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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Face Officially Unveiled

Ah! Sorry about that, must have dropped off. All the speculation in the press has been winding me up and had finally put me to sleep, all from people trying to fill their pages with whatever, when really if the truth be known, they couldn't care less who's in charge of what they see as a low-life club like ourselves.

Anyway at long last, we now can at last celebrate, if that is the right term, a New Manager. 'Unveiled' as the bbc would have it and not a great surprise. He will head a three-man team of Les Reed and former assistant academy manager Mark Robson.

In true Charlton spirit the selection process in the dirty world of football has been handled impeccably with 20 or so applicants somehow interviewed on the quiet with only 2 or 3 being identified. All business appears to have been above board and we would expect nothing less from our leaders. We are not one of your 'Big Clubs' who trample heedlessly over the plebs, we do things properly. Allardyce called us 'too nice' a few years back, well Curbs anyway, but we don't care what he thinks.

Well nice or not, they now can't accuse us of being pretty, not with Iain Dowie in charge. From now on we don't care what he looks like, the only concern is - can he do the business?

A few facts about the boy, as at only 41 he's still a youngster in my book. After a bit of a wandering playing career with Luton, Fulham, West Ham, Palace, Southampton and 59 Caps for Northern Ireland he finally finished his days at QPR. He then became assistant manager of Oldham and following the dismissal of manager Mick Wadsworth, Dowie became manager in May 2002 and the following season the club were in the Second Division play offs, although Dowie was not there to see it.

Financial trouble had hit Oldham in October 2003 and Dowie lost much of his first team, and after battling along for a few months with a severely depleted squad he moved in December 2003 to become manager of Palace, inheriting a useless team with low morale and in nineteenth place in the First Division. Obviously a man not afraid of a challange.

Under his leadership, however, the second south-east London club went on an impressive run that included 17 wins after when he took over enabling the club to finish in sixth place, just scraping into the play-off places. This feat was attributed to complete change in the atmosphere and training regime at the club, including a tougher disciplinary regime, introduced by Dowie. After beating Sunderland in the semi-final, on penalties, ( sounds familar) the club beat Dowie's former club West Ham by a single goal in the final for a place in the Premiership.

But, as we well know, the club lasted only one season there and in May 2005 got themselves relegated on the final day of the season at the Valley. How sad was that?

Dowie, however, impressed as a manager. He remained at Palace for season 2005-06 in the Championship despite rumours that he was approached by other Premiership clubs to take over. The only actual report of a club approaching Palace to speak to Dowie was when Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric approached Mr. Jordon to speak to Dowie, in November 2005. Jordan refused, politely I'm sure.

In 2004, when discussing Crystal Palace's start to the Premiership season, he coined the word "bouncebackability" in discussing their ability to bounce back from the adversity during their Division one season and their habit of conceding early goals. This word gained cult popularity within the footballing world and in 2005 it was included in the Collins Dictionary.

So, a man that has had an exciting time during his short managerial career, with a play-off promotion, a play-off semi-final defeat, a Premiership relegation as well as a financial crisis to deal with in his 4 years in charge. He certainly seems to make things happen. As well as inventing new words for the squad to learn, seems like we'll have a new 'tougher disciplinary regime' in store unless he's changed his methods of course.

We can only wait and see how he will work with our new set-up with Director of Football, Andrew Mills seemingly involved in the signing of new players and give him our full support no matter where he's come from. Judging from our form at the end of last season and the number of players left or reporting to be leaving he's certainly got a lot of work on.

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