Sunday, 28 April 2013

Jackson Scored for #CAFC on Saturday

No you read the title correctly, he did really score on Saturday.  Let me explain.  For those of you who don’t use twitter #CAFC is the moniker that Charlton fans use to follow the trials and tribulations of our football club. 

While we are ferociously defensive about its use we are not the only ones to use it.

First is Crick Athletic Football Club, (, who ply their trade in the Coventry Alliance Football League.  Their man of the match, Loz Jackson (rather than Charlton’s injured skipper Johnny Jackson) actually scored two goals for them on Saturday to give them a 4-1 hammering over local rivals Rugby FC.

Secondly, Crewe Alexander football club also use the same  hash tag, much to the chagrin of their southern counterparts in the Championship.  However yesterday I am sure that many of us Addicks would have forgiven them.  In an act that I am sure any follower of English football would like to see, they used a full side of players who had graduated from their academy to record an historic 2-0 victory over Walsall (  We are very proud of our academy set up at Charlton and it was pleasing to see another team grow and nurture their home grown players and they should be congratulated for the achievement.

Finally, and I bet you didn't see this one coming, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also use the hashtag #CAFC.  This court deals with appeals on patents and publish links to their judgements on Twitter.  Their findings don’t normally appear on many Charlton fan’s searches as they tend to post around 3pm UK time on a weekday when most of us are hard at work and not necessarily thinking about football (as if!).  Thank goodness for that I hear you say, but just imagine those who do want to find them having to trawl through football tweets such as “We’re going to get slaughtered without Hughes and Jackson”, and "I'm an animal lover, except Millwall of course"

Well back to Saturday’s game, and while I know at 2-0 up we were all desperately willing for a playoff place.  Alas it was not to be but in our heart of hearts we should all very pleased with what by any stretch of the imagination has been a fine performance at the back end of the season ands we are all proud of what the club has achieved on a limited budget.

Finally, while we can’t beat the 100 odd fans from Hartlepool who turned up as penguins for the match against Crawley, I have to salute all those fans who donned Chris Powell masks for our last away match of the season and would like to share the marvellous picture below from @benjicafc

Anyone look familiar?

Crick were kind enough to point out to me that their captain is actually James Smith rather than Los Jackson as the article previously stated. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Panic is Setting in ...!!!!!

 No, no, no......don't worry!  For once I am not worried about Charlton’s form on the pitch and whether we will survive in the Championship or not.  The football season is effectively over for us on 4th May (unless by some miracle we manage to squeeze into the playoffs).  We have done well this season with a strong home form finally kicking in at the back end to compliment our fine away form.  In addition our under 21 and under 18 teams have won their respective leagues ensuring a good potential supply of youngsters for the future.

Stress Free Alternative to Charlton

What I am panicking about is that with the end of the season I will have little, football wise, to celebrate or moan about over the summer leading to a potential lack of blog activity over the next few months.
I’m not a die hard Charlton blogger, in that I don’t do the full pre-match build up and then a blow by blow account of the game.  I would just be repeating better reports by people far more skilled than me at this.
I also don’t have any insider contacts or people who can supply me with hot tips as to who has allegedly been seen at the Valley (if you do and would like to let me know you are more than welcome - I'll buy you a pint if you are right!!).  I suspect that Chris Powell will also have a limited budget to spend and will concentrate on keeping the current squad together.
So apart from a few small moans when the new fixture list comes out about why we have to play Brighton away on a Tuesday night, the blogging is going to be rather limited.   

For my few regular readers (for which I thank you) you will know that I try to write at least two entries a week, alternating between the trials and tribulations of my football team with my love of real ale.  So it looks like I will have to sacrifice my liver rather than my nerves, and trawl around a few more watering holes to bring you some juicy reviews.
Look for the Sign

So for all you Charlton fans out there, don’t abandon me, lets chill out and enjoy stress free Saturday afternoons and explore our capitals finest offerings of hops and malt.

