Sunday, February 27, 2005

Bravery at Boro

I was in a crappy pub in Greenwich last night, chatting about Middlesbrough v Charlton. "D'ya wanna go, then?," asked my mate. Alas, no, I had to be elsewhere today, but I missed a cracking game. Good thing I managed to find a telly showing it, then, eh? The second half saw Middlesbrough batter us, but they found our defence - and Dean Kiely - resolute. Until a quarter of an hour before the end, anyway.

In truth, though, it was the sort of determined performance which saw us walk away from Goodison Park with three points last month. Boro had to resort to long balls to get past our five-man midfield. And if Jonatan Johansson's last-minute penalty shout had come to something, maybe we might have done, wiping the strange perma-grin off Steve McClaren's face.

Kiely had an outstanding game, and he'll be all over the three column inches this game will get tomorrow. But it was a match to appreciate the talents of Shaun Bartlett at the head of that 4-5-1 formation. Admittedly, he's not been All Quiet In The East Stand's favourite son over recent months, but his calm qualities were in evidence today - coolly controlling the ball before passing to Matt Holland for our first, and a typical, clinical finish for our second.

A point at Boro's a good thing, an exciting point at Boro is a thing to behold. Even if their goalscorer Danny Graham will probably be too sore to appreciate it in the morning. I challenge anybody to watch the kick he got from Chris Perry for his efforts without wincing. Ouch.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Parker to Brum?

Ugh, Clubcall. But they're claiming it as kosher, and thus it gets lifted by the Express. What am I on about? This...

Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker is set to join Birmingham City in a £5 million deal this summer, writes Richard Cawley.

Clubcall can exclusively reveal that the 24-year-old, who is close to returning from a broken foot, will quit Stamford Bridge in a bid to get his career back on track.

Parker, who cost £10 million when he arrived from Charlton in January 2004, has not been able to hold down a regular place in the Blues midfield since Jose Mourinho was appointed manager.

That has alerted Birmingham boss Steve Bruce - with insiders at St Andrews saying a deal is "done and dusted" when the campaign ends.

Lots of chat on Netaddicks about this - there's been plenty of hints that the errant son could be on his way back home, and it's pretty well known there is a dialogue of some description between the club and Parker. But I'd imagine his agent - Paul Martin at SFX (whose other clients include one-time great white hope Malcolm Christie) - will probably have the final say. After all, he was so well advised once Chelsea came tapping knocking in 2004, eh?

It'd be galling to see Parker go to another mid-table club, but what's going to be his primary motivation? Money. Over the past few years - and the last 12 months in particular - Brum have been happy to splash out David Gold's mucky porn pounds like nobody's business. Which isn't the way we do things, and I don't think we have the financial firepower to compete. If this story's right, I fear we're set for another dose of Parker heartbreak, just as we thought we were over him.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Why Franny's feeling neglected

To The Valley to watch the reserves play Spurs in the cold. Not that it bothered debonair Tottenham overlords Frank Arnesen and Martin Jol, who both came along to take up seats in the directors' box along with their recent loan signing Mido, who took time out from tea and biscuits in the hospitality suite to flash a grin at your correspondent, shivering the other side of the glass with only a King Size Mars Bar to his name. 'Snot fair.

But a decent match ended with a 2-1 win. Jason Euell, Francis Jeffers, Jonathan Johansson, Mark Fish and Chris Perry all featured, with Euell, JJ and Perry all putting in decent performances, although it was the pace of Lloyd Sam which really caught my eye, with Stephan Andersen outstanding in goal.

JJ scored our first-half opener, while Barry Fuller's foul on impressive Spurs youngster Lee Barnard led to a penalty for a Spurs equaliser. It looked all set for a 1-1 draw when, as a sudden snowfall wafted down on The Valley, substitute Alistair John snatched an 89th-minute winner.

But it was the stuttering form of Jeffers which was a worrying - if he had a virus on Saturday, how did he shake it off to play in the snow on Monday? And while he did help set up JJ's goal, he wasn't very good at all. If he's going to start whining on about not playing, then he'd better take a look at his own performances. But then again, his agent is Paul Stretford, who'd have nothing to lose from more juicy transfer commission. Ho-hum.

