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TNT CAS Trust News






to the sixth Edition of CAS Trust News IT HAS BEEN my pleasure and privilege to dedicate nearly two years of my life to what has seemed like a full time job at times (on top of my actual full time job and being a committed dad of two). Why? Mainly because I am working with something I love and which is loved by many other fans and that is a precious thing and means a great deal. I don’t think that is silly either, although non-football fans like my wife (bless her), will probably never understand that. Another thing they may not understand is why this football club is special (as are some others, admittedly). For me it is because real people put real time and love into it through thick and thin. It is a part of them. I have supported Charlton through three divisions from the East stand for the best part of 20 years and, believe me, it wasn’t for glory. I have paid as much as I could afford into season tickets for me and my family, Valley Gold, merchandise, the odd burger - even the odd point of mass produced bitter (yuck). I have followed Charlton away in the years when I had the luxury of time and disposable cash, just like many, many of you. It is to the fans’ credit that Charlton is still a well-supported, Championship or above club in many ways. A club that has been to the brink and back more than once and a club that has united a community against insurmountable odds. As we all know it was fans from all walks of life who did everything they could to keep it from exile and oblivion. It is to my immense pride and satisfaction that, through hard work, innovation and application from Trust volunteers, we have man-

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News aged to tap into the spirit of this great football club and create the starting point of a democratic voice for Charlton fans that can stand on its own two feet. The Trust now boasts the best part of 4000 fans in its network, when you include all those who subscribe to our various outlets. Although we don’t run travel or large-scale social activities, 1070 Charlton fans have paid up to become full members - willing to commit in times of relative stability - and that number is continuing to climb. For me the essence of CAS Trust is that it is and will remain our way of having Our Charlton. The values, the passion, collective knowledge and memory. I urge every Charlton fan who feels that way to also support all groups that have Charlton at their heart - including Valley Gold, The Museum, Charlton Live, supporters’ groups, fan blogs and forums. This way I believe the essence of our club, the Charlton way of good honest hard work and passion, cannot be diminished. Those are the foundations of our club and it is my view that this is how we are most likely to succeed. Recent concerns expressed over the future direction of the club and our position in a European network of clubs that we now find ourselves in after January’s change of ownership, have shown that many fans feel uncomfortable. Add to this the sacking of Chris Powell (who was in many ways the embodiment of our club) and the manner of it happening which for many has been difficult, and the end result is that a lot of fans are very upset. CAS Trust makes no apologies for asking fans how they felt about it all. We will always put fans’ concerns high on the agenda and present them to the club. On that topic: in my view a supporters’ trust should never be over-precious of its role or intention to represent fans, particularly on pivotal strategic issues that affect the future of a football


club. At the same time a democratic open and accountable approach is what fans prefer and I would appeal to any fan to approach the Trust with such concerns as a mechanism for addressing these issues. In my view issues of such importance will always be a primary and visible concern for a Trust, and they may need to be addressed in a wider manner than perhaps the more day to day activities of engagement. With this approach I believe we can move forwards in a unifying and consensual manner as much as possible. Is it right that the club have delayed engagement on forward strategy until after the relegation fight is decided? Certainly there are arguments in favour of that, but to stop direct engagement altogether seems to me to be a mistake, particularly after so much work has gone in to establishing collaboration. My hope is that this will change. We are an independent group for fans, but we are committed to balance and objectivity, helping the club where we can but also pointing out where we feel things can be improved. What next for the Trust? We are airborne, but must not rest, I’m afraid. We need to refresh our board, broaden our input, and increase our volunteers. We must continue to work towards more collaboration and ways of assisting CAFC towards success. We must work towards establishing fan influence. Asset of Community Value status, which I feel can only benefit the club in the long term, should only be the starting point. We must innovate and educate ourselves in the realities of the new football economics. We must work together with other groups to help them and thus grow and strengthen the Charlton Family. I hope more fans will support the Trust and continue to do so for the future. Best of luck to the team in the quest for Championship survival.

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Capt’n Add 4


“Captn’ Addick’s Mast”

It’s been a while since my last voyage onto these pages, and a lot has happened. The club survived in The Championship last season and then endured a protracted takeover process that might have meant surrendering our ancestral home (delayed for now at least). Now it has apparently been rescued by a wealthy backer giving us some welcome stability. Of course being Charlton nowadays there is a complication. We are part of a European network of clubs - the most notable of which being

Relegation Troubles in SE7 Just as Chris Powell’s team reached new heights last season the club began to lose its momentum and dip downwards again when the budget was slashed in order to reduce the serious losses that our club has endured pretty much since leaving the Premier League – (see pages 20-23). Strikers left in the summer, and were followed by a certain talismanic Frenchman in January. They were replaced by players who so far have found locating the net a serious challenge. In that quest I still greatly hope they can succeed. The Addicks have subsequently found themselves at the wrong end of the table and midway through a change of ownership transition, albeit with a decent defensive record and games in hand. Trouble at mill, well Leeds that is, and it appears Birmingham might bring respite for, if either were to crumble into administration, (not something the sympathetic amongst us would wish on any club) they would of course face a points deduction. A resurgent Millwall are not currently doing us any favours either as they attempt to climb out of relegation inspired, I understand, by former Charlton man Nicky Bailey.

