Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gary Speed

Sunday 29th December started out like every other Sunday - catch up on whatever tv I missed on Sunday, swearing at the wi-fi as I couldn't connect to the internet, few jobs to be done before cooking a roast dinner. Consequently I missed out on the news that Gary Speed had died.

The first I heard was looking at Twitter on my phone and seeing a series of tweets all saying RIP Gary Speed. That can't be right I thought to myself and checked the BBC website. There it was. The stunning news that Gary Speed had died at the age of 42. My brain couldn't quite take this in. Gary Speed dead? He was on live tv the day before on Football Focus which I had missed, despite Chris Powell being interviewed for it. Gary Speed couldn't be dead!

To me Gary Speed was a brilliant footballer who I did have the pleasure of seeing play. A player that everyone seemed to love and admire and I don't think was ever booed by the fans of teams he left, although I could be wrong. A player who I learnt today was third on the list of players who had made the most Premier League appearances. A manager who was turning Wales into a decent football team and had a bright future ahead of him.

I discovered that he had committed suicide and my initial reaction was that can't be right. I had seen and heard Gary recently when watching Wales play and he didn't look depressed. But that's the thing - depression is a hidden illness and one that not much is known about.

I have previously written a blog about my struggles with depression. I am grateful that at my lowest I have not yet contemplated suicide, but I know that one day it could happen to me. I also know of people who suffer and have contemplated taking their own lives because they cannot see that their life will get better - ever.

All I would ask if that any of my readers are depressed or know someone who is depressed, they seek help either for themselves or their family or friends. Please visit your GP and they can and will help.

RIP Gary Speed

Saturday, 29 October 2011

So Far So Good.......

If you had asked any Charlton fan at the end of last season what their hopes for the new season were, most would have said better performances from the team and a push for promotion. Come the end of July, and the best part of a new team signed, the fans were getting were positive. Thoughts of a push for promotion had changed to thoughts of promotion, through the play-off final if need be.

The season started and we won. And then we won again.....and again. In fact apart from loses in both the Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy it was twelve on the trot. Even the cup matches were against beatable opposition, but Charlton played their second eleven. In my opinion these seemed to prove two things. One was that not all the players left from last season were up to the standards that Chris Powell was obviously demanding. Two was that the lack of a reserve league wasn't doing the club - or players - any favours.

So we got to match thirteen which was Stevenage away. The signs were that teams that didn't play open football were going to cause problems and so it proved. The inevitable loss happened and from all accounts fans were more annoyed at the teams poor performance than the loss.

Would this mean the team would now go on a poor run? The only way we would know would be to see how the team responded against Carlisle. And respond they most certainly did! With easily the best performance of the season, Carlisle were demolished 4-0 with the 4th goal being one of those that ends up on a goalkeepers blooper tape!

Did this mean the start of a new run? Wycombe Wanderers away was the next test and a 2-1 away win was ground out there. Which brings us to today. With just minutes remaining Charlton have a commanding 4-0 away lead over Hartlepool. From the radio commentary it is no more than Charlton deserve and that is three wins on the trot and currently a five point lead at the top of the table.

It is "So Far So Good" and we now march on for the rest of the season. Come on You Reds!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Down Dale and Up Valley

For the first time in a long time I got to see Charlton play two weeks in a row. Saturday 17th September meant a sort trip across Manchester to Rochdale. Around 500 fans made the trip to see the Reds win 3-2. First half Charlton was brilliant and took a deserved 2 goal lead. Second half it seemed that the team didn't have as much enthusiasm to play. Rochdale came back into it with one well taken goal and one goal which I felt the defence could and should have dealt with better. Finally a great cross was met by Danny Hollands for his second of the game.

Which brings us to "Football For A Fiver" weekend at The Valley. The Chesterfield game was one that I had planned to go to so the tickets being only £5 meant a cheaper trip from Liverpool. It was also a reason to meet up again with fellow Charlton Twitterites and meet some new ones. 

Just like the Rochdale game, Charlton came out brilliantly in the first half and should have been 3 or 4 up at half time. Paul Hayes scored a cheeky back-heel for his first at The Valley and Johnnie Jackson converted Dale Stephen's cross.