4-5-1 or not 4-5-1?

Wise words from Netaddicks contributor Sailor Browneye. So much whining about our 4-5-1 formation on Saturday, yet would a 4-4-2 have been any better, considering Francis Jeffers was ill? While the toys get lobbed out of prams elsewhere, here's what he said, using far better words than I could...

The 4-5-1 formation has been the single most important reason we are currently in the top 10. It is the formation of choice at the moment and the country's best side, Chelsea, employs it.

It IS faddish and might be out of vogue as fast as it was in vogue, but we have the players to make it work. Not all clubs do. Curbs is a great manager, an intelligent one, and has naturally worked that out for himself. Bartlett is the only convincing striker we have who can fully play the lone man up front role, but who's to say we weren't looking at obtaining another similar option in January or once the window re-opens in the Summer?

Romm, JT, JJ and Konch can all play the wide role and so that gives us good flexibility. Before we reverted to this system we were fitful at best and, on occasion, took dreadful beatings, the like of which has only been dished out to us by Chelsea, fellow 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 proponents, since we made the change.

Some people need a reality check. Our main aim is to stay in the top flight and that is that. Sure our defeat on Saturday was depressing and shouldn't have happened but, for whatever reason, our cup record is poor; yet I don't care less if it means we stay in the top ten clubs in the country.

And as he says elsewhere, it's the backbiting that risks bringing our club down. As fans, we've got to sort it out. Get behind the team, or get lost.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The muppets of the mailing list

One of the sweetest things about being a "small" club is that we don't have an over-expectant fan base in Malaysia to please. Heavens, those of us in London can even swap tales of what a sour old tosspot Arsene Wenger is with real Arsenal fans in real pubs, knowing that they got pissed off with their team's performance against a Championship side too. Except they had the nous to play dirtier...

But one of the saddest things about being a "small" club is having that unofficial mailing list pretends it's representative of fans' views. Speaking of Arsenal, I spotted the Gunners' application for a Woolwich monument mentioned on there the other day. Would have been nice to have had a bit of credit for it, but then the poster was someone who remains employed by the club who says of this site... "can't be bothered to take the blog that seriously".... Nice. Maybe he's looking at this site from a laptop on a coach from Dover - in which case, let's wave hello!

In the meantime, let's look at the mailing list, and drink in their stupidity. It's every reason to roar our team to a top-six Premiership finish.

Euell and JJ - Want them to go due to lack of goals in last few seasons.

Deano look "semi-retired"
[sic] and give Andersen a CHANCE.

The problem is Palarse won't get relegated, but given today's result
and our end of season form WE WILL.

Today was a disgrace never will we get a better chance to progress then today and we did not bother,compete or create more then 2 chances of note.

Professional sportsmen earning vast sums of money shouldn't need motivating.

Absolute disgrace. Public apology to the fans would be the least we should
expect. I know we`re not allowed to hunt foxes anymore...

We all know we will not win more then 3 games this season

I hope this puts things in perspective. It'll be added to if any more ludicrous comments appear. What would make these people happy? Genetically-modified Radox in the players' bath? Half-price Sky subscriptions? Whoever knows? But I reproduce this cack to remind us there's loads of games go yet yet. Let's not lose perspective, we screwed up in the Cup, but we're still 8th in the league.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Charlton 1-2 Leicester

proper reports:, Sporting Life, BBC Sport, Sky Sports, The Observer, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Addick's Diary, News of the World, Sunday People.

I knew it was a bad omen when, at 2.45, preparing to leave All Quiet Mansions, I managed to send a pint glass smashing all over my front room. But it'll take more than a swift spot of vacuuming to clean up the mess left behind by Charlton's performance at The Valley.

"Charlton - such a good cup side," texted a Millwall fan of my acquaintance as the final whistle blew. But I think our defeat to Leicester had more to do with our usual bad habit of being crap after a break rather than our traditional poor cup form. Danny Murphy, Matt Holland, Luke Young and Herman Hreidarrsson looked totally out of sorts, while Dennis Rommedahl was so laughably bad he was replaced with the more-effected Jerome Thomas at half-time.

