinks the TV money should be split. Were this to be so, then we would definitely have a more competitive league in which to ply our trade.

There really is so much inequality with the top four most seasons getting huge chunks of Champions league money to go along with their finishing place and facilities fees that unless something is done soon, we will never have new Champions in this country ever again....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mrs Murphy dives with sharks

There is a great article here written by Danny Murphy's wife, Joanna Taylor, about some of the sharks in footballs murky waters.

Mrs Murphy pushes her husband's case when it comes to selection for the next England squad, and also has opinions on Danny's singing, Sven, Andy Flintoff and Kevin Pieterson, and real great white sharks!

Good stuff!

The New York angle

New York Addict has posted a long discussion thread titled "Football is in decline" (link in title above), and Pedro45 has responded with (quite a long) comment as comparisons between football (failure) and cricket (success) are made. Please feel free to check out this excellent blog/post and to respond with comments either here or on NYA's blog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Welcome to Charlton Athletic Online


I've decided that Shouting from the Hop ( is too congested to include football, cricket, my life and loves stuff all together, so I've created this blog site that will contain just my musings on Charlton stuff.

You can get to it via two URLs' - the above one



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