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New Article: Roland Duchatelet - A theory.

Roland Duchatelet is a complicated character. I don't think anyone would disagree with that. One time student activist, hugely successful businessman who Wiki describes as billionaire. Senator in Belgium for three years and one time leader of his own political "social liberalist" party Vivant.

I seem to remember that around the time of his takeover of Charlton he was quoted as saying "communities need football clubs and that football is an important part of social fabric" or at least words to that effect.

I don't think Mr. Duchatelet is bothered whether or not Charlton are playing in the Premier League.

Why then did he buy the football club ? So here's my theory.

I think we are part of a philanthropic social experiment. I think he bought us because under the last ownership we were in serious financial trouble and he saw us as a needy, albeit timely for his purposes cause rather than as either a toy or an investment opportunity. He doesn't seem at least to me like he has an ego that he wants to flaunt to the footballing world.

I don't think he wants to spend fortunes but feels able to spend enough on infrastructure like pitch , training ground facilities and ground maintenance in order to put us on a stable footing going forward with the potential to be more self financing than ever before. He's doing the groundwork. A successful academy attracting good young players who see Charlton as a way of breaking through where year on year as the success of the academy grows we produce more players able to progress into the first team and yes, sold to help the club pay its way. Supplemented by astute foreign signings that are showcased in the Championship and short term improve the team but can also be sold for a profit. The greater that success then the greater the clubs.

I believe he sees his network idea as an aid to making his clubs able to break even. A network of friendly clubs able where possible to help each other out. Not a pyramid of clubs in the competitive sense but by nature of the network some clubs are higher up the football food chain than others. Polish Pete an example of a player brought in in the hope of success at Charlton but his failure was St. Truidens success. Better than him sitting in our reserves or being sold at a great loss.

He sees his role is streamlining the football clubs providing a legacy of sustainability and perhaps if there is an ego involved at all then it is to prove to himself that football can be run and sustained by community clubs like Charlton whilst remaining competitive in or around their natural level. Should success breed success then all well and good.

I don't think he will or has any intention of selling Charlton until he sees it all come to fruition or that is patently obvious that it cannot work. How long that takes is anyone's guess but looking at his model succeeding would surely take ten to fifteen years.

During that time I think we are as a football club likely to be frustrating and exciting in equal measure. Financially secure and building towards a sustainable future rather than either short or long term success on the pitch. We know from the early Murray years that a well run second tier club can punch above its weight. Get the financial support structure right and progress can be made.

It's a theory that I'm fairly sure will attract a lot of ridicule and perhaps that's justified. In support of it I can see no other really plausible reason for a slightly eccentric billionaire that doesn't actually like football much buying a football club in another country that he rarely visits without either wanting to hit the Premier League jackpot of which I see no real evidence. How easy would it be for a man of his wealth to "go for it" ?

I'll get my tin hat and wait for the inevitable.
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Comments

  • your theory is sensible and I could believe it is near the truth. If it is true that that's OK for me as I don't want Premiership football and the Championship with a first class academy and ground will do me fine.
  • good post .. to simplify my interpretation of the situation .. I consider RD to be a social and financial experimenter, who can afford to act on his whims, indulge his flights of fancy/reality/whatever .. he is perhaps a hobbyhorseist .. reality is that despite all the criticism aimed at him, he rescued CAFC from the mire .. we all need patience to see what transpires over the next three years or so .. too much abuse might drive him away and there is not a long queue of potential 'angels' to once again come to our rescue, especially given the West Ham situation, the Tottenham rebuilding programme and the vast funds available to Chelsea and Arsenal as well as newly prosperous Fulham and Brentford
  • That reminds me, I haven't see Groundhog Day for ages!
  • I can appreciate your reasoning but I think the "Network" model has been seriously undermined by the sale of Liege. No longer can Champions League aspirations fund the aquisition of decent squad players and educated punts that we can borrow/buy. Plan B can only be lean-budget gambles from obscure leagues, kids and short term loans. If CAFC were the new focus of the network we wouldn't be starting our 1st friendly with an untried kid, a formation the manager doesn't favour and at least two players out of position with hardly any experience on the bench.
  • vffvff
    edited July 2015
    Your theory is as good as anybody's SHG as to RD's motives. Who knows really, we can only go on the evidence of his actions. In the recent SLP article, the silence on the reason behind RD's plan was suggeted that it may be because there isn't a clear worked out plan. Brentford owner articulates a clear theory on the 'Money Ball' principle and will tell anyone about it, who cares to listen.

