All future Addick's Diary entries can be found at Premiership Diary
'Fly Me, I'm a Ref'
I thought it was April 1st when I read this on the Premiership web site courtesy of Inspector Sands. As a result of an agreement with the 'Professional Game Match Officials Ltd', referees and linos are to be sponsored by Emirates this season. They will wear a 'Fly Emirates' logo!
What is more each match is to be preceded by a handshake between players and the playing of a special Premiership anthem. Inspector Sands compared this to something used in a local television bulletin in the 1990s. I thought that it sounded like the background music for a naff documentary on winter sports.
This season we will not provide a detailed report on each match. We will, however, review the match as a whole and pick out any highlights, including unusual incidents. There will also be an analysis of each Charlton player's performance by one of our specialised team of canine match analysts. Remember we are the only Charlton site whose match analysts are barking. Juneau the Soccer Cat or a guest feline will continue to provide a Hiss of the Match and there will be a Crowd Rating as before. A new feature will be 'Ten Years Ago' looking at the match the Addicks were involved in ten years before. We will also report the incisive comments of the Bloke Behind Me, including his regular invitations to Curbs to resign, despite the BBM's invitation to me to **** off at the end if last season.
Link with Forever Charlton
Following preliminary discussions with Dave Roberts, it is planned to convert this page to a blog and link it to the Forever Charlton site. You can see our new blog at Addick's Diary . It will be fully operational for the Pompey game, but the name of this year's senior match analyst is revealed there.
During the last season, match analysis at most away fixtures was provided by Paul May. I always marvelled at his ability to provide a speedy and succinct match analysis, regardless of how well lubricated he was (usually very). Paul didn't return from his visit to Euro 2004 in Portugal, having decided that his vocation in his life was as a barman on the Algarve where no doubt he will be dispensing his favourite hangover cures! Although Paul has given up his basement flat in Westcombe Park, he will be following the Addicks through the Internet and (as is increasingly possible) on television. Thanks, Paul, for all your help and good luck!
Fight on for senior match analyst position
Both Hooch the Pooch and Homer the Cherry Hound are currently in residence at our house in Leamington undergoing intensive pre-season training. Both dogs have applied for the post of Senior Match Analyst and are testing each other's mettle in regular dog wrestling sessions.
CHARLTON NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE
That was the verdict of match reporters David from Blackheath and Geoff from Dartford as Charlton did not get their hoped for bright start to the season when they lost 4-1 to Bolton Wanderers, their solitary goal scored by Kevin Lisbie. It was as bad a start as that ten years ago when they lost 5-2 at nearby Oldham and finished 15th in Division 1. Our match reporters' initial comment was, 'Simply not good enough. [Fed up] with team selection and lack of effort.'
As they left the stadium our devastated duo heard the stadium announcer say, 'Well it's back to the drawing board for Charlton after spending a lot of money over the summer.' But it isn't because Curbs fielded last year's team with Murphy instead of Jensen. The players surprisingly looked out of sorts with each other with no clue about how to play with their familiar team mates. They also seemed to lack physical fitness. Quite why Rommedahl was on the bench after being so sharp pre-season remains a mystery, but he eventually replaced Konchesky who had been perhaps the sharpest of the Addicks. Perhaps a case of Curbs displaying his over cautious side, although hardly justifying the 'Curbs out' calls reported by Inspector Hands from the station. Having watched the television highlights, what it is easily to overlook is that Bolton were exceptionally good, particularly their screamer of a first goal from a free kick.
The Addicks received an early blow when Matt Holland was injured after five minutes and had to be replaced by Hughes. On ten minutes the Trotters went ahead from a free kick conceded by Bartlett and then ten minutes or so later they went 2-0 ahead after a mistake by Fortune who was poor. Bolton went 3-0 ahead in the second half, but after getting their solitary goal there was a brief period of hope when Charlton seemed to up their game. But then Bolton made it 4-1 from open play with Deano looking sleepy throughout the match (he wasn't at fault for the first and second goals, but must take a share of the blame for the third and the fourth). Bartlett had a poor game. He simply couldn't be bothered, ambling around and awaiting for the ball to be delivered to him, although much the same could be said of Lisbie. Euell was one of the better Charlton players and Hreidarsson was useful. Murphy looked nervous and off colour and was eventually replaced by Jeffers.
The Addickted were in good heart at the beginning of the game with frequent choruses of 'Valley Floyd Road', but gradually fell silent as the dismal spectacle unfolded before them. This result puts Charlton bottom of the Premiership on goal difference and below Chrystal Palace who drew 1-1 at Norwich, while a Carlton Cole goal helped Villa to a win against Southampton. Perhaps this result will be a necessary wake up call and corrective to excessive pre-season expectations. It's difficult to see what other consoling lessons to draw from it. In particular, this was a display of defensive incompetence with acres of space apparently available in front of our goal, although I suppose we were chasing the game. We did, of course, lose 0-3 at the beginning of last season and still finished 7th. (In fact, Charlton have lost their opening games of the season since 2000-1, so nothing new there). Unconfirmed reports suggest that Curbs, Merv and Keith had a forthright exchange of views in the tunnel after the game.
