Monday, July 31, 2006

Summertime blues

Meh. There's little on earth to sum up the acute frustration that pre-season provides - the agony of going through the motions of so many friendlies, the pessimism that losing them conjures up. So we lost to Valencia 3-1 - they've got Champions League games to prepare for, while last week we were playing bloody Millwall. So our midfield's crap - well, it was for half of last season, and no instant magic wand's going to change that. Not when there's a whole month of the transfer window left, and there's still so much up in the air.

But instead, the self-flagellation of the pre-season schedule continues - it's Welling on Wednesday (oh, what fun that'll be, haring down there after work), and New Zealand on Saturday. West Ham tickets may now be clammy Addicks' hands, but the start of the season is still 18 days away... bah.

Still, we did sign an agreement with Valencia which should give us first dibs on their players. Bitter experience with Inter's taught me to be cynical about these things, but it's all good publicity and that's no bad thing. Especially when there's nothing to write about in the sweaty depths of summer.

But hark! There's proper news, as Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink's up before the FA beaks for breaking rule 17(4) of the game's code of conduct, "do not upset Chelsea". And here's another player we aren't singing - Emmerson Boyce, who's gone from Palarse to Wigan. Which could start a chain reaction leading to Danny Murphy going to Wigan, which would even have Spurs fans laughing like drains. But let's not get too excited just yet...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Spare a thought for the Villa

I'm not going to be hunting down a Setanta-screening pub for the Valencia game, it's Saturday night, godammit, there's GIRLS and DANCING and things, the only place to see us get whacked in a Spanish pre-season friendly is in Spain, frankly.

But whatever you do this evening, do please spare a thought for Aston Villa fans, whose club is once again convulsed by turmoil.

British Transport police yesterday issued a stern warning about the dangers of being drunk at railway stations after a man fell off a platform and lay in between the tracks as a train pulled in.

According to one witness, the man, who appeared to be wearing an Aston Villa shirt, refused offers of help, saying "I'm all right down here mate, don't you worry."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Valencia match on telly

Poor old Jerome Thomas. He should be on a plane to Spain, getting ready for our friendly against Valencia, when instead he's sat up in bed after having an operation on his fifth metatarsal. Hopefully he'll have a speedy recovery, but it's just the news we didn't need with a new season looming in the distance.

The transfer rumour mill chunters on, with Salif Dao apparently failing a medical (ha!) at Sparrows Lane, but Djimi Traroe and Amdy Faye are mentioned in dispatches. Not coming here - Scott Chipperfield (staying at FC Basel) and Franck Queudrue (gone to Fulham).

Oh yeah - Valencia match. On the telly. Setanta Sports 2, 9.30pm kick-off. If you've a Sky dish and a credit card, that is.

(Or, having just discovered it's not a pay-per-view game, a friendly Setanta-subscribing pub or dodgy internet stream. If you know of any Setanta venues showing the game, share your knowledge below...)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No Edinburgh festival

Oh well, that first friendly defeat is out of the way, going down 3-2 at Hibernian after going 3-2 up. Still, it sounds like our first-half team did the business - Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (again!) and James Walker (AGAIN!) doing the business before our hosts got into gear.

"Charlton look dumb-founded," said one of the Hibs online commentators.

"No, just dumb," his pal replied.

Still, no point in me trying to pontificate about the game, but it's interesting to see James Walker suddenly playing well after he was released a few months back...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Another Liverpool midfielder?

Come on Dowie, you must know what happened the last time we went for one of the Scousers' midfielders...

Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao is to play in a trial game for Charlton Athletic against Hibernian in Scotland on Tuesday night.

The Senegal international spent the entire 2005/2006 season on loan at Portsmouth and the previous campaign on a season long loan at Birmingham City. Both spells were hit by injury.

Which wouldn't be too promising, would it? But the state of our midfield's exercised many a fine mind lately, with this story just about summing it up for me:

Matt Holland believes Charlton Athletic can challenge for European football with Darren Bent and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in attack. (more)

But can we challenge for Europe with Matt Holland in midfield as well?

