Sunday 28 November 2010

Incomming text...

FA Cup 3rd Round draw...It seems like every Spurs fan I know wants to tell me how much of a beating I'm going to get...and there are a good number of them ranging across friends, work colleagues and family. There I am, firmly in my place as small-fry amongst the big boys with whom we once mixed. Oh how I remember that scuffed, shinned, scrambled effort by Powell that earnt us a 0-1 thrashing of Spurs at The Lane in the all-to-painfully distant past. There I sat amongst the Glory Boys of Spurs, unable to celebrate the goal, bursting inside, loving every minute.

Not least of all, we have to overcome Luton, who themselves lament of better times. Big boys against those that have fallen on hard times. I'll take your long odds because, like Luton Town, we've not got anything more to loose.

I will not take anything for granted, and if we're lucky enough to go through against Luton...I will stand proudly as an Addick!

Thursday 25 November 2010

Get Well Soon, Mrs. Pettyfer...

I normally have a quick check of my e-mails whilst I wait for the kettle to boil in the morning and so it was with some considerable shock and sadness to read within the club's Bulletin e-mail that Lifelong supporter, Lynne Pettyfer, was hospitalised after being struck on the head by a coin thrown from a fellow 'supporter' in the Upper North late on in the game V's Rovers.

Evidently Mrs. Pettyfer has followed the Addicks home and away since the 50's, and despite her and her husband, Kieth, clearly being very shook-up by this incident, both are still aiming to attend Saturday's game. That's the Charlton spirit! Good on her.

I simply can't comprehend what would motivate anyone to do such a thing and I hope the club find the idiot responsible and ban him for life.

If by extending the coverage of this story to a handful more people in the hope that the culprit can be found, then it will have been worth the effort in posting it.

Meanwhile, get well soon, Mrs. Pettyfer.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

West Country Woes: Addicks Winning Streak Halted...

We've been a bit spoiled lately, so I guess it's inevitable there will be some that will be disappointed with last night's draw against lowly Bristol Rovers, especially having to come from a goal down. Rovers had gained a very well earned point away at league leaders, Brighton, on Saturday and so it shouldn't have come as any great surprise that they had no intention of rolling over easily for us to continue our winning run. I didn't think Rovers were great, but in truth, as was the case against Yeovil on Saturday (of whom I was quite impressed with), the gulf between top and bottom in this division is not obvious enough for any game to be considered easy.

It was interesting to note that the statistics for the game (via the BBC) had possession at 50% - 50%: I would have said the Addicks had more of the play, especially in the first half. We certainly had the better chances, although you had to admire the quality of finish to their goal. Our goal, wrongly credited to Reid by the PA announcer at The Valley, was a scrappy affair, but most welcome when it came from the shin of Benson.

In my keenness to write this post before I get deep inside my work for the day, I haven't breezed over my fellow Addicks blogs as I would normally do, so please excuse me if I repeat anything wrote elsewhere. Not that I expect that the views of the fair-minded Addick would differ that much. What we saw last night was a decent, hard working performance with positive signs and almost excusable down-sides, notably the gaps left by important absentee's and the effects of the heavy fixture list of late. We could well have had a win but for two first-class saves from their keeper, firstly from Benson's close-range shot in the first half and then from Sodje's diving header in the second. I thought after both incidents that it may not be our day. I feel worn out with 3 trips to the freezing cold Valley inside a week, so I'd forgive the players for being a little bit leggy. I'll be pleased to see Anyinsah back soon as I think his pace and movement would have made a difference tonight. I'd like to offer a special mention to Francis, who I thought played well last night. In my opinion, he seems to have had some rather unfair criticism this season. Generally, I thing the quality of set-pieces from both him and Jackson have dramatically improved an area that has been such a weakness in our game for as long as I can remember. They are not perfect, but this is League One.

None the less, I'm hugely encouraged by the spirit shown after we conceded. Perhaps in recent years this is a game we would have gone on to lose. We seemed to pass with a greater confidence and purpose (that comes with winning games, of course) and this must be encouraged even if we do make a mistake every now and again. I can see a shape to the team that was so desperately lacking against Brighton. Of course, we all know if we are to push for promotion this season, we will need to turn draws in to wins, especially at home, but the signs are far better than this time last month.

One notable disappointment from last night was the crowd. Officially noted at 13,468, I suspect it was actually far lower, which is a real shame. Quite what is keeping the casual or occasional fans from attending more regularly (or the season ticket holders, for that matter), especially with the team on a good run and nicely placed in the league, I don't know.

