THE VOTE Who do you want to get relegated?

Around this time of the season I like to adopt one or two second teams to support in their relegation dogfights. I never like to see the three that get promoted go straight back down - and Reading have made sure that is not the case this season - but then you have to lose an established Premiership side. So who do you want to get relegated? Click below to see the candidates and choose who you would like to see in the Championship next season.

Manchester City Relegation outsiders. Level on points with Sheffield United, but with two games in hand. Don't think they will mess it up that much between now and the end of the season.
Sheffield United Relegation dead-certs have shocked a few people by sneaking up to 16th. Neil Warnock has brought colour to the Premiership, and I would like to see the Blades stay up.
Wigan Last season's Reading have been unlucky with some injuries, but their constant moaning makes me reluctant to offer any sympathy.
Charlton Alan Pardew has improved their chances of avoiding the drop considerably (relatively speaking, of course).
West Ham Overachieved last season and are as good as relegated already. And that's without any pending points deduction.
Watford I would love Aidy Boothroyd's side to get out of this one. They had some rough luck at the start of the season and their approach to life in the Prem has been excellent. It is difficult to see them avoiding the drop though.

Pick your three.

[Rob Parker]

March 2, 2007 in Charlton Athletic, Manchester City, Sheffield United, Vote, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (14)

Obscene season ticket prices to be slashed?

Money_4 News reaches us that Premiership chairmen are going to be forced into cutting 'obscene' ticket prices because fans have just about had enough of being the victims of daylight robbery every weekend, and as a result, football has reached a tipping point.

Two top-flight chairmen have expressed the same view, both of whom predict price cuts all round next season. 'It is a serious issue that has reached saturation point across the country,' said Phil Gartside, chairman of Bolton. 'We feel duty bound to make a stance by reducing the cost for our season ticket holders, and I'm sure other clubs will follow suit next season and listen to public opinion.' But surely the tickets are inflated at the chairs' behest?

This weekend saw ManYoo fans protesting about the amount being charged to let their fans watch their side at Fulham. They were asked for a whopping £45 to watch their team, and that doesn't include travel and grub... although they hadn't got far to travel from Essex eh? Ho Ho Ho... I'll get me coat. A senior executive from another of the Premiership's 'big four' clubs told Observer Sport that prices could not go any higher. 'Officially we are monitoring the situation,' he said. 'But privately we have realised that ticket prices have reached their maximum, at least in the immediate future.'

These warnings come slap bang in the middle of an attendance slump. Despite an increased capacity at Arsenal and Manchester United, the average attendance is down from last year, and whilst the big four continue to sell out their games, the overall Premiership average is down by more than 1,000 year on year and now stands at 32,775, not including this weekend. What is causing fans to stay away? Well, once, you could watch the footy and not dent the wallet too much, and know exactly when you'd be going out. Basically, high prices and amended kick-off times to enable saturated TV coverage aren't encouraging fans to get down the ground. 

Of course, a lot of money is generated by the TV rights, which obviously help clubs to bring in new players and the like. That said, the Premier League negotiated a new £600million, three-year deal for overseas TV rights to the Premiership. Add the £1.7 billion Sky and Setanta will pay to screen matches in Britain, and the £400m for internet and mobile phone rights, and it seems scandalous that ticket prices continually increase. Each club will be getting around £900m per season (starting in August).

Apart from drops in season ticket prices, a group are also want away matches addressed. The Football Supporters' Federation want a fixed price for all travelling supporters. 'Away fans in England are unique. You would not get 5,000 Milan supporters travelling to Juventus. If prices were to stay in line with the Taylor Report's recommendation, then £15 would be a fair price for those who travel to watch their team.' The report, published in January 1990 in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, stated that 'it should be possible for seating to be £6'. With inflation, that would mean fans paying just £9.60 now, rather than the average of about £30.

So what's the answer? Well, looking at Germany's Bundesliga, the average attendance was approximately 40,000, which is superior to our league matches. In fact, it's about a quarter more fans in through the turnstiles, shouting for their team. German fans can buy tickets for as little as £10 or £15 for all games, and in some cases, terracing is being used, which gives a fan a feeling of real unity, as opposed to the sterile stadia over here. What is interesting is that the Bundesliga is renowned for its competitiveness, with many teams standing a chance of winning it. Should we look at the German model to fix our game? [Mof Gimmers]

February 26, 2007 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, News balls, Portsmouth, Reading, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (2)

THE VOTE Who is the better Alan – Pardew or Curbishley?

Curb_your_enthusiasm_tv2 Tomorrow, Charlton Athletic take on West Ham at the Valley. Normally pundits would be foaming about how it's a 'crucial six-pointer' but since there's a very good chance that both teams will go down whatever the result, that's taken as read.

Anyway, the question is: who do you think is the better manager? Alan Pardew has come out and said he will 'never agree' with the decision to boot him out of Upton Park. The other Alan in this saga, Curbishley, has fared no better since replacing Pards, begging another question – why swap Alans in the first place? I think they're both decent managers, but rate Curbishley slightly higher – Pardew wears his heart on his sleeve a bit too much (like a poor man's Mourinho), where Curbs appears a bit more rational (like a poor man's Wenger). What say you?

February 23, 2007 in Charlton Athletic, Vote, West Ham United | Permalink | Comments (3)

Scott Carson to be the new Jens Lehmann?

274333_mediumsquare The Daily Telegraph has reported that Arsenal are set to make a £5m summer bid for Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson, who is currently on loan at Charlton.

