Iain Liddle reports
Bob Peeters says he did not hesitate for a second when offered the chance to become Charlton’s new Head Coach and is eager for the challenge ahead.
The former Belgium international was appointed at The Valley last week and signed an initial one-year contract to lead the Addicks into their third successive Championship campaign.
Peeters, who will work closely with First-Team Coach Damian Matthew, takes over from José Riga and his Assistant Head Coach, Karel Fraeye, who helped maintain Charlton’s second-tier status and left the club following the expiration of their short-term contracts.
The new Addicks boss also enjoyed an impressive end to last season with his former club, Waasland-Beveren, who he led to survival in the Belgian top flight thanks, in part, to a nine-game unbeaten run throughout February, March and early April.
Having played in England, for Millwall, earlier in his career, Peeters continued to follow the Championship during his fledgling coaching on the continent and is eager to begin work on a permanent basis in South-East London.
“I am very happy,” said Peeters, speaking for the first time with www.cafc.co.uk
about the appointment.
“I followed Charlton last season when José Riga and Karel Fraeye, who I worked with at Gent, were at the club.
“At that moment I was with Waasland-Beveren, but I followed the Championship to see how it went. Charlton struggled, but survived in the end with some good games at the end of the season.
“There was interest in me from some teams, but the owner [Roland Duchâtelet] contacted me and asked if I was prepared to take the job? I asked when the next flight was.
“For me to have an offer from a traditional club like Charlton meant I wanted to come straight away. However I still had a contract with Waasland Beveren.
“I ceased my contract with Waasland-Beveren and went to Charlton to negotiate a deal to be Head Coach. I am very, very happy to be at a traditional club with good fans and a good academy.
“I am a coach who likes to work with young guns. In Belgium I was a manager who let a lot of young players make their debut and I like to give people a chance to show they can do a job.”
Although he has developed a reputation as a coach who puts his faith in youth, Peeters admits his current break is barely a holiday at all with the search for more experienced reinforcements to the Charlton squad having already begun.
Already working hard behind the scenes, Peeters will come to England next week to examine his new surroundings in more detail and will continue the process of making all the necessary preparations before pre-season training begins at the end of June.
While there is much to be done, the Head Coach is excited and optimistic about the summer ahead.
“For me it was an easy decision. I know the Championship and I know Charlton and, along with Damian Matthew and the coaching staff, we are going to be a good team,” he said.
“The most important thing for me was that the owner had a lot of respect for the work I had done with Waasland-Beveren and said if I can go to a team like Charlton then not to hesitate. For me it was an easy deal.
“I had to finish my contract at Waasland-Beveren and they weren’t very happy because I managed them last year and we survived, but this was an opportunity to go to a bigger club and see how it goes in England.
“Everybody dreams of a big team in England. If a train passes you by and you can jump on it to a place like Charlton then you are happy. I very much look forward to starting the job.”
Peeters is respectful of the work done by Riga and his coaching staff to keep Charlton in the Championship despite having to tackle an extremely congested fixture list at the end of the season.
However, he is relishing the opportunity of working with the Charlton squad for the first time in a couple of weeks and sharing his own ideas with the group.
The Addicks first team which starts the first game of the 2014/15 season in August may have a different look to the one which finished at Blackpool in May, but Peeters says his aim is to mould a squad which will be looking up the table rather than over their shoulders next term.
“I think [Riga] did a very good job. When he took over it was a peculiar situation and he managed to keep them up, but now we start from zero,” said Peeters.
“I have my own ideas and my own accents in football, but we cannot forget what he did for Charlton. He kept them up and that was the most important thing.
“From now on we may work slightly different, but we are going to build on the team which is already there and try to strengthen. I am hoping for a much easier season than the last one.”
Log on to www.cafc.co.uk on Wednesday evening for part two of Bob Peeters’ first interview as Charlton Head Coach, where he discusses his coaching philosophy along with his knowledge and experience of English football.