Sunday, 30 September 2007

Llanera faces bankruptcy warns Spain

Normally reliable sources close to Spain's central bank are claiming that Llanera faces bankruptcy. A central bank official in Madrid stated, 'There is growuing evidence that smaller real estate companies and housebuilders who launched projects late in the cycle may have problems.'

This follows a warning by Professor Michael Ball to the Investment Property Forum on Thursday night. The professor of real estate at Reading University stated that second home owners in the Mediterranean facing a property correction because of the credit crisis.

Savills, the estate agency, have conducted a survey which claims that the most common motive of purchasers is to make a profit through capital appreciation on the model of the British housing market. This makes markets even more precarious, given that buyers may have overestimated the rental returns they could make from these properties.

Estate agents in Spain say that demand for second homes on the Mediterranean coast where Llanera operates has been softening for two years. Many have reported a virtual standstill since May after a series of corruption scandals and a collapse in property-related shares.

It might be suggested that to lose one sponsor through financial problems is a misfortune, to lose two is carelessness. Having been through this experience before, the club is better placed than many to tackle it a second time. But it is an off pitch distraction we could do without.

A sense of disappointment?

If the Addicks had won at Coventry, they would have gone top of the Championship. Typical of the press coverage is:
Sunday Times

Predictably the Baggies have flattened the Super Hoops 5-1 and have gone ahead of us. West Brom are the classic yo-yo team and a real threat to us this season.

Comments from fans have focused on the denied penalty. Whilst I am not of the 'penalties don't count' school, and this one was at a key stage of the match, it is not good relying on penalties to win us matches. Referees often fail to get these decisions right: indeed Coventry had a good penalty claim denied.

I thought that there were two general faults in our play yesterday: the forwards often looked too isolated (although I would have brought on Todorov rather than McLeod); and our central defence looked suspect at crucial moments.

We need to get three points at Hull. There are a number of these northern away matches midweek which makes it very difficult for anyone working to attend unless they take a day off (which is often impossible anyway). I shall therefore miss Preston away as well, although I have hopes of getting to Burnley in March with one of their supporters.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Addicks rue missed chances

Charlton will rue a number of missed chances, particularly by McLeod, after their 1-1 draw against Coventry at the Ricoh Stadium today. Given that there was a rash of draws in the Championship, the result leaves them in 2nd position, although the Baggies could overtake them if, as expected, they beat QPR at home tomorrow.

Lloyd Sam was scorer for Charlton after 15 minutes, but Coventry equalised late in the second half. A 1-1 draw was our prediction for this match and, on the balance of play, it was not an unfair result. We also had the pleasure of seeing how annoyed Iain Dowie was when the first goal went on.

The Sky Blues dancing girls came on waving some shreds of kitchen foil. I notice that when the teams came on to the pitch their moves were not coordinated. The Coventry chairman came on in a tasteless light brown suit and made some remarks that were drowned out by the jeers of the Addickted. A naff tune that could apply to any club called City was played.

Charlton made a couple of early errors. Semedo lost the ball allowing Coventry to attack. Reid made an unforced error, but he made up for it when he put a superb ball right across the pitch to Semedo. However, the Millwall hater could only put in a soft shot to keeper Andy Marshall who I am sure I saw play for Norwich City reserves at The Valley many years ago (Sky Blues have wisely dropped the hapless Whatawasteofmoneytopoulos).

Neither side was really in charge in the first fifteen minutes and it was therefore especially pleasing when Lloyd Sam scored at the other end. He controlled a high clearance well and put the ball past Marshall.

Chris Powell was in great form at this stage of the match and engaged in some excellent defensive work. Coventry have collected more yellow cards than any team in the league apart from Sheffield Wednesday and charm merchant Robbie Simpson was booked for a foul on Reid.

Luke Varney was brought down in the box and there was a strong penalty call from the Addickted. Pards has subsequently said that he thought it was a penalty which would have hopefully given Charlton a 2-0 lead from which Coventry would have found it hard to recover.

As the half hour was passed, hesitation by Fortune left the goal at Coventry's mercy but fortunately the shot came off the post. Sky Blues won a corner, Weaver punched out Doyle's effort and the Charlton defence started to panic, leading to two further corners (good news for the firm of builders sponsoring them).

Charlton won a corner but the delivery was too low and generally poor. It's an aspect of our play that still concerns me. Sam turned provider for Big Chris, but Marshall saved. Iwelumo then put in a header that was not too far wide.

Half time: Sky Blues 0, Addicks 1

At times the first half had been played at quite a relaxed pace, but the second half was more frenetic as Coventry searched for an equaliser. Semedo conceded a free kick in a dangerous position, picking up a yellow card. The free kick came off the Charlton wall. Another mistake by Fortune required Weaver to make a good save with his feet. Iwelumo won Charlton a corner and Reid put in a decent effort, but it was cleared.

Weaver had to make a save on the ground. Luke Varney burst through, but was ruled offside and the keeper saved anyway. A moment of danger in front of the Charlton goal led to a Sky Blues corner.

Dowie withdrew Leon Best, who was not and brought on Dean Adebola. Charlton applied some pressure, but Coventry broke away and won a corner. Former Quorn ace Luke Varney, who must have played nearby in more humble grounds, was withdrawn and replaced by McLeod.

Sky Blues won another two corners. McLeod won Charlton a free kick and Stephen Hughes was booked. McLeod burst through and was one on one with Marshall but his weak effort was easily saved, the keeper giving him a reassuring pat on the head. Coventry had a penalty call and both me and the bloke in front of me thought it was as good as that denied to Charlton.

Lloyd Sam was withdrawn in favour of Matt Holland and went straight down the tunnel. McLeod made another of his runs but put in a tame shot. Then on 84 minutes the Mosquito at last started to buzz. With a big gap opening up in the Charlton defence, he buzzed through and put the ball well beyond the reach of Weaver at the near post into the far corner of the net. The home crowd suddenly came alive.

A Charlton free kick led to a corner, but once again it was poor. Semedo was cynically brought down. Then Chris Iwelumo had a great chance to score from a header and we all thought that it must have gone in, but it went just wide. Someone said that it was reminiscent of the Lisbie miss at Watford.

