Friday 29 April 2016

The Standalone 2 !

More communication from the club ( they are spoiling us aren't they ? )

Finally after hours of doctoring typing up the minutes of The Fans Farce Forum have been published on the club’s website. The redacted reviewed document makes interesting reading ( like hell ! it’s full of stuff and nonsense ).
As a record of a meeting these are about as poor as you’ll ever encounter. Appropriately they’re of Conference standard which seems entirely appropriate as we ready ourselves for a level of football to match. There are no details of the venue, start time, finish time or in what capacity folk are attending.
No minutes of the previous meeting were ever written as it was videod, something we now learn was a one off. Not everyone was comfortable apparently and KM has a desire to save us all 1 hour 30 minutes of video.
The Night Of The Long Tongue will not be repeated which is a blessing in one way as no one wants to witness another vomit-inducing episode from the one who is in relegation denial !
It would appear that a second option of a audio recording is beyond the realms of possibility then ? It’s almost as though they’ve something to hide isn’t it children !
However, it is preferable to the latest output where we seemingly have to fill in the gaps ! I appreciate that minutes aren’t a verbatim record of events but hell, this meeting would have over quicker than one of our recent breaks in play if this is remotely accurate.
It’s not clear where matters arising starts and ends but never mind. POYD is referenced without a word of thanks to the organisers. However, we at least know where sales are at because unlike season tickets this is not deemed commercially sensitive information !
Why the hell is this commercially sensitive ? Who else is selling these tickets that we can’t know how fast they’re flying off the shelves.
It’s a case of filing in the blanks for many items in the minutes. Statements / questions are made requiring an answer but there isn’t one ! In some cases just another comment is put below another statement / question. Guess we’ll never know !
My favourite responses surround the questions as to why so many senior people are leaving and whether it’s anything to do with “ the statement “.
A combination of things and unable to comment on HR matters. The statement was the straw that broke the camel’s back in other words.
It is normal when clubs are relegated for people to look for positions elsewhere. A couple of points here :-
  1. We weren’t relegated when they left
  2. In one case the person concerned had only been in office for a number of days.
  3. In 99% of cases folk don’t leave their jobs unless they’ve another one already lined up or they’re severely pi**ed off.
The item of Communications is another corker where we learn that someone sitting in a dark office doing a copy, paste and send in response to 700 emails shows that there remains a strong bond between the club and its customers supporters and the relationship is good and hasn’t broken down.
Further we learn the Roly spent 1.5 hours chatting to 2 lucky standalone fans at an as yet to be disclosed venue. Whoever you are please make yourselves known and share….we’d all love to know !
Then there’s “ The Statement “ ! Drafted by SMT with input from Roly. Hmmm I thought it was entirely Roly’s work with the SMT ( including former Head of Comms ) very much against. The things you learn eh ?
We go on to discover that Target 20k ( yes, really it still is ! ) whilst tackling the nitty gritty are looking at alternatives to the sofa ! You what ? Apparently discussion around the potential purchase of a chaise longue caused much confusion prompting Tony to ask if he was the Southampton striker. The meeting continued after the guffawing died down and folk wiped up the coffee that had suddenly been expelled via their nostrils.
KM clarified that the club state they want to be competitive in the league as “ we don’t’ want to build up expectations “……….you’re safe there love !
We also learn that the club is not for sale and that no offers have been made or discussed. I don’t know the old rumour mill eh ? I really ought to know better !
Finally…………..” Is owner aware of scale of discontent “ ( this question obviously came from our Asian correspondent Tricia Takanawa ).
To this we learn that “ he is fully appraised “. That explains it all then. If only someone kept him “ fully apprised “ then he’d have a Scooby about what was going on !
Tomorrow sees a battle of the worst owners. Whoever wins the game has surely lost the bragging rights on that one !
Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Forgone Conclusion

He'd make a better of job of running Charlton

Well no one saw that coming did they ! It's been on the cards for months but now it's a cert it doesn't make it any more bearable. 

I think the game that convinced me it was all over was back in December away to Brighton. 2-0 up in 6 minutes and then it all went so wrong. Other lows include most notably the game against MK Dons. They have to be just about the worst I've seen in many years not least in terms of effort and commitment - both were missing in action !

