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TNT CAS Trust News

spring edition

www.castrust.org

Number 9 february 2015

powell

exclusive:

full AND frank interview for charlton fans

400 fans show concern at Woolwich public meeting

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2

News

News

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Welcome

to the 9TH Edition of CAS Trust News Welcome to TNT 9. I hope you will agree that, if the last edition could be equalled, this is a fine effort in that direction. Our feature article is an interview with former Manager Chris Powell who returns with his new club Huddersfield today. The piece is heartfelt, very honest and possibly controversial, but also something we could not shy away from. Chris is well loved by many of our fans, and is Charlton through and through. In the interview he stresses how, to achieve success, it is crucial for any club to have stability and to retain the loyalty of its supporters. This echoes the sentiments expressed at our public meeting on 18th February. Off the pitch a huge concern for the Supporters’ Trust has been the number of fans who are publicly relating their disenchantment and alienation from the club since the new network ownership approach arrived a year ago. So strong is this concern in some quarters that it has lead, as you may already know, to the first public meeting of Charlton fans since the return to the Valley over 20 years ago. Our hope is that there is some way the Trust can bridge the gap between fans and club and find a way that the special Charlton feeling can be preserved, and those fans persuaded to return. I am not sure what the answer is but I hope the powersthat-be can acknowledge the issues and attempt to resolve them. This is something we are dedicating a lot of our time to. It is our view that the best way forward for Charlton is when club and fans are working together.

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On that topic on these pages Steve Clarke’s article sums up the situation that confronts us and gives the Trust’s view. We also have coverage of the public meeting we organised in Woolwich; a new section with views from our members; results of our Valley Express survey; and finally a feature by guest writer Vince Raison - The Wobbly Roads to the Valley - on the topic of pre-match pubs around our ground. It’s been a wobbly or, perhaps even rocky, month or so for CAFC with the whirlwind departure of Big Bob and his replacement by network man Guy Luzon. This was followed by the machinations of the January window. Interestingly, for the first time in years, there was not a hint of concern over departures. The main concern over George Tucudean’s return on loan to his native Romania was that he should be replaced with someone more comfortable. Former Celtic forward Tony Watt (via Standard Liege) seems to be that man, despite appearing similar to Vetokele. To all appearances Charlton have so far managed to address some of the worries about the thinness of the squad that became evident last autumn with more arrivals. These include attacking midfield free agent Chris Eagles; loan defender Roger Johnson; network club Ujpest’s Serbian keeper Marko Dimitrovic, and Spurs loan midfielder Milos Veljkovic. Luzon has also been blessed by the welcome return of the

injured keeper Stephen Henderson and international Frederic Bulot. The new Head Coach has now, after a few matches at least, momentarily turned things around since Norwich at home. Glimmers of that revival could be seen in that match despite the defeat, when new arrival Watt teamed up with goal dry Vetokele to net the two a brace. The few brave souls who travelled on Friday to in-trouble Wigan saw a second treble for the Addicks as they put back to back wins together - the other the previous Saturday against Brentford at the Valley. The defence has also been shored up with Bikey getting a well-earned rest giving way to Johnson. Here’s hoping the newly found form continues away at Derby and for the Huddersfield football-fora-fiver-match. Finally, I am very relieved to say we have a strong Trust board now in place, with 4 new arrivals in the last 6 months in the form of former fans’ director Steve Clarke; Richard Pemberton (now also on the Valley Gold Charlton Club committee) and our first female members, Heather McKinlay and Alex Clarke. Don’t worry, there is still room for more both at that level and much volunteering work to do so please write to us if you want to do more. You never know, I might be able to take a well-earned rest too. As a final note, Ken Sinyard has said he will be leaving us soon but I am very much hoping to persuade him to carry on this excellent work designing TNT at the very least. Barnie Razzell- Chairman

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Board Chairman - Barnie Razzell Vice-chairman -Craig Sloman Secretary -Richard Wiseman Treasurer - Richard Pemberton Liaison - Ken Sinyard Jonathan Bangs Richard Hunt Steve Clarke Heather McKinlay Alex Clarke Web designer - David Hall Editorial - Barnie Razzell, Sub Editor Richard Wiseman, David Mentiply Design, Layout, Photos Ken Sinyard Additonal photos - CAFC, Getty Images Keith Gillard Except where indicated copywright CAS Trust 2015


2

News

News

www.castrust.org/join

Welcome

to the 9TH Edition of CAS Trust News Welcome to TNT 9. I hope you will agree that, if the last edition could be equalled, this is a fine effort in that direction. Our feature article is an interview with former Manager Chris Powell who returns with his new club Huddersfield today. The piece is heartfelt, very honest and possibly controversial, but also something we could not shy away from. Chris is well loved by many of our fans, and is Charlton through and through. In the interview he stresses how, to achieve success, it is crucial for any club to have stability and to retain the loyalty of its supporters. This echoes the sentiments expressed at our public meeting on 18th February. Off the pitch a huge concern for the Supporters’ Trust has been the number of fans who are publicly relating their disenchantment and alienation from the club since the new network ownership approach arrived a year ago. So strong is this concern in some quarters that it has lead, as you may already know, to the first public meeting of Charlton fans since the return to the Valley over 20 years ago. Our hope is that there is some way the Trust can bridge the gap between fans and club and find a way that the special Charlton feeling can be preserved, and those fans persuaded to return. I am not sure what the answer is but I hope the powersthat-be can acknowledge the issues and attempt to resolve them. This is something we are dedicating a lot of our time to. It is our view that the best way forward for Charlton is when club and fans are working together.

www.castrust.org/join

On that topic on these pages Steve Clarke’s article sums up the situation that confronts us and gives the Trust’s view. We also have coverage of the public meeting we organised in Woolwich; a new section with views from our members; results of our Valley Express survey; and finally a feature by guest writer Vince Raison - The Wobbly Roads to the Valley - on the topic of pre-match pubs around our ground. It’s been a wobbly or, perhaps even rocky, month or so for CAFC with the whirlwind departure of Big Bob and his replacement by network man Guy Luzon. This was followed by the machinations of the January window. Interestingly, for the first time in years, there was not a hint of concern over departures. The main concern over George Tucudean’s return on loan to his native Romania was that he should be replaced with someone more comfortable. Former Celtic forward Tony Watt (via Standard Liege) seems to be that man, despite appearing similar to Vetokele. To all appearances Charlton have so far managed to address some of the worries about the thinness of the squad that became evident last autumn with more arrivals. These include attacking midfield free agent Chris Eagles; loan defender Roger Johnson; network club Ujpest’s Serbian keeper Marko Dimitrovic, and Spurs loan midfielder Milos Veljkovic. Luzon has also been blessed by the welcome return of the

injured keeper Stephen Henderson and international Frederic Bulot. The new Head Coach has now, after a few matches at least, momentarily turned things around since Norwich at home. Glimmers of that revival could be seen in that match despite the defeat, when new arrival Watt teamed up with goal dry Vetokele to net the two a brace. The few brave souls who travelled on Friday to in-trouble Wigan saw a second treble for the Addicks as they put back to back wins together - the other the previous Saturday against Brentford at the Valley. The defence has also been shored up with Bikey getting a well-earned rest giving way to Johnson. Here’s hoping the newly found form continues away at Derby and for the Huddersfield football-fora-fiver-match. Finally, I am very relieved to say we have a strong Trust board now in place, with 4 new arrivals in the last 6 months in the form of former fans’ director Steve Clarke; Richard Pemberton (now also on the Valley Gold Charlton Club committee) and our first female members, Heather McKinlay and Alex Clarke. Don’t worry, there is still room for more both at that level and much volunteering work to do so please write to us if you want to do more. You never know, I might be able to take a well-earned rest too. As a final note, Ken Sinyard has said he will be leaving us soon but I am very much hoping to persuade him to carry on this excellent work designing TNT at the very least. Barnie Razzell- Chairman

www.castrust.org/join

3

Board Chairman - Barnie Razzell Vice-chairman -Craig Sloman Secretary -Richard Wiseman Treasurer - Richard Pemberton Liaison - Ken Sinyard Jonathan Bangs Richard Hunt Steve Clarke Heather McKinlay Alex Clarke Web designer - David Hall Editorial - Barnie Razzell, Sub Editor Richard Wiseman, David Mentiply Design, Layout, Photos Ken Sinyard Additonal photos - CAFC, Getty Images Keith Gillard Except where indicated copywright CAS Trust 2015


4

News

It’s Good to

TALK! If you shopped in Sainsbury’s every week for 20 years you would most certainly be described as a loyal customer. And, if over that time you had a generally good experience, you might tell your neighbours and friends and some might start shopping there too. If one week you went to the meat counter and the beef, lamb and chicken had been replaced by,say, yaksnake and horse you might, in the spirit of adventure, give them a try. But if the following week there

was no change you may well ask why. If your question was greeted with a refusal even to discuss it, and the owners of Sainsbury’s told you that was just the way it is and you should get used to it, you would probably be, shall we say, fed up? But would you protest? Not likely. You would leg it down the road to Tesco’s meat counter, committing never to return, and probably dining out for months on stories of your awful experience. But football is not groceries. Customers are pathologically

News loyal. We bulk-buy the product months ahead with no guarantee of the quality when it is delivered - accepting that it may even have entirely different components. We help advertise their brand on clothing – for which we are prepared to pay them high prices for the privilege– and we happily buy a magazine at every visit that mainly tells us how good everything is, no matter how much that may cloud the truth. And for all that devotion, we ask very little in return. We don’t even expect the team to win that frequently. We understand players are fickle and our favourite one week can be someone else’s next;kissing our badge todaythen showing equal passion for our rivals, having transferred before the next game. Despite this, all we ask is honesty and commitment while they wear the red shirt. To do their best for the good of Charlton while they remain on the payroll. And, when it comes to owners, we demand pretty much the same… although maybe we don’t need them kissing any badges. In 1956 England international, Len Shackleton, published his autobiography. The Sunderland player, who, when he joined them, broke the British transfer fee record, had a reputation as a comedian which at times overshadowed his exceptional skills. He was known as the ‘Clown Prince of Soccer’. One chapter in his book was called ‘The Average Director’s Knowledge of Football’. The following page was left completelyblank. There is little doubt that the im-

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age of football owners has rarely been positive. From the days of the maximum player wage, when the local businessman-made- good could afford to finance a top division club, to the international billionaire oligarchs of today, we fans are notoriously sceptical. And, with reason, owners tend to respond with, “well, you put your twenty million in then.” At Charlton we’ve been pretty lucky over the last generation. From Mike Norris and Roger Alwen’s rescue; the return to the Valley; thepassing on to Richard Murray and Martin Simons et al for the highs of Wembley ’98 and the Premier League, we have had accessible and well-intentioned owners, with disagreements limited to relative minutiae. Even the Jiminez/ Slater era - hardly a golden period in the Club’s history - arrested the decline and saw the joyful League One championship season. So, why is now so different, and why are we so unhappy? We have an owner who, as we understand it, has hundreds of millions in the bank; who has invested in the infra-structure; is promoting a youth policy and bought some decent players. On the face of it many fans would be happy, but we are not. Let’s forget the emotion. The universally loved Chris Powell is no longer our manager andhopefully most of us are slowly getting over that. Okay, so if we are ignoring the emotion, let’s get commercial! On the face of it, if you add it up right now, the Club’s actions don’t appear to make good business sense.

The easiest way to make money in the football of today is to play in the Premier League. Easiest? Maybe, but definitely not easy, although from a position in the Championship certainly attainable. Striving to get there would make good commercial sense, and is pretty much the ambition of all 24 Championship, but what we are seeing at the moment doesn’t align with that ambition, which leads to the inevitable question. What is the plan? We hear talk of “an experiment”. There’s plenty wrong with the structure of football so a different way of doing things may be ingenious and worthy of consideration. But any business innovation needs a robust and detailed plan. A goal from which to work backwards, building the stages required to achieve the planned objective. Roland sells semi-conductors, and they must be damned good ones to have made him so much money. But I bet he has a detailed plan to maximise the sale of them, which evolves as circumstances in the world of semi-conductors change. And if and when his customers are unhappy, you would imagine he would get somebody on the case pretty quick and do whatever necessary to rectify the problem. So, why, when he must surely realise his loyal customers in SE7 are restless, does he not do something about it beyond telling us that’s how it has to be? So, if we go back to groceries, more and more of Roland’s Charlton customers are not ‘going to Tesco’ - they may have just

5

stopping eating. Roland knows the crowds are diminishing. Katrien knows the crowds are diminishing. So why not do something about it? It’s this lack of acceptance of a problem and the failure to engage in reasoned business discussion (with experienced/knowledgeable resource), that is proving progressively frustrating. CAS Trust has made numerous attempts to meet with Roland/Katrien to fulfil that objective, and, apart from a handful of occasions when we’ve managed to be in the same room, nothing meaningful has happened. There’s an enormous elephant in the room! Where’s the logic behind how the network, and in particular Charlton Athletic, is being run? No-one is asking Roland to spend anymore than he wants to. BUT PLEASE TALK TO US, WHAT IS THE PLAN? We are a realistic bunch. Polite, reasonable, able to listen and happy to pass on the message to the wider fan base in a balanced way. But we need to understand what we are passing on. We are not expecting the world, and, frankly, after a while, how much fun is the Premier League for the bottom eight or so teams? Some continuity; a bit of passion; the chance to see young players develop, and, who knows, one day, even a cup run. Roland, Katrien, please engage in a sensible dialogue and we can all focus our efforts on being productive. PLEASE TALK TO US. Thank you in advance.

www.castrust.org/join

Steve Clarke


4

News

It’s Good to

TALK! If you shopped in Sainsbury’s every week for 20 years you would most certainly be described as a loyal customer. And, if over that time you had a generally good experience, you might tell your neighbours and friends and some might start shopping there too. If one week you went to the meat counter and the beef, lamb and chicken had been replaced by,say, yaksnake and horse you might, in the spirit of adventure, give them a try. But if the following week there

was no change you may well ask why. If your question was greeted with a refusal even to discuss it, and the owners of Sainsbury’s told you that was just the way it is and you should get used to it, you would probably be, shall we say, fed up? But would you protest? Not likely. You would leg it down the road to Tesco’s meat counter, committing never to return, and probably dining out for months on stories of your awful experience. But football is not groceries. Customers are pathologically

News loyal. We bulk-buy the product months ahead with no guarantee of the quality when it is delivered - accepting that it may even have entirely different components. We help advertise their brand on clothing – for which we are prepared to pay them high prices for the privilege– and we happily buy a magazine at every visit that mainly tells us how good everything is, no matter how much that may cloud the truth. And for all that devotion, we ask very little in return. We don’t even expect the team to win that frequently. We understand players are fickle and our favourite one week can be someone else’s next;kissing our badge todaythen showing equal passion for our rivals, having transferred before the next game. Despite this, all we ask is honesty and commitment while they wear the red shirt. To do their best for the good of Charlton while they remain on the payroll. And, when it comes to owners, we demand pretty much the same… although maybe we don’t need them kissing any badges. In 1956 England international, Len Shackleton, published his autobiography. The Sunderland player, who, when he joined them, broke the British transfer fee record, had a reputation as a comedian which at times overshadowed his exceptional skills. He was known as the ‘Clown Prince of Soccer’. One chapter in his book was called ‘The Average Director’s Knowledge of Football’. The following page was left completelyblank. There is little doubt that the im-

www.castrust.org/join

age of football owners has rarely been positive. From the days of the maximum player wage, when the local businessman-made- good could afford to finance a top division club, to the international billionaire oligarchs of today, we fans are notoriously sceptical. And, with reason, owners tend to respond with, “well, you put your twenty million in then.” At Charlton we’ve been pretty lucky over the last generation. From Mike Norris and Roger Alwen’s rescue; the return to the Valley; thepassing on to Richard Murray and Martin Simons et al for the highs of Wembley ’98 and the Premier League, we have had accessible and well-intentioned owners, with disagreements limited to relative minutiae. Even the Jiminez/ Slater era - hardly a golden period in the Club’s history - arrested the decline and saw the joyful League One championship season. So, why is now so different, and why are we so unhappy? We have an owner who, as we understand it, has hundreds of millions in the bank; who has invested in the infra-structure; is promoting a youth policy and bought some decent players. On the face of it many fans would be happy, but we are not. Let’s forget the emotion. The universally loved Chris Powell is no longer our manager andhopefully most of us are slowly getting over that. Okay, so if we are ignoring the emotion, let’s get commercial! On the face of it, if you add it up right now, the Club’s actions don’t appear to make good business sense.

The easiest way to make money in the football of today is to play in the Premier League. Easiest? Maybe, but definitely not easy, although from a position in the Championship certainly attainable. Striving to get there would make good commercial sense, and is pretty much the ambition of all 24 Championship, but what we are seeing at the moment doesn’t align with that ambition, which leads to the inevitable question. What is the plan? We hear talk of “an experiment”. There’s plenty wrong with the structure of football so a different way of doing things may be ingenious and worthy of consideration. But any business innovation needs a robust and detailed plan. A goal from which to work backwards, building the stages required to achieve the planned objective. Roland sells semi-conductors, and they must be damned good ones to have made him so much money. But I bet he has a detailed plan to maximise the sale of them, which evolves as circumstances in the world of semi-conductors change. And if and when his customers are unhappy, you would imagine he would get somebody on the case pretty quick and do whatever necessary to rectify the problem. So, why, when he must surely realise his loyal customers in SE7 are restless, does he not do something about it beyond telling us that’s how it has to be? So, if we go back to groceries, more and more of Roland’s Charlton customers are not ‘going to Tesco’ - they may have just

5

stopping eating. Roland knows the crowds are diminishing. Katrien knows the crowds are diminishing. So why not do something about it? It’s this lack of acceptance of a problem and the failure to engage in reasoned business discussion (with experienced/knowledgeable resource), that is proving progressively frustrating. CAS Trust has made numerous attempts to meet with Roland/Katrien to fulfil that objective, and, apart from a handful of occasions when we’ve managed to be in the same room, nothing meaningful has happened. There’s an enormous elephant in the room! Where’s the logic behind how the network, and in particular Charlton Athletic, is being run? No-one is asking Roland to spend anymore than he wants to. BUT PLEASE TALK TO US, WHAT IS THE PLAN? We are a realistic bunch. Polite, reasonable, able to listen and happy to pass on the message to the wider fan base in a balanced way. But we need to understand what we are passing on. We are not expecting the world, and, frankly, after a while, how much fun is the Premier League for the bottom eight or so teams? Some continuity; a bit of passion; the chance to see young players develop, and, who knows, one day, even a cup run. Roland, Katrien, please engage in a sensible dialogue and we can all focus our efforts on being productive. PLEASE TALK TO US. Thank you in advance.

www.castrust.org/join

Steve Clarke


News

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News On February 4th CAS Trust called an open public meeting for all Charlton fans. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for all supporters to air their views on the current situation at the club. The meeting was held on February 18th at The Woolwich Grand Theatre and was attended by approximately 400 people. A film of the meeting and a summary of views expressed are available on the Trust website (Castrust. org). The venue - the only venue in the borough of Greenwich we could find which could accommodate more than 300 people at short notice - had period charm and historical resonance. Many would have previously enjoyed its hospitality as the ABC cinema or Flamingo’s night club. Some would have been next door in the Town Hall in April 1991 when planning permission was finally granted for the return to The Valley. Now, however, despite the best efforts of four industrial heaters, the cavernous arena was absolutely freezing. Nevertheless, a trickle of Charlton supporters gradually developed into an orderly throng. They arrived, surveyed the somewhat ramshackle surroundings, buttoned up their coats and clutched lukewarm coffee mugs. It was a bit like being on the East Terrace in the 1970s. CAS Trust board member Steve Clarke welcomed everyone and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to hear what people had to say and to try to reach some sort of consensus about whether there was a need for supporters to

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consider taking any sort of action. Even at this stage of the evening it was clear that there was a level of anxiety among supporters which was sufficient to drive 400 of them out of their warm homes on a February night. There was a sense that people were relieved to have the opportunity to be able to share their concerns and to explore how realistic they were. CAS Trust had invited all the various supporter groups and forums to address the meeting. In the event, there were five speakers, which was about the right number. Geoff Doyle (Essex Addicks) spoke about how many people he came into contact with had lost faith and patience. He noted how the turnover of managers and players destroyed people’s sense of belonging. Focus on the balance sheet rather than the pitch gave a sense of lack of ambition which led to apathy. He said people didn’t understand the owner’s plans and they wanted more dialogue. Rick Everett (VOTV) said that people were shrugging their shoulders and saying “it’s not our club any more”. He urged that we need to end the alienation and enthuse people again by working together. However, he was sceptical that this could be achieved under M. Duchatelet. He highlighted operational errors which had been made and felt that these could have been avoided if the club had been prepared to listen to people who cared and who had offered their experience. Kevin Messere (ITTV) said that he had been supportive of the owner for the first nine months but that he had lost faith after the sacking of

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photographs/ken sinyard/& Quintina Valero @ http://quintinavalero.photoshelter.com

MEETING

THE

6


News

www.castrust.org/join

News On February 4th CAS Trust called an open public meeting for all Charlton fans. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for all supporters to air their views on the current situation at the club. The meeting was held on February 18th at The Woolwich Grand Theatre and was attended by approximately 400 people. A film of the meeting and a summary of views expressed are available on the Trust website (Castrust. org). The venue - the only venue in the borough of Greenwich we could find which could accommodate more than 300 people at short notice - had period charm and historical resonance. Many would have previously enjoyed its hospitality as the ABC cinema or Flamingo’s night club. Some would have been next door in the Town Hall in April 1991 when planning permission was finally granted for the return to The Valley. Now, however, despite the best efforts of four industrial heaters, the cavernous arena was absolutely freezing. Nevertheless, a trickle of Charlton supporters gradually developed into an orderly throng. They arrived, surveyed the somewhat ramshackle surroundings, buttoned up their coats and clutched lukewarm coffee mugs. It was a bit like being on the East Terrace in the 1970s. CAS Trust board member Steve Clarke welcomed everyone and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to hear what people had to say and to try to reach some sort of consensus about whether there was a need for supporters to

7

consider taking any sort of action. Even at this stage of the evening it was clear that there was a level of anxiety among supporters which was sufficient to drive 400 of them out of their warm homes on a February night. There was a sense that people were relieved to have the opportunity to be able to share their concerns and to explore how realistic they were. CAS Trust had invited all the various supporter groups and forums to address the meeting. In the event, there were five speakers, which was about the right number. Geoff Doyle (Essex Addicks) spoke about how many people he came into contact with had lost faith and patience. He noted how the turnover of managers and players destroyed people’s sense of belonging. Focus on the balance sheet rather than the pitch gave a sense of lack of ambition which led to apathy. He said people didn’t understand the owner’s plans and they wanted more dialogue. Rick Everett (VOTV) said that people were shrugging their shoulders and saying “it’s not our club any more”. He urged that we need to end the alienation and enthuse people again by working together. However, he was sceptical that this could be achieved under M. Duchatelet. He highlighted operational errors which had been made and felt that these could have been avoided if the club had been prepared to listen to people who cared and who had offered their experience. Kevin Messere (ITTV) said that he had been supportive of the owner for the first nine months but that he had lost faith after the sacking of

www.castrust.org/join

photographs/ken sinyard/& Quintina Valero @ http://quintinavalero.photoshelter.com