    Just as possible, RD may decide that with the FFP not working as he thought, that the football model is unsustainable. He did not get very wealthy by throwing his money away on loss making outfits. He is getting on, and thinking about what time he has left and does he want to do that banging his head against the footballing brick wall. He may be fixing up the ground, getting the Academy underway and preparing the sale to someone prepared to take on the job and put in the investment needed for a challenge to the premiership.

    The hope is that (in the selling of the club situation) similar to Standard that he will find a decent owner prepared to / having the funds to take on the job.

    None of us knows what is going to happen. Charlton at present are 6 players short of a competitive squad, that will allow for injuries, suspensions and loss of form. Like the ownership of the club, reasons for owning the club and the strategy used, we will wait and see as to what will happen. We will find out by the close of the transfer window whether there is a competitive squad, and in a bit more time whether RD wants to continue to be owner and what exactly he has in store for the club.
  • I can appreciate your reasoning but I think the "Network" model has been seriously undermined by the sale of Liege. No longer can Champions League aspirations fund the aquisition of decent squad players and educated punts that we can borrow/buy. Plan B can only be lean-budget gambles from obscure leagues, kids and short term loans. If CAFC were the new focus of the network we wouldn't be starting our 1st friendly with an untried kid, a formation the manager doesn't favour and at least two players out of position with hardly any experience on the bench.

    Isn't my point about the network that there isn't necessarily a focus at all. Each stand alone and help if, where and when they can.

  • Disagree with that HG. To expect our entire first choice squad to be ready and prepared by the time of the Welling game is foolhardy at best. It's absolutely meaningless in terms of squad, formation, anything. There will be more players to come in, and probably several more on their way out and a fair amount of fine tuning to be done. Were we in this position by the end of the preseason I would be more inclined to agree, but it's far too soon to draw any conclusions.

    Our signings thus far are admittedly gambles, but that has been the way for a long time now. Even in the latter Premiership days there were as many signings that failed as succeeded, it has always been the way - but we forget those who never made it.

    My own personal theory is that Roland will gladly sell to anyone who matches the valuation he puts on Charlton, but that he's looking to make the majority if not the totality of his investment back and even a profit if possible - not many are going to pay that for a Championship club now. Until then he's got the time and money that he's willing to continue with his own experiment but without any real burning passion to succeed. It's become something of an ego project/intellectual exercise I feel.
  • vffvff
    edited July 2015
    I am not sure that the RD model is necessarily going to sustain Championship status. For RD's break even method to be sustainable it depended on FFP working. FFP is not working in the way that RD hoped. It is doubtful that selling players to cover the losses is going to cover the losses or allow for a team that it is going to be sufficiently competitive. It is a gamble on Championship status each season.

    If RD sold, I don't think he would sell to anyone, who weren't up for the job. RD sold Liege to someone who looks like they will be pretty good for the club. It should not be assumed that a sale is going to be someone like the Oyston family at Blackpool or some other dodgy characters. Why bother to put the club on a better footing, just to throw it away to someone, who would do the club ill ? IMO that does not make sense.
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  • Good read that SHG. Whilst on my travels in France I met a Belgium restaurant owner, he pretty much agreed that whilst RD won't throw loads of money at Charlton he will protect the investment by making sure the infrastucture is put/kept in good order (just hope he buys a few more players...though there is still time to do this). He also said that KM was well like in Belgium (though opinions off RD were mixed) his overall assessment was that RD is good for Charlton and that we would do OK this season.

  • Excellent analysis. I think eccentric is a little harsh, but unorthodox certainly, and by nature he sees an interest in going against the flow. His business success is self-made, and whilst gratitude is not a common attribute of football fans Mr D might have thought his personal accomplishments, and the fact that he was the only one to put down his hard-earned to save us, might have earned him some respect, manifestly absent from his compatriots in Liege.

