Managing Director James Rodwell and Technical Director Andy Scott recently met with supporter group representatives at The Valley for the quarterly Fans’ Forum meeting.
A variety of topics were discussed including the club’s ownership, recruitment strategy, the departure of Dean Holden and the appointment of Michael Appleton.
The below extract covers what was said around the appointment of Appleton as Men’s First-Team Head Coach.
Appointment of Michael Appleton (MA)
HA (Heather Alderson - Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust) asked for the criteria when appointing MA. AS said they were looking for someone who was good on the grass as there is a squad that we cannot add to until January, so they wanted someone who can come in and work with the group we have got.
He said when everyone is fit, we feel we have a good squad in terms of competition and quality in all areas and we wanted to get more out of that group than we had been getting.
He said they were looking for someone who was collegiate, who could work in the infrastructure at the club and who didn’t want to be the old school manager that dictates everything. He said they needed to have an understanding that we are trying to build this football club for the long-term future, regardless of who the coach is. He said hopefully Michael is here for a very long time and is very successful, but should he come out then the next person can come in and still work in a very strong infrastructure.
HA asked for the difference between a coach and a manager. AS said a coach works with his staff and the players, mostly on the grass, in the analysis suite, with the individuals. A manager runs everything - recruitment, sports science etc. He said a few years ago that was very commonplace. He said now there are such huge demands on whoever is in charge that it can take away from the time on the grass, which is why they want their coach on the grass, in the analysis room and working with individual players.
AS said a good example is that there is a group of owners and a Board of Directors, rather than MA having to deal with various different phone calls, that MA’s time can be better spent, so AS deals with them. He said he wants MA to concentrate on the coaching, analysis and developing individuals and not other elements around the football club.
AS said when interviewing him, MA talked about his experiences and the feeling was, based on that and their research, that he had done best at clubs such as Oxford and Lincoln City, where there was a stable infrastructure in place that allowed him to focus purely on coaching.
CL (Christine Lawrie - Reminiscence Group) asked if MA would be part of the recruitment team. AS said of course he would. He said there is a meeting scheduled on the type of players he wants from a technical and tactical point of view looking ahead to January.
CL asked if MA is solely responsible for picking the team. AS said yes, MA picks the team.
IW (Ian Wallis - Bromley Addicks) asked how many people the club interviewed. AS said six people. He said they spoke to a number more, some to see if they would be interested and some to see if their clubs would be open to it. He said the club put together a long list and shortened it based on looking for someone:
- Who is collegiate
- Who is a good coach
- Has a clear style of play and can communicate it well
- Has achieved success/a promotion
- Knows what excellence and elite looks like - AS said that is what we want to build at this football club, as it has not had it for a long time; AS said he wants to drive standards up to get the best out of staff and players
He said MA fitted on all of those things and ultimately was someone who could come in and try and make us successful this season.
IW asked if MA’s player requirements are different from DH’s. AS said part of the process was asking how they would get the best out of the current squad, as we have not got the best out of them this season. AS said it is initially how he can get the best out of this current group. MA was very clear on how he would play and liked the squad in place. AS said MA was keen to speak to Charlton because of the opportunity and the group in place.