Let’s be frank, in order to own a Premiership or Championship club you need to be a Billionaire now. There are very few ‘local boy made good’ owners. Quite a lot of the new breed of owners made their money by stealing from every one of the population in their home countries – the principal owner in London being a case in point.
There has been much gnashing of teeth in South East London this am following the revelation that we might swop one nut job owner, Duchatelet for another in Fawaz Al Hasawi. He does indeed look like another example but the problem is that common sense and vision don’t normally accompany vast wealth – hubris, arrogance and corruption normally do.
Anyway, we shall see – it’s really hard to believe that any new owner could be stupider than Roland – at least the Forest bloke didn’t manage to get his club relegated.
The club statement about the EFL meeting is a case in point. It’s complete jibberish – apparently written either by a 10year old or by someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language.
I am sorry to say that any new owner of Charlton with the requisite funds ( that rules out the Aussies) is highly likely to come with a significant amount of unpleasant baggage. Unfortunately that’s the world we now live in.
Whilst I loathe Roland and what he has done to our club and I have been a supporter of CARD both in principle and with a moderate financial contribution, I think that it is time to stop protesting at games now. Going to football should be fun and a shared entertainment experience.
I know for us diehards who still go, it’s far more than that- it’s part of being in a tribe, but for the people outside us diehards , which is anyone above a crowd of c10k, they just want to have a fun , hassle free day – they don’t want to hear fans arguing amongst themselves and abusing each other. They probably aren’t keen on interrupting games with pitch rubbish either. It’s my opinion and maybe I am wrong, but the vast majority of our crowd just want to watch a good game, see our team give 100% like they did against Peterborough and support the team by getting behind them.
I’m not suggesting that the CARD team or the crisp throwers aren’t also getting behind the team, but at times it seems like a secondary objective.
Roland is doing a good enough job of destroying the club and reducing attendances, I worry that the overall negativity is made worse by the protests at The Valley – however undeniably effective they are in garnering publicity.
I am not against continuing the fight against Roland and in particular, I think the guys who are taking the fight to Belgium are to be applauded and let us hope that Roland finds the embarrassment on home turf tedious enough to drop his asking price.
I am repeating myself here but I remember Peter Varney telling me when he and SCP created the Division 1 title winners , they started off by recruiting goal scoring midfielders, because their view was that you can’t get promoted without goals from the middle. Hence, we had Dale Stephens, Danny Hollands and Skipper in his prime. Add to that a mercurial winger in Danny Green and Scott Wagstaff also posed a threat, so we had goals all over the place.
The problem with Lee’s team is that having lost JFC & Fosu to injury and Ricky Holmes, even by comparison to last year let alone the title winning team, there are no goals from the middle. Aribo, Pratley, Lapslie and Morgan are all good players but none of them are likely to score a few goals. Marshall has been consistently disappointing so we don’t have any wingers either.
Therein lies the biggest problem with the team – let us hope that Fosu and Clarke return soon and that we add a couple of midfield attacking threats otherwise it might be a long and trickier season than expected.
I know the situation at Charlton is dire and our owner is an idiot but it was difficult to suppress a smile about this story from the Evening Standard last night –
a staff member who wanted to eat a packet of crisps at their desk asked their line manager for permission who in turn called HR to check if it was allowed who in turn told them that they needed to ring the facilities department for approval.
Surely this is either fake news or a joke. It really can’t be true can it ?.. but if it is and that’s the level of common sense prevailing amongst the staff then maybe Hercule Von Twonk is right to withhold bonus payments.
The general understanding is that Roland has put in £64m in total and is prepared to write off £24m because he accepts that there is an annual cost to running the club and he has to fund those losses.
But where does his £40m valuation come from ? Apparently, it is underpinned by the physical asset value of The Valley and the Sparrows Lane Training ground together with their respective approved planning applications.
I guess we have to thank some firm of Surveyors for conjuring up this valuation for the land and ‘assets’. However, it seems nigh on impossible that planning permission would ever be granted to build on The Valley without a suitable and very costly alternative being available.
I’m not so sure with the Sparrows Lane complex, but bearing in mind it has already had a decent level of investment in new pitches and it is shared with Footscray Rugby- it is hard to believe that ripping it all up for development is either possible from a planning perspective or feasible.
So, any purchaser has to pay £40m for the right to buy 2 assets that have no development potential and will require significant annual upkeep and maintenance.
On top of that their £40m purchase price brings with it the right to lose around £10m a year in Division 3 and probably £12-£15m a year in the Championship.
Under these circumstances, it is a real struggle to understand why anyone would ever pay £40m for the club.
It seems to me that the football club as it stands is not fit for purpose under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015. I am not suggesting that the club can be sued because the results aren’t likely to be that great – I am suggesting that the club, having pre sold season tickets is subsequently and knowingly offering a product that fails the three fundamental principles of the act that covers all goods and services , i.e, the product or service is a ) not of satisfactory quality , b) not fit for the consumers purpose and c) is not as described.
In practise we are unable to field a football team with the required number of team players including substitutes for EFL league games and for the EFL Trophy competition the likelihood is that we will either have to withdraw completely or default from the competition due to our inability to field 5 ‘first team’ players.
It seems like time for a class action by supporters against Roland Duchatelet ?
Because he’s certainly not very intelligent is he ? I’m not going to rehash all the history, but this ‘successful’ businessman overpaid for a business he didn’t understand, without conducting proper due diligence, got rid of its best workers, installed a leader with no appropriate experience or ability and subsequently lost or alienated most of its customer base whilst simultaneously showing little or no interest in the business he bought.
The latest shenanigans see him plainly massively overvaluing the business to make a disposal sale unlikely or probably impossible, selling off most of the remaining assets at below market price ( The Bolton Chairman even tried the buy one get one free idea on him which nearly worked )
The business is now balanced on a precipice facing a new season with not enough workers to sustain the company both on and off the pitch whilst Roland continues to lose money hand over fist and employs a part time accountant to run the business whose best ideas are to stop the junior staff having a free breakfast and to have meetings in the dark to save electricity.
Our owner is evidently completely and relentlessly stupid.
It would be lovely to think that salvation is close but it doesn’t feel like it.