Invitation to Roland from CAS Trust Chairman Steve Clarke

So, Roland has been in London. Good. And he has spoken in public about Charlton. Good.  But that is where the good news comes to an end.

Even though we had home games on successive Saturdays either side of his visit he did not organise his diary so that he could attend at least one of them. Neither did he take the opportunity to meet with any fans either publicly or in private to enter into meaningful dialogue about the numerous concerns that are all too evident to everyone involved.

So, okay Roland, let's cut to the chase!

• You say the Club is not for sale and you are ultimately responsible.

• You say let’s learn from each other and work together.

• You say you need to sort out what needs to be sorted.

Fine, then let’s talk business. You and I, as two businessmen. Let’s make this work.  But I mean serious business; not talking in patronising platitudes that bear no logical scrutiny. Let’s speak face to face, because right now, little of what you are saying in interview sounds like a businessman to me.  A salesman trying to gloss over the failings of a dodgy product, possibly; but the words of an owner of a highly successful multi-national business, talking about one arm that is in trouble, certainly not.

You say it is not easy to run a football club. I agree. I was on the Charlton Board for two and a half years, at a time when finances were tight in the extreme. I know many of the problems, and have sympathy with those trying to make these things work. But the actions of you and your team over the last two years do not appear to be solving any of those problems. Unlike running a “normal" business, football provides the ultimate measure of your success every week, where you are put to public test, after which a table is produced showing how well you are doing. We can all see that whatever is happening, it’s not working.

Currently the atmosphere at Charlton is toxic. Certainly it is not an enjoyable experience for the fans and it must be affecting the players, risking chances of attracting new talent. Also, it can't be much fun working in the office either. I doubt this was your intention but it is the result of the management of the club over the last two years.

Based on your interviews, here are some examples of lessons that need to be learned:

• You say that you were not aware what sort of investment Peter Varney was suggesting when he first approached you. Allowing for the fact that this might have been as simple as sponsorship of a billboard, why after five to six months did no one engage with him?  In any of the businesses where I have worked, failure to respond to potential new client in that way would be completely unacceptable.

• You state that you are not spending time planning for relegation. It is not something you want to do. Really? I struggle to understand how in business, when you are faced with the potential of a significant loss of future revenue, you do not prepare a budget based on that eventuality.

• I understand why you are defending Katrien Meire.  She's one of your employees, I would expect nothing less.  But it is unrealistic to suggest some of her statements have been misunderstood.  These have been filmed.  They are perfectly clear.  An apology would go some way to repair the substantial damage.

Well Roland, I assume you are serious in what you say, so here is my offer. Let’s sit down, you and me, and plan how we are going to work together. I’m happy to meet in London, in Belgium or anywhere in between.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Steve Clarke