Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Let battle commence

A possibly historic week in prospect as battle commences for the hearts and minds between the Board and disenchanted Charlton Athletic fans.

Following the decision by the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust to call an open meeting at the Woolwich Theatre (Flamingo's) tomorrow evening at 7.30pm to decide upon a plan of action to address growing concerns about owner Roland Duchatelet's increasingly unsuccessful "network" model, Katrien Meire hastily organised the long awaited annual VIP Supporters Q & A for this evening.

Katrien Meire has already demonstrated very clearly just how naive she thinks Charlton fans are. I won't go into 'Liargate' all over again but she got that all wrong and my guess is her attempt to woo VIP's will also backfire badly. I note that poor old Richard is also being wheeled out again to provide some continuity to the pre-Duchatelet era and, presumably, some protection for the vulnerable Meire. I have been a huge fan of Richard Murray but his legacy as a plain talking honest owner who did the best he could, continues to be tarnished by his ongoing silence and subservience to Duchatelet. They may have played a safe card with Murray but are they sure about putting Guy Luzon in front of supporters? He hasn't covered himself in glory so far when asked to speak publicly.

Katrien also had a wheeze of an idea in terms of inviting a 15 year-old boy to the club as a follow-up to his email/letter of concern about the club. Presumably she was sufficiently satisfied that the lad was nothing like me at 15 years old and she had the meeting edited and put on the Pravda site. She might have been better served replying to the pile of emails and letters from disgruntled paying customers which appear to be ending up in the round file on the floor. I might be being harsh there and should cut her a bit of slack as there are so few staff left at the Valley it must be all hands to the pumps.

The club are also filming the VIP meeting and say they will put the video on the Club site tomorrow morning.  I am guessing she is feeling pretty pleased with how she perceives this will be received by supporters but I think she is again displaying the nativity of someone who doesn't understand English football (any football?) and who genuinely questioned why the Club wasn't marketing itself in South-West London. 

I ought to balance this piece by saying there are still a vocal minority who are quite happy with Roland Duchatelet. They acknowledge that he has safeguarded the club from what looked like imminent Administration and he has, undoubtedly, made further investments in maintaining the stadium and a bold effort with pricing in order to retain season ticket numbers. These people are also largely unconcerned whether Duchatelet shares his inner thinkings or not and see it as his prerogative as owner to do as he likes. Those people are entitled to their opinion, although my view is they will defect sooner or later if we continue to be mismanaged as a club.

I am not a 5-year VIP season ticket holder so won't be there in person this evening but I am a season ticket holder of 37 years and will be in Woolwich tomorrow night to show my disenchantment with Roland's Network and to support where I can, any action endorsed by the supporters present.

Unless Roland Duchatelet comes to the table and can convince me he has a well thought out plan for our club which involves some form of ambition as part of a coherent strategy, then I am afraid that he has to be moved on and it's only the paying customers who can do that. I am guessing that won't be easy and there are no silver bullets but Charlton Athletic Football Club deserves better and so do our long-suffering supporters.


CA ADDICK said...

Sadly he will not change and hopefully there could be a concerted effort to find new ownership. There is no way to communicate and create dialog with the fans as clearly not his style.


DisciplineBlog said...

The financial reward of a premiership target, has now been significantly upped.
Through FFP the strategy of the network must have diminished.
A significant number of loaned network players have been found wanting.
The Thames Gateway not SW London was CAFC's previous identified target of supporter growth.
KM said, 'they believe the club could grow a bit'.
Things have changed since they took the club over. I don't think it impertinent to expect to be informed. To be realistic some for good and many for bad, in my view.

Dave said...

Always tricky commenting second-hand but having seen a view of the questions and answers and followed the comment from some of those present, it looks like the main questions were asked, in amongst many more mundane ones. Katrien Meire is holding a strong line that there will be no communication from the Organ Grinder and that she is the person leading for him. Some of her answers were very curt and follow-ups were not allowed. Hard to escape a feeling of arrogance that they will get things right in their own time and that they don't need to listen or take advice from anyone else. When asked if Dyer and Peeters were lying about comments they both made about Duchatelet interfering with team selection, her response was that they were ex-employees (and presumably have an axe to grind). Chris Powell and Jose Riga haven't been as direct to date in their telling but I know who I believe here...