Thursday, 28 March 2013

Lightning Bolt.on Saturday required to brighten home form

With apologies for the poor pun in the title.....
I hope you enjoyed the beer related blogs in over the International break but now we must return back to Charlton and our game against Bolton at the Valley this weekend.  Everyone is aware of the poor form we have suffered at home this season despite some good play.  For those of you still sore at the loss to Millwall take another look at the Football league show highlights where I think you will find that, apart from the final ball we played a reasonable game.

I saw Bolton earlier in the season, at their 5-4 loss to Peterborough.  From what I remember they were pretty much a one trick pony, playing the long ball to Kevin Davies each time who insisted on grabbing hold of his opposition players rather than concentrating on the ball (maybe he just wanted to swap shirts a little earlier?).  As fans we need to be extremely vocal each time he does this as many referees will let him get away with it.  We also need someone fairly stout to stand up against him.  The introduction of the Bulgarian, Martin Petrov, as a late sub added further danger to the Wanderer's attacking line up but thankfully he has gone to Espanyol for the rest of the season so we don't need to worry about him.

At the time Dougie Freeman must have been wondering why he left Crystal Palace as they struggled in a competitive Championship but has now pulled them to within spitting distance of the playoffs, having not lost eight games in a row, prior Ipswich beating them 1-0 in their last game.

In terms of team formation I believe that if we are going to play him, we have to start out with Fuller and see what sort of game he has, rather than introducing him later in the hope that he will be a game changer.  I'd also like to see Danny Green get a bit of a run out.  He has his critics but it might just add something to the mix that has been missing in recent games and I believe we have little to lose.

Given the rain and the cold I don't expect the pitch to be in any better state than a fortnight ago but there should be no advantage to either side as the Bolton pitch appears to be just as bad.
One thing we must not do is turn on the team.  Although it's all very tight in the Championship a few more points will see us safely over the line (the consensus is 54/55 points for absolute safety) and not backing the team is not going to help them win and could end up in us watching league one football next season.   We've not had a decent crowd rally behind the team since our epic comeback over Cardiff and I see that @cafcreddivision have not tweeted a rallying call for over a month now.
Regardless of the result I have a nice selection of beers from the Kernal Brewery in Bermondsey to look forward to after the game.


Monday, 25 March 2013

A short history of the pubs on the Isle of Dogs

I've had a bit of a rant in my recent blogs about the Chancellor's escalator tax on beer.  While he appears to have axed it in the last budget I thought I would share with you an example of what higher prices have done to the pub trade.

The George is a fine example of an Isle of Dogs pub located near to Crossharbour station on the Docklands Light Railway.   The Landlord has four regular ales on at all times as well as the occasional guest beer.  The regular selection currently consists of Fullers London Pride, Young's bitter, Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Deuchers IPA from the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh.

The pub has a cosy lounge with plenty of pictures depicting bygone scenes of the docks and buildings of the surrounding area.  On Sunday however I noticed a new picture that I had not seen before.

This shows a map of all the pubs that existed at one time or another on the Isle of Dogs (excluding the new developments at Canary Wharf and Harbour Exchange).

 To save your eye sight there are 42 pubs listed on the map.  This is an impressive list by any means until you realise that of those 42  only nine are still open.  That's over three quarters of the pubs now closed!! 

Of the other 35 I can remember at least eight closing during my short tenure living in this part of London.  A few such as the Cubitt Arms which closed last year have been converted to residential property and retain a hint to their former lives in the architecture and signage but many have been knocked down and replaced by large modern developments. 

While changing demographics and other factors may also have played their part to the closure of these pubs I for one do not wish to see any more call time, so the scrapping of the tax is to be welcomed.

I'm pleased to say that despite this gloomy news, there has been something of a renaissance for the remaining pubs on the Isle, with a number of them recently changing hands, being refurbished and putting on a decent selection of cask ales.

