When Karel Fraeye left his post at VW Hamme in November 2015 to come to Charlton as "interim" coach he left behind a team which had had an underwhelming start to the season to say the least. Four wins, two draws and six defeats saw them in mid-table of the Belgian 3rd division.
Roland's justification for appointing Fraeye was that he had experience of working with young players. There were of course any number of coaches available at the time who could not only offer experience of developing young players but who could combine it with knowledge and appreciation of management at English Championship level. Roland, however, didn't feel able to trust any of them and chose instead to give Fraeye the opportunity to demonstrate just how far out of his depth he would be at Charlton.
Fraeye's fifteen game tenure (two wins, four draws, nine defeats, thirty goals conceded) confirmed him as the least successful coach in Charlton's history* and meant that Jose Riga's chance of escaping relegation when he arrived in January were virtually non-existent.
But Fraeye's departure from VW Hamme had the opposite effect. Since the appointment of his replacement Francky Cieters in late October the team have gone on an extraordinary run of fourteen wins, two draws and two defeats. This includes winning nine of their last ten games. They have scored 42 goals and conceded only 10. They now sit four points clear at the top of the table with four games to go.
It is enough to make you weep, isn't it?
In other news Bob Peeters managed to steer Westerlo clear of relegation from the top division thanks to a 1-0 home win on the last day of the normal season. This meant they leapfrogged OH Leuven who lost their final game. St Truiden also survived by one point. Charlton supporters might also be interested to learn that Christophe Le Point is having his most successful season ever - having scored nine times for his team Zulte-Waregem. This means that he is fourteenth top scorer in the Belgian ProLiga as Zulte-Waregem enter the top six play-off which will decide the eventual champions over the next six weeks. Standard Liege finished seventh and didn't qualify.
*Qualification minimum 10 games.