Chris Powell's Flat Cap

Home » Opinion » Meire’s Message Shows Supporters Are An Afterthought

Meire’s Message Shows Supporters Are An Afterthought

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. 



  1. Alan says:

    Let’s assume the reinstatement of Powell is not happening imminently and the resigning of Kermorgant is even less likely, so what what action from Duchatelet or Meire would satisfy you?

    What could they do to even begin to change your pessimistic view of them? After all, just meeting the fans won’t make a difference as every other public address they have made has been instantly dismissed as lies and propaganda.

    Granted Meire’s statement has not really served any purpose given the lack of meat on the bones, so to speak, but by the same token she needn’t have said anything at all.

    I wonder if you was amongst those who criticised Jimenez for never addressing the fans?

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    It strikes me you’re far happier being a naysayer.

    • charltonkyle says:

      I’m a ‘naysayer’, as you put it, because I’m in a position where I don’t know what’s happening to my club.
      From what has happened so far, I don’t think it’s totally unreasonable to be very worried about the future.
      As you say, what they say is very hard to believe. However, putting the concerns of the fans first, and actually going out of their way to discuss, not tell, their plans for the club would be a positive step.
      Finally, I’d just like to point out that I was very positive about Duchatelet and co to begin with, whilst others were very worried. It’s only his words have turned out to be false, his actions and pathetic statements like the one today that have made me alter my view about things.

    • Ken says:

      I agree, Alan. The club’s director puts out a statement and then gets slated for not communicating.
      While there may be some genuine concerns (There’s always worry for some, especially brought on by ‘change’), it strikes me that a degree of this ‘Nay saying’ comes from noses still firmly out of joint because the club and Chris Powell parted ways.
      I have news for these people. You cannot make me dislike someone for what they are – or not doing. I have to decide that for myself. And that will be based on the evidence in front of me, not some wind up merchant’s imaginary view of what might happen.

      • charltonkyle says:

        Could you please justify how you can call me a wind up merchant for expressing my views on the situation? I might be forceful in what I say, but I’m not trying to force my views upon anyone, nor am I attempting to wind anyone up. Very strange that you need to result to what is effectively petulant name calling.

      • Ken says:

        I was not referring to you at all, charltonkyle. Very strange that you should think so.

      • charltonkyle says:

        Apologies for the confusion, but, given that you were showing your displeasure to comments like the ones I have made, it appeared as if you were.

      • Ken says:

        Yes, I get that. But no worries, I definitely didn’t think you were doing a wind up. I was just responding to Alan’s, post. Though I will admit certain people did spring to mind as I was typing it 😉

  2. Derek Carter says:

    If Richard Murray is a man of any degree of integrity he should resign immediately. If he is indeed the long standing Charlton fan that he claimed he was in the Premiership years, he must hate what this Belgian is doing to our club. At least by staying silent he is not lying through his teeth in support of this regime, but how can he remain Chairman if he really feels as deeply about the club as the fans do?

  3. JR says:

    Perhaps RD should have been stronger and sacked CP earlier then we may still have been in the cup and further up the league . I am beginning to enjoy my football again , as the last 2 years especially the home form and style of play has been depressing, I only hope it lasts and we can avoid relegation then I think we have a lot to look forward to next season.
    Time to move on and get behind the new manager.
    Charlton Forever

  4. Alan says:

    I’ve established from your blog that you don’t believe / remain highly sceptical of the statements from RD and KM to date so, as I asked before, what action from RD and / or KM would satisfy you?

    I’ve just seen on Twitter that you are ‘outraged’ the board will not meet with the fans at this point but you have dismissed everything they have said to date anyway. If you don’t want to trust them then another statement from the board will make no difference.

    For the record, this is how I see it.

    1. Duchatelet made a huge mistake in not choosing his words correctly in that infamous BBC interview leading to fair assumptions we were to become a feeder club. My view is he simply never realised the extent of how his words would be interpreted. He got it wrong, no question.

    2. Since then he’s gone on record to address this concern and considering NO Charlton players have gone to any of his other clubs I’m happy to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Actions speak louder than words and I see no evidence we are to become a feeder club yet.

    3. Even Riga is not picking the loanees regularly (which puts to bed the ridiculous myth that Powell was sacked because he refused to play those players) so the character of the side remains intact. I think we have a good chance of staying up now.

    4. The character of the side defines Charlton, alongside the fans, not Duchatelet. In this regard, I’m pleasantly surprised at how well the last few weeks has gone since Powell went.

    So, what would satisfy you then?

  5. Ed says:

    I can’t help thinking that some of us are getting far too carried away with this. We need to think a bit more rationally about the evidence in front of us, and not get carried away with emotion. Yes, following CAFC is emotional, but we’re descending into paranoia here… I’m worried that a few of you are going to have a breakdown!

    1) On the pitch – yes we got rid of a couple of players and a popular manager. But the results speak for themselves… apparently we aren’t missing either. So where’s the concern? I’ll be the first to start worrying if results start taking a nosedive but surely we should go by results first and foremost, and give the team and new manager credit where it’s due. Be hopeful it will continue, not negative.

    Powell is a legend for me and always will be. But our results under him have been horrible this year, we scored less goals than virtually any other team in any league and were looking more like relegation material with every game. Yes he got dealt a bad hand by Slater and Jimenez, and I feel sorry for him, but my pity won’t keep us up. I think RD as owner was entitled to replace Powell based on our position in the league, regardless of any other reasons he had.

    2) Off the pitch – people are reading far too much into the ‘feeder club’ suggestion which has gathered an unreasonable amount of coverage due to some incredibly lazy journalism in local and national rags. Yes he owns a network of teams. Yes, invariable some players will be loaned/sold to CAFC from those teams. And the smoking gun…. RD states that ‘some CAFC players may also go in the other direction, to Standard Liege for example’. That’s all… that’s it. That’s what all this concern is over?!

    Yes, we can worry that he means every good player in a red shirt will be ripped away from the Valley against their will and sent to purgatory in Belgium where they’ll be force fed frites and mayonnaise at every meal, leaving Charlton languishing in League One, taking on the role of Standards reserve team.

    Some times I worry that an asteroid will hit my house as well, but I try to remind myself that there’s also a possibility that it won’t.

    Why can’t we all judge RD by what actually happens rather than deciding that he’s hell bent on destroying our club, based on a debatable interpretation of one quote. The facts so far are that no Charlton player has left for another team in his network and he does, in fact, seem quite keen on us staying in the Championship. He’s provided 100% more backing to the club this year than our last owners (who obviously had our best interests at heart, didn’t they?). Financially, there is absolutely no incentive to RD of us getting relegated, and conversely, a massive incentive if we can scrape promotion to the Prem in future years, which would dwarf anything that can be achieved at Standard.

    • charltonkyle says:

      I don’t want to turn this into a Powell Vs Riga debate, as I don’t think that’s relevant, but I’m happy to both agree and disagree with your comments on Riga.
      First of all, he deserves praise for the way he’s organised , which has helped to grind out results.
      But I would also suggest we’ve played a number of very poor sides, and that we our selves haven’t played well. Of course, I’m happy with the points, but I don’t think it’s an indication everything is rosy. We do miss Kermorgant, Stephens and even Ricardo Fuller, but again, argument for another day.
      Yep, the feeder club thing isn’t an immediate worry, but being a part of this network is. There’s a slight difference between the two, and I don’t like either.
      And I am judging Duchatelet on what actually happens. He’s sold our best two players, sacked a manager for non-footballing reasons and lied.

  6. addickrp says:

    I am another naysayer so just what could Duchatelet/Meire do are the moment to satisfy me? Getting Diego Poyet to sign a new contract would do it for me even more so than Championship survival.

    • Ed says:

      That would be great and of course they want to do that, if for no other reason than they can sell him for some £ rather than getting nothing if he walks out on a free in June. But it’s not in their hands if he gets an offer from the Prem and wants to take it (Thanks Slater/Jiminez for not tying him down). Bottom line is he’s going to the Prem sooner or later… surely no player is worth going down for!!

  7. Raith C Chattonell says:

    I agree.

    It would not be unreasonable for the board to issue some clarification on the direction intended for CAFC. It is a simply a matter of respect.

    Eleven generations of SE londoners have attended matches played by Charlton Athletic. Some generations have been luckier than others, either way thousands upon thousands of fans have contributed through their support and hard earned money to build the history and heritage of the club. We must not downplay the importance of this – and nor should RD.

    These are modern times, company chiefs must take responsibility.

