With the second coming of Charlton Athletic manager Jose Riga last week and the subsequent 6-0 debacle against Hull City, I ask what has gone so wrong at the Valley.
These issues stand firmly at the door of Charlton’s Belgian owner Roland Duchatelet, whose outlandish policy of interchanging managers and players from his other business venture (club) Standard Liege has naturally led to a steady decline in the fortunes of both clubs. Furthermore, the re-appointment of Jose Riga has fortified this ridiculous policy, with Riga having managed both Standard Liege and Charlton twice each, with limited success.
The constant turmoil surrounding the stability of the clubs’ managers has now led to an obvious disconnect between fans and owners, with multiple protests having taken place over the past weeks. Duchâtelet, however, is no stranger to protests, having enraged Standard Liege fans with his threats to pull the club out of the Belgian league if they didn’t merge with its Dutch counterparts. Some fans even broke into the ground to confront him in his office.
Chief executive Katrien Miere has further enraged the oppressed Charlton fans by comparing them to restaurant customers who can simply not come back if they don’t like what is on offer. Her persistent contradictory proposals for Charlton’s future hasn’t helped mend the discord between the fans and owners. Miere and Duchâtelet have also declined to enter into negotiations with the former Chief Executive Peter Varney, who has shown an interest in buying the club.
Duchâtelet has now sold Standard Liege, but not before stripping them of all their assets. This won’t provide much hope for the long suffering ‘Addicks’.
With Katrien Miere openly revealing that Charlton’s transfer model is to produce and sell young players, it’s hard to see much progress, particularly when you begin to consider the shocking lack of quality coming into the club.
The outlook for Charlton is bleak, as in addition to their lowly league position, they are likely to sell some of their better players in January, including the unruly but prolific forward Tony Watt, who has been on loan at Cardiff City, following several instances of training ground bust-ups.
Fans of the south London club are rightly upset with the way Duchâtelet has run Charlton since arriving in January 2014. During this time, he has dismissed four managers, including Chris Powell, a club hero. Key players have been sold without significant replacements of quality and the team is now overly reliant on youngsters brought through from the club’s academy (who they eventually sell on for meagre profits) and players from Duchâtelet’s network of clubs across Europe.