Second half, again just like Rochdale, the team didn't seem to have the same enthusiasm for the game. Chesterfield came out and although I felt they didn't not threaten as much as Rochdale, it was still awkward watching for us Charlton fans. Chesterfield had a penalty appeal turned down which meant that John Sheridan was sent to the stand. What followed later incensed Charlton fans. Scott Wagstaff appeared to be fouled which the referee ignored. Chesterfield attacked and Michael Morrison took the legs away from Leon Clarke resulting in a penalty. After major discussions by Chesterfield and a touch of fussiness by the referee, Schofield sent Ben Hamer the wrong way.

That seemed to put some spark into Charlton and they started to attack more. Paul Hayes was replaced by Yann  Kermorgant for the final 10 minutes. He seemed to make an instant impression. It was his pass to Scott Wagstaff which resulted in a pin-point cross to Bradley Wright-Phillips who met it with a diving header. Cue 20,000 plus delighted Charlton fans!

In my opinion Rhoys Wiggins was Man of the Match closely followed by Chris Solly. I can't actually think of a bad performance by anyone in a red shirt yesterday so well played Charlton!

In the evening of the 24th I went to the O2 Indigo to see the Van Susans  They are an up and coming 5 piece band who have released an EP called We Could Be Scenery. I would say they are definitely worth a listen so either check out their website or look the up on You Tube. 

The final part of the weekend meant the drive home to Liverpool. As always we have to make a stop to change drivers and decided to make the stop at a pub called The Dun Cow in Hornton, Oxfordshire. There we had a delicious lunch and Glenn certainly appreciated the bitters on sale. Adrian & Lisa who own the pub are both Charlton fans, so if anyone is near junctions 11 and 12 of the M40, or is passing that way, drop in and say hello. You won't regret it!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Whisky and Song

Saturday September 10th meant Charlton had a home game against Exeter City. Usually I'm sat at home, computer on, headphones in and listening to the BBC Radio London commentary. Not this time. This time I was in the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool attending a Whisky Festival. I'm not a whisky fan, but Glenn is and sometimes you have to do something for a loved one.

Having arrived and signed in (and made sure we were on the masterclass list!) we made our way in to be confronted by Glenn's idea of heaven. Both sides of the room were lined with various companies offering samples and the far end appeared to be a shop of some sort.

The first stall Glenn made a bee-line for was Amrut which is an Indian distillery based in Bangalore. Amrut make 5 single malts, both peated and un-peated. Glenn was pleasantly surprised with his taster and pronounced it very good. The second new one was Kilchoman which is an Islay based distillery who are producing surprisingly good 3-4 year old whiskies. 

The last new distillery we saw was Cooley from Dublin in Ireland. They produce 4 single malts including 3 different wood finishes. Again Glenn was impressed and spent some time talking to the guys on the stand about their whisky. 

The most fun was had on the Talisker stand where they decided that once about 6 people were clustered around they would hold a mini masterclass which got louder and louder as the day when on. To my mind if you show enthusiasm for any subject then even someone with no previous interest will be hooked.

The final part of the afternoon was the masterclass. This was taken by Willie Tait, the master distiller at Fettercain Distillery. During this Willie explained how whisky was made and the differences between them. We also got to taste 3 whiskies from Jura, 2 from Dalmore and the Shackleton. My personal favourite was the King Alexander III from Jura. This whisky is aged in 6 different types of barrel and retails at approximately £150 a bottle! Suffice to say I think it may be a long time before I taste that one again.

The Shackleton had an interesting story behind the whisky. In 1907 Ernest Shackleton set out with a team to reach the South Pole. They failed and in making sure they could return home, left some of their supplies behind including a case of MacKinlays Highland Whisky. Fast forward to 2006 and a group of New Zealanders discover the case and allow Whyte & MacKay (the current MacKinlays owners) a few bottles. What they discovered was that the whisky was not a blend as they had thought, but a single malt. And Whyte & MacKay have reproduced this as far as they can. As no "recipe" for this remains, it's amazing that this can be done.

