Not that kind of club?

Not that kind of club?

After 17 managers in 17 years since the departure of Alan Curbishley, Charlton fans are gradually having to admit that yes, we have indeed become that kind of club. The one that is the first in the EFL to sack its manager when the season has barely started. The one where the news leaks on social media a couple of hours before anything official on the club website. The one where your rival-supporting friends offer sympathy to your face while having a little snigger behind your back.

We’d like to wish Dean Holden well whatever the future brings. He certainly came across to us as an honest and decent man who tried his best and bonded with Charlton Athletic. He was ready and willing to engage with fans and embraced the one club strategy, making the training ground a welcoming environment. But something was very wrong away at Oxford: the team selection was highly questionable, the performance smacked of desperation and it was out of character for Holden to fail to acknowledge our fans at the end. We can’t escape the fact that this is our worst start to a season for over thirty years.

We don’t know all the ins and outs behind the scenes over recent weeks. Results and performances have shown up many issues – unlucky injuries to key players; new signings not fit;  a lack of organisation and game management; the throwing in of too many young players too frequently and too soon; the inability to move on those who no longer fit the bill. Some of these specific issues must lie at the manager’s door but overall they bear testament to a dysfunctional club following years of poor leadership and stewardship from the top.

Like many Addicks, we have said we will judge new owners Global Football Partners on actions rather than words. One of their first actions has been to fire the manager with just a handful of days of the transfer window remaining.  The club statement on the matter is certainly not relying on many words to justify this action but does promise that “a thorough recruitment process” will now be undertaken. With the number of times we’ve changed manager in the last couple of decades, you’d have hoped we’d be a leading authority on such processes by now.

Global Football Partners spent upwards of £10 Million purchasing the football company from Thomas Sandgaard. They have passed the EFL’s source and sufficiency of funds, where they had to demonstrate that they could cover the club’s operating losses over a two year period. There is nothing to suggest there is not genuine wealth behind them. Already funds are being used to pay off Holden, coach Danny Senda and goalkeeping coach Glyn Shimmel rather than invest in the squad. We find it difficult to believe that this was the plan all along, especially considering Holden was their recommendation back in December 2022. One imagines they were fully aware of the three year contract put in front of him in March.

The Telegraph reported last week that Charlie Methven sees the solution to financial stability in getting operating losses down to £1-2 million per year and aiming to make a net profit in the medium term on player trading. “You will do that if you have any kind of competence at all, and particularly if, like Charlton, you’ve got one of the most productive academies in the country,” he told journalist Thom Gibbs. We assume this was the pitch to the multiple investors in the GFP consortium. It sounds rather alarmingly akin to both Duchatelet’s and Sandgaard’s stated strategy of breaking even, on the assumption that they could do it better than everyone else.

Meanwhile we can’t escape the fact that we really are that kind of club: the one where those in charge say it will be different next time but the wider world struggles to believe it. We still wait to hear a coherent and convincing plan for our club.


If you are not already among the 2,700 Charlton supporters who are members of CAST, do join today - it only costs £5 annually.