Thursday, 12 March 2015

Vital Game On Saturday

It’s an absolutely glorious sunny morning, feels very much like spring is in the air. No idea what the weather’s like back in London, but in Lyon, aside from a little haze still to be burnt off, it’s a day when you question the sanity of having set off a week ago wearing a very warm but slightly cumbersome flying jacket; if I venture out in that (and I brought no alternative) I’m dafter than a Spanners fan.

I’ve sacrificed the game against Blackburn for an extra Saturday with Suzanne and a bit more French culture – having last Saturday toured the Jean Moulin memorial and house (where he was arrested) plus the prison in which he was subsequently held, we are attempting something which I haven’t managed in all the years of coming here, namely getting up early and visiting the traboules – followed by a football match of a different nature, one with a lot riding on it. Lyon Duchere, hovering just above the relegation zone in CFA Groupe C, will be taking on Beziers, who sit proudly at the top of the league, having lost just once in 21 games. It could be a cracker.

The formbook obviously favours Beziers. Duchere haven’t won for four games and lie fourth from bottom (three go down), with just a couple of points breathing space (in truth it’s at least three as they have a game in hand and you get a point for turning up in this league). Just 23 goals scored in 20 games (only 24 conceded) and just four wins all season, compared with 13 wins out of 21 and 30 scored (it’s not exactly a free-scoring league this time around) for Beziers. Time to turn it all on its head and send the few hundred of us that will turn out home happy, with tales to tell of victory against the odds as we sip our Liqueur de Chataigne on the balcony (Suzanne has of late been trying to fob me off with Chartreuse or cognac but I found the bottle she’d been keeping quiet about).

Of course, if Duchere had the misfortune to be part of the Duchatelet network they might have Igor or Tony Watt (more likely the waste of space Rezza or Polish Pete, who might shine at this level) parachuted in to help the cause. Fortunately for them I have no reason to believe that they are on his radar and are in the happy position of standing or falling on their own merits, which for me is an integral, essential part of the rationale for a football club (if this sounds like resistance to change so be it, if a consortium model is some sort of future for football I want no part of it).

I’d intended to leave any decisions regarding next season until what just a few weeks ago was looking like a real fight against relegation was resolved (not that whatever division we found ourselves in would have a bearing on the outcome). The splendid turnaround since then means that battle has been fought and won, with Luzon entitled to his share of the credit for it, along with the players (and the board/owner for the necessary strengthening of the squad). With the season ticket renewals details having been publicised (fortunately in a fashion which didn’t involve a squalid attempt at free publicity), and having read Kings Hill Addick’s depressing account of Katrien Miere’s visit to East Kent Addicks, there’s no good reason to wait longer.

I shall have to get used to Saturday afternoons away from The Valley as, barring some unexpected development and/or real change of heart, I shall not be renewing my season ticket or attending games next season. That the Trust’s renewed appeals for meaningful consultation with the club/board have fallen on deaf ears is disappointing but hardly comes as a surprise. It merely reinforces my impression that the board/owner have no intention to deliver on what they say regarding engagement with supporters but instead pay lip-service to the notion. Fair enough, that’s their decision, they own the club. Just leaves us to make ours – and it feels like I’ve made mine.

Hey, it’s one supporter and one season ticket. Nobody’s going to lose any sleep. I don’t expect my attitude to in any way influence anybody else – and do fully appreciate that others (including fellow Addicks I go to games with) feel differently, putting perhaps a higher value than me on purely results/performances etc. To those whose immediate reaction is ‘good riddance, we don’t need supporters like you’, I can’t say much other than good luck, keep enjoying it, just that for a number of reasons - there will be time enough to repeat them but they all boil down to a combination of a board that has no respect for supporters (including a CEO who dislikes being labelled a liar, a term which I have never used, but is then happy to effectively brand ‘former employees’ as liars) and an owner with a dreadful strategy for his football clubs - I no longer do.


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's sad that you will not be supporting the Addicks at The Valley any longer BA, but hopefully your blog will continue to entertain us, and one day when things change you may return.
Cheers
Pedro45

Anonymous said...

Hang on a minute!
We now have an owner who saved us from certain administration and continues to fund annual losses of several million. He's provided us with a fantastic new playing surface and brought in some great new signings. He also promises to upgrade the academy and training facilities.
How many owners do you know who regard meeting the fans as a priority? That is the job of the CEO and although Katrine has made some mistakes, I for one am prepared to let her get on with her job and sort out the mess the last two muppets left us in.
I've already renewed my season ticket and really am looking forward to next season - although of course the way we are playing, the play offs are still a possibility this year.....!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you BA - but only part of the way. Whilst not renewing my season ticket I will still be going to games and supporting MY club. And if that seems barmy then so be it - I did it once before when we left the Valley to groundshare. A sad little protest to others, but essential to me. I don't care that he gave us a new pitch (he had to) and that he is mad enough to be investing lots of money - I can't get past the sort of man he is - one that uses constructive dismissal and bullies. And people who choose to work for such a man - well, that's up to them too. I can't bring myself to trust him yet. As for the praise of Luzon - I remember Peeters getting off to a good start too and he was soon got rid of - the same fate that surely awaits Luzon - after all, he's been sacked twice already. I'm not wasting my time and energy on getting to like head coaches because they will be gone in an instant. And the same for the players. Doesn't the person above realise that Tony Watt could be gone in a flash - or any of them that he can get a few bob for? If you don't believe this man will sell him then you haven't read anything about him. Long may the results on the pitch continue to be good and for it to be enjoyable to watch my team. As soon as he goes I will get my season ticket back.

801912601 said...

