Friday 25 August 2023

What went wrong, part 5

Some Charlton fans think that the Roland era was much better than what followed or went before, although it's not a competitive league.   Steve Sutherland thinks that Charlton fans will rue amtagonising Rolamd and he does still own the stadium and the training ground.

Roland's idea of a network of European clubs was not in principle a bad one and Manchester City have produced a more sophisticated version on a global basis:   Indeed, Chelsea have now said they will follow suit.

However, it all went wrong for Roland when he lost the mother ship, Standard Liege, after fans there got fed up with him.  All the other clubs in the network apart from Charlton were third rate at best.

So let's look at the charge sheet against Roland.  He appointed as chief executive a lawyer with no previous experience of football who made errors in negotiating contracts.  She introduced gimmicks like the fan sofa, eventually destroyed by fans.  Nevertheless, she subsequently commanded an annual salary estimated to be £137,000 in a similar position at Sheffield Wednesday.

The really big puzzle is why she made no use of her knowledge of competition law.  Roland believed that his financial model would work because there was bound to be a levelling of the playing field in English football, certainly in the EFL.  Katrien Meire should have told him that any such move would have been open to challenge in the courts umder both domestic and EU competition law.   The Premier League had already had its fingers burnt in a face off with the European Commission in 2006.

One of Roland's first acts was to sell off Yann Kermorgant.   He then foisted on us a series of incompetent players from the continent, advised by someone with a laptop and no football background.   When Chris Powell got us promoted, he failed to back him with sufficient funds.  We then had a rapid succession of managers largely in the range barely adequate to useless.

One of the most effective critques of Roland's stewardship ws provided by Millwall fan Rod Liddle:

The barmy Belgian had a great opportunity, but he ended up doing us a lot of harm.


  1. A couple of things Wyn. Meire was a useless, clueless article who should never been anywhere near a professional football club.
    From memory her tenure at Sheff weds. was barely a year. They quickly saw through her nonsense.
    Roly boy was another who should have kept his nose out of football. He knows nothing about the game and the culture. He was and still is, only in it for the real estate. The sooner he is gone the better.

  2. It seems that Roland's major mistakes were in believing there would be a serious attempt at FFP in the English Football League and in hiring some people who were far from ideal to make football decisions for the club.
    The interesting idea he did have was a for an international network of clubs to move players between. It does look like what such a network needs is a very strong lead club and the other clubs to be more like the US baseball 'farm clubs'.
    Without it being an international network, the clubs would miss out on a large pool of talent. Have I got this idea correct?