Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Curbs admits Murphy truth

Thats a direct copy and paste taken from BBC Sports website, 5 minutes ago. At the time of writing, the transfer window is open for another 49 minutes, and it looks as though the rumours we have been hearing all day regarding Murphy are indeed correct.

I have just got in from the Valley and put Sky Sports News on, and they have alleged that Danny is currently at White Hart Lane, and has already completed a medical.
I don't have a link to confirm that yet, but Sky are normaly a pretty reliable bunch when it comes to football news.

This has all stemmed from that petulant sending off at The Valley when he threw the ball down in anger right in front of the referee and earned himself a second yellow card.
Curbs criticised him publicly for that live on national television after the game, and Danny hasn't really been seen or heard from since.
Somehow, I don't think Murph will be an Addick tomorrow, and even if he is; do we still want a player at the club who is obviously not motivated to play for us?

Edit - 23:26 - Here is a link from the BBC, no new news really though. Just a question of whether or not they can thrash out personal terms before the deadline.

Monday, January 30, 2006

West Brom Preview

West Bromwich Albion's away record does not look particularly frightening.

1 win in 11 games, and only 4 goals scored on their travels, which is the lowest in the premiership. Even doomed Sunderland have managed to find the net 9 times on the road so far. Surely we have nothing to worry about tomorrow...

There must have been a few Charlton fans who had similar feelings before last seasons corresponding fixture, and we went on to get well and truly put to the sword by Earnshaw in the last half an hour, the poison dwarf coming off of the bench to haunt the club who really should have signed him 4 years ago when we had the chance.

I know a group of long time away travelers who went to the Hawthorns earlier this season and although we eventually only won the game 2-1, they all came away saying that the first half performance was one of the best they had seen from Charlton for years and years. One of them even went on to comment that he expected this side to develop into the best Charlton team he has seen in 40 years of fandom.

Well, none of that has happened, but at least we seem to have rediscovered the 'winning ugly' habit.

We could conceivably have drawn or lost all of our last 3 home matches over the balance of play, but we didn't. They say that results breed confidence, and against West Brom tomorrow I have high hopes that if Smertin and Thomas start in place of Hughes and Kishishev, then we could start to see some of the flowing football from last August begin to resurface.
We look a real danger when we play with an orthodox winger who likes to run with the ball.

Our opponents arrive at the Valley in chequered form. A 10 man 1-0 win at high flying Wigan was followed up by a loss to Reading in the FA cup, and then a shocking 1-0 reverse at home to Sunderland.

New signing Jan Kozak has been ruled out, Kanu and Kamara are still representing their countries in the African Cup of Nations, while Zoltan Gera (who has looked like the playmaker in previous meetings) is seeing a specialist for a niggling injury, so we wont have to contend with him either.

Looks like it could be a good time to be meeting The Baggies, and a good time to right the wrongs of last seasons mystifying capitulation to what was even then, a below average premiership outfit.

Match report will most likely not be up until Wednesday evening, so apologies in advance for that.

Cynic Athletic's Prediction - 2-0 Win (Bartlett, Ambrose)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lower the price, Ship them out

With a couple of days left to go before the window shuts, it looks as though our squad list until the end of the season has been finalised.

We must be the only premiership club ever to have nine different strikers on the books at once, and at least 6 of them (possible exceptions being Lisbie and Gislason) will be drawing pretty decent wages from the club I would have thought.

The likes of JJ and Euell have been constantly linked to other clubs over the last 12 months, and yet they are both still at the Valley, not playing football and still costing the club probably 30 grand a week between them.
£120,000 a month works out to a shade under £1.5 million a year that we pay to these two pieces of flotsam.

Evidently there have been enquiries made for both players, Euell most recently with Birmingham, Palace, and Southampton; and JJ with Norwich, Sheff Utd, and reportedly Treviso from Serie A.

So why are they not selling?

Euell's move to Birmingham has hit the skids and now it looks dead in the water. 48 hours until the deadline, and Birmingham's Karen Brady is in no condition to be finalising a transfer. (good luck with that by the way Karen).

