Thursday, July 26, 2007

Young out, Sinclair in

So, Luke Young's transfer to Middlesbrough is confirmed - he's passed a medical and the smoggies handing over £2.5m for his services. I've mixed feelings about this which contradict each other.

Firstly, with no disrespect to Boro, I always thought he'd go to somewhere with a bit more sheen than the Tees-siders. After all, he's a proven England international and has a pretty solid record for Charlton over the years. Definitely an unsung hero of Curbs' Premiership years, he'll be remembered well, and it seems a bit of a poor reward to end up by the North Sea. Then again, Boro seem delighted, and there's even a press conference on Friday where there'll show off their Essex trinket. It could all work out magnificently, I suppose.

Some are saying £2.5m is a poor price for him - after all, we coughed up £4m for him from Spurs back in 2001. I think we've done well, though. I'd even venture that, at 28, his best years could be behind him, with an inconsistent final season with us. Shame, because he'd been pretty solid before, and showed character in his early years, casting aside poor early form for us.

Whatever, he's a solid professional and I hope he does well at Boro.

Coming in is Barnet midfielder Dean Sinclair, with the Bees saying we've paid £125,000 for him. He seems to have been about the place in his 22 years - time to trust Pards' judgement, I suppose. He played in last night's friendly win at Marbella.

Jody Morris, who was also given a run-out at the Welling game, played for MK Scum in their, er, victory over West Ham last night - striker Izale McLeod, widely linked with us as well as a host of other clubs, didn't through "injury".

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Romm-ember the good times

I'm not going to dwell on the fact that Dennis Rommedahl was one of the players whose lack of form contributed to our relegation.

I'll gloss over his desperate rush to leap off the sinking ship, announcing he was off before he was even down.

The fact that he never actually scored at The Valley? No, irrelevant.

And I'll forget about the times - all the times - he froze when he got anywhere near goal, like a dog whistle had stopped him in his tracks.

Because those runs up the wing were a joy to behold. Because every time you thought he might, just might, do it this time. Iain Dowie was charmed by this as well, giving Romm a free-roaming role which, er, we'll pass on that too. He inspired gamers too - in our heads, he could be the king.

Because the guy I met at a supporters' do in Bromley was an absolute charmer. Girls, you'd want to take him home to meet your mum. And your mum would want to look after him. He was well aware that it wasn't going to plan, but always looked forward.

And because, in the 94th minute of the match at Selhurst Park on 5 December 2004, he broke free, shut his eyes, and leathered the ball right into the back of the net. On that dark, cold night, he lived our dream - that for just one match, we'd be fit to wear the shirt. And give Palace a good shoeing.

"I closed my eyes and hit it hard at goal - and luckily it went in."

Sorry it didn't work out, Dennis. Clean up at Ajax, son.

Same old Millwall...

News from south London football's remedial class...

Millwall fans are ready to boycott their club's friendly against Sierra Leone at The Den next month because it is being held to commemorate the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery.

They are urging Lions supporters to travel to watch the reserves in action at Sutton on the same day in protest at the club being used as a "political football".

A Millwall Supporters Club spokesman said: "I have been in touch the club and have asked why it was decided to use the game to celebrate the abolishment of slavery.

"I explained that all fans would agree with that but Millwall FC or its fans have no links with slavery at all. Slavery was abolished over 100 years before we were even founded, many fans see the association as our club being used as a political football."

It's that warm spirit of generosity to their fellow man which makes the Spanners so special, isn't it?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Let's all laugh at Palace

Time, once again, for the annual All Quiet chart of London season ticket prices - even in the Championship, we're still offering damn good value. Not too sure about the stripey Nigels, though...

