Thursday, January 13, 2011

Asylum Seekers

It seems the lunatics really have taken over the asylum.

Given that both the Daily Mail and Sky reported Eddie Howe was about to be confirmed boss on Tuesday, the latest rumours about Chris Powell may be more of the same.

If not however, it is simply not possible for Chris Powell to be the best available candidate, and remember only judge a decision at the time it's made.

If we couldn't persuade Howe to come, then we should've been begging the likes of O'Driscoll, Tisdale, or Hill to have an interview.

Proven records in the lower leagues with no money, attractive passing football, and strong personalities.

What's not to like? (except their playing careers happened not to include spells in SE7)

Or if those don't appeal, then a proper search of the out-of-work candidates (including Gary Johnson) should have been conducted.

One look at the League table tells me this is not the time to be falling for populism. Indeed I seem to be the only one thinking about a possible relegation battle if results don't quickly pick up.

I don't want sentiment, I want Championship and eventually Premiership football, preferably in my lifetime.

Powell may well have great potential (who am I to know?), but he will only have been appointed due to his Charlton connections.

After all, by comparison imagine the uproar if we appointed another random inexperienced first team Championship coach.

So to what extent should the fact that he is a (rightly lauded) Addicks hero matter?

It will ensure some initial supporter euphoria of course (judging by the message boards), but this is only relevant if it rubs off on the players and lifts their performances.

By comparison, although he wasn't manager of course, was Mark Kinsella any less of a hero than Powell was?

Yet last week he was tossed on the scrapheap and written off as a busted coaching flush, without fans losing a wink of sleep. So much for sentiment.

Meanwhile if Slater et al thinks this will be a cheap way to boost attendances, he may be disappointed in any more than the very short-term.

Ask yourself really how many extra fans will attend the next home game as a result of Powell's appointment.....1,000 realistically? 2,000 maximum? And how many extra will attend the next one?

Many of the fans who worshipped Powell in the Premiership years have drifted away for good. A fixture against Exeter is hardly going to get them rushing back, regardless of who's in charge.

Of course Sir Chris is a wonderfully charismatic and respected figure, but how many truly great managers would you want to go for a beer with? "Tell us another Sir Alex."

To be fair, the likes of Ian Holloway might actually tell a few good jokes, but I certainly wouldn't want to cross him.

One can point to as many former playing heroes who successfully transitioned to managing the club where they made their name (Dalglish, Allardyce), as those who didn't (Hoddle, Shearer, Souness, Pearce).

In other words there's no evidence whatsoever that being a fans favourite on the pitch made the slightest difference either way. It shouldn't even be a factor.

Indeed I can only rationalise this apparent madness as follows.

Based on the League table, current squad and potential January reinforcements, the probability of promotion is only about 15-20%, regardless of who they recruit.

After all any new manager (including those I fancy above) will need time to find their feet.

I calculate this as an approximately 5-10% chance of automatic promotion, and a further 40% chance of play-offs (and then a 1 in 4 chance therein).

So by bringing in Powell, the bad mood around the club instantly lifts, and there's still a small chance he'll win promotion anyhow (even without adding much value, or even detracting some).

Most likely though we won't win promotion and at that point the Board can in good faith ask Powell to step back down to a coaching role (or move on), in order to bring in one of the types of names I've suggested above.

Assuming Powell's reign hasn't been a total disaster, the fans still feel good about his managerial cameo (whilst now acknowledging his limitations) and are thus more welcoming of the new man than they otherwise would have been if appointed today.

Seen in this context maybe it doesn't seem quite so crazy, and if he wins promotion the new owners will be hailed as geniuses (even though they're nothing of the sort).



At 10:30 PM, Blogger Richard said...

I fear for CP big time. Like everyone else I loved him as a player. He might become a fabulous manager, but if he does it probably wont be his first job where he proves it.

Your analyses is spot on NYA - and while I was not sorry to see Parky go, the new regime are continuing to worry me.

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

As you know, given our regular dialogue over the last few days, I'm in full agreement that this is a populist and largely disappointing appointment.