MEETING

THE

6


8

News

News

•The important part Charlton Athletic plays in many people’s lives •The extent of the good will towards the club which was exhibited at the meeting. •The determination of the meeting that CAFC regains its reputation as a well-run club enriched by  supporter involvement.

www.castrust.org/join

take no action at the present moment ?” there was only a very small minority in favour. To the question: “if we won the next five games should we still take some action ?” there was a large majority in favour. To the question: “Should we continue to try for dialogue ?” there was a large majority in favour. To the question: “Should we forget dialogue altogether ?” there was a small minority in favour. There is no truth in the rumour that some people raised their hands for all four questions just to keep warm. The meeting ended with discussion about what comes next. Most proposals were for action that would improve dialogue , and there was a notable reluctance to support any action which would damage the club or hinder the team. It was, however, noted that there is an urgent need for the club to regain the trust and enthusiasm of its supporters if it is to slow down the drift away which will inevitably be reflected in season ticket renewals this summer. The evening closed with a collection towards the cost of the meeting. photographs/ken sinyard/& Quintina Valero @ http://quintinavalero.photoshelter.com

•The overwhelming desire of the meeting for continuing attempts at meaningful dialogue with the club.

of a European sports network ? He said that he wanted an independent club so therefore he took the view that we should find ways to persuade M. Duchatelet to sell up and leave. CAS Trust had been aware that many people would not be able to attend the meeting because of distance or work commitments. It had therefore invited people to send in written submissions. Thirty two had been received. Steve Clarke described these as being: 29 in the “worried” camp; 2 in the “not worried” camp and 1 in the “not sure which” camp. He read out some excerpts, most of which expressed a growing alienation as a result of the instability and confusion of the last twelve months. However, two people were of the opinion that the club was more stable than previously and that current anxiety was an over-reaction. The meeting was then opened up to the floor and, over the next half an hour or so, there were contributions from about thirty individuals with a wide variety of opinions expressed. It isn’t possible here to do these contributions justice but a summary of them can be found at castrust.org. Overall, some felt that Charlton could not possibly be the club they desired under M. Duchatelet. Others didn’t see much cause to be worried. Many expressed concerns about communication, dwindling trust and disunity. Most favoured partnership and dialogue. What was remarkable was that – with one isolated exception – everyone was heard respectfully and, in fact, applauded for taking the risk of speaking. To round up this section of the meeting Steve Clarke asked for a show of hands to indicate the general flow of opinion. To the question: “Should we

In order to enfranchise the many supporters who couldn’t attend the meeting CAS Trust also ran a short on-line survey, which allowed an additional 476 people to express their views.

survey results

CAS Trust is grateful to all who attended and those who made written submissions. We note in particular:

Peeters and the appointment of Luzon. He said that, if the club had appointed Jose Riga, a bond with supporters would have been strengthened. He said he had nothing against the network model (look at Watford), but was doubtful about how it was being implemented at Charlton. He regretted that the club were not prepared to work in partnership with The Supporters’ Trust as the previous regime had been. Craig Sloman (CAS Trust) explained that the purpose of CAS Trust was to give supporters a voice and representation and that it had therefore tried to build up a relationship with the club on a strategic level. He felt that Katrien Meire saying she didn’t wish to favour any one group of supporters over another translates as not forming a proper relationship with any part of the support base. There is a high level of alienation and the unclear business plan just fosters speculation and mistrust. Steve Dixon worried where the next generation of Charlton supports will come from. He said the question was simple: Do you want to support an independent football club or do you want to support the London franchise

85% felt it was very important (62%) or fairly important (23%) for fans to take action now to protect Charlton’s future.

In terms of the most important aim to come out of the meeting: 55% to engage Roland Duchatelet in meaningful dialogue 18% to get Roland Duchatelet to sell up 14% to engage Katrien Meire in meaningful dialogue 13% to gain attention of the media

In terms of confidence: 27% had confidence in Roland Duchatelet

31% had confidence in Katrien Meire 25% had confidence in Guy Luzon (nb 13% not sure)

96% had confidence in Johnnie Jackson 15% had confidence in the network strategy

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9


8

News

News

•The important part Charlton Athletic plays in many people’s lives •The extent of the good will towards the club which was exhibited at the meeting. •The determination of the meeting that CAFC regains its reputation as a well-run club enriched by  supporter involvement.

www.castrust.org/join

take no action at the present moment ?” there was only a very small minority in favour. To the question: “if we won the next five games should we still take some action ?” there was a large majority in favour. To the question: “Should we continue to try for dialogue ?” there was a large majority in favour. To the question: “Should we forget dialogue altogether ?” there was a small minority in favour. There is no truth in the rumour that some people raised their hands for all four questions just to keep warm. The meeting ended with discussion about what comes next. Most proposals were for action that would improve dialogue , and there was a notable reluctance to support any action which would damage the club or hinder the team. It was, however, noted that there is an urgent need for the club to regain the trust and enthusiasm of its supporters if it is to slow down the drift away which will inevitably be reflected in season ticket renewals this summer. The evening closed with a collection towards the cost of the meeting. photographs/ken sinyard/& Quintina Valero @ http://quintinavalero.photoshelter.com

•The overwhelming desire of the meeting for continuing attempts at meaningful dialogue with the club.

of a European sports network ? He said that he wanted an independent club so therefore he took the view that we should find ways to persuade M. Duchatelet to sell up and leave. CAS Trust had been aware that many people would not be able to attend the meeting because of distance or work commitments. It had therefore invited people to send in written submissions. Thirty two had been received. Steve Clarke described these as being: 29 in the “worried” camp; 2 in the “not worried” camp and 1 in the “not sure which” camp. He read out some excerpts, most of which expressed a growing alienation as a result of the instability and confusion of the last twelve months. However, two people were of the opinion that the club was more stable than previously and that current anxiety was an over-reaction. The meeting was then opened up to the floor and, over the next half an hour or so, there were contributions from about thirty individuals with a wide variety of opinions expressed. It isn’t possible here to do these contributions justice but a summary of them can be found at castrust.org. Overall, some felt that Charlton could not possibly be the club they desired under M. Duchatelet. Others didn’t see much cause to be worried. Many expressed concerns about communication, dwindling trust and disunity. Most favoured partnership and dialogue. What was remarkable was that – with one isolated exception – everyone was heard respectfully and, in fact, applauded for taking the risk of speaking. To round up this section of the meeting Steve Clarke asked for a show of hands to indicate the general flow of opinion. To the question: “Should we

In order to enfranchise the many supporters who couldn’t attend the meeting CAS Trust also ran a short on-line survey, which allowed an additional 476 people to express their views.

survey results

CAS Trust is grateful to all who attended and those who made written submissions. We note in particular:

Peeters and the appointment of Luzon. He said that, if the club had appointed Jose Riga, a bond with supporters would have been strengthened. He said he had nothing against the network model (look at Watford), but was doubtful about how it was being implemented at Charlton. He regretted that the club were not prepared to work in partnership with The Supporters’ Trust as the previous regime had been. Craig Sloman (CAS Trust) explained that the purpose of CAS Trust was to give supporters a voice and representation and that it had therefore tried to build up a relationship with the club on a strategic level. He felt that Katrien Meire saying she didn’t wish to favour any one group of supporters over another translates as not forming a proper relationship with any part of the support base. There is a high level of alienation and the unclear business plan just fosters speculation and mistrust. Steve Dixon worried where the next generation of Charlton supports will come from. He said the question was simple: Do you want to support an independent football club or do you want to support the London franchise

85% felt it was very important (62%) or fairly important (23%) for fans to take action now to protect Charlton’s future.

In terms of the most important aim to come out of the meeting: 55% to engage Roland Duchatelet in meaningful dialogue 18% to get Roland Duchatelet to sell up 14% to engage Katrien Meire in meaningful dialogue 13% to gain attention of the media

In terms of confidence: 27% had confidence in Roland Duchatelet

31% had confidence in Katrien Meire 25% had confidence in Guy Luzon (nb 13% not sure)

96% had confidence in Johnnie Jackson 15% had confidence in the network strategy

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9


News

News

10

? g n i k n Thi

WHAT ARE YOU The Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust recently reached out to fans for their views and opinions on the current situation of the club. The overwhelming response was one of huge concern at the running of the club and what the future holds for Charlton Athletic. One common theme in responses received was the number of long-term fans who feel the level of engagement with the Board is at its lowest ever.

One fan, a supporter since the 1960s, states 'I have never felt so detached from my club as I do now'. Another, having followed the club for over 60 years, says 'I have never felt so low about any situation at Charlton. I have no idea what the owner’s aims for the club are, but left as they are, League 2 or non league beckons'. The lack of communication from the club since last year's take over is a concern. One view is 'We may have been spoilt in the past but effective communication now is just non-existent.' Another adds: 'Unless the communication changes, I think that there needs to be a fan vote of no confidence due to a lack of communication of a coherent strategy for the club. Fans are all investors in the club. We don't own shares but we do want to feel that we are part of the club we are proud to support.' Another supporter has questions over the running of the club as part of the larger Roland Duchâtelet network. He poses the question that the Charlton Athletic Valley Gold scheme, of which funds go towards the club's youth setup, could in fact go on to benefit other clubs with academy players being loaned or sold away from Charlton. He says 'I do not wish to fund the development of players for other football clubs. If the return on player sales goes into the

development of Charlton Athletic then this is what the Valley Gold scheme is there for, not to be used to fund other network clubs'. Other concerns regarding the network are echoed in this fan's comments: 'I fear Roland's methods, and his arrogance. He seems to be constantly underestimating the level we play at, something evidenced by the players we get from the network that are simply not good enough. Players were sent to us by Roland to get us out of trouble last year but frankly did nothing to help. He is clearly very stubborn about using network players, and can't see that they aren't good enough’. Fans also raise concern over the recent appointment of the new manager at Charlton. A fan commented 'For me, the final straw and the day my patience and tolerance for the new owner’s methods ran out was the day Guy Luzon was appointed head coach. It's the manner of the appointment that causes concern. When Peeters was sacked we were told a thorough search for a replacement would begin. 24 hours later, Luzon is in charge. What exactly makes Guy Luzon a better man for the job than, any other candidate? Simple, he's in the network, already on Duchâtelet's books.' Another fan echoes this view 'The appointment of Guy Luzon to my mind brought