Perhaps the club is just asking too much for its players. Drop the price by £500,000 in JJ's case, and £750,000 in Euells case, and re-offer them to the same clubs just to get them off of the wage bill. Otherwise we could find ourselves in the same situation next year, with another chunk of money paid out to players who dont play.
I can't imagine either player will ever sign another contract with Charlton, so surely thats better than letting them walk for free in the end?
Squad depth is important of course but 7 strikers is more than enough, especially seeing as I still think Curbishley will persist with 1 up front for at least 50% of the away games to come.

Then again, maybe the reason they aren't selling is because they are no bloody good. But if we don't talk about that, perhaps the buying clubs wont realise until their cheques have cleared and it's too late...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

And then there were 16...

"We've matched Fulham and Charlton in terms of passing the ball and creating chances and that's very pleasing. We had chances to win it, so we're frustrated to say the least." Martin Ling.

The phone ins have been full of Orient fans praising their team for a 'superb performance'. The reporters at the ground claimed that we were 'pushed all the way', and a couple of Orient callers even accused Charlton fans of being disrespectful towards them..

I think I must have been watching a different game from everybody else. I don't remember all of the chances Ling was talking about. Other than the 5 minute spell they had before the break where they hit the bar and had a shot roll just wide, I don't think they ever put us under any really consistent pressure.

Our own performance was disjointed, and lacking a bit of passion, so to a neutral viewer it may have made Orient look like a better side than they actually were, but I certainly never felt in any danger of losing the game.
Fair enough, they are a league two side, so we should have disposed of them a lot more fluently and professionally than we did; but cup football is about getting through to the next round, and that is exactly what we have done.

An early goal was just what we needed in order to calm any nerves and to quieten the away support, so when we got the goal it was frustrating to watch us slipping back down through the gears as the half wore onwards. Kishishev and Hughes were the biggest culprits in allowing Orient even a foothold back into the game. Neither of them could have passed the Salt today, let alone the football.

No surprise then, that one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon was when Curbishley made a triple substitution and removed both of them from the fray, along with the consistently ineffective Bartlett.

Thomas was a breath of fresh air when he came on I thought. I may be biased though because I've always preferred my football to be played down the wings rather than through the middle, but he was consistently beating his man and swinging balls across that we should have made a lot more of than we actually did.

The last 20 minutes were all just backs-to-the-wall stuff from our opponents. They rarely got out of their half, and when they did it was only an aimless punt back to our defenders which allowed us to build another attack. I thought that a winning goal was inevitable, but didn't expect it to come as late as it did. Still, the 90th minute is as valid a time to score as any other minute, and overall I think we deserved to go through.

It wasn't a good performance, but it certainly wasn't the worst we have played against lower division opposition in the last few years.

The draw for the next round is on Monday. Colchester will do nicely.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Orient Preview..

“We have given the Orient supporters a huge chunk of our stadium (5800 seats) so it’s going to be a very different atmosphere to what we’re used to.” Alan Curbishley

I wasn’t at the Yeovil match last year, so I can’t even remember the last time there were almost 6,000 away supporters at the Valley.

I’ve been speaking to a few Orient fans this week, and a couple of them are season ticket holders who haven’t got a ticket because of the ridiculous way their club handled the arrangements for the match. General sale right from the start, no priority for loyal fans, and up to 40 tickets sold to each individual who requested them.

Crazy really when you think about it.

They took a similar number of fans to Fulham in the last round, so logic states that they would do the same against us in the next round.

So after apologising to their own fans for the mess they made after being given far more tickets than we were required to give, they then had the cheek to ask us for another 2,000..

The upshot of the whole mess is that there are bound to be a large number of Orient fans trying to purchase tickets on the day for home areas.

I spoke to the ticket office this afternoon and they said that there are still around 5,000 tickets still available for the match, so any of you who are planning to go down to the Valley and pay on the gate, I would suggest that you take your season ticket book with you just to be safe, I expect security will be tight on who tickets are sold to tomorrow.

Leave early to avoid disappointment as well.

