Thursday, January 31, 2008


In a move which will shock the world of football to its molten core, legendary Addicks writer Frankie Valley has signed for New York Addick, on loan until the end of the season.

With just hours to go until the January transfer window slammed shut, Valley finally agreed to put pen to paper to seal a deal that's already being compared to Ashley Cole's contentious move to Chelsea from Arsenal.

New York Addick was naturally ecstatic about his deadline day acquisition, well aware that Valley was one of the few current Charlton writers who could comfortably, "...put 10,000 hits on a blog."

Only a week ago, Valley sensationally abandoned his own blog citing personal reasons and burn-out. Yet incredibly he has already agreed terms with one of his most bitter rivals, in another sign of America's increasing influence on English football.

"We're delighted to have him...," cooed New York Addick, "...he knows he won't be appearing day in, day out like he used to, but I think it's a great deal for both blogs.

's still got so much to offer at this level, and I feel we've been missing his type of creativity in recent weeks."

"The Scunthorpe game has probably come just a little bit early for him, but I know he's eager to get involved, perhaps beginning with the build-up to the local derby with Palace." "It's simply made for Frankie," he chuckled.

After undergoing a specialised medical that tested for punctuation, verbal reasoning and spelling, Valley signed on the dotted line in the presence of his literary agent.

Valley meanwhile was more circumspect, but clearly looking forward to the challenge. "My motive for going to America is to help spread the soccer gospel in the colonies, just like Becks before me" he insisted in his inimitable fashion, "....I'm definitely not doing this for the money - NO WAY!"

he added, "...I am rather hoping to get a couple of free tickets for 'Jersey Boys' out of the deal."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reid all about it

With barely 24 hours left until the transfer window closes, Sky Sports are reporting that Sunderland have upped their bid for Andy Reid to £4million.

The general consensus on the Charlton message boards appears to be firmly against accepting, but I must confess I don't understand their sentiments.

I very much enjoy watching Reidy when the opposition is giving him time to express his obvious talents. He's obviously a decent chap, and it was notable moreover that Martin Jol of all people spoke in last weekend's Sunday Times about his important contribution to team spirit whilst at Spurs.

Unfortunately, it seems Championship teams swiftly cottoned onto the fact that Reid was our talisman, and by snuffing him out, we didn't have a very obvious Plan B. Indeed, when Pards pushed Ambrose into the 'hole' that Reid had been occupying at home to Ipswich, he popped up with two quality goals.

Firstly Reidy is injured and thus of absolutely no use to us presently whatsoever (and moreover has been injury-prone ever since he joined). Indeed, at the age of 25, I am willing to suppose that his 'weight issues' are both unlikely to ever be completely solved, and are likely at least partly correlated to his above injury-proneness. Charlton simply can no longer afford to have expensive players who are also regularly injured (Cory Gibbs? - Ed.).

Second, having captained the side for most of the first half of the season, and with the team clearly being built around him (via the 4-5-1 formation), he generally flattered to deceive, largely due to his lack of mobility, which made him unable to produce the goods either as an outright winger or half of a central midfield duo. As fine a passer of the ball that he is, the whole team was obliged to slow down to his pace.

In short, if he was available for selection on Saturday for example, he would simply not walk back into the side, if only because Andy Gray's arrival makes a 4-4-2 the obvious choice now. Indeed, with Jerome Thomas already on the bench, it's not clear Pards would even find a place in the 16 for him given the importance of Jose Semedo there.

Third, he was signed for £3m in mid-2006 in a transaction between two Premiership sides, yet it appears that Sunderland are willing to claim his value has increased by £1m, despite Charlton's relegation and ongoing injury issues! I would imagine from Charlton's perspective that recruiting Gray, losing Reid, but pocketing a net £2.5m or so would be pretty good January business, not least given our promising current line-up and the former's immediate availability. Unfortunately the reality of relegation implies we must consider all reasonable offers for any of our players.

A comparison was made with Kenwyne Jones whom Roy Keane signed from fellow Championship side Southampton for fully £6million, yet he remained somewhat 'unproven.' However that is precisely the point; Reid is highly unlikely to improve much as a player going forward because of his obvious physical limitations. Jones meanwhile was indeed 'unproven', but with tons of potential, with scope to be the next Didier Drogba. Indeed Keane implied recently that he already was. As any financial trader will tell you, you have to pay up for such options.

Fourth, speaking of Andy Gray, assuming that Sunderland are offering Reidy higher wages, it would be a bit rich (no pun intended) for us to complain about such a strategy given we employed the exact same one to procure the other Andy.

If we remain in the Championship next season, Reid will likely move on anyhow (potentially for less, and probably to one of the promoted sides), whilst if we gain promotion ourselves, he is not necessarily good enough there (he had little impact last time around). He has become something of a (very) round peg in a team full of square holes, and we should be realistic enough to accept the rumoured offer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stoke preview

I'm currently going through one of those annoyingly frequent 'half full/half empty' moments with regard to Charlton.

I am suitably encouraged by the form shown since Pards accidentally stumbled upon our best line-up during the Cup tie with WBA. Meanwhile, the recent addition of Andy Gray should be beneficial, even if his valuation at first sight appears toppy.

Then again, with Burnley having somehow crept to within just one point of us, £1.5million might turn out to be a small price to pay if it keeps one of our promotion rivals at bay, and ensures us at least a play-off berth.

Moreover, the signing has encouraging echoes of 1985/86 when another Scot (Jim Melrose) arrived similarly during mid-season, and scored valuable goals to keep our promotion momentum alive.

However, one should not be blinded either from the simple truth that 7 wins in 24 in all competitions (or more recently, 1 in 9) is form which if not reversed swiftly, will see our season deteriorate into midtable mediocrity.

Nevertheless, with WBA, Watford and Palace facing tricky away games this week, a two-goal win by the Addicks would see us not only leapfrog the Potters, but also hopefully make up ground on one or more of our key promotion contenders. There you go again you see, the glass is half-full.

Mistakes have clearly been made tactically, and in terms of team selection, whilst my overwhelming criticism of our performance at Watford (which presumably typifies many recent matches), is that we lack a killer instinct.

One senses that the likes of Varney, Sam, Ambrose and Thomas for example are fine natural talents, but not exactly born winners. Chris Iwelumo meanwhile tends to jump for headers as if he's worried about hurting his marker, let alone himself; let's hope his fellow countryman Gray is more of a battering ram.

