Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Jimenez v. Wise: the transcript

I have now received the full transcript of the case between Tony Jimenez and Dennis Wise which was heard before Miss Penelope Reid sitting as a Deputy Judge in the Chancery Division. The outcome was that Jimenez had to pay Wise the £500,000 he claimed plus interest.

The transcript runs to 28 pages and some of this is concerned with reviewing relevant precedents. As the judge notes, 'The history of this process has been somewhat tortuous, with each side changing the way in which their case has been put on a number of occasions.'

As far as Wise is concerned, the judge states, 'He was subjected to a long and sometimes aggressive cross examination but nevertheless came across as a truthful witness and in the main I accept his evidence. Of course much of his case is supported by the documents.'

The judge notes that as far as the investment in the Les Bordes golf course development which was at the heart of the case, 'the manner in which [Mr Jimenez]has explained the investment has varied from time to time.' In paragraph 28, the judge states, 'His explanations for these conflicting positions during the course of his oral evidence were unconvincing and at times impossible to follow ... it was only when incontrovertible evidence from the HFIX disclosure was produced that Mr Jimenez appears to have considered that he should change tack and provide some evidence that the money received from CDI had been invested.' In paragraph 50, she states 'Mr Jiminez has been guilty of considerable obfuscation in this litigation concerning the monies paid to him.' She concludes her review of his evidence by stating, 'Accordingly I have treated the evidence of Mr Jimenez with extreme caution.'

The transcript notes that Mr Jimenez is 'co-owner of Charlton Athletic Football club and therefore involved in the football world.' Interestingly, Michael Slater is also referred to twice in the transcript when Dennis Wise envisages him drafting a more formal agreement between the parties. Gus Poyet was also evidently one of the original investors in the development.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Curbs considers Palace option

Alan Curbishley has said that he would not rule himself out of managing Crystal Palace: Palace

Whether Palace would be interested is another matter. Richard Cawley of the SLP reckons that Curbs would be a high cost option for Palace given his television work.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Third clean sheet in a row

Charlton secured their third clean sheet in a row at The Valley today in a 0-0 draw with Wigan Athletic in front of a 'football for a fiver' crowd of 23,600. The Addicks move up to 19th, overtaking Birmingham City on goal difference.

The Lactics probably had the better chances, but were unable to take advantage of them with their inaccurate shooting. They had sixteen shots, but only three were on target. We managed only three, but at least they were all on target. Overall, a competitive game was evenly balanced (possession was marginally in Wigan's favour at 47-53) and a draw was not an unfair result.

We were told at the start of the game that Scott Carson had injured his ankle in the warm up and had been replaced by Nicholls whom the Bloke Beside Me thought was Wigan's fourth choice keeper. However, if we thought this might be a bonus, it proved not to be as he was more than capable.

We started the game well and won an early corner. We did concede a corner to Wigan that was avoidable. Bradley Pritchard failed to make use of a good cross when he blasted the ball over. After the thirty minute mark, Wigan started to get into the game more. After injuring his ankle early in the game, Kermorgant had to be withdrawn and replaced by Sordell. There was a scramble in front of the Wigan goal at the end of the half. However, neither side had really created many chances.

Half time: 0-0

Dale Stephens put in a good shot which was just wide of the post. Following a Wigan corner, the upright came to our rescue. James Perch fouled Sordell, but nothing was given. Hamer had to make a good save from a curving ball.

At the end of the game I found that I had made fewer notes than usual as it was lacking goal mouth incidents. However, I thought that we played well as a team and I was more relieved not to lose than disappointed at not winning.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Dale Stephens. Although he faded towards the end of the match, he seems to have recovered the form that attracted the attention of Aston Villa and made many skilled contributions throughout the game. Hamer did make a couple of good saves, but showed some hesitancy in coming for the ball in the first half. Wood had a good game until he had to be taken off. Morrison was solid and reliable. Wiggins had a good game and was involved in some excellent attacking moves. Although he did make one or two errors, Wilson surged forward well with one run practically the length of the pitch. Pritchard displayed plenty of effort, but his contribution was limited and he missed one chance to score. Stewart showed some nice touches, but was not a game changer. Cousins got involved when he could. Whether Kermorgant was still not fully fit, or whether it was the knock he picked up early in the match which left him limping, he was below par and had to be substituted. Church tried his hardest and got frustrated with the East Stand linesman for awarding fouls against him. Dervitte slotted in competently when he had to come on. Sordell was inevitably a disappointment. If Jackson was supposed to act as a talisman with his late appearance, he failed to do so and seemed off the pace.

Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the referee Stephen Martin who gave a whole series of free kicks to the visitors in the second half. Some of them were justified, but not all of them. He also seemed to have left his cards in the dressing room, ignoring a series of yellow card offences by the visitors and then giving a card to Bradley Pritchard for an alleged series of fouls.

Wigan aim to start away run at The Valley

Wigan manager Owen Coyle admits Charlton is a tough place to go, but is hoping to re-fire their promotion challenge by starting an unbeaten away run with a victory at The Valley today: Coyle. Wigan have experienced four consecutive away defeats and have only won once on their travels this season.

Speaking to The Football League Paper Simon Church insists that Charlton have learnt from their mistakes: 'We started the season quite slowly and the last couple of games we've really gone back to basics and defended well. The manager has been brilliant. He's instilled confidence into us and it's a really positive place to be.'

The paper has a feature interview with Richard Wood who says of the club, 'There are no factions in the group and from when I walked in I could see they ere all together - that's what you want to see as a new player.'

Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermorgant are like to start. Chris Solly is still sidelined with a knee injury and likely to be out for three weeks.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Better than Scott Parker?

This is the question that the Daily Boris poses about Jordan Cousins today. Anyway, it's an interesting feature and maybe the Sub-Standard is improving a bit: Cousins

Scott Carson returns to The Valley

Scott Carson returns to The Valley as Wigan's goalkeeper on Sunday. Carson was a bright light in a dreadful 2006-7 season and received the player of the year award. I hope that he gets a good reception.

In their last league outing Wigan lost 1-0 at Blackpool, but managed to hit the crossbar twice. James McClean was sent off in injury time, but the red card has since been rescinded which is unfortunate for us as he is a good player. Also at their disposal is 'human battering ram' Grant Holt, although he came off the bench against Blackpool.

I never though that the Lactics were going to bounce straight back up again, particularly without Roberto Martinez at the helm, so the Four Four Two forecast of a 9th place finish seems about right.

Wigan secured a battling 1-1 draw against Russian outfit Rubin Kazan on Thursday which is impressive given that the visitors had won all eight of their previous Europa League matches. Coyle made five changes from the side that had played at Blackpool and they displayed fluency and considerable fighting spirit. The equaliser was scored by Manchester United loanee Nick Powell who is forecast to have a bright future. The England Under-21 international took his chance well, rifling home a shot that nestled in the corner of the net.

The last time we played Wigan at the Valley was in the Premiership on Saturday 31 March 2007. It was a one nil victory to Charlton with Darren Bent scoring from the penalty spot. The attendance was 26,500.

We can expect a competitive and hopefully entertaining game for 'football for a fiver' day, but I am forecasting a 2-1 victory for the Addicks.

Odds (Coral): Charlton 8/5, Draw 9/4, Wigan 17/10.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Holloway leaves Palace

Ian Holloway has stepped down as Crystal Palace manager by 'mutual consent': Holloway. Apparently, he felt that he had lost the respect of the squad.

There is no indication at this stage as to who might be persuaded to accept the poisoned chalice, although the name of Tony Pulis has been mentioned as a likely candidate. Less likely is a return of Neil Warnock, although some papers think that he is the favourite. He has also been linked with a return to management at Birmingham City. Roberto di Matteo has also been mentioned on the basis that he is out of work, but it would be a bit of a come down. No one has yet mentioned Alan Curbishley.

Perhaps the time has come for Iain Dowie to make a return to management?

Football 100 years ago

I have recently published a booklet about Leamington Town's double winning season in 1912-13. There were some differences in the way that football was played and watched then, but also many similarities. In particular, there was controversy surrounding referees, as the excerpt reproduced below makes clear.

On one Saturday in February 1913 so many fans decided to go to the Eagle Recreation Ground to watch the Hospital Minor Cup tie between Leamington St. John’s and Coventry Bell Green Albion. They possibly got more excitement than they bargained for, as the game had to be abandoned after the crowd invaded the pitch.