Standard Liege from our owner’s native land of Belgium. One major complication came as close as 90 odd minutes away to hitting home when Charlton reached the quarter final of the FA Cup. Had we progressed by beating Sheffield United (earning a nice pot of gold in the process) and then managed to turn over Hull, we might have found ourselves in Europe for the first time ever. The problem would have been, if Liege qualify via their League, we would have been disqualified under ownership rules, having reached the competition through the less prestigious route

Riga Rescue - Powell’s exit after failing to agree a way forward with the new owners, has seen Roland’s man Jose Riga come in - arguably following a pattern at Liege after he took over there, which included selling some of their best players. Most would agree that Riga is so far doing a decent job, and everyone is hoping that the exquisite pain involved in the exit of our legendary manager is eased like it was at Liege who are now challenging for the Belgian top flight title. That seems a very distant possibility for us right now though, and we’ll no doubt settle for the Championship next year and beyond. You can read more about this in our pages on the Big Questions. Right now I wish Jose and his squad, including Captain Johnny Jackson the very best of luck and all our support with the fight to stay up.

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dick’s Mast News


Is there life in S.E.1?

I hear you cry, often. OK, well specifically I’m talking about a supporters’ trust - no sniggering at the back please. The answer is it would appear so. The “bespanner’cled ones have had a Fans group for some time (although not very active of late) – I am sure they have many fine words of banter for us too. Another group - “Save Our Millwall” - have appeared lately and asked us about Asset of Community Value for the New Den. Perhaps some query about the definition there but it appears the beloved cauldron of fun of our near neighbours may be under threat. It’s complicated, but at the moment my understanding is that Southwark own the freehold of the land but it has been parcelled up into leaseholds - two of which have been given up for housing development. Aside from my amusement imagining wealthy property investors popping out for a Saturday afternoon stroll when Millwall are playing at home against some lively opposition, the group in question are concerned over plans for what remains with the club – the football stadium. Keep in mind here that there is a plot on the Greenwich Peninsular designated for a stadium (possibly of 11,000 which would suit them fine, although they may need more when they play us.) Also of interest is the fact that the council would have, we assume, a conflict of interest in deciding whether to grant ACV since they own the freehold. We of course wish them good luck Board Chairman - Barnie Razzell Vice-chairman -Craig Sloman Secretary -Richard Wiseman Press Officer -Math Morrison Liaison - Ken Sinyard David Pearce - Membership Officer Jonathan Bangs Richard Hunt Web designer - David Hall

Editorial - Barnie Razzell, Sub Editor Richard Wiseman Design, Layout, Photos Ken Sinyard Additonal photos - CAFC, Getty Images Keith Gillard Except where indicated copywright CAS Trust 2014

And Finally... A plug for Rick Everitt whose 1991 epic “Battle for the Valley” is shortly to be reissued in paperback. It tells the fascinating story of how Charlton came to leave The Valley in 1985 and the heroic efforts of the club’s supporters which culminated in a triumphant return seven years later. Essential reading for any Charlton fan.

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Dear Mr Duchâtelet

My questions are concerned with how your “network’ functions as a business, and whether it will leave Charlton better or worse off, compared to if you only owned Charlton. For the last 25 years I’ve worked for or with companies that are part of a European or global network, and most of them are significantly stronger than most of their competitors in a national market which are stand-alone entities. So I am not against the idea. I can see for example that you can share “back office functions” and these might be stronger than a club like Charlton could have on its own; e.g. scouting, medical expertise, shared IT systems.

“Is Charlton still a stand-alone business with its own profit and loss targets ?”

Now the customers of Unilever don’t care about any of this, so long as their Dove and Flora are available in the shops. But football fans are not


But when I look at the other companies with networks, and apply their overall model to football, I start to worry. Take for an example Unilever. There is of course Unilever UK, and Unilever Czech Republic; both of them make decisions to make them successful in their own countries. However the goal is to maximise profits which are returned to the parent company. If the parent company is doing badly, the Czech company may be ordered to freeze hiring, or cut back on training, even though it needs those resources.

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UESTIONS “Or is it a subsidiary of Staprix, and does that mean the profit and loss you are focussed on is the profit and loss of Staprix?t



ordinary customers. They take a great interest the ‘human resources” of the club they support; they often believe that the more money they spend, the more money will be available for “human resources” (better players).

That’s why I need to know how you organise (basically) the financial structure of your network. You have mentioned that football clubs need to break even. I agree. But what financial targets do you set for the network as a whole? In the past Charlton, like most clubs was a single business. Its profit, or loss, stayed within the company. But what now? Does Charlton “report to” Staprix, along with Standard, Ujpest, etc? I think it must, otherwise I cannot see how your player “network” can function. This has many implications, and I am sure other people will pick up on them. I will just use an example of our goalkeepers. Thuram came from Liege to join Hamer and Alnwick. Then Alnwick left. As far as I know, Standard didn’t need to replace Thuram. So, looking across the Group as a whole, you have one less goalkeeper salary to pay. Is this an example of how it works, how you get ‘cost efficiencies’ which allow clubs in the network to have lower operating costs? So, my basic question is: In terms of financial reporting and objectives, is Charlton still a stand-alone business with its own P&L targets? Or is it now a subsidiary of Staprix, and does that mean that the P&L you are focused on is the P&L of Staprix? I do hope you will feel able to answer my question Kind regards Richard Hunt

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“What happens if Standard Liege is interested in offering a contract to a Charlton player but the Charlton Head Coach wantsto keep him ?”

