Friday, 28 March 2014

The Customer is always right

It's an old adage but one that successful businesses put front and central of everything they do. Football increasingly fits the mould of more conventional businesses, even if it is a strange model where most owners are expected to act as philanthropists and where most club Customers are largely taken-for-granted.

I was very interested in the results of a reasonably representative survey carried out by the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust just posted. The timing of the survey was post the Duchatelet takeover and after the sacking of Chris Powell. Given the rift between supporters that has emerged in the last few weeks as a result of these key events, the results of the survey are pretty conclusive. I have decided this will be my last post on this topic because I have done it to death and it's becoming repetitive, but for the record it's worth stating some facts.

A decisive majority of the 1286 (good sample) asked thought Chris Powell should not have been sacked. The figure was 78% and a huge 94% of those gave lack of investment (largely with Jiminez & Slater but Roland selling Stephens and Kermorgant hardly helped) as the reason that lead to his dismissal. On the "80-20 rule" - a widely used statistical rationale in business, Chris Powell didn't deserve to be sacked. He has been and I will move on now because the club has to and Powell isn't coming back any time soon. Given his personal commitment to our club, his record as a player and as a manager I am ashamed at the shabby way he was treated. I have never been a "Sir Chrissie Powell" advocate and the word "legend" is much abused but I know where the fans were coming from when they trotted these out. Powell's sacking, ironically, pushes him more closely towards "legend" status in my eyes.

If you look for final endorsement of the view over Powell's sacking, the survey asked who should have the final say over player election and 98.5% said it should be the manager. That is pretty much unanimous and, I believe, reflective of the fact that most believe Powell was being influenced to give game-time to Duchatelet-loaned players, including Thuram-Ulien who had looked worrying out-of-his-depth. This issue also looks directly responsible for the move of Ben Alnwick to Leyton Orient. A young keeper who had broken into the side and who was keeping number one Hamer out. He didn't put a hand wrong and yet he was moved on without adequate explanation.

The other key questions in the survey concerned was whether or not fans thought being part of a network of clubs was a good idea. Again using the 80-20 rule, only 19% thought it was a good idea. I remain to be convinced because I can't see the logic of the greater good as I have explained previously.

Incidentally, 51% of those asked said they were less likely to renew their season tickets as a result. That is a worrying statistic but passions were running high at that point and it's unclear to me whether or not the "lower" early bird pricing had been made public at the time of the survey. The club were yesterday trumpeting "strong" sales figures without any numbers being revealed, so time will tell on that front and our table finish will influence that equally strongly.

Moving on, Jose Riga appears to have been getting some last minute support in terms of playing staff with the arrival of Manchester United squad midfielder, Davide Petrucci. The 22 year-old has yet to make a first-team appearance for the Red Devils (beware Jordan Cousins) but United pick from the cream of Europe so he should give us some options in the run-in, even if only from the bench.

News that we were also trying to persuade Chris Eagles to get some game time in the capital was also encouraging, however, the unfortunately name and overpaid Eagles decided he couldn't be bothered and would prefer to pick up his reputed £35,000 a week for not playing for the water-holed Bolton Wanderers. I hope as many as possible league managers took note of that decision yesterday.


Anonymous said...

Dave, i did not take part in the survey but for what they're worth here are my views.
I didn't WANT CP sacked, but i can understand why he was.
Yes, he had been undermined by the previous regime and to some extent by the current one.
However the football at The Valley for the last two seasons has been excrutiating. We were bottom of the Championship and didn't look capable of doing anything about it. I don't believe any other manager at any club in England would have been given the extended chance that was given to CP.
I've followed Charlton since 1968, i've seen bad managers come and go and i've seen good managers come and go, all for a variety of reasons.
The club and my support for it is bigger than just the manager.
If RD is/was influencing the team being picked, that doesn't seem to be the case now. Jose Riga has only managed/head coached us for five games, 2 wins, 2 draws, one defeat. It's very early days, but so far the change of management seems to have had the desired effect.


Dave said...

Daggs - I don't disagree with anything you have said. I have complained for a long time about uninspiring home form and defensive approach. Hopefully, Riga proves to be a success and we get to watch more attacking football.

Anonymous said...

Dave, you seem to echo my thoughts exactly on both Powell and the board.
As to Powell's 'excrutiating brand' of football' perhaps if he had been backed and able to get he's own players invover the last couple of years things may have been very different. There were a number of players linked when we got promoted to the championship who have gone on to better things. With the midfield we've had over the past 2 years i'm afraid defensive football is/was the only option as Mr Riga is finding out. The only thing he has changed is making subs quicker ( and same of those have been forced. I'm sure with the right backing Powell will go on to better and brighter things. Let's face it he brought some players in ( noticably Kermorganant ) who little was thought of and got the best out of them. We all want better football but it is nt quite as simple as that