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27 May 2014

Dyer speaks

The South London Press today has an interview with Alex Dyer. It's not online, and for copyright reasons I can't just scan it in, but here are some of the highlights, if that's what you want to call them. If you're in South London, buy the paper. It's only 50p.

First, Dyer confirms that CP had no control over the signings brought in, and seems to have argued specifically that there was no need for Loic Nego. Sometimes the signings were played, "because the owner wants to have a look at them" but "In the end Chris went 'I'm not playing them' ... the owner was always on him, sending him emails and phoning him up... Then it was 'you should be playing him'. We said no."

Dyer also says he believes Riga didn't get the long term job was because he also didn't play any of the imports other than Reza and Astrit.

He describes Duchatelet's methods of tracking players: "He has three or four scouts who just sit at computers and watch WyScout or tapes. One might go and watch players. They just do it in front of a screen and they look at stats. [This means] you can't see the true picture. You can't see how someone reacts in training of what they'd be like around the boys." Once some players find they're not playing "they kick up a fuss or they don't want to train. You wouldn't know half the things that have gone on with players who don't want to play because they are not in the squad or team and want to go home". I think we have a good idea who he's talking about there.

The general impression is that the club was a chaotic mess after Duchatelet took over. Clearly, Powell resisted a lot of pressure from the owner, and we have to assume that Riga did so too. Duchatelet's desire was for his loaned players to be playing, regardless of their suitability. This doesn't do anything to overcome my fear that his priority is not Charlton's success. And his methods are the opposite of Chris Powell's. Instead of selecting a squad that has guts and heart and can fit together, he will build assemble a random collection of players, and expect his coach to get them to work as a team, without any input into the selection.

There's also an interview with Ben Hamer. In it, he says that he tried to open negotiations over a new contract in December, but nothing happened until after the last game of the season. In the meantime, unsure of his future, he'd explored other options. Leicester offered him a four year contract, Charlton just two years. He doesn't say so, but we can assume Leicester offered more money, too. As he says, it was a no-brainer.

If his experience is typical, it's likely that most player contract talks didn't start until after the end of the season, and so there must be other players who've talked to other clubs in the meantime. It's not certain, of course, that Charlton and Hamer could have reached agreement in January, but it seems clear that the delay played a part in his decision to leave, and meant that he's gone as a free agent, for nothing. Let's just hope this doesn't happen with any others.

From my previous posts, you'll realise none of this really surprises me, but it's depressing to have all my worst fears confirmed.

21 May 2014

Apocalypse tomorrow

What a confusing day it's been for us valleyologists. Today, we have mostly been relying on the Belgian press, who seem to have more interest in little old Charlton than the British press do. Personally I've been relying on the francophone Belgian press, my flemish being limited to beer label language.

They all seem pretty sure that Bob Peeters is set to be appointed Charlton's manager.

Here's what dh.be had to say:

José Riga, qui a réussi à maintenir Charlton, est pourtant remplacé du jour au lendemain par... Bob Peeters !
Mercredi soir, José Riga avait encore eu Roland Duchâtelet au bout du fil, ce dernier estimant vouloir s’accorder un petit temps de réflexion avant de prendre sa décision. C’est dire si celui qui a sorti Charlton du pétrin en le maintenant en Premiership à la satisfaction générale est tombé en bas de sa chaise ce jeudi matin en apprenant la nomination de Bob Peeters à la tête des « Addicks. »
« Quand bien même aucune clause de prolongation n’avait été prévue lors de la signature du contrat me liant au club londonien, ce que j’avais accepté bien volontiers, je n’imaginais pas un seul instant que cela s’arrête de cette manière, aussi brutalement. Sans forfanterie de ma part, supporters y compris, on avait été très satisfaits de la bonne tournure des événements et du travail que j’avais pu accomplir dans une compétition que j’ai eu beaucoup de plaisir à découvrir. Maintenant, à savoir pour quelle raison je n’ai plus voix au chapitre, cela reste un mystère total à mes yeux. »

Or, in English (I'm unsure about some idioms, but the gist is OK):

José Riga, who kept Charlton up, is however replaced overnight by ... Bob Peeters! On Wednesday [sic] evening, Riga had still had Roland Duchâtelet on the end of the wire, the latter reckoning to give himself some time for thought before making his decision. That is, whether the one who had got Charlton out of the mess and in the Premiership [sic] to general satisfaction has fallen out of his chair this Thursday [sic] morning when he learnt Bob Peeters has been named as the Addicks' boss.
"Although there was no extension clause when I first signed the contract - which I freely accepted - I never for a moment thought it would end this way, so brutally. Without boasting, I thought everyone, including fans, was very happy with the way things turned out in a competition that I had a lot of pleasure in discovering. Now, knowing that for some reason I no longer have a role to play is a total mystery to me."
Reader, do you spot the mistakes? It reads as if the story should appear tomorrow (Thursday). As if Riga has advance-released his response to a club statement that will only be made public tomorrow.

Well, we'll soon find out.

I suppose the central question is this: if Duchâtelet's aim in appointing Riga was to keep Charlton up, why let him go after he did just that? I can't find an answer that both makes sense and makes me happy.

Everyone assumed Riga had been appointed as Duchâtelet's yes-man. Maybe, but he doesn't seem to have acted like one. He ended up using the loan players even less than Chris Powell had. Pragmatically, Duchâtelet had no choice but to let him get on with it, even if he hated it.

My best guess is that Riga had, in old-fashioned and possibly offensive language, gone native. He fell under Charlton's spell, and committed everything to the team's survival, including, it now seems, his own job. We could sense this, watching the team. It's why the initial mistrust turned so quickly into real affection. He was no longer Duchâtelet's man. The only conclusion I can come to is that Duchâtelet won't tolerate this sort of divided loyalty.

Sooner or later, someone would have to come up the river and take out the renegade.This is the end, beautiful friend.