Monday, April 10, 2006

 
Charlton distracted

Saturday's fixture was a muted affair but then it was hardly likely to be anything else. It did though give an opportunity to look at some players who have not played much of a part this season. I accept that for anyone other than fans of Charlton and Everton the game would be a disappointment.

I don't think it merited quite the lashing it got in Sunday's Observer where it was described as "Lifeless, witless, meaningless - it was a game that lived down to expectations, which were far from great. " It wasn't a dull affair and on the whole both teams tried to play football.

Another scoreless draw was hardly a surprise given that everyone's attention is on this Wednesday's game at the Riverside.

Of those who played the best in my view was Sorondo he played a great game at Centre half. Spector looked better at right back than he does on the left.

Jason Euell played OK....but he is not the player he was a couple of years ago. Perry had a great game as did Myrhe. An Everton supporting mate told me that fans were disappointed when Myrhe left Everton and the fantastic applause which greeted his arrival on the pitch was proof of that.

At the front I did feel that we looked unlikely to score. Neither Bent or Bothroyd looked convincing. Without Darren Bent we looked like we did last season - frustrating at front. Curbs was correct when he said that we just shaded it. Our possession was 51%. Surprisingly we had 13 shots on goal ( but only 2 on target) against Everton's 8 (3 on target!).

The game did feel like 2 points lost though all the same. Beattie was a whinger when pulled up for backing in but apart from that one shot just before the break he didnt pose any threat.

So Wednesday it is - and my disappointment at not being able to go - will be overtaken by events if we pull it off and end up in the semi with West Ham.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

 
There's only one greedy b*****d

Like most fans I was angry and so disappointed when Parker took the gold sovs from Chelski. That season was our best ever. The team had been playing brilliantly with Parker central to the way we played. European football was in reach - a real david v goliath story. And then our season collapsed as the team struggled. And - the money we got was never going to replace the player we lost.

Danny Murphy, Franny Jeffers and Romm did not replace him - with all respect to Romm who made a brilliant goal this afternoon.

So I know that Parker should be an automatic for the england squad. His goal was great today. But I still despise him for his ill fated move to Chelski. And how delighted I was today to see his forlorn walk off the pitch today - playing at the great massive club Newcastle..languishing beneath us in the league. Beaten 3-1. And every goal scored by a Charlton player or ex player. It sums it up I think.

We have had so few penalties - these last few seasons - so watching one at the valley was great. But the final goal was brilliant. Romm can move but I though he'd left it too late for a cross. But he hadn't...and it was perfectly delivered and perfectly converted by Bothroyd.

As I was in the Family stand with young kids around me I only joined in quietly to the only one greedy bastard chant. But how right it was. Stuffing Newcastle was brilliant - this end of season really does feel different from the last few seasons.

FA cup fever has gripped Basildon where I live - so I really do want to meet West Ham in the semi final. Lets see how we do next weekend at upton park.

 
There's only one greedy b*****d

Like most fans I was angry and so disappointed when Parker took the gold sovs from Chelski. That season was our best ever. The team had been playing brilliantly with Parker central to the way we played. European football was in reach - a real david v goliath story. And then our season collapsed as the team struggled. And - the money we got was never going to replace the player we lost.

Danny Murphy, Franny Jeffers and Romm did not replace him - with all respect to Romm who made a brilliant goal this afternoon.

So I know that Parker should be an automatic for the england squad. His goal was great today. But I still despise him for his ill fated move to Chelski. And how delighted I was today to see his forlorn walk off the pitch today - playing at the great massive club Newcastle..languishing beneath us in the league. Beaten 3-1. And every goal scored by a Charlton player or ex player. It sums it up I think.

We have had so few penalties - these last few seasons - so watching one at the valley was great. But the final goal was brilliant. Romm can move but I though he'd left it too late for a cross. But he hadn't...and it was perfectly delivered and perfectly converted by Bothroyd.

As I was in the Family stand with young kids around me I only joined in quietly to the only one greedy bastard chant. But how right it was. Stuffing Newcastle was brilliant - this end of season really does feel different from the last few seasons.

FA cup fever has gripped Basildon where I live - so I really do want to meet West Ham in the semi final. Lets see how we do next weekend at upton park.

Friday, March 24, 2006

 
What a great day!

To be drawn West Ham in the semi final is a fantastic incentive for the fans to get behind the team. What a pity that last night we just lacked that edge to get a goal. There were several opportunities which went missing. Herman ( who in my view had a great evening) and Bent both missed opportunities.

Howler of the night though must go to Kish. As readers of my blog will know I'm a fan of his play - but last night's miss was possibly the worst I have seen all season. How we roared since it was utterly embarassing.

