The men in charge - part one
Alan Pardew may have been our 3rd manager in just a 6 weeks but he was only our 21st in our 101 year history. Pardew's old club West Ham have had the least managers in English football by the way, Curbishley being their 11th in 105 years.
My time as a fan has predominately seen Curbs and Lennie Lawrence in the hotseat but before that and of course since then the managerial office has had quite a revolving door. Here are my memories of Charlton managers in my lifetime:1975 - March 1980 Andy Nelson (appointed May 1974)
My first ever season was Charlton's first back in the old 2nd Division after Nelson promoted us in his first campaign after taking over from Theo Foley. Nelson, who was a strict disciplinarian, had us playing some good football with Powell, Peacock, Hales and Flanagan regulars in games that often produced a lot of goals. One of my memories from those early days was that, a bit like now, we hardly ever won away but our home form was excellent and thus meaning that as an impressionable young boy I rarely saw us lose.
It was going quite smooth on the field but without any investment and actual interest in the club by Michael Gliksten, Nelson oversaw a rapid demise, which would eventually see him replaced by Mike Bailey in March 1980, after initially moving upstairs to an Andrew Mills type roll - it was confusing then if I remember correctly. The infamous punch up between Hales and Flanagan the season before was considered to be the catalyst to the team's downfall and Nelson calling the fans "village idiots"
after being booed off after one display at home was one of his final nails in the coffin.
Nelson was a good operator in the transfer market though and sold and then bought back Hales for a huge profit as well as plucking players such as Steve Gritt, Martin Robinson, Dick Tydeman, Phil Walker and Nicky Johns out of relative obscurity and giving a young Les Berry his debut.March 1980 - June 1981 Mike Bailey
Mike Bailey's only season was one of success with promotion at the first attempt and good runs in both cups. Ipswich ending our FA Cup adventure when thousands of Addicks, including me, saw us lose 2-0 at Portman Road to the best team in the country at that point. Bailey utilised pretty much the same squad as the previous season with the addition of Terry Naylor and a certain young striker called Paul Walsh who burst into the team as an 18-year old. Bailey fixed our away form and I like others was fond of Bailey and had high hopes for the next season after we all waived FADS banners at the final game of the season at home to Gillingham.
That hope was to disappear when Mike Bailey suddenly left the club for 1st Division Brighton.June 1981 - June 1982 Alan Mullery
In a managerial swap with shades of what we have seen at The Valley these past couple of weeks, Brighton's previous manager Alan Mullery came in the opposite direction to us. He was kind of famous I suppose and I remember the fanfare at the time being very 'un-Charlton-like.'
Mullery acted to completely rebuild the look of the squad with Don McAllister, Steve Harrison and Leighton Phillips amongst others joining the club. Meanwhile sadly for me my favourite player Colin Powell was sold to Gillingham. Phil Warman also left.
The season started well and one of my all time favourite players Paul Elliott had forced his way into the side but this was the year when behind the scenes a certain Mark Hulyer appeared and strange things started to happen out of Mullery's control. As crowds dwindled Mullery pretty much gave up and he resigned with a parting shot at the fans.June 1982 - November 1982 Ken Craggs
Ken Craggs was an avuncular figure in the mould of Les Reed and took over after being Mullery's long-time assistant.
Meanwhile Mark Hulyer was proving without the beauty of hindsight a bit of a big-shot. Craggs spent some comparative big money but was then forced to sell Paul Walsh after he played just 87 games. The season started badly but then one night lying in my bed watching News at Ten
it was announced to the football world that little Charlton had signed the legendary Allan Simonsen for a record £300,000. The tiny Dane played just once for Craggs before he was sacked after a 5-1 home thrashing by Rotherham. Those really were the days and I remember it well, Ronnie Moore scored a hat-trick.
It should be mentioned that Craggs also signed Mark Aizlewood from Luton, who was to stay at The Valley a little longer than Simonsen. Craggs lasted 132 days more than Uncle Les and won 5 games.
Part two to follow.