    His many interests must slice up his time wafer-thin. He must therefore rely on a sturdy control structure, doubtless heavy on statistical method, in which the loyalty and obedience of his lieutenants is a core feature. Mavericks are only tolerated while they are successful - that is why SCP ran out of road in Sheffield. His short-term successor JR was already lined up, and next-in-line BP was already in the pipeline. When GL left Standard Liege he was still kept on the Network's payroll as a safety net should BP fail, and that's exactly what transpired. Sound preparation by Mr D.

    One major casualty of the Network system is communication, or at least so far, so it would appear. If Mr D can solve this problem it will be to his enormous advantage. We have also to battle the stripey fungus spreading from SE25, or at least until Palace go broke again, but I think that Mr D has long recognised the many USPs that Charlton can claim.

    Mutual trust and understanding is what's shortest in supply - the emotions released by the Woolwich meeting might well have dismayed Network insiders. However, it is to be hoped the invaluable part that CAST will play in the fight for OS justice will alleviate any lingering suspicions on KM's part, and there are many other ways bridges can be rebuilt.

    KM refers to her boss as The Owner, and that is perfectly true. Nonetheless, Mr D owns only the shares (and, lucky him, the cheque book) of this special club. He does not possess its heart, its soul, its traditions nor its unique spirit. A rapprochement is surely only a matter of time but is already overdue.

    Mr D is an energetic 68-year-old and his rather strange comment during the SL disposal simply implied that he has given himself until he's 75 to stay active and achieve whatever his goals are, signifying that the grief he got from Les Rouches at his time of life was just not worth the ag. Let's not fall into the same trap as those lunatics, eh?

  • Under RD we are very unlikely to ever slip back into the chaos of the latter Slater and Co. days - staff unpaid, local businesses unpaid, a stadium falling into disrepair and a pitch on the verge of being unplayable. This is good. On the other hand, it now seems increasing unlikely we are going to be making a concerted and determined push to be promoted and chase the Premiership money hard - this is not necessarily bad but it does mean that we're likely to be stuck in the purgatory of mid- to lower Championship until RD either gets an acceptable offer, or bored enough to sell at a loss.

    The dilemma will come if/when RD loses patience and gets fed up with losing money, as eventually I am sure he will. For now, we'll get by. No more, no less. But unless he discovers a sudden burning desire for success at Charlton then long term I fear we may stagnate, and stand still. And in this division, that's tantamount to going backwards by default, unfortunately.
  • I know chelsea and man city have load of money for wages and fees for players. Why Is Roland so tight with wages?.
  • Cant argue with anyone above, but no one has mentioned future fans. What 10yr old is going to support a championship club intent on staying there and breaking even ? My 30 year old son has had a season ticket for about 20 years, it is his age group that have sustained our crowds since relegation from PL, going forward ?

    This is indeed a crucial issue. The club has a real fight on its hands. Until there is an advance in cryogenics allowing credit card use beyond the grave I'm afraid the necessary transfusion of young blood to sustain and revitalise CAFC is an absolute must - and increasingly urgent.

  • I know chelsea and man city have load of money for wages and fees for players. Why Is Roland so tight with wages?.

    if he spent 100mill on players with a 10-15mill a year wage bill or what ever. who will pay that when he leaves Charlton or dies? it is a dangerous situation, and the clubs mentioned have this dilemma to look forward to.

  • its weeks ago people were saying our best players would go to SL as they were top dogs---the main money would be spent on SL as they were the top dogs---RD only really cares about SL----now they are gone its doom and gloom ? FFS no matter what this guy does its shit in some peoples eyes. maybe he should sell us to a couple of ify wanabe playboys who know fuck all and lead us into administration ?
    so what "type" of owner do you want FFS ???? QPR get slagged off for spending cart loads of dosh, when Zebble where gona buy us "we had sold our soul" , yet when we try some sort of "sustainable model" its all doom and gloom.

