28 December 2017

Farewell, so long, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye

It will be the Kennedy moment for a generation of Charlton fans. "Where were you when you heard that Katrien was going?" Personally, I was on a bus (the 185 from Lewisham, if you must know). Logged on to Twitter, saw a lot of happy comments and scrolled down to find out what everyone was so happy about, and found the news, the official on-the-club-website, confirmed-by-Duchatelet news that Katrien Meire has quit as CEO of Charlton and that Duchatelet is in discussions with a potential buyer.

A few days late, but what a Christmas present!

But what a disastrous effect she's had on the club. It could all have been so different. Clearly she has some talents and qualities, but with no experience in running any business, let alone the specialised, complicated beast that is a football club, she was a poor choice by Roland (one of many, but I haven't got all day to list them.) Worse, it seems she lacked the humility to realise she needed help, and pressed ahead with her own crazy ideas (again - had we world enough and time I could list them).

It could have been different. There was general goodwill to her when she started. Apart from a few sexists, no-one minded that she was a woman. For most of us, it was a matter of right-on pride that Charlton was leading the way with her appointment. And she and Duchatelet followed in the steps of Slater-Jimenez, the extent of whose mismanagement is still being revealed.

But it all went wrong very quickly. The arrogance, the contempt, the lies ... No-one made her do those things. As everything went wrong, on and off the pitch, you had to wonder what she had to do to get sacked. Relegation, dwindling crowds, massively increased borrowing - what kind of performance targets had Duchatelet set her?

We'll probably never know what's been going on inside his head these last four years. But now, it seems his time is nearly up. We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing.

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