Sunday, 22 February 2015

A (One-Sided) Account Of My Meeting With KM&RD

This is an account of a meeting that I had with Katrien Miere and Roland Duchatelet. Of course it only took place in my head, so I am unable to fill in the answers to the questions put to them.

"Thank you for agreeing to this meeting, I am confident it will be constructive as all parties share the same objective of doing what is best for Charlton and seeing the club succeed. Before we begin, I'm sure we'd all like to put on record our congratulations to the team for the excellent result at Wigan and hope for the same at Derby on Tuesday.

As an introduction, I'd suggest from this side of the table that opinion among supporters is divided. Some are happy to accept the way the club is run by you both and to focus on the positives (the pitch, the stadium, the financial survival of the club, and the fact that the consortium approach and investment has enabled us to bring in players of the quality that might otherwise not have been possible). Some are alienated by the consortium model per se, preferring to support a club (in whatever division) which strives only for its own success, are exasperated by what we have seen of your style of management of the club, and would favour your departure, whatever the consequences. (Please be assured that these fans too are driven by what they believe to be in the best interests of the club and their goals as supporters, I have seen absolutely no evidence of any less worthy motives.) Most, I believe, are somewhere in between but will sooner or later move into one of the two camps.

As I see it, the objective of this meeting is to see if there are any reassurances you can provide on issues of concern, and perhaps modifications of style and approach which you may be prepared to make, in order to increase the chances of more supporters choosing the former rather than the latter. Given that the latter would almost certainly lead to revenue losses for the club, I am assuming that you are keen for that to be avoided (and that agreeing to this meeting is a reflection of that).

1.  Relations with supporters. KM has stated (and I assume RD is in agreement) that you wish to be open and honest in communicating with supporters, and that the Fans Forum, together with VIP and other Q&As, is the best way to engage with them. Would you be prepared to consider modifying this approach, in particular agreeing to the Trust's request for consultation, given that the Trust has built an extensive membership and, although in its infancy, can reasonably claim to be the best mouthpiece for supporters?

2.  Related to this, do you believe that in general you can benefit from the input of supporters on issues a little weightier than the availability of Bovril, or do you believe that supporters should just support and can have no opinion/advice that might help inform your decisions?

3.  Would you accept that on too many occasions (up to and including the appointment of our new head coach and the ill-judged stunt ahead of the Trust meeting) the club's PR has been dire, prompting some to conclude that supporters have been lied to? If yes, what do you intend to do to improve this area of communication (other than simply being content to admit to mistakes some time after the event)?

4.  The consortium model. Do you believe that it is possible, under any head coach, for a team comprising largely consortium players moved around and others drafted in on short-term contracts to perform better rather than worse than the sum of its parts? If no, what do you consider to be an optimum balance between, shall we say 'core players' and others?

5.  RD, you have said that Charlton fans must accept that players can be loaned to Standard Liege (or other consortium clubs). This has not happened so far . Could you elaborate on the possible circumstances under which this would happen? Related to this, do players contracts now include any clauses related to being loaned/sold to other consortium clubs, and are you able to confirm or deny any suggestion that Diego Poyet's decision to leave the club might have been influenced by any such clauses in the deal offered to him?

6.  Finances. Richard Murray said at the VIP meeting that RD has two real goals for Charlton: to go up and to break even. For the foreseeable future they are incompatible, as evidenced by the latest club accounts. Given this, and the undermining of your hopes that the Fair Play rules will create a more level playing-field in the Championship, what do you view as an acceptable and sustainable level of losses over the medium term?

6.  The role and behaviour of the owner. In response to a VIP meeting question, KM said that RD is a very busy, family man and that consequently it is not possible for him to attend many games or to have involvement in the day-to-day affairs of the club. That is accepted and understood. However, would you agree that having a remote owner but one who supporters believe (rightly or wrongly) takes all the key decisions (possibly more), one who is apparently consulted each day, causes problems for both the board and supporters? If yes, do you have any suggestions for improvement?

7.  Leading on from your answer, and the fact that the current situation gives rise to the belief of some that KM and the board are puppets, could you elaborate on the decision-making process when it comes to player transfers, choices of head coaches, and player selection? In particular, does the board have the capacity to make decisions in these areas or merely make recommendations to RD, and is the head coach entirely free to make team selections based solely on maximising our chances of getting a positive result?

8.  RD, your background is not in football, it has been said that you have no real love of the game and don't really understand what motivates supporters (please feel free to elaborate if you disagree). Why do you believe that you can tell who is and who is not a good head coach? And if your opinions are shaped by the advice of others, exactly who are they?

