In the past three months Charlton fans have seen arguably their club’s best two players sold, a popular manager removed from his position for non-footballing reason and a hoard of, to be polite, distinctly average players arrive in SE7 from far and wide.
They’ve seen their club taken over by Roland Duchatelet, who has lied through his teeth to the supporters he apparently values, and become part of a network that will, if it hasn’t already, completely alter the identity of the football club.
But, of course, none of that matters. Jose Riga has organised his side well enough on all bar one occasion and the Addicks have managed to pick up a few points against rather weak opposition. We’re in relative okay position in the league, and safety looks likely.
That’s the view that Katrien Meire, a director appointed by Duchatelet, has taken. According to Meire, communicating with the fans via video clips hidden behind a paywall for several weeks and a press conference arranged on the board’s terms is more than enough.
That Charlton Athletic’s devoted fans, a lot of which were involved in getting the club back to The Valley and almost all of which have an emotional attachment to the Addicks that Meire couldn’t begin to understand let alone feel, want to find out what Duchatelet and co have planned for their club is apparently akin to sabotaging Charlton’s Championship status.
Not only are a group of Charlton supporters, those that are happy with Powell’s sacking and don’t view it as a symptom of the disease*, telling those who are worried about the state of their club to shut up and move on, so are the board.
We’ve been promised that the board will meet with fans in the close season, but it really isn’t enough. You can add passed off as an afterthought the list of things Charlton fans have had to endure recently.
It hardly matters what division we’re in if Duchatelet simply sees us as a cog in a network and nothing more. It hardly matters if Duchatelet views us as a means of offloading the dregs his other clubs don’t want. It hardly matters if Duchatelet is going to make the job of Charlton manager a one spoken about with horror within the football circles.
Maybe I’m being a little bit harsh on Meire. It probably isn’t her role to directly communicate with the fans, and she reckons she’s got important stuff to be doing until the end of the season, so I should probably let her get on with that.
But someone, a very important figure at this club, promised to have dialogue with fans, his fellow fans, and almost act like a spokesman for the board.
Remember when, right at the start of all this when almost every Addick was feeling quite excited, Richard Murray promised to communicate with the supporters when a need to arises.
He’s not made a single comment since Powell’s sacking. I don’t know about you, but I’d say getting rid of one of the best things about this club and leading us into the unknown probably comes under a need for communication.
Ah well. Maybe Meire is right. Maybe my fellow supporters who tell me to shut and ‘move on’ on a regular basis are right. Maybe I should just shut up and accept whatever it is Duchatelet and his chums plan to do with my football club.
Would we even get the truth if they did speak to us? I don’t see how anyone can believe anything the board sprout as gospel after previous comments.
“I thank you all for your fantastic support for the team, and I urge you to keep it going between now and the end of the season,” said Meire in the statement.
I’ll happily carry on supporting the team, and I’ll be at Pride Park tomorrow cheering on Johnnie Jackson and his fellow players.
But I’d quite like to know what sort of club I’m supporting. My club, our club, not Roland Duchatelet’s, to worry about when he and his cohort feel they can be bothered to.
*I may have stolen that phrase from someone on Twitter. If it’s you, your royalties are in the post.