Charlton Athletic’s hunt for a new manager took a dramatic turn yesterday, as it was suggested they were refused permission to speak to a new top target.
Danny Cowley and Michael Appleton have both been heavily linked with the role vacated by Dean Holden, whilst former boss Lee Bowyer is a popular choice with the supporters. However, it’s claimed that attention has turned to Mumbai City head coach Des Buckingham.
Oxford-born Buckingham spent time in the youth setup at his hometown club and Reading but did not make it professional. After starting coaching with the U’s at 18, he switched to New Zealand, where he coached Wellington Phoenix before becoming part of the international setup.
He won the OFC Championship with the Under 20s and repeated the feat with the Under 23s before taking over at Melbourne City. He completed a domestic double in the A-League before a move to Mumbai, owned by the same group as Melbourne, where he secured the Indian Super League Winners’ Shield this season. In May, Buckingham was voted Coach of the Year by the Indian Players Football Association
However, reporter Dan Marsh has suggested that their approach for Buckingham has been rebuffed. “Understand Charlton have been denied permission to speak with Mumbai City head coach Des Buckingham,” he wrote on X. “City Football Group don’t want to lose Buckingham and blocked Charlton’s approach even though #CAFC agreed to meet the relevant compensation demands.”
That seemingly means that Charlton’s manager search will resume a little closer to home as they seek to turn around their fortunes. They have six points from their opening six fixtures, and a quick resolution is surely needed to ensure they don’t once again have to play catch-up with the rest of the division.
Charlton have a top ten League One squad, lifted by a series of strong summer signings, but even the best ship cannot sail safely without a leader. With Dean Holden sacked, the Addicks are in limbo, and the longer it goes on, the more damaging it is to their promotion hopes.
They’re currently six points outside the top six, which isn’t a huge amount to catch up, but with a game against third-placed Stevenage on the horizon, they’ll be keen to ensure that gap doesn’t widen. Shrewsbury and Wycombe are also up in September, two matches against teams in a similar position, and anything but four points from those games would see a new manager facing an uphill task as we move into Autumn.
I suspect the hunt for Buckingham may not be over. If the coach wants to come and try his luck in England, he may agitate for a move, making it difficult for his employers to keep hold of him.