23 October 2011

Charlton 4 Carlisle 0

Is it wrong to feel disappointed after a 4-0 victory? Going into halftime with a 3-0 lead and the opposition reduced to 10 men, I'm sure everyone expected a demolition job in the second half. Even more so after the fourth goal on 48 minutes. But that was it. Fair enough, Charlton have a game on Tuesday coming up, and all they needed to do was hold the lead.

Charlton's first goal was a thing of beauty: a simple but superbly executed sequence of passes onto Yann Kermorgant's head for the first of his two. The second goal came when BWP exploited a defensive error to score from a narrow angle past the stranded goalkeeper: the goal of a born goalscorer. Kermorgant's second came after a goalmouth melee; usually Charlton don't get these. The half ended with Robson sent off for two (individually fairly harmless) yellow cards.

The second half started with an embarrassing goal for Carlisle, as the keeper let Danny Hollands' shot slip through his hands. From then, though, Carlisle impressed everyone with their commitment to keep playing, although they rarely looked like scoring. Final proof it wasn't their day was when their penalty was saved. Their fans stayed singing throughout. At halftime we'd been feeling pity for them: 500 had made the long journey to see this. But by the end, you couldn't help admiring them. Honestly, Charlton boo-boys, look and learn.

If  you want to read more about the match, here are some people who, as always, put it better than me. (Warning: you may encounter more puns on the word "four" than are permitted by the Geneva convention) report ("a four-midable response")
Dr Kish ("all is four-given")
Blackheath Addick
Charlton Casual
BBC report
Paul Green in the News Shopper

22 October 2011

Why I won't be wearing a poppy

Any day now, remembrance poppies will go on sale. The poppy season now lasts three weeks. Probably from Monday we'll see no-one on live television without one pinned on. (I imagine the studios have bulk supplies so that anyone who turns up without one can be made acceptable.) The odd rebel who insists on not wearing a poppy will be open to scorn in the tabloids, attacked for ingratitude and lack of patriotism. It can't be long before technology is developed that will enable people in recorded programmes and films to have a poppy cgi'd onto them during the season. So we don't have to see anyone disrespecting our dead. We'll see Humphry Bogart as Philip Marlowe going down those means streets with trilby, trenchcoat and poppy.

I hate the moral and emotional compulsion that builds up around this. Poppy-wearing becomes something you do because it's the thing to do. I don't like being told what to do. Especially, I hate being told what emotions I should have and express. At first, I think "this is too early - can't we at least wait until November?". By November I'm thinking I'll just wear a poppy on the day itself. But by the time that comes, I am full of resentment, and I find myself arguing that, actually, the soldiers fought for my freedom not to do what everyone else is doing. I'll respect the eleven o'clock silence, but I won't wear a poppy.

In theory I would like to wear a poppy, and by buying it, to contribute to the welfare of ex-soldiers. Even though I think recent wars have largely been criminal and foolish, the soldiers who suffered weren't responsible for that, and the government support they receive is shockingly inadequate. That's where the real ingratitude is. On remembrance day we should be protesting about that, not bathing in a feel-good groupthink, too easily hijacked by those who want to keep Britain's spending on defence at its present obscene level (£46 billion pounds a year - these tiny islands have the world's fourth highest defence budget).

I like the idea that one day in the year all of us can show our gratitude and support for the soldiers and our anger at the politicians who sent them abroad to die, and ignored them when they came home wounded. One day a year, we all do something different. That would mean something. Remembrance, as it is now, doesn't.

08 October 2011

Charlton 1 Tranmere 1

It seems to be the pattern that visiting teams set out to make a quick impact, hustling for every ball and disrupting Charlton's pattern of passing football. If Charlton were a website, you'd call it a denial of service attack. That's exactly what Tranmere did, and Charlton never settled in the first half. It wasn't surprising that Tranmere took the lead after 30 minutes or so. A speculative shot from McGurk took a sizable deflection off Chris Solly to beat Ben Hamer. I'm sorry, Chris, but I'd call it an own-goal as I think he was trying to block it but got the angle wrong.

After the break, Charlton played with a lot more composure, helped, no doubt, by Tranmere's decision to hold on to what they had. In their keeper's case, what he often had was the ball and although he got a talking-to, he didn't get booked.

Charlton's equaliser came from a penalty, and the decision was followed by some ludicrous gamesmanship by Tranmere, including the keeper, who actually picked the ball up off the spot after Johnny Jackson had placed it. The referee, D Drysdale, really lost control of things at this point and it must have taken three minutes before Jackson took the kick. Thanks to @hannahbk for this video:

Tranmere are a huge team. In particular Showunmi up front looks about two metres tall, but he's not the aerial threat you might think. Like a lot of big men, he can't jump that well, which was fortunate.

On the other attack, I thought BWP had a slightly below-par game. His touch and movement weren't quite on song, and he missed a good chance in the second half which he'd normally be guaranteed to get. His understanding with Kermorgant doesn't look complete yet but they haven't played together much, so I'm not too worried about that.

So Charlton still haven't worked out how to weather a determined denial of service attack. But they remain top of the league and unbeaten, and the clocks are soon going back. It's still much better than anyone could have predicted.

Two big questions remain at the end of this game. How did Tranmere's keeper get through 90 minutes without a yellow card? Have you ever seen a worse free kick? (You know the one I mean.)

Other views
Charlton website
News Shopper (Paul Green)
briefly put: Charlotte Allen on Twitter (contains strong language)

02 October 2011

Sheffield Utd 0 Charlton 2

I don't normally blog about games I haven't attended, but yesterday's wonderful result shouldn't go unnoticed. And I think this picture typifies the way things are in the team at the moment. This was after the game, when Chris Powell spontaneously got the team together to reflect and celebrate on the victory. You get the feeling that these players would walk through fire for him.

Thanks to @leaburn on twitter for getting the picture, and for cleverly positioning the flash so it's close to Chris Powell's heart!

Another reason for this post is to plug a new blog, set up and written by the kids at the International School in Monaco. John Jones, on Drinking During the Game, says "although not strictly for Charlton, it does have a rather large CAFC bias!" As the kids are presumably all millionaires' children we should certainly welcome their support! Have a look:

Other views
Charton Casual
Charlton  match report
Liam Happe (News Shopper)