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Recruitment Process, Regardless of Who’s Appointed, Already a Failure

My frustration and anger towards the regime that currently controls Charlton Athletic grows stronger, which is apparently possible, with each Football League club that announces the appointment of a new manager or head coach following the conclusion of a swift recruitment process.

Let’s, for example, take Rotherham United. A club that would have also been planning for a return to League One were they not intelligent enough to appoint a Championship specialist when their situation appeared most bleak last season.

They would have hoped that Neil Warnock, the man that pulled them clear of the relegation zone in quite stunning fashion, would remain in charge. Contingency plans, what with them being a sensible club and all, would have unquestionably been in place, but their target was to tie down the experienced boss beyond his initial temporary contract.

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Exactly two weeks after the Millers were forced into altering their plans, with Warnock deciding he didn’t wish to remain at the Yorkshire club, they have today unveiled Alan Stubbs as their new boss. A manager whose reputation has risen at some pace during his time in charge at Hibernian, concluding with a victory in the Scottish Cup final.

An excellent appointment, that was made extremely quickly given the alteration in plans that was required, and goes a long way to addressing the disappointment that Warnock’s departure created at the New York Stadium.

And if Rotherham aren’t the best example to use given that they are still a Championship club, then let’s take a look at Northampton Town. The Cobblers promoted to League One, but somewhat unexpectedly losing Chris Wilder to Sheffield United.

Wilder, who turned down the job in SE7 as he wasn’t given the assurances he requested, was made manager of the Blades on May 12th. Seven days later, Northampton’s recruitment process was complete, and Port Vale’s Rob Page was their new boss. Swift.

By contrast, almost a month after Jose Riga’s resignation was confirmed, Charlton are still yet to find his replacement. Almost a month since his resignation was confirmed, but it seemed he wouldn’t be remaining at The Valley from as early as the start of April. Players saying as much at sponsors’ events, and his words in post-match press conferences offering further suggestions.

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Roland Duchatelet and Katrien Meire, therefore, have realistically had the best part of two months to /conduct and complete a recruitment process. Two months that have seen a handful of targets identified, but no appointment made. Two months that have reaffirmed the complete incompetence of this regime.

Of course, had the initial focus on Wilder ultimately been successful, then this rant wouldn’t be necessary. They would have made a promising appointment in reasonably quick time. A begrudging pat on the back offered.

Identifying and conducting interviews with a target, however, is meaningless when it is their own faults that have prevented a boss from being appointed. Had Wilder been offered the reasonable reassurances he demanded, a contract in SE7 might well have been signed before the Blades showed interest.

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Nor does the fact that numerous names have been mentioned as targets in the weeks that have followed the failure to appoint Wilder mean this recruitment process is good enough.

Partly because three weeks have followed, making the process of finding a second target longer than other Football League clubs have needed to conduct a whole recruitment process from scratch. Partly because the other rumoured targets, including the likes of Billy Davies, Nigel Adkins and Russell Slade, are not currently employed as managers and therefore need only convincing that this role is one worth taking.

There’s no compensation packages to be agreed, nor a need to prove that the Addicks can offer more than the club they currently work for. It’s not quite as simple as “fancy a job”, but it might as well be.

And yet, the rumours have quickly cooled with each name that has been suggested. Whether they’ve had talks or not is unknown, but if they have, then Charlton are failing to convince out of work managers that managing at The Valley is an attractive proposition.

Extremely worrying, irrespective of the fact that targeting experienced British bosses is a touch more reassuring than appointing someone from within the network after conducting 20 interviews in a day.

Worrying, too, that we’re now in June and still the Addicks have no boss. That the process of rebuilding a side, which needs to happen regardless of whether Duchatelet maintains control or not, is being delayed. We’re already well behind other more stable and sensible clubs in League One, making the advantage we could possibly have in terms of size and status when it comes to attracting players completely irrelevant.

It means that regardless of who is ultimately appointed, that appointment will be tainted by the length of time it has taken for the club to complete this recruitment process. Tainted by the knowledge that many out of work coaches have not pursued an interest in the job because of the conditions that Duchatelet, Meire and Richard Murray have created. Tainted by the fact the appointment will be relatively low down the list of candidates, and we’ll effectively have to settle for someone that’s willing to work in the unhelpful conditions.

There’s simply no excuse and no justification for the amount of time it has taken, and continues to take, to find a replacement for Riga. Another failure to add to growing list of failures attached to this horrendous regime.

And yet, during this managerless period, Meire has had the cheek to stand up at a business of sport event and suggest that her running of the club isn’t a complete disaster.

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She can make desperate attempts to defend herself all she wants, but her continued failings prove that her leadership of the club is a complete disgrace. While Rotherham can offer a stable base, and Northampton can provide ambition, we’ve got a nice pitch. There is no football strategy to tempt the highest breed of candidate in.

Instead, we’re simply going to have to settle for someone desperate enough to take the job on what will almost certainly be, if not in writing then in reality, a temporary basis. Until they find the conditions they’re working under too tough, or until a change in ownership occurs and the club becomes as attractive a proposition as it should be to high quality League One bosses.