Although Charlton won another corner in the four minutes added on, it was clear that the match was going to end all square. An away point at Coventry is far from a bad result, but many had hoped for more.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible and Hooch the Pooch conferred in the car on the way back and have awarded the Silver Bone to Lloyd Sam for his contribution througout the match as well as his goal. 'There's only one Lloyd Sam' sang the Addickted with fervour when he was substituted. Weaver made a number of good saves and was not really at fault for the goal when he was let down by his defence. Fortune showed a worrying tendency to be error prone and nearly gave Coventry an equaliser in the first half. Bougherra was not prominent although he seemed to do his job well enough. Powell had a great game until towards the end when arguably he was at fault for the goal. Can he last ninety minutes? Mills had another good game, powerful in defence and threatening in attack, although he collected an avoidable booking. Semedo had a good game, showing some silky skills. Reid made a good contribution, passing well, although some of his corners were a little disappointing. Zheng Zhi had some excellent moments, but also some less good ones. Varney played his heart out, but was sometimes lacking in that final ten per cent of skill that would make the difference. Iwelumo had been identified as the danger man by Coventry and was closely marked, but missed one golden chance to score from a header. McLeod was energetic when he came on, but his finishing was poor and the lack of skill needed for the Championship showed. Holland played reliably when he came on.

Hiss of the Match has been given by Juneau the Soccer Cat to Iain Dowie for being a plonker. The tracksuit may be intended to suggest effectiveness in contrast to Alan Pardew's sharp suit, but all it does is try to contribute to a pretence that he is a top line manager.

Crowd rating: 8/10. The large group of Addickted was in good voice and I particularly enjoyed the apposite chant of 'Your ground is too big for you.'

The Big Day Dawns

For the small band of Warwickshire Addicks this is one of the biggest matches of the season as Charlton face Iain Dowie's Coventry City. You could probably fit the Warwickshire fans of Charlton into one of Racing Club Warwick's Racing To Get You There minibuses. Occasionally I see them trundling empty through an affluent village as they search in vain for the socially excluded (which is why the council paid for them).

You may have seen the brilliant YouTube video in which Adolf Hitler is a Sheffield United fan who is brought news of their relegation. Foaming at the mouth, the fuhrer threatens not to renew his season ticket and advises Warnock what he can do with himself. 'It had to be Unsworth who scored', raves the fuhrer. See it here:

Hitler 'Coventrated' the city of Coventry and today one can see the poignant ruins of the old cathedral alongside what I think is a modern masterpice by Sir Basil Spence where I have been to a number of events that have filled the building. It is, however, arguable that the post-war planners did more damage to the city with their ring road on stilts and their shopping precinct, although an effort has been made to improve the latter.

I was amused that the Google Ad we were carrying earlier in the week was one for flights out of Coventry. This must be the only airport in the country with a temporary terminal building, but the flights have enraged Brakes supremo David Hucker who lives under the flight path in the chocolate box village of Stoneleigh.

Coventry supporters are anticipating an easy win today. Andy Turner's 'big match prediction' is a 2-1 win for the Sky Blues with Chris Iwelumo named as danger man: Big Match .

Pride sometimes comes before a fall. I am forecasting a 1-1 draw: at least that should prevent women Coventry supporters staging Lady Godiva style rides in honour of Iain Dowie.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Mosquito bite is Dowie's secret weapon

Maltese international Michael Mifsud, nicknamed 'The Mosquito', is a household name in Malta and Coventry after he scored two goals at Old Trafford in the Carling Cup. The magic midget who is somewhat on the portly side is a little reminiscent of Ben Mackie whom Coventry offloaded on to Leamington after playing him in their first team.

You can read more about the Maltese threat to Charlton here:

Two dog reporters named for game

Ivy and Hooch enjoyed a regular lunchtime swim when they were on work experience with the St.John Ambulance at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire in August

Both senior match analyst Hooch the Pooch and up and coming young reporter Ivy the Terrible will be covering tomorrow's game. This is an unusual step and underlines the importance of the game to the Warwickshire shepherds. 'We can also double up as guard dogs,' explained Hooch the Pooch who is a little portly himself but tries to keep fit by daily swims in the Grand Union Canal. Hooch will return to Leamington with Ivy rather than go home to Long Itchington so that he can help with the match analysis.

Your referee tomorrow

One of the things that is different about the Championship is that we don't know the referees. There are no 'personality' refs who subsequent become minor celebrities and pundits like Graham Poll. The methane breathing appartus is no longer in evidence to accommodate referees who have just arrived from another planet. On the other hand, some of the refs in the Championship might as well have come from a minor asteroid for all the use they are, particularly in controlling foul play.

Tomorrow's referee Neil Swarbrick is described, admittedly by another referee, as 'one of the nicest, most down to earth-guys I have met in my long refereeing career. He is possibly the only good thing to have come out of Preston other than the West Coast main line.'

But he is no softie having upset the cabbie's friend Dennis Wise at the match which Leeds lost to the Baggies in January:

'Wise slammed replacement referee Neil Swarbrick over his handling of the game.
Swarbrick, belatedly appointed in place of Steve Bennett, stepped in and ordered Wise to the stands when the Leeds boss pushed Albion man of the match Diomansy Kamara with a minute left.

Wise thought Kamara was taking too much time to leave the pitch on being substituted and was angry that the striker made a gesture to the home crowd.

He blasted: "It took Kamara more than four minutes to walk off. How the referee could only allow four minutes added time I don't know.

"Kamara was taking his time and I pushed him to get him off the pitch. I'd had enough of him making gestures to the crowd. I wish we'd had Steve Bennett in charge today. The referee's performance was very poor and he didn't control the game."

You can make your own assessment tomorrow.

Dowie: Charlton made a mistake

Iain Dowie thinks that Charlton made a mistake in letting him go as manager and that he has a point to prove in tomorrow's match. However, there are no hard feelings:

Sky Blues are walking round Coventry with their chests puffed out after they beat Manchester United's youth team in the Carling Cup. They are insistent that they are on a roll and will crush Charlton without any difficulty. We shall see.

What is evident from reports of the match at Old Trafford is that Chaventry favour crunching tackles and it is always open to question whether you get the kind of protection from the referee in the Championship that you get in the Premiership.

Will Coventry match hit Brakes crowd?

With two Leamington vice-presidents attending tomorrow's clash at the Ricoh fears have been expressed that attendance at the match at The New Windmill Ground between Leamington and Stourbridge may be hit. This is a key match for the Brakes having been knocked out of the FA Cup by the Glassboys two weeks ago.

In fact many people in Leamington do not support Coventry as their league club, given that the city is seen as 'West Midlands' rather than 'Warwickshire'. There is a strong core of Villa support and also quite a few Baggies fans.