Arsenal £885 upwards
Chelsea £650-£855
Fulham £299-£749
Tottenham £579-£1,200
West Ham £595-£850

Charlton £315-£475***
Crystal Palace £500-£630
QPR £405-£513
Watford £349 upwards

Gillingham £275**-£410
Leyton Orient* £320-£345
Millwall £319-£435

Barnet* £285-£380
Brentford* £315-£415****
Dagenham & Redbridge* £245-£295

* - cheapest ticket is for standing
** - cheapest ticket is for uncovered stand
*** - early renewals free ST in 2008/09 if Charlton are promoted
**** - price halved if Brentford sell more than 5,000 season tickets
All tickets are the adult prices charged now; no "early bird" discounts included.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The sleepy pre-season

This particular pre-season is proving particularly difficult for the blogger who steers away from parroting transfer window gossip. Alan Pardew is playing his cards close to his chest, the friendly schedule is fairly leisurely and out of sight - behind closed doors against a Chelsea XI on Saturday, and off to Spain soon for matches against Malaga (behind closed doors) and Marbella.

Who makes it on the plane should be interesting to see. Of the old guard, Luke Young's definitely still in the shop window, and the Dennis Rommedahl tributes are being prepared with Getafe hoping to sign him up. But Pards is hoping to keep Jerome Thomas - which strikes me as a gamble, because he'll either shine or sulk.

Sadly, no firmed-up news for a while of any bids for Marcus Bent, although his sometime friend Danielle Lloyd has moved onto rap thicko 50 Cent. Happy endings, eh?

As for the new guard... a Crewe fan site claims Luke Varney injured his ankle in that Chelsea game and is now lined up for (quick, rummage in the cliche box) "a spell on the sidelines and faces a race against time to be fit" to make Scunthorpe in four weeks. No official word on this, no proper sourcing on the story and I'm not sure why an ankle injury would mean Varney would miss Spain.

And there's still possibles - with Pards saying he'll take his time over signing Jody Morris and midfielder Dean Sinclair.

Elsewhere, the gales of laughter have just subsided after Paul Konchesky's move from West Ham to Fulham in a deal which could be worth up to £3.25m. And there's a tenuous Charlton link to the police raids on Newcastle, Portsmouth and Rangers - one theory is that Newcastle's signing of Amady Faye from Portsmouth in 2005 is among those under suspicion.

Finally, the club's published a roll-call of the staff "let go" following the failures of Messrs Dowie, Reed, Hasselbaink and M Bent, among others. The list includes the seven staff employed by the women's team - including manager Keith Boanas, whose parting shot was to let slip news of the team's closure, turning the whole thing into a unfortunate PR fiasco. (Players Casey Stoney and Eniola Aluko have gone to Chelsea.)

Shop staff, receptionists, ground staff and others are among those who have paid the price so that Big Fat Jimmy could fanny about do nothing. Next time you hear about JFH swanning about somewhere, spare them a thought, eh?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Welling 0-2 Charlton

Proper report which wasn't asking who that number 8 was:

Erm, well... I got in five minutes late, spent half the match trying to work out who was who, and then discovered in the pub afterwards we had ex-Millwall and Chelsea charmer Jody Morris on trial with us in the match. Hmmmm. Can't say I noticed.

So what can I tell you? I can say that Luke Varney was very good, Chris Dickson was good, as was Martin Christensen, and Yassim Moutaouakil was very good. I can tell you it finished 2-0 with goals from Varney and Dickson, and there was a comedy pitch invasion at the end. Chris Powell was masterful. And Paddy McCarthy looks like a handful. I can also tell you that the interior of the Guy, Earl of Warwick smells a bit like a hotel corridor no there's now smoking allowed. But that will improve. Just like we will.

And that's honestly all I can say. The official site knew what to look out for, while head this way for a view of a 5-0 win at Tooting and Mitcham.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Start again

Here were are again, then. Back to Welling for another pre-season opener. Last year's pre-season was full of optimism and hope, the Curbishley era already overshadowed by a blaze of signings and the enthusiasm of a Mr Iain Dowie. It was going to be better than the one before, wasn't it?

The bruises still show from the fall into the Championship, but the wounds have healed and we're back on our feet, going down to Park View Road a more humble side. Indeed, Alan Pardew looks set to show the Wings some respect by fielding a decent side, featuring Luke Varney, Svetoslav Todorov, Paddy McCarthy and Yassin Moutaouakil.

