Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Biggest Dilemma...Pt.1

It amazes me that despite our disastrous season, we are still only 7 points adrift of safety (realistically 8 with GD). That gap will not be bridged, we know that, and it goes to show just how avoidable and utterly unacceptable this relegation will be. The fault lies with Mr. Duchatelet and Miere completely; thier repeated mistakes in not appointing the right calibre of manager and players, coupled with their inability to accept the consequences, the undeniable cause of this shambolic mess. Worst of all, there's no light at the end of this very dark tunnel; no indication from the owner he will change direction or that his hapless sidekick will be removed from my club.

So we're going down. What next? I've held a season ticket for as long as I can remember and long before we set off on those glorious Premiership years. I kept up my season ticket through the three other relegations I've witnessed and in all that time I have never once considered giving it up. 

Until now. 

Now I face the dilemma of not wanting to support Duchatelet financially by investing in a season ticket. By not renewing, alongside many, many others, I would hope that it sends a message to the regime that I will not put up with what is happening at my club. I'm not stupid, I'm also aware Meire probably won't care, after all, she's shown little regard for Addicks to date.

As things stand I will not renew mine or my son's season tickets, but will instead pay match-to-match from the start of next season. A tiny point perhaps, but it means Charlton cannot include my season ticket in the attendance figures if I never went, meaning a better representation of the true, declining gate figures. If things get worse (yes, I do believe they can) I can decide not to go without the burden of a financial commitment already made. A man can only take so much, after all. If change comes (by convincing actions over time rather than words) I will sign up again in a flash and commit financially to the club once again.

As you will have guessed from the title, this is a dilemma I will lament for some time, probably long after the season ticket form drops through my letterbox in mid-March. My thoughts may well change. It will conclude in what will be one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. That may appear over dramatic to some, but for me, turning my back on Charlton Athletic will be as tough as discarding my own son or daughter. 

This club is in my heart in a way that means I can hate it with a passion but still love it unconditionally.

I will never be able to forgive Duchatelet and Meire for what they have done to my club, safe in the knowledge that even if they both left today it will take many years to recover. When your C.E.O fails to understand the emotional bond fans have with the club, you know she will also have missed the implications of thousands of fans who have had enough and already walked away, many of whom represent the link to, or the direct next generation of Addick.

What will you do?


  1. @Markg2004 - Twitter24 February 2016 at 10:08

    Excellent piece once again.

    Next season opens up an opportunity to fans like you and me, will be ex season ticket holders, who now do not have that financial commitment upfront to attend matches.

    Depending on the summer, the recruitment, the staff turnaround, I will look possibly at attending match-by-match as you say. But that burden is not on us, the fans. The onus is on the club to get us back. To listen if they have any sense and correct mistakes/sell. We all know what we prefer.

    To those that say on social media about 'deserting the club' and 'support through thick and thin' then here is a thought: You are right. Of course you are, but look at the other side of the coin too. A fan, a supporter will always be that. We are not deserting the club and we are to going to stop supporting Charlton. What we are doing is changing the way we support the team.

    Rather than attending a home match, we may attend a non-league match of a local side. But will we look for CAFC's score line. Of course. We still care. Will we immediately go and give it all guns blazing in support like we have done over the years at CAFC, then no. You can't switch off the love for the club BUT you can decide how you are going to show that support.

    There is no need to criticise other supporters on their own views, everybody is different. We of course all want the same thing for CAFC. We can (almost!) all see what the issues are. We all have made an emotional as well as financial investment in Charlton, I like many have CAFC items adorning the house. Once proud mementos are articles of embarrassment in current conversation. The emotional wounds are raw form the last two years and beyond.

    I have said many times on Twitter that KM and RD haven't just killed my love for the club, but also killed my love for football, the beautiful game.

    So, Hungry Ted, on your last point. In my eyes I want to give the next generation Addick a love of the game first and that is not going to come at Charlton at present. I took my nephew to his first game last season. I don't want football for him to be full of negativity and abuse. I want him to enjoy the spectacle, the fun, the drama. I want him to love spending time with me at games and get him into the spirit of football and what it has to offer. Charlton is toxic.

