Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
  murray shows ruthlessness, promotes reed and spares mills Exhausting. The combination of an exceptionally busy work period for me and the trauma of being a Charlton fan. It never used to be like this did it?

There are still a lot of questions circling my head, it doesn't really make much sense does it but rarely do decisions made by people far more closer to the action than thee. I see it everyday and often people without knowledge of facts generally have the most to say. Richard Murray, whom I expect has probably made a few tough decisions in his time, has not said very much at all.

I liked Dowie, from what I knew of him. I like that he tried to be his own man (ultimately this cost him), and he tried to impose his style on the way we played. The job was always going to be extremely tough and I thought on the face of it, he was giving it his best shot. He is a man clearly of pride and character, driven by ideas and ideals that he's learnt and totally believes in, often from non-footballing sources, whether it be management psychology, university or fitness practioners.

He was entrusted with big money, although not solely, and some of the players signed during his short tenure could end up being big Charlton favourites, Diawara, Reid and Faye all come to mind and I'm excited about Walton too. As for Scott Carson, his loan signing was a masterstroke. In fact lost in the Charlton news yesterday was Benitez's apparent agreement for Carson to see out the full season at The Valley.

It is said that Dowie was aware of the internal review, and it appears that in two categories he failed the acid test. One obviously was results, and the pressure this season to avoid relegation is immense and magnified by the amount of money we've spent and the wage-bill but without flogging a dead horse, there were signs of improvement.

On this point, the big question is: At what point do you sack your manager? With 12 games to go? At Christmas giving the new bloke no time at all to make inroads in the transfer window? Or with 2/3rds of the season left?

Two. Remember Billy Davies? Only he and the board know why he did not become our manager in the summer. He was our first choice, period. Dowie wasn't, at least thats what his lawyer would have you believe. At the time stories suggested that Davies was not prepared to work within the management team that Murray had already put together - Les Reed, Mark Robson and the mysterious Andrew Mills (more on him later). Also he was not hp with the proposed transfer arrangement. Not as it turned out the amount of cash available as Dowie gleefully spunked £11.2m but the fact that Mr Andrew Mills had the final say-so on players.

Murray believes in this management structure, he would, it was his idea and one that has a lot of benefits but only if the constituent parts worked together. Like others I was left wondering recently what part Reed, Robson and Mills were playing because it was only ever Dowie's voice we heard in public except for that, in hindsight, strange overblown day-off Dowie had after the Bolton cup game.

Lazy media stories of troubles in the camp between players and others within the coaching team not getting on with Dowie may or may not be true, but Alan Curbishley was hardly Kofi Annan.

I just think the club made a mistake, and maybe it started to hit home when they became embroiled in the publicity frenzy that is rent-a-quote-prick Simon Jordan. The club, as we have come to expect, have acted admirably throughout this pantomine, although Peter Varney's quote today when asked about the Tango Man's remarks were hilarious: "I don't watch children's television so I can't comment." he said on Sky.

Results of course, and Dowie's one dimensional non-inclusive management style have all triggered concern for a board that for 15 years had a stable and consistent relationship with the previous incumbent. If we were 5th, then maybe they may have looked the other way, but we are not, and football is solely a results business.

As for Les Reed: "This job doesn't daunt me but it is a challenge and I'm looking forward to it. Charlton is my club. I was born on the other side of the river but my family worked in the docks and a lot of them came over to watch Charlton and always talked about Charlton." (more)

What's that phrase? More of a Charlton person? Something like that. We know him, he knows us, a gamble yes but by common acknowledgment a superb coach, one that will now be able to get his points across instead of watching from the Sparrows Lane sidelines while Dowie and Harbin have the players boxing in a ring. We might even see an improvement in some of the defensive frailties that have cost us. Shit, we may even look dangerous from a set-piece? Reed preaches good football and no one should worry about Darren Bent and the other young players at the club, coaching and mentoring them is the most impressive fact on Reed's resume.

So that leaves us with Andrew Mills and John Harbin. The fitness coach will go I expect, but what about Mr Mills? Was he the man that Dowie excluded, or clashed with and what do we know of this ex-agent General Manager (football)? Of course when the Director of Football is your brother, as big Bob was at Palace then plainly the relationship is going to be a bit closer but Mills interests me and shouldn't escape scrutiny, particularly as under his job responsibilites should fall new players, their fees and their wages. 

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After living in Chicago for four and a half years, I moved to the beautiful if bewildering island of Bermuda in July 2008. This blog is about being an exiled and depressed Charlton Athletic fan and whatever else the day brings.
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