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New Article: The Best Explanation of Roland Duchatelet's Approach to Charlton

That I have read for a long while. Worthing drawing out into a thread of its own imo

The problem, as I see it, is the significant difference in world views between us, the fans, customers, clients, whatever, and RD, the owner, the industrial genius, the amazing visionary of a new way of football, or whatever.

Because we are there watching the team week by week, feeling attachment, long history of support, etc. we want success. Success in football is very simple. Be entertaining, win enough to not get relegated and occasionally do something to add excitement to the season. Be in a fight for the play offs, or winning the league, or a cup run. And if we find ourselves in a relegation fight, to see a team which is fighting and trying to avoid the drop. To do this you need a team of players who can play at the right level and a management team who engage with the fans, look like they are trying and understand the league in which the club is playing. Fund it in a way that gives hope of success, but not to the extent that it will break the club. This is the model followed by virtually every side in the country. The ones that have tried a different model are more often than not, the ones that have failed.

RD's world view is that he is an industrial visionary that can bring about a new way of doing things. He apparently wrote a book in the 90's which, ironically, was about getting greater transparency in the world of economics and politics. This led to him forming his own political party to try to bring about his vision i a political sphere. He has decided that he can break the current football economics model. Invest in infrastructure to train young players to bring them up to standard, put them in the first team and then sell them at a profit. Alongside this, make the fans into 'customers' by giving them a wider match day (and possibly mid week) experience so the customers come for that experience as much as for the football. It wouldn't surprise me if he had plans of building shops, cinemas and restaurants alongside the ground to make football just a small part of what might happen at the Valley, thus reducing the risk.

We are also only a small part of his empire. His main business is in electronics and will, no doubt, take up most of his time. We are just a subsidiary that he has invested in for him to try out his ideas about football. He has put in place his team to run it. I would imagine that in his mind, they are doing a reasonable job, reducing the losses, adding in new experiences for the customer, and so on. He isn't that bothered how the current fans think because they don't fit into his new world of football. He only comes to the Valley for 2 or 3 hours mid week, every few weeks, for business meetings. He isn't interested particularly with the football or our history and what happens on match days. That is for KM and team to manage and provide him with results.

So the changing of the head coach (who is probably just a junior divisional manager in RD's mind) is being delivered in the same way you get in large companies. Divisional managers are moved from area to area to meet certain targets, but coming from an internal group who are known to the senior management team. Bringing people from outside is risky at that level, so go with what you know.

That is what we are getting. Junior managers, known to RD, delivering against short term goals and whilst RD owns the club I can't see any change to this. KM is delivering against the targets he has set her and probably seen as a success by RD. It wouldn't bother him that we see her as out of her depth, as our view of what a football club isn't his and isn't important. RM is there to keep the 'customers' happy.

We can all see how flawed the RD model is in the long term. It makes no economic sense and leads to a reducing of value year on year because success in footballing terms will be almost impossible, and football success is what drives increasing value in football clubs in the UK. But with RD we will never have a side which is capable of winning anything. Fans, as we know them, will drift away. Against that there is no culture in the UK of football clubs being anything other than places to see football matches. Having lots of other 'experiences' are just not part of the way we do things. So the idea of having 'customers' to enjoy a wider match day experience is mad.

But I suspect none of that matters to RD. He wants to prove he is right and he can afford to lose £40m. If it goes really badly he still has high value real estate to do something with. He is playing with us in a way that is foreign to our way of thinking because we see the club as a part of the community and there for the fans. He sees us as a vehicle to change the way football runs. And it is unlikely that he will attempt to understand us because our world view does not fit with what he is trying to do.

Personally, I don't think it matters who our manager is, because the end result will be the same, the gradual erosion of the club. My hope is that RD will get bored with this project and want out. The danger then, of course, is how he disposes of us. Will he sell a going concern or asset strip?

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Comments

  • Depressing reading but it seems to fit the actuality of what's going on.
  • Good points well made. Katrien has complained about there not being prize money for where you place in this division. With that in mind 21st each season is probably the aim, and anything better means you've gone over budget.

    We are merely a toy. It is an experiment and he's here for long-term meddling and testing rather than turning a quick profit. Varney would not have gone to him with the Kuwaiti money offering less than RD paid.

