What’s Taking So Long?

Charlton’s inability to recruit a manager enters its second month.

Charlton have now entered their 2nd calendar month without a manager or ‘head coach’ as the regime prefers to call it. 25 days after Jose Riga’s resignation (and even more since everyone knew he was going) and there’s still no sign of an appointment. First there was the bungled attempt to lure Chris Wilder from Northampton; depending on who you believe this either failed as a result of insufficient assurances regarding management control or because Wilder was a Blade at heart and couldn’t therefore resist the overtures of Sheffield United.  The first of these reasons is supported by the publicly acknowledged lack of trustworthiness that the regime has.  The second, by the fact that Wilder was born in Sheffield and did play over 100 matches for Utd.

Since then there have been a host of rumoured suitors including Nigel Adkins, Steve Cotterill, Keith Hill and Johnnie Jackson, but to date no appointment. A mixture of bad publicity regarding the regime and its self-induced malaise, low appointment-expectancy, low manager salary, low playing budget and the big one: unwillingness of the owner to put control-assurances in writing have between them frightened off anyone considering a stint at The Happy Valley.

Does it really matter?  Yes it does.  If Charlton are to have any chance of promotion and if they want to minimise the risk of falling through another trap door, preparations need to be made early.  Any manager will need time to recruit and shape the team to suit their style of play. Having such a senior vacancy reduces the time in which to do this and increases the risk that the playing budget will be squandered on players that are ill-fitted to the manager’s plans.  Other clubs are moving on at a pace to ensure that they are ready for the season ahead.  Meanwhile Charlton are stuck in a quagmire of their own making: Duchatelet, unwilling to relinquish control; Meire incapable of dealing with any footballing related issues in a competent manner.

There are currently nine Football League clubs looking for a manager, only Blackburn is on a par with Charlton for its inability to do so:

Screenshot 2016-06-01 10.20.05

A further seven clubs have already appointed managers since the end of the season. These spent, on average, just one week each in sorting out their most important appointments. Meanwhile Charlton are left floundering.

Screenshot 2016-06-01 10.20.21



Charlton’s Longest And Shortest Tenures As Temporary Manager (or Interim Coach if you prefer their terminology)

Karel Fraeye:

Appointed: 25th October 2015

Removed: 13th January 2016

Time in Charge, 80 days.

P14* W2 D4 L8 F11 A28

*13 League, 1 FA Cup

Wim de Cort:

Appointed; 13th January 2016

Removed: 14th January 2016

Time in Charge: 1 day.

P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0

Two Years Into The Duchatelet Experiment

It is now two years since Roland Duchâtelet took control of Charlton Athletic.  Whatever it is that he thinks he’s up to, the results don’t make pretty reading.  Of the 93 league matches played since then, Charlton have won just 26, 29 have been drawn and an incredible (unless, that is, you’ve been unfortunate enough to witness the displays) 38 have been lost.  For every goal that Charlton have scored, the opposition have averaged 1.39.

When looked at on a season by season basis, it’s fair to say that the Duchâtelet régime got off to a bad start.  Forgivable, maybe, given that the playing squad that they inherited had been badly run-down, but not good.  The following season, 2014/15, got off to a good start and then deteriorated into a seemingly endless run of draws.  Whilst the current season has been an unmitigated disaster, with just four wins to date from 25 matches.

Screenshot 2016-01-06 23.01.52

A short while ago when questioned about the high number of managerial turnarounds Charlton have made in the last two years, CEO Katrien Meire  claimed that every decision was correct because the club improved every time.  This is an out and out lie.   We can safely discount Chris Powell in this who was never going to fit with the régime, also Damien Matthew and Ben Roberts who had the misfortune of leading the team for one match during the farcically hasty appointment of Guy Luzon.

Screenshot 2016-01-06 23.02.12

If we look at the other appointments and how they have fared, quite a pattern emerges.  First of all José Riga came in and he made quite a reasonable go of things.  Under his leadership the team averaged 1.5 points per game. For whatever reasons though, Riga was allowed to slip away to Blackpool, probably the only club in the league with  a worse set-up than Charlton.  Bob Peeters was brought in to replace him.  His team averaged 1.24 points per game.  Next came Guy Luzon with 1.18.  Finally we have Karel Fraeye, bringing in a relegation threatening 0.83 points per game.

So, far from Meire’s claim that every decision was right.  Every managerial appointment made by Charlton in the last two years has been worse than the preceding one.

It was the original intention that this blog would be impartial and would simply report the facts.  However, the last two years have been so bad that things need to be said: Karel Fraeye is just about as incompetent as a manager can get. Katriene Meire is out of her depth, and is certainly not suitable to be an executive. Roland Duchâtelet, the absentee landlord, has shown all the leadership skills of a dying worm.  It is time for them all to go, because the statistics couldn’t get much worse than this.

