Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust (CAST) is urging club owner Roland Duchâtelet to conclude contract arrangements with manager Lee Bowyer and his coaching team as a matter of priority and urgency. Fans are being encouraged to visit the CAST stall behind the North Stand at the Valley before the Rochdale match on Saturday when they will be able to meet “Roland” and offer him their opinions on the current situation.
In terms of points per game, Lee Bowyer is the most successful manager in Charlton history. Thirty one wins and eleven draws in fifty five games mean that he leads the field with 1.9 points per game. Far ahead of Mike Bailey (1.64); Chris Powell (1.50) and Jimmy Seed (1.49). He has won 56% of his games in charge. Even Bailey managed only 49% in a promotion season.
“Perhaps even more importantly, Bowyer and Johnnie Jackson have established a bond between the squad and the supporters which hasn't been seen since the first year back in The Championship under Powell,” said CAST board member Heather McKinlay. “Yet their contracts run out in a few weeks’ time. Failure to resolve this matter yet again demonstrates Duchâtelet’s negligence, his lack of understanding of the scale of what Bowyer has achieved and the manner in which the business of football operates.”
CAST also point out the commercial naivety. Plenty of other more astute clubs will have noticed the manager’s record and will be considering making an approach to him. The lack of a contract would mean no financial compensation for Charlton who would be left to go about the task of recruiting their tenth manager in five years.
Of course, CAST do not know the exact current position on contract negotiations with Bowyer nor whether productive discussions are even taking place. However, Bowyer has recently expressed "disappointment" that things haven't been resolved and that he thinks that "it shouldn't have taken until now to try to negotiate something".
Duchâtelet this week claimed that there were no complaints at the club now that everything is "going well". He also described a meeting between concerned supporters and a Belgian Embassy official as "soft terrorism". CAST's view is that Bowyer's management is one of the few things that fans have had to celebrate during a five year period in which so much has gone horribly wrong both on and off the pitch for the Addicks.
McKinlay continued: “We urge Duchâtelet at least to get something right by giving Bowyer, Jackson and goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall fitting contracts as soon as possible. We are about to embark on a play-off campaign, thanks to Bowyer and his team. It is vital that we secure some stability for the future. It would be hard to find any Charlton supporter who wouldn't sincerely welcome positive news on this matter.”