Credit where credit is due
Roland Duchatelet broke his long silence on Friday commenting on the successful planning permission for The Addicks training ground development.
The last quote attributed to Duchatelet regarding Charlton was when he appointed Guy Luzon as head coach in January. On Friday he said “Plans have been progressing for a long time and now we can finally say, that this is great news for the future of Charlton Athletic.”
Working alongside shirt sponsor’s the University of Greenwich and neighbouring Footscray Rugby Club the plans include an complete overhaul of the club’s facilities in New Eltham and will be centered around a brand new three-storey building (photo) with complete renovation of pitches to providing varying surfaces for Charlton players at all levels. The 3G all-weather playing surfaces could be ready as early as mid-October.
The approval of plans by Greenwich Council’s planning committe is a huge boost to the club and gives us every chance of achieving CAT 1 Academy status and producing more Jonjo Shelvey’s and Joe Gomez’s.
Duchatelet surprised a lot people who had been involved in the original plans by turning his back on the guaranteed community grants, thought to be as much as £6m, and amended the proposals significantly to enhance the facility for youth development, but at the price of funding the whole project himself, now thought to be over £10m.
Now with the enhanced plans approved the Belgian got his way, although how the deal will impact the budget at Charlton is yet to be known. I would say it is unlikely that Duchatelet will write a cheque for the whole amount up front.
The other unknown is how it will affect the relationship with Charlton’s Community Trust. The original plans brought the club and the Trust a lot closer, but there is no denying the quality of the facility once finished for everyone involved with the club.
Credit where credit is due, kudos to Roland.