It's painfully obvious there's been a serious decline for years. Neglect through lack of funds, I suspect, rather than a lack of heart or desire. The sorry sight of the Woolwich Grand Theatre stands in desperate need of serious investment. I doubt it's short of love, but how it craves attention.
Stark parallels with the subject matter of those 400 or so Addicks that gathered together, shivering away within it's tired walls.
Roland is not short of money to invest, but what is his long-term plans? Sadly we don't know and the concern grows as a result.
I won't dwell on the events of the meeting as two of my fellow bloggers have covered matters perfectly well:- Kyle at Chris Powell's Flat Cap & Dave at Drinking During The Game. Both excellent summaries. I'm sure CAST will post the minutes in the next day or so.
All I will do is add a couple of quick observation. Firstly, what I did find interesting was that one or two chaps were brave enough to take to the floor to offer a balanced view of things. It would be very wrong to say there was Duchatelet apologists in that room last night, but there is undoubtedly some who are concerned for very good reason, but don't necessarily want Roland out. I enjoyed a couple of pre-meeting beers with Rob from The Wrong Side of the Thames and I did play devils advocate and suggest to him that perhaps we wasn't actually that far away from a 'happy medium' here. Let's face it, with Roland's wealth comes stability, which we all want for our club, so all we would need going forward is to believe without skepticism that Roland cares about our opinion and actually values them.
It was also obvious that the demographic last night was more 'aging stalwarts' who'd been there and seen it all many times over than 'new young rebels' prepared to carry the fight. If anyone out there is expecting a Standard-style revolt against Roland then it won't come from CAST and it's members. I don't think that's a bad thing.
Last night was a very gentle step in the right direction. Action, if and when it happens, will not come about quickly. The overriding feeling from the meeting is that CAST should continually and respectfully press for dialogue with Meire and Duchatelet. Their voices, on our behalf, will get stronger as more Addicks join the Trust.
I faced a 5 hour round trip after a tough days work yesterday to attend the meeting, but my rationale for doing so is that unless you're prepared to do something about it, don't complain.