As testing as ever to feel any sense of optimism and enthusiasm. The chance to inject even the smallest amount with a quick and reasonable appointment lost.

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Edit: Just as I was about to post this, Blackpool announced the appointment of Gary Bowyer. Even Blackpool, a club whose crisis eclipses ours, have been able to appoint a relatively okay-ish manager in quicker time. For Christ sake.

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12 Comments

  1. jon faircloth says:

    It’s worth remembering any new manager would be expected to win matches while toys are thrown on the pitch. If of course he could win all 46 games without conceding the first goal his job might be a little easier. This separates us from clubs who have made swift and promising appointments.

    • Kyle Andrews says:

      And why do those conditions exist? Because of the manner in which Duchatelet, Meire, Murray and co. lead the club. If the point you’re trying to make is that supporters are to blame for our inability to make an appointment, then you need to consider why supporters are protesting like they are.
      As a side note, though not really a point that’s here or there with regards to making the position an attractive one, our more impressive home performances beyond the first few weeks of last season occurred after major protests. Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough, Birmingham.

  2. Uncle Sid says:

    What a load of rubbish , Wilder got all assurances he wanted 4 X his salary then Sheffield Utd came knocking after Northampton leaked the story , the fact he lived in Sheffield , his kids are settled in school there was to much of a pull …
    As it stands Wilder been the only one offered the role , Cotterilll and Davies after interviews were never offered the roles , apart from them the rest have been rumours , the person we want to talk to his currently on holiday that’s not Charlton fault ??
    There are a host of clubs without manager, nothing happens in May and early June due to holidays , players not committing themselves to early .

    • Kyle Andrews says:

      I would offer the same assessment to your comments.
      Wilder obviously ultimately swayed by the attractive offer his boyhood team made to him, and good luck to him, but it’s been widely reported that the reason he rejected the offer from Charlton was because he wasn’t given the assurances he requested in writing.
      Of course it is Charlton’s fault that we’re yet to recruit a manager as we enter June, irrespective of the circumstances, and being without a manager at this time isn’t something that can be dismissed because “nothing happens”. It’s a crucial period of pre-planning. Pre-season might be a number of weeks away, but managers will have already returned to their desks and started preparing.
      A handful of clubs also being mangerless at the moment doesn’t justify the situation we’re currently in, particularly with how unstable we are. A quick and promising appointment was needed to provide supporters with some degree of belief, and that hasn’t happened.

  3. Stella says:

    No one will want the position if they are not allowed to do the job and are being told what to do by others who do not know the first thing about the job and it isn’t their place to interfere. What chance do we have?

    • Kyle Andrews says:

      Even if the regime are changing the way they operate, their chances of attracting anyone of any note is made impossible by the reputation they’ve built from their previous actions. The grim reality of the situation we’re in, unfortunately.

  4. fishface says:

    What a couple of Patsy’s you’ve attracted! Not surprised that there’s a dearth of British managers interested once they realise the lack of effective backing needed to do a good job. I expect we’ll get another network manager.

    • Kyle Andrews says:

      Meire publicly expressing her desire to appoint a British manager means that it’s impossible for her to recruit from the network. Something that, even given her previous, she simply cannot go back on. We’ll get a British coach, but maybe not the best candidate for the job. Although, it’s hard to know what qualifies someone to be the best candidate for the job in the current situation. Neither excited by or against the potential appointment of Slade – there’s a pretty even mixture of pros and cons. But can see him turning down the job anyway, especially given that he’s still got a non-managerial role at Cardiff.

  5. Graham Tyler says:

    Sounds to me Jon and Uncle Sid might be employed by a certain person from Belgium, of all the article’s and reply’s iv’e read these are the only ones that have shown any defence of RD & KM shame on them .

  6. Richard says:

    Completely agree obviously. I hope you’re feeling better for the rant.

  7. Neil Holliday says:

    A couple of odd replies on here. Most managers would want as much time in the job as posible to identify transfer targets and work on the squad. Players may well want to weigh up the options, but Charlton are in shreds on and off the pitch, and a month of inactivity is a pathetic reflection of how this regime work. Apart from the manager, there are various other posts that need filling (Mandy two-names storming out left another hole needing filling, but I supose that isn’t Charlton’s fault either), as well as player contracts, and new signings, all of which are currently stalled.
    Face up people, it was apparent in mid march that we were in the mix to go down, but Roland said he had no plans for relegation, and it seems he spoke nothing but the truth. It’s called mismanagement, and any attempts to justify it are a waste of time.

  8. Big Pete says:

    just a quick thought, Steve Evans might be an option. He has experience with the second worst crackpot owner in the league and has a pretty good pedigree in the game, plus he is available now….

    Slade obviously doesn’t want the job enough to cut short his holiday, but if they don’t get the management situation sorted soon, we will be in a similar situation to Riga found himself in at Blackpool, starting pre-season with half a squad, struggling to persuade everyone else’s leavings to join up to give us a chance.

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