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New Article: The China Syndrome

I await confirmation or correction from Jessie, Stu or Siv but I remember reading that the belief in the West that the Mandarin Chinese character for crisis was made up of two other words, danger and opportunity, is a myth.

Regardless it is an interesting concept with which to consider where Charlton are now.

There will be plenty of time to look back at the outgoing regime, what they did and what they didn't, what they achieved and in what state they left the club. But, to keep the Chinese theme, like Zhou Enlai's response in the 1970s to the question of what did he think of the French Revolution of 1789 perhaps "It is too soon to say". (and even that is disputed, I know).

Over time more information will seep out and Jimenez and Slater/Cash will be given their due place in the history of the club, be that good, bad or more likely a bit of both. But we come to bury Caesar not to praise him.

We have a new owner and the good start is that we know who he is. The bad part is that that is just about all we know so far.

Yes, it is early days and we still have Michael Slater (and Martin Prothero) around sorting out some "legal requirements". My guess is that this is, at least in part, the outstanding employment tribunal with former MD Steve Kavanagh. Having been scheduled for a five day hearing in March it would seem that there is a lot to discuss. Which is why it will no doubt be settled before it reaches the public stage. Informative and/or titillating as it might be, washing the club's dirty linen in public will do no one any good and could well damage the club in a very real sense.

But back to the the future and our new owner.

Now, patience is not a virtue much valued in football and on message boards least of all. It may only be two weeks but already some are asking why the players they want haven't been signed or Chris Powell summarily dismissed? Why is there, relatively, so little action? Two (maybe three) loan players from Standard Liege haven't quenched the thirst for new players partly because some will never be satisfied and also because none are the striker/s we need.

There have also been a lot of assumptions made. Firstly that the purchase of Charlton is all part of a cunning plan where the Addicks sit at the top of a pyramid of European clubs all owned by Roland Duchâtelet. Over time skilled players will be fed in the Charlton first team leading to an inevitable rise to the premiership. Yet other than the multiple club ownership, much of it made very recently, there is little indication that this is the plan or even that there is a plan at all. One of the other assumptions is that big businessmen only buy football clubs for well thought out and researched business reasons and that those reasons are sound. It may be so but how do we know that Roland doesn't just fancy owning a few football clubs.

Could it be that there is no master plan, no great strategy just an already wealthy businessman in his late 60s making an opportunist purchase of a company in distress. That he completed the deal, according the not totally reliable Michael Slater at least, in 4 weeks points to that being the case. That he has now got his lawyer embedded at the Valley and going over every aspect of the club in detail points in the same direction.

Roland Duchâtelet is now in control and it seems he will make his decisions on players and managers in his own sweet time. Transfer windows, contracts lengths etc do not appear to concern him.

And from the transfer activity we have seen, Liege reserves coming to the Valley, we are at best number two in the pecking order if such a thing exists.

Maybe I'm wrong but since the takeover communication has not improved other than some swift arse covering from Jimenez and Slater as they attempt to get out of SE7 with their reputations intact. There has been no rallying cry, only a short statement on the OS which didn't even feature a picture of our new owner. Not even the decisive early action taken by the last board of sacking the manager has happened. Yet.

Change is both a danger and an opportunity whatever the Chinese word is. The opportunity to build on what we have or the danger of slipping back into league one. The opportunity to sweep the slate clean and start afresh or the danger of undoing the good work of the past three years, the danger of being a feeder club in a euro-farm or the opportunity of being part of an international network of talent.

As the Chinese curse says "may you live in interesting times"




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Comments

  • Pretty sure it's danger and plane.
  • Pretty sure it's danger and plane.

    Plane?

  • 危机
    Weiji
    Ji is aeroplane.
  • Oh, ji also means machine, which i should have remembered as a lighter is a big fire machine.
  • Anyway..

    Think that's a very good piece of where we are.
  • I'm not sure I agree the levels of loans we have received shows we are at best number two in a pecking order.

    I think the money available in the prem is far more than Liege could have access to. However it would madness for first team players to be loaned to us, obviously we'll know more at the end of the transfer window, lets just hope it goes well.
  • thanks Henry, it encapsulates our current predicament, trouble is we want answers and management seems in no hurry to give them, some things never change.
    up the workers, sorry fans :)
  • First time poster, long time supporter.

    I am not impressed with the "takeover" so far....in fact, the new owners seem to have started repeating some of the mistakes made by our last two owners Murray and Cash, from poor and selective communication with fans to an apparent over reliance on the loan system

    Some will say 'early day's or 'give it time'...seems to me that is precisely what we don't have just now.



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  • great film
  • great film

    Beat me to it Golf. Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda wasn't it?

  • edited January 2014
    Trying to apply logic here and I suspect that's all we can do..

    my speculative view and speaking purely as a fan with no info is this:

    I doubt anyone would rip key players out of a successful (Liege) team mid season, therefore to say we are second isn't necessarily the case. Were RD pulling loan players out of his other clubs or buying, and putting them into Liege then yes I agree we would be. It wouldn't make logical sense to neglect us with the prospect of League 1 looming, nor indeed the huge prize that awaits in the other direction. I would expect us to get first pickings of any players 'available' in the network.

