Giving the Dowie the Boot. Sheer Genius or Sheer Stupidity?
I have to admit that I was genuinely surprised to hear last night that Ian Dowie had been sacked as manager of Charlton Athletic. And given that the former Crystal Palace manager had only been in charge for twelve Premiership games my immediate reaction was to think that the Charlton board had my a pretty serious error. How can any manager be given only twelve matches to make his mark?
However on further reflection I’m inclined to think that Dowie’s sacking may not be as rash as it seems. Firstly, we have to take into account that the Charlton board have a track record of reasonability, stability and all round logical thinking that is the envy of most other Premiership clubs. Secondly the boards commitment to their new manager had been second to none – a £12m transfer kitty and legal support in a wrangle with former employers Crystal Palace. So we have to imagine that there was something horrifically wrong with the way Dowie was going about his business at the Valley.
Certainly the results have been pretty dreadful with only two league wins so far this season, however if anything the performances have been even more disappointing. Charlton have shipped goals home and away and have only been saved in the striking department by the ever dependable Darren Bent. It is hard to name a single one of Dowie’s summer signings who have as yet had a significant impact (with perhaps the exception of loanee Scott Carson) which given the outlay both in transfer fees and wages is bound to be worrying for any board.
Dowie has also struggled to field a settled team, not through any injuries problems, but seemingly simply owing to his own indecision. Players such as Darren Ambrose and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink have found themselves bombed out of the side after starting the season in the starting eleven, whilst others such as Rommedahl, Holland and Hughes have found themselves popping randomly in and out of the team from game to game.
Overall, however, there must have been some off-the-pitch issue that really sealed Dowie’s fate. Whilst the results have been bad, it takes a brave (or stupid) club to fire their manager after only three months on that basis alone. Interestingly, though, Dowie’s replacement has been named as his assistant Les Reed which would suggest that whatever caused the Northern Irishman to lose his job was something to do with him and him alone – not his backroom staff.
Whatever the true story it will be interesting to see if Charlton will live to regret, if not their decision to sack Dowie, then their decision to take him on in the first place. Overall though if something was as seriously wrong as to force them into even considering sacking the manager, then they were probably right to get on and do it. Lets just hope they haven’t just got themselves a whole load more problems.