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By ESPN Staff

Curbishley insists there's 'nothing sinister'

Alan Curbishley insisted there was 'nothing sinister' behind his decision to call time after 15 seasons in charge of Charlton - and maintained he would not be looking for a swift return to management.

An impromptu, and somewhat unexpected, pre-match announcement on the pitch by Addicks chairman Richard Murray revealed Curbishley was to step down at the end of the season.

Curbishley was given a hero's welcome when he finally emerged from the tunnel and, tearfully, returned the affection to The Valley faithful - but opponents Blackburn spoiled his farewell with a 2-0 win.

Curbishley has been linked with the vacant position of England manager, and held preliminary talks with Football Association chief Brian Barwick in March.

But the 48-year-old tonight insisted the speculation had nothing to do with his decision to leave the Barclays Premiership team after 15 years at the helm.

Curbishley, who has just over a year to run on his contract, insisted: 'I have been thinking about future since start of season.

'I just felt it was time for myself not to extend it (his contract) and Richard felt if it was not being extended, then the commitment might not be there and he is quite right.

'We have had couple of discussions and it came to a bit of a head yesterday.

'It is an amicable situation - most managers are booted out the back door, well I have been clapped out of the front door which is what I wanted.

'I would have liked a better result and performance, but am going with the best wishes of the club.

'There is no sinister plot at all, it is just a decision we have come to which is best for Charlton and best for me.'

Curbishley accepted the news had unsettled his players.

He said: 'It all happened at 5pm yesterday afternoon, so the first my staff knew about was when they arrived here today.

'The club were determined to give me the best send-off possible. I would have liked to have got the result, but it is a day I will always remember and cherish.'

Curbishley added: 'The players only knew 15 minutes before the game. Amazingly the club wanted to take that route - I didn't, but they wanted to announce it, they wanted the fans to understand there was nothing sinister and for the fans to give me the response they did.

'I just wanted us to put a better performance in because if we had won the game today, the place would have been as it should have been.

'The players were gobsmacked. There had been speculation about me, but I do not think anyone thought it would happen like it did.'

As for the future, Curbishley insisted: 'I am going to have a break - and I mean a break. It is something I have been thinking about and is right for the club.

'They need someone else to come in and take it up again. Not many managers have the opportunity to leave as I am leaving, and I would like to thank the club for that.

'They have been fantastic to me over the years. I know I will always be welcome back.

Curbishley added: 'Richard and I have had a great relationship over the years and he knows if I am telling the truth.

'Everything I have ever done is for the best of the club, and I feel this is for the best of the club. There is nothing sinister in what I am doing. I am not going out looking that way [for other jobs].

'I am not doing it for any other reasons than that I feel I need a break - most managers would have had four or five breaks in their career. I have not had one. The club needs some freshness to come in.

'Richard and I have been talking for the last couple of weeks, and I think we both realised the marriage was going to break up. We remain extremely best of friends. I have got great memories of the club.'

Curbishley's stock remains high despite Charlton's failure to make the next step and qualify for European competition. The manager has been linked with the Newcastle and in the past Aston Villa before making the shortlist for the England job but is ready for a hiatus.

Curbishley said: 'I feel that the time is right for myself and the club. I am not looking any further than that.

'People are going to read into this whatever they like, I can't say any more than what I have said.

'I have got no ulterior motive whatsoever and am looking forward to the summer - that is it.'

As for the future of Charlton, chairman Richard Murray insisted: 'There is no shortlist.

'We will place an advert and then consider all comers. Because I have worked with a man with huge integrity, that is what I am going to look for and what this club is all about.

'That is why we wanted the send-off for Alan to be correct, the Charlton way. It will be someone with integrity and probably someone British.

'We are basically a British side - we are not full of Frenchmen or Spaniards.'

Murray added: 'We would have to say we need a replacement here in the next few weeks.'