Charlton AthleticSport

Lee Bowyer: I was unaware of statement announcing my exit before I signed my Charlton contract extension

Charlton manager Lee Bowyer said he was unaware of a statement announcing his exit on the official club website as he negotiated a contract extension with Addicks owner Roland Duchatelet last night.

The 42-year-old Addicks boss penned a one-year deal with the South Londoners just hours after the club website claimed an agreement could not be reached with their promotion-clinching chief and that they would be announcing a new caretaker manager in due course.

Duchatelet had claimed Bowyer was asking for more money than he was willing to offer before a u-turn saw the former Addicks midfielder’s future clinched for another year. The Belgian owner had also said that offering anything longer than a one-year extension could hinder his attempts to sell the club.

Reports earlier yesterday had suggested it was “50/50” that Bowyer would walk away from The Valley.

“The statement came out yesterday,” Bowyer told talkSPORT on Tuesday lunchtime.

“I wasn’t even aware of the statement. I’m in France at the moment. My wife rang me up and said ‘Lee, what’s going on,’ after I had spoken to the owner. I spoke to Roland after the statement and I wasn’t even aware of it. We had a good, positive conversation. He said ‘can we come to an agreement’ and I said OK.

“I’m not greedy. It’s not just all about money. I want to stay at the club. I love the club. It’s perfect for me. I started there as a kid. Worked well there last season, we both did. We brought in players and he agreed with the players we brought in. Our recruitment was very good. I didn’t want to spoil that. I didn’t want to just walk away from something that we had done.

“50/50 was a strong shout bit at the end of the day, negations, it is what it is. The club want to pay a certain fee. I wanted a certain fee. That’s the way it is in any job.

“I’m delighted. It’s been a long process. I was hoping it would have got settled a lot sooner than it has but the main thing is that we’ve agreed I’ll be in charge next season we can all move on. I think it was the right thing for the football club. Everyone seems to be happy now. For me, it’s win-win.

“The Championship is going to be difficult, I’m not going to lie. But the most important thing is that we’ve come to an agreement. We had a great conversation yesterday. I said I understand what you’re saying to me, you want to sell the club and you’ve got to keep the figures down. I accept that.

Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer

“But I said you have to look at it from my point of view. All I wanted was to be treated with respect and to be treated fairly on the wage front. Me and my team did a good job. We got them back into the Championship and made it more feasible for him to sell the club now.

“Nothing is going to change for me. We were in the same situation when I took over as caretaker 18 months ago. I’m going to deal with the owner now. We’ve already got players lined up. A lot of these players and previous players who were out of contract were waiting to see what happened with me. If I’m staying or not, whether they were going to stay or new players coming in. That’s why I was hoping it was done a bit sooner but it doesn’t matter now.

“We’ve got the players lined up and we’ll bring them in before pre-season. Nothing has been effected really. Time wise, it’s knocked it back a little bit but it’s not going to effect it. Regarding the owner, everybody knows he wants to sell. Everybody accepts that. I’ll deal with him and then if somebody else comes in then I’ll deal with them. I can’t control these things off the pitch. All I can control are the players I’m going to bring in and the people I will have around me. That’s what I will be focusing on, like I did last season.

“It’s going to be difficult [next season], I ain’t going to lie. I’m going to be straight and honest. It’s going to be difficult. We’ll have the lowest budget. There’s no hiding that. But I do believe that the team spirit we’ll have, the fans behind us like they came back last season. Everything at the club came together again. We’ll carry that on into next season. We’ll have momentum. We’ll bring in players that will improve us and I think we’ll surprise teams. We were a good side last season and I think we’ll be a better side next season with the players we’re looking to bring in. I’m excited. It’s going to be a big challenge. It’s going to be difficult. But I think we’ll be OK.”

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