Vaarwel Bob Peeters

Goodbye to Bob Peeters who left Charlton on Sunday

Date Appointed: Tuesday 27th May 2014

Date Departed: Sunday 11th January 2015

Time in Charge: 229 days

Job Title: Head Coach

Contract: 1 year


P W D L F A Pts GD
League (Skybet Championship) 25 6 13 6 24 29 31 -5
(Capital One) League Cup 2 1 0 1 4 1 n/a 3
FA Cup 1 0 0 1 1 2 n/a -1
Overall 28 7 13 8 29 32 n/a -3

First Match: 05/07/2014 Standard Liège away 0-2. 45 minute match in the “Stayen Cup”

First Competitive Match: 09/08/2014 Brentford away 1-1, Sky Bet Championship

Biggest Win: All league wins (Wigan, Derby, Watford, Norwich, Bolton, Reading) were by a single goal. The 3-2 win against Derby was the biggest scoreline. The biggest win in any competitive match was a 4-0 victory over Colchester in the League Cup.

Heaviest Defeat: 0-3 to Fulham at Craven Cottage 24/10/2014. In typical Charlton fashion our heaviest defeat was live on Sky tv.

Highlight: Probably the 1-0 victory at Norwich who were top of the league at the time.

Last Match: 10/01/2015 0-1 home defeat to struggling Brighton.

Debutants: It’s hard to say that Peeters made any signings, because that’s not the way things work under the Duchâtelet régime, but the following players made their debuts under Peters: Henderson, Ben Haim, Bikey-Amougou, Berg Guðmundsson, Buyens, Vetokele, Țucudean, Moussa, Gomez, Bulot, Ahearne-Grant, Coquelin [loan], Onyewu [loan], Etheridge [loan], Watt.

What He Said At The Start: For me it was an easy decision. I know the Championship and I know Charlton and, along with Damian Matthew and the coaching staff, we are going to be a good team. The most important thing for me was that the owner had a lot of respect for the work I had done with Waasland-Beveren and said if I can go to a team like Charlton then not to hesitate. For me it was an easy deal. I had to finish my contract at Waasland-Beveren and they weren’t very happy because I managed them last year and we survived, but this was an opportunity to go to a bigger club and see how it goes in England. Everybody dreams of a big team in England. If a train passes you by and you can jump on it to a place like Charlton then you are happy. I very much look forward to starting the job.” B.P. 3rd June 2014

What They Said At The End: “It was a very difficult decision to reach. We had been very supportive of Bob until the very last moment, but the disappointing nature of performances and results in recent matches forced us to look at the situation. Despite recent rumours in the media we had not considered this option until after Saturday’s game. We have won just once in the past 12 matches and with the January transfer window open it is an important time of the season for the club. We feel this is the right decision for the club and I have asked Damian Matthew and Ben Roberts to take temporary charge. I have no doubts they will do an excellent job taking care of the side for the time being. KM 12th January 2015

Also Goodbye To: Patrick Van Houdt (Senior Professional Development Coach) and Guy Kiala (Performance Analyst).  

Summary: Bob’s tenure at Charlton came in two parts. The club got off to a good start and were the last team in the division to suffer a defeat. However, with a thin squad the team lost its way and recorded its last victory back in November against Reading. At the point of Bob’s departure, the team had more draws than anyone else in the division and even these had become hard to come by at the end. Although fans were sympathetic to the lack of options available, criticisms were raised about lack of alternative approaches, zonal marking and playing players out of position.  There were also rumours of disputes with members of the team.

José Riga versus Bob Peeters

Which of Roland Duchâtelet’s men has performed best at the helm of Charlton Athletic?

José Riga   Bob Peeters
Played 16 21
Won 7 6
Drawn 3 12
Lost 6 3
Goals For 17 23
Goals Against 20 22
Points 24 30
Goal Difference -3 1
Percentage Wins 44% 29%
Percentage Draws 19% 57%
Percentage Losses 38% 14%
Scored Per Game 1.06 1.1
Conceded Per Game 1.25 1.05
Points Per Game 1.5 1.43
Binary Scorelines 44% 67%

Screenshot 2014-12-14 18.55.09

Stats above are for League Matches only.  José Riga’s from the 0-0 Draw with Huddersfield on 12th March 2014 to the 3-0 victory at Blackpool on 3rd May 2014.  Bob Peeters’ from the 1-1 draw at Brentford on 9th August 2014 to the 2-2 draw with Blackpool on 13th December 2014.

Is Big Bob Charlton’s Greatest Ever Manager?

Monday 15th September 2014 – Comparison of Bob Peeters to his predecessors in their starts as Charlton Manager 

Frankly, only a mad person would make a positive answer to such a question.  Indeed, you’d need to be a little bit touched just to ask it.  Bob has been in charge for only six league matches, which is far to early to attach any significance to in terms of greatness.  Nevertheless, getting a team who were widely tipped to struggle to win three and draw three is quite some achievement. We therefore decided to compare Bob’s start to that of all of the previous Charlton managers who have been in charge for six games or more (that’s all of them except Les Gore and Keith Peacock).  How does Bob’s record compare?

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 09.00.36

The table shows that Bob’s run of three wins and three draws is indeed the best six-match start made by any Charlton manager.  Just pipping the previous best, set by Chris Powell, on goal difference. At the wrong end of the table Theo Foley and Mike Bailey made the poorest starts each getting just two draws to show from their opening league fixtures.