Just six months ago, I wrote a post that outlined how those in charge at Charlton Athletic could begin to at least stop the rot, though I did lean towards the idea that it might just be too far gone, so badly had relations deteriorated.
When it was subsequently republished on the When Saturday Comes website, I received a fair amount of criticism from some Charlton fans, I believe largely on the basis that the thrust of my piece had been misunderstood. Some read it as me saying that by saying sorry, owner Roland Duchatelet and right-hand woman, CEO Katrien Miere, could have a free pass to carry on. To be honest, my view was then and still is now, that however the two Belgians want things to end up – whether they stay or go – they needed to calm things down, and at least neutralise and manage the opposition that they had essentially created themselves. If nothing else, they needed an exit strategy, and being in the middle of fight with your fans won’t make it easy to offload a club that seems to struggle not to lose money.
So it’s with great interest that since their new head of communications Tom Rubashow has entered the fray, he’s clearly stopped the ill-thought-out public statements from officials that invariably made things worse, and just a few days ago, obviously persuaded Miere to take a Q&A from the supporters – including the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust, during which they admitted that they have been the source of some of the problems, including the substantial number of stay-away fans. If nothing else, perhaps the appearance of an arrogant Chief Executive and owner will recede. (This story today indicates the exit strategy idea might have some legs.)
Great minds clearly think alike.