Hammond raises Semtex payout
Addicks fans are just getting warmed up in their battle against the unloved owners
Victims of the 1996 Docklands bomb have welcomed news that the Government has raised the issue of compensation with the new Libyan government.
The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond revealed this week that he put the issue on the agenda during a surprise visit to support prime minister-designate Fayez Sarraj and his “government of national accord” earlier this month. However, he indicated that the issue would take time to resolve.
The Docklands Victims Association, in tandem with other support groups, notably in Northern Ireland, has been campaigning for years to get compensation from Libya after Colonal Muammar Gaddafi supplied the IRA with Semtex for their bombs, one of which rocked the Docklands in 1996. Jonathan Ganesh, president of the DVA, said: “I’m pleased the Government appears to have indicated a willingness to help as it appears that they have finally put this on their agenda. “I hope that it is not just a false promise of hope as previous UK governments have done.”
The Charlton fans are revolting. And, if the club’s ownership was continuing in the belief that this would go away quietly, on Saturday that regime received a dose of reality.
The farce continues. It’s a farce that has seen the club have three managers this season including one snatched from an underachieving side in the Belgian third division and another who they dumped two years earlier.
It’s a farce that has seen a number of much-loved and top Championship players swapped with often poor and usually unfit replacements.
It’s a farce where the decisions are based on a strategy developed by an owner who has not attended a Charlton game all season.
You wonder if Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner says a silent prayer each night for the fabulous distraction down the M40.
And, on Saturday, while Charlton fans yet again littered the pitch with beach balls, causing the game to be stopped three times, there was an extra twist in the tail.
Brighton fans, who have also gone through the mill over the years, repaid their opposite numbers who were among those who stepped to their aid when they faced the abyss almost 20 years ago.
As all 3,000 blue and whites rose to their feet to demand the Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet’s exit, chief executive Katrien Meire must have felt under more pressure than ever.
This match was billed by the protest leadership as throwing the kitchen sink at the campaign and the pre-game march complete with banners and balloons – plus further chants before and after the pitch action – was certainly that.
What was equally bad news for the ownership was that the fans really seem to be enjoying it.
The determination of this group who once launched a political party in a bid to return home – and was successful – cannot be underestimated.
Now the Battle For The Valley has turned into the battle for the club. And Charlton’s fans’ struggle is starting to become a byword for the disaffected supporter.
Meire once said she didn’t care about the club’s history. Perhaps she should start caring, because with this level of support you get the feeling the protests are here to stay.
As for the football on Saturday, Brighton won 3-1 but Charlton fans are long past caring what happens on the pitch.
Although they will hope to do their south coast friends a favour and help them in their promotion push.
Libyan PM Fayez al-Sarraj meets Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond
Saturday’s game is held up to remove beach balls from the pitch