Lewis Catt gives his take on what is going on in SE7 at the moment.
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This article is going to be a little different from me.
I wasn’t able at attend Burnley on Saturday, so at least I saved myself the misery of typing about another terrible defeat. Before I do get ranting, can I say to the handful of you that went to Burnley that you are complete assets to the club and I have the upmost respect for you. This is coming from someone who knows how miserable it really can be at times yet still follows the Addicks long haul during this tough time.
I have been a Charlton fan for a very long time. It is something that I enjoy and treasure dearly – time for me to spend quality time with three of my closest friends cheering on the boys from our season ticket seats at The Valley or travelling the country. I have always held a lot of pride in being a Charlton supporter, I have always been proud to follow this club but of late that feeling has dampened for the very first time in my life. I walk out the front door before a game expecting to lose and dreading that post-game depression. The mood is never helped by turning up to a fantastic stadium which is probably not even half full. Empty red seats throughout The Valley are just the start of how this club appears to be in decline and a shadow of its once proud community and family stature.
First of all, I feel the communication between fans and board can be disappointing. I would like to use Brentford as an example here, who earlier this season came out and explained decisions made with regards to managerial appointments, admitting rights and wrongs, giving fans the information they requested. Nobody is expecting Katrien and Roland to sit down with each fan and explain the reasons behind our alarming decline, but how about some kind of open letter to Addicks fans from Roland himself? If you want to “Target 20k” and fill all those empty seats then I think you could be more open to fans. We know you can’t tell us every in and out of the clubs day to day schedule, but answer the questions we are all asking ourselves everyday. Is Karel Fraeye the manager? Is he interim? Will you invest in January? These questions are not personal nor confrontational, just give the fans some of the anserwes they deserve and do your bit in keeping this great club in high regard
BBC London/Charlton Live’s Louis Mendez interviewed Fraeye after the Burnley game and he, like others, were concerned by his answers. Nine games into his apparent interim role and we have eight points to show for our efforts. Using the excuse of a “tough schedule’ is absolutely ludicrous. Below are Fraeye’s 9 games in charge along with their results.
Boro (A) 3-0 Loss
MK Dons (A) 1-0 Loss
Sheffield Wednesday (H) 3-1 Win
Birmingham City (A) 1-0 Win
Ipswich (H) 3-0 Loss
Brighton (A) 3-2 Loss
Leeds (H) 0-0 Draw
Bolton (H) 2-2 Draw
Burnley (A) 4-0 Loss
I can start this on a positive by saying I believe the two wins against Birmingham and Wednesday were very good hard earned wins. I was at both games and the atmosphere was fantastic and we played strongly as a team. But when Fraeye goes on to say that the we have maybe only dropped points against sides we wouldn’t be expected to beat that is something I find widely inaccurate and actually quite insulting. I think we should be able to compete with any team in this division, that’s why the Championship is the toughest league in the world. Losing to MK Dons and Ipswich along with a draw against Leeds I feel are all games we could have won. Not to mention throwing away a two goal advantage TWICE, first against league leaders Brighton where we arguably could have been 4-0 up at half time and secondly to the only team in the division worse off than us, Bolton.
I understand we are in a rut and confidence is low but as a manager in this division you should be able to motivate your players enough to try instilling some confidence around the squad. I don’t believe Fraeye is doing this. I respect the fact he has been picked out by Roland and he would have been mad to turn down the opportunity but Roland and Katrien need to see that maybe they have made a mistake here, they need to hold their hands up and admit something is not right. We need a manager with experience at this level who can come in January, bring in players he believes are good enough to get us out of this pitiful run of form.
At the moment we are finding ourselves putting the fate of the club in the hands of an 18 year old who was playing Sunday league last year. Not only will that pressure hamper his development it is also not fair for someone of that age to be handed that responsibility. In my opinion, it has damaged the likes of Callum Harriott and Joe Pigott and even Morgan Fox to some extent. We cannot have the same happen to the likes of Ademola Lookman and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis. We need to be shopping smartly in January especially if we are going to offload a certain Scotsman to Cardiff.
If this club drops into League One at the end of the current campaign, I’m afraid I can’t see us returning to the Championship anytime soon. We need a short-term fix this January and then a long-term plan needs to be in place. We cannot go on being in a relegation fight year in year out, we cannot keep hiring inexperienced coaches.
Katrien and Roland I challenge you to turn this club around, for the good of the club, the fans and yourselves.
Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas Addicks Fans.
You can follow Lewis on Twitter – @LewisCatt9