Saturday, 9 April 2016

Dear Sir..

Today sees even the most optimistic among us finally accepting that we are to return to League One.
This is wholly unnecessary and purely down to the (ahem) 'correct' decisions our owner and his toady minions have made. 

A few weeks ago, I rattled off an email when the club showed it was finally going to pretend to listen to the fanbase by providing us with an email address.

I decided to explain why I am not renewing my Season Ticket. 

I have copy and pasted it below in the hope that it might encourage other people to write and explain why they are holding back on a repeat purchase.

* So far there has been no response from the club.

If you were time rich you could check that I've had a Season Ticket at Charlton for 20 seasons.

Having Charlton as a part of my life has been the one thing that hasn't changed.

It didn't change even when work conditions altered, my marriage broke up, close relatives became sick or died or moved to other parts of the world.

Following Charlton has been part of my identity. 

It's part of who I am and how I'm known to other people.

I've made myself really unpopular by refusing to attend social events or arriving at them late if they clashed with Charlton fixtures.
I've spent thousands of pounds over the years on travelling to see the team around the country and also to get back to Charlton for home games while holidaying elsewhere, then returning to the holiday.

I've loved every minute of it.
I'd say I'm a committed fan.

It breaks my heart to think that I'll be turning my back on the club, that one thing that helped me get through tough times but that's what I'm doing.

I will not be buying a new Season Ticket until this inept stewardship of the club has ended.

When Charlton won League one, the club was a beautiful organisation with supporters, players, sponsors and owners all pushing together in the same direction.

There was a unity of purpose.
There was a belief.

We knew the club was unlike any other. 

There was a 'feeling' and a mutual respect between all parties.

The one thing the club didn't have was enough money.
The Jimenez and Slater years had meant some corners were cut but we knew that with just a little bit of cash, things could get back on track.

When Roland Duchatelet bought Charlton I was cautiously optimistic.
I had of course read about how he was detested by Standard Liege supporters but I still hoped for the best.

All Duchatelet needed to do was buy into the ethos of Charlton, spend a bit of cash and we'd be looking at a successful club who'd be knocking on the door of the Premier League.

I can't deny Duchatelet has spent money. He's just spent it on things that won't help the main product, the first team.
He's also not 'spent' the money, he's loaned it, making it extremely difficult for somebody else to buy the club.

The owner of a football club should be someone who cares for it on behalf of the community, before passing it on, hopefully in a better condition, to the next person who will do the same.

Duchatelet has seen the club and the players as a Cash Cow to be bled for his own personal gain.

It's a sad state of affairs when Valley Gold have to hold back money to the club that has traditionally gone towards promoting the young Academy players progression to the first team, due to Duchatelet's 'vision' of selling them once they make it to the shop window playing squad.

Unfortunately, my early positive hopes for Duchatelet very quickly turned to dust.
He showed his lack of class and understanding of the club by removing as many 'good' parts of Charlton as he could and replacing them with poorer versions.
This was not just on the playing side. The staff behind the scenes were systematically dispensed with if they had a whiff of the old guard or they were old school 'proper' Charlton.

Good people who were fired or 'let go' all had similar stories of the disarray behind the scenes but have all been labelled as mere unhappy ex employees with axes to grind.

This would all have been bad enough but then the constant fibs and misinformation regarding the appointment of the regular new Head Coaches, (fed to the supporters by a CEO who may be excellent at being a lawyer but is beyond parody in the crass way she deals with the 'customers' ) just puts the cherry on top.

Recent (drunken?) outbursts from Duchatelet that somehow found their way onto the official website brought shame on himself but ultimately showed the club in a very poor light.

The supporters are now considered the enemy as far as the owner and CEO are concerned.

We are inconvenient. We are 'weird'.

I felt I had to let the club know why I have decided not to renew my Season Ticket.
*However, you can rest assured I will be hot footing it down to the Ticket Office (or NHS call centre) to purchase one as soon as news filters through that Roland Duchatelet has become little more than an unhappy paragraph in the history of Charlton Athletic.

I'd also like to add that this is not results driven.
When Charlton were relegated to League One last time I never for a moment considered any change in my support.
Some things don't change.

I remain a Charlton supporter but I cannot and will not financially support the owner who is taking me for a mug.