Sunday, August 31, 2008

On the wrong frequency

I spent Saturday cursing our clapped-out rail network for preventing me from making an easy journey to Preston - who else was tempted to make the trip after our defeat of Reading?

But later on, I was praising our terrible trains for saving me from seeing a match in which, by all accounts, we were very much second best. However, it wasn't as if I could hear very much of it, since BBC London decided not to cover our match.

In fact, the BBC's local station for the capital, which has exclusive commentary rights for Charlton matches, opted to broadcast West Ham v Blackburn on both its 94.9 FM and DAB services. Unfortunately, this was the same match 5 Live was covering. Not sensible.

It's not just us - I wouldn't have minded if they'd neglected us in favour of QPR's trip to Bristol City, we share a crowded patch for football clubs and to be honest, I'm happier hearing us on a London-wide station than a parochial commentary on a community station.

Ah, but what about BBC Radio Kent
, you say? Well, yes, they did cover the game... but you try picking that up in Charlton. You can't.

There's a broader issue with BBC London having too many radio rights, not least because there isn't the competition - the commercial stations have given up on commentaries. LBC haven't done it for donkey's years, Capital Gold (and Xfm) gave up two or three years back, and Talksport dropped their London opt-out a few years back.

Which leaves you with just BBC London trying to serve a load of clubs - and doing it badly. Even if they're just trying to chase the audience, doing West Ham (at home!) when 5 Live are doing it as well is insane. Ad it's the kind of thing which makes people question the licence fee.

If I was them, I'd prioritise the Championship sides and cover us/Palace/QPR aways, and maybe the odd Premiership game if it isn't being covered elsewhere.

But I guess they don't want to be seen as an "inferior" station to 5 Live, fit only for second-tier commentaries.. yet by continually following what 5 Live does, that's all they are ever going to be. And it's what we're lumbered with this season.

If you feel the same way as me, you could do little worse than drop the BBC a line here.

An iffy pint at Arsenal

A public information announcement...

Following Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley’s Ashburton Grove appearance in the Toon end with pint in hand, the Football Supporters’ Federation is looking for any fans ejected and/or prosecuted for drinking in sight of the pitch this past weekend to come forward.

Drinking alcohol is sight of the playing area at professional football matches has been banned by law since 1985. The same activity is perfectly lawful at all other sporting events. If you’re a fan of rugby league or rugby union – no problem. Likewise cricket, American Football, speedway, horse racing. Even tiddlywinks as far as we know. Breweries and distilleries are a major sponsor of football.

We know of many supporters who’ve been banned from attending matches for three years for the “crime” of having a tipple whilst watching the game. Why? There are plenty of laws that the police can use to prosecute people who become abusive or violent though alcohol consumption. Being drunk in a public place is a criminal offence.

Why should the law abiding majority of football fans be singled out? If you’ve been ejected, banned or prosecuted for drinking in sight of the pitch, particularly this past weekend, get in touch with the FSF NOW at: info @ or on 08702 777777 (Mon-Fri office hours).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Births, death and a midfield marriage

A fledgling Charlton side came out on top in a highly entertaining early kick off at the Valley. But is this the birth of a good side? Just what did we learn from playing what was a largely intact Premiership side in Reading FC?

The Inspector was at the game in body but not in spirit, having heard of the untimely death of a friend, so my observations will have to do.

Charlton seemed to get at Reading throughout, much as veteran Championship teams did to us last season, which is encouraging for the campaign.

Defensive weaknesses remain, particularly in gifting a goal on the stroke of half time. And the lunacy of singing 'easy, easy' so early was rightly punished. Didn't seem to teach the crowd, who sang it again at 4-2 just before two near misses from Reading in the closing stages.

Speaking of the crowd, unlike the majority I didn't actually think the referee gave too much against us, and the penalty in the first half looked a good decision.

Nick Bailey (who is the spit of Graham Stuart from the stands) looked a decent player and his midfield partnership with Matt Holland offers real promise.

Both strikers looked handy in their own way. Andy Gray looked particularly strong and up for it against pretty decent Reading centre-halves. Bouazza's shot was an early contender for goal of the season too.

Not one single boo throughout, long may it continue.

Stephen Hunt looks like he's wandered off the set of Life on Mars. Decent player though.

