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New Article: Perspective and time

Charlton's current plight is the worst in its history. We know that. And we can measure it. We are in the lowest division of the football pyramid we have been in, since we joined the Football League in 1921. Crowds are paltry and declining - this week there were almost 20,000 empty seats during a first team home game; and more than 65,000 fewer in attendance than the record crowd for The Valley. Already this season, we've failed to name a full, first-team squad - the same club that initiated substitutes in league football in this country, fifty-three years ago this week. It's horrendous. But it's not the end.

The current, terrible plight is only relative. It seems worse than it is, because it has been so much better. The 27,000 all-seater stadium looks great and was built on the back of success that was earned on and off the pitch. Great ground; terrible crowds. Earnest, hard-working, striving players this season are doing their best in a poor quality league; a few years ago, week after week, we saw brilliant international regulars competing in the best league in the world.

In some ways, it may seem that everything about the club is the worst it has ever been. But I want to hold on to two things that demonstrate the future can be bright again.

1. Charlton has always been a club that's seen ups and downs. Jimmy Seed's miraculous rise through the divisions and FA Cup final appearances; the slump of the 50s, the going-nowhere of the 60s, the unfulfilled ambition of the 70s, promotions of the 80s interspersed with cataclysmic financial problems, promotion and relegation in the 90s following a triumphant return to The Valley and mixing it with the best, then plummeting again in the last fifteen years. But each of these lurches of direction has been due to groups of people. Jimmy Seed didn't win consecutive promotions on his own - he relied on some backing from Albert Glikten. Curbishley's success on the pitch was delivered by having a great team around him, both on the training ground and in the boardroom. Never has one person been solely responsible either for success or failure. Until now. The responsibility for the whole plight lies solely with Roland Duchatelet. There is only one person to blame. So there is only one person whose removal will trigger an upturn in fortunes.

2. The best part about Charlton is its fans. Sure, we have a great ground, a proud history, a special relationship with the community, a fine heritage and an unequalled record - for a South London club - in the FA Cup. But we have the best fans in football. It was fans who fought for the club at local elections, under the name of The Valley Party, and it is fans who are doing the same abroad, to stop the ROT. It was fans who cleared the pitch in the 80s and helped bring the club back in the 90s. Voice of the Valley has always called out wrong-doings in the club; Spell It Out and the black and white campaign called for an explanation of direction. And now, CARD, with its meticulous media campaigns and wide reach is demonstrating how the tradition of Charlton fans' campaigns and protest is clever, and not just noisy. Some people might not agree with the methods. But they have been so well-organised and varied - taxis, pigs, beach balls, camels, whistles, crisps... - that they've gained disproportionate news coverage for a club of Charlton's lowly stature.

Perspective and time. That's what we need. It's a terrible time right now for everyone in the Charlton family. But remember that the Charlton family extends to Tommy Caton and Pierre Bolangi. Perspective. Charlton's plight is without precedent in the club's history, but it's absolutely not terminal.

So, here's a confession. I wrote this post as a means of convincing myself that the fight is worth it. That Charlton still has a future. That the battle can be won. And that the malignant idiot can be forced out of the club for good. And, you know what? I have convinced myself.

Well done to everyone who has supported, encouraged and inspired the behind-the-scenes operators who are keeping up the pressure. Well done to those who have contributed to the protest fund (and please carry on doing so). Good luck to the ROTters. But now is the time to gird the loins, get ready and prepare for the end-game. When it's over, we can forget squabbles; who knew what; which consortium did what, to whom and when. And we'll get back to support what matters - the football team and everyone who cares about it.

It's all about perspective. And from my perspective, Duchatelet has found himself in the middle of a very uneven fight. Because he cannot have any hope of winning a battle against the might, wit, passion, determination and organisation of Charlton fans. In fact, when he finally loses this battle, I will almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

Keep going. He'll be gone soon.

Comments

  • Sterling message Chizz
  • Nicely said , except I will dance on that fuckers grave Duchâtelet for eternity.

    Point of order , Jimmy Seed won promotion two years running 3rd division to 2nd and 2nd to 1st .
  • Nice piece @Chizz

    I’m currently less stirred and positive than you, but good to read.
  • Good rallying cry

    PS we joined the league in 1921
  • Great piece, Chizz.
    We have an amazing range of fans with a plethora of skills to keep Charlton alive until RD is removed.
  • I don't always agree with you Chizz but that was a great post.
    A good read after yesterday's borefest.
  • Good stuff Chizz
  • Nice piece @Chizz

    I’m currently less stirred and positive than you, but good to read.

    Thanks. But that's part of the reason I wrote it. Lots of people are understandably very gloomy. But, as always, we're on the very brink of a change in fortunes.
  • Good rallying cry

    PS we joined the league in 1921

    Thank you - corrected.
  • Nicely said , except I will dance on that fuckers grave Duchâtelet for eternity.

    Point of order , Jimmy Seed won promotion two years running 3rd division to 2nd and 2nd to 1st .

    No-one will convince me that he wouldn't have won a third..!
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  • Well done Chizz, I said similar a couple of hours ago, without having read this.
    Excellent post. We shall overcome.
    SISS.
  • Bit dated I know, but 20 plus years later, this still rings true.

  • Terrific piece
  • Chizz said:

    Nicely said , except I will dance on that fuckers grave Duchâtelet for eternity.

    Point of order , Jimmy Seed won promotion two years running 3rd division to 2nd and 2nd to 1st .

    No-one will convince me that he wouldn't have won a third..!
    And a very tiny point of order. The backing he received from Albert Glicksten was minimal. The brothers had invested heavily in the club before he joined, and they wanted their money back. He had to make a profit from transfer dealings to return their cash.
  • My loins are, as usual, girded.

    Well said, Chizz.
  • My loins are, as usual, girded.

    Well said, Chizz.

    Tingle?
  • Enjoyed reading that mate - thank you for takiog the time to craft it.

    Boosted my moral a tiny bit!
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Roland Out!