Is there anything useful to be gleaned from the latest interview given by our distant and departing owner, in the context of his singular failure to be able to sell our club (ie ignoring the drivel he spouted on other matters)? Nothing decisive obviously as he’s still in situ and no real indication of how close/how close to collapse a sale might be, given that nothing he says can be taken at face value. The most relevant quote (using others’ translations) could be that he is apparently “not in a hurry” to sell the clubs he still owns, but he’s not going to suggest otherwise if he is in a price stand-off with at least the Australian consortium regarding us.
We have to accept that he can try to wait it out if he chooses to, he has the cash. The implication is that we have to increase the cost to him of prevarication, not necessarily in purely monetary terms (ie boycott) but by upping the ante when it comes to his profile and reputation. The CARD protest on Saturday may not have been supported by all Addicks, but the publicity generated in the wake of Duchatelet’s decision over staff bonuses was entirely positive (which is not to say that continued protests at The Valley would be a good idea) and the way is clear for ROT to take the protest to where it will hopefully have the greatest effect.
Those involved in that initiative deserve our full support. We know he gets prickly when he attracts bad publicity (the timing of the latest managed interview is no coincidence) and downright annoyed when it is close to home, when it exposes his shortcomings (you can’t make a fool, only expose one) and is geared around correcting his version of events. He may at least publicly be indifferent to how long a sale takes, we cannot be because we have an interest to defend: the wellbeing of our club.
On the face of it Duchatelet’s other relevant comment, that his investing in football was a “mistake”, is to be welcomed. At least it suggests that he is not having second thoughts about getting out. And when he says that supporters’ protests don’t bother him it rather flies in the face of the evidence: he said before that he sold Standard Liege because the fans didn’t like him (and let him know it). What he really means is the protests don’t affect him because he doesn’t care about what happens to Charlton and because they are distant. Hopefully that will change.
Now although we should just ignore the rest of what he said, you’ve got to love his references to rationality and emotions, as if he embodies the former. “My conclusion is that the recipes from the business world do not catch on in football”, or “the parallels with politics are striking; they are two worlds where emotions win from logical thinking”. What delusional garbage! Football is a business, part of the business world. Any logical person would try to understand a little about a business before deciding to invest in it. A rational person would understand that to succeed in this particular business you need the support of stakeholders (ie fans) and therefore not go out of his/her way to insult and alienate them. And the protests against his ownership are, at their heart, entirely rational: our club cannot succeed under his stewardship, ergo ... When politics is added to his ‘mistakes’ (ie failures) all you are left with is a guy who made a lot of money in an industry he understood and was around in the right place at the right time.
As for the takeover, I’ve no insights/information. Only one comment regarding the Australians as some have expressed surprise at their hanging on rather than switching their attentions to another club. Seems to me that, assuming the Australians are the Australian Football Consortium, they have rather painted themselves into a corner. Their webpage says that their rationale – wording which is presumably repeated in their prospectus – is “to acquire an underperforming English football team with a view to elevating the club back to the Premier League”. So the club has to have been in the Premier League (arguably just the top flight) before and to be clearly considered to be underperforming.
The latter has to rule out any Championship side as they are either outperforming or are just one good season away from the promised land (or both). From the bottom two divisions which clubs have been in the Premiership and are underperforming? Sunderland for sure, but they are not on the market having only recently changed hands. Portsmouth too, but they are on the way back and also were bought recently, in 2017. With due respect to Barnsley and Bradford, they may be disappointed with their current third-flight status but cannot be said to be clearly underperforming (unless like with Peterborough’s owner there are inflated expectations). I’d suggest only Coventry might seem to fit the consortium’s bill following their promotion.
So I don’t think the Australians have many options available to them if they are to stick to their requirements, which I’m assuming they have to (or tear up whatever investment commitments they have secured and start again). Perhaps they are just out to show Duchatelet that others can be as stubborn as he can.
In the meantime I will be able to take in a game on Friday night. Lyon Duchere’s campaign in France’s third division (National) began quite quietly with a couple of draws (2-2 at home to Rodez, 1-1 away at Quevilly Rouen). But then they won 1-0 at home to Boulogne in the third round of matches and followed this up with a 3-2 win away at Bourg-en-Bresse Peronnas. That win has lifted them to top of the table. And on Friday evening they will entertain Drancy, who having been promoted last season currently sit bottom of the table with one point from four games.
It’s far too soon even to suggest that the game is a potential banana skin for Duchere. But a good performance in front of the massed ranks of contented home supporters and a victory might get something of a buzz going.