Ownership Problems At Charlton Athletic

Addicks fans have been protesting for over a year now in an attempt to get their owner to sell Charlton. And here is why…

The time in the Championship

On the 3rd of January in 2014, Belgian businessman Roland Duchatalet bought the club. He immediately made decisions that were hated by Charlton fans such as the following. With him buying the club right at the start of the window, he made plenty of changes to the squad for the worse. Most notably Charlton legend Yann Kermogant being sold on deadline day and being replaced by a man named Piotr Paryszek. Paryszek played just 3 minutes ever in a Charlton shirt and has even quoted since playing for the addicks. ‘On the first day of training I knew I was well out of my depth.’ This man was supposedly better than Kermogant. A man who scored 29 goals for Charlton and making 89 appearences.

Manager Chris Powell  has said since his sacking that was told to play certain signings, including goalkeeper Yohann Thuram-Ulien and defender Loic Nego. These players were handpicked by Duchatelet from his network of six European clubs and with no experience of English football. Thuram arguably being one of the worst Charlton players in the history of the club. The goalkeeper made just 4 appearances for Charlton but was remembered for making several mistakes in just those 4 games costing the Addicks quite a few points.

The Addicks had reached the FA Cup quarter final that season and faced a game against Sheffield United for a place at Wembley. Powell has said this since his sacking talking about his status as manger “I knew the night before the Sheffield United game that it would not be long. You should not be thinking like that when you are preparing for one of Charlton’s biggest games for a long time.” The Addicks lost the game 2-0 at Bramall Lane and Powell was sacked after the match.

The ownership has not really changed the strategy of selling the best players and replacing them in the cheapest possible way with the tactic clear of making as much money as  possible  and not caring about the success of the club.

Most managers wouldn’t have accepted this for obvious reasons so throughout the years in the championship since Powell’s sacking managers that no one has ever heard of would be appointed. Simply on the basis they were happy to accept the players. All of the managers were part of the network from his six clubs. While the Addicks were in the Championship there were 5 different managers appointed (one being appointed twice). One of these mangers was Karel Fraeye who was appointed ‘interim manager’ last season despite managing for 3 months and picking up just 2 wins. Meaning the Charlton fans were effectively lied to about him being an ‘interim manager’.

Since being in League One

With Charlton being relegated last season the Addicks finally appointed a British manager in Russell Slade and bought mainly British players however still attempting to do it in the cheapest way possible with signings being mainly loans and free transfers. This being shown by the fact that the Addicks are in another relegation battle to avoid league 2. Despite being no where near the promotion battle in January, Charlton hardly spent any money in the window on new signings despite selling Lookman to Everton for a fee of 11 million pounds.

The Chief Executive

Katrien Meire, the chief executive of Charlton has been at the club since Duchatalaet bought Charlton and has been a massive problem too. She has constantly lied to fans on many, many different occasions in defence of Roland and has certainly proved she is very poor at her job. She has labelled the fans as customers, as if we are just a source of money to Roland. Some of the lies include her saying that just 2% of fans are against the regime; claiming every manager appointment has proven to be the correct decision; saying that Roland did not force managers to pick players; that they had a target of being a competitive Championship team with Premiership ambitions; stating that Karel Fraeye was an interim manager and as well as this plenty more too.

The Protests

Protests have included chants before and after matches outside the West Stand where chief executive Meire sits, objects thrown on the pitch at the start of matches, a big sign saying ‘liar’ pointing down on Katrien Meire during a match, a mock funeral held to signal the death of the club, fans wearing black and white instead of the club’s colours of red and white, marches to the ground and most recently demonstrations in Duchatalet’s home town in Belgium.

Charlton are still currently battling to get their owner out before that Addicks sink any lower than fighting to avoid league 2.