Indeed, after our win at Everton last month, Murphy said it had been the "crappy" things we excelled at - passing, tackling, marking, all the basic, boring stuff. Today, we were crappy at the crappy things. And the Foxes did it so, so well.

Leicester were once a dire Premiership team, now they're looking an effective Championship side - quick, bustling, and finding strength in numbers. Goal-scorer Mark De Vries was always a threat, as was Jordan Stewart, while the commanding Dion Dublin showed there's still life in the old Fox yet. As the sleet fell, Leicester warmed to their game and they totally deserve this win.

I'm sure there'll be lots of moans and groans about how we weren't up for it, how we don't care about the Cup, blah, blah, blah. But with the home fans generally silent while the Leicester fans roared, I hope each person who moans tonight looks at themselves and how much they gave the team.

It'll be futile dreaming of Cardiff or Wembley when, at 1-1 in a tense tie with a skilled Championship side, we have people leaving the East Stand with five minutes to go. Let's just hope this game doesn't precipitate a slump in league form. Good luck to Leicester, but our season isn't over yet. Come on you Addicks.

What becomes of the broken-hearted?

It may be a hoax, but sod it, I'm soppy. Here's a heart-rending Netaddicks post...

theres a charlton fan i think is amazing, her names clare osborne just in case any of you know her, really want to impress her and do somethin special for her before she goes travelling, but not sure what i could do, she's already got a season ticket so i can't take her to a match, any suggestions? (more)

Using capital letters and punctuation may be a start, son.

Not much I can say about Leicester today - I'm too nervous, frankly, and our record against them in the Premiership last season wasn't exactly sparkling. Let's hope we're the right side of the inevitable "fox hunting" headlines tonight.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Non-league Robbo

John Robinson - who retired from full-time football last year - is back in the game, having signed a short-term contract at Conference play-off contenders Crawley Town.

"I have always known I would end up playing Non-League Football and harbour ambition to get into the Management side once my playing days are over, I have always lived in Sussex and Crawley Town were the obvious club to join. I have watched with interest the progression of the club over the last few years and hope to play a part in the push for a play off place." (more)

He goes into the squad for their game against Morecambe on Monday - which is being screened on Sky.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

"Is Fanny feeling neglected?"

City Addicks went down a treat off Cheapside tonight; joining Peter Varney and Steve Sutherland was none other than Garry Nelson, a true diamond geezer and a self-deprecating treasure trove of stories. Trust me, if ever someone has the spark to do An Evening With Garry Nelson, just go. Especially if you want to hear tales of boozy escapades in the Anglo-Italian Cup.

"Worst away grounds? Well... there was Millwall at the old Den. No stewards in the away dressing room, just three skinheads in there waiting to kick the shit out of you."

Meanwhile, if you're thinking of a big St George's Day outing to Norwich this year, hold your horses - Sky have reserved the rights to change the kick-off, according to Varney. As well as Norwich, Sky are also looming over Manchester United at home, as well as the trip to Chelsea and our final game of the season against Crystal Palace.

Any enormous scoops? Not really. But I think it's fair to say we'll have a new design for our kits next season. Like many of these things, it wasn't necessarily revelatory, but it was certainly an illuminating and informal evening - can you imagine any other club doing this?

We even put up with the two gentlemen who were certainly old enough to know better who muttered their way through the evening, and five minutes into the night complained about the lack of any present players at the event. We're a broad church at Charlton, and congratulations to the City Addicks organisers for a fine evening, and for having the patience not to throw the two old whingers out in the rain.

Varney deftly batted off a complaint about the season ticket rises - a flat £50 increase all round means the cheapest ticket holders have to cop a whopping increase, whether or not it costs £17 per game. But considering what we pay in relation to other London clubs - and even Gillingham - it's very hard to really complain.

Oh, the post title? I said I'd keep it a secret...

Charlton, the council... and Arsenal

Word reaches All Quiet In The East Stand that people living immediately near The Valley got a Valentine's communication at the weekend which wasn't full of love and roses. It was from Mike Donovan, the secretary of the Charlton Athletic Residents' Liason Committee. You'll remember him from his little outburst in Petts Wood-based "local" paper the News Shopper last year.