    He is an arrogant, pig headed fool and only when we're relegated and losing millions more each year, will he take any notice. Like Henry says, that may be the time we really have to worry about.
  • I think that's more or less spot on. It's took us on here a while to work it out by a process a gathering evidence (the Web Summit thing crucial in this) and making deductions. That's the closest we'll get to having it spelled out in "black and white".
  • RedPanda said:


    He is an arrogant, pig headed fool and only when we're relegated and losing millions more each year, will he take any notice. Like Henry says, that may be the time we really have to worry about.

    But by then we will not have any playing assets he can strip (like he did at Standard Liege). The Council will not allow The Valley to become housing (I hope) and it's value as a football stadium will have diminished, so selling will not see much of a return. Nor will the sale of a 4th tier football club.

    It is a flawed concept/idea.

    He said in an interview last year that he had about ten years left in life/business - where will Charlton figure in ten years? Will we be languishing in the 4th or 5th tier, but reaping the benefits of the Academy, thus breaking even? It's a very risky strategy, and in my opinion, has little chance of giving him any significant return.

    More likely is he sells every decent player we have this window/summer (asset strips), then seeks to sell the club for what he paid for it plus his recent losses - that is the only way he can make money.

    If that is soon enough for Charlton to recover (it would basically mean playing the u21's in tier 3 next season), my hope is yes.



  • Excellent points. The one thing that baffles me is the whole "match day experience" stuff - a look at Sint-Truiden's ground on Google Streetview will show you it has lots of retail, etc, built into it.

    But beyond maybe a hotel and some residential, The Valley's simply in the wrong location to repeat that trick.
  • RedPanda said:

    Good points well made. Katrien has complained about there not being prize money for where you place in this division. With that in mind 21st each season is probably the aim, and anything better means you've gone over budget.

    That's true as far as it goes, but really just emphasises how out of touch with the reality of football she is. An eighth place finish would normally suggest some sort of push for the play offs, a reasonable bunch of wins and fans turning up hoping to Nick the points necessary to squeeze into the top six to push for the prem. Merchandise and food sales all get a push as a result.
    21st place suggests a sesson like this one. Widespread dissatisfaction, crowds drifting away as they find better things to do, and an overall drip in income on match days, plus players with any ability wanting out, and decent players not wanting to sign. We are firmly in the second group, and the results are there for all to see.
  • If what HTC says is correct, and I think it is, then our only hope is to get close-up and personal to RD as well as RM and KM. Although RM and KM are only his buffers, we need to keep up the pressure on them to make the club impossible to run, as @AirmanBrown promised. However, we need to develop a strategy to make things ugly for RD. All the while he can sit in his cave and tweak his plan here and there our pain will get worse. Perhaps this was his original plan with SL until the heat got too hot for him in his own country, but we are conveniently out of sight - or so he thinks ! When's he next due at The Valley ? ;-)
  • The other thing that needs spelling out is that RD DOESN'T want promotion to the PL as that would make blooding his acadamy stars very difficult.
  • If this is his vision of how football should be in the future, then the game is doomed I tell ye!!
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  • @henrythecat.

    As others have already said, it's an excellent analysis, incisive and thoughtful.

    However, I am still not sure you have quite nailed it. No criticism intended, but if we study what he has done at the other clubs, it does not quite fit, in most cases, does it? But this is not surprising because he isn't doing the same different thing (if you see what I mean) at the other clubs. Each one appears to be different from the other.
  • Have thought similar and have written on this forum about it. Football is but a part of his business interests, and within that part, CAFC is but one of a number of clubs. How, then, can CAFC be a priority for Duchatelet? Well, it's not, is it? And the evidence is clear to see - which is why we must oppose him.
  • That was a good read. Was talking to a friend of mine on Saturday (an Ipswich fan) he said something about it all being a 'bit' of a tax fiddle...not to sure exactly what he meant....we had both had a fair few pints when this was being discussed.
  • @henrythecat.

    As others have already said, it's an excellent analysis, incisive and thoughtful.

    However, I am still not sure you have quite nailed it. No criticism intended, but if we study what he has done at the other clubs, it does not quite fit, in most cases, does it? But this is not surprising because he isn't doing the same different thing (if you see what I mean) at the other clubs. Each one appears to be different from the other.

    Different experiments running in parallel ? After all, he hasn't got much time left to prove everybody wrong!
  • I hear that Carol has already asked for more comfortable seats in the kit van.
  • Excellent points. The one thing that baffles me is the whole "match day experience" stuff - a look at Sint-Truiden's ground on Google Streetview will show you it has lots of retail, etc, built into it.