I have booked secure parking near the ground here:

It's a walk of fifteen minutes or so, but it's cheaper than the park and ride scheme and you are right by the M6 so you can get away more quickly.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Varney's reassurance on Llanera

The club has been silent on the problems at Spanish sponsors Llanera, but Charlton Athletic chief executive Peter Varney has now issued a statement intended to reassure.

He has stated the financial difficulties experienced by the Valencia based firm has had no impact on the £6.6m deal with the Addicks. Charlton signed a four-and-a-half year deal with Llanera in December 2005.

Varney has scotched national media reports, claiming Charlton could lose millions of pounds as Llanera prepare to restructure a debt of £210m. He said: 'We are aware that Llanera currently have financial difficulties and are working very closely with them.'

'I must stress that it has not impacted upon us at all financially at present and we remain hopeful they will be able to resolve their current difficulties in consultation with their bank.'

What happens if they don't reach a resolution remains to be seen. The holiday apartments market in Spain has been hit by over building. There is an element of market saturation with those who want such apartments having already bough them.

Brakes Rattle Skeletons

Charlton may have lost in the league cup, but Leamington beat Rothwell Town 3-1 in the Ecreia (i.e., Southern League) Cup last night and now face Newport Isle of Wight away.

Rothwell Town are known as the Bones because the local church has one of only three bone crypts in the country and contains the remains of 1,500 people. No wonder Shakespeare didn't want his remains in the Stratford charnel house, although at least he now has a football team nicknamed after him ('The Bardsmen').

Leamington's goals came from Mackie, Dunkley and Blake. Josh Blake was apparently on top form after a day shifting furniture in his house removals job.

While I was locked down in Cricklade listening to bad jokes about Swindon Town (and finding to my shock that my shareholding in Aga would be published on the web), Maggie noticed a strange brown cloud drifting over Leamington. No, Iain Dowie hadn't been eating baked beans. It seems that some hoodies in Chaventry had set fire to Sidney Stringer School:

Many years ago I went to Sidney Stringer to do a talk on the February 1974 election for Estelle Morris who was then simply a Labour councillor in Leamington. Of course, she became Education Secretary, but she was far too nice a person to deal with the cut and thrust of politics.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Coventry City

My badge at the Eurobugs conference last week labelled me as being from Coventry, but if I walk out of my office, down the stairs and across the road to the buildings on the other side (as I shall do tomorrow) I am in Warwickshire.

When I first came to Coventry for my job interview in 1971, I was struck by the number of car plants that the train passed as I came into the city. Following the recent closure of the Peugeot plant at Ryton, there is no longer any volume car production in the city.

In the 1970s Coventry was reputed to be the most prosperous city in the country outside London in terms of per capita income. On the back of that prosperity and with the aid of Jimmy Hill, Coventry City was transformed from a third division to a top flight time.

They never won anything in the league, but they did win the FA Cup. I happened to be in the BBC Coventry studios earlier in the year to do something for BBC Jersey and there was the cup, the manager, some of the players and fans who could remember the victory. It was a proud day for the city which was then under the cosh economically.

Coventry has been trying to reinvent itself economically by placing a new emphasis on services and high technology. The football club has moved away from the tired Highfield Road ground to the Ricoh Arena.

Unfortunately, the club is only a tenant in the Ricoh and is some £28m in a debt. A takeover saga has been going on since February and there have been rumours of administration. There are now supposed to be two bidders in the frame, both of whom want to make Iain Dowie part of the future of the club. They obviously know quality when they see it.

You can see a short video I made earlier in the year on the Ricoh here, although you have to sit through some Leamington footage first:

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Luton preview

It will be a much changed Charlton side that appears at Kenilworth Road tonight as Pards seeks to protect his key players in advance of tough away games at Coventry and Hull. Darren Randolph may well appear in goal. Chris Powell has tired himself out with his after match celebrations and with Thatcher still out, Sankofa may appear at left back. Matt Holland may be given a chance in midfield. In any event, Alan Pardew has plenty of options.

I would rather that we didn't go out of the League Cup to a League 1 side. It would be good to get a lucrative fixture against a Premiership club. However, I am not that bothered. Getting promotion is the key target, the FA Cup comes next and the League Cup a poor third. At least it is an opportunity to give some players a competitive game.

The last time I went to Kenilworth Road it seemed as if I had to go through a passageway in a terraced house and climb up some steps in their back garden to get into the away end. Gary Nelson scored the winner in front of the cameras. This was at a time when Luton would have been seen as a bigger club than us.

I won't be there tonight as I will be locked down in a country club near Cricklade trying to decide how the Government's bioenergy research budget should be spent.

One of the favourite songs at Leamington is 'Are we watching Coven-tree, you're having a laugh, we're watching Leamington FCee'. Brakes fans took pleasure in winning the Lord Mayor's Cup this year 1-0 after being thumped 5-0 the previous year (Sky Blues usually put out a lot of their first team). As the week goes on we shall be building up to the Coventry match with a series of special features.

Discussion of the Llanera episode can be found at our sister site run from Spain, Football Economy

Monday, 24 September 2007

Robert Lee

Interesting to see the item by Colin Cameron in the programme reflecting on events on 22nd September 1992. The £700,000 we got for him, admittedly not really his true value, allowed us to return to The Valley.

In a recent adventure the now 41-year old Lee and Warren Barton took a Mercedes E200 for a spin. Unfortunately, this was not to give it a test run from a garage, but was a more spontaneous event after consuming a few sherbets at a party.

The vehicle then crashed into a van. Fortunately, the van owner will not press charges. Presumably the van came off worse as nothing has been said about what the Mercedes owner thought.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Simply the best?

'Simply the Best' was the slogan on the shirt of a Leicester City fan seen at London Bridge. In fact Leicester City were very poor and one might have hoped that Charlton would have inflicted a major defeat on them. As it was a 2-0 win took Charlton to second place in the table. But once again it was a game in which Charlton really only shone in one half, this time the first half.

One can speculate about why the Addicks faded in the second half. The arrival of N'Gotty after the break strengthened the Foxes defence with his experience helping to remedy some of the first half shortcomings. Kishishev also gave their midfield a bit more steel while our midfield, which had been excellent in the first half, started to go back to its bad old ways. We were forced back too much rather than continuing to take the game to Leicester. But we got the three points and that's what counts.

Juneau the Soccer Cat (who enjoys American nationality and is named after the capital of Alaska)

Our departure to Charlton was delayed by a Cats Protection League coffee morning where I think that our football shirts did not fit in too well with the elderly clientele. I remember that at one of these occasions in the past that I mentioned an organisation called Avon Cat and Dog Rescue. The temperature fell several degrees and back came the hissed reply, 'They're doggist.' I also missed a Bloggers event at The Valley to which the Blackheath Addick refers this morning.