For those of you interested in the history of closed pubs in the area can I recommend the following link:-

The picture above has been personalised for the George but if anyone could source me a copy of the original print I'd be extremely grateful, please contact me below.

Business on the football front resumes as normal later in the week with a visit by Bolton Wanderers to the Valley.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A trip to the Kernal Brewery in Bermondsey

After coming across the London Brewers' Alliance website ( I thought it only right to follow up and visit some of the breweries listed in there.  There is nothing better than doing things first hand so a trip to the the nearby Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey was in order.  The Brewery have managed to place its beers in some very smart restaurants throughout London including Hibiscus and the highly rated Hawksmoor so they must be doing something right.

Today's selection
They are open to sell directly to the public on Saturdays and I thought it would be a good excuse to stock up on a few libations for the coming Easter period.

Its easy to find, just look for the railway arches on the right just after going through the tunnel.  The brewery lies within two arches with a counter (as seen in the picture below) at the front of one and a seating area in the other for those wishing to sample the draft beer on site. Wrap up warm if you are going to stay for a drink  and don't expect any home comforts, as everything (as it should be) is focused on the beer.

I opted for a mixed case of bottle conditioned beers and went for a selection of pale ales and IPAs.  I'll leave the porters and stouts for another visit.
I like the understated branding on the brown bottles and the lack of fancy names.  The labels have a particularly nice touch of explaining which hops were used.  Like the grape varieties on wine bottles this allows you to understand what's contributing to the flavour and allows you to select styles of beer you like rather than just taking pot luck, and I would like to see more breweries taking this up.

Subtle Branding Focuses on the Beer
 Well Easter is not until next weekend and I just couldn't wait until then to sample the goods so later that day after the bottled conditioned beer had a chance to settle down I popped open a couple.

The first to try was the Table Beer.  Don't be fooled by the name, I found this 3.3% beer a decent quaffable pale ale.  The sharper Citra hops were balanced out nicely by another more fruity hop called Mosaic (which appears to be a fairly new variety).  I can imagine spending a summer afternoon in the garden on this stuff.

Later, I popped open the second beer as a night cap.  It was a stronger 5.6% pale ale (they have a number of different styles on offer), with four different hops again including Citra.  While it naturally tasted sharper than the Table Beer it was not overpowering and was a decent palate cleanser.

If the other beers are as impressive as these two then I am very much looking forward to trying them out next week (if they last that long!).

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hops in a Box....Its all about the flavour

Those nice chaps at Meantime Brewing are an inventive lot and their latest initiative is a winner in my books.  They are distributing free boxes of hop seeds with everything you need to grow your own hops and to remind drinkers what's in their beer and how it got its flavour.

Britain has a thriving community of artisan food producers and specialist brewers who are passionate about their products. Yet I am amazed at the number of people I know who opt for the bland and tasteless without a thought as to how their produce has got to them.  From intensively reared and cellophane wrapped chicken breast, mild rubbery cheddar and those mass produced so called lagers which will remain nameless that dominate the supermarket shelves.  So its good to see someone going a step further and taking the time to explain what it takes to put the flavour into the end product.

Hops in a Box from Meantime Brewing

You can pick up a box from Waitrose or a number of other outlets that serve Meantime beer.  For more information on the initiative and to so where you can pick up your own Hops in a Box go to their website

 or search the hashtag #hopsinabox on twitter. 

There should be a local near you where you can pick one up.  I picked up my box from the Clarence in Dover Street which is a Nicholson pub that always has a decent and ever changing selection of beers to choose from. You can see from the pictures that they are currently serving a number of good hoppy ales on sale including Jaipur which is a classic example of an Indian Pale Ale and VPA from Vale Brewery which is a golden ale.

The Clarence: Plenty of choice
I have a twelve foot wall in my garden which is currently covered in ivy and the idea of replacing that with a crop of hops is appealing.  The aim for the hops themselves is to end up in my home brew but as a novice brewer I'll need to get a bit of advice first.

