By Greg Helmich.
This week I paid a visit to the Valley to watch Charlton Athletic's Championship clash with Watford. Charlton won the game 3-1 and with Birmingham City losing on the same night The Addicks secured Championship football next season.
Here are my FIVE reasons why I think Charlton stayed up:
1 | Jose Riga
Charlton were bottom of the Championship in March and on the night of Jose Riga’s first game against Huddersfield (March 12) the club was in a state of shock after the sacking of Chris Powell. That night the fans didn’t even know who Jose Riga was but they certainly did after this week’s victory against Watford. Riga has turned things around dramatically with six wins from his 15matches and he should be praised accordingly. In his post-match press conference Riga amazingly didn’t know if he was still going to be in charge at The Valley for the new campaign, his contract expires at the end of the season. He said:
“If you ask me if I enjoy the competition, the club, the fans, then yes. I like England. We have a good foundation here and I think Charlton has a very good future.”
The future will certainly be a lot brighter if they manage to hold on to Jose Riga.
Jose Riga was appointed on the same day that Chris Powell was sacked by the club
2 | Roland Duchatelet
It’s fair to say owner Roland Duchatelet isn’t the most popular man in Charlton. However, his bold move to sack club legend Chris Powell as manager and to then appoint a relative unknown replacement in Jose Riga should be applauded. Duchatelet took a huge risk to make the change and although his business model at Charlton is not to the liking of many Addicks fans, his brave decision has certainly kept them in the league.
Roland Duchatelet parted ways with Chris Powell in March when the club seemed favourites for relegation
3 | Callum Harriott’s left foot
What a time for Callum Harriott to score his first goals of the season. Two beautifully struck shots with his left foot secured victory for Charlton on a dramatic night. The only real surprise is that it has taken until the last home game of the season for Harriott to impose himself in such a way. Jose Riga said afterwards that Harriott has “a lot of qualities” but sometimes “he is unable to control emotion”. Hopefully with Riga in charge next season they can work together to ensure Charlton get the most out of the untapped talent.
Harriott’s brace helped Addicks sink Watford and secure survival
4 | Johnnie Jackson
Captain Fantastic. He was there when the club needed him most. A virtuoso performance on Tuesday night and it was Jackson who regained the lead for Charlton after Troy Deaney’s equaliser. The Addicks could have capitulated after losing their lead but captain Jackson wasn’t about to let that happen.
5 | The fans
The atmosphere against Watford was electric. When I arrived at the Valley I was surprised to see so many fans were in attendance. On my previous visit following the sacking of Chris Powell in March it was the lowest home attendance of the season and the mood was bleak when I interviewed fans outside the stadium. This week was a completely different story though. The Valley Cafe was filled to the brim and fans were in buoyant mood ahead of the game. Not even the London Tube strikes were going to stop them being there and they were a 12th man for Charlton on the night
Do you agree with Greg’s five factors? Where do Charlton go from here? Will Jose Riga be at The Valley next season?