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.