The 'Big Interview' in today's Football League Paper is devoted to Yann Kermorgant. He is clearly very sour about Charlton owner Roland Duchâtelet and gives it large to the Belgian whom he regards as not being a 'proper owner'.
Kermit makes clear his affection for Charlton: 'I was happy at Charlton. I had a very good relationship with the fans who always gave me great support and encouragement. I had a great relationship with the staff and of course the gaffer, Chris Powell. I loved the atmosphere at The Valley. It was a real family ground with grandparents and parents and children all coming to games. My heart wanted to stay but my brain was saying "It's time to depart."'. But 'it was a tough decision, the hardest of my career.'
Kermit insists that he didn't demand a big contract to stay at Charlton and his wages were not a problem [although they are believed to have already been the highest at the club.] His long-term plan is to return home to Vannes in Brittany where he is building a five-a-side centre.
Yann argues that Roland is not taking the club in a good direction: 'I think the only thing he wants is to make money ... He thinks you can make money easily.'
I don't think Roland, who is the 18th richest man in Belgium, wants to make money. However, he doesn't want to lose money. As he explained in The Times yesterday, 'So many people lose their money in football. Look at the losses. It's a very interesting phenomenon, so you need to be a bit creative not to lose money.' Kermit in contrast says: 'When you buy a club, you have go in thinking "I'm going to lose money."'
It seems to me that there is a lot to criticise in the standard of philosophy of making a small fortune by starting with a big one and investing in a football club. However, I do think that Roland's break even objective is unrealistic, partly because of the very high cost structure of football clubs which is driven not only by high player wages but the limited utilisation of their expensive capital assets. I also do not think that financial fair play is going to deliver a more level playing field as quickly as he thinks, if at all.
If Charlton are relegated, many fans will blame the sale of Yann Kermorgant and, to a lesser extent, Dale Stephens. More sales might follow relegation and support would drop.
I think Roland's vision is an interesting and innovative one, but I am less certain how well it will work for Charlton. It is results on the pitch, as always, that will count, starting with today. The Fink Tank in The Times puts the likely outcomes as: home win, 42 per cent; draw, 33 per cent; away win, 25 per cent. That seems about right to me.