Birmingham City boss Lee Bowyer got off to the perfect start to life with the Blues, as he picked up a 2-1 win over promotion-chasing Reading in midweek.
Bowyer left Charlton Athletic in March after a three-year spell with the Addicks, with plenty of ups and downs during his time at The Valley.
One of the moments that is likely to be well-remembered moment, is the club’s promotion-winning season in 2019, as they beat Doncaster Rovers in the League One play-off final.
Speaking in an interview with London News Online, Bowyer admitted that he got choked up when making his departure speech, and labelled it as a ‘tough decision’ to leave the Addicks.
“It’s probably the hardest speech I have ever had to do. I was getting a little bit choked up because it was a tough decision.
“I didn’t even get like that after the play-off final. My wife always says I’m quite a hard person. She’ll watch something on TV and get choked up and I’ll be telling her: ‘Shut up, you wally!’ That’s just the way I am. But I did [get emotional] the other day – because I care. I put so much into the place, so it was definitely hard to leave.
“The other reason it was hard is because I brought players in, and then you go. So I felt bad to go with 11 matches to go.
“I’m thinking ‘is this the right thing to do?’ But deep down I knew it was the right thing. It doesn’t make it any easier. If I didn’t have that connection with the club and the memories we’ve built then it would’ve been easier. I learned more in my three years at Charlton than other people will have learned in 10 years in another managerial job.”
Bowyer had to deal with some difficult off-the-field circumstances, and revealed that he could have left the club ‘two or three times’ and that it would ‘crumble’ if he left the club when he had the opportunity to do so, which is likely to spark debate amongst the Charlton Athletic supporters.
“The things that stand out for me is that we went up a division and our budget got smaller. Then we had ESI, crazy stuff. Everyone knows I could’ve left two or three times and I didn’t because the club was in a bad way. I thought if I left then things would crumble.
“I was loyal. People say: ‘If you are loyal, why walk away now?’ Now is the right time. The club has got a good owner in place and stability – before there was nothing at all. We were days away from going into administration.
“At the end of last season we didn’t know if we were going to get paid at all.”
Charlton are set to return to action this weekend, when they take on AFC Wimbledon, as Nigel Adkins looks to get off to the perfect start to life in charge of the Addicks.
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It’s heartwarming to see how much the club meant to him.
Bowyer coped admirably in some difficult off-the-field circumstances, and he can leave with his head held high. I think he’ll be an excellent appointment in the long-term for Birmingham City.
It’ll be interesting to see how Nigel Adkins copes at Charlton Athletic, as he strikes me as the sort of manager that is more than capable of guiding them back into the Championship in the near future.
I seriously wouldn’t put it past Charlton winning promotion at the first time of asking this season.