On another note its good to see that the Chancellor has taken heed of the damage the beer escalator has been doing to the pub trade and scrapped it.  I know that some drinkers are still moaning about the minimal impact it will have on their pockets but it is an important concession and will stop adding to the future costs of a pint.

Even if the reduction is not passed on to us as consumers it does give the trade a bit of breathing room to cope with other costs, such as fuel for transport, that have also gone up and impact of bulk beer production will mean a greater benefit to them.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

20 Breweries in London...(and the rest!!)

The Championship break to allow for international games means that there is little to write about Charlton over the next fortnight, which may come as a relief to some!

Since starting this blog I have been paying a little bit more attention to the beers I have been enjoying, rather than just the taste, and I have been amazed at the number of breweries that I have uncovered.  However a recent statistic did take me by surprise.  An article(1) in the Evening Standard last week claimed that beer drinkers in London and the South East paid as much in tax as the whole of Germany.

However what caught my eye in the article was that London had over 20 Breweries!  Really?  I was intrigued and tried to see how many I could reel off in my head.

Well lets start off with the obvious one.  Fullers have a decent operation in Chiswick and I believe are the only remaining large scale (my definition) brewer left in London as Youngs (formerly in Wandsworth) and Courage (East London) are now brewed in Bedford.

I could also recall Sambrooks of South London (whose staple beer is Wandle) and Camden of North London as these are regularly served in my after work local.  Similarly I know of Meantime as their excellent Old Brewery restaurant and bar in Greenwich is nearby.  I've not been to Zero Degrees microbrewery in Blackheath for a while but its still there serving four decent styles of beer from its premises.

Firkin pubs and their eclectic range of brews were a favourite of mine in student days with names such as Dog Bolter but these stopped in 1999 following their takeover from Bass (thanks fellas!) so can' be included in the list.

Well that is only five so where are the other 15, and more importantly where can I sample the wares?

I found a few more while searching the Internet but It was only when I stumbled on the website of Leyton's Brodie brewery (  that I came across a link to the holy grail of the capital's ale producers that is the London Brewers Alliance to find that there are actually over 40 brewers (hallelujah!).

Membership is limited to breweries inside the M25 with a track record of brewing beer commercially. 
There are too many to do justice to by naming them all so do take a peak at the website and see whats on offer.  I for one will be doing a bit of intensive research over the international break sacrificing my liver doing some hard nosed research (all for the sake of my blog you understand).


The above may not be top quality investigative journalism, just my amateur sleuthing on a boring midweek evening.  I'm happy to correct any mistakes in the name of promoting good local beer in the capital.

(1) Original Evening Standard article link below

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Soggy Affair at the Valley

Saturday was not a day to remember.  After Charlton lost 2-0 at home to Millwall, England then also suffered at the hands of Wales later on in the rugby.  As ever there are far better accounts of both games on other blogs and sites but I offer my thoughts on the football game.

Rain sodden pitch
A short downpour just before the match did nothing to help the state of the pitch and I expected a couple of miss-kicks or wild sliding tackles leading to the inevitable yellow cards being shown but it was a concentrated and considered approach taken by both teams.  The BBC radio sport summariser was not impressed at a rather dull 0-0 at half time with Charlton, in my opinion, having the edge.

I was somewhat disappointed at the attendance and was expecting more than the crowd of about 18,300.  It may be down to the stricter policy of only allowing members with a purchasing history or that people just didn't want to risk getting caught up in any trouble that might have occurred.

Chris Solly was masterful at keeping danger man Dany N'Guessan (who is much admired at Charlton) quiet down the left wing,   Millwall manager Kenny Jackett grew wise to this and made the substitution that broke the deadlock, bringing on Jermaine Easter shortly after half time to score with his first touch. 

