Saturday, July 30, 2005

Watford 1-2 Charlton

Proper reports:,, Blind, Stupid and Desperate.

Danny Murphy's free-kick (above) and a penalty from Francis Jeffers saw Charlton scrape past Watford in keeper Alec Chamberlain's testimonial. It was a poor game and we were poor, and frankly I can't remember very much about it at all. But it's another pre-season win under our belts - bring on Feyenoord on Wednesday!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tube trouble for Watford

Yup, get your flasks out, it's the first warning of engineering works of 2005/2006!

Don't let this deter you from going to Watford on Saturday, though, because this is an easy one to get around. There's no Metropolitan line from Aldgate and Baker Street to Wembley Park on Saturday, and no Jubilee Line from West Hampstead to Wembley Park - so you won't be doing the "change at Finchley Road" lark this time.

The way around it is to get yourself to Marylebone and take a Chiltern train to Harrow-on-the-Hill, changing there for the Metropolitan Line to Watford.

Or you could always just get the Silverlink to Watford Junction and avoid all that anyway.

Fantasy island

Just a quick plug for All Quiet In The East Stand's very own fantasy league - all welcome who aren't saddoes or stalkers, and don't phone because it's just for fun. Get thee to, sort yourself out a team, and enter code 172664-28579. Go on, it'll be good, honest.

Down the Meadow

Millwall aren't the only south-east London club in trouble. Greenwich Borough, CAFC's nearest senior-level neighbour, is facing eviction from Harrow Meadow, Eltham, after Greenwich Council earmarked the land for housing.

Club owner Tamer Hassan the actor star of the film Football Factory and, more recently, Layer Cake, says the plan is 'disgusting'.

He said: "The council are threatening to take this land back and I think that is disgusting. We have even offered £7,500,000, but they refused. They want to take the land and develop it.

"We have tried to cover every possible avenue, but they won't have it. We just want to keep the club here."

It wouldn't be the first time they've been shafted by the council - a plan to develop Harrow Meadow was turned down in 1988, denying the club entry into the Southern League.

I think I'm right in saying Greenwich Borough are the only other football team in, erm, Greenwich borough. If the council found it in its heart to give us planning permission for our big scheme, then it should let Greenwich Borough - whose crest is the council's old coat of arms, for heaven's sake - stay at their little ground.

Save our Spanners!

So what the hell is going on down at Millwall? Does anybody know? For latecomers, here's the latest events down at the New Den - chairman Jeff Burnige quits, manager Steve Claridge fired after disasterous pre-season friendlies, Colin Lee suddenly finds himself as manager, ex-chairman Theo Paphitis still thought to be holding the purse strings and his fellow directors thought to be planning a mass resignation.

Together with Dennis Wise's departure and the death of Reg Burr, it's already believed Richard Curtis is planning to make a new film about the summer in SE16, Four Walkouts and A Funeral, featuring a floppy-haired fop who gets his head kicked in on the Ilderton Road.

Laughter aside, it's sad to see Millwall imploding on itself once again - shouldn't have that Uefa Cup flirtation heralded a bright new dawn? Let's be honest, could it ever have ended any other way? Two recent events show the real sickness at the heart of the club - Millwall returning their tickets for the Leeds away game, after Leeds insisted fans travel on club coaches, and the cancellation of their Iran friendly, which one 'Wall fan I know said "would attract every nutter in town" long before 7 July. Few Millwall fans seem to want to address this, and many would rather accuse us of having "no passion". Well, if "passion" leads to having to avoid matches because of fears of trouble, and nobody wanting to invest in the club, I'll stick with where I am, thanks.

Out of money, out of luck, out of time. Or, as Tony Cascarino puts it, the "laughing stock" of their league. The real calamity here is that we've all seen this coming for a while. So why haven't they?

Now, shall we put in a bid to buy them?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

QPR 0-3 Charlton

Proper reports:,

A Darren Bent hat-trick put a spring in Charlton fans' steps in Shepherd's Bush tonight as the Addicks easily beat the Super Hoops 3-0 at Loftus Road. Again, Bent put in an outstanding, controlled performance, this time as a lone striker in front of a five-man midfield, always a threat to QPR's defence and a pleasure to watch.

