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An open letter to Charlton Athletic

I am writing to you to voice my discomfort at the future of Charlton Athletic. In recent months I have seen a club I adore dearly be slowly ruined by the ownership and management. I place Mr Richard Murray in the same category also, however do hold a regard for what he has done for the club in recent history.

If fans had the ability to pass a vote of no confidence, I believe it would have been utilised months ago, probably at the sacking of Chris Powell in 2014. The lack of communication with the fans at present is dire, and I am sure you are aware of the protests (not covered much in national press) that has lead fans to be ignored by the club, and thus even angrier. I am sure you will agree that football is not just a sport in this country, it is a lifestyle choice, a family devotion and a lifetime emotion that runs through any individual dedicated to a team. I have been a season ticket holder at Charlton for 7 years, and attending all my life. Recently the club sees us as customers, that does not make fans angry, that makes them wince in pain, to give your life to a club to be branded as ‘weird’ by the CEO, and customers who ‘seem to think they have a say in how the club is run’.

With well-formed peaceful protests such as the boycotting of food outlets and restaurants at the club on Saturday 23rd January, I am sure you will agree that Charlton fans have a sensible way of getting a message across, but why are the club ignoring us? Why are they not talking, they promised better communication, the last communication was to defend a steward who was spoken to by the police for elbowing a carer in the face when forcibly removing a gentleman who displayed a banner asking for his club back, no profanities, no hateful messages, just asking for his club back, is that a punishable offence?

The boycotting will not stop, the caterers will suffer, they will therefore employ less people on the day, local people, young people earning a modest hourly rate, is that something we want to do? Place people out of work? No.

The current state of affairs are becoming out of hand, with the after match protests involving smoke bombs, people throwing glass at the front of the stadium, calling for the owners to sell the club (rightly so), but mainly, primarily asking for the club to talk to us. We pay hard earned money to go every week to support the team [not the regime] for the whole of our lives, and they think they have the right to call us customers after showing up 2 years ago, with the CEO openly admitting she cares little for the history of the club, the history in which local supporters ran for parliament and council just to get The Valley back, the history in which fans raised money to buy their own stadium back. Imagine the next Prime Minister coming in and openly stating he cares little for the history of our democracy, food for thought.

The fans are passionate, they will not give up until the owner sells the club, and there is no going back now. The main issue and reason of concern is with the protests ever escalating, how much is this going to cost Greenwich Council, in terms of Policing, Ambulances, Fire service? With Saturdays protest well exceeding 5,000 people and the club just putting barriers out to protect their front door, there is going to be consequences of peoples wellbeing at said protests, they will only get bigger, they will only get more violent, all out of desperation to have the owner leave. I ask you refer to the petition to have Roland Duchatelet sell the club and leave:

Does Roland know of the unrest at The Valley?

The latter being something that I am sure you will agree will spark mass outrage, riots, protests, destruction of property and put many people at risk of injury, not to mention the cost to the local police, ambulance, fire service… all over an owner who is not effective to a club in English football, and paid his last visit 2 years ago. If he wants an entertainment centre, build a shopping centre, then see how many locals want to create a football team to place inside it, do not take a 111 year old football club, and try to change it into something it is not, you will insult over a centuries worth of hard work, dedication and support.

I think you will agree, Sirs, that the ideology of an entertainment centre and a network of clubs joining together to create a mantra of interchanging players and managers across continents will never happen, and we will save a lot of time, money and cost to our local emergency services if we took action now, as the fans have a proven history of never giving up, that is what makes Charlton Athletic the great club that it is.


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    what's your beef with Peter Varney?
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    Meant to say Richard Murray, forgot to amend when I re-drafted the first paragraph. Oops!
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    Dont mean to throw cold water on the above, however:

    a. Neither Roland or KM wil read this 'open' letter.
    b. If they do they will treat it with their usual disdain.
    c. If you really believe you are achieving something with this diatibe... think again; you cannot reason with big businesses run by people of the ilk of RD.
    d. Again, appealing to their better nature with pleas over local jobs being lost... same outcome I'm afraid.
    e. Pointless talking about crowd safety and emergency services, that's what they are paid to do.

    Conclusion: only way RD will leave the club is if some wealthy conglomerate makes him an offer he can't refuse.
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    I don't disagree with the sentiment but I can't see this making any difference to anyone. It's too long for those unaffected by things Charlton and doesn't bring anything new to the table.
    And we know that Meire, Duchatelet and Murray aren't for turning yet by a letter. If they ever will be.
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    edited January 2016
    Does the person or persons that 'open letters' are aimed at ever read them ?

    CARD thought it was 3000 at the protest but above you say 5000 +. Which was it. Or was it 2000. Or 1867.
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    No way 5,000!!!!
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Roland Out Forever!