Tuesday’s fan meeting thoughts
I was one of hundreds of Addicks getting angrier and angrier on Twitter last night following Tweets from a couple of media outlets supposedly reporting the fan’s meeting with Katrien Meire and Richard Murray at The Valley. I got myself so wound up I had to go to the pub.
Upon watching the video this evening the narrative from last night as recorded by the News Shopper and London24 certainly painted a different picture and many of the 140 character missives took out of the context what was actually said.
I sat through the whole 110 minutes of the video, and a lot of it was respectful and uneventful. However my own opinion is that this was not the discussion that I was hoping for. It is possibly a start but there was still no substance to the same old trotted out mantra we have heard many times before.
I thought Richard Pemberton bookmarked the meeting very well and others spoke intelligently and eloquently. Not quite sure of the rant from the bloke who worked in the club shop and Syd Cheesewright was clearly there for people to have a pee-break.
If there wasn’t quite the like it or lump it message from Ms Meire this time, equally all I saw was another effort of justifying a model and a plan that has never been disclosed other than to produce young players, utilize the network and beat the system.
A poorly presented powerpoint was part of that justification, of which holes could have been picked in as big as the pot holes in The Valley car park. £9m spent on new players failed to mention how much money was raised on players sold. A 40% increase in wages probably includes network players whose wages must only fall on one balance sheet and would also include all the players that are out on loan that are absolutely no good to us at all.
£4.5m was spent on The Valley, half as much as on the team. I’d love to see that broken out and fan engagement activities included the sofa, a DJ in the lounge and Saturday’s Family Zone. Yep, a lot of planning went into that.
There was however a hand reached out for help with a target 20k scheme, but with disenfranchisement at it’s worse for many a decade, and communication non-existent that will start from a tough base. Nonetheless as was offered from the floor there is a lot of knowledge amongst the fanbase, and it will be interesting to see if the club take advantage of that.
Meire started off snappy and very uncomfortable but grew into the evening as it became apparent there wasn’t going to be a riot. Richard Murray was there with a calming voice, although he seemed more interested in his phone, and human shield Johnnie Jackson reminded us of what a leader really sounds like. JJ was critical of Luzon’s tactical ability which flew in the face of what Meire said of our improvement under him.
Meire was treated very respectfully but I struggled to find any sympathy for her when playing the victim, she was very critical of her treatment by protestors on Saturday. Just 2% of the fan base she kept repeating. I didn’t take to that arrogance at all.
As for blatently calling Chris Powell a liar, that is not going to win her many friends or allies. And claiming that every time we sacked a new manager it was proven to be the right decision, and that we improved with each new manager. Well, that was just laughable.
And I don’t expect I was the only person who got the feeling Karel Fraeye, whose ability no one questioned in the audience, will soon have Interim dropped from his business card.
I have called for communication and clarity since day one. Engagement and togetherness is what the bulk of Charlton fans want. Last night could be a start, but I saw no depth to anything that was said or a sniff of a plan of how to get to wherever it is we want to go.
I say we continue to strive for a change in how we are treated and continue to make life uncomfortable for the owner and his CEO. This has to be done cleverly and intelligently. No need for sticks and stones, we are better than that.