Saturday, February 20, 2010

New York Addick: A Public Statement

New York Addick would like to make the following public statement:

"Good morning and thank you for joining me. Many of you reading this blog are my friends. Many of you reading this blog know me.

Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for the irresponsible and selfish behaviour I engaged in.

I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife, and to my children. And while I have always tried to be a private person, there are some things I want to say.

As I was getting dressed on Tuesday morning, my wife asked me if I would empty the dishwasher before I left.

I told her I didn't have time because I needed to catch an earlier train than usual due to an 8.30am meeting.

There was no meeting. Instead at 8.30am I was up in town, enjoying a relaxing coffee and reading the newspaper.

My wife and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behavior. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.

As she pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words; it will come from my behavior over time. I will need to empty the dishwasher on a regular and consistent basis to earn back her trust.

I have a lot to atone for, but there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that my wife somehow hurt or attacked me on that Tuesday night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that.

She never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever.

Admittedly she did throw a clean plate from the (unemptied) dishwasher at me, but fortunately it narrowly missed.

She has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. She deserves praise, not blame.

I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me.

I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation and my sponsors, Hotpoint.

I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to.

I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to living five minutes walk from the train station, I didn't have to go far to find them.

Finally, there are many people in this room, and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.

Thank you."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Deja Vu

"It's like deja vu all over again." (Yogi Berra)

The 2009/10 season is starting to feel an awful lot like 2007/8 (and not in a good way).

Just like in 2009/10, we had just experienced a painful relegation but the incumbent manager was generally not blamed for that outcome, and thus remained popular.

Just like in 2009/10, the manager had taken over midway through the prior relegation season and was initially forced to merely stabilise affairs, let alone push on.

Just like in 2009/10, the manager inherited a squad which included a number of expensive flops signed by the previous manager.

Just like in 2009/10, the manager was forced to offload valuable or highly-paid squad members to balance the books.

Just like in 2009/10, the season in the unfamiliar lowly division had begun very promisingly with Charlton occupying a top two spot.

Just like in 2009/10, so-called pundits prematurely declared Charlton were 'too good for the division'.

Just like in 2009/10, the other team occupying the aforementioned top two spot (Watford) began to lose form at exactly the same time as Charlton.

Just like in 2009/10, Charlton put together a four match winning run beginning in November.

Just like in 2009/10, Charlton then only won 2 of the following 9 matches.

Just like in 2009/10, the team lacked a striker who could consistently find the net, but had a midfielder who chipped in with vital goals (Zheng).

Just like in 2009/10, the team had a talented talisman that the manager could not seem to get the best out of (Ambrose), because his best position was 'in the hole' constraining his options.

Just like in 2009/10, the manager responded to gaps in his squad by relying on loan signings. Whilst some earlier loans were generally positive additions (eg. Mills, Sodje), later ones unbalanced the squad and added little (eg. Cook, Sinclair).

In 2007/8, the team finished 11th. Where will we finish in 2009/10?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Absent Fathers

I haven't quite given up on this blog, but two weeks without a post might well just be a record for me.

Blogging now that I'm ensconced back in the UK has however felt a little weird. I think the Atlantic provided an oceanic barrier which made things feel more impersonal when I wrote them (in a good way).

Ironically a ten day trip back across the pond was the main reason for my absence, containing the type of frantic schedule that saw me sleep in six different beds (and it wasn't due to my pulling prowess unfortunately).

Speaking of bedhopping, the papers on my return were full of the John Terry story, or as the geniuses at Private Eye have already coined him, World Cup Willy.

Given that most Premiership footballers probably think Morals is a fashionable nightclub, his exploits are hardly a big surprise.

The majority of observers are saying he 'crossed the line', but then most men don't have a best mate with a stunning French girlfriend who models underwear.

Indeed until my own unmarried best mate does acquire such a squeeze, I want him to know from the very bottom of my heart that it's very much "hands off" from my perspective for now. Friends will be friends and all that.

I enjoyed my brief time in New York, and pleasingly I didn't feel any great pangs of regret about our move back. Admittedly the weather was perishingly cold though.

