Friday, 15 January 2016

Jose Riga

It's beyond parody. It's so sad it's not funny. All the 'leaks' from the club have been contradicted with this appointment and it makes it look more and more like no one there has a clue what to do next.

There comes a point, when things are going wrong, that there is nothing else to lose and all logic goes out of the window and gambles are made. It's the epitome of 'double or nothing' again and again until everything has been lost.

Chris Powell was struggling in his second season in the Championship. I'm not going to drag that all up again but needless to say the squad was not as strong as the one that had finished 9th the season before and we were looking precarious. In truth on the day that Chris Powell was sacked (on the basis that we had games in hand) our average points per game (compared to the other sides) had us 4th from bottom. On the basis that the club were able to bring in players for the first time in a year there was still a chance that we would have stayed up.

Jose Riga came in and managed to steered us to safety with a whole game remaining. I am not convinced, based on his track record since then, that the upturn in results was all down to him. Basically, I'm not convinced that he is going to keep us up this time. I'm also not convinced that the club will allow him to see out the whole of his eighteen month contract. I don't know what the owner's other clubs have done but we haven't kept a manager for a whole season under him.

The rumours and statements coming out of the club suggest that the owner made this decision and appointment without involving the CEO or Richard Murray. In the case of the latter this is no surprise as Richard Murray is now, basically, a Press Officer and his only responsibility is to use what is left of his credibility to try to fool the fans into believing that the club have not, completely, lost the plot. Something that I believe he has failed to do for over a year now. Richard's luck has held him in the job because those around him are so much more incapable of doing their own jobs that he almost stands out as the 'star performer'.

The CEO has gone from embarrassing the club and it's fans to embarrassing herself. It is my belief that some of the worst comments and statements have been deliberately said to upset and antagonise fans. I think (and I appreciate that I have no evidence to back this up - and it is just my personal view) that she is so annoyed that the fans don't appreciate what she is doing that she feels the need to have a snidey pop at them. There is not much chance that anyone with any intelligence would say some of the things she has said by accident. I have heard her speak a few times and even though I have thought she was not very professional (in fact, not at all professional) they don't give out Law degrees for turning up and 'trying'.

Ultimately time will tell but my best guess, based on where we are today, is that this is the highest profile job Ms Miere will have for a long time (probably ever) and no one will ever look back on her time in charge of Charlton with anything other than regret that she was given the job in the first place - save for Millwall fans, of course. In fact I think I'd be unable to remove a grin from my face, twenty-four hours a day, if she was appointed CEO of Millwall or Palace.

So the owner appointed Jose and told the fans that things had been a little tricky but this chap that did a magnificent job two years ago, that wasn't trusted to build on his success, will come back to save the day, make the fans happy, and encourage us all to believe in his 'vision' of cutting costs, selling all the decent players and hoping that signing players from all over Europe, that have no rack record of any use, will help us to stumble onto a side of world beaters that can win us promotion. He reminds me of a chap I knew at University that owed money to all of his friends but had a good feeling about a horse at 20-1 and had worked out that to repay all of his debts he just needed to borrow another £20 and when this horse came in he would be able to repay everyone, I'm not kidding, he really did believe this was the answer. the horse didn't win, obviously.

Let's sack this manager and get another one. The new one might be able to achieve what Alex Ferguson did with £250m of talent with a couple of teenage imports and some youth graduates. After all Giggs, Beckham, Scholes, Butt and the Neville brothers did it, why not Fox, Charles-Cook, Ahern-Grant, Lennon, Kennedy and Looknan?

How this man made so much money I will never understand!

So, here we are again. For the third year running we have appointed a new manager to try to lift an under funded squad that has had it's confidence shattered to produce close to promotion form to keep us in the division, so we can try again to scout players without a scout to win games in a division they have never played in.

If it wasn't so depressing and damaging to the long term future of the club and if it wasn't undoing all the hard work done to build us up over the last twenty years it would be funny.

But it isn't funny. It isn't funny at all.

Just for the record I think we'll be lucky to lose by just two goals tomorrow but the sad state of our club leaves the football as a footnote at the bottom of an article.

No, it really isn't funny at all.

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

One down, two to go

So tonight we find ourselves, again, without a manager. Something that I suspect many Charlton fans (or customers) will lose no sleep over. That is a start, but it's not enough. I don't know that the actual relationship is between the owner and the CEO but irrespective as to how much she tells him there is no doubt that she has been spinning the truth to the fans for a while now.

