On Monday 9th May the club posted the following announcement on its official website:

"Charlton Athletic can confirm that the club have been granted permission to speak with Northampton Town Manager Chris Wilder and Assistant Manager Alan Knill, after making an official approach this morning."

This afternoon another announcement appeared on the website:

"Charlton Athletic can confirm that following discussions with Northampton Town manager Chris Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill over the vacant managerial role at The Valley, the club has been unable to reach an agreement."

Chris Wilder certainly fitted the description of the sort of manager that Charlton supporters have been recommending since Chris Powell was sacked. Experienced in and knowledgeable about British football. A successful track record (having recently turned around Northampton's fortunes and led them to promotion). Young and ambitious. Forthright. The club's approach appeared to be some evidence at last that Roland Duchâtelet and Katrien Meire were "learning from their mistakes".

It is reasonable to assume that the financial package and length of contract had already been agreed so the sticking point must have lain elsewhere. A hint to its whereabouts might be find in Jose Riga's resignation speech in which he referred to "the club structure". Sports journalist (and son of former chief executive) Alex Varney tweeted today:

"He really wanted the job but the club refused to put the assumptions over control, buying etc in writing"

The breakdown of negotiations fuels the belief of many supporters that Duchâtelet still does not understand that no manager with experience, ability and confidence will tolerate the level of interference that working for Duchâtelet and Meire seems to demand.

We are reminded of the words of the American playwright Thornton Wilder (no relation):

"But there comes a moment in everybody's life when he must decide whether he'll live among human beings or not - a fool among fools or a fool alone"