The first half went off without any incident and St. John’s were three nil up by the break. However, the Courier reported, ‘In the second half the visitors commenced to show temper and the play was rather rough. A Coventry player was at length pulled up for fouling Rowlett within the dreaded area, and a penalty was awarded from which Cash scored. This aroused a storm of protest from the visitors and their supporters, who claimed that the St. John’s player fouled first by “setting a back” for his opponent. Whether that was the case I cannot say, but I do know that Rowlett bears a reputation for being a thoroughly good sportsman.’

‘Feeling ran high after this incident which was followed by another equally deplorable. Coventry were awarded a free kick and the referee played the ball in what he judged to be the right position. The goal-keeper moved the ball about a yard before taking the kick, but the referee put it back in its original position. As the official was walking away the goal-keeper kicked the ball hard and it hit the referee, who ordered him off the field.’ The Bell Green players walked off in protest and the rival spectators swarmed on to the field for an exchange of views.

Looker On had no doubt that ‘The referee was largely to blame for not being nearly firm enough. Had he called the teams together before feeling ran so high and given them a caution, the underlying incidents which followed would probably never have happened.’ The Hospital Cup committee ordered the game to be replayed and brought in Sergeant Barrett from Budbrooke Barracks as referee to ensure that there was sufficient discipline.

The ‘unseemly conduct’ which had led to a pitch invasion at the Hospital Minor Cup game between Leamington St. John’s and Coventry Bell Green Albion had a sequel at a meeting of the Coventry FA when the referee, a Mr W. Plummer, ‘reported the Coventry custodian for kicking the ball at him, and the whole of the Coventry team for refusing to go on playing.’ The goalkeeper got a 14 day suspension, the captain was suspended for seven days and the team fined five shillings. The replay was ‘the chief local attraction’ on Saturday, Town playing away, but if the crowd was hoping for more fireworks, they didn’t see any. Rather they witnessed an ‘indifferent display’ on ‘treacherous ground’, St. John’s winning by the only goal of the game compared with the 3-0 lead they had established in the abandoned match.

The booklet is intended to raise funds for upgrading Leamington FC's ground and copies priced £5 can be obtained from me.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Sir Chris now longest serving manager

Sir Chris Powell is now the longest serving manager in the Championship following the departure of Tony Mowbray from Middlesbrough which says something about short termism in football.

Over at Selhurst Park it was a case of history repeating itself in the relegation stakes as Crystal Palace went down 1-4 to Fulham. It got ugly at the end when a section of Palace fans barracked their players as they departed the field after a fifth successive defeat, with the defender Damien Delaney turning on those doing the booing. According to Richard Cawley of the SLP, two home players had to be told to applaud the supporters.

Manager Ian Holloway had a long meeting with the chairman after the game, keeping the media waiting. At least he could then drive home quickly as whatever he did he wasn't going to collect any points. The only disappointment was that Darren Bent, who got some stick from the Nigels for preferring Fulham to them, didn't score.

Richard Cawley has tweeted that Charlton have started preliminary talks with Yann Kermorgant, presumably about a contract extension.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Gower picks himself

Mark Gower was asked to name his dream team in this week's Football League Paper and he picked himself, but then he did pick four other Charlton players as well. Of himself he says, 'I'm an all-round good player! I can defend, I can attack, I can create chances and I'm not bad at set pieces! I used to get the odd goal, I don't much anymore, but you can't have everything.'

Skipper Johnnie Jackson is in at left midfield and Gower says, 'He won't be happy at being pushed out on the left, but he has a great left foot. He scores goals from midfield and his set piece delivery is exceptional. He hasn't really got the legs, which is why he prefers to play in the centre of midfield, but he can't play there because I am.'

Of Leon Cort he says, 'In a side you need height and he pretty much wins every header. He's had a good career. I've played him at Southend and now we're together again at Charlton. He's just dependable, reliable, he doesn't let you down with a header and he's good in the attacking box as well.'

Yann Kermorgant is picked as the striker along with Southend's Freddy Eastwood and Gower says, 'I've only played with him just recently, but I'm very impressed. He's a real handful. He can drop deep and retrieve the ball and he loves turning and splitting the defence. He also wins pretty much everything in the air, which makes him a real danger from set pieces.'

Simon Church hopes to maintain good form

Simon Church hopes to maintain his current good form and score more goals for the Addicks. Here is a BBC interview with the striker: Church

Saturday, 19 October 2013

One is enough

Charlton took three points away from Ewood Park this evening thanks to a first half goal by Simon Church.