Also doing the rounds (from Dutch website Soccerway but probably cribbed from elsewhere) is a story that we're after Swedish keeper Andreas Isaksson, who is currently playing for Rennes. Of our current keepers, Stephan Anderson played the first half at The Den, but Darren Randolph was preferred to Thomas Myhre in the second half.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Millwall 1-4 Charlton

Proper reports:, (need password? -

2pm, London Bridge station - Platform 13 for South Bermondsey, and all's quiet. First trip to the New Den for an away game. It's a funny feeling, especially as the journey's so short. Do I look conspicuous? No. There's plenty of people going to the game, but hardly hundreds of them. Oh, crikey, two rather sad-looking Charlton fans in old, fading kit. Silly buggers. The police are milling around having a chat. But at South Bermondsey, all remains quiet, and taking the sharp right into the away fans' end feels like a cop-out.

Here are again, the start of the season - but instead of greeting old mates at Welling, it's people-watching at Millwall. Or, to be more accurate, watching to our left, a block full of young fans trade abuse with our own fans. But there's a difference. Most of our fans are laughing and smiling. They're snarling. At £10, Alan McLeary's testimonial is cheaper than a trip to the zoo.

And looking around the place, with Charlton fans making up a sixth of the 5,750 attendance, there was a strange atmosphere around the three-quarters empty New Den. Welcome to the Dowie era, with Millwall looking as weak as we did at the start of the Curbishley era. How times change.

On the pitch, real class. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's 10th-minute opener got things going, a fine free kick after Lloyd Sam was brought down by Marvin Williams. Charlton cruised it, Millwall looked poor.

But the hosts edged their way back into it - their bright hopes, Williams and Marvin Elliot, made our midfield (Ambrose, Hughes, Holland, Sam, Alistair John) and defence (Young, Youga, Sorondo, Fortune) look a bit confused to say the least. Getting in all the right places, only the Lions' finishing let them down. But at least it meant Stephan Andersen got a decent work out. Which he did, until Marvin Elliot walloped one home from the rest of the box.

Equality didn't last - Darren Ambrose headed home coolly just before half-time to make it 2-1.

A wholesale change of team by Charlton meant a fresh set of Premiership legs faced a wearying set of League One limbs. And I never thought I'd see one of these again - a goal from a Talal El Karkouri free-kick? I thought he was off. He'll be in Dowie's good books. And ex-Addicks academy kid James Walker fired home four minutes later to make it four.

Charlton were back on cruise control, and Millwall ran out of steam. Police arrived in the east stand midway through the second-half and picked out some of the kids, clambering over stewards as if we weren't 200 yards away. The rest of the Millwall fans didn't throw up a fuss.

(Millwall's fans' director has since said they were throwing coins, and the policing costs will have to be taken out of McLeary's testimonial money. Not a happy story.)

On the pitch, our second-half team included French triallist Frank Dja Djedeje, a fact I've only found out now I'm home, so I can't tell you what he was like. Dennis Rommedahl was patchy at best, Jerome Thomas looked okay, Darren Randolph in goal had almost nothing to do. It was that kind of half. Not much you can read much into.

The final whistle came, the kids in the east stand flew out to start trouble/ get back home for tea, and Iain Dowie came over to the away end to applaud the Charlton fans. Nothing to write home about, but even on half-speed we look a little more cohesive than of late. And it's satisfying to have sent the Millwall off with a flea in their ear, especially after their first-half endeavours. Maybe the future's not so bad for them either. Off the field, their old heads have a few lessons to teach their younger heads...

It's Hibs next on the Charlton pre-season tour - I'll next meet it against New Zealand at The Valley. But it's going to be a journey of discovery for us - and our side.

6.30pm, New Cross Road - a couple of post-match pints with Charlton and Millwall fans, laughing at the antics of the "nursery". From New Cross station, a group of 20 young lads appear. "We are Millwall..." they bellow. They must have travelled via a rendezvous at London Bridge station. They walk into the Amersham Arms... and are shown the door by a group of aged Irishmen, engrossed in the hurling on TV. They walk into an off-licence, and back out of it again. Then they try to swagger into the Walpole... and are told they aren't welcome. They aren't happy. Finally, they jump on a 177 towards Greenwich. No-one likes them - but I think they care.

