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Katrien Meire’s Christmas message

Many of you may have seen this already but I thought it was important to get it out to as wide as audience as possible. After months and months of asking for Roland Duchatelet’s plan, well here it is not in black & white, but in full colour.

Meire was a speaker at the Web Summit in Dublin last month and the whole interview has surfaced on line. I am aghast and disgusted at some of things that come out of her mouth and tells me all I need to know about her ability as a CEO and the contempt she has not only for us fans, but also for the history of our club and I would even go as far as to say her complete lack of understanding of professional competitive football.

If there was any ever doubt amongst the fanbase as to where our club is going under this ownership then there should be no doubt now.

The seminar was on the 4th November. Meire flew to Dublin after we had lost to MK Dons, the 2nd consecutive defeat of Karel Fraye’s Interim reign. The video lasts 22 minutes – be careful it will ruin your Christmas.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. CA in 20 years of being a chief executive and a chairman of bigger businesses than Charlton, I have never met another CEO who was a solicitor before they became the CEO . I’m sure it’s possible but I’ve never met one , have you ? Go have a look at Katrien’s profile on LinkedIn and tell me why anyone would decide she could be the right person to run a football club.

    December 27, 2015
    • AA – I am fortunate to meet a lot of CEO’s and as you will know they are not all smart, visionary and/or intelligent but I have never met one so unqualified, stupid and ignorant, who has such contempt for it’s customers and stakeholders.

      Beyond belief.

      December 27, 2015
  2. CA Addick (California Addick) #

    When at the end asked the question and’ perhaps a new manager’–no answer

    Very clear completely relying on academy going forward to only sell them on. Is it me but how many of our academy everr get to the premier? The gomez’ and the Jo Jo’ s are rare.

    So the vision is clear–no premier ambitions as not prepared to pay the wages, academy reliance and the misguided belief that the experience provided will bring fans in big numbers–which is true but only. If they don’t have to watch crap week after week. And lastly only one view matters–the hermit RD.

    NOTHING can change under this ownership. They need to be replaced–QUICK

    December 27, 2015
  3. richard #

    Well we did say we wanted to know, and now we do. I’m not a lawyer, or a CEO but even I can tell that the business model she is working to is doomed to fail.

    But worse than that is the staggering lack of knowledge around the culture of football and of being a football fan. I have put my money into cafc for many years and done so despite some terrible regimes dating back to the 1970s, but I have never resented paying that money until now.

    Thanks for posting that CA, I’m more depressed now than I was 25 minutes ago, but I’d rather know than not know.

    December 27, 2015
  4. Keith Searle #

    I was a CEO for 20 odd years and I met quite a few lawyers turned CEO’s. A lot of them in town halls where they led local authorities. I was also a trouble shooter / management consultant and interestingly some of the worst run organisations that got themselves into real deep dodo were companies led by former lawyers with finance chiefs coming a close second.

    Enough of that. Turning to the subject of the blog I am a follower of Chicago A and very rarely find myself out of step with this sentiments and commentary but on this occasion I cannot agree that this was a terrible interview. I approached it with considerable trepidation given what he said and found myself thinking that KM did ok. Obviously she is Rolands puppet but we know that so my expectations were not high but if you accept (and I don’t) Roland’s (or the shareholder as she kept referring to him) view of life then she represented that well.

    I have spent much of the Christmas break trying to fathom what Roland is up to. I have read (again) all about him and what other CAFC Bloggers including Chicago A have said and tried to make sense of it all.

    I am still not certain but I came to the conclusion that his model is not predicated on our beloved CAFC being in the Premiership and now having listened to KM I don’t think its in the Championship either.

    The model that she is following will only work in a lower league and if you listen carefully that is what she was saying.

    I am seriously concerned for the future of our club and I think its time that we started mobilising ourselves to do something about it. The Belgiums have seen Roland off and we have fought bigger opponents than him in the past .

    December 27, 2015
  5. David #

    What a depressing interview. The US guy spoke sense but KM clearly only sees the club as a vehicle for turning a quick buck from academy products. Lookman will be sold this January, and that will prove what is being stated in this email.
    Sad stuff.

