If you hold Charlton close to your heart, then you should be aware of Roland Duchatelet’s stance on the club.
The Belgian businessman is eager to sell the south London-based outfit, but simply can’t find a buyer.
Duchatelet purchased the Addicks for £18m back in 2014 while they were in the Championship, although after Charlton were relegated, the 73-year-old has lost millions and is insistent on making his money back – the club has been on the market since late 2017.
In order to make Charlton as attractive to potential buyers as possible, Duchatelet refuses to hand Lee Bowyer or any of the boss’ backroom staff contracts that are longer than 12 months, in case a new owner wants to change things – which would require an expensive payoff if the staff were on long-term deals.
So, is Duchatelet doing the right thing?
“I can see a shred of logic in this, although equally, I think this is foolish from Duchatelet. Surely, with the exquisite work that Bowyer is doing for the club, it would make sense to tie the 42-year-old down to a long-term deal. Bowyer has already rejected an approach from Huddersfield – despite stating that it was “tempting” – so would it not actually make the club more attractive for potential buyers to see a highly-rated young manager tied down to a long-term deal?
“Also, with each passing season in which the Addicks continue to improve, the club will most likely make increased revenue in ticket sales and prize money dependant on where they finish in the league. I just feel like Duchatelet is alienating people even more just for what would be a small victory.”
“Roland Duchatelet is probably the most-hated man in, not just Charlton, but probably in the south-east of London too – that’s an unwanted accolade that will forever be etched on his record.
“However, for the first and probably only time in his tumultuous reign in charge of the Championship club, he is making the right decision.
“There’s nothing worse for a new owner than having to deal with a manager that’s tied down to a long-term contract, which in itself could be a more catastrophic financial decision later down the line than not extending the contracts of Bowyer and his staff.
“Given the way the football economy is these days, the grass isn’t always greener and Charlton will need to ensure they don’t have the next Glenn Tamplin in charge of their club. As bad as Duchatelet has been, he’s clearly trying to find the right deal which is only aided by Bowyer and co not being tied down for the foreseeable future.”
“It’s an understandable position for Duchatelet to take, but most prospective owners would probably take a look at the job Bowyer is doing and want him to stay on, as he has already achieved so much and is performing above expectations.
“Fans will likely be concerned at the lack of security surrounding Bowyer’s tenure, and the ease at which he could be lured away as a result, but he seems a good fit at Charlton and may consider that it is the best place for him right now.
“Despite that, Duchatelet should remove any doubt about Bowyer’s future and commit him to the club now, along with his staff, thus removing any unnecessary distraction that will in turn allow the playing and coaching staff to focus on what is most important – the football side of things.”
“When your club’s manager has guided you to promotion, there really shouldn’t be any question over whether they are deserving of a new long-term contract. But purely down to his narrow-minded focus on putting business first, Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet is making a head-shaking decision regarding Lee Bowyer.
“The longer he refuses to give the Addicks boss the security of a new deal at the club, the more chance of him being poached away by a rival. And after the truly miraculous work he has done in taking them up from League One, that would be a hammer blow. Bowyer himself admitted after the side’s promotion that the club is now a far more “attractive” proposition for potential buyers. Duchatelet’s refusal to do the decent thing is making a mockery of Bowyer and Charlton.”