Burnley boss empathises with Powell after Belgian Riga takes the helm

Last stand: Chris Powell in his last game in charge of Charlton Athletic, the FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Sheffield United last Sunday
Last stand: Chris Powell in his last game in charge of Charlton Athletic, the FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Sheffield United last Sunday

Burnley go to Charlton tomorrow, with Belgian coach Jose Riga new to the role, less than two weeks after Chris Powell’s departure.

Powell was sacked after the Addicks’ FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Sheffield United, with the club bottom of the Championship.

Belgian owner Rolan Duchatelet replaced him with compatriot Riga, having, as owner of Standard Liege, also overseen the arrival of three loan players from the Belgian club, and admitted Charlton are effectively now a feeder club.

It is a similar situation to one Sean Dyche encountered at Watford, when the Pozzo family bought the club and installed Gianfranco Zola, bringing with them a host of players from their other clubs Udinese and Granada.

Dyche, incredibly, became the sixth-longest serving manager in the Championship after Powell’s departure, despite only taking over at Burnley in late October 2012, and, while disappointed to hear Powell’s news last week, he said: “Personally, I think if you’re a good manager, you’re a good manager, I’m not really bothered where people come from.

“Of course, I’d like to see English managers because we talk about developing young, high-quality English players, but who’s going to develop them if we don’t have high-quality managers working at the appropriate level?

“There’s a lot more foreign ownership, which possibly has a slant on that, but there’s still a demand from fans.

“If Danny Ings was Spanish and came out of Barca B, I think people would be beside themselves about that young man.

“It’s about perception and facts and I deal in facts.”

Dyche now works under a Burnley board, of which all the seven directors are local, and Clarets fans, and, asked whether that was preferable than working with foreign owners, he said: “What I express to our board is honest and open communication, I don’t give them anything they don’t believe to be true.

“I tell them the truth, about the realities as I see it, what I think we can do with it, how we can change it, adapt it and move it forward.

“I think they value my honesty and trust, and we are aligned as a group, but that’s easy to say when it’s going well.

“We had an awkward spell last year and I think the board were strong with what I suggested was appropriate, and I’m pleased to say a lot of changes have worked.

“But it’s not always an exact science. People with massive budgets don’t always work, people with no budget doing things, people in the middle in the middle.

“It’s a difficult business, but we all love it.”

Charlton were propping up the table when Powell was sacked, and Dyche added: “It was unfortunate to hear about Chris, the demand is never ending, it’s high, everyone wants instant everything.

“The challenges and realities of the level in the Championship and football in general, fans don’t always see it and it goes out of the window.

“If you’re not winning, if it’s not going right, ‘off you go, get another one in.’

“The realities of any given situation are not always looked at as closely as they should be, but these people have decisions to make, boardrooms or owners make decisions.

“Every manager is out there trying to work as hard as he can, trying to be successful.

“We’re all doing a version of what we’re attempting to do here.

“The only people who are going to stop it are the fans.

“The fans eventually demand, good or bad, certain things, and it’s either a really strong boardroom who say ‘no, we think we’re right’, as with Nigel Pearson, when there was a lot of demand for him, and Dougie (Freedman) has had a good run of results, which is possibly beginning to change the feel there.

“But boards and owners have decisions to make, like anything in life.”

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