This week, Charlton announced that José Riga has been rehired as ‘head coach’ following the sacking of ‘interim’ head coach Karel Fraeye last night. The popular José Riga helped his assistant Fraeye to mastermind Charlton’s survival two years ago and is now hoping that he will be able to do just as well on his own this time round. The fact that many fans are happy about this indicates how much this regime has damaged the fanbase.
Yes, Riga did a good job last time. Yes, Riga is the best option that is realistically available under the ownership of Roland Duchatelet. However, would we have accepted Riga in any other situation? The horrific crisis that the club is going through means our expectations have been lowered and we are now willing to accept a manager many of us would have seen as another no-mark a few short years ago, even in the League 1 years. It’s like you haven’t eaten since breakfast because you snoozed the alarm 5 times; this meant the rush was on. You had to find something to sacrifice from your morning routine and stupidly you chose the packed lunch instead of something not very important, like brushing your teeth. This means no food food all day unless you fork out. You don’t want to spend money on food but you have to give in. Greggs. That 90p sausage roll tastes like the most expensive meal in the restaurant that you went to when your parents visited you at university and said that they’d treat you.
José Riga is the sausage roll in case anybody missed that.
However, this appointment is not only symptomatic of the lowered expectations of Charlton fans, it’s also symptomatic of the current regime making wrong decision after wrong decision. We all liked José in his first spell, he did a great job. Why wasn’t he kept on? Despite what Katrien Meire says, Bob Peeters proved to be the wrong decision, Guy Luzon proved to be the wrong decision, and Karel Fraeye proved to be the wrong decision. Reversing these decisions is the board admitting these mistakes. Will they learn from them? Prior evidence seems to suggest not.
Lying to the fans is something that the club have become accustomed to over the past two years (allegedly). However, now they are so brazen about it that it seems they no longer care if fans, or customers, know about this. Karel Fraeye was Charlton’s fifth head coach in 2 years in all but name. Announced as an ‘Interim’ head coach, the longest interim head coach in Charlton’s history, Fraeye lead Charlton to 2 wins out of his 14 matches in charge making his win percentage as Charlton boss (around 14%) the second lowest in the club’s history behind Les Reed. However, when he was proclaimed interim head coach we were told that the club would “undertake a process to appoint a head coach on a permanent basis”. We were also told this when he was relieved of his duties on Wednesday evening. We were told that this process was constantly underway in the background while Fraeye was at the club. The phrasing in the statement is ‘new head coach’. Fraeye was interim head coach in the same way that Powell had the opportunity for a new contract at the club after Duchatelet first bought Charlton.
I still like José. For me, this creates a further divide between the players and management, and the board. I fully support the players and management, I do not support the board. Despite José’s obvious porkies, revealed in the NewsShopper, on Wednesday night about having had no contact with the club I think he is honourable and has a chance of keeping us up. As fans we need to continue on two fronts. We need to continue to support the players on the pitch and we need to keep fighting for our club.
This is our club, of which Roland Duchatelet and Katrien Meire are custodians.
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Written by James Friel