It is now three weeks since Chris Wilder declined the invitation to become manager of Charlton and took over at Sheffield United instead. In the meantime there has been complete silence on the matter from the club and we are left to surmise what conclusions we might draw from the lack of any news.
It does rather look as if there was never a back up plan to cover the possibility of a failure to reach agreement with Wilder. Given that he reportedly flew to Belgium in early May to meet Duchatelet it might be that the club were over confident that he would subsequently accept the post and didn't bother to pursue any other leads. However, the fact that they would like to have appointed him three weeks ago does suggest that they wanted the manager to get involved quickly and to play a part in recruitment decision making.
We work on the basis that every day that goes by without an appointment can only add to the sense of instability that has pervaded CAFC for the entirety of Duchatelet's ownership. While it is important to find the right person it is also surely crucial that decisions about recruitment of next season's squad are not left too late. Our new chief scout Steve Head may have a vast amount of information about appropriate players but we would hope that he would be able to discuss alternatives as soon as possible with the person who is going to manage them.
It is generally accepted that Charlton's reputation in the football world is as low as it has ever been and there are plenty of reasons (eg poor job security; lack of autonomy) that would put off a lot of reputable and aspiring candidates. However Katrien Meire claimed that, at the time of Guy Luzon's appointment, she received something like twenty applications within hours of Bob Peeters' departure and that she interviewed a number of them. Why should the process take so much longer this time? Well, the club is no longer such an attractive proposition and relegation doesn't enhance the post, but there are nevertheless plenty of experienced but unemployed managers out there.
Whereas Chris Wilder might have sparked some enthusiasm among supporters it unfortunately appears that the longer it now takes to recruit a candidate the more it will appear that the eventual post holder is the best of a poor bunch who were willing to accept the job. Could it really be the case that Duchatelet would be prepared to offer the job to the current incumbent at Ujpest - Nebojsa Vignjevic - on the basis that he knows and trusts him? Surely not.
The current odds offered by SkyBet are as follows:
Russell Slade 1/5
Johnnie Jackson 4/1
Nigel Adkins 16/1
Dougie Freedman 22/1
Simon Clark 22/1
Nebojsa Vignjevic 28/1
Another article about the managerial appointment process can be found here.