Friday, 26 December 2014

Late, Late Xmas Treat...

It's not often I'm not in the mood for a bit of football on Boxing Day, but today I just couldn't get myself up for the game. Perhaps it was the opposition, who appear to be having just as boring and uninspiring a season as we are, or maybe it was the awful 1pm kick-off time that made my morning an unpleasant rush. As I walked to the Valley, I couldn't help but hope the players never shared my apathy.

For 45 minutes it seemed they did. We were awful.

Not for the first time recently, poor defending allowed Cardiff to get their noses in front. Young Gomez, playing out of position on the left of the defence, was out-muscled on the edge of the 6 yard box by Tom Adeyemi who headed home. Etheridge unable to even attempt a save.

There are many things that irritate me about football, but amongst the biggest is referees who feel the need to smile from ear to ear, as if by doing so they diffuse the anger amongst the fans and somehow disguise the absolute hash of a game they're having. Mick Russell, today's man, has never impressed me, but today he took his ineptitude to a whole new level. He got so many things wrong, and seemed to take a great deal of pleasure in doing so. Ironically, the biggest decision to go against Charlton he did get right and that was Harriott's sending off. No question for me. Charlton's make-shift forward was lively if ineffective up to that point, but yet again he let himself and the the team down by making a very bad decision. I'm certain there was no malice in the challenge, but it was high and late. Russell showed him a straight red; Charlton looked doomed.

Charlton left the pitch at half time to a chorus of boos, which is never good. Addicks everywhere feared the worst: a heavy and demoralising defeat against a very average team. I couldn't see anyone providing a spark to get us back in the match.

But football's a funny old game.

The second half had everything the first half didn't. Charlton somehow looked a different side after the break and despite their numerical disadvantage, took the game to Cardiff. Peeters rolled the dice, went 3 at the back and his men showed all the spirit and passion you can ask for. Wave after wave of Charlton attacks drove forward towards the Covered End and lifted the Valley faithful. It was terrific football. Some of the best we've seen this season. Tucudean looked most likely to score and his performance would have deserved a goal.

I was actually beginning to enjoy the game despite the score line.

With time nearly up, and with hope fading fast, Gudmundsson provided a late, late Christmas treat with a wonder-strike from 25 yards out. Nothing more than Charlton deserved. The roof of the Valley lifted high into the winter sky!

It was very pleasing to stick one on a Cardiff team that wasted time throughout that second half, but it could have been even better. You'd have put your mortgage on Igor to score when he went one-on-one deep into stopage time, but arguably our best chance to score resulted in the ball flying high over the bar. Just like Tucudean against Millwall, and Bikey against Blackpool, a glorious late winner wasn't to be.

Oh well, you don't get everything you want for Christmas.

Peeters continues to try and plug the gaps by forcing square pegs in round holes. Our season limps on towards January when we all hope he will be given funds to strengthen the squad. Let's hope Mr. Duchatelet is feeling generous...

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Seasons Greetings!

There's a highly-valued tradition in Hungry Ted Towers that dictates that every single Christmas Day morning since my wife and I first began living together I put on the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation first thing. It continued when the kids came along and forms the backdrop to the opening of presents and has become the soundtrack to countless years of family videos. I love that film. It has become synonymous with Christmas, for me.

In many ways, I'm just like Clark Griswold but without the big house. He is a dreamer and so am I.

Eddie: "You surprised to see us, Clark?"
Clark: "Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now"

Never fails to make me laugh!

The kids and 'er Indoors don't love it as much as I do. In fact, every year they moan about it. There's no fight to be had because, like I said, it's tradition. Tradition is important to me. They have to put up with it. They can get their own traditions if they want.

There's no particular reason I'm telling you all this, by the way. There's no clever link to Charlton. I'm just on a train trundling into London and bored of the landscape outside.

But whilst I'm on the subject of Christmas, many thanks to anyone who has dropped by this blog throughout 2014 and especially those who've taken the time to comment. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Let's hope 2015 is a good year for the Addickted.

See you at the Valley on Boxing Day. 3 points would make a good Christmas gift for me! Ah, there's another tradition I love, football on Boxing Day! And everyone's a winner as the missus and the kids can watch what they want whilst I'm at the football...

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Cheers, Morro...

Another hero of the 2011/12 League One championship winning season departs. Unsurprisingly (or at least not to me) central defender, Michael Morrison, will join Birmingham when his current loan deal with the same club expires. The fee has not been disclosed, but I would hope it's no small figure and will be transferred straight into Big Bob's fighting fund for the January transfer window.
I will fondly remember Morro's leadership and undeniable selfless defensive qualities, but I think it is fair to say that his ability on the ball is the reason his time at Charlton has come to an end. With Peeters favouring a passing game, Morro was always going to find it increasingly difficult to play. For me, Morro was sometimes guilty of looking for a long ball a bit too quickly, although I appreciate this may well have been under instruction.
I know there will be some that believe Morro has been treated badly since he resigned for Charlton in the summer, but I don't go along with that. Reading briefly some comments on twitter I see there are some that don't understand why we have let him go. I think Morro's last six months at Charlton are easier to understand if you will allow yourself to do so.
In short, I suspect Morro knew exactly the risks of resigning a new deal in the summer with a new, largely unknown manager coming in, but I also suspect he was more than happy to do so. He wasn't forced to re-sign, don't forget, and he would have had other offers. At the same time, Charlton done the right thing in securing his services; they got someone they knew they could rely on with a new season fast approaching. After all, we the fans would have gone mental if they hadn't, wouldn't we?
Whatever the good intentions (and why believe anything different?) it never worked out. Morro is not a man to sit on the bench, and when Peeters chose Bikey and TBH as his first choice center-backs (and few would argue against that now), it would be my guess Morro was banging on Peeters door daily. I wouldn't blame him, but that's obviously not good for Charlton.
There are times when us Charlton fans flatter ourselves in thinking players never want to leave our great club, and that is wrong. This is football. Moves like this are part of the game. Clubs move in a different direction and as a result some players move on. Simple.
That doesn't stop us remembering the good times, and with Morro there was many.
In all, Morro played 150 times for the Addicks, scoring 8 goals along the way.
To his undoubted credit, I think it's fair to say that Morro will fall within that rare 'former player' category that will get a very warm reception when he next faces Charlton. He deserves that. Good luck Morro, thanks for the memories.  

