Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Protest Needs Dignity As Well As Passion

The outcome of the past two games was always going to condition how we approach Sunday's game and the TV cameras. Win them both and irrespective of attitudes towards the regime there's a strong desire not to upset the momentum or to do anything inside the stadium/during the game that might work against our slim chances of avoiding the drop (or to put it another way why provide an excuse for the assembled media to question how and why we are protesting?). As it is, having bagged the points on Saturday we were unable to follow up last night, which along with other results means that two rounds of games have gone by with no narrowing of the gap to safety - ergo it has widened in terms of what we need to do to stay up.

Of course we're not down yet, with 30 points still to play for and a need to make up 7/8 on the two above us. Stranger things have happened; but we are in the territory of very strange things being required. It's not as if Rotherham and MK Dons (or Bristol City and Fulham) are on a slide; and we're not on a roll (when you can't win at home that's pretty much impossible). Last night wasn't a six-pointer only because they didn't have to win. We did. You can get 16-1 on us staying up, which says it all. And whereas a fluked last-minute winner would have changed a lot, our focus today is on questionable team selection and substitutions (if you tinker it helps to be lucky, as Riga was last time around, which gives the 'Midas touch' impression), apparently miserable team spirit, individual and collective inadequacies, the injury list, and a truly inane act (from all accounts) and the red card - ie all negatives. Staying up is possible, but there isn't a single good reason for backing it happening.

Riga obviously has a tough task for Sunday, to put out on the pitch the team that he believes is best equipped to win the game. He doesn't need to consider preparing for next season. But this does mean looking hard and long at each individual and assessing who from those available is still up for it, who has at least the pride and character we would consider the bare requirement for 'our Charlton'. Anyone who doesn't match up on that front should be training separately or if on loan sent back.

The decisions facing CARD are not easy. I'm not privy to the thoughts and preparations so I'm not going to get into the realm of predicting what might be done, just to express some thoughts on the nature of the protest.

First, let's accept that coming down in favour of this or that option, and rejecting others, is not easy and the decisions cannot please everyone. These decisions with the benefit of hindsight may come to be seen as errors in judgement, either too strong or too mild etc. CARD may get the balance wrong. But decisions will be taken for good reason at the time, with no doubting the motivation, and as such deserve our full support right now (assuming of course that what is called for is legal).

Second, I'll have no truck with those who may suggest that the priority is to demonstrate to the world how angry we are at what is being done to our club, protesting for protesting sake. Of course we're angry and upset, if we weren't there would be no protest. I'm only interested in what is likely to have the outcome we want. And that is twofold. First, we want our owner to reach the conclusion, as quickly as possible, that it is in everyone's interests, including his own, for him to sell the club. Clearly easier said than done as we cannot know what if anything we might do to achieve that end. I happen to believe that the things already being done - the call for no season ticket renewals, the targeting of club sponsors/partners, boycotting purchases inside the ground etc - are more likely to work on Duchatelet over time than some more dramatic televised incident. He went through some lively Standard Liege demonstrations without being pushed into a quick response. What ended up working for them was time and an already partially integrated purchaser, such that Duchatelet could pretend, to himself and his entourage, that his stewardship of that club was not bad.

If someone can come up with a protest option that they had good reason to believe would work in favour of Duchatelet selling, I'm all ears (as no doubt CARD would be). Barring that, the focus has to be on the second protest objective - to keep media/football/popular opinion on our side. That for me means ensuring the protest(s) is as noisy (or silent), as committed and as disciplined, as possible. Those advocating dramatic protest should keep in mind that not all Addicks are in favour of CARD, which cannot speak for all supporters. There is a risk of further alienating genuine fans and giving an impression of disunity. And treating Sky viewers to a lengthy series of abusive singing is not going to win friends and influence people, especially as there are those who despite all the evidence to the contrary still look to portray protestors as xenophobic/racist/sexist etc (an accusation which I find personally totally offensive). That Ms Meire is a woman and Duchatelet is Belgian are just facts. Does anyone truly believe that an English owner who behaved as Duchatelet has done and/or a male CEO would not now be the focus of fans' protests? Let's just not give anyone the opportunity to misrepresent us. The pair have shown themselves to be utterly unfit to own/run our club but both have every right to walk to the ground (should they choose to do so) and around it in complete safety.

Nobody is pretending that the splendid Sint-Truiden 20 banner, or whatever happens on Sunday, is likely in isolation to prove decisive in Duchatelet's eventual decision to sell the club. We will be arguing for many years to come with the benefit of hindsight over just what it was that enabled us to get our Charlton back. Let us hope that the club is not in too bad a shape when that happens, and that the protests were in keeping with rather than compromised just what it is we will be getting back. That may sound bland and inconclusive to some. Can't be helped.

Now personally, I shall not be there for Sunday's protest. Just coincidence but I booked my next trip to Lyon some time back and shall be watching events unfold from France, where all being well I shall be getting a dose of football. Lyon Duchere on Sunday did indeed secure a potentially season-changing win (2-0) away at Grenoble. They are now four points behind them with a game in hand (a win would mean four points) and after that 10 left to play. I shall be there for the home match against Le Puy, currently in a relegation spot (third from bottom). It's been a long time since I saw Duchere win, since I saw them score even. If they don't do the business on Saturday I shall have to draw the obvious conclusion, that my partner Suzanne is some sort of Jonah.


11 comments:

a2c said...

Yeah well wot your sayin is wrong again cos remember lass time ourn went dahn under Varney n Murray there wasn't any protests dahn our gaff, oh I forgot there English.