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News matters to a head. We were told that no new head coach had been identified, yet he was appointed barely 48 hours after Bob Peeters was dismissed, and he had previously been in charge of Standard Liege. Someone from outside the ‘network’ is unlikely to accept the way Roland Duchâtelet works.' Many fans are also questioning if the new owners of the club truly understand the depth of feelings fans have for Charlton Athletic. 'It is very distressing to see the club totally ruined by clowns, who have no feelings or can not feel the history and passion of Charlton Athletic.' And: 'We have been told by the board that "the reality is that a football club is a business". Anyone who knows anything about British football knows that to fans up and down the country that is not the case, especially so with our great club.' Other views on how the club is being run are seen to contrast the proposed target for promotion to the Premier League in the future. One fan states 'My concern is not so much how quickly the club can gain promotion into the Premier League, which is no doubt how the owner would recoup or increase on investments made, it is how the club is being run in attempting to gain promotion, which on the face of it looks almost an impossible task due to the manner in which the current owner is overseeing the management of the club'. There is also great fear of losing Charlton's identity as a club, with one fan saying 'I really miss my local club, Charlton Athletic. Historically, we were a club run

by Charlton people, for Charlton people. We need our identity back, it seems we are part of a company and the club's history and ethos means nothing to the owners'. Another states: 'I've been supporting Charlton since the mid 1970's and this is quite comfortably one of the worst chapters in our amazing history of highs and lows. A crime is taking place in SE7 and it's called Identity Theft!' Another fan raising concerns says 'I am afraid that the values Charlton Athletic stood for many years are slowly being eroded, and our club is slowly but surely losing its identity. The only way this will change is if we can disentangle ourselves from Mr Duchâtelet’s network of clubs with owners who understand the club and what we stand for. I fear for the future if things don’t change.' There are however fans, who believe that the Club's future is more secure now than under the previous regime. One has stated 'I agree there are plenty of reasons to question the owner's judgement but that doesn't mean that long term, his decisions will be damaging to the club. In my opinion the Championship has too many owners digging deep into their pockets to buy players at inflated prices that more often than not fail to secure promotion to the riches of the Premiership. If the owner is true to his word then the aggravations of the past year may prove to have been worth it. Since I fear the alternatives, I am prepared to see how things develop.' Another view in support of the current regime is outlined in this fan's comments: 'We have not be-

11

come a feeder club as many feared, in fact we have benefited from players coming to Charlton. Some have not been up to the mark, but others most certainly have. Whilst I don't like the revolving door policy concerning managers, there are positives. Most noticeable are, investment in youth and a pitch that allows football to be played on. There is a network of clubs that is being built up, part of that will surely be to create a larger scouting network. This will only benefit us in the long term.' CASTrust aims to give the fans a voice and represent their interest in the running of the Club. We understand that this encompasses many different views and we will look to agree a unified outcome in response to the current feelings about the situation at the Club.

www.castrust.org/join

By Alex Clarke


News

News

10

? g n i k n Thi

WHAT ARE YOU The Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust recently reached out to fans for their views and opinions on the current situation of the club. The overwhelming response was one of huge concern at the running of the club and what the future holds for Charlton Athletic. One common theme in responses received was the number of long-term fans who feel the level of engagement with the Board is at its lowest ever.

One fan, a supporter since the 1960s, states 'I have never felt so detached from my club as I do now'. Another, having followed the club for over 60 years, says 'I have never felt so low about any situation at Charlton. I have no idea what the owner’s aims for the club are, but left as they are, League 2 or non league beckons'. The lack of communication from the club since last year's take over is a concern. One view is 'We may have been spoilt in the past but effective communication now is just non-existent.' Another adds: 'Unless the communication changes, I think that there needs to be a fan vote of no confidence due to a lack of communication of a coherent strategy for the club. Fans are all investors in the club. We don't own shares but we do want to feel that we are part of the club we are proud to support.' Another supporter has questions over the running of the club as part of the larger Roland Duchâtelet network. He poses the question that the Charlton Athletic Valley Gold scheme, of which funds go towards the club's youth setup, could in fact go on to benefit other clubs with academy players being loaned or sold away from Charlton. He says 'I do not wish to fund the development of players for other football clubs. If the return on player sales goes into the

development of Charlton Athletic then this is what the Valley Gold scheme is there for, not to be used to fund other network clubs'. Other concerns regarding the network are echoed in this fan's comments: 'I fear Roland's methods, and his arrogance. He seems to be constantly underestimating the level we play at, something evidenced by the players we get from the network that are simply not good enough. Players were sent to us by Roland to get us out of trouble last year but frankly did nothing to help. He is clearly very stubborn about using network players, and can't see that they aren't good enough’. Fans also raise concern over the recent appointment of the new manager at Charlton. A fan commented 'For me, the final straw and the day my patience and tolerance for the new owner’s methods ran out was the day Guy Luzon was appointed head coach. It's the manner of the appointment that causes concern. When Peeters was sacked we were told a thorough search for a replacement would begin. 24 hours later, Luzon is in charge. What exactly makes Guy Luzon a better man for the job than, any other candidate? Simple, he's in the network, already on Duchâtelet's books.' Another fan echoes this view 'The appointment of Guy Luzon to my mind brought

www.castrust.org/join

News matters to a head. We were told that no new head coach had been identified, yet he was appointed barely 48 hours after Bob Peeters was dismissed, and he had previously been in charge of Standard Liege. Someone from outside the ‘network’ is unlikely to accept the way Roland Duchâtelet works.' Many fans are also questioning if the new owners of the club truly understand the depth of feelings fans have for Charlton Athletic. 'It is very distressing to see the club totally ruined by clowns, who have no feelings or can not feel the history and passion of Charlton Athletic.' And: 'We have been told by the board that "the reality is that a football club is a business". Anyone who knows anything about British football knows that to fans up and down the country that is not the case, especially so with our great club.' Other views on how the club is being run are seen to contrast the proposed target for promotion to the Premier League in the future. One fan states 'My concern is not so much how quickly the club can gain promotion into the Premier League, which is no doubt how the owner would recoup or increase on investments made, it is how the club is being run in attempting to gain promotion, which on the face of it looks almost an impossible task due to the manner in which the current owner is overseeing the management of the club'. There is also great fear of losing Charlton's identity as a club, with one fan saying 'I really miss my local club, Charlton Athletic. Historically, we were a club run

by Charlton people, for Charlton people. We need our identity back, it seems we are part of a company and the club's history and ethos means nothing to the owners'. Another states: 'I've been supporting Charlton since the mid 1970's and this is quite comfortably one of the worst chapters in our amazing history of highs and lows. A crime is taking place in SE7 and it's called Identity Theft!' Another fan raising concerns says 'I am afraid that the values Charlton Athletic stood for many years are slowly being eroded, and our club is slowly but surely losing its identity. The only way this will change is if we can disentangle ourselves from Mr Duchâtelet’s network of clubs with owners who understand the club and what we stand for. I fear for the future if things don’t change.' There are however fans, who believe that the Club's future is more secure now than under the previous regime. One has stated 'I agree there are plenty of reasons to question the owner's judgement but that doesn't mean that long term, his decisions will be damaging to the club. In my opinion the Championship has too many owners digging deep into their pockets to buy players at inflated prices that more often than not fail to secure promotion to the riches of the Premiership. If the owner is true to his word then the aggravations of the past year may prove to have been worth it. Since I fear the alternatives, I am prepared to see how things develop.' Another view in support of the current regime is outlined in this fan's comments: 'We have not be-

11

come a feeder club as many feared, in fact we have benefited from players coming to Charlton. Some have not been up to the mark, but others most certainly have. Whilst I don't like the revolving door policy concerning managers, there are positives. Most noticeable are, investment in youth and a pitch that allows football to be played on. There is a network of clubs that is being built up, part of that will surely be to create a larger scouting network. This will only benefit us in the long term.' CASTrust aims to give the fans a voice and represent their interest in the running of the Club. We understand that this encompasses many different views and we will look to agree a unified outcome in response to the current feelings about the situation at the Club.

www.castrust.org/join

By Alex Clarke


News

News

News

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Kids everywhere. Little boys in blue and white home shirts or yellow away shirts animatedly waving 2012 play-off final flags. Little girls in pretty dresses, smart for the occasion or perhaps on their way to another party. A hubbub of half-term excitement. This was the scene that greeted me as I entered reception at the Huddersfield training ground. And there in the midst was the pied piper – scribbling autographs, crouching for photographs, shouting at passing players to join in, laughing and joking, turning this way and that. Chris Powell, resplendent in a bright blue training top, and very much at ease in his new-found Northern home. I’d requested this interview to mark the occasion of the first fixture between his new team and his old team, expecting to spend an hour or so reminiscing with Powell about his playing days - the famous tunnel jump, his managerial exploits and how he was getting on in his new job. I started by asking how he felt about returning to the Valley on 28th February. “It’s the first game I looked out for to be honest. It’s my wife’s birthday which is a bit bizarre – there’s something about birthdays and me!” It was, of course, his mother’s birthday on the day Charlton secured promotion at Carlisle in 2012, prompting a very emotional post-match interview. “Both teams are in and around one another and needing the points, but it’s still going to be a great occasion. The crowd will be boosted by Football for a Fiver, and we travel well. It’s a special day for me, of course. It’s never good the way you leave a football club - very rare that you leave in great circumstances.” And, before I know it, I am hearing Chris Powell’s first full on the record explanation of the goings on at Charlton last season, both before and after the takeover. We touch on the circumstances around the Sheffield United game, and I will return to that in full later. But let’s start at the beginning, with Chris taking over as manager. “Charlton had lost in the playoffs the season before I came in. Then obviously I took over from Phil – there was a lot to sort out. I said to Tony Jimenez we need to get the fans back onside, because they’ve been burnt over the last six or seven years, and I can do that

13

– I have a relationship with them – in the main – not every supporter is going to like the manager, that’s how football is – but I’ve got some credit with them, because I’ve earnt that. So let me get on with it.” He confirms that selling Jenkinson was a stroke of luck in providing the opportunity to re-build, and explains in detail how this was done, player by player, many on free transfers, but with investment in Wiggins and Stephens because there was potential for their value to increase and for them to be sold on at a profit in future. He describes Yann as “the jewel in the crown” and Bradley Pritchard as “the kid who did the stats, a dream come true.” It’s an impressive account of how he built that recordbreaking squad. His fondness for the players, whom he hand-picked to deliver, is palpable. “So we built a squad to compete and actually we did more than compete. We got into the Championship, had momentum and we carried it on.” He admits that 2012/13 was an up and down season, with low points like losing 1-4 at home to Middlesboro, but then the amazing comeback v Cardiff a few days’ later: “We only had 13k there, but if you ask Charlton fans, we had 50k there that night!” Then he becomes more reflective, referring to his time between managerial jobs, “I thought a lot about what we could have done, what we did do, when were the moments for us to actually build. We finished ninth, three points from the play-offs. That was it – the time Charlton could have got back after all the down years.” By now his voice is faltering with emotion, just like it did in the end of season speech he made on the pitch in front of the Covered End. Instead of building on those well-laid foundations, the opposite happened going into last season. “I kind of knew pre-season – I said to some fans at the Open Day, we are going to struggle this year. And they must have thought why are you saying that before a ball is even kicked? I was told to lose some players because we were going to spend big. I lost Danny Haynes, Ricardo Fuller, Jon Obika. Then all I had was Yann at the start of the season. There was a lot the fans didn’t know. There were four or five occasions when the players

“It’s the first game I looked out for to be honest. It’s a special day for me, of course.”