The Stoke fixture in August was an early and deflating reminder that this season might not be the cakewalk that some of us had hoped for. They have bullied they way into the play-off places, but if brute force is all it takes to get out of this division (as some like to suggest that it is), then the likes of Stoke (and Hull etc..) would not be looking up wistfully at the more refined likes of WBA and Bristol City.

Pards looks likely to pick the same team that dominated the Watford game, except that Iwelumo will surely make way for Gray to make his full debut. I've lost track to be honest of whether Sam Sodje remains a Charlton player at this point, but Paddy McCarthy and Madjid Bougherra were solid enough again to continue in defence. Thus I expect us to line up as follows: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Youga, McCarthy, Bougherra, Sam, Zheng, Holland, Ambrose, Gray, Varney. Subs: Randolph, Fortune, Semedo, Iwelumo, McLeod.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 1 (Gray), Stoke 1 (Fuller). Att: 19,211.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Club bemoans actions of 'rogue trader'

Charlton Athletic was reeling last night after its Board was forced to admit the club had sustained massive losses due to the actions of a single rogue trader.

The six transactions in question are believed to have occurred between 7 July and 30 Aug 2006. Once the losses were discovered, the trader was immediately dismissed.

The unnamed rogue trader is alleged to have:

SQUANDERED £500,000 on a 'promising' youngster

WASTED £1,000,000 in wages on an overweight striker

SPLURGED £7,700,000 on three overvalued African investments

Meanwhile, a further £3,000,000 was traced to the Republic of Ireland, although the Board admitted that thankfully some value had been salvaged, after the position had been trimmed.

The rogue trader meanwhile is said to be on the run, with sightings rumoured in Coventry, Oldham and 'somewhere along the M1 motorway.'

Police have warned the public not to approach him (or his transfer targets) as he can be highly dangerous, especially during the current January window.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Email Server Update

With the games coming thick and fast, and with the January transfer window having been open now for three weeks, I was keen once again to get an understanding of what's really going on behind-the-scenes at Charlton. Thus I hacked back into the club's email server, and here's what I found:

Subject: My trousers

This isn't funny. Who's moved my trousers?

I'm supposed to be doing some shopping for my Grandma on the way home from training.

Sent from my Blackberry wireless handheld

Subject: Thursday

Hi Alan

Just to confirm your appointment for this Thursday at 3pm.

Regards, Julian (Colorist)

ps - How did you get on with the 'Silver Fox' tint I applied last time? Did you prefer it to 'White Shark'?

Re: Temporary account reopening

Please temporarily reopen my credit account (A/C No.: 2981AR) which has been suspended since August 2007.

Kind regards, Andy Reid

Subject: New role

Hi Chris

How does 'Official Club President and Roving Ambassador' sound? Has a certain ring to it doesn't it?

Regards, Richard

Subject: Re: Thursday

All set for Thursday.

To be honest, I think I'll go back to 'White Shark', just to be on the safe side. We're on the telly against Watford in a few weeks time, and to be honest the cameras don't do 'Silver Fox' justice.

ps - keep an eye out for the highlights! :-)
pps - don't suppose you've got 'Andy Gray' have you? LOL!

Re: French lessons

Bonjour mes amis!

As Monsieur Pardew has told you, I will be providing French lessons to improve defensive communication. Ooh la la!

Time: Wednesdays, 11.30am
Place: Steve Brown Utility Room, Sparrows Lane.

Subject: Red card appeal

Dear Sirs

I would like to appeal against the red card awarded to me by referee Tony Bates during the home game against Hull City.

In the 72nd minute, I loudly asked the referee if he had a problem with awarding me free-kicks, ending my tirade by asking "I BET YOU DO MISTER BATES!"

Unfortunately, due to the crowd noise, he thought I'd suggested he perhaps indulged in self-stimulation, and promptly issued a red card.

Like any good professional, had I intended to make this suggestion, I would simply have called him a w*nker, which generally warrants no more than a ticking-off in the modern game.

I trust my appeal will receive a fair hearing.

Yours faithfully, Daniel Mills

Subject: FW: French lessons


How do you say 'fancy a shag' in French?

Cheers, JF

Subject: Leicester game

Dear Mr Pardew

With the memory of my last-minute overhead equaliser and all-round outstanding defensive performance still fresh in the memory, were there any aspects of my play that didn't meet your high and demanding standards?

Kind regards

Patrick McCarthy







Subject: Attendance

Dear Monsieur Pardew

Just to let you know that unfortunately, only Monsieur Moutaouakil turned up for my first French lesson yesterday.

However please rest assured that he is making excellent progress, and will be fluent in no time.

Regards, Marie-Claude

ps - Monsieur Fortune seems very friendly.


Lloyds TSB, Bexleyheath
Sort Code: 23-41-98
Account: 09381830

Subject: Search results

Dear Mr Semedo

Unfortunately your search for attractive Portuguese-speaking women aged 18-25 in the Bromley area found no matches.

If you want to find your dream date, try broadening your search. There are currently 198,282 women online and looking for love.

Yours sincerely

Dream Date

Subject: Colchester post-mortem


During our prematch team meeting, when I said that anyone who didn't like playing in my 4-5-1 formation with Big Chris upfront could "go ahead and lump it", I didn't mean it quite so literally. Some of our football was atrocious.


Subject: Directions to The Valley

Kelly, please see link:


See you Saturday, 1.15pm. Welcome home.

Subject: Re: Property search

Dear Mr Gray

I greatly resent the unwarranted tone of your previous email. You may well be able to buy a six-bedroom house on nine acres in Burnley for less than £500,000, but unfortunately this is London.

Do let me know if you want to view the 3-bedroom flat (requiring modernisation) overlooking the Blackwall Tunnel approach. The vendor (Mr McLeod) is keen for a quick sale.

Regards, Tony

Subject: Kelly Youga


What can I say? The lad's undergone a remarkable transformation.

You really must send me the log of the training sessions Kelly is raving about, particularly the ones titled, "Solid Defending," "Passing to a Teammate" and "Getting Forward Where Possible." It really is revolutionary stuff; no wonder Scunthorpe have made such progress under your tutelage.

Good luck for the rest of the season (except 2nd Feb of course!)

Regards, Pards

ps - do you fancy Lloyd Sam for a month?

Subject: Hello!