As for the side, Rommedahl is out with a cracked rib sustained at Stamford Bridge last week, Murphy will obviously not be playing again (He was linked to Man City tonight as well), and Marcus Bent is cup tied.

I expect a pretty strong side tomorrow. Curbs has been talking all week about not taking the fixture lightly, and there will certainly be a very vocal away support.

We aren’t going to be outplayed by this side, but there is a definite chance that they are going to want it more than us. Lets just hope the players expect as tough a game as the majority of the fans do.

Cynic Athletic's Prediction - 2-1 Win (Bent, Ambrose, - Easton)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cast your votes..

The 'in person' voting for the supporters director finally begins on Saturday, and the club/candidates have made such a big deal out of advertising it over the last few weeks, it will be interesting to know just how many season ticket holders will be ticking a box at the weekend…

When the names were published I had a clear idea about who would go on to win it, but after reading all of the literature in circulation I was altogether more confused.

I think the problem lies in the fact that each of the four would de a reasonable job of representing us if elected, so much of an individuals vote will likely be decided by:

> Previous experience of dealing with that person

> Friendship with that person

> Voting in accordance with the way friends/relatives vote, and

> Recognition of the candidate

For example, Brian Cole’s appearances on the pitch at the Valley will make him recognisable to certain fans, whereas Sue Townsend or Ben Hayes could walk past the majority of supporters without being recognised. Same goes for Vince Nieszwiec and his appearance on The Parliament on ITV, he will also benefit from public image.

There are an awful lot of season ticket holders who may have access to the internet, but do not regularly read the official and unofficial sites where much of this campaign has been fought. I don’t normally buy the matchday programmes, so I’m not positive, but I don’t think too much space has been given in there for each candidate to speak to the fans directly.
So policy, although it is crucial, may not prove to be a real deciding factor in the vote of Mr and Mrs Average J. Addick.

My Vote

The only member of this quartet I have personally spoken to in the past is Sue Townsend. She was thoroughly professional throughout the period of contact I had with her, and when I saw her name on the list I planned to vote for her from the start, but my opinions have changed after looking at the campaigns of others.

Without meaning to sound disrespectful to Sue, the snowball incident up at Newcastle which was covered so well by the media also helped to persuade me that the fans need someone in the role who is a little more in tune with the feelings of the regular fans, the Covered End singers, and the religious away travellers.

The man for me is Vince Nieszwiec. There have been some questions raised as to whether he can deliver upon all of the promises he has made, but I am prepared to give him a chance to do so.
I like the idea of the banners in the covered end. I like the idea of the cost-price coaches to enable easy travel to away games, and more than anything else; I have been swayed by his promises to “Enhance the atmosphere at The Valley”.

Now, a vote is a very individual thing, and I expect some disagreement with this story, but the singing area where I sit definitely does need revising, and the safe standing area is something that I would love to see come into being. Not sure how you’re going to get the council to agree with us Vince, but if you really can do the things that you say you can, then you have my backing all the way...

Whether you agree or you disagree, don’t waste your chance to have your say.
Anyone who would rather vote online than in person at The Valley can do so here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Squad. Part 2

Here is the second half of this post

17. Sean Bartlett

A decent header of the ball, and able to hold it up relatively well, but Sean is just too old and too slow for the rigours of our league now. The signing of Marcus Bent has heralded the end for 1 or 2 of the clubs old guard of strikers I feel.

18. Darren Ambrose

Always looks dangerous when he runs with the ball I think. I was somewhat skeptical when I read about this so called 'telepathic understanding' he is meant to have with Darren Bent from his Ipswich days, but he certainly has laid on a couple of cracking balls for Darren so far this season.
A little lightweight in the tackle (lets just forget about the opening day at Sunderland), but a player who will feature heavily in the coming months and years.

19. Dennis Rommedahl

Always happy when Dennis is in the side, however, he is just so frustrating. Has the pace to frighten any left back in the division but never seems to go ahead and use it. Another member of the crab brigade who can only pass the ball sideways.
I was in the Arthur Waite the day he got the winner against Palace, and I can honestly say that singing Valley Floyd Road loud and proud to a rapidly emptying Selhurst Park was one of the sweetest football memories I've had since 1998, so cheers Dennis.

