Friday, 22 September 2017

CARD fight on

A statement from the Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet via the SLP makes it clear that CARD continue to oppose Duchatelet's ownership of Charlton Athletic Football Club and that they will maintain the pressure on him to sell up. They also say that they won't be organising any in-game protests whilst Karl Robinson's side have any realistic hopes of promotion.

I think that is a sound position as it broadly reflects fans current views and, let's face it, it's the fans who make the protests effective, not just the Card organisers. The statement does refer to ongoing support of other clubs who are suffering bad owners and being mismanaged, especially ones we are due to face, which brings the Blackpool game into question.

I am left wondering though whether we have seen the height of the mass Valley protests. I have no doubt that anger and resentment will again build this season based upon what I see as the inevitable consequences of lack of ambition and ongoing budget-cutting in a desperate bid to turn a profit for the billionaire. Already the squad size is being questioned and nearly everyone can see the folly of starting the season with only one proven striker. The last minute sale of Novak and the panic acquisition of Dodoo rubbing salt into the wounds. 

Regular readers will know I am no big fan of Karl Robinson, certainly the tosh he spews to the press, but he has done ok in difficult trading circumstances and he deserves our support. However, he is looking tactically limited given his move to tailor the squad to his preferred formation and the lack of strikers means we look unable to change things when it doesn't start well for us. We have lost all three matches we have fallen behind in this season.

The big question is, when the ultimate disappointment of this season sinks in, how will fans respond? There may be a spontaneous West Stand gathering or a call to protest by CARD but my fear is we will see something more damaging in that yet more disaffected supporters will simply walk away, finally convinced that it's Groundhog Day until we have new owners with some ambition and real transparency. This doesn't mean it has to be billionaire owners willing to throw money around like drunken sailors, just people with the club's best interests at heart and who are honest with supporters about the money available and what can or can't be done. 

It's mighty Bury tomorrow at the Valley in a match which takes on far more significance, given the two previous defeats, than it might otherwise have done. Ordinarily we should see them off but it may be a tougher test given the absence of talisman Holmes through suspension and the gloom of defeat at Gillingham last week. Whilst the focus has been on our lack of up-front options, the irony is we have shipped more goals than any of those clubs around us which means we have a poor goal difference. Lee Clark may set out to frustrate us and play on the break. Our fans have been solidly supportive so far this season but the first booing may be just around the corner. If the Shakers can open the scoring, it could be another bad day for the Addicks. Nicky Ajose is ineligible to play against us but former Addick Michael Smith may start alongside Jermaine Beckford. What price Smith to score?

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