Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Character brings a precious point

Bloody hell, that was uncomfortable listening. Dogged defending and a vital Talal El Karkouri free kick matched Henrik Pederson's early goal for Big Sam's battlers. It's just the performance we need to to pull us out of this mess. Just the performance we need to refer back to if we're going to have confidence for the rest of the season. And just what we need as we prepare for Chelsea - four points out of six from two tough away fixtures is good stuff.

And who was that young lad who came on for Rommedahl? Kevin... Lisbie? Best watch that one...

Anyway, unless there's any last-minute shocks here's those Charlton final-day transfer window moves in full...

Simon Walton moves to Cardiff City on loan - another Dowie signing on his way out?

Kelly Youga to Bradford City
on loan - at 19, I wonder how his development's going? Again, one for the future, or being eased out?

And news from Antwerp, where our pals at Germinal Beerschot have taken on loan Bakary Soro from the Ivory Coast, whose registration we apparently own. Well, you learn something new every day.

Laugh along with the Hammers

Doesn't sound like an exciting night at the Reebok Stadium, but it's 1-1 as I type this, and that isn't to be sniffed at.

To ease the tension, may I just remind you that West Ham are paying at least SIX MILLION POUNDS for Matthew Upson? Curbs, are you alright, mate?

This caught my eye on new Irons blog West Ham Till I Die:

"It is sometimes best to write about a match the day after it to avoid unnecessary hyperbole and swearing. But f*** me, is there a worse player in the Premiership than Luis Boa f***ing Morte? (more)

While on matters claret and blue, Times columnist Martin Samuels suggests the failure of Javier Mascherano's time at West Ham is a poor refection on both Alan Pardew and Alan Curbishley - and of English managers in general.

Uh-oh - sounds like Bolton are fighting back...

Final day transfer wibbling

Well, who'd-a-thought it, eh? One year ago today, Danny Murphy was whining his way out of The Valley as we prepared to watch an incredibly dull match against West Bromwich Albion. And hasn't he done well since then, eh?

As Martin Jol no doubt ponders whether or not to send the cry-baby to Wigan, please feel free to comment on the latest transfer window happenings below. Laughing at other clubs' desperate deals is encouraged. Go on, entertain me. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Song's for swinging Addicks

Is this our last transfer window capture? Alexandre Song's loan move from Arsenal was confirmed this morning, although he seems to have a lot to prove - a Gooner pal of mine greeted the news like this: "Sorry guys, but you got a lemon there."

Indeed, football blogging godfather Arseblogger popped up here to ask if Pards had lost his marbles. As for our manager, he said: "I am positive he'll be a great addition to our midfield as we continue our fight for Premiership survival... we will now have a little more competition for places this weekend against Chelsea."

Perhaps he's just there to kick our usual suspects up the arse. Perhaps he might do better out of the harsh Arsenal limelight. We'll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, for the simpletons who still think Darren Bent's future is in the air, Sky Sports News whipped up the transfer window silliness by reporting West Ham had made an £18m offer for him - a "huge" £18m bid, no less. Which then prompted the Irons to issue an official denial, and Richard Murray to try to calm things down:

"Obviously chairmen speak to each other on a regular basis and I am sure that if we wanted to sell Darren Bent, West Ham would be one of the clubs interested.

"It is not unusual. When you are near the bottom of the division and have the top English striker, you get phone calls.

"I have had many phone calls from chairmen saying if we are thinking of selling Darren now or in the future, would we keep them involved and West Ham are one of those clubs."

(Incidentally - good to see journalistic rigour is at its highest in the transfer window, with Sky Sports copying and pasting's "Arsenal Wenger" typo in its coverage of the Song transfer. Trebles all round!)

Bolton away tomorrow, good luck to all those heading north - which will include Zheng Zyi, but not an already-crocked Bougherra. Damn. But is anyone being deliberately left behind for a sneaky reason? We'll find out tomorrow as what might be our last dose of Premiership transfer window madness comes to an end...

Deano's a Baggie

You might have missed this among today's Bent flapping. Dean Kiely's signed for West Bromwich Albion - where he played as a schoolboy - from Portsmouth. He'd been on loan at Luton since November, and clearly wasn't happy playing second-fiddle to David James at Pompey.