After the festival and dinner, we went to see We Will Rock You at the Empire Theatre. It's the first time I've seen this show and I have to say I enjoyed it. I was in my late teens when they were in their heyday and I have to admit I really wasn't a fan back then. Since then I've come to regret not seeing them live. And I've always wanted to do the clap along to We Will Rock You. And last night I did along with singing along to all the songs. For pure entertainment it's great fun and probably a must see if you're a Queen fan.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Pride of Manchester

I'm probably the last of the CAFC bloggers to write about Saturday's match at Bury, but it can sometimes be a little difficult to get on a computer in my house. And as for using my phone - forget it! I have enough trouble trying to send a 140 character tweet let alone compose a blog.

My twitter feed on Saturday morning consisted of a variety of Charlton fans making their way to Bury by train, car & coach. Those on the train had a fairly straightforward journey. Those who travelled by car suffered delay upon delay as accidents clogged up the M6. Meanwhile I'm safe in the knowledge that I can leave home at 11am and have time to meet up with some more of the Charlton Twitter family before the game.

It's only a 5 minute walk to the station and by the time we got there it was pouring with rain. At this point I was glad that Bury's ground is covered. I really didn't fancy getting drenched as I have bad memories of a game at Port Vale where that happened. But miraculously just before kick-off the clouds pretty much cleared and it was glorious sunshine for the rest of the afternoon.

Bury's ground isn't the worst ground I've been to, but catering wise they weren't the best organised judging by a tale told to me by Sue Gallop. On arrival Sue decided she's like a cup of coffee. Not an unreasonable request, but she had to wait for the kettle to boil. Somehow I don't think that happens at Old Trfford or Eastlands.

I'd been told by several Charlton fans that we were playing some delightful football this season so I was looking forward to seeing the new look side. In the first half I felt Bury were slightly the better side. Charlton weren't bad, but Bury hustled and made Charlton work. Neither team seemed to make the keepers work until a free kick was given to Bury at the edge of the Charlton area. Now I've spoken to several Charlton fans who were sitting in different parts of the ground, and not one of us heard the referee's whistle. Ben Hamer was still arranging the wall when Ryan Lowe hit in a free kick with only a few minutes to half time.

The teams came out for the second half and I would have put money on every Charlton fan thinking here we go again, we're going to lose this. But within minutes of the start Paul Hayes headed in and we were level. Now the free flowing football could start. But again Bury tried to play and so it became an open game. Then the moment Charlton fans had been waiting for. Johnnie Jackson neatly slots home and we're in the lead! We've come from behind and taken the lead! A few anxious moments were had towards the end of the game when Bury had a few corners, but we hung on for a win.

What made it better was Sunday's football results. When it came through that Spurs had lost 1-5 to Manchester City I was surprised. I then watched Manchester United play Arsenal. I can honestly say I have never seen Arsenal play so badly. And I still can't quite work out if United were playing to their full capabilities. All I do know is that if I was an Arsenal fan I would be embarrassed.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Here We Go Again

Charlton Athletic 3-0 AFC Bournemouth.
Doesn't that look good for the first game of the season? And by all accounts a great game for Charlton fans to watch. Goals from new signing Dale Stephens, an absolute cracker from Scott Wagstaff and a penalty from new captain Johnnie Jackson was enough to see off a Bournemouth side who, like Charlton, promised so much early last season.

Sadly for Bournemouth the loss of their manager meant they lost their way last season and then losing players hasn't helped. Charlton, on the other hand, have bought a complete new team of which six made their debuts in the starting line-up and an another came on as a substitute. 

Listening to the commentary it sounded like the team has already gelled and that can only be good for the rest of the season. My main worry was that it would take a few games for them to settle in, but Chris Powell seems to have worked some magic. The team played like a team. Nobody seemed to be lost, or not sure of what they were supposed to be doing. They know what their job is and they do it. 

Yes there can probably be improvements. All teams can improve. but to hit the ground running on day one of the season is something Charlton fans could only have dreamed of. And whatever improvements need to be made I'm sure Chris Powell and his team will make them.

If we finish the last game of the season in the same position as the first there could be more than a few sore heads come 6th May 2012! Come on you reds!! 

Sunday, 31 July 2011


It's the time of year when most people are looking to get away from home and spend a week or two away, preferably in the sun. For us this year, for varying reasons, we have stayed at home for what is now called a Staycation. 