Dear Mr Duchâtelet

THE NETWORK CONCEPT is very new for us at Charlton, and I appreciate that the scale is quite new for you too, with Carl Zeiss Jena, Charlton and Alcorcon all being acquired during the course of this season. So I appreciate that you are probably in the midst of defining exactly how it will work in practice. My question is a fundamental footballing one –who ultimately decides on player recruitment for each club? Perhaps by now you will agree that the January knee-jerk reaction to loan / sell a number of network players to Charlton to suppos-

edly strengthen the squad has not proven particularly successful, even accepting that it was done with the best of intentions. So what infrastructure are you putting in place in order to improve this in future? You have stated that you wish each club to be independent, yet you also highlight that the network model provides some benefits in terms of economies of scale and scope for intra-club player development. Do you already have plans for a really strong, panEuropean (or even worldwide) scouting network? Are the head

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G QUESTIONS coaches of each network team charged with reporting on strengths and weaknesses of their squad players, particularly any which may be available for loan/ transfer within the network? How does each club access this information about positions where they need new bodies and want to know what is available across the network? How do you make sure that any such “database” takes account of the differences in culture and style between the different football nations? The people most likely to understand a club’s specific needs are those

closest to it, who are steeped in the football of that particular country – for example, did Charlton’s head scout, Phil Chapple, have any opportunity to watch Thuram, Reza, Nego et al before they arrived on these shores? Furthermore, who oversees inter-club trading to make sure it is fair/ for the common good of the network and not just about “who shouts loudest”? For example, what happens if Standard Liège is interested in offering a contract to a Charlton player, but the Charlton Head Coach wants to keep him? Does it then become the player’s decision? Would Standard Liège be able to offer the player more money? How do you plan to build solid working relationships between sister clubs to provide a foundation of trust, or will suchdecisions be imposed top-down? Similarly, when a player is recruited from outside the network, who scouts and identifies this player, and makes sure that he has the attributes to deliver a return, both on the pitch and financially? Is this looked at only from the point of view of one club, or is network potential considered? Who actually does the deal? It would seem that there are big question marks

over the readiness of Piotr Parzyszek for the Charlton first team, yet a significant sum has been invested in him, when this money could perhaps have been better spent either recruiting (or perhaps retaining) a proven Championship striker to help in Charlton’s relegation battle. I accept that we are all on a learning curve, but in the fast-moving, results-oriented world of football, how can the network avoid such a situation in future? What happens in a sudden emergency eg a first-choice goalkeeper gets injured? In the past, Charlton have had their scouts and manage.ment team ready with the knowledge to move immediately for a replacement. Would we still be able to do this off our own bat, or would we need to check the network pool and seek network approval first? Do you envisage the need for a “Network Director of Football” role to oversee player recruitment and movement of players across the network, liaising with the clubs concerned - or will you personally be the ultimate decision-maker? I look forward to your answer. Kind regards Heather McKinlay

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Academy Plans A FEW WEEKS AGO CAFC announced exciting plans to upgrade the facilities at Sparrows Lane. The planning application, submitted by Rees Pyrer, is a joint application for an “Integrated training centre and community facility at Sparrows Lane training ground, New Eltham for Charlton Athletic Football Club and Charlton Athletic Community Trust.’ The ambitious plans, which will hopefully enable the club to make the step from its current Category 2 Academy status to Category 1, will play a major part in developing the Charlton stars of tomorrow. The Academy has long had an excellent reputation among the football fraternity, having developed Richard Rufus, Scott Parker, Lee Bowyer, and more recently Jordan Cousins and Diego Poyet. Wendy Perfect ( Promoter of Valley Gold) said to Trust News ‘Everyone at Valley Gold is excited about the plans for the construction of the new complex at Sparrows Lane which will offer sports and education provision catering for the needs of the first team, the Academy and Charlton’s Community Trust. Our main priority over recent years has been to help fund the CAFC Academy and we want our young players to

play against the very best. The only way they can do this is if the football club gain Category one status and these new facilities will help CAFC achieve this objective’. Every Addick will surely be behind the plans which were discussed at the RBG full planning commitee on April 9th. The committee decided to defer the application to allow for further consultation with the Greater London Authority and it is hoped that Boris Johnson, who will have the final say on the matter, will consider the plans within the next month. Subject to approval and any amendments it is proposed that the site will be open in about two years time, at which point consideration will be given to applying for Category 1 status elite football. The three 3g pitches outlined in the application will be of great benefit to the local football community as this, uniquely, will be a shared resource with the stakeholders (although there will be a separate section reserved exclusively for CAFC). Trust News readers may remember that Paul Hart (who I interviewed in our last issue) had preliminary discussions with our new owner Roland Duchatelet on his first visit to CAFC in January. It is evident that the Academy will play

