Crisis Point

Never mind battling for three points on the pitch against Fleetwood on Saturday, Charlton fans - and staff - have an even greater fight on their minds right now. In the past few days it has emerged that Duchatelet has reneged on promises to staff concerning bonus payments. Once again the club is hitting headlines for all the wrong reasons - and nothing to do with the playing side.

We find it difficult to believe that the estimated £10M annual financial loss has come as a surprise to our multi-millionaire owner, considering he has held the purse strings for four and a half years. Maybe it's to make up for him taking a discounted cash deal for Ezri Konsa? Hard-working administrative staff are being expected to fill the financial holes created by this regime's total incompetence. The estimated £50k - £100k "saving" will not even cover a few cracks. Indeed this latest in a very long line of follies simply exposes Duchatelet's outright failure and the gaping chasm of debt he has saddled us with, the worst in League One by far.

We'd like to believe we are nearing the end game of this regime. Duchatelet has been openly looking to sell since Meire - who may well be the one responsible for the original bonus promise - abandoned him at the start of the year. We have been categorically told at the last two Fans' Forum meetings that the only hold up for the Australian takeover was paperwork required by the EFL, that the price was agreed and the directors' loans not an issue. However, it seems scepticism around such claims was well-founded. We now believe that this is well short of a description of the true situation, and that more fundamental matters remain as significant hurdles - even the asking price. There may well be another interested party or even two but realistically we are not expecting a resolution any time soon.

We recently wrote directly to the EFL in our search for clarity. While they have not answered the questions posed, they have responded positively to offer a meeting - details still to be finalised at time of writing. It's a modicum of progress and finally a hint that the EFL are waking up to the importance of fans as stakeholders.

So what else can we do in the face of such a crisis? We will keep up the pressure on Duchatelet via the media in England and by backing the Roland Out Party in their Sint Truiden campaign. We will search for the truth if we think the club are lying to us. We will maintain close contact with fans and Supporters' Trusts at other clubs in crisis to share knowledge and lobby the football authorities and politicians to stop the wanton dismantling of the fabric and heritage of our clubs.

And we will join Saturday's pre-match protest, assembling at 14.15 by main reception behind the West Stand. We urge all who are able to be there too. Let's make the most of the media spotlight and show a united front. Let's remember why we are proud to support Charlton. It's crunch time.