Jose Riga has confirmed he is leaving Charlton Athletic, despite fulfilling his objective to keep the capital club in the Championship.
The 56-year-old was appointed as Chris Powell’s successor in March, when the Addicks were at the foot of the standings and staring relegation into League One. However, he managed to pull them away from the danger zone with eight wins, three draws and six losses, which meant they headed into the final weekend of the season with their safety assured.
Despite this, Riga has confirmed he will leave The Valley after failing to agree on the club’s future plans with owner Roland Duchatelet. The Belgian admits this is a disappointment development for him after he settled in London and building up a good rapport with his players and the supporters, and that he was fully prepared to extend his stay with the club.
“I just was waiting for an answer and now I’m sure I’m leaving the club,” Riga told Sky Sports News. “It’s a decision of the chairman. In my contract it was only about three months, so about a short mission to save Charlton to be able to stay in the Championship. I found a very good environment, I think we get good results so quickly, the way we play too and I think that everybody was happy. I mean the fans, the players, the staff, so I was expecting to stay.”
According to Sky Sports, former Millwall striker Bob Peeters is in line to succeed Riga. The 40-year-old, who had a two-year spell with the Lions, is currently in charge of Belgian side Waasland-Beveren, having previously managed Cercle Brugge and Genk. Although his current employers hope to persuade him to stay, they admit they could be fighting a losing battle.
“It looks very likely to happen,” a club spokesman told BBC London 94.9 on Tuesday afternoon. “It was a complete surprise to us to see these reports in the media. He was doing really well and is popular with the supporters. There is no sign he wanted to leave. He’s not got the job but we want to hear from him. We are going to talk to him.”