On the cusp of his return to The Valley with Huddersfield, Chris Powell chooses to give Heather McKinlay of Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust the first full on the record interview about his departure from Charlton, and events leading up to it.
From the financial pressures under Jiminez and Slater and the failure to build on the 2012/13 ninth place finish in the Championship, to his first encounter with Roland Duchâtelet. There’s no bitterness from the former gaffer – just an honest account of the extent of interference in team affairs and some real regret that we missed out on a trip to Wembley. Above all, he shows great empathy for Charlton fans and his belief that this is a special and different club.
Here is an extract from the TNT9 article:
Powell describes his first meeting with Duchâtelet, at which Tony Jiminez was also present. The omens were not good – Powell was ill the night before, and had to pull over on his way to The Valley to be physically sick. The Belgian businessman arrived with strong ideas about the playing squad, while Jiminez, keen to ensure the deal was quickly done and dusted, sided with the new man’s opinions rather than supporting his manager. “We had the nonsense with the goalkeepers. Ben Alnwick had come in and was outstanding with Ben Hamer being out. He (Roland) said Ben Hamer is not good, Ben Alnwick is not good. I’ve got a goalkeeper who’s better than both. I said, who is it, I need to know. Then it was always, oh he’s better, he’s this, he’s that. I said I need to choose who’s right, for this division and this league.”
Clearly there was intransigence on both sides of the table, but Powell is not at all bitter in what he is describing, just deeply disappointed at the gulf in football philosophy. He is a manager who takes full responsibility for putting together his own squad, yet he was faced with the complete opposite, “I’d be in my office and there’s a player turning up downstairs with his suitcase, saying he’s come to play. Who is it? It’s Loic Nego, it’s Anil Koç. I don’t even know who they are. ‘We’ve been told you need a winger’ – yeah, but I need a winger who’s used to the Championship, and you’ve got a young boy who’s played three games for Standard off the bench. I mean, that’s not for Charlton. Charlton deserve a player who’s going to improve them.”
This is a must-read article, and you’ll find it alongside a full account of last week’s public meeting, so make sure you pick-up a free copy of Trust News/ TNT9 from volunteer distributors around the Charlton area before Saturday’s match.