Last night was frustrating since I felt we dominated the game - certainly in the first half but for much of the second as well. But I do hope that we do not regret turning our domination into success by scoring a goal which the game cried out for.

There were several excellent performances last night. But stand out for me were Thomas ( who terrorised their defenders), Herman ( who dealt fantastically with their attacks), Chrissy Powell ( who played a blinder) and Perry ( although more than once his clearances played straight to a Boro player and the ball came straight back at us!).

It was a rivetting game for Charlton fans - but for the neutral I can appreciate it was a bore !

So todays news :

1. The draw against West Ham means that a win against Boro makes an FA cup final a good possibility. As a London exile living in Essex I shall look forward to a West Ham fixture with glee. We have, and we can, beat West Ham. The atmosphere promises to be cracking. Just as it was last night. The atmosphere and the noise were truly great last night - it mirrors our 4-2 Boxing Day win against Chelsea for noise from the fans. It was great fun.

2. The club provision of free coaches to the replay guarantees a good sale of tickets for the game at the Riverside. Well done Charlton !!

3. The announcement of season ticket prices for next season is really good news. I am particularly impressed ( as a parent of 4 kids - 3 of whom come to the Valley regularly) by the kids prices and the reduction for under 11s in particular. £5 for a child ticket effectively is just the right price. The reduction in the other prices is equally good news. Football is a fun leisure activity and it does run the risk of pricing itself out of the running by continually taking money away from the fans. Of course I want success in football terms but I do not want to see spiralling prices anymore than I want an Abramovitch to buy the club. Success without big money or ludicrous wages is somethig in itself worth achieving. So well doen Charlton !

And good god we have another fixture on Sunday against a small team from the north east. We can beat them if our players can recover from last night's match.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

 
Premiership goals fest

To those who claim that the Premiership is boring this weekend would give the lie. Some 27 goals were scored in 7 games on Saturday including Arsenal putting 3 goals past Thomas Myrhe.

Two teams scored 4 goals and two more 3 goals. Spectators certainly got their money's worth today.

Our result was not unexpected but the team needed more fight and energy. Jason Euell was given his opportunity but failed to shine. We played with two out and out wingers in Thomas and Rommedahl. That however was not enough to prevent us being overrun in the midfield. Class and skill certainly showed but I do feel that our team could have upped their workrate to close down their players before they got as far as the box. There were several occasions when an attack of ours led to a counter attack with their players finding themselves in our box in a matter of seconds.

But the result although not unexpected is still a disappointment. To those who urge us to play certain players and attempt attacking football I would simply say this. Would you prefer us to go to Highbury, get tonked, and lose 3 nil , or play tight hard working defensive football and come away with a scoreless draw. I would have to admit that I would take the nil nil draw any day of the week. Luckily for us we not only have a 5 point cushion from those teams behind us but both Villa and Middlesborough were beaten. Middlesborough's defeat also means that they come to the valley on the back of a weekend defeat just like us. This is beginning to feel like it has the makings of an exciting match on Thursday. I just hope the players are as up for it as we fans are !

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 
Kish - 75% tackle success

The sky sports table makes fascinating reading. Whilst Luke Young is just above Parker ( who's he ?) in the number of tackles it isjust a few more than Radostin Kishishev who sits below them but with the best success rate in the Premiership at 75%.

It is not an unentirely surprising stat given his work rate and his willingness to put his foot in. It is however the occasional dallying on the ball which frustrates the life out of us fans and his wayward passing particularly in the latter stages of the matches.

Nevertheless his contribution to the team is immense and without him our midfield would be over run every time. The invisible Matty Holland ( and I still cant make my mind up if his invisibility is a sign that he's had a great game or a dreadful one) and the reasonably skilful Hughes would be lost in the middle without KIsh breaking up play, harrying players and generally making a nuisance of himself. The fact that he escapes too many bookings is also a sign of his prowess in this role.

It is interesting to read the debate about attendances in the blogs and message boards. I am saddened by those hankering for the days of the first division ( or second) since I do remember those chilly wet evenings watching us play Stoke or Grimsby. Do try and convince me that the football was better - because it certainly wasnt. What has happened though is that money has distorted the game making us customers and not fans. Big money means that it is truly a capitalist business and it is that in my view which makes it less attractive.