Blackburn had a very early chance after only 25 seconds, but Tommy Spurr's cross was headed over the bar by Leon Best. Cameron Stewart took advantage of Kane's poor clearance on six minutes to feed Church but Dean blocked his low drive. Then, a minute later Dale Stephens's ball over the top managed to find Simon Church who, after controlling it on his chest, volleyed home. The local evening paper is full of praise for the 'superb' goal by Church: Church

Jordan Rhodes could have pulled Rovers level, but his header went straight into the hands of Ben Hamer. At the other end, Marvin Sordell made space for himself but was unable to direct his shot past Jake Kean. Hamer was again called into action, this time acrobatically turning Rhodes's volley round the post.

Best had another chance for Rovers shortly after the restart but he failed to find the target with his header. Stephens then connected with a Jordan Cousins cross but he directed his header at Kean. Charlton substitute Yann Kermorgant tried an speculative effort from his own half with his first touch, but saw the ball go wide. Goal scorer Church volleyed wide for the Addicks.

A valiant defensive effort was required and Hamer and the back four had a great game with Wood particularly outstanding and not letting anything past him.

Birmingham's heavy defeat at Leeds means that Charlton move up to 19th in the table.

A new blog, Chris Powell's Flat Cap, has a detailed report on the game: Victory

Powell dismisses Poyet rumours

Chris Powell has dismissed speculation linking new Sunderland manager Gus Poyet with a move for his teenage son Diego, who was born in Spain. Poyet Snr was appointed last week and reportedly wanted to make Charlton midfielder Diego his first signing. The 18-year-old is an England youth international and is being tipped for a bright future.

Sir Chris told the Evening Standard: 'Everyone is looking at Gus going to Sunderland and thinking he will take his son but I think people are just trying to drum up stories. Gus has been very happy with Diego's development with us. Gus is someone we speak to from time to time and he wants his son to develop away from him as well. Sometimes that is better because they can find his feet and develop as their own individual. He will be a good player for us in the future.'

Sir Chris also told the Daily Boris: 'He is someone who we have an eye on to be involved in the first team. I have a number of players in that position but we feel he will do very well at this club. You don't want to rush things but when the time is right he will be involved. He has still got to learn a lot but he is on the right pathway.'

Friday, 18 October 2013

Skipper back for Blackburn clash

Skipper Johnnie Jackson is expected to be back for Charlton's visit to Blackburn tomorrow. It is also hoped that Yann Kermorgant might be available, which would make a big difference to our chances. Chris Powell has no new injury worries.

Blackburn are currently ninth in the table and will be looking to push towards the top six. Last season they finished 17th, their worst position since 1991, and at one time looked as if they might be relegated. They lost at Wigan in their last match before the international break.

Jordan Rhodes is a key player for Rovers with a tally of nine goals in seven league games before the Wigan match. He scored 27 of their 55 goals last season. Former Manchester United trainee Corry Evans was brought in from Hull and hopes to feed Rhodes from midfield. He commented, 'I think we're starting to gel because a lot of new players have been brought in, including myself.'

Blackburn defender Grant Hanley will miss the match after his red card against Wigan, so Matt Kilgallon, a summer recruit on a free transfer, is expected to come into the side.

Odds: Blackburn Evens, Draw 12/5, Charlton 11/4. Charlton won 2-1 there last year.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wood pleased with progress

Richard Wood is pleased with the progress he has made at Charlton, certainly most of the comments I have heard from fans have been favourable. Not quite sure why this report is written by 'our La Liga correspondent' though: Wood

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pardew admits 'errors' at Charlton

Speaking on 'Goals on Sunday' former Charlton manager Alan Pardew admitted that he made 'errors' at Charlton, but he's learnt from them. He said he was forced to sell 9 players after relegation including Andy Reid who was like a Messi to Charlton. Reid was certainly well thought of by fans and has gone on to have a successful career.

However, one well-informed Addick has commented, 'The sale of Reid wasn't as simple as Pardew's hand being forced. He wasn't able to accommodate Reid successfully in a 4-4-2, which is how he wanted to play, the player wanted to take the money on offer and the manager didn't resist the suggestion of selling him, from what I was told at the time. If Pardew had opposed the deal it probably wouldn't have happened.'