So a great result to kick off the bank holiday weekend. Please spare a thought for the Inspector's departed friend, and enjoy your DIY.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Watford 1-0 Charlton

Proper reports:, BBC Sport

Hmmmmmmm. Going down to a soft goal (Jonathan Fortune, what were you doing?) I can kind of, sort of take. Because these things happen. And you can fight back from those. But having the match totally skewed by a bad ref, a linesman who didn't want to correct him, and the tedious, time-wasting antics of Aidy Boothroyd's golden shower is a tought one to swallow.

The sending-off you probably know about already. Kelly Youga - who wasn't having a good game - crashed into the Hornets' Tamas Priskin as they entered the penalty area. Priskin obligingly fell like a sack of spuds into the penalty area, and man-in-black Iain Williamson whipped out his red card.

Meanwhile, the linesman in front of the empty East Stand stayed still. He had a better view of the incident than the ref, but didn't flag for an offence. Nor did he advise the referee as to what he saw. The away fans went ballastic. Substitute Chris Dickson, running up and down the touchline, pointed at him and laughed, Nelson Muntz-style, and made spectacle gastures behind his back. He wasn't much cop, this fella.

Indeed, not was Williamson, who set his stamp on the game early by booking Watford's John Eustace after three minutes but later took a more lenient view of the home team than the three yellow cards he gave them would suggest.

As for us, it wasn't a great first half but our 10 men came at Watford strongly in the second half, to the extent that I'm sure Boothroyd was running scared with the tactics he employed against us - we had a frantic spell late in the game and surely deserved better. The goal aside, our defence seems better, and our midfield ticked over nicely with newcomer Nicky Bailey slotting in well with Therry Racon.

Unfortunately, that's now tempered with news that Racon may have fractured his metetarsal after going off injured.

Our other big problem, though, is up front. No matter how much Alan Pardew might want it to work, the Andy Gray/ Luke Varney partnership just isn't doing the business. Chris Dickson looked lively when he came on, but is he experienced enough to start? Or are we waiting on Todorov to return from injury? That - as well as Racon's injury - may be the biggest puzzle at the start of the season.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Charlton 0-1 Yeovil

Well, as a choice of entertainment this evening, there wasn't really much choice. There was Bonekickers on BBC1, the tale of a group of young, inexperienced group of hunters delivering bad lines and stumbling into stupid situations they should really have avoided. And at The Valley...

Yup, the booing cowards in the stands got the result they wished for as a youthful Charlton side stumbled out of the League Cup to a Yeovil side who did what their travelling band of fans asked for, and a little bit more on top. A fairly even first half was punctuated by a easy goal by the Glovers' Paul Warne, which sailed by a defence which was probably working out if they'd set their Sky boxes for Don't Blame The Builder on Channel 4.

As the second half wore on, our confidence dropped and until a frantic finale, the League One side took charge. Particularly culpable were Yassin Moutouakil, disappointing in defence, while Luke Varney was wretched up front, playing in a panic - a criticism that can also be levelled at Grant Basey. Scott Wagstaff was subsituted early after looking well out of his depth, Jerome Thomas flattered to deceive once again, and as a whole we didn't look like creating anything if the match went on all night.

There were bright spots - but from three players who won't be ever-presents this season. Matt Holland worked his arse off, Jonjo Shelvey's energy livened up the team, while at the death Rob Elliot sprang out of goal and made several runs to meet late corners... almost getting a late equaliser. He got closer than Luke Varney did all night.

Just 6,239 there tonight, of which 6,000 will have wished they weren't. Yes, the League Cup is a distraction we could arguably do without - but tonight's performance suggests that with such slim pickings in our second string, we'll have to work hard to create something to get distracted from in the first place...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Swansea, Yeovil, and being potless

Just for the benefit of those pillocks who keep moaning about us selling players, may I present Mr Richard Murray in the South London Press...

CHARLTON chairman Richard Murray has admitted that the Addicks could have gone into administration if the directors had not pumped £15million into the club.

“If the directors hadn’t put in that money, it would have been a very dire situation for us,” Murray said.

“Looking at the squad, it would have been extremely hard for us to raise £15m from player sales alone and also have a competitive team.

"There was a risk we could have gone into administration without that investment."