He's been signed following the suspension of Russell Hoult (suspended after some mucky tales). Good for Deano, and with the Baggies fourth in the Championship, I wouldn't put another promotion to the Premiership past him...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Pardew's Madjid touch, Curbs in a panic...

It's almost safe to come out again - the transfer window's nearly over, and now the torrent of bullshit's nearly all subsided, things aren't as bad as they seemed, eh? So Steven Pressley opted for Celtic (bit of a no-brainer, there) and Anthony Stokes went to Sunderland, but we got Djimi Traore to sling his hook, we've landed the Chinese ZZ, a no-nonsense defender in Ben Thatcher and now picked up Madjid Bougherra from Sheffield Wednesday to shore things up at the back some more.

What do I think of him? Well, I don't bleedin' know. But Lloyd Sam says he was Wednesday's best player when he was there. Which may or may not be saying much, but Everton were also sniffing around him, as were Reading. Indeed, a year ago he'd just signed for Crewe, before moving to Wednesday in the summer. He's not in it for the glamour, that's for sure.

The window, together with our weekend off (cheers Forest), means Alan Pardew's been further able to stamp his authority on Charlton. Now we're at the business end of the window, will there be any more deals done?

Well, that tap-tap-tap noise from the other side of the Thames is Alan "I’m not going to make an approach for Darren Bent" Curbishley and his Icelandic friend making approaches for Darren Bent. Richard Murray has quite rightly put an end to this tedious and shabby show by telling Curbs and Eggert Magnússon to shove their £14m of custard creams where the sun doesn't shine.

Because while Pards is quietly rebuilding, can you not smell the fear at Upton Park? Curbs' pants must be browner than a tonne of bourbons. If we go down, frankly, nobody will miss us. But the media doesn't want the side that won England the World Cup to go down, does it? The pressure is on Curbs, and they're crapping themselves over there.

Indeed, after a very Curbs-like exit to Watford in the Cup on Saturday, check out this bit of vitriol in today's Guardian: "Curbishley's force of personality and imagination will not turn things around. Instead the former Charlton Athletic manager hugs excuses like a comfort blanket." Saucer of milk to Farringdon Road, please. (And The People was harsher...)

So, if Curbs is panicking, why not offer him some of our old crap? If Magnússon is splashing his Icelandic puffins around like a madman, let's shove a load of Dowie's buys under his nose! Or some of the shit Curbs left us with! It's crazy prices, and they're only on offer at Curbs and Eggie's Panic-Buy Warehouse! (Nearest Tube - Upton Park.)

Indeed, Sky Sports News says we've turned down a £2.5m bid from them for Hermann Hreidarsson. Two and half million quid for a 32-year-old journeyman defender? Has nobody taught these madmen the value of money?

As for us, All Quiet understands the wheeling and dealing's not done yet. But at least we're doing it with a cool head. Now, Garibaldis, anyone?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Want to see standing at football?

This is from the Stand Up Sit Down campaign, which wants to see safe terracing introduced to football grounds. And it's a bloody good idea. Here it is.

- David Cameron wants to be Prime Minister.

- to help him achieve this, his people have created a site, Webcameron, in which he and other Tory types, plus the wider public, can discuss their views.

- a clever Stand Up, Sit Down person has written something about safe standing.

- if that contribution gets into the top five most-commented on the site, and is voted for a certain number of times, David Cameron will give his views on the issue.

- so hopefully we'll find out if the leader of the opposition is a man who can use his brain (or someone else's), and realise that standing can be re-introduced safely to football grounds.

Signing up's a bit fiddly, but here's the link - get commenting away, and let's see what Tory Dave's got to say. Because even if he doesn't get in, it might knock some sense into the current lot.

Hasselbaink's SHAME

Terrible news from the FA...

At a Disciplinary Commission hearing yesterday, Charlton Athletic's Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was fined £5,000 and warned as to his future conduct.

What, for being a lazy, overpaid waster? Oh no...

Hasselbaink was charged with improper conduct and bringing the game into disrepute in relation to claims made in his autobiography about his former club Chelsea.

