Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Blackpool 1 v Charlton Athletic 0 - bye-bye Robinson

A third successive defeat means we are now looking up from eighth place without the games in hand that for many weeks might, theoretically at least, put us back into a play-off spot. Five wins since October and this really has been a long time coming.

Surely now there can be no redemption for Karl Robinson. His refusal to look for an alternative formation looks incredibly na├»ve and he has built a mediocre squad he can't motivate. His constant bullshit is painful to listen to and now his team are crap to watch as well as painful to follow. 

He's unlikely to be sacked, just yet, of course because Duchatelet won't want to pay him a shekel  more than he has to and he doesn't really care about results anyway. There's hardly anyone left attending games to worry about and it looks like no-one at the club is interested in selling season tickets. Let's face it, there's very little management organisation left to make or take decisions anyway. 

The ruin of the club is nearly absolute, although to my mind it needs one last relegation to the fourth division for it to be complete. Duchatelet will probably be spared that last stain but he's done practically everything else possible to reduce us to a tier four outfit.

So, I suppose all eyes and ears turn to Dickie Murray now. C'mon Richard, let's be having you....the next joke will be a failed takeover at the eleventh hour because the Belgian Idiot is deluded and has even managed to fuck that up.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Ireland 28 v Scotland 8

A fine weekend in Dublin in spite of the result. After being messed about by hotels not being able to accommodate us a year after booking, we were fortunate to end up in the Trinity City Hotel a five minute walk from Doheny & Nesbitts. a landmark pub on Lower Baggott Street which marks the start of the long walk out to the Aviva Stadium.

After a good day on Friday we were up early on Saturday for the 2.15pm kick-off and bumped into mates of mine from Norway who were also there for the game. We picked up Thirsty Frank and his wife at Searson's en route to the match. The rain held off and we were in our seats high in the East Stand as the game kicked-off. 

Scotland looked quite comfortable early on and having absorbed some pressure we broke out to win a penalty and take an early lead. When we had the ball our passing and movement was slick and we tested the Irish flanks but the final pass was poor and a glorious chance was missed as Huw Jones wasted a great opportunity with Stuart Hogg on the overlap and with a free run to the line. Ireland had already scored after another interception from Stockdale and another loose long pass from Scotland but they piled the pressure on and it told with the last play of the half as Cronin dived at the line after a desperate Irish drive from a deep line-out.

The writing was on the wall at that point and Ireland maintained the pressure in the second-half and two more tries and two more conversions followed to ensure the bonus point that effectively wraps the championship up for Ireland. We did get to see Blair Kinghorm scored a good try on his debut but small comforts and a tricky match in Rome looms. All that was left was to reflect on another fine Conor Murray performance and he will surely receive the player-of-the-tournament award after the game at Twickenham next week.

Thirsty Frank and his wife Lisa were up from Clonakilty in the south-west of Ireland, for the weekend and were as keen as us to visit some of their favourite Dublin haunts. We sheltered in the Shelbourne Hotel bar as the goals went in at London Road. It sounded far worse than perhaps it was in black and white but the fact is we lost and it sounded like a morale-sapping defeat. 

Karl Robinson is again coming in for a lot of heat and, frankly, it's fully deserved.  His press work is painful to listen to, he ran out of ideas before Christmas and he looks like a man desperately hoping he can throw a double-six. I was amazed to hear him saying in his post-match presser that the side for Tuesday has already been picked. It simply reinforces his rigid mindset that sees us largely picking the same players and the same formation irrespective of performance or results. This will cost him his job. We are now down to eighth and have four sides a win away from leap-frogging us and only two we can catch. As I said in my last post, we need to hope we can stay in touch this month and that we get a few players back from injury and can take advantage of some easier looking games in April.

Meanwhile, the Wings won away at East Thurrock to remain on the fringes of the play-offs and having drafted in Magnus Okuonghae and the returning Adam Coombes, who scored the winner, they look like they have a better chance of making the play-offs than the Addicks.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Any play-off push may come in April

Been looking at the forthcoming fixtures and March looks a tricky month. Peterborough away isn't a happy hunting ground for us and I can't see us coming back with anything on Saturday. Posh also have the incentive of leap-frogging us in the table and the sides immediately below them all have winnable home games. Realistically we could drop a number of places this weekend.