It's easy to blame Fraeye for all this but he like Luzon and Peeters is just symptom not the cause. We all know what is at the heart of the problem. Fair play to Duchatelet, he's a quick worker. A club that has taken generations to build is systematically dismantled in just two years........impressive !

To cap it all off after weeks of silence our CEO pronounces how deeply disappointed everyone is. Deeply disappointed !! Doesn't get anywhere near how most of us feel.

I could go on and write several paragraphs listing the litany of mistakes and failed appointments over the last two years but they're well documented. One of the most telling things is that as recent as January Meire and Murray were defending all that had gone before and even outlining their plans for the future whilst ridiculing " the 2% " that were protesting.

That typifies this regime - a refusal to acknowledge the truth that was staring them in the face. Allied to this was / is the stubborn refusal to do anything about it. hogwash from Murray about the most important relationship is between the owner and the manager. This all followed on from Katrien outlining her vision including Target 20k. 

I think it'll be long time before we get a one off crowd of 20k never mind it being an average attendance. No doubt that's how we'll be able to describe attendances next season......average.

I honestly believe that Roly thought we'd get out of it even when Riga was appointed. He had two warnings before but utterly failed to learn from them very much like many other things.

This most unnecessary of relegations and woeful seasons is now drawing to a close. One can but hope that the same could be said of Roly's ownership. He'll do well to get his rumoured price of £38m. I suspect the man who doesn't do failure won't appreciate how self-inflicted it all is.

I'm sure Katrien won't appreciate relegation being confirmed with two home games still outstanding as the weird customers vent their feelings during those matches. Are you sitting uncomfortably ? 

Nothing will improve until Duchatelet goes of course and what happens in the meantime it could get even worse. In the meantime we have witness the most awful of seasons play out in front of our eyes.
At least over those two games we may witness two teams who'll be playing in the Premiership next season. 

Ah the Premiership..........I remember that !

Come On You Reds !

Thursday 14 April 2016

On The Verge

Question is Mr Duchatelet, how far will we fall ?

Surprisingly no matter what happens on Saturday we will not be relegated. After such an appalling season that seems incredible. However, we all know that we're pretty much dead and buried and in reality have been for many months. Even if we'd won our last two games we'd still be 5 points from safety ( six if you include our woeful goal difference ).

We're just awaiting the last rites now. Sadly, we'll not just be burying an awful season. A lot of our pride, hopes and dreams are heading 6 foot under and may not reappear for some time. That some time may be many years.

I now have to suffer the kids at school ribbing me about my team. Fair enough but tempted as I am I can't tell them about this rich ba**ard owner who is ruining my club..........much as I'd like too ! None of it does much for my credibility as their PE teacher !

Relegation is part and parcel of supporting your team ( well it is for most us save a select few who follow some of those Prem teams whose clubs aim of being incredibly wealthy and never having to worry about the dreaded R word is a reality these days. ). However, under the richest owner we've ever had this is a relegation of the worst kind.

The future offers no hope whatsoever unless Duchatelet has a complete U-turn whilst riding the club of some of the most ineffectual employers it has ever had. At present we are set to lose virtually all our decent players and probably some more decent club staff to go along with those that have already departed.

We do have a crop of fairly good and promising youngsters but they need gentle introduction into the team alongside some seasoned pros. When we last escaped the third tier we recruited extensively as Chris Powell managed to get them all to gel so effectively. There's little chance of that being repeated even if we did copy that same level of player acquisition.

Derby come calling on Saturday and they still harbour real hopes of getting to the promised land despite the rather harsh sacking of Paul Clement. They've been on a decent run of late and will be a tough nut to crack.

We might as well make the most of the three remaining home games as they'll the last we see of Champ football for a while I fear. I think we're in for a long summer looking to see who might come in whilst one by one players leave.

I'd like to think that the cricket will offer a pleasant distraction but as Kent have just spent four days looking out the dressing room window without a ball being bowled the omens aren't good ! Hey Ho !

Come On You Reds !

Tuesday 5 April 2016


Don't worry I haven't come over all a2c ( that sounds worse than it's meant to ! ). It's meant to be play on words nothing more, nothing less and not related to his ramblings about " fings dahn our gaff ".