HH's agent in fantasy land

Considering the on-off performances Hermann Hreidarsson has put in over the past couple of seasons, somehow I think the Icelandic defender's agent has been visiting London and has let the heat go to his head...

Reports in his native Iceland claim at least three rival Premiership clubs have made contact, with Fulham, Wigan, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Manchester City all credited with an interest

The player's agent Olafur Gardarsson insists that the player is more than happy with life at The Valley under new coach Iain Dowie - but admits he has heard of possible interest.

Hermann is happy, he is happy at the club and he has one year left on his current deal," Gardarsson told

"We have heard there has been offers, but the club has not said anything."

In other words, hurry up you swines and offer my man a nice big fat contract, before I have to make up even more unlikely clubs to link him with. "Look, Peter Kenyon wants to meet him!" HH is a capable defender but he's one of a number of players who have to prove themselves under the new regime, starting today down at the New Den.

Meanwhile, there's been plenty of talk linking us with Middlesbrough defender Frank Queudrue - who is reported to have completed a medical at Fulham - but it's taken me 24 hours to tell you because that's how long it's taken me to work out how to spell his name.

Anyway, if I can remember where it is again (cuh! only kidding, nice lads in blue) there'll be the usual post-match guff soon after I've returned from Zampa Road.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bent's sandwich mishap

DARREN BENT is set to miss the start of the new Premiership season - and England's first friendly under Steve McClaren - after slicing his hand open in a freak accident.

Charlton are worried their star striker could be out for up to six weeks after suffering the injury as he chopped onions and bread to make a sandwich at home.

Hopefully it's an exaggeration - but I guess we'll be lucky to see little Bent tomorrow at the New Den. I thought things were looking too good to be true!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blair, Young, and the feel-good factor

I actually saw it happen live, procrastinating about doing proper work and half-listening to Prime Minister's Questions when Eltham MP Clive Efford stood up and asked Tony Blair if he'd like to come along to the opening of a Charlton community project at Sparrows Lane. And the PM answered thus...

"I'm very happy to send a message of congratulations to Charlton on their wonderful new sporting facility that will do so much for young people.

"I congratulate the Football Foundation and Barclays Bank who are the other partners - and also congratulate Charlton on the very wise re-signing of Darren Bent!"

Blimey. No pressure there then, Dazza. Of course, Tone's commitment to football (despite that impressive keepy-uppy session with Kevin Keegan years ago) is often ridiculed for claiming his "teenage hero" was Newcastle's Jackie Milburn (Blair was four when Milburn retired). So long as he doesn't claim to have watched Sam Bartram play in 1961, it should be okay...

And then later on - Luke Young finally re-signed for us, which will be praised tomorrow by Gordon Brown as "good news for hard-working families across Britain".

Again, it'll all down to Iain Dowie...

"I can't speak highly enough of how myself and everybody else have been impressed with the first couple of weeks of training.

"It's been bright and forward-thinking and it feels as though everything is moving in the right direction."

As Tony Blair would no doubt confirm, politicians and football managers depend on feel-good factors, and there's certainly one of those washing through The Valley right now. When was the last time things felt this rosy?

Not all is as happy over at West 'Am, though, where ex-Addick Shaun Newton has been banned for seven months after testing positive for cocaine use. Cue thousands of shaking heads, and a mass mutter of "he didn't look the type!".

And frankly, he didn't.

Admirably, Alan Pardew says West Ham will stand by him.

"I have seen at first hand the emotional and personal hell that Shaun Newton has been through in recent weeks, and our priority must be to help him - not abandon him. I hope his experience serves as a lesson to any sportsperson."

Isolated bit of toot or not, as a professional sportsman he shouldn't have done it and deserves his punishment fully. But Newton's still only 30, has three young children, and hopefully he'll return stronger for this.

And finally, Aston Villa look set to launch a worldwide search for Alan Curbishley after David O'Leary got the heave-ho tonight. A job alongside Deadly Doug? I'd stick with the holiday if I were him.

(Picture above taken from here, Bartram joke nicked from Netaddicks. It's too hot to think up my own gags.)

