Saturday, November 18, 2006

Reed Between the Lines

<<<"At least I'm better dressed than Dowie."

The game isn't even over as I'm writing this but it sounds like a shambolic performance. Although I would have loved us to have won today obviously, at least this result ensures we won't have any idiots declaring Reed a genius and Dowie a buffoon.

Make no mistake, the Board have put their credibility on the line with their initial appointment of Dowie, his subsequent premature dismissal and the appointment of a rookie manager with all the badges but little of the fiery presence that we so desperately need, and Dowie was at least providing. They've asked us to trust them and that's the least they deserve, but as fans we're entitled to be asking questions.

The more I think about Varney sourcing opinions from throughout the club regarding the management structure and its efficacy, the stranger it becomes. These types of 360° degree reviews are commonplace at the large US investment banks for example, but I dare say they don't result in a senior director getting the boot because some junior analyst doesn't like his approach. And we have had heard little from the club about why they feel so strongly that this new structure is appropriate. Curbs wouldn't have put up with having Andrew Mills at the club for example, so why should Dowie have been forced to?

The club has been in decline for two years now but their decision has implied everything was rosy until Dowie came in when clearly this wasn't the case. He was asked to inherit a threadbare squad and was given just three months to make 9-10 signings that at least gave us half a chance of survival, and in fairness they comprise some of our better performers this season. Moreover there had been some tentative signs that he was improving the individual performances of some of the players he inherited, El Karkouri obviously and perhaps Holland and Rommedahl too.

We will obviously all be behind Les Reed who is clearly a decent man. However if we remain this bad entering the New Year then I fear the club will have little choice but to get a new manager, send Reed back to the training ground (where he probably belongs) and thus further damage our financial position. And don't dismiss the prospect of us selling Darren Bent in January either.
By using our League position after just twelve games to justify the need for a full review of the club's management structure and the personnel within, the Board have potentially fallen into the classic trap of judging the quality of a decision by its short-term results. It's the investment equivalent of sell-low, buy-high. More generally, and as someone fascinated by cognitive biases, I will allege that the club is guilty of some or all of the following:

Confirmation Bias - the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions ("I'd a feeling he wasn't the right man for the job and the results prove it.")
Loss Aversion - the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains ("We daren't risk taking a step back to take two leaps forward.")
Neglect of Probability - the tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty ("How could Dowie say we'd been unlucky?")
Outcome Bias - the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made. ("We thought he was the right man for the job - results prove he wasn't."
Status Quo Bias - the tendency for people to like things to stay relatively the same ("Reed and Robson are 'Charlton' through-and-through, not like that Dowie.")
Self-Serving Bias - the tendency to claim more responsibility for successes than failures ("The problem wasn't the structure we put in place.")

Charlton are now odds-against to stay up this season (5/4 on Betfair). To put that in perspective you can get the same odds on Chelsea not winning the Premiership this season, and that is not a bet I particularly fancy putting on. Looking on the bright side though, at least this week has seen us bloggers accumulate record numbers of hits - there were a record 1,000+ hits on Tuesday for me alone; meanwhile Chicago Addick soared through the 100,000 mark since inception. Maybe we should all get together, sell ourselves to Google and make plans for early retirement? The way this season is going, we might be advised to retire anyway for health reasons.


At 5:41 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Even more depressed. Like your 360 degree analogy.

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Sledge said...

Quality writing NYA. A perfect insight in to where we've been, where we're at and where our support should lie.


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