22 August 2009

Charlton 2 Walsall 0

Another comfortable win. In fact it got a bit boring towards the end. Am I supporting the same club who caused me such misery last year? Shouldn't complain, of course, and it was a lovely warm - even hot - afternoon, with the heat affecting some of the players. Is the whole division as bad as Wycombe and Walsall? There really seems to be a huge gap in quality between the standard in this league and the Championship. Or maybe it's that Charlton still have some players of more or less premiership standard. Again, Charlton should have won by more, but it was a delight to watch a lot of the midfield play today. Jose Semedo was outstanding. Apparently Ray Wilkins was at the game scouting Jonjo Shelvey, but he had a quiet game, with a couple of moments of simple misjudgement.

The away support was the sparsest I've seen at the Valley - maybe 150 made the journey.

The goals were scored by Lleira (a messy scramble after a free kick) and Scott Wagstaff, about a minute after coming on as a sub for a clearly peeved Lloyd Sam, who had once again looked like he was enjoying himself.

And to top the day off, on the DLR from Greenwich to Lewisham I got the driver's seat. It was a day when nothing went wrong.

17 August 2009

Misogyny watch

Back to Victoria Coren again. And, before it's deleted, a reader's response to her column in Sunday's Observer. The column was about women's propensity to cry and how to deal with this positively. Funny and well-written as always, but as one commenter pointed out, it could almost be a trap set for misogynists. It took him a while but at 7:38pm - nearly a whole day after publication - someone called YCC1953 offered this:
I realize this whole article was an exercise in clever writing. More form then content. (I'll bet MS. Coren chuckled to herself all the while typing away at her oh so superior non-goldfish intelect) However, comparing someones intelligence to a goldfish isn't the same as comparing their memory to that of a is funny, the other is insulting and if a man had said it would be outrageous, have a memory like a goldfish because you have a lot of other things going on in there and not because you don't have the smarts.
Damn you and your clever writing, Coren! And how dare you insult goldfish? (I think that's what he's trying to say). How does one type away at one's intellect, by the way?

And then this:
why do you even bother to get boob jobs and wear tight clothes? you want to attract men only to belittle them and tell them how useless they are.....
Quite moving, really. There's a lot of pain there. Part of me wants to give him a manly hug, call him 'mate' and say 'Mate. Mate. It'll pass. You will love again.' But most of me just wants to point and laugh.

I was going to include a quote from Jake Thackray. In researching it, I found he died nearly seven years ago. How did I miss that? Anyway, here's the quote, mixing a misogyny that was probably partly real with a wit and brilliance that buys a lot of forgiveness:
Please understand I respect and admire the frailer sex
And I honour them every bit as much as the next

08 August 2009

Charlton 3 Wycombe Wanderers 2

The new season started with many of the features of last. The first half was a bit like a training game, Charlton playing the ball around nicely, and totally dominating, but lacking that final killer element. Had a two goal lead after 35 minutes but then Llera went off with a head injury and Charlton began to play a defensive game, trying to hold the position until halftime. OH FOR GOD'S SAKE CHARLTON CAN'T DEFEND DON'T EXPECT THEM TO DO THIS FOR TEN WHOLE MINUTES WITH A PLAYER MISSING. Thirty seconds before bandaged Llera came back, Wycombe scored the goal that got them back into the game, when they should have been buried.

The second half started well with the two goal advantage restored after 4 minutes. With half an hour to go, Parkinson made two substitutions: Andy Gray and Izale Macleod on for Lloyd Sam and Deon Burton, who'd both been playing pretty well. After that the team just seemed to lose any pattern, and it was desperate defending by Charlton most of the time, during which Wycombe got a second goal - gleefully running through a disappearing defence. The referee sent himself off for the last ten minutes or so. Someone suggested he'd realised this probably wasn't the job for him, but he pretended to have cramp or a pull, and strapped ice to his thigh.

So what should have been a routine win - against what surely will be one of the worst sides in the Division - turned out to be nailbitingly tense.

First impressions of this year's team are that we've held on to more of the good players than I feared, and some of them - Bailey, Shelvey, Sam, Semedo - should really be looking forward to enjoying themselves at this level. Lleira is big but slow. Richardson, the new right back, looked generally OK. The most annoying player was Kelly Youga. He's enormously gifted but has terrible lapses in concentration. The substitutions look like a mistake; but how can changing two attackers for two attackers make your defence turn into toddlers?

The materials are there for a promotion challenge, mostly - the biggest lack is cover in the centre of defence - but Parkinson still needs to do work on the basics, like concentration.

As for Wycombe. They looked fairly clueless in the first half, but Charlton specialise in making bad teams look dangerous. Their support was disappointing: they didn't fill the south end, and you'd think that their first game at this level in a ground that's not so far away would be a bigger draw than it turned out to be. But then, it's only Wycombe ... probably half the population of the town was at the Valley today.

07 August 2009

Fair's fair

Christina Martin has name-checked me in her blog today. That's nice of her, but that's not the best reason for looking at the blog. She's now officially one of this blog's funny people - and has replaced The Onion in the list over there --> The Onion's stopped being funny again (I think) but Christina hasn't. She casts a strangely loving eye over the absurdities of fairly low-rent media - shopping channels on tv, cheap magazines, trash tv - and has a smart way of captioning them: "the potential jealousy of a dead mouse" is possibly something you never considered before. She's equally aware of the absurdities of various religious beliefs and practices, perhaps slightly less lovingly. Anyway - take a look.

05 August 2009

A Mug's Game

With the new football season close, it's time to start thinking about betting. So I'll be recording my progress here.

First thing to say is I'm not betting on Charlton's prospects in Division 3. There's too much I don't know, about the opposition (where is Hartlepool anyway?) and even more so about Charlton (who are those people on the pitch? where's Jonathan bloody Fortune? who owns us this week?).

So my first bet is sticking with what I know: underperforming First Division teams. And I've seen that on Betfair I can get 89/1 against Tottenham being relegated. That's mad. Of course, they won't get relegated, but there's sure to be a bad patch in their season when those odds will shrink like a scrotum on a frosty rugby pitch. So I've put on £6 at those odds. I just have to wait till the odds come in to something like 30/1 and I can lay them for a guaranteed profit.

Of course, it's possible that Spurs will have a blistering start to the season and be ten points clear by the end of November. It's possible but ... ha ha ha. And even if that happens, the most I can lose is an ailing calamari.