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.
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.
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.
A Review of Charlton’s 2014-15 Season
So, the Championship is all over and Charlton finished in a creditable 12th place. The fact that we were the first team to qualify for next season’s Championship competition tells a story in itself: Not good enough to go up (or even make the play-offs) not bad enough to go down (although at one stage it looked as if we might be). If you just considered the mid-table finish and the extremely high number of draws this season you might be forgiven for thinking that the season one of consistent mediocrity, but it wasn’t really like that. It’s been a bumpy ride with two main peaks and two main troughs.
The first peak came at the start of the season with wins against Wigan, Derby, Norwich and Watford and an unbeaten run that lasted until mid-October. Gradually things started to turn sour though as wins turned to draws and draws turned to defeats. Other teams all seemed to have worked out how to stop us and if management had an alternative plan, the players never put it into effect. A three month winless streak from mid-November to mid-February saw Charlton drop as low as 20th in the table. Manager Bob Peeters seemed to have ‘lost the dressing room’ whist the club seemed in danger of losing its fans. In a few short days in mid-January Peeters was sacked, Luzon was appointed and Meire was accused of lying. This was the nadir of the season.
Guy Luzon did well to keep his head when all about were losing theirs and changed the team into a more attacking force that put together a string of wins in late February and March, scoring three goals on five occasions. This period saw safety guaranteed as Charlton moved into the top half of the league table. Sadly it wasn’t to last. Once a certain level had been reached, the wins dried up as the players went on their proverbial summer holidays. The last month was one largely filled with frustration, ameliorated only be the demise of our leonine neighbours and win’s for the U18s in their league and the U21s in the Kent Senior Cup.
The bumps and dips of the season are shown on the chart below, which uses an index rating to show the changes in fortune of the club for it’s league position, points taken, goal difference and goals scored.