Sorry to say I won’t be able to make my own contribution to the Saturday banner parade in support of free speech arranged by CARD; I’ve been slumming it in Lyon for a week now and won’t return until Sunday. For what it’s worth my effort would have read ‘De Weg Naar Meer Netto Binnenlands Geluk: Het Verkopen Van Onze Club’. I am ready to receive the prize in absentia.
The main reason for something in a language that our owner might understand is that surely the focus going forward needs to be on the root cause of our problem. Ms Meire we all know is in the wrong job and repeatedly brings our club into disrepute (and that were there any element of self-awareness she would have resigned long ago). Whatever nonsense and deception she spouts in the imminent Talksport expose is ultimately meaningless as she lost any semblance of credibility many moons ago. Our club is being slowly strangled because of the actions of our owner (admittedly one of them being keeping Meire in place).
We welcomed him when he bought our club but were quickly alienated by his actions and behaviour. We were told at the time of the takeover that Duchatelet knew nothing about football and all the evidence since supports that as he veered from one daft strategy to the next, interfered in areas beyond his capabilities, and apparently still takes advice from people whose ineptitude only serves to drive away from our club capable (and honest) employees. Through this time there has been, I think, a notable shift in his attitude towards us. The image of the benevolent parent looking after his babies rather went out of the window with his petulant rant. As in his eyes the blame for relegation can be laid squarely at others’ doors, and as he is incapable of recognising his own failures, we now have feigned indifference. ‘Ha, it is a little sad that the supporters of Charlton are not capable of recognising and embracing my wisdom and vision (we did tell them early on that they just had to accept how I did things), they now don’t even seem to like me (strange, the same thing happened at Standard), so I have to leave them in the naughty corner for a while as I am far too busy to devote much time to educating them’.
We’ve shifted him to indifferent/alienation. The only problem with this is that as long as the regime can flog off a sufficient number of young players to cover losses he can remain indifferent. We now have to shift him to believing that his net happiness will be increased by getting shot of this troublesome club. It’s possible that this will happen just through time and continued protest, or that something on his own front might change his priorities. Just keep the faith, keep up the pressure, and support CARD.
After the resounding success of the joint march and flying pigs, we can’t hope for the same degree of media coverage, even social media. But there will be some. Makes it all the more important that there are no offensive banners, nothing to give regime apologists any grounds to try to misrepresent the nature of the protests. I’ve no doubts the vast majority of Addicks don’t need any sort of reminder on that front, but in this post-referendum world perhaps you can’t be so sure, given the continuing stream of vile bilge spewed out by the Daily Mail and Express. Those rags bring shame on our country.
But I’m not going to get into all of that, especially as I have a rather nice Lyon wine fair to attend tonight. It will I hope make up for the ordeal that France put me though getting here. I prefer the Eurostar/TGV to flying, as long as the price is right, even though this does often mean a large element of Marne la Vallee travellers. Just when you think you’ve got rid of them at Disneyworld of course there’s another batch joining the train there to go home. No matter, I can always divert myself with wine and a good book. My masterplan recently has been to carry a corkscrew with me and when changing for the TGV at Lille buying a reasonable bottle of red for the three-hour trip to Lyon, to arrive relaxed and refreshed. I did notice last time around at Lille that the selection of wine at the Relais was a bit thin but thought no more of it. This time around the shop was closed. Merde. But no matter, I will just have to revert to the wine from the buffet car. And after we pulled out there was the fateful announcement: ‘Due to a strike by personnel we regret to inform you that the buffet will be closed for all the journey. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Desole.’ Or words to that effect.
So tonight I have my revenge. I shall sample everything I can and, unless something is truly outstanding (or more likely unless I get so addled that the credit card comes out irrespective), I shall, regrettably move on. Desole. I guess we just shouldn’t expect perfection either side of the Channel, just enjoy the good bits.