Sunday, 30 April 2017

Charlton Athletic 3 v Swindon Town 0

Another protest day and another day where the match was a sideshow. Relegated Swindon were comfortably beaten by a strolling Charlton side. The result leaves us in an elevated, and frankly flattering, 13th position. Meire will no doubt refer to this as an 'easy' season, as she did following our 12th place finish in the Championship prior to relegation but it felt anything but easy and was hard to stomach.

I had a prior appointment with God so couldn't make the game but I did catch-up with friends after the match in the White Swan where the mood remained defiant and determined that we must continue the protests until they are eventually forced out. As I have said before, I will boycott all games next season if they are still here, but I will continue to protest and play whatever small part I can in seeing it out. Nothing's going to change until they are gone.

The protests themselves lacked the high profile impact of previous shows but it was effective, nonetheless, as 2500 fans blocked the West Stand car park and hundreds more security and police personnel were deployed to protect Meire and Co as well as to try to contain any protests. As it was, thousands of spoof paper season tickets were cascaded from the upper West and thousands of black and white balloons were released causing play to be stopped for a couple of minutes. There was a post-match pitch invasion which even the serried ranks of security couldn't stop.

The rumoured 'anti-protest' predictably failed to surface but that's because it doesn't really exist outside the weird world of half-a-dozen would-be internet warriors. My guess is another repeat close season of failed expectations will probably quash even those before the season starts. All that supposes Duchatelet doesn't find a buyer before then. I remain convinced he wants out and that the club is for sale but that he still hasn't come to terms with the reality of the loss he is going to have to swallow to get out. Logic tells you he is going to have to get real one day soon because he's signing up for another year of hefty downside in 17-18. We won't see another Ademola Lookman for a few years at least.

Meire's hands will be tied even more tightly and her statement that the budget for the close season of "a million pounds" suggests season ticket sales won't rally based upon any galactico signings. The rumour is that Ricky Holmes will be cashed-in and, if that happens, I can't see us finding anywhere close to a replacement. Konsa and Aribo may attract the more vigilant bidders too but the bigger risk is just another cull and churn of the existing first-team squad as the wage bill is trimmed and we get even more mediocrity.

Gate revenue will inevitably drop again on the back of a further fall in season ticket sales. I can see another 30% refusing to commit to a whole season and more moving to a week-to-week model where they have the freedom to pay if we're performing and not if we aren't.

Strong rumours too that Chris O'Loughlin could be the next back-room departure following that of Nugent and Clarke this week. We have nearly lost more background staff than players in the last two years. It really isn't a settled ship. If Congo Chris does go, at least we will be spared the imposition of another Duchatelet aberration as manager . It could also open a space for Johnny Jackson who will surely say more than play more next season.

As supporters we deserve a break given the continued suffering and I intend to take one. Maybe things will look brighter come August?

3 comments:

Gary said...

Dave, I don't read many Charlton blogs but yours is the one I always turn to first. Many thanks for yet another season of reasoned and insightful thoughts on all matters CAFC. However impassioned you feel about the current regime, it can't be easy to keep producing the quality of commentary that you continue to produce, week in, week out. Well done. I look forward to picking up with you again in August when hopefully there are much happier things to report.

Dave said...

Thanks Gary. Social media makes blogging much easier nowadays but also reduces the availability of 'news' as everything gets out so much quicker, so it's more about offering an opinion which I obviously am more than happy to do. I will have completed ten years of this in August and my ambition, when I started, was to be waxing lyrical about a triumphant return to the Premier League and all that goes with it. We have all been cheated on that and it's been a tough decade. Powell's League One romp aside, there has been precious little to get enthusiastic about. It's culminated in a dramatic shrinkage of the club since Duchatelet took over, as we all know personally, and I really think we will be at serious risk if him and Meire preside over us again next season. I can't bear to witness that and I am also at a point where I no longer feel enough of an affiliation with these players and certainly not the manager to support the team and not the regime. If we get a new manager (under whatever circumstances) and Meire were to leave, there may be some optimism that I could go again with the team but with Duchatalet still calling the shots from a remote position of wilful ignorance you know we can't progress as a club and the long term damage will be sustained.

Anonymous said...

I will be attending one game at The Valley next season, when we play The Argyle but I will be sitting with my cousin in the away section. Have a good summer Dave, nothing lasts for ever, it just seems like it at times.

PH