Monday, October 31, 2005

Dr Evil's plans for world domination

"The first objective is to own London. When we talk about internationalising the brand the first thing we want to do is get critical mass within our own territory. I don't think there are any boundaries in terms of attracting supporters. Chelsea is synonymous with London. There's this automatic recognition that Chelsea is London and London we want to become Chelsea." (more)

The most dangerous man in football, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, is given a platform by The Independent to set out his stall, which includes a London-wide project with Adidas to lure kids into supporting the money boys. While I don't think he's quite sussed the complexities of the capital, it's enough to send a chill down the spine.

Meanwhile, a Mr A Curbishley has jinxed Charlton's chances of success in the League Cup against Blackburn. ""I think a Premiership side is going to win the competition so there's no reason why it shouldn't be us." Oi, Llewellyn, NO! Any more of that talk and I'll book my holiday that week after all...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

From heroes to zeroes

Ooops. So it all went pear-shaped yesterday against Bolton with a depressing inevitability. If our defeat proves anything, it really is that without Darren Bent, out of the squad with an illness, we have a problem. Jay Bothroyd didn't look suited to being the single man up front, and wasn't able to capitalise on any of his chances. A frustrating afternoon started with us being in control, which we relinquished as the second half wore on and Bolton resumed their physical style of play.

So it's back to the old chestnut - why can't we win at home? I'm reminded of a season a few years ago when we had a marvellous away record and a poor home record - the expectations and nerves in the Valley crowd seemed to pass onto the players as the game went on. Yet away from home, there's no such pressure on the players. Indeed, yesterday's crowd noise seemed to die off as the game wore on - it's a nervous, jumpy Valley once again.

Despite their atrocious result at Middlesbrough yesterday, I'm not hopeful our home form's going to improve anytime soon since our next game's against Manchester United. Instead, I'm banking on our away form for an improvement - starting up at Blackburn on Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

After the Lord Mayor's show

After the excitement of Stamford Bridge, and the stunning publicity coup of having Prince William down at Sparrows Lane, what better to bring us down to earth than a home draw against Blackburn in the League Cup, ahead of a match against Bolton?

I'd actually booked a week off work for the fourth round, just in case, and after Chelsea came out of the hat I was very tempted to book a little holiday for that week, because we weren't going to win that, were we?

Blackburn at home's an anti-climax after Wednesday's heroics, but still offers us a way through to the last eight. I know some will laugh at me for this, but at least it's not Palace or Millwall. I like an easy life around here, ta. Still, Millwall v Birmingham promises to be a nice tie played in the best spirit, especially for those of us that remember smashed-up Birmingham coaches going through Greenwich in a convoy one night in May 2002...

As for today, I'm expecting a swift bump back down to earth thanks to Big Sam's boys. It's never an easy one to call, so I'm going for a slightly disappointing draw.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chelsea 1-1 Charlton aet
(Charlton win 5-4 on penalties)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Stephan Andersen versus Dean Kiely debate is over.

A wonderful, just wonderful night in which every man gave his all. I think I need a few days to get over this. Perhaps the blue-clad children who packed out the East Stand at the Bridge have been taught a lesson. As has the child behind me in the Shed End with a John Terry badge on. A football team or a lifestyle choice? I know which I'd rather back. And to think we didn't have our first team out as well. Now, let's not blow it next round, eh? On that note, I'm off to prepare to walk on air tomorrow. Goodnight.

In case you don't want to buy the morning papers:;BBC Sport; Sky Sports; The Times; The Independent; The Guardian; Daily Telegraph,

Chelsea Blog: "An enjoyable game… until the penalty shootout!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Clearly scared of Charlton

Chelsea's England fullback Glen Johnson has resumed training after breaking his wrist punching a wall, media said on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old, who is out of favour at Chelsea and also with England after a poor performance in an August friendly, is reported to have hurt his hand after losing his temper at home.

I'm assuming Jose will field players with a mental age of more than five tonight, although an appearance by Carlton Cole can't be ruled out, I suppose. Hey-ho, off to the Bridge...

Bromley 2-0 AFC Wimbledon

Proper reports: AFC Wimbledon, Bromley FC, The Big Tissue.

