Duchatelet blames the fans for relegation and lack of sale – and our response

Roland Duchatelet was interviewed by Jim White on TalkSport on Tuesday morning this week

Jim White

During the interview he blamed the fans both for the 2016 relegation and for the fact that the club has still not been sold. He said the fans were also at fault for Chris Wilder choosing not to become CAFC manager in 2016.

The full interview can be accessed below.

The main points made were as follows:

  • Buying Charlton Athletic was a big mistake by him.
  • It was "not very appealing" for him to attend games at Charlton.
  • Staff have been paid what they are entitled to.
  • The main problem has been that the club has failed to communicate well with fans. This was the fault of the communications department who were "too soft" in dealing with the fact that certain people were "saying untrue things" about what was happening at the club.
  • The club was relegated in 2016 by "just a few points." Those who organised the protests should have thought "a bit better" about organising them because  - were they helpful to keep us up?
  • Can young players understand that the protests are against the owner not against the team?
  • He has been trying to sell the club for a year but it is "not so easy during the competition as buyers tend to change their mind depending on whether you win or lose"
  • There is no problem with selling price. A compromise price has been agreed with the Australians "and a few others". The price "doesn't matter"
  • The real problem is the protests which put potential purchasers off.
  • Chris Wilder did not become Charlton manager because he found out by reading Charlton Life that the fans were against him.
  • "I'm not important. I tried to help. I was not good enough apparently"

TalkSport studio guest Michael Gray made the comment that Duchatelet didn't seem to think that he was to blame for anything and suggested that "if he doesn't want to be there, cut your losses". Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan was more forthright:  "complete and utter tosh"

CAS Trust was granted a right of reply on when Heather McKinlay was interviewed on TalkSport2 on Tuesday evening.  She made the following points.

  • Heather McKinlayYes, it was a mistake for Duchatelet to buy Charlton Athletic
  • Duchatelet appointed an experienced professional communicator as Head of Communications (Mel Baroni) but she resigned after a matter of weeks because he insisted on making public statements over her head with no consultation.
  • CAST has made countless attempts during Duchatelet's ownership to communicate with him. He has never responded.
  • The first in-match protest was held at the game against Middlesbrough in March 2016. Charlton won the game 2-0. This was the team's first home win in 4 months (10 games). There were protests at the next home game which Charlton won again v Birmingham (2-1). There was no protest at the following home game which Charlton lost 0-1 to Derby. By the time of the protests at the Burnley game Charlton were already relegated. The suggestion that the protests negatively affected the team is nonsense.
  • It is outlandish to suggest that players were not intelligent enough to understand that the protests were not against them.
  • It would have been safe for Duchatelet to attend games at The Valley. Charlton fans have been out to Belgium to meet him on a number of occasions and he has never been threatened.
  • The interview ran out of time before Heather could make the point that Chris Wilder might perhaps have been influenced by the offer of a job in his home town - at  Sheffield United - rather than running scared of a few comments about the state of Charlton Athletic on the message board Charlton Life

Unfortunately, Heather's interview is not available but the full interview with Duchatelet can be heard here: