Chris Powell's Flat Cap

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This Is About More Than Just Championship Survival

Amidst the disillusionment, anger and comments that made you wonder if the individual that made them needed to be sent in the way of the Samaritans, cool heads have suggested we should move on from the events at Charlton yesterday.

We’ve got to, or so I’ve been told, forget about what’s gone on and get behind Jose Riga. It won’t help the players if we don’t, and we need to give them our full support if we’re going to maintain our Championship status. Keep quiet; go along with it.

Because this is all about relegation or survival, isn’t it? There’s either success or failure, nothing in between. How you feel towards a club, a club that had an identity and warmth for three years, and almost certainly more beyond that, doesn’t matter if we stay up.

If coach-on-strings masterminds a win over a Huddersfield side, that have probably given up for the season, with his players that aren’t in the side on merit, everything changes.

I’m expected to celebrate as if I would if Chris Powell was in charge. I’m expected to feel positive about the rest of the season, and expect a bright future.

When we’ve played our 46th game of this punishing campaign and we’re sat 21st in the Championship, I’m expected to celebrate survival. I’m expected to be sat here now thinking ‘oh, wouldn’t it be great if Riga kept us in England’s second tier’. I’m meant to be looking forward to the possible excitement that avoiding the drop brings.

If Chris Powell was in charge, I would do; more than anyone else.

If Chris Powell had been sacked for footballing reasons and replaced by a man who was employed for footballing reasons, I’m sure I’d come round to it. Sure, I’d feel bad until the dust had settled, and I’d disagree with Duchatelet’s decision, but I’d be willing to go along with it. At least I’d be supporting Charlton Athletic, because there’s certainly more to Charlton Athletic than Chris Powell.

But Chris Powell hasn’t been sacked for footballing reasons. The new man isn’t here on coaching merit.

I’ll be at The Valley tonight, mainly because I don’t want the sport I love taken away from me (and I really fancy a trip to the Valley Cafe), but I’m not turning up to watch Charlton.

Of course, I’ll be supporting the players. Some of them, even if they won’t be here in three months, love this club as much as myself or anyone else. But will they really be representing Charlton Athletic tonight?

They’ll be representing part of Roland Duchatelet’s network; an anonymous club, losing its identity to take part in some ridiculous experiment. The sacking of Powell isn’t as simple as a managerial change, it’s a change of a whole club ethos.

But the experiment might pay off, we might stay up. Realistically, we won’t. If we do, it’ll be at the cost of the club’s identity.

I know it makes absolutely no sense from a business perspective, but give me League One Football with Powell in charge over Championship survival with Duchatlet’s puppet.

And even if we do survive, who is at our club to stop our best players, young or old, being sold at will for profit? Who is there to make sure players that love this club, like Johnnie Jackson and Ben Hamer, stay where they belong? Who is there to stop us turning into a machine that hosts players that weren’t good enough at Duchatelet’s other clubs?

I always scorned at Cardiff City fans for moaning about losing their identity, because they had success. Now I completely understand.

Yes, I’ve changed my tone. Yes, I was behind Duchatelet previously. But I didn’t believe he had this in him. I didn’t believe he wanted an influence on the playing side of things, I didn’t believe he would sack Powell and certainly didn’t believe he would appoint a ‘yes man’ to carry out his dirty work.

Ah well, as long as we’re invading the pitch at Bloomfield Road after achieving survival on the final day of the season, none of this even matters.

Clap, clap, clap. Here’s to a new era.

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15 Comments

  1. Rod says:

    Excellent read as always Kyle. A few points:

    Championship survival is all we have left to hope for in this wretched season but I will make no apologies for hoping with all my heart we can somehow manage it. And even though it would be without Powell, if we do, I will celebrate, no question. I do not want to return to L1 under any circumstance.

    As for the club’s identity theft, then so much of what appears to be widespread opinion about RD’s long term plans makes little sense to me. Charlton seems a very expensive option to run with the sole purpose of being a ‘feeder club’. It would be hard to see where he could make enough of a guaranteed return of profit over the risk of loosing money, especially if we go down.

    Let me be perfectly clear, I am not being an apologist for Roland and his Muppets one bit, but for now I will hold judgement on the long term plan and certainly will avoid making bold statements as some fans have already done.

    Surely there would be a far greater financial return for RD’s ‘stable’ if he ‘chased the dream’ and went for the Premiership? Within 3 or 4 years this club could easily be far bigger than SL.

    Like you, I cannot love Chris Powell more but we need to move on. Whether you want to accept it or not, Powell may well have done that under his own steam this summer anyway…

    • charltonkyle says:

      I don’t disagree with what you’ve said, and yes, staying up would be better than going down, probably. However, I don’t agree that we ‘need to move on’. Moving on accepts that our identity is being damaged, and I, and many others, don’t wish to do that.