9.  It has been acknowledged by KM that mistakes (apparently we all make them) have been made. Do you feel that you have learnt from them to avoid them being repeated (and if so what)? And RD, in light of your experience since buying the club, do you believe that you have, or might consider, any alteration to your vision for the club when you bought it?

10.  RD, what do you personally hope to get out of your involvement in football?"

Absent an actual meeting with the Trust, answers please on a postcard.


37 comments:

a2c said...

Nah wonder iss one sided - is like dinner for one innit. Least they old meetins with fans groups unlike the last owners who didn't less you can remember them. I reckon the board do a brilliant job dahn our gaff.

Anonymous said...

Troll Alert!
Blackheath Addick
The idiot above has been restrained on Wyn Grant's blog. He's apparently been a troll before and obviously his treatment isn't working. Apparently he also uses some sort of mockney translator app. You may wish to do the same if he gets too tiresome.

Anonymous said...

We don't have to like, respect or understand Roland's motivation for the way he runs the club. I'm sure lot's of other club owners don't respect their supporters either. I'm not saying we shouldn't complain, but I do think we should understand it's never personal. Although some people's club attachment is, the past has gone. Perhaps you have to be crazy to own a club like this. Who cares just keep on handing over the £££££££'s Rolly, mate, until you get bored, sunshine. COYA

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest, getting boring now.

Floyd said...

BA - I am worried by the current 'woe is me' trend that is appearing amongst bloggers. Similarly, I am disappointed to see the tone set here.

I agree that there could be improvements - but there again, that was the case under the Spivs.

The simple point I want to make is that there is some great disparity in truth doing the rounds. It is quite apparent that in some instances the Club have fallen short here, but in the same vein so have the 'above criticism' Trust.

Dialogue has been had and dialogue has been refused. We need to be very careful who we believe and how fact is represented.

I went up to Wigan and had some 40-45 minutes talking to Katrien. She was not putting distance between herself and fans, which she could so easily do at this moment in time. In fact she was walking around the Club Shop doing a compare and contrast exercise.

Questions were had and answers were given.

The point I wish to make is a simple one. If we want dialogue, it can be had quite easily without any big fanfare or trauma. I cannot remember that being the case in the past. Yes things could be better, but they could be a hell of a lot worse as well.

Anonymous said...

Having watched the club Q and A last week, the answers given to some pretty probing questions were fair enough to me. On with the football!

Anonymous said...

Good blog. It would be excellent to get answers from the board on the questions raised.

Charlton Supporter

---------

a2c is a parody of a supposed Charlton supporter. They refuse to write in plain English. The main aim is always to stir up division and trouble.

Its just not funny. Wynn got rid and I hope they don't take root here.

CS

Anonymous said...

I don't know which is sadder. You taking the time to write this rehashed (and erroneous) twaddle - or me for reading it.

Anonymous said...

The sad (and worrying) thing is that some of the people commenting here are obviously happy for the club to be run by somebody who isn't a Charlton fan and isn't even in this country.
Good blog as usual BA

Anonymous said...

For me perhaps happy is the wrong adjective above, perhaps resigned is more appropriate.
I don't believe it's in our interests or that we can run RD out of town with pitchforks or season tickets. Because we don't approve of his methods. He's here to stay for awhile and they will continue to make mistakes. It looks like good and bad to me though. In the meantime perhaps some lessons have/will be learnt and some bridges can be rebuilt after a such disastrous start. Several own goals in the first few months. Maybe football is a game of two halves.
I don't say that because we've won two.

Anonymous said...

Well i enjoyed reading it as well BA. But I thought Floyd above makes some good points as well. Oddly few us seemed as concerned under Slater and Jiminez as we do now. I suspect (as you pointed out) CP's appointment helped rally us behind the team. But the concern/disatisfaction now is cumulative going back several years and a few ownwers. We finally got our sugar daddy owner but he isn't what we wanted in many respects.

seeking dialogue in a constructive way with informed and representative nominees has to be good for both parties (owner and fans)doesn't it? Shying away from that indicates a desire to hide something, even if it is unfounded.

Pembury Addick

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks for the comments guys, all of them. Had to go out for prior engagement yesterday, one which took up the rest of the day and has left me feeling a tad jaded today.

Fair range of opinion. I'd only add that non-communication (and I take the point about Miere being approachable) can be fine if the objectives/motivations/strategy are clear, but when they are not, or involve some experimentation, it might be in management's interest to go out of their way to try to convince a willing audience that all will be well under them.

a2c said...

