Outside of match reports and irrelevant ramblings (an all-encompassing sub-set if truth be told), I usually try to find some theme to posts, even if it might be obvious only to me (or any aficianodos of Ronnie Corbett monologues, which used to annoy the crap out of me when young but which now seem like genius). But I don’t know whether its lack of inspiration, lack of time, or some other factor, this time around there’s nothing I can do to link the following disparate thoughts.
Plymouth and Brentford? Only saw the highlights, so can’t comment. But I was struck by a reply posted after a guest report on the latter: Benson ‘just isn’t good enough’. Of course, a brace away to earn us a point makes hindsight a wonderful thing, but even at the time I thought ‘good enough for what?’ We all knew during the close season that we needed a real goalscorer, one guaranteed to top 20 for the season and one that wouldn’t cost us much if anything. Tall order clearly when we’ve gone from Ipswich to Southend when it comes to raiding clubs for their best players. The question really should be was he the best feasible signing and would he be better (and cheaper) than those we let go. I’m assuming he’s cheaper than the likes of McLeod and Dickson – and as they are now on the injured list at Barnet (alongside Basey apparently) and plying their trade in Cyprus respectively, it’s not as if there was a rush for their services.
By his own admission Benson has taken a bit of time to adjust to the move from Dagenham and to the higher division. And the whole team is still learning to play together. His first touch and hold-up play could improve, but he was brought in to score goals and after a slow start now has three under his belt, important strikes at that (they secured three points). A lot depends on him if we are to be in contention for a top six finish and I’ll forgive a great deal of indifferent stuff outside the box if he keeps knocking them in (I see Killer’s making another signing appearance in the club shop and I’m sure he could pass on some tips about focusing on the primary job in hand and not worrying too much about what goes on in the other two-thirds of the pitch).
Brighton? It will make a change to play the table-toppers rather than those propping up the division (and failing to beat them). Perhaps it might induce a different approach on the part of the crowd. The backing the team received in the games against Norwich and Leeds at the tail-end of last season showed the atmosphere that can be generated (albeit there are a few less around these days) when we need the points, put in battling displays, and are up against opposition that we don’t still feel we should be blowing away. They’re three points clear at the top, only defeated once, and have conceded only eight goals in 11 games (and only three in five away). Should be a good encounter and I’m really looking forward to it.
As soon as Saturday’s done I’ll be jetting off to Lyon for a week. Sounds so much more appealing than the thought of surfacing at some truly absurd hour to get over to Gatwick for an easyjet flight. Still, the end-result is very much worth it (this is known as arse-covering as my partner Suzanne could conceivably read this and I’m already having to justify not travelling out on Friday – flights were too expensive, nothing to do with CAFC v Brighton). It seems the jury’s out on whether the following weekend – when the lucky ones will be taking a pleasurable trip down memory lane with the journey up to Carlisle; really should be the last match of the season if we want to ensure promotion – we will drive up to Besancon for Lyon Duchere’s away fixture. Suzanne was actually quite taken with the idea (close enough to Dijon to pick up some decent mustard etc). Whether the enthusiasm wanes as the weekend draws near and the alternative of a lazy day cooking (her – not sexist, I do the same in London) and drinking (OK, I do that here and there) becomes apparent remains to be seen.
Palace? I think we all saw the latest bleatings from Jordan about how much money he lost (not enough) and how badly he was done by the hedge fund that wanted its money back (heroes to a man). The hedge fund in question, Agilo, specialises in distressed companies. Fair enough, but had they the necessary experience in dealings with distressed companies with one-hit wonder orange owners? Trouble is, Jordan actually said some things I agreed with. “For the majority of my tenure, Palace did punch above their weight”. Can’t argue with that as if they were where they belonged they’d be looking up at Welling. Unfortunately these were outweighed by the usual misconceptions. “We got into the Premier League and could have stayed there”. Well, no. You couldn’t. There is a bit of a track record I think you’ll find. “We had good managers”. Perhaps, but you kept sacking them. Jordan’s suggestion that he could return to football inevitably raises the question of just who we might wish him on (perhaps the outfit in Cyprus where Dickson has ended up is a match made in heaven).
Just why The Sun and others felt a need to publish thoughts of Jordan is their problem. Rather more disturbingly, a fellow Addick sent me a link to a version of the interview posted on The Homesdale Online. I don’t know if their account is accurate (and have some reservations about even commenting on the additional drivel), but it contained quotes on us not repeated in the other versions I saw. First off, we can be relieved that Jordan apparently said “the last club that I would buy or be involved in would be Charlton”. He is cited as going on to express his opinion of Murray, the Charlton board, and us - “I don’t like the way their fans conduct themselves in games and I don’t like the way I was physically attacked when I went to Charlton”. Let’s get it straight, any moron if they acted that way deserves to be locked up, along with the Palace fans who attacked Charlton supporters on the train. Yes, we went a bit over the top when we celebrated relegating them; I enjoyed it as much as the next Addick. And yes, we had to take it on the chin (not literally) the season before last when we were on our way down. But our behaviour was born out of the pain of the portacabin years (and for me at least that end-season game effectively drew a line under them). It seems Jordan still can’t comprehend the motivation for, and impact of (financially and otherwise), the ‘groundshare’, repeating that worn-out ridiculous notion that “they should be extremely grateful Palace gave them a ground to play at 15 years ago”. We weren’t given anything, neither do we have the slightest reason to be grateful. Only the truly ignorant might think otherwise.
Finally, one word of sartorial advice for Parky. I know the nights are drawing in and it must get cold being forced to watch matches from the stands, but there simply is no excuse, ever, for wearing a shirt and tie with a jumper.