Here it is. The third and final (and best in this writer’s humble opinion) part of the Charlton bloggers’ end of season review…
Who would you like to be our manager next season?
David Norris: In a world in which Charlton have independence, Chris Powell. Sadly we don’t, so I guess in the current circumstances keeping on Jose Riga would be the best option.
Hungry Ted: Other than a return for Chris Powell, I’d love Jose Riga to be given a chance to build his own squad, so I’d give him a go for sure. I’ve been really impressed with how well Riga has carried himself in a very difficult time and he has certainly embraced the Charlton spirit. When he first came in many people suggested he would be Duchatelet’s puppet, but he has proven to be his own man. It is obvious the players like him as well and you can see in players such as Dervite, Sordell and Harriott that he has found a way to get the best from them.
Kyle Andrews: Can I say Chris Powell? Chris Powell.
But in all seriousness, this really depends on how we’re defining ‘manager’.
If Duchatelet actually wants to have a ‘manager’ who has the power to make his own decisions on and off the pitch, then I’d like an experienced English boss who could challenge Duchatelet and not let him act as he pleases. As the last man who wanted to do that was told where to go, I unfortunately can’t see it happening.
I’m not totally won over by Riga, he’s made a number of huge errors, but if we can’t have a manager, I’m willing to grit my teeth and let him have a longer stint. Whoever is in charge, a manager or a director of football without previous connections to Duchatelet, needs some decision making power.
Dan Webster: Chris Powell. But I’ve got to move on, haven’t I… I’m not sure it really matters, given that we now have a Head Coach. Riga did well to harness the team spirit, but the real test for him would be whether he could build a similarly tight squad with lots of new faces. I’m unconvinced that he’s tactically brilliant, but as he’s started, he should probably continue.
Matias Grez: I think Jose Riga has done a good job since coming in and I would like to see him stay. He hasn’t disrupted the team spirit instilled by Chris Powell and the club need’s stability.
Al Gordon: José Riga hasn’t done much wrong. He had a plan to survive, stuck with it and succeeded although I’d like to see him buy a new suit or two. Deep down I think Duchâtelet only saw him as an interim appointment for the first team but you wouldn’t hear me complain if he got an extension on his contract.
Failing that perhaps Chris Hughton. He’s proven at this level with both Newcastle and Birmingham, and the game could once again do with another black manager.
Brian Haines: Someone who will have Charlton’s interests at the top of his priorities.
Alex Stedman: Jose Riga.
Having had the pleasure of being in his company numerous times since his arrival, I can categorically say he is the right man for the club.
Brought in being alien to the Championship, he’s acquitted himself admirably – and he really cares. The players respect, the majority of fans love him, and he’s done what he was brought in to do.
Chicago Addick: Jose Riga.
Marco Casualty: I didn’t want him when he arrived but Jose Riga has done enough to be given a proper go.
Greg Stubley: Jose Riga would be my first choice, purely as he now knows the club, the fans and did a decent job for us. If he doesn’t join, then I wouldn’t mind someone like Chris Hughton. As I said previously, we need stability.
Joe Hall (Valley Talk): Ideally, I’d like to see Jose Riga given a full pre-season to work on the side.
If not, then I’d want Roland Duchatelet to pick a coach he believes can take the club forward, who has his own ideas that he will be allowed to implement, and who has the prior experience or achievements to suggest he’s capable of that. A coach hired on merit, not because he’s cool with the “network”.
Who would you like us to sign?
David Norris: As I said earlier, I imagine our signings of non-Duchatelet players will be limited. Therefore, Astrit Ajdarevic on a permanent deal, if you can call it that at a Duchatelet club, would be great. Even though the lad can barely survive an hour of competitive football, his creativity is invaluable. Also, his social media game is superb.
Hungry Ted: Above all else, I’d treat Diego Poyet penning a new deal as the best signing we could hope for!
If not him, there’s a striker for Bournemouth I quite like the look of. Just can’t remember his name…
Kyle Andrews: We desperately need forwards, and to finally get Sam Baldock would be nice, but the main target has to a target man to replace that French bloke we thought it would be a good idea to get rid of. If Brighton go up, I would imagine Craig Mackail-Smith would be available. He’ll do.
Dan Webster: Yann Kermorgant. He’s quite good, you know.
Matias Grez: I’d like to think with money and moving forwards we’d be able to sign good Premier League players on loan. Permanent signings are obviously a priority but if Sheffield Wednesday can get Connor Wickham and Brighton can get Jesse Lingard, then players of similar quality would be a massive boost to our squad.
Al Gordon: Craig Mackail-Smith is out of favour at Brighton and knows where the net is. A lot depends on who leaves and who stays of course but we certainly need to sign a permanent striker whilst we wait for the youngsters to come up to the standard.