To get the ball rolling let me suggest an ale and a pub for you to try.  As a starter keep an eye out for Hoptimus Prime from Robinson's brewery. Its a seasonal ale that only appears in April and May so you only have a limited time to try it out ( )

Thames side Pub: The Gun

Also if you like pubs with a river view try out the Gun on the Isle of Dogs which has a small but smart terrace looking onto the O2 ( They currently have a nice collection of beers from Battersea's Sambrook's Brewery including Jugged Hare Pale Ale which is made especially for them. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Beer of the Week: Sundancer from Twickenham Fine Ales

Sundancer from Twickenham Fine Ales

The end of a hard day of working and entertaining a client from the Far East saw me finishing off the evening in the Golden Eagle off Marylebone Lane (no website but there are plenty of details online) enjoying a pint of Sundancer.

Given that it was almost St George’s day I should have gone for “Englands Glory” from Hogs Back Brewery which was also on offer ( but I have been dying to try Twickenham’s brews ever since I discovered them a couple of months ago and so I had to go for the Sundancer.

 Its a 3.7% pale amber ale with plenty of hoppiness to it (a mixture of English and American hops according to their website  Its Silver Medal in the Bitters category at the Great British Beer Festival 2007 was richly deserved.

Outbreak of Spring is a good excuse for a pint

Given the outburst of fine weather we now appear to be experiencing it would make a superb session beer sitting outside in a beer garden.  This was my last pint before heading home and its long dry citrus finish was the perfect way to cleanse the palate and round off the evening.

Other Ales at the Golden Eagle

If the quality of their beers is anything near that of Sundancer then I very much look forward to sampling Twickenham's other offerings in the near future, hopefully at over the May bank holiday weekend.

The Golden Eagle is a cosy pub tucked down Marylebone Lane.  Not the largest of venues, its what I would call a proper drinker’s pub.  It’s certainly not fashionable and doesn’t appear to attract the tourist hoards, unlike other venues further along the lane, which is what I like from a pub.  As well as the two beers above they also had St Austell’s Tribute on tap.  Each time I have been there they have had a couple of new beers on tap and each one was well kept and served.  Please do go there by all means but don't tell too many people, it'll be our secret.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Wolves devoured at the Valley

Its a Marathon, not a Sprint

The game at the Valley may have been an ugly affair but Charlton fans are used to that and  it's three more points in the bag for the team.  Amazingly, our tally of 61 points and ninth position has only now just secured our place in the Championship for next year with two games remaining.  This shows you just how competitive things are in this league and will lead to a real dog fight over the night fortnight from the teams below us.  According to the Football League show there are no less than 15 clubs still in the mix to go down.

Excellent reports of the match can be found on the official Charlton site and my fellow bloggers shown on the right but as always I offer my thoughts on a few moments during the match.

Earlier in the day Dean Saunders had said that Wolves were the in form team having won eight points in fifteen games.  He conveniently forgot that Charlton also had the same tally.  Wolves had previously lost to Huddersfield but had impressively beaten Hull in their last game on Tuesday, so the Valley faithful were wondering which team would turn up.

On nine minutes young Callum Harriott showed us why he is an automatic pick for the first team with a magnificent dribble of the ball down the left wing.  He is also now linking up nicely with Rhoys Wiggins in the manner that Jackson so capably did in last year's successful league one season, and lead to the build up for our winning goal.

There was a slight comedy moment on ten minutes when the Wolves physio appeared to pinch and hide the ball as it came off the pitch so he could attend to an injured player.  Unfortunately it looked like Andrew Hughes ongoing injury problems caught up with him at the same time and he was substituted by on loan Gower.  After a few dodgy touches he found his form and linked up well in midfield.

Karl Henry almost provided the goal of the day to embarrass Charlton and Ben Hamer in goal when his 45 yard kick hit the crossbar.

There was another odd moment when a free kick was given and the ball stopped right by the Linesman (they will always be a "lino" to me rather than an assistant referee) but miles away from any player and who then refused to kick the ball back.  This meant a comical  wait for the Wolves goalkeeper to walk 25 yards to retrieve the ball right next to the official.  I know it's somewhere in the rules but it really looks like a "Jobsworth" to me when this happens and I wonder if anyone can explain the reason behind this bizarre practice?

