Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust founder Barnie Razzell has issued a damming verdict on Roland Duchatelet’s reign at the Valley.

The unpopular Addicks owner is set to sell the club to Australian businessman Andrew Muir.

Razzell, who founded the supporters’ trust in 2012, resigned from his role as chairman in 2015 - just a year after Duchatelet’s arrival.

The Belgian millionaire said Charlton would have been in the Premier League if fans were on his side, and that claim prompted Razzell to release the following quotes to News Shopper:

The reality of the last four-and-a-half years at Charlton is that it was the current owner’s own arrogance that brought about his abject failure. Only when it became apparent that his tenure would more likely lead to the destruction of the club than a return to the Premier League did fans turn against him fully and suggest he sell up. Even a public meeting in Woolwich in early 2015, called amid concerns about the direction of the club, still sought dialogue with the owner. It was not until two years in to Duchatelet’s ownership that a formal coalition of fans’ groups, the Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD), formed to coordinate protests.

Duchatelet’s over confidence saw him employ key senior staff, coaches and scouts with little or no proven experience at senior levels of football. He also believed he could exploit Financial Fair Play rules by giving players a second or third shot using his network of clubs to move players around without substantial fees.

Finally, he showed contempt for fans by his abject failure to engage with some of the most active and engaged fans in the country. Indeed, that and his other errors can very easily be contrasted with success at another network style club - Watford - which brought very different results.

Far from being in a sorry state (other than needing a new pitch) Charlton were in rude health in many ways when the Belgian purchased it. With a legend at the helm enjoying a promotion and stabilising the club in the Championship, fan engagement was growing and crowds were increasing too. A sale was forced due to an investment problem, leaving a new owner needing only to pick up the reigns and build on that. Instead Duchatelet immediately sold key top performing players and signed a mixture of unproven, or simply inadequate players, undermined and micromanaged his head coach Chris Powell and kept fans at arm’s length by refusing to engage on any strategic level.

Powell’s team struggled with a backlog of fixtures. He was replaced when he refused to play network players, and the club narrowly avoided relegation. What followed were years of under resourced squads, often poor network sourced players on high wages, who were believed to be scouted using a highly dubious computer performance system, numerous inexperienced head coach appointments, and an inevitable relegation to League One. This along with regular sales of homegrown talent showed a major lack of ambition and rumours of a player farm strategy seemed to gain weight. Fans were further alienated by a series of PR gaffes from inexperienced staff.

The only respite in later years was a yielding of calls for appointments with some experience of English football. This saw an upturn of sorts, but still, small squads often with some overpaid underperformers continued to undermine progress, seen most recently in Charlton’s failure to reach the League One play-off final despite Lee Bowyer’s valiant efforts. Duchatelet’s network failed to produce any players appropriate for the South London club, and to compound matters, relaxation of Financial Fair Play rules undermined any advantage the network system might have brought.

The Belgian’s experiment in football was a very costly failure because he failed to appreciate the challenge in front of him by putting anything like adequate resources and experienced proven talent in place to execute his strategy. He repeated his failed strategy again and again and eventually seemed to lose interest, threatening the club’s future, saddling it with enormous debts, and now blundering on into a protracted and painful takeover that still eludes.

Were Charlton fans impatient? Were they disgruntled fans who had their privileges withdrawn? Did protests disrupt the team? Of course not. Ironically, the team did better during protest games, something Duchatelet might have known if he’d attended more than a small handful of games in four-and-a-half seasons. The reality for this man, who “doesn’t do failure,” is he can’t accept his own failure and prefers to instead blame others for his blunders, those who merely care too much to stand idly by while the roof begins to fall in.