Belgians ahrt - thass wot there chantin n thass exenophobic with their Belgians ahrt banners n all.
Vile personal abuse against Katrien - pickin on ere n bullyin cos of gender, thass sexist n all.

Wass offensive dahn our gaff n wot I find offensive is fans negative boo boy fans advocatin violent attacks on the club, staff n other fans who aint of their ilk. Still yourn are in self denial n always will be cos of your atred against the owners n will condone any ASB n FV to them ahrt.

Anonymous said...

...what I find offensive a2c is your ongoing refusal to write your comments in readable English - it's like trying to read a comment from a well-known character in Little Britain, yea but no but.....

Also please, please come up with a different comment - you try to make the same point over and over again in every post that you make... it really is tedious in the extreme.
Please, grow up or p*** off!

Now, back to the main point - the demonstrations this Sunday.
I totally concur that abusive chanting and swearing on a televised game (or any other game come to that....) from the Valley is totally against the ethos of our club - please don't do it.
I am as frustrated as the next supporter (apart from a2c who thinks the sun shines out of Roland's Duchatelet...) at what is happening to OUR club BUT there does need to be some tangible demo in front of the cameras.

I maintain that a delayed entrance by many supporters, if not a total boycott of the game, should be organised. THAT would provide a visual shock both to the regime and to those watching at home.
It is simple, it is effective. Remember how effective and good the Liverpool 76 minute protest looked on Match of the Day, and they got what they wanted the very next day.... not that I expect RD to cave in but it's another drip in the long tap running throughout the summer as the club looks forward to first division football next season. A2c, that's THIRD tier football not the top division in case you haven't realised...

Terry Ryall said...

I need some help here a2c (or anybody) what exactly does 'ASB n FV to them ahrt' mean?
Well balanced post BA and I quite agree that last night's game was not a true six pointer as MK Dons just needed to avoid losing. The arithmetic suggests that there is still hope but the reality is that the failure to satisfactorily replace Luzon,in my view, sealed our fate. Sadly, I think things will get much worse as history suggests that the owner will continue to irrationally pursue his failed ideas at whatever level CAFC sinks to.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Anon, delayed entrance, boycott or early walkout could all be embraced and if advocated I'd urge all concerned to do it for maximum impact.

As for the comment before that one, I'd recommend to the writer a course in basic logic and argument form. 'Our owner is Belgian and our CEO is a woman; they are criticised by fans; therefore they are criticised because of race and sex'. It just doesn't follow. Try another example of the same line of argument. 'Price Charles will probably become King Charles III; of the two kings called Charles one had his head cut off; therefore Prince Charles has a 50% chance of being beheaded when king'. Is it just possible that the reason we want this owner gone is that nobody before has tried to turn the club first into a network bit-part, then into a fish-farm (and in the interim screwed up all that he touches)?

Blackheath Addicted said...

I fear you may be right, Terry. You'd hope that as parental guidance is out of the question for him, perhaps a friend, a close relative, might put an arm around his shoulder and just say 'Roland, we've always known you were odd but do you not think that football as a business just doesn't lend itself to a microelectronics approach, don't you think you'd have more fun - and more success - in a different area?' (of course he's failed in other areas but I really don't care what it takes to convince him to move on).

Anonymous said...

a2c's at it again, it's nice they have something to say, but shouldn't they be playing with people of their own age, not to mention development level, it's not at all healthy otherwise. Skewed childlike logic and moronic use of language, once again a2c = d1m. Homework!
Great post Blackheath.

Lungrot said...

Good post BA. It's a shame that the Football League can't question whether Duchatelet is a 'fit and proper person' to run a football club. I assume he's not had any convictions or run a bankrupt business, but being clean doesn't make him fit to run a football club. There's a lot of people's lives that he is messing up here and we can do nothing about it, apart from protesting or walking away from a club that we love. It's not right. There should be more accountability.

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece again BA. The obvious, most dramatic means of achieving media spotlight would be a pitch invasion , sit down in the centre circle and display of banners. But this would mean arrest and possible prison for those involved. I wouldn't risk that and so I wouldn't expect others to. A display of banners akin to that confiscated recently would be apt, but I fear it might be a damp squib unless the stewards obliged by trying to confiscate them all! For me it should be a very late walk in (on 30 mins) and prolonged singing to get behind the team up until half time.

Pembury Addick

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Would indeed be desirable if the 'fit and proper person' test could be tightened up to cover plans and intentions. You can't buy a house without providing certain assurances through solicitor's inquiries, perhaps there could be a similar process of supporters trusts having similar checksheets and an associated veto. But I'd guess enforcement and redress when an owner changes tack would be problematic. I do think that organised supporter discontent at a number of clubs will end up forcing some changes, just as the complaints over ticket prices are starting to. We live in hope.

John West said...

Yes Well another protest on Sunday and so far this Owner and CEO not listening and yes so much genuine anger against the club I have supported for well over 50 years and they will always be my club.
I have never ever seen such a shambles from top to bottom (pun intended) and ofcourse there has been a lot of very poor seasons and ofcourse leaving the Valley and yes was a very very proud candidate for The Valley Party, who did my little bit, along with thousands of other genuine supporters.
My fear is that first they may be no Valley and a lot of comments recently on this and secondly Will ther be a Charlton to support, or are we moving to the Penisular with a capacity of 10k Very very fearful about the future and remember so well in 1984 CAFC were saved with what 5 minutes to spare.!!!!

Blackheath Addicted said...

John, as you say, Charlton will always be our club and the fact that Duchatelet and Meire don't understand what is meant by that statement (and have never tried to find out) only reflects badly on them. Keep the faith!