'[Rafa] Benitez's unswerving backing for [Pepe] Reina, plus the January loan signing of young Italian goalkeeper Daniele Padelli from Sampdoria - a move which is expected to be made permanent in the summer - has left Carson facing a difficult route into the first team at Anfield, and he is likely to be interested by the prospect of a move to Arsenal in the hope that it might enhance his chances of claiming the England No 1 spot before Euro 2008,' says the Telegraph.

I don't rate Carson that highly – he's a big lad and a decent shot-stopper, but is prone to lapses in concentration – and would be surprised if Arsene Wenger rated him as a credible successor to Mad Jens Lehmann. Manuel Almunia is just as good as Carson, in my opinion.

February 14, 2007 in Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Liverpool, Rumours & gossip | Permalink | Comments (3)

Free travel to football matches

Wewillfollow_1 Fans who have experienced the thrill of an away match will know how addictive it is. The trip down, the pre-match pints in a strange pub, being in a strange ground. It's like a holiday with a football match stuck in the middle of it! However, loads give it a wide berth because they can't get a lift down to the games. Well, you needn't fear that any more.

A website called WeWillfollow aims to stop all that worry and hassle by allowing you to offer and request lifts to games home and away, and it’s completely free. Added to that, the site also has a ticket exchange for fans with a spare. It's all rather nice isn't it? To add to the community feeling, WeWillFollow also have a unique 'Exile List' for each club, so if you've drifted away from your club (geographically speaking) you can register as a member on the site and talk to other exiled supporters of your club. With a list of 1000+ supporters clubs too, you need never feel lonely and exiled again! Have a look and sign up with the site now!

January 22, 2007 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, League One, League Two, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Non League, Portsmouth, Reading, Scotland, Sheffield United, The Championship, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (0)

THE VOTE Worst January transfer so far?

Players_1021 Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

a) Ben Thatcher, Alan Pardew's first signing as Charlton boss. Fee: £500,000. Bargain.
b) Djimi Traore, arguably the worst ever player to win a Champions League title, moves from Charlton to Portsmouth, for £1m. A steal!
c) West Ham bag journeyman Nigel Quashie from West Brom, for £1.5m.
d) Sheffield Utd sign 'striker' (I use the term very loosely) Jon Stead from Sunderland, for £750,000.

What an uninspiring quartet of transfers they make. Vote for your worst…

January 12, 2007 in Charlton Athletic, Manchester City, News balls, Portsmouth, Sheffield United, The Championship, Vote, West Ham United | Permalink | Comments (5)

Pompey sign Traore (who is better than Zidane)

With the news that Djimi Traore has joined Portsmouth from Charlton for £1m, let's look at the great man in action. Slightly unfair to compare him to Zizou... but funny all the same.

[Mof Gimmers]

January 11, 2007 in Charlton Athletic, Classic Moments, Funny old game, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (2)

Pardew willing to sell Darren Bent?

With Alan Pardew saying "There has been some interest in Darren [Bent]. A short time ago, my decision would have been to say quite categorically he wasn't going anywhere... But his knee injury has made me think a bit differently," he's basically saying "does anyone fancy giving us some money for a player who wrecked his pre-season whilst making a sandwich?" Let's see why clubs may be willing to take a punt on the Charlton striker.

January 5, 2007 in Charlton Athletic, Rumours & gossip, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pressley to join Addicks?


Former Hearts captain Steven Pressley has undergone a medical at Charlton, but his agent has not ruled out a move to Scottish champions Celtic. The 33-year-old was at The Valley on Wednesday and held talks with Addicks gaffer Alan Pardew. The players agent, Blair Morgan, told the Scotsman: "He had a medical while there but nothing should be read into that. It now comes down to two excellent offers from two clubs - one in England and one in Scotland."

The Scotland international is a free agent after leaving Hearts earlier this month following his criticism of majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov. Pressley also claimed there was "dressing-room unrest" at the Scottish Premier League club.

Pardew, who replaced Les Reed as manager of Charlton on Christmas Eve, did, however, add a note of caution after revealing his attempt to sign Pressley. Pardew earlier said: "There is a good chance he will be at Charlton. We are interested in bringing him here before the transfer window but I am never confident about signings until they are done. What I like about him is he is a leader. I think we have got some very good centre-halves here but he comes into a pack where we need characters and leadership and that is one thing that attracts me to him." Rangers, Southampton, Derby and Leeds have also been linked with Pressley, who is ineligible to play for any new employer before the opening of the transfer window in January. [Mof Gimmers]

December 29, 2006 in Charlton Athletic, Rumours & gossip, Scotland | Permalink | Comments (0)

Would you like Les Reed to 'boost your team's performance'? No, me neither!

Lesreed1Les Reed is under-pressure after only a month in charge of Charlton Athletic with some reports claiming defeat against Wycombe in the Carling Cup tonight would earn him the sack. But while he has struggled to turn the Addicks' season around, imagine the impact the poor run of form has had on his email coaching service.

Reed provides Smart Sessions - a coaching plan emailed to paying subscribers promising to: 'boost your team's performance... and shrink your preparation time to 5 minutes.' Reed claims: "They’ll wonder where on earth you get your fantastic new ideas and inspirational techniques every week. Or how you became such an amazing coach almost overnight." I think I'd be tempted to see how Charlton fare over Christmas before paying up!

More Les Reed news

[Rob Parker]

December 19, 2006 in Charlton Athletic, Funny old game | Permalink | Comments (0)