Friday, 1 April 2016

Ball and Chain

I've been a bit dormant of late. Partly because of the extended break after the Sheff Wed game, 10 days in France, Easter etc; partly because of events: we all know that the nationality of our owner and CEO has nothing to do with our assessment of their capabilities as custodians of our club; that they are Belgian is a fact and in light of recent events our thoughts and sympathies of course go out to all people of that country, as they did to the people of France (and before that Spain), just as theirs were with us in 2005; and partly because each time I think about a possible post I realise it will end with the same conclusion: the sooner they are out of our club the better, a message being got across perfectly well by others and with an active campaign to that end acting with appropriate determination, balance and clarity.

I did get caught up in a discussion with friends over lunch as to what if anything could persuade me to vote for the lunacy of Brexit in June. I couldn't come up with anything at the time and was pretty confident that nothing could arise to make me change my mind. Then the Beeb goes and runs a piece on the potential impact of a vote to leave the EU on football in the UK, citing us in particular as a club which could be heavily affected if EU footballers in England found themselves needing work permits and having to meet current Home Office criteria. The piece suggested that currently 13 of our players would fail to secure permits.

This is all rather academic as regards us and EU players, given that even in the unlikely event of a UK vote to leave most if not all of our current crop of EU players will have been long gone before permits could actually be needed. But if there was any way of extending the requirement to EU owners of UK football clubs .... After all, on any assessment of quality and desirability our incumbents would surely fail any Home Office test.

Our two Belgians are clearly intent on doing everything they can to further alienate supporters. After Duchatelet's peeved rant we had to endure the media coverage of the embarrassing waste of police time which culminated in the 'joint statement': shock, horror, police intent on enforcing the law. Amusement at the stupidity of it all is qualified by disgust at the way the regime is prepared to try to drag the good name of our club through the mud for some warped purpose, to try to rebrand a group of supporters noted for their good behaviour (with regrettable exceptions of course), loyal backing of the club and team (until this unfortunate period in our history), and strong participation in initiatives such as kicking racism out of football. It doesn't wash because we know it isn't true - and so does the rest of the football world. We haven't changed overnight.

What the two developments do underline is that this regime is not just deluded when it comes to any strategy for our club (rather strategies as the first had to be abandoned and replaced by one even less attractive to supporters) and appalling when it comes to the tactics. When put under pressure it shows itself to be nasty and small-minded. Duchatelet's outburst made him sound like a spoilt brat, someone who is happy to pretend to be calm, considered, that he is motivated by paternalism and concern for the community etc but throws a hissy fit when people don't fall into line behind him and his daft ideas. Visionary my sweet fanny adams. We have to assume that the 'joint statement' was a club initiative, that someone thought it was a good idea.

Just what was the statement meant to achieve? It could hardly hope to influence whether or not CARD will continue the protests (of course it will and rightly so), it couldn't hope to influence the nature of the announced protests (which I believe have all been law-abiding and will no doubt continue to be so), and surely even the regime didn't think it might undermine support for the protests. We are left instead with the pursuit of lies (ie keep pretending black is white and some might still be persuaded; after all, this has been the approach to date over many issues) and perhaps the notion of trying to shift blame for our probable relegation. Possibly Meire and Duchatelet just feel that they are obliged to fight back, to show how feisty and determined they are. If so they have forgotten the rule about avoiding doing what your enemy wants you to do.

The only practical impact of the regime's actions is going to be an even stronger desire on the part of the vast majority of Addicks, myself included, to see the back of them. I don't know what CARD has planned for Saturday and the Birmingham game (and yes I'm sure that Michael Morrison will get the warm reception that he deserves) but I'll be there to join in. If I had a convict's outfit with ball and chain I would be wearing it.


Anonymous said...

Didn't that fat drunk run on the pitch and try to attack Johann? I'm not sure we're as angelic as you might think.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Butter has never melted in my mouth. Fair enough, might have sounded a bit rose-tinted. We do have our lapses, but I'd set our track record against most others.