Mary Arden's Men Fall to Brakes
I've never liked the Reebook since it all went off a few years ago after a cup game and I decided to do my duty as vice-president at Leamington and admire the new electronic scoreboard. Wilmcote is best known as the site of Mary Arden's house, the alleged home of Shakespeare's mother, but Wilmcote Sports and Social are in fact Stratford Town's nursery team. Brakes beat them 2-0, but I missed both first half goals as I was texting the Reebok. Most of the game was played in Wilmcote's half, but Brakes lacked sharpness in front of goal. However, we were impressed by big new signing from Rugby Town, Darran Tank, who is indeed built like one. He is rumoured to be one of the players on an appearance fee arrangement which some excitable elements have said is as big as £20 a match (plus a free meal at the Windmill Tavern).
What Curbs won't be saying this afternoon
According to The Times the new manager of Spurs, Jacques Santini, will have an English-French crib sheet with him in the dugout. Some of the terms are pretty basic: 'Opponents throw in' and 'Our teams throw in' (without apostrophes). The likely season for the big North London club is revealed by phrases such as 'We have to be stronger.' Can you imagine Curbs saying, say, to Danny Murphy, 'You have to perform better in your role' or making a comment in English like 'We need more movement and quality in our offensive play.' Or perhaps that's what Mervyn says when he's jumping up and down and screaming.
Ten years agoOn 13th August 1994 Charlton lost 5-2 to Oldham at Boundary Park with the Addicks' goals scored by David Whyte, Whyte, Whyte (whose whereabouts are a mystery) and John Robinson. Salmon was in goal, Steve Brown and Chapple in defence and Whyte was replaced by Kim Grant on 69 minutes. I didn't go to this match so have relied on Colin Cameron's Home and Away for these facts. For matches later in the season, I will draw on my own contemporary notes.
Predictions for the season
At one time every lazy journalist in the country used to tip Charlton for relegation. Now, when you look at the predictions for this season, we are placed somewhere around 8th or 9th in most cases. It shows how far we have come, as they say. But given the low standard of much football journalism in this country, I find it worrying rather than reassuring. But then that comes with the territory of being a Charlton fan.
I think this is good news, although even with so-called luxury player Claus Jensen gone, we will have an incredibly crowded midfield. As far as strikers are concerned, we have lost PDC and gained Jeffers. JJ has never recovered the form of his first season, although he can be a useful and penetrating winger. For all the brilliance of his hattrick against Liverpool, Lisbie remains Lisbie with his ability to fail to convert simple sitters. Bartlett, about whom there have been rumours, is useful with his head, but the fact remains that our leading goalscorer last year was Jason Euell, cast in the role of an attacking midfielder although he would no doubt prefer to play up front. Now we have signed Jeffers, 'the fox in the box'. Opinions about him are mixed, especially his alleged propensity to enjoy an occasional drink. But it is a great chance for him to re-start his career and exactly the sort of situation that will draw on the ability of Curbs to develop players.
Mille grazie, Paolo
As expected, Paolo di Canio has returned to Lazio, the Rome club where he started his football career in 1985. Paolo's 75-year old father has not been in the best of health. PDC brought a real touch of class and style, mixed with real passion for the game, to the Addicks last season. I remember the way in which he turned a prospective defeat at Portsmouth into a victory. He provided fourteen assists last season, second only to Henry's total. Cordialissimi saluti, Paolo, grazie di nuovo.
Paolo has issued a public apology through the club's web site: it can be read there if you can manage to get on to it. He says, 'This is possibly the most difficult career decision I have ever had to make and I can only apologise to Alan Curbishley and the supporters of Charlton, for whom I have the greatest affection. I have often said I wished I joined Charlton earlier in my career, and whatever has happened I will always believe this to be so. The supporters were always right behind me and I hope they will not be angry with me and will understand that, where your family is involved, you sometimes have to do things that are very painful.' Certamente, Paolo. Noi capiamo.
'Quaint' training facilities
I never thought of Sparrows Lane as part of 'Olde England', but new signing Dennis Rommedahl thinks that the New Eltham location is quintessentially English. Comparing the training facilities with those at PSV, he commented, 'Here it is old but I like it. It's really English.'
Links for the AddicktedOfficial Charlton web site: Seems to have quite a few errors these days, but it is the official site
All Quiet in the East Stand: This effort from Inspector Sands has quickly established a strong reputation as a leading Charlton site
Forever Charlton: An indispensable gateway site updated daily
Wyn Grant's home page: Memories of watching Charlton in the 1950s
The Political Economy of Football: The business side of football, recommended by When Saturday Comes
Rose of Denmark photos: Charlton related photos from the Rodsters