The fortnight started on the Thursday evening when a family visit to the cinema to see the 12:01am showing of "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part Two" took place. All my stepchildren are huge Harry Potter fans and when they were younger, it was a given that when the new book was out a midnight trip to the local supermarket would take place to ensure that copies of the book were bought to be eagerly read over the weekend. So a chance to be one of the first to see the new film was not to be turned down. 
Next up was my husband Glenn's birthday. As he usually works away we don't usually get to celebrate his birthday on the day. In our house the person celebrating gets to choose where to have dinner. Curry was chosen and so the local, and extremely delicious, curry restaurant received a visit from us. A couple of hours later, five well stuffed people emerged!

The following day was our wedding anniversary. Now when we planned this I clearly remember asking Glenn if he was OK with the anniversary being the day after his birthday. No problem he said. On our first anniversary I found out why it was no problem - he can't forget it! Still we've now been married eight years so we must be doing something right.

We've tried to split our time between doing things in the house we never find time to and spending time with the children. I say children but they are now 21, 18 and 16. Gone are the days of days out to the beach on sunny days and the museum when it rained. Now it's more likely to be "Daaad can I have some money please?" Hannah was at work during the two weeks, but still managed to create havoc. I've never known one person make so much noise whilst getting ready for work!

Glenn and Andrew did manage a couple of rounds of golf, the highlight being Glenn's hole in one on the first hole! At least he said he improved whereas Andrew says he needs new clubs. 

Glenn and I also went to see Deacon Blue in concert. I have to be honest here and say I'm not really a fan, but with any relationship comes compromise. The support act were Angels in White, a group of five young ladies who appeared on stage with a keyboard player and a guitarist and proceeded to sing. No dancing as such, no gimics just them. And they were pretty good. If you get a chance look them up on YouTube. They won't be to everyone's taste but worth a listen.

Deacon Blue on the other hand were brilliant. I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of the concert and considering I only know four words to any of their songs, I still managed to almost lose my voice. Ricky Ross has a stage presence that not all lead singers can enjoy and Lorraine McIntosh has more energy that others half her age! 

The one thing I did really enjoy was watching the audience. A little boy aged about 8 was in the row in front with his parents and elder sister. From the look on his face he was disgusted at how embarrassing his parents were as they dared to enjoy themselves. The rest of the audience ranged from people on their 20's to people in their 50's all determined to sing and dance and generally enjoy themselves. It was amazing looking round the auditorium at all these people having fun. 

Today is pretty much the last day of our time off. Glenn has enjoyed a whisky tasting session which was his Father's Day present and we decided another family meal out was called for. Sometimes this is the only way to get all five of us together in one place but is always enjoyable.

On our return Andrew and Laura (yes much confusion in our house!) brought out their guitar and keyboard and we have been listening them playing everything from The Beatles to The Killers via The Eagles, The Police and many more. They are both very talented and Laura also plays electro/acoustic guitar which she has taught herself.

Monday morning means back to work and back to the normal routine. Roll on October when I can do this all over again!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Close Season

Fixture Frenzy

At 9am on Friday 17th June the 2011/2012 season fixtures were released to much excitement from me at least. With the amount of northern teams now in League 1, I could see an opportunity to see Charlton play more often this coming season. So making sure I was in work before 9, logged onto my computer, internet loaded and the CAFC page ready and waiting all I had to do was wait to see if the fixtures would be kind to me. By and large they have been. Most of the away games "up north" are on a Saturday and I only have problems with two games really. Notts County away falls the day after my stepson's 18th birthday and, try as I might, I really don't think I can persuade him to have birthday celebrations in Nottingham. Bury away is Bank Holiday weekend and whilst the Charlton fans are heading north, I shall most probably be heading south to visit my parents. The remaining games, except Sheffield Wednesday are do-able and will come down to funds rather than willingness to go.
Sheffield Wednesday is the odd one out as far as away games go. My long suffering, Liverpool FC supporting husband gets taken to all Charlton games I go to. And he has not been to Hillsborough since April 15 1989. If he decides to go, I can imagine it will be emotional for him and yet I hope it lays some ghosts to rest.
New Signings


