Thursday, 22 March 2018

Bowyer In No-Lose Position

So there we have it. According to Richard Murray it was “an agreement that is best for everyone involved” and Karl Robinson himself, while “not an easy decision”, what is “best for the club and everyone involved”. Can’t blame either for making such comments, but – although I’m not privy to any inside information - let’s get real: Robinson has had enough and has himself brought about his departure by first twice offering his resignation and then making sure that the news was leaked; Charlton have – or rather Duchatelet has - presumably managed to save on Robinson’s wages and any unfathomable pay-out to Robinson (unless he really had something to support a case for breach of contract), perhaps even squeezed something out of Oxford (I’m assuming there’s going to be a decent interval of at least a day before Robinson is confirmed as their new manager).

There’s no ‘best for the club’ here, just individuals doing what suits their interests – although of course it’s possible that the change will actually work to our (ie the club’s) advantage. If we end up with a turnaround in form and make the play-offs, go on to fresh glory at Wembley and find ourselves back in the Championship, I’m ready to hail Robinson ‘falling on his sword’ as the noblest decision in football for some time. If we don’t make the play-offs, we’ve really lost next to nothing as we weren’t exactly heading in that direction. (I am assuming here that we can’t go on such a disastrous run that we manage somehow to get relegated). We will get some inkling of course on Saturday, from the way the team is set up and how motivated individual players prove to be.

Given that nobody is going to be interested in coming in from outside to manage us (unless truly desperate and offered a contract long enough to make the post-change of ownership pay-off worthwhile), it does seem as though the only alternative was to put in charge one or more of Jason Euell, Johnnie Jackson and Lee Bowyer. (I suppose if Harry Kewell is plucked away from Crawley Town it would be tantamount to saying that a takeover by the Australians is all but agreed.) It seems to be Bowyer as caretaker manager, Jackson as his assistant, and Euell left with the U-23s (which probably makes sense as there’s no point in prompting even more disruption and as by keeping that role Euell gives himself the best chance of being retained under new ownership).

We don’t need to go over Bowyer’s previous; he does surely become the first person to lead Charlton who we know used to enjoy a spliff (if you check out Dean Chandler on Wikipedia you find out that after years in the lower leagues/non-league he apparently made his debut for the England Learning Disability team, playing in a 16-0 win against hosts Sweden in the Global Games, before being sent off in the next match, against Brazil, for violent conduct). Perhaps this is why they haven't made him and JJ 'joints managers'. Just why he is given the nod over Jackson I can’t say, guess you have to be closer to these things to have a worthwhile opinion.

Bowyer does have nothing to lose – and hopefully along with JJ will inject some enthusiasm into the team. If the season tails off with defeat against Plymouth and we are consigned to another in the third flight (for me, in my lifetime we’ve never spent more than three consecutive seasons in this division, so it has to be promotion or bust under new owners for the next campaign) nobody’s going to blame him in any way. Whether or not he and/or Jackson are retained under new ownership only time will tell; perhaps JJ was not put in charge so as to increase his chances of being kept on post-takeover.

There is of course absolutely no good reason for the change to affect CARD’s plans for a return to protests at The Valley on Easter Monday. We all I’m sure continue to hope that the protest will not be necessary as a sale is confirmed before then, but nobody’s holding their breath.

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