Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Beautiful Friend

The League One table makes for very nice reading at the moment, with Charlton sitting pretty at the top; unbeaten in eight league games (with six wins and two draws), the Addicks even have a game in hand on several of their closest rivals. And this, after Charlton were dealt a fairly tough opening set of fixtures to the new season.

It does make one proud!

The away form has been excellent, with four wins on the trot. Since my last post, victory over Bury (2-1) and Rochdale (3-2) has been accomplished, with both games close. Both required Charlton to show some fight, the first after going behind for the first time this season, and the last game (on Saturday) when a two-goal lead disappeared soon after half-time. It does seem that the days of Charlton rolling over when the going gets tough are behind us, for a while at last!

Home form has been rather more patchy, with another two-goal lead being relinquished in the draw with Scunthorpe; if this game had been seen out (it was a very late equaliser), Charlton would be clear at the top and not simply ahead of Sheffield United on alphabetical order. Another draw came in the televised game with Sheffield Wednesday, who played in the spirit of their manager Gary Megson - all huff and puff and bowling over anyone who stood in their way. It was slightly disappointing to be pegged back again after Bradley Wright-Phillipps early strike, but it did look like both managers would settle for a point apiece quite a way before the end. After that, a win came against Exeter but not with some controversy. Even after watching it on TV, I do not know it Danny Nardiello’s toe-poke crossed the goal-line, but he was just plain stupid to issue a series of expletives to the linesman some minutes later. It was the same way that Garry Nelson got his red card at The Valley about twenty years ago and the walk back to the changing rooms must be pretty long when you realise how silly you have been. The win still had to be earned, and goals from BWP and Dale Stephens got us home against the ten-men.

In the Carling Cup, the terrific performance against Reading by eleven reserves was confounded when the same team performed badly against Preston. Only a few of that side (Evina, Euell, anyone else?) came out of it with any plus-marks, and some had very poor games (Francis comes to mind). It is unlikely that the team would have progressed much further, and maybe their collective heads had dropped since even after a great performance none were able to force their way into the (league) first team?

While all the talk last year was of the squad taking time to gel, we now have 19 new signings and nobody mentioning any similarity. They are told how the manager wants them to play, have bonded well, and go about their business in the right manner. We will lose this season, it is just a matter of time, but from the evidence so far, the heart is there and heads should not drop after one loss.

I have been mightily impressed by Danny Hollands, and his midfield play – tackling, harrying, taking the easy pass – has been excellent so far; the two headed goals he scored at Rochdale were bonuses I think, and he won’t get too many more all season. I suppose we just have to hope he doesn’t fall asleep in the middle of a game now he has newly-borne triplets (all girls) to look after and care for.

The centre of defence has been solid too, and you wouldn’t really want to meet Michael Morrison or Matt Taylor in a dark alley late at night, even though I’m sure both are lovely chaps!

Up front, Paul Hayes is settling in, and I think all he needs is a home goal or two to settle the crowd in his favour. It does annoy me sometimes that we have players who play terrifically well, making goals for others, and scoring at away grounds, but unless they hit a Valley net, there is always a question mark about them. BWP will get more goals having Hayes alongside him, and provided he stays fit and manages his knees well, he looks a sure fire bet to pas the twenty-goal mark.

The difference in the team is astounding from what we saw earlier this year and the Board and management must take a huge amount of pride and pleasure from seeing them do so well. Long may it continue!

Which brings me to the point in time where I can break some news about something that will not be continuing – this blog.

I have had six happy years bashing away at the keyboard, adding opinion to previews and reviews of games, but these posts have become fewer and fewer over the last 15 months or so. My love for Charlton has not diminished, but my love for typing has a little! With other commitments to the fore, something has to give and so I feel it is time to formally close Charlton Athletic Online to new posts. I will leave it up online for posterity, as many Addicks fans (and others) do seem to search out bits and pieces that I have included over the years.

There are many other fabulous blogs about Charlton – many listed on the right hand side of this page – and they have more time than I do to continue with their writing. I read most of them daily, which is possibly one reason why I have less time to write my own posts! I will from now on merely add comments to their posts as and when I feel the urge!

It’s been fun doing this – from the Premiership, to the Championship, to League One. Today’s team have some ability to start our journey in the opposite direction.

Lots of love


Come on you Addicks!


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