Amazingly for Charlton we've already signed some players! I am pleased to see John Sullivan sign for us after his successful loan spell last season. Although I thought Ross Worner was a good 'keeper, I think John will give Robbie Elliott the completion both he and the club need in the push for promotion. Conor Gough and Nick Pope will hopefully continue to improve thus giving Charlton more options in goal. I have to say I don't really know much about Bradley Pritchard but Danny Hollands looks like a good signing. The signing of Cedric Evina should be a good one. Maybe I'm alone, but if he was good enough originally for Arsenal then I'm sure he'll do well for us, and to be honest we could do with a consistent left back. I certainly remember the shot he had for Oldham in the match at Boundary Park in April! Paul Hayes has been brought in to bolster our front line and hopefully will work well with both Paul Benson and Bradley Wright-Phillips. And the most recent signing is Mikel Alonso the elder brother of Xabi. If he's half the player his brother is then it should be fun watching him play.
Fond Farewells?

As well as bringing in new faces, some older faces have now departed. I feel sorry most for Jon Fortune who has never had much luck with injuries but, on form, was a great centre back. To see him stretchered off the pitch in the last home game against Hartlepool was a very sad sight and I hope he recovers from his achilles injury and wish him all the best for the future. Christian Dailly has been released according to the PFA website. Although it is sad to see him go, I feel Charlton need some younger central defenders and it's time for Miguel Llera (if he stays) to be the elder statesman at the back. It's a shame that Joe Anyinsah could not keep his fitness as he would have given us another option up front. And finally Therry Racon and what can be said about his move. I understand he wants to move to another club, but Millwall? Easy way to make yourself hated by all Charlton fans. On the few occasions I've seen him play he hasn't impressed me that much.

All In all it's been an interesting close season so far and I don't think we've seen the end of it yet.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Some years ago I decided to research my family tree as I really didn't know much about them except the information given to me over the years by my parents. And that wasn't a lot. Also I didn't know what was true and what was family folklore.

I started with Dad as his family were more of a mystery and the 1901 census had just been released. On the census I found my grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth Young living in Beddington, Surrey. Great I thought, I've got approximate ages I'll go back a little further. Found grandad's birth and entry on the 1891 census. Found grandmother's birth and entry on the 1891 census, plus her parents and siblings. So I build my tree backwards eventually reaching the 1600's.

It's all going well so I decide to start collecting certificates starting with my grandparents wedding certificate. Grandad: Thomas Young, aged 19, lives in Wallington, no father given - brilliant it's the right certificate.

At this point I realise I've committed the cardinal sin of family history research - the Elizabeth on the certificate was not the same one as on my dad's birth certificate. I had an Elizabeth Amy Manning married to Thomas, not Elizabeth Amy Vallance. And this meant that all the research I had done on my "grandmother" was wrong. So I started again but I cannot find any records to match this lady. All I know is her father was James Manning.

I should explain that there were 15 children who reached the age of 18 or more and my dad is the youngest. That's a lot of certificates to buy! First three children were all born to Elizabeth Manning. Then sometime between 1908 and 1911 she disappears. I can't find a death record so far, but she's certainly with Thomas. Then it get's interesting as the next 12 children are born to Elizabeth Amy Vallence or Caroline Elizabeth Vallence. And they are one and the same person! The reason I know this is my uncle Charles (born 1916) has Caroline as his mother but my dad (born 1932) has Elizabeth as his. And they agree that all photos are of the same woman. I know who Caroline was, she was Thomas' second cousin who lived in Dorking and I assume that after the death of Thomas' first wife, she "married" him and became mother to his three children. Then, for a reason unknown to us all, she swapped names between the children having 4 under Caroline and the rest under Elizabeth.

I did think at first that Elizabeth Manning was a pseudonym for Caroline, but Caroline can be found on the 1901 census still in Dorking. And on the 1911 census she's down as married to Thomas for 3 years. So having put some thought to this I've reached a couple of conclusions, which may or may not be correct.

First is that Elizabeth did die, possibly in childbirth as I have an aunt born in 1908; or second that she suffered from post-natal depression and was sent to a mental institution. Either way, Caroline moved in and took the place of Elizabeth and successfully brought up 15 children!

The last confusing piece is that when Caroline died her death certificate said she was born in 1880 - the year Elizabeth Amy Manning was born. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011


I started blogging and then stopped. So I decided to think about why I started and why I stopped.

