Friday, 6 February 2009

Michael Gliksten 1939-2009

For those of us who remember him, he's dead after a long fight against cancer.

As a teenager I sang rascist songs in the Covered End against our jewish Chairman with no ambition for Charlton Athletic and whose family we blamed for our failure to capitalise on the earlier good times and develop the Valley into the sort of ground that might have sustained top class football sooner than the 28 years it took us to return after being relegated in 1957. We blamed him personally for the move to Selhurst park because of his refusal to sell his couple of acres behind the West Stand to Sunley. I was involved in the grafitti at the Valley the night prior to the last game and again it was Michael Gliksten who bore the brunt.

However, it wasn't too long after this event when it became clear that Sunley themselves had used Michael Gliksten's land ownership as an excuse for moving us closer to their Croydon base and John Fryer's home. Michael Gliksten was unable to recoup his investment at the Valley later on because the Council refused him permission to develop his plot.

Looking back, Michael Gliksten was a parsimonious Chairman and for that I can't be hypocritical about his passing. On the other hand, I believe he cared more about the club than he was generally given credit for but his reputation suffered badly because of poor PR. I was too naive and gullible to see it at the time


Anonymous said...

The whole era of the change of ownership from Gliksten to Fryer (Sunley)is well documented. Your assertion that Fryer wanted to leave the Valley, simply to take the club nearer to his home in Croydon, is not part of that history.
Without the 'two acres' The Valley was no longer viable. That's why Fryer went for a ground share. We were not happy about it, they were painful and unpleasant years, but history shows in the end, it contributed to the eventual ownership of The Valley by CAFC.
Let's hope the clubs' current demise doesn't take us back in that direction.

Dave Peeps said...

Daggs - I don't believe the Valley wasn't viable without Gliksten's piece. Nearly every other ground in the country operates on a footprint far smaller than the Valley and a solution for away fans accessing the ground could have been found. It suited Sunley to blame Gliksten knowing the anti-brigade would gobble it up (and we did initially). I accept that John Fryer was probably more interested in ground-sharing than having the side playing more locally to him, but that's how it felt at the time. However you look at it, the move was an horrendous decision for CAFC and there is no justification by saying we got back in the end. That was largely down to fortune - there was no grand plan and it nearly killed us. We'll never ground-share again - that would be the end. Dave.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't trying to suggest there was a 'grand plan' to bring us back. Just that the decision to ground-share kept the team alive and left Gliksten with a piece of land the Council wouldn't let him develop. Ultimately that was a factor in our return.
At the time, the cost of redeveloping the ground without the 'two acres' was prohibitive. That's why Fryer took us out.

Chicago Addick said...

Many of the older generation blame Michael's Dad for the demise of the club after Uncle Albert took us to the brink of the elite in the country.

However I think history shows that Michael did not help our cause, frugal yes, poor PR certainly but perhaps apathatic too.

Interesting piece from Peter Varney on CL, which I'm sure you saw.

Dave Peeps said...

Thanks CA - I've been egg-chasing all afternoon so hadn't seen that piece. I'm pleased to hear that Peter Varney brought him back and am not surprised at his reaction - kind of confirms my unsubstantiated view of him.