And remember, just take a look at Watford's current issues as well. The team that went out on Saturday is likely to be the initial bedrock of the coming season.

And they'll have to learn from the mistakes they made against Swansea - who were in control for too many spells for comfort - but we didn't do badly at all against the Welsh side. Will Gray and Varney gel into a deadly duo up front? It's too early to tell, really, but they do look sharper than before. Mark Hudson's a tireless worker and I enjoyed Kelly Youga's hard graft in defence. Matt Holland's new contract will be worth his weight in gold if he can produce cameos like he did at the weekend. But Lloyd Sam seemed to have run himself into the ground a little too soon, and that defence did look a bit shaky from time to time. But it was a deserved win, and a great lift for the start of the season.

Yeovil return to the Valley tomorrow in the nobody-gives-a-toss round of the League Cup. No indications yet as to whether Pards will give the youngsters a chance to prove themselves, but Yeovil have never been fools - having given a Premiership incarnation of Charlton a fright in the FA Cup in January 2005, when they were new in the fourth division. We were crap that day, and we'll have to do better than that to overcome a side which now features one-time Brentford scoring ace Lloyd Owusu and sometime QPR stars Terrell Forbes and Marc Bircham.

Want more? Have a look at Yeovil site Ciderspace's exhaustive guide to The Valley and its environs - and watch out for cider drinkers in Greenwich tomorrow...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Once more, unto the breach

I was talking to a West Ham fan in the pub last night.

"Fing is, about Charlton, is the atmosphere down there's shit."

"I know. They get on the players' backs too early. If we don't win the first couple of matches, it'll get nasty."

"They don't get behind the team."

"I know. But most Charlton fans are a load of old...- "

"But why is that?"

"Because they're a load of old...-"

"I'd have Pardew back any day. He brought the youngsters through with us."

"Well, he's got to do it again this season, we haven't got a pot to piss in."

"And you know Curbs wants to go back to your place?"

"Oh, please, no..."

So here we go again. I shan't waste your time with another load of pre-season preview guff, except to say that this is the year Alan Pardew has to prove himself - because he'll have to mould kids like Jonjo Shelvey and Grant Basey into worldbeaters if we're to pull ourselves out of the second tier. Can this be done? I hope it'll be fun to see. We've said goodbye to Big Chris Iwelumo and Majid Bougherra, and need to prepare to say farewell to Zheng Zhi as well. Getting shot of wasters like Marcus Bent and (hopefully) Amdy Faye isn't enough. The books need balancing in a league where we lose £3m each season before we kick a ball. Fingers crossed Shelvey will fulfil his potential - but we won't need to sell him.

With Mark Hudson assuming the captain's armband, who else is coming in? If we do get anyone new in, they'll be loans, like winger Hameur Bouazza, in from Fulham this morning. Last year Pardew didn't know his best team. This year, he won't have so much choice, but the man himself admits this might be a good thing.

So, new season, new blog - the comments are back - and hopefully a new spirit down at the Valley. And since it's my birthday today, I'm determined to enjoy myself. Come on you reds!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Faye's nearly gone...

From Stoke City's official site:

Charlton Athletic star Amdy Faye has joined the Potters on trial and could feature in this evening's game against Osasuna.

Faye, 31, is a Senegalese international having represented his country on 18 occasions.

The talented midfielder
[hahaha] spent part of last season on loan at Scottish giants Rangers, where he went on to make a number of appearances including one in the UEFA Champions League.

Here's hoping, eh?

Faye to finally f- off, paper claims

Please, please, let this story from the Mail be true.

Stoke are close to sealing a £1m deal for Charlton midfielder Amdy Faye.

City boss Tony Pulis is desperate to add top-flight experience to his promoted squad and Faye, 31, has played in the Premier League at Portsmouth and Newcastle as well as Charlton. The Senegalese spent last season on loan at Rangers.

That's it. Well-known hack Sportsmail Reporter wrote no more. It's two years today since Faye joined us, and at Dulwich Hamlet last week you would not have believed he was the so-called Premier League footballer still earning, by Championship terms, an obscene pay packet. He lolloped around the Champion Hill pitch like he couldn't give a toss.