Unfortunately Millwall's defender Danny Shittu was having the same joy in keeping Danny Haynes in his pocket (There are lot of Dannys in this article !  I wonder what the collective noun is?) .  If I had to pick the man of the match it has to go to him for a very calm performance.  Haynes created plenty of goal scoring opportunities but each time he broke away his charge was snuffed out by Shittu.  There were no wild or lunging tackles from him, just an unruffled shielding of the ball until it could be safely cleared.
Good to see Yann back in action
From my angle I felt that David Button will be a tad disappointed that he didn't do better with the second goal from Shane Lowry's free kick but maybe others had a better angle than me and can tell me otherwise.  Whatever one might think this effectively ended the game for Charlton as despite a number of promising spells we could just not break through.

It is not often that I leave before the final whistle is blown but I could not bear four more minutes of extra time and was mindful of the longer walk owing to the restrictions to keep the fans separated.  However, it seems that the police had changed their mind and decided to cordon off Charlton Lane after a short while.  I just manged to squeeze through before the they blocked it.  It seemed rather strange at the time but I can now see why, owing to the bottleneck crossing the narrow footbridge to get over the railway line.  However, the alternative route just put fans into the back streets of SE7 with no sensible exit route.  I don't think any of us had anticipated that and it left some angry fans venting their frustrations.  While I now understand the reasons, can I make a big plea to the club to give out more information to fans and do explaining.  There are always going to be fans that moan but at least the rest of us should be given the chance to be able to plan.  The fixtures were announced back in August so fans deserve a bit more than a hastily cobbled plan a few days before the game.

Three points on Saturday would have left us with 50 points which by most accounts would have secured Championship football for next season.  Despite the loss on Saturday I thought we played reasonably well and chances were created.  We are still sitting mid table but its very tight between places and we can't be complacent but a few more points will leave me feeling considerably more comfortable.  At least we now have two weeks to calm down during the international break.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Breaking down the (Mill)wall... Charlton starting dilemma

First, many congratulations to Callum Harriott for making it into the Championship team of the week;

His first senior goal, which came at Huddersfield game, from Chris Solly's training ground free kick can only have helped.  If reports are to believed then the ball was meant for team Captain Johnny Jackson but they all count.

I believe that players need a bit of self confidence in their ability and anyone who incorporates one of the best players in the world in their twitter name (@Cally_messi ) certainly demonstrates that he has it to a small degree.

The BBC London radio commentary was concentrating on the Palace game so I was relying on their website text commentary accompanied by the very nervous tweets from fans following the #cafc tag.  I could hear a collective groan as the four minutes of extra time were announced but that means we held on for 90 minutes (including stoppage time) for a clean sheet, something we have failed to do for a while now.  This against a team who have a reputation for late goals (they came from behind to beat Middlesboro with goals in the 86th and 90th minute).  I'm pretty certain a few of you managed to rub out your phone screens trying to refresh the twitter feed.

If anyone hasn't noticed, we have the small matter of playing Millwall on Saturday.  Despite not claiming to care about us they have sold out their allocation and I expect a good home crowd too.  In fact they care so little about us that one fan has taken to the local press to make sure that we all know about it
( see here for his reasons why 

Harriott's performance will also give our manager a bit of a nice dilemma.  Yann Kermogant has now served his three match suspension and will be vying for a starting point.  However with decent contributions from Fuller and Danny Haynes in the last few games, Chris Powell will be scratching his head on his attacking line up.  My guess will be that he will preserve Fuller, bringing him on later in the game if required.  Blackburn were complaining about how physical Millwall were and so a tough centre man like Kermogant will be required up front.  I don't think he will change too much otherwise, with Button and Taylor establishing their presence in the last few games.  The only potential change could be to bring Court in for Morrison (there I've said it!) who's missed a few of his clearing headers recently but this is only an outside possibility.

Millwall are just behind us in the league but are piling on the games in hand with an FA cup replay against Blackburn on Wednesday.  The talk on the chat boards has been all about whether a win or a loss in that game will help us or not, but that is missing the point.  Be under no illusions, whatever the outcome of that game they will arrive at the Valley prepared to beat us even if it means running on pure adrenalin.

I know that all Charlton fans will make it a fantastic atmosphere inside the ground, I just hope that all Charlton fans can also demonstrate how to behave outside the ground.


Monday, 11 March 2013

Pints in Peterborough

The good folk of Peterborough are a lucky lot!  A recent trip to watch Peterborough v Charlton was a decent enough excuse to revisit a few ale houses and share a few of them with the wider world.

The first stop was the Brewery Tap just across the busy A15 from the railway station.  This is a micro brewery within a pub so the beer doesn't have too far to travel, and they have an innovative range of ales.

Brewery Tap: Take your pick!

I settled upon one of the few pints that was not actually brewed by Oakham and settled on a pint of Tiki from the Milton Brewery based near Cambridge.

Tiki is a light golden ale with a decent bitter finish and I was pleased when the barman said he had to go to the cellar to pour it directly from the barrel.

Keen to squeeze another pint in before the game we moved on to the next pub.  Nearer to the football ground on Oundle Road is the Palmerston Arms.
The Palmerston is a Mecca for beer lovers.  As you can see from the pictures, virtually all the beer is served straight from the barrel stored in a conditioned room and you select your choice from the blackboard.

Poured straight from the cask
Last time I went, the only lager on tap was a  Becks Vier which was much scorned by the landlady.  This has now been replaced with Amstel and supplemented by a couple of traditional beers on pull tap.
I understand that since the start of the year they have served over 60 different types of beer.  This time I actually went for an Oakham beer and settled on their Scarlet Macaw (who thinks of these names !!) as I thought it would go well after the Tikki.  Again its another golden ale but with a much sharper tangy bitter finish.

This is my kind of pub, not brand new and clinical, and with a nice rustic charm.  With no duke box and the occasional banjo or philosophy class taking place it does not encourage the lager louts. 

Football grounds are not usually renowned for their choice of beer (if at all if you happen to be an away fan).  However, I must give a nod to Peterboro Utd for their choice of Tribute Ale and London Pride for those enjoying a bit of match day hospitality.

Palmerston: What a choice !
Finally, if you have a visit by rail and don't have the time to traipse around the town then can I recommend the great Northern Hotel right next to the station.  I managed to squeeze in a quick pint while waiting for my train.  They have a good selection of three Oakham beers that were typical of those I saw in the other two pubs.  In keeping with my previous selections I ordered another golden ale, JHB, which had a much softer finish.  I would have loved to down another but it was time to catch my ride back to London with the remaining straggling contingent of Charlton fans.

Trips later in the year to Peterborough will take in trips to Charters and the Beehive which were all recommended in Charlton's away guide and confirmed by locals as good places for a decent pint.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Peterborough v Charlton.... Told you so!

Well I predicted that Peterborough v Charlton would have plenty of goals and was unlikely to end in a goalless draw and I was right.  Many eyes were on a certain game at Old Trafford but the real action was at London Road.  This was a cracker of a game for the neutrals (even the Daily Mail called it a Thriller!) and I felt that the 2-2 scoreline was probably the right outcome from two teams that worked hard for 90 minutes.

The weather has been kinder in East Anglia than South Eat London and so we were greeted by the welcome sight of a green pitch and two quick scoring chances from Charlton within the first few minutes, the first by Wilson hitting the underside of the crossbar but failing to go over the line.

I was pleased to see that Callum Harriot got a start and he did well going forward but had difficulties dealing with Little (who was anything but) as Posh attacked.  Danny Haynes had a much better game but I felt his positioning in the centre left Fuller a little isolated.

Decent Beer at Posh
I was the guest of a Peterborough season ticket holder so had to keep the fist pumps below waist height as Jackson then Haynes pumped in our two goals in quick succession.
I thought Button acquitted himself well for his second game between the sticks.  Others felt he should have saved the second Posh goal but there were so many bodies in the way he can't have seen it.

Peterborough kept up their electrifying pace and we were however very lucky not to concede in the dying minutes.  I cringed when Chris Powell made his substitution just before the corner as this was a mistake he made in one of his early games last season.  However this time we survived (just) to earn a well deserved point!

While there weren't many Charlton fans in the seated area next to the home supporters  it was good to see that there was no netting required and just seven stewards to separate the two sets of fans.  I hope one day that all games will be like this but won't be holding my breath.

I managed to get to both of my recommended pubs, the Brewery Tap and the Palmerston Arms, with a quick pit stop at the Great Northern Hotel next to the railway station but this deserves a separate blog of its own later in the week.  We met a Spurs supporter in the Palmeston (yes I know they get everywhere) who told me that he can remember going to the Valley when it was terraced.  We asked the locals there what they thought of the pubs recommended in Charlton's Ian Cartwright's away guide and all but the Cherry Tree (which caters for the more standard crowd) got the thumbs up from the real ale brigade.  I noticed on twitter that the Rose of Denmark crowd had found Charters down by the river and I will have to visit that one when I am next in the area.

Interesting fact of the day - Did you notice the music that was played as the teams came out "We will rock you" is a reference to St Peter whom the city was named after.

A final thought.  I have been blogging for about six weeks now and I have to take my hat off to fellow Addicks bloggers as their accounts of the match have long been published by the time I've managed to complete this piece.  Many will have been burning the midnight oil to prepare their articles, I just wanted to crawl into bed!

Monday, 4 March 2013

What to expect from Peterborough

After Sunday's blog on the Burnley game, which I found very difficult to write, here's a short preview of Charlton's away match on Tuesday which I will be going to.
I have watched a number of Posh home games and they never fail to excite.  I was there a few seasons ago when they were 4-0 down to Cardiff at half time and ended up drawing 4-4.  We met a fan who had walked out on 45 minutes and thoroughly pissed him off when we told him the final score.  More recently they thrashed Millwall 5-1 away.  They play with flair and the results unfortunately do not reflect this.  The Millwall game lifted them off the bottom of the table but they have squandered their two games in hand which theoretically could have lifted them as high as 16th at the time.
It is fair to say that Peterborough have struggled for points this season but that does not belie their performance and anyone who thinks this is a gimme is mistaken.  Don’t forget this season they have already beaten Cardiff, Leicester and Hull.  Dwight Gayle scored a hatrick on Saturday to leave them 3-0 up at half time against Blackburn before winning 3-2.  I believe that the stats say that they have not had a 0-0 score line for well over 100 games so expect plenty of goals.  
Not in London
The Posh have a number of attacking options.  We know about George Boyd (him with the dodgy eyesight NOT!!), but he has now joined Hull on loan for the rest of the season so we can all breath easy on that front.  One Peterborough season ticket holder I know commented that this move has sealed their fate but I am not so sure.  Lee Tomlin showed his class at the Valley and at Millwall while new boy Dwight Gayle who signed from Dagenham in January is a very light footed striker with plenty of pace (and a bargain find along with it).  Along with Grant Macann they are all capable of finding the back of the net.  Their defence is less solid and I am surprised that they have not addressed this issue in previous seasons.  Ferguson has little cash and used a policy of finding lower league gems to bolster his squad but I can’t help feeling that he needs a few older and more experienced pros to shore up the last 25 yards.
I am being treated to a bit of hospitality at the ground so won’t be joining the rest of the away support but hopefully will be able to get some good photos of you all and report back on the Posh Nosh (geddit!!!) Also watch out for their rather elegant mascot!
Whatever happens, it will be a cracking game.  Travelling fans who enjoy a decent pint don’t forget to check out my previous blog with pub recommendations.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Burnished by Burnley

During the week Chris Powell said he wanted a reaction for the game against Burnley and was considering all sorts of ways to achieve this.  Well he certainly meant it as yesterday's team news revealed an attacking front three, and with Button replacing Hamer in goal, no Stephens or Solly due to injury.

Bad picture of Button

I hope those of you who went to the match also brought your sun glasses as that was the brightest collection of football boots that I have ever seen!  Did you also notice that the Gaffer was wearing a tracksuit and woolly hat rather than his normal home attire of sharp suit and flat cap?

While I am a big fan of Ben Hamer I was pleased to see Button being given a chance to play and I thought he acquitted himself quite well.  The Charlie Austin goal that lead to the 1-0 defeat was a magnificent effort by all accounts and we can't blame Button for that one.  Its good to know we have a capable second pair of hands in the net. 

I wasn't pleased about the crowd reaction at half time when certain sections of the North Stand booed the team off.  There's nothing worse for the team's moral at half time and its no way to achieve the motivation that they require.  The statistics speak for themselves and I felt we were unfortunate not to get anything out of the game, especially after Danny Green came on to replace John Obika (who I felt had a quiet game) and dominated the right wing.

Season Ticket will be renewed shortly!

The talk of relegation by the Charlton Twitterati is premature.  We are mid table and only 8 or 9 points off securing our place in the Championship next year with 11 games to go.  We have a better goal difference than all but one of the teams below us.  We should also bear in mind that we are only just behind Blackburn who were relegated last year and the other two former Premiership clubs are below us.

So as a consolation the home brew was cracked open yesterday evening with a side of home made salt and pepper squid.  I'm still a novice at this and was quite pleased with my quaffable effort but like the game it started with a decent bit of froth but ended up flat towards the end.

Tomorrow's blog will have a run down on Tuesday night's opposition who beat Blackburn 3-2 away yesterday, with Dwight Gayle scoring a hatrick.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Brad light.......

First, a big thanks to fellow Blogger Hungry Ted and many others of you who have read and retweeted about my blog.  My short review of Leeds Brewery's Monsoon IPA got picked up by the North Notts CAMRA daily news as well which left me chuffed to bits.

I really am not looking forward to the Burnley game on Saturday and just don't have the heart to write about it.  It will be interesting to see how Chris Powell sets up the team with no Yann Kermogant but I am surprised at the panic by fans of the perceived lack of strikers now that we have loaned Bradley Wright-Phillips to Brentford.  We know that Fuller can be prone to the odd injury and I can't believe that Powell would let a striker go out on loan without having thought about plan B in such an eventuality.

However, my home brew will have completed conditioning by then so regardless of the result there will be something to console or celebrate with.  Its provisionally called London Bus as its taken two weeks to prepare but when its ready there will be one pouring every minute.  Its a London bitter style with a deep ruby red colour and provisional tastings this week deem it acceptable.

On other football related matters, why was the Middlesbrough v Chelsea game not on television on Wednesday?  I know there is radio commentary but none of the UK TV stations seemed to be showing it.  I can see the arguments for not showing games at 3pm on Saturday but this is a fifth round tie (not a replay) on an evening with no other game showing, and featuring a top Premiership club versus a Championship club vying for promotion. 

Despite their loss on Sunday I was very pleased for Phil Parkinson and Bradford.  It was also good to see that many Charlton fans appreciated what he managed to achieve at Charlton on a non-existent budget.  While their local derby away to York is a sell out, I noticed that their Wednesday game reverted back to the standard crowd of about 10,000.  I appreciate that not everyone is flush with cash in these times and many will have dug deep to attend the special occasion at Wembley but a team is for life and not just Cup days and it would be nice to see some of that success converted into more regular support.

Valley Parade holds over 25,000.  2,000 extra supporters at say £16 a go (a mix of adult, OAP and junior ticket prices) gives the club an additional £32,000 revenue per game or £736,000 over a season.  Think what they could do with that?  Come to think of it, think what we at Charlton could do with it - so come on, who's bringing a friend to the Bolton game?