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CAS Trust matchday experience survey

Let us know what you think about your match day experience. CASTrust is working with Ben Kensall ( CAFC Chief Commercial Officer) to improve the match day experience. The first step is to ask you for your opinions through our match day experience survey at All participants will be entered into a prize draw. Prizes are: a 10 match ticket, 2 x 2 training ground experience passes; signed squad shirt

Tear out and send to CAS Trust c/o The Beehive Public House, 365 Footscray Road , New Eltham, SE9 2DR. Or hand in at our match day stall behind the north stand. This survey has been put together by CAS Trust and CAFC to look at improvements for the match day experience - both immediate and for next season - to better understand what fans want from home matches and what the club can do to improve things. CAFC commercial department is committed to delivering improvements to increase revenue AND make the whole match day more enjoyable. All information entered will be held securely and in compliance with UK Data protection laws, and not made available to 3rd parties. For “don’t knows” please leave answer blank. Only questions with * require an answer. Please visit for more information including the prize list

• 1 What kind of ticket buyer are you? q Season Ticket Holder q Regular Walk up Fan q Occasional/borrowed/special offer • 2 How long have you been coming to watch Charlton? q Prior to 1985 q Selhurst Years qEarly Curbishley Years qPremier League Years 98/2007 qSince relegation q2007/­present • 3 Which Stand do you normally sit in? q West Up q West Low q NorthwestQ q North Up q North Low q NortheastQ q East • 4 Are you a member of Valley Gold qYes qNo qNo, but interested, please send me more information

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• 5 Please indicate internet sites and publications where you find out about CAFC? You can enter more than one q q Matchday Programme q Trust news q Trust news q q Voice of the Valley q CAFC Player q Charlton Life q Twitter q Blog or Other website Blog or Other (please specify) •6 How often in the last year have you used the following information sources? Often Sometimes Rarely Never q q q q q q q q Matchday q q q q Programme q q q q Voice of the Valley q q q q q q q q Charlton player q q q q •7 Roughly how many football matches do you attend in a season? CAFC Home CAFC Away Other sports Internationals 20+  q  q q q 15-19  q  q q q 10-14  q  q q q 5-9 q  q q q  1-4 q  q q q  0 q  q q q  •8 Compared to our competitors, is our service quality better, worse, or about the same? Much worse Matchday programme q   vs other sources q Bars at the ground q Catering at the Valley q   The whole experience q  

not so good q   q q q   q  

Same q  q q  q  q

Better q q q  q q

Much better q q q  q q

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•9 What should be done to improve match day experience (please rate each suggestion option 5 being highest) 1 2 3 4 5 Pre order drinks before the game  q q q q q  for half time to cut queues q q q q q More trained bar staff  q q q q q  More outlets q q q q q  Offer early bird discounts for fans q q q q q  arriving early Improve the range of drinks  q q q q q  Open a real ale bar   q q q q q Look into more trains from Charlton q q q q q  station at final whistle Look into free train ticket to park  q q q q q  & ride to reduce congestion Open the bars and q q q q q  catering after games Please add any thoughts and comments which will be passed to CAFC

• 10 What should the Trust prioritise next year?  q Supporting the Club to develop bars and attendance q Campaigning with other Trusts for fairer distribution of TV Money q Building the relationship with CAFC q Policing for London Derbies working with any groups that can improve the situation • 11 Have you joined CAS Trust? q Yes - Full Member q Yes - Subscriber q No q No - but interested, please add me to the e-mailing list

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•12.Where did you hear about this survey q CAFC Facebook/ q Twitter/Email

q CASTrust q Charlton Life q Face to Face q Trust matchday Website,or email Website ( interviewer) Interview

•13 Overall, how responsive is the matchday stewarding to the needs of the fans? q Extremely responsive q  Not at all responsive

q  Slightly responsive q  Moderately responsive

•14 Compared to our competitors, how effective is our service from bar and catering outlets? q Somewhat less effective q Slightly more effective q Slightly less effective q Much more effective q Same      •15 In the past 5 visits to the Valley, which of the following products have you purchased? (Please select all that apply.) q  Coffee q  Beer q  Sausage Rolls

q Juice q  Bottled Water q  Soda

q  Pies q  Energy q  Tea

• 16 What changes would most improve The Valley? • 17 Would you pay a one off fee for enhanced wireless connectivity for mobiles? q Yes

q No

q Not sure

• 18 Have you considered paying more for access to a lounge and other benefits? q Yes

q No

q Not sure

• 19 Email Address (required for validation and to enter prize draw) • 20 Any other comments or Suggestions?