Brian Haines: I think Charlton fans are the only ones in the country who’d welcome Darren Bent to their club so let’s see if we can get his career going again.
Alex Stedman: Diego Poyet on a new contract – goes without saying!
Chicago Addick: Ross McCormack.
Marco Casualty: Charlie Austin.
Greg Stubley: Troy Deeney. Exactly what we need up-front.
Joe: Glenn Murray. We need a goalscorer, his days at Palace look numbered and he’s clearly not fussed about jumping from one rival to another.
Sum up the season in one sentence…
David Norris: The spirit of Powell lives on, but for how long?
Hungry Ted: At times it seemed like it couldn’t get much worse, but despite the heavyweight setbacks and heartaches along the way, the Charlton spirit ensured survival with a rousing finale.
Kyle Andrews: If we could take our chances, Yeovil and Barnsley wouldn’t have been so important and Duchatelet wouldn’t have had an excuse to force Powell out.
Dan Webster: Championship status secured, but a huge chunk of what made Charlton special has been lost.
Matias Grez: Had the potential to be so good, but because of a few terrible decisions we ended up going backwards.
Al Gordon: An historical season, but one in which the negatives outweighed the positives.
Brian Haines: Awful.
Alex Stedman: Never too high, never too low.
Chicago Addick: Hellish.
Marco Casualty: Glad it’s over.
Greg Stubley: An unpredictable, nerve-wrecking, roller-coaster.
Joe: Life’s a pitch.
Briefly describe your feelings about the direction of the club…
David Norris: Ultimately we have the foundations of a successful Championship side. However, all transfer activity thus far under Roland has suggested that we’ll be signing players inexperienced in English football from his other clubs, rather than proven Championship talent. For other reasons which are too in depth to go in to now, I’ll just say I’m worried.
Hungry Ted: With regards to Duchatelet true intention for our club, I’m reserving judgement for now. So much of the concern is based on speculation and hearsay (although Duchatelet has to accept the blame for some of that after his disastrous first interview to the BBC), but I will judge on hard facts. I don’t buy into the whole networking and feeder club stuff, or at least not to the extent that some are. I don’t also feel he will strip us of our assets and ride off into the sunset. He’s a businessman first and foremost, and he will surely be aware that with the right leadership and investment he could gain far greater riches driving us forward towards the Premiership. Time will tell, I guess.
Kyle Andrews: Stressed.
Dan Webster: I’m hoping it doesn’t confirm my worst fears, but I expect it will. With a new manager likely, and a huge turnover of players possible as well, we could well become a club that Duchatelet uses for his own benefit rather than our own. Lots of foreign players coming here for themselves rather than the club, and our best players allowed to leave. Nothing we’ve seen so far suggests that’s a false prophecy, given the way Kermorgant and Stephens were pushed out the door in January, and Thuram was not punished for his disgraceful disloyalty.
Matias Grez: Excited and worried. With Roland Duchatelet’s network and money we have the possibility of bringing in quality players. However, we could also end up getting a few more players as bad as Yohann Thuram-Ulien.
Al Gordon: This summer will be the make or break of the owner. He has divided the supporters with his actions so far, what he does next may well unite them again for better or for worse. Personally I don’t think he’ll throw much money at the team leaving us to survive yet again on lackluster loans and Duchâtelet empire ‘stiffs’. But I am pessimistic by nature…
Brian Haines: Uncertain. The way the squad looks in August will be the clearest indication of what direction the owner wants the club to take. My dream would be that Reza impresses in Brazil, is sold for a huge fee, and the money is invested in the squad.
Alex Stedman: Excited and intrigued.
The owner has us heading in the right direction, I’ve alluded to it so many times, and I know so many disagree. The emergence of youth and the galvanisation in the latter half of the season demonstrates the new found optimism.
Big plans for The Valley and Sparrows Lane over the summer show Roland is building from the ground up – we’re going places.
Chicago Addick: I suppose I am intrigued with great reservations.
Marco Casualty: Cautious optimism. Much will depend on how many imports we are forced to receive.
Greg Stubley: Mixture of anxiety and excitement. We need stability. For me personally, it depends on who our manager is. If Riga stays, I’ll feel confident of a good season.
Joe: Confused and full of questions. For one, who at the club will be identifying the transfer targets that our side needs?
On Twitter? Make sure you check out the above bloggers. They’re all well worth a follow:
David Norris – @Nozza_
Hungry Ted – @HungryTed
Kyle Andrews – @KyleHAndrews
Dan Webster – @ramblingaddick
Matias Grez – @matias_grez
Al Gordon – @algordon_cafc
Brian Haines – @brianhaines
Alex Stedman – @astedman1
Chicago Addick – @ChicagoAddick
Charlton Casualty – @MarcoCasualty