A good win on Saturday against another side who were nothing special but still managed to find themselves on the edge of the play-offs. As I've remarked before I've yet to see a really good side at The Valley this season. I expect Burnley will show otherwise but what I seen to date hasn't greatly impressed me. Yet people still say this is the most difficult league to get out of !

Colin ( I dislike him as much as anyone else ) continues to do wonders at Rotherham. Not that I suspect it's been noted by our owner although hardly surprising if you're sitting in an office in Brussels staring down at your Belgian brogues.

The lads are prolonging the agony ( as if we need that ! ) and tonight another must win game is upon us prior to the trip to Loftus Road, the home of the deluded. It's unlikely we'll record a second successive Saturday double there but we must hope.

I assume the worst dead leg injury in sporting history prevents Henderson from even taking a place on the bench tonight. It would seem folly to risk Solly tonight and one assumes he'll reappear against QPR.

Sanogo should at least be back on the bench. He made a mistake against the Dons for sure but he'll learn from it and is one of the few goal scoring options we have. 

Bauer may also be back and again probably on the bench as it'd be a bit harsh on the current central defensive pair for one of them to give way. The run of three games in 8 days will no doubt necessitate some rotation in any case.

I'm not optimistic for tonight ( for the record I never am ! ). Our record at Portman Road isn't great I don't think so that in itself doesn't give one cause to be hopeful. However, we can but dream just as we do about getting new owners who might look at clubs like Ipswich and managers like McCarthy and think " that's how it should be done ! ". 

Come On You Reds !

Friday 1 April 2016


I'm sure even Brum would score from a corner against us.

Two weeks nearly since our last outing and latest 3-0 reverse and nothing has greatly changed in the fortunes or direction of CAFC.

Our esteemed owner has further worsened his " relationship " with the customers something which is quite an achievement really, huh ! Other than that there's no cause for optimism on any front on or off the pitch.

One or two long term injuries appear to be returning to the training ground but aren't match-ready. Stephen Henderson doesn't appear to be fit to return to the squad as his dead leg / finger injury / chipped fingernail ( delete as applicable ) shows no signs of improvement.

Our chances of surviving realistically went ages ago but even the mathematical ones are fast diminishing.

Still no word / comments directly attributable to our esteemed CEO on anything at all really. Not that it's worth hearing anyway I suppose. However, one assumes that we are still devoid of plans for League 1.

All in all situation normal in S.E.7.

Looking back on the video of the meeting from November 2015 and Katrien was saying that  " we also need you the fans to make this club bigger and better........and we will make that happen ".

She also went on to refer to further engagement other than just the fans forum. Hmmm no sign of that I fear !

Either in this same video / meeting or another she says that she is responsible for the running of the club. That's how the owner wants it I seem to recall.

Remember those key objectives :-
  • Competitive Championship team with Premier League ambitions
  • Grow average attendance to 20k through fan engagement
  • The Academy and community at the heart of its operations

Clearly Katrien has failed spectacularly on all three of those. To be fair she didn't put a timescale on any of that other than to say it would be " in the next coming years " ! Me neither !

In reference to connections with the community she refers to local businesses including Andrew Sykes. Well, here we are some 4 months later and Andrew Sykes are withdrawing their financial support of the club I understand.

Given the above it's a shame that no one has asked her what she would do if she failed with aims that she set out and statements made about working closer with the fans.

Of course she has only succeeded in alienating the vast majority of fans and the Target 20k initiative is dead in the water. Any decent person would acknowledge their failure and resign but I think Miss Miere won't go of her own accord and it seems that hell will freeze over before Roly dismisses his blue-eyed girl.

As we hurtle towards League One we can only believe that we will start next season in no better position. Who would want to come to our club no matter what league we're in is unclear. That would not just be players but coaching staff and other potential employees in general.

Tomorrow's game against Birmingham provides another reminder of how mismanaged the playing side alone has been handled as Michael Morrison once again sets foot on The Valley turf. Whilst not the most accomplished defender we've ever had he played with heart and real commitment and gave it his all.

Like Kermogant it appears that very little effort was made to keep him. That he is a regular in a promotion chasing team speaks volumes. He's bound to prove his worth again tomorrow should he be tested !

Little short of winning every game would keep us up. Sadly, like many others I wonder given Roly's ongoing stewardship if it means anything at all if we did.

Come On You Reds !