    RD seems to be very economical with the facts during his press releases. My gut feeling is that he is hiding something. Why? Why say that he admires Chris Powell as a man and a coach and then sack him. We know Powell as a man of integrity and it was written that there was a problem on future recruitment and team selection. Why can’t RD simply issue the facts as he sees them. Is he hiding something or frightened to let on what his motives are?

    The video released at the beginning of their tenure is a good example of RD’s skill of using lots of words whilst saying nothing. KM introduced herself as the eyes and ears of Roland. When pushed to explain her duties within the club she was quick to mention that she has meetings with everyone – quite ironical when you consider the one group not privy to a hearing – the very backbone of the club, the very reason that it exists.

    In conclusion I too am worried. I am worried by the secrecy and the lack of information regarding RD’s reasoning and motives. It is evident that he has no love of football other than the business side of it.

    I fear that a football factory is coming soon to SE7.

    • charltonkyle says:

      This really is a superb comment. It explains what I’ve tried to say without getting angry and cynical.

    • Ken says:

      “RD seems to be very economical with the facts during his press releases. My gut feeling is that he is hiding something. Why?”

      I would suggest it is called ‘Need to know’. And I have no idea why you have a gut feeling. Nor do I have any idea if it is warranted. All I do know is, there is nothing I have come across in the way of facts to support it. You know the old saying, ‘Don’t worry mate – it might never happen’.

      ” Why say that he admires Chris Powell as a man and a coach and then sack him.”

      Standard procedure. You don’t put the boot in on someone you are going to let go. Besides, who says RD doesn’t admire CP? Maybe he just wanted to try and avoid what looked like certain relegation because the man he admired was not getting the job done?

      I realise I am responding to specific comments of yours but please understand there is nothing personal, here. I’m not having a go. We all have our views and feelings. I just don’t find the negativity from some quarters remotely helpful in our battle to stay up, especially when it is down to past events and future guessing.

      Clinging onto the anchor chain stops us moving forward. So let’s cut it and get going. But there’s nothing wrong with keeping a weather eye open as we go, either.

      • Raith C Chattonell says:

        No offence taken Ken.

        I do stand by everything I said though.

        A multi millionaire took over our club 3 months ago and our squad is weaker now than it was then.

        It is well documented that Powell had agreed terms with RD but in the final analysis left on a point of principal. I wonder what this principal was and how it could affect the clubs future. This to me is absolutely key.

        Need to know? Maybe not, but it would be nice to know – I am a paying customer – I wouldn’t stand for it if the assistant in John Lewis refused info on a TV I was after.

        It is not standard practise to sack someone without giving a reason.

        I have every right to feel negative, but hey don’t worry about it – it’s not feeding through to the board – they are far too busy to find out what Charlton fans are thinking – their words not mine.

        I’m sure we agree on thing though – Up the Addicks.

  8. J.D. Morris says:

    Well Mr Flat Cap you have stirred up a bit of a hornets nest. But despite the majority of comments on this article, it is my opinion that the fans are split down the middle. Many, including myself and my nephew who are season ticket holders, share your views. I do not know if you read the latest edition of Voice of the Valley, or noted the survey by the Independent – admittedly taken at the Huddersfield game which was at the start of Mr Riga’s tenure – that 80% of the fans disagreed with the sacking of the manager. Time will tell who is right – in the meantime enjoy the game at Derby. You are to be congratulated for continuing to support the team (most of whom are still Chrissy Powell’s Red and White Army). I wonder how many of your detractors were at Forest mid week and will be at Derby tomorrow…….

    Behind Enemy Lines

  9. Leon says:

    Never in the 35 years I’ve been supporting this club has there been such a divide between fans. Posts like this serve only to push the wedge between them even deeper and it is not helpful, in my opinion.

    You are very welcome to your own opinion, of course, but perhaps you will one day be quite embarrassed at this non-believing theme to your writing. Perhaps you won’t. And that’s the point, nobody knows anything for certain.

    • charltonkyle says:

      By that notion, those who aren’t happy with what’s going on with the club and have worries should keep silent, in order to avoid a divide between the fans.
      Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all be singing from the same hymn sheet, but it doesn’t work like that.
      I don’t think I’ll be ’embarrassed’, because right now I’m very upset and extremely worried by what’s going on. The views I, and quite a lot of Charlton fans to one extent or another, have are appropriate in the current situation.

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