Wednesday 12 February 2014

Red wine duel agreed with Blackheath Addick

The stand at Charlton was too small to maximise revenue, even though it isn't full in this photo. Pitch doesn't look too bad though as it seems to be winter.

The Blackheath Addick and I have agreed to settle our differences over the takeover with a bet in good red wine. If Charlton are in a higher position in the Championship this time next year, he will treat me to a good bottle of French red wine. If we go down this year but come straight back again we will call it a draw. If by the end of next season we are still in League 1, I will buy him a good bottle of red wine from Chile and we will both drink another bottle together to drown our sorrows.

I think that really we have different visions of the club. When I started watching Charlton in 1953, there was still the potential for the Addicks to be a really top club, although even by then the best years were behind us. Arguably our very best years were just before World War Two when we came very close to winning the top division title. However, our momentum was then disrupted by Mr A Hitler. After the war, we won the FA Cup which was a bigger deal then than it is now. Unfortunately, the owners at the time, the Glikstens, failed to invest in the ground when we were attracting big crowds (the one stand always sold out and the price ratio there to the cheapest standing was 7.5:1). We were also something of a selling club, although the South African imports helped a lot, as did the genius of Jimmy Seed.

Those days can never come back and I think that the Championship is our natural level, much as I enjoyed the Premiership years. However, I would still like to see us challenging for promotion for the top flight rather than fighting relegation. If it came to a choice, Blackheath would prefer an 'authentic' Charlton among the cloggers and hoofers of League 2 rather than one at a higher level which the fans could not identify with.

I am going to go to the CASC Trust meeting in London tomorrow to see what I can learn about the takeover, although there may be limits on what I can report back. How forthcoming Richard Murray will be remains to be seen. I did attend one meeting he held some years ago with bloggers, although the main purpose of that appeared to be to defend the board's handling of Dowie's infamous 'move north'.

While the Slater/Jiminez regime was still in place, I met up over the summer with an old Charlton hand who knows and understands more about the club than I do. I asked, 'Where does Murray fit into all this?' His answer was 'Good question' and it probably still is. Murray was originally a Wolves fan, but he has been associated with the club for 20 years and provided a lot of funding. He has, however, made some quite serious mistakes, particularly over personnel, although we all do.

It is worth reminding ourselves that the old regime ran out of Cash last summer, hence the lack of a needed strengthening of the squad. The rumour mill suggested that by the beginning of this year we were encountering serious cash flow challenges. The club had to be sold otherwise we might have been in a very serious situation. But, as Michael Slater has said, there weren't that many serious buyers in a queue to buy Charlton, rather a lot of time wasters. In fact, many of the stories going around were a load of old Koc. We weren't really in a position to say 'Thanks, but no thanks' to Roland, even though the Chicago Addick has raised new concerns in his latest posting.

One time Voice of the Valley contributor Olafur Johansson is ready to welcome blogger Blackheath Addick and his partner to Iceland

In the meantime the Blackheath Addick is setting off for a holiday in Iceland with his charming French partner Suzanne. I have told self-proclaimed No.1 Iceland Addick Olafur Johansson to look out for them and he promises as warm a welcome as is possible in Iceland in February.


Anonymous said...

A Magnum of Chimay grand reserve may be more appropriate.

Burgundy Addick said...

Wyn, the deal is done (hope just to clarify that it's our Championship position when the takeover happened rather than the one now; it could come down to fine margins).

I'd agree that Championship feels like our normal/natural level. I never experienced your early years of potential not realised and grew to accept Charlton as a second-flight club. There was after all only one flirtation with promotion to the top flight in my first decade, followed years after by an away-day debacle at Blackpool (no deja vu this season please) and my first relegation.

Hope you can read between the lines with the Murray gathering. I think body language will say it all.

Meanwhile, I shall try to go into every bar and call out for Olafur. I'll wear something suitable and recognisable.

Wyn Grant said...

That clarification is fine, also hope that a very good Chilean wine is acceptable, although not a $200 one which appeared to be the starting price at one wine shop I went to in Santiago!