A director at the time commented, 'I don't recall Pardew being forced to sell any particular players or any particular number of players. I'm sure he was told to work on getting the wages down. The manager being forced to sell a player just didn't happen back then.'

Lisbie provides the goals - and the food

Former Addicks striker Super Kevin Lisbie is providing lots of goals for table topping Leyton Orient. He scored his ninth of the season in yesterday's 2-1 victory over MK Dons with what was rated as a 'clever finish'.

However, Super Kev is also providing the meals when the team breaks for training on away trips. His wife Joanna cooks West Indian meals for the striker and the other players used to smell it and ask for some. A deal was agreed whereby Joanna gets paid for providing 15-20 meals for each away trip. No recipes are provided, but chicken seems to feature prominently.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Club finances

The CAS Trust have taken a detailed look at the club's finances and suggest that the club's losses this season will be £4.5m, a reduction of 25 per cent. Financial fair play rules and the spending model imply a budget for players of £3m, which is not a lot and essentially means loans. However, they calculate that this could increase to £8m with new investment: Finances.

They detect a new atmosphere of transparency in relation to club finances and one has to hope that they are right. However, whether this will tempt Mr Prothero out to meetings with fans remains to be seen. It is also doubtful whether transparency will extend to ultimate ownership, long-term strategy or asking price, although the latter necessarily has to be confidential.

Church scores for Wales

A Charlton player was on the international score sheet last night when Simon Church scored for Wales in the 67th minute in Cardiff to give them a 1-0 victory against Macedonia and lifting them off the bottom of their group. Church took advantage of a pinpoint cross from Bellamy to put the ball in the middle of the net: Church

Rhoys Wiggins was an unused substitute.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Jimenez loses Wise court case

The following brief item has appeared on the Daily Mail website: 'Dennis Wise has won a claim for return of £500,000 from former Charlton co-owner Tony Jimenez at the High Court. The former Chelsea captain handed over the sum of money in July 2007 as part of a £23million plan to buy the "beautiful" Les Bordes site in the Loire Valley but wanted it back, after he claimed promises had been broken.' Les Bordes is a golf course.

Penelope Reed QC, sitting as Deputy Judge, said: 'I consider that Mr Jimenez received the sum of £500,000 from Mr Wise for a specific purpose and he has not satisfied me on a balance of probabilities that he has fulfilled that purpose. In those circumstances he held that £500,000 on trust for Mr Wise. As he no longer holds those monies he is liable to pay equitable compensation to Mr Wise in the sum of £500,000 together with interest from December 4 2007.'

The actual hearing was in June and more about that can be found here: Court case. Rather bafflingly, reference is made to a meeting to sort things out between the two parties in 'a baker in Baker Street.' This seems rather an odd location, given that Baker Street is replete with caf├ęs which I have used myself for football-related meetings.

It is unclear why Jimenez is referred to as the 'former' co-owner of Charlton. Either it is a mistake or they know something we don't.

Wise and Jimenez were part of the so-called 'Cockney mafia' brought in to run Newcastle United. More about the 'respected international businessman' resident in Cyprus and Dubai here: Jimenez

Thursday, 10 October 2013

£2m bid for Poyet

Gus Poyet is reported to want to make his son Diego his first signing at Sunderland and is prepared to pay £2m: Poyet

Although the 18-year old hasn't started for the Addicks, he's reportedly been on the radar of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City and his outstanding passing game has drawn comparison to his former Chelsea and Tottenham star father.

Incidentally, the reporter on this story looks as if he is having a bad hair day.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Boost for stadiums as community asset

The owners of Oxford United's Kassam Stadium have failed in a bid to prevent the stadium being listed as a community asset: Kassam Stadium

This is a boost to the efforts of the Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust to secure The Valley being listed in a similar way, although whether it would stop a move to the Greenwich Peninsula is another matter. But it's certainly a status worth having.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Rhoys Wiggins called up for Wales

With Wales beset by an injury crisis, including Gareth Bale, Rhoys Wiggins has been called up for the squad to join Simon Church and the appropriately named O Tudur Jones (who plays for Hibs).

One of my all time favourite Charlton players, Johnnie Robinson, now coaching in Florida, was once Welsh footballer of the year in recognition of his efforts. Born in what is now Zimbabwe, he qualified through a grandparent.

