Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Where do we go from here?

After a day spent in York, I have had time to read the E mails on the Charlton lists and see something of the range of opinion held by Charlton fans on the crisis facing the club.

Some of them, with good reason, clearly blame the lack of spirit and determination shown by the players. This was reflected in the chants of 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' from three sides of The Valley last night. What I found particularly shocking were claims that Marcus Bent had tried to stop Matt Holland clapping the East Stand.

Peter Varney has offered an apology to Charlton fans and said that money will be made available to bring in new players in the transfer window. Certainly a clean out is needed. But who will want to come to Charlton and face the likely prospect of Championship football next season? Attempts to sign Scottish players have already received the brush off: Hibs

The point has been made that Les Reed is being a scapegoat for problems that are not of his making. The board arguably made a mistake in turning down the demands made by Billy Davies and then signing Dowie. They then got rid of Dowie, for reasons that cannot be fully explained, and hastily appointed Reed, but not on a caretaker basis. There does, however, seem to be a grey area about Reed's contract. It is as 'head coach', so does this mean that a 'manager' could be appointed above him?

Les Reed is a good coach and a decent person. Juneau the Soccer Cat has made the point that he is kind to cats and may well have a cat called Curbs. However, he has no managerial experience and has been promoted to the level of his incompetence. The best that can be said is that the situation this season is beyond redemption and we probably could not attract a good manager anyway, so we might as well stick with him until May.

The problem with that argument is that I do not believe that he is really up to the job. He is not a person who radiates a sense of authority, who could revitalise a demoralised side. But, according to Peter Varney, he will not be sacked (although he could step aside and revert to his coaching role).

The tragedy of this situation is that we have a board who have invested considerable sums of their own money in Charlton and followed a prudent and well thought out strategy of building up the club step by step. I think that one error was to place too much emphasis on a particular management structure, overlooking the fact that in football 'agency' in the form of a good manager is the key factor.

The one good thing about the Wycombe result is that it should serve as a wake up call. The board must realise that they risk destroying all that they have created and that fans will vote with their feet in droves. What I would like them to do is to at least explore if a manager could be found and ask Les Reed to revert to his former role.

A friend who works in education said that if Charlton was a school it would now be placed in special measures. That about sums it up.


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