And so it goes on…

A long overdue blog post, providing there’s anyone out there reading this… My time over the last six weeks has mostly been spent staring at the League One table. Yes, the internet really is wasted on me.

It has been a brilliant start to the season. The way the new players – all 574 of them – have blended into the club and made such a fantastic start has been impressive and left a really good feel about the ground.

Last night however, was appalling. I’m not too fussed, as the cup really is a waste of time and something that we could do without. The manner of the defeat was disappointing though. I’ve been a Charlton fan since 1996 and yesterday was only the second time i’ve left early. (The previous time being when Stockport thrashed us 3-1 at home, Paul Mortimer scored a belter). I can cope with defeat, it’s just a shame that we went out with such a whimper in front of the TV cameras.

As i dragged myself along the back of the West Stand i heard the “oooohhhh” as (i think) Scott Wagstaff finally got the home side a shot in. I saw this on a nearby TV screen. I had a deep sense of guilt in having left early. I felt i was being stared at as i started the: “excuse me… thanks… excuse me… thanks” of shuffling past my fellow sufferers, who were mentally strong enough to stay until the final whistle.

Speaking of those annoying people who leave early (of which i was one yesterday), during football for a fiver weekend i had to stand up to let a young(ish) couple past and missed Bradley Wright Phillips’ goal, and no doubt all those behind me missed it too, as i lurched my 6ft 1in frame out of my chair. To those behind me, i apologise, and to those i stood up for… i curse you!!

Onwards and upwards though. I don’t suppose anyone really cares about the JPT. I’m looking forward to another great game at the weekend, another great victory. Our winning streak in the league won’t last forever, and when that first defeat comes, let’s just take it on the chin. Don’t panic. This is the best Charlton side we have had for a while now, who look more than capable of rising to the challenge.


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What a start!

It might make me sound sad, but I always get a bit of a lump in my throat when the teams run out to the red red robin.

The videos on the new screen don’t help either, showing all those great moments from our past that seem literally a life time ago. However……

Having not made it to The Valley for months, I have made it twice in a week now, with two very different results. I will skip over the Scunthorpe game as the Reading game is far more interesting to talk about.

The night games have always been my favourite and Tuesday didn’t disappoint. There’s something about the atmosphere, the darkness, that makes a win seem that much better when it’s at night. Only poor finishing meant we weren’t 3-0 up within ten minutes but it was just a great performance. In the long run it could prove counter productive as I’m sure all fans would prefer promotion to all the extra games that a cup run inevitably brings, but let’s not dwell on that for now.

Reading were pretty much outplayed were they not?! It was brilliant that we fielded a completely new team and yet they played in such an accomplished fashion to give the manager that cliched ‘headache’ for the next game. Bradley Pritchard was immense, Yado Mambo looked like he’d been there for years, Ben Hamer pulled off some good stops, even Simon Francis put in a great performance.

Having walked away from The Valley on Saturday feeling like I’d just witnessed a defeat, I walked away on Tuesday night feeling as euphoric as I felt some 13 years ago when I walked down Wembley Way in the shirt of a newly crowned Premiership club. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that I’m comparing a win against a Championship side on a wet Tuesday evening to the finest day in the club’s history, but never mind. I felt great; full of enthusiasm and positive thoughts, which isn’t common for a Charlton fan!

Everyone keeps saying how we should keep our feet on the ground, how it is only August but who cares?! We are excited, we are positive, and we are all looking forward to every game, going into it feeling that we have a great chance, no matter who we are playing.

Long may it continue.

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Signings keep on coming

I’ve not blogged in ages because I haven’t been able to keep up with the phenomenal rate of signings so far, but the latest one has drawn me to the keyboard…..

Of all the signings this year, I’ve been excited and it has made me really look forward to the new season, but the signing of another goalkeeper has surely raised more eyebrows than my own.

We have now got more goalkeepers at the club than we have strikers, at a club where historically, scoring goals has always been an issue. The great thing about strikers, any position in fact, is that you can adjust your formation to accommodate more of them, but you can’t do this with the keeper.

