There are certain people that will forever be associated with Charlton Athletic – Jimmy Seed, Sam Bartram, Keith Peacock, Derek Hales, Alan Curbishley for example. Chris Powell can be added to that list, whatever and wherever his career now takes him.
Chris played for the club on three separate occasions, wore the colours of England whilst a Charlton player, and then managed the club, dragging it out of a seemingly endless downward spiral and being one of only four men in 110 years of history to win a league title. Above all of that Chris Powell is a genuine, warm and upstanding individual.
I have mentioned this before, but with no apologies will mention it again. 14 years ago my ex, my son and I spent a 2-week holiday in Italy in the company of Chris and his wife and oldest daughter. I bumped into him literally on the 2nd night at the hotel buffet, and we got talking, the wives got on and we then spent pretty much the rest of our holidays together. He had not long made his England debut and the experience was both surreal and very, very enjoyable and I won’t ever forget it.
I’ll be honest. I loved Chris Powell being the manager of the Charlton, I loved that he was one of us, and watching him and his huge smile hold aloft the League One trophy on the pitch on that incredible day in May three years ago still sends shivers down my spine.
When Roland Duchâtelet sacked Powell I wrote that “a part of Charlton Athletic died that morning”. In the year since Powell’s dismissal that ingredient of what it means to be a Charlton fan has not been revived and Duchâtelet’s long term strategy remains a figment of his imagination.
Chris Powell has moved on, Charlton have moved on, but that special bond will never be broken.
I’m a little bit torn tomorrow, Chris Powell deserves our full recognition of his achievements, our thanks and the connection that remains between us, but not at the expense of supporting the team. I am a Charlton fan first and foremost and whoever is manager, or head coach, then it is they I will be supporting.
I won’t be there but I am sure it will be an emotional day, and I hope by the end of it Charlton Athletic will have taken another baby step in the right direction on the road to stability on the pitch and getting our Charlton back off it.
Unlike yesterday, which I personally thought was tacky and unnecessary, the club has done a fantastic job with the ‘football for a fiver’ promotion and the Huddersfield game is now a sell out. A full house watching two men on the touchlines. The past and the future, a legend and an interloper, but only one man with the famous sword on his tracksuit.