I will stop short of calling Ms Miere a liar, but there is, certainly, some inconsistency in what she says. The uncredited statement today suggesting that Fraye has left the club and a recruitment process to replace him will commence is, exactly, what I'm talking about. If Fraye was an interim appointment while they carry our a recruitment process then what have they been doing.

I have to confess if this another club I would find it slightly amusing. If it was Millwall or Palace (or a few others that don't need to be mentioned for the point to be made) I would find it hilarious.

I have, over the years, had what I would call rivals. Palace and Millwall are the obvious ones but West Ham were considered (maybe not by the fans of the club that won the World Cup) to be a rival. We were in the same division, we finished above them and beat them. Now I feel as though West Ham and Palace are so far ahead of us that I can't, really, consider them rivals - just like I can't think of Millwall in that way as they are so far behind us - for now.

More recently, however, the situation at Charlton has been so bad that I've not considered any side to be worth being bothered about. I've just felt as though we have enough of a fight on our hands with those running the club. This is not a new thing, however. I was not up in arms when Chris Powell was relieved of his duties. We were struggling at the time and did look in trouble. The new owner had a lot of money and new ownership often comes with a desire for their own man.

When Kermorgant was sold, along with Stephens, I gave the club the benefit of doubt as both players had six months on their contract and had indicated that they wanted to leave. I assumed that the multi-millionaire was just making a sensible financial decision and would bring in better players in the sumner as he has the wealth to do so.

Riga managed a great run and I was a little disappointed that he was let go but, again, I thought that maybe the new chap would be good enough to make the Riga decision look OK with hindsight. Bob Peters was allowed to bring in some decent players and we did start the season well and for a while I dared to believe that maybe we were going to make a decent challenge for promotion. Then Vetokele got injured and the wheelers came off.

I was very angry with the departure of Michael Morrison - especially as by this time Bikey had shown glimpses of, shall we say, anger management issues. At this point I was changing from blindly supporting the new owner to having concerns. I was able to put these concerns to one side, however, as Bob Peters was sacked and I believed that, maybe, it was him that moved Morrison on.

Then the debacle of the appointment of Guy Luzon. What, I think, made that worse for me was that I'd allowed myself to believe that Curbishley was going to come in and with the owners wealth and proper support we would build a side that would win promotion within a couple of years and would play some nice to watch football along the way. It is a myth that all Curbishley's sides were dour. He was good at then when necessary, but his teams did play too.

The timing of the Luzon appointment made me believe that the promises of a proper appointment process were rubbish. I was starting to turn then but the side started to win and I way Ms Miere at two fan meetings and she came across ok. I actually wrote something about it at the time. On reflection I think I am biased. We always look for the best, both intentions and outcomes, of our friends and family, and I think we lie to ourselves to make us feel better. So towards the end of last season I found a way to be satisfied, again, with the club and how it was proceeding. I was not completely convinced, but our run in the second half of last season under Luzon was very impressive.

The summer saw players sold and new ones coming in. I was inclined to believe that the new players would be good. The suggestions were that we had paid good money for many of them and even though there is no guarantee that the price will equate to the player's ability I was inclined to believe that if the club spent money we would be ok.

Despite a couple of early wins the squad was not good enough. I have to assume this is down to the scouting. I believe that the owner has a game plan that can work but only if the scouting is exemplary. And it has been far from exemplary.

Luzon was, clearly not getting the results and had to go. The manager always Carey's the can as to replace a whole squad of players is too expensive. Again, rumours of one of the owner's 'friends' boasting that he was going to have the job surfaced and Fraye was appointed. Initially on an interim basis, presumably because this would go down better with the fans. The plan was that he would hold the seat while a proper recruitment process was carried out. Clearly this was not a true and accurate statement.

An inexperienced and, I'm embarrassed to say, an incompetent interim manager has left us second from bottom with a squad so low on confidence and so reliant on young boys that are, almost certainly, not ready for the battle ahead that I wonder if it's not already beyond us.

What I do find staggering is that after all this time we are only three points (plus maybe another one due to goal differnce) from safety. Do we dare to believe that we can still get out of it?

All the while we hear that a very wealthy investor wants to buy us and take us to the Premier League. I know better than to believe that we can be the new Chelsea or Man City, but if there is any chance that we could make a genuine challenge at the other end of the table to where we are that would be a massive step up from what we have now.

So tonight we are free of the amateur interim manager we just need to get the CEO out of the door and convince the owner to sell up. We still have a long way to go but we have made a step in the right direction.

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