He said in his book that Chelsea had paid an additional bonus to the players following the Champions League quarter-final victory over Arsenal in April 2004. Such a payment would have breached Premier League rules. The story also appeared in the serialisation of the autobiography in the News of the World in October 2005.

What, he was rude about Chelsea, that decent, honest side? The side which performs with so much dignity? The side whose chief executive has as much interest in football as Jade Goody has in racial harmony? Never! What a rotter Jimmy must be.

And what a stonking fine, eh? I bet Jimmy must be sobbing at the loss of less than a day's wages! Perhaps we can have a whip-round to make up for it, and he might perform better for it, eh?

Or perhaps that £5,000 might be better off buying some tortoises, which would have a better idea of how to run the game than the idiots at the FA, and might be swifter in the box than our fat Dutch mercenary. Just a thought.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wise words from Pards and Holland

I missed this interview with Alan Pardew in Saturday's Independent:

"I've always thought that Charlton's crowds were fairly quiet. I'd like to change that. When the team is losing that's difficult to do but it's something we are going to have to try and get going. From now until the end of the season that's going to make a big, big difference. We need to get the crowd souped up. We need a little bit more passion coming down from the terraces. It's there but we just need to bring it out. I'm hoping that the way we play will get them fired up. There's a commitment to work, to having a go. I want to force the opposition into submission." (more)

But I didn't miss this from Matt Holland in the Guardian's match report from Portsmouth:

"Getting relegated was one of the lowest points in my career," said Holland. "It hurts as a player and a person. It doesn't just affect the players but the whole club, with sackings and things, and it becomes a desperate time. Every question you are asked is 'What have you done wrong?'" (more)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Get in there!

I didn't bother travelling down to Portsmouth, just like I didn't bother going down there the last time we won an away game. I certainly wasn't going to jinx this one, and I wasn't going to pay £28 to visit their dump of a ground, so I put on a £10 bet on Charlton to win at the bookmakers' in Charlton Church Lane, crossed the road to the station, and spent the afternoon somewhere else a long way from the football, and totally isolated from it.

To anyone who saw an odd-looking character do a jig in a street in Notting Hill at about 5pm today, I apologise.

Now, the drinks are on me...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Saint Kish

Ah, speak of the devil. Radostin Kishishev has been speaking to the media.

"I do not think enough of the players were 100% fit at the start of the season and everybody knows once you get off to a bad start in the Premiership, it is very tough to turn things around.

"We need to realise that we are right on the edge and close to toppling over it. We have to fight."

Get in there, Kish. He's not the perfect player, but in determination, he sets an example his more highly-paid colleagues would do well to follow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Burley targets Kish for Saints?

Not at all. I just made it up. You fell into my trap, dear reader. Sorry.

I'm sort of laying low this month. I loathe the January transfer window at the best of times, and now we're in the worst of times, it's bloody awful. The usual gentle flow of complete rubbish has become a torrent, with few genuine nuggets of truth on offer.

Complete rubbish about players coming in:
Stop moaning because Teenage Big Club Reject or Lower-League Prospect has SNUBBED us for a high-flying Championship club. We're lying at the bottom of the Premiership, our lifeblood slipping out of us. Would you want to come and listen to us lot moan until May, and then get a pay cut? Or would you chose the excitement of coming to a team that might win something?

Complete rubbish about players going out: Want to actively help other clubs tap up our players? Go ahead. Tell everyone about huge deals for certain strikers. Don't complain when they actually leave, though. And want to scour other clubs' crap fan sites for more nuggets of rubbish? Hey, check Vital Football's terms and conditions: "We offer no warranties or guarantees in respect of the site, accuracy, quality, suitability..." Yup, they know it's bollocks too.