Writing is something you learn to do at school but generally, unless you have to do it as a job, it's something that's restricted to letters or reports. All of which can be pretty dry stuff. So why do we stop writing creatively when we leave school? Go back 100-150 years and we would have written letters to friends & relations that were more like a diary, telling them what we had been doing, where we had been and any interesting bits of "gossip". There was no other way of communication - as long as you could read and write! We would have kept diaries that were a place to write your feelings, dreams and desires. How many people have a paper diary these days, let alone one that's used for more than appointments? Even 20 years ago, pen pals were a popular pastime and it was easy to write 4 or 5 pages to a friend you possibly would never meet. I'm still in touch with pen pals I made all those years ago, albeit via Facebook mostly.
So why did I decide to blog? Well I kept reading some very interesting blogs, mostly about Charlton Athletic, written by a variety of people around the world. My thought was not that I could do better, but I could attempt to put my view over. After all isn't this what a blog is all about? What I forgot was I haven't done any writing for years and it's harder than you think. And because I struggled I kept starting and stopping and have a list of half finished blogs. So I stopped!
Another reason why I stopped was I thought who would want to read my blog? I'm not attempting to write a best selling novel, I'm just writing about things that interest me. If other people don't find it interesting, then does it really matter? The answer to that is no.
So I may just decide to blog on Charlton's upcoming fixtures for next season, why I love cricket, my taste in music and all sorts of other things and you, dear reader, can decide if you like it or I'm just waffling a load of old nonsense.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Back (at my football) Home

May 7th 2011 I finally went back to The Valley after 12 long years! And boy has it changed. Last time I went the North & West stands were both single tier and certainly were not joined. The main entrance now looks like it  belongs and I love the Sam Bartram statue, although I do miss the ladies toilets that used to be in the car park! Well maybe not.....

I haven't seen Hartlepool play since 1994 when I saw them play a league cup game. To get a ticket I had to prove that I didn't support the opposition. I pulled out my CAFC Fan Card (obligatory in those days) and hey presto got a ticket to the main stand. On a freezing Tuesday (I think) night, with the wind blowing in from the north sea, I sat there and cheered on Hartlepool in my best south London accent. The opposition that night? Crystal Palace.

To be fair the game on Saturday wasn't the best but I was just pleased to be back at The Valley. There are signs that Chris Powell has a plan and with the right players, our future should be good. No goals in the game, but both crossbars were rattled and Charlton went close a couple of times. I liked the look of young Callum Harriott and hope we can hold onto him for a few years. Chris Solly is another decent young player and I'm hearing we have some more on the way.

The highlight of the game has to be the sight of 40 Hartlepool fans dressed as Oompa Loompas. If that wasn't enough there were another 10 or so dressed as Father Christmas. And the best thing of all? The Oompa Loompas and Father Christmas' swaying in synch and doing the "Poznan" Those Hartlepool fans certainly knew how to enjoy their last game of the season and for that I salute you!

Unusually for me my pre-match routine included a visit to a pub. This was a special visit as I was due to meet people i had been chatting to on Twitter. And a lovely bunch of people they are too! So my thanks to making my first trip back to The Valley such a memorable one goes to Algordon_cafc & Heidi, Whereslordlucan & Hideabout, Samkimber24, Nickorob, CAFCgirl87, Addicktedaddick, Marcocasual, Keithlewis90, Paulraisey & Bill and Deepestdarkest. And I look forward to seeing you all next season.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

22 Years On

Normally I would write about Charlton Athletic but, for a change, I'm writing about something that affects my adopted city of Liverpool. It doesn't matter which team you support, or even if you don't, the Hillsborough Disaster affects the whole city.

Pretty much everyone knows that on 15th May 1989 Liverpool played Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi final and, for reasons which may be made clear in the future, gates were opened, fans streamed in and 96 fans lost their lives and countless more were injured. At 3:06 that afternoon the game was stopped. To late to help those trapped at the front, early enough to save more lives. The footage is still haunting to this day.

This weekend has got me thinking. Rightly a lot is said about those who died and the families who want answers, but what about those fans at the back? They were the ones blamed by the press and the government of the day. And I wonder how many of those wake up on a regular basis feeling guilty about what happened? How do you go about your life knowing that you were part of that? Unfortunately we will probably never know.