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site with a new integrated ‘hub’ at the heart, used by all stakeholders, community and club reflecting the totally inclusive ethos. The project is strategically supported by the Football Association who have reviewed and endorsed a Football Development Plan developed by the club and the main community football partner, Junior Reds Football Club, which runs 57 teams of all ages. The facility will also be used by other local football clubs, local schools and community groups as the Community Trust will support Charter Standard clubs and help others to achieve this. The Football Foundation and Premier League are also expected to offer significant support to the scheme. As a former chairman and current manager of a local mens’ football club I know the application will be warmly welcomed by the local football community. In a season that has had months when no local pitches were playable around the community the three 3g pitches alone are urgently required for chartered status clubs. This view was endorsed by FA chairman Greg Dyke when he was a guest of the club at the ACV event at the Valley on February 8th.

Ken Sinyard Trust liason officer


a pivotal part in the Duchelet business model as the owner looks to reap the benefits of this considerable investment by steering the club towards his vision of financial self-sufficiency within the stable of clubs that his company currently owns. However, the idea of developing the academy did not start with the new owners. It was Peter Varney, in his role of executive chairman, who originally applied for and secured category 2 status for the Academy and produced the first proposals and funding plans for the current developments. These plans were warmly embraced by the new board and, at the VIP supporters’ meeting in March, Katrien Meire said that Duchatelet had been personally involved in making them “bigger and better” The excellent work of the Community Trust is an important part of the application. In the submission it is stated: “Charlton Athletic Community Trust is the largest football related trust in the UK and positively impacts on the lives of thousands of young people across the south east”. The Community Trust delivers “sustainable schemes based on sport, citizenship, education, health and community integration that engages with 10,000 young people every week”. The application statement also states the intention to replace all of the existing buildings across the


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ewss N w e N 20



Your Details First Name

Last Name

Date of Birth

Email Address


I wish to join the Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust as a: Junior Member-Under 16( Free)-You must be under 16 Full Member (£5)- You must be over 16 and payment must be enclosed with this form The fee is for 1 years full membership and entitles the member to 1 years access to our members section and includes a Membership e-Certificate, Ownership of £1Share (whilst a paid member) and AGM rights. The fee is non-refundable, but membership can be cancelled at any time



I enclose a cheque for£

Optional Information Internet How did you find us? Leaflet Are you a Charlton Athletic season ticket holder? Which stand do you normally sit in? North

Word of Mouth Yes No East


CAS Trust,c/o The Beehive 365 Footscray Road London SE9 2DR The Charlton Supporters’ Trust is registered in England and Wales as the Charlton Supporters Society Limited. Industrial and Provident Socirty number 31912R

THE CHARLTON ATHLETIC SUPPORTERS’ TRUST Access to member Help build a strong -only areas representative Trust Stylish badge Ownership ofsurvey £1 share in the Complete the to enter our free prize draw@ (available now) Trust Help support Trust E - Certificate research and campaigns Free e version of quarterly AGM rights Trust News (including the right to elect Regular Trust updates the board) Innovative website

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Be p



season ticket 2014/15 One of the major talking points amongst Charlton supporters over the last couple of months has been the announcement of the clubs 2014/15 season ticket prices. THE NEW PRICING structure shows a dramatic shift in the way seats at the Valley will be priced, with prices split into seven different “zones” and individual blocks priced accordingto the quality of view afforded. The impact is that Addicks in the same stand will be paying vastly different prices for their seats – with five different pricing zones covering the eight blocks of the East stand. Initially there was confusion around the inclusion of a new “Crossbars” package whereby fans in the first six rows of the Covered End upper could pay £530 (a £230 increase) for their season ticket which would include a season pass to Crossbars. Initially it appeared from the materials released there was no way for supporters in this area of the ground to renew their seats without the addition of the Crossbars package. CAS Trust quickly contacted the club and a statement was later released reassuring fans that they would not be forced to take up the package.

But how does the pricing compare on average to last year ? The answer is, on the face of it, rather well. Based on adult prices across the 39 “sections” of the Valley (37 blocks plus the NWQ and Family Stand) this season’s average price is £379.74 while next season the average price will be £326.92. However the huge disparity in the ticket pricing – with the highest price being 3.3 times that of the lowest - does create some issues, in particular that of how the club will police compliance in a halfempty stadium. In comparison clubs with broadly similar profiles to Charlton, this disparity is marked – Millwall’s highest season ticket price is 1.2 times that of the cheapest, Palace 1.38 and Brighton 1.5 The areas which will see the largest increase are the most heavily populated of the Lower West stand in blocks D and E where a £60 (14%) increase is imposed. Factoring in the increase in the price for youngsters in this area (£20 for both U18 and U11), a parent with two children would be looking at a £100 increase on their family tickets. The club would argue that this is counterbalanced by the offer of much cheaper prices in other areas of the stadium. That same parent

could hypothetically move to block A of the East Stand and save £290 on this season’s pricing. However, pricing discounts based solely on the view offered from a particular seat ignores that one of the main reasons people attend football is not because of the view in front of them but the people around them. Secondly, the figures I’ve used are the averages across the stadium – but the areas benefitting from the lowest prices are those which are currently the least subscribed. In order to take advantage of the price savings offered in the extremities of the East and West stand many supporters will need to move. For instance, at today’s game take a look at West Stand block R (the block in the upper closest to the Jimmy Seed) – how many Addicks currently sit there ? The new prices provide choice and affordability which has to be welcomed, but they are not without issues, and it will be interesting to see if the new structure is successful in promoting higher attendances at home games. However there can be no argument that the greatest incentive for this would be success on the pitch, starting with Championship survival.