Danny Green returns

From the MK Dons website: 'Winger Danny Green has returned to parent club Charlton Athletic following the completion of his loan spell. Green, 25, played the final game of his one-month loan deal this past weekend away at Gillingham, where he set up Patrick Bamford's first goal with a well-placed free-kick. The winger returned to The Valley after the match.' [What you mean he got on the North Kent line?]

'Since joining the Club on Deadline Day, Green made a total of six appearances and helped Karl Robinson's side to three wins and one draw. The Harlow-born midfielder didn't find the net during his short spell at MK1 but still played a key role in the Dons' impressive goal-scoring form.'

Last week, Green told mkdons.com: "I've really enjoyed my time here. This is a really good Club, the Gaffer's brilliant and there are some really nice lads who have made me feel welcome. Training's really intense as well here [implying that it isn't at Sparrows Lane?] so I felt as if my fitness has improved. We do a lot of gym work also, I feel I'm getting stronger and so it's been ideal. The training has a whole has been brilliant, the gaffer is quality here and I've really enjoyed it. I feel like I've gained something."'.

I remain unconvinced that Danny Green is good enough for a starting place at Championship level, but he has his defenders, particularly given our relative lack of proven wingers.

The legend that is Darren Bent

Darren Bent is one of my favourite Charlton strikers of the recent period, although clearly there are other candidates such as Andy Hunt ('he plays up front') and Sir Clive Mendonca. I was therefore pleased to read on Twitter that in an interview for Charlton Live to be broadcast at a later date Darren Bent said that the reason he did not sign for Crystal Palace in the summer was because of his Charlton connection.

There has been some grumbling at Fulham about Bent but he scored the winning goal against Stoke on Saturday, taking Fulham out of the relegation zone. I can't believe they will be there at the end of the season, although Martin Jol may have gone by then. Palace are clearly heading for the drop.

In their recent book The Numbers Game Chris Anderson and David Sally have a whole chapter headed 'They should have bought Darren Bent.' I think the book was largely written before Anderson came to London and started coming to The Valley occasionally.

They analyse strikers who produce key, match winning goals. They state: 'The real hero of the list is Darren Bent. Indeed, if Chelsea had analysed goals using our methodology, rather than a simple count of who had scored the most, perhaps they would have realised that the way to turn round their desperate league form in 2011 was not by splashing £50m on Torres, but by paying half that for Bent, the most consistent marginal points producer of each of the two seasons.'

They calculate that in 2009/10 he was responsible for 45.9 per cent of Sunderland's points and in 2010/11 he contributed to 31.5 per cent of the points for each of the teams he played for that year.

Bill Edgar's column in The Times yesterday notes that Darren Bent's strike partners over the years have included a namesake (Marcus Bent, of happy memory), an extension of his name (Christian Benteke at Aston Villa) and one with the same initials (Dimitar Berbatov at Spurs and now Fulham).

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Clean sheet at The Valley

Charlton achieved a rare clean sheet at The Valley this afternoon with a 0-0 draw with Blackpool. While it wasn't exactly a bore draw, the passion and commitment of Tuesday night was missing, although sometimes the evening games under the lights at The Valley are the best.

The Addicks continued to feel the absence of Yann Kermorgant with a lack of firepower up front. The first shot of goal was a tame effort by Simon Church in the second half. For their part, Blackpool disappointed, given their position in the table and their performances in the past. Bolton's win at Birmingham means that Charlton slip to 21st in the table.

I heard that some fans had problems with trains, being told to get out at Blackheath because of a broken down train at Woolwich Arsenal. They then had to pile on to buses. I came via Greenwich so was ok. Be warned that there will be a limited train service on the day of a Wigan game, which is helpful for an anticipated big crowd.

Charlton started brightly and the Bloke Beside Me remarked me after ten minutes that he had never enjoyed football so much at Charlton this season (though he wasn't at Notts Forest). However, it didn't last, as our first twenty minutes was our best and then the Tangerines started to get into the game more.

We had an early chance when we were awarded a free kick near the 'D', but although it was well taken by Dale Stephens it ended up on the roof of the net. Rhoys Wiggins was displaying real skill, Morrison put in a great defensive header and even Harriott displayed some nifty footwork. We were playing a good passing game. Ricardo Fuller, who had been greeted with warm applause, was caught offside to the shocked disbelief of the crowd.

