Another Saturday, another defeat. Charlton’s loss at home to fellow strugglers Bristol City last weekend was another slap in the face for the long suffering Addicks faithful. The club, south of the River Thames in London, sit bottom of the Championship table and are four points adrift of safety. League One football seems a sad inevitability.
A club that was once the model of good footballing governance is now an outfit whose structure looks just as stable as a house of cards on a windy day.
Longtime supporters of Charlton Athletic know what it’s like to fight for their club. The fans were instrumental in helping the Addicks return to The Valley in 1992 after a seven-year struggle. However, the years in the wilderness still haunt fans who fought the good fight.
“Nothing compares to having to travel to an often sparsely-filled Selhurst Park in the 1980s because you have to factor in that football itself, which was in a bad way in England,” said Rick Everitt, founder of the Charlton fanzine the Voice of the Valley. “There seemed to be no hope of a brighter future at the time.”
Everitt, a fan of Charlton since 1969, has been an influential figure for the club launching the popular fanzine in 1988. He covered the team for the local Mercury newspaper from 1989 eventually becoming its sports editor.
Everitt was then headhunted by his beloved club in 1998, who had gained promotion to the Premier League. He was their communications director before becoming the head of club development. He spent 14-years with Charlton Athletic but unfortunately for him, he left the Addicks in less than amicable circumstances when it was run by Tony Jimenez and Michael Slater.
Now he looks on as the club he and so many other fans love stumble under the ownership of the Belgian, Roland Duchâtelet:
“The threat to the club’s future and identity is just as real this time – it’s just that the money at the top of the game attracts investors and could offer a way out,” he said.
Charlton’s record with recent owners hasn’t been a terribly happy one of late. Before Duchâtelet stepped in to take over, Charlton were in the hands of Jimenez and Slater. Neither Jimenez nor Slater are remembered fondly. The duo were reliant on the backing of businessman Kevin Cash. But when the London property developer decided against bankrolling the club. the situation became difficult to put it mildly. At the very least it accelerated the sale of Charlton to Duchâtelet: