Charlton AthleticSport

Charlton boss Dean Holden: I’m fully aware of the fans’ relationship with their club

Dean Holden says he is fully aware of the unrest in the Charlton Athletic fanbase.

The 43-year-old, from Salford, was appointed the Addicks new manager on Tuesday on a deal until the end of the season.

Holden was one of four additions to the club that day with Andy Scott coming in as technical director, Jim Rodwell as chief operating officer and Ed Warrick as finance director.

Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust have recently stated they will campaign for owner Thomas Sandgaard to sell the League One club.

Asked if was aware that the situation had been toxic in recent weeks, Holden told the South London Press: “I’ve been to the stadium this season and I’ve done a lot of research in the last few weeks.

“It was a big decision for me to come into this challenging environment – but I see it as a massive opportunity rather than a challenge.

“I’m very, very aware of where the fans are at in terms of what is going on behind the scenes with the ownership. It’s important for me to get to terms with that and important for me to talk to the fans and explain where I’m coming from.

“They want to see a team on the pitch that represents them. That is my initial short-term aim – to put some more energy into the team, to play on the front foot, with and without the ball. We are where we are in the league but we’re still a big club at this level. Nobody should be coming to this place and running all over us – we should be doing that to them. That’s my ambition.

“They are good players. They need some belief.

“I’ll be up front and honest, I know exactly what is going on with the fans. Since I was six years old I’ve travelled the country as a fan, getting up at five in the morning and travelling to London and back. I know what it takes to be a committed fan.”

Asked if it was a bigger challenge than his previous boss role at Bristol City, he said: “I was in the building for four years at Bristol City – I knew exactly what was going on at the football club. That’s almost easier because you know exactly what is going on in the dressing room and what has gone before.

“I’m coming in here a little cold, even though I’ve done my research. I wouldn’t try and compare – this is a huge football club, steeped in history. We know where it’s been before and it’s going through a lot of pain at the moment. All we can do is our absolute best.

“You wouldn’t find anyone more committed than me to the cause. I’m going to embed myself fully into the community as quickly as we can – we haven’t got any time to waste. It’s an exciting opportunity.

“I’m from Salford, my wife and kids are up there. But we’ll be fully invested into this area and making a proper go of it. I want to commit to it. We’ve got a six-month season – my whole life is going to be about this football club for the next six months to make it a success, simple as that.”

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