Whether its just being knackered after the week that was or whether its that stage of life, my initial reaction to the news of a prospective takeover of the club by Dubai’s Maktoum family is bring it on. These things can always go pear-shaped – for example purchasing Manchester City comes with a written guarantee of failure – but you’ve got to feel that its time to take the risk. After all, the balance of risk is staring us in the face and, with no sleight whatsoever to the current board/owners, the increasing prospect of a return to the sort of situation for Charlton that I spent the first half of my life enduring (it wasn’t that bad, I didn’t expect any better) is simply not appealing.
We would no doubt continue to follow the club. But we are all aware that a failure to get promoted this season – and most people would say we have no better chance than perhaps half the division (I can’t bring myself to agree) – means an end to the parachute payments and a further cutting of the cloth, coupled with a prospective fall in season ticket sales, whether or not the promotion freebie offer is extended. In case it has escaped anyone’s attention the economy is developing not necessarily to our advantage. The implications for football in general are bad enough, but with Far East gambling money and TV rights to continue to prop up the top flight the real effects are going to be felt outside the Premiership.
There’s nothing wrong with being one of a dozen or so decent Championship clubs. However much we carp, the quality of football in the second flight is far higher than it was even five years ago let alone 20, and sooner or later we would get used to our revised status and truly enjoy the greater comradeship that is the Championship – always provided that Millwall and Leeds stay where they are; if they don’t I want out of this league one way or another. Cobblers. I just don’t want to. I have more than the T-shirt.
I haven’t checked emails this morning; it’s been a late start. And I’m probably the first to know about the Dubai bid. I don’t doubt that there might be one or two in there from a Man City friend who has been the butt of my derision in recent months (well, years actually). I think it was the words I wrote to Once I Had A Secret Love (‘once I had a football team etc) that hit hardest. Fact is, Platini and others don’t really understand British football. He recently questioned whether if Liverpool were bought by the Maktoums, taking over the reins from US owners, managed by a Spaniard and with nearly all the players from outside the UK would there be anything left that was Liverpool? Well Michel, there is. It’s called the fans.
We (the fans that is, not just wisened old bloggers) have rightly taken plaudits for the way we have collectively contributed to the development of Charlton over recent years. We have full confidence that Richard Murray is not going to sell on any terms, but ultimately whether the club retains the character that we value will be down to us. And that’s not just sentimental twaddle. It’s what Platini and others don’t understand. So again, bring it on.