This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Terrace Talk‘ series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Charlton Athletic are ready to try and kick on in League One next season and that has meant a revamp from the top down at the club, with the side deciding to move on from Johnnie Jackson in the manager’s role come the end of the campaign.
That’s despite Jackson having the best win rate of any Addicks manager in over two decades – and as he left it stood at 47.5%.
Owner Thomas Sandgaard though clearly has other plans in terms of which direction the club needs to go and he decided to part ways with the former player come the conclusion of the League One season. Now, the side are on the hunt for a new boss to lead him forward and it looks like it could be Ben Garner.
He’s been with Swindon for nearly a year now and has led them on an upwards trajectory since his appointment there. With a 48% win rate, the manager has been able to lead the club into the League Two play-offs in his first campaign despite the fact they started the season off on the back foot due to issues off the field.
Quiz: 24 facts every Charlton Athletic supporter should know about their club – Can you score full marks?
They’ve been transformed under the boss and his work hasn’t gone unnoticed higher up the table, with Charlton now looking to pounce and give him the chance to prove himself in the third tier of English football.
Prior to his time with Swindon, he also had a stint with Bristol Rovers but managed only six wins during his time there. He’s also held coaching roles with West Brom and ATK – and all this experience will allow him to try and take the Addicks back up to the Championship when his appointment is confirmed.
It looks like a deal is nearly complete too, with South London Press reporting that he has put pen-to-paper on a deal with Charlton and that means he should be announced as boss sooner rather than later.
With this news now emerging, Football League World’s Charlton Athletic fan pundit Ben Fleming has revealed that he has had a change of heart over the appointment of Garner, feeling that it has ‘the potential to be a promising appointment.’
The Addicks fan though has also admitted that considering the work that may need to be done in reshuffling the team and in terms of his recruitment, the ‘jury is definitely still out’ in terms of the bigger picture and whether it will actually work out for the current Swindon boss or not at the Addicks.
Speaking to Football League World, he said: “I’m quite surprised by the Ben Garner news really, I think a lot of Charlton fans were holding out for Michael Beale and when Matty Taylor’s name was mentioned I think a lot of people liked that. It was a bit of a surprising one.
“My initial reaction was that it’s a bit underwhelming, I thought that his record with Bristol Rovers in League One is certainly a concern but as I think about it now from today having slept on it, I think it has the potential to be a promising appointment. It’s clear that [Thomas] Sandgaard has gone with the sort of ‘head coach’ type and clearly Garner’s style of play at Swindon is probably more aligned to the kind of football that Sandgaard wants to be playing.
“So from that point of view, if he can instil his vision and his sort of philosophy, I think it could work very well. My only concern really is perhaps with that Bristol Rovers record slightly but also with the recruitment. We’ve not got a lot of technically proficient players at the club and he’s got to be backed in the market if he’s going to bring in this new style with any amount of success.
“There’s been a lot of concern over the fact that Martin Sandgaard (which is Thomas Sandgaard’s son) is heading up a lot of the recruitment and analysis teams so if he’s backed sufficiently by Thomas Sandgaard and his son in the market, then I think it could work well.
“But whether I or any of the Charlton fans have complete faith in those two to back the manager is another question. It’s got the potential to work well but at the minute I think the jury is definitely still out on this one.”
Ben is right in that the appointment could certainly go one of two ways. Granted, that is the case with most appointments of managers but it could either pay off massively in the long-term or send them in the opposite direction again.
His work with Swindon has been exceptional, especially considering the situation that he initially inherited. He didn’t have much to work with when he arrived and you would have been forgiven for writing Swindon off entirely at the start of the season. Instead, he was able to lead them into the play-offs and was unlucky not to take the side to the final.
In that respect then, it shows that if you give him the time and the resources to build his own team to his own liking and to his own style of play, it could pay off. It could even get Charlton back to where they want to be and back into the Championship.
Ben is also right though in pointing out his Bristol Rovers record – which really doesn’t make for great reading. Addicks’ fans though will be hoping that his stint with the Gas was the flash in the pan of his career though and that his time with Swindon is a more accurate portrayal of his ability as a manager rather than the other way around.