Charlton Life without Alan Curbishley – Is Relegation that Bad for a Football Club?

Charlton Life without Alan Curbishley – Is Relegation that Bad?

3 months into the 2006/2007 season and life without Alan Curbishley is proving to be a bit tricky for Charlton Athletic. I recently did an interview with and they asked me about my thoughts for Charlton’s prospects this year.

In this interview I said that I would not be surprised to see the settled South London club get relegated this year. Of course I hope that they do not get relegated but I am writing this article without any bias and based on my many years of playing as a professional footballer. The one thing that disturbs a club the most is instability and change. I experienced this on a yearly frequency at West Bromwich Albion, where the club hired and fired new managers with random glee, which creates confusion and lack of loyalty within the club. Existing players have to adapt to every managers new philosophy on Football, new tactics, new systems, 4-4-2, 4-5-1, 5-3-2 etc. New players have to integrate into the club and so it goes on.

I do not know why Charlton and “Curbs” (as he liked to be called) parted company but I suspect that the 2 had reached a point where they both needed change and felt they could no longer progress. I think that Curbs has been a revelation for Charlton Athletic and should be given the freedom of South East London for what he and his staff achieved. To bring the club from the brink of bankruptcy to a constant fixture in the premier league was a monumental achievement. This rise was steady and constant, taking many years to build up the momentum to finally being able to proudly boast of being an accomplished premier league side. They have proved to be a fine example of how to rise through the ranks of football. Whether they can be the club that breaks through the invisible barrier of the top 6 and maybe even break the stronghold of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United is another chapter in this clubs history.

my article on Bridging the Premier League Gap in Football

But Curbs just seemed unable to push the club into the higher levels of the premier league. It must be the ambition of every team to want more, otherwise what is the point of competing. Charlton had reached a plateau under Curbs reign and were/are seeking to move onwards and upwards. This is no easy achievement in the world of Premier league football. To sustain yourself as a top 6 club with your peers such as Newcastle United struggling to do this will take a shift in thinking, such as bringing in a new manager.

It may take several years for this to happen, as new managers historically take time to “bed” into their new clubs, with many not surviving their first year. I hope this doesn’t happen to Iain Dowie as he has proved himself to be an intelligent, dedicated manager. However, getting back to my original point, it may not be a bad thing for Charlton to be relegated this year. If they did, they would be able to re-group in the Championship, with a very strong squad and have a season to re-establish themselves back in footballs elite by gaining promotion.

If this happened Dowie and his staff would have the full support of the fans, who would be excited to have another Championship season of success, winning games, scoring lots of goals and renewing the excitement of strolling up to the Valley. The players would be playing with a renewed confidence and I am sure would revel at another bite of premier league action. With this momentum behind him, Dowie may just be able to take the Club on to its next level of achievement by pushing themselves into the top 6 of the premier league. Maybe relegation doesn’t come and Charlton and Dowie can continue this success story from within the Premier League, which would be much less scary for the fans and the board.

After all, if you do get relegated, and can’t climb back into the premier league (see Ipswich, Leeds, Sunderland etc) life can get fiendishly difficult.

Bridging the Gap in the Premier League

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