Saturday, November 22, 2008

Waggy Writes Home...

Charlton Athletic 2 Sheffield United 5

Dear Parents

Well, I made my Championship debut, but sadly I wasn’t able to get on the score sheet, and we had a rather bad loss too. I came on as a substitute early in the second half, just after Charlton had fallen 4-1 down, and when I finally got a touch of the ball a few minutes later, I did lay on a second Charlton goal for the player my team-mates call Hammer (left, scoring). Unfortunately, before I had had my first touch, some ginger player called Quinn had volleyed home the Blades fifth goal, so we really had an uphill struggle after that, and I’m not sure my team-mates ever thought that we might drag it back, even after I entered the field of play (Don’t tell them I said that though…).
The day had started quite brightly; that nice Mr Pardew (or “Boss” as we all call him) took me aside in the hotel, and told me that I would be playing, so I got quite excited, but then he added “but not from the start”. Oh well, I’m used to being one of Mr Keane’s substitutes regularly, so it isn’t much difference down in the smoke.

I took my place on the subs bench, and the Boss stood out front, arms crossed, surveying his teams’ start to the game. He just stands there like that all game – very strange…(Don’t tell him I said that though…). I was a bit surprised when my new team-mates fell behind, because it didn’t take long for the Sheffield players to start celebrating, although it was a bit of a weird goal – we had the ball, but when our French right back (Yass something-or-other) tried to cross it, the ball smacked into our right wingers face (Lloydy). Sheffield then broke out quickly, and when the ball was crossed in, our left winger Hammer tried to kick it but missed-cued, leaving an easy lay back and finish by that Big Blonde Beattie Bloke.

Being a Sunderland pro, I’m used to my team falling a goal behind (Don’t tell Mr Keane I said that though…), so I didn’t worry. Well, not much, not even when our keeper, who we call Weaves (because he weaves his magic off the pitch and not on it! Only kidding, but he does have the biggest car in the car park and he must have got that through trick or treating as he couldn’t have made a living from footie surely? (Don’t tell him I said that though…)) fluffed a clearance, and an ex-Charlton player showed why the manager (that nice Mr Pardew) hadn’t tried to sign him permanently last season by putting in a really poor effort and only hitting the bar from 45 yards when Weaves was trundling back from the wing…Mr Keane would have had a few words to say about that if he had been in charge I’m sure.

Sure enough, with just over a quarter of an hour gone, we equalised when our old centre half – Linvoy – thumped in a header (left). I’m sure the Sheffield Manager Mr Blackwell will wonder what happened to the marking from the free-kick, but at least it cheered up the home fans, for a while at least.

Then, in typical Mackems fashion, Charlton lost the momentum again, when some Welsh bloke called Speed who used to play for the other lot in black and white flicked home a free-kick to make it 2-1. Mr Pardew told me that he had spent quite some time working on set plays a few weeks earlier (as apparently it can be a problem for Charlton to defend at set pieces) so that was why we hadn’t bothered trying to defend them in training this week. Bet he wishes he had spent a few minutes in that area now! (Don’t tell him I said so though, as you know I hate defending…!)

Coming up to half time, as I sort-of warmed up on the sidelines, I was thinking that if the score stayed the same, I might only get a few minutes on the pitch late on, but sure enough, I shouldn’t have worried. Charlton conceded another silly goal when our keeper (Weaves) dropped the ball and their centre half scooped it home from the edge of the box.

At the break, and at 3-1 down, I wondered when Mr Pardew would let me loose, as I really did fancy my chances against two donkeys of centre backs (Don’t tell them I said that though…). But no, he said get warm, and be ready, so I just went through the motions watching our French left back (Kelleee) poke a cross into our own net before finally getting the call to go on. It was Kelleee who came off for me, he was a bit upset about being yanked, but as we passed I just said “C’est la vie” to him (I learnt that at school mum, it’s French speak for “That’s Life”), and I went up front with that nice Mr Gray (the one I told you had that trouble at home – shame eh?). Then they got the killer fifth goal; then I set up Hammer (there's me in the pic above beating the Chinese fella); but then nothing much else happened, even though I thought we could still get something and we did try hard and we showed lots of composure and commitment and effort but we didn’t get the breaks.

I have to say that the crowd were quite nice to me, though it was like being at a Mackems youth game; I’d say there were about 12 or 13 thousand in the ground, but the attendance figure announced was over 20,000. Maybe they count empty seats in this neck of the woods? They did keep singing most of the way through, but Mr Pardew might have been upset with some of the songs that they sung about him at the end of the game – he certainly didn’t look very happy at the finish of the match (Don’t tell him I said that though…).

Old Jim, the doorman, told me that when Charlton shipped five goals at home in the early 1970’s, a previous manager with an Italian name got sacked; and then he said that when Charlton shipped five goals at home in the eighties, another manager who hadn’t been in charge for long got sacked even though he had the European Footballer of the year on his books! Not sure I believe that bit though…

So I’m a bit worried that the nice Mr Pardew might be shown the door after this similar home reversal (Don’t tell him I said that though…); how that affects my chances of getting a few games I don’t know, but if that nice Mr Pardew does leave then I’ll still try my best and want to score in every game. I say bring on the Redvolution!

Well, that’s about all for now; we get a night off tonight so I’m going round to Kelleee’s bedsit to read some books with him, then tomorrow I’m going sightseeing in London town with the rest of the forwards (Luke, Dicko, and Izzy) who didn’t get a run out today. Luckily, I don’t think Weaves is coming otherwise we might get lost – he seems to be getting lost everywhere at the mo, even in his own penalty area! (Don’t tell him I said that though…).

Then on Monday we train for our match on Tuesday, over in the west end. Hope I get to start then?

Lots of Love, your loving son


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