Darren Ambrose also had a fine game, with fellow newcomers Alexei Smertin and Jonathan Spector - upended by Marcus Bignot to earn the penalty which led to Bent's hat-trick - also impressing. This feels a little too good to be true...

It was a good night for keepers too - Stephan Andersen spent 90 minutes between the sticks and did a fine job, while QPR's second-half keeper Wayne Henderson saved well from Dennis Rommedahl. But Rommedahl remains a worry - he looks lost and lightweight, and still seems unable to stop himself from straying away from the wing. Hermann Hreidarrson seemed on a mission to destroy and was substituted for his own good early in the game.

Fine games also for Danny Murphy and Luke Young, looking worthy of the captain's armband he was wearing. Overall, Charlton looked fitter and stronger - and brushed off the physical game QPR's first-half side played.

The game's highlight came from ex-Charlton man Danny Shittu, who beat Andersen from 40 yards only to see the ball cannon off the crossbar, to cheers from both sets of fans. It was a disappointing crowd of 3,256 - Rangers fans also have Kevin Gallen's testimonial on Saturday before their season starts - but with QPR's Loft in good voice, it was a good atmosphere for a good game. And for those from south London, it was a satisfying one too.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Brentford 0-0 Charlton

Proper reports:, Brentford FC, some thoughts on the Netaddicks board.

No Inter Milan-style panicking at Brentford, where the Bees ran out to London Calling to give us a the tough test that Martin Allen had promised. Keeper Ademola Bankole was a match for just about anything we could offer, while bustling striker Lloyd Owusu was always a threat.

And for us? Well, it looked like we were treating it as just another run-out, frankly. Darren Bent is looking bloody good up front, though, and Jonathan Spector's looking promising in midfield as well. Alexei Smertin didn't put a foot wrong on his debut. I wasn't so taken with Darren Ambrose, but it's early days yet and I wasn't paying that much attention.

Jonatan Johanssen's early substitution with a head injury was probably a blessed relief, while Francis Jeffers - taken off early after a string of tussles with Brenford players - looked furious to be substituted, as the Bees faithful chorused "What a waste of money".

Old habits die hard, though. Jason Euell's fluffed penalty - a weak shot to the right saved by Bankole - and general poor performance was further proof his mind is a million miles away from us now. And as for Dennis Rommedahl managing to kick a corner off the field? And missing that sitter? Don't even ask, or I'll start demanding we sign up the fan the Bees introduced for the final minute.

Sad to see only about 400 Charlton fans could be bothered to make the trip across town - for the 0-0 score, it wasn't too bad a game, and I'd pop some money on Brentford to do well this season. QPR follow on Tuesday, and we'll have to do a lot better then...

Inter cowards

Anything which winds Simon Jordan up always makes me laugh, but Inter Milan's decision to cancel its visit to England following the London bombings is just sad. I hope there's some way English - and especially London - football fans can register their disgust at some point during the forthcoming season.

Apparently, their visit would "further stretch the already severely occupied security services" - now, Millwall v Iran might (if that goes ahead), but Crystal Palarse v Inter Milan? Leave it out.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cheapskates' corner

Yeah, as if Peter Crouch was going to sign for us after all. Ha! And how much did he go to Liverpool for? Blimey.

Impressive-sounding friendly wins over Bournemouth and Torquay under their belt, the rip-roaring, rootin' tootin' Addicks go to Brentford on Saturday to try to whack five past another lower-division club. I'll be there, so that's jinxed us already. Good to hear Bent, Ambrose and Spector seem to be settling in just fine, I'm getting that rare feeling for a Charlton fan - confidence.

But the point of this post, other than just to write something during a very quiet period, is to alert Charlton fans who live in the borough of Greenwich they can get 10% off purchases in the club shop if they present a GreenwichCard, which costs from £2 from council leisure centres, at the counter. Might be handy if you're planning a major kit purchase when it finally appears. That is all.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Smiles for Smertin

So, Alexei Smertin's confirmed - sadly a loan from the Chelsea Tappers, rather than a sale, but it does signal better relations with the cheats, after the Stamford Beach, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole affairs.

And he's already buttering us up.

"Now I am happy to be at Charlton. I will do my best for this club and work as hard as I can," he said.

"The supporters are very passionate. I remember when I was on the bench for Chelsea against them and the crowd were saying some very good things, they love the team. I'm looking forward to my time here."

