There are those who will be grateful that League One strugglers Colchester put Charlton Athletic out their misery in the FA Cup Third Round on Saturday (January 9).

The south London club can – as the cliche has it – concentrate on the Championship where their troubles – internally and on the pitch – are there for all to see.

The ownership has responded by touting the prospect of a return to the club of former interim manager Jose Riga.

Riga, one from the Duchatelet stable, is poised for a return after his sacking from French club Metz. Riga was in charge at the Valley for two months in 2014 before he was released and went to Blackpool, where he lasted four months.

Charlton have slumped 23rd in the Championship and face Huddersfield on Tuesday (January 12) in a crucial game.

Recent protests have focussed on the drifting ownership of the club , firmly stuck in the relegation zone, and the fans rallied to the idea of white knight Peter Varney putting the Belgian regime to the sword.

Those hopes have been partially snuffed out with Mr Varney saying Roland Duchatelet is not interested in a deal.

Mr Varney, who was acting for a third party, said: “It has become clear in recent times that Charlton isn’t for sale and they are carrying on with the model they have got there. That is their right to do that.

“I think it is a shame because the deal would have been good for the owners if they had listened to the proposition, and it would have been good for Charlton.”

Charlton director Richard Murray has ridden to the defence of the owner saying that he “underestimated” the Championship. He said: “No-one wants to run down a football club – it defies logic.”

In a Q&A on Charlton’s website he said: “Our strategy for Charlton Athletic is that we are a financially stable club, who can be competitive in the Championship, but has Premier League ambitions.

“Through Roland Duchatelet’s backing we have become financially stable. The second two elements are a bigger challenge.”

When where it has gone wrong on the pitch, Mr Murray said: “We have put a little too much faith in our overseas players to suddenly come in and play 46 games a year.

“I think we underestimated how long it would take them to get used to the Championship. Hopefully the players brought in this year from overseas will be even better next year but it’s clear there hasn’t been the right balance this season.”

Asked if the Board could do anything better, Mr Murray said: “I think we need to communicate with supporters better. The Board accepts it’s not been as good as it could and they are taking a number of steps to improve that.”

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