Before the phrase “we’re all in this together” was derided by departing Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith, it had already been comprehensively destroyed down in the Valley.
As Charlton owners and fans come to terms with the creeping realisation that relegation is unavoidable, the blame game has reached an intensity not seen on the field of play.
Manager Jose Riga has attempted to stitch together the feuding factions. A friend of owner Roland Duchatelet, he said of his relationship with supporters: “I hope there is no animosity between us.”
There isn’t for the most part. Because fans are stockpiling animosity for the Belgian and his chief executive Katrien Meire.
Any hope of a fragile accord to see the Addicks through to the end of the season exploded in spectacular and bizarre fashion when the club issued a rambling and incoherent statement which included the phrase “some individuals seem to want the club to fail”.
The statement was unsigned but certainly wasn’t issued or supported by the Valley communications chief who resigned after 46 days in the job. According to reports, Mel Baroni had counselled against the statement and felt her position untenable when it was released.
Rick Everitt, who is the voice of Card – the Campaign Against Roland Duchatelet – which has been effectively managing some high-profile protests – called the statement “car crash PR” and attributed it directly to Duchatelet.
He said on the Voice of the Valley website : “Several sources inside the club have told us that the management team has been locked in denial about the extent of the problems facing Charlton and that there is also considerable scepticism that the owner is given a complete picture of events.
“Far from weakening the resolve of Card the owner’s outburst will only be seen as by them as proof that he is cracking.”
Former manager Chris Powell has also waded in on the debate. He was sacked by the new regime in March 2014 despite giving the side some grit and hope so he knows how the boardroom works better than most.
“Whether you like protests or not, the fans feel they need to be heard,” he said. “They want answers and, quite clearly, they are not getting them.
“They made the statement which I don’t think any supporter could understand. It quite clearly shows there is no synergy between the owners, the higher management and the fans.”
Meanwhile, Charlton have time off match duties because of the international break and return on April 2 at home to Birmingham after their 3-0 defeat by Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Excerpt from club's statement
"Some individuals seem to want the club to fail. This is a confused approach, since following this logic leads to exactly the opposite of what we all want: staying in the Championship.
Allegations regarding the CEO are misrepresented* and are continuously used as a method to discredit and fuel personal abuse.
*I think the difference is also because fans don’t see themselves as customers. They go to the restaurants with their families every week and they go to the cinema but if they aren’t satisfied with the product will they go and scream to the people in charge of it?
No they don’t, but they do it with a football club and that’s very weird because they feel a sense of ownership of a football club and that’s a really difficult balance of how you try and engage with fans and make them, incorporated into some of the decisions of the club…"