I had a bit of a shock to the system before the match when some chump tried to evict me from my seat on the grounds that it was his. I knew I was in the right spot as the Bloke Behind Me was behind me and I have sat there since not long after the East Stand opened. Eventually he found his own seat further along the row.

Leicester started the match with early pressure, but I have to agree with Inspector Sands that they are one of the worse teams we have seen at The Valley for some time. When they were with us in the Premiership, they were a team that had to be respected and which always gave us a quality game. Not any more. Their main tactic seemed to be to put in shots which were way over or way wide.

Nevertheless, they did put in an early shot which Weaver had to save at the expense of a corner. They also showed an ability to break, which they did early on, leading Weaver to save. The tireless and ageless Chris Powell showed great skill in evading a Fox. Even so, it was still end to end stuff and Jon Fortune displayed real skill in avoiding a Leicester corner.

Sam had apparently been a real menace on the right against Norwich and he broke through but his shot went into the side netting. Chris Iwelumo opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a well taken goal, although it has to be said that the Foxes defence appeared to have dispersed as if they were being hunted. Varney made it 2-0 on 23 minutes with his first goal for the Addicks. This was the first time I had seen him playing and I can see why the Addickted rate him.

Chris Powell picked up a rather unnecessary yellow card which no doubt gave the referee a perverse pleasure at booking a senior statesman of football. A Charlton free kick led to a Charton corner. Subsequently, Iwelumo put in a header that was just wide. He then scored a goal which was rightly judged to be offside, the flag having gone up well before the ball went in the net.

Weaver then made his major contribution of the game when he saved at the post at the expense of a Leicester corner which was followed by a second. An effort by the somewhat disappointing Andy Reid went over. Iwelumo won Charlton a corner.

Half time: Addicks 2, Foxes 0

Leicester shored up their team by bringing on the veteran N'Gotty and Kishishev at the expense of Hume and Sheehan. Kish received warm applause from the crowd, reflecting the fact that he always gave one hundred per cent when he wore the shirt.

The referee gave the Addicks a free kick for a foul on Varney and Reid produced a corner out of this. However, our corners, although they are getting better, still fail to pose a real threat. Semedo was given a talking to by the referee for shirt tugging, not that the official was interested in similar offences by Leicester. Good play by Sam ended in a shot at the keeper.

I think it was Kish who put in a fierce shot from distance that tested Weaver. He momentarily spilled the ball, but the defence was on hand to offer protection and it was cleared to safety at the expense of a throw in.

Danny Mills powered down the right and put in a first rate cross, but no Charlton player was able to connect. Mills and Sam combined superbly to win the Addicks a corner, but Leicester were able to break although all it led to was a throw in for the Addicks. I thought that Mattock was the one Leicester player who looked as if he might do something, but later he put in a wild shot.

Varney won Charlton a corner (Luke not Peter). Leicester made their last throw of the dice and took off Matty Fryatt in favour of former Yeading ace D J Campbell. Yeading may be higher up the non league pyramid than former Leamington opponents Quorn, but I have no doubt who is the better striker.

The referee was giving Leicester a lot of free kicks and one looked potentially dangerous but came off the wall. Luke Varney had a shot: it was worth a try, but the keeper saved it. Semedo showed his skill and determination as he fought for the ball.

On 75 minutes Varney was taken off and McLeod brought on to give us more pace. The tiring Reid was subsequently taken off in favour of Sodje. Iwelumo made a great run down the centre, but he should have passed the ball to McLeod who was free on the left and understandably frustrated. Lloyd Sam was taken off in favour of new father Darren Ambrose. For some reason time added on was not announced, but the referee blew up and Charlton had gone 2nd.

Pards sounded some well chosen notes of caution in the programme about excessive expectations. Perhaps I expected too much in the second half and, having read through my notes, it was not as negative as my overall impression. We have a lot of testing matches coming up and perhaps it was better to slow down a bit rather than exhaust key players, although hopefully we will put out a largely different side against Luton.


They won 2-0 away against Evesham United at Worcester City's ground, but are behind Charlton in the places race, being only 3rd in the BGB Business Midlands Division (Southern League). Both goals were scored by former Coventry City ace Ben Mackey who is now under contract as much bigger clubs are watching him. One might ask why Coventry let him go, but one alleged answer is 'birds, burgers and booze.' He is a little podgy, but he can turn like a Football League player.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Danny Mills thus reviving the collection he started in his first spell at Charlton. He gave one hundred per cent throughout the game and was a real threat in the first half. Weaver was not called on to do much by the wayward shots of Leicester, but did make a couple of good saves. Chris Powell combined very well with Andy Reid and was his old sparkling self. Fortune seems to be more confident and to be taking more responsibility, although he should let Weaver claim the ball when he wants to. Bougherra had one moment of magic, but otherwise was relatively anonymous. Semedo shows great ball skills and is a play of considerable promise. Reid did not have his best game, but produced some well worked moves. Apparently Sam sparkled against Norwich, but seemed to tire today. Zhi had some nice touches, but was less dominant than is in some games. Varney impressed me not just with his goal, but also with his runs forward and his ability to make a defensive tackle if needed. Iwelumo took his goal well, but seemed to tire a little in the second half. He often failed to win the ball in the air. McLeod might have been able to do more if Iwelumo had hogged the ball less. Sodje and Ambrose had cameos.

Hiss of the Match has gone to referee Mr Tanner who was not worth two pence. He managed to give out two yellow cards to Charlton players, whilst ignoring a number of offences by Foxes, not least holding back and repeated handballs. He is probably one of those refs who errs in favour of the visitors to show he is not a 'homer'.

Crowd rating: Strong in the first half, understandably got a little restive in the second. 6/10.

Viva Espana - or not?

I am indebted to Inspector Sands for revealing that Llanera hit financial troubles at the very time I was in Valencia. There is no causal connection! (This is a bit off topic, but read on and you will find the Charlton content).

I must admit that I know far less about Spain than the average British person. I spend so much of my life in airports and planes that getting on a plane to go on holiday seems very strange. So I have only been to Spain for work and then only to Barcelona.

On this occasion I travelled with Easy Jet or Sleazy Jet as my aircraft engineer nominally Palace football-hating brother-in-law likes to call them. I think they are a good airline in the sense that they do what is on the can (Ryanair is a different matter). My only puzzle is why they are so proudly down market when they are serving such a prosperous clientele on their Valencia route. In the queue in front of me coming back was a tanned businessman in a stylish suit carrying the FT.

