Chris Powell sacked: Jose Riga immediately replaces manager at Charlton
The Addicks lost 2-0 at the weekend to League One side Sheffield United in the FA Cup sixth round and combined with a poor league campaign Powell has been dismissed
Glenn Moore is Football Editor for The Independent and a Uefa B licence holder. Glenn has worked for the Independent newspapers since 1993, initially as cricket correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, subsequently as football correspondent of The Independent before becoming football editor in 2004.
Tuesday 11 March 2014
When a club has lost five league games of six, is ensconced at the bottom of the division and has been knocked out of the FA Cup the manager is usually fired with the fans pleased to see him go.
In the modern game, however, there are many sub-plots. It was not poor results that did for Charlton Athletic's Chris Powell, not were supporters jubilant at his dismissal.
Powell, who played 270 games for Charlton in three spells, and took them out of the third tier in 2011-12, his first full season as manager, was axed because he did not agree with having players foisted upon him by new owner Roland Duchatelet.
The Belgian immediately installed a compatriot, Jose Riga, once assistant manager at Standard Liege, currently on the staff at Milan. The 56-year-old will be assisted by another Belgian, Karel Fraeye, who has been managing Eendracht Zele, a Belgian lower league club.
Liege are also owned by Duchatelet, a wealthy entrepreneur who paid an estimated £14m for Charlton around Christmas. In fact Duchatelet is a serial collector of clubs with interests (either directly or through family members) with others in Germany, Spain and Hungary. In total he has six and is believed to be seeking a seventh, Italian club Bari.
The way in which this impacts on Powell is that his January transfer signings were primarily drawn from other Duchatelet clubs, particularly Standard. Meanwhile two key players, Yann Kermorgant and Dale Stephens, were sold. At the time Powell said: "Why not use the network of clubs and players that are available? I'd be silly not to look at players at Standard."
However, with Liege top dog club in Duchatelet's stable it is doubtful he was given a choice of who to sign - or sell.
Duchaletet said, in a statement: "We have been working with Chris Powell and his representatives for a couple of weeks to try and agree a contract extension which would have seen us continue to work together. There was good progress, but we could not reach an agreement over the club's football strategy going forward. The situation put a strain on the working relationship between Chris and the board. Therefore I think it is best for all parties that we part ways."
Powell's departure means Chris Hughton is the only remaining black manager in the four divisions of the senior game - a shocking statistic - not that there is any suggestion his colour was a factor.
Charlton have games in hand due to the FA Cup run that ended at Sheffield United, and a pitch which is prone to water-logging. If they are not to remain bogged down in the Championship's relegation zone Riga, regarded as an innovative coach but with no real experience of managing, will have to learn fast.
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