Thursday, July 16, 2009

Supporters' Trust meeting - 4 August

In response to the current crisis, former supporters' director Ben Hayes has called a meeting to discuss setting up a supporters' trust for 7pm on 4 August at Charlton Conservative Club, Charlton Church Lane.

More on this Charlton Life thread.

If you want inspiration, look here. We've history to live up to.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

About that Mail on Sunday story

I stuck this response to the Mail on Sunday's claim we're close to administration on Charlton Life, and I should probably stick it here too.

Here's how I see it. I've returned too late from the pub to add much new, but hopefully this brings some threads together.

1. The Mail on Sunday has impeccable contacts within and around Charlton Athletic.

2. Unattributed quotes *often* come from journalists' keyboards. Nobody will say anything on record, but a hack can cobble together a quote based on what s/he knows and attribute it to a "source" or a "friend". It may well be close to what someone's said. But don't imagine someone's rang someone up out of the blue - the MoS has great contacts, and that quote is *probably* the result of at least one conversation which didn't include those exact words.

3. But why would this story appear? Yes, horrors could have shown up in due diligence. But Richard Murray - who, yes, is responsible for past sins, but also knows the books inside out, is on record as saying we will not go into administration. The SLP, Murray's trumpet of choice, reported the board was ready to write off £30million to ease the takeover.

4. So if we were going to write off that debt anyway... is a board member not playing ball? As is mentioned above, when does friendly debt become unfriendly? Or, as is pointed out elsewhere... is this brinkmanship from the consortium? And in any case, who is this "consortium of local businessmen"?

I'm worried. But I think the best thing is to think about *why* that three-paragraph story appeared. If we really were in such very deep shit, it could be a bigger story. Fingers crossed it isn't.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cut the fancy talk and get to work

While some of you were braving the elements at Park View Road last night, I braved the crush at the bar in the Lord John Russell in Bloomsbury, drinking in good company and plotting for the future.

There are many, many better things to do at the moment than worry about Charlton Athletic. The reason I packed the blog in during February is that the last thing I needed was to depress myself, and because 26 consecutive posts moaning really doesn't do anyone any good. This club had enough moaners when we were doing alright - it didn't need more corrosive criticism while in a tailspin.

But with pre-season under way, what do we find to lift the spirits? Sweet bugger all. Even basketcase Southampton have got new owners, meaning its fans can now get on with their proper task of hunting down Rupert Lowe and throwing him in the Solent.

We have no such new dawn. Yet. The cancellation of tonight's fans' forum meeting - which I had a ticket for, but anticipated like I'd look forward to a root canal operation performed to a sell-out O2 arena - may mean that, finally, the long-drawn-out process of flogging the knackered Addicks is approaching an end.

Because ever since the Zabeel deal fell through, the club has been in suspended animation - eyes wide open, terrified by what might happen next and memories of past mismanagement. Under uninspiring Phil Parkinson, relegation was a certainty at Christmas. It happened, lots of people lost their jobs.

And now where is our shrunken club in July? We've finally said farewell to Zheng Zhi, in retrospect a purchase of Premier League vanity, who'd help us invade China when we can now barely invade our own back yard. Rarely fit due to the demands of his national team, it was no wonder we couldn't sell him in 2008, as the weight of his wages held down the sinking Charlton ship. It's incredible to even imagine we offered him a new contract.

Other barnacles scraped off the hull include Mark Hudson, off to Cardiff in a staggering bit of business, while the club's accountants can breathe a sigh of relief with the departures of Darren Ambrose (off to take his all-out, all-winning mentality to, um, Palace), Svetoslav Todorov and Nicky Weaver.

Coming in, though, we've only seen Miguel Llera, out of contract at MK Scum, arrive - not really a reason to haul myself to Welling to see a team of busted flushes and a manager that hopefully will be given his P45 soon.

The media hates a vacuum, and has struggled to fill it - watch our cleaning lady stick a brush down the boardroom toilet on CAFC TV - only £9.99 until August! No thanks.

Unveiling a pretty bog-standard new kit piece by piece was just patronising, and pretending that our sponsorship deal with Medway Towns Credit Union is something incredible just comes across as daft, even if they're paying you to talk them up. I don't think we were beating sponsors off with a stick, were we?

And banging on about being a Kent club - sorry, but shut up. It may have been a unique selling point in the Premier League, but Kent already has one two-bob load of shite in League One. I don't hear any great demand for another.

Let's get back to basics. We're a two-bob load of shite in south London, bob-bob-bobbing along with our fellow two-bob south London club Millwall, and looking to get out of this mess pretty damn quick. No fancy talk, no wishful thinking, is going to help. Investment and, more importantly, fresh thinking is needed at The Valley. The golden days have gone - and we now all have to work our arses off to bring them back again. Now get to it.