And so on to Saturday and another trip to The Valley. This time it's the FAC and I welcome a break from the far more important pressures of the league. Luton will bring a big following and they will be lively and loud: it will be a tough and uncomfortable afternoon. For the good of the club's finances, I hope we sneak a win in the hope we can draw a big premiership team at home in the 3rd round. It will be the first time I will have seen Charlton in the 2nd round of the FAC. As was the case with the 1st Round, I hope it will be my last for all the right reasons!

And worst of all, this week I forgot my hot soup for the journey home!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Hot Soup...

Other than Robbie Elliot, it's hard to imagine anyone enjoying the match day experience last night. These are nights to endure...get out of the way...and then forget about as our attention turns to the far more important matter of two home league games inside the next week. With the North Stand empty the stadium was completely devoid of atmosphere; a totally uninspiring fixture, an extra burden of a game that nobody wanted on a desperately cold night. And all this served only to guarantee a low turn-out. None the less, the gate was far lower than even I'd predicted. A few hundred less than 5000 bothered to brave the cold...but I couldn't be critical of those that stayed away. All around you on nights like this are constant reminders of how low we have fallen. Fingers crossed that's the last time we will ever see the 1st Round of the FA Cup! Thank God we was spared extra time.

I know what you might be thinking: nobody bends my arm to go to these sort of games. Of course they don't, but it's what 'supporters' do and it's what I'll always do. If I attempted to think too deeply about whether it really made sense I'd probably have given up on football a long time ago. Good times with the bad, rough with the smooth, highs and lows, peaks and troughs. But then if you're bothering to read this blog then I know you'll know what I mean. I have, however, endured enough of these sorts of desperate nights to have had the foresight to make a warm flask of soup for my drive home. It was the best thing about the evening!

Not that I will be critical of the players. Last night was certainly not the time and place to judge too deeply the recent change in form or whether it has the legs to continue. If the brief was to get a goal - however it came - and just somehow survive the remainder of the match without conceding, getting someone sent off or picking up an injury, then it was a job completed successfully, if not with distinction. Reid's individual goal was very well crafted, but you could almost see him dropping down the gears in his celebration afterwards and he may as well have not been on the pitch in the second half. Elliot was truly outstanding throughout with some top-draw saves. It may well have been his best game for Charlton. He needed to be good: Barnet had nothing to loose and considering we made little effort to get a second, their chances were coming around pretty frequently.

And so on to Saturday, where the mood and gate will thankfully be totally different even if the temperature remains the same. We have a very good opportunity with the two back-to-back league games to further cement our place within the top 6.

Things will be a little different for me on Saturday as I will have the company of my good friend, Bolts, who is taking his young nephew along to what will be only his 3rd experience of a professional match (he's been to a couple of Norwich games, which is his home town club). Lets hope The Valley and Charlton leave a good impression on the young lad.

Saturday 13 November 2010

Dare We Dream?

Another away win. 5 more goals. Second in the league. In the words of Jim Royal...I can't smile wide enough!

Wednesday 3 November 2010

A Most Welcome Tuesday Night Treat

How pleasant it is to have that little bit extra spring in your step today (assuming you're an Addick!). I love those private little moments when you rise out of bed still half-asleep, flick the kettle and then all of a sudden your ever-focusing mind recalls the result from the night before forcing your face into a wide grin that would look strange if observed by anyone with no knowledge of what you're grinning at. The opposite emotional morning feeling has been all-to-frequently felt over the last 3-4 years in particular, so I welcome this added daily boost.

What appears to have been a comfortable win at a potentially tricky place in The County Ground is very encouraging indeed. We should guard against getting too carried away, of course, but this is a big result none the less. Strangely, I was quite confident that we'd not get beat last night at least, but a win: I wasn't expecting that!

Nice to see the two front men on the score sheet once again. It looks like they are forming a very well balanced and dangerous partnership. Well done to Parky who has managed to keep calm and remain professional amongst the growing army of discontented Addicks who question his leadership and ability to take us back to the second tier of English football. Interesting that we never made any changes throughout the game: I wonder when the last time that happened? Well done, also, to the 400 odd travelling Addicks who made their way to Wiltshire. As was the case against Carlisle, their efforts have been rewarded.

Perhaps the mauling at the hands of Brighton was just one of those freak results and the unified critical response - which gained substantial support for the 'Parky Out' brigade - may well have been a tad harsh upon reflection. The exit route from this division is for anyone to grasp. Brighton may well be on a roll at present, but their own history indicates they are prone to 'derailing' throughout the season.

A good day to be an Addick...