Charlton fans ‘Spell it out in black and white’ protest

Fans explain the motivation behind the Spell It Out in Black and White campaign

charlton protest1Charlton supporters showed their anger at owner Roland Duchatelet by forming a vocal protest before the game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday 8 Nov 2015.

The group gathered outside the main entrance of the Valley at 2.30pm to vent their frustration at the club’s hierarchy.

The protest, which was organised by the “Spell it Out in Black and White” campaign, began with chants of ‘We want Roland out’ and ‘We want our Charlton back’.

Home fans displayed banners criticising the Belgian businessman, who also owns clubs in Spain and Germany.

Flyers were also handed out calling on Duchatelet to leave, with the campaigners claiming the Addicks were losing their identity under his watch.

Frustration amongst Charlton supporters has intensified in recent weeks after unknown Belgian boss Karel Fraeye was appointed interim head coach after Guy Luzon’s sacking.

Before Saturday’s victory against Wednesday the Addicks had endured a 12-match winless run and had failed to score in five fixtures.

Joe Read, who started the Spell it Out campaign, said: “We’re a club with a proud tradition and history and it seems like that’s being forgotten under this ownership.

“A few years ago we were a respected, well run club with lots of British players that people looked at with admiration. Now we’re viewed as a laughing stock.

“I think it’s time the club put an end to this lip service. There needs to be actual meaningful dialogue between the club and the fans.

“Katrien Meire [Charlton CEO] and Roland need to understand that we’re not horrible people baying for their blood, we just want meaningful dialogue and to get our club back – we feel alienated at the moment.”

The campaign, which is urging supporters to wear black and white, says the lack of communication from Duchatelet and Meire is symptomatic of the club turning its back on the fans.

“They’ve been invisible since Guy Luzon’s sacking which is just inexcusable,” Read, a season ticket holder in the North Lower Stand, added.

“Questions have to be asked when someone from the Belgian third division [Fraeye] is coming in to turn around a Championship side’s season. That’s not good enough, he doesn’t have the CV to do that and if he’s successful or not the underlying point is worrying.

“It’s the same mistakes being made again and again and if something isn’t done then it can damage the club in the long-term.

“One of the main problems is that we’re losing fans quickly and it’s much easier to lose fans than to gain them – clubs can spiral out of control, we’ve seen it at other clubs, it’s a vicious cycle.”

The protest signalled the first major show of discontent since last February’s Supporters Trust meeting in Woolwich, where fans raised their concerns about the lack of dialogue with the owner and director.

The fall-out from that meeting was softened by results on the pitch, which quickly improved under new boss Luzon.

However, Read insists that the current campaign will not be deterred if results follow a similar pattern under caretaker boss Fraeye.

He added: “This is the most united the fan base has ever been in regards with the owner. Something drastic would have to happen to stop this frustration.

“If there were a few wins – and we all hope there is because we support the team 100 per cent – I still genuinely think the fans would understand that off the pitch it’s not good enough.

“Some people want Roland out but we have to set achievable goals. It is simple things like the club replying to fans’ emails and respecting and listening to our views.”

Sam Adams, one of several supporters who was handing out flyers on Saturday, said: “We want transparency in the club. It is not acceptable for the ownership to make these big decisions and not to be accountable.

“It’s worrying – what we want is communication with Roland and Katrien and that’s not happening at the moment.

“Fans are feeling increasingly alienated and the club is going down a dangerous path.”

The Spell it Out campaign is planning another protest ahead of Charlton’s Sky Sports televised game against Ipswich Town on November 28.

charlton protest4Charlton fans protestcharlton protest2charlton roland out sticker

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Read more here: http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/sport/14021561.Campaigners_explain_reasons_behind_Charlton_protests/

 

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