You'd think a man with a title like his would be impartial over the club's plans to expand The Valley. Unfortunately, he's about as impartial as Jose Mourinho is scruffy. He distributed a letter from Greenwich Council confirming the plans have been received, and adding his own response to them.

His views are, well, hostile to say the least...

"Greenwich Council has a duty of care to its residents whom it should protect against the unreasonable plans of major commerical organisations seeking to advance their profits to the detriment of the quality of life experienced by their local stakeholders. It may very well be convenient for Greenwich Council to enjoy the attentions of a rich Premier League football club within the Borough. It is not so convenient to listen to the complaints of individual voters and Council Tax payers who lack the co-ordinated single voice and massive lobbying ability of CAFC.."

It just makes you wonder what the bloody hell Mr Donovan thought that large structure at the junction of Harvey Gardens and Floyd Road was when he moved in, really.

For those who want to see, the East Stand planning application summary can be seen in this document here.

But a few lines further down from Charlton's application, there's another one which caught my eye...

Dial Arch Square No 1 Street Royal Arsenal Woolwich SE18: The erection of a stone and bronze tribute plinth to Arsenal Football Club.

With Arsenal's time at Highbury running out, expect a lot more history-milking to take place. It's a funny reminder if it hadn't been for one corrupt chairman 1913, football around here would be a different world altogether. Although I expect Paul Scally would still be unhappy. And so would Mike Donovan.

Oh, and I stupidly neglected to plug this before, but the estimable City Addicks are meeting tonight - with Peter Varney, commercial director Steve Sutherland and club development kingpin Ian Cartwright. It all kicks off at 6.30pm upstairs at the City Tavern in Trump Street, off King Street which is off Cheapside. (Or you could just look at this map.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Withdrawal symptoms

A weekend off - was it a welcome break or does it not feel right? After the crazy fixture pile-up after Christmas, a weekend off was just the tonic at Sparrows Lane. But for us fans - well, I decided to ignore all competing attractions and went shopping instead. But I'm sure Welling's larger-than-normal crowd against league leaders Grays can't have been a coincidence.

But at least we've had time to appreciate what we've got. What a bloody good team Curbs has put together. And how we seem to have stopped panicking when results go against us. We'd better bloody beat Leicester on Saturday now, I like this sense of calm about the place.

And instead, we can dwell on other questions. Why do people even bother watching England friendlies? Why didn't Arsenal score seven past the Nigels last night instead of five? How poor were West Ham in the Cup on Sunday? (And would any Charlton fan pose for West Ham Lass? - not work-friendly.) How does Paul Scally justify his season-ticket hike for soon-to-be-third-division Gillingham? Did you see Claus Jensen run for Fulham on Saturday? When did he do that for us in his last season? Have people realised that Wigan - a club with almost no fans - will be in the Premiership next season? And why was Woking v Crawley the needle game of the weekend?

So many questions. But the one that's really perplexing me is closer to home. Our away match at Fulham - the chance of a good day out, no? A chance to get a few new people along to an away game and roar us on to another win. How many tickets have we taken for the game? A mighty... 1,800. Apparently Fulham wanted Charlton to pay up front for any extra tickets, a bit cheeky bearing in mind the Cottagers' appalling attendances at Craven Cottage.

Strangely, Fulham's Putney End contains a "neutral area" - which sounds like it's going to be full of Charlton fans. If you want to join them, click here and see if there's any left (hover your mouse over block 2 of the Putney End). I should be getting commission from al-Fayed for this, shouldn't I?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The secret life of Alan Curbishley

By Thursday night I've had enough, and settle in for a quiet evening at home with my family. We eat together, then all watch a DVD: all I remember is that Jennifer Aniston was in it. Even watching the DVD was interrupted by our physio ringing to tell me that Jerome Thomas is unwell. (more)

There's an admirably candid Curbs piece in The Observer about the pressure football management brings upon his family life - how he doesn't see much of his family, because he's always out at games. Wyn has his own thoughts - it's interesting how often Curbs nips over to Lille or Lens to check out players in the French league, for example.