By Craig Sloman

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This year marks the centenary of World War I. As we remember the war and the sacrifices made by a generation, it is worth also sparing a thought for our club as this terrible global conflict had quite some impact on how Charlton Athletic developed. At least one of the consequences of the war lives on with us now, affecting not just the heritage of the club but the match day experience of every single supporter. CHARLTON ATHLETIC was a comparatively new club at the time war broke out and in its few years had made remarkable progress up the leagues. In their first eight seasons playing in organised leagues the first team won each division they entered, climbing from the Lewisham League, Division 3 to the Southern Suburban League, Senior Division (Eastern) in the process. Their ninth season started normally despite the fact the war had begun, but was never concluded. A meeting on 19th March 1915 agreed that the club would “discontinue operations for this season” as the war, already 33 weeks old at this stage, had resulted in low crowds and difficulty getting players. A final match was scheduled for 17th April: Fifty six people attended earning just 14/- (70p) for charity. Possibly the biggest impact that the war had upon the club was that Charlton were forced to move grounds. When war stopped play in 1915, Charlton played their home games at at Horn Lane. However when the club re-formed at the end of the war, this was no longer possible as the ground had been taken over as a petrol dump. To start with they played matches at both Charlton Park and Rectory Field, before finding a new home at The Valley. Except it wasn’t called that then. It was known locally as The Swamp and perhaps it should be again. The new ground had no facilities, not even a perimeter fence. A house in Ransom Road was used by the players for changing.

Jimmy Seed is arguably Charlton’s greatest ever manager; certainly he’s the one that’s enjoyed the most success. And yet it is quite possible that if it hadn’t been for the war, his and the club’s paths might never have crossed. In 1914 Seed was a young professional playing for Sunderland reserves and hoping for a chance in the Rokerites first team. By the time he was 20 he had joined the army as a signaller and travelled to the continent with the 8th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. During the night of 21st-22nd July 1917, whilst Seed and his comrades were sleeping in cellars beneath some bombed out buildings in Ostend, the Germans bombarded the area with shells containing a new and deadly weapon; dichlorethyl sulfide, more commonly known as mustard gas. This was just 11 days after this horrific weapon had first been used. Although Seed would have known of the dangers, there was little he could do as one of the effects of the gas was to induce vomiting which meant that it wasn’t possible for the men to keep their respirators on. 803 men, presumably including Seed, were admitted to hospital as a result of the attack. Over the next three weeks, 96 of them died. The mortality rate from a mustard gas attack in the open is usually about 2%. In the dank cellars where Seed and the others had sought shelter it was six times that, as there was nowhere for the gas to disperse. The symptoms of a mustard gas attack include conjunctivitis, temporary blindness, photophobia, skin ulcers, bronchitis and in extreme cases bronchopneumonia. It takes a long time for even the fittest of men to recover, and so it did for Jimmy. After the war he returned to the north east and turned out one more

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News time for Sunderland’s reserves. In poor health, he played badly and the club decided that his footballing days were over. To help resurrect his career, Seed signed for MidRhonda in the Southern League, Second Division. He helped them to win their league and went on to play for Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday and England. After two years managing Clapton Orient, he was invited by the Glicksten brothers to take charge of Charlton. The rest, as they say, is history. But it might not have been. If it hadn’t been for the war, it is likely that Seed would have progressed to Sunderland’s first team. From there his career may well have taken a very different path. He might never have met the Glickstens; the ground breaking successive promotions, the 20 years as a top flight club and victory in the FA cup might never have happened. Our Jimmy was not the only Seed to see action during WWI. His brother Angus, a member of the 17th Middlesex “Footballers’ Battalion”, was awarded the Military Medal for bravery at Vimy Ridge. A German shell exploded burying up to ten men in a shower of mud. Whilst the battle carried on Seed dug Tom Ratcliff free, quite possibly saving his life. At the time Ratcliff was Arsenal’s assistant trainer, but in a nice twist to the story when Angus Seed later

managed Barnsley, Ratcliff was appointed the job of trainer there. You, may be wondering what this has to do with Charlton. Is it just the tenuous link that Angus and Jimmy were brothers? Well no, actually there’s more to it than that, because it was actually Angus’ scouting skills that first brought Sam Bartram to Jimmy Seed’s attention. If it hadn’t been for Angus we might never have got our greatest ever player. 900 of the Footballers Battalion lost their lives during the war, some in the same action where Angus Seed earned his bravery award. If things had panned out a little differently, Charlton would have been significantly worse off. Luckily both of the Seed brothers survived the war and went on to have prolonged managerial careers. Jimmy’s 23 seasons at Charlton makes him the 20th longest serving manager in English football. Whilst Angus’ 16 seasons with The Tykes puts him 57th on the list. Others weren’t so lucky. Thirty Charlton players went to war and of those certainly three, possibly four, did not return*. Fred Chick was killed in the Battle of the Somme. John Mackenzie went down with the SS Heron which was torpedoed by a German uboat whilst sailing in convoy in the Atlantic. Arthur brown is believed to have been killed by a