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photograph/CAFC

s n r u t e R

photograph: ken sinyard

THE GAFFER

12


News

News

News

www.castrust.org/join

Kids everywhere. Little boys in blue and white home shirts or yellow away shirts animatedly waving 2012 play-off final flags. Little girls in pretty dresses, smart for the occasion or perhaps on their way to another party. A hubbub of half-term excitement. This was the scene that greeted me as I entered reception at the Huddersfield training ground. And there in the midst was the pied piper – scribbling autographs, crouching for photographs, shouting at passing players to join in, laughing and joking, turning this way and that. Chris Powell, resplendent in a bright blue training top, and very much at ease in his new-found Northern home. I’d requested this interview to mark the occasion of the first fixture between his new team and his old team, expecting to spend an hour or so reminiscing with Powell about his playing days - the famous tunnel jump, his managerial exploits and how he was getting on in his new job. I started by asking how he felt about returning to the Valley on 28th February. “It’s the first game I looked out for to be honest. It’s my wife’s birthday which is a bit bizarre – there’s something about birthdays and me!” It was, of course, his mother’s birthday on the day Charlton secured promotion at Carlisle in 2012, prompting a very emotional post-match interview. “Both teams are in and around one another and needing the points, but it’s still going to be a great occasion. The crowd will be boosted by Football for a Fiver, and we travel well. It’s a special day for me, of course. It’s never good the way you leave a football club - very rare that you leave in great circumstances.” And, before I know it, I am hearing Chris Powell’s first full on the record explanation of the goings on at Charlton last season, both before and after the takeover. We touch on the circumstances around the Sheffield United game, and I will return to that in full later. But let’s start at the beginning, with Chris taking over as manager. “Charlton had lost in the playoffs the season before I came in. Then obviously I took over from Phil – there was a lot to sort out. I said to Tony Jimenez we need to get the fans back onside, because they’ve been burnt over the last six or seven years, and I can do that

13

– I have a relationship with them – in the main – not every supporter is going to like the manager, that’s how football is – but I’ve got some credit with them, because I’ve earnt that. So let me get on with it.” He confirms that selling Jenkinson was a stroke of luck in providing the opportunity to re-build, and explains in detail how this was done, player by player, many on free transfers, but with investment in Wiggins and Stephens because there was potential for their value to increase and for them to be sold on at a profit in future. He describes Yann as “the jewel in the crown” and Bradley Pritchard as “the kid who did the stats, a dream come true.” It’s an impressive account of how he built that recordbreaking squad. His fondness for the players, whom he hand-picked to deliver, is palpable. “So we built a squad to compete and actually we did more than compete. We got into the Championship, had momentum and we carried it on.” He admits that 2012/13 was an up and down season, with low points like losing 1-4 at home to Middlesboro, but then the amazing comeback v Cardiff a few days’ later: “We only had 13k there, but if you ask Charlton fans, we had 50k there that night!” Then he becomes more reflective, referring to his time between managerial jobs, “I thought a lot about what we could have done, what we did do, when were the moments for us to actually build. We finished ninth, three points from the play-offs. That was it – the time Charlton could have got back after all the down years.” By now his voice is faltering with emotion, just like it did in the end of season speech he made on the pitch in front of the Covered End. Instead of building on those well-laid foundations, the opposite happened going into last season. “I kind of knew pre-season – I said to some fans at the Open Day, we are going to struggle this year. And they must have thought why are you saying that before a ball is even kicked? I was told to lose some players because we were going to spend big. I lost Danny Haynes, Ricardo Fuller, Jon Obika. Then all I had was Yann at the start of the season. There was a lot the fans didn’t know. There were four or five occasions when the players

“It’s the first game I looked out for to be honest. It’s a special day for me, of course.”

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photograph/CAFC

s n r u t e R

photograph: ken sinyard

THE GAFFER

12


News

News

photograph/CAFC

THE GAFFER

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weren’t going to get paid. Going into games and I am trying to put out fires and put out a team. To be fair, the players never let me down in that respect, but we didn’t always get the results. It’s quite difficult for me to bring it up, but the fans need to know – that was the beginning of it. All those players, who had got us out of League One and were keeping us in the Championship, should have been rewarded with new contracts and then the fans would have seen we were building the team, building the squad to make a go of it and it just sadly never happened. It was just putting out fires from pre-season and it never stopped.” The former gaffer openly admits that the takeover was desperately needed, that Jiminez and Slater needed to move on, “What we couldn’t do was fashion a squad to be competitive at that time.” He also acknowledges that he had concerns for his job security, since he had been appointed as the result of the previous change of ownership. But Chris Powell is a man who still has Charlton very much in his heart, so he was not only thinking of himself, “My worry, which has come to fruition now, is that whoever it was needed to understand the football club; they needed to understand the psyche of the fans. If you don’t do that – and especially at

Charlton – and I know it’s just saying it, but actually if you look at the history of Charlton, what they’ve done and what they’ve been through, it is different - fans forming a political party to get their football club up and running – unheard of! So whoever it was, don’t see it as a vehicle to use it as a feeder club or as a means for whatever – don’t do it. And if you’re going to do it, be honest with the football club, be honest with the supporters, let them know exactly what’s going on.” He confesses to already having felt a bit worn-down by having to carry full responsibility for communications under the previous régime: “That was the downfall of Tony – fans didn’t know what was going on – it was always me, I had to explain to the fans, and actually at times I had to not say anything, which I didn’t want to do. Charlton fans know more often than not I’ll tell them the truth because that’s what they deserve to hear, because they pay their money.” Powell then reveals that he and Roland Duchâtelet were at odds with each other from the very start, “Within a week, after my first meeting at the Valley, I knew I wouldn’t be there too long and I knew exactly what was going to happen in regards to people like Yann, Dale and a few others and what he was going to

s n r u t e R

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do. It wasn’t just what he was telling me. I had a press conference where he said I was a good coach. Well, I was arguing with him just an hour before – about Charlton – I was saying to him, you can’t do that, you cannot do what you are planning to do with this club. It’s not right, it’s not fair, let’s not string people along.” Powell describes his first meeting with Duchâtelet at which Tony Jiminez was also present. The omens were not good – Powell was ill the night before, and had to pull over on his way to The Valley to be physically sick. The Belgian businessman arrived with strong ideas about the playing squad, while Jiminez, keen to ensure the deal was quickly done and dusted, sided with the new man’s opinions rather than supporting his manager. “We had the nonsense with the goalkeepers. Ben Alnwick had come in and was outstanding with Ben Hamer being out. He (Roland) said Ben Hamer is not good, Ben Alnwick is not good. I’ve got a goalkeeper who’s better than both. I said, who is it ? I need to know. Then it was always, ‘oh he’s better, he’s this, he’s that’. I said I need to choose who’s right, for this division and this league.” Clearly there was intransigence on both sides of the table, but Powell is not at all bitter in what he is describing, just deeply disappointed at the gulf in football philosophy. He is a manager who takes full responsibility for putting together his own squad, yet he was faced with the complete opposite, “I’d be in my office and there’s a player turning up downstairs with his suitcase, saying he’s come to play. Who is it? It’s Loic Nego, it’s Anil Koç. I don’t even know who they are. ‘We’ve been told you need a winger’ – yeah, but I need a winger who’s used to the Championship, and you’ve got a young boy who’s played three games for Standard off the bench. I mean, that’s not for Charlton. Charlton deserve a player who’s going to improve them.” He was clearly very frustrated at the lack of understanding of the strengths of the existing squad, “He’d say you need a right back, I’d say we’ve got Chris Solly. If he’s better than Chris Solly, going to be some player! Nego came in, played against Wigan, clearly not suited. Roland said, well he can play left back. I said, well I’ve got Rhoys Wiggins, and Ceddy Evina who can fill in, fine you’re not going to have two

15

top drawer – we’re not Chelsea or Man City, but you need players who are able to play at the level. I just knew that, whenever there was a time that I didn’t play them, I was going to be in trouble.” Powell explains how he tried hard to make the relationship work, “I was very open with them at the start – I said to Roland, I will come over and I will meet you, and you can tell me exactly what your plans are. I held my hand out, extended friendship to say welcome to South East London. I will tell you exactly what the club’s about, what’s gone great, what hasn’t.” But Duchâtelet did not want Powell to go to Belgium. “I said to him resign Yann, it’s a no-brainer, he said ‘NO – I don’t think he’s good enough, we’ve got better strikers’ – and now, I know Charlton are looking for a physical striker. We had one – he didn’t want to leave. It was the same with Dale. I know this league - of course, I’m not going to get everything right, will get a few things wrong, which I did at Charlton, which I will here. But I know what it takes in this league. I think anyone in any walk of life if they’re doing a job and someone tells them they are doing it all wrong, when they have no experience of it, that’s pretty hard to take.” He describes his belief that stability and harmony within the squad, and club as a whole, is vital for clubs like Charlton and Huddersfield, and the only realistic chance they have of competing with the big-spenders, so it was hard for him to see this quickly fall apart, “Charlton - and any team – like I’m doing here at Huddersfield - is built on team spirit, character through adversity a lot of the time and skill, but the harmony wasn’t there because every time a new player turned up, the players who were already there felt they were going to be marginalised. The new players when they came in, if they weren’t playing, they’d be up in arms, speaking to the owner, saying you brought me here to play and the manager’s not playing me. So you can imagine the discontent in the camp.” I ask if things came to a head around the Sheffield United cup match. “It came to a head over plenty of games, not only that one... I was quizzed constantly – it was quite disrespectful really, looking back. I was getting

“I’d be in my office and there’s a player turning up downstairs with his suitcase”

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photograph/CAFC

THE GAFFER

14

weren’t going to get paid. Going into games and I am trying to put out fires and put out a team. To be fair, the players never let me down in that respect, but we didn’t always get the results. It’s quite difficult for me to bring it up, but the fans need to know – that was the beginning of it. All those players, who had got us out of League One and were keeping us in the Championship, should have been rewarded with new contracts and then the fans would have seen we were building the team, building the squad to make a go of it and it just sadly never happened. It was just putting out fires from pre-season and it never stopped.” The former gaffer openly admits that the takeover was desperately needed, that Jiminez and Slater needed to move on, “What we couldn’t do was fashion a squad to be competitive at that time.” He also acknowledges that he had concerns for his job security, since he had been appointed as the result of the previous change of ownership. But Chris Powell is a man who still has Charlton very much in his heart, so he was not only thinking of himself, “My worry, which has come to fruition now, is that whoever it was needed to understand the football club; they needed to understand the psyche of the fans. If you don’t do that – and especially at

Charlton – and I know it’s just saying it, but actually if you look at the history of Charlton, what they’ve done and what they’ve been through, it is different - fans forming a political party to get their football club up and running – unheard of! So whoever it was, don’t see it as a vehicle to use it as a feeder club or as a means for whatever – don’t do it. And if you’re going to do it, be honest with the football club, be honest with the supporters, let them know exactly what’s going on.” He confesses to already having felt a bit worn-down by having to carry full responsibility for communications under the previous régime: “That was the downfall of Tony – fans didn’t know what was going on – it was always me, I had to explain to the fans, and actually at times I had to not say anything, which I didn’t want to do. Charlton fans know more often than not I’ll tell them the truth because that’s what they deserve to hear, because they pay their money.” Powell then reveals that he and Roland Duchâtelet were at odds with each other from the very start, “Within a week, after my first meeting at the Valley, I knew I wouldn’t be there too long and I knew exactly what was going to happen in regards to people like Yann, Dale and a few others and what he was going to

