Friday, 20 November 2015

Back from Belgium

I arrived back from a short trip to Brussels to find a statement by Katrien Meire on the official site: Statement

It's full of good intentions and reassurances, but action will speak louder than words. Target 20,000 will go nowhere if performances on the pitch do not improve and what I am particularly looking for is assurances about further strengthening of the squad in the January transfer window, although I appreciate that is not a good window in which to get value for money.

I don't go to Belgium as often as I used to, but I was reminded of what an odd place it is. It was once described as the Italy of Northern Europe. Three regional governments and a weak federal government. Further inefficiencies on top of that: six police districts in Brussels which do not coordinate well with each other, quite a problem in current circumstances. Moreover, a highly bureaucratised environment. One Belgian told me that what we would regard as routine operations on football pitches require 'the validation of the appropriate authorities.'

Roland has done well to make money in such an environment. One can also understand that he wants to spread his wings. But he, and Katrien, need to understand that they are operating in a different cultural context in SE7.

The Supporters' Trust has now met with Richard Murray and Katrien Meire and the fact that such a meeting has taken place is a step forward of a kind. The response of the Trust might be described as cautiously optimistic: Meeting

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