After a confusing twenty four hours CAST was delighted to wake up this morning to discover that Lee Bowyer had reached agreement with Roland Duchatelet about the terms of a new contract.
The appearance yesterday on the club website of the announcement that the manager would be leaving appeared to confirm that Duchatelet was about to throw away all the impetus, unity and optimism that Bowyer's stewardship had created over the last fifteen months.
However we share Lee's delight that matters have been settled and that we can approach what will no doubt be a challenging season with some optimism and a unity of purpose.
Bowyer spoke to Talksport this morning:
“I'm delighted. It’s been a long process, I was hoping it would be settled a lot sooner than it has now, but the main thing is that we’ve agreed and I’ll be in charge next season and we can all move on.
“The statement came out yesterday and I wasn’t even aware of it.
“I’m in France at the moment and my wife rang me and said, ‘Lee, what’s going on?’ This was after I’d come off the phone with the owner.
“I’d spoken with Roland after the statement and I wasn’t even aware of it. And we had a good, positive conversation. He was asking if we can come to an agreement, and I said OK.
“I’m not greedy, it’s not just all about money, I want to stay at the club. I love the club, it’s perfect for me, I started there as a kid, I worked well there last season, we both did. We bought in players and he agreed with the players we brought in, our recruitment was very good.
“So I didn’t want to spoil that. I didn’t want to just walk away from something we’ve done after taking the club to the next division.
“We had a great conversation yesterday, I said to him, ‘I understand you want to sell the club and keep the figures down, I accept that, but you have to look at it from my point of view’.
“I just want to be treated with respect and to be treated fairly on the wage front. Me and my team did a good job, we’ve got the club back into the Championship and we’ve made it more feasible for him to sell the club now. So it goes both ways.”
Now his future has been settled, Bowyer says he can start planning for Charlton’s return to the Championship and revealed he already has a number of transfers lined up.
He could also soon be boosted by three key members of his coaching staff signing new deals to remain alongside him.
And, while admitting staying up will be a big challenge with by far the lowest budget in the league, Bowyer is confident Charlton will survive.
The Addicks boss added: “We’ve already got players lined up now. A lot of these players, and previous players without a contract, they’ve been waiting to see what happens with me and whether I’m staying or not, so that’s why I was hoping it would have been done a little bit sooner, but it doesn’t matter now.
“We’ve got the players lined up and we’ll bring them in before pre-season which is the most important thing. So nothing has been affected really.
“Regarding the owner, everybody knows he wants to sell and everybody accepts that. So I will deal with him, and if somebody else comes in I will deal with them, but I can’t control those things off the pitch.
“All I can control are players I want to bring in and the people I have around me. That’s what I’m going to be focusing on, like I did last season. Nothing changes, really.
“The Championship is going be tough, I’m not going to lie, we’re going to have the lowest budget, there’s no hiding that.
“But I do believe the team spirit we’ll have, we’ll have the fans behind us and when they came back last year the club just came together again, and we’ll carry that into next season.
“We’ll have momentum and we’ll bring in players who will improve us.
“I think we’ll surprise teams. We were a good side last season and I think we’ll be a better side this season with the players we’re looking to bring in.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be a good challenge and it’s going to be difficult, but I think we’ll be OK.”