Our 2-1 win was like the dogged and scrappy wins of old with a well deserved lead, being taken back by some sloppy defending and goal keeping only for a last gasp winner from a Charlton super substitute.  Sounds familiar?

Like cigarette packs, our season tickets really should carry a health warning on them that watching the Addicks is not good for your health, especially when there are six minutes of additional time against a team scrapping for their Championship status.  The number of times fans had to gasp and cringe in the game, I'm surprised that we don't have more casualties amongst the supporters from heart palpitations and other related ailments.  I jest of course and its all worth it when you walk away from the ground with a smile on your face.

Previously I have argued that Fuller needs to start to get the best out of him.  However, he looked a little tired on Saturday's game and given the impact that Obika has made in the last few games by scoring our winning goals, he deserves a chance to show us what he can do for the final two games.  Let's see if Chris Powell agrees.

No match photos from me today so I leave you with a picture of Sunday's marathon which went off peacefully. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Charlton draw fails to burst Cardiff Party

There was rather a large party last night in South Wales as Cardiff City secured their promotion to the Premier League with a 0-0 draw against Charlton.  With a packed house willing their team to promotion it was always going to be difficult for Charlton to make an impact but the players and 600 away fans did their best to deflate the balloons and eat all the cake but to no avail.  The draw was hard earned but not required in the end as Millwall did all the hard work by beating Watford to ensure that Cardiff could finish the season no lower than second.
Hartlepool Fans at Charlton last season*

However, at least I know how Hartlepool fans felt last year during our promotion celebrations (by the way you guys are awesome fans, we'll miss you at the last game of the season this year!  Someone dropped a hint that you might all be turning up as penguins for the last game this year - please tell me it's true!)

It will be great to see an all Wales derby fixture next year, although Cardiff are going to have to work hard in the summer to match the work of Swansea who have comfortably established themselves in the top tier.

Other results mean that Charlton still have slim hopes of a play-off place but it will be tough.  Of the three teams above us Nottingham Forest lost to Middlesbrough (which means Boro are level on points with Charlton and also in contention for a play-off place), while Leicester leapfrogged Bolton in the tables after beating them 3-2. 

With just three games to go its still going to be hard work to overhaul the six point deficit and will rely on a lot of luck going our way in other games.  Bolton are still to play Cardiff (who may be in too much of a celebratory mood to care or will want to win the Championship outright), Boro and Blackpool.  Forest still have to play Leicester as well as Barnsley and Millwall.  Leicester probably have the hardest run in with games at Crystal Palace and Watford still to come as well as Forest.

At least Charlton have all but mathematically secured their Championship place for next year (and we're now playing for pride and position).  Having comprehensively beaten Barnsley last Saturday, I'm also hoping we can do a bit of damage to Wolves this coming Saturday to assist Peterborough in staying up so I can continue my rivalry and banter with a Posh season ticket holder who I watch our games with.

Finally, a big shout out to all those Addicks running the London Marathon this coming Sunday and raising lots of money for good causes.  Good luck with your efforts and given the tragic events in Boston I hope it will be a peaceful event.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

6-0, yes that's right I said SIX - NIL !!

"FULL TIME: BARNSLEY 0 CHARLTON 6.  I said.... BARNSLEY 0 CHARLTON 6 " This was how the official Charlton twitter feed announced the final score at yesterday's match.  I get the feeling that they were a tad excited about the scoreline.

Barnsley Advertisement
In case you didn't know we won 6-0 away at Barnsley yesterday which I understand is our largest ever away score.  It takes us up to the heady heights of ninth in the table and reversed our negative goal difference to +2.

Of course it was inevitable this was going to happen owing the the way Barnsley advertised the game.  The photo opposite was courtesy of @JimmyStone on twitter.

I hate it when our club does a campaign like this as it inevitably falls flat on our face.  We only have to look at Operation Riverside for our FA Cup replay against Middlesboro in 2006 and Operation Ewood to keep Charlton in the Premier League in 2007.  They were both well organised, tremendous day's out but the results did not go our way.  I still have my Operation Riverside T-shirt, which is extremely smart but I feel that I can only wear it in far off places where nobody knows its significance.  It's good to know that it happens to other clubs too.

