Lennie Lawrence has watched the last 3 Charlton games, which has fuelled rumours that he is negotiating with the club’s current board about re-joining Charlton in the summer. It is thought that Richard Murray is pushing Roland Duchatelet to embrace a British coaching and management structure with Lawrence as Director of Football supporting a Head of Recruitment and a young Head Coach. Where this leaves Jose Riga is unknown.
Of course, and it is my opinion, that Duchatelet will ignore Murray and simply employ another one of his lackeys with Ujpest coach Nebojša Vignjević in pole position.
In Duchatelet’s crazed mind he was insistent that Vignjević would have been a perfect hire to replace Fraeye in January. Duchatelet seeing past a lack of work permit and the fact that the Serbian doesn’t speak English had Vignjević a plane ticket and he was on his way to SE7 until the players led by Johnnie Jackson revolted, and Ms Meire, for once showing some leadership, convinced her boss that Riga would be a far better idea.
Well in Duchatelet’s mind Riga, who argued fervently upon arriving about transfer policy, has failed. He has got the club relegated. I will be shocked if Riga is in SE7 in August.
Meanwhile Richard Murray, in an attempt to have some influence and repair a tattered reputation, is aiming to convince Meire and Duchatelet that a different direction is a necessity. He’s always been a visionary has Richard!
Lennie Lawrence would represent a strong and pedigreed connection to supporters, plus after 40 years he has forgotten more about football in this country than Duchatelet and his puppet state can write on a postage stamp. Ok, he wasn’t Sir Alex Ferguson or Alan Shearer but he has managed at the highest level and coached and scouted up and down the country at all grades, even now. He is 68 and lives in Locksbottom and I always got the impression that football is his life and would find it very hard to retire from it.
In my mind Lawrence is a proper Charlton legend, although slightly tarnished by his spell at Palace. By the way I would not be surprised if Murray is also championing Dougie Freedman as part of his lofty plan. He’s always had a thing for Palace manager’s has Richard!
Back to Lawrence. I knew him a little bit back in the day. He was a regular late night drinker at the Catford Cricket Club, as was I, and he was always very modest and matter of fact. He never carried the passion that someone like Chris Powell did, and I know many Addicks felt he should have spoken out about the owners at the time of the move from The Valley but in reality Lawrence shunned any limelight or discord and had a great work ethic alongside a real promotion plan.
And of course it worked. And let us not forget how miraculous in so many ways that promotion was, only bettered by then keeping us in the top tier for four seasons. Addicks of a certain age – that play-off win? The game at Chelsea? Sends a shiver down my spine.
That first season after relegation though was hard. Reality had set in at Selhurst, players were sold and Lawrence knew that it was time to move on. I stood on the Holmesdale terrace and admit I joined in the chorus of “Lennie Lawrence has f—-d it up again.” The time had come and his move to Middlesbrough and the introduction of Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt gave us a whole new exciting chapter.
It is what we need now, but if Lennie Lawrence did return it would undoubtedly mean the story book was the same and the pages to follow are far from happy.