    How you have two decent sized clubs like us and Liege is a very interesting challenging point though generally, we are assuming of course that he is not selling up his Belgian interest or winding it down.

    There is still the best part of a week or two to go before the Window closes, in what is the most tricky and expensive window to negotiate.

    It takes time to evaluate what you have, and make decisions that aren't rash, it is deffo squeaky bum time for us fans of course, but making the wrong decisions could be just as if not more costly than making none at all. I expect what RD is trying to understand is do we have enough players of decent quality, and or is the manager up to it.

    Speaking to a Belgian journo at length at the Oxford match, he spoke of RD as being most concerned above all else of doing things the right way, even over profit.

    One might therefore expect some surgical consolidation to keep us in the Champs, and major work this summer.
  • razil said:

    Speaking to a Belgian journo at length at the Oxford match, he spoke of RD as being most concerned above all else of doing things the right way, even over profit.

    Really not sure i buy this. To be honest, i'm not sure what i buy.

    This is all too confusing for me
  • It all seems a rather convoluted way of saying that we still don't have a clue as to what's going on. Dejected of Kent.
  • Great piece.

    Continuing the Chinese theme there is an old Cantonese proverb that goes, "Don't build a new ship out of old wood".
  • razil said:

    Trying to apply logic here and I suspect that's all we can do..

    my speculative view and speaking purely as a fan with no info is this:

    I doubt anyone would rip key players out of a successful (Liege) team mid season, therefore to say we are second isn't necessarily the case. Were RD pulling loan players out of his other clubs or buying, and putting them into Liege then yes I agree we would be. It wouldn't make logical sense to neglect us with the prospect of League 1 looming, nor indeed the huge prize that awaits in the other direction. I would expect us to get first pickings of any players 'available' in the network.

    How you have two decent sized clubs like us and Liege is a very interesting challenging point though generally, we are assuming of course that he is not selling up his Belgian interest or winding it down.

    There is still the best part of a week or two to go before the Window closes, in what is the most tricky and expensive window to negotiate.

    It takes time to evaluate what you have, and make decisions that aren't rash, it is deffo squeaky bum time for us fans of course, but making the wrong decisions could be just as if not more costly than making none at all. I expect what RD is trying to understand is do we have enough players of decent quality, and or is the manager up to it.

    Speaking to a Belgian journo at length at the Oxford match, he spoke of RD as being most concerned above all else of doing things the right way, even over profit.

    One might therefore expect some surgical consolidation to keep us in the Champs, and major work this summer.

    Standard have had a very good weekend, Anderlecht lost and they won (Standard are 7 points clear at the top now). With the prospect of Champions League football a real prospect for Standard I can't see us being nothing but second fiddle (at best) in Roland's plans this season.
  • Good in parts Henry! Very right to dismiss the old owners...they are gone and plenty of time to make an assessment of their legacy. I would suggest that the summer is a good time when we know which division we are playing in and whether the club has managed to renew contracts on the best of the current squad. We already hear rumours that one of these players will not be here next season but fortunately Wiggins is covered by Evina and Fox.
    The bit I disagree with is the suggestion that Monsieur Duchatelet has made a random decision to buy CAFC with no ideas nor strategy as to what to do next. At the very least we will be able to infer the strategy from actions we see happening - the obvious one being the signing of a striker.
    And this situation then would be little different to the last two years in terms of communications.
    But there is a difference already - reponses from the club about the FA cup and the state of the pitch after the Trust and fans forum raised questions have been precise and timely. And the new (old!) chair has agreed to a meeting in a month or so.
    False dawn or new beginning ? Who knows? What is certain is that by the end of January we will know if the strikeforce has been strengthened and on Wednesday we will know if we are still in the Cup.
  • problem with slow and incremental is that is costing you £5m a year - unless you are going to radically address that area.
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  • Who is he really?
    To those who see him as a dictator, to use the adjective Louis Smal, former president of the Family Rouches, the applicant merely respond that these "persons there do not know." Many observers, the Standard or elsewhere, he recognized the ability to listen to the arguments of each other. "But if it feels that the best proposal, he did not change his mind," admits Jean-François De Sart, the sporting director of Standard.

    During strategic meetings, pragmatism Duchâtelet incites to address any important decision noting the "for" and "against" on a sheet of paper. The purchase and resale of the Standard does not escape this relentless rule. Same when it comes to review the organization of seats in the stadium. "And if the analysis does not lead to a quantitative conclusion, I ask for additional information to get a consensus to the extent possible. "

    At 21, after studying civil engineering at Louvain, he taught part-time math in college, between courses in applied economics. But it is his unstoppable flair in the technology sector of the automotive industry that will ensure him a golden future. To make him a key businessman in the early 1990s. Today, his personal fortune is around 500 million euros. No fewer than 5,000 people worldwide work for one of the companies in which it invests. "What I expect of my employees? Good mood to start, smiled Duchâtelet. And creativity. "

