Monday, 8 August 2016

EFL add to Charlton's PR disasters.

So a whole season and division has passed since my last posting and I look at my last and feel a sense of betrayal or at least disappointment.

Mel Beroni came, PR'd and left, Guy Luzon came bounced up and down and Left, Riga came looked studious and left and so too the fans came and many have now departed.

The positives are the new look team and manager and it won't be until the end of the month that we know if the depth of squad issue will be addressed.

I can't even try and claim that Katrien is with us, as I felt in May 2005, mainly through hers and Duchatalets actions she has alienated herself from the fans, in a way that is is hard to imagine anyone could.  To talk to she is a charming individual, but she has made mistake after mistake.  In those discussions I have had with her she has had some interesting and yes positive ideas about football, which she will be able to contribute to the wider footballing community in her new role.

However, our house is burning down the house for which she is a custodian, if not the custodian and you wonder why on earth she would turn her back on our house fire to participate in what at best is a board room game of English Football.

It appears that Katrien will be with us for a long time to come, it is virtually impossible to find any part of her job, other than being charming that she has succeeded in.  She appears to be impervious to the attacks on her, some of which have been delivered in a tone and language that is totally unacceptable, but she must wear metal knickers because she deflects these attacks every time.

Unlike CARD my single objective is not to get rid of this regime, it is to have the club playing good winning football on the field and the business side of it run efficiently and effectively.  One of the strategies for doing this  is getting the Belgians out and we should run this along with others that also includes playing the waiting game.  In them meantime, we can hope that Katriens networking either finds her her next job or that she is shown the error of her ways by those that know and the direction of the club changes significantly.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A Dickensian Year

"It was Best of times, it was the Worst of times."

Charles Dickens summed up the very essence of being a Charlton supporter and of our season in this line from “A Tale Of Two Cities.”

Hope over expectation, Hopes dashed on the rocks of reality … So many phrases can be used for us addicks and the life we lead.

And that’s it 2014/15 is over, the campaign is confined to the history books, we’ve had our highs and our lows and a fair bit in between.

We had a new manager, we loved him, despite his Millwall past and helped by his attempt to smash Uwe Rossler, then we sacked him and we hated him.  We had a new manager, we hated him, then we appointed him and then we loved him.

We had our own peasants revolt. In a cold Hall in Woolwich the rabble roused, it's not about results we said, and the results got better and the rabble dispersed and the Trust appeared to go quiet.

We went unbeaten longer than any  others, neck and neck with Forest. And both Clubs proved, being unbeaten does not win promotion, too many draws and after clutching wins from jaws of a draw, we sunk to a stream of draws and multiple defeats, before we swung back with the SE7 version of total football and a streak of winning games.

Our fans  hit the  depths with a couple of alleged supporters spitting at former player of the year, Scott Carson, but the true Charlton emerged as the perpetrators were roundly condemned by their fellow fans and we rose to the occasion when Bournemouth took over our ground to receive the Championship.

The fantastic Valley pitch
The owners, can we still call them new?, continue to make errors on the customer service front, the catering is not fit for purpose and if ever you wanted to drive people away from buying programmes just ask Charlton. Season ticket prices have stayed low, but the increasing of the upper age concession is unnecessary and a slap in the face to long term supporters. On the other hand the pitch is something to be proud of and the big surprise is that Rotherham came first in the season pitch awards, the new seats were put in place and we are promised a new screen and a credit card entry system – welcome to the 21st century Charlton.

JBG at Eltham Addicks
On the playing field, on the whole the owners have moved forward from the days of Reza Piotr … But Roland can't help himself and we got Le Point and Tucudean, no where good enough, although Le Points recruitment did bring light relief in the fabulous Ghent fans who came to see him, when he was not even selected for the bench. However you balance that with the recruitment of Igor Vetokele and Johan Berg Gudmonson and later Watts, Roger Johnson, Chris Eagles and Diarra, as well as the Ioan's of Bulot and Buyens and the continued development of the youth – Cousins and Gomez – respectively Player and young player of the year.

Of course and finally we have the CEO accused of lying over the management situation, telling the fans that we’ll just have to accept Duchatalets way, the target of an insidious anti campaign, and an uncomfortable train journey, but on the other hand I believe that the managerial situation was her being undermined by her boss, I've worked for people like Duchatalet before and believe me, it's no
Katrien Miere
at Bromley
fun when they cut you off at the knees, she has been charming and more balls than many of the keyboard warriors – continuing to travel with supporters, she has been open with fans at forums but won't be bullied. Overall with me she's in credit but needs to implement some of her ideas with more care and comprehension . The programmes and catering were a shambles and the communication with fans has at times been even worse, although at others has been good. But she shouts with us, she walks with us, she's despondent with us and for now that will do for me.

So that's it . 12th, a non entity of a position, but it has been one of the most interesting seasons supporting Charlton where we have not been looking positively or negatively at getting out of the division.

It may have been the best of times it may have been the worst of times but at least no one lost their head …. Well no one except Bob Peters.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Same old same old.

So same old same old it is then.