Wot I would say is there tryin n Katrien as already met with different fans groups n if my memory serves me correct on ere thass sumthin the previous owners didn't do so the new Board ave to be given credit for their approach n I find it dissapointin so many aint givin credit where iss due.

Anonymous said...

a2c - don't try telling them the truth. Wasting your time, mate. They don't want to know.
Like that earlier bloke who thinks the guy pumping his money into the club should be a Charlton fan and move to England....? Really? Who cares? I bet the likes of Man City fans don't.

Anonymous said...

a2c attempting to spread division, now on Blackheath Addick comments. Trying to dominate the comments section here after got booted off Addicks Championship diary.

Refusing to write in plain english and writes uses a mockney translator to try and parody Charlton supporters.

Give it up a2c. Stop trying to create division at Charlton.

Charlton supporter

a2c said...

anon 2 above, I'm glad you think like wot I do n I agree with wot your sayin. After all Jiminez n Slater weren't Charlton fans either when they ran our gaff but I can't remember them getting all this stick for doin a good job dahn our gaff.

Anonymous said...

See you can post in plain text a2c in making up your anonymous support.

See you are still making nonsense / rubbish up in any attempt to get Charlton supporters involved to drive division.

I also know that your trolling won't stop. I like Blackheath Addicks blog. You will continue to try and dominate it just like you did with Addicks Diary.

I hope it stops and your mockney drivel can stop.

Charlton Supporter

Blackheath Addicted said...

Further thanks guys. I've never restricted comments and I'm not going to start now. I have no idea whether a2c is genuine, is on the club payroll, or is motivated by some other factor, just as I have no idea why he/she chooses to comment in the style he/she does. All I can say is that if it's jibberish I can't be bothered to work out any point).

Being slagged off doesn't cause me any loss of sleep (ask my French partner Suzanne if anything does) and it won't influence anything I choose to write (in the sure and safe knowledge that everyone is at liberty to ignore my idle ramblings).

Where I will take exception is any attempt to attribute all criticism of the board/owner as racist/sexist/anti-social. I simply don't see the evidence for this in general and am confident in my motivation. Of course wherever such (genuine) issues arise (in recent non-Charlton cases) they are to be condemned and for sure there's no room for complacency. But the case for condemning them is undermined if accusations of similarities are made without foundation.

Geoff said...

I enjoy reading BA's blogs too but it's a bit ironic really 'making up your anonymous support' when you're posting as anon yourself.

I tend to agree with what a2c says as well as the other poster when it comes to communication. It seems to be better now under the current ownership than the previous one. And that's whether you disagree or not with how the club is being run.

We don't all think the same but I don't see anything 'divisive' in that.

Anonymous said...

I comment on the anon thing, as a2c did the same on Addicks Championship thread. It shows that they can post in plain english when it suits.

a2c's game is to pick up a divisive topic and to get regular Charlton supporters to pick up on it to create division. Then pick at it like a wound. In a ridiculous repetive, cliched, mockney style. Not helpful to Charlton's cause.

A divisive troll and parody of a Charlton supporter. A blight on BBC 606 when that board run. a2c will be a blight on this comments section as well.

That is down to Blackheath Addick to decide what they do with it as it is their site.

Charlton supporter

Geoff said...

Sorry I still do not see how the view on improved communication with the fans under the current ownership is in any way shape or form divisive unless you believe all Charlton fans should be 100% opposed to Mr Duchatelet and the Board. If that's the case then I really don't think that's helpful to the future of CAFC either.

Despite the criticism of the new owners, I really do see some improvements in the club's direction.

As for the style, I don't see anything offensive or insulting in the posts. How do you know a2c is a troll, do you know the poster in person otherwise seems like any other fan to me? Perhaps your view is just a subjective one.

I hope Blackheath Addick, who runs an excellent blog continues to welcome posts from fans with different views, styles and from different backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

Geoff, if it is declared supporter from a different club, that's fine but a2c is a supporter from another club pretending to be a Charlton supporter. That's not right. They are trying to parody Charlton supporters.

a2c was a lot on BBC 606's forum taking up ridiculous positions which they would defend repetitively.

Darren bleedin' Ambrose, ticket promotions being bad for the club and someone spilling kebabs on his shoes amongst other ridiculous subjects. 'dahn our grahnd'. The mockney translator instead of plain english. A troll by experience and observation.

