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Are Mike Ashley and Roland Duchatelet using the same PR adviser? Lee Bowyer now staying!

4 weeks ago
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You have to ask the question, is Roland Duchatelet getting his PR advice from the same place as Mike Ashley?

Newcastle fans are hoping against hope that this will be the summer when Ashley at last leaves, Charlton supporters the same with Duchatelet.

Both owners claim that they are keen to sell but the proof will be when it actually happens.

Mike Ashley has owned Newcastle United since 2007 but Roland Duchatelet has a track record at a number of clubs.

He is currently the main shareholder at four different football clubs:

Carl Zeiss Jena (German third tier)

Charlton Athletic (Just promoted to the English Championship)

Ujpest FC (Hungarian top division and of course the club that NUFC have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of beating them in the Fairs Cup final)

Alcorcon (Spanish second tier)

He also was in control of Standard Liege but eventually sold up after fan protests there.

Charlton fans have been campaigning for years and Roland Duchatelet only took over in 2014, only five years compared to the 12 long Mike Ashley ones at Newcastle.

Both owners have regularly taken pleasure in provoking the supporters, Mike Ashley’s latest being the only official move made public this summer, yet another (5%) increase on season ticket prices whilst nearly the vast majority of Premier League clubs are freezing theirs.

In a move that Mike Ashley would well be capable of, Charlton’s owner has managed to turn promotion into even more chaos and trouble at the South London club.

Despite the turmoil behind the scenes, Lee Bowyer managed to get Charlton promoted.

The owner then though released an amazing/bizarre statement yesterday (see below), that Mike Ashley would have been proud of. Suggesting that Lee Bowyer wouldn’t be staying at the club and giving a rambling justification as to why…the manager said to be bewildered by Roland Duchatelet’s announcement.

However, Tuesday morning  has just seen news announced that Lee Bowyer has now agreed a one year extension, with Roland Duchatelet now declaring on 18 June 2019:

“What Lee has achieved in his short time at the club is very impressive. He has united the club once again.

“I would like to thank Lee for his professionalism during this process.

“While the negotiations have been ongoing, he has continued to work on building a squad for the club’s Championship campaign.

“Stability is essential and I am very pleased we now have the best man in place to lead us forward next season.”

Quite mad when you compare it to what the Charlton owner put out yesterday (see below).

I hope Mike Ashley’s discussions with Rafa Benitez have been just as professionally handled…

Official Charlton (Roland Duchatelet) Statement– 17 June 2019:

‘Charlton Athletic have been unable to reach an agreement with manager Lee Bowyer regarding the extension of his contract.

The fact the club is for sale has not helped with finding an agreement. The current owner needs to take into account that a new owner may want to appoint his own manager. However, this concern did not stop the current owner proposing a contract extension of one year to Lee Bowyer, even though the club may be sold in a few weeks. Under those circumstances a multi-year extension would not be good business practice.

In addition, since the club is still losing money, which is one of the reasons why the club has not been sold yet, the focus on reducing costs means that we are extremely limited on payroll increases.

Lee has been offered a one-year extension to his contract at a level which is approximately three times what he had since his last increase when he became permanent manager in September. It is six times what he earned when he started as assistant manager in 2017 and 50% more than what any Charlton manager previously had (excluding the Premier League years). This reflects the strong desire we have to continue to have Lee as our manager. But Lee wanted much more.

The owner understands Lee’s point of view, because many Championship clubs pay huge amounts (some pay millions of £ per year) to their manager. It is fair that Lee feels he should be paid like many other Championship managers. That the average Championship club makes a loss of around £15 million per year is not something players should care about. The owners are crazy.

This is why we could not come to an agreement. Another element may have influenced as well. Unlike previous contract discussions, Lee wanted an agent to handle it. We reluctantly accepted. However, involving a player agent in a manager’s contract discussion is not healthy. If the agent helps make the manager more money, it may result in the manager to have a more positive attitude towards players proposed by the same agent, a conflict of interest. Obviously, Lee is above such things, but it is nevertheless not a healthy situation.

The club hasn’t started to look for any other manager in the meantime and does not intend to appoint a permanent manager, since the club is going to be sold. A caretaker manager will be announced in due course and in the meantime the other staff members will continue to prepare the upcoming season for which a lot of good work has been performed already.

If Lee does change his mind before his contract expires and chooses to continue his good work at Charlton, he is still welcome to stay.

However our ability to sell the club is the most important thing right now.’

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