    December 27, 2015
  6. Diplomatic, talk the talk, of savy business realism, survival, prudence and care, but what we are actually experiencing is wastage through incompetent management. Created by inexperienced fire fighting managers with sub standard budgets and squads. Below par Championship standard player knowledge. What we’ve witnessed is a conveyor belt of recruitment of, injured and unfit and below standard players, added to which some very bad luck.

    Good players like IV have been damaged by being made to play on ineffectively, week after week whilst injured. Why, because the squad is too small. Good players have been forced out on free’s or at a loss like MM and the 21yr old prospect TW being the next one. Because of incompetent man management skills. And the one and only reasonably successful Belgium manager JR, was very quickly replaced. A further example is that of one of the best things that’s happened to the club recently is the failure to sign (when after months of trying after we finally found out he wanted too much money!) the million plus, sub standard, Andy Delort, who then, luckily went on to Wigan.

    This club is now turning into a basket case football club, that is finished until the ‘Interim Ones’ have left which they will do one day.They just just won’t be able to hold on to and attract good decent experienced staff in the future and as for the highly successful Charlton Academy. Fantastic, but will it still look so attractive to young players when the club’s in the 1st Division?

    When RD first took over I asked only one question. ‘Does he, (RD) really actually like football’, as Roman Abramovich does? I think that’s been answered every week since then. The only thing that the shareholder seems to want to understand about his business is the balance sheet and that’s not going to change, he employs others with no experience, then and fires them, this is not hands on, responsible management. As for 2016 I unfortunately can’t see past further first team failure and falling attendances = more loses. Crazy why on earth choose football? I don’t hate you but why, how about walking the walk? / credentials can be used.

    December 27, 2015
  7. Nigel Reddick #

    I think Keith has it spot on. I think she represented Roland’s view very well. His vision is for Charlton to compete at League 1 or 2, with Academy players our core business to be sold to bigger clubs. Much as I detest Carol, I don’t think his CEO giggling at his replacement is appropriate behaviour.

    Pembury Addick

    December 28, 2015
  8. Mark #

    Thanks for the link CA – a very useful insight into the thoughts of Chairman Roland…. and as I suspected 2 years ago, he may well be a billionaire but he hasn’t got a clue about how to run a football club. That point is proved if you look at all his other clubs in Europe – not one of them has been a success during his tenure as their owner…
    The whole ethos of the way that Charlton is being run is flawed. Here are some quotes from Lady Katrien “…the fans don’t see themselves as customers…” – too bloody right, I’m not a customer of Charlton Athletic I’m a fan….. without fans the club won’t exist. IF I were a customer I would pay to watch the best product on offer – that would put Charlton way down the list then wouldn’t it? No, I’m a supporter of that club and watch them no matter what – in the present circumstances hoping that someone will come in to manage and play to help to turn the club around… though that is exceedingly doubtful at the moment given the poor management from the top.
    “…players are paid ridiculous wages (in the Championship)….” well, that’s motivational for your staff then and will encourage others to join the club won’t it?
    “….if we got into the Premier League we would have to get a team of new players into survive…” more motivational drivel then…

    NO Katrien – your club’s supporters are fans NOT “customers”.
    You build a team using a mix of experienced pro’s and young players with a squad of sufficient size – you then get promotion and use the nucleus of that team and bring in players to help and lift that squad ….. Bournemouth being a prime example of that.

    NO, I don’t want to come in and watch Academy players break into the first team only to be sold off (for an “undisclosed fee” ) to Premier teams – I want to see them as part of a good Charlton team that has a chance of going somewhere …. and that is UP not DOWN.

    Charlton Athletic FC has a proud, if somewhat disappointing, history. We are an individual club with a (diminishing…) hardcore set of supporters who want to see the club do well and to get promotion to the Premier League … not relegation to the 1st or 2nd division to be used as a feeder club for young players to go to Premier League clubs.
    I want to see Joe Gomez, Diego Poyet, Jonjo Shelvey etc etc etc etc play in the red shirts of Charlton NOT on TV playing for Liverpool, West Ham, Arsenal etc.