Suddenly, last season's weedy midfield is looking rather tasty. I won't be at Bournemouth (unless I wake up early and have a rush of blood to the head) or Torquay, but if you're going and have any thoughts, I'd be interested to hear them by e-mail (see the right-hand column).

Welling 1-1 Charlton

Proper reports:

"Oh, no, 10 more months of this?"

Pfffffft. 76 minutes of utter crap, followed by a walloping Welling goal from Matt Carruthers which finally, finally woke our second-half team up, resulting in Luke Young knocking the ball home after Jason Euell couldn't quite get it past determined Wings keeper Jamie Turner.

But then this really is just a training session - two different Charlton sides out in each half - and, likewise, a chance for us to catch up with everyone under the blue skies of DA16.

Darren Bent had a fine game, though, as did Jonathan Spector and, curiously, Jason Euell, who did himself a few favours tonight. Good to see Chris Powell's big smile back in a Charlton kit too, on a day when smiling was hard to do for many of us.

But two clearly disjointed Charlton practice sides were put through their paces by a competent Welling side - remember, that 8-0 last year was against Paul Parker's side who sank straight to the foot of their league. His replacement Adrian Pennock clearly has better ideas.

As for us, it was clear this was just a run-out - Dennis Rommedahl's laughter when Jamie Turner cleared a ball somewhere in the direction of Shooters Hill. And the last time we drew 1-1 there, we finished seventh. The Hobbins will be counting their cash, the kids will be counting their autographs, Welling's lads will be boasting of making mugs of Murphy, and we've creaked our season underway. And we can practice moaning....

I understand Curbs wants another defender, while Bowyer remains a real possibility in midfield, if Newcastle stop demanding silly money (see this from a local paper in Bexley). While as for Alexei Smertin, Yahoo! still have him down as one of ours. I reckon they know something we don't...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Player with no Ipswich connections shock

Aaaand another one...

"Charlton manager Alan Curbishley is poised to sign Gonzalo Sorondo this week after the Uruguayan international defender was today granted a work permit at a London tribunal.

The Addicks are set to land the 25-year-old centre-half on a one-year loan deal from Internazionale, with an option to sign him on a permanent basis once the year is up."

Fantastic stuff, although the ever-so-slightly cagey "poised to" is a nagging worry in my mind - Sorondo can't physically sign for us yet because he had to be out of the country at the time of the tribunal. But it's good to see the pieces fall into place a month earlier than they did last season. Panic, moi? Never...

Incidentally, the South London Press, in a gloriously out-of-date story, claims we want to buy Smertin, not get him on loan, which sounds a much better plan.

Monday, July 11, 2005

'I'm not used to sitting on the bench'

And to add to all that, the BBC World Service (!) says we're set to get Alexei Smertin on a year's loan.

The last two months of last season at Chelsea were painful for me because I'm not used to sitting on the bench," he told the BBC Russian Service website.

"There were other offers, but I wanted to stay in London. My family is settled here and it is a fantastic city.

No news of any actual deal, mind, although this may well change by the time I get to play with this blog next. In fact, I don't know much about Smertin at all. How excited should I be?

(The Babelfish translation of the full interview is fun, by the way, if you fancy giving it a go yourself.)

Spector signs and Powell's wall of sound

An interesting day on the transfer front - who'd have thought Chris Powell would be back here?

"I'm delighted the opportunity arose for me to return to Charlton but it's a very weird one to be truthful. I was trying to negotiate a deal but was actually offered less than the previous year and I didn't feel that was right after the season I had. I feel I played a significant part in helping West Ham win promotion but things didn't work out and I became a free agent." (more)

Indeed, relations must be frosty with the Boleyn board, since their website doesn't even mention his departure. At 35, even Powell's most ardent fans would agree gentleman Chris doesn't have the pace he once had. But I suspect his signing - as mentioned on - has as much, if not more, to do with the possibility of a future coaching role.

And after that came US defender Jonathan Spector, on loan from Manchester United. In Curbs' words:

"He's a defender who can play anywhere across the back four. He made his debut for Man Utd at left-back, and like a lot of defenders sees himself as centre back. He can play right back as well.