All that said, of course, there is one always-entertaining aspect of the transfer window - the interview given in a player's native tongue. Like speaking to your girlfriend's best mate about you fancying the new lass at work, it'll come back and bite you a few days later. But footballers still do it. And then they'll still claim they were misquoted. Step forth, Mr Dennis Rommedahl, who - according to Eurosport - told Danish newspaper BT:

"To be honest, I didn't come to England to play in the next best league. I doubt it that the club will be able to keep all their players in this situation. I don't exclude going back to Denmark and, if FC Copenhagen are interested, they should not hesitate to come and talk to me. I will consider an offer seriously." (more)

Sadly, no sign of this on BT's website. But, Dennis, if you pulled your finger out, perhaps we wouldn't be due to play in the next best league next season, eh?

(Assuming he said it, etc, etc, probably a denial by Friday...)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Charlton 1-3 Middlesbrough

The waters started to close in over our heads this afternoon after a gutless surrender to a muscular Middlesbrough side. For two-thirds of the game, we were more or less on top, playing good football and inspired by a tireless Andy Reid's comeback.

In fact, when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored, it showed that luck might just have been on our side - Fat Eddie Murphy roused himself from his slumbers to pull his finger out against his old team, and cannoned one in via a deflection off Jonathan Woodgate.

Ben Thatcher had been enjoying a decent debut, while Soulemayne Diawara visibly grew in confidence - and ability - as the match went on. But awful defending saw Lee Cattermole grab an equaliser at the end of the first half, and when Boro's second goal went in just after the hour mark, it was game over.

Well, it needn't have been, but Marcus Bent appeared to go on strike, and by the time the third went in, the baffled expression on Darren Ambrose's face (yes, Darren, you played like an arsehole, so don't be so confused about it) seemed to sum it all up. While Marcus Bent and Dennis Rommedahl seemed to be barely on speaking terms. Our cossetted babies were spitting their dummies out at each other.

Positives? Maybe the non-appearance of that stupid pitch announcer was one. But the undercarriage is down... our relegation season has almost landed. Have we really got four months to go of this?

It's another squeaky-bum Saturday

A week after the Forest debacle, it's another "must win" one against Middlesbrough. Ben Thatcher's likely to make his debut, while Osei Sankofa will be sitting it out, despite our court action against the FA.

Meanwhile, Alan Pardew says Souleymane Diawara is going nowhere, despite the noises coming from Portsmouth earlier in the week.

"He is a fantastic product, but I think he needs to learn about the Premier League and he needs some guidance and I think Ben Thatcher will be a help to him.

"I've found him to be a very diligent boy in training; he's quick, strong and powerful, all the things you would want. His fitness is very good as well."

Of course, Diawara put in some decent performances under Iain Dowie, but as any Arsenal fan will tell you, it can take a season for some foreign players to really settle in. Whether we can spare that long is another matter...

Over the water, West Ham face Fulham, who haven't won at Upton Park in many a year. Earlier this week saw Alan Curbishley come under a harsh and unforgiving spotlight, he walked out of his press conference after their FA Cup match with Brighton, and you may have read the Steven Howard column in Monday's Sun accusing him - quite rightly - of leaving behind a shambles at Charlton. It's a far cry from when he only had to stand up at Charlton and the press praised him. Hopefully he'll be under a bit more pressure come five o'clock...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Red mist over Sankofa card

Blimey - is this the first time the Premier League's actually done something useful for us? Our appeal against Osei Sankofa's red card - and that extra one-game ban for it being a "frivolous" appeal - was turned down, and the Premier League, together with referees' boss Keith Hackett, aren't happy either.

Says Sir Reg:

"Keith Hackett and John Morton, who manage the elite referees group for the Premier League, plus the match delegates and senior officials of the Premier League, all advised us that we should challenge the decision to double the suspension.

"The FA has refused to give us an explanation as to why they consider our appeal was frivolous - it was most certainly not frivolous and even officials of the FA have accepted we had grounds for an appeal.

"We are therefore consulting with lawyers with a view to challenging this decision in the courts, and we are supported fully in this action by the Premier League."


Crap out, Thatcher on his way in

From one extreme to another - lily-livered, useless defender Djimi Traroe is shipped out to Big 'Arry's 'Ome for Lost Causes at Portsmouth for a cool £1m, possibly the best bit of business we will do in years (even if we lost £1m by bringing dim Djimi in - it's not likely we paid the full £2m in the first place). Perhaps Redknapp will turn Traroe into a decent player... but that's got to be beyond even Our 'Arry, surely?

