Charlton have gone back to the future to dig them out of their relegation hole, re-appointing Jose Riga as head coach on an 18-month deal.
The 58-year-old spent three months in charge of the Addicks at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, keeping the club in the Championship, and owner Roland Duchatelet hopes his appointment may serve to dampen some of the unrest among the Valley faithful.
The protests prompted the ownership into action, not only bringing to an end the unremarkable reign of interim head coach Karel Fraeye but also prompting a public admissions of mistakes.
In a statement on the club website, Duchatelet admitted the club had made errors in player recruitment and said the board of directors accepted responsibility for “a disappointing season”.
The Belgian added: “It was crucial we dealt with the position of the head coach. Jose did an excellent job in his short period with Charlton two seasons ago. He was very popular with supporters and I believe that he will get us back on track.”
Charlton are 23rd in the Championship table, three points from safety, and are on a run of 10 games without a win in all competitions. Riga won seven of his 16 games in charge and is Duchatelet’s sixth head coach since taking over two years ago.
Riga guided Belgian club Standard Liege to the last 16 of the Europa League in the 2011/12 season and won the Belgian second division with RAEC Mons for the first time in the club’s history.
Fans, who have rallied together under the banner Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (Card) will have mixed feelings about the appointment. Riga was successful during his brief tenure lifting the club off the bottom of the table and taking them to safety but he also represents a continuation of Duchatelet’s policy of appointing from among his Belgian associates, a policy notable for its lack of success.
Meanwhile, the club face a tough tie against Hull on Saturday (January 16) but Jordan Cousins could have recovered from a knee injury in time to take part while Igor Vetokele is also eligible after being rested in the game against Huddersfield Town.
That 5-0 drubbing in Yorkshire saw Johnnie Jackson promise to reimburse travelling fans and prompted Greenwich MP Matthew Pennycook write to chief executive Katrien Meire to find out what was happening at the club.