It’s never nice to see a popular manager lose their job, let alone one who holds legendary status with so many Charlton supporters, yet here we are. Johnnie Jackson is gone and Sandgaard is now looking for his fourth manager in 20 months.
A quick look at social media shows how polarising the decision is. On one hand, Jackson oversaw one of the worst seasons in recent history, on the other, it could be argued he wasn’t given the time to shape a squad to suit his preferred way of playing.
Of course, injuries played their part too, even after the strengthening in January. It’s very telling that Scott Fraser featured the most out of the January signings but he played fewer minutes than Pape Souaré and Ben Watson. Aneke was even further down the table, having played fewer minutes than Blackpool outcast Charlie Kirk.
Still, in modern football the responsibility sits with the manager. Time will tell whether or not it’s the correct decision.
Why buy a football club?
Football is now a financial graveyard, with only the very rich able to purchase professional clubs even in the lower reaches of the Football League. Gone are the days when the local businessman owned a football club and was able to invest modestly and sustainably.
Frankly, the modern football club owner must be very rich, very arrogant, very naïve, or possibly a combination of all three. Sandgaard is clearly driven by ego, Duchatelet was driven by ego – there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that provided it leads to success on the pitch. What is concerning is Sandgaard’s apparent micromanagement of affairs and his unwillingness to appoint a technical director or experienced CEO.
Sandgaard clearly prefers the head coach model, which is fine provided that the Technical Director or Director of Football knows what they’re doing. Like most Football League clubs, Sandgaard has realised that managerial appointments rarely last more than two years, therefore giving a manager free reign in recruitment can be very wasteful if the team needs to be rebuilt from scratch with every appointment. If the managerial appointments follow a consistent style imposed by the Director of Football, then the turnover of players can be reduced. However, it is unclear who fills this role at Charlton. It appears to be a combination of Sandgaard and his son with Gallen left to negotiate the contracts.
In hindsight, I get the impression that Jackson wasn’t the type of manager that Sandgaard wanted. However, just like Bowyer, Sandgaard’s hand was forced by Jackson’s popularity and a fear that he could easily lose the early goodwill he had built up amongst the fanbase. Perhaps this sacking is a sign that he feels comfortable enough to start making the unpopular decisions when he feels it is necessary.
Regardless, his bizarre comments about training sessions lacking intensity are concerning. Coupled with the appointment of his inexperienced son to a senior leadership position, it reeks of unnecessary micromanagement. Hopefully this complaint will be irrelevant next season.