      • Rod says:

        Of course we need to move on, Kyle.

        In the general sense ‘moving on’ is not IN ANY WAY to accept RD’s identity theft of our club it just simply means there is NOTHING we can do to change what has just happened and NOTHING will be gained by repeating how miserable we are. Fact.

        By moving on we can begin to effect our future by our actions, perhaps even reclaiming our identity over time.

        Powell will now be back any time soon.

  2. Laura says:

    You’ve written exactly what I feel. Yesterday was full of emotion regarding Chris but today it’s more about the future and how scary it is. In 1984 we felt we had something to fight for. Now how do we fight? And to be honest is there going to be anything worth fighting for?

  3. cafca2401I says:

    Yes, but what is it we are supporting? I think Charlton lost some of its soul this week. Even if Riga is successful, I think many will feel something special has been taken away from them.

    I don’t support Standard Liege & I fail to see why I should subsidise them. I have serious problems with the whole concept of multi-ownership anyway & UEFA should be looking closely at this.

    • charltonkyle says:

      I 100% agree with you. UEFA themselves, by preventing two teams owned by the same owner competing in European competition, clearly have reservations.

  4. Dave says:

    Like most fans I was saddened when Chris Powell was sacked but not surprised….. But I am more saddened by the amount of negative comments expressed by what seems a large amount of fans…. I travelled all the way to sheffield on Sunday and the team under CP was simply not working. and to be truthful hasn’t worked for most of the season… Even when Kermo and Stephens were playing. I have no idea if the new guy will save us I hope with all my heart he does. But what we need to do more than anything now is support the new manager, and whatever team he selects. Booing the team and Riga will do nothing but commit us to league 1….

    Remember that night against Cardiff when we were dead and buried…. The crowd was fantastic and helped drive the team on to a fantastic win….. We are where we are because we have played poorly, the substitutions were too late or ineffective and tactics were inflexible.

    Give the new manager our support, cheer on whatever team he selects, there may be a few players that in it that will surprise us. Either way we all need to pull together and be positive. I wish Chris Powell all the best for the future but that is not with us any more.

    Jose Riga is our new manager, give him a chance It may prove to be our saving.

    See you all there tonight, cheering on the team.

    Come on you reds….

    • charltonkyle says:

      You’ve completely missed the point. This isn’t purely about a manger being sacked and replaced, it’s about a club losing it’s identity and ethos. Relegation or survival means very little when compared to now important a club’s identity is.

      • Dave says:

        Fans thought our identity would go when curbs left! it didn’t and it won’t go now. Apparently we have had 23 managers, and our identity is still there. RD will not own us for ever, he will sell to some other millionaire, who will bring in their own managers and playing style…. And guess what we will still be Charlton Athletic. Our identity is in our name and the fans love for the club. No one banged on about our identity going when Phil parkinson was our manager. The club has been going for over 100 years, in various guises. This current manifestation will not change us if we don,t let it. Turn your back on the club then it dies.
        I have not missed the point, quite the opposite you have. The term Club means a group… And that group determines it’s identity… That is us the fans. If you love the club as I do, then get behind the team because WE are it’s identity.
        Come on you reds….

      • charltonkyle says:

        Because this is very different. We are nothing but a part in one man’s experiment, and he has his yes man in charge to carry things out as he pleases. I refuse to accept it or support it. I’ll support the team, but nothing else. He’s taken our ethos and identity away from us, and replaced it with something I don’t like at all.

  5. Nick Welling says:

    Good honest debate this from passionate Addicks. In different ways, all points are valid, but Dave has nailed it at the end there.

    Well done Kyle for creating this debate.

    • charltonkyle says:

      I’m continuing to support the team, and I’m not really sure where this idea has come from than I’m not as I’ve stated it several times, as is everyone else I know who has similar views to me. But I won’t support Duchatelet nor his puppet, as doing so would support my club becoming Duchatelet’s play thing. There is nothing wrong with being against what Duchatelet is doing, and I’m not going to button up because moving on is the easiest thing to do, I’m going to continue to express my displeasure.

  6. Nick Welling says:

    To be fair nobody has suggested you or any of us should ‘support’ Duchatelet under this cloud of uncertainty and you’re stating the obvious by saying why you wouldn’t. No supporter would.

    I also don’t see where anyone has question you not supporting the team so not sure what that is about.

    In actual fact, everyone is agreeing in many ways, it’s just that you seem a little more determined to hold on to the CP thing (not a criticism – I’m still hurting).

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