Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Moules and frites not on offer

The club is offering a 'taste of Italy' meal package before Saturday's match against Plymouth Argyle. Italy comes to SE7 through the medium of lasagne which I expect to cook for my own dinner this evening.

I went on one of these packages before the Wigan game last year as I had been in London during the day. I was addressed as 'Wayne', although I have to admit that Welsh first names are difficult. I was at an event yesterday where someone addressed me as 'Winston' and then the person doing the book signing (whom I knew) had to ask how to spell it.

I was then asked whether I had travelled down from Wigan that day.

Surely we should be offering Belgian food as a tribute to our owner whom we know enjoys a live feed. We could have moules and frites washed down with a Belgian beer and followed by Belgian chocolates. Actually, one of the things I like about Belgium is that you can eat and drink very well at reasonable prices.

Nevertheless, I have mixed feelings about a country where I have spent a lot of time and become interested in its history and fractious politics. The conclusion that I have reached is that it is a northern version of Italy, a rather corrupt country in which the state is overly bureaucratic but rather ineffective (if only because of the bitter linguistic divisions).

This then allows people like Roland to think they can tower above this landscape. Of course, his venture into politics failed and I was amused by the Belgian programme in which he outlined his latest thinking. A middle aged lady sitting behind tried to maintain an expression of studied neutrality, but succeeded in conveying baffled boredom.

I am enjoying the current crime series set in Ghent which is being shown on British television, if only because it plays into some of my prejudices. Of course, it's all in Flemish which I find incomprehensible, but at least they subtitle. Another series which I enjoy, Outlander, subtitles when the characters are speaking French, but not for long passages in Gaelic. As a consequence, you literally lose the plot, but I suspect the hand of the Scottish Government where the series was shot, albeit it with generous subsidies from Westminster.

Roland lost the plot some time ago, but he is the sort of personality who his view is obstructed by his over sized ego. For him, we lesser mortals can only see the shadows on the walls of the cave, to use Plato's analogy.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Bauer out for two months

As soon as things are looking up, we get another blow. Patrick Bauer has tweeted: 'Devastated to find out that today’s MRI confirmed that I have completely ruptured the fibular collateral ligament in Saturdays game against Bradford. I will be sidelined for a couple of months, but will work very hard to be back stronger!'

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'We were saying on last night’s Charlton Live that everything was going too well at the moment and something had to go wrong. Happily my guess of “a gas leak at the training ground” is so far unfounded.'

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Step forward Naby Sarr.

Spider plague hit Valley

The minutes of the last Fans' Forum have revealed that The Valley was hit by a spider plague over the summer with them weaving their wicked webs.

A fan said she was not happy with the state of The Valley for the opening game. Roland's representative said for the first game of the season the seats were not clean enough. He said it was not good enough and apologised.

He explained since then the club have been working with an external pest control company. Staircases and previous roosting areas have been cleaned. Feedback from fans suggest those areas have been resolved.

He also explained there had been a challenge with cobwebs. Because of the summer climate the stadium has seen an increase in the amount of spiders. The cleaning team are now using additional equipment to deal with cobwebs.

Anyone who has seen spiders in Australia might want to consider whether some examples were accidentally released by the visitors from down under at the end of last season. In any event, the cobwebs were a metaphor for what was happening to the club, now swept away by Lee Bowyer's broom.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A beam of light from Ramsgate

Skilled writer though he is, VOTV editor Rick Everitt can veer towards pessimism and even cynicism. In all fairness one might say in that sense he represents the typical Charlton supporter. Indeed, some are far more gloomy and make their views known at high volume at homw games.

So it is a pleasing surprise to see the Rickster writing about a Charlton revival from the Isle of Thanet and in particular praising Lee Bowyer: Take a bow boss, you deserve it after Bradford

Everitt writes: '[T]here is already a sense that Bowyer is the most suitable person to manage Charlton since Chris Powell – and, perhaps with the addition of Phil Parkinson, one of only three really cut out for the job from the 12 incumbents since Alan Curbishley left in 2006.'

'He gives the firm impression of taking no nonsense, in contrast to a predecessor for whom nonsense was never more than a microphone away.' I would add to that I think Bowyer showed considerable tact and maturity in his remarks about the kilted bovver boy now in charge of Bradford City.

