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NEW ARTICLE: No room for error this time, Roland

Saturday, 16th August.....4.58pm

The Valley is rocking.

A late, late winner from Franck Moussa and Charlton record a deserved victory over Wigan, building on their encouraging opening performance at Brentford.

Fair play to Charlton’s owner Roland Duchatelet, the belligerent sod. He made a hugely bold call during the summer not to extend the services of supporters favourite Jose Riga, instead choosing to import another (less experienced) manager from the Belgium leagues. The decision was a head-scratcher that made no sense on any level, particularly when Riga a few weeks later piped up elsewhere in England.

However, initial disappointment and indifference was quickly being backtracked in spades. The Valley has been refreshed, and Charlton had started the season playing decent, attractive football. New summer recruits were bedding in instantly, and more importantly of all, The Valley faithful had taken to their new touchline chief.

Bobby Peeters red and white army” boomed from the North Upper with intent, the drummer smashing the skin to within an inch of its life. Down at pitch side we saw something that most of us have never seen before at Charlton. ‘Nice’ and ‘safe’ Charlton had been ripped in half and thrown in the recycling bin. Prowling the line we had what appeared to be a demented, oversize hooligan attempting to rip the head off the opposing manager, being held back by colleagues. So pumped up he looked like he if he punched a wall it would crumble within seconds.

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When he got to the tunnel, his Charlton players were being grabbed by the shirt or back of their neck by their manager, tossed back out of the tunnel like a rag doll to take the accolades.

This was new, this was different.

Not only did we look like we were going to be playing attractive football, but no one was going to mess easily with little old Charlton anymore. This was strengthened further a few days later when much-fancied Derby come off second-best in another enthralling encounter.

So how the hell did it go wrong, so quickly?

In fact, it would still be another ten games before the team would even taste defeat in the league for the first time. By then though, this wasn't your typical 'unbeaten run'; the high-tempo Addicks that opened the season were already starting to show serious signs of performance dip. Wins and draws had been flattering to deceive in many games by then.

Charlton were playing deeper with less and less attacking intent. Any build up attacking play was becoming more and more laborious and cagey. The impressive start was being unwound as quick as the supporters reservations at the start of the season. It was largely due to an outstanding collective back four and keeper performing so consistently that the points total kept rising.

Make no bones about it, Charlton were going backwards. Fast. Injuries to Wiggins and Henderson saw the defensive strength start to fall apart. Back-to-back games looked to be having an impact on Bikey. What was desperately needed was for Charlton to start firing at the other end of the pitch to take the pressure off the defence.

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In reality, the opposite occurred. Hitman Vetokele, a clear talent, got injured. He hasn’t recovered and has been a shadow of himself since. Tucudean has largely failed to impress. No other options were good enough. Charlton’s pencil-thin squad and limited attacking options were being painfully exposed. With options lacking, players were played out of position, confidence evapourated and by the end of Peeters reign, the team were a shadow of what had been seen just months earlier.

But the downturn inform and results during a difficult period where a weak squad was exposed could not have been the sole reason Peeters was canned. Sure, it had a major impact, but there was undoubtedly more to this on why the decision was made just one day after the Chief Executive publicly stated ‘it is important to stay calm and not carried away by one rocky patch’. Of course, it may well be that Katrien Meire has absolutely no input into any of these decisions, but it if that is the case it is embarrassing to see it so publicly exposed in such a way.

Either Bob had completely lost the trust and support of the playing squad, giving credence to growing talk in recent weeks of key fall outs, or his relationship with his superiors, possibly in the quest for squad strengthening, had completely broken down. Or both.

Many fans remain hugely frustrated with the unusual governance of Charlton. Others are disappointed that we are facing a fourth manager coach in just ten months. But as harsh as it sounds, few fans will be crying tears specifically for Peeters. Possibly unfairly, from the outside he appears to have done little wrong and it seems crazy sacking a manager who has lost just six games all season with the resources available to him. But this sacking is not a complete deal-breaker as far as most fans are concerned, and if he has had major fall-outs with the playing squad, then it is probably for the best that this is quickly addressed.