    But beyond maybe a hotel and some residential, The Valley's simply in the wrong location to repeat that trick.

    ..This worries me a bit.
  • Excellent points. The one thing that baffles me is the whole "match day experience" stuff - a look at Sint-Truiden's ground on Google Streetview will show you it has lots of retail, etc, built into it.

    But beyond maybe a hotel and some residential, The Valley's simply in the wrong location to repeat that trick.

    We will not need one of the stands soon, so turn them into shops
  • The worst thing about this is that Roland's obviously got his plan in mind, so he's not just looking to get his money back plus a little bit. He'd want a massive, massive payday over what he paid to even consider selling, and no right-minded buyer is going to pay a huge fee to take on losses and whittle their money away on a football club. If they could pick it up for £1 and then push for the Premiership then maybe but Roland's clearly not up for that. It's going to be so hard to find a buyer.
  • The worst thing about this is that Roland's obviously got his plan in mind, so he's not just looking to get his money back plus a little bit. He'd want a massive, massive payday over what he paid to even consider selling, and no right-minded buyer is going to pay a huge fee to take on losses and whittle their money away on a football club. If they could pick it up for £1 and then push for the Premiership then maybe but Roland's clearly not up for that. It's going to be so hard to find a buyer.

    Correct. That's why dialogue, with him at least, should remain a goal for the Trust. That does not at all preclude the Trust supporting the protests. And that dialogue could well be along the lines of, look mate, it isn't working for either side, is it?

    Just like PV, we owe it ourselves to be able to say, at least we tried.

  • @henrythecat.

    As others have already said, it's an excellent analysis, incisive and thoughtful.

    However, I am still not sure you have quite nailed it. No criticism intended, but if we study what he has done at the other clubs, it does not quite fit, in most cases, does it? But this is not surprising because he isn't doing the same different thing (if you see what I mean) at the other clubs. Each one appears to be different from the other.

    I agree. I think each club is a variation on a theme, but all are subsidiaries of RD Inc. I expect each club has slightly different targets, aims, etc. But we will get the same revolution of 'junior managers' that RD knows and trusts to deliver the results he wants. And I don't think the results he wants are the same as ours. We want success in football terms, he wants success in business/financial terms.
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  • Their model is flawed because they do not know the value of our talent £3.5m for Gomez is a joke. If we go down, we'd be lucky to get £1m for Lookman.
  • Accurate & depressing reading, as I said in another thread, I am just tired of all of this nonsense from the current ownership, whatever league we are in, however successful we are, all I want is a regular owner and regular football club to support.

    Something I took for granted in the past, something that no matter how terrible things might be on the pitch and no matter how little money was available to be spent by the various former owners in my 20 years as a supporter, never once made me question my desire to attend as many Charlton games as I could afford.

    Why did we have to be the club to draw the short straw and get an owner at the extreme end of that trend of football being a business, a deluded man without a passionate bone in his body.

    Just leave Roland, find a different hobby and stop destroying ours.
  • Why did he have to choose us for his experiment?
  • I suspect that won't be a million miles away from the truth, but I don't think relegation to league one is something Roland would not be too bothered about. Apart from the loss of day to day income, it is also harder to sell your assets for a decent price below the Championship. Or attract the players you might want to build value in. We moan that Roland isn't willing to go outside his network for appointments, but it may be true that he can't because nobody else will sign up to what he wants them to do. In desperate times he may have to offer a bit more - as per Riga - but that might also explain why he got rid as soon as he could.
  • It's scary....but in a way still in the hands of charlton supporters but it may take actions that you don't want to do such as boycott and just give them no money whatsoever ...and do that consistently.

    His belief that he can still get what he wants will slowly erode away and he would have to sell...or just continue looking like a fool.
  • A really good overview. He won't live forever ( although he probably thinks that he will) and then the club will certainly be put up for sale.
    Let's hope we are not completely buggered by then.
  • i still think RD is really Simon Jordan hiding away in an HQ based inside some dormant volcano..its the only logical explanation
  • Why did he have to choose us for his experiment?

    Cos our fans in the main are meek, trainspotting types. (Where's that pic of people getting autographs from Fraeye on Saturday?)

    Perfect choice.
  • Excellent analysis and thoroughly depressing.
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Roland Out!