20. Bryan Hughes

Never really looked like his heart is in it until the last 4 or 5 appearances he's made.
I'm warming to him, but I'm not a huge fan yet.

21. Jonatan Johansson

Another one in the Bartlett category of players who I don't think will be with us for too much longer. He had his time as a fans favourite did JJ, and richly deserved while it lasted; but when we tried to convert him from winger to striker I can't help thinking that he got lost in the middle somewhere.
Now he just seems a jack of both trades and master of neither.

22. Chris Powell

He loves it, doesn't he. You can just tell he does when we score and when we win. A model professional who has given everything he can to almost every club he has been at. I think he will make an exellent coach for us aswell, once the time comes to hang 'em up.

23. Jonathan Spector

No positional sense whatsoever. When played at left back he constantly wanders into the middle, and when played in the middle he is constantly losing his man.
Silly perm as well.

24. Johnathan Fortune

Blows a little hot and cold, but for the most part I think he does ok at the back for us. Definitely capable of getting more goals for us from corners etc than he does at the minute. A bit like Hreidarsson, he does give away the odd silly free kick around the edge of our own box.

25. Alexei Smertin

He and Murphy were just tearing teams apart in the middle at the beginning of this campaign. He is no doubt capable of still performing in the premiership, but when his loan ends I'm not sure I'd part with any serious amount of money in order to sign him permanently.

26.Kelly Youga 28.Osei Sankofa 29.Lloyd Sam 35.Nathan Ashton

Sankofa and Sam are definitely prospects, Youga is apparently going to be a decent player in a couple of years. Can't profess to know too much about the abilities of Ashton.

36. Thomas Myhre

Almost had palpitations when the team sheet was read out vs Arsenal at the Valley and Myhre's name was on it. But when he ran towards the covered end before the match with his fists clenched and shouting "come on!!" to us in the stands I almost forgave him a terrible performance in advance. I love it when players show a bit of passion like that.

As it happens, he's played ok since. A few minor miscalculations here and there, and he still gives me the jitters when he comes for crosses, but ok.
Up at Sheffield when we asked him the score he held up 4 fingers, all the way from the other end of the ground. Love it.

38. Jay Bothroyd

Can't half strike a ball, as we have seen in the cup this season. Don't think he's ever going to be anything more than a last 10 minutes or League Cup player though.


So there they are, my opinions on the current playing staff at the club.
Opinions can be left below, if you are so inclined...

Farewell Deano

Just got home from work and was entirely surprised to see the official site informing us Addicks that former Number 1 Dean Kiely has moved to Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee.

Not sure what I make of this to be fair. I haven't really had time to think it over seeing as I only found out 5 minutes ago, but my initial reaction (although I listed his poor qualities in last nights post) is still one of sadness that we have lost a player that has been almost everpresent since joining from Bury.

I imagine the fee will be somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000, but it doesn't look as if we'll ever find out for certain one way or the other.
Pompeys official site states that Deano has been assigned their squad number 33, and is set to be in between the sticks for the FA Cup visit of Liverpool to Fratton on Saturday.

So now we are back to having 2 decent keepers. We have of course been widely linked with Robert Green from Norwich over the last few months, and while I think Curbs will bring in another keeper before the window closes, I can't see that he will pay the reported 3 million that Norwich are asking for Green.

Someone needs to be signed though surely. Although I believe there is a rule allowing premiership clubs an extra loan in the goalkeeper position during periods between transfer windows, we would still be in a spot of bother if either Andersen or Myhre suffers a leg break in training on Feb 1st otherwise. No Steve Brown to deputise anymore.

The Squad

If any of the 70 or so people who have viewed the site during the last couple of days are planning to make a habit of coming back here to read what I have to say, I thought it would be a decent idea to state my opinions of the current squad so that you know who I rate, who I don't, and who I would be happy to never see play for us again.

Kind of a getting to know me exercise if you like.