All those new faces - perhaps Welling could raise some floodlight cash by having a sweep on how many times Charlton fans say "who's that?" about their own squad. Of course, at PVR you're so close to the pitch you could ask them yourself. Just hope nobody turns around and says, "Marcus."

Last year, of course, we went to Welling in early August and put out the kids. We lost 1-0. It rained. This year should be different. No guarantees about the weather, mind.

A second team's heading to Tooting & Mitcham, where Chris Iwelumo and Nicky Weaver will make their debut in Charlton colours at Imperial Fields.

Oh, and you know what? It's only a month until the Scunthorpe match...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Deano attacked

Sad news from the Midlands, where Dean Kiely's had to deal with some of the pricks who follow football around that way...

SOCCER star Dean Kiely was knocked out when a thug “bottled” him during a pub brawl.

The West Brom goalie was playing pool with his 17-year-old son Chris when trouble flared just before closing time.

A fan of rivals Wolves, who was with his pals, recognised Dean and jeered: “I’m going to burn your house down and kill your kids.”

Radio Five Live pundit Dean, Chris and the rest of his group — who had earlier been to Warwick races — tried to diffuse the situation by leaving the town’s Hobson’s Choice boozer.

But the thug hit him from behind with a beer bottle, knocking him out cold.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

'Nicky f***ing Weaver?!' trilled a text message on my mobile phone this evening, for news has broken of the singing of charmless Manchester City keeper Nicky Weaver, whose strutting around the Massive Club's goalmouth helped him on the way to many a torrent of Covered End abuse.

But then a Citeh fan told me he'd done a good job for them last season - he'd kept Andreas Isaakson out for a while. He's also been blighted by injuries - spending three seasons out. I thought he was a lot older than 28, but there's time for him to relaunch his career yet. It'll take a lot for him to win over Charlton fans - and I don't think he'll in any doubt of that.

Also coming our way on a Bosman is striker Svetoslav Todorov, whose goals helped Portsmouth gain promotion in 2003. Another Bosman, another gamble.

So that's eight signings so far - Southend reckon Freddy Eastwood could still be a ninth despite Wolves claiming a deal's been done - enough room for a couple of gems and a couple of mistakes. Things are looking even more intriguing.

Of course, one of Dowie's mistakes that we reversed yesterday was his dropping of Chris Powell, brought back by Alan Pardew, who had him on loan at West Ham in 2005. Get the hankies out...

"On holiday this year people would some up to me and say 'Oh, you're that Charlton player', and I'd reply 'well, actually..." (more)

And he's got a coaching role. Just how things should have been last season. Oh well.

Finally, isn't Denim and Seahawk some kind of wanky restaurant in Hoxton?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Back in training - but where's Kevin?

Pre-season training kicked off at Sparrows Lane today - a reminder there's not long to go until the first friendlies of the season, the double-date at Welling and Tooting & Mitcham on Wednesday week.

But one familiar face was missing from the throng - no Kevin Lisbie, finally released as last season's contracts came to an end. I did think about penning something sarky and unpleasant - but then I thought back to that hat-trick against Liverpool and the genuine potential he once had. Then came the injuries. The tumour. The long lay-off. In retrospect, why was he allowed to come back? He'd have been better off being allowed to go before now - we might have made some money, and by the way he played for us against Watford at Vicarage Road, he didn't look like he even wanted to be at Charlton. Good luck to him - I'd be stunned if we see him line up against us in the Championship this season, though, but would he even be good enough for League One?

Talal El Karkouri was the other big departure - and, let's be honest, he was a bit of a hit-and-hope merchant who scored from some stunning free kicks, and a defender who could be unforgiveably clumsy. A return to Qatar's been mooted, and somehow it doesn't surprise me.

But in his time, at least El Kak was a loyal servant who did manage to raise spirits. As did departing 'keeper Thomas Myhre, who was only ever a stand-in when Dean Kiely was injured, but forced his way into a permanent deal. The kind of footballer that makes you realise that they're not all money-grabbing bastards, I hope he finds success back in Norway.

Former Addicks Shaun Newton and Claus Jensen are among the other players released by last season's Premiership clubs - you'll find a full list here.