RIP 96

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

First One Up

Brighton and Hove Albion became the first team to be promoted from League One this season, and well deserved it is too. In Gus Poyet they have a young, ambitious manager who, if Brighton don't get there, will most certainly end up managing a Premiership team within the next few years. They will also have a new purpose built ground and I'm sure every Brighton fan is eagerly awaiting the first game at the new stadium. 

I hope that Gus Poyet gets some funds to strengthen the team and that they are reasonably successful next season. After the last few years Brighton fans deserve to have a few good times. And I guess it would make it even sweeter for them if a certain South London club were to be relegated to League One.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

A Point Gained

A point today at Oldham. A point when so many, including me wanted three. And it was a point gained after Christian Dailly was sent off in the 34th minute for retaliation. It was a high boot by Rueben Reid but also disappointing that Dailly retaliated. This meant that Therry Racon was sacrificed to bring Jon Fortune on.

Now as I don't see Charlton very often I have to rely on those on Twitter and the website to tell me how the players are doing. So these are the players who stood out for me:

John Sullivan - kept a clean sheet and looked more than capable. Thought he dealt well with everything thrown at him and apart from one ball across the area I didn't think Oldham would beat him. My Man of the Match.

Chris Solly - first time I've seen this young man and was pleasantly surprised. He's got a lot to learn but kept his shape with the back four and didn't appear to be worried about anything thrown at him. Definitely one for the future!

Jose Semedo - Lost his partner in crime in Therry Racon when Dailly was sent off, but that didn't deter him. He bossed the midfield and made runs to support Wright-Phillips and Benson as well as being his usual tough tackling self.

Michael Stewart - I was impressed by Michael and hope we can sign him permanently. Although he was set for centre midfield, he seemed happy enough to play wide. Looked determined.

Scott Wagstaff - I'm a big Waggy fan and he didn't disappoint today. Started off on the right wing, but moved across to the left when required. Helped Chris Solly out when needed.

Paul Benson - I reckon Benno covered virtually every blade of grass today. Ran non-stop and linked up well with Bradley Wright-Phillips. Good to see him back in the team and he got more service than last time I saw him! 

One last note: a person highlight for me today was getting to meet the very lovely Sue Gallop, known to her friends on Twitter as @suzysue8. 

Saturday, 2 April 2011

41 years and Counting

This weekend sees the anniversary of my first match at the Valley way back in 1969. Unfortunately I was unable to make the match at The Valley today, but the Reds are back to being mighty with a cracking 3-1 win over Leyton Orient. From what I gathered from fellow fans on Twitter the first half wasn't much to write home about. However the second half was a different matter with goals from Paul Benson, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Jose Semedo. I'm looking forward to seeing Bradley's goal as it sounds like a real comedy effort. 

Now while the Leyton Orient match was on I was happily walking along the bank of the Mersey as part of my new fitness routine. As I'm walking along I suddenly starting sing "Benno! Benno!" to myself. No reason for it, but it was there.
 A little while later the song in my head changes to "He's better than Shaun, he's better than Shaauuun....." Again, no reason for it. And that was it. I had this thought that we'd won and they had scored. So I finish my walk, get home, checked Twitter and lo and behold, not only had we won BUT Benson and Wright-Phillips had scored! Unfortunately I had not thought of Semedo scoring - probably given his previous history of scoring for the Addicks.

I'm happy with the 3 points and hope we can repeat the result next weekend at Oldham. Talking of Oldham, it's close enough for me to get to the game with ease. So next Saturday I will be in with the Charlton fans singing and shouting. I'll also be taking my husband, so anyone who hears a scouser in the away end don't worry -he's with me!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Away Day Smiles and Depression

A sunny Saturday afternoon in Bournemouth and a point gained for Charlton. Having watched the highlights on CAFC Player the team seemed to play well, with Rob Elliott having an outstanding game in goal. However we do seem to have some defensive frailties and I hope this will be addressed in the summer when Chris Powell gets some money to spend. In the meantime we are going to have to continue to keep our fingers crossed whenever a ball is launched into the 18 yard box. Hopefully the next Saturday away game will result in 3 points for Charlton and one very happy fan making her way back to Liverpool.