The next decision though is ultimately critical to Duchatelet and his standing in South East London. Some supporters can’t fully contend themselves with our unusual ownership structure, whether that be the whole network jamboree, recruitment policy or the simple fact that the owner turns up as rare as a Charlton victory at the Den. Most supporters are grateful for aspects such as the ground upgrade, but the decision not to retain Riga in favour of Peeters now looks a poor one. The influx of sub-standard or Ill-suited players imposed on the manager twelve months ago was also a poor one. The suggestion of interference in selection a very concerning one.

Duchatelet very much needs to get this next decision right. There is no doubt that there is the possibility that his last Standard Liege head coach Guy Luzon or his favoured scout Karel Fraeye are no doubt in the consideration mix. If it is one of these (or similar), and it all goes wrong again, than that could be it for Duchatelet's relationship with Charlton's fans. Our fans aren’t like that of Liege, where thousands will march and storm his offices.

They will just slowly but surely stop going to a greater degree, and a once proud Club will become a shell of its former self before it even knows it.

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Our Club has changed hugely in recent years. When Spiv & Chancer appointed Chris Powell, that helped maintain / bring that connection back for many and it felt for a while like a collective club again. But that unity is just not there at the moment, and many people have lost (or rapidly losing) the glue that kept them tied to the Club for such a long time. Another downturn could have a catastrophic effort on the Club and its dwindling fanbase.

Don't rush it Roland. This next decision has really got to be the right one. For everyone's sake.
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Comments

  • As usual AFKA you have articulated exactly how I am feeling. The next decision could be make or break.
  • Cheers Dave
  • There have been some good articles posted today, this and Chicago addicts blog, and the articles from Airman.......

    Your final line " Don't rush it Roland. This next decision has really got to be the right one. For everyone's sake."
    Sums up how I feel perfectly. I think that RD needs to reflect a little on his 'vision' and perhaps modify some of the aspects.
    Of course it would be good to know exactly what the 'vision' is exactly......
  • He's been gone too long.
  • Spot on AFKA, it's now or never for Mr Duchatelet
  • Excellent stuff AFKA
  • Quote: They will just slowly but surely stop going to a greater degree, and a once proud Club will become a shell of its former self before it even knows it.
    This is the sentence that if anyone from the inner circle of the club does so happen to read should now stand up and take notice.
    Well put that man, good article.
  • Nicely done.

    Losing Henderson has been a key issue - weve now had as many goalkeepers this season as we have had managers in the last 12 months once the new manager in hired. Its all very messy. Hope Hendo is back v soon.

    Hopeful of a proper recruitment process being run re manager but I may be deluded in that thought. Maybe Luzon would be a decent hire for the way we are structured.

    RD sees us as part of a business challenge and if his next move doesnt work out the only way to get our voice heard will be through falling ticket sales.

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  • So true AFKA. They have to get this right for the next six AND 18 months. And the next coach needs permanent or loan signings to take us back up the table.
    I really don't care where the new coach and new signings come from but it has to work. For the fans, for the board, for the academy players and for the senior pros who we want to see stay for next season and help build a top eight club again.
    We need a top coach who has the right playing budget to really compete now and next season. This is what will get the place rocking again.
  • One of the best summary/postings that I have read on here, well done AFKA. I only hope that Katrien knows to keep an eye on supporters thoughts and feelings. She can ignore some of the rubbish written by people like me, but in here on a continuing basis is things that she should know, others also. I tried recently, perhaps not very well, to explain to the powers that be that this is a proud Club with a history in London, England. They will ignore that at their cost.
  • Sums it up perfectly, AFKA.
  • "don't rush it Roland" But don't hang around for ever either. Our new man at the helm may need to use the transfer window opportunity and if he does Roly, you have to facilitate that.
  • Don't rush it Roland. This next decision has really got to be the right one. For everyone's sake.

    AFKA do you really think RD choose BP knowing it would fail? Is RD going to appoint again knowing its not right? I don't think so. He may well get it wrong again but inferring supporters will walk away if he does is a bit OTT IMHO. He wants success as much as we do surely or he would not have bought the Club. Maybe we are asking to much of RD? Just a thought.
  • edited January 2015
    This article is sport on AFKA. I think that fans are already getting a little frustrated with RD's running of the club, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to win back some more respect. The head coach/manager is a huge decision to make, a decision that could reinvigorate fans and players alike.

