I’d no intention of posting anything while away in France, although the decisions that had been hanging when I set off were taken (and might be obvious to anyone who’d read what’s gone before). Just as I had no desire to watch a Charlton game on Wednesday night with ambivalent feelings (I left after the Chris Powell tribute), I have no desire to be writing anything negative ahead of crucial games (I booked this trip before the Bournemouth game was rearranged and regret not being there to contribute to the tribute for Yann that he too deserves, but planned the return for next Friday so that I would make the home game the following day).
However, the post by Wyn Grant detailing the statement by “a group of well-known Charlton supporters” prompted a quick change of heart, only to the extent of giving the group my strong endorsement. The stated desire to engage asap with either Roland Duchatelet or Katrien Miere seems entirely right and appropriate. So is the invitation to others to join. I would expect the CAFC Trust to correctly take some time as its role is to represent Charlton fans in their entirety and no doubt there will be some who, for good reason, feel that the initiative is poorly timed and in that sense inappropriate. I don’t agree with that view, but the Trust quite rightly should take their views into account.
Outside of that, there are naturally outliers, which is where I feel comfortable. The chances of constructive engagement with the new owner I would guess are limited, but as ever I’d be happy to be proven wrong. He is after all right and the protests of Standard Liege fans didn’t end up cutting much ice (if they are continuing my apologies). So let’s see how this one plays out.
The case clearly isn’t as simple as ‘Back To The Valley’. Then the fight was against a council objecting to us returning to The Valley (or at worst somewhere in the area) and most of us knew that unless we did as a football club we would die a fast or slow death. The club was owned by people who wanted to return, they asked and we gave and there was unity of purpose. Now this initiative has to take on board the fact that we are in a relegation struggle and divided camps seldom succeed. So this one’s a less easy call for all Addicks right now. But all important decisions involve rejection of something attractive/the embracing of something that’s not 100% positive in the circumstances. I have no doubt which side of the fence I’m on and I fully endorse the new group’s efforts.
There’s not the time to go into details here and now, but let’s use Yann to illustrate the two views. I suspect that Duchatelet will have looked at the statistics. Here’s a 32-year-old forward who we can get a fee for, who may only have a year or two left and little resale value after that. We have an offer, we should take it. What he will never have seen, or if he did probably wouldn’t appreciate, was Kermorgant getting clattered by an opposition defender, kicked on a dodgy ankle, and get up, puff out his chest, call the defender (perhaps also the ref) something in Breton, and dive back into the fray. We didn’t love him because he was the greatest player to turn out for Charlton (leaving aside the fact that on his day he was superb), but because he inspired – not just us but the rest of the team - by his character and response to adversity. And of course with him still with us we would have had a much better chance of avoiding relegation. As with Sir Chris, if you place no value on such qualities, which don’t appear in the statistics, you make a poor assessment of the risk/return profile. You throw the baby out with the bathwater, and we are supposed to be your children after all.