Interesting reading and the lack of fan engagement is clearly the big issue with a number of us fans. Having supported Charlton for 45+ years is now really any different on both communications (apart from the time after the Valley return) and selling star players (Elliot, Walsh, Hales, Flanagan, Parker, Konchesky, Bent, Shelvey, Jenkinson to name a few). My personal position is that having Charlton in my blood I an staying with them as I have always done and always will so season ticket will be renewed as will those of my family & friends. No I dont like the RD approach but not sure what the alternative options are other than admin and all that brings (I have no wish to see CAFC groundshare again or restart in some amateur league)

Anonymous said...

BA I have enjoyed reading your comments and will miss them should your Blog disappear.
I sympathise with your viewpoint - and other comments posted here.
Duchatelet is a disaster waiting to happen. Yes, he's bought into the club and its debt. Yes, the team are playing on a fine new pitch - but that was out of necessity NOT generosity. Luzon will soon go the way of Jose Riga, Big Bob and Sir Chris so I cannot get excited about him ... there's nothing to excite, I know English isn't his first language but his press conferences are just un-watchable. The Valley merry-go-round goes on - Academy players come into the team ... and get sold off for a song. Other players come, and will no doubt go.
There can be no cohesive plan with this owner to move the club forward. That takes patience and progress - two things that RD clearly lacks. It took Curbs nearly a decade to build a team to get into the Premier league for goodness sake...!
At best the Addicks will be a mid-table Championship side, at worst they will drop down to division 1 again without a clear long-term plan that is designed AND kept to. Will that happen with RD? I very much doubt it.
So BA I sympathise with you and admire your conviction.
I won't be renewing my season ticket either and I will be circumspect about which games I go to the Valley to see next season. At the moment I feel trapped by my season ticket - I prefer the freedom of going when I feel like it, and not going if I don't think the offering on the pitch is worth the ticket price.
By the way, Katrien would do well to take a reality pill and look back at what happened over the weekend that Bob was booted out - I won't say that she lied ... but there were certainly some "terminological inexactitudes" coming out of her office and the time-lines and statements simply didn't add up. I don't think that was her fault, it was more likely the bloke above her calling the shots and she was made to look a bit of a plonker. IF that had been done to me I wouldn't still be around - so, she is either very loyal or very thick-skinned - or more likely both!
God forbid I almost hanker for the days of Michael Gliksten....! At least you knew where you stood with him and he was at least consistent.....

Dave said...

BA - I know how you are feeling and I am not that far behind you. I won't renew after 37 years but I still intend going. I won't support Duchatelet or Meire with any upfront commitment when they don't see why they need to make any commitment to the supporters in terms our future strategy. That will likely mean that I will go to less games. The fickleness of our fans is impressive and I suspect the wind may change again before August as the owner recoups some of his investment/losses.I will miss your Blog and especially your match reports which are the most perceptive in my opinion.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks for the comments guys, apologies for delay in replying. The blog as is will have to stop at the end of the season, can't exactly claim to be BA if I'm not going to games (and not prevented from doing so by location), but I will no doubt remain an Addick at heart.

If someone had asked me a little more than a year ago could anything happen to cause me to reconsider/reassess in this fashion I really would have struggled to come up with anything (three spells in the third tier had no such effect). But there you are.

I think my plaintive backing for the board/owner to talk to the Trust was a final desperate attempt to find reason to change my negative view of things. The disregard of the Trust's efforts were the final straw.

a2c said...

Ere are I agree with the 2nd anon dahn. I aint got no interest in the Trust n their ego trips n fully back the Board, Katrien n Guy dahn our gaff who are doin a great job. Ow do you set up a blog cos thass wot I'm goin to do, create a blog backin the board n owner cos I n arf get fed up with all the negative ones even when ourn are winnin games n doin their best to turn things rahnd there muss be sum fans ahrt there who want positive blogs.

Anonymous said...

BA, your perceptive match reports will be missed. Hope you feel able to reconsider your decision at some point.

Come On You Reds!!!!!!!!!

Martin Cowan

Wyn Grant said...

I am sorry that you are going to go and I shall miss your blog. I must say that when I buy my season ticket, I don't expect fan engagement as part of the price and you don't get it at most clubs. My support for the club is not based on who the owner is. I think that Roland is something of an innovator who is trying to shake up a conservative industry, unfortunately his way of doing it is ham fisted.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks again guys, although of course I'm mortified that all that will be missed will be the match reports rather than the in-between lengthy and aimless rambles.

Wyn, I don't disagree with what you say, but find it hard to be told we 'have to accept' this that and the other (perhaps that's over-reaction on my part, even childishness - you try asking Suzanne what happens if I'm told to do something). And I haven't forgotten I still owe you a bottle of wine, just not sure how to hand it over.

Wyn Grant said...

It is a problem as even if I met you before the game, one is not really supposed to take alcohol into the ground!

Blackheath Addicted said...

Same problem for me to hand it over after the game. Only way I can think is for us to agree a place where it can be deposited and picked up after a game. Of course, anyone else who might read this may then be tempted to go to said place, claim to by Wyn Grant and ask if someone has left a bottle of wine ...

Wyn Grant said...

Shall we just call it a day? Honour is satisfied.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Wyn, very decent of you. Let's keep it on the books - and at the least if our paths cross before a game (I do still plan to meet up with friends for drinks before games, perhaps not each time) you can claim a large glass.

Anonymous said...

BA, just looking at the picture of you on the pitch all those years ago, hard to believe you are going to jack it in. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Martin Cowan

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks for the thoughts Martin. I'm not going to jack it in, I'll always consider myself an Addick, have no thoughts whatsoever about going to watch, let alone support, another team, just not a possibility. I hope it will prove to be a temporary break.