A special announcement from the Protest Fund, from @Davo55 and @Curb_It
If there's one thing we've learned from last weekend's expedition of Charlton fans to Belgium, it's that Roland Duchatelet can get emotional about our football club.
Not in the way most of us get passionate about Charlton. No, Duchatelet's passion was stirred by a group of supporters who had the temerity to interrupt a convivial spot of lunch on his birthday - in the process shattering the myth that he watches all Charlton games on a live stream.
His anger was inflamed when a further group of fans appeared in Sint-Truiden the following day, having travelled in a taxi emblazoned with messages of protest against his regime. The fans distributed yet more thousands of leaflets to local residents explaining how one of their neighbours is destroying the club we love.
We only imagine how irate he became when the same fans proceeded to take the taxi to the European seat of parliament, visiting major landmarks to spread the message of his wilful wrecking of a community football club.
Or what he made of it when they then turned up at his electronics business to point out the damage to the company's reputation being caused by Duchatelet's utter disdain for Charlton.
Actually, there's no need to imagine. We know Charlton's absentee owner later complained to his local paper that the protesters were ex-employees (none on the trip have ever worked for the club) and were opposed to a female chief executive (two of the travelling protesters were women).
His anger was also evident when he texted in to Jim White’s talkSPORT radio show to say that the protests “have nothing to do with reason”.
We're not going to apologise for upsetting Duchatelet, though. In fact, we're going to step things up.
Charlton fans have proved that we can interrupt any match we choose. That we can shut off the main car park and cause chaos. That we can attack by plane, by taxi or by pig.
We've even shown that the fans can arrange a cheaper and better organised coach service to away games. That we can produce a replica kit to outsell the the club's official version. That we care more about local charities. That we can beat the club to announcing that it's sacked its own manager.
The fact is that Duchatelet has been humiliated at being given the run around by a group of fans he considers beneath him, whom he refuses to meet face to face unless it's a nice, safe hand-picked few when he is sneaked into the country.
And it's not just thousands of supporters against Duchatelet. It's former players, directors and staff; it's respected and experienced media professionals paid to be unbiased, who are consistently incredulous and scathing about his devastating impact on an institution thousands of people hold dear to their heart. Even supporters of other clubs, such as Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley and Coventry City, think Duchatelet is a stain on our national game.
Charlton fans promised we would make the club unmanageable. That we would be unstinting in our efforts to persuade Duchatelet to sell the club. That we wouldn’t stop. We hope you feel justly proud that we have all lived up to those promises over the last year. We humbly hope that the Protest Fund has played it’s part in this. Now we’re appealing for your further support.
You have been amazingly generous so far. An incredible £44,000 has been raised in the space of under 11 months to fund the protest activities.
But that money is being spent quickly. At one point last year Charlton fans were the third biggest purchaser of inflatable beach balls in the country. National retailers have been forced to put sold out signs up over some small spongy items. Putting a wrap on a London taxi for 3 months is eye-catching but expensive. There are more protest activities already planned, not least for the home match against Sheffield United. But the protests do cost money. A lot of money. Not wanting to re-open political debate here, the fact is even the cost of our projectiles is increasing significantly in the wake of Brexit!So we are today announcing Target £50k.
If we can all dig deep to raise another £6,000, we will blast through that £50,000 target - in massive and humiliating contrast to the club’s own target 20k initiative. If we can do that by early January, a tall order given Christmas, it will represent near enough an incredible £1,000 a week over the life of the fund.
Many of you have been steadfastly donating month in month out. To you, our heartfelt thanks - and please keep going if you can.
Many of you have donated often very significant sums on an occasional basis. To you also, our heartfelt thanks, and if you can, please help again.
Many of you have supported the fund through the purchase of CARD and other merchandise - this all helps too.
To everyone who supports the protests but has not yet been able to make a donation, we now ask for your support too, if you possibly can.
As always, we promise you that every penny is watched over as if it were our last, and spent carefully and hopefully wisely to help bring an end to this awful regime that holds our club in it's poisonous grip.
Thank you for all your support so far, and massive thanks in advance for helping to get to Target £50k.To donate by Paypal, please use firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, bank details for donations are:
Sort code 20-68-04
Account number 50661678