Lee Bowyer has departed Charlton Athletic today after nearly three years in charge, with the 44-year-old set to join Birmingham City.
The former Blues midfielder is expected to replace Aitor Karanka in the dugout at St Andrew’s after offering up his resignation to Charlton, leaving the Addicks in eighth position in League One.
A product of Charlton’s academy as a young player, Bowyer was appointed in March 2018 as manager and led the club to the play-offs of League One, going down to Shrewsbury in the semi-finals but he went one better the following season, getting the Addicks to the final where they defeated Sunderland at Wembley.
Bowyer couldn’t save the club from immediate relegation from the Championship last season, but after a change in ownership following Thomas Sandgaard’s takeover earlier this season, things looking to be on the up again.
But Charlton’s form has been indifferent as of late, and just one win at home since mid-December has left fans mostly agreeing that it’s the right time for a fresh start for both parties.
As one of their own though, it will still hurt to some to see Bowyer go, and he’s penned a heartfelt message to fans upon his departure.
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“It was a difficult decision to leave,” Bowyer said, per Charlton’s official Twitter account.
“Everyone knows how I feel about the club. I could have gone before but I felt it was the right thing to do to stay and help the club through the tough times we’ve been through.
“We had some amazing times and some tough times. It has been emotional leaving. I’d like to thank all the players that I’ve worked with and the staff for the hours and hours of hard work that they did.
“I also want to thank the supporters. We wouldn’t have had those great memories without them.
“The club is now in a place with a good owner that cares and wants to improve the place and I hope the club can continue to grow. It will always hold a special place in my heart.”
— Charlton Athletic FC (@CAFCofficial) March 15, 2021
Bowyer’s departing message may have tugged at the heartstrings for some, but many Charlton fans will be in unison when saying a fresh start is probably best for everyone.
Bowyer worked his magic a few years ago by getting the club back to the Championship amongst all the owner uncertainty, and it’s a division that the club want to be in again.
Progress on the pitch has stalled though despite investment from Sandgaard, and Bowyer is now going to a club where he’s just as well-liked as he was at Charlton – and they can now move forward with perhaps an exciting appointment from further afield.