|He arrived early to get a good seat|
The protests and perhaps the calamitous form of the team lured Charlton's owner out of his misty mountain-top lair in Belgium and while visiting he gave a full and frank confession of all the mistakes he and his CEO have made. Of course he didn't. There was, to be fair, the tiniest acknowledgement that (in the universal language of non-apologies) mistakes have been made. How Duchâtelet must wish he could speak Spanish, where it's normal to say se han cometido errores - mistakes have made themselves.
There was nothing to change the view that mistakes will continue to make themselves.
Mr six-managers-in-two-years Duchâtelet won't sack himself because it would undermine stability. And he won't sack Katrien Meire because she's quite nice.
Tactically, of course he couldn't sack Katrien. He would see it as a sign of weakness, inviting more protests. And that's fair enough. If he had sacked her, I'd be out dancing in the street. Actually, by now I'd probably be in a secure unit, but my point stands.
He could have given a little ground. He could have said he is going to support her with some consultants to get things back on track. (As everyone knows, the support of management consultants usually means someone - anyone, absolutely anyone except the consultants - is eventually sacked.)
But he's chosen to stick his fingers in his ears, whistle a happy tune, and pretend nothing's wrong. "We're not even thinking about what relegation might mean, tra la la."
The failure to sack Katrien Meire until it's too late is like the failure to sack Karel Fraeye until it was too late: a sign that he can't see or doesn't care, and doesn't - despite his claims - learn from mistakes.
So, even if this afternoon's game is a thrilling 5-4 victory by a totally committed team battling back from conceding two early goals, I'll be outside the West Stand at 5pm. This isn't over.