All last season we as a club demonstrated against our owner Roland Duchatelet. These demonstrations where drummed up by an organisation calling themselves ‘Coalition against Roland Duchatelet`, shortened to CARD. The intensity of these demonstrations did not confine themselves to the perimeter of the grounds, but spilled over to the inside to disrupt games in a show of defiance against the system. Many who followed this mad cap organisation allowed themselves to be drawn into its web of stupidity.
Listed below are examples of club owners who have a pedigree of incompetence far worse than our current owner. We as supporters of this family club have listened to instigators instead of coming to terms with the conscience that tells us what we are currently doing will never succeed. Many clubs have suffered the indignity of having owners who bought struggling clubs and turned them into hopeless cases that have sent them down the ladder to nowhere.
Here are a list of such clubs who many will recognised as recent and who have either overcome their demise or have sunk dipper into the depth of obscurity.
This club was in a dire straits. Dropping through the divisions like a stone. After many years in the last tier they were finally promoted back to division three. Fan based Pompey have come a long way since administration and three relegations prompted by a succession of awful owners that sent them hurling towards none league football. Reckless spending on massive player contracts left them on the brink of liquidation in 2010.
This club was taken over by Francesco Becchetti about the time Duchatelet took over Charlton Athletic 2014. Leyton Orient are much worse off. Not too many seasons ago they were vying for a place in the Championship. Now they are no longer in the Football League which in many fans` view is due to the incompetence of the owner. If this was not enough, they might not be allowed to play in the Vanarama National League because of financial stipulations.
Sisu Capital saved the club in 2007 from administration. Owner Sisu has since plunged this club into the abyss. Suffering the same fate as Leyton Orient they are now a None League Club. To add insult to injury, they might have to vacate Ricoh Arena and ground share. Being patriotic is very commendable as they showed by supporting the cause at the Valley. But just like our plight it had very little affect and they still had to suffer the indignity of losing their Football League status.
Many readers will draw a comparison with the Addicks on this once proud club Blackburn Rovers. Owned by the Venky Family since 2010. In that time they have transformed the club from a regular Premier League competitor to being relegated into the third tier of football. Selling the best players is never a way forward, as we can verify. It spells disaster which sometimes a club might have an uphill struggle to correct. The Lower Leagues and None Leagues are testament to this.
The Oyston Family have had their claws into these Seasiders since 1988. In 2010/2011 the Tangerines were a Premiership Club. Like Pompey have fallen through the division and are currently in division two. The owner might have some of the same traits as Roland with constant demonstrations, lack of ambition, a so-called strategic plan, and the ability to attract and retain good personals! It could be said that this sounds familiar?
In 1999, Douglas Craig and his fellow directors incurred the wrath of fans by transferring ownership of York`s much-loved city-centre home, Bootham Crescent, to a holding company in which he owned a large stake, for £165,500. He allegedly then tried to force the club to buy back their own ground for £4,5m. Within a couple of years of his exit, York City were in the National League and last season suffered the ignominy of being relegated to the National League South.
Whatever our supporters think of Roland, the owner of Doncaster Rovers went totally off his head when conspiring to commit arson in a plot to burn down Belle Vue. Thankfully, for the club, they are experiencing better times and have had five seasons in the Championship. Although suffering relegation again, they will spend next season in League One.
There you have it. It is not that unusual to find clubs throughout Football League in the same predicament as us. Many, as you have read, had much more to endure than we ever had to come to terms with. Roland in the eyes of many has been branded a monster who is going all out to destroy the club by not listening to the supporters. I personally think, we have had a lot worse over the many years I have been supporting the club. Looking at what I have written above and how many well-known clubs have succumbed to their owners, our plight is nothing. The things that have been subjected to be the demonstrations can be overcome.
I believe, we need to work with what we have and know. There is no such a thing as unfixable. Instead of trying to destroy the platform, let us unite.