Chairman Richard Murray insists there was always more to Charlton than just Alan Curbishley as the Addicks prepare for a new era under Iain Dowie.
The south-east London club yesterday unveiled the 41-year-old former Crystal Palace boss as only their second manager in 15 seasons following the departure of their long-serving coach at the end of last season.
It was, however, a decision that certainly did not sit well with Eagles supremo Simon Jordan, who has issued a High Court writ against Dowie for “fraudulent statements about his reasons for leaving the club” earlier this month.
Charlton have now instructed their own lawyers to defend the legal action brought against their new head coach, with Addicks chief executive Peter Varney insisting: “Iain and our club have acted with the utmost integrity throughout the recent interview and appointment process.”
While there is unlikely to be a swift end to the saga, Murray believes his club have the right man in place to take them forward into a new era after speaking to some 20 candidates.
Under the new structure, Murray will be assisted by former agent Andrew Mills in his role as general manager, while Les Reed, a former director of technical development at the Football Association, and ex-Addicks winger Mark Robson will assist Dowie in coaching the squad.
While the Charlton chairman recognises the contribution Curbishley made to helping take the club to where they are now following many years of financial uncertainty and homelessness, Murray maintains life must go on.
Murray insisted: “Alan did a wonderful job, but if everybody thinks that this club is only where it is today because of Alan Curbishley, then they do not know this club very well, I am afraid.
“Alan did not do any of the transfers. He did not raise any of the money. We have raised tens and tens of millions of pounds.
“If people think Alan built this stadium here, he did not. It is from the pockets of people like me.
“I just do not shout about it. I do not like doing a column and I do not particularly want to shout about it now. I have got a huge amount of time, money and emotion tied up in this club.”
Murray declared: “I am a Charlton fan through and through and in my balanced judgement, Iain is by far the best candidate we had.
“And if one or two people are going to knock him because he was at Crystal Palace, well I am sure if we had bought Andy Johnson - unfortunately we could not afford it – then one or two fans would not like it.
“We made the decision in the best interests of the club.”
The Charlton chairman added: “I do think the fans will accept him. It is all down to results. If we win a few matches and play good football, they will love him.”
At yesterday’s press conference, which was interrupted as a court representative attempted to serve the writ on Dowie, but was initially prevented from doing so, the new Charlton boss maintained he had no qualms whatsoever about the set-up he would now be working under at The Valley.
Dowie is more than happy to put his main focus into working at the Sparrows Lane training complex, which is currently undergoing substantial redevelopment.
Murray commented: “Most managers have an assistant manager to do lots of the jobs that they do not have time for.
“We would rather have three people totally devoted to coaching, and myself, Peter Varney and Andrew Mills will take away some of the non-coaching jobs that the manager can get tied up in.
“I can assure you Andrew’s phone is busy all day long and you do not want that happening to the manager when he is on the training ground, dealing with Willie McKay here or Paul Stretford there.
“Either I or Andrew will now take those calls and then pass on the info to Iain.”
Despite having interviewed the likes of Hull boss Peter Taylor and Preston’s Billy Davies, while the club were flatly refused permission to speak to Colchester manager Phil Parkinson, Murray maintains Dowie was always the preferred choice of the Charlton board.
However, only after it became clear Dowie was leaving Palace did the Addicks make their move, keen to avoid a protracted legal case, which ironically they may now be facing.
Murray said: “Yes, he was [first choice], but we felt that Simon [Jordan] would probably say ‘gardening leave’, you know, the Steve Bruce situation.”
Charlton have already been installed as one of the favourites for relegation, and Murray knows “this is a key year for the Premiership”.
He added: “We talk about Europe and everything else, and of course we are ambitious, but you know the sort of TV money that is being floated around for next season [2007/2008], this is the year to make sure you are in it and sharing in it.”