As members are aware, the Board of CAS Trust have repeatedly requested to meet with Roland Duchâtelet in order to represent to him the concerns of our members about his stewardship of the club. Such a meeting has always been refused but we were recently offered instead a meeting with Richard Murray and Katrien Meire.
The Board discussed this invitation in full awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of accepting it but we were unable to reach the consensus we usually manage to reach on policy matters. In order to guide our decision we decided to seek the opinions of our members.
417 (38%) of our members offered an opinion. 19% said we should attend, listen and feed back. 57% that we should attend and advise sale to a new owner. 24% that we should refuse the meeting. A majority of our members therefore favoured attending and, bearing this in mind, we reached a decision to do so.
The meeting went ahead on Monday. We explained that we had come to deliver a message on behalf of our members rather than enter a discussion about events at the club. We expressed our disappointment that Duchâtelet had continued to refuse to meet us but we presented to Meire and Murray the findings of our recent season ticket and protest survey.
This survey was completed by 1942 supporters of whom 1519 were existing season ticket holders.
The main findings of the survey were:
- 85% of season ticket holders are currently protesting at the way the club is run
- 73% are protesting because they want to see a change of ownership.
- 20% said they would probably not renew
- 44% said they would definitely not renew
- 82% said they would likely renew if there was a change of ownership
We stressed to Meire and Murray that the conclusion to be drawn from this was that the haemorrhage of support we are currently witnessing will only get worse and that the situation is irretrievable. The future under Duchâtelet ownership could only be one of financial decline, escalating protests and increasing ridicule from supporters and the media. We could see no business sense in it and it would be a miserable experience for all concerned. We stated our position that it would be in everyone's best interest for Duchâtelet to take urgent steps to find a new owner for the club.
We also presented Meire and Murray with a file of individual messages to the owner which were collated by CAS Trust earlier this year.
Meire and Murray said that Duchâtelet was well aware of the level of discontent but that he was not actively seeking to sell the club. They informed us that he is putting £1m a month into the club.
We thanked them for their time.
In light of the fact that only 19% of our members had been in favour of us entering into a dialogue in this meeting we took the view that our members would also not support our attendance at The Fans Forum which took place Monday evening.
Following the meeting, Trust Chair Steve Clarke gave an interview this week to London Live TV. Footage of this interview can be found on the Charlton Life forum here.
Additionally, Trust Secretary Richard Wiseman spoke to the Charlton Live Podcast on Thursday evening. You can listen to this interview here.