One of our Campaigns*
As you can tell I was not at the game but chose to follow it on the rolling sporsts news services and the trusty Twitter feed.  My two favourite tweets of the afternoon were from @intomnia who said "Serenity of the library immediately ruined by Pritch #yasssss #cafc" as the first goal went in; and another tweeter that I can't now find who said something along the lines of  "Dickie Bird, Darren Gough, Arthur Scargill, Michael Parkinson - your boys took one hell of a beating!*

And another*
Even if you didn't know the score you could tell it was a good day by the number of Charlton fans on twitter waiting up until 11.35pm to watch the Football League Show.

Our loyal away fans have been richly rewarded this season, Charlton having won 33 points away compared to 24 at home.  The difference does not seem great but when you look at league positions, just looking at away form alone would leave us in fourth spot as opposed to a relegation position on home points.

Tuesday sees us visit Cardiff City who just need one point for promotion to the Premier League which I think is richly deserved.  However, Charlton did beat them 5-4 at home and with our away form I am hoping that we will keep their celebrations waiting for a little while longer.

Operation Riverside and Ewood logos are from the Charlton Athletic website ( 

*Update 25 April 2013 - Found it !! The tweet was from @valleyman1973 that went "Arthur Scargill, Darren Gough, Michale Parkinson, Howard webb, Dickie Bird! - can you hear me, Your boys took one hell of a beating !"

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Beer of the Week: Hackney Hopster

In a change from my usual after work Mayfair venue, I wondered over to the Coach & Horses in Bruton Street (not to be confused with the nearby Coach &Horses in Hill Street which is a superb Shepherd Neame pub).  This was an old haunt but we hadn't frequented it for a while and fancied a change.  (

Coach & Horses*

Being just off Bond Street, it can sometimes be a bit of a tourist trap, especially in the summer but this Taylor Walker pub do look after their beers and have never failed to have something new on tap each time I have walked in.  They usually have four beers on the go and as you can see from the pictures they have had a wide variety over time. 

Amongst other things I was delighted to find a beer from London Fields Brewery which has been on my list of places to try, so no time like the present!   

The first surprise was that it was a beautiful copper coloured ale, more akin to a Yorkshire bitter rather than a straw coloured golden ale that one tends to associate with hoppy pale ales (see my previous blogs on the IPAs and Pale Ales from the Kernal Brewery).  The full bodied flavour really hits your palate and then follows down to the back of the throat to leave a pleasing after taste.  The brewery themselves describe it as follows:-
London Fields Hackney Hopster

"The Hackney Hopster is a debonair young chap of a pacific pale ale. Dressed in hops from New Zealand & West Coast USA, the Hopster shows off flavours of grapefruit, lemon zest and gooseberry."

I'm afraid I don't know what a pacific pale ale is (for once the Internet let me down so if anyone can enlighten my I would be grateful, but I suspect its something to do with the origin of the hops) but whatever it is I want more!  I could definitely feel the pleasing sour note of the hops in my mouth.  The beer is 4.2% and was definitely tempting as a session beer but I can see myself getting into a lot of trouble if I tried (my frailty rather than anything to do with the beer)!  I can imagine it going well with spicy food as the hoppiness of the beer will cut through the strong flavour.  The brewery will also be the venue for London's Brewing (, a three day festival in May to celebrate the best of London's breweries and if the standard is as good as this it should be a blast.

This Week's selection at the Coach & Horses

Previous Beers at the Coach & Horses



*Coach & Horses picture from Square Meal

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Charlton v Leeds was worth a bet?

Invasive Species
I took a break from blog writing over the weekend to bask in the rare glory of two back to back wins at the Valley.  Friday night was spent pouring over the Grand National riders, with a glass of wine, without coming to a conclusion of whom to back.  So I took waking up on Saturday morning to find three parakeets in my neighbours garden to be a sure sign of where to place my wager.  However another glance at the runners provided no inspiration so I took it as a good omen for the afternoon's football game against Leeds United.

It was Acadamy day at the Valley, and as the Grand National is such a lottery I decided that, instead of filling the pockets of the book makers, Iwould spend my betting money on Charlton's half time jackpot tickets, supporting the club's future.

While some might wonder about the merits of the youth set up we have to remember that it has produced the likes of Scott Parker, Carl Jenkinson, Jonjo Shelvey, Rob Elliott and Michael Turner who all now play in the Premier League as well as Chris Solly, Scott Wagstaff, Lawrie Wilson, Danny Green and Callum Harriott in our current squad (I know I have missed a few so please forgive any omissions).

The Future - Our Youth Academy

Better cause than the Grand National

Charlton played well and deserved their 2-1 win over Leeds, with an honourable mention to Dorian Dervite who made the Championship team of the week with his performance.  Staying with the betting theme, if I wanted to back a certainty it would be that an Ex Charlton player would score against us and Luke Varney stepped up and obliged with an 81st minute equaliser, after the skipper, Johnny Jackson had put us ahead.

Its also good to know that Charlton can also bag goals in stoppage time given how many we have conceded in the lat few minutes during this campaign.  Extra time goals are not as rare as we think though.  I briefly saw a piece on Sky Sports News which showed that at least 33 goals have been scored in the Premier League in extra time this season (I can't find any further information on this on the web so if any one can point me in the right direction I would be grateful).

In fairness I think many fans would have settled for a 1-1 draw but with 54 points in the bag and just two or three more required and 12 to play for, I am sure that many of us left with a smug grin that afternoon contemplating Championship football next year.  I hope you all renewed your season ticket too!

Finally, it was good to see the Moto GP back on our screens on Sunday and it made an exciting change from Top Gear.  Valentino Rossi had a storming race after a daring overtaking manoeuvre went awry and eventually came in second.  So if you don't have Sky or are simply bored with the monotony of Formula 1 can I suggest you give it a go.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

And now for something completely different.... Thai Wine

Most of us will be familiar with Thai beers whether that's through our love of Thai food or the fact that the two main ones sponsor premiership football clubs (Chang Beer's sponsorship of Everton and maybe Singha as official beer to Manchester United).  However, I am sure that many of you did not even realise that Thailand does produce its own wine (albeit in limited quantities).

Wine better than my camera skills
The issue with growing wines in the tropics is that while it is fairly hot all year around, it is divided between a dry season and a wet season where its extremely humid and suffers from heavy down pours on an almost daily basis.  This means that the wine growers have to pack all the vine growing into the dry season so that they avoid the wet monsoon season.  I'm not an expert but I understand that only certain grape varieties can do this.

If that was not enough to cope with, daytime temperatures of over 30 degrees and high levels of humidity in the wet season wine production and storage has to be carried out in controlled conditions.  If you go to any decent restaurant or wine store in Thailand you will see all the wine stored in large temperature and humidity controlled cabinets.

Despite all of this, a small number of producers have overcome these hurdles and there is now a small but thriving wine industry.

After blogging about the superb Monsoon beer from Leeds Brewery (see I now bring you a review of Monsoon Wine.

A friend of mine surprised me with a bottle of their 2007 Shiraz from their premium range which sits between their blended and fine wines.

It had a screw cap top which is no surprise and shouldn't put anyone off these days.  In fact in those conditions it makes sense as it's likely to better protect the wine than a traditional cork.

The Small Print
We were pleasantly surprised with the wine.  It has a decent "old world" colour to it.  It was just as good on its own as well as with food.  The hints of coffee and spice, typical of a Shiraz were still there while not over powering making it easy on the palate.

The wine is distributed by Red Bull in the UK which is not as odd as it appears if we remember that Red Bull is actually originally a Thai product which was propelled into the worldwide limelight by the Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz.

