Thursday, 22 March 2018

Robinson leaves

Just a week after our last minute defeat at Blackpool, Karl Robinson has left the hot seat at The Valley and Lee Bowyer takes temporary charge. 

The official line is that he "leaves by mutual consent" and we have the usual statement from the departing manager about how great the fans were and how he wishes the club well etc. All of which points to a financial settlement and non-disclosure agreement. Frankly, no-one will care much about this - the good news is we won't have to suffer him any longer.

I wasn't a fan from the off. I was told that he had referred to us a "basket case of a club" only months before he was appointed when we last played MK Dons and he was the struggling manager there. Suddenly we were the biggest and best thing around and he marvelled at the size of the ground and had to pinch himself he was the manager. I bet he did. He said all the right things initially and was good at talking the club up. Early results were alright, too, despite the fact that Charlton Athletic don't do new-manager-bounce.

However, by the time I had heard his third or fourth press conference it was apparent we had a man who would say whatever he thought you wanted to hear. Often talking in cliches, incoherent rambling and contradictions which he somehow thought made himself sound clever. He also had a significant blind spot when it came to players and formations. He was one of those managers who simply can't see beyond players he has worked with in the past and with whom, I believe, he was too matey. It was hard not to get the impression that Robinson was on the gravy train and wanted to share it with some of his friends irrespective of whether or not they were the best players for Charlton Athletic. Ben Reeves is the prime example and the will-he-won't-he sign for us shenanigans looked like it was almost contrived horse-trading to get the best deal he could for his pal Reeves.

I lost any respect I had for him when he told us he was en route to Belgium to confront The Shareholder about his budget for the upcoming transfer window. After telling us what he was going to do, he came back with his tail very much between his legs and we were treated to 'I said my piece and the owner said his,' which translated to foxtrot-oscar.

Karl Robinson had to make-do-and-mend when it came to the playing squad but I do believe he had a decent wage budget. The problem was he brought in too many poor players and managed to run a very unbalanced squad. Everyone could see we were too short of striking options when the season started in August but Robinson said he was pleased with what he had and he was cocky after a decent start when we were scoring plenty from midfield and Magennis was weighing-in as well. Unfortunately, that was unlikely to last all season and the first injuries saw us begin to falter. He was unfortunate with injuries but the fact is we simply didn't have the scoring options and when Ricky Holmes left the game was up.

What really lost it for Robinson was when the rank and file supporters finally saw through his tactical naivety and his obsession with one up front. That and his stubborn refusal to change it from one week to the next. 

It's remarkable that we aren't in a relegation battle, let alone still clinging to the tails of the play-off chasers. That though, speaks volumes about how poor this league is. The fact that we are on the slide and destined for mid-table tells you what we have become under the hapless ownership of Duchatelet a third division club in every respect except for the owner who doesn't deserve to be operating a football league club.

I wish Lee Bowyer all the best but my bet is that Jacko was asked first and turned them down. He knows this is short-term - the club announcement even said that they (Bowyer and Jacko as assistant) were "the best people to lead us through and important few weeks." Clearly Richard Murray still anticipates a takeover and another inevitably change of manager when it does eventually come.

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