Tuesday 10 May 2016

Confused? I Am

Sometimes (but not always) how you feel, without necessarily knowing why, is a decent guide. And through yesterday and today, as the news unfolded that the club had been given permission to talk to Chris Wilder (to end any speculation I have no idea if he is coming), the abiding emotion is confusion. How could it be otherwise when we as supporters are once again having to try to delve into the unwired head of our owner to attempt reasonable explanations and possible interpretations? Ah, if only we could be babies for a while and just accept that our owner is almost god (omniscient, omnipotent, just not quite omnipresent).

For example, we have a decent guy opting to leave us, having failed to repeat his previous achievement, of taking the squad of another manager and being able to get enough out of it to keep us in the Championship (I do remember taking a fair bit of flack after we stayed up first time around for suggesting that Sir Chris deserved a good deal of the credit as the squad he had passed on had the character to outweigh the disastrous interventions of our owner; the one passed on to Riga second time around was, not surprisingly, deficient in that area). We don't know whether he was pushed to quit, whether there has been any settlement regarding the time left on his contract, or whether the decision was just his. The press conference given by Jose Riga, in which the use of the word 'liar' cannot have been accidental (not least in view of the splendid bedsheet), suggested he had no appetite to oversee an attempt to bounce back under the current regime.

Given that either side of his spells with us Riga was manager of Blackpool (there was as well another brief network appointment), I wouldn't blame him if he turned his back on English football. But I hope that he gets another job here, one where he is given the chance to create and mould a team of his own. We might then see whether or not he is a good manager. Either way, for us he did his best and merits a warm welcome at The Valley should he pass through again; unfortunately for him his tenure will always be inseparable from the lunacy of the regime.

As Riga walks away implying interference and the prospect of more of the same, in comes a relatively young manager who has come off the back of an outstanding season, seemingly being given a free hand over transfers (and by implication also team selection). Just why Wilder might opt to leave Northampton and join us in our current circumstances - if indeed he does - we wait to hear, but can we infer anything from it regarding the thinking and motivation of our owner?

It's reading between the lines again of course, but I'd offer two alternative - but not necessarily mutually exclusive - lines of thought. Which one proves closer to the truth (of course I'm not ruling out other possibilities, or that we may remain in the dark) may influence how at least this Addick responds.

First, Duchatelet's 'I'm still right and stupid' way of thinking: 'We put together a squad that should not have been relegated; a combination of circumstances - injuries, some customers wanting failure etc - conspired against us and we have a temporary setback to my grand and infallible plans. League One is beneath me and my associates and is not compatible with my vision. So I will select and appoint as head coach someone who has experience of the lower reaches of English football. I will bring in players that he wants, for now, and sit back to watch us get promoted. Once back in the Championship, Wilder will have done his job and may or may not be retained. He could stay if he accepts that we are back in charge now and the priority is once more to break even (huh, what do you mean this remains a pipe dream?). Of course if Wilder does not get us promoted he will have failed and will be replaced, there are still plenty of extremely talented network contacts that haven't yet had a go.'

Second, Duchatelet's 'I am learning' way of thinking: 'I cannot acknowledge it in public (I'm not yet that mature) but the decisions I have taken since buying the club have not worked out as I expected. I am now going to take a decidedly backseat role (ie not interfering as well as not appearing) and will give our new head coach the support he might reasonably expect to get us promoted back. He was selected not just because he understands the lower leagues but because he will be feeling confident and upbeat, can dispel any feelings of failure around the place, and from his record clearly values qualities such as character and team spirit (and anyone who draws any comparisons with my first head coach can leave right now).'

I don't know which might be closest to the truth. What I can say is that any normal owner would, in his own interest, provide some clarification, to at least attempt to get the fans back on board. For me, in itself bringing in Wilder is nowhere near enough to consider buying a season ticket or returning to The Valley on a game-by-game basis. However, we've discussed before what might be enough and if the move was followed by the dismissal of Meire and a mea culpa from Duchatelet - apologising for mistakes (including those arrogant statements), accepting responsibility for getting us relegated - plus a promise to look to sell the club when we are back in the Championship (and in the interim to at least discuss investment possibilities with interested parties), the picture changes.

We all want Charlton to get promoted back to the Championship. I want to be back watching games, with no thought in mind other than urging us to victory; I miss it. As things stand, it still isn't possible and I'll continue to protest and boycott as there is no evidence that Duchatelet can really learn, holding out the possibility of our club thriving under his stewardship. We've just been kicked out of the Championship and our club is currently a byword for abject failure for crying out loud!   