And on his way in... sometime Millwall hardnut Ben Thatcher, public enemy number one for a short while last year after that elbow smash on Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes. Clearly our fair play league chances have just gone out of the window, but there's more important things to worry about and he puts some steel into a desperately weak defence.

LATER: Sky Sports - "Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed that he has lined up a loan move for Charlton's Souleymane Diawara, with Andy O'Brien travelling in the opposite direction." Let's send all our old crap to 'Arry!

Now, all this makes our trip to Portsmouth on Saturday week look a bit tasty, doesn't it?



Saturday, January 06, 2007

Nott'm Forest 2-0 Charlton

Wycombe all over again. We stank Nottingham out, and it wasn't just the bloated corpse of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's career floating down the Trent.

Except while I think Wycombe needed to happen, this obviously didn't. A few individual flashes of effort aside, today's performance as a collective act of contempt by the team for Charlton fans and for Alan Pardew. If it was so easy for us to repay that contempt. The terror in international footballer Dennis Rommedahl's eyes as he was challenged by two League One defenders summed it all up for me. Still, Dennis gets to go home and count his money. I get to catch a train home full of bloody Fulham fans and wonder why I blew £50 watching him fuck everything up.

Special mention should be made of lazy moneybags Hasselbaink, whose own doddery performance showed its own brand of contempt for us. When a sponsor's slogan appeared on the Trent end's big screen, perhaps the thought "what's in your wallet?" distracted him. If nobody else wants him, he should be paid off and shown the door. Get rid.

Forest's following were in excellent voice - the loudest set of home fans I've heard for some time - and it clearly buoyed their pacey, attack-minded side, with Nathan Tyson and goalscorer Grant Holt in fine form. First to every ball, their aerial dominance served them well. They're destined for the Championship, we're destined for the dustbin. Forest's fate serves as a warning to us, especially considering the catastrophic set of decisions taken in the aftermath of Alan Curbishley's departure.

Back on the train home, a Forest fan approached me: "I think El Karkouri needs to learn his throw-ins again" - our slipshod defender had managed to cock a couple of them up. Premiership, we're having a laugh.

"It's a long road back," the Forest fan told me. "But it's good to see someone else suffer for once today," he chuckled, ambling off into the St Pancras night.

Friday, January 05, 2007

All Bent up

Right, let's take this one to bits, shall we?

New Charlton manager Alan Pardew today revealed that his plan to save Charlton from relegation involves selling the club's prize asset, striker Darren Bent. (more)

So far, so depressing. But he's crocked. It might be a while before he comes back. If we can cash in now... and anyway, we're not talking peanuts here.

"£7m isn't going to touch the sides for Darren Bent. This is a top-class player in my view. After watching him for just a week and a bit, he's an England player and that's how he should set his goals. My priority when I came here, and when he was fit, was that he was not going to go anywhere, that was categoric.

"But his injury at the moment gives us a problem. We cannot afford to have him out of the team for five weeks, so I'm having to assess it and weigh up all the situations and I'll have to do what's right for Charlton. The injury changes things. We are trying to locate a strike to replace him, so we'll see. Certainly the figures for Darren Bent being bandied around are way too low."

So this isn't necessarily a "come and get him" plea. The usual timewasters can piss off. But if someone offers serious money - over £10m? - and can offer Bent Champions League football right now, then what's the problem? Assuming we can use the money to fund decent replacements, that is, and our record in January transfer windows has been dreadful since the Parker fiasco. Also, for this to work, he'll have to go sooner rather than later.

And just to emphasise the sums involved, a Mr Curbishley of London E13 has today done his bit for transfer inflation by paying £5m in Icelandic puffins for 29-year-old Fulham striker Luis Boa Morte. Bent's three times the player he is, and seven years younger. You do the maths.

In this situation, it's better to take the initiative than be bullied into it. We know than from past experience. And you know what? Nothing surprises me any more, but don't be too shocked if little Bent's still with us in four weeks.

Pards and Parky smash the system!