As a contrast to Wednesday's trip to Stamford Bridge, a journey to Hayes Lane to see how the Dons are adapting to life in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Three-and-a-half years after I wandered along to AFC Wimbledon's first-ever game, their scores are now in decent-sized print in the Sunday papers, their league table gets on Sky Sports News and their half-times buzz through on the Grandstand videprinter.

But on a windy night, the Dons struggled against a speedy and physical Bromley side, not helped by a poor defence and a midfield which seemed increasingly unwilling to battle for the ball. Things started off entertainingly enough, with Bromley mounting frequent attacks on the Wimbledon goal, but as the match wore on, the finess wore off and the elbows went in. Off the pitch, police moved in to divide AFC fans from an increasingly fractious encounter with their "Brom-er-lee" counterparts - was this a small team aggrieved at a big shark in their midst ("You've got no history..."), or Palarse fans getting narky with their old neighbours? We suspected the latter. (Although here's an alternative explanation.)

Nic McDonnell's goal at the end of the first half focused matters on the field, and with the Bromley fans moving away from the Dons fans in the second half, it felt like the momentum was with the away fans. As the half opened, manager Dave Anderson passed behind the Bromley goal, raising his cup of coffee to toast the fans. As he turned to watch a scramble at the other end of the field, Bromley's Sam Wood fired home a second. The coffee went flying.

It didn't get much better from there onwards - on top of an injury to New Zealand international Shane Smeltz, the Dons' Matt Fowler was sent off while preparing to deal with a corner, after what may have been a clash of elbows, but may have just been the wrong man in the wrong place in the wrong time.

To the sound of the ludicrous marching music which Bromley's matchday announcer specialises in, the home team left the field having asserted their dominance. AFC Wimbledon are in no way struggling in the league - the defeat leaves them seventh - but their experiences so far suggest they'll need a fair bit of patience as they try to rise through the leagues.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pompey chimes

Great result last night, wasn't it? Even a woeful hangover's not going to wipe the smile from my face. Good to see Darren Ambrose get a full game at last - the lad's quality, no doubt about it. Good also to see Dennis Rommedahl get a goal - wasn't it a beauty? With Danny Murphy and Alexei Smertin in sharp form too, it means we can face Chelsea in the League Cup with a bit of confidence about us.

The match was also good because we came back from a dreadful first half - last season's team would have just curled up and died. It remains a nagging worry that teams may have sussed us out - cut off the supply line to Darren Bent and smother the midfield, and we're in trouble. But last night's second half shows that needn't be the case. Good work, and I'm looking forward to Wednesday now, rather foolishly.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pompey, pah

You won't hear anything from me about the Portsmouth game because I refuse to pay £26 to sit in a dilapidated old dump on Saturday teatime just so Rupert Murdoch can make some money. If you don't like games being mucked about for TV, don't pay to watch them on TV. It's as simple as that. When we're forced to play on Friday or Sunday nights, it'll be those who are coughing up £7 to watch it on Prem Plus who are to blame. Don't encourage them - don't pay to have the game we all follow screwed up by TV.

I'll be watching it in the pub instead, and then staying there. But please feel free to add your thoughts about the game in the comments below. Come on you Addicks!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The ego has landed

Thursday afternoon in Greenwich...

The Blessed David's "soccer" academy gets its finishing touches.

If the little twerp's on our turf, there'd better be something in it for us. But even then, it still leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

(No Rebecca Loos jokes, please.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Kiely's decline?

Snuck into the reserves' game against Portsmouth at half-time (proper report here, 3-1 win to us, Lisbie, JJ and Fuller scoring) to see one of the most painful things I've had to watch in a long while. Not the game itself, which chuntered along rather well with Charlton very much on top - Barry Fuller's thumping goal a treat to see - but the terrible spectacle of Dean Kiely knowing his form's slipped. Badly.

Our reluctant 2nd/ 3rd choice keeper had a shot straight at him in the 65th minute, which he spilled horribly. As the seconds felt like whole minutes, the ball was left invitingly for a Portsmouth player to whack into the back of the net. Deano crashed the ground, looking like he wanted it to open up and swallow him. He didn't really look the same after that.

It could be a long way back for Kiely, if ever, unless Stefan Andersen loses his form dramatically. Along with his compatriot Matt Holland, he's reached an uncomfortable crossroads in his Charlton career. Those interviews he gave declaring he was ready to return to the first team sound a bit hollow now... Darren Ambrose looked pretty damned sharp, by the way - hopefully I'll see him on my pub's TV on Saturday.

