‘I support the Charlton fan protests but hope they back off for football’s sake’

first_img3 Respect to the Charlton fans. And they’re mobilising again, this time to protest about the current owners. And the fans are right to be upset – Charlton have always had spirit in abundance, a real connection between club and fans, but that soul is being ripped to shreds under the current regime. But while I would absolutely defend the right of the fans to protest, I cannot defend their timing.Look at what happened Saturday: Brighton arrived for a Championship fixture at The Valley, the game kicked off, and then fans stopped the game for several minutes by throwing balls onto the pitch.  Charlton are already relegated, Brighton however, are still in the mix for automatic promotion, and after Burnley’s win on the Friday night, victory was vital for the Seagulls to keep up at the top.Play resumed, Brighton took an early lead and never looked back. I spoke to Chris Hughton about it, and his attitude to the situation was first class. He had prepared his players for the protests, the Brighton team dealt with the situation with respect, as did Hughton. He said he had never witnessed anything quite like that, and he’s been in the game for decades. Hughton has always been a class act, and the way he dealt with the situation was admirable. But as much as I respect the Charlton fans and sympathise with their situation, is it right and proper for them to choose to protest during games, which will have an effect on the opposition?I can’t help thinking it’s not fair to disrupt opponents in that way, especially when those opponents are going for promotion. Take a look at the final day of the Championship season: Burnley, currently top, will be heading to Charlton looking to seal promotion, and the title possibly. Their minds should be focused solely on the game, not how they deal with possible protests from Charlton fans.And if the Burnley game is held up and delayed, as Saturday’s game was, it means the full time whistle could come a significant time after it blows at the Riverside, where Middlesbrough take on Brighton at the same time. That could compromise the fairness of the competition; if Burnley know they only need to draw with 10 minutes left for example, it doesn’t seem right that Boro and Brighton should be finishing earlier. The final games on the final day all kick off at the same time for a reason.I hope the Charlton fans continue their protests and secure change for the better at their club. But I hope they back off on the final day of the season – for football’s sake. 3 Charlton are down but the fans are fighting for their club 3 talkSPORT’s Drivetime presenter Adrian Durham gives his verdict on the Charlton Athletic fan protests…Back in the 1990s I remember wandering around the outside of The Valley, Charlton Athletic’s ground. It was derelict, weeds growing through the concrete terracing; a sad, sorry sight. Charlton fans re-built the place from nothing and that heralded the start of a great era for the club.last_img