However, I very much doubt, almost come what may, that Powell would be asked to step down in the summer. If there is any real "cunning" in this appointment it as follows;

As you say, realistically, promotion this season is now quite unlikely and the odds haven't really altered as a result of the management change. However, had the club failed to win promotion under Parky there would, undoubtedly, have been an air of gloom and despondency at the Valley, declining support and, most importantly, a lack of enthusiasm for next season which would, in turn, have hurt season ticket sales. In contrast, exactly the same outcome under Powell would likely have a very different impact with supporters excited by the prospect of his first full season in charge.

What I fear many supporters may be paying insufficient attention to though is the continuing financial uncertainty. We simply don't know the financial resources available to Slater/Jimenez or how they might react if this time next year the operating loss is still running at around £5m p.a. [which it will be if the club is still in Division One] and if promotion still looks a remote prospect. Will they press on or look to sell and/or cut costs?

I hope I'm being too cautious, but the pressure to achieve success on the pitch quickly may still be intense.

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I can't agree with your sentiment, or opinion at all. Of the managers you mention, the only one who has any real pedigree or experience of elevating a club above the third division (league one to use the language of those who love the premiership dream) is Gary Johnson. Only trouble with him is he's never done it in the Championship. A common known fact within supporters of teams who do not suceed in the lower divisions is that, whilst pretty football wins you plaudits, it rarely wins you promotion at this level. It is far more physical than that. Our tradition, when we have been successful, has been to give an 'underdog' a chance. See Seed, Lawrence, Curbishley! When, in recent years we've tried to go with experience, see Dowie, Pardew, Reed even, it's all gonevterribaly wrong.

Sure, we can all be cynical. I would have been extremely cynical if Wise had rocked up (which was totally what I'd expected) but he didn't. I hope Powell does come on board. He's at this stage got infinitely more experience than the Shearers of this world in his trade. And pretty diverse experience at that. I hope he doesn't fail. But he has to be a better bet than the rest of the fourth division managers on your 'experienced' wish lift. All I've said is in good nature and just my opinion.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your analysis is absolutely spot on
Its a terrible appointment
Its a bet and we can't be making bets.
We need an experienced cert , a Warnock type

At 11:34 PM, Blogger ChicagoAddick said...

At the risk of sounding like Mrs NYA - where is your sense of fun NYA?

At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 weeks ago i would have agreed with you.But after all this weeks drama i think it could well be a blinding appointment.We've tracked down experience before havn't we and look where Dowie and Pardew have sent us.But it's not those two that has changed my scope.It's the Howe business.I was all for it.Really wanted him to come.Bright young manager who has achieved so much in such a short space of time.But somewhere along the line someone took a gamble on him.During his playing days his previous managers knew one day he would become a top coach/manager.Similar observations were also made about Powell during his playing days,and by some pretty well respected patrons of the game.Powell is no mug.And as now seems, unlike Howe, wouldn't do this on a whim.He feels the time is right. And i am inclined to believe him.

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Charlton into Europe said...

What are your criteria to decide who is the best available candidate at the time the decision is made? Past results or future potential?

We've tried and failed using the former in recent years so now lets go with the alternative.

Chris Powell brings charisma and passion. That'll do for me.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Chris @2: I'm also uncertain about the new owners. I was hoping we had some monied and reasoned thinkers, but instead it seems we have a pair of chancers.

Anonymous @3: "Only trouble with him is he's never done it in the Championship." Johnson got Bristol City to the play-off final in his first season in the Championship!! And when he was (prematurely) sacked, they were sitting 14th in the table, hardly a disaster for a club of that size. He would have been an outstanding candidate.

Chicago Addick @5: CA, you know full well that I was born without the fun gene (as well as the blind optimism one too).

Anonymous @6: I would have liked Howe, but prefer Johnson who is vastly more experienced. Howe was indeed given an early chance, but his appointment was borne out of desperation - with low expectations and knowing the players, he had nothing to lose (this was my biggest fear about his potential appointment). Powell must deal with much higher expectations and the realisation that the club must get back to the Championship asap where it belongs.

Charlton into Europe @7: my criteria include:

- track record of results ahead of reasonable expectations (given transfer budgets/payroll);
- track record of developing young Academy players;
- track record of developing/improving individual players;
- tactically imaginative and technically sound;
- positive media presence and ability to build rapport with fans.

Powell only ticks the fifth box (clearly), and might tick the fourth one. Why are we taking the risk on the other three, when the likes of Johnson tick all five?

