Karl Robinson: Charlton Athletic boss aims to learn more about fan protests

Karl Robinson
Karl Robinson is Charlton's eighth different manager since March 2014

New Charlton Athletic manager Karl Robinson says he needs to "learn more" about the protests that supporters are directing at owner Roland Duchatelet.

Addicks fans who want the Belgian businessman to sell the club have halted a number of games at The Valley with demonstrations.

"Something has happened before me," Robinson, 36, told BBC Sport.

"As fans, we will always have our problems and arguments. Some say they are right and some say they are wrong."

Robinson 'wants to make fans happy'

A section of Charlton's support set up a campaign group called Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD) earlier this year, with the ultimate aim to make Duchatelet sell his stake in the south-east London club.

CARD have taken issue with the high turnover of managers, Charlton's overall strategy and how the club is run by chief executive Katrien Meire since Duchatelet took over in January 2014.

Duchatelet, 70, has made seven managerial changes since March 2014, with former MK Dons boss Robinson signing a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Addicks on 24 November.

Charlton goalkeeper Declan Rudd tries to catch foam pigs thrown onto the pitch by fans
Charlton fans halted their game against Coventry on 15 October by throwing foam pigs onto the pitch

CARD have held a mock funeral for the club, stopped matches by throwing beach balls, stress balls and foam pigs onto the playing surface, and driven a branded taxi to Belgium.

Robinson watched his new side from the stands on Saturday, witnessing the latest protest first-hand as foam taxis and miniature footballs were thrown on to the pitch shortly after kick-off during the 1-1 draw against Sheffield United.

"I'd not been here [before] but I've read about [the protests] and seen it," Robinson said.

"There is a support element that feel that is what they want to do. It will continue as it is part of what is happening this year.

"I want to make the fans happy and hopefully I am the man to do that. That is my objective."

Duchatelet 'sold Charlton' to Robinson

Robinson had been out of work since leaving MK Dons in October, after almost six and a half years in charge.

He said Duchatelet convinced him to take charge of the Addicks after a three-hour meeting in Paris.

"It was a sign of intent that he came to meet me," Robinson said. "We spoke football and I spoke about the type of man that I am. From what he said to me, it was worth signing on the dotted line.

"It wasn't a financial decision, as the owner sold me something I wanted to do."

Roland Duchatelet
Roland Duchatelet also owns clubs in Belgium, Germany and Spain

Charlton are 11th in League One, two points off the play-offs, with Meire aiming to secure a return to the Championship "at the earliest opportunity".

Previous boss Russell Slade was sacked after just 16 league games but Robinson is not concerned by Duchatelet's managerial merry-go-round at The Valley.

"That is his prerogative," Robinson said. "A man stands in front of you bearing an opportunity to manage a great club and you don't pass these opportunities up.

"I know there are things going on and he is trigger-happy, but I can only control my own actions.

"Hopefully we will have a wonderful relationship. Let's enjoy the ride while I'm here."

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