    I will show him football, take him to non-league games and as he gets into it more talk to him about Charlton, my love for them and give him the option. KM and RD are doing nothing for the next generation Addick (note - the kids area is shocking and unsafe - another matter entirely), we have to do it all for the next generation Addick and that, for me and in my opinion only, is actually away from the club we love.

    I will not go to West Ham's new stadium, but I will support my local non-league side (Bromley, Dartford or Ebbsfleet), or maybe all three of those when I can. Whilst as an Addick I will not feel emotionally attached to these, at least for a while, the attachment to Charlton will never wain but my choice on how to support them will. My only hope is I can get the nephew to love football and then over time fall in love with Charlton through my own knowledge, experience and stories (and a little help of a takeover!). Otherwise it will be a non-league club for him. Which, isn't a bad thing!

    I will, and have always, look for the Charlton score line first whatever happens. So whether I am in the stands or looking on from afar next season, I am not any less of a supporter then those that will have a season ticket next year, I just choose to express my support in other ways.

    By the way Katrien, yes I have CAFC memorabilia adorning the walls and cabinets of my house - I don't have pictures of the steak and chips I had back in 2004 you idiotic woman. We are not remotely like any other business.

    1. Outstanding comment, Mark. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I read it twice through glazed eyes. It is heartbreaking to see so many people effected by the selfish decisions of one man and his puppet.

    2. Outstanding comments from both of you and represents exactly how I feel. There will never be another Club for me and I too hope to one day see better times and I'm going to adopt the same basis as match by match if I feel inclined. RD and KM couldn't have made a bigger mess of all this if they tried.

      The last home game will be a sad event for me as that will be the end of my season ticket purchases that have covered 20 years.

  2. Emotional pieces from both Ted & Mark.

    My dilemma is a little different in that I live overseas and get back for as many matches as I can - sometimes as many as 10-12 a season. However when I am back in the UK seeing family, friends or working, I always, always make it a priority to see Charlton, wherever they play.

    I don't have a season ticket anymore (I used to in the PL days) so I am a walk up customer, but I have long sponsored players and done corporate stuff (not this season out of protest).

    So my point is I am already a fan from afar that doesn't go every week, but picks his games or they pick me. That emotional attachment is hard to break, but on Boxing Day I found myself at the O2 at the same time we were playing Wolves. It was weird but after 40 years I'd had enough. Duchatelet and Meire have attempted, as if on purpose, to break that emotional attachment that my family, my mates and many thousands of others have.

    Fans of football clubs like ours are not created or made by clever marketing, they are handed down, or gently persuaded by friends, neighbours or work colleagues.

    Pulled pork sandwiches and family zones don't bring new fans or kids to a stadium. It is that something special stood or sat together, the atmosphere, the unknown, the hope, the team.

    Meire and Duchatelet haven't the faintest idea what any of that means.

  3. Well said all three of you.

    I went to the O2 in January when Charlton were at home. I could have gone to the game, and under previous owners would have done, but chose not to. It hurt. A lot.

    It was the hardest thing I have done as a Charlton fan and I hated that afternoon in Greenwich.

    I can't wait for RD & KM to finally leave so I can go back to visiting The Valley.

  4. Laura, that is just it. I questioned myself throughout the 2 hour Disney on Ice. Couldn't stop thinking about Charlton and kept checking the score. As Mark said that support and love will never go away, but they never got my money that day, and by accounts the team never deserved it.

  5. I intend to go to most games next season but without purchasing a ST.
    At the moment I'm going when really I don't want to, purely because I live close enough that travel isn't an issue and I've already paid.
    Next season I'll go when I fancy but if I don't, I won't.
    If something crops up on a Saturday afternoon that is more diverting than Charlton, I'll do that.

    Every one of us, over the years, has been really unpopular with friends and family for dipping out of social engagements purely to attend CAFC fixtures. That's been my life.
    Unfortunately that 'Charlton comes first' bond has been broken by RD and KM.
    I quite like the idea we discussed of watching games from different areas of the ground.
    I'll still be a CAFC fan.
    -Just not a Roland FC fan and as he is holding all the cards at the moment I have to make my protest in one of the few ways I have available.