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do. It wasn’t just what he was telling me. I had a press conference where he said I was a good coach. Well, I was arguing with him just an hour before – about Charlton – I was saying to him, you can’t do that, you cannot do what you are planning to do with this club. It’s not right, it’s not fair, let’s not string people along.” Powell describes his first meeting with Duchâtelet at which Tony Jiminez was also present. The omens were not good – Powell was ill the night before, and had to pull over on his way to The Valley to be physically sick. The Belgian businessman arrived with strong ideas about the playing squad, while Jiminez, keen to ensure the deal was quickly done and dusted, sided with the new man’s opinions rather than supporting his manager. “We had the nonsense with the goalkeepers. Ben Alnwick had come in and was outstanding with Ben Hamer being out. He (Roland) said Ben Hamer is not good, Ben Alnwick is not good. I’ve got a goalkeeper who’s better than both. I said, who is it ? I need to know. Then it was always, ‘oh he’s better, he’s this, he’s that’. I said I need to choose who’s right, for this division and this league.” Clearly there was intransigence on both sides of the table, but Powell is not at all bitter in what he is describing, just deeply disappointed at the gulf in football philosophy. He is a manager who takes full responsibility for putting together his own squad, yet he was faced with the complete opposite, “I’d be in my office and there’s a player turning up downstairs with his suitcase, saying he’s come to play. Who is it? It’s Loic Nego, it’s Anil Koç. I don’t even know who they are. ‘We’ve been told you need a winger’ – yeah, but I need a winger who’s used to the Championship, and you’ve got a young boy who’s played three games for Standard off the bench. I mean, that’s not for Charlton. Charlton deserve a player who’s going to improve them.” He was clearly very frustrated at the lack of understanding of the strengths of the existing squad, “He’d say you need a right back, I’d say we’ve got Chris Solly. If he’s better than Chris Solly, going to be some player! Nego came in, played against Wigan, clearly not suited. Roland said, well he can play left back. I said, well I’ve got Rhoys Wiggins, and Ceddy Evina who can fill in, fine you’re not going to have two

15

top drawer – we’re not Chelsea or Man City, but you need players who are able to play at the level. I just knew that, whenever there was a time that I didn’t play them, I was going to be in trouble.” Powell explains how he tried hard to make the relationship work, “I was very open with them at the start – I said to Roland, I will come over and I will meet you, and you can tell me exactly what your plans are. I held my hand out, extended friendship to say welcome to South East London. I will tell you exactly what the club’s about, what’s gone great, what hasn’t.” But Duchâtelet did not want Powell to go to Belgium. “I said to him resign Yann, it’s a no-brainer, he said ‘NO – I don’t think he’s good enough, we’ve got better strikers’ – and now, I know Charlton are looking for a physical striker. We had one – he didn’t want to leave. It was the same with Dale. I know this league - of course, I’m not going to get everything right, will get a few things wrong, which I did at Charlton, which I will here. But I know what it takes in this league. I think anyone in any walk of life if they’re doing a job and someone tells them they are doing it all wrong, when they have no experience of it, that’s pretty hard to take.” He describes his belief that stability and harmony within the squad, and club as a whole, is vital for clubs like Charlton and Huddersfield, and the only realistic chance they have of competing with the big-spenders, so it was hard for him to see this quickly fall apart, “Charlton - and any team – like I’m doing here at Huddersfield - is built on team spirit, character through adversity a lot of the time and skill, but the harmony wasn’t there because every time a new player turned up, the players who were already there felt they were going to be marginalised. The new players when they came in, if they weren’t playing, they’d be up in arms, speaking to the owner, saying you brought me here to play and the manager’s not playing me. So you can imagine the discontent in the camp.” I ask if things came to a head around the Sheffield United cup match. “It came to a head over plenty of games, not only that one... I was quizzed constantly – it was quite disrespectful really, looking back. I was getting

“I’d be in my office and there’s a player turning up downstairs with his suitcase”

www.castrust.org/join


News

News

emails, I was getting messages on what I should be doing in training, how we should play. It was done by two chaps in Belgium who were on laptops looking at our games. They were saying things they thought I didn’t do with Charlton which I’d always done – preparations, tactics, analysis...They thought maybe it was their way of helping.” Talking specifically about the build-up to the Cup game, Powell recalls how Charlton unexpectedly found themselves bottom of the table due to the three teams below all winning on the Saturday, and the squad heard the news as they were travelling to Sheffield. “I’ll be truthful, we were never in the right frame of mind approaching that quarter final. It was the first time the club had been in the quarter final since I was a player - at Middlesborough. Really, we should have been at Wembley. I can’t say I knew before the game, but we weren’t in the right frame of mind – or the club wasn’t – and we let down the six or seven thousand fans we had there. It was the build up of what had happened since the takeover.” Powell never played at Wembley, as his England appearances and play-off final with West Ham took place while the famous stadium was being rebuilt. To lift the mood a little, I ask if he would have stepped up to take a penalty in the Charlton v Sunderland match, had he been on our books then. “Oh God, just wish it wouldn’t have got to me – bit like Richard Rufus, who pushed Shaun out, because they didn’t think it was going to get to theirs. Shaun went, and he actually mishits it – it looks a great pen, but he mis-hits it! Mark Bowen took one, but he took them throughout his career. I would have taken one, yeah, I wouldn’t have felt great, but I would have taken one!” Powell returns to last season’s FA Cup run, which he had seen as the bright spot in an otherwise tough season. “It’s a big regret that I wasn’t able to get the team to Wembley. I just had it in my mind all the way through the run, when we beat Oxford, Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday. Just seeing 35-40k red and white Charlton fans at one end, I swear I would have cried. But life goes on – it never happened.” He is calmly philosophical about Jose Riga taking over as Charlton manager, and expresses genuine delight that the Addicks survived under his stewardship, appreciating that the new boss was able to get things back on track, “But I moved on and Jose came in and was able

photograph/CAFC

THE GAFFER

16

to get the stability I craved and the team got some good results – I was desperate for them not to go down.” He does feel vindicated that this was mainly achieved with the squad he had built, so perhaps some lessons were quickly learned. Without prompting, Powell expresses empathy with Charlton’s new CEO, “There was so much involvement from different people who felt they needed to justify Roland taking over and their roles. Amongst all that, (was) Katrien, put into a position. I actually got on really well with her – she could see how difficult it was – she was told one thing and then when it happened, it got changed – and I believe that’s still happening now.” When I ask whether he thinks Roland has a real interest in football, Chris Powell thinks carefully about this for a moment, “He does. He’s very fond of Sint Truiden. He’s very proud of them, I think that’s his team. He’s obviously been very successful in his business, no problem...he’s earned his money and that’s right in his field. But when you go into football, obviously you have an idea of what you want to do. I think you’ve got to appreciate the football club that you’re buying into or

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joining, quickly recognise what they’re about and what makes that particular football club tick. Listen to people who have been there a while. Use your own judgment of course, because you are entitled to. But I think you’ve got to be very careful.” What does he think Roland’s strategy for Charlton is? “Only he can tell you his strategy, but I suppose you’ve got to look at the other clubs and what’s happened there. Standard obviously is their flagship club, and one or two players have been sold from there, so I think they felt that will happen at Charlton too. The Championship is now a step away from the most profitable league in the world, especially with the new TV deal, so I would think any owner that comes into the Championship has one eye on that, because all you need is one season and you’re made. But you do have to have stability... So the strategy may be trying to put the players from abroad onto a bigger stage, and then maybe they get sold on – maybe. It’s just me guessing, I’ve never been told that – me looking now from the outside in.” What about aiming for breakeven? “Roland did mention that to me very early on. He said we need to break even – some of the money that is spent on players, we need to cut down. That’s his prerogative, no problem, but I did say you’ve got to be careful – there are certain areas that you do have to spend money, normally on strikers, they cost money because they are at a premium...So it’s very noble that he’s trying to cut it down, and if he can, of course he should, you don’t want to waste money, but it’s very hard, especially in this league which is just not a level playing field at all. If you don’t have the money, you’ve got to get it from having the team together, getting them fighting for a cause. It can be quite straightforward and if the players buy into it, it gets you points and wins. That’s something you need to understand at a club, especially in the Championship, especially at a club like Charlton.” I ask Chris for his thoughts on whether or not a network approach in principle could be successful. “I know at Watford to an extent it has been, but they’ve done it differently, with the Udinese players and the Granada players, they have settled down, have a set way of

17

playing, and whenever a player comes in it is to play in a certain role and they know he will be suited for the Championship, for the level.” So what about Charlton? “Has it worked so far? Might it in the future? At this time with four managers in a year, that doesn’t scream of stability, that doesn’t scream of an actual plan for the football club. And that’s what you need, any football club needs stability. Clubs that have stability, more often than not, somewhere along the line get exactly what they are after.” Chris is aware that Charlton fans had recently held a public meeting, so I wonder if he has any advice on how the fans might engage the owner. At Huddersfield the chairman demands that Powell is as open as possible with supporters, telling them about the plans for the Academy, for players, for the training ground, for spending or not and being realistic about their ambitions. “It does work. Because the fans then feel that they are important, not just someone who is going to shell out £300, £400 on a season ticket and that’s it, but actually involved in the process, and I think you can’t ask for anything more.” He believes that Charlton fans are realistic, craving stability above all, keen to see young players coming through, but also accepting that sometimes players will be sold for profit, “Like Darren Bent – we paid £2M for him and we could see he was too good and we’d end up selling him - £16M – that’s the Charlton way.” The owner puts the money in, and that needs to be respected, “But (the fans) are there for 50/60 years some of them, even beyond that. I don’t think you get an owner at any club who’s there for that long...I think you’ve got to look at it from both sides. But if the supporters are not getting anything back – all you get is you turn up, you pay your money and that’s it - it’s not right.” I’ll leave the last word to Chris on his football philosophy: “If you have the harmony, the spirit and don’t spend beyond your means and don’t think beyond your means, you can do great things. Charlton have done it before and they can do it again, and hopefully we can do the same here at Huddersfield.”

“At this time with four managers in a year, that doesn’t scream of stability,”

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Heather McKinlay


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emails, I was getting messages on what I should be doing in training, how we should play. It was done by two chaps in Belgium who were on laptops looking at our games. They were saying things they thought I didn’t do with Charlton which I’d always done – preparations, tactics, analysis...They thought maybe it was their way of helping.” Talking specifically about the build-up to the Cup game, Powell recalls how Charlton unexpectedly found themselves bottom of the table due to the three teams below all winning on the Saturday, and the squad heard the news as they were travelling to Sheffield. “I’ll be truthful, we were never in the right frame of mind approaching that quarter final. It was the first time the club had been in the quarter final since I was a player - at Middlesborough. Really, we should have been at Wembley. I can’t say I knew before the game, but we weren’t in the right frame of mind – or the club wasn’t – and we let down the six or seven thousand fans we had there. It was the build up of what had happened since the takeover.” Powell never played at Wembley, as his England appearances and play-off final with West Ham took place while the famous stadium was being rebuilt. To lift the mood a little, I ask if he would have stepped up to take a penalty in the Charlton v Sunderland match, had he been on our books then. “Oh God, just wish it wouldn’t have got to me – bit like Richard Rufus, who pushed Shaun out, because they didn’t think it was going to get to theirs. Shaun went, and he actually mishits it – it looks a great pen, but he mis-hits it! Mark Bowen took one, but he took them throughout his career. I would have taken one, yeah, I wouldn’t have felt great, but I would have taken one!” Powell returns to last season’s FA Cup run, which he had seen as the bright spot in an otherwise tough season. “It’s a big regret that I wasn’t able to get the team to Wembley. I just had it in my mind all the way through the run, when we beat Oxford, Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday. Just seeing 35-40k red and white Charlton fans at one end, I swear I would have cried. But life goes on – it never happened.” He is calmly philosophical about Jose Riga taking over as Charlton manager, and expresses genuine delight that the Addicks survived under his stewardship, appreciating that the new boss was able to get things back on track, “But I moved on and Jose came in and was able

