Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year! (Southend United 1 v Charlton Athletic 1)

First, a happy and prosperous New Year to anyone who frequents these pages! Some are old mates, some of you I have come to know through your posts and the majority are unknown to me but are mostly like-minded Addicks for whom Charlton Athletic Football Club have played a significant role in our lives.

As the old year ends it's natural to reflect on what has happened and I do so here through a Charlton lens. It's been the toughest year for me in supporting the club since I began in earnest as a 13 year-old. To put that into perspective, I am approaching 54. Barring the Powell promotion year from League One, it's been a largely downward spiral since dropping out of the Premiership ten years ago. However, the last three years under Duchatelet's ownership have accelerated the decline and been very hard to take.

We all know the back-story so I am not going to repeat it, save to say that I am hugely and increasingly disillusioned and am struggling to bring myself to attend games. I moved to Charlton in 1987 to be closer to the club and what has been much of my social life until recently. This season I haven't bothered with any of the cup matches and have decided not to bother with some of the home games - probably a consequence of not buying a season ticket for the first time since the 70's. On rare occasions in the past I have favoured something else over a home match e.g. a 6 Nations game I have already bought tickets and flights for well in advance of the fixture list. This season, however, I have missed games because I couldn't face it and have watched TV at home instead. I haven't missed it and, frankly, I have been pleased to have missed most of them given the performances and results.

If Duchatelet's here in August I am contemplating giving up altogether. I can't bring myself to get excited about the eighth manager in three years. The Player Farm model doesn't work for me. It's about profit, pure and simple, and it's at the expense of any footballing ambition or serious first-team strategy. You know it's become really bad when you are disappointed we nicked a point at Southend.

Talking of Southend, I only picked-up on the late equaliser which we just about deserved but like MK Dons before them, the Shrimpers could and maybe should have been out-of-sight before half-time. Youngster Joe Aribo gets a call out as having played his best game for us so far but even that positive is tinged with the obvious conclusion that he moves onto the sales ladder behind Esra Konsa and Ademola Lookman who will move to Everton this week. To fill the gap we have a loanee from Chelsea who we have zero chance of seeing play for us for any length of time - everything is temporary or unambitious for the first team. A couple of Robinson's old MK Dons players anyone? It's League One ambition at best, pure and simple.

As I look forward to 2017 I am desperate to see Duchatelet pass the baton to someone, anyone, with some ambition and honesty. I don't care if we continue to struggle because of lack of funds because we have done that under a billionaire owner who has tried to dupe us. The sheer arrogance of the man who has imposed the harridan Meire on us and who has refused point-blank to remove her despite ongoing failing, persistent incompetence and enough collateral club damage to sink a battleship, is enough to make the blood boil.

I believe Duchatelet will sell and that he is active on that front. They will deny it all day long for obvious reasons but my fear is that he won't find a buyer because no-one is likely to pay over-the-odds because of his failure to understand the true worth of the club given the shrinkage and damage he has presided over as Meire has failed spectacularly.

Beyond that, I am saddened that we have an apparent split in the remaining fan-base. The ongoing protests have been vociferous and too persistent for some. Those who perhaps will come what may and who aren't so interested in club politics. Those who recognise we have always been a selling club and that, since the War at least, we have lost more games than we have won. Those for whom, frankly, Charlton is not one of the biggest things in their lives. I am confident they are the minority and that they aren't necessarily happy with Duchatelet either but are bloody-minded enough not to get drawn in. 

The real danger for 2017 is that Duchatelet remains, the decline in the fan-base continues and the Club continues to shrink to a new perma-low with irreparable damage. I for one, am contemplating packing it in next season if there is no real change. Happy New Year Addicks, we can but hope and dream - I will continue to protest for now.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Dave,

Something tells me that RD has had enough and I hope that it's not just my alcohol filled brain playing tricks on me.

Looking at the footage of KR (whatever you think of the man) the othe other day, speaking after his meeting with RD, the tone of his voice and his body language said it all and in truth I felt quite sorry for him, he looked like a child who'd asked for a new bike for Xmas and had been given a pair of dodgy rollerskates from Woolwich Market.

I live in hope that gloomy January can be brightened by positive news on RD's departure.

PH

Anonymous said...

As usual a nice heart felt piece Dave. Don't give up though - I need people like you and CA to share the misery with! After witnessing the pain at Millwank I quite enjoyed myself at Southend, and me and son went loopy when that goal went in; I have done my back in when falling over the seats. But my Mum, at 88 and with no real football knowledge, summed it up by asking why we were so pleased at drawing with a team like Southend..

We went with a Southend mate, who drove and showed us where their millionaire owner lives; the houses were straight off the Footballers Wives' set, but I envy them an owner that lives within a few miles of the ground.

Tomorrow our supporters club coach has been invited to meet Katrien before the game, and I sort of feel like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens 2 confronting the Queen Alien at the end - I'll keep you posted!

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

Paul - I really hope so but anytime before August will do for me. There will be an outpouring of support for new owners providing they don't come with baggage but I do worry what irreversible damage Duchatelet and Meire have wrought in the meantime...

Dave said...

PA - I'll be at the match tomorrow but would be very interested in what Meire has to say. Unfortunately, I suspect it's more platitudes and aspirational guff which they have zero intention of seriously pursuing.I'd love someone to ask her if she has a boyfriend.

Kings Hill Addick said...

Happy New Year Dave.

Your words resonate with so many. Hopefully he'll just go!

John West said...

Yes excellent post and very true about totally splitting the supporters.
Strong difference of opinions has always been in existence and yes even in the Premiership Days.
Yes seen the ups and downs and been a supporter for over 55 years and was a very proud Candidate of The Valley Party and with thousands of others, did my little bit to get CAFC home.
Now under certain bloggs one is not allowed to post polite posts and yes see swearing and bullying still going on.
Also we have talk the talk Robinson and saw his last post and it his is job to bring in the youngsters and play for the club for some time.
Really??? Sold in not more than one or 2 years at most.
Still we shall see what happens in 2017 and Happier 2017 on and off the field and surely it can not get any worse!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year David
Just back in the Middle East after spending the holidays with mum in elgin.
My eldest has started going to the Valley occasionally , he's now at boarding school in Surrey. His Granda would be proud, of Jamie, not so much the mess that his beloved team are in!
Take care, Jan

Dave said...

Happy New Year Jan,

Really pleased to hear that. Davie would indeed be proud to know it. If I can ever help with logistics or tickets, you only have to ask.

Love to all.


Dave.