Welcome Russell Slade. The announcement of the new manager at Charlton Athletic seems to have been met with a muted response, all due to the discontent of fans over the club’s ongoing struggle.
The former Leyton Orient and Cardiff City boss was hotly tipped to take over in recent weeks but it’s still somewhat of a surprise.
That’s because the Charlton ownership team has made its first British managerial appointment after five foreigners.
A move away from the so far catastrophic plan, perhaps? Has the great leader Roland Duchatelet admitted he was wrong?
Don’t hold your breath. The main question running through the heads of Charlton fans is whether Slade is a stooge for the owner. Or if not, how long will he last? Christmas?
It’s unlikely any more will be known after today (June 7) when Slade gives his first set of answers to the press. Expect strong words and positive talk.
Slade, if he has any knowledge of the club, will recognise the first mission is to win over the fans.
But that won’t be done by talk. These long-suffering supporters have grown weary of words.
He would be far better spending his time ensuring the club has the right players.
That’s tough. British players are what’s needed and so far the managerless club has failed to nail down any targets. It would take a huge charm offensive for Slade to get the right players. The unrest in the stands is well-known and few would want to play in front of that.
Alongside the relentless player recruitment will be the attempt to recruit the right backroom staff.
One man who has thrown his weight behind Slade already is former Charlton defender Steve Brown who worked with the new manager at Brighton.
Would Slade be keen on bringing a former Addicks favourite to work with him?
Unlikely, as Brown is a huge critic of the current regime, epitomised in a BBC London rant at the end of last season. Would the club allow it? Would Brown, an out-of-work coach, want it? If he did join Charlton it would send a message to the fans that perhaps the owners’ views really had changed.
With the current side, Slade will have to look at which players are likely to leave and move them out as soon as possible so he can free up money for reinforcements.
Johann Gudmundsson’s future may have to wait until after the Euros, where he will be playing for Iceland.
But that of Reza Goochannejhad, Igor Vetokele, Tony Watt and a host of others must be sorted as soon as possible.
Over the coming days Slade is going to realise just how big the job he has taken really is.
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