This will not go down as my favourite Good Friday ever, to say by the end I was a little cross is an understatement.  It all started so well in East Dulwich at the Cherry Tree with a pint or 3 with a couple of friends an dended with a row with another "mature" Charlton fans who seemed to be taking his annoyance at the result, the performance and the "lock in" out on an innocent bus driver at New Cross Gate.

It seems to me that the season is now well and truly over, a positive result from the Toolbox, would have carried the fans and the players to the end of the season, but now it looks and feels like it will juts peter out.

Now all we have to look forward to is more internal fighting over the ownership politics that the "Don Quixotes" of the club seem to be pursuing and Millwalls last gasp avoidance of relegation as they put Blackpool, Wigan and Rotherham down.  I don't begrudge Millwalls win, they were no where near us in terms of skill and class but they wanted it and ultimately got it.  My Man of The match goes to their Mike Russell, who was outstanding for them.

Fans singing we'll never play you again to the opposition never get it right, as we have found to our cost.  I sang that to Palace many years ago and now look at us.

"You'll never beat the Millwall" - We will, but if they don't avoid relegation it maybe many years from now before we are in a position to.

Meanwhile those at the beam back must be pig sick that they missed the atmosphere of the rain, the obnoxious knuckle draggers, being held back for 45 minutes, our fans throwing plastic bottles on the pitch (and on their fellow fans).

Sadly can't make Fulham tomorrow -

Monday, 30 March 2015

Good Friday or same old same old?

 Left Foot Forward – Gary Nelson 1995

"Saturday 6th April

‘Whatever you do this season, make sure you beat Millwall.’ Whenever two teams are gathered in one space, there you will find a local derby and the inescapable fact of life that the workplace,
playground, pub or, or indeed, home becomes a miserable, all but no-go area when your lads are at the wrong end of that all important result.     In terms of this form of neighbourhood watch, Charlton fans have long had their problems. In close to sixty meetings, the reds have only beaten the blues nine times.

This is only Charlton’s second visit to the pompously, OTT- named New London Stadium.  On the first, I gave our makeshift, injury-hit team an early lead but the game ended sickenly for us with an injury time Millwall winner.  It gave me one further reason for disliking the Lions’ computer designed, state of the art and hence, characterless New Den.
……. But for me, its undeviating four-square symmetry lacks a human dimension”
The Toolbox with Lewisham recycling centre
standing proud in the background
All those years and nothing changes.

The record now stands :-

Millwall        Charlton        Draw
28                   10                 25

It is seven games since we last beat Millwall, forget the 19 years crap, you can only beat them if you play them and we did not for 13 years.  But no wins in seven is appalling, as is conceding 11 and only scoring 4.

So excuse me if I go in trepidation to the Toolbox on Friday, All the signs indicate that the gap between our two teams is greater than for many years in terms of player quality, managerial quality and morale but this is Charlton and however well the turnaround has been you know there is always a wet haddock round the corner waiting to slap you round the face, hopefully it won’t happen this Friday and if it doesn't then Friday really will be Good Friday and Luzon really will be a Sir.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Charlton Fans are not revolting!!

Who would have thought on a cold, not cold, freezing night in February, at a Trust organised meeting of fans, we would go on a run of games resulting in only eight goals conceded,  but 20 scored in 9 games and only two defeats.

On that day the assembled supporters, young and old voted that a continued attempt to have a dialogue with the club was favoured (Not “one last attempt” as captioned in the recent VOTV).
Football is a results business and at that time the fan base were at the wrong end of a 3 month run without a win and an incredibly poorly handled managerial change.

But football is fickle and I wonder now how many there that night, see this Charlton side as one they cannot relate to?  Sure attendances are still poor, but is that just down to this regime or the tripe we have been served with over the years since relegation from the Prem?  It will take consistent  results and investment  before we see the fans hitting 17-19k consistently.

What has happened – Luzon, Watt and Johnson and the right decisions by the Owner / CEO and a charm offensive from our CEO, who has been unwilling to get involved in mud slinging.
For those that feel disenfranchised now, there is still much to worry about and those of us who are either pro this regime or could not give a toss about the off field politics and activities (the majority), would do well to heed there calls for caution.  Although to say that we are in a similar crisis to that of the move to Selhurst is ludicrous and mere rhetoric.

However, even those, like me, that do not want Charlton in the Prem*, realise that we either go up or down, a team without ambition is a team that will not attract players and will ultimately go backwards.  At the end of the season Johnson, Eagles, Diarra are out of contract, Bulot and Buyens go back to the Mother / Sister ship.

What happens next will display the ambitions that Duchatalet has for us.  There is not a single  player I would “die in a ditch” for, but for each player out of the above that we may lose I would want a replacement – same or better.

The good news is that we are trying to tie up JBG (My player of the year) on an extension (Contract not cord), a request has been made for a season long loan of a Premier League midfielder, although his parent club have said wait till after pre season, feelers have been put out for other players, what we don’t know is the quality of those players and despite some fans desire to know the “ins and outs” of everything that goes on in the club I am simply happy to know that the club are already planning for next season.