photograph/CAFC

THE GAFFER

16

to get the stability I craved and the team got some good results – I was desperate for them not to go down.” He does feel vindicated that this was mainly achieved with the squad he had built, so perhaps some lessons were quickly learned. Without prompting, Powell expresses empathy with Charlton’s new CEO, “There was so much involvement from different people who felt they needed to justify Roland taking over and their roles. Amongst all that, (was) Katrien, put into a position. I actually got on really well with her – she could see how difficult it was – she was told one thing and then when it happened, it got changed – and I believe that’s still happening now.” When I ask whether he thinks Roland has a real interest in football, Chris Powell thinks carefully about this for a moment, “He does. He’s very fond of Sint Truiden. He’s very proud of them, I think that’s his team. He’s obviously been very successful in his business, no problem...he’s earned his money and that’s right in his field. But when you go into football, obviously you have an idea of what you want to do. I think you’ve got to appreciate the football club that you’re buying into or

s n r u t e R

www.castrust.org/join

joining, quickly recognise what they’re about and what makes that particular football club tick. Listen to people who have been there a while. Use your own judgment of course, because you are entitled to. But I think you’ve got to be very careful.” What does he think Roland’s strategy for Charlton is? “Only he can tell you his strategy, but I suppose you’ve got to look at the other clubs and what’s happened there. Standard obviously is their flagship club, and one or two players have been sold from there, so I think they felt that will happen at Charlton too. The Championship is now a step away from the most profitable league in the world, especially with the new TV deal, so I would think any owner that comes into the Championship has one eye on that, because all you need is one season and you’re made. But you do have to have stability... So the strategy may be trying to put the players from abroad onto a bigger stage, and then maybe they get sold on – maybe. It’s just me guessing, I’ve never been told that – me looking now from the outside in.” What about aiming for breakeven? “Roland did mention that to me very early on. He said we need to break even – some of the money that is spent on players, we need to cut down. That’s his prerogative, no problem, but I did say you’ve got to be careful – there are certain areas that you do have to spend money, normally on strikers, they cost money because they are at a premium...So it’s very noble that he’s trying to cut it down, and if he can, of course he should, you don’t want to waste money, but it’s very hard, especially in this league which is just not a level playing field at all. If you don’t have the money, you’ve got to get it from having the team together, getting them fighting for a cause. It can be quite straightforward and if the players buy into it, it gets you points and wins. That’s something you need to understand at a club, especially in the Championship, especially at a club like Charlton.” I ask Chris for his thoughts on whether or not a network approach in principle could be successful. “I know at Watford to an extent it has been, but they’ve done it differently, with the Udinese players and the Granada players, they have settled down, have a set way of

17

playing, and whenever a player comes in it is to play in a certain role and they know he will be suited for the Championship, for the level.” So what about Charlton? “Has it worked so far? Might it in the future? At this time with four managers in a year, that doesn’t scream of stability, that doesn’t scream of an actual plan for the football club. And that’s what you need, any football club needs stability. Clubs that have stability, more often than not, somewhere along the line get exactly what they are after.” Chris is aware that Charlton fans had recently held a public meeting, so I wonder if he has any advice on how the fans might engage the owner. At Huddersfield the chairman demands that Powell is as open as possible with supporters, telling them about the plans for the Academy, for players, for the training ground, for spending or not and being realistic about their ambitions. “It does work. Because the fans then feel that they are important, not just someone who is going to shell out £300, £400 on a season ticket and that’s it, but actually involved in the process, and I think you can’t ask for anything more.” He believes that Charlton fans are realistic, craving stability above all, keen to see young players coming through, but also accepting that sometimes players will be sold for profit, “Like Darren Bent – we paid £2M for him and we could see he was too good and we’d end up selling him - £16M – that’s the Charlton way.” The owner puts the money in, and that needs to be respected, “But (the fans) are there for 50/60 years some of them, even beyond that. I don’t think you get an owner at any club who’s there for that long...I think you’ve got to look at it from both sides. But if the supporters are not getting anything back – all you get is you turn up, you pay your money and that’s it - it’s not right.” I’ll leave the last word to Chris on his football philosophy: “If you have the harmony, the spirit and don’t spend beyond your means and don’t think beyond your means, you can do great things. Charlton have done it before and they can do it again, and hopefully we can do the same here at Huddersfield.”

“At this time with four managers in a year, that doesn’t scream of stability,”

www.castrust.org/join

Heather McKinlay


18

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News photographs/the desserter https://twitter.com/deserterblog

The Wobbly Roa ds to the Valley www.castrust.org/join

LIke any professional, I like to prepare myself fully in advance of an appearance at The Valley. That’s why I like to be in the pub by midday. There’s a direct correlation between pre-match pints and Valley, Floyd Road volume, as both voice and pride benefit from lubrication. Noise is our job as sure as booze is our fuel. My association with pre-match pubs started early, when my old Dad took me to my first games at The Valley. I liked the ritual. It meant the football took up most of the day. The match day experience was a journey, punctuated by stops, with a fevered climax of excitement when the red shirts walked onto the pitch that would either be sustained or crushed over the next 90 minutes. Our first stop would be the Red Lion on Shooter’s Hill. I would have to sit in the car with some crisps, which, back in the day, constituted premium childcare. It was fine by me. I had a salty snack, I was going to The Valley and I had plenty of time to pick the team. Sometimes we’d stop at the Royal Oak, the third holiest place in the land, after The Valley and Wembley Stadium. It was close enough to the ground to feel the buzz of the growing crowd. People thronging in the same direction, in red and white scarves, like mine, clutching programmes and slender hope. And it gave me a lifelong fondness for being out on the street and in a pub at the same time. Once I was old enough to choose the pub myself, I had my

own criteria. I needed decent ale, Charlton fans and a reasonable chance of getting served before kick off. Back when The Valley was full every week, the latter was harder to find than you’d think. I spent a couple of years getting crushed at the Oak, before the ups and downs of good and bad managers saw me go on a season-long loan to the Bugle Horn. The Bugle served a decent pint, was filled with great Addicks memorabilia, in a lovely old pub. But, even after living in Charlton for many years, it never felt like my pub. It felt more like a hot girl that you knew didn’t really fancy you. I even tried The Valley pub on Elliscombe Road. It had great pedigree, with the club crest painted loud and large outside and having been formerly owned by England and Charlton winger, Harold Hobbis. Plus it had a huge and impressive picture of a packed East Terrace. But they had no proper beer and you needed to be slumped at the bar all week to attract the barmaid’s flickering

19

attention. It’s little wonder it’s now flats. After a successful trial, I signed up to the Anchor & Hope, Charlton’s only riverside boozerie. Being drawn to both water and beer, it was a no-brainer really. It has a decent crowd, nice staff and somewhere to drown yourself after a home defeat. One other aspect was entering into my pub decision-making though: The walk to the ground. That was partly because I was now going with kids and partly because, given the uncertainty of the result, I wanted everything else to be as good as possible. Walking past an industrial estate and crossing Woolwich Road was no way to approach a temple of joy, ruling out the Anchor and the Rose Of Denmark, (which I’d enjoyed when meeting away fans before a game). And so, I came to the now-threatened White Swan in Charlton Village. As both a local and pre-match pub, I found the Swan the friendliest of the bunch. I got to know

www.castrust.org/join


18

News

News photographs/the desserter https://twitter.com/deserterblog

The Wobbly Roa ds to the Valley www.castrust.org/join

LIke any professional, I like to prepare myself fully in advance of an appearance at The Valley. That’s why I like to be in the pub by midday. There’s a direct correlation between pre-match pints and Valley, Floyd Road volume, as both voice and pride benefit from lubrication. Noise is our job as sure as booze is our fuel. My association with pre-match pubs started early, when my old Dad took me to my first games at The Valley. I liked the ritual. It meant the football took up most of the day. The match day experience was a journey, punctuated by stops, with a fevered climax of excitement when the red shirts walked onto the pitch that would either be sustained or crushed over the next 90 minutes. Our first stop would be the Red Lion on Shooter’s Hill. I would have to sit in the car with some crisps, which, back in the day, constituted premium childcare. It was fine by me. I had a salty snack, I was going to The Valley and I had plenty of time to pick the team. Sometimes we’d stop at the Royal Oak, the third holiest place in the land, after The Valley and Wembley Stadium. It was close enough to the ground to feel the buzz of the growing crowd. People thronging in the same direction, in red and white scarves, like mine, clutching programmes and slender hope. And it gave me a lifelong fondness for being out on the street and in a pub at the same time. Once I was old enough to choose the pub myself, I had my

own criteria. I needed decent ale, Charlton fans and a reasonable chance of getting served before kick off. Back when The Valley was full every week, the latter was harder to find than you’d think. I spent a couple of years getting crushed at the Oak, before the ups and downs of good and bad managers saw me go on a season-long loan to the Bugle Horn. The Bugle served a decent pint, was filled with great Addicks memorabilia, in a lovely old pub. But, even after living in Charlton for many years, it never felt like my pub. It felt more like a hot girl that you knew didn’t really fancy you. I even tried The Valley pub on Elliscombe Road. It had great pedigree, with the club crest painted loud and large outside and having been formerly owned by England and Charlton winger, Harold Hobbis. Plus it had a huge and impressive picture of a packed East Terrace. But they had no proper beer and you needed to be slumped at the bar all week to attract the barmaid’s flickering

19

attention. It’s little wonder it’s now flats. After a successful trial, I signed up to the Anchor & Hope, Charlton’s only riverside boozerie. Being drawn to both water and beer, it was a no-brainer really. It has a decent crowd, nice staff and somewhere to drown yourself after a home defeat. One other aspect was entering into my pub decision-making though: The walk to the ground. That was partly because I was now going with kids and partly because, given the uncertainty of the result, I wanted everything else to be as good as possible. Walking past an industrial estate and crossing Woolwich Road was no way to approach a temple of joy, ruling out the Anchor and the Rose Of Denmark, (which I’d enjoyed when meeting away fans before a game). And so, I came to the now-threatened White Swan in Charlton Village. As both a local and pre-match pub, I found the Swan the friendliest of the bunch. I got to know

www.castrust.org/join


20

News

News

surprise to find it full of Burnley supporters last season, including Alistair Campbell, showing off impressive local pub knowledge. Not impressive enough to know they didn’t need to take the train to the ground though, as you can hail a 380 bus outside that will drop you right opposite the Lib. That’s beer and transport synergy, that is. Others stop in Greenwich, at the Plume of Feathers or the Pelton Arms, both beautiful pubs and great options, within striking distance of The Valley. But there’s a new development to the pre-match pint landscape; the micropub. Originating in Kent, these one-room, one conversation ale havens are bringing the original magic of the pub back and there are a couple in reach of SE7 for those with a designated driver or chauffeur. With no music, no mobile phones, fruit machines, lager or alcopops, punters are forced to talk to each other with nothing to distract them from their vapid nonsense. In the long run, it will

make us all try harder to be witty, charming or at the very least, factually correct. The Door Hinge at Welling, run by amiable ex-cabbie, Ray, is a favourite for Wings’ supporters and is a potential stop off for those travelling from that direction who appreciate beer as it should be. But The Long Pond in Eltham Park is run by Charlton supporter, Mike Wren and is open from 11am on Saturdays. It has already established itself as a pre-match pit stop for the discerning Addick, serving fresh, local beer in a friendly, smart environment just three and a half miles from The Valley. The experience is well worth it, unless you like rubbish beer, noise and consider your phone your best friend. A further micro pub, The Broken Drum, is expected to open soon in Blackfen, run by another Charlton supporter. We are getting spoilt for choice, whether we are celebrating or consoling ourselves. Here’s hoping for more of the former. Cheers. Vince Raison Contributor at HYPERLINK “http://www.deserter.co.uk” www. deserter.co.uk