There'as a nice image there, though of Curbs watching the Sky highlights with his 16-year-old son on Saturday nights - it must be a bit strange watching the football with your Premiership manager father... "Dad, that bloody was offside!" Not much room for argument there, eh?

But never mind Footballers' Wives - how about Managers' Wives?

When the wives get together, they always ask each other where they're going on holiday, and how much of the season is left, and always say the same things. 'He's never in; he's always out; he's always on the phone.' And 'he talks to me like he talks to the players sometimes' - that's a classic.

The mind boggles!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

England U20s 2-0 Russia U20s

Proper report:,

See, price it right and they'll turn up in their thousands. A stonking 10,426 turned up at The Valley for tonight's England Under-20s friendly, with the Charlton contingent rewarded by a Lloyd Sam goal on what was his almost his first touch of the game, sending the ball rocketing into the net after picking up a cross from Bradley Wright-Phillips. Sam didn't come on until about 15 minutes before the end of the game, while Stacy Long made his appearance 10 minutes earlier, having a quiet game on what was an easy night for England's youngsters. Manchester City's Chinedum Onouha scored the first goal, early in the first half.

It was clear the attendance took either Charlton or the FA by surprise - I'd suggest the latter, simply because match programmes were rarer than gold dust, a little annoying when you've come to watch two teams of largely unfamiliar faces. Indeed, with the whole west stand, north-west quadrant and lower north stands largely full, it looked like the north-east section was opened specially to take the extra crowds, with people still taking their seats twenty minutes after kick-off.

But whatever the problems, it was an entertaining night in front of a lively crowd of kids and families. Hopefully it'll lead to us getting an U21s game soon.

Down the road

Since I'm going to nip along to The Valley tonight for the England Under-20s game, what better than to turn the spotlight on the club which, of course, is England itself - Millwall?

Their search for a new chairman's just ended, with longtime board member Jeff Burnige taking over from Theo Paphitis. Which would indicate that nobody's turned up at Zampa Road bearing any huge blank cheque. Our Jeff describes himself as "a bit of a talker" - what, a Millwall chairman who's mouthy? I thought they were all shy and retiring chaps. There's some thoughts on fan site House of Fun if you're interested.

But fair play to the Spanners who complained after The Sun ran an unintentionally hilarious stitch-up of their recent game against Brighton. It sent a reporter who usually writes for the ethnic press down to the Den to prove just how racist our friends from SE16 can be. Millwall have managed to force an apology out of the Sun, which is quite an achievement...

This was my first visit to The Den and in my article I wrote that I saw and heard certain things.

While the photographer with me told me that he saw a racist banner, TV surveillance proves that this wasn't the case.

I also concede that there is no evidence to prove that I heard 'Sieg Heil' chants as I suggested.

Indeed, numerous Millwall and Brighton fans have suggested that what I actually heard was a reference to Brighton's nickname 'Seagulls'.
(Millwall's PTV site/ Google cache)

Oh dear, oh dear.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The toothless Toon army

"Graeme Souness, is getting the sack..."

A draw which, for the enormous fun we had at our hosts' expense, felt like the win it should have been. A best-forgotten first half in which both teams largely cancelled each other out was followed by a second half which saw the barcodes resurgent - footballing gentleman Kieron Dyer's goal woke up 50,000 dozy, silent Geordies who'd booed their side off after half-time.

But then Dennis Rommedahl equalised barely a minute later, and that cowed the home team, the Dane's runs absolutely terrifying them. Unfortunately, what he couldn't do was turn it into a winning goal.

But as the Geordies steadily streamed out of St James' Park during the second half, it was the Charlton fans high up in the Sir John Hall stand (too high up for me to be able to even pretend to give you a decent match report, you'll have noticed) who had the most fun - except did we really expect the Newcastle fans to start clapping us when we demanded Souness's sacking?

I'm told the noise from the away section goes straight down to the touchline. Judging by the petulant mood he was in during the game, Souness will need more than his team's well-deserved-my-arsehole trip to Dubai in their weekend off to calm down. And frankly, given the mendacious bollocks he came out with in his post-match interviews ("They came to put 10 men behind the ball... they could have nicked the game and it would have been hard on us... overall, we should have won the game" - the front of the ex-manager of pygmy team Blackburn is just astounding), it'd be a shrink this pampered tosser needs, and not a bloody trip to the sun.