Hello Sexygirl1984

My name Jose. Me play soccer for good team called Charlton. Me sorry but my English not good but me like your photo.

Me play in midfield central and team best player for 20 games, but Sr. Pardew think Sr. Holland best. But it give me more time to see you perhaps?

Me lonely in Londres - I like to be holding midfield player, but me rather be holding someone like you at night.

My photo is here - I hope you like.


Subject: James Walker, £200k to Southend?

What the hell's going on? I've just seen James Walker driving into the training ground.

Subject: Re: Re: Bid for Andy Gray

Owen, there's a slight problem with the bid.

When I wrote £1,500,000, I really meant to write £1,300,000. It seems there's a problem with my keyboard - whenever I type '3', it comes out as a '5' (IT are looking into it).

ps - thought you were lucky to beat us 5-1 at The Valley!

Subject: Re: Hello!

OMG, u r well fit m8. How much £ do u earn?

Love, Shazza

Subject: FW: Re: Hello!


Maybe you help me? Me not understand her email.




From: 民,应具备
Subject: 性质和职

您是否看了那次應急降落? (Flight BA038) 我不會飛行這些躲躲閃閃的航空公司像英國航 (Beijing).

Subject: FW: FW: Re: Re: Hello!

Why the hell is Jose 'the crab' Semedo on £14,000 per week? You said I was the 2nd highest earner after Reidy.

From: investor-services@legal&
Subject: Target retirement date

Dear Mr Powell

Unfortunately due to recent severe falls in the stock market, your target retirement age is now 43.

Yours sincerely

Investor Services

Subject: Get well soon


I just wanted to send you a quick note to say "Get Well Soon" on behalf of all of us at Charlton Athletic.

Make sure you get plenty of rest, and under no circumstances watch TV replays of the incident. It really was a nasty fall, and seeing it again may have some negative psychological implications for you the next time you play. Just focus on getting better and move on with your life.

All the very best

Madjid Bougherra

Subject: FW: FW: FW: Re: Re: Hello!

Conserve some of your energy, son - I might need you later in the season!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

They might be Giants

The New York Giants take on the Green Bay Packers later this evening in the NFC Championship decider, the winner earning the right to compete in Superbowl XLII in Phoenix on 3 Feb. If they prevail against the odds, the Giants will compete in their first Superbowl since 2001.

I don't care much for American Football. Indeed I have lost count of the times I've sat down, four-pack close at hand, with the honest intention of watching a game from start to finish, only to realise at some point during the 3rd quarter that I've lost the will to live. Whenever a game threatens to become interesting, it seems to descend into a intolerable string of huddles, time-outs and commercial breaks.

However tonight's game is potentially more interesting than most for me, for a few reasons. Firstly and most obviously, there is the local interest although strictly both New York teams play at Giants Stadium, a grim carbuncle firmly in New Jersey. Nonetheless, being in the city when either the Giants or Jets compete in the Superbowl ought to be entertaining if nothing else.

Secondly, there's the weather. The forecast for Green Bay is for the wind chill factor to take 'real feel' temperatures to -8 degrees. Before any Charlton fans remind me that temperatures were doubtless close to -8 degrees at the New Den on that wonderful night in December 1995, I should stress that Green Bay will experience -8 degrees fahrenheit (or -22 degrees celsius!). All that protective gear should keep the players warm at least.

Thirdly, there's the Giants' opponents. Green Bay, Wisconsin has a population of barely 100,000, yet has no problem filling its 73,000-capacity Lambeau Field stadium (outdoors incidentally). Indeed, the Packers warn fans that the waiting list for season tickets is expected to be 30-years, but I saw a documentary recently that suggested expectant fans will literally die waiting such as the low attritition rate.

Moreover, it's difficult not to have a soft spot for the Packers when one learns that they are the only professional sports team in the US which is non-profit and community-owned. One can't claim that Charlton is community-owned (though it is certainly 'community-spirited'), but these days it is firmly non-profit. It is however largely owned by its fans in varying degrees, me included. For these reasons alone, they ought to be the NFL default choice for any Charlton neutral seeking an adopted team. Indeed come to think of it, I might support them tonight myself.

The Giants season record of 10 wins and 6 defeats (including that win at Wembley) does not compare well to the Packers' 13-3 record. Neither meanwhile shapes up compared to the unbeaten New England Patriots who the Giants or Packers are strongly expected to play in a fortnight's time, assuming they overcome the San Diego Chargers.

The Packers quarterback Brett Favre has started every game since September 1992, overcoming abuse of alcohol and painkillers, as well as putting in a heroic performance the day after his father's death, in order to maintain his 253-game consecutive streak, an exceptional and unprecedented record in the most demanding position on the field.

NY Addick predicts: Packers 38, Giants 21. Att: 72, 928.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hornets Nest

It was a bonus to watch this game relatively painlessly on the web, but overall the point gained was disappointing, although not surprising given our lack of killer instinct throughout.

As I suggested, Chris Iwelumo was brought back into the fray, and one wonders if we will see Izale McLeod again in a red shirt this campaign. He would seem perfectly suited to a rest-of-season loan in the lower divisions, and one imagines he won't be short of offers given his record there.

We generally controlled the game in shocking conditions, but virtually all of our best chances fell to Darren Ambrose whose body language screams lack of confidence. His celebrations following his fortuitous equaliser were euphoric, tinged no doubt with relief. He truly is an enigma.

It was pleasing to see our two exciting young full-backs, and whilst neither had an outstanding game, they give teams something new to worry about when going forward. Charlton fans will hope they are happy at the club and in the country, because with a combined fee of £400k, they represent outstanding value.

The other results in the Championship were interesting, and pleasingly there is a hint that the top six might just be pulling away, perhaps removing that primal fear that we could finish below 6th, allowing us to relax and seek 2nd or better.

We are now below Crystal Palace, but let's give credit to Neil Warnock whose miracle-working must have Sheffield United fans furious with their Board. Before we played the Blades in November, I wrote that, "...he is probably a far more accomplished manager than most neutrals give him credit for." Incidentally, I also voted him as my most 'unfairly maligned individual' at the end of last season. Hence Palace's form does not surprise me at least.