I don't speak Spanish: or rather I have picked up some on the hoof by listening to people in South America, but it is not Castilian. I did think of learning some, but a good friend who is fluent pointed out that I am sixty years old, hardly a good linguist and have about ten spare minutes in an average day.

What became very clear is that the Spanish take offence if you don't use their language and don't seem to like the English very much. Why is that? Despite its modern image and its fantastic 21st century architecture, I think that Valencia still lives up to its provincial reputation. Otherwise why would local politicians harangue an international committee in Spanish, not even using a few words in French?

It may also be that the Spanish are fed up with all the expats who colonise their coastline, in some cases using their votes as EU citizens to infiltrate local councils. The plane was full of elderly Brits who I guess either lived in Spain or had Llanera style apartments as second homes.

Let me emphasise that there are a lot of positives about Valencia. The idea of diverting the river away from the town to avoid flooding and then using it to create a beautiful linear park is simply brilliant. The old town is very attractive and the cathedral tour a first rate experience.

I also enjoyed an invitation to a concert at the Palace of Music where a 22-year old composer saw a post-modernist piece played for the first time. Thanks also to the director for the interval champagne. Even the Spanish politicians staged an excellent reception in the beautiful Botanical Gardens.

Having said that, the four star business hotel was totally shambolic to the extent that I had to do something I had never done before. To the annoyance of the surly receptionist, I asked to see the manager.

On my last morning the power failed and the stench of blocked drains was unmistakeable. I phoned reception. 'They are suffering in the city' was the reply. Too right they are.

So was Charlton's deal with Llanera something that looked good in terms of appearances but had many hidden faults beneath the surface? Quite possibly. No doubt Peter Varney will have some reassuring words in the programme today: 'Our relationship with Llanera has been mutually rewarding and I hope that the present difficulties can be resolved. Fans can be reassured that the board has contingency plans in place should this prove not to be the case. Enjoy the game.'

The one place I received a very friendly welcome in the city was from a charming young girl was in the Valencia club shop at the airport. So what of the team with which Charlton has a purported link?

What I didn't know was that there was a second top flight team in Valencia called Levante who refer to Valencia as 'the goats'. They charmingly claim that 'Valencia are all gypsies and junkies.' Sounds a bit like the Palace claim that we are all pikeys.

Given that Valencia have been La Liga champions twice in the last five years, they have grounds for jealousy. In the recent 4-4-2 supplement on La Liga, a Valencia fan said of his team: 'An exciting club with a fantastic future, but where there's always been too much suffering.' The last phrase would fit Charlton well.

Brakes supremo gives warning shot to Cadzy

Leamington chairman David Hucker gives the appearance of being a mild mannered and affable individual. He was an instant hit with a group of the Addickted who came to my 60th birthday bash at the The New Windmill ground, giving them a personal tour of the ground.

But there is steel beneath the surface. He is a very successful businessman. Formerly heading up a housing association, he has built up a consultancy that specialises in rescuing failing public sector organisations.

He rarely criticises the Brakes in public, and it is hardly Abramovich and Mourinho, but he has fired a warning shot across the bows of manager Jason Cadden in a back page lead in the Leamington Spa Courier (Leamington's morning daily having ceased publication some years ago).

Hucker has rightly called last Saturday's FA Cup defeat at Stourbridge a 'disjointed and dispirited' showing and has said that travelling supporters were let down. 'It wasn't the fact that we lost but the manner of the defeat that hurt. We let our supporters down.'

Manager Cadden has confirmed that there will be several changes for today's game at Evesham United, to be played at Worcester City's ground. 'If this is the kick up the [rear] we will take it,' Cadzy conceded.

Read the full story here: Hucker

Friday, 21 September 2007

Foxes preview

At last I get to see a live Charlton game. While Charlton were playing on Tuesday night, I was listening to a series of speeches in Spanish by eight C list Spanish politicians. It was so bad that a group of us tried to escape through a fire door during a break, but were caught and ushered back in. And we had to look attentive because flash bulbs were popping all the time.

We had some good games against the Foxes in the Premiership. Filbert Street was always a slightly intimidating place, but in order to secure what they saw as their rightful place in the top flight Leicester moved to the crisp Walker Stadium, bankrupting themselves in the process and languishing in the Championship ever since.

We will know two of the Leicester squad tomorrow, as error prone midfield maestro Radostin Kishishev is with them. He had his defenders at Charlton, but Shaun Newton played a key role in our initial promotion season. Whether he will appear tomorrow is open to question.

Luke Varney is a childhood Leicester fan and is hoping to feature, if only from the bench. Yassin Moutaoukal may get a start after being on the bench for Tuesday's win over Norwich having overcome his ankle injury. Lloyd Sam was impressive against the Canaries and may be preferred to new father Darren Ambrose who has had a daughter, Jessica.

Match analyst Ivy the Terrible has once again been selected as a match analyst by The Observer. Juneau the Soccer Cat has a morning social enegagment at the Cats Protection League in Leamington which means I won't be able to join a Bloggers social being held at The Valley.

I am going for 2-1 to the Addicks.

Back in touch

Brussels: it's Friday so it must be Brussels. After a major power failure in the avowedly modern city of Valencia cut off all Internet contact, I am now back on line in the 'capital' of the disintegrating country of Belgium, shortly to become a free city state and Brussels DC, capital of Europe.

It was a bit difficult to work out what was going on at the match against Norwich. 0-0 at half time looked like Norwich playing for a draw and, of course, it took two penalties to bring the points.

I was amused by Alan Pardew's remarks about Danny Mills 'playing on the edge' after former Chaventry City ace Dion Dublin was sent off. I like Mills as a player and I think that defenders do sometimes have to be tough, e.g., Jorge Costa. Also, the picture of Mills and myself in my office now has some point again.

Sitting in Pizza Hut in North Greenwich on Wednesday evening, I was able to get some information from the papers, more from the free ones than from the Sub-Standard. It seems that Pards has admitted that he is playing a 'squad' system and that Paddy McCarthy has been advised that he has to fight for his place. That is as it should be.

The news from Chelsea was a shock as I left Greenwich yesterday morning and I think that English football will be less colourful as a result. I have been greatly amused by the plight of Palace and the likely fate of their manager. The Orange One must be turning puce.

