Blackpool supporters can finally talk of Owen Oyston in the past tense, which may just offer hope to those at Charlton, Coventry and elsewhere with inadequate or reviled owners
That was a belter of a line from Lieven De Turck, representing the always bewildering Roland Duchtelet at a forum of Charlton Athletic supporters a few nights ago, when the man reputedly in charge of trying to sell the club floated what viewers of Blackadder might recognise as the cunning plan option.
He didnt put it in those terms, of course, but equally Im not even sure Baldrick would have come up with something quite so brilliantly harebrained as standing up in front of a room of already exasperated football fans and proposing, in one of those lightbulb moments that probably encapsulate Duchtelets five years as Charltons owner, that the Football League should get them out of a hole by buying the club.
All of which might have come across as some kind of misunderstanding, a wind-up even, were it not for the statement that appeared on Charltons website the next morning to clarify that, yes, he was deadly serious. It noted that Duchtelets property had been vandalised and complained of intrusion into his personal life. There was the nowobligatory mention of fake news, referring to one of the stories about the owners alleged penny-pinching (namely the rationing of bottled water for players in training sessions), and the killer line was saved for last, having claimed that no foreign investor would possibly want to buy the club and endure the same indignities. Therefore, this 668-word piece of tragicomedy concluded, the owner demands that the EFL acquires his football club.
Well, its an idea, I suppose. I particularly like the way he demands, rather than simply requests or proposes, and I hope it is not too impertinent to point out that it is not exactly common practice for a football club to be bought by the league in which it plays. Or, indeed, that he appears to be making an impressive challenge for the 2018-19 trophy as the most preposterous football-club owner in the business.
Not that he can be considered the overwhelming favourite just yet when there is so much consistently strong competition elsewhere. Nobody, for starters, could persuade me that any club has had it worse than Coventry City under the hardfaced ownership of the London-based hedge-fund Sisu and there are plenty of other contenders. At least the supporters of Blackpool are now in a position, finally, to fumigate the corridors of Bloomfield Road and talk of the wretched Owen Oyston in the past tense. Yet it is still very evident that football is awash with clubs where, if you remember the old Monty Python sketch, the people in charge are here on behalf of the Silly party or the Slightly Silly party.
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