They disappeared for years and now back. Some of it may make a kind of sense. I am not going to debate Charlton who is clearly on a wind up and trying to wind up Charlton supporters.

Like, I said picks a contentious subject and tries to whip up division.

Up to Blackheath Addick what they do. Good luck to this comments section as it will need it.

A Charlton supporter

Geoff said...

Well Blackheath Addick said 'I've never restricted comments and I'm not going to start now' (I really respect him for that) so that's good enough for me and I hope a2c continues to post.

It seems you have an obsession anon and instead of putting your view on the topic above, continue to attack the same poster and bear a personal grudge.

I don't have a problem with the style of posting either, it's quite witty and sometimes we need a laugh particularly after the last few months we've been through with supporting the Addicks. a2c seems to be a genuine fan to me but one you really dislike for whatever reason.

Blackheath Addicted said...

At the risk of extending the discussion, on the point whether communication is better now than under the previous regime I'd say the jury's still out and that what went before is no suitable benchmark.

When things were going well, Slater was happy to host occasional Q&As (I went to the one not long after Sir Chris' appointment) and he was quite personable. But it was all managed, we had anonymous ultimate owners, and when there was bad news - and especially towards the end when they were denying VotV pieces on a sales document - the communication dried up. I howled about this at the time (along with others).

Only time will tell if we have a similarly undesirable set-up now - and we do now have the Trust as a mouthpiece. I don't think there's anything wrong in aiming for best practise on communication/consultation and believe it would benefit both supporters and the board/owner.

Anonymous said...

Well Geoff, we can agree to disagree. I have seen how a2c can skew, dominate, and lower a discussion. Its a wind up pure and simple.

a2c is obviously not as stupid as their persona makes out. You may find that entertaining. Not a Charlton supporter IMO.

It is not an obsession, it is a challenge to highlight the a2c troll at work. Also to challenge the contentious agenda they are trying to raise.

Blackheath Addick says above they are not going to restrict comments. Its their blog and their rules. I have had space to make my point, for which I am happy enough about. Time will tell how it all goes.

Charlton supporter

Geoff said...

I think you can only compare like with like. Michael Slater/Jiminez initially took control in 2010 until 2014 so Mr Duchatelet has only run the club just over a year.

I will try to get some figures on the number of meetings with fans groups then compared with now. I think it's important as accusations are made that the current Board doesn't communicate with the fans but we need to see the facts on that.

With regard to the Trust, I don't see it as fully representative of the fan base as a whole. Meetings aren't that well attended and the membership of the other fans forums and groups probably amounts to more than the Trust.

Katrien Meire has said she will communicate with the various different groups like the VIP season ticket holder Addicks etc and I would compliment her on that.

Geoff said...

Yes you're right anon I couldn't disagree more. I thought the contribution was highly valid and doesn't lower the tone of the discussion.

Again, there is no evidence to suggest that a2c isn't a Charlton fan and I would much prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that Blackheath Addick does the same rather than getting involved in a vendetta against another poster.

Anonymous said...

Whatever floats your boat Geoff. Not biting on an a2c led wind up. That's how it works.

Vendetta, highly valid contribution, lol

Charlton Supporter

Geoff said...

That settles that then anon and thanks for the 'heads up' with the boat analogy and of course the lol, I expect a2c would be crucified for daring to use such text speak.

Perhaps your contributions will in future stick to the article rather than a stream of personal attacks and allegations aimed at another poster.

I've noted so many times from your irritating repetition that you're a Charlton supporter, does that mean the rest of us aren't or is this a superiority complex?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Geoff. i think you need to calm down mate. It is not if you are related to a2c is it ? Not sure why you are getting so hot and bothered.

Charlton Supporter

a2c said...

ok fair cop Guv, I'm a Spanner innit.

Anonymous said...

There's a revelation. Maybe have to change the name to a2m.

Best to concentrate on that 6 pointer against Rotherham. Lucky it is not at the the new den, more chance away from home.

CS

a2c said...

Yeah but e's ighjacked my name to post a slur - I reckon iss anon doin it as a wind up. I was so sorry ourn lost lass night but then we knew it would be ard against the team top of the league. Nice to see Darren Bent thankin all of ourn after. Thanks for all ur support Geoff, I am CAFC all the way but unlike sum don't keep throwin rocks.

Anonymous said...