More critical publicity for Roland

Der Spiegel is Germany's leading news magazine. It has published a long story on the theme of 'Duchatelet Destroys Charlton': Belgier spart englischen Drittligisten kaputt

I once had a reasonable command of German given that I lived and worked there in Berlin (and apparently acquired the accent of someone living in a small town in the former East Germany: there may be reasons for that). Unfortunately, I have largely lost my facility with the language and it would take me too long to translate (online automated translations are often poor in my experience). I love the heading on 'kein Frühstück für die jungen Spieler.'

The Football League Paper also has an editorial and a back page story on Friday's protests. Some have derided them because of the small turnout but the point was to attract media attention.

Does media attention affect Roland? Whatever he says, I think it may do, particularly if it is in Belgium or a leading German publication. He sees himself as a visionary and this kind of publicity undermines that. I will write at greater length on this and why I think Belgium is a northern version of Italy.

The latest in depth treatment to appear is from Paddy Power: Paddy Investigates Charlton

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Decisive win for Charlton

It was a decisive 2-0 win for Charlton at Valley Parade today with the increasingly impressive strike partnership of Grant and Taylor contributing the goals.

Steer had to make an important save on two minutes, but a minute later Karlan Grant scored at the other end, his third of the season. He picked up possession on the left, cuts into the box and finished across the keeper.

On 12 minutes McGovern picked up the first of many bookings in the game for a cynical challenge on Taylor as he broke away. Grant received a yellow card on 26 minutes for simulation.

Two minutes later Grant turned provider for Taylor, but his half volley was just wide of the post. This was the start of a period of real pressure from the Addicks when they should have scored. Aribo fed the unmarked Grant but he fired over from eight yards. On 31 minutes a dangerous ball from Ward was hacked away. Then a Ward shot deflected off Taylor for a goal kick. Ward shot over the bar from distance.

HT: Bantams 0, Addicks 1

Bradford had a series of corners after 50 minutes but failed to take advantage. Bradford coach Greg Abbott was given a yellow card for whingeing. Aribo received a yellow card for simulation. On 59 minutes a Bradford corner was hacked away.

Lapslie replaced Reeves on 65 minutes. On 67 minutes Bradford appealed for a penalty against Pearce. Charm merchant Bradford manager David Hopkin was booked for his protests.

The yellow cards continued with Knight-Percival getting one for a foul on Cullen. Lewis Page got one for a challenge. On 76 minutes Vetokele replaced Ward. A few minutes later he made a great turn and shot, but the keeper made the save. Then a minute later Taylor scored from nothing, putting the ball in the top right corner.

Sarr replaced Grant on 90 minutes and Charlton saw out the five minutes of added time.

Charlton have now moved up to 7th, one point before four teams occupying the play off places.

Hopkin continued to complain after the game, claiming that Bradford should have had two penalties. Bowyer said of his former team-mate, 'We are both winners. It is tough for him at the moment'.

Bowyer said, 'I think we deserved to win. In the first half we should have been two or three goals up and missed some good chances.'

'In the second half we went off the pace a bit and Bradford gained a bit of momentum without creating anything. Our back four were solid and the midfield players in front of them broke things up and the strikers scored two goals.'

Football League Paper star man 'Karl Ahearne-Grant' [sic]. Taylor also got a score of 8. All other players got 7 apart from Page who received 6 and Vetokele (sub) 6.

Friday, 14 September 2018

When Charlton were top four

The Times points out this morning that it is 13 years since a team from outside the top six were in the top four in the Premier League at this time of the year. That team? Charlton Athletic.

But it's back to reality with a bantamweight contest today. We won 1-0 at Bradford last season and drew 0-0 the season before.

Charlton's latest signing Jamie Ward is expected to make his debut for the club. Ward joined on loan from Nottingham Forest on deadline day and has returned from international duty with Northern Ireland unscathed. Josh Cullen is available again after international duty with Republic of Ireland Under-21s and some fans think we missed him against Wycombe.

Bradford will be without Josh Wright and Kelvin Mellor for boss David Hopkin's first home game in charge against Lee Bowyer's Addicks. Midfielder Wright and defender Mellor both sustained hamstring injuries in last week's defeat at Blackpool. Defender, former Addick and Zimbabwe international Adam Chicksen has a possible hairline leg fracture and midfielder Hope Akpan is not ready to return following a shoulder injury.

Winger Sean Scannell (groin) is also still out, so Hopkin could hand starts to youngsters Lewis O'Brien and Jordan Gibson.

The big debate in Bradford is whether 'sorry is enough' to restore relations between the chairman and the fans: Restoring relations

Also big news is the opening of the first Pizza Express in the city.

Odds: Bradford 2/1, Draw 11/5, Charlton 29/20. Odds on promotion by any route: 8/1.