    Duchatelet and his side-kick Meire just do NOT have a clue about running an English football club. They don’t understand the history of the club or the league in which they operate. They have some fanciful theories that just don’t wash here – my advice is to go and invest in America where you won’t do any damage.
    OUR club is NOT a “project” – it is MY football club that I have watched for over 50 years …. but not for much longer as I can no longer stomach watching a flawed project that will end up in only one place….. relegation – with probably another drop to follow.
    NO club has been successful when they have had 3 managers in a season – they just end up as a basket case and a laughing stock, followed by relegation. I can no longer support the regime financially – enough is enough.

    For the sake of our club, its players and its supporters (we are NOT customers…) GO now – take your money and get out before you destroy not only the club but your investment as well. Your policies are totally flawed, go now and invest elsewhere – you are NOT wanted in London SE7.

    December 28, 2015
  9. CA – I love the way the video is titled ‘breaking out of the second tier.” She’s certainly on track to to that. I too meet many CEO/CXO’s through my work and the one thing the successful ones all have is an ability to simplify complex messages and focus later-like on Customers. I rest my case your Honour.

    December 28, 2015
  10. Utterly depressing but informative. So now we have it we can pay our money to have a great “experience” (I assume that’s sitting on the pitch side sofa) and see young gifted players before they are snapped up by the Premiership. Well, I think I may prefer paying my money to see West Ham or even Welling – I want to see good football. Their Business Model is doomed to failure but it may take some time for them to understand that going to Div 1 match in an half empty stadium just isn’t a great fan experience.

    December 28, 2015
  11. ConfidentialRick #

    If the ultimate aim is to stay around Div 1 and make money by selling home grown talent to the Premiership the club will fail. The fans will stop coming because the element of competitiveness and the ambition to rise through the tables will have been removed. Football is all about competition… otherwise what’s the point?

    December 28, 2015
  12. Nick Hill #

    CA, in the absence of a much-desired sale of our club to new owners, is there no way that we can get knowledge in advance of Ms Meire’s media/conference appearances, perhaps to warn organisers/attendees that she will only talk nonsense and to advise them and others to look elsewhere for insight/expertise? She is presumably paid for these appearances and seems to relish doing them, despite by doing so bringing Charlton into disrepute.

    December 28, 2015
  13. What a load of rubbish those two were talking. I can’t believe they had audacity to even mention the name Charlton in the same sentence as the cobblers they where spouting. 22 minutes of total garbage that should have been summed up in one word, incompience. The entire interview was an insult to every Addick supporter who have endured so much unprofessional management since the take over, I would not be surprised if all this negative approach from this video will have an immediate impact against this regime that will damage the club beyond repair. The smug smile from Katrien showed me she has no idea what is happening around her, and she is only answering what she has been told too, with a very uncertain tone to her voice.

    To finish. From all that was said, it is clear what their intentions are. They have not got a clue.

    December 29, 2015
  14. There is little in the way of a vision for his club that the ‘shareholder’ (I do so like that) chooses to share directly with the fans of what was CAFC. But here in this cosy discussion we have it writ large and it is a vision that above all else focuses on selling academy products to keep the business afloat. There is no ambition (wishful thinking is not hard ambition in anybody’s language) expressed for first team success so the prospect of a succession of relegation battles is what the fans are supposed to swallow and loyally turn up to witness. To hear the CEO talk of ‘managing the fans’ expectations’ is just laughable. Hasn’t anyone briefed her that she is the CEO of Charlton Athletic and that the fans are more than used to managing their own expectations based on the totality of achievement throughout the long history of their beloved club? There can be honour and dignity in failure but there has to be hope and ambition to believe in and at present these are, like many loyal supporters, just absent.

    December 29, 2015
  15. Ian Weir #

    I’ve only just seen this & I am horrified. Do Belgians stand outside restaurants & cinemas week in & week out to support the staff? If I have a bad meal I don’t go back. Charlton is a bad meal at the moment but I’m still going there every home game to put my money into your ‘business plan’ & into the pockets of your shareholders. Obviously I’m ‘weird’.

    The lack of comprehension of the emotional (as well as financial) investment fans put into their respective clubs is truly frightening & perhaps this woefully underqualified CEO should take some time to look into the not so distant past of our club (yes ours) to understand just what that investment is.

    This scares me.


    December 30, 2015

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