I have to go to a power breakfast now: I get the breakfast and the other person has the power. I would like to express my thanks to Australia, Canada, Lithuania and the US for backing me in Valencia and helping me to win through, although I am now apparently an enemy of the Chilean people.

Match preview later when I return to the UK.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Strikers uncertain

Charlton strikers Chris Iwelumo and Svetoslav Todorov face fitness tests before tonight´s match against Norwich but captain Andy Reid and defender Madjid Bougherra are both available. Of course, the news on Iwelumo and Todorov could be kidology and the tests a formality.

I really have no idea any more what the best eleven Charlton players are or what combination of eleven is best. I just urge everyone tonight to get behind the team and I hope for three points.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Curate´s egg

The term used by the E Mail Bulletin is ´Jekyll and Hyde´´ but I prefer ´Curate´s Egg´to describe Charlton´s current performances. We have often put in sub-standard first half performances and then step up a gear in the second half. As Pards commented in relation to the Colchester game, We are better than we showed, and there were a lot of things in our play that were too sloppy.´

At least there is good news on Todorov and Iwelumo who were hit by severe cramp at Layer Road. They are therefore available for tomorrow night, although that only increases the selection dilemmas faced by Pards, particularly given that Luke Varney seems to have made a favourable impression on many of the Addickted.

If Pards had more quality in depth, he could face charges of operating a squad rotation policy of the kind favoured by the likes of Chelsea. Indeed, the same charge has been made against Jason Cadden at Leamington, although he faces particular constraints: Josh Blake had to be withdrawn on Saturday because of a rush house removal.

Thinking about football is a relief from events here in Valencia where it has all gone off big time as it always does when Chilean politics get dragged in. Apparently the President is in trouble for her perceived failure to integrate Santiago´s sparkling metro and its shambolic buses. Not that that has done much harm to Ken ...

Sunday, 16 September 2007

In the land of Llanera

Valencia: In my cab from the airport one of the first signs I saw was a huge Llanera sign.

Interesting to see Pards on Sky Sports News last night saying that the team had only played well in patches and were capable of doing much better. Consistency is one of the keys to success.

Even more amusing to see Iain Dowie, eyes bulging, complaining that the 0-3 defeat by Bristol City was an unfair reflection of the balance of play. The City manager then came on and said you don´t nick an 0-3 win.

After Leamington´s FA Cup defeat yesterday, there are already calls for manager Jason Cadden to be sacked. They should resurrect the ironic ´Sack Cadzy´ banner.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Half full or half empty?

You can say this was a great Charlton fightback from 2-0, writes Erith Addick Paul May. Or you can say that the Addicks should have finished Colchester off when they went down to ten men on 55 minutes.

Before a bumper crowd of 5,860, Yeates put the home side ahead on 32 minutes with a finish from ten yards or so out. Then, of course, Kevin Lisbie had to make it 2-0 on 38 minutes with a close range header. How often did he score with a close range header when he was presented with a chance when he was playing for us? But you had to say it was in the script.

Todorov put us back in the game with a good strike on 45 minutes. Other good news after the break was the appearance of Reid to replace Thomas. I don't know why Reid wasn't on from the start as he gives us our creativity in the centre of the park. Ambrose and Semedo weren't going to do that.

Referee Mike Russell had no hesitation in giving a straight red to Matthew Connolly for his foul on Chris Iwelumo. He had to be replaced by Varney 13 minutes later and I hope that reports of an injury do not indicate anything too serious.

Lloyd Sam came on in place of Todorov on 72 minutes and less than a minute later he set up Zheng Zhi to score a Chinese cracker of an equaliser. But Charlton were unable to get the goal that would give them all three points.

Although the U's have scored at least two goals every game this season, the result does renew anxieties about our defence. Mills is try to kick start his career and get the Addicks in the Premiership, but is he up to the job? Can Fortune make the grade even in the Championship?

I wouldn't blame Nicky Weaver though, as some will. He made some important saves, particularly when we were 2-1 down.

We need to win these games to get automatic promotion. Now beating Norwich is a key task.

BTW, welcome Sue Savin as the newest Erith Addick. I know that she doesn't get to games much these days with two young nippers, but she is Charlton through and through. I still remember the Andy Hunt blow up doll she brought to Portman Road and she sponsored Carl Tiler.

Come on you Reds!

Glassboys Shatter Brakes

Leamington's hopes of FA glory were shattered by the Glassboys today when Brakes went down 2-0 against Stourbridge. It would be difficult to complain about the result. Leamington looked off the pace, symbolised by a perspiring Ben Mackie who was eventually withdrawn. Without Josh Blake they had little penetration and were under the cosh, particularly in the first half. Their passing lacked fluency and in midfield they lost possession too often, in many cases as a result of hesitancy on the ball. If it had not been for some good saves by Mozza, the scoreline could have been worst.

We had some difficulty in finding the stadium, being flummoxed by the Stourbridge Ring Road and uncertain whether we should be heading for the Glass Quarter. When we found the stadium, we were greeted by the sight of Brakes supremo David Hucker putting on his club tie. He can no longer enjoy casual wear at the match.

It's difficult to see how the stadium got Southern League grading when Leamington had to be inspected twice. It's essentially a cricket field with a fine pavilion set off to one side, the soccer players being left with a three sided ground. The one good feature was that it was possible to take beer in a plastic glass to one's bench or terrace position.

Incompetent referee Lance Blackwood showed little interest in punishing the holding back of Brakes players by the home side, but he was quick to award free kicks to Stourbridge. From one just outside the D the shot went just over Mozza's crossbar, but a second on the edge of the area put the Glassboys 1-0 ahead in the first half.

Brakes looked brighter in the second half, but were still vulnerable to counter attacks. Mackey was withdrawn in favour of Richard Adams. Tom Bates looked less than pleased when he was taken off but he had had few chances to show his skills. By pressing forward for the equaliser, Brakes left themselves open at the back, allowing Stourbridge to settle the game with a second goal.

The media blackout - but not in East Angular

The New York Addick talks about the virtual media blackout on Charlton in his latest post. However, at least the East Anglian Daily Times (I think it was a Big Brother contestant who called it 'East Angular' and thought it was abroad) has a full preview: Colchester

The New York Addick says that the lack of media coverage means that the blogging community have to fall back on each other for mutual support, literally it seems in the case of the New York and Chicago Addicks who enjoyed a few drinks earlier in the week in the Big Apple. A shame that the Salt Lake City Addick's drinking options are limited by the local culture.

