Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Charlton 1-0 Crystal Palace

Bloody hell, how good was that? 1-0 against the Palace, and we were simply too strong for them, putting in the kind of performance that hasn't been seen at home since maybe the day we beat Reading. For me, it was two of our loan stars who shone the brightest - Matthew Spring's goal was of the kind we've been praying for all season, while I thought ex-Nigels star Tom Soares was terrific. Also immense was Nicky Bailey, while tonight was the night that young keeper Rob Elliot became a man - some great saves and the look on his face after the match was unforgettable.

Okay, the match had some scrappy moments and saw some dreadful refereeing - where did that five minutes added time come from? - but we played hard and outfought Neil Warnock's niggly tactics. Speaking of which...

"We let them get a grip and they got a goal. Then it was a lesson in time wasting and I think they should have added on 15 minutes at the end." (more)

Shove it up your bum, you bitter old man. Now, who else is full of false hope?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Staggering already

I suppose the result of tomorrow's match against Palace will set the tone for the rest of the season - a surprise win could set up The Great Escape, another defeat will lead to more unhelpful recriminations. The dimwitted plan to have the match at 7.45pm on a Tuesday, colliding with the evening rush hour, isn't going to help matters - and won't win the club any friends among its neighbours.

Still, it's time for cafc.co.uk to wag its finger...

British Transport Police (BTP) is urging fans to stagger their journeys and exercise patience before, during and after Tuesday night's derby between Charlton and Crystal Palace at The Valley.

The Addicks' clash with Palace starts at 7.45pm, and in a statement issued by BTP, chief insp Jim Little said: "We're expecting in excess of 15,000 people to attend the match, with a large number of people expected to converge on the London Bridge area and travel from there.

"Busy rush-hour commuter rail services will run before the game on a normal schedule, and no extra train services will be available.

"Fans are reminded that the kick-off will not be delayed for them if they do not make it to the ground before 7.45pm, so they are urged to arrive at the Valley turnstiles in plenty of time to assist police and stewards."

Of course, if Charlton hadn't moved evening kick-offs forward from 8pm to suit fans from distant Kent and beyond, then getting to Charlton wouldn't be such a hassle for fans, police, and locals alike. It's going to a fraught night.

Anyhow, if Chief Inspector Little (who clearly is also taking our published attendances with a pinch of salt) is so determined the match will kick off at 7.45pm, come what may, perhaps the best we can hope for is that Palace's team bus breaks down somewhere on the South Circular, and Neil Warnock's still installing the spare tyre come kick-off.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Izale like a Lion at the Den*

In an attempt to bypass my current inability to say anything sensible about Charlton's current plight, All Quiet In The East Stand is going to take a feed of stories from the official site, cafc.co.uk. Hope you enjoy them - here's the first.

Charlton striker Izale McLeod enjoyed a winning start to life on loan at Millwall as the Lions snatched a 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

After a poor first half, proving just why two Charlton managers have barely played a striker they've wasted several hundred thousand pounds on, McLeod (right) stepped off the substitutes' bench for the start of the second period and instantly provided the cutting edge Millwall were lacking, latching onto Super Neil Harris' header and firing a shot against the upright on 50 minutes for the Mighty Lions.

Mugs could be heard banging against cell doors from Belmarsh to Brixton as the Lions made the breakthrough on 71 minutes as Marc Laird headed past Danny Coyne from six yards.

Afterwards, Millwall boss Kenny Jackett paid tribute to the judgement of Alan Pardew and Phil Parkinson.

"They're right, McLeod's awful. He's so bad for Charlton, I've got him here for the rest of the season - it's best for them," he chuckled.

"I'm sure Charlton fans will be delighted to hear that south-east London will be represented in the Championship next season by a team of hungry youngsters, with a team spirit moulded through adversity and persistence. Maybe we'll play them in a friendly next season."

After Saturday's FA Cup match at Hull City (3pm), Izale's plucky Lions go on to face Scunthorpe United at the New Den on 31 January (3pm, tickets 0870 403 3357, 53 bus from Charlton Village to Ilderton Road, special charabanc from the Isle of Sheppey).

McLeod is eligible to feature in the FA Cup for Millwall against the Tigers, having not played for Charlton in the competition this season, or, indeed, hardly at all. The Lions have yet to ask Charlton permission for the forward to play in the tie, although we have asked them nicely if they'd take him off our hands.

