Over the minutes, in a poor second half, the anger of the supporters rose crescendo. The defeat, without revolt, extinguished the European hopes of a disgusted Mambourg. At the end of the match, the supporters demanded that Mehdi Bayat come and explain himself at the foot of the T4. What the managing director did, megaphone in hand. The reproaches were numerous, in particular on the lack of anticipation of the transfer window. The players themselves, after Edward Still’s unifying speech in midfield, timidly applauded them before returning head down to the locker room.
Aren’t the supporters too fast too demanding, too hard, given the richer and more prestigious competition? “I wouldn’t say they are too demandingsaid Ken Nkuba after the match. They still did their job as supporters by encouraging us. We lost, they have the right to complain and let it be known.”
Daan Heymans, too, understood their frustration, but had a broader reasoning. “They were waiting for us to finally beat a top team but, on the other hand, we have to be realistic. Charleroi missed the playoffs last season and, this year, we are there. But Charleroi does not have the budget FC Bruges, Anderlecht, Genk, Ghent or Antwerp. Our first half was good, in Mechelen too. When we win, we are the best in the world, and when we lose, we are considered like suckers. That’s football…”
The tension has finally subsided but the disappointment will be hard to digest. And that’s not how Charleroi will manage to increase its home attendance.