The game is being priced out of reach as a fun activity - even Valley prices are expensive for a family. There are contradictory forces at work here with fans wanting us to sign big name players on ridiculous wages whilst at the same time bemoaning defensive football tactics designed to keep us in the Premiership. We cant have it both ways.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

 
It's 3 more points

Our home victory against Middlesborough at the valley was the first in the league since beating Liverpool at the beginning of February. Three more valuable points earned. It would be hard to say that it was undeserved but Middlesborough will feel unlucky. Both teams played poorly in the first half but all the chances fell to the visitors.

Myrhe made some excellent saves in a half where we conceded several free kicks in dangerous positions. But this did not have the feel of a team which had beaten Chelski 3 nil just a couple of weeks ago. They edged the first half and another snore draw looked on the cards with both teams settling for the draw.

For the third time this season Curbs opted for bold changes at half time with Euell and Thomas coming on. Euell frankly contributed little and I did not feel that he played any better than Bothroyd to be honest. But Thomas caused a nightmare to the Boro defence. He has a real handful and added a decisive difference to our midfield. Where it had lacked creativity in the first half it suddenly came to life. The Valley itself also came to life when Thomas was on the ball rampaging down the left or the centre inspiring the fans as much as he did the players.

His presence gave the second half advantage to the home side.

Chris Powell had an excellent game regularly dispossessing and beating any marauding Boro players on the left side of the pitch. His age was frankly not noticeable.

All credit to that man Bent for putting away the chances which fell to us. It seemed like ( but I'm sure I must have been mistaken) that we had two chances and scored two goals. In between Viduka's strike was a peach of a goal which showed his class - albeit an erratic talent.

Kishishev had a poor day and his attempts to release Bent with the through ball never came off. Hughes also was not at his best and our midfield ( until Thomas made his entrance) really did lack imagination. Frequently Hughes, Kish and Ambrose played with their backs to the opposition with passes moving back rather than forward. Ambrose made several of his super attacking runs but disappointedly dispossessed in the box before he had made the pass which his play called for.

The second goal for Charlton came from a sequence of super fast one touch passing with a great cross - I think from Young- leading to a great goal. If only we could have played at that tempo, and with that imagination, for the whole game !

My five year old nephew had his first match at the Valley today. He thoroughly enjoyed himself managing to keep up some "come on you reds" chanting when all around him were quiet and subduded. A big thanks to the Junior reds office for making his day with a scarf and drinking bottle which proudly made their way home to his mum. ( although I did get into trouble for letting him have bubble gum !).

I also found out last week that my seven year old has got the point of being a true fan. He was delighted to discover that Chelski had been beaten by Barcelona in the champions league. "Dad, I hate Chelsea " he told me when I asked why. Just as his own football skills are improving in his Coombewood YFC under 8s team ( South Essex Thundermite league) he is also grasping the subtler points of being a fan of a team like Charlton. Pleasure is derived not just from your own teams good performances but from the poor ones of others including, and especially, the arrogant ones like Chelsea.

I know that Boro didnt play their best team today but the victory does demonstrate that we could yet go through to the semi finals of the FA cup. An FA cup final is just two games away - lets hope we can do it at last.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

 
Snore draw !

So two games two draws ! The Newcastle game was in truth not a bad result against a team at home which should be doing so much better. The battle of the midfield was not awful but the change to 4-5-1 did make it very congested in the middle and a tight game. I thought we edged it just on play and could have nicked a goal. But in the end a point was something.

The Villa game was something else. I regard this result as two points dropped since we could and should have beaten this team. But from the moment the game started the play and the players looked leaden. In fairness both sides looked tired. Players were content not to challenge for 50 50 balls and certainly - with a few exceptions- not to chase apparent lost causes.

Perhaps the travelling to Newcastle had taken its toll mid week. But whatever our players looked tired and sluggish. The ball did ping about quite usefully in the first half with some neat football being played but breaks and counter attacks just did not come quick enough. When the breaks came the ball ended up trapped in a corner with playes slow to get into or near the box.

It looked like a draw from quite early on. We had a few scares as did the villans. Its a shame that the best opportunities fell to Young and Kish - who with a bit more composure on the ball could have scored. My feeling was that our side is better than Villa. But a number of players were not at their best today : Hughes, Holland, Spector and even Bent. Ambrose is going to be quite a player with his mazy runs always looking dangerous until he arrived at the box not quite sure what to do or who to pass to.

Our midfield lacked ideas and the introduction of Bothroyd, Euell and El K did not sharpen it up at all whereas Luke Moore's presence for Villa gave them more edge and danger.

So its another draw. Im not frustrated or worried - but disappointed that we did not collect more than 2 points from these last two games.

Still like everyone - including the players and management I feel - its still the Cup that has grabbed my attention. Was down at the ticket office on Sturday at 10.30 to buy my tickets !!!

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