A lot has been said in the media this week regarding depression after England cricketer Michael Yardy announced he was leaving the Cricket World Cup because he is suffering from this illness. The usual comments about how can a sports star be depressed came out from all sides. The answer is they can easily be depressed, just the same as anyone in any walk of life can.

Imagine this scenario. You wake up with a cold and drag yourself into work. You look and sound awful and get a certain amount of sympathy from colleagues. Maybe you're even sent home. As far as people are concerned you are ill.

Now imagine this scenario. You wake up and it feels like a heavy black cloud is sitting over you. It takes effort to get out of bed, get ready for work and actually get there. When there you really don't want to talk to anyone. You live in your own world which is dominated by this cloud. Where it's come from or how long it will last is anyone's guess. If you're lucky it's a day or so. If not it could be months.

This is what I and millions of others suffer from. Today is a good day (and has been for a few weeks now) and I feel "normal". Tomorrow - who knows? If the black cloud descends will it be for a couple of hours, a day or..........?

I have suffered from depression for at least 30 years. I've tried drugs (Prozac), counselling, exercise, diet, anything and everything. I wish I could be cured. It's not something I can just "snap out of". I AM ILL! 

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Charlton Athletic and Me

I've been a Charlton Athletic fan for as long as I can remember having been taken to my first game at 3 by my dad. I've been told he took me to keep me quiet as I kept pestering him to take me. What dad wasn't prepared for was me to absolutely love it and want to keep going. So from the age of 3 to 16 I went to as many matches as dad could afford to take me to.

Once I hit 16 I could afford to go to more matches and went to practically every home game and whatever away games I could. Home games found me standing on an East Terrace that was slowly crumbling but still gave a great view of the game. Charlton weren't the best team in the world, but they were "My" lads. But then disaster struck. Charlton were in danger of going out of business and fans got more and more worried. Charlton fane did what they could to make sure we stayed in business but it looked bleak. The gates at The Valley were locked and it looked like I would no longer have a football team to support. What would I do? Should I change team? Should I just follow football for football's sake? Shall I just follow Blackheath Rugby Club instead?

Then - literally - at the last minute Charlton survived. Only things really didn't get much better. In May 1985 39 Juventus fans were killed at the European Cup Final. Safety checks were made on all grounds The Valley was deemed to be unsafe. With the club not able to afford the repairs the decision was made to leave. Charlton Athletic would no longer be based in the borough of Greenwich. Instead they would move to the Borough of Croydon to share Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace. It may have only been 8 miles away, but it may as well have been on the moon. Charlton fans were not happy. Some stayed away only going to away games. Others went to support the team.

I was one of the latter. It was easy for me to get to Selhurst Park, as I lived within walking distance, and I wanted to support the team. We were in the old Division Two then and won promotion to Division One. This meant the "big teams" like Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester United would visit Selhurst. A new chapter awaited us all.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Life, Love and CAFC.....Part One

I remember a time when Life, Love and CAFC meant all the same! Being young and single meant living and loving Charlton Athletic. I lived for matches. I loved the team (good and bad) and worked to pay to go matches both home and away. I followed them wherever I could, whenever I could. Any method of transport as long as I could get there.

I then met someone, converted him to Charlton and we got season tickets. Travelled the country taking in all 92 grounds. Watched Charlton leave The Valley. Went to Selhurst and Upton Park. Came back to The Valley and then we split up. I stayed watching Charlton, going to Wembley in 1998, getting a season ticket for the Premiership and looking forward to being single and the love of my life being CAFC.

Twenty odd years on from the young, single girl my Life, Love and CAFC are completely different. Life is no longer based in south east London, it's now Liverpool. Love is now my husband of 7 years. And CAFC? Well I still love them through good and bad but I don't get to see them as much as I would like. Comes of having teenage stepchildren I guess.

Now I get to the odd game but follow the reds mainly through CAFC Player and the internet. I may not know all the players by sight, but I know who they are. I may live in a city where you're either a red or a blue but I have no real interest in the teams up here except to know whether or not hubby is happy with the LFC result. I may bump into the odd Liverpool player in Tescos but I'd rather bump into Paul Benson when doing the weekly shop - and no I wouldn't stalk him! In short I'm an exiled Addick, happy to be that way because I'm happy here in Liverpool but more about that another time.