It was yet another agonising defeat. Nasser el Khayati’s last minute goal condemned the Addicks to Saturday’s 2-1 loss and at the time same time made survival almost impossible.
But, strangely, the performance from Jose Riga’s side was good. Always dangerous on the attack and combative across the rest of the pitch, it shows how much has improved since the Belgian returned. It’s all to clear the damage was done in the months earlier.
So what has gone wrong?
1. The management debacle
Was getting rid of Guy Luzon the right decision? Form was bad and the consensus at the time was a change may be justified. But to replace him with Karel Fraeye made very little sense.
What qualities did he bring to the club? Leadership? Experience? In-depth knowledge of how to survive in a Championship relegation battle?
None of the above.
It was a lengthy mid-season disaster before he was finally replaced by Riga – the same man let go by owner Roland Duchatelet two seasons earlier.
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No detailed explanation has been given over these bizarre decisions.
Fraeye was never even appointed to the full role, before being relieved of his duties. You can only imagine what the players thought of such bumbling by the board.
And while Riga was certainly an improvement on before, he still wasn’t an experienced, British appointment Charlton may have needed.
2 Disastrous signings
Eyebrows were raised about Naby Sarr’s expensive arrival from Portugal in the summer.
Bemusement was met when Roger Johnson’s return was announced earlier this year.
The first was poorly suited to the Championship where his rawness was cruelly exposed. The latter was winding down his career in India when the call came from SE7. The 32-year-old Johnson’s two poor performances before being frozen out spoke volumes about the transfer strategy.
The club has reportedly only just started actively looking for a replacement for chief scout Phil Chapple who left the club in October.
No-one has claimed responsibility for these signings. Or rather nobody wants to.
3 Injuries and a small squad
It’s true the club has had some bad luck with injuries this season. The likes of Igor Vetokele and Johnnie Jackson have faced long lay-offs.
But it’s only exposed the frail and small squad the Addicks have. Perhaps the board’s intentions to cut the wage bill had been noble. But the result has been ridiculous.
4 The Tony Watt saga
Whatever happened to the man who made his Scotland debut last month?
Tony Watt was seen as a pivotal part of this side back in August.
Three months later he was frozen out and sent to Cardiff City. Did his bad boy reputation return? Was he just poorly suited for the team? Did he want away? Who knows? Because it was never explained. No indiscretions came to light, but whispers were allowed to continue unopposed.
He briefly returned due to Cardiff’s financial problems ruling out a future transfer, only to be shunted out to Blackburn soon after.
Again, no reasons were given.
5 The board
The silence emanating from the boardroom throughout these disasters has been bizarre.
Questions remain unanswered. Despite assurances fans would be engaged with nothing seems to have happened.
The head of communications arrived to much fanfare and departed weeks later with just a murmur, the day after the club attacked fans over demonstrations.
Relations have soured to the point where the whole atmosphere around the club is toxic.
If you thought the previous ownership was bad, this has reached whole new depths, by managing to insult both the fans’ intelligence and actions.
The club is not alone in facing anger over its management – look at Leeds and Aston Villa – but what makes it worse for Charlton is the fact they have almost mirrored the disaster under the Alan Pardew/Phil Parkinson relegation in 2008.
That year the club’s hands were tied by crippling finances. This time there is no such excuse.
The club has just stumbled from one disaster to another. It’s an avoidable and costly relegation.