Unfortunately, I am going to let you down on the Norwich City match. Much of my life these days is spent on planes and in hotels (my blog instructions have started appearing in German). On Sunday I'm off to Valencia for a meeting of a UN committee I am on. It's back to Greenwich on Wednesday evening to stay overnight, then the Eurostar to Brussels for a Commission sponsored congress at which I am a speaker.

These UN committee meetings can be quite gruelling and fraught as the photo of me arguing with the Brazilian delegate at the Chilean diplomatic academy shows. I think we got on to the Falklands/Malvinas.

The upside is the lavish hospitality that is provided (when I hosted the committee in Bath in April the bill came to 12k, and some thought that the hospitality was not generous enough). The photo shows me enjoying what I think was the best glass of red wine I have ever had in my life in the courtyard of the presidential palace in Santiago, Chile.

The Spanish have laid on an excellent evening programme, but despite the fact that is Valencia, no football. If there is a game on, I know that some of the other committee members are football fans so we may sneak away to see the club with which we are supposed to have some sort of link. I don't suppose I will have time to view a Llanera apartment, though.

We've had some exciting games against the Canaries in the past, in particular I remember a 4-4 draw when we were 2-4 down not long from the end. I have a soft spot for them, particularly as my business partner Jez on is a Canary. However, I am hoping for a 2-1 win on Tuesday. In the words of Peter Varney, enjoy the game.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Sub Standard preview

Here are the thoughts of the Evening Standard on tomorrow's match, perhaps slightly more amusing than some of their efforts:

Colchester United v Charlton Athletic Tomorrow, 3pm, Layer Road

Match Odds: Colchester 24/13, Draw 30/13, Charlton 7/5 Promotion: Charlton 7/4, Watford 9/4, West Brom 9/4

Match Officials:Referee: Mike Russell [who he?] - Hertfordshire; Assistant Referees: Glenn Hambling - Norfolk, Gary Young - Bedfordshire Fourth Official: Matt Stewart- Essex [hopefully from Southend]

It's a shame Charlton striker Marcus Bent misses this clash after recently joining Wigan on a season-long loan, as he could be swapping notes with Colchester veteran Teddy Sherringham about former girlfriend Danielle Lloyd. The big brother flop dated the players - both of whom are known to frequent clubs of a different sort than the football ones - at separate times. Summer signing Luke Varney Could be on the bench for the visitors after scoring a hat-trick for the reserves in midweek, but Yassin Moutaouakil and Matt Holland remain sidelined. VERDICT: TEDDY IN BIG BOTHER

U's hope to keep Big Chris quiet

It is often said that the Championship is a competition in which any team can beat any other team and that adage will be tested tomorrow when the Addicks face Colchester United at Layer Road. Colchester were the surprise package of the Championship last season.

They haven't had such a sparkling start this season, currently lying 14th in the table. However, Layer Road is not an easy place to visit (or to get to). In this old fashioned Southern League style ground, the crowd are close to the pitch and make their views known. Leamington's appripriately named Darren Tank was quickly regaled with shouts of 'you fat bastard'. No doubt a blow up doll will not end up in the goal mouth on this occasion as it did when the Brakes scored their only goal.

The two clubs have swapped strikers with Kevin Lisbie joining the U's and Chris Iwelumo coming in the opposite direction, both on frees. Colchester United manager Geraint Williams is relishing the opportunity of facing Iwelumo who scored 37 times in two successful seasons with the U's.

'Big Chris is always a handful, he scored a stack of goals for us in two years and he's started well for Charlton,' said Williams. 'But we know all about him here and we'll be looking to keep him quiet.'

Kevin Lisbie was a Charlton legend of a particular kind. He scored some excellent goals, not least his hat trick against Liverpool or the winners away against Chelsea and Ipswich, but he had a habit of missing from easy scoring positions. Probably he will score just such a simple goal against Charlton tomorrow.

I really have no idea what the result will be, but I think there will be plenty of goals and I am going for 3-2 to the Addicks.

Leamington face Stourbridge away in the FA Cup and we will be letting you know whether they manage to shatter the Glassboys tomorrow, while Paul May will be covering the match at Layer Road.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Quiet times

Hamburg Airport: Not much Charlton news as far as I can see other than that Wigan central defender Fitz Hall turned down the chance to join the Addicks on loan. Perhaps Marcus Bright put him off.

Currently in Hamburg Airport on my way to York via Birmingham. A couple of hard days of work in Germany, admittedly in a super business club/hotel. It was good to speak some German again.

25 years ago I had a spell of living and working in Berlin, then divided by the wall. Nice to be told that my German is still good and I don`t speak with an English accent - but surprisingly not a Berlin one, but one typical of a small town somewhere between Hamburg and Berlin.

On Sunday I go to Valencia, back to Greenwich for one night on Wednesday, then on to Brussels, so don´t expect updates unless I have downtime at an airport.

Sunday, 9 September 2007


It's a quiet time for Charlton at the moment as the New York Addick has pointed out. I'm now off to Germany for a three day European Commission meeting on the registration of biological control agents which promises to be a bundle of laughs. At least the last one in Finland was enlivened by an obligatory communal sauna at the beginning.

After that, it's the Festival of Science in York, so no more updates until the end of the week. I'm not expecting much to happen, but you never know.

I'm not going to Colchester United. I still haven't recovered from Leamington's 9-1 defeat there. It is also looks like the old fashioned Southern League ground it really is. There doesn't seem to be much parking and it's a real hike from the station or involves a change of buses. Paul May has bought a ticket so may be able to write a report.

Charlton are 7th and Leamington are 4th in their respective leagues, but even allowing for the vast gap in standards, the Addicks are probably playing the better football and look like surer bets to go up.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Battling Brakes Outwit Generals

Leamington Spa Courier sports editor Simon Steele reminded us this week that watching the Brakes was not like watching Brazil, but a battling performance at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon gave Leamington a 1-0 victory over Metroland side Chesham United.

The crowd of 560, or most of them, saw Avun Jephcott make an early call when he put the ball just inside the post with a header on 1 minute after neat play by the attacking Brakes. A Josh Blake run earned Leamington a corner, but it was unproductive. A through ball was well placed for Mackey, but it was on his wrong foot and he put it wide.

Chesham burst through one on one, but their finishing was lacking throughout the game and they put it wide. Referee Mr Power who had apparently travelled to the game on the away coach awarded the Generals a very dubious free kick and their effort came off the bar. Mozza then made a great save by tipping the ball away.

