Saturday, August 29, 2009

Can I look yet?

Is the deadline passed? Can I count our midfield and not see some conspicuous holes?

Sad to see Yassin Moutaouakil leave. I always thought he looked quality. But good lord, players IN.

Anyone care to comment on quality or otherwise? Have we bought another member of the walking wounded in Leon McKenzie? And of course I'm sure AQITES' large Rhyl-based readership will have a view on Luke Holden.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

On the road

"You're too excited," the doctor said. "You're top of the league, and you can't cope with the change in emotion. You didn't even write anything after the Walsall match, for heaven's sake. I suggest you take a holiday. A long one."

So Stuart gets the keys to the shop and the Twitter feed between now and, er, some time after the Southampton match. Let's hope things are still going well - and hopefully the mooted takeover will be resolved by then (or by the end of the transfer window)...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

From Hereford to Hartlepool

Free wi-fi on trains? Whatever next, Charlton winning away? Welcome aboard the Grand Central service to Kings Cross, where I'm slunk in an unsociable corner hunched over a tiny laptop. Every now and then, there's a sing-song - because Charlton won away. (in fact, as I type, two are being turfed off the train at York...

I didn't go home after the Hereford match, instead opting to use our first two away games to bookend a little cross-country jaunt to visit pals and see bands. The keys to our victory at Hartlepool were also the keys to our defeat at Edgar Street - teamwork, hard work, and belief.

At Hereford, our weakened side were never at the races. Rob Elliot put in a cracking save at the end of normal time which made my heart sink - I wanted to go to the pub. Izale McLeod was dreadful, and dragged the rest of the team down. Andy Gray was awful, exposing the lack of options Phil Parkinson has up front. Neither really looked like they wanted to be there, and with booing from the away end, it was as if last season hadn't finished.

But there were positives - I thought Alex Stavrinou and Chris Solly were great, and Rob Elliot improves with every game. And for me, the novel experience of watching on a terrace, so close to the action that I felt the breeze whenever the linesman ran past and could listen to Elliot bark instructions at our defenders. And there was local beer and cider for me too, and a night spent in the Forest of Dean at the home of an exiled Addick, ("Look, stars!")

With one or two exceptions, Elliot wasn't seriously tested at Hartlepool, who put us under pressure at the start but faded as soon as Deon Burton got a fairly lucky opener. Nicky Bailey's header completed the job, but the real hard work was in defending that lead. Burton, Dailly, Llera - three Parky signings, three terrific grafters, while Frazer Richardson gradually warmed to his task. Even Lloyd Sam had a good game.

In the blustery conditions, the 505 away fans made merry - it's the first away Charlton win I've seen since beating Crystal Palace the season before last. The merest hint of good times is something to embrace after being kicked in the teeth for so long.

And it's those qualities I mentioned earlier that will be key. We're playing as if a cloud has been lifted from us - we have a collection of players that actually want to work, and work together. The sooner we can cut out the the likes of McLeod and Gray, and replace them with men who are capable of dealing with the job instead of infecting the team with their lack of belief, the better. Phil Parkinson must be praying harder than most for a takeover to prove fresh funds for him to do this.

Crikey, it's strange to have something to be positive about, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Takeover Tuesday! Or is it?

It's a lovely sunny Tuesday in SE7, and can you feel a sense of anticipation in the air? A takeover announcement, perhaps?

The Mail on Sunday carried a short story saying things were just about dusted and things were due to be announced early this week. Tuesday's been a date I've heard, but it strikes me as a bit daft to be adding further fuel to the rumour fire. Especially as it's just turned 1pm and nothing's happened yet...

But what does seem clear is that a resolution to the problem of finding fresh investment for the club is on its way - but when this will come, and who it involves, is still unclear.

So for now, it's wiser to worry about matters on the pitch - Saturday's two-thirds great, one-third awful win over Wycombe shows that while Phil Parkinson has clearly done a lot of work over the summer, he's still got a long way to go before he convinces the fans he's the man to back. That said, Christian Dailly's looking a good signing and I think Miguel Angel Llera is going to become a bit of a cult figure around these parts.

Best of all, though - the noise from the crowd. It was good to hear The Valley getting back towards its raucous best. Long may it continue.

Of course, only real Charlton fans are going to Hereford which is why... I'm going. Surely some mistake? Thoughts may be a while in arriving, but I'll post what observations I can to the All Quiet Twitter feed.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Here we go again

As usual, I've completely failed in the task of writing a preview for the new season. Even got scooped to my own Charlton Pathe newsreels post that I didn't get around to writing. Times is hard.

It's hard to say anything about the next season with much certainty, though. Off the pitch, we've turned into a mini-Newcastle, a basket case waiting to be rescued. But somewhere out of this, some money has been found to keep us going for a bit, to give Phil Parkinson a bit of backing and to appoint Tim Breacker as his assistant.

Now it down to Parky to repay that backing and show us what he's worth. The pre-season friendlies weren't all that bad - I actually enjoyed the Ipswich match - and while Frazer Richardson and Miguel Angel Llera look like solid signings, I'm hoping the experience of Christian Dailly will help steady the CAFC ship as it sails through uncertain waters.

And for many of us, the third division is unchartered waters. Today's match against Wycombe should give us an example of what to expect - they're newly-promoted, but they're no mugs. The next week - including away trips to Hereford for the League Cup and Hartlepool in the league - will be invaluable in determining our mood for the coming months.

Today also sees the launch of All Quiet in the East Stand's experimental Twitter service - assuming I can get a decent data signal in The Valley, which will hopefully prompt me into updating this blog a bit more often as well.

It coincides with Charlton's press office launching their own Twitter feed. Twitter's a bit like Marmite - you either love it or hate it, but it's good to see them trying out new stuff. I hope they use it to listen to fans as well as telling them things.

Guess what? The sun's out! I'm nearly excited about the new season now...