See that the South London Press is reporting that Lee Bowyer is “hoping to hold talks” with Duchatelet over his caretaker manager status now that the loans window has closed. Seems to me like our absent and absent-minded owner could face something of an acid test.
If I’m an owner of a club that I’m about to sell I’m not really in a position to offer a change of status/new contract to an employee; indeed, if there is a real process of due diligence going on, or even one completed prior to a sale, it is likely I would be prevented from doing so, unless I have the express consent of the prospective buyer (and it should be kept in mind that it was with the agreement of the Australians that Bowyer was kept on to the end of last season). It is possible that is the case and that Duchatelet will be obliged either to tell Bowyer that he cannot change his status at this point in time, or that he will go away and ask the Australians if he can have their permission to do so. After all, a permanent appointment would involve a term and a cost to new owners if they wanted to make a change. I’m guessing that the latter would rather stick in his throat.
At the same time of course if the answer for Lee is not in the positive, there has to be a risk that he will simply walk. From his reported comments – when asked if he saw any problems with his status being changed Bowyer replied “I can’t see why there would be” – it is clear that Bowyer feels he has kept to his side of the bargain (and we have every reason to believe that to be the case) and now the onus is on Roland.
Any owner who had as a priority the good of the club, including getting Charlton promoted back to the Championship, would surely do the necessary. Any owner who places greater emphasis on trying to avoid any reduction to an ‘agreed’ sale price (a phrase which does now have to be taken with a generous dose of salt) would be prepared to let Bowyer walk. It should be a no-brainer, but our owner has a track record of getting no-brainers wrong, for obvious reasons.
We just have to wait for the outcome and draw our own conclusions. In the interim, a most enjoyable weekend was spent in the capital of Europe, Strasbourg, including a visit to the splendid European Parliament there, a walk over the Rhine to say hello to Germany, and availing myself of the opportunity to get better acquainted with the cuisine of Alsace (which while splendid is perhaps better suited to winter than summer).
This all followed a Friday evening watching Lyon Duchere dispatch bottom-placed Drancy 3-0 to strengthen their position at the top of National, France’s third division. It has to be said that unlike one at Roots Hall the game was not a nail-biter. We arrived five minutes after kick-off and before the match clock had reached 12 Duchere were 2-0 to the good. A corner was horribly missed by the Drancy keeper, leaving an open net to head the ball into, then a badly misplaced pass in midfield and a slip by a defender opened the path for Duchere’s central striker to take the ball to the edge of the area and slip it past the keeper.
Most of the rest of the game was spent with Drancy pluckily trying to get back into it, which included leaving a large number of players up front at times. Duchere couldn’t even be bothered to punish them on the break it seemed. Instead the Duchere keeper made one superb save to turn a free-kick around the post and there were one or two more near misses, before with about 20 mins left a throw-in from an innocuous position was allowed to run and Martin Robinson-style the Duchere guy dipped his shoulder, ran onto it, and scored from just outside the box. There was time left for Drancy to miss a penalty but the truth was they’d given up goals far too easily. It wasn’t a night to draw any conclusions about Duchere’s ability to stay around the top, but did seem apparent that Drancy will struggle to stay up.
Onwards and upwards for both of us.