This month ‘Natters With The Chels’ caught up with Chelsea Pitch Owners director Charles Rose, who was elected to the board late in 2012.
TC: Firstly Charles, what made you want to put your name forward for a directorship of Chelsea Pitch Owners?
CR: The debacle of the General Meetings in 2011 and 2012, where the interests of the club and its core supporters were mishandled and misrepresented. I felt that my experience could be useful to CPO in sorting out the issues that remained from that time and to get a positive consensus for the future.
TC: What was the process you had to follow and how long did it take?
CR: I applied in writing to the Chairman, submitted a CV and had a telephone interview with the current directors.
TC: How did you feel when you were elected?
CR: Delighted. I wanted to get started straight away
TC: Did you sense any personal hostility to your appointment as a director, or do you think it has been generally welcomed?
CR: Not so much hostility but scepticism. I monitored a few websites and responded where I found any comment about me. In one of my first General Meetings it seemed everyone speaking started with the line ” You may know me from” I started with “No one here knows me” and as far as I knew that remains. It is the same when you join any new organisation, you need to show what you can do and what you are about, so I did not expect anything else. As to actual hostility, CPO has been bedevilled with hostility for the last couple of years. We need to remove this and get rational discussion going so that we can play a positive role with the club and for our shareholders interests.
TC: How do you get on with the rest of the board?
CR: I would like to think well. We meet up for meetings otherwise not at all, but correspond on a very regular basis. What I can say is that you have to respect the differing skills that are apparent in our team, and the amount of time that is spent considering and answering questions and e-mails is considerable. I respect all of them for those reasons.
TC: Did you find your first AGM as a director difficult? Were you nervous? And how do you think it went?
CR: Not really. I have experience of dealing with meetings large and small so it didnt phase me. We had prepared for the meeting, and whilst there was some negativity, I felt that overall it was a positive meeting that took CPO forward. As I said before, we need to deal with the current contentious issues that we have discussed for over a year now and get a positive consensus for the future of CPO in the interests of the shareholders.
TC: What is your personal vision for Chelsea Pitch Owners?
CR: Wow, how long have you got! In short it is to be a seen as an credible part of the structure of CFC. In order to do this we need first to settle our internal differences over the difficulties of the “mis-sold shares” .
This in itself is a major task and is taking considerable time and money to do so. Whether we will ever be able to satisfy some people is questionable, but we will do everything within the powers we have to endeavour to sort the matter out.
Second, and at the same time as the first is to reinvigorate the company in terms of income and expenditure. The third aspect to this is to run meetings that are civil. There will be disagreements, but if we cannot meet without it becoming a full scale shouting match then we will never be a credible voice to the club. If we can undertake that then who knows what can be achieved. With the advent of the Chelsea Supporters Trust there should be opportunities to discuss mutual areas of interest. What is clear in my mind is that the dissolution of CPO as the club wanted in 2011 is not the way forward. We should look to remain as the owners of the pitch and the ground and be the security for the future of the club, whoever is the owner of the main organisation. If you look at the way in which the game is moving both in the UK and at European level there may be interesting opportunities or obligations set by either parliament or by UEFA that necessitate a bigger role for supporters. We should not forget that unlike many of our British rivals we fans do have a real stake in our club. It is down to us as directors and shareholders to ensure that we use this wisely and responsibly
TC: Turning now to on the pitch issues, have you been disappointed with the way the season has been panned out for Chelsea?
CR: I was listening to Rick [Glanvill] on The Chels podcast the other day talking about a transitional season, and to a large part I agree with him. Because of the way in which the club has been run, the team were ageing and running out of time together. Munich provided a full stop for not only Didier but for team as a whole. The club were therefore in the stages of a dramatic rebuild and in this context, winning or coming near being Champions was never realistic. The absolute bottom line is Champions League and getting 4th or 3rd. After that a cup would be fantastic and because we have never won it the Europa would be my priority, particularly as it would be the first time that an English club has won all of the European titles available. I know that the game doesn’t work like that but you can dream. Results will define the season in the history books, but for those of us who were there, it will be remembered as a turbulent, and unhappy season where we let go a favourite son and gained an highly disliked Uncle. Mind you love it or loathe it we all know that being a Chelsea fan is and has rarely been boring!
TC: What do you think a successful season would be for Chelsea?
CR: See my previous answer!
TC: Finally, the last question we are asking everyone for the remainder of the season is how will you be celebrating the first anniversary of the Champions League win on 19th May?
CR: By attending the CPO celebration with Frank Lampard on 17th May! 19.05.12 will remain with us all and there will forever be a part of Bavaria that is Chelsea Blue and forever be a part of all of our memories that will be in Munich!
Thanks to Charles for his time. If you want to be part of the CPO ‘Written In the Stars’ dinner on 17th May, you can find out more here, and you can follow Charles on Twitter @prettyfabguy.
During the run-in to the end of the season we’ll be taking a look at the parallel universe of 19th May 2012, gathering readers’ Munich Memories, and having a natter with the Chair of the Chelsea Supporters Trust Working Group, Tim Rolls. In the meantime, as always, you can follow me on Twitter @BlueBaby67