Sunday 8 May 2016

Farcical End To A Farcical Season

Yesterday's protest were the most vocal and angry to date.

Yesterday perfectly encapsulated our season as if it were summed up in a nutshell as the club got most decisions wrong on and off the pitch and yet another resignation.

There were many goodbyes in S.E. 7 on Saturday. On the football front both ourselves and Burnley said goodbye to the Championship sadly going in different directions with our exit the wrong one.

Many players said goodbye to The Valley as they won't want to stay any longer than they have or they'll be moved on by an owner who seeks to recover some money that he's wasted after a series of stupid and incomprehensible decisions.

Many more fans also said goodbye to The Valley and they'll not be back until this fool of an owner has sold up and gone. 

Finally, Jose Riga said goodbye to The Valley for the second time and I doubt we'll see him return as our manager again. He's made it clear what he thinks of the owner as he resigned. Jose becomes the latest in a number of recent high profile club resignations. Of course the one resignation we do want shows no sign of happening no matter how bad it gets.

Total misjudgement in a number of areas ensured that it was a memorable day for all the wrong reasons. The over the top security checks were as much a nonsense as they were a waste of time as banners and flares found their way into the stadium.........what a joke ! In addition, the majority weren't bringing in stress or beach balls and the amnesty buckets remained empty.

Burnley fans were allowed to bring in all manner of inflatables including one phallic one that made me do a double take as I thought Roly had finally turned up for a game !

The game itself like most recently pretty much passed me by although it was clear that we were more than a match for the Clarets in the first half. Sadly the old defensive problems ensured that two more goals in the space of two minutes ensured that Burnley could start celebrating a title win that rarely looked in doubt.

It was almost inevitable that at least one or two fans would run onto the pitch as the collective anger intensified. I'm not sure what briefing the stewards had but they were largely devoid of common sense. One fan made a small run onto the pitch and was heading back into the stand with no real damage done but rather than let him return our friends in high viz seemed intent on manhandling  and making a point.

This silly situation became even more ridiculous as thousands of Burnley fans poured onto the pitch with little to no attempt to stop them. You didn't need the benefit of hindsight to know that this was a likely scenario but the club failed to even consider this a possibility.

Fortunately all was good natured and Burnley fans joined in the protests as well as celebrating their title success. At the same time with thousands of Charlton fans seeking to get on the pitch clearly to protests and not seek confrontation with the oppo several over zealous police officers decided they ought to try and stop some of them. 

What was the point ? As with earlier attempts to tackle pitch invaders it merely inflamed the situation. We then had the remarkable sight of officers forming a line in front of the goal. I'm still not sure what they were trying to achieve perhaps they didn't. Maybe they were protecting the ludicrous netting that had been erected behind the goal.   

The much cherished fans sofa later became a casualty of the fans anger and its symbolic destruction soon followed. Katrien tells us she's keen to engage with the fans but the only people our fans are engaging with are the supporters of other clubs. Much like Brighton the Burnley fans also caught the mood and joined in with the protesting.

As tribal as football is fans recognise when clubs and the very integrity of the game is being threatened and this has been no better demonstrated than in these last two home games where all four corners of the ground are united in their hatred of Roly, what he stands for and what he is doing to our club.

The only other occasion in my lifetime that fans have taken to the pitch in anger is in 1985 when we were moving away from The Valley and going to Selhurst Park. Twice in over 50 years ! There is real and genuine anger at what this man and his CEO sadly aided by Richard Murray have done. Our fans aren't given to this kind of response but that's what Duchatelet has driven fans to. He won't be forgiven.

Our situation remains largely misunderstood by many. I have friends and others who tell me you'll do ok in League One and will come straight back up. Despite all the publicity it is largely not appreciated just how bad things are. We all know that League Two is the most likely scenario at things stand.

Not all was lost yesterday as post-match my lads and I went on a pub crawl in the lovely London sunshine that took in the Lamb and Flag, The Freemasons Arms, The Princess Louise, The Enterprise and The Knights Templar. Many nice beers were had and they went down with considerable ease ! Sadly, we didn't get to the last three on the list The Old Bank Of England, The Devereux and The Coal Hole.

May be next time we'll manage them all especially if we have cause for a celebration and if that is Roly's departure then we might go round twice ! I can but dream.


Friday 6 May 2016

And Now The End Is Near....

And we do indeed face the final curtain as far as this awful season is concerned. Despite assurances to the contrary the owner, CEO and chairman have learned from their mistakes and they haven’t listened. 

There have been so many opportunities to rescue this wretched season but stubborn refusal to listen or even acknowledge where there has been error has led to where we are now.  