(While I'm here - not Charlton-related, but what is going on at QPR?)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

For those who slag off our official site...

(Just to distract you from gloating at Palace and Millwall's results...)

Be grateful we don't have a website like Fulham's, which this lunchtime dutifully reported the death of legendary player Johnny Haynes. It seems like it got the news from the Press Association wire, which flashed the news with a quote Sir Bobby Robson had given to a two-bob website called Nobok Sports. If someone big dies, the news is usually given to PA first to flash to all the other news organisations. So, naturally, Sky Sports News ran with the ball and featured a tribute from Alan Mullery, and a Fulham supporters' representatives was found.

And had a big picture of Johnny Haynes up and a suitable tribute to the club's greatest-ever player. Because most clubs use their websites to break stories, the footballing world began to doff its cap.

Except the hospital, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, denied the story. Indeed, the original story contained no news of how or why he'd died. Cue hasty retractions from the wire services (known in the trade, unfortunately, as a "kill") and a hideously embarrassing apology on Fulham's site - "The Club is deeply regretful that rather than wait for official confirmation from the family of Johnny Haynes, it relied on reports from a succession of news wire, broadcast and former players of the Club and reported that Johnny Haynes had passed away and wholeheartedly apologises for any distress the message has caused."

The Press Association story was hastily revised to "seriously ill", and everybody else followed suit, like Sky Sports.

Tonight, it was finally confirmed that Haynes had died after a car crash. Had someone cocked up badly or just jumped the gun? It doesn't matter, it's a terrible mistake to make. But it's one those who moan about being a tad slow with news should bear in mind next time they get impatient...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Charlton 1-1 Fulham

Proper reports:, BBC Sport, Sporting Life, Sky Sports, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Kent Online,

Did you hear that popping sound just now? Our bubble burst under the gaze of the TV cameras in a frustrating game against a determinedly negative Fulham side. A point's nothing to sneer at after struggling to break down the Cottagers (game plan: manhandle anybody off the ball, pack out the midfield and lump it to one of the fast fellas up front). But it means our boots will be more firmly on the ground by the time we play Portsmouth.

But we can't blame it all on our opponents' crude style of play. Chris Powell struggled to cope with the likes of Luis Boa Morte, and both he and Hermann Hreidarsson made the left hand side a lucky side for Boa Morte and Collins John. Further up the left, Jerome Thomas seemed to have difficulty adapting back to league football after his international adventures, just making matters worse. On the right, Dennis Rommedahl kept his pace but lost his head far, far too many times. Darren Bent was largely marked out of the game when it mattered, but wasted his chances.

It wasn't all bad - Danny Murphy's industry won him Sky's man of the match while Luke Young also performed well.

To be fair to Fulham, they did start brightly, catching us on the hop, with Claus Jensen looking back to the form he had for us a couple of years back. But after their goal - a fine one from Collins John - they then turned back to the negative play they're becoming known for. No wonder so few of their fans made it.

At least we upped the pace after going behind, and after Danny Murphy thumped our equaliser home it looked like anything could happen. But we kept making the same mistakes, and when Jay Bothroyd came on for Jerome Thomas it just gave Fulham a target to bully. Both sides will feel unlucky not to have come away with all three points, but neither team really merited the points they shared. But hopefully we'll be better for this jolt back to reality.

Although as the whiff from the burger vans lingers in the misty SE7 air, one thought sticks in my mind - isn't it funny when 1,000 local schoolkids manage to outsing 700 Fulham fans?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Proper football is back!

Well, thank heavens for that. The international break is at an end, and we can get back to the serious business of being little old Charlton again. Fulham are woeful, and maybe this is the year that Mr Fayed's little toy finally breaks down. But as Wyn Grant notes, it's always a tough game to call and that Claus Jensen wonder goal is surely waiting for us. Hopefully the lure of regaining second place will inspire us to flush the Cottagers down the Premiership pan.

A lot of the real Premiership action's going to take place off the pitch this week. And a lot of this is, I think, tied in with the "boring Premiership" argument that's grown over the past year or so.

On Tuesday, the Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore goes to Brussels to talk TV rights with the European Commission. The suits in the city of fine beer and chocolate think the league's TV deal (four packages of live games which - shock, horror! - all went to Sky) is uncompetitive. The EC is threatening court action.

