Not being shy at completely changing my mind when it suits me I am about to surprise a few people with my latest best plan.
I have little knowledge of running a football club. I have limited experience of management in business, and I think having a team (players or managers) that are independently wealthy is different again.
I have made it clear that I have lost confidence in Alan Pardew, I still believe that the fortunes of the first team would be better served with a new direction, but I am willing to give the board the benefit of doubt.
I have a small reservation about the board's motives. if they just want rid of the club now due to the increasing financial burden then maybe keeping Pardew is the cheapest option until they get out. However, having met Richard Murray and read Derek Chappell's comments on Charlton Live I don't think they would do harm to the club, and are probably looking to sell so that the new owners can invest what we need that they are not able to provide.
Thus I have to assume that there is another reason that they have given Pardew their backing - including agreeing to sign further players on loan. A two minute brainstorming session brings up the following list of reasons that they may be considering:
1> The price of removing Pardew would cost money we just don't have;
2> The board have made (secret) enquiries about replacements and come up with nothing; or
3> They've seen something that the fans haven't - either in training or in meetings etc.
Let me expand on those a little. Point 1 is obvious. These chaps have put lots of their money into the club and it is clear that the cost of removing Pardew will have to come from a cash injection. I'm not just talking about the severance pay, I'm talking about the recruitment costs of the replacement. Unless we want a manager out of work we will have to pay compensation to the club he is currently employed by. Chances are that any unemployed 'Big Name' - Hoddle, Allardyce, Curbishley et. al.- will want a lump sum or a long term contract. This is before we calculate the cost of the new man wanting to remove Parkinson and possibly Kinsella and bring in his own team that will also need to be 'recruited'. There is also the possibility that the new man will want to sign players and if the only option is sell before you buy we could lose our best players at knock down prices to make that change.
I think point 2 is, again, simple enough. I have no idea, but if Curbishley has been approached (for example) and said "No chance", and the agents of other replacements have made it clear that they would prefer to stay away, what can we do. Clearly if you offer enough money you can have anyone you like, but what would it cost to tempt a millionaire football manager to dirty his hands with a relegation fight, no money for transfers, a very demotivated team with no confidence and, let's face it, an unhappy group of fans who have expectations well above their station and are happy to boo their manager, and have, in fact, called for the sacking of the last two? I know this goes back to point one, but it's still a factor. The quality of an out of work manager that will take us on has to be assumed to low.
The third point relates to Pardew as well as Parkinson and Kinsella. The board may see something in Pardew that we fans do not. Either way they are in a better position to judge Parkinson and Kinsella. I have no idea if under good conditions (let alone the mess we are currently in) either of these two men would be able to produce the goods for Charlton, but if the board have few (or no) outside candidates then they have to consider promoting from within. Despite the Les Reed spectacle, I think promoting from within can be a success. The board will have had contact with the two obvious internal candidates and may doubt them. We have no idea, but to do nothing can be the least risky option when you are not confident of the alternatives. Better the devil you know? This is, of course, assuming that either of them would be willing to put their reputations on the line and risk ending up being the next Les Reed?
Over all I am not able, either with this blog or by my behaviour at The Valley, to force the board to act. Maybe if the pressure continues to grow Pardew will have to go. Maybe that is the best way forward, but if the board are determined to keep him (at least for now) we could cause more damage in the short term by destroying the manager's ability to raise confidence in an already fragile group of players.
I also have to confess that I am beginning to feel like part of a witch hunt. I'm confident that the fans only want what is best for the club, but we could be wrong. It is possible that, as horrendous a thought as it is, Pardew is the very best option based on what I have described above (and other things that I've not even thought of). Even if his departure is the correct way forward, I think that the board know how the fans think and continuing to raise the level of 'hate' against a man that is clearly doing his best is just not something I want to be part of.
Thus, for now, I am going to revert to Plan A. I'm going to believe, no hope, no pray that we can turn it around. I'm going to embrace the new loan players and give them (and the current ones) all the support that I can. I'm going to cross my fingers and toes and ram my head in a hole of sand in the ground. At the end of the day there is not much more I can do. The board will make the decision, and they probably don't even read my blog anyway.
I'm not leaving the Redvolution behind, and what will be will be, but in the meantime I will be looking for positives; I will be looking for reasons to be cheerful; I will be acting like the quintessential Charlton fan.
Up the Addicks!