Steve Clarke R.I.P.

We are devastated to share with you the news that Steve Clarke died this morning following a short cancer battle.

Steve was a Charlton supporter since the 1960s. He was Chair of the CAFC Supporters Club from 1990-1993 and was instrumental in the The Valley Party campaign in 1990. He stood as a candidate for Tarn Ward and was  proud of the 138 votes he won.

He was then elected as the first Supporter Director of CAFC and was on the board of the club from 1993-1995.

He became a CAST board member in 2014 and he was Chair from 2014-16. Many may remember him chairing the public meeting held in the old Woolwich Cinema building in February 2015. Confidently and authoritatively keeping the meeting of 400 Addicks to order and ensuring that the meeting was inclusive, good humoured and constructive.

He was at the forefront of many efforts during the following years to engage on behalf of supporters with Roland Duchatelet. He was a natural communicator and a trained mediator and was never fully comfortable in the role of protester. He was constantly putting out olive branches and trying to build bridges. I've lost count of the number of times he started a sentence with the phrase "in fairness".

He put in hours of work for CAST. He represented us at the Fans Forum for three years. He held meetings with senior club staff and directors. He met with EFL staff. He attended Supporters Direct and FSA events and was a speaker at the SD annual conference. He conducted the Q & As with the guest speakers at our AGMs. He wrote interesting and stimulating articles for Trust News. He was an influential figure in CAST board meetings - never afraid to argue a minority opinion and always actively seeking compromise and solutions.

He had immense charm and a great deal of wisdom. He had a very generous sense of humour which was often self-deprecating. He was interesting and amusing in all sorts of conversations but he loved talking about football and, in particular, Charlton Athletic. A quick phone call to him to check something more often than not took at least half an hour because there were so many opinions to exchange, memories to share and friendly insults to trade.

It is particularly cruel that Steve died the day after Thomas Sandgaard's take over of the club. Steve had done so much over so many years with the aim of helping Charlton to be a club to be proud of. He wanted us to be a successful club with ambition, but also an inclusive club - rooted in the community with sound values and regard for tradition. There is at last real hope that we are about to see the dawn of a new era in which Charlton becomes that sort of club again. It is so unfair that Steve won't be there in his East Stand seat to enjoy it with us and we owe it to him that we relish every moment of it, even when it is freezing cold and we are losing at home.

Maybe he will be able to share it all in some way with Seb, Jean, Chris, Les and others we have said goodbye to this year.

We will always be immensely grateful to Steve and we send our love and best wishes at this difficult time to Manuela, Tom, Alex and Jamie.