Although most Addicks will have seen today's game live or on the box, I will offer here my player ratings, if only because I don't get to do it much these days:

Weaver 6 - had little to do which emphasises our dominance; faultless for the goal

Moutaouakil 6 - tried to get forward wherever possible, albeit without success; what potential though

Youga 6 - got into a great late-first half attacking position; worryingly casual at times

McCarthy 8 - excellent throughout; why has it taken Pards so long to realise what he brings?

Bougherra 7 - not great for their goal, but generally solid; unfairly cited in the Davenport incident

Sam 5 - missed a great first-half chance, and did not test their full-back enough; does he have the hunger to succeed?

Holland 7 - it has taken me a while to fully appreciate what he brings to the team, but drove us on today

Zheng 6 - not his most fulfiling afternoon, but fabulous attitude as always; no wonder China's taking over the world

Ambrose 6 - enigmatic, but let's give him credit for creating the openings in the first place

Varney 6 - took over more channels than Rupert Murdoch; his tireless effort will see him come good for us

Iwelumo 6 - full of heart as always, ableit within his limited talents; Gray will offer more options
Gray 7 - plenty of promise in just a brief cameo; looks a bit like Andy Hunt which is promising

Dickson 7 - sparky livewire and unlucky not to score; has the potential to be a Valley hero given the chance

Fortune - came on with seconds left

Friday, January 18, 2008

Watford preview

Seeing the pictures of the crash-landed jet at Heathrow yesterday was a shock to say the least. The usual descent begins somewhere near The Valley before offering exceptional views along the Thames, and when you've woken bleary-eyed perhaps 40+ times in the past few years on the way home from the US, it's a special way to see London.

However one question has been bugging me, and none of the reports I've read about the incident seem to have answered it. Were the passengers in business and first class allowed to disembark the plane first? And if not, why not? If I'd been lucky enough to be up the front, and from time to time I am, then I'd be elbowing women and children out of the way to launch myself down the chute. I think we should be told.

Anyhow, I brought up that plane because Charlton's direct flight back to the Premiership is in danger of crash landing at Vicarage Road tomorrow. The alternative route, requiring a two-week stopover in 'Play-Offs' is considerably less appealing, and firmly the equivalent of flying economy.

Defeat tomorrow would leave us at least 7 points behind the top two, and possibly 8 if Bristol City win at Palace, which might not sound much but with 18 games left, it requires a considerable differential in form to make up. In the above scenario, if the points-per-game of the leaders was extrapolated to the end of the season, 86 points would be required for automatic promotion, implying Charlton would need 43 points from 18 games, a huge and surely unattainable requirement. Obviously the teams above us might lose form, bringing down the target, but we could find ourselves 7th tomorrow night, and six teams won't all lose form at the same time.

I'd love to be there tomorrow, not least because getting to Watford from where my parents live is even easier than getting to a home game. Memories of Vicarage Road usually involve that infamous walk through the allotments, a little hint of rural England, before arriving at the old away terrace. Unfortunately our recent record there is not great (just one win since 1974) and a midweek 4th Round League Cup defeat (despite Premiership status) in 2001 particularly hurt.

It's unclear to me why we have played 27 games but not yet played Watford, but perhaps it's an opportune time to play them given their current poor form, and yesterday's departure of their much-heralded, but surely hugely overpriced star player. Nonetheless, I continue to be a big fan of Ady Boothroyd, whose record at Watford is exceptionally impressive, particularly in light of the forced sales of the likes of King, and Ashley Young. I was probably not alone in thinking that they might capitulate this season, but recent hiccups aside, it has not been the case.

This week did however see Watford receive some positive news, when injured midfielder Al Bangura was permitted to stay in the UK, rather than be deported back to Sierra Leone where he claimed his life would be in danger. Don't get me wrong, I would always put human rights considerations before the rights of Watford's promotion challengers, but if having one's life put in danger every time they went home was an issue, let's spare a thought for Palace's squad, most of whom are presumably forced to live in the badlands of Streatham or Brixton.

It sounds like we played rather well at WBA during the week, but we still lost and moreover we ended up playing 120 minutes on a heavy pitch, demonstrating precisely why the decision to play an unchanged side was strange to say the least. Nonetheless, it was pleasing to hear the WBA-biased commentators waxing lyrical about Kelly Youga's contribution, once again emphasising to me that you'll never find out how good a young player can be unless you risk him in first-team football. Thank goodness we weren't tempted to let him go on the cheap.

After the 4-1 thumping of Blackpool, Pardew must be tempted to leave things unchanged for the fourth consecutive game, but Watford's physical approach is well-known and strongly argues the case for the return of Chris Iwelumo, not least to counter their obvious height advantage at set-pieces (Henderson, Davenport, Mackay, Jackson etc..). With a fee agreed today for Andy Gray, a reasonable bid for the continually frustrating Izale McLeod ought to be accepted, not least given the obvious promise of Chris Dickson.

Thus, I expect us to line up as follows: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Youga, McCarthy, Bougherra, Ambrose, Holland, Zheng, Sam, Iwelumo, Varney. Subs: Randolph, Fortune, Semedo, Thomas, Dickson.

NY Addick predicts: Watford 2 (Davenport, Henderson), Charlton 2 (Iwelumo, Zheng). Att: 15, 281.

Monday, January 14, 2008

FA Cup preview II

Tuesday's replay at The Hawthorns presents Alan Pardew with an interesting dilemma.

Having seemingly stumbled across a very effective line-up by playing a so-called 'weakened' side in the first tie, does he revert back to a 'weakened' side for the replay (formerly known as his 'strongest' side), or play his new 'strongest' side (formerly known as his 'weakened' side)? It's not for nothing that Pards gets paid the big bucks.

Although the 4th Round Draw has been kind to us, the bookies suggest that whatever team Pards selects, Charlton only have a 35-40% chance of heading to Peterborough in eleven days time. Instinctively this feels about right given WBA's excellent home form and the way they comfortably beat us in December, notwithstanding the likelihood that they too might play an experimental side.

Thus to take risks in a game that we are more likely to lose than win, and in which the upside to winning is capped anyhow (we would still only be 66/1 or so to lift the trophy), seem illogical to me, particularly with the far more important Watford game looming.

We've had our best shot at progressing and we rather blew it, so let's give a young team the freedom to express themselves and we may get a pleasant surprise all the same. It would be nice to progress, but I suspect few Charlton fans will lose any sleep.

