Thomas Sandgaard reveals Charlton’s style of play was behind decision to sack Johnnie Jackson

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard says the team’s style of play was a major factor in his decision to sack manager Johnnie Jackson after just six months in charge.

Jackson, a former Addicks player, was dismissed on Tuesday, despite stabilising the club following their dreadful start under Nigel Adkins and guiding them to 13th in League One.

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Jackson took the reigns from Adkins on a caretaker basis in October, stepping up from the role of assistant with the club 22nd in the table, and was appointed permanently after taking 20 points from his first nine games.

Their play-off hopes were dashed by a run of six defeats in seven in February and March but they finished the season with six wins and a draw from their final ten matches.

Sandgaard described Jackson as a Charlton “legend” but says he believes the team would have had a better chance of going up with a more progressive style.

“We had a terrible start to the season and the new manager effect certainly helped Johnnie,” Sandgaard told Standard Sport.

“Obviously after a while things went down and we had a chance to see the good and the not so good of what we had to offer.

“Obviously it’s in the manager’s hands, in this case Johnnie’s, to show what we could do. My aspirations for the kind of football we should play and obviously long-term [getting] promotions is very high.

“I looked forward at what it would be like [if Jackson stayed] and my expectations for the club, and I’ve decided we would start looking for something else.

“I obviously did not interfere with team selections for the games but I’m very convinced that more pressing high up on the pitch would give us a higher probability of getting promoted,” the Dane continued.

“There’s teams in League One that successfully play long ball and there’s some that play really nice football, playing out from the back. There are different approaches depending on what type of teams you play.

“We for instance had a very hard time breaking down the low block. I’m hoping we can get more variety in terms of our formation, depending on who we play, and in general have a team that is capable of pressing higher most of the time.

Johnnie Jackson has been sacked after just six months in charge (Getty Images)
Johnnie Jackson has been sacked after just six months in charge (Getty Images)

“It started off really well, we played Sunderland in Johnnie’s third game as caretaker and won at the Stadium of Light with an amazing high-press effort. I was hoping we were going to see more of that throughout the season. But now we’re looking forward, we’ll be making several changes.”

Asked if there was a danger he was interfering too much in first-team affairs, Sandgaard said: “We need someone with a different type of experience. I’m not suggesting I will take the manager’s role and be down on pitch-side every day with the lads. That’s not my place. There are people much better at that and more qualified. No, I’m not going to be the manager or head coach.”

Coach Terry Skiverton has also left the club, but Jackson’s former assistant Jason Euell and ogalkeeping coach Glyn Shimell are set to remain at the Valley.

Sandgaard is now looking for his fourth manager since his takeover of the club in September 2020, and accepts he has taken a risk in sacking Jackson without giving him a pre-season or a chance to build his own squad over the summer.

“Absolutely, and that was a big part of my consideration, how popular Johnnie is with the fans,” he said. “He is really a club legend and very popular when he got in as caretaker. He really got voted in by popularity.

“But I’ve been looking at what it would mean to have another season, with a pre-season under Johnnie, and what is available to us in terms of changes. So I made the decision to go with the changes.”