John Sullivan looked good on loan last year, Rob Elliot is Charlton through and through, we have a couple ‘for the future’ but those signings almost seem pointless if we have three senior keepers.  Premier League teams perhaps can afford this embarrassment of riches in the goalie department but for a League One team that, by the Chairman’s admission, was leaking money like a sieve, surely we can’t afford to be so well endowed, for want of a better phrase!

Rumours now are rife that Rob Elliot is on his way, which i think would be a big mistake. But with Elliot saying he wants to stay, and Chris Powell saying he wants him to stay, it just makes this latest signing a little confusing.

Goalkeepers aside, there seem to be some good, positive vibes coming out of the squad. With Johnnie Jackson back as well I think the talk of promotion could be a little more realistic than last year. Although this time last year we were starting the season with an almost entirely new squad, they seemed to be waifs and strays that Phil Parkinson could pick up on the cheap/free. With a bit of money now thrown at the team this has to be our season….


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Comings and… comings

I have been pondering updating my blog for some time but in the back of my mind I kept deciding it was worth waiting as by the time I would have finished writing, Chris Powell probably would have signed a few more players!

The signings are coming thick and fast now and it leaves me really excited about the coming season. Cautious excitement mind you…

For quite a few years now I’ve thought, “this is our season” and for quite some years now it hasn’t. Chris Powell though is getting the players in thick and fast and seems to be going for Alan Curbishley’s tried and tested criteria of players that WANT to play for Charlton and that are *cliche alert* “hungry”.

I really can’t wait for the new season to begin. There seem to be a lot of midfielders arriving, which is interesting. Reid and Racon have gone, it appears that Semedo will go and a couple of those remaining are obviously not rated by Powell. It’s good to get rid of players who are playing for Charlton because it’s their job, and because they’re paid, rather than because they really want to play for the club and do well for the club.

I still think we need a good pacey centre back now but, as I’ve said, perhaps by the time I click “upload” we will have signed one. Or two maybe….

It’s a sign of the times these days that with more or less every signing that we make now requires a bit of Google research. Did anyone have to Google Paulo Di Canio when he signed?!

Well, tough luck. There’s no point dwelling on it. Times have changed. It looks like the new players are as excited about the new season as we are. Paul Hayes has made some positive comments on his Twitter feed and the interviews with the new players make good reading.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone is urging the new season forward and getting a chance to see some of our new team in action.

Role on August.

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“Our” season

I was sitting in bed this morning playing with my… (stop it!)… iPad2 when i stumbled across an absolute cracker of an article about the most important player for Charlton from the late 90s…. Michael Gray.

If you’re interested, you can read it here; I would highly recommend it. It echoes my opinion that it wasn’t Michael Gray that lost the Play Off Final for Sunderland, but actually Lionel Perez.

It was a great read about how one moment can define a career. Everyone has one. Michael Howard’s would probably be “that interview” with Jeremy Paxman; Liz Hurley’s would be wearing “that dress” and Ryan Gigg’s … Well, nevermind but it got me thinking about the coming season and whether it will define Chris Powell’s career. Hopefully it will… and in a good way of course!

There have been some good signings so far this summer and hopefully there will be some more to come. A quick Google search on Charlton also found that Jose Semedo is apparently in talks with Sheffield Wednesday. From what I read, he wants to stay at Charlton for the rest of his career and Charlton want to keep him so it’s curious that these talks are taking place, if indeed they are, but hopefully he will stay with us.

I can’t say I was too fussed about Jenkinson going. Sure, he will be a good player but we hadn’t come to rely on him like we had on Scott Parker when he left for Chelsea way back when so i don’t think his departure will be too much of a blow for the team. Having said that, if i was an Arsenal fan i wouldn’t be too impressed. Arsenal need to stop being so tight and spend some proper cash on established players that can walk into the first team and make an immediate impression. Jenkinson doesn’t fit this bill and I wonder what the chatter will be like on the Emirates’ terraces about this one…

I was pleased to see Ross Worner getting a new club pretty sharpish. I used to live in Aldershot and often popped round to the ground for the evening fixtures after work. I have fond memories of the place, despite its reputation, and the club is a whole lot more successful than it was when i used to go so hopefully Ross will do well there. I think he was a bit unfortunate to be released. His shot stopping capabilities were without question but i think he will always struggle with coming for those crosses. As a goalkeeper you really do need to be at least a six footer. A good reserve keeper for us, no less. Perhaps if Mr Perez had been a couple of feet taller then he would have caught “that cross”.