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Awkward Mess...

Losing in such heartbreaking fashion to Ipswich in the last home game was a sizable kick in the nuts that spoilt yet another Saturday night. Tonight I feel worse. Much worse. At least Ipswich were decent, but to draw against a really poor Blackpool team after such an awkward mess of a performance is tough to accept, and why should I? 
Just two wins since September is bang on average, and I would hazard a guess we've thrown more points away from a leading position this season than we've won by winning games outright. In reality, it is very worrying. The endless stream of draws are getting desperately boring.
Big Bob, please have the bollocks to go for a win. Roll the dice. Be brave.
I'm no tactical genius, but I have no idea what formation we played today at any stage of the game. I can safely say none of them worked. Yes we have players out through injury and limited options to replace them, but we had enough today to beat a Blackpool side that will go down. And how we missed Johnnie's leadership and drive today. The naysayers may not accept that, but they'd be wrong. Solly may be one of our most consistent performers, but he is no leader of men in the same way a Kinsella was and a Jackson is. As much as I'm a huge fan of Gomez, Solly should have been at right back. I would love to know what Wilson has done to piss off Peeters.
Cousins delivered one solitary piece of magic that ordinarily should have deserved to win a game of football, but ordinary Charlton don't do magical endings these days.
Charlton's poor performance was somehow upstaged by the referee, who was truly woeful from start to finish. I never saw any offence for the free kick that lead to their late, late equaliser, but either way Pope should have dealt with the delivery better, just as he should have for their first. Davies took his chance well and arguably deserved his goal. He's the sort of player Charlton need.
Up the other end, Igor continues to fade away; a shadow of his former self. Why?  
And I really resent feeling this way tonight as my Saturday could not have started better. My young son's under 8's academy team grabbed a late winner in a tense game that left us mums and dads on the sidelines hugging each other in utter delirium. My boy came to the Valley with me today; I wanted our Saturday to be perfect. Thanks Charlton.
Ironically, Charlton actually climbed the table after this result. Moving up one place to 10th when, for the first time this season, I looked nervously at just how close we are to being dragged into the battle at the bottom. No immediate panic, in all truth, but we need to be very careful. This season is in danger of playing out in the most mediocre fashion imaginable...or perhaps much worse.
December could be painful, but January will be a big, big month. Mr. Duchatelet, over to you. What ambition do you have for my club?

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Five Years...

A little over five years ago I was sat at work waiting for a meeting that had been delayed at short notice. With time to kill I began reading a few Charlton blogs to catch up with opinions on the one-zero win against Southend at the Valley on the Saturday beforehand. Time passed, a few cups of coffee drunk, and the next thing I know I've spontaneously created this Hungry Ted blog site and posted my first piece! Within a short while the post appeared on Forever Charlton and I had received a smattering of views.

Like most blogs, this site has always been a very personal way to get things off my chest (hence the 'mind state' bit). Whether anyone reads anything I wrote is as irrelevant today as it was when I started. I've never been tempted to write solely for an audience (this piece aside), which is why you do not see me attempt detailed match reports (I also figure that most of those reading this blog will have been to the game anyway). None the less, my readership numbers have slowly grown over the years to a modest level that always surprises me and I'm always very grateful to anyone who drops by and more so anyone who takes the time to comment. 

I don't make a habit of looking back over what I've written, but a quick retrospective for the benefit of this small piece highlights perfectly the highs and lows of following Charlton. Sometimes my writing serves as a great indicator of just how low I must have been at times, particularly in that period when I realised we wouldn't make promotion from League One at the first time of asking and when the horrible realisation set in that there would be plenty of very dark days ahead. But sometimes I look back on pieces I've written with genuine pride as they document perfectly (for me) those happy memories I would prefer to recall from time to time, particularly those written around the time of winning League One.

Blogging, as anyone who has done it long enough will tell you, can weigh very heavy, even if you're writing very personal thoughts. I've told you things, dear reader, I've not even told 'er Indoors, but then again, you can simply click away from me, whereas 'er Indoors and my two kids have had to put up with my dark moods and over-exaggerated excitement down the years. Thankfully, my Mum is as Addickted as I am, and her companionship supporting this club means everything to me. I know she occasionally drops by this blog to see what's going on inside her sons head!

How long I keep this blog running remains to be seen. In my opinion blogs do have a life-span. I've never once forced out a piece and that has meant that during busy work periods in particular my posts have remained occasional rather than regular. The subject matter will always remain and there is much to look forward to at Charlton at present. The new-look team is performing above my expectations on the pitch under Bob Peeters enthusiastic management and hope has returned, albeit embraced cautiously (nothing new there). Concerns may still remain with some about the identify of the club under the new owner, but only the passing of time will tell on that. For the record, I've seen enough positive signs to think we'll be OK under RD's ownership.

In one of my personal favourite posts from January '11 I wrote "My heart aches with a desire to see Chris Powell lead my favourite football team to glory". I saw that happen and was able to document it here. Dreams do come true. Perhaps if I say the same about Big Bob in future posts we may be on to something.

Thanks for reading.