Charlton Athletic 2005/2006 (as of today)

1 . Dean Kiely

Can't kick straight. Not quite sure he marshalls the defence as well as he should, but nevertheless, a cracking shot stopper and well worth keeping hold of for another season or two.

2. Luke Young

Bursts forward from right back with intent. Drives towards the edge of the box, and then passes it back to midfield. Frustrating sometimes, but a decent player.

3. Hermann Hreidarsson

Was a real favourite of mine when he signed, but has been getting progressively worse over the last couple of seasons. Wayward passing out of defence is all too common these days for old Herms, and is too mouthy towards officials for my liking. Defenders are always going to pick up "valid" cautions through the course of a season, but consistently getting them for dissent is inexcusable.

4. Gonzalo Sorondo

Didn't look too bad against the Gooners before his injury. Especially considering the fact that he has been so short of match practise over the last 4 months. Didn't particularly rate him when he played at the Valley last year for Palace in the cup though, but I think he could be an asset when fit again.

5. Chris Perry

Hardly a man for the future. Does ok, but if we do sign a new centre back in the next week or so, I think we will all be seeing a little less of Perry.

6. Marcus Bent

Decent start from the lad. I know a couple of fans from other clubs he has been at though, and they all say that he starts well, and then loses interest after a season or so. I've covered him in another post.

7. Radostin Kishishev

Bit of a tricky one. From where I sit in the Covered End, it seems that the general opinion of Kish is that he isn't good enough.
I would agree to an extent, but to me he always looks as though he's trying. Because of that he will always get a cheer from me.

8. Matthew Holland

I never even notice him when he's playing. Get rid.

9. Jason Euell

Still our record signing and it's a shame that things have gone the way they have for Jase. I'll be sorry to see him go, but go he shall.

10. Darren Bent

Only real striker we've had since Clive and Andy left. I only hope that he can fulfil his ambitions with Charlton.
No issues at all. Except perhaps the surname.

12. Kevin Lisbie

Close the door on your way out..

13. Danny Murphy

If you don't want to play for us Danny, then don't.
If you do want to play for us, then great, you're very welcome, but you have to knuckle down and appreciate that you are not playing for a top 4 club anymore, and the players around you aren't of the same quality that you grew up playing with.

14. Jerome Thomas

Yeah, I like him. At the start of this season with him on one wing and Dennis on the other we looked a real threat.
I think everyone loves wingers. One of the best sights in football is your wide man skinning a full back on his way to the bye line. (Not that Jerome often skins anyone, but he will do with experience. He has the pace and ability for it).

15. Talal El Karkouri

Bit of a nutcase defender. Makes odd decisions in his reading of the game, and prone to the occasional cynical challenge, but I'd still keep him at the club.

16. Stephan Andersen

I was looking forward to seeing him get his chance preseason. He's always looked good in the reserves, and the fact that his distribution was such a strong point (whereas Kiely's was awful) made him look very attractive indeed.
When he got in though, he did make a mistake or three. He is doubtless a good shot-stopper, but I heard that he refused to travel to an away game with the reserves the other week, and if thats the case, then he needs a reality check.
He can certainly become good enough to be our number one, but he is still young, and he needs to earn it through consistence. Not through length of time in the stiffs.

Bit of a lengthy post if I go all the way through to 38. Perhaps I'll leave it here and pick up again tomorrow night.


As an afterthought, congratulations to Wigan on reaching the Cup Final tonight. What were the odds this time last year of them being not only top 6, but on their way to Cardiff as well...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Off the Marc

Chelsea 1 - 1 Charlton

On a normal weekend when Charlton are clinging on with 15 minutes to go, it’s very difficult to sit there and watch wave after wave of attack coming at you. Praying we survive the barrage.

So, the fact that I never particularly felt threatened in the last 20 minutes this afternoon against the Champions speaks volumes about the kind of performance the Addicks turned in today.

The side that started the game was Myhre, Young, Fortune, Hreidarsson, Powell, Rommedahl, Holland, Kishishev, Hughes, Ambrose, and D Bent. New signing Marcus Bent had to be content with a place on the bench.