Charlton played three home games whilst I was away, and only secured four points. It thus seems the flat performances I observed at Brentford and Wycombe, offered a reasonable representation of where the team is at right now.

Slow and ponderous upfront, and as unbalanced as ever on the left side of midfield, it will surely take more than mere spirit to catapult us into a promotion spot now.

We are clearly not having a bad season, but when one throws in the three disappointing Cup exits, it is at best merely satisfactory in my view.

The incredible results that Norwich are accumulating seem to have sucked the life out of us. Wins with ten men here, followed by a fighting comeback there.

After six matches Charlton had 18 points, whilst the Canaries only had 8. Thus in the space of just 23 matches, they have managed to generate fully 17 more points than we have.

Disappointingly it is arguably against Norwich that we should most reasonably be benchmarking ourselves.

Similarly financially afflicted and newly relegated to an unfamiliar League One status, it is not clear why Paul Lambert has managed to inspire such an exceptional turnaround.

Unlike Phil Parkinson moreover, he did not have half a season to bed himself in.

Thus rather than seek an explanation for Norwich's form, perhaps we should ask why Charlton have not managed to put together the same run of form over such a long period? We've threatened to more than once, but momentum was quickly lost.

I set Parkinson high standards because the quality of virtually every team in League One is poor, and materially worse than the Championship from whence we came.

Indeed whilst our finances may be stretched by recent standards, almost half the division has average attendances that would fit snugly merely inside the Valley's East Stand.

What would these types of clubs give to have the no doubt well-remunerated likes of Burton, Dailly, Bailey, McKenzie or Racon on their payrolls? Just look at tonight's pathetic attendance for further evidence.

Another draw then makes it just 2 wins from 8, the second time this season we have put together a similarly disappointing octet of results. The last occurred straight after those opening six wins incidentally.

We're still on course for 89 points which is the single most damning statistic to rebut my thesis. I'm minded to think that recent performances tell the truer story, though time will tell.

How much of Charlton I'll be seeing during this time is a matter of some doubt however.

I've been surprised at how uninspired I've been by the thought of going to watch the team, now playing 45 miles away rather than 3,500.

I put it down to a few factors, not least fatherhood but others too. Perhaps six years of being unable to attend regularly, makes one realise that it's actually something that can be lived without surprisingly easily.

Even the most loyal non-plastic Addick must acknowledge meanwhile that League One football is such a 'non event'. Championship football wasn't much better.

At least in the Premiership, thanks to media ubiquity, you knew something about virtually every player we faced.

This knowledge provided an angle or edge which made each fixture uniquely enjoyable, even against the less glamorous clubs.

But in League One, aside from the extra passion engendered by the fixtures against Leeds, Norwich and perhaps Millwall, each set of eleven cloggers just merges into the previous one. The only thing that changes is the colour of their shirts.

Either way, when previously I'd eagerly listen to 90-minute radio commentary when I wasn't actually at the game, now I'm comfortable just following via occasional Blackberry visits to the BBC 'videprinter'.

Time is the one thing I'd love to have more of in my life, so the six hour door-to-door trip to The Valley can at best be a rare luxury whilst the kids are so young.

The wife will let me go through (Steve) gritted teeth, but the bargain goes something like this.

She'll issue me the visa, but on my return I'll inevitably be bathing the kids and putting them to bed.

This of course occurs just at that post-football moment when a quick nap or a cold beer is considerably more appealing.

And then the very next day, with a relish which would make Emmeline Pankhurst proud, she will declare that given I went to football on Saturday, she will be taking the entire morning off to do exactly whatever she wants.

And believe me, as much as I love Charlton, there's no win thumping enough to compensate for the inevitable thumping headache brought on by looking after two toddlers.

Midweek evening games are easier of course, but inevitably I missed a pair back-to-back on my recent trip.

I'll wait until the kids are old enough to come with me, and then hey presto I'll have a valuable currency of my own to spend at my leisure.

"Darling, I dragged the boys against my will to Charlton least let me spend lunchtime with the Sunday newspapers in the pub."

Hopefully we'll be out of League One by then too because I'm nothing if not an evil schemer....mwahahahaha.