Those dark days of the Trust FACILITATED Woolwich meeting seem to be over for the moment, my only beef is the change of concession age to 65 – no coincidence that I have just hit 58.

However, the real test will come when we kick off the new season and arfe able to assess the squad we have then …. In the meantime there is a date on April 3rd – where Luzon can be the quickest managerial legend in Charlton history.  Zero to hero Mr Luzon, its in your hands.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

It's All About Results!

It is only a few weeks ago that there was a gnashing of teeth (as well as chattering in Woolwich) and a feeling that the Duchatalet regime was destroying our club and taking us down to League 1, from where we would never return.

Luzon was renamed as Luzer and 20 minutes into his regime chants of “You don’t know what you are doing”.

Demands were made that fans meet with Duchatalet, not his lying henchman and negatives were being sought and exploited.

But this is a results business.  Regardless of what is said on the fans forums, the majority of fans want to turn up to a match see us play good football and win.

So the recruitment of Johnson, the playing of Watt for 90 minutes, moving Cousins to central midfield and we have three home wins in a row and four out of five and all is well at the Valley.

Or is it?

When you distil the unrest it came down to poor communication of the direction that the club is going.  The poor football, previous years poor recruitment, the confusing departures of Yann and Powell, as well as the botched recruitment of Luzon, put the club under the microscope held by niche of us that are not only interested in the club on the field but also off the field now and in the future.

It is hard to know if all is well at The Valley, beyond the end of this season, because we really do not know Duchatalet's intentions.  Eagles and Johnson are only here on short term contracts, Bulot and Buyens are on loan from sister ship Liege.

Word has it that Katrien has said that we have exceeded our player’s budget.
The desire and re stated intention is that Charlton Athletic breaks even.  So fans are wary, without any explanation, of how we get there.

Will we release the short term and loan deals, bringing down expenditure, but then surely making us less competitive on the pitch?

Do we keep short term deals release loanees and make everyone operate on short term deals – creating uncertainty and only keeping those that cannot secure more security elsewhere.

How about selling the youth?  Well really only Gomez has any chance of commanding a sizeable fee and that is only based on potential, so I do not see a £5m up front transfer fee coming in there.

Maybe Katrien will be able to answer these questions in the forthcoming Bromley Addicks meeting, it would help the club and its relations with all fans if she were able to give some information on the behind the scenes strategy.

I know people want to talk directly to Duchatalet and people have branded Katrien a liar, but I don’t believe that this is the case.  I believe that she is honest and works hard for the club, but was seriously undermined during the sacking recruitment process by her boss.  Believe me I have been in similar situations with “entrepreneurial” bosses.  however, she will take a long time to rebuild her credibility with most fans.

Some questions were asked on Charlton Life about Duchatalet’s commitment for the future and even though I am more for than against this regime, I think they are worth each fan considering them:-

Let's see if he spends any cash in the summer outside the network
To be honest I don’t care where the players come from, as long as they improve the club.  Duchatalet has not been afraid to bring in players from outside the network and they have been the best of the bunch, until Tony Watt came in, JBG and Igor, so it’s the quality we should be looking at, inside or out.

Let's see if communication improves
For the vast majority of fans the communication is Tony Watts foot behind the ball, its what they care about, they leave the politics of business and home at the turnstiles.  But for some of us, an indication of where we are heading would be appreciated.  Katrien is charming, professional, rides the train with the fans (even now) and is attending meetings.  If she adds to this substance then even the majority of the fans who have an interest behind the scenes will be satisfied.

Let's see if he can resist interfering with team selection
To be honest, if he is picking the team now, then I wish he had been doing it since November.

Let's see if Luzon makes it past the six month mark
Well I expect that if he does not then we will be in another slump and we’d want him out.

Now that we have all but secured another season in the Championship, Luzon is going to have to avoid the traditional Charlton March seasonal slump or we’ll be meeting back in Woolwich, because for the majority of us … IT’S ALL ABOUT RESULTS

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The reason why ......

Ole, ole, ole
Ole, ole
Tony Watt, Watt Watt

This is the reason why we support Charlton and not Man Utd or Arsenal or Man City or any other of the top clubs.

We lose games, more often than not we are on the wrong side of the score line, dropping points here and there.  Frustration abounds when supporting Charlton.

But every now and again comes a stream of bright sunlight, a moment in time when all  that frustration is swept aside.

The Play Off Final, The Division One Championship winning season and then there are individual games or even just moments of a game like Johnie Jackson last minute winner against QPR.

Today four wins out of five, when we could not see the next point, when the fans were questioning the commitment of the owners (and we still don't understand their game plan), but today, tonight, tonight was about football and Charlton and a celebration of quality football.

Forest probably had more possession, but we made the chances and were the more dangerous and throughout my time supporting / following Charlton when we have taken the ball into the corner to waste time we have lost possession.  Tonight Tony Watt, Frederick Bulot and Jordan Cousins kept the ball in the corner for the combined minutage that we have held the ball in my 40 years, it was a joy to watch.

The bubble of our recent success rose over night and it may burst overnight, but these games since Watford are why we follow Charlton and not the fancy dans of the Premiership.