Holden: “I’m proud to be a manager at a big club”

The Athletic's Andy Mitten this week published a fascinating and revealing interview with Dean Holden. The Athletic is a subscription publication and you may need to subscribe to access the whole article.

The interview covers:

  • his thoughts about becoming manager of Charlton Athletic:

“The fans put it right to me: give us something to shout about and we’ll back you all the way. It hasn’t been an easy time for them. Charlton were a Premier League club, now they are 18th in League One. There has been a lot of anger from fans. I wanted to hear how they felt. It’s one hell of a club but it was flat when I arrived, you could see it around the training ground.”

  •  drawing Manchester United in The Carabao Cup;

“I was in my flat near Charlton for the draw,” he says. “I’ve not been back home since I got the job. I FaceTimed Joey, my eldest, and we watched the draw together online. The family were there. They went crazy when the draw came out, absolutely crazy. It was surreal.

“Then I FaceTimed my dad. Lump in my throat. He’s lifelong United. He’ll sit there and watch his son lead a team out at Old Trafford. I’ll take all that in my stride. But the fact we can take 10,000 on a day when there are train strikes shows the size of this club. I want us to show ourselves in the best light. I want our young players to show themselves against the biggest team in the world.”

  • his first weeks at Charlton and the win at Portsmouth:

“I don’t like it when players go in fits and starts to an away end and give it a half-hearted clap before going down the tunnel. It’s not really in my nature but I made sure we all – and I mean the non-starters, too – went properly over to the fans. They were singing ‘Leaburn!’ – he’s our young striker and his dad Carl is a Charlton legend. His mum is the player liaison officer."

  • how the death of his 17 month old daughter Cici affected him;

“It’s over 10 years now and I speak to Cici every day,” he says. “It helps me. It was devastating, surreal. It sometimes felt like it hasn’t happened to me. I went through a grieving process and I didn’t know who I was. I was going through emotions I didn’t know existed. I changed as a person. Counselling helped my wife. Me? I went twice. Counselling usually has an end result but there can’t be one. Cici’s not coming back, is she?”

  • his previous management experience; his sacking from Stoke City and subsequent  unemployment:

“My phone went mad in the following days,” he explains. “People saying: ‘How can they treat you like that?’ Gradually, it goes quieter, but I was proactive. I went to see different people in football to spend a few days with them. Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest. He’s class. Dean Smith at Norwich. We have history. Thomas Frank at Brentford is another great guy. All the other coaches look at you like you want a job, but I was there to learn. When you’re in this job the hours are long, but I don’t mind that and like to stay busy.

Then it went quiet. I’d go watch Manchester United, buy a fanzine outside and support my team. The three months out of football were the longest I’d ever been out of the game. I had some job offers as an assistant at big clubs, but I decided to wait and I’m glad I did. I’m now proud to be the manager at a big club.”

The full article:


The Athletic also published this week two other articles of interest to Charlton fans:

  1. an in-depth analysis ("Charlton Athletic: A club stuck in a continually chaotic cycle") of the current state of affairs at CAFC:


2. an article about Richard Rufus's conviction for fraud, including comments from Steve Brown

After being recruited by a former team-mate whom he would rather not name, Brown himself fell victim to an investment scam. “I got hoodwinked in a property deal that was not a property deal,” Brown recalls, saying he put £200,000 towards what was supposedly an exciting new opportunity in Spain. “I never saw my money again.”


You can purchase a subscription to The Athletic here:


Dean Holden also comments on the CAFC website about the signings today of Macauley Bonne and Todd Kane:



Finally - Dean Holden and Anthony Hayes will be doing a Q&A session on Thursday 19th January at Bromley Addicks, Petts Wood British Legion  Queensway Petts Wood BR5 1DH. starting at 7pm