Actually, he's brilliant. He's quick, smart, tough, an instinctive footballer, a great thinker and an erudite conversationalist. He's a leader amongst men. I have the day off today and can hold a map. Tony, I'm sure me and an All Quiet reader who can drive (any volunteers?) can get him to the Britannia Stadium before the day's out. Go on, son. You know you want him.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Charlton on the web, 07-08-08

A bumper crop to start what'll hopefully be a regular feature...

- Guess what - the kits are selling out! ( Yup, people moan about them, but they still buy them in their droves...

- Mark Hudson is our new captain ( Guess what! I've just seen a bear leaving the woods wiping his bum!

- Pards - lessons have been learned ( They'd better have been. See also the South London Press.

- Addicks chief monitors Sodje (News Shopper) Is Sam on his way back?

- Blues turn down Bailey bid (Southend United OS) - The Shrimpers midfielder is after a move, and we want him.

- Richard Murray: This is a huge year (South London Press) The big man speaks. "As this is the last year we’ll have the Premier League parachute payments, on top of the problems caused by the credit crunch, we have had to raise about £5million this summer.

- Telegraph London Championship preview ( Their man reckons we'll be sixth. "Midfield is a worry. The redoubtable Matt Holland was a super box-to-box midfielder but he is 34 now and needs somebody dynamic alongside him. Pardew has silenced his critics before - and I'm backing him to do it again."

- Scotland ready to play some part at Charlton (Wales Online) Swansea are coming - and striker Jason Scotland's getting over injury.

- Villa in talks with Luke Young (BBC Sport) Good to see him set for a decent club. Did we get a sell-on clause?

New season, new look, same attitude

It's been a while, hasn't it? Welcome back to All Quiet In The East Stand after a fitful summer of sporadic updates. Frankly, there hasn't really been much to say, has there? To be honest, it was touch and go whether or not I'd carry on with the site or not, but one thing I had decided was that if I did carry on, I'd tart it up a bit.

So yeah, isn't the banner above classy? One hitch at the moment is that the comments thingy is broken, for which I apologise - hopefully it'll get fixed soon. It's still a work in progress, so I'll be fixing and tweaking things as we go on. Any thoughts, please drop me a line at inspectorsands (at) hotmail .co. uk - damn, means I'll have to start reading my inbox for once.

The new-look All Quiet started to take shape in a bar in Barcelona a couple of months back. Blowing the froth off a cold one, waiting to go to a gig, I realised there was something not quite right about Charlton stuff on the web. I used to love reading the Charlton Life forum, and I hold the people behind it in the highest regard, but it'd become unreadable. It'd been taken over by miseries. The same old miseries that made last season so crap for me.

Yup, it'd become the mailing list. And it was the drivel posted there that spurred me into starting All Quiet back in 2004. My Charlton support had come full circle. But I couldn't let the old whiners win.

Because believe it or not, football's not the be all and end-all of life. There was a time I was more interested in women and music. I probably am again now, actually. Football's just a small part of a rich and varied life. And that's the way it should be.

Let's face it, if you're middle-aged-man (or one stuck in a young man's body), stuck in a dull suburb with a woman who doesn't fancy you any more, unable to get it up as often as you'd like, pissed off you can't get away with casual racism any more, that the cost of petrol for your trips to soulless retail parks are too much, grumbling about "do-gooders" and agreeing with Jon Gaunt and Richard Littlejohn, then you're the reason why I'm getting back behind this blog again. Because you don't go to football for fun any more. You just go to moan. If your life's crap, do something about it. Don't inflict your backward worldview onto the rest of us.

And Charlton isn't your club. It's my club too, and I'm nowhere near as small-minded, petty, and boring as you. And I want my fun Saturday afternoons back. Get behind the team, have fun, and forget your problems. Or sod off and leave the rest of us alone.

Nobody ever said this season was going to be easy. But bugger it, I'm going to enjoy myself. Shouldn't you be doing that as well?

Thankfully the Charlton blogosphere (hate that word) has always been a bit more positive and level-headed than message-board and Bores-Behind-Me idiots. So I'm looking forward to diving back into the fray again.

The other new addition this season is that my co-conspirator Stuart will be taking a bigger role in writing the blog, because even I get bored with hearing myself all the time.

So, welcome back - whatever happens this season, stay proud to be an Addick.