Jephcott burst through, but his shot went just past the junction of post and bar. The Burger Side lino made his contribution to the game by constantly flagging for offside, apparently every time the ball crossed an invisble line starting at the Burger Bar.

The Chesham massive tried to revitalise their side after the break with a chant of 'You're just a layby in Warwick' and the Generals effectively pursued an attacking strategy. But the Brakes defence held firm, in spite of shirt tugging and pushes in the back ignored by the referee, although there was one moment of danger in front of goal. But Mozza was in commanding form.

Brakes had a chance to make it 2-0 when Richard Adams, who had come on as a sub, won a corner, but Jephcott put his header over the bar. Clunesie came on as a late substitute to replace Mackey, but looked well out of it despite his best efforts.

Silver Biscuit Formerly at Coventry City, Notts County, Ards and Linfield, Avun Jephcott once again showed his quality, dangerous in attack, commanding in midfield and available for defence when needed. It certainly was a case of 'Avon Calling'.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Simon Jordan not a nice person

Apparently Kelvin Mackenzie has written a column in the Currant Bun insinuating that Simon Jordan is not a nice person. In fact, he repeats some of the chants used at the Palace game about Jordan's alleged sexual practices and admits that he joined in some of them himself (the chants, not the practices). He also refers to the Orange One's habit of carrying £2,000 in cash on him so that he can give large tips.

Of course, asking whether Simon Jordan is a nice guy is a bit like asking if the Pope is a Catholic. Vatican Radio rang me for an interview the other day and asked me that question and I said that there was a lot of evidence that pointed in that direction. Which might be said of allegations that Jordan is an Onanist.

Kelvin Mackenzie used to work on the Mercury and was formerly a Millwall fan, but switched his allegiance to Charlton around the time we were first promoted. Better late than never.

Ambrose happy at The Valley

Darren Ambrose says he is glad that he stayed at Charlton, talks about the Palace victory and is looking forward to his first child in a few weeks' time: Ambrose

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Brakes Aim to Marshal Generals

Chesham United aka 'The Generals' visit the New Windmill Ground on Saturday. Leamington have never played the Metroland team before, even when they were AP Leamington. Chesham have not got any points so far this season, but have only played two matches.

Leamington are currently 5th in the British Gas Business League Midlands Division which puts them in a play off place. However, there have been plenty of complaints on the Brakes web board about the team's performance.

The fact is that this year they are facing teams that are better prepared, physically fitter and with more talent. So their present position is a creditable one.

Once again we will be the only Charlton blog bringing you a report shortly after the final whistle.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Cory Gibbs shock

Mystery player Cory Gibbs has been seen playing football for the Addicks. Admittedly it was only for 45 minutes behind closed doors at Sparrows Lane in a practice match against Palace, but there is actually a picture of him sulkily clutching at the goal nets: Gibbs

A club spokesperson said that his incognito appearance at Sparrows Lane should put to rest rumours that he had been abducted by space aliens or had been transferred to duties in the club shop.

Should Gibbs ever play in a competitive match, he will be the first graduate of an Ivy League University (Brown in Providence, Rhode Island) to play for Charlton. Brown is rather exclusive: one person was telling me in the States last week that they couldn't afford the fees for their children.

I rate Pards, says Fergie

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Freguson told an audience at the Citizens Theatre in his home city of Glasgow which are the up-and-coming managers that have impressed him. According to the translation provided, he admires Alan Pardew, Sunderland's Roy Keane and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce.

'Pardew at Charlton has got something about him, he is a good young manager,' he said.

No reference was made to Curbs whom he has praised in the past. Perhaps after the Tevez affair there will be no more agreeable shared bottles of red wine.

Goals video

Since it's no longer possible to see Charlton goals unless one hangs around on a Sunday morning, you may enjoy this video of the winning goal scored by Leamington in last week's FA Cup match (bottom of page): Brakes

Dowie to quit Coventry?

Rumours are rife in the Midlands that former Addicks manager Iain Dowie is to leave Coventry City to replace Martin Allen at Sky Blues rivals Leicester City. Dowie made the short journey north from Norwood to join the Addicks and may not be averse to a move north-east to join the Foxes.

But a Coventry statement said: 'Further to unwelcome speculation regarding the first-team manager, Coventry City would like to confirm it has received no approach with regard to Iain Dowie. The club would also like to confirm that any approach would be firmly rebuffed.'

The fact that there has been no approach does not mean that one will not be made. And Leicester owner Milan Mandaric would probably be prepared to draw on his not inconsiderable funds to buy out the remainder of Dowie's three year contract.

Coventry are currently top of the Championship, but have had some relatively easy opponents in their early matches.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Eric Lancelotte article

This article, originally published in Voice of the Valley edited and published by Rick Everitt can be found here: Eric Lancelotte

A nice touch

Catching up on events while I have been in the States, I thought that it was a nice touch to dedicate last Saturday's victory over Norwood to Richard Murray.

Alan Pardew, who had stressed the significance of the game to his players the previous day, paid tribute to the backing he had received from Murray. Captain Andy Reid said, 'The manager made a point to us the previous day that I thought was very important. He said we've got a very good chairman at the club in Richard Murray, he'sbeen brilliant, and little results like this in derby games we can maybe dedicate to him.'

'He's a big Charlton fan and he looks after us. It's brilliant to get these results and it gives everyone - the supporters, the players, the people around the club and the people on the board - a lift.'

Pards added: 'I think sometimes it gets bypassed that Richard has to make decisions on their contracts and so on, so the players owe him a favour. I owe him a favour, too, so it was a nice win.'

I had missed the fact that we had been drawn away in the Carling Cup to Luton. The Chicago Addick and I agreed that the best outcome for the Addicks would be a respectable loss to a top Premiership club.

Now we have to try and beat Luton away at their antiquated ground to save face. Do you still have to climb through a back garden to reach the away end?

Eric Lancelotte

Sorry to hear of his death at the good age of 90. He played 41 games for the Addicks, being one of those players whose career was cut short by the war.

I wrote an article about him once for Voice of the Valley based on a story a son-in-law of mine found in an old magazine. If I can track it down, I will reproduce it. Meanwhile, here is a nice story about him:

Sunday, 2 September 2007

A sweet victory

Chicago, Il.: Someone slipped me a cell phone with the Championship scores yesterday. Needless to say, anyh win is welcome, an away win even more so and a win at Palace is sweet indeed. Good to se that Todorov, who has attracted some criticism, scored the winning goal.

It is clear that we now have a team in place that are going to be in contention for promotion. Come on you Reds!

And Leamington won 1-0 in the FA Cup.