Gravesend to play Franchise FC

Gravesend & Northfleet will entertain MK Dons in a friendly at Stonebridge Road on Wednesday July 26th.

The match, with a 7.45 kick off, is the first home fixture announced by the Fleet for their pre season programme, which begins on Saturday July 15th with a trip to Folkestone Invicta.

Oh dear. They don't get it, do they? Any sympathy for Gravesend & Northfleet in their battle against Gillingham planning to relocate to their area has just evaporated. Hypocrites.

Anyway, if they were desperate to play the Franchise, they could always wait until they're relegated next season.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Millwall travel woes *strike cancelled*

Coming from afar to our friendly at The New Den on Saturday? Then pay attention. There's a rail strike due for Friday afternoon and Saturday which will cause a bit of grief if you're planning to come to the game.

Yeah, they cancelled it. But why waste an opportunity to show a picture of Bob Crow in his Millwall gear?

In short, there's an extremely limited train service running, with no trains at all to South Bermondsey, New Cross Gate, New Cross, Deptford or Lewisham. On Southeastern, there's a limited service from Kent to London, while inside London, the only stopping trains will run between London Bridge and Slade Green via Greenwich and Bexleyheath.

Travelling home may well be easier, but getting there will be a slow job, by bus or car.

Here's full details if you travel by Southeastern, and further details if Southern is your company. (Nationwide details here.)

Of course, RMT boss Bob Crow, pictured on the right, may well be in the home end, should you wish to discuss the finer aspects of the dispute with him.

Benty's new deal

I made up my mind along while ago that I was staying. People were writing in the paper every other week about this club and that club but it was always my intention to stay at Charlton.

"It was nice to be offered a new deal and I've put pen to paper now so that I can just look forward to the new season."

Come on, did anybody really think Darren Bent was going to start the season anywhere but Charlton? It was nice of dinosaurs like Newcastle and Spurs to try to unsettle him through the press, but really, anyone who thought Bent was going to go needs a course of Prozac.

A disturbing number of Charlton fans did, though. It could be that we're all natural-born pessimists, but a lot of it's got to be down to the way the football media works (and why I had that go at "me too" websites last month) - Club A sneakily places story in Newspaper B, which puts it on an inside column on page 77, but not on its website. Crap Website C then lifts Newspaper B's story, possibly embellishing it, it's lifted again by Crapper Website D, and before long there's a full scale rumour going on which then convinces people the worst is going to happen. It's why I hate the transfer window, and it's why I hate "me too" websites, because they actually make talking about football a pain in the arse at this time of year.

Of course, next summer's a different matter - but for now, let's enjoy what we've got and hope Darren doesn't get Second Season Syndrome. And we got a nice press do in the sunshine, with Benty, Dowie and Richard Murray beaming for the cameras. Result.

Oh, and Darren's words about our new boss?

Training has been hard but good. The gaffer's come in and brought some new ideas and it's really exciting. I've loved every minute of it.

"All the lads are buzzing even though training has been really hard. It is as if everyone has had a massive weight lifted off their shoulders because we've got a new manager and everyone is starting out afresh.

"I spoke to Andy Johnson and he told me that Iain Dowie was a really good manager. He has come to The Valley and he's been brilliant. I've loved every day working with him."

Awwww. He's such a nice lad, isn't he?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Got World Cup withdrawal symptoms?

Here's possibly the ultimate Zidane head-butt video.

It's not big and clever, of course.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bent's new deal and other Sunday stories

DARREN BENT will sign an extension to his Charlton contract this week, snubbing a host of offers to leave The Valley, as Sunday Mirror Sport exclusively revealed six weeks ago.

Clubs including Liverpool, Tottenham, Ever-ton and Newcastle have tried and failed to convince Charlton to sell this summer.

But Bent, who joined Charlton from Ipswich for £3.5million only last summer, is expected to extend his current contract by a further 12 months with a considerable pay hike taking him to the summer of 2010 on wages approaching £30,000 a week.
(Sunday Mirror)

The News of the World says we're after ex-Southampton midfielder Matt Oakley and Australian defender Scott Chipperfield. And as far as those who have departed us are concerned...

