Charlton Athletic are looking to tie down manager Lee Bowyer to a new deal in the aftermath of his side earning promotion to the Championship
Bowyer watched on as his side came through a challenging two-legged semi-final against Doncaster, then battled back from a disastrous start in the play-off final to return to the second tier.
The former Leeds man doesn’t have a deal beyond the summer, something the club are looking to rectify with resumed talks. We quiz FLW writer Gary Hutchinson on the latest developments with the Addicks manager.
Has Bowyer earned a new deal?
Absolutely, he’s been a revelation at the Valley.
He took over from Karl Robinson, with the former MK Dons manager struggling to put them in the top six. He was a ‘cheap option’ as such, but he’s gone on to work wonders with the side.
Off the field the problems have been numerous, but he’s shielded his players from that and reaped the rewards.
Why hasn’t it been tied down already?
It’s those off field problems I’ve alluded too; namely Roland Duchatelet. He’s the Charlton owner and he’s been letting the club rot away under a poisonous spell as owner.
He did offer a new deal, but it was apparently incentive based and wasn’t the sort of offer Bowyer was ever likely to sign.
How did he handle that?
Like he’s handled everything since becoming a manager, with dignity and by not blowing things out of proportion. He simply said he wanted to chat about a conventional offer and moved on to focus on his team.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say this wasn’t the same Lee Bowyer who played for Leeds. He’s everything he wasn’t as a player; calm, reserved, thoughtful.
Is anyone else interested in his services?
There has been talk, possibly most of it by papers and the media. Derby have been linked with a move for him, but with jobs coming up all the time he’s got to be under consideration.
West Brom have also been reported to be watching and with Middlesbrough still without a boss, Bowyer could have other options available, especially if he came for free.
Is he likely to stay put?
If the offer is right, yes. If the owner approaches this with common sense, then Bowyer is there for the taking.
He came up as a youth at Charlton and they’ve given him his first taste of management. He has a good rapport with the supporters and there is potential for them to be a top Championship side, if he’s backed correctly.
It is believed he was close to agreeing on a deal in principle, but now he’s achieved promotion the landscape has changed.
What happens if he doesn’t sign?
Worst case, he drops out of management. I can’t see that, not for a second. Even if he does leave the club, he’s sure to be in demand as soon as another chairman gets itchy in mid-September.
As for the Addicks, if he goes then they’ve got a real problem. The owner doesn’t have a good track record of hiring or firing and I’m not sure he can be trusted to handle a new appointment.
This is make or break time for the club.