    Personally, I think appointing Guy Luzon would be a mistake (purely based on the SL fans). We all know who we want to be our next coach, just hope RD can see that too. Hopefully, whatever decision he chooses to make, will be the right one for the Club.
  • Far too fair and balanced for my liking... :wink:
  • Well written AFKA and good valid points well made. RD really does have to get this decision right and another import from his network is not liable to be the right one. He needs to take his time, leave DM/BR in temp charge, and look at the candidates available and what each one could bring to the club, including ambition and style of management. He maybe a good businessman, but his Championship football knowledge is sadly lacking, he needs to do what other successful businessmen do, listen to advisors!!!
  • kinven said:

    This article is sport on AFKA. I think that fans are already getting a little frustrated with RD's running of the club, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to win back some more respect. The head coach/manager is a huge decision to make, a decision that could reinvigorate fans and players alike.

    Personally, I think appointing Guy Luzon would be a mistake (purely based on the SL fans). We all know who we want to be our next coach, just hope RD can see that too. Hopefully, whatever decision he chooses to make, will be the right one for the Club.

    Enlighten me please.....................
  • Fantastic reading Afka and really well put across.
    Supported Cafc for about 40 years now & agree things must not be rushed again.
    We need to go back to what ever model we followed during the Curbs years as it was proven & worked so well.
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  • A well considered article, AFKA. I believe RD considered he was taking a risk by appointing BP; hence the 1 year contract. He was prepared to act to protect his investment. We have to wait and see whther protecting his investment is the same as protecting the interests of the "faithful". I am confient it is but it is unlikely ever to be a smooth relationship between this Chairman and the fans.
  • edited January 2015

    Don't rush it Roland. This next decision has really got to be the right one. For everyone's sake.

    AFKA do you really think RD choose BP knowing it would fail? Is RD going to appoint again knowing its not right? I don't think so. He may well get it wrong again but inferring supporters will walk away if he does is a bit OTT IMHO. He wants success as much as we do surely or he would not have bought the Club. Maybe we are asking to much of RD? Just a thought.

    I don't think a single Charlton fan thinks RD is trying to screw the club up. Why on earth would he do that? It belongs to him and it's very expensive.

    But, if he gets it wrong this time, we could be back in League One next season.

    We have just 13 pts from our last 15 games - one third of the season. At the same rate of accumulation, we will finish the season on 49 pts.
  • We could be missing a trick here. Perhaps we should get in say 2 or 3 new managers on zero hours contacts and when one loses a game bring in a replacement for the next match and he keeps the position warm until he loses.
  • edited January 2015
    A new manager will still have the same problem. A skeleton squad. No fit strikers of quality to put any kind of pressure up front. Lacklustre midfield. A defence made up of inexperienced youngsters held together by ageing pros. A goalkeeper merry-go-round. An owner who seems completely unwilling to invest to bring in a player that might remedy the above.

    At the very least we need to get some half-decent loans in. Preferably RD should shell out for a quality strike-man so we aren't constantly relying on an injured Igor.

    At the moment JBG is the only consistent player of quality, we really ought to be building upon that.
  • How far does it have to go for us to feel totally disconnected from the club?
  • How far does it have to go for us to feel totally disconnected from the club?

    I'm there already.
  • I feel your pain lads. I'm a rangers fan watching my club get ripped to pices by greedy incompetent evil men . I've just renewed my ticket back at the valley having been away for 5 years. I just hope that Roland realises that in the long run he is just the custodian of the club for now and without the fans he's just got an empty ground . I liked the early BP games and I think your analysis is bang on AKKA. I dont know whether to feel sorry for him or not ...bad luck or did he eff it up himself . Hopefully Rolands got some guys knocking on his door with good fresh ideas ....you guys deserve it .
  • Hopefully RD will forget his experimental overseas coaches. This is the Championship, keep it British.
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Roland Out!