Charlton are going to be the first club to have fans in the dugout at matches. A fans’ panel is to be assembled with one representative selected at random from each of the stands and a chair elected by Valley Gold subscribers.
The manager will coach the team during the week and then report to the fans’ panel on Friday afternoon on performances and injuries.
In the meantime the fans will have been visiting the social media sites of Saturday’s opposition to see what their fans think of their players, which are any good and which are judged to be a waste of space (usually most of them). With all this information they will then select the team and the formation.
On match day the manager will be in the technical area and give tactical instructions to the team. However, the fans’ panel will vote on the timing and selection of substitutions, but the manager will be allowed a vote.
Under Roland the club had considered complementing the fans’ sofa with a fan’s consultant in the dugout, but the idea fell through when it was revealed that Jonathan Acworth was the preferred choice.
A club spokesman said: ‘It is clear from their comments on social media that fans know a lot about how the team should be selected and the game played, so we thought we would harness that knowledge and enthusiasm.’
Asked whether many fans had coaching badges, the spokesman said that kind of technical knowledge could be deployed in training during the week. The fans had an instinctive understanding of the game as shown by the success that many of them had enjoyed on Fifa, Football Manager etc. Indeed, some had direct playing experience of Sunday league football.