Friday, December 04, 2009

Southend preview

After a manic week of moving and organising following my return to the UK, I'm looking forward to my third Valley fixture of the season at home to Southend.

The missing preview of the Brighton game was not a reflection (yet) of my intention to give up blogging, but the rare fact that I'd completely forgotten we were playing until nine minutes before kick-off.

Despite the horrific weather, I'm generally pleased to be home although so far it's been the small things that I've enjoyed.

The ability to use dry humour with people you hardly know, and not to be met with a blank stare has been refreshing.

Our supermarkets are terrific too compared to the cramped surroundings of Manhattan, where you are required to perform a three point turn with your trolley before you're permitted to shop.

Disappointingly I've discovered that Marlon King is one of my new neighbours, or at least will be once he's released from prison. If he fancies completing his sentence with some community service, we've plenty of shelves that need putting up.

I've also been poring over car magazines given our need for at least one, if not two sets of wheels. For nearly six years in New York, I didn't need to know my torque from my brake horsepower.

Frustratingly, having finally reached the age where I can afford to both drive and insure a Volkswagen Golf GTi, the wife has informed me we need to be practical implying a car with a large boot.

As good-looking as many are these days, this could well mean an estate car, the internationally-recognised symbol for having completely given up.

Anyhow, for the timebeing I'm renting a 1.2 litre Vauxhall Corsa which has all of the street cred of a knitted jumper. Hence I'll probably take the train to The Valley incase I'm spotted driving (slowly) past anyone I know.

Speaking of acceleration, the Addicks appear to have powered themselves out of a mini spell of poor form, accumulating 10 points from 12, and scoring 13 goals in the process.

Loan signings have served their purpose this time, providing cover for injuries rather than representing a full scale rejection of the existing squad as in the prior two seasons.

Phil Parkinson does not appear to pander to any individual member of the squad which is encouraging, being willing for example to drop the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Therry Racon. Competition for places is healthy, and Scott Wagstaff for example appears to have grabbed his chance.

Tomorrow's opponents Southend are firmly in midtable, not troubling the play-offs nor troubled by the relegation battle.

As a club this is likely to be the most realistic medium-term scenario for them, limited by their tired stadium and competition for support with West Ham, many of whose supporters have decamped up the A13 to the Essex coast.

The club's heyday was undoubtedly the 1990s, when they spent several seasons in the League's second tier albeit without ever threatening a play-off place.

There then followed a sharp reality check from 1996-1998, the team finishing bottom in two consecutive seasons with just 19 wins from 92 matches.

However the appointment of locally-born Steve Tilson in 2003 saw their fortunes improve, securing two promotions under his tutelage, albeit only lasting a single 2006/7 season back in the Championship.

They finished 6th in League One the following season, losing to eventual play-off winners Doncaster over two legs. Last season they managed a creditable 8th position, again emphasising the stability that Steve Tilson has brought.

It is good to see a club's Board recognise the reality of their situation, and reward their able honest manager. Only Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, David Moyes and John Coleman (Accrington) can claim greater longevity at one club.

Some of Charlton's most popular recent players have also spent time at Roots Hall, most notably captain Nicky Bailey, but also the likes of Chris Powell.

The Shrimpers' squad meanwhile includes the likes of James Walker and Osei Sankofa, the latter who experienced Premiership football at Charlton. League One was always his most likely long-term level.

The two clubs were regular opponents in the early-to-mid 1990s, the Addicks memorably winning 4-3 in April 1994, on the day the East Stand was officially opened. Alan Pardew scored the final two Charlton goals.

Fans will have less fond memories of a miserable midweek reverse two seasons later, when the promotion-chasing Addicks were turned over 3-0, the aforementioned Tilson popping up with a goal.

By way of a good omen for a Charlton side already full of confidence, they performed the double the last time the teams met in 1996/97, winning 2-0 on both occasions.

Despite their midtable position, Southend boast 12-goal striker Lee Barnard, whose tally is bettered only by Southampton's Rickie Lambert.

However despite his heroics, his side have triumphed only twice on the road this season, at Stockport and Brighton. Their last three away games have ended in defeat.

Parkinson will be forced into at least one change, with Matt Spring the most obvious replacement for Jose Semedo as the holding midfielder.

A more adventurous line up would see either Shelvey or Racon partner Bailey in midfield, with the former Southend player-of-the-year asked to be the more defensively-minded of the pair. Wagstaff will presumably keep his place on the left in a 4-4-2.

I expect we will be lined up as follows: Elliot, Omozusi, Basey, Dailly, Sodje S., Bailey, Racon, Wagstaff, Sam, Burton, Mooney. Subs: Randolph, Llera, Spring, Shelvey, Sodje A., McLeod, Tuna.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 3 (Burton, Bailey, Sodje A.), Southend 1 (Barnard). Att: 17,019.

9 Comments:

At 2:47 AM, Blogger Philip said...

Hey Brad, I'm trying to recall a single instance of your dry humor....

Tiger Woods should trade in his smashed SUV for an estate car.

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger Ketts said...

Welcome home NYA. I understand from a young lad up the road that a Corsa is are very hip & trendy. Forget the train, burn some rubber dude!

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger Dave said...

NYA - Time to sort that clock out! Football at the Valley on a Saturday? Must be good to be home....

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger charlton north-downs said...

Welcome home NYA-Might see at the Valley this afternoon. By the way my wife drives a Corsa 1.2. You are obviously not aware but since you've been away the Corsa has become the equivalent of the Golf GTI for street cred.

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Marco. said...

I agree with CND.
Your Corsa is 'da bomb'
All you need to do is buy a steering wheel the size of a cardigan button, low profile tyres, a strange neon blue light that shines underneath your vehicle, a new exhaust system that flouts all noise reducing laws, have a music system in the boot that's worth more than the car, bucket seats with a racing driver harness and tinted glass so dark that you could carry a naked Playboy bunny to work without attracting attention.

At that point, you will be down wid da kids who seem to park outside my place with alarming regularity to shout at each other, with the doors open and music playing while eating fast food.
Grrrrr.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger StoneMuse said...

Welcome home NYA

 
At 11:36 AM, Anonymous SLC Red said...

Great to see you back. I've travelled 5000 miles for this one and currently the sodding train is late. Better be a good one and I'm expecting a goal fest from the lads. Last time Southampton (2), Norwich (4), Wolves (3?- I was out it and I know we lost), Ipswich (3). Hopefully, I'm a talisman. C'mon you Reds!

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Good idea Marco, but I'm not sure how Hertz would feel about it.

 
At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Miss Kish said...

Vauxhall Corsa, street cred, the two don't add up, I should know. Alfa GT the only way to go! Remind me I said that when it needs reparing.

You have obviously come back for the weather. Welcome back!

 

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