It's likely that this is the last deal in which Sky will have exclusive access to the Premiership, and the Premier League will have to, one way or another, give at least some games to a rival firm. The clubs will be worried about getting less money - Sky claims it pays a premium for exclusive rights. But what does this mean for fans? Where will you be watching your football in five years' time?

ITV and NTL have talked about teaming up to put a bid in, where some might go on a new pay-TV channel, some might go on ITV1 or the new ITV4 (which is where ITV2's football will move to next month). You could get a chunk of it on Five. The bulk of it will probably stay on Sky, but odd games may be elsewhere.

Sky will be unlikely to drop its rates, so you may yourself paying extra to watch a Charlton game tucked away on an obscure channel on Saturday or Sunday night, which your local pub landlord probably won't be arsed to fork out for (or may be banned from doing so). Or we could strike it lucky and get Sunday lunchtime on Five or ITV4 for free. Armchair fans (whose individual Sky subscriptions are, according to NTL, subsidising the already hefty pub subscriptions) could find themselves losing out.

What about live fans, and does this have to do with the "boring Premiership" stuff? Well, broadcasters are only going to want a decent number of games each. The more games are on TV, the more games are going to be on at stupid times. 138 are shown live now, with the pressure of finding times for the Prem Plus games already playing havoc with kick-off times. (And come on, how many do you watch on your £50 season ticket? 10? 20?) I'm not going to Portsmouth on Saturday night - you can shove your 5.15pm kick-offs up your arse. But it'll get worse - get ready for Friday and Sunday night games.

Perhaps if the Premier League wasn't so greedy in introducing pay-per-view games in 2001, it wouldn't be in this mess now, where football matches are just a product at the mercy of civil servants and broadcasters' whims. You can complain as much as you like, but this horse has already bolted.

But perhaps we should look at dismantling the one final barrier - showing 3pm Saturday kick-offs live. Live football can't be shown between 2.45pm and 5.15pm, supposedly to protect live attendances at other games. But this is a nonsense now, thanks to Prem Plus. Wigan v Newcastle on TV is as much a deterrent to watching Welling v Cambridge City in the flesh if it kicks off at 12.30pm or 3pm, unless I lived in Park View Road.

And it's also a nonsense thanks to the wide availability of foreign broadcasts of 3pm games - either in pubs, or on the internet thanks to PPLive and other legally-ambiguous services, a largely unreported phenomenon. As broadband connections get better and better, they're going to get more popular as well.

A little while back Richard Scudamore said that TV was the "rocket fuel that sent the Premier League into the stratosphere", hinting that he thought 138 live games might be a bit much. Sadly, it looks like his rocket fuel's going to blow up in his face sooner or later. And whether we like it or not, we'll get burnt too.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Murphy's law

This has to be made into a T-shirt, surely. From The Guardian website's fantastic Danny Murphy gallery.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Captain Cleanshorts' tractor dreams

Oh look, Matt Holland (Remember? Captain last season. Bit crap.) has given an interview to the East Anglian Daily Times. Blimey, this must mean...

Matt Holland last night revealed he would love another stint at Ipswich Town.

Holland said: “I would love to return to Ipswich Town. You never know what is around the corner, but I would really like to go back in some capacity.

“I'm enjoying my football at Charlton, playing in the Premiership is where everyone wants to be. But my time at Ipswich was extra special. The few years of success we had was a magical time for everyone involved. We had a fantastic team, with incredible spirit and I have fabulous memories of those times.”

The thought of Matt Holland "enjoying his football at Charlton" right now is about as likely as Roy Keane planning a boating holiday with Mick McCarthy sometime soon. Dreadful injuries aside, he's either going to be glued to the bench or battling it out with Bryan Hughes for "which sub can get the biggest groan in the 85th minute". So he's angling for a loan deal, which the EADT says will "alert Ipswich".

I'm possibly being a little unfair on Captain Cleanshorts, but his lightweight performances last season must surely have been one of the catalysts for Curbishley building the midfield we have now.

Apparently, though his wages might be a problem for the Tractor Boys. Best get Darren Bent off that England bench against Poland then - that half-a-million Ipswich will get from us if he plays will definitely come in handy...