    Lets be 100% honest most only support CAFC to moan and bleat

    Spot on, Charlton is a business like football in general. Tbh think the clubs being run fairly well over all YES they've made some mistakes but watching Charlton last season on the whole has been a hell of a lot less painful then the 10 years previous

    I can see why people are moaning about Roland we all want CAFC to be the best they can be. No one ever said it's going to be easy supporting them but that's why we do
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  • thenewbie said:

    colin1961 said:

    RD took over Charlton because of the riches of the prem...... He wants success, he not just going to sit back and watch Charlton just consolidate .... But he not going to throw bucket loads of money at it , he knows he as to run it as a business , if that tough decsions have to be made .
    Producing your own players, yes you may have to cash in on one or two over the years like Gomaz but the money from that deal will write of expected loses of 8 mill next 12 months.

    He now decided we are number one and sold SL , that proves that he wants success for CAFC.

    It 'proves' that IF someone is willing to offer enough money, he will sell any of his clubs. That's all. It doesn't 'prove' we will see a penny of that money.

    You CAN'T guarantee getting into the Premiership by any other method than chucking cash at a club. Sometimes a club will get lucky and unearth a particular combination of players and managers that allow a (relatively) lower spending club to sneak in amongst the big spenders. But sustaining a promotion bid takes money, lots of money. That's just the nature of the beast.

    You can have prudence and patience and hope you'll get lucky. You can spend your way to success and suffer the financial losses along the way. But to expect success as a direct result of low spending? Never going to happen, doesn't matter how smart or rich you are. And I suspect Roland's only just now realising what a massive and costly exercise actually getting the club into the Premiership and keeping it there (the better to sell it on) would be.
    I don't think he's worried by any of that. It's a project.

  • thenewbie said:

    colin1961 said:

    RD took over Charlton because of the riches of the prem...... He wants success, he not just going to sit back and watch Charlton just consolidate .... But he not going to throw bucket loads of money at it , he knows he as to run it as a business , if that tough decsions have to be made .
    Producing your own players, yes you may have to cash in on one or two over the years like Gomaz but the money from that deal will write of expected loses of 8 mill next 12 months.

    He now decided we are number one and sold SL , that proves that he wants success for CAFC.

    It 'proves' that IF someone is willing to offer enough money, he will sell any of his clubs. That's all. It doesn't 'prove' we will see a penny of that money.

    You CAN'T guarantee getting into the Premiership by any other method than chucking cash at a club. Sometimes a club will get lucky and unearth a particular combination of players and managers that allow a (relatively) lower spending club to sneak in amongst the big spenders. But sustaining a promotion bid takes money, lots of money. That's just the nature of the beast.

    You can have prudence and patience and hope you'll get lucky. You can spend your way to success and suffer the financial losses along the way. But to expect success as a direct result of low spending? Never going to happen, doesn't matter how smart or rich you are. And I suspect Roland's only just now realising what a massive and costly exercise actually getting the club into the Premiership and keeping it there (the better to sell it on) would be.
    I don't think he's worried by any of that. It's a project.

    No I agree entirely. I think the same. But I just don't think it's going to be a successful project, and I am a little concerned as to what his next step will be if/when he reaches the same conclusion. It's an idea he's had and he's got plenty of time and money to see if it will work. I simply don't think that it will.

  • vffvff
    edited July 2015
    thenewbie said:

    thenewbie said:

    colin1961 said:

    RD took over Charlton because of the riches of the prem...... He wants success, he not just going to sit back and watch Charlton just consolidate .... But he not going to throw bucket loads of money at it , he knows he as to run it as a business , if that tough decsions have to be made .
    Producing your own players, yes you may have to cash in on one or two over the years like Gomaz but the money from that deal will write of expected loses of 8 mill next 12 months.

    He now decided we are number one and sold SL , that proves that he wants success for CAFC.

    It 'proves' that IF someone is willing to offer enough money, he will sell any of his clubs. That's all. It doesn't 'prove' we will see a penny of that money.

    You CAN'T guarantee getting into the Premiership by any other method than chucking cash at a club. Sometimes a club will get lucky and unearth a particular combination of players and managers that allow a (relatively) lower spending club to sneak in amongst the big spenders. But sustaining a promotion bid takes money, lots of money. That's just the nature of the beast.

    You can have prudence and patience and hope you'll get lucky. You can spend your way to success and suffer the financial losses along the way. But to expect success as a direct result of low spending? Never going to happen, doesn't matter how smart or rich you are. And I suspect Roland's only just now realising what a massive and costly exercise actually getting the club into the Premiership and keeping it there (the better to sell it on) would be.
    I don't think he's worried by any of that. It's a project.