Much midnight oil is being burned at the Stadium of Light where Sunderland are currently managerless. Unfortunately, Alan Curbishley, on a "world tour" sabbatical since leaving Charlton in May, has caught the travel bug so badly that he is now understood to be unavailable until 2007. (Sunday Telegraph)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Dowie v Jordan - a preview

Last night's Evening Sub-Standard had details of what it said was Iain Dowie's evidence against Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan. You'll find more details here, although here's some highlights from the paper's back-page splash:

Dowie's defence claims Jordan:
- told him Palace's last season was "a complete f**king failure" after
play-off semi-final defeat by Watford
- argued that he had spent the campaign "watching a team that are f**king
sh*t, they haven't any bo***cks"
- insisted up to GBP12m had to be raised from player sales but there would
only be "about GBP3m" for new signings
- demanded the budget for running the team and youth academy was slashed
- wanted to become "more involved" in the day-to-day running of the team and
- questioned the manager's commitment and repeatedly suggested he may want
to consider his position.

Well, there's no arguing with the second point, at least. (See also The Sun.) The challenge now is to make sure this saga doesn't overshadow our season, particularly - as Richard Murray acknowledges - there's so much riding on this one.

"What we want is a little bit more entertaining football. Over the last couple of years it has not been that much fun watching our football down here for all sorts of reasons.

"Iain is aware of that and is going to try to get us playing good, entertaining football and still getting the results.

"I just would not promise top six.

"It is great for the glory, but financially you make nothing from the UEFA Cup - it probably costs you more because of the bonuses you play your players."

In other news, as expected, Dowie's taken Palace's Aussie rugby hardnut John Harpin to be a new performance manager, while Mike Kelly also moves from Sellout to work alongside Harpin.

And Paolo Di Canio, formerly of this parish, has signed for Cisco Roma, of Italy's fourth division.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Raiding the Palace?

Today's Mirror:

CHARLTON boss Iain Dowie has agreed a £1.5million deal with his old club Crystal Palace for right-back Emerson Boyce.

Dowie put in a new offer and persuaded successor Peter Taylor to give him permission to speak to the highly-fancied 26-year-old about a move to the Premiership.

Boyce was Palace's player of the year last year. Meanwhile, the club says Iain Dowie has put together a detailed defence of the allegations made about him by Tango-toned Beagles chairman Simon Jordan.

Meanwhile, tonight's Mastermind on BBC2 has Charlton fan Derek Woolley answering questions about... Charlton, funnily enough.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

By Jimmy!

"It's going to be a big challenge but I think it was the right move for me. Charlton is a club that is moving in the right direction, upwards, and that wants to achieve things. I'm just delighted that I got the opportunity to be part of it.

"I definitely have the hunger and I definitely think I have two more years in me. At the moment I feel like a little boy getting a bit of candy and I'm very happy and just ready to go.”

Blimey. So Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink joins Charlton, with Richard Murray cheerfully quipping that he had been trying to sign the former Leeds, Chelsea and Middlesbrough striker for 10 years, but only now could we afford him.

I've got to admit, in the past I'd always seen Hasselbaink as a bit of an overpaid mercenary - remember his tumble in the box against us at the Bridge in February 2004? Actually, maybe it was just that I held against him... but he looks keen, and everything looked good at the press conference. And maybe we could do with a bit of that cynicism. Things are looking up.

Incidentally, there was one thing Dowie mentioned which I couldn't help noticing - and it wasn't Richard Murray emphasising that Darren Bent's going nowhere. Twice during the press conference, Iain Dowie namechecked Kevin Lisbie. Yup, it looks like Super Kev's going to survive under the new regime. So maybe it wasn't just Curbs that was a fan. Lisbie and Hasselbaink up front? Now there's one to ponder.

Monday, July 10, 2006


And now... a rest from football. To ponder the skill of the Italians and the folly of Zidane, among other matters.

Hold on... the Millwall game's in a fortnight?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jimmy Floyd Road

Charlton appear to be winning the race to sign Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, as the Dutch striker will head to The Valley on Monday to undertake a medical, according to Sky Sports News. (more)

Blimey. What in heaven's name are we offering him? Gold? The freehold to a street in Abbey Wood? I'll believe it when it happens, but can you imagine Hasselbaink and Bent together? Dear me, I think I've just got all over-excited.

