Sunday 14 September 2014

Satisfying Statistic (the one that matters)...

Watford, with their penchant for falling over far too easily and constant moaning towards the ref, are a really difficult club to warm to these days. Changes in management doesn't seem to have changed some of their unsporting habit's on the pitch. Despite his rather odd figure, their striker Frank Sidebottom Troy Deeney is a perfect fit for the captains armband given he leads by example if the ethos at the club is to try and deceive the referee and 'win' free kicks. It's a real shame; Watford are capable of playing some really neat football at times and without the disagreeable elements of their game, should be a decent side to watch. 
There has been few things more satisfying in recent seasons than winning games of football against Watford. 
Not for the first time this season Charlton failed to dominate possession at home but still managed to top the only stat that matters, goals! Peeters preference for Charlton to play a passing game remained, and we should all encourage that, but the ball rarely stuck up top long enough to give our back four a breather. There were spells yesterday when Watford swarmed forward in such regularity that it felt just a matter of time before they'd score the equaliser, especially as the ref seemed increasingly keen to blow his whistle and point his hand towards our goal. But Charlton's back four held strong and in goal Henderson put in a MOM performance with a couple of crucial saves late on.
Yet again, Bikey-Amougou was a monster!
The most significant moment of the match came in the 3rd minute when Vetokele was bought down inside the box after a superb through-ball from Cousins. No question it was a penalty. Yoni Buyens once again calmly slotted home Charlton's spot kick against the backdrop of the away fans in the Jimmy Seed. That strike was ultimately enough to give the Addicks victory.
Seven minutes after the goal, Charlton paid their respects to our former player, David Whyte, with an emotional period of applause and a rendition of 'David Whyte, Whyte, Whyte'. A moving tribute befitting our former number 10, who's unquestionable talents left you speechless at times. Full credit to the Watford fans; they observed the moment superbly despite the game of football still being played out in front of them.  
My young son came with me yesterday and I think it was fair to say he was chuffed to bits with the sticker album that was given away free with the matchday magazine. The media lads behind this initiative deserve a huge pat on the back. There's something primeval about a boy's love of sticker albums! At the time of writing this, the lad is sat on the sofa watching the Sunday re-run of Match of The Day, clutching his sticker album jealously as if someone will steal it away if he leaves it for a single second...
Charlton up to 5th. Wolves at home on Tuesday. Another tough game ahead, but one in which we can rightly be confident of getting something from.
When is it acceptable to start looking at the league table and daring to dream?

Wednesday 10 September 2014

RIP David Whyte...

News had been circulating on social media in the last day or so, but this morning Charlton confirmed the very sad news that former Charlton striker, David Whyte, has passed away at the ridiculously young age of 43.
It was back on the 22nd of October 1994, on a windy, grey and gloomy Saturday afternoon at the Valley that David Whyte scored Charlton's goal in a 2-1 defeat to Burnley. It was the very first Charlton goal that I ever saw in person. It was also my first ever visit to the Valley, a stadium I'd fallen in love with as a small boy. It was a day I will never ever forget, even in defeat.
Almost two years on to the day, I missed arguably David Whyte's most memorable goal for Charlton, against Liverpool at the Valley in the League cup. Despite being a regular to home games at the time the game was all-ticket and the Valley had sold out it's 15,000 seats before I could get hold of one. I travelled to the Valley that night and stood outside the gates pre-match pleading with Addicks for a spare. It wasn't to be. Knowing I'd missed David's goal in front of a packed Valley was the reason I finally committed to a season ticket, which I've held every year since.      
In the three years that David Whyte continued to play for Charlton he became a firm favourite of mine. I always wondered what held him back from playing at a higher level than us. I still wonder that to this day. I don't think David realised how good he was, or perhaps nobody was able to get it out of him.
According to the club, Whyte played 106 times for The Addicks, scoring 35 times. A decent strike rate for a very decent striker. David Whyte was a proper goal scorer, capable of moments of real brilliance.
Rest in peace, David. My thoughts to your family and your friends. I shall raise a glass to you tonight...David Whyte, Whyte, Whyte!

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Please Charlton, No!!!

It was my fellow blogger, Marco, that caused me to choke on my cup of tea this morning by posting a picture on twitter of this truly shocking story in The Greenwich Visitor (pic left). The morning after yet another deathly quiet Charlton transfer deadline day and we now learn we have made a 'new signing' after all; the questionably named 'Charlton Cherubs'. Now right from the outset I want to make it perfectly clear that I have nothing whatsoever against young ladies (or men, if that's your choice) engaging in a pastime that they enjoy and are passionate about (I would debate the bit about it being a sport, mind), but there is absolutely no justifiable place in British football for pom-pom waving cheerleaders. Never has been and never will be. EVER!
Apparently Charlton approached Greenwich University looking for  some ideas to 'strengthen the relationship', which I can only applaud, but this is just not the way to do it. For the good of both parties, let's please try something else.
I'm not going to even bother commenting on their desire to "get things like the Mexican wave started" other than to wish them the very best of luck but not to get too disappointed when it doesn't happen.
Football culture just doesn't lend itself to cheerleaders. It's not a laddish thing to say that. It just doesn't. It may well work in American sport where the fan experience is very different, but not in football. For a start, in most American sports there is not the tradition of 'away fans' offering a healthy balance to a charged atmosphere. We don't lack that element here, generally speaking. 
In British football, the chants and songs sung passionately from the stands are what gives clubs identity and individualism, and no amount of encouragement from attractive young ladies in mini-skirts will influence the Covered End to give anyone a 'C' and an 'H'...and so on.
Of course, I might well be getting worked up over nothing - God knows there's been plenty of that going on amongst Addicks lately - so perhaps I should stick to my own well used principles of reserving judgement until I've seen it. After all, just down the road Palace have been using Cheerleaders for some time now and not quite everyone laughs at them.
Palace also use goal music; another awful sporting Americanism. Palace also have 'Ultras'...
I'm very, very keen for these similarities with our neighbours to end immediately.  
A brief look over the Charlton hashtag on twitter and it's obvious the groundswell of opinion against the introduction of cheerleaders gathers momentum. Let's hope the club listens carefully. It is not these young ladies fault and they don't deserve to be booed (as some are suggesting they will do). I'm sure their dance routines and pom-pom antics would be great to watch in the right environment.
Let's not beat around the bush here, no matter what perfectly good intentions may be behind this initiative, it will not improve the atmosphere at The Valley and will serve to irritate far more than it entertains.