Friday, 9 October 2015

Lucky promotion vision

The Newsshopper's latest reveal from the interview with Katrien Meire, CEO of Charlton Athletic, quotes her once again on thin ice, this time talking about ambitions for promotion and confirms what I have long believed and that is we don't have any.

Not unlike the piece the Newsshopper showed us the other day when she was making circular arguments about our January transfer plans that would have had a politician smiling, Katrien tells us that there is no time frame for promotion. Instead they will continue to see what happens in terms of youth coming through and which of our players stick around or renew contracts. She then says that they might consider an investment in a January transfer window if we were handily placed. 

This would appear to be a contradiction in practice. What she is really saying is if a host of stars aligned for us - enough quality youngsters coming through to see us retain some of them whilst still selling enough to balance the books and still improve the side, as well as enough of the better experienced players still being contracted to us - then Roland might weigh out to go for it if were were well positioned at the half-way stage. The reality, of course, is that the better young players will continue to be sold to balance the books and we won't run enough of a experienced squad to make us truly competitive anyway. 

Her quote "no, we can't set a specific time frame on it (promotion), because by then our best players could have left," is very telling. It suggests the Board's player policy isn't  strong enough to have any confidence that the better players will stay or renew their contracts. Of course, they become free agents and the those offered better opportunities and more money at bigger clubs will move on, but the complete submission on the point suggests she doesn't have any confidence the better players will stay. Of course, having perhaps played for us for several years, a la Gudmundsson, and seeing no realistic ambition, then they are likely to leave us, thereby perpetuating the whole cycle.

This precisely the reason I am slowly falling out-of-love with my lifelong passion. It's a relief not to worry about Administration and great to see investment in the infrastructure and facilities but if that is primarily to improve the value of youth players or as a sop to fans because we are under-investing in the quality of our squad, then we are being duped. 

Katrien Meire has an arrogance about her which carries her into these media interviews where she likes to think she is a cutting edge young CEO at the forefront of the game, when in reality she is attempting to make up for the policy of communicating as little with the supporters as possible and actually telling us nothing via the media nonsense. She can tell a Belgian journalist our ground used to hold 90,000 or that she stopped complimentary tea and coffee for the masses because they know no better and she's unlikely to be challenged. She can't do that with the supporters because we know our record attendance was 75,031 in a 1938 F A Cup match against Villa and that our capacity for generations was 66,000. We also know that any Stalinist purge on tea and coffee was likely to have affected a tiny number of privileged supporters in a lounge or as part of their package and, frankly, it was probably a short-sighted counter-productive measure.

Until there is a change in policy and honest dialogue, Charlton Athletic will continue to stagnate. Cheaper seating and marketing gimmicks can never make up for the end quality of the football and the ambition of the club. 




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