We had a really good spell around 25 minutes but we were unable to make it count. Blackpool were starting to counter attack more effectively and won a corner but it was claimed by Hamer. Poor defensive work put Hamer under pressure with a back pass in a crowded box. A Charlton free kick was poor. Rhoys Wiggins put in a cross but it was not placed so that anyone could use it. Blackpool won another corner, and the Bloke Beside Me thought the game was tipping their way, but Stephens cleared with a good header out.

Under pressure, Wood put in a great defensive header to Hamer. The referee showed that he was on top of his game by remembering a series of fouls by Kirk Broadfoot and giving him a yellow card, much to the latter's annoyance who looked as if he might throw sand in the referee's face. In stoppage time Hamer had to save on the line from Fuller.

HT 0-0

Sordell was lucky not to be yellow carded for a poor attempt at simulation. A Blackpool free kick led to a corner for the visitors. Wiggins fought well for the ball. Gower was taken off for Pritchard. Following a good cross, we won our first corner of the game and, after a Charlton throw in, this was followed by a second.

Sordell won Charlton a free kick, but this was dismissed as lucky by the row behind. Cousins put in a great shot, but the keeper was able to tip it round the post. The ball from the corner was just over and I did think it might have last been touched by a Blackpool player. The Tangerines were making increasing use of their long throw in routine, but to no great effect, in part thanks to Hamer. They took off Osbourne and brought on their loan signing from Newcastle, Gosling, who is their great white hope. Simon Church was taken off and replaced by Stewart. Ince got a yellow card for a foul. Fuller went off to warm applause which he acknowledged and Davies came on.

Despite the late attempt by Blackpool, this was a match that had 0-0 written all over it and it is difficult to complain about the result.

Incidentally, one Addick drew my attention to the professional way that Chris Powell handles himself at the end of the match, making sure he shakes hands with all the opposition players.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Jordan Cousins for an accomplished performance which included the best shot on goal in the game. It's good that he is now on a three year contract. The Football League Paper said of him, 'a calm presence, anchored the midfield.' Hamer wasn't really tested by Blackpool, except at a few corners which he claimed well. I wish that he would roll the ball out sometimes when the opportunity presents itself. Morrison had a good game, in particular put in some great defensive work in the first half. Wood was also good and showed some real skill. Wiggins is getting back to his old form and got forward well, although his crosses were not always as precise as one would like. Wilson had a decent game, although his decision-making failed him once or twice. He made a particularly serious mistake at the end of the game which nearly saw Ince score. However, the FLP thought that he marshalled the balding Bishop well. Stephens was much more active and committed and even used his talents in defence. However, he did fade in the second half. Gower was a bit anonymous and was eventually taken off. However, our midfield was then relatively inexperienced and possibly we controlled the ball better when Gower was there. Harriott showed some real skill on occasions, but he was also muscled off the ball by the stronger Blackpool players. FLP gave him the lowest score of any Charlton player and thought that his final ball was often poor. Church does put in the effort, but whether he has sufficient quality is an open question. However, perhaps he deserved better service. FLP noted that he won some intelligent free kicks. Sordell quickly became public enemy number one as far as the row behind me was concerned and even when he did do something decent it was put down to luck. However, I do think they have a point, as I would like to see a striker hungrier for the ball and more eager to get involved. FLP thought that 'he shielded the ball well against the bigger frame of MacKenzie. Once again, the opposition players seemed bigger than ours.

Pritchard had a reasonable game when he came on, but I am not sure that he added that much. Stewart was far from a game changer, despite getting a big write up in the programme. Pigott had a cameo, but did his best to get involved.

Pleased to see a photo in the programme of a match against Stoke City sixty years ago in which Stanley Matthews featured. We won that game, which attracted a crowd of 56,000, which we won 4-2. I seem to recall that my father thought Matthews was well past his best.

I thought that the referee Keith Hill had a good game, and has been presented with a Silver Biscuit by Ivy, but Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand lino who didn't seem aware of what was going on in front of him.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Valley of Hope

After what most fans saw as a heartening performance against Notts Forest on Tuesday evening, particularly in the second half, the Addicks face Blackpool at The Valley tomorrow. The Tangerines have faltered a little recently, drawing 1-1 at Huddersfield last Friday night and then, even more surprisingly, recording a goalless draw at home to struggling Bolton midweek.

