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Charlton Athletic

Charlton’s ownership admit they are driving fans away and are left speechless at fan meeting

On Saturday, before the game against Southend United, Charlton’s CEO, Katrien Meire met the Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust and Valley Gold members for a Questions and Answers session. In the meeting, she admitted that their regime had driven fans away and was left speechless.

A trend in recent years by the regime and controversial ownership under Roland Duchatelet has seen an absolute public relations mess take place at The Valley. In fact this season, Charlton Athletic have hired a public relations firm to help them improve their image, and aid them in trying to rebuild a relationship with the fans.

Unfortunately, the relationship between the fans and the senior management at Charlton Athletic has surpassed breaking point, and it is impossible to ever be rebuilt. However, Katrien Meire and her allies decided that they wanted to improve communication with the fans, by setting up Q&As with groups of fans around South London, in order to try and rebuild some of that trust.

On Saturday afternoon, Katrien Meire met members of the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust and Valley Gold members, whereby she was challenged by supporters, which lead her to admit that fans are staying away because of the Roland Duchatelet ownership, and was left speechless after some passionate questions and challenging by fans.

Heather Alderson, who has been a spokesperson for the Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD), the largest protest group formed in defiance of the Duchatelet ownership, kept everyone updated on Twitter as to what was taking place in the Q&As session.

At the Q&As session, Katrien Meire was asked directly as to why she thought the attendances at The Valley had dwindled to numbers close to the Selhurst Park era when Charlton were exiled from their spiritual home. The CEO replied by admitting the reason was because of her and the ownership.

Another fan asked what they thought the controversial ownership would be remembered for. Meire responded that the ownership would be remembered for the development taking place at the training ground and young player contracts.

At the meeting, Meire also made clear what her Key Performance Indicators at the club were. She stated that Championship football and better fan engagement.

She also made clear that there were no plans for development at The Valley, as the club were focusing on developing a website and phases two and three of the training ground at Sparrows Lane.

Another fan on the well respected Charlton forum, Charlton Life, let everyone know his encounter with Meire, where he left the Chief Executive Officer speechless.

CJ (Fan): Katrien. You’ve talked about learning from your mistakes but you have failed to address the biggest mistake of all. As CEO, you have personally presided over a catastrophic three and a half year period for Charlton Athletic.

Whilst managers have come and gone you have stayed in your sinecure post where you have been entrusted with enormous responsibility but with no accountability whatsoever. You cling to a meaningless mantra of ‘not doing failure’ when all the evidence presents otherwise.

If you really had the best interests of this club at heart you should have recognised this level of failure and resigned.

(Question): In fact, the decent and most gracious thing you could do is resign right now today that’s right isn’t it?

KM (CEO): Well that’s your opinion.

CJ (Fan): You’re not going to defend three and a half years of failure?

KM (CEO): It’s your opinion.

CJ (Fan): So, relegation to the third tier, lowest league position since 1926, the disaffection of fans, public and in-game protests, loss of around 4,000 season ticket holders, dwindling crowds. Not your responsibility? No accountability? Nothing?

KM (CEO): It is for sure our responsibility but for your question…….. (voice trailed off)

CJ (Fan): No real response then.

It seems that these fan engagement meetings are supposed to improve the ownership’s image, drive greater transparency, credibility and positivity for the regime. However, from the looks of things they are exposing more weaknesses in their strategy, and when being challenged, they have no clear direction of how they are going to address issues which exist at the Southeast London outfit.

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