Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Removal of Dowie leaves Addickted stunned

Yesterday evening I was early for a meeting at the Royal Horseguards Hotel. For November it was a mild and tranquil evening so I spent some time on the Embankment watching the river flow down towards Greenwich, the Thames Barrier and Charlton. Little did I know the drama that was unfolding downstream as the club announced that 'Iain Dowie has tonight left Charlton.' When I received a text message with the news later in the evening, I was as stunned as most of the Addickted.

On Sunday I said in The Observer that Charlton was not a 'revolving door' club, yet Dowie's 15 games in charge is, I believe, the same as the tenure of Ken Craggs. who also 'By Charlton standards at the time ... invested heavily during his short time as boss according to The Valiant 500.

We will not know the reasons for Dowie's departure until the press conference later today, and even then may not know the full story. Was the 3-2 defeat at Wigan, hardly a thumping and played in strange weather conditions, the final straw? Richard Murray has said that relegation is not an option, so did the board think that the time had come to pull the plug while there was still time for the club to get itself out of the relegation positins?

The Daily Mail is suggesting that there may have been a rift with general manager Andrew Mills, but although some internal disagreements are unavoidable in a football club, it seems unlikely that that was the main reason. The paper also suggested that the club was nervous about what might be revealed in the court case with Palace next month and Jordan has been piling in with his comments. The Jordan writ did not get Dowie's tenure off to the best start. At least the Mail did not suggest that house prices might plummet in SE7 following the shock news.

Alan Curbishley ruled himself out of returning to the club, although he might not have left in the first place if he had known that a transfer budget of the size that Dowie has enjoyed was available. Curbs was able to maintain a far from rich club in the Premiership, but things were starting to go stale towards the end of his tenure. He could grind out results, but the kind of football this required was driving away fans. Equally, I think the charge that Dowie was 'burdened' with players he inherited is spurious. He was able to make eight new signings and some of the players he was 'burdened' with were the likes of Darren Bent, while I have always thought that criticisms of players like Marcus Bent and Hughes have been exaggerated.

It is unclear how much Charlton will have to pay Dowie in compensation. A figure of £3 million has been suggested, but others have hinted that there might have been some let out clause for an early departure which prompted action now.

So what now? It wasn't easy to find a replacement for Curbs and many of those interviewed are now being far from successful in the Championship. The notion of Curbs going to Upton Park and Pardew coming to The Valley seems far fetched to me, although I would welcome Pardew.

Presumably Les Reed and Mark Robson will serve as caretakers. If one bolstered that team with someone like Mark Kinsella, it could be one way forward in a difficult situation.

Without more information, it is difficult to second guess the board's decision. I hope that events do not unsettle the players too much, as some of them were evidently enthusiastic about Dowie. My basic instinct is to trust the board and hope that they can find a way out of the biggest crisis at the club since the return from Selhurst.


Post a Comment

<< Home