Then we go to Blackpool in the week and that won't be easy. They are struggling for points but have been winning games of late and they will see us as beatable.

Fleetwood at the Valley a week on Saturday must be an opportunity for points before we face another home game against high-riding Plymouth Argyle. 

Mercifully, the fixtures look much easier in April. Sure, some of those strugglers will find form through necessity but I reckon we will take more points than in March and we may need them and our games in hand to catch sixth place. The hullaballoo over "pikey-gate" will have died down by then and there is a chance we might have one or two of the long-term injured back to bolster the squad.

I can't see us doing it, as I have said for ages, primarily because we lack firepower. There, I have given my opinion of how it may pan out - hopefully I am proven wrong.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Is it really that much of a surprise?

As the 'imminent takeover' thread on Charlton Life passes 16,000 comments and approaches 2,000,000 views, I suddenly realise the glaringly obvious....

This is a Roland Duchatelet takeover we are talking about - of course it's going to drag on and be an absolute car crash because that's what the bloke's whole ownership of Charlton Athletic has been. I find myself wondering whether Meire has really left his employment or perhaps she's a double-agent at Wednesday. 

Whilst the word "imminent" was clearly the excited hopes of the initial poster in the month of April, year of our Lord, 2017, a moment spent reflecting on everything we have learnt from the absent, ill-informed, arrogant and stubborn Belgian fossil would surely have brought more wisdom to the choice of this word and we might have had something more appropriate like 'eventual' or 'glacial takeover.'

I also see a recent comment from Airman Brown who has heard word that the Aussies were not best pleased to hear that Roly had now accepted two bids on price. I'll bet they are not pleased. Having been in the running longest and having finally met the doddering Belgian's inflated asking price, after the 'Scottish' consortium had thrown the towel in on price, he's now stringing them along with a supposed second bidder? 

Uncle Dickie told us it was now just about crossing the i's and dotting the t's. Really? After all this time why we are still on word-smithing of the contract? Why is it taking so long? In my experience, once the price and the shape of a deal is agreed, you lock the respective legal teams in a room and they bottom it out quickly when they can't face any more pizza. But then again, this is a Roland Duchatelet takeover we are talking about. What next? Maybe they will both finalise the contract at the same time? Does Duchatelet have two legal teams so they negotiate in parallel? Is it really a beauty parade or is it a last lame attempt to force something more from the Aussies?

I would applaud the Aussies all day long if they announced they were pulling out and made it clear why at this stage. I'd laugh my tits off, too, if there was no second bidder or, if there really is, they too pulled stumps and the absent idiot was left to lose another half-a-million before starting off all over again. Of course, I can probably say this and increasingly mean it because I care far less than I did when I was suffering it every other week. 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Hard to believe

A last day-of-the-month update from Pope Richard Murray suggests that the ongoing delay in announcing a takeover from God himself, is because both remaining interested parties have met the price and it's now down to lawyers to shake the deal down.

Frankly, I find this difficult to comprehend and a tad worrying. If the Old Scrote was holding out for £45m+ and two parties have deemed the club worth this, you have to wonder what reserves they have to actually sustain ongoing losses and reshape the side under a manager better geared for the rigours of the Championship? They will be under pressure from supporters to deliver improvements. That shouldn't be too difficult in terms of the softer side of things such as interaction with supporters and general common sense management of the club but the harder things, like the quality of the squad and capability of the back-room set-up, might be a struggle.

It defies business logic that someone so aloof, so hands-off and so clueless could possibly alienate all of it's sane supporters, relegate the club, shrink all of it's revenue streams and still sell it for three times what he paid for it. I am reminded of the northern adage, where there's muck there's brass.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Scotland 25 v England 13

Well I didn't see that coming. After the debacle against Wales in Cardiff I had mentally switched off from 6 Nations for another year. All the hype surrounding Gregor Townsend's attacking mentality and a fine Autumn series was overblown.

