This time of the season you can't get away from the cliche about football (all sporting contests if you like) being a zero sum game. Leicester's delight, the despair of Aston Villa (add in Arsenal if you like). More to come this weekend and beyond before all is set in stone. Last night's results mean that Burnley are up; congratulations to them, we're still miserable. I'm really still struggling to believe that Brighton ambled through much of the game against us and could end up missing out on automatic promotion because of a couple of goals.
Enough of the side-issues. I don't think Burnley's promotion materially alters the dynamics for us on Saturday. It's a lesser issue for sure, and all the TV attention will be on Brighton/Middlesbrough, our game will be a footnote. But the title of champions is still up for grabs, and the Football League will want a showcase televised end to the season rather than scenes of protest and one game ending some time after the others. The threat of 'dire consequences' resulting from disruption to our game is still going to stand. Some (perhaps many) will not care about that (some may even welcome at least financial penalties) but the club of course will and CARD has to take it into consideration when assessing the options. Nobody cares about how the football authorities feel, but how we come across to other fans, and how the regime is able to portray us, do I think matter.
I suppose I come back to the line I took before: nothing that happens on Saturday is going to determine whether or not Duchatelet sells at this point in time. If I thought there was something to be done (within the law) to push him into a decision to sell I'd be all for it. And unfortunately there's no chance of him having developed a backbone and turning up for Saturday's game (he clearly prefers to creep in and creep out when he thinks nobody's looking while leaving his puppet to front up). If we want Duchatelet and Meire out (and we do) it has to be driven through the former's thick skull that nothing's going to get better (financially or otherwise) under his stewardship of our club. The latter? Does she really believe that she's going to morph into Karren Brady? And does she not yet realise that the damage she is doing to our club will follow her around for the rest of her working life?
After all, in recent weeks we've witnessed regular protests which now encompass the vast majority of Addicks, accompanied by various associated moves to target the regime's revenue streams, with the promise of no let-up, rather an intensification. We've seen the Trust, which has been the epitome of patience in waiting for meaningful dialogue with our owner, respond to the wishes of its members and inform Meire and Murray (and through them the always-absent-when-it-matters owner) that there's no way back. And then you see the piece in the South London Press suggesting that "there seems to be a thought process that if Charlton were to have a successful campaign and win promotion out of League One at the first attempt that it will assuage supporters ...".
Surely even they can't be that dumb. I'm reminded of the bit in Hamburger Hill when Doc sits down and in exasperation says "we've been up that hill ten times and they still don't think we're serious". I guess they don't get anything else when it comes to football, why should we think this would be any different? Put staff departures and season ticket sales down to relegation, protests just a sign of the times (after all, Charlton fans aren't alone in their current dissatisfaction), just get back up and all will be well. Laughable. And indicative of why they are not capable of learning from their mistakes as they are blind to evidence which doesn't accord with their thinking.
Let's spell it out for them. Some Addicks walked away in disgust early on in the process (Sir Chris and that January transfer window), others have since followed suit. More will walk away at the end of this season and of those that stay the majority want a change of ownership. If we bounce back to the Championship at the first time of asking those that stayed will be back again, along with some of those that opted to boycott. But basically the best case scenario (for an owner) is back in the Championship with a significantly reduced attending fan base and a continuing campaign to attack the club's revenue streams.
What are the chances of this best case scenario? You'd have to say some way short of evens. Football clubs that are not united can't realistically expect to succeed and come August, if there's been no change of ownership, The Valley is going to be a very sorry place. Can there be confidence that in the interim the regime will put in place the pieces needed to have a decent shot at bouncing back? Just imagine the board meeting to discuss 'learning from our mistakes'. Look at Leicester, even Burnley. Why are they outperforming, while we - having put together a reasonable squad and got relegated - underperformed badly? Every Addick could easily give them the answers (and could have given them at any stage through the past couple of years) but all roads lead to conclusions that are at odds with a daft pseudo-visionary's experiment. Either the owner or the experiment have to be ditched.