When I was asked by the Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD) if I could arrange to cover a taxi for them, they knew exactly what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go.
Roland Duchatelet is a Belgian businessman and Chairman of Charlton Athletic Football Club. The recent managerial changes (the latest just this week) and relegations are systematic of the mismanagement of the football club under his ownership according to fan's protest groups. He is a very unpopular figure and fans lay the blame for these disappointments firmly at his door. Several well-organised protests have taken place this year including a funeral march to mourn the loss of the Club's heart and soul and a large billboard outside The Valley, where Charlton play their home games. In fact CARD and the demonstrations they have organised have been praised as being one of the most creative, well-run, and politically charged protest movements in English football.
To mark the unpopular owner's 70th birthday on November 14th, this cab (above) with the slogan "Taxi for Roland" and "We want our Charlton back" headed to Belgium for a 3-day trip to take the message of unhappiness to the owner's country of birth. Stop-offs included the Belgian and European Parliaments and another Belgian football club.
After returning home, the taxi will be on the streets of London for a further three months and will no doubt pop up at future high profile demonstrations. I don't think I can recall a taxi campaign having received quite so much publicity, but it is a good story supported by strong imagery, so it ticks the main PR boxes. The story appeared in The Sun, Daily Mail, Evening Standard and was also covered on Talk\sport. A number of respected football journalists have also picked up on the story via social media, including Henry Winter Chief Football writer at The Times.
As a passionate supporter of Liverpool FC, we could have done with one of these in the Hicks and Gillett era, so to supporters of Blackburn, Aston Villa et al. who may want a similar taxi you know where to find me!