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First day win for Addicks at happy Valley

GOOD START: Charlton manager Chris Powell

IT WAS a dream start to the new Football League season for Charlton Athletic boss Chris Powell as his team convincingly beat toothless Bournemouth 3-0 to take all three points.

The famous Valley Stadium in south east London looked a picture as the long domestic season got underway. And Powell will be looking to keep his team in the promotion picture between now and next May.

Powell and Birmingham City manager Chris Hughton are the only two black managers in top flight football and invariably the eyes of the football world are on them at all times.

Results like this afternoon’s can only help Powell’s cause. In his smart black suit and club tie, the Charlton boss watched his team from the stands after falling foul of the authorities late last term and landing himself with an early season suspension.

Nevertheless he and his team got off to a fantastic first day start after just 23 minutes. Midfielder Dale Stephens slotted home to give the Addicks a deserved lead.

Bradley Wright-Phillips, son of Crystal Palace and Arsenal legend Ian, was a constant threat and looks likely to be the man to hit the vital goals in Charlton’s promotion push.

On 50 minutes home nerves were considerably eased when Scott Wagstaff fired home a long range effort from just outside the penalty area, which Bournemouth ‘keeper Darryl Flahavan had no chance with.

The goal was such a special effort that the entire Charlton backroom staff were clapping and embracing each other with delight.

Captain Johnnie Jackson sealed the game for Powell’s side with a 77th minute penalty after Wright-Phillips had been tripped in the area, to send most of the 16,111 crowd home happy.

But despite his team’s win it is Powell, a former England international, who will generate the column inches while he is in charge at the Valley.

One of the most popular players in modern Charlton history, Powell returned to the club in January for a fourth spell as he took his first steps into management.
He enjoyed a record-breaking start to management, becoming the first Charlton boss to win his first four matches at the helm.

He said on day one of his first full season in charge of his beloved club: “There have been a lot of changes to the squad since last season ended. It’s been a busy time for everyone connected with the club.

“It’s been a period of many phone calls and meetings between the owners, my staff and myself. We’ve had a very good pre-season. A lot of thought and planning went into it. It’s all about the fitness and organisation of the squad, because all we want is for them to be ready for the season that lies ahead.”

For all of Powell’s popularity, however, he now has to go on and produce the hard currency of football – consistent and positive results.

Uniquely, Powell will be assisted this season by Alex Dyer, who also played for Charlton, as they form an all-black management team in League One. Dyer’s promptings from the dug-out were pivotal as the manager sat among the crowd.

Powell’s red and white army, for now at least, are bobbin’ along nicely at the moment but it is early days.

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