    But the business world is not enough. Cultivated amateur science, economics and history, Roland Duchâtelet wants to share his acquired for revolutionize society that surrounds through knowledge increasingly sharp. He founded his political party, living in 1997. "Roland was certainly a visionary, progressive and pragmatic at the same time," recalls Nele Lijnen, Open VLD Senator after the movement Vivant. Ironically, the establishment of an eligibility threshold condemn Duchâtelet and his team to join the classic Flemish right, driven notably Guy Verhofstadt. "There has of course had affinities people. More importantly, the Open VLD agreed to resume the three major lines of our program. Even if he has a bit forgotten today. "

    Roland Duchâtelet is demanding of himself, insatiable. "The principle that guides me in life is to be happy. I'm trying to achieve by launching me in interesting challenges, creative and challenging. "In 2004, he took by chance commands football club Sint-Truiden, plagued by financial difficulties. Its agenda and its address book thicken, as well as its portfolio of real estate and financial investments.

    Once disappointed by "dysfunctional world" of politics, Roland Duchâtelet collided again, this year, misunderstanding in the world of football. A picture of his plea for merging Championships Belgian and Dutch football, via the introduction of a "Beneligue." Or mistrust aroused by its real estate acquisitions around the stadium Sclessin. Each of these explanations, however, is of cultural and historical roots. "This is proof of great intelligence, says a keen observer. He probably met many more cons than people at its height. "

    Several moves ahead

    Duchâtelet visionary ahead of his time? Many interlocutors are convinced. "He wants to do things that others dare not even think," confirmed Yves Lejaeghere and Rudi De Winter, a businessman who has known him for over thirty years. Man feels cramped in a world that does not move fast enough. "There has always been this reflex, cited by Machiavelli when you want to make a change, you have against you all those who benefit from the current system, and you do not have the support of those who benefit from the system you are trying to establishing, as they do not yet know what your novelty bring. "Too often, frustration knocks. Sailing against the current, he exposes himself, like so many other idealists before him, at the risk of being taken for a fool. And no longer be heard.

    Will he stay in football? No promise from him. "I see well," he slips as an ultimate enigma, before taking a last look at his watch and leave the room. Soon, it will give a new silent truce. Far from disapproving whistles. Soon, the serenity found in the shade. Finally.

    By Christophe Leroy
    http://www.levif.be/info/actualite/belgique/roland-duchatelet-imposteur-ou-genie/article-4000428684834.htm
  • Great job Henry,a very interesting read.All the Chinese references are quite well-placed.I think the article reflects how most of us feel at the moment.When the take-over was completed,I thought we could finally breathe a sigh of relief and start looking forward to the new era.But so far things haven't been looking as bright as we expected.There're so many question marks hanging over the future.It is understandable that M. Duchatelet and co. are still doing the research and getting to know everything.I just hope it won't take forever.

    Oh by the way,Henry is right about the Chinese word for 'Crisis' consisting of 'Danger' and 'Opportunity'. Stu, '机' originally means machine but when used in '机遇' or '机会' doesn't it exactly mean opportunity/chance? ;-)
  • Great find by SA with that article, even if it is in Googlespeak.

    This idea of merging the Belgian and Dutch leagues is exactly the kind of thing that makes me uneasy about his decision making. I can readily see the argument about how it would strengthen the attractiveness of the top league in such a merged entity. However the consequence would be:

    1. Definitely, there would be a 50% reduction in the total number of European qualification places for any given team

    2. Probably, FIFA might start to insist on a Benelux international team as a result. And that would probably cause a civil war, it's bad enough inside Belgium already.

    The thing is that anybody with an ounce of football knowledge would have been able to point that out to him before he went public with it. Why did that not happen? One Belgian journo told us " he does not like to be contradicted".

    It all reminds me a bit of Alan Sugar. Brilliant at consumer electronics, but very impatient with football, and made mistakes as a result. And the worst one, the standalone FAPL, is one we all have to live with today.
  • The thing is I don't give a damn about the other clubs in his 'empire', my only concern is Charlton Athletic.

    Having come from a situation where it was felt that our owners were not 100% committed to the club, we've now jumped into a different situation, but one that is still likely to remain IMO one where the owner is not 100% committed to the club.

    Very uneasy about all this
  • First time poster, long time supporter.

    I am not impressed with the "takeover" so far....in fact, the new owners seem to have started repeating some of the mistakes made by our last two owners Murray and Cash, from poor and selective communication with fans to an apparent over reliance on the loan system

    Some will say 'early day's or 'give it time'...seems to me that is precisely what we don't have just now.

    Welcome to the board btw.
  • hmmm......
  • perhaps more appropriate is the Chinese 'curse': May You Live in Interesting Times'
  • or a comment by Mao Tse Tung when asked on the effect of the French Revolution: 'It's Too Early To Tell'
  • or a comment by Mao Tse Tung when asked on the effect of the French Revolution: 'It's Too Early To Tell'

    umm, your commenting on an article you didn't read, did you Lincs ? :-)



  • Oh by the way,Henry is right about the Chinese word for 'Crisis' consisting of 'Danger' and 'Opportunity'. Stu, '机' originally means machine but when used in '机遇' or '机会' doesn't it exactly mean opportunity/chance? ;-)

    I gotta stop missing class!
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