The general conclusion after Charlton's demolition of Blackpool was that we were pacy and sparky all over the field, and indeed a team which contains Youga, Moutaouakil, Sam, Varney and McLeod (plus presumably a fit Thomas to replace Ambrose), has much greater menace to it than the rather staid 4-5-1 which preceded it, during home games at least.

The full-back berths have been problematic all season, so it's pleasing that my trumpeting of Moutaouakil's claims, whilst also highlighting the absurdity of Youga's loan have both seemingly not been in vain. With the January transfer window having been left firmly shut so far, at least in Youga's case, we effectively already have a new signing.

If I was Pards, I'd line 'em up as follows: Randolph, Sankofa, Powell, Fortune, McCarthy, Ambrose, Racon, Semedo, Sam, McLeod, Iwelumo. Subs: Weaver, Bougherra, Holland, Varney, Dickson.

NY Addick predicts: WBA 2 (Philips, Gera), Charlton 0. Att: 14, 202.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Blackpool preview

I had intended to write about how Blackpool were the only team with a fruit-related nickname, when it suddenly dawned on me (on the bus incidentally) that Bournemouth were the 'Cherries'. Only fellow bloggers can understand the immense disappointment this caused me.

In my defence however, although it seems the Tangerines do indeed have some company at the greengrocers, I would dare to suggest that even the most minimalist dessert chef wouldn't attempt to claim that pairing some tangerine with cherry constituted a genuine 'fruit salad'.

There are however several nickname subgroups which contain several more constituents, which got me thinking that a Cup competition between the various subgroups might enliven what is rapidly becoming a rather staid and unexciting domestic footballing calendar.

COLOURS eg. Clarets, Reds, Sky Blues
BIRDS eg. Canaries, Robins, Cockerels, Bluebirds, Seagulls, Magpies, Bantams, Swans, Owls, Gulls
INSECTS eg. Bees, Hornets
VOCATIONS eg. Cobblers, Glaziers, Railwaymen, Rangers, Saddlers, Glovers, Potters
FOOD eg. Toffees, Biscuitmen
WILD ANIMALS eg. Tigers, Foxes, Wolves, Lions, Stags
FISH-RELATED eg. Shrimpers, Gills, Haddocks
HISTORICAL RELIGIOUS FIGURES eg. Pilgrims, Saints, Quakers
TOOLS AND UTENSILS eg. Hammers, Blades
DOMESTIC PETS eg. Terriers, Black Cats
CRIMINALS eg. Exiles, Villains, Pirates
SEXUAL DEVIANTS eg. Cottagers, Red Devils

I'm yet to iron out the exact rules of competition, and have not decided what to do with those teams in a subgroup of their own like, you've guessed it.....Iron (Scunthorpe). Perhaps they could join other lonely teams like the Latics, Spirites, Tractor Boys and Pompey into a catch-all 'Randoms' team, which surely most neutrals would latch onto.

The Birds and the Vocations would seemingly began as strong favourites, although I suspect most fans would be keen to avoid a tricky away trip to either the 'Historical Religious Figures' or the 'Domestic Pets'. It is also notable that 'Tools and Utensils' sounds rather like 'Rushden and Diamonds' or 'Dagenham and Redbridge'.

The competition could bring together fans of teams that are naturally rivals (eg. Swans and Bluebirds), whilst perhaps encouraging those who have previously not shown much interest in the game to take a fresh look eg. ornithologists. It also offers an ideal opportunity for West Ham and Sheffield United to bury their differences from last season.

Anyhow, I'm straying slightly off-topic because tomorrow's game is undoubtedly a vital one for Charlton, and yet another chance to put right our highly inconsistent home form. On the six occasions where we've scored the first goal at home, we've accumulated an impressive 14 points which probably tells you that there's a negative feedback loop at The Valley that needs to be broken. We shouldn't be falling behind 7 times in 13 home games, almost always in the first half (QPR the only exception).

The experimental line-up for last weekend's FA Cup tie appears to have given an early indication that an addition of pace at full-back and upfront, might just add the spark which a formation centred around a solitary Iwelumo (with support from central midfield) appears to be lacking. With all due respect to Chris Powell for example, not only does the future of the club ike at the feet of Youga, Moutaouakil, Basey et al, but so too does the present.

I hope Pards doesn't revert back to type; he complained about the flatness of the crowd, but as I argued earlier this week, it works both ways. The fans will respond to attacking endeavour and a commitment to playing without fear, and if that can breed the confidence to break the aforementioned vicious home circle, then we have the ability to secure automatic promotion still.

I hope he lines them up as follows: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Youga, Bougherra, Fortune, Sam, Zheng, Holland, Thomas, Varney, Iwelumo. Subs: Randolph, Basey, McCarthy, Ambrose, McLeod.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 2 (Varney, Zheng), Blackpool 0. Att: 20, 112.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Final Season

When the global asset price bubble began to unravel so abruptly last summer, I was reminded of an interesting analysis I had read just a few months earlier.

The analysis postulated that the frenzied price rises witnessed (in property, equities, fine art etc..) must lead surely to just one of two possible conclusions. Either they were justified by fundamentals (low global interest rates, strong economic growth, central bank competence etc..), and thus were not a bubble at all.

Or much more worryingly the scale of the madness, and the implications of its breakdown, was so great that it would surely be the final bubble, since the social and economic implications thereof would be so catastrophic as to signal the end of civilisation as we once knew it. The happy scenarios he painted included nuclear war, social instability, hyperinflation, famine etc..

The implications for those who chose to save the old-fashioned way, to avoid the overhyped US or UK property markets like the plague, or to conclude that the mania to own football clubs might be indicative of the same phenomenon, were that you were acting irrationally because you could ultimately only be proved right intellectually, not financially.

The rational person therefore joined the party and danced the night away, levering up every asset they could get hold of (courtesy of the ever-accommodating banks), aware that they were either right, or if not would simply drown with everyone else anyhow.

It's too early to conclude whether the world has successfully skirted a middle ground between the two alternatives. I regularly remind myself that whilst the bad news will most likely emanate at a glacial pace, the events of the next few years will be condensed into just one chapter in tomorrow's history books. This all leads me naturally on to Sam Allardyce.

Big Sam today became the eighth Premiership manager to be sacked this season, a ridiculous statistic. Why did I begin a post about managerial sackings by launching into a tirade about 'the great unwind'? Because football owners are acting as if season 2007/08 is likely to be the final season, as opposed to merely the precursor to season 2008/9....and 2009/10....and 2010/11.