"That's what I like about him, his versatility. He's very quick, is two-footed and can pass the ball very well. He gets tight to forwards and is a very good athlete."

So far, so good.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Charlton Old Boys, c/o Boleyn Ground, E13

Today's Independent:

West Ham United are set to sign Jason Euell for £2m. The 28-year-old is desperate to leave Charlton Athletic and has persuaded the club to lower their initial asking price of £2.8m.

Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Fulham also made inquiries, but his most likely destination is Upton Park. "I think now is the right time for me to move on," Euell said, with his agent, Tony Finnigan, adding that now Charlton had set a price for Euell, who has been frustrated by his lack of opportunities at The Valley, he expected a move to be swiftly agreed.

Euell will probably be replaced by Damien Francis, who is set to finalise a transfer from Norwich City.

Incidentally, Paul Konchesky is now listed as a defender on the Hamsters' website, presumably to stop the chortling from the nicer side of river. Although the same page also implies Teddy Sheringham, ever the dandy, will be turning out for the Irons in a suit, which is good to hear.

Also, The Sun says Anthony Gardner's move to Charlton hangs in the balance aftar a medical showed up his dodgy ankle, while the Daily Mail (no link, sorry) reports familees in the Charlton area will cash in thanks to a house price bonanza, caused by Alexei Smertin joining us on a year's loan from our old friends the Chelsea Tappers. Indeed, this Yahoo! Sport profile seems to think the cheats have loaned us to him already - scroll to the bottom, it's not a mistake!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ambrose signs

Finally, some good news to end the week with. Followers of fashion may note Darren's mini-beard clashes somewhat with the collar on our new kit, so I trust a supply of razors is included in the undisclosed amount we've paid for him.

After signing Darren Bent earlier in the year, reports that we're also lining up bids for Darren Purse, Darren Fletcher, and a shock move for Darren Anderton to build up a whole team with the same first name have been denied by the club.

Ambrose bid accepted

It feels a bit daft to be fretting about transfers at the moment, but hey-ho...

It's emerged this morning that Newcastle have accepted an offer from us for Darren Ambrose.

"Charlton have made an offer that matches our valuation of the player," said Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd.

"We have given Darren permission to speak to Charlton to discuss a possible move."

And as for Lee Bowyer, despite The Sun's confidence earlier in the week, Birmingham say they're still after football's Mr Charm.

STOP PRESS: We know London is slowly returning to normal, because there's a story about Patrick Viera leaving Arsenal doing the rounds.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Into the Garden

From the South London Press...

CHARLTON are close to signing Tottenham's England centre-half Anthony Gardner.

The Addicks have agreed an initial £2.25million fee with Spurs and are now discussing personal terms with the player.

If the deal goes through this week, the fee will rise by £500,000 depending on appearances for the Addicks, and England caps gained.

Touch wood, and all that...

Meanwhile, is anybody else finding $teven "how could I leave this club now?" Gerrard's announcement that trying to up his wages was the "hardest decision" he's ever had to make is the biggest heap of old bull ever heard in football? Mind you, the soppy Scousers seem to be lapping it up, even though they now join the long list of clubs destablised by the Chelsea money machine.

Bye bye Konch

And now the player who proves there is life after a Curbs falling-out has flown the nest. Right, let me try to put a positive spin on Paul Konchesky's £2m move to West Ham.

- It's £2m in the bank, and it was clear he didn't want to sign another contract next year.

- He's a Hammers fan anyway, he's done a heck of a lot for us, so good on him. We can't expect to build a XI full of hardcore Charlton fans.

- If he's moved to play at left-back, and Chris Powell stays in that position for the Hamsters, it's going to be very, very funny indeed.

- He'll make West Ham Lass (caution: rude) very happy next season.

Nope, I still can't persuade myself this is a good thing. But good luck to Konch, who had a great final season with us - why Spurs didn't get him when they had the chance is a mystery nobody quite knows the answer to.

Worryingly, Konch's capture by the Irons coincides with their signing of Cardiff defenders Danny Gabbidon and James Collins.

Bearing in mind Gabbidon was linked with us, it makes you wonder what a poorly-run club with a manager that's going be fired by Christmas has got that we haven't. Answers on a postcard, please.

