Sunday, 21 January 2018

Time To Fill The Valley Again

Life’s full of little ironies as they say. Was it so long ago that the regime was refusing to treat The Trust as a suitable partner for ‘meaningful dialogue’ with supporters, insisting instead – for duplicitous reasons - that the worthy but compromised Fans Forum was the chosen vehicle? Meire does a runner before finding herself out of a job and suddenly first up it’s The Trust that Richard Murray turns to in order to communicate information on the takeover.

It’s taken a while for the club to shift in the direction of sanity when it comes to dealings with a major stakeholder – and always potential partner. The regime was never interested in dialogue with fans, for Roland would do it his way and we had to ‘live with it’. It’s taken the departure of Meire and the progressive distancing of Big Daddy for change to come, even if the club and its expensive PR team rather missed a trick by waiting until CARD’s threatened protest before agreeing to communicate. No matter, let’s not split hairs.

I think it’s fair to say that the meeting produced all that was realistic in terms of updates on where we stand. It’s been suggested that Murray might have been pushed more on the price that Duchatelet is asking for us. But Murray apparently told The Trust that he is “not party to negotiations at all” and surely such information would be viewed as confidential. Chances are it’s going to be some time after any sale before we have an inkling of the terms and price, if we ever do.

For me the most important point was in the first line of The Trust’s account: “He (Murray) began by emphasising that the most significant point was that Roland has made up his mind to sell the club”. Of course he could change his mind, but that's not likely. The decision not to replace Meire was surely indicative in that respect. So whether a sale happens before the transfer window closes, in February (Murray's "most likely month"), or "at the latest by this summer", it is on. There's just no reason to suspect any double-dealing. 

So what do we, the fans – especially the boycotting fans – do about it. And here comes today’s second little irony. If I were not living in France (at least until end-March) I would resume going to matches. Sure, there’s been no actual change of ownership yet, but that’s only a matter of time. I don’t think there’s anything more that boycotting can achieve in terms of encouraging Duchatelet to sell (whether or not it did anything is a moot point), so now surely it’s just down to what we want: we want new owners (almost achieved) and we want to get promoted.

We are after all in a play-off spot! What’s to be gained by waiting another month or so until an actual sale? We have the opportunity both to give potential new owners a glimpse of what The Valley can look and feel like when there’s a good crowd. And surely a fuller stadium getting even more behind the team will only help Robinson and the team. The season looked like floundering a few weeks ago but the team eeked out a couple of ugly wins and momentum can count for a lot. After all, we’re now within striking distance of fifth. I can’t comment on they way the team is performing on the pitch, but just how we’ve got to where we are is surely less important than taking advantage of it.

So I’d suggest that the time is right for The Trust, in collaboration with CARD, to issue a joint call to all Addicks who have stopped attending to come back, to help in a promotion push. This wouldn’t mean any change in attitude towards Duchatelet (or prevent a resumption of boycotts and protests if there are reasons to do so further down the line). All along protesters have been acting in what they believe to be the best interests of our club. Perhaps now the downside of giving the regime a little gate money (no, not season tickets) are outweighed by the possibility of ending the season under new owners back in The Championship. 


Dave said...

I understand where you are coming from BA but I think a call for a mass return is premature. Like Murray says, he doesn't know for sure, and the strong rumours are that Duchatelet is miles off on price in terms of what he thinks he can steal for the club. The boycott by those boycotting is all about refusing to give him any more revenue, so why would we return until we are handing our cash to the new owner?

Dave P. said...

Hey I'm not gonna offer an IMO, but I'd like to say that IMO this is a good piece, raising questions about the clubs future that many aren't asking yet, thanks.

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

Each to his own BA but now is not the time to be appeasing a reprehensible and deceitful owner. RD has to skulk away from this debacle suffering the most severe haircut. The jury also remains out on all the businesses who, with eyes open and malice aforethought got into bed with RD's toxic fiasco over the last 3 years.
When confirmation of new ownership is available, the nature and content of the transfer bears examination. If the new stewards of CAFC fail to acquire the freehold of The Valley and Sparrows Lane we will know we are in the hands of morons and still in the thrall of this discredited regime.
RD and his collaborators have received not one penny piece from me this last 3 years and that will not change until all ties have been cut.
After CAFC is free and clear of RD, Staprix and all his tendrils, not one moment sooner, then will it be acceptable to consider buying match tickets and programmes. Delaware North and the shop operators complicity in undermining our once great club merits continued embargo.

a2c said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

As usual another good piece BA, taking a different angle. Quite understand the views above. However, there is a very slim chance we can get in the play offs, and if we get bigger crowds making more noise it will help. Starting in the Championship next season changes the dynamics for a new owner radically for the good. And if the old git doesn't flog us you can always go back to boycotting

Pembury Addick

Blackheath Addicted said...

Fair points guys. You'll get no quarrel with me regarding the opinions expressed about Duchatelet. And I appreciate that there is the risk that no sale will materialise. What's swung me now is basically screw Roland, what do we want? Good crowds for the rest of the season won't impact on his finances and won't alter his decision to sell. If there is no sale, we call for no-one to buy a season ticket for next season. Bottom line, as PA notes, we can resume a boycott if nothing happens, but if we wait until a sale is definite it could be too late for this season.

AC said...

I agree. Time to return and get behind the team.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with comments made....the team under Karl are on the fringe of making the play-offs and its very disappointing to see the low attendance figures at home games, while we are in this positive many empty seats.
Its clear Rowland will be selling and I feel its important fans return to the Valley to give the vocal support to aid the push for promotion.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks for the further comments guys. I can quite appreciate that some will still feel - for good reason - that it's premature to be going back. As pointed out, even assuming there is a sale we have concerns, such as ownership of the ground. I just feel that with Meire gone and Roland as ever hiding, the ground can be ours again, as the club soon will be (hopefully). Let's take it - and get promoted despite the regime, just as in their first season we stayed up despite them!

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned that these last 4 years have severely damaged our support base...look at the poor crowd for the 25 years Back atThe valley game against Pompey..It'll take a lot to get back the crowds

Blackheath Addicted said...

Fear you could be right Anon. Ideally a sale is concluded in the very near future and we could have an agreed, concerted drive to get Addicks back into The Valley. Would be a good opportunity for new owners to show their appreciation of the damage done by Duchatelet if they went out of their way to appeal to stay-away fans. Personally, I think there's a case for not waiting longer, seeing if we can persuade friends to return now.