I'm usually rather sceptical about wines from emerging wine producing countries as it takes some time for the quality to show through as the vines mature and the vineyards experiment with different techniques  (witness the remarkable rise of Argentinian and Chilean wines over the last decade) but this vineyard is well on the way.  So if you get a chance to try a bottle with your green curry or Tom Yung Goong don't turn it down.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

We all know what seagulls do

They either swoop down to pinch your chips or bomb you with unmentionables.  However, it was Charlton that knicked a hard earned point at the Amex stadium last night, drawing 0-0 with Brighton.  The coaching team have obviously done their homework and are to be congratulated for their tactics in what was still a tough game.

I'm afraid I didn't get a ticket for the game so it was good to see that BBC London and Radio Five were concentrating on the Championship last night rather than the Champions League.  My ears were be glued to the radio commentary with a cup of tea and the remnants of my chocolate Easter egg!  The BBC London radio commentator described our defending as the last stand at the Alamo and he wasn't far wrong with all the players putting in a solid performance against a team that I believe is undefeated at home this season.

It is also worth noting that this was Brighton's second highest attendance of the season, no mean feat given it was a Tuesday night.
I was feeling rather pleased about our position in the league table after Saturday's win over Bolton.  However, I think virtually every other game played at the weekend went against us and despite our point last night and 14th position we still need to maintain our composure as the season draws to a close.  I cannot believe how tight things are, with only twleve points separating a playoff position from relegation.  I can see everyone from Birmingham in 11th to Peterborough currently in 23rd (but on a 7 game unbeaten run) vying to remain up.

While looking up last night's game I noticed that Brighton produce a DVD of each home match

and wondered why Charlton don't produce one of these before my brain kicked in about our home form this season.  However, for those memorable games such as against Cardiff this is a nice idea.

We move on to face Leeds this Saturday, without Neil Warnock.  This is the third time this season that we will be facing a team that have just sacked thier manager.  Let's hope it doesn't buoy their team up too much!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Fuller's a Wiley Old Fox

No, I'm not referring to the latest concoction to come from the West London Brewery, but Charlton's centre forward Ricardo Fuller who effectively won the game for Charlton on Saturday with his tactics.  His year's in the premiership paid off when he managed to earn us two set pieces that eventually won us the game after being 2-0 down after 20 minutes.

A win was required at the Valley
The experienced forward first broke free from the pack connecting with a long ball kicked out by the defence.  His pace was never going to beat the Bolton defenders to goal, but they chose to cut across his path which was his cue to take a tumble.  The contact was minimal but referee Kettle's view was such that it could only mean a second yellow card for the defender who was dismissed.  The resulting free kick from Kermogant was well struck and resulted in a goal by Dervite from the rebound.
The second incident was a Fuller classic, that we have seen a number of times, as he was clipped while charging into the 18 yard box. I was surprised to see Kermogant step up to take the resulting penalty as he's not our regular from the spot.  Another blogger (thank you Dr Kish!) has pointed out that as Fuller was injured he had to leave the field of play unable to take the penalty, hence the change.  While Fuller is a master of this tactic, I am surprised that we don't see Pritchard getting more penalties.  His lighter frame, faster pace and somewhat awkward style would make him a trickier contender for opposition defences and he should attempt a few more runs into the box.

As I said in a previous posting, Fuller has to start the game to achieve these outcomes.  While I have every respect for Danny Haynes and would like to see him start too, his pace makes him a far more dangerous impact subsititute over Fuller.  As Fuller can't play the full ninety minutes anymore this seems a good compromise.

Bolton are a team of large players but they seem to be taking too many tips from their rugby playing neighbours.  I counted three rugby tackles on the Charlton players including a head dump on Kermogant and a high neck tackle on Pritchard, both of which would have been a sin bin offence and earned a citing after the game in rugby.

We still have a tough run in to the end of the season starting with Brighton on Tuesday, but with 50 points I feel a lot more comfortable than I did at 3.20 on Saturday afternoon.  I hope that Fuller's shoulder keeps him in contention for the run in but the win will have bolstered the whole squad and we have a good travelling contingent for the trip to the Seagulls.

I celebrated with a few pale ales from and and resolved not to delay renewing my season ticket until the last minute.
Happy Easter