In the three years of Roland Duchatelet’s ownership at Charlton Athletic, those connected to the regime have desperately attempted to promote relatively minor positives in the face of footballing failure, heavy general criticism, and supporter disconnection.
For example, the suggestion that, having been left in a precarious state by the previous regime, financial security has been achieved is constantly offered. Dubious, considering financial security has been achieved through Duchatelet loaning money to the club.
Then there’s the continued, if not enhanced, promotion of talented homegrown players. Tainted by the willingness to sell them, and the sense that they are effectively being produced for the benefit of other clubs.
And some may even attempt to claim that the occasional positive bit of recruitment, beyond the capabilities of previous regimes, has been made. But for every Johann Berg Gudmundsson, there’s five Piotr Parzyszeks.
However, if there is one positive that the regime cling onto that, it seemed, couldn’t be questioned it’s the improvement of The Valley’s pitch. A transformation from disgraceful bog, following the collapse of a drainage system, to an immaculate playing surface brought into the 21st century. Not only has the turf consistently been in almost perfect condition since the summer of 2014, but an undersoil heating system was supposedly instilled.
So it no wonder that the postponement of Charlton’s home game against Scunthorpe United, with The Valley’s pitch frozen, has caused a considerable amount of discontent among supporters of the Addicks. Quite possibly the one unquestionable positive this regime has had on this club now with a question mark over it.
The pipes required for the undersoil heating system instilled, but not the heater required to get the undersoil heating system to function. Like wearing a coat without a hood in the rain. Not something that has been admitted to in the past.
Too costly, it would seem. Too costly to even hire some sort of heater as a temporary measure to make sure this game would go ahead. Too costly despite the £11m made from Ademola Lookman’s sale.
Something that Nathan Chapman, The Valley’s groundsman, was required to explain. Rather unfair considering this postponement, in part, is quite evidently a financial issue and there hasn’t been a suggestion that Chapman and his team didn’t do enough. Those with financial power, as ever, hiding away.
Of course, it impossible for any football club’s ownership to control the weather that their ground must contend with. We would not be aware about this issue were it not for the freezing conditions.
So too is there an argument that it’s not worth being angered, frustrated or embarrassed by Charlton’s failure to get this game on as it might well have benefited us. The need to play a fixture against difficult opponents with several key players absent avoided
And, in truth, I’m not displeased that the game was postponed. I had a very troubled morning, collapsing several times before ultimately having a seizure, so escaping the need to force myself to SE7 when clearly not in the state to do so has probably done me some good.
But that all beside the point. The point being that even in the most ‘celebrated’ impact this regime has had on the club, corners were cut. Even with the finances clearly available to utilise something as a temporary measure, those finances were not spent.
The pitch improvements, clung onto for 30 months, not totally as indicated, and mistakes evidently made in the build-up to this fixture. Only one other League One game postponed, and the majority of non-league fixtures in relatively close proximity to SE7 getting the go ahead. Embarrassing, really.
And that, in summary, is what this is. Another huge embarrassment for this regime, on top of the countless embarrassments they have already inflicted upon themselves. The pitch positive heavily tainted, if not lost, and the general failure to get the game on rather poor.
Ultimately, this another day where the lack of trust in this regime increases, and where the wider footballing public’s opinion of this club decreases further. All, as ever, avoidable.