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photographs/the desserter https://twitter.com/deserterblog

more people there than elsewhere and soon found another benefit. Me and my bro could sit in the garden drinking ale while the kids toddled off to buy Haribo and gaze at the dinosaurs in the reptile shop. A quick stop at the chip shop and we had attended to all our obesity indicators before walking downhill to the ground. And the joy didn’t end there. Before I could even smell the fried onions of Harvey Gardens, there was a view overlooking The Valley from Lansdowne Lane that still stirs me in places it shouldn’t. After some happy years, the Swan went downhill and is now up for sale at a price that can only mean it’s going to become flats. But, in true Charlton style, locals are fighting back against the odds. A HYPERLINK “http:// savethewhiteswanse7.uk/” Save The Swan group has formed to try and keep the pub going and run it as a community boozer, owned by the people. It has lubricated the Valley faithful since the ground opened in 1919 and deserves to continue its noble quest at the heart of the village. I’ve since been tempted by the best value pint around, at the Charlton Liberal Club, even if the name may be ironic these days. It’s huge and popular, though not terribly liberal. Recently I’ve become such an unbearable beer snob that I’ve taken to visiting the Hare & Billet in Blackheath before games, as my extensive research reveals it consistently serves the best kept pint in the Republic of South London, albeit for a hefty fee. Imagine my

21

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS Help build a strong representative Trust Ownership of £1 share in the Trust E - Certificate Free e version of quarterly Trust News Regular Trust updates Innovative website Access to member-only areas Help support Trust research and campaigns AGM rights (including the right to elect the board)

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20

News

News

surprise to find it full of Burnley supporters last season, including Alistair Campbell, showing off impressive local pub knowledge. Not impressive enough to know they didn’t need to take the train to the ground though, as you can hail a 380 bus outside that will drop you right opposite the Lib. That’s beer and transport synergy, that is. Others stop in Greenwich, at the Plume of Feathers or the Pelton Arms, both beautiful pubs and great options, within striking distance of The Valley. But there’s a new development to the pre-match pint landscape; the micropub. Originating in Kent, these one-room, one conversation ale havens are bringing the original magic of the pub back and there are a couple in reach of SE7 for those with a designated driver or chauffeur. With no music, no mobile phones, fruit machines, lager or alcopops, punters are forced to talk to each other with nothing to distract them from their vapid nonsense. In the long run, it will

make us all try harder to be witty, charming or at the very least, factually correct. The Door Hinge at Welling, run by amiable ex-cabbie, Ray, is a favourite for Wings’ supporters and is a potential stop off for those travelling from that direction who appreciate beer as it should be. But The Long Pond in Eltham Park is run by Charlton supporter, Mike Wren and is open from 11am on Saturdays. It has already established itself as a pre-match pit stop for the discerning Addick, serving fresh, local beer in a friendly, smart environment just three and a half miles from The Valley. The experience is well worth it, unless you like rubbish beer, noise and consider your phone your best friend. A further micro pub, The Broken Drum, is expected to open soon in Blackfen, run by another Charlton supporter. We are getting spoilt for choice, whether we are celebrating or consoling ourselves. Here’s hoping for more of the former. Cheers. Vince Raison Contributor at HYPERLINK “http://www.deserter.co.uk” www. deserter.co.uk

www.castrust.org/join

photographs/the desserter https://twitter.com/deserterblog

more people there than elsewhere and soon found another benefit. Me and my bro could sit in the garden drinking ale while the kids toddled off to buy Haribo and gaze at the dinosaurs in the reptile shop. A quick stop at the chip shop and we had attended to all our obesity indicators before walking downhill to the ground. And the joy didn’t end there. Before I could even smell the fried onions of Harvey Gardens, there was a view overlooking The Valley from Lansdowne Lane that still stirs me in places it shouldn’t. After some happy years, the Swan went downhill and is now up for sale at a price that can only mean it’s going to become flats. But, in true Charlton style, locals are fighting back against the odds. A HYPERLINK “http:// savethewhiteswanse7.uk/” Save The Swan group has formed to try and keep the pub going and run it as a community boozer, owned by the people. It has lubricated the Valley faithful since the ground opened in 1919 and deserves to continue its noble quest at the heart of the village. I’ve since been tempted by the best value pint around, at the Charlton Liberal Club, even if the name may be ironic these days. It’s huge and popular, though not terribly liberal. Recently I’ve become such an unbearable beer snob that I’ve taken to visiting the Hare & Billet in Blackheath before games, as my extensive research reveals it consistently serves the best kept pint in the Republic of South London, albeit for a hefty fee. Imagine my

21

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS Help build a strong representative Trust Ownership of £1 share in the Trust E - Certificate Free e version of quarterly Trust News Regular Trust updates Innovative website Access to member-only areas Help support Trust research and campaigns AGM rights (including the right to elect the board)

www.castrust.org/join


20 20 22

wss ew N e N

MEMBERSHIP FORM Membership Form

Your Details First Name

Last Name

Date of Birth

Email Address

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

Signature

Date

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

West

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 Complete the survey to enterwww.castrust.org/join our free prize draw@ http://www.castrust.org/survey3

News For hundreds of Addicks the Valley Express Coach service provides a vital link bringing them to and from the ground for home games. While the number of passengers and routes may have decreased since the service’s Premier League heyday,Valley Express still connects fans from all over the south-east with pickup locations in more than 50 towns across the region. At the 15th of January Fans Forum meeting rumours that the service would be stopped next season prompted Charlton CEO Katrien Meire to explain that, as the service is loss making, it would be reviewed along with other loss making parts of the Club. While this financial probity is to be applauded, it is also incredibly important to ensure that the correct estimation of the value of the service is made before deciding on any changes. The equation is not as simple as deducting the cost of running the service from the revenue generated by coach tickets sold. The supporters travelling on those coaches will all have purchased match tickets as well and the coaches also arrive around one hour before kick-off, giving passengers ample time to spend money in the club shop, buy a programme or make a purchase from a food and beverage kiosk which is all revenue indirectly attributable to Valley Express. Over the Rotherham, Norwich and Brentford homes games the Trust surveyed Valley Express passengers* and the results give a more complete picture of how vital the service is in ensuring the link with supporters who use the service remains intact. 48% of passengers (89) who completed the survey are season ticket holders at the Valley this year. If there is no change to the service then 70% of passengers expect to be season ticket holders next season. If, however, the service was scrapped completely (the Club have not officially said that this is on the agenda) then the number who would expect to purchase a season ticket next term drops alarmingly to 20%. The number who would not attend any games next season goes from 2% if there was no change to 34%

23

if the service was stopped. While surveys of this nature, particularly those completed by beneficiaries of the service, may be open to a wide margin of error, the number of fans that Charlton would jeopardise by making drastic changes to Valley Express and the loss of the associated additional revenue that each one of them brings is clear, and it is this that should be borne in mind when determining the true value of Valley Express. In addition two factors - one short term the other long term -also make the present moment a very dangerous time to be making large scale changes which might undermine the value of Valley Express. In the short term the ongoing improvement works at London Bridge station are likely to disrupt passengers making their way to the Valley until 2018. During this time the coaches providea realistic solution for fans who are particularly affected by the works and the alternative of hundreds of additional supporters trying to drive to games will exacerbate parking issues which already impact the matchday experience of supporters who drive. In the longer term, West Ham will soon move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford where high speed trains have the potential to easily and conveniently bring thousands of fans to watch the Hammers from across Kent (and further afield) - traditionally areas from where Charlton draw large amounts of its supporter base. The increased capacity of the Olympic Stadium over Upton Park means West Ham may be looking to tap into new catchment areas to fill the spaces and those traditional “Charlton” neighbourhoods, currently served by Valley Express, will be attractive. The Premier League football on offer may be enticing for new fans without particularly strong affiliations one way or another. Charlton should be on the offensive in these places and not in retreat, trying to ensure the next generation of Addicks from all over the South East are able to easily and conveniently visit the Valley regardless of postcode. Craig Sloman

Be part of the new era inwww.castrust.org/join fan participation at CAFC www.castrust.org/join


20 20 22

wss ew N e N

MEMBERSHIP FORM Membership Form

Your Details First Name

Last Name

Date of Birth

Email Address

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

Signature

Date

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

West

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 Complete the survey to enterwww.castrust.org/join our free prize draw@ http://www.castrust.org/survey3

News For hundreds of Addicks the Valley Express Coach service provides a vital link bringing them to and from the ground for home games. While the number of passengers and routes may have decreased since the service’s Premier League heyday,Valley Express still connects fans from all over the south-east with pickup locations in more than 50 towns across the region. At the 15th of January Fans Forum meeting rumours that the service would be stopped next season prompted Charlton CEO Katrien Meire to explain that, as the service is loss making, it would be reviewed along with other loss making parts of the Club. While this financial probity is to be applauded, it is also incredibly important to ensure that the correct estimation of the value of the service is made before deciding on any changes. The equation is not as simple as deducting the cost of running the service from the revenue generated by coach tickets sold. The supporters travelling on those coaches will all have purchased match tickets as well and the coaches also arrive around one hour before kick-off, giving passengers ample time to spend money in the club shop, buy a programme or make a purchase from a food and beverage kiosk which is all revenue indirectly attributable to Valley Express. Over the Rotherham, Norwich and Brentford homes games the Trust surveyed Valley Express passengers* and the results give a more complete picture of how vital the service is in ensuring the link with supporters who use the service remains intact. 48% of passengers (89) who completed the survey are season ticket holders at the Valley this year. If there is no change to the service then 70% of passengers expect to be season ticket holders next season. If, however, the service was scrapped completely (the Club have not officially said that this is on the agenda) then the number who would expect to purchase a season ticket next term drops alarmingly to 20%. The number who would not attend any games next season goes from 2% if there was no change to 34%

23

if the service was stopped. While surveys of this nature, particularly those completed by beneficiaries of the service, may be open to a wide margin of error, the number of fans that Charlton would jeopardise by making drastic changes to Valley Express and the loss of the associated additional revenue that each one of them brings is clear, and it is this that should be borne in mind when determining the true value of Valley Express. In addition two factors - one short term the other long term -also make the present moment a very dangerous time to be making large scale changes which might undermine the value of Valley Express. In the short term the ongoing improvement works at London Bridge station are likely to disrupt passengers making their way to the Valley until 2018. During this time the coaches providea realistic solution for fans who are particularly affected by the works and the alternative of hundreds of additional supporters trying to drive to games will exacerbate parking issues which already impact the matchday experience of supporters who drive. In the longer term, West Ham will soon move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford where high speed trains have the potential to easily and conveniently bring thousands of fans to watch the Hammers from across Kent (and further afield) - traditionally areas from where Charlton draw large amounts of its supporter base. The increased capacity of the Olympic Stadium over Upton Park means West Ham may be looking to tap into new catchment areas to fill the spaces and those traditional “Charlton” neighbourhoods, currently served by Valley Express, will be attractive. The Premier League football on offer may be enticing for new fans without particularly strong affiliations one way or another. Charlton should be on the offensive in these places and not in retreat, trying to ensure the next generation of Addicks from all over the South East are able to easily and conveniently visit the Valley regardless of postcode. Craig Sloman

Be part of the new era inwww.castrust.org/join fan participation at CAFC www.castrust.org/join


TNT CAS Trust News

spring edition

www.castrust.org

Number 9 february 2015

powell

exclusive:

full AND frank interview for charlton fans

400 fans show concern at Woolwich public meeting

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Profile for CAS Trust

Trust News 09  

Chris Powell Exclusive: Full and frank interview for Charlton fans and 400 fans show concern at Woolwich Public Meeting

Trust News 09  

Chris Powell Exclusive: Full and frank interview for Charlton fans and 400 fans show concern at Woolwich Public Meeting

Profile for castrust
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