And with us now losing two players (Fish and Konch, three if you count Royce) and gaining two (Bent and Youga), it's clear we haven't got very far - despite Richard Murray's ill-advised comments at the start of last month that we should be signing a player a week. And "we won't allow anyone to leave until we've got the players in we want".

With the media still obsessed with who's leaving us, not who's joining us, even a die-hard optimist like me is starting to get a little worried.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Sven's sour grapes

"Alan Curbishley is highly-rated in England - because people don't know what goes on in the dressing room.

"He only cares about the first team and doesn't give a damn about the rest of the squad. You just get dropped and banished without a word of explanation. He doesn't give a shit about any of his players."

Charming words from Mathias Svensson about our esteemed leader. Of course, he can safely say that now he's back at Elfsborg, having made his mint out of English football. But is there a glimmer of truth in what can also be seen as the bitter rantings of a spoilt, mediocre footballer?

One frustrating thing about the media's coverage of Charlton is how little proper analysis there is of Curbishley's strengths and weaknesses. We know he's not the perfect man-manager - the feud with Jason Euell's a lasting reminder - but we also know he can get a decidedly ordinary team firing on all cylinders. Because all the press ever says is "you're lucky to have him," our man from Canning Town remains a bit of an enigma. Which doesn't really help anybody, really.

Still, the only English manager Svensson rated was Terry Venables, whose achievements in the late 1990s at Crystal Palace brought much joy to my heart too, so he can't be all that bad.

Kill your television

Well, our confirmed Sky fixtures don't compare much with the "leak" Netaddicks published last week - five games to be shown live on the costly satellite network. And, on the whole, they're hardly great showcases for the game, either.

They're the nearly-always rubbish Middlesbrough away game (now Sunday 28 August, 1.30pm), and Fulham at home (now Monday 17 October, 8pm) the dullest by far of all the London derbies. Better pickings come nearer Christmas (from, not shown on Sky's site) with the home games against Man City (now Sun 4 Dec, 4pm) and our Boxing Day match against Arsenal getting the Sky nod.

Meanwhile, on kiss-of-death Prem Plus (the TV channel for monosyballic armchair fans), our trip to Portsmouth is killed stone dead by being on at 5.15pm on Saturday 22nd October.

And the Premier League wonders why attendances are dropping all over the shop. Something to ponder on if you're considering renewing that Sky subscription - I'd jack it in and watch matches down the pub, if I were you.

Meanwhile, the new kit is finally on show - official club bookmaker Paddy Power is offering a generous 2-1 that it won't be in the shops by the start of the season, and 6/1 that All:Sports will be out of business by the end of the season. Get in there quick.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Youga what?

Frustrating, isn't it? Searching for news on the internet - you tap in "Charlton", and up comes news of a sad old man reaffirming his role as a spokesman for the utterly inexcusable.

But then what's buried in the club's e-mail bulletin? I would cross-reference it with, but it's gone down again.

One player that could yet turn into a star at The Valley is young French defender Kelly Youga, who officially became a Charlton player today.

The pacy 19-year-old left-back has joined the Addicks from French Ligue 1 Championaat winners Lyon on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract yesterday.

Born in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, Youga found his way through to the first team of Champions League quarter-finalists Lyon blocked by the highly rated Eric Abidal and Jeremy Berthod.

He will link up with the Addicks following the completion of his Baccalaureate - the French equivalent of A-levels - exams.

Well, blimey. Actually, this was rumoured in May, but has only been revealed today. So there's another result from Curbs' frequent Eurostar trips. Sounds like one for the future rather than one for this season, but it's still reassuring. With today marking the start of a new contractual year in football, the next week or so should - hopefully - be interesting, in the right way, of course.

Oh, and the council approved the club's application to extend the east stand last night. Readers in Greenwich borough may like to note that councillors David Grant (Lab, Greenwich West) and Harry Potter (Lib Dem, Hogwarts Middle Park and Sutcliffe) voted against the application, while Dermot Poston (Con, Eltham North) and John Wakefield (Lab, Glyndon) abstained, according to an account posted to the mailing list and reproduced here.

Cllr Grant, whose patch takes in central and west Greenwich and slithers of Deptford and Lewisham, claimed Charlton became "a giant public loo" after matches, which as a near-ish neighbour of the club, I can confirm is bollocks. The next London council elections are in May 2006.