In among a mini-blizzard of transfer window bullshit, a LOCKED-ON, totally kosher FACT - although it's hardly a shock:

Former Hull City manager Phil Parkinson has been appointed as assistant to Alan Pardew at Charlton, the club confirmed on Friday morning.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I am really looking forward to working with Alan Pardew, for whom I have the utmost respect,” said Parkinson.

"With the right level of commitment and application by everyone connected with the club, I believe we can stay up this season."

Parkinson worked wonders at Colchester, dragging them up into the Championship, but left after being refused permission to speak to us about our original vacancy in May. He then went onto Hull after Peter Taylor left (after speaking to us about our...) but found himself a little bit more exposed at the KC, as the Tigers fell to the foot of the table.

Is he the right man? I don't know. But he's worked with Pardew before and clearly there's a bond there. Messrs Robson and Kinsella find themselves redesignated first-team coach and reserve-team coach, meaning Richard Murray's post-Curbs "head coach" system is finally over.

There's a diversion off the long road back to happiness tomorrow in the Cup at Nottingham Forest, who themselves look on their return to respectability. But they're suffering a tough time of it in League One, including defeats to woeful Leyton Orient, Doncaster in their last match at the Belle Vue, and a 5-0 hammering at Oldham. I'm not optimistic, but I'm going anyway. See you in the mad dash for the early (cheap) train home...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sweet FA

At a Disciplinary Commission hearing today, Charlton Athletic's Osei Sankofa had a claim for wrongful dismissal rejected.

The Charlton defender was sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity during the match against Arsenal on Tuesday 2 January.

Sankofa will serve a one-match suspension with immediate effect as a result of the dismissal. The Commission also decided that the claim was frivolous and have given Sankofa an additional one-match suspension. He will therefore miss Charlton's next two matches.

No words. Just contempt.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Arsenal 4-0 Charlton

The only good thing to come out of tonight was the brainwave of leaving after the third goal, jumping on a number 271 to Old Street and getting back to Charlton station before twenty past ten.

A woeful night at the Holloway Goonerdrome, utterly ruined as a contest by rat-faced ref Mike Riley's decision to send off Osei Sankofa for apparently bringing down fellow rodent Robin van Persie in front of goal. Thierry Henry converted the penalty, and that was it, basically. You don't need to know much else.

Of course, we didn't help ourselves. Marcus Bent was inept as a lone frontman, while as a whole we gave Arsene Wenger's circus too much room to perform their little tricks. At times, sarcastic cheers greeted each series of successful Charlton passes.

Once again, Scott Carson was outstanding in goal, saving us from a humiliation of West Ham-sized proportions. But there was little he could do about Justin Hoyte's second, and he had no chance against van Persie's penalty.

An awful evening was compounded by the frankly weird atmosphere at Cashburden Grove - it is a stunning stadium which takes the breath away. But there's something spooky about 59,000 people making almost no noise whatsoever. And, to the right of the away support, row upon row of nouveau Arsenal fans, instinctively looking round to the big screen for replays of even the most minor incident. I actually feel quite spooked by the experience.

So, the Pardew honeymoon's over. We need a good performance at Forest in the Cup on Saturday to give us confidence. It's not going to be for the faint-hearted...

The joy of six

Happy new year! And what a start for us and we didn't even play! Dear me. 6-0. Curbs, eh? What are the Happy Hammers fans saying now?

I can remember reading all of this sort of sh*t under Roeder.

I find the similarities between the Roedent appointment and Curbs strikingly simlar. Both are crap rushed appointments owing to a failure to think of a decent successor before firing the incumbant.

And Curbs will go the same way as Roedent; sacked after a short and unsuccessful period in the Championship.

Tell you made me really laugh, though. When they were 4-0 down at half-time, he took off Marlon Harewood... and put on Jonathan Spector! That's right Curbs, try to defend a 4-0 deficit.

Still, Agent Curbs' fine work means the Hammers now have an inferior goal difference to ours as we prepare for our trip up the Holloway Road. Rumours suggest we may be missing Darren Bent, which would suggest the suddenly-improved Marcus becomes an important figure all of a sudden. Let's hope it's all wrong, though. Luke Young and Andy Reid are back in training. See you at Cashburden Grove...