08 August 2010

Charlton 1 Bournemouth 0

First game of the season brought a satisfactory win on a warm but quite rainy afternoon against a limited-looking Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic*.

There have been so many squad changes over the summer, it was hard to recognise the team, and the squad, as shown in the programme, is now the smallest I've ever seen at Charlton. The handbook part of the programme enables you to calculate that the total cost of the squad, at the time of printing, was £35,000, plus Therry Racon, whose price I would give if I could find the euro on this keyboard. The rest is free transfers plus an impressive line-up of youth products.

You could go, oh woe! what's become of us?, but in many ways I prefer this. Some of the big expensive names we've had in recent years have been big expensive chancers, with egos and, in one case**, a backside, to match. (I should also say that some signings have been made since the programme was printed.)

And although it was a scrappy game, I did at least think the players all seemed to know each other and get on. This would be important in defence, particularly in the second half after Semedo had got a straight red. I didn't see what happened, and haven't yet seen it on telly, but the ref did enough to convince me he was probably wrong. He usually was.

One of the youth products, Chris Solly, was probably man of the match. One thing that stood out was his ability to outjump taller players - reminiscent of Chris Perry, I thought. On the first half performance, I'd have thought Kyel Reid would be the star, but with more concentration on defence in the second half, he wasn't so prominent. His contribution to the goal, though, suggested that if he gets really settled he'll be tearing third division defences apart***.

The crowd was a very healthy 16,000 ish, although that no doubt included some holidaying season ticket holders, and the feeling remained positive throughout. Maybe expectations are lower this season. Maybe, let's hope so, there'll be more patience. I ended the day feeling good about the coming season.

* You shouldn't be allowed to call your team AFC anything unless you're in the Premier League. Or Spanish.
** Discretion forbids me from naming the fat-arsed fool. I'm sure you know who I mean.
*** Yes, I know I said this about Lloyd Sam last year.

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