  6. Between you all you have absolutely captured how so many of us are feeling
    I have gone through the exact same thought processes as Ted described, and although I have come to a different conclusion, it's driven by the same deeply passionate feelings as he outlines. I have been attending Charlton games - home and away - since 1963 (so I can spot the difference between Graham Moore and Alan Campbell, but that's a whole other (deeply emotional) issue), and have had a season ticket since before the old queen died. I will renew - because, I guess, not doing so would, for me, feel like not going to gigs in Paris because of the Bataclan bombings - the terrorists will have won. To pick up on Ted's analogy, it would be like losing a son - and, however difficult it can be some times, I can't imagine not having my boy in my life.
    A bit like the late eighties, I think, when the club we love survived both because people refused to go to Selhurst, and because people like me did go, this horror will pass because we all - in our different ways - will make it happen

  7. I've been blown away by the strength of the responses to my impromptu post, and this is another argument I both respect and empathise with. Thanks for posting, Dave.

    As I said in the original piece, my thoughts may well change, and there are so many factors to consider, some I'm willing to sacrifice, some not so.

    Only just now I tucked my 9yr old son into his Charlton bed covers and above him on the wall is s picture of Super Clive resting the play off cup on his head. My boy never saw Clive play but knows who he is and what he means to me enough to have him on his wall. How can I turn my back on that?

  8. Ted, I can only echo the sentiments of yourself and others. My anger and frustration at what's been done intensifies with each passing day. I'm not sure I won't renew my season ticket but I've never felt less inclined to attend games than of late. It's a soul destroying experience. I do fear that as the season goes on then the collective anger will spill over into something very unsavoury.....I hope I'm wrong.

  9. ....that's the point Ted - your original post wasn't impromptu, it has been built up by two years of frustration, hope, and now downright despair.

    The frustration that Duchatelet would see the error of his ways and the hope that he wasn't a complete and utter idiot and that somehow, somewhere as he owns so many other clubs, that he did actually have a bit of a clue somewhere in his make up. Obviously he doesn't... and as for Richard Murray - well I won't say any more on the grounds of decency and the law of libel..

    The downright despair is that the regular 9,000 home fans at the Valley this season (yes, we can tell the attendance to within a few hundred)have seen the sub-standard players brought in who are not fit to either wear the shirt or play in the Championship, whilst those that would have done well (ie the return of Yann...) have slipped through the net. Even the return of Jose Riga hasn't made a jot of a difference, but even though he has said that he's his 'own man' and not a regime man his boast that he has never had a team relegated is a bit wide of the mark given his tenure at Blackpool and the fact that he left the club a nano-second before their relegation was confirmed!

    Due to the fact that I live in Devon my trips to the Valley are limited to about one per month, but these were keenly awaited. No more. I cannot pay over £100 with the cost of travel, ticket, food and a pint or two to watch hapless displays by sub-standard players assisted by kids who should be nurtured and looked after not dumped into such a team and be pressured into performing well to cover for the dross around them. Also, watching Jacko fighting not only the opposition but mostly his own players as they make schoolboy errors and get turned inside out by pros who know how to make the less skilled look like Sunday morning amateurs...
    As you, and others, say it's not easy spending a Saturday afternoon away from the Valley - but it can be done. Of course I either spend the afternoon watching score updates on Sky or if the "war office" drags me out I have my ear-piece attached to a small radio and listen into five-live to keep an eye on 'my' team (accompanied by the sympathetic look from the 'other half' that knows that you can take the Man from the Valley but you can't take the Valley out of the Man ... not that Meire would understand any of that of course and NO lady, I don't consider myself "weird" in any way - though what I think of you cannot be published.
    Finally, I still can't get my head around whatever "business plan" Duchatelet has in his mind for our club. Relegation cannot in any way, shape or form move the club forward. Only those who know British football understand what a God-forsaken division league 1 is to get out of (.... and league 2 is a lot worse, just ask Pompey, Plymouth et al). Dropping down a division (or two...) will not add to the status of the Academy or be attractive enough to tempt youngsters to choose between us and the other academies around in London and the south-east. The status of the club has a lot to do with the choice that they have to make.
    Surely nobody can plan for relegation? But that looks just like what has happened at the Valley this season! For once I wish I were a psychiatrist so that I might try to see inside the heads of Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee, but I'd probably have trouble getting through the layers of Belgian waffle...!
    We just hope that the future is brighter Ted, but I fear it won't be until the present regime sells up.... The disillusioned Addick.