We have a better squad of players than most teams in the Championship. As I’ve remarked before I haven’t seen one team at The Valley that has really impressed me. I’ve never felt there’s been a team that we’re not capable of beating. After all we’ve beaten 3 of the teams in the top 6 and after tomorrow that could be 4 out of 6. 

You’d have thought that Mr Murray with all his experience would have been able to point the owner in the right direction. Maybe he’s tried but I’ve seen no sign of it. If he has then he ought to come out and say so. 

Look at Rotherham United. The Millers were 6 points adrift of safety with 16 games to go when Colin took over on 11th February. They were subsequently 9 points clear of safety with 5 games to go. Says it all really. 

None of us has needed hindsight and even the most myopic of CEOs ought to have learnt enough by now to know what was needed. Even if you didn’t you have only to ask !  

On to our final game with The Clarets then and they are to be congratulated for their achievement in getting straight back into the Prem. I admire that they didn’t overspend when they were there before and didn’t splash a load of cash when in the Championship. Very much a team effort and one that largely mirrors our efforts in 1999-2000. 

A little disappointing to see that some of their parochial fans are moaning about our protests. We’re trying to save our club from destruction and whilst I understand there is a title at stake it would serve them well to see the bigger picture. Brighton managed that and their need and desire is no less than Burnley’s. 

As has been the case for many months there’s little point in previewing the game, looking at potential formations, examining the opposition etc. That has all become secondary to the greater need and that of course, is to remove the people have managed to take our club to the brink. 

God knows how Riga will motivate himself to select a team and send it out to put in a performance and try and win a game of football. I assume that will be down the professionalism with which he operates and that too of certain players who still wear our shirt with pride. 

I suspect that this is the last time that we’ll see Jose Riga in S.E. 7 but with these fools in charge who really knows ? We can be certain that it’ll be our last sighting of the majority of our squad as Katrien fulfils on at least one promise…..that of selling our players on so that we can delight in seeing them turn out for Premier clubs. 

The exodus is going to be massive and probably on a scale that we’ve not seen before. It may make the clear out that Erith & Belvedere suffered when players left to join Tooting & Mitchum many years ago seem insignificant. 

They will be missed to a lesser or greater extent. Those we won’t miss are those who should never have been recruited or simply haven’t stepped up to the plate this season. 

Some will leave and move on to bigger and better things and as is the way will be a reminder on a regular basis of what could have been. 

Even with the adjusted figures of ticket sales it’s unlikely that The Valley will be as full for some while as it will be tomorrow assuming Roly stays. It promises to be an even more depressing season next term…….that really doesn’t bear thinking about. 

I’m off on a pub crawl in the Metropolis post match tomorrow. After this season I’m going to need that and I doubt I’m the only one who’ll be seeking solace in alcohol ! 

Come On You Reds !

Monday 2 May 2016

Full Steam Ahead !

Today's results have confirmed that Burnley have bounced straight back into the Prem. Well done to them. I admire that didn't overspend when in the Prem last season and also didn't sack their manager. As Katrien always says there much to said for stability and giving the manager a chance.

My one remaining hope as far as the other two promotion spots are concerned are that Brighton are taking the other automatic one. The play-off one I'd like to be Derby.

Our good record against Leeds continued on Saturday but of course it's meaningless not just because we're relegated but they had nothing to play off under their own awful owner.

Well done to Jordan and Ademola on their awards last night at the POTY do. This event has been criticised in some quarters but congratulations are in order to the organisers. The club tried to wrest this away from the fans before realising they didn't have the interest or capability to organise. Had this not happened then I fear it may have been lost forever.

The players should be acknowledged for supporting he event too. Most of them won't be pleased with this season and do care. It can't be easy to face the fans for most after this season.

For the life of me I can't understand Miss Miere's reasons for attending save for some more attention seeking. To feel that she had to do so surrounded by her minders is even more bizarre. If you really feel that unsafe amongst the Charlton hardcore that habitually attend the POTY ( I include myself in that although I didn't go this year ) do then don't go, it really is that simple.

Onto Saturday then and the denouement of the season. As I said at the start Burnley are up and that puts paid to any argument about whether or not to disrupt the game. Our club is a mess and we need to keep putting the pressure on the owner.

No doubt security will be stepped up particularly if the searches ahead of last night's event is anything to go by. Long queues at the turnstiles then I guess. All extra cost to paid for from somewhere out of diminishing match day returns. Perhaps some resourceful Burnley fans will have secured seats in home areas to help offset some of the cost.

They failed to plan for relegation and at least one member of the SMT was as recent as last week in denial over it. When will they realise the true impact of their actions ? Perhaps not until they look at an empty Valley week on week and the dreadful state of the accounts that will follow.

One can only hope that Duchatelet gets bored with his plaything in the next few weeks and sells the club. In the meantime on Saturday we can give a big nudge to help towards that decision.