As for us, Konchesky had another superb game - and hopefully Rommedahl's confidence has been boosted by a start and a goal. Bolton's win over Palace may have seen us fall to eighth, but whatever we do for our weekend off, it's hugely deserved.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Toon trouble

All Quiet In The East Stand isn't a website to do things the established way - no weekend piss-up for me. I'm just about to leave for Newcastle now, and if things are going well for easyJet I'll be back in a Greenwich boozer not long after nine. And once I return, I'll pass on my thoughts about the game.

In the meantime, for an account of the Toon troubles of the past few weeks, read Black And White and Read All Over.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Danny Murphy: A song

From Netaddicks:

Danny Murphy's magic! He wears a magic hat!
And when he saw the Valley, he said I fancy that!
He fecked off all the yiddos and told em where to go!
And now he plays for Charlton and always steals the show!

It's not exactly original, but boy, do I want to be hearing that on Saturday.

Sweet FA

Nice to see the FA, under new boss Brian Barwick, is continuing the same hard line as before...

The Football Association has said it will not be bringing charges over the tunnel incident prior to the Arsenal and Manchester United game.

Arsenal's Patrick Vieira had earlier denied accusations that he threatened Gary Neville before the 4-2 defeat.

Vieira also clashed with opposing skipper Roy Keane and referee Graham Poll had to separate them.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick to the back teeth of this. If their captains can't behave, if the managers insist on continuing a petty row, fine both teams three points for dragging the game into disrepute. Oh, sorry, these clubs run football now, don't they?

I've just read David Conn's The Beautiful Game? and I'm working my way through Tom Bower's Broken Dreams - both are sobering and depressing reading on how a bent league has seized control of the game.

Charlton 1-2 Liverpool

Proper reports:, BBC Sport, Sky Sports, Sporting Life, The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, The Times,, Shankly Gates.

Well, only one thing beats a paracetamol for Cup fever, and that's a smack in the chops in the league. From hanging around shiftily after the game, I think everybody has a slightly different take on this game. I think this win will mean more to Liverpool than the defeat will mean to us, so I'm not too downhearted. But after a bouyant few weeks, it's bloody disappointing.

But, truth be told, Liverpool played like a team who'd had the weekend off. We played like the team who'd been forced to run for our lives by a lower-division side at the weekend. We flagged just as the Scousers found their confidence and their form - and Fernando Morientes is going to smile each time he thinks of The Valley now.

Things were so different in the first half. We soaked up that Liverpool pressure, and a Steven Gerrard shot cracking off our crossbar hinted at our luck being in. Danny Murphy being applauded by the Koppite faithful as he took a corner in front of the Jimmy Seed Sand hinted at something else.... a Charlton goal as Shaun Bartlett headed the ball home.

Liverpool's heads went down for the next quarter-hour or so, but we couldn't turn that pressure into a second goal. Liverpool's strengths were at the back of the field - Igor Biscan and Dijmi Traore, who appeared to have the measure of Jerome Thomas.

The second half, however, was a different story - Liverpool came out of the traps and turned the screw. But it was our stupidity which opened the door for them, Bryan Hughes ballsing-up a pass in front of goal which allowed Milan Baros to get in, pass it to Morientes, and send the Liverpool fans into pandemonium. You get the feeling it won't be the first time they do that.

We never really quite recovered, although Danny Murphy was inches away from scoring shortly after. It's almost a cliche now to say Murphy was at the centre of most of our good work, but it's true - he's come a long way since his horrible return to Anfield. But Liverpool grew in strength, Gerrard always looking threatening - and we never quite got to grips with him and John Arne Riise, who scored the second.

As well as Murphy, our other major strength was Paul Konchesky in midfield, while Hermann Hreidarrsson also had an impressive game. Deano kept us in it with a string of saves. Should we really have taken Thomas off for Kish, or gone to a 4-4-2 with Jeffers up front? I can't say, but I do know we looked knackered, however we played. With Newcastle coming up on Saturday, it's a worry. Spurs may have done us a favour by inadvertently giving us next weekend off...