Other transfer nonsense - the Daily Star on Sunday has been told by a nice man in N17 that we're selling Darren Bent to Spurs (altogether now... bullshit!), while the Sunday Mirror now puts Steve Sidwell's price to us as £2.5m.

New home and away shirts

According to a post on Netaddicks, here's Charlton's home and away kits for the forthcoming season.

Can't say I'm so sure about that away kit, but hopefully this tells us more about the kits than those irritating "sneak previews" on

And as an extra treat, here's the new Premiership ball.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dowie's down with the kids

As you've probably read everywhere else, Iain Dowie's made his first signing for Charlton in the shape of Leeds midfielder Simon Walton, the 18 year-old leaving Elland Road in a deal that could reach £1 million.

It was also announced with the news that Lloyd Sam has signed a new contract. Perhaps this marks a move away from the ultra-cautious end to the Curbishley years, where players seemed to have wait until their 24th birthday before getting a decent sniff at the first team. By which time, it was someone else's first team.

"It's part of a dual approach; we're looking at established talent but also youth talent we can develop and if you can dovetail those two then that's good for the future of the club." (more)

I'm starting to like the cut of Dowie's jib - I think he's identified where we'd gone stale last year, where the poor chances offered to young players frustrated fans and footballers alike.

But as for established talent, rumours abound once again about Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, although I imagine he'll be able to name his price at a club with more money than sense.

Today's Mirror claimed we were after 20-year-old Leyton Orient defender Gabriel Zakuani, but the O's have indicated he's on his way to Fulham instead.

And another of last season's duds has found a new home - Jonathan Johansson has turned up at Sweden's Malmo.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Honour the 32!

According to the club's e-mail bulletin, our away game season ticket is being withdrawn due to a lack of demand.

"Only 32 supporters took advantage of the scheme last season and with the
number of changes to fixture dates that occur in the Premier League there is
a lot of administration involved,"
Sir Reg Varney said.

Just 32 sales? Is this the lowest figure of any Premiership side? Mind you, considering the dreck served up for most of last season, and the customary buggering about with the fixture list, perhaps this shouldn't be a shock.

But these 32 are heroes. Who are they? Where are they? They deserve our respect and honour. Let's place their names on a plaque somewhere. For they are braver men and women than you or I are.

In other news, Steve Sidwell's turned down another deal at Reading, according to the Reading Chronicle.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Valley Flags Campaign launched

The first in a line of promised fan-based schemes kicks off this morning - The Valley Flags Campaign is raising funds to help replace the huge flag which used to do the rounds of The Valley before, erm, somebody left it out in the rain and let it go mouldy. The design is the Che Killer one from Burro's T-shirts...

It also hopes to raise cash for banners in the Covered End, along the lines of those you may have seen in Old Trafford's Stretford End. Here's a possible design:

There is discussion about using the cash from topping the public behaviour league, but the more fans get behind this now, the more chance the board will see it's what the fans want.

(I should declare an interest here, as I've helped the campaign organisers on a couple of things.)

It's easy to help - you could simply donate cash to the campaign, or you can help in more subtle ways, by using its Amazon and iTunes links to buy your music, video, books and all that. So do it, and help get the atmosphere at The Valley back on track.

Leeds youngster for Charlton?

Today's Yorkshire Evening Post claims we're about to sign 18-year-old Leeds midfielder Simon Walton after agreeing a £500,000+ deal with the Elland Road side. I know nothing about him - can anyone fill me in? - but it's encouraging that we're looking for young Championship players. Young, mean, keen - could almost be an ideal Curbs signing, eh? Could this be our long-awaited first Dowie deal?

In other transfer news, the Luke Young saga took a twist yesterday - he's committed himself to Charlton, but with no news yet of a new contract. The Mirror claimed he failed a medical at West Ham - funny, he is injured, after all - a sour grapes story planted by the Irons? The upshot of all this is that Tyrone Mears is all set to go from Preston to West Ham for a fee believed to be in excess of £3m, keeping the Boleyn overdraft ticking over nicely.