So back to our season. If Chris Powell were to be sacked today we would be spoilt for choice on who to replace him with. Alex McLeish, Billy Davies, Mark Hughes! But Sir Chris is now busy rebuilding the squad that lost their way last season. I’m not fussed about seeing people like Llera leave us, and I think Sullivan was a cracking signing. We haven’t had any serious competition in the goalkeeping department for quite some time so that should prove interesting.

A few flair players in midfield, a 25-goal a season striker and a rock solid couple of defenders (Oh how i long for the days of Jorge Costa) and I reckon this will be our, and Sir Chris’s, season.

Is it too much to ask for….?!

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Dreaming of Kevin Phillips

It’s possible that Charlton were responsible for one of the most disappointing moments of Kevin Phillips’ career. Deprived of lifting a trophy in the shadows of the famous Twin Towers of Wembley Stadium by probably the greatest hat trick ever scored at Wembley. (Though no one other than CAFC fans would ever admit this as it wasn’t scored by a household name)

You’d probably forgive him, therefore, if he never wanted to hear the name Charlton Athletic ever again. However, time is a great healer; can anyone actually believe it was THIRTEEN years ago that we were Wembley victors?

Anyway, i digress. I was listening to TalkSPORT earlier this afternoon and up popped Kevin Phillips, talking about the disappointment of being relegated with Birmingham. He went on to say that he was 90% sure that he would be leaving Birmingham for pastures new, and that he had a “proven pedigree” in helping clubs get promoted.

Now, perhaps it’s a sign of the times that i’m thinking this is a dream that will never become reality, but wouldn’t it be great if he signed for Charlton?

Getting old he may be (in footballing terms at least) but some people were born to score goals and Kevin Phillips is one of them. Would he be willing to drop to League One? Probably not, but if he was then i’d imagine it would be to a promotion contender. (Is it presumptuous to think that we might be in the mix for promotion at a third time of asking?!)

I reckon the sight of him walking into the training ground on the first day of pre season training would be a great sight, a great motivator to all the other player, and to the fans? A sign that we will score a significant number of goals.

So here’s my plea to Kevin Phillips. Join us!!

P.S – If you’re not following me on Twitter then please do – @Charltontilicry

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End of season sale

Well, two very important things have happened this week.

Firstly, this wretched season has finished. One that started with much promise, like a bottle of economy Cola, very quickly lost its fizz and left a bitter taste in the mouth.

The second important thing was that i FINALLY got an internet connection in my house. I’ve only lived here two years, procrastination at its absolute finest!

There were many names i was expecting to see on the list of players who would be leaving us, one i was disappointed to see was that of Ross Worner. On the occasions he got to play i thought he did quite well. I think the one thing counting against him is his height. He was a fine shot stopper but there were many players in the division that could out jump him when it came to those crosses being whipped into the box and it was when he looked his weakest.

Speaking of crosses being whipped into the box, it looks as if Kyel Reid will be leaving too. Disappointing yes, surprising no. His ability to come on and trouble defenders is beyond question so one can only presume that something is going on behind the scenes. I think that both of these decisions will come back to haunt us sooner rather than later.

It must be pretty tough being a lower league footballer. All we ever hear about is the pampered Premier League footballers, earning hundreds of thousands of pounds each. But for people like Ross Worner, you can safely presume he wasn’t on bumper wages and now that income has stopped. Where will the next pay cheque come from? Over the last few months i’ve been going through a similar uncertainty about my future in my own job (which isn’t as exciting as being a footballer!) and it’s a difficult time; I’ve come through the other side unscathed and i hope they do too. I feel for them.

What is for sure though is that they are going to be the first of many. It sounds as though we are going to be starting next season in very much a similar fashion to this one – 10 new players in the starting XI trying to blend in with each other.

Having had to work a number of weekends recently i’ve missed the last few CAFC games. I know i didn’t miss much as we didn’t have anything to play for, but i missed being there. I missed the drive up the motorway, getting programme, if it was a big game then dodging the horse pooh! It all makes for a special day, win, lose or draw and i can’t wait for next season to begin.

Let’s hope its a better one than 2010/11!

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