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15 November 2016

The Sacking of Russell Slade

Tolstoy famously and wrongly said that all happy marriages are alike while every unhappy marriage is different. There are many successful alternative models for a happy marriage, while unhappy marriages tend to share certain features: bad communication, distrust, lack of a shared objective and, if there are children, deep distress, fear and confusion. They don't know why their parents are arguing but they know something's wrong, and they may respond with tantrums or sulks or more serious antisocial actions. A good social worker can diagnose the health of a relationship by looking at the childrens' behaviour.

People routinely underestimate the intelligence of footballers but even the dumbest of them can feel the same vibes that upset small children, and even the dumbest of them, spending hours in the company of their smarter teammates, will come to understand exactly what's gone wrong in the managment of the club they represent.

The great Richard Cawley (who unlike Tolstoy is seldom wrong) tweeted this last night while the sacking of Slade was still unconfirmed:

Either deliberately or carelessly, Slade's position was being undermined by this public display of a yellow card warning him to improve or face the sack. I think we saw the outcome at Swindon on Saturday when, by all accounts, even the brighter, older children Jack and li'l Chris threw a 90 minute sulk. They knew Slade was unsupported by the ownership and nothing he could have said - even if he were a far more charismatic leader than he appears to be - could have brought more out of them. The backstage actions had once again wrecked any semblance of team spirit. Just as happened immediately before the sacking of Powell, Peeters, Luzon.

No-one can manage Charlton successfully in the current set-up. Slade is probably not a great manager, but I can't believe he's not better than his record at Charlton will suggest. Those few months, those 16 games will be a blot on his otherwise decent but unspectacular record and a cause of nightmares for years to come. I actually feel very sorry for him. In spite of the baseball caps.

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