Speaking of that current midfield, good to see Jerome Thomas scoring for England Under-21s against Poland. What is it with Carlton Cole only ever performing well in an England shirt, though? Maybe because Chelsea won't let him play in their shirt...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bartlett retires: latest picture

"At last, good news all South Africans can unite behind," former president Nelson Mandela told All Quiet in the East Stand's correspondent in the Cape, as the hapless Charlton striker announced his international retirement. "Even I could have scored against Spurs last weekend. Now, how do I stop him playing against the Democratic Republic of Congo?"

Apparently the players from the war-torn central African state have recieved a boost following the news that they'll be facing the first man they've met in years that can't shoot.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The sound of The Valley

That trip to West Brom the other week got a few minds thinking round at All Quiet Mansions. It's the quality of the pre-match and half-time entertainment at the Hawthorns. And no, I'm not talking about mascots dressed as birds. It's probably the best in the Premiership, although if you go outside the league then Kiss 100's Chris Phillips does a mean turn at AFC Wimbledon.

For the Baggies come out with tunes you'll want to hear before a football match. Pounding by Doves. That thing by Jet. Not all to my taste, but better than we get at The Valley, which, let's face it, can sound a little hospital radio at times. No offence to Big Dave here, but we should be looking at tunes which pack a punch - not something plucked off the Fab FM Top Pop playlist. And after all, these are good times for crowd-pleasing rock tunes. Football tunes can come in and out with the times - Dario G's Carnival de Paris is well past its sell-by date, for example, and hasn't been heard around these parts for a long old while.

The introduction of The Clash's London Calling and The Damned's The Skids' Into The Valley was a start. The Red Red Robin is immovable. The Premiership's anthem can be shoved up Richard Scudamore's arse. But the minutes before that? We can do something special. And please, no Three Blokes From F Block ever again. Or that shonky Glenn Tilbrook number. Or bloody Tony Christie.

So, here's All Quiet in the East Stand's challenge for the international break. You supply four or five tunes we can play from 2.45pm, in the build-up to the match (let's assume Into The Valley stays, but London Calling is optional since it's really a west London track). Please feel free to go for half-time tunes as well.

My choices?

Althea and Donna - Up Town Top Ranking
- because Reet Smoot demanded it last year and I still think we should be playing it
Squeeze - Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)
- better keep the Difford connection in there
Editors - Munich
- just because it's a bloody great foot-stomping record
Doves - Black and White Town
- see above
Hard-Fi - Living For The Weekend
- the sound of the suburbs. What more do you expect at Charlton?
The Jam - A Town Called Malice
- see above.

Then, Into The Valley, then the teams come out, and it's game on. Anyway, you can do better than that lot. Get going, pop pickers.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Losing their Grip

You'll probably have realised by now that All Quiet In The East Stand doesn't really lose that much sleep about England - you can read it all elsewhere, and you've probably heard it all before.

Such was the way with Sunday night's England squad announcement.

Tuesday: Assistant manager Tord Grip gives an interview to the FA's website praising Danny Murphy to the skies.

Saturday: Murphy plays brilliantly in an entertaining, if disappointing, 3-2 defeat to Spurs.

Sunday: Murphy is left out of the squad, with Tottenham's Jermaine Jenas - substituted early for playing poorly - selected for England's midfield.

All of which begs one question, along the lines of one posed by Alan Curbishley at the end of last week. Why the hell talk about picking somebody, when you'll just ignore him for some plank who played poorly but you know because he's played in the last few teams you've picked? And this is despite the rave reviews he's getting - scroll down for the write-ups Murphy had for a game we lost.

Why put somebody under that needless pressure? Would it be done to one of Sven's precious money boys at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford? Whose interests have they really got at heart? Curbs is right - and you know he knew it on Friday. Would an England under our boss be run like that? Of course not.

Weirdly, this should be a moment for celebration. Luke Young's back in the squad, as is Darren Bent. But you get the feeling this team was mapped out weeks ago, in a brief interruption from Sven chasing a bit of skirt somewhere.

Still, I hope Young keeps his place. I hope Bent gets a place. And I hope Danny Murphy keeps his head up after being led down the garden path by the vain England set-up.