Chelsea had the best of the opening half an hour, and when Gudjohnsen nudged over the line after Fortune lost Crespo in the six yard box, I got the feeling that perhaps it was just going to be one of those afternoons.

But as the game wore on, we came more and more into it.The defence looked as solid as it has done in 2 months, the midfield was hard working and combative, and although clear cut chances weren’t being created up front it was evident that we had weathered the initial storm, and Chelsea looked a gear or two below their efficient best.

Just prior to the break, Rommedahl suffered a back spasm and Marcus Bent came off the bench for his first taste of life in a Charlton shirt.

Chelsea have been specialists in getting the job done this season, but we presented them with a wall of solid resistance almost all the way through the second half, and we fully deserved out equaliser when it came.

Ambrose’s clipped reverse pass over the static blues defence was met by Marcus Bent, who had beautifully sprung the offside trap, and then simply guided the ball over the stranded Petr Cech to send the travelling Addicks into raptures.

This is where I thought the onslaught would begin. But it never really did.

Crespo obviously temporarily forgot how to stay onside, and the majority of the Blues attacking forays were disjointed, and easily dealt with. I don’t recall one heart-in-mouth moment.

In fact, we could even have gone on to win the match with 5 minutes to go. Sky’s man of the match Darren Ambrose toe poking straight at Cech when in honesty he should have done a little better.

Four minutes of stoppage time were seen off, Carvalho was sent off, and a point was won.

A point which I really didn’t think we had within us last night, so I am immensely proud of the boys this evening.
Lets steamroller the Orient next weekend and then really set about the second half of the season.

Chelsea Preview

As the site is born, Charlton sit 12th in the Barclays Premiership, with two games in hand on most clubs, and a trip to the home of the Champions looming large tomorrow.

Is it too much hope for that Charlton could beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge twice in one season?
The answer to that question will partly depend on how new boy Marcus manages to gel with his namesake Darren.

I wasn’t surprised that Curbishley went back to sign Marcus after an unsuccessful attempt last summer, but I was a little surprised at the fee. When and if Marcus fulfils whatever clauses are attached to the transfer, he could end up costing us almost as much as Darren did.

Whether or not this is good business will become apparent over the coming months.

Personally I think that Marcus can do a job up front for us. He was Evertons top scorer last season in the Champions League qualifying campaign, and although he didn’t bag a huge amount of goals in terms of other Premiership top scorers, Evertons system of play was hardly conducive for strikers. Much more of a nick-one-and-defend strategy.
Now that he has a capable striking partner, hopefully he can settle back in his native London, and start delivering the goals.

That’s the long-term hope anyway, in the short term however, I’m more concerned about the goals we are conceding on our travels.

Our last clean sheet outside of SE7 was at Birmingham back in September, 9 away matches ago.
Although revenge is not an issue according to Eidur Gudjohnsen, I’m sure this will be one game in particular that Jose Mourinho will want to win, partly because of what happened in the League Cup, but even more so because Arsenal lost today, and either Man Utd or Liverpool are going to drop points at Old Trafford tomorrow.

Chelsea are not normally spectacular at Stamford Bridge, but they certainly are well drilled, professional, and able to win games they don't necessarily deserve to over the course of 90 minutes play.

Not a bad habit to have.

Cynic Athletic’s Prediction – 2-0 defeat (Lampard, Crespo)

Saturday, January 21, 2006


And so with little in the way of fanfare, another Charlton blog hits the internet.

I am a Charlton fan of many years, a season ticket holder in the North Upper (in what is supposed to be the singing area), and an away traveller when work and finances consent. Which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be too often these days.

This is intended to become a collection of thoughts about both Charlton and football in general, which I will try to keep as up to date as I can. Hopefully in time, I may even attract a reader or two..

Although Charlton currently find ourselves in a position more stable than the majority of us have known in our lifetimes, the sites name stems from the fact that my views on the club tend to be downcast and pessimistic, or so I am often told.

I’m not quite sure I agree with that sentiment. Perhaps cautious and realistic would be better adjectives.

Still, it is a game of opinions, and that’s why we all love it.

Welcome, one and all, to Cynic Athletic.