Varney: Dowie a mistake

November 14, 2006

Charlton chief executive Peter Varney today admitted the club had made a mistake appointing Iain Dowie as head coach and confessed the promotion of Les Reed to replace him is a 'gamble'.

The Charlton board have internally promoted former FA technical director Reed, 53, to replace head coach Dowie, who was sacked yesterday after just 12 Premiership games this term with the Addicks bottom following a 3-2 loss at Wigan.

Varney felt the club had no choice but to dismiss former Crystal Palace boss Dowie following an unprecedented review of Charlton's set-up despite only recruiting him in the summer.

The two-week review, which took place with Dowie's knowledge, included quizzing players and staff on the club's recent fortunes.

And Varney concluded Charlton were certain to be relegated unless the club's hierarchy acted swiftly by dismissing Dowie and promoting Reed from his role as Dowie's assistant.

'This is not just about results,' said Varney, who revealed Dowie was axed in a phone call by chairman Richard Murray around 6pm last night.

'You hear things internally and you also bear in mind the performances on the pitch and the preparation for matches.

'So we conducted a review into every single aspect of what goes on in the football management side.

'That involved everyone who is part of that and we came to a conclusion things would not improve on the pitch and therefore we had to take the decision we did.

'When Iain arrived in the summer we put together a structure and we wanted everyone in it to be happy it could work.

'But in truth it hasn't and we had to take a reflection on why it wasn't working.

'There were aspects of what we set up we were concerned about but I don't think we have panicked.

'I think we have taken a very considered look at the football side and whether or not we might have won at Wigan, we would probably have come to the same decision.'

Dowie, 41, arrived at The Valley in late May with an excellent reputation after his work at Selhurst Park.

But Dowie's image is in tatters after Varney said it was an error appointing him and backing him with £11.2million to spend on several new players.

He added: 'People will look at it as a mistake now but we interviewed who we thought was the best candidate for the job and backed him financially.

'This club has the highest wage bill that it has ever had in its history.

'And there is an element of what Iain said in his interview which didn't happen in reality.'

Varney also admitted the fact Dowie is being taken to court by Palace chairman Simon Jordan over his switch to The Valley was also a massive problem.

But with Dowie gone, Varney believes Charlton's new management duo of Reed and coach Mark Robson, 37, can save the Addicks from the drop.

He said: 'It is a little bit of a gamble but we think we have the right mix to get us out of this mess we are in.

'Les is fully qualified to do the job and we need stability. We think the combination of Les and Mark is an ideal one to take the club forward as Mark is a very aggressive, young and up-and-coming coach.'

Charlton are looking to add a third person to the management team - with Glenn Hoddle an early favourite among bookmakers.

However, Dowie's predecessor Alan Curbishley is not interested in a return to the Valley, telling the Evening Standard: 'The club have been very stable for the last 15 years but they obviously felt it was something they needed to do.

'When I left there last May, though, I said I was looking for a fresh challenge and that is still the case.'