Tuesday 27 November 2012

Momentary Reminders...

For reasons known only to technology, every single time I open my Sky Sports football app on my iPhone I am momentarily greeted by the screen shot noted above. Every single time! You will recall, of course, that wonderful scoreline dates back to November 2010 when Johnnie Jackson and Lee Martin both scored a brace and Racon chipped in with an all-too-rare goal to give us the 3 points at London Road. That victory lifted us into second place in League One and kept our unbeaten run going for the 6th consecutive game. Unfortunately, you may also recall that just 6 games after that the wheels had firmly fallen off Charlton's promotion push and Phil Parkinson got the sack from the new club owners after an appalling 2-4 home defeat to Swindon.
Funny how things can change so quickly in football.
Tonight (and in a different division) the Addicks entertain a struggling Peterborough at The Valley and all the signs would hint to a Charlton victory. Certainly, even after the disappointment of the late equaliser from Huddersfield on Saturday, thus denying Chris Powell's men a 4th straight victory, Charlton should be confident and in good spirits. P'Bro, on the other hand, have been poor all season and continue to leak goals. A few weeks back this could easily have been a relegation 6-pointer, but our recent good form has taken us to mid-table and rightly eying the Play-Off places rather than the bottom 3.
Question is, what Charlton will turn up tonight? 
I never sit comfortable on nights like this! Every time I read a comment on Twitter assuming this is a 'home banker' or 'guarenteed 3 points' I cringe. I've seen so many nights at The Valley when expectations are crushed. It always seems to be raining on those nights as well!
We need the Covered End in good form tonight, that's for sure. Anything like the awesome atmosphere against Cardiff 3 weeks back and Charlton should be inspired to go for the kill.
Come on you Addicks! 

Friday 9 November 2012

Time For A Change...

Sometimes it's small details that can have a big impact, and I wonder whether I'm the only one who feels that Charlton's No. 1, Ben Hamer, should spare a few moments to consider his apparel if we are to improve our 'goals against' tally? He won't need me to point out that 8 goals conceded in 2 games is hardly ideal, and although it would be harsh to say the least for Ben to take the blame, I think there is something he can do to improve matters.
In short...ditch the awful white 'keepers kit and go for one of those garish colours you associate with an office highlighting pen!
Before I go on, I'll point out that (like you) I detest those luminescent colours as much as Hamer hates the 'Millwall scum' (allegedly!) but they do have a significant impact on the appearance of a man's size. In essence, they make you look bigger: much, much bigger.
I was bought up in an era when goalkeepers filled their goals with bulk, facial hair and hot air (think Neville Southall), whereas our much-loved Ben, with his racing-snake physique and wispy beard, needs to exude a greater physical presence. He's OK on the anger bit, from what I see.
I've drawn an image of how Ben might look below from the view of an oncoming striker.
Admit it...if you was tearing down on goal, you'd be terrified...and ultimately miss the onion bag...by miles...much to the merriment of The Valley faithful.   

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Relentless Noise...

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why football is the best sport in the world! Charton 5 Cardiff City 4. What an unbelievable scoreline. What an unbelievable night.
Better bloggers than I will make sense of how the game unfolded, and they can all be found here. All I know is it was up there with all those other unforgettable nights I've witnessed at The Valley. I left the ground shaking my head in disbelief at what I'd just seen. No chance of sleeping! 
So much of Charlton's performance was disjointed due to the crippling injury list and mistakes were evident on both sides (you don't get scorlines like that without them), but yet again, Sir Chris and his battle-weary charges gave everything they had and more. Our talismanic Skipper, Johnnie Jackson lead by example and, as the picture above proved, quite literally rolled up his sleeves and dragged us back in the game when we was 0-2 down and looking dead and buried. Bradley Pritchard was immense. Stephens looked class in the midfield and deserved his goal. Hulse and Haynes looked dangerous. Elsewhere, everyone else played their part.
And if there was any doubt whatsoever that the real fans are behind Sir Chris, then the Covered End put on a power show as impressive as I can remember in support of our manager. The relentless volume from the North Upper was quite something. Even when Cardiff scored after just 3 minutes the Covered End, lead by two drummers, simply upped the volume (you could barely hear the Cardiff fans celebrating the goal) with a rousing rendition of 'Chrissy Powell's Red & White Army' that continued without a break for most of the first half. If ever there was a fine example of the 12th man it was last night. Within hours of the final whistle, a number of Charlton players had taken to Twitter to praise the support. Proof that backing the team gets results. To the idiotic minority: please take note.

Oh, go on then...let's indulge in at least one of the 9 goals scored, courtesy of jipscentral on YouTube. Dale Stephens puts us in front to the delight of the Valley faithful.

It was easy to forget that this was just another game in a long season; just 3 valuable points and a couple of places gained in the league table. But it means much more deep down. Everything about last night represents every reason why I am so proud to be an Addick. I love this club! Highs & lows, forever Charlton!

Monday 5 November 2012

Five Years On...

Almost exactly 5 years ago Charlton played Cardiff under the lights at The Valley, winning by an impressive 3-0 scorline after two first half goals from Sam Sodje and Chris Iwelumo plus another in the second half from Zheng Zhi. Pardew purred in typical smarmy fashion after the game as Charlton moved up into an automatic promotion position and Cardiff's then-manager, Dave Jones, lamented that they were "all in it together" following yet another disappointing result. Only goal difference kept Cardiff out of the relegation zone after that defeat. How the roles have been reversed since then? Ironically, Charlton could be the ones heading for the relegation zone after 90 mins tomorrow.  
I remember that night fondly as I won nearly £800 after correctly predicting the first goal scorer and final score! I'm no gambler, and I placed the bet on a whim with small change in my pocket.
How I'd love a repeat of that night tomorrow when table-topping Cardiff visit the Valley once again!
Last Saturday was always going to be tough against an in-form Boro, but after a decent enough 30 mins in which we took the lead, Charlton steadily fell apart, handing possession away far too freely with unforced errors and poor desision-making that cost us dearly against an impressive looking Boro. We have the sort of injury list that would hurt any team in any division, but we are looking strangely disorganised and seriously low on quality and confidence at the moment, which is a big worry. The league table does not look good despite some recent encouraging away performances and I can't recall a time when Charlton so desperately need a home win to halt the decline. Powell's lack of experience as a manager shows sometimes, but he will need to find a system that can grind out results with the players that are available to him now.
One things for sure, unlike the idiots calling for his head, I remain with the majority of fair-minded Addicks that are 100% behind Sir Chris and his ability to turn this poor form around.

I was due to take my 6 year old lad for what would have been only his second ever Charlton game on Saturday, but the grim weather and the lure of watching Madagascar 3 at the cinema with his sister and Nan meant I sensed his heart wasn't in it and I made a late substitution with my Mum coming along instead. I was gutted my boy didn't seem up for it, but I'm not going to force him. Probably for the best given the result. My Mum has seen enough dark times to not give up.
I've said so many times that The Valley under floodlights is a magical place and we need it to be tomorrow night. It's still a bit early for sleepless nights but I'd swap a large win at the bookies for 3 points for Charlton.  Come on you Addicks!