LOL spoke to soon

CS

R. Duchatelet said...

1. Je suis un homme occupé et Katriene est bien capable de parler en mon nom et a déjà été très honnête. La Fiducie sont susceptibles de me poser des questions gênantes, donc je ne veux pas y faire face. Je ai sauvé le club de l'administration donc je ne me sens pas besoin de répondre à ne importe qui.

2. Les partisans ne ont aucune idée de la façon de lancer un club. Ils doivent se en tenir simplement à soutenir l'équipe. Ils ne sont d'aucune pertinence pour moi

3. Je pensais que les partisans allaient nous croire quand nous avons dit que nous avons interviewé autres candidats de gestion, mais il semble qu'ils sont un peu plus intelligent que cela. La prochaine fois, nous devrons être plus prudent et Katriene devra garder sa bouche fermée.

 4. Le modèle est simplement une façon pour moi de faire des économies sur les contrats des joueurs. Espérons que le Standard de Liège fera bien. Les autres clubs sont seulement réserve équipes de Standard

5. Si nous pouvons lier un jeune joueur à un long contrat et il est assez bon, alors il va le forcer à aller jouer pour Liège. Malheureusement Poyet ne était pas stupide, il a donc quitté.

6. Pas de perte est acceptable. Nous devons travailler à briser, même en vendant nos jeunes joueurs.

6. Il ne ya aucun problème. Je possède le club et je fais ce que je veux.

7. L'entraîneur en chef doit jouer mes joueurs la mesure du possible, à moins qu'il semble que nous pourrions être relégués. Powell ne accepterait pas cela. Tout le monde au club doit faire ce que je dis ou qu'ils seront tirés.

8. Je ne peux pas vraiment dire qui est un bon entraîneur, mais je étais déjà employais Guy Luzon Donc, il était l'option la moins chère pour Charlton.

9. Je ai pensé que le Championnat était la même norme que la deuxième division belge, mais je me rends compte maintenant que ce est un peu mieux que cela. Jann Kermorgant avait l'air un peu en surpoids, mais il se avère qu'il était vraiment très bon.

10. Je aime juste le sentiment de puissance que d'être le propriétaire de cinq clubs européens apporte.

Anonymous said...

a2c

A few questions

1) Big game on Saturday against Rotherham. Good job Millwall's away form is better than the home form. Will Millwall escape the drop this season ?

2) Darren Ambrose what an underrated player - if either Charlton or Millwall had that player in their ranks then any threat of relegation would be a distant memory. What do you think ?

3) The £5 offer for Huddersfield is it really going to help Charlton ?

4) Did you ever get the kebab stains out of the shoes / trainers ?

CS

Blackheath Addicted said...

Nice one, whoever posted as R.Duchatelet. Had to do a Google translate (mon Francais est trais mauvais) and from what that produced I'm assuming it was not from our actual owner.

For those with equally poor French, here's the auto-translate:

1. I am a busy man and Katriene is well able to speak for me and has been very honest. The Trust may ask me embarrassing questions, so I do not want to face it. I saved the club from administration so I do not feel the need to respond to anyone.

2. Proponents have no idea how to start a club. They should just stick to support the team. They are of no relevance to me

3. I thought the fans would believe us when we said we interviewed other candidates for management, but it seems they are a little smarter than that. Next time, we will be more careful and Katriene will keep his mouth shut.

4. The model is simply a way for me to save on player contracts. Hopefully the Standard Liege will do well. Other clubs are only provided Standard teams

5. If we can link a young player to a long contract and it is good enough, then it will force him to go play in Liège. Unfortunately Poyet was not stupid, so he left.

6. No loss is acceptable. We must work to break even by selling our young players.

6. There is no problem. I own the club and I do what I want.

7. The head coach must play my players possible, unless it appears that we may be relegated. Powell would not accept that. Everyone at the club has to do what I say or they will be fired.

8. I cannot really say that is a good coach, but I already was using Guy Luzon So it was the cheapest option for Charlton.

9. I thought the championship was the same standard as the Belgian second division, but I realize now that it's a little better than that. Yan Kermorgant looked a bit overweight, but it turns out it was really good.

10. I just love the feeling of power that being the owner of five European clubs brings.

A2C, I'm equally mystified by your last comment. I'm sorry to say that the reference to kebab stains and trainers doesn't ring any bells with me.

As for your questions, obviously we still have to play at Millwall and you have the feeling they may need to win that game to stay up. I'm more concerned that three finish below us than who they are (but won't shed any tears if its them). Ambrose? His final period with us was dysmal. The £5 offer? Quite clever I think, perhaps trying to take away the notion that many might turn up just to applaud Sir Chris.