deadly influenza pandemic. One other Addick, as yet unnamed, may have died as well. Despite the upheaval of the war the resultant loss of momentum, the tragic loss of certain players and the need for a new ground, Charlton did well in the post-war era. They became professional in 1920 and joined the Football League a year later. That surely says something about the character and spirit of the people at the club at that time. The next time you take part in the two-minute silence on armistice day what will you think about? Maybe you’ll wonder at the scale of the war and the bravery of those who fought it. Maybe you’ll be thankful that people were prepared to risk their lives for what they believed was right. Maybe you’ll be curious about the effects of the war on long lost relatives. But amongst all those things it might just be worth sparing a thought for the fact that the war helped the shape the Charlton Athletic that we have today. By Jon Laysell


*Clive Harris (2014), FINDING THE FALLEN - Addicks who died in the Great War. Charlton Athletic Museum, The Source No.6, http://www. Charlton_Athletic_Museum_The_ SOURCE_p6.html

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Money, strategy a THE ACCOUNTS TELL us what Roland Duchatelet inherited not what he might do, but it is, nevertheless worth taking a brief look at what they contain. The club lost some £6.0m in the first season back in the Championship. This is an improvement on the previous season of some £0.8m, but this was largely down to the receipt of a very healthy transfer windfall of some £1.7m (compared to £1m in the previous year). As might have been expected, revenues did increase - by around £3.4m, largely as a result of TV money. This was mostly offset, however, by an increased spend on wages and salaries of some £3.1m as the club geared up to compete in the Championship. The club’s cash deficit (or surplus) won’t always be quite the same as its losses (or profit), but last season it was, so that the funding gap was £5.9m. In fact, the previous owners provided funding of just less than £8.5m to cover these losses as well as the partial repayment of loans from RBS of £1.6m and, it seems, to enable Director Richard Murray to reduce his loans by around £0.9m. This cash injection took the total commitment from the owners to some £15.4m. We might find out this time next year just how much of that investment they got back, but it’s probably true to say that in

the end they did more for CAFC than CAFC did for them. What might Roland Duchatelet make of these results? He’ll know, of course, that they are not untypical for Championship clubs and also that they position Charlton to comply comfortably with Financial Fair Play (FFP). However, he has made it very clear that, although he has deep pockets, he is not planning to compete on the pitch simply by spending money. Indeed, he has said that he expects the club to break even. That would appear to be a very tall order given the losses just reported and the obvious question is: just how concerned ought we to be by this stated objective? Are we about to see significant cost cuts and, as result, a much weaker playing squad? In reality, of course, we simply don’t know, but a summer cull seems unlikely. First, business leaders often don’t quite mean exactly what they say. That isn’t cynicism. It reflects the fact that sometimes a clear and simple message is important even when, or perhaps especially when, the reality is more complex and nuanced. Duchatelet is almost certainly not going to be a typical football club owner and he appears to want to prove that it is possible to succeed while being financially responsible. However,

Fans of Charlton Athletic continue to dissect any information we can get our hands on in a ongoing effort to gain a better understanding of the new owner’s plans and what the future might hold. In recent weeks we’ve seen the first nine games of a new manager; the closure of the emergency loan window; another video featuring Roland Duchatelet; and,last week, the release of the club’s accounts for the year ending June 30th 2013. However, are we any the wiser about what’s really going on?

while those who hope the club will spend money in a “dash” for a play-off place are undoubtedly, going to be disappointed, it does not necessarily follow that the club is to be run on a shoe string. Second, “aiming to break even”

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and execution



2. Consistent with a long-term strategy designed to achieve sustainability, he decides to exclude the costs of the Academy and any infrastructure spend from the calculation of “regular” P&L. This further reduces “losses”, as he defines them, to around £4m p.a.

could mean many different things, especially given that the broad objective is borne out of philosophy and not necessity. Here’s one possible line of reasoning; 1. Duchatelet chooses to focus

on recurring losses, based on cash flows only, i.e. ignoring non cash items such as depreciation, amortisation of the costs of acquiring player’s registrations etc. Based on last year’s result the relevant loss was around £5.3m.

3. Next, the plan might be to cut costs by, say, £1m p.a. In fact, the previous owners did that, and some, last summer so that achieving this objective may even be possible while actually increasing the budget, not least given the further savings made in January. More generally, we might expect to see Duchatelet insist on much more discipline in the management of the playing squad - the number of employees in “full time playing, training and management roles” stood at 90 at year end - an increase of 17 on the previous year. Not only might this mean that we’ll see a smaller squad, but perhaps more importantly it could imply a very different balance with a blend of experienced first team regulars combining with young players with potential, at the expense of fringe players who are at the end of their career and youngsters with limited potential. In this model, injuries and suspensions would tend to be covered by youngsters who might represent future value rather than older players whose wages represent dead

