I sometimes tell my partner Suzanne things that are not true. She will usually react by suggesting that I’m lying to her. I will reject the accusation, on the grounds that a reasonable definition of a lie is ‘a false statement made with a deliberate intent to deceive’, whereas there wasn’t a bat in hell’s chance that she would actually believe what I had just said. So while untrue, what was said can’t be a lie. Now Katrien’s comments (and we all know the track record) really do seem to fall into a similar category as surely she can’t imagine that we (or anyone in football generally) would actually believe them. They, like the fact that she retains her job, come across as nothing more than a bad joke, at our expense.
So while I can understand Peter Varney being livid at what Meire said and to want to see a formal retraction, as demanded in his statement, I also hope that he needs no reassurance that whether or not he gets one, and whether or not there is litigation, will not influence any Charlton supporter as regards who and what is actually believed. We merely add Varney’s name to the list of those who have earned our respect and trust who now find themselves at odds with Ms Meire when it comes to the truth. We know from both deeds and words over many years that Varney is a Charlton supporter and wants the best for the club. Ms Meire has told us of her love for Charlton but all that she says and does run at odds with that notion. Such words consequently aren’t cheap, they are at best worthless.
In that context, wouldn’t it be insightful if we heard something from Richard Murray on this particular episode? He recently expressed his disappointment at the treatment he has received from fans. He is undoubtedly in a difficult position; he can only quit once and when litigation is in the air silence is perhaps understandable. But whatever their differences of late Varney is a guy who worked alongside Murray for many years and with the addition of Curbishley of course the three together can claim the plaudits for the most successful period in the club’s recent history. Whatever goes on behind the scenes, saying and doing nothing public risks putting Murray even more squarely in the Meire camp and in that event he could hardly complain if he is increasingly seen in that light by fans.
The following is taken from the programme for a game against Preston on 8 March 2008 (the season when we failed to bounce back to the Premiership), to cover Varney's decision to stand down as chief executive (for 'personal reasons'). Murray on Varney: "Every single director of this football club is disappointed with the decision that Peter has reached and will be disappointed to see him leave. He is without doubt the most impressive individual I have worked with throughout my business career." Varney on Murray: "... I must pay particular tribute to Richard Murray, who took something of a gamble when appointing me to the role 10-and-a-half years ago, and who has supported me enthusiastically in everything I have set out to achieve." Where did the love go?
As for Ms Meire, I’ve just seen the announcement from the Football League that clubs will from now on be required to hold at least two meetings with a representative group of the club’s supporters. I sincerely hope that Charlton, as represented by the Trust, will decline to take up any invitation to attend a meeting at which Ms Meire is present, on the grounds that she is not a real representative of the club. I hope that all those who have dealings with Charlton Athletic follow a similar course. Only Roland can sack her but we don’t have to deal with her in any way, shape or form.