Chris Powell's Flat Cap

Home » Opinion » The Karel Fraeye Lie is Not Interim

The Karel Fraeye Lie is Not Interim

Roland Duchatelet could discover the scientific formula required to carry out a resurrection, bring back Jimmy Seed and convince the FA Cup-winning manager to lead the Addicks again. It would make no difference.

The owner could throw his poisonous strategy in the bin, plead for Alan Curbishley to heal the wounds and hand him Darren Bent in order to help him do it. The resentment would remain.

He and Katrien Meire could even abandon their pride, realise their philosophy has undone all the positive work of Chris Powell and reappoint him alongside re-signing of his talismanic French forward. The mistakes would not be undone.


For this is a situation, a strategy, and a shambles that cannot be addressed. The damage done by this regime such that no action they take can revive trust in them. The disease they have inflicted upon this football club won’t stop spreading until they have moved on.

How can an ownership that has stubbornly stuck by their failing ideology for so long be trusted to make a proper change to the club? How can an ownership that has misunderstood the ethos of a football club to such an extent be respected? How can an ownership that has insulted its supporters so frequently and so emphatically be supported?

No insult bigger, and no period as shambolic, as the lie of Karel Fraeye. We all knew we were being lied to, but having it confirmed somehow makes the injustice, the anger and the feeling that our club is unfit hands even greater.


The underqualified “interim” head coach was never “interim”. There was never a search being undertaken to find a coach capable of injecting life into this side and reinvigorate this club. The head coach from the third division of Belgium football was always their choice.

Not because of his ability as a head coach, but because of his acceptance of this regime. Because of his ability to continue with a strategy that cares little for winning, and everything for increasing the bank balance of Roland Duchatelet.


But this regime are cowards. They’re not naïve, they just pretend to act like they are. They know what running a football club requires, and what their “customers” desire, but they have opted to ignore it.

And they know they shouldn’t be. They know they can’t. So they hid behind this idea of their puppet being an interim head coach. Supporters provided with hope that an appropriate boss would be replace this incompetent fool.

Fraeye, such is his incompetence as a head coach, failing to allow Duchatelet and Meire to hide behind their interim tag. A few positive results would have meant the puppet, and the regime, continuing unchallenged. Even they, regardless of their lack of interest in events on the pitch, had to act eventually.

For there is no doubt that the removal of Fraeye, if not a decision that should be in any way celebrated, is a relief. A relief that, hopefully, the sort of embarrassing defeat seen at Huddersfield last night won’t be repeated.


The tactically naïve puppet, who has instilled a brand of unorganised, unimaginative and unthreatening football upon a side already lacking in quality and confidence, may only be a symptom of the disease, but his failure is such that it’s hard not to view him with similar levels of hatred as there is towards Duchatelet and Meire.

Not only are the booing, the chants of “Karel Fraeye, he ain’t got a clue”, and the accusations that he’s worse than Iain Dowie born out of his coaching skills, which have produced embarrassing capitulations and just two wins in 14 games, but his bizarre statements to the media. Desperate attempts to justify dire efforts, a failure to take responsibility, and bizarrely criticising supporters.


He too, after failing to speak to the press last night, is also a coward. He should not be remembered as a leader of this football club, for he was not.

The board’s decision to act, however, has come after 11 and a half weeks of allowing a clueless, arrogant and insulting boss to lead a side already in disarray. 11 and a half weeks of avoiding searching for a head coach, and hoping the supporters they view with such contempt would not notice. 11 and a half weeks without accepting the failure of this regime.

No wonder that the protests against the regime have increased as a consequence of Fraeye’s efforts.


And it would seem that the only reason Fraeye has been dismissed, and not immediately replaced by another puppet wearing a head coach costume, is because of that opposition.

Nebojsa Vignjevic, the head coach of Ujpest, was set to be appointed before it, all of a sudden, fell through. Duchatelet moments away from insulting the supporters of this football club once again, and seemingly only choosing not because he and those that make up his regime are cowards.

It, of course, a positive that it has been suggested that opposition has made some sort of difference. Particularly that some it has, so it has been said, come from the inside. There are players and people at this club who care as much as we do, and will be fighting back against this disease in their own way.

If you don’t believe that, then see the genuine reactions of Chris Solly in recent weeks, the gesture that Johnnie Jackson has made, and Stephen Henderson’s interview. They outnumber the Simon Makienoks, who seemingly have little interest.


But will the opposition, internal and external, make a meaningful difference to the next appointment? I find it hard to believe.

That would involve Duchatelet and Meire giving up on their philosophy, which they simply won’t do. Even if one is appointed with experience of the Championship, and can instil some sort of strategy into this Charlton side, it will be on the cheap and one desperate for a job.

No compensation will be paid for an up and coming boss. No sane manager of any class would work under this ownership. No one who is big enough and brave enough to challenge this regime will be brought in.

It certainly won’t be Powell, and I hope it isn’t. Keep him protected from being poisoned once again, and save him for that wonderful day when this ownership depart.1

Because no matter who is appointed, not enough will change. This will remain an ownership who treat supporters with contempt. Who lie without any sense of guilt in order to abide by their failing strategy. Who have worked themselves into a situation they simply cannot be trusted to resolve.

They cannot give us our Charlton back. Our even a Charlton that resembles some sort of football club.




  1. David says:

    I agree with everything you say except about Makienok. Not sure why he is still being made the scapegoat. Give him a break and maybe you might give him a bit of confidence?

  2. Jonathan says:

    So well written. There have been a lot of pieces I’ve read in recent weeks, but this article gets to the heart of the matter and explains the regime and how we are unable to move forward until they leave our club.

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