I spent Saturday afternoon in the garden with the kids and never gave Charlton a single thought until my phone rang just before 4pm. It was my mum who was genuinely concerned that she'd not heard from me. We send texts back and forth on Charlton matters daily and it has become a long-standing tradition just before kick off to share a 'Come On You Addicks' text. My mum has been there with me through Charlton's highs and many lows and I deeply value that, but the truth is, Saturday meant nothing. I took no pleasure whatsoever in seeing that we'd won the game.
Post-match Jose was asked "if you can end well, does that help a lot towards confidence as you look to bounce back next year?", to which Riga answered "Of course". I think we all know it doesn't, Jose. I think we all know it has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on next season. But then again, what else can he say? It was an off-the-shelf football question that filled a column and very deliberately avoided the pricklier subjects that urgently require answers.
I've pretty much forgotten what it feels like to get to this stage of the season with something to look forward to or dream about. I find myself envious of teams with it all still to play for. It's impossible to imagine anything other than abject failure under Duchatelet and Meire.
Apparently, according to sources within Charlton, Mr. Duchatelet is putting £1m a month into the club at the moment. Just let that sink in for a short moment...1 million pounds! I wonder if that statement was made to impress me as if to ram home Roland's commitment. All it has actually done is make me think he's stupid as well as woefully stubborn. The statement also suggests he's not interested in selling up. Instead, with a flawed vision of football, he's just going to plough on making the same mistakes but expecting a successful outcome eventually!
It could be quite funny if it wasn't so heart-breaking.
As things have got progressively worse, Katrien Meire's tactic has remained the same; ignore the actual cause of the problem, very occasionally make cheap comments alluding to change without ever backing things up with action, grin smugly and carry on as if nothing catastrophic is happening around her. Many of the Club's dubious responses in the latest Fan Forum meeting shows how her cancerous management is spreading.
I fully understand club employees have mortgages to pay, but how, in the light of such obvious failings, can some people operate under such delusional management? Of course, some can't, although we are lead to believe "it is normal when a club is relegated that people look for positions elsewhere" according to Meire. I wonder if Mel Baroni would agree.
But it will all be OK as Target 20K are working on an alternative idea to the fan sofa, according to Meire. So let me get this right, as I fear the very future of my club Katrien sees an alternative to the fans sofa as a positive?
By continuing to ignore in such blatant arrogant fashion the legitimate, ever-growing concerns of Addicks let alone her own failings, Katrien Meire has continued to pour fuel on the flames. If you poke a wounded animal enough it will inevitably bite back.
Thankfully this horrendous season is very nearly over, but sadly, for me at least, there is nothing whatsoever to provide hope going forward. After Saturday the exodus of players will begin; many of whom will not be missed by me. Some, however, we will look back on in years to come and envy their success with other clubs, reminding ourselves that they once played for us in what was the most avoidable of relegations. Just imagine the sort of squad Meire will put together for a League One campaign, when she considered Big Rog the answer to Championship safety?
Saturday's visit of Burnley cannot come quick enough...just so it can hurry up and be over!
|Charlton players heading for the door post-Burnley|
The FA have warned of 'dire consequences' if the game is 'ruined' by protestors. There is no indication yet of what those consequences are, but I couldn't care less either way. Nothing is worse than the prospect of Duchatelet retaining ownership. The FA should care a little less about their TV image on a showcase season finale and more about the serious mismanagement of a once proud football club in very serious decline.
The FA, alongside the club, would do well to remember it is not wise to pick a fight with someone with nothing more to lose.
I can't pretend to remember the full story of Burnley's torrid season that very nearly ended in relegation from the Football League in '87, but I would ask those Claret fans old enough to remember just how desperate they felt, not just about the prospects of going down but in losing the club altogether. Sadly, our relegation has took nobody by surprise other than our owner and his hapless sidekick CEO and our future is very much in doubt. Those two individuals have destroyed everything that Charlton stood for, and I, alongside many, many others, will continue the fight to force them out of my club. Until they do, our demonstrations and protests will be unrelenting, even throughout the summer.
You can expect even less writing from me over the summer so I'll thank you now for talking the time to read anything I've wrote this season and especially if you've taken the time to comment. I'll see you at The Valley next season when I'll be hoping with all my heart we have a different owner and a future again. If not, I'll just be going through the motions, waiting to pick up what's left when Duchatelet finally realises his weird experiment will not work.
I'll end with a much needed joke. Just 2,500 people voted for the Player of The Year award this season. How funny is that?