Even so, they are still in the play off places and their record on the road is: won two, drawn two, lost one.

We will, of course, be facing former Addick Ricardo Fuller. One Addick has commented, 'Memo to Ben Hamer - please remember that Ricardo Fuller can turn on a proverbial sixpence in the penalty area and shoot hard/low/accurate (Andy Reid free kick on Tuesday refers...). Memo to centre-backs- please remember that Ricardo Fuller is the master of drawing a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, so beware of marking him too-close! He's bound to score.' Returning players often do.

Fuller gives it large about Charlton here on 'Tangerine TV': Full of himself

Manager Paul Ince has brought in his son Tom Ince who is good both at providing assists and scoring. He wasn't at his most effective against Huddersfield, but was still a threat. Full back Kirk Broadfoot got forward well and provided the assist for Fuller's goal. On loan Liverpool defender Jack Robinson was solid.

Newcastle United midfielder Dan Gosling has joined Blackpool on loan and will be in the squad for tomorrow's game. His game time this season has been confined to the league cup.

Our recent record at home to Blackpool has been reasonably good. We won 2-1 last season, secured a 2-2 draw in 2008/9 and actually won 4-1 in 2007/8.

Odds are: Charlton 8/5, Draw 23/10, Blackpool 13/8.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Charlton secure home point

A more passionate and committed performance from the players saw Charlton secure a home point against promotion chasing Nottingham Forest at The Valley last night. The point secured Charlton's position in 20th place at the head of the five club relegation league and sets them up well for Saturday's visit of Blackpool who could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Bolton. Millwall lost 4-0 at Birmingham.

It looked like business as usual when well-regarded former Addick Andy Reid put the visitors ahead on three minutes with a free kick that curled inside the far post. Charlton fought back when Rhoys Wiggins twice broke free down the left. On 15 minutes he played in Simon Church, but Darlow in the Forest goal made a good save turn the ball away for a corner. He then turned provider for Sordell had a goalbound shot blocked by Chris Cohen. Back at the other end, Lawrie Wilson, who had a good game, came to the home side's rescue when he hooked Jamie Mackie's shot off the line.

Five minutes into the second half a low cross from Wilson found Sordell who scored from close range. He then forced Karl Darlow into an excellent save. Premiership target Jordan Cousins almost won it for Charlton, but his volley hit the outside of the post. Morrison blazed over from six yards in stoppage time.

Simon Church has tweeted that he only picked up a knock and should be fit for Saturday.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Relegation league v. promotion league

Something odd has happened to the Championship this season. The gap between the last play-off place and relegation was 14 points at the end of last season. The gap is 14 points this season after fewer than 10 games. This time last year we had nine points rather than five but were in the same league position (20th).

Unlike last season's even and competitive contest one is already seeing the formation of three divisions: a promotion league; a relegation league; and a 'we may not make the play offs but at least we won't get relegated' league. Tonight at The Valley one of the promotion league teams meets one engaged in a battle against relegation.

Looking at The Football League Paper scores for the game at Burnley, no player got the very low scores that were justly awarded for the performance against Millwall. The lowest scores (5) were for Lawrie Wilson whose play was inhibited by the yellow card he received and Cameron Stewart 'who struggled to make his mark'. The top score went to Mark Gower 'who shielded his defence well in the first half and always looking to drag his team forward.

Forest have drawn two, lost one and won one on the road this season. Chris Cohen is rated as 'consistent, energetic and a fine positive passer of the ball.' His surging run from the deep got Forest their penalty against Derby on Saturday.

For the Addicks, it looks as if Jacko has done his hamstring again, although the BBC says it is a groin injury. Cort and Solly are still both out, while Bradley Pritchard is doubtful after being concussed at Burnley. Whether Kermorgant is fit to start could have a big impact on the outcome of the game.

We last won a match against Forest in 2000. Charlton have not managed a clean sheet in the 16 home league games, and have kept only one in the last 24. We know from the 5-4 win against Cardiff last year that the Addickted can get behind their team when their backs are against the wall and they may need to tonight.

Forest's win against Derby led to the dismissal of Nigel Clough who has had to work with limited resources and rely on the development of youth players. It sounds a bit familiar and there are those at Charlton who think that Chris Powell is part of the problem rather than part of the solution.