Clueless Katrien Meire continues to play the victim

I really would like to forget about Katrien Meire, surely the most incompetent and inept CEO in the history of the EFL. However, irritatingly she has popped up again in The Telegraph article this weekend in which she rambles on again about how victimised she was at Charlton – apparently we were queuing up to chuck her under a train. Passionate as Charlton fans are this is of course totally ridiculous.

The lazy journalist doesn’t ask her about the video Meire sanctioned showing a couple having simulated sex on the centre spot – surely the most disgusting and disrespectful PR stunt ever dreamt up for a family spectator sport – try explaining that idea to your 8 year old.

As we all know this was followed up with a slew of terrible decisions and subsequent  unforgivable lies to supporters all well documented.

Her finest achievement however was to preside over the systematic dismantling of the best team we have had in the past 10 years , securing a relegation and a more than 50% reduction of season ticket holders and annual revenues –  Great job Katrien

All this was achieved whilst being the chief “adviser”to the billionaire owner. Since her departure, we have appointed a really good manager, the fan communication is top drawer, the results and crowds have improved significantly and dare I say it the owner seems to be acting more sensibly. Her appointment was undoubtedly the costliest and worst decision made by Duchatelet during his ownership. Maybe it’s Roland she should be looking out for the next time she gets on a train.

Look out he’s behind you.

Aussie takeover probably not good news

It has been widely reported that the Aussies don’t have large financial resources available to them and therefore cannot afford to pay Roland’s £40m valuation.

That ridiculous figure comes from a commercial valuation of the underlying land at The Valley and Sparrows Lane. Since the Aussies can’t afford £40m, it appears that they are enlisting American financial investors to fund (and therefore have ownership of) those physical assets, whilst the Aussies run the club from a commercial perspective.

This has massive downside risk for us fans. The financial investors are likely to charge commercial interest on their loan of c.10%, giving the Aussies an annual bill of c £4m just to use The Valley and Training Ground.  In the medium term, without a very significant investment in players, the most likely scenario is that the club are a mid to lower Championship side and the Aussies will run out of money within 3 to 4 seasons.  If that happens, we then have a football club effectively owned by financial investors with zero interest in owning a football club who just want to liquidate their land asset or sell it on for significantly more than they paid for it. Think what has happened to Coventry City for a parallel situation where they don’t own the ground.

Then we come onto what value the Aussies can actually add to the club. Well, it would certainly be difficult not to run it better from a commercial perspective and fan engagement than Roland, although even that has improved since the idiot Katrien moved on. We already have a good manager and the basis for a good young progressive squad. The one thing we need now is a sensible investment in additional players to push us over the line. That will need additional funding, which apparently the Aussies are fairly short of- which brings you to the fundamental question which is – what value are they actually bringing to the ownership of the club?

Now, I may be wrong on all of this because I don’t know anything for sure and I am only piecing together snippets of info from various sources who claim some knowledge- although Jim White on talksport continues to refer to the Australian led takeover with American investment – so I suspect I’m not far from the mark.

I would certainly be more comfortable if Roland sells to someone who has the resources to buy the football club lock stock and barrel – and then supports the club by investing sensibly and actually coming to matches – surely one of these supposed 5 interested parties fits that bill because it doesn’t sound like the Aussies do .


Did Jim White jump the gun?

Like every other sensible fan I am desperate to see the back of Roland but it does feel like Jim White’s claims last week may have jumped the gun. The feedback I had was that there was nothing imminent and now Lee Bowyer doesn’t think there is anything imminent. Rick Everitt seems to be hearing it may not even be the Aussies after all. Surely one of the sensible broadsheet newspapers would have reported the deal by now, but there has been nothing from them either.

The problem is that like every other transfer window, unless you do the deal early in the window there is no point until the start of the next because you are incurring the monthly losses without being able to influence the results with new player acquisitions.

If nothing happens in the first 3 weeks of January – it seems to me that we have to wait until a new false dawn in the summer – the whole tortuous saga seems interminable.

Anybody who watched the series ‘Trust’ about John Paul Getty will have been given a glimpse into the head of an old man very much like Roland – a man rich as Croesus and a miser ( the duct taped shoes and his 70th birthday lunch in the Belgian equivalent of Nando’s) and convinced of his own rightness , given to irrational and unreasonable behaviour – that’s who any prospective purchasers have to deal with.

Anyway, let us hope my caution is unfounded and Jim White’s predictions come true for Tuesday/ Wednesday next week.

It was a fantastic game and performance and most of all a brilliant atmosphere reminiscent of the better pre Roland days . Let’s hope and pray for release soon. As I have said on here before seldom has one man made so many people miserable over such a sustained period. He owes it to us to go away, involve himself in something he actually cares about and makes him happy so we can all be happy again.

Life is too short for all of us.

Maybe the end is in sight ?

Happy New Year to all Charlton fans and a special thanks to those of you from all over the world who take the time to read my rambles and make comments. I am always amazed at the list of countries, sometimes over 100,  where CAFC fans visit my site from.

The news this morning via Jim White at Talksport that the end of Roland may be near is obviously very welcome- the damage that he has wreaked at the club in the past 5 years is almost incalculable. Nevertheless, firstly I guess we can’t get too excited until it actually happens bearing in mind that we’ve had a few false dawns over the last year or so.

Secondly, if it does happen, let us sincerely hope that the new owners don’t start doing stupid things like Duchatelet did, i.e install an idiot inexperienced and clueless CEO, sell our best players, replace them with rubbish, get rid of an excellent manager and alienate the fans.

Even though we were in a poor league position when Roland took over we had the core of a Premiership team with Hamer, Morrison, Stephens and Kermogant and he just threw it away.

What he didn’t do as a new owner and what we need now is to keep building the team by firstly tying down the best players , ie Taylor, Grant, Aribo, Lapslie, Fosu and JFK and the younger players like Phillips, Morgan , Dijksteel, Stevenson etc.

Bowyer will know which of the experienced pros like Pearce, Bauer, Solly, etc that he needs to retain for the longer term.

Then they need to  recognise that Lee Bowyer is a bloody good manager and continue to support him by spending a bit (not gazillions) in the transfer market. Because of injuries we are desperately short all over the park.

Then they need to articulate some kind of sensible plan to our community that we can all support. It doesn’t need to be ridiculously expensive but it will need to be sensible ambitious and properly funded – let us all hope that any new owners have done their arithmetic so that they have the funding available for us to achieve and then sustain success.