The narrow victory over France was a small comfort but I fully expected England to go through the gears yesterday and quickly go 10 points clear as they eased to another win over Scotland. After all, it was barely a year ago that they hammered 60 points passed us at Twickenham in a record win. My wife and I were up for the match and with ten Scottish friends also there we enjoyed a fine pre-match at Murrayfield where one can now partake of Loch Fine oysters and sip hand-crafted gin if Guinness, beer and wine are too boring for you.

To the match then at the very civilised time of 4.45pm and Scotland were at it from the off. Their tackling was sharp and every English ball-carrier was stopped by a pair of blue shirts within a couple of strides. We were also throwing it about well when we had it and making good distance in possession. The first score was to Scotland after a driving maul had pushed the England line back to inside their 22, the ball was played across the backs to Huw Jones whose ambitious grubber kick was rewarded when it popped up for him to touch down under the posts. Seven-up and better was to come from Scotland with a second try which saw Jones again break the line and run forty metres into the England half before being stopped. The ball was recycled at speed and with men arriving in numbers, Stuart McInally broke through and with England at sixes and sevens, the ball went wide from Russell to Sean Maitland who hurtled down the line and over.

Murrayfield was in full cry but we waited for an English response which apart from a couple of penalties didn't come before Jones again broke through before half-time and who showed great determination to get over with two white jerseys hanging off him. 22-6 at half-time and we dared to believe we might actually beat England. Owen Farrell scored with a smart break just after the restart and I wondered if this would turn the game but the rest of the side looked strangely disinterested and Scotland quickly got back in the groove. I though Nigel Owens was giving Scotland a lot of decisions, some of which looked harsh on England. Very quick to penalise for not releasing and when England did manage a second try on the break that looked good, Owens went to the TMO and disallowed it for a well-spotted knock-on early in the move. 

It really was Scotland's day. They don't come along too often so you will excuse me for enjoying this one. England's large following at Murrayfield took the defeat in their stride and Eddie Jones endeared himself to Scottish fans by accepting the defeat and recognising that the better side won. 

Disappointing that Charlton lost again in front of a larger-than-normal £5 gate and to fellow-promotion chasers Shrewsbury. We are so dependable on days like these. They sounded good value for the two-nil win and they also managed to miss a penalty or the defeat could have been more embarrassing. AFC Wimbledon away looms large next Saturday when Karl Robinson will need to find a way for his team to fire again after lacking any real against the Shrews.

Welling, meanwhile, won 2-0 at Canvey Island's Concord to move within a place of the play-offs in national league South and I reckon they will manage it if they can keep Joe Healy fit and don't suffer too badly with injuries.

Now, what about that takeover?

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Ten days on....

Just back from a glorious week on the Moray Firth. Land of my Fathers and place of my birth. I am always moved when I am back there, as I was again, returning for the first time in ten years. Blimey, has it been that long? Well yes it has as my tenant reminded me - she has moved out. I have made fleeting visits (funeral etc) but my first week with the family since my kids were very young. 

Anyway, to football and we have managed a couple of draws and a win since I last posted. The draws against Rochdale and Bradford can be considered opportunities lost but if we were unlucky to concede against Dale, we probably rode our luck against City. Whatever, there can be little doubt that yesterday's 2-1 win at nemesis MK Dons should help us focus on maintaining a play-off push, especially if we can take something from our two matches in hand. Ahmed Kashi scored from distance with a rasping low shot that the MK keeper won't want to see again. Much criticised Josh Magennis made it three from three with another header as he continues to find his goal-scoring form after a barren spell.

It hasn't felt anything like a promotion season or even a play-off season so far this year and maybe that's because it won't be, but the mere fact that we are handily placed at this stage means we are in with a shout. Perhaps it's because I haven't been going to see them? In any event, the next three games could define it for us; Shrewsbury at the Valley on Saturday should be a proper test and that is followed by the tricky visit to party-poopers AFC Wimbledon before form side Plymouth Argyle come to the Valley looking for an unlikely double. 

Newly appointed Scotland supremo, Alex McGleish, has commented on his work with a consortium interested in buying Charlton Athletic and has said that Roland wanted too much money. That sounds very much like it should all be done now. What chances an announcement tomorrow?