    No I agree entirely. I think the same. But I just don't think it's going to be a successful project, and I am a little concerned as to what his next step will be if/when he reaches the same conclusion. It's an idea he's had and he's got plenty of time and money to see if it will work. I simply don't think that it will.

    Me neither, and if and when RD realises it will likely result in RD selling on to someone hopefully decent. RD has had lots of schemes and projects but when they don't work he doesn't pursue them to seriously threaten his position financially (political party, joining together the Dutch / Belgium leagues, Standard Liege).

  • So there is consternation that our owner is secretive and dictatorial. I guess this is in contrast to the famously democratic Glikstens, the man of the people Mark Hulyer and his sole director the Nigerian guy, the ever-attentive John Fryer and, by no means least, Mr D's immediate predecessors the well known Trappists.

    Well, democracy in football is pretty much governed exclusively by the pound note, as it ever was, and right now Mr D is about £29,999,000 ahead of me (allowing for my grand's worth of valueless shares). The keyboard may have energised the public voice but it certainly hasn't yet brought empowerment.

    Mr D will find his way through the present maze, if only because he will not allow himself to be beaten by it. His methods he chooses not to reveal publicly to his competitors, which is certainly frustrating for the rest of us, but I'm certain that in due course he will begin to open up. In the meantime, there's that awkward issue of trust - it cuts both ways.

    There have been instances, some unresolved over the summer, which signify if not necessarily malice then certainly the club's ongoing failure to fully comprehend what this club is about. I have watched several times Ms Meire's appearance on Belgian TV, and it is disquieting that she is seemingly conducting a one-woman vigil over the silent summer Valley. No matter how thoroughly and deeply she has been Charltonised, her role is as High Priestess who runs the temple, whilst we are the ones who carry the true faith in our hearts. Fortunately, though, this is a religion which has room for all.
  • colin1961 said:

    RD took over Charlton because of the riches of the prem...... He wants success, he not just going to sit back and watch Charlton just consolidate .... But he not going to throw bucket loads of money at it , he knows he as to run it as a business , if that tough decsions have to be made .
    Producing your own players, yes you may have to cash in on one or two over the years like Gomaz but the money from that deal will write of expected loses of 8 mill next 12 months.

    He now decided we are number one and sold SL , that proves that he wants success for CAFC.

    my god, if only.
  • edited July 2015
    colin1961 said:

    RD took over Charlton because of the riches of the prem...... He wants success, he not just going to sit back and watch Charlton just consolidate .... But he not going to throw bucket loads of money at it , he knows he as to run it as a business , if that tough decsions have to be made .
    Producing your own players, yes you may have to cash in on one or two over the years like Gomaz but the money from that deal will write of expected loses of 8 mill next 12 months.

    He now decided we are number one and sold SL , that proves that he wants success for CAFC.

    You've excelled yourself here Colin. I really question to myself whether you believe what you write? Kudos none the less for the deluded-ness
  • colin1961 said:

    RD took over Charlton because of the riches of the prem...... He wants success, he not just going to sit back and watch Charlton just consolidate .... But he not going to throw bucket loads of money at it , he knows he as to run it as a business , if that tough decsions have to be made .
    Producing your own players, yes you may have to cash in on one or two over the years like Gomaz but the money from that deal will write of expected loses of 8 mill next 12 months.

    He now decided we are number one and sold SL , that proves that he wants success for CAFC.

    colin1961 said:

    RD took over Charlton because of the riches of the prem...... He wants success, he not just going to sit back and watch Charlton just consolidate .... But he not going to throw bucket loads of money at it , he knows he as to run it as a business , if that tough decsions have to be made .
    Producing your own players, yes you may have to cash in on one or two over the years like Gomaz but the money from that deal will write of expected loses of 8 mill next 12 months.

    He now decided we are number one and sold SL , that proves that he wants success for CAFC.


    How do you know this Colin? Are you in daily contact with him? Your thoughts are based on hearsay, Supposition and the fact you have decided that everything in the Charlton garden is rosy post Powell. Just because you want it to be so doesn't mean it is so.

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