Whilst the knife is still dripping their outgoing manager's blood, it would be helpful to learn exactly what club directors expect to achieve via these types of decisions, and more importantly what were the expectations they initially had which presumably weren't met. Was it promotion or a trophy? Or multiple promotions? Perhaps increased attendances? Either way, I suspect an expectation was not, "...avoid a brief run of disappointing results at all costs."

With specific regard to the panic-stricken mini-League at the bottom of the Premiership (think Derby and Fulham), the bookmakers got their relegation odds right from the outset.....they were expected to be down there. And moreover, not only might their original manager have kept them up anyhow, they may have been better off with him post-relegation, than they will be with his replacement. I tried to make this point from time to time about Iain Dowie last season, albeit with limited success.

It seems sackings can be put into two broad categories. Firstly there are those which appear brutal at first sight, but which are merely the correction of an obviously suboptimal appointment in the first place. It would appear that Chris Hutchings and Sammy Lee would join Les Reed in this category (interestingly all were former assistants to their former boss).

The second category might only be described as the 'nonsensical' one, in the absence at least of any material and damning information to which fans and observers are not privy. What, it would seem reasonable to ask, did the board of Newcastle United expect Allardyce to have achieved by January 9th 2008? Why, more pertinently, are they acting as if this is the final season, as if all those that follow are of no consequence?

A board cannot by definintion, have complete certainty that they have the best available and affordable man at the helm. However, so long as reasonable confidence can be garnered that they have appointed a person of competence (and Allardyce's track record suggested they certainly had) then the most sensible course of action is surely to give them the one thing they want more than any other.....time.

A club like Newcastle, whose dysfunctional nature increasingly appears structural rather than temporary, was surely crying out for someone with both competence and a suitably large ego (at least larger than Glenn Roeder's). Someone who could shake up the coaching staff, redevelop the Academy, and perhaps most importantly build a squad of players that responded to his methods, rather than merely the one he largely inherited. The creation of the transfer windows has ironically slowed down the ability to achieve the last goal, at precisely the time that it seems club boards have speeded up the distribution of the P45. It doesn't make any sense.

As someone who loves Charlton, but more generally would like to see football brought a little closer to the 'real world', it would be reassuring if managers would get sacked more often for reasons other than merely recent results. I suppose Jose Mourinho would fall into this category, as would Rafa Benitez if he gets the rumoured chop.

It would be an implicit signal from the board to the fans that whilst short-term results are satisfactory, the prosperous medium and long-term future of the club is not guaranteed. In short, they would cease to act as if it's the final season. Perhaps I should instead view Iain Dowie's sacking by Charlton in this way, despite his last few results having been a marked improvement on what came before.

When Allardyce arrived at Newcastle, it was a significant coup because, like Alan Curbishley at Charlton, he could have continued to earn his living at Bolton, well-aware that a unilateral sacking was a virtual impossibility given what he had achieved there. Bolton's style of football was much-maligned, but his achievements are worthy of recounting since it is fair to say that they were a team that Charlton could have emulated given similar resources, but ultimately fell significantly behind.

After steering Bolton to a play-off defeat to Ipswich in 1999/2000, Allardyce secured promotion in 2000/01, just a year after Charlton too had returned to the top flight. In the subsequent years, they secured shaky finishes of 16th and 17th, before embarking on the consistent run which saw them achieve final positions of 8th, 6th, 8th and 7th. Unlike Charlton, they also managed to reach a League Cup final, losing to 'Boro in 2004.

I'm willing to conclude that their success was not merely down to good fortune. Allardyce's ability and willingness to create his very own version of the 'United Nations', whilst not overlooking the more traditional English talents of Kevin Nolan, Kevin Davies et al, appears to be straightforward, yet no other club has managed it for so long, with the same limited resources. Moreover, their form after Allardyce's departure has clearly fallen sharply. His latter-day appraoch was very much the antithesis of Curbishley's preference for honest pros, who had spent at least part of their career at another British club.

Every time pundits told him he'd gone a step too far (Diouf, Okocha, Djorkaeff, Campo, Anelka etc..), he consistently proved them wrong. And if any Newcastle fans claim that they would not want success playing in that style, then I'm willing to wager they're talking out of their not inconsiderable backsides.

An opportunistic club will recruit Sam Allardyce (perhaps by jettisoning a perfectly capable incubment!), whilst Newcastle will doubtless continue on their 52-year quest for another trophy. However this managerial madness presents opportunities for the enlightened club who can firstly identify real talent, secondly define reasonable and achievable goals, and finally guarantee the patience required along the way.

This fairly straightforward approach, served Charlton well under Curbs for 15 years from 1991, although initially it was one forced upon us by a dire financial situation. Likewise, the oft-underestimated success delivered by Lennie Lawrence was achieved in the context of near-bankruptcy and ground-sharing. It's not for nothing that I believe leaving The Valley in 1985 was the best thing that happened to Charlton. Being too risk-averse to dare consider sacking two such competent managers was one partly fortunate outcome.

A quick review of the ten longest-serving managers in the Football League suggests that a combination of ability and patience is a surprisingly intoxicating one:

Dario Gradi (Crewe) - 24 years
Alex Ferguson (Man Utd) - 21 years
Graham Turner (Hereford) - 12 years
Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) - 11 years
John Coleman (Accrington Stanley) - 8 years
David Moyes (Everton) - 6 years
Martin Ling (Orient) - 4 years
Steve Coppell (Reading) - 4 years
Steve Tilson (Southend) - 4 years
Paul Fairclough (Barnet) - 4 years

Other than pinching yourself that the 7th longest serving manager amongst the 92 clubs was only appointed in October 2003, what else strikes you about the clubs they represent? Would it be reasonable to conclude that their fans are satisfied with their achievements under their current gaffer's tutelage? And would it be reasonable to assume that each has suffered temporary losses of form that caused their fans some angst at the time?

The obvious point that I've so far failed to mention concerns the ability for bigger or richer clubs to wave a fat wad of cash at your highly-regarded manager, thus damaging the very foundations that he has been patiently allowed to build. I am too cynical to suggest a tide might be turning, but it would be reassuring to think that in a pensive moment, the likes of Allardyce, Billy Davies or Lawrie Sanchez might regret the day not so long ago when they quit a job where they were much-admired, to follow the filthy lucre.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


In an exchange of emails over the weekend, Chicago Addick pointed out that there appears to be an unfortunate rise in bickering amongst Charlton fans, whether in the stands, or on the message boards and blogs.

