News   |    July 21st, 2021


Social media dominates the football landscape in a way that would have been unimaginable when I first got involved with professional football nearly 30 years ago.

Those involved at clubs at the sharp end are scrutinised after every match. That is predominantly managers and players. When results go well fans that post are generally positive and when the opposite the messages are largely negative.

I often say that if social media was around back then, Sir Alex Ferguson might never have created the dynasty he did at Manchester United as his start at the club was less than impressive to say the least.

We now live in an era where for some you are literally as good as your last result. They will not admit it publicly, but chairmen & women, directors and staff regularly scrutinise postings in the belief they provide accurate feedback on the views of fans. The reality is that those that post is a small number compared to the average attendance of a club and boards of directors must be above feeling pressured by negativity and set a plan and stick to it. It takes time to build a successful football club.

At my old club Charlton Athletic, Lee Bowyer is under pressure from those on social media with his future as manager being questioned. This is grossly unfair. Shortly before the start of this season Lee was left with just a handful of players and once Thomas Sandgaard took over the club there were literally days until the start of the season. Bowyer had to sign players that were available and by that late stage had missed out on several targets he had identified. Things were developing better than could be expected in the circumstances, but then key players were injured, and these were not short-term injuries but long.

It is only now in this transfer window that he can bring in new players and even then, he is handicapped by the new salary cap. In my view. January is not the ideal time to buy. When the club won the League One Championship in 2012 the recruitment process for a completely new squad started in February 2011. There were two recruitment meetings a week and a mass of work on a daily basis to secure the top targets. That work set the foundations for the subsequent success achieved.

I believe that Lee Bowyer is the right man to lead the club forward supported by Steve Gallen and Johnnie Jackson. My message to fellow Charlton fans is remember that because of previous ownership issues we nearly lost our club last year. We now have stability at the club, but we may not be able to get the right squad until this summer. Get behind Lee and show back the loyalty he has shown the club. He could have left on a number bet of occasions, but he didn’t because he cares passionately about Charlton and for that reason, he will be a success for the club in the long run.

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Image – Getty Images.

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management

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