Monday, March 13, 2006

Since I've been gone...

Two weeks away and plenty to write about - though no goals missed.

The Villa game was one that it seems I did well to miss; a nil all draw with little in the way of entertainment for either set of supporters. I was able to get the result on arrival at my destination via text, so didn't have to waste too many fingernails... The websites I read said Charlton had the better of the first half, and Villa took the second half honours. The only highlight I saw on TV was Darren Bent's curler that unluckily went just wide.

The Caribbean is well served by Premiership (or EPL as they call it) football coverage with two stations showing matches. FSC (Fox Soccer Channel) show games regularly from Sky Sports coverage, and so do Sports Max ("No Games...Just Sports!"). You can watch three matches on a Saturday, and two more on Sundays. The Monday night game is also featured, and during the times when live matches are not being played, you get the chance to watch endless full match re-runs. This is cool if you are having a beer on a Thursday lunchtime and missed the goals from the Fulham or Everton weekend game...

I was therefore able to watch the whole Liverpool away game in the comfort of my hotel room. I tuned in to FSC, and saw the snow falling at Anfield, as the match was introduced. Unfortunately, the coverage then switched to some surfing competition in Australia, and I frantically turned over to Sports Max who then picked up the coverage with their own intro.

The game was fairly one sided, with Liverpool dominant, and Charlton trying to maintain posession when they had the ball (not very often...). No Addicks shots at all in the first half summed things up. Thomas Myrhe (left) played very well to keep the scores level. A better second half performance, as frustration set in amongst the home crowd and players, and a couple of late chances to nick all three points went begging.

That made it three goalless games in a row, a first for Charlton for many years.

Luckily, Middlesbrough's advancement in the UEFA cup meant our game with them had to be re-arranged for the Sunday of my return, so I missed no live goals during my two week trip.

I also got to see some of the England versus Uruguay game, and Darren Bent's debut for England. He did OK; played in a similar way to that that he does each week for the Addicks, but didn't get a great amount of service. It was much the same when Luke Young started for England - the senior players don't think they should be passing to an "inferior" player from a "smaller" club. He had a couple of half chances but couldn't get them on target - on another day, he may have... Should Dazza go to Germany? Yes, of course! If Michael Owen isn't fit (either beforehand, or during the tournament), then Dazza is the obvious replacement. Crouch is a certainty too, as he is "different". I think it's just a case of whether Defoe is also picked.

The other international match that seemed to be on TV all the time was the Loftus Road game between Trinidad & Tobago and Iceland. Big Hermann missed a sitter unfortunately, but wasn't involved in either of T&T's two goals...

Plenty of other goings on at The Valley though:

Kevin Lisbie finally got the message and switched to play for Derby on loan. He and Jonatan Johansson are scoring a few goals in the Championship and this really shows the level they should be playing at.

Alexei Smertin decided that SE7 wasn't cold enough, and signed for Dynamo Moscow. A shame this really - the Smertin/Kishishev/Murphy triumvirate of early in the season was a midfield that looked and played brilliantly well. The bubble burst with Smerts injuries though, and the magic didn't really return after October. With Murphy off chasing splinters on the Spurs bench, and Smerts heading home, our Bulgarian is the the sole midfield survivor of our early season heroics.

Glyn Snodin has been promoted to first team coach; the bad news is it's not at Charlton. He goes off to Southampton next week with plaudits ringing in his ears, and a proud reserve team record at Charlton. Don't be surprised to see him back some day...

And finally, I guess, the news that Alan Curbishley is indeed in the frame for the England managers job. We all knew it; so did the media, but it took a grainy front page photo of him meeting Brian Barwick in the Sunday Mirror to make it headline news. Charlton issued a curt statement, and so did Curbs - no hysteria, plain fact. He's had a chat; probably said yes that he is interested, and would like to be considered. No commitment yet, and still 100% concetnrated on taking Charlton up the table.

Curbs interviews after the Boro game were quite funny - he hasn't smiled like that in a long time - as he told the truth, and gave full, complete answers to headline grabbing questions. He was the first captured on film, but not the first (or the last) interviewed; he suggested that the "short" list of candidates was quite long... There may be others pictured under the headline "Got Him" next week...great stuff!

He may go, he may stay - he will always be a legend at The Valley.

It is great to be back home, though it was great to be away, and that takes me on to the Boro game...

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