As a result, on Jan 2nd, he issued a 'cry for togetherness'. Now, I won't go that far (not least because leadership qualities are not really my strong point), but it seems a reasonable juncture at which to assess our current support, especially in light of Alan Pardew's own comments on Saturday aimed squarely at our quieter fans:

"...if we're going to get promoted we need their support. I need to hear that drum in the corner. At the moment it's a bit flat here."

Although it's difficult not to do so, I try hard not to differentiate between 'good Charlton fans' and bad ones. Everyone has their own reasons for turning up and paying good money for football at The Valley; personally I was effectively brainwashed as a young child, and thus view my support (and often related irrational behaviour) as essentially an involuntary reflex.

Others however may simply have come across Charlton in recent years, or even perhaps football in general; as we well know, The Valley is a very agreeable place in which to embark on that voyage of discovery, and very welcome they are too.

Given that the club's marketing policy since 5 Dec 1992 (pictured) has centred upon emphasising the very family atmosphere to which they are so attracted, it would be a little disingenuous to feel any differently about our newer fans. We simply could not have achieved the success (which in a relative sense, certainly continues today) without them, and the additional stability they engendered.

However, at the same time we need to recognise that their incentives for attendance may be vastly different from those of us who have been going along for decades. More importantly, your benchmark for success is going to be a lot different if (like me) you recall seeing Charlton in the third-tier of English football. For some of our fans, this season has been their first experience of football outside the top tier. It's no wonder some of them feel a bit miffed.

My Burnley-supporting pal in New York yesterday suggested to me that QPR were inherently a bigger club than Charlton, regardless of any recent financial boost. I responded that he was wrong, and then helpfully pointed out why he was wrong: his base of football knowledge was developed in the mid-1970s, around the time when QPR's form peaked, once finishing 2nd to Liverpool (in 1975/76).

The 1970s were a fleetingly good time to be a Rangers fan for sure, but probably not very meaningful as an indicator of their relative glamour today. Likewise I tend to irrationally view the likes of Bristol City and Brighton as bigger clubs than they truly are because I began my own footballing journey just a few years later. If one views those moaning Charlton fans in this type of context, then one might begin to have more sympathy with their frustration.

It's also worth noting that a separate subgroup of these newer fans may not even care much whether Charlton win or lose at all (shock horror). The Saturday routine that I was brought up upon is a very enjoyable one with plenty of attractive attributes, allowing some quality time with family whilst watching some live sport (in a friendly stadium), being perhaps the most obvious. I've little doubt that the passion on display at the New Den for example is greater , but just stop and compare the relative League positions.

You don't have to risk ruining the rest of your weekend (as I certainly do) by ultimately being that bothered if your adopted team is victorious. Unless we're planning to turn The Valley into some sort of exclusive membership club (admission given on proof of attendance at the 5-1 defeat at home to Rotherham in 1982), then there isn't much we can do. Then again, I would qualify for the club so perhaps it's worth considering.

I have never booed at Charlton matches, never stood up and berated the referee, nor frantically tried to draw the linesman's attention to a possible offside (the alcohol ban assists in this regard). I don't run for trains, drive fast or speak on my mobile phone in public (you get the picture). Not surprisingly, my fairly introspective nature does not lend itself to cheering or singing very much either, but I would take great offence if how much I cared about the club was brought into question (though don't expect me to Stand Up If I Love Charlton). In short, I like to free ride upon the atmosphere created by others.

For some reason this type of obsession with showing passion (rather than merely feeling it) is unique to football. I don't recall attending a live gig for example, and having fellow fans of the band scold me for quietly sipping a pint and tapping my feet, rather than joining them in the mosh pit. The battle for free expression was a hard-fought one, I don't think The Valley is the place to re-enact it.

And sadly as much as Pards may wish to think otherwise, whilst there may be a correlation between booing fans and poor results (although the causation is doubtless two-way), there is no discernable correlation between quiet fans and poor results (witness Sir Alex Ferguson's complaints about the atmosphere at Old Trafford). If you don't believe this, you'll have to go some way to explaining Newcastle's perennial underachievement.

As for those that do boo the team, the chances are they are the sort of people who take that same positive and laid-back attitude into other areas of their life. You know the sort of people whose heart rate rockets when the traffic lights change against them? He's probably sat behind you in the East Stand.

More curiously, during my decades as a philosophical football supporter, I've concluded that often it's not so much the booing per se that is an annoyance, but the fact that these fans tend to boo at the wrong moments.

My favourite (and adaptable) example is as follows. How many times in recent seasons have Charlton scored when a player has attempted to shoot during open play from 25 yards or more? The answer instinctively is 'not very many times', and a quick review of our stats for this season would suggest perhaps only Danny Mills' deflected equaliser versus Plymouth, and Matt Holland's opener against Cardiff might qualify. Last season, perhaps only Talal el Karkouri's goal against Sheffield United.

This phenomenon is true of all teams of course, not merely Charlton; the stunning entrants in the MoTD Goal of the Month competition are memorable precisely because they're so rare. I don't care what goalkeepers say about the movement from the new footballs; they're always willing players to shoot from distance, because they hate conceding goals.

Meanwhile, how many times are goals scored when a Charlton player has possession in a similar position, but rather than taking on the potential shot, chooses to pass/run/cross* (*delete as appropriate)? Unfortunately I clearly don't have a specific answer, but by definition the answer must be 'very many indeed.'

You get the picture. Yet, whenever a Charlton player attempts a shot from 25-yards which narrowly misses, why do the crowd give a collective whoop (understandable because it's instinctive) but then inexplicably follow it with a warm round of applause? Meanwhile those same fans would doubtless rain abuse upon say, the oft-booed Darren Ambrose if he attempted to execute a delicate through ball from 25-yards out which was intercepted? Perhaps they also wonder why Arsenal's players shoot so rarely despite seemingly having ample opportunities to do so?

Thus, whilst accepting that footballers are not very bright, they are however somewhat rational, and are presumably happier being cheered rather than jeered, and will thus play with this in mind. If the boo-boys want to continuing booing whilst simultaneously helping our chances, it would be beneficial if they would learn to stop booing at the wrong times. I can only hope that Pards and his coaching staff can spot the paradox.