In League Two, Addicks midfielder Dean Sinclair made his debut for Grimsby Town and played the full 90 minutes as the Mariners inflicted a first home defeat of the campaign on leaders Wycombe Wanderers with a 1-0 win.

Town boss Mike Newell stated: "I didn't know this bloke Sinclair existed. I'd heard about Charlton throwing money at players that clearly didn't exist, and was about to complain to the FA when he suddenly turned up on my doorstep. He ain't bad, you know.

Grimsby will be looking to build on the victory when they host Rotherham United at Blundell Park on Saturday (3pm, tickets 01472 605050, "Cod Express" bus leaves Billingsgate Market at 10am).

Back in League One, Addicks striker Stuart Fleetwood was on the losing side as Brighton & Hove Albion slipped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Leeds United.

"It's not easy for Fleetwood," said Seagulls gaffer Micky Adams. "He's forgotten who Charlton are. He thinks we're playing them next week when it's actually Cheltenham we're playing."

Meanwhile, ex-Addicks striker Francis Jeffers fired one home for the first time since the invention of the internet as Sheffield Wednesday hammered doomed Charlton Athletic 4-1 at Hillsborough (hold on, have you got the point of this? - Ed).

Jeffers, injured when his shell suit caught light in a cheap nightspot in South Yorkshire, was the man of the match for Owls boss Brian Laws.

"I was told he was one of the biggest wastes of money Charlton had ever signed," Laws told the press. "But at least he got a few games."

(*does anyone else remember that graffiti outside London Bridge station?)

There's more to life (etc)

Normal Charlton service was resumed with a defeat at Sheffield Wednesday which was, by all accounts, abysmal. Did I go? Nope. I can't really add anything that hasn't been said already, and I just feel spent with the whole thing, really.

So, in the meantime, here's an amusing video of some kittens.

See, that made you smile a bit, didn't it? Oh...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crikey! We won a match!

We won! We beat a team!

If only it was a league match... but you've got to take your bonuses where you can get them. And it does prove we can beat other Championship sides, even if it's one as crap as Norwich. Sheffield United beckon at Brammall Lane in the fourth round.

Not had much time to digest the annual report and the Forest farrago, a gigantic huge thinky post may follow soon, if you're really unlucky.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

'Wage bill nearing 100% of turnover'

After yesterday's draw with Norwich (some encouraging bits, like Jonjo Shelvey, and some bad bits, like Parky's oddly-handled substitutions), a worrying story in the Mail on Sunday. This doesn't appear online, but was fished out by the Charlton Life forum.

Great Dane too dear for The Valley

By Mick Collins

Charlton Athletic are fighting for their Championship survival but are unable to field a player for whom they paid £250,000 because it would cost the cash-strapped club an extra £100,000 if they picked him.

The financial plight of the Championship’s bottom club means that they could pay out as much as £1.5 million without Martin Christensen ever tasting competitive action at The Valley.

The 21-year-old Dane was signed by former manager Alan Pardew in 2007 on a four-year, £5,000 a week contract from Danish club Herfolge Boldklub on the understanding that Charlton would pay an additional £100,000 when he made his first-team debut.

He was signed a week after 28 staff were made redundant following Charlton’s relegation from the Premier League.

The deal also involved Herfolge receiving £50,000 a year for the remaining span of the contract in exchange for Charlton having first refusal on their young players.

“There was a lot of opposition,” said one board member. “But Pardew was determined. He dug his heels in and insisted we sign him.

“Christensen will never play. It’s just not going to happen. First, there’s not the money and secondly, he’s not the player we were lead to believe he was. The whole situation, to be honest, is a complete mess.”

With Charlton’s wage bill now fast approaching 100% of their turnover, their position is a precarious one on and off the field.

Club chairman Richard Murray declined to comment about the situation after Phil Parkinson’s men drew 1-1 at home to Norwich in the FA Cup yesterday.

Mick Collins is a Charlton fan and respected football writer and broadcasters, so it's safe to assume his story is impeccably sourced. Beneath the "we must find a scapegoat" game of blaming Pardew or board members for the fiasco of Christensen's signing is a very, very, scary assertion...

With Charlton’s wage bill now fast approaching 100% of their turnover, their position is a precarious one on and off the field.

I hope this gets raised at the shareholders' annual general meeting on 28 January.