Meanwhile, Chris Perry has gone to West Brom on a Bosman - he had been hoping to stay in London and in the Premiership, but his class will surely shine in the Championship - good luck to him.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sparky's dream?

Is Mark Hughes some kind of genius, or has the Blackburn boss gone mad? Still, I suppose Ewood Park is a bit far from the New Cross Venue for Franny Jeffers, so there's a chance his move to Rovers could actually be productive.

Remember that day, the day we signed Jeffers and Murphy? Curbs splashing the Parker cash? How good the future looked then...

"This should be a day we'll remember for years to come. For all the right reasons. We're signing England internationals." All Quiet In The East Stand, 10 August 2004.

Hahahahaha! What pillock could have written that?

But, imagine... what if the signings had been a success? There's an alternate reality where Jeffers played like a dream, taking a while to settle but helping us to eighth place in 2005, with a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Crystal Palace to send the Eagles down. Alongside Darren Bent in 2005/2006, they formed a deadly strike partnership, becoming the leading English-born scorers in the Premiership, only being pipped to a Champions League place by Arsenal on the final day of the season. Jeffers was unlucky to miss out on joining England's World Cup squad while his team-mates Young, Murphy and Bent went, but ex-Charlton manager Alan Curbishley has hinted he will use him when he takes over from Sven Goran Eriksson in August. Now Jeffers is leaving for Real Madrid in a £12m deal, giving new Addicks boss...

Sorry! Daydreaming again. But, with hindsight, could Murphy and Jeffers ever have been a success at The Valley?

Beware Jason and Tyrone's little Willie

This is why Charlton don't do their business in public:

"Wigan are looking to bring in a new striker and Jason feels the time is right to move on. Jason just wants to draw a line under it and move on to Charlton." Jason Roberts' agent Willie McKay, 30 June.

"Blackburn have signed Wigan striker Jason Roberts on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee." BBC Sport, 3 July.

In related news, defender Tyrone Mears is in talks with an un-named Premiership club in London. He's been linked with us before, thanks to a leak from his agent, one Willie McKay. Sky Sports, however, claims the club he's talking to is... West Ham. (However, that theory isn't being repeated by Sky Sports News on TV.)

Wasn't it Margaret Thatcher who said every prime minister needed a Willie? Footballers on the make don't do bad out of one either...

Meanwhile, there's radio silence over Luke Young, following a flurry of claims last Thursday, and then then last Friday, which prompted a rare denial from Charlton on Saturday, which seems to have stopped the tap-tap-tap noises coming from Upton Park. Whether Young's fate is connected with that of Mears remains to be seen, but hopefully we'll see our first proper transfer movement soon.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I-Spy: Cheating little shitbags

Tick 'em off as the summer continues.

( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo denies all responsibility for Wayne Rooney's sending off.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo becomes centre of hate campaign led by national newspaper.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo recieves death threats from alleged England fans.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo's mother condemns death threats against her son.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo threatened in nightclub.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo hate campaign condemned again by national newspaper.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo "has difficulties" on return to Manchester United.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo hit by mobile phone at friendly match.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo hate campaign condemned again by national newspaper.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo invited for talks by Sir Alex Ferguson.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo guarded by police.
( ) 5 points: Cristiano Ronaldo transferred to Real Madrid.

It's unlikely we'll see Cristiano Ronaldo in the Premiership again. He's a marked man on the pitch, off it, and I doubt many other nations would piss on him if he was on fire either. It's only a game, but games are played by rules. Bend those rules and you deserve all you get. As for Carvalho... will the anti-Chelsea mood get nasty?

I wonder what Darren Bent thought as today's England game unfolded - there's an alternate reality where Bent scored an extra-time winner, and we then had to sell him for £25m. Or where Bent was on the bench and bloody Defoe got the winner. But either circumstance would have made more sense than picking Theo Walcott, whose career now has the Curse of High Expectations looming over it.

On the positive side, as somebody I spoke to earlier mentioned, perhaps we should bite Bayern's hands off for Owen Hargreaves. After all, if we suddenly come into four million pounds on Monday (you heard), isn't he the kind of player Charlton need? Discuss...