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A different sort of customer 

Seeing Katrien Meire walk along Harvey Gardens with her headphones in, holding a Pinnochio mask, and with a CARD sticker attached to her coat was a strange sight. Then by all accounts she approached Rick Everitt selling the latest VOTV (with me in it, plug, plug) and asked him if he was afraid to talk to her! 

After seeing this play out on social media my immediate thoughts were – is this woman for real?

A qualified lawyer, even a novice one, will have adopted a very good poker face and an uber thick skin, but we have often seen her crack in front of the camera. However with Roland’s vote of confidence this week – “she is a fantastic lady,” there was a renewed skip in her step yesterday. 

Whereas we know Roly will take some shifting, because, well he owns the club and the land it survives on, but what about Meire? What’s in this for her?  It’s just a job, and, she’s not very good at it, everyone knows that, and very few people like her.

Charlton fans have evidenced time and time again that she is blatently not up to the task of being CEO of a professional football club. Under qualified, a liar, incompetent, harebrained, senseless. Actually forget Charlton fans, the national media have joined in the bandwagon, not a day goes by when Meire’s name is dragged through the mud.

So, what’s in it for her? Is she getting some perverse enjoyment out if it? Is there a meaty big fat pay cheque waiting for her at the end? Maybe this is a nice segway into a huge corporate job? Does she get a bonus when we get relegated? How is her performance measured? If we were still publicly traded, can you imagine what our worth would currently be on the Stock Exchange?

Yet, she thinks she is better than us, knows better than us, one of us even. “Charlton is something she lives for.”

In Roly’s world of sycophants, she will believe that she is doing things in the best interest of the club. “Oh, thank you Richard, no please, stop it,” I can hear it now, can you?

I am starting to come to the realization that she believes she can bide her time, with Roly as her mentor and shield, and over a period of time Roland and Meire can replace us as fans, wipe away the history, lose the pensioners that they can’t upsell to, move on the old fashioned tribal fan base, change the mindset, create a new Charlton Athletic fan. Middle class families from London who will add going to Charlton to their suite of modern day social activities. A gathering place where the result is secondary, and the experience primary. Cheap tickets, decent food, entertainment with the 90 minutes just part of the sideshow. Watch a young talent that you can tell you friends you first saw, a skillful foreign import, a impassive customer happy whatever the result.

Meire and Duchatelet don’t want us, they want a different sort of customer. Well, I’m not going anywhere. Are you?

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. You are right of course and I think anyone who has studied our owner and the way he works will realise that. I think the problem we have is that we are measuring KM against the standards we are accustomed to see all around us. Such things as full stadia, sponsorships packages, place in the league and signing reliable and successful players to name a few.

    I believe that RD is not applying those standards – his benchmarks are quite different. His are wrapped around his dogma and single minded belief that there is another way to run a club.
    That and the fact that he seems to lack any imagination and is convinced he is right.

    There is not much we can do against someone like that. Protests at the Valley do not affect him in the least and will soon wither and die down. Supporters even CAFC supporters are on the whole fickle. A couple of wins and we won’t see anyone but a few die hards clamouring to get behind the stand at 5pm on a Saturday.

    We have to approach this problem in another way. RD is old with the vulnerability that comes with old age. He has already had a big dent in his ego when he had to bow to fan pressure and release his local and biggest baby Standard Liege.

    We must find a way to puncture his self belief and doggedness. That has to be to shame him through the media on his own backdoor. Until we can bite at his heels we are going to achieve nothing.
    We have made big steps and we already have the press on our side with some fairly disparaging comments about the setup. We need to build on that and quick.

    February 15, 2016
    • That is spot on. The protests and other initiatives, even the Companies House fiasco, are great at getting our plight into the national spotlight and the local press has done a terrific job in keeping it bubbling at the top of the sports headlines. However RD doesn’t give two hoots as you say about stickers, and masks, and protests. Even violent ones at Standard were ignored.

      I think there needs to be two pushes now. Hitting him in the pocket, and seeing that the club have reacted to this already by offering certain deals, free pies for example, and in an effort to boost the ‘official’ crowd are giving away free tickets, so this is certainly having an impact.

      Secondly as you say, we have to take this fight to him, on his doorstep. Billboards, a social media campaign, flyers, the local press, ties with Sint Truiden, whatever it takes to embarrass him in Belgium. Embarrass him with his sponsors and his customers.

      This will personally affect him, and make him start to feel uncomfortable as he did eventually with Standard.

      February 15, 2016
  2. Kim #

    I totally agree with you both, but that was easier for the fans of Standard Liege as Roly is based there and the Belgian Press also did a great job of making him eventually sell his interest. This will not happen with Charlton and we can never have the same impact. We need “troops” and support on the ground in Belgium………………..it just won’t happen. We will fall into League One and possibly beyond and the only way out is for a White Knight to step in and make a substantial offer for the Club that tempts him to walk away and I just can’t see this happening in the near future and so the downward spiral will continue. I’m losing interest in the whole sorry state along with many others I guess.

    February 15, 2016
  3. I agree with your sentiments Kim. Even if (and it’s a big if) RD is persuaded to sell the club how much will he want and which league will we be in at that point? Presumably he will want all of his investment back and more. I don’t know the exact figures but did he not pay £20m to buy cafc and has invested a further £20m? Would anyone pay £40m for a League 2 team?

    February 15, 2016
  4. Mark Jones #

    ….. and presumably tex 77 you can add the £15m or so the club owes Richard Murray – which surely can be the only reason that he’s holding onto Roly’s coat tails in order to get his investment back, even if that makes him look a complete plonker to those that once held him in high esteem.

    Sadly I’m with Kim – I’ve had enough of the dross and the farce that we have gone through in the last 2 years and I’m not returning to the Valley until these idiots have gone back to Belgium. God knows what division or league Charlton will be in by then – one only has to look at the sad case of Torquay United to see where an owner who simply doesn’t have a clue (in their case a lottery winner…!) takes the club to. A football league club 2 seasons ago they are now destined for relegation from the National League – the Football League to obscurity in 3 years….. and don’t think it couldn’t happen in SE7.
    Meanwhile I will continue to support the team at the odd away game where at least no money goes into the paws of our billionaire owner.

    It’s typical Charlton isn’t it? We wait 107 years for a fairy godmother to come along with oodles of dosh, and when they do the are complete and utter idiots….

    February 15, 2016
  5. LP #

    And never forget you are dealing with someone on the spectrum. We may need someone with knowledge of autism. Its a different mindset.

    February 18, 2016

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