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money. Think Fox and Lennon for Evina or Poyet for Gower and Hughes. Such a strategy is clearly not without risk. For starters, the young players thrown into the fray need to be good enough. However, it’s not hard to imagine Duchatelet believing that this approach, combined with a business model that eschews expensive contracts for marquee players at the end of their careers (Fuller, Kermorgant) whose wages deliver current, but not future value, in favour of a Piotr Parzyszek, for example, is the way forward. Indeed, if well executed, such an approach might create headroom to spend more money not less. I’ll return to the subject of execution and the controversial signing of Polish Pete later. 4. The club will clearly seek to increase revenues, both match day and commercial. It’s hard to know what might be possible here and much might depend on what happens on the pitch, but there is clear evidence that the club’s commercial revenues lag behind others of a similar size. A target of an additional £1m might be a stretch for next season, not least since income has almost certainly gone backwards this, but it would be very surprising if Duchatelet didn’t believe that such an uplift is the minimum acceptable on a 2-3 year view. 5. It’s not hard to guess how our new owner might expect to fill the remaining £2m gap. Last season the club received transfer

income of £1.7m and the accounts also tell us that a further £570,000 was received post year end. When account is also taken of the monies due for Kermorgant, Stephens and Smith transfer income this season will be well into seven figures. Finally, in a note to the accounts it is stated that the club could receive up to a further £3m in transfer fees for players previously sold “based on appearances, international appearances and on field success”. It would be entirely reasonable, therefore, to expect that a club focused on maintaining a strong Academy and on player development could generate at least £2m p.a. in transfer fees over a full cycle. This is all somewhat speculative, of course. However, what it does suggest is that while a target to achieve break even may well be very ambitious and not without risk, it may not be entirely out of reach. Moreover, if what is postulated here is even very broadly the approach being taken, then what’s important is, perhaps, not the fine detail around the numbers or the precision in the targets, but the messaging. With these broad goals in mind, the management at the club, on both the football and commercial sides of the house ( who Duchatelet has told us are responsible for managing their own affairs) will know very clearly what is expected of them. The important questions are, of course, whether this vision is realistic and can it work? Our friends at Standard de Liege tell us

“We don’t understand Duchatelet” so caution is advisable. However, it’s helpful to think about, Money, Strategy and Execution. Duchatelet has the Money. While he may have no interest in speculating to accumulate, his deep pockets are highly significant. He has the money to spend on infrastructure, as and when necessary. He has the money to spend on the pitch or to lay an artificial surface (which he will almost certainly do when the rules allow it). He has the money to deliver on the unambiguous promise the previous owners made when they

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said, “the Board strongly aspires to achieve Category 1 (Academy) status as soon as possible”. He has the money to reject bids for young players until they become compellingly attractive and he has the money to buy young players with potential. We can expect him to do all of these things, when he judges it makes sense. He also had the money to meet Yann Kermorgant’s demands for an increase in pay and a two and a half year deal, but spending money for short-term gain (and, potentially, long-term regret) is not the strategy. This decision

sent and sends a very strong message to all stakeholders. The Strategy would appear to be reasonably clear and it’s not rocket science. In essence, it is to succeed, eventually, without betting the farm, through a focus on youth and the thoughtful and patient development of all players. It is to be very focused on “value for money” - to buy and sell players at the right price and at a time of the club’s choosing, and, when agreeing contracts, to think about future as well as current value. While, at least in broad terms, the club’s strategy might be clear, it is a mistake to believe that it will determine whether it is successful. Very few businesses succeed simply because they have a better strategy than their competitors. Execution is usually the key to success and there is little doubt that it’s what will matter for Duchatelet, especially if budgets are to be set aggressively. For any given strategy successful execution means having the right organisation, the right people in the right roles and, critically, it depends on excellent judgement and decision making. Unfortunately, in this latter area our new owner appears to have had a very mixed beginning. On cold reflection, it now appears that the fears Charlton was to become a feeder club for Standard de Liege, along with the suggestion that players loaned from Liege had to play, whether good enough or not, were misplaced. However, it is now also clear that Duchatelet’s advisors, whoever they might be, although well intentioned, misjudged the standard in the Championship and, hence, the quality of player


needed to improve the side. Similarly, while the sale of Kermorgant and purchase of Parzyszek were both completely consistent with the club’s strategy, the early reports on the Polish striker leave room for doubt that he represents good value for money. It’s early days yet, but for this observer the execution of strategy is more of a concern today than the strategy itself. There is clearly a risk that the challenge of competing in the Championship while running close to break-even has been underestimated. It is also possible that the hoped-for synergies from Duchatelet’s network of clubs will prove hard to realise in practice. Either way, what is clear is that a very high level of skill will be required to re-establish Charlton in the Championship and then to press for a play-off place without the benefit of parachute payments or a willingness to spend up to the FFP limits. Only time will tell whether Roland Duchatelet will be capable of assembling a team of coaches and football advisors who, collectively, have that level of skill. Right now, of course, it’s all about survival in the Championship. If survival is secured then the summer promises to be very interesting. Free from the short-term pressures which have been present since he bought the club, Duchatelet and his team will have the time and space to do what they believe makes long-term sense. It remains to be seen quite what that will mean and whether it will leave us all excited or anxious! by Mundell Fleming

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