Charlton Athletic have defied the pre-season predictions that suggested they would be scrapping it out at the foot of the Championship table.
Lee Bowyer’s side sit in 11th – a sizeable distance away from the relegation places.
The 42-year-old has proven his worth as a manager in his 18 months at The Valley, and Bowyer has reportedly told the club he wants to extend his contract beyond the end of the season, according to director and Head of Recruitment, Steve Gallen.
We analyse this latest development in this FLW Six Pointer…
Does Lee Bowyer want to continue what he started at Charlton?
“It is clear that he sees himself staying on as Charlton manager for the immediate future, as there is unfinished business for him in SE7.”
“Promotion from League One last season, defying expectations this term, and an exciting brand of football are all three things that Bowyer has brought to Charlton during his tenure at the club, and according to Gallen, Bowyer is keen for stability with a long-term deal.
“In contrast to Bowyer’s predecessors, the Charlton boss has built an ethos at the club, and he would no doubt want to continue the good work done so far.”
Is Roland Duchatelet a big factor in all of this?
“With Charlton’s Belgian owner still openly seeking to sell the club to potential suitors, it puts Bowyer in a difficult position on the contract front.
“Steve Gallen has openly said that Bowyer wants to negotiate a longer-term deal at The Valley.
The sticking point is that Duchatelet is reluctant to do so for business reasons, as he feels that if a prospective buyer comes in, they might want to appoint their own choice of coach – which does not help Bowyer as he may only be offered a one-year extension.”
“It should also be mentioned that there have not been concrete talks with any consortium for a large period of time.”
Is there a risk of the events of the summer happening again?
“Following promotion last season, the mood at The Valley rapidly turned sour, with Lee Bowyer initially rejecting the contract offer proposed by Duchatelet, leaving the fans in disarray.
“With nobody knowing what was going on at the time, Bowyer then reversed his decision, signing a one-year rolling contract extension.”
“With the owner’s uncertainty, there is always a chance that the two could disagree again at the end of the current season, and bring further anxiety to fans.
That means assurances to Bowyer have to be made in haste, with Gallen adamant that he doesn’t want the situation repeating itself again.”
Could the lack of clarity increase chances of Bowyer leaving?
“Once again, that is down to Duchatelet.”
“Bowyer wants to stay, Gallen wants Bowyer to stay and that seems to be the primary focus.
“But, if no agreement is reached, then the worry is that Bowyer could easily go elsewhere as his success at Charlton has not gone unnoticed.
Steve Gallen has even gone on record to say he occasionally worries about Bowyer leaving.”
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What do the fans think?
“With Bowyer’s achievements during his spell in charge, along with the connection he had with the club as an ex-player, the fans have a strong attachment to the manager, and echo what Steve Gallen has said.
The worry is that if the current situation is the same come March or April, we could see protests against the owner restart.”
How crucial can Steve Gallen’s role be?
“Now that Gallen is a director on the club’s board, there is more of a direct link between the owner and the manager.”
“That may make dialogue easier between Duchatelet and Bowyer, especially as Gallen also wants Bowyer to stay put at The Valley.”