Strolling through the leaves in Greenwich Park on Sunday, I wondered whether I'd rather spend my weekend playing for England or spending quality time with Mrs Murphy, Joanna Taylor. It didn't take a moment's thought. Put the kettle on, Jo, let's have a cup of tea...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Smertin in the Sunday Telegraph

"What is most important is that we don't waste time on the field. We are always moving, getting forward, causing problems. We know how to improvise and everyone is making a big contribution to the side." (more)

It could be a post-mortem on yesterday, couldn't it? An interesting interview with Alexei Smertin in the Sunday Telegraph.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Charlton 2-3 Tottenham

Proper reports:, BBC Sport, Sky Sports, Sporting Life, The Observer, Sunday Telegraph ("It seems a player has only to pull on the red jersey to earn an England cap"), Sunday Times, Independent on Sunday, The Times, The Guardian (David Lacey: "Charlton, whether winning or losing, are fun and that, in the Premiership, is water in the desert."), The Independent.

The opposition: The Shelf: "We had more possession, shots, shots on target and corners than Charlton across the 90 minutes. In fact Charlton only beat us on the yellow card count."

Well, it had to come to an end sometime. Since 1992, only four clubs have had a better start in the top flight than us this season, and if it came crashing down, then it might as well come down at a blood-and-guts London derby. If it takes us until 1 October to start moaning, things can't be all that bad.

Spurs went home to 1961 with all three points; with Jimmy Greaves unavailable and Danny Blanchflower suffering a slight knock, instead we saw Edgar Davids ("the Argos Clarence Seedorf" I heard him described as later on), Mido, Judas Defoe and Ledley King. Oooooh!

The first half was, after a while, all Charlton. Darren Bent scored after being set up by Danny Murphy - all the pressure on him with Sven in the crowd - and after that the Lilywhites seemed to crumble. King and Naybet arguing furiously over who was to blame for our opener seemed to sum it up.

The second half seemed simple. Bent fired home his second thanks to Jerome Thomas, the home crowd went into raptures, it all looked like another perfect afternoon. But as rainclouds gathered over The Valley an ill wind blew - somehow a deflection off Ledley King crawled unchecked behind Stephan Andersen, and Chas and Dave's boys were back in it.

The second came from Mido as rain poured down upon The Valley, and Martin Jol brought on Robbie Keane who was duly given acres of space to grab a winner. It began to feel like that dismal FA Cup game a few years back when we lost a two-goal lead to lose 4-2. To be fair, Spurs played well in the second half, and all game they looked a better team to the one which won unconvincingly at Fulham on Monday.

So many "what if?" questions linger after today. If Darren Bent hadn't mucked up a first half chance from what looked like six feet, and what if we'd converted one of a handful of easy chances in the second half, it would have been different. And if we'd had a ref who didn't give Spurs most 50/50 chances - Phil Dowd seeemed to give the nasty Davids special protection for being an ancient monument - it surely would have been different.

But while our sloppy second-half defending - that "I love Spurs" interview for Sky Soccer Saturday didn't do Chris Powell many favours - will case many nightmares, I'm going to have a sleepless night over the Darren Bent question. Spurs' charming fans, clearly rattled by the onset of the 21st century, bellowed "wanker! wanker!" at him, saying more about themselves than they did about our striker.

His clash of heads with Paul Stalteri saw him leave the pitch (and Stalteri return with a bandaged head and a number 49 shirt) to be replaced by Shaun Bartlett, whose lazy, lacklustre, incompetent performance over the last 20 minutes should haunt him for the rest of his playing days. Beaten to every ball, useless when given a chance, Bartlett sums up everything that went wrong with us last season. I don't want to see him anywhere near The Valley again, never mind on the field. He can piss off. He's no Charlton player, he's unworthy of the desire and passion of Murphy, Young, El Karkouri and Kishishev who fought to the end.

If Bent's injury is a passing one, then fair enough. But anything serious, and (with Bothroyd injured too) we're fucked, frankly. Bartlett isn't even Championship quality , and don't even start on Lisbie and JJ. Thank heavens we don't play again until a fortnight on Monday.

We went down fighting, but this time it wasn't enough. Of course, we'll probably beat them at their place again. But there's plenty of food for thought for the next fortnight. But don't get too down. The team of last season - the one which featured Bartlett - wouldn't have even had that two-goal lead and would probably have gone down 6-0. We went down in a proper contest this time. And we'll get them next time.