Curbishley had no charisma whatsoever - I don't see why it's relevant. His rapport with fans was built upon the gradual success and improvement we could see on the pitch year after year.

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Terry Walsh said...

To be fair nobody knows yet whether this is an inspired appointment or not, as was the case when Curbishley/Gritt succeeded Lawrence, but what it does tell you, along with the attempt to lure Eddie Howe, is that the board wanted a raw young English manager, rather than an experienced old head who would walk away at the first sign of boardroom interference. This is what is worrying.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Terry Walsh @9: I'm particularly curious about the signing of Eccleston. Who made the decision to sign him? And more oddly, what type of manager agrees to let a promising youngster go on loan without knowing which manager would be overseeing him?

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Eccleston, neither team had a manager when this was agreed. Shelvey played a big part in persuading him what a good club it was to come to.

As yet, nothing has been officially declared re the new management structure. From what I have noted re the situation, none of the fancied names really fancied the job, which tells you how far the club have fallen. Also many seem suspicious of the new owners, hence why only some one with a love for the club will take the job under these circumstances.

Re promotion, there is still over half the season left, so anything is possible. The true is of the job is that the players are of limited talent, the style of football unattractive, which has led to a fall in the gates. Added to this is the ongoing financial losses, which after the recent changes must surely exceed £5mill if we are not promoted this season. It was obvious Parkinson was never going to turn this all around.

Finally if people are going to slate the club, then have the decency to put their name to posts. I cannot believe how much negativity there is amongst some supporters, who just love to moan, no matter how well the team does. This is not supporting the club.


Crowborough Addick

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...


I agree with your analysis, as usual, however I think your most pertinent point is the last one you make.

Chris Powell is a risk on the football front, but it is not much of a risk for the board on a PR front, and it is not too much of a risk on behalf of the player.

For any of those experienced managers in a job with good prospects – I mean not likely to get sacked any time soon it constitutes a gamble that could destroy their career. The likelihood is that what ever the new manager does will not achieve expectations of either the fans or the board. One quick look at Charlton Life will tell you that, really, automatic promotion is expected (demanded) and anything less than promotion (including through the playoffs) should result in the sacking of the new manager.

Thus any new manager will need to negotiate good, unconditional, long term (ish) remuneration. Anything else would potentially be financial suicide. Realistically the new guy needs to start winning regularly with a squad that has fooled by randomness this season. The fantastic run of 11 games unbeaten that won Parkinson the manager of the month award for November, for example, consisted of no fewer than five cup games, all of which were against lower league opposition. Of that run of five wins and one draw (two of which were in October) Carlisle and Yeovil we won by the odd goal in seven and five respectively. In fact that run saw two of our only three wins by more than one goal all season (in 22 games).

Thus the new manager has a squad that is probably flattered by our sixth place, and is probably worth being six and nine points behind the top two with half the season gone.

If we look at managers that are out of work but have a decent record, all be it a little tarnished by their last job (I’m guessing that any of the out of work managers have been sacked or they would probably be working now) they would also need to secure themselves long term financial security as a failure at Charlton, something that seems all too common in recent years, could make the difference as to any future job prospects.

For the reasons above I suspect that we don’t actually have queue of experienced, successful managers all chomping at the bit for the job. I mean, back in the Premier League with a c. £1m salary we struggled to convince a couple of potential suitors to take the job.

I know that many Charlton fans will think I am being very harsh on our club, but when we take into account our bias, as we are supporters, we are a relatively small club; we have dwindling attendances that make our success in the early years of this millennium look purely based on the Premier League offerings; we have a poor squad; we have fans with massive (unrealistic?) expectations and we have a new board that are talking about achieving promotion “As soon as possible” with no indication that there is the anything like a proportional set of resources to match those expected achievements.

Maybe, just maybe, Chris Powell is doing us a favour, rather than the other way around.

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sir chris powell will do a brilliant job for us, he can get that charlton spirit that has been lacking back, hes a very intelligent bloke an im sure hes knows what hes doin.
these other managers are crap, with no connection to the club, powell has heart, an surely thats what this club is all about, heart. dont care about promotion, or the premiership, jst want the players to go out there and make us proud every week. like they used to


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