To round things off, belated congratulations to Burnley and their fans for their behaviour and support on Saturday, all the reports and photos show they were excellent. Congratulations also to CARD, for getting the balance pretty much right. On the other side of the coin I hope that Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey is hanging his head in shame for his awful (at best badly ill-informed) statement about the "safety operation" at The Valley on Saturday; and that West Ham owner David Gold chokes on his cornflakes for his attempt at justifying having fleeced London taxpayers; no criticism or ill-will at all towards West Ham, but when you've royally screwed the other side in a deal best to just keep mum about it and live on the proceeds. And my own personal award for hypocrisy goes to the lady in the tunnel before Saturday's game. She curtly refused my offer of a poster, advising me loudly and in no uncertain terms that she was "here to watch a football match", while clutching a CARD free programme.

And last is the post-weekend Lyon Duchere update: round 27 (of 30) of CFA Groupe B proved to be a setback but not a terminal one for my adopted French team. Duchere managed a 0-0 draw away at Villefranche, not a bad result in itself (with them fifth in the league); but title and promotion rivals Grenoble secured a 0-1 away win against Sochaux B. This means that Duchere's lead at the top has been cut back to one point (there's very little in it regarding goal difference but I have a feeling that if points are equal it goes on head-to-head results, which I think favours Duchere) with three rounds left. It really is getting into grinçant bum temps. 


Dave said...

BA - somewhat confusing, eh?
Being by nature an optimist, I am thinking the lunatic is starting to learn. Your key point, methinks, is that he is too dumb, arrogant etc to ever admit he has cocked it up royally, and maybe we need to accept (in the immediate term) that we have to allow him the wriggle room of silence. If Wilder is allowed to get on with managing, and Meire goes, then I see that as progress, if not the end destination

john west said...

CARD stated the primary object was to get rid of the Owner. All of the Board members they said we have one aim, well interesting AND MANY PEOPLE PROBABLY (IF POSSIBLE) GETTING EVEN MORE ANGRIER. OUT THE LOT OF YOU

Burgundy Addick said...

Dave, good to bump into you on Saturday. Let's hope - but for now just that. John, no argument from me that there's no case for easing the protests. The regime gave up any claim to benefit of the doubt a long time ago and we have to be very sceptical about the chances of a real U-turn. Let's also accept that the primary objective - of CARD and all Addicks - is our club thriving, which we believe requires a change of ownership.

a2c said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian Cowan said...

For what it's worth, a friend of mine who was in the Burnley end (with his wife from Burnley) said stewards were removing CARD protest material from the Burnley fans. He had concealed his down the back of his trousers and got in to the away end with it.

Heavy handed to say the least.

Stuart McRae said...

Really quite surreal on Saturday in the end. Had breakfast with mates away from the ground as it was our last day as we wont be renewing until a new owner takes over. Had to give up the seats we have sat in since the covered was built...really sad about that but I refuse to be fleeced or blackmailed but the current regime. No more time to be sad (or reflect or the woeful evening games at paces like Bolton Preston)so in the end just enjoyed the comradeship of 2 sets of fans in harmony albeit for completely opposite reason. FL no letting Burnley receive the cup was another complete disgrace. The FL don't even recognise who we are as supporters anymore!

Burgundy Addick said...

Thanks for the comments guys. These are indeed tough times but there will be better ones ahead. Just hope that all those who stay away remain Addicks and come back when they've gone.

sm said...

"Just why Wilder might opt to leave Northampton and join us in our current circumstances"

He appears to like a challenge - Halifax Town was a perennial basket case and Oxford and Northampton were all in difficulties when he took over. Perhaps he sees Charlton in a similar vein - I just hope he realises that putting Charlton right is likely to be more than a one man job - and he insists on a replacement for our clearly incompetent CEO.

Burgundy Addick said...

SM, now I do like that possibility. Something out of Kafka to be having a job interview with a potential employer whose dismissal is a precondition for accepting the position! If Wilder could come in on the back of having Meire turfed out we would start to have grounds for (relative) optimism. But can't say I'm holding my breath.

Burgundy Addick said...

Now seeing the indications of at least a snag/hold-up. Perhaps you're right after all SM, or perhaps the regime hasn't been told that this time around they don't need to apply for a work permit.

Anonymous said...

I reckon Wilder should stick with Northampton Town..............got more chance of further success with them than us! We will continue to be a basket case until Roly and his lot sell up.