If promotion is not achieved this season, and if the club chooses not to re-offer its free Premiership season tickets (though I suspect it will), then it is reasonable to assume that our attendances will drop off markedly next season. If those that yearn for the good old days think that (more passionate but smaller) home attendances will be beneficial to our chances, I think that they ought to be careful what they wish for.

Friday, January 04, 2008

FA Cup preview

"We are one people, and our time for change has come."

I never previously knew that Barack Obama was a Charlton fan (although I always found it curious that his campaign colours were red and white), but sometimes it takes a famously eloquent orator like the next President to stand up for Charlton fans everywhere, and declare his hopes for Alan Pardew's team selection on Saturday.

Frankie Valley stole my thunder this morning by declaring, "...I can't remember the last time I felt so disinterested in a game of footy." It's not that the FA Cup has entirely lost its romance (although the flowers are certainly wilting), but we are in the midst of a faltering promotion campaign, quite literally pleading for a break from the monotony, and who do the old farts at the FA pitch us up against? West bleedin' Bromwich Albion.

I've been known to a take a day off sick with 'Cup Fever' before Third Round weekend, but I soldiered into the office on this occasion. Indeed, I can easily reel off the winners and runners-up of all the FA Cups from 1977 until the late-1990s, but then I begin to struggle and honestly off the top of my head can't recall who won it in 2007 (Chelsea maybe? Or was it Arsenal? Who cares?).

Although the television companies have been slow to pick up on it, FA Cup ties between teams from the same division are not interesting (at least in the earlier rounds). Infact they're dull beyond belief, not necessarily the game itself which might turn out to be moderately entertaining, but the fact that no possible result tomorrow could conceivably be considered a surprise, even a Charlton win. And that's just not what Cup football is meant to be about, and the disappointing attendance will prove it.

Luckily under the likes of Curbs (and even poor old Les Reed), we certainly had our fair share of surprises, just not very pleasant ones. We would all gamely turn up at The Valley (in whatever the opposite of droves is), expecting to turn over some poor virtually part-time side (before offering them a warm standing ovation).

And then before we knew it one of our defenders had trod on the ball or something similar, and their thousands of unbelieving fans would suddenly become roused, temporarily forgetting the dire state of their home lives, and will their team onto a famous victory. They got their lap of honour alright, unfortunately it was a victory one.

I suppose given the choice, I'd rather us win tomorrow than lose (and I would loathe for us to draw), and in a way it might give us some bragging rights over the Baggies for the remainder of the campaign (although I'd rather have points than rights at this stage of the season).

Pards surely won't dare to not make the changes demanded by Senator Obama; hell, even Chris Iwelumo might get the rest which it seemed only a Holy Grail-esque amputation would ensure him:

Pards: "You are indeed brave Big Chris, but the fight is mine."
Big Chris: "Oh, had enough eh?"
Pards: "Look you stupid b*stard, you've got no arms left."
Big Chris: "Yes I have"
Pards: "Look!"
Big Chris: "Just a flesh wound."
Pards: "Ok, you'll start again on Saturday."

I hope we line up as follows: Randolph, Moutaouakil, Bougherra, McCarthy, Youga, Sam, Zheng, Racon, Thomas, Varney, Dickson. Subs: Weaver, Sankofa, McLeod, Semedo, Ambrose.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 2 (Dickson, Zheng), WBA 2 (Gera, Philips). Att: 10, 280.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


(not Charlton related)

The US Presidential race begins in earnest this evening with the Iowa caucus. The intricacies of this arcane system would take a lifetime to understand, but in short the votes of perhaps just 10% of the Iowa electorate (Pop: 2.9million) will go a considerable way to determining the respective party candidates for the Presidential nomination.

The Republican process this evening is a fairly straightforward secret ballot, but the Democratic process is a far more colourful and vocal affair. Voters will attend their local public gathering where they will literally stand in a designated area, in order to demonstrate their support for a particular candidate.

So long as a candidate has exceeded an initial 'viability threshold' (15-25% of initial votes cast), they will qualify for a final run-off during which supporters of the 'inviable' candidates will be encouraged to 'realign' with the 'viable' candidates.

It is this 'realignment' process that is perhaps the most curious, since the supporters of the 'viable' candidates must attempt to persuade (often very voiciferously) their undecided voters how to 'align', perhaps with tempting offers of home-baked cookies. Not surprisingly perhaps, a voting turnout of only 10% or so is expected since few have the time or the inclination to indulge in such political frivolities.

However, the importance of tonight's vote is not in doubt (and nor is New Hampshire's on Jan 8th). A successful (and more importantly perhaps a 'surprisingly' successful) result for a candidate can give him or her considerable momentum, and build belief amongst tempted voters in other states that they can build a campaign with real potential for nomination. Likewise, disappointing results often lead to drop-outs from the race, with even well-funded candidates lacking the stamina for the exhausting months ahead.

The last Democratic Iowa caucus in 2004 was best known for the bizarre 'Howard Dean Scream' during a speech Dean gave as he tried to rally his disappointed supporters (following a surprise 3rd place finish in the state). The media and bloggers ensured that the scream was heard around the globe, and within weeks Dean's previously encouraging early campaign was over.

The results of tonight's vote will be more meaningful for the Democrats than the Republicans, because whilst the leading Democrats in national polls are also the leaders in Iowa (Obama, Clinton, Edwards), key Republican candidates Giuliani and McCain have largely focused their energies elsewhere.

The Democratic polls in Iowa have seen strong momentum in recent weeks for Barack Obama, profiting from rare cracks in Hilary Clinton's uber-professional campaign. Obama has preached his message of 'hope' (or at least 'change'), against Clinton's message of 'experience'. Being married to one of the country's most popular post-War Presidents hasn't harmed her cause either. Meanwhile John Edwards (Kerry's unsuccessful running mate in 2004), has pitched himself as the 'angry' candidate, railing about the Iraq War, inequality and health care.

The Republican race in Iowa at least is a straight two-way contest between Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. The former is a popular Baptist minister for whom it is near-impossible to find any media article that does not describe him as 'folksy' (he can play the guitar). Romney meanwhile is a slick self-made multi-millionaire who is well-aware that his biggest challenge will be to persuade the electorate that they can vote a Mormon into the White House.

NY Addick predicts: Obama (Democrat), Huckabee (Republican). Turnout: 11.2%