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Manchester City
By ESPN Staff

Ambitious Dowie hopes to take Charlton into Europe

New Charlton manager Iain Dowie has set his sights on taking the Addicks to another level - even though the club are now being tipped for relegation from the Premiership.

The 41-year-old was unveiled as part of a new-look coaching team at The Valley this afternoon - only for the press conference to be interrupted by the news his former boss Simon Jordan, the Crystal Palace chairman, was instigating legal action against him.

But despite the furore surrounding his departure from Palace last week and swift re-emergence just a few miles across south-east London, Dowie cannot wait to get on with the job of leading the Addicks into a new era post Alan Curbishley.

'I felt it was a club that really wanted to go places,' declared Dowie, who is already 6-4 with bookmakers Ladbrokes not to be in his post for the start of the 2007-2008 campaign, with Charlton 2-1 to be relegated.

'I have always said you cannot create champions, you can create the environment to create champions - that is exactly what Charlton are doing at the training ground.

'That is where I do the work so that was huge part of it added to the enthusiasm of the other people, which was great.'

Curbishley guided the Addicks through some of their most difficult times during his 15 seasons at the helm.

And Dowie accepts it is a tough act to follow, but soon hopes to have stamped his own unique mark on the club.

The former Northern Ireland striker said: 'I think the club is very stable now, established in the Premiership.

'Change is not something that is done for the sake of change, it is done in the right manner.

'They have had to change now because Alan departed and left a huge legacy.

'It is one we have got to pick up the mantle and take forward now.'

Dowie could yet become the first Charlton manager to take a side into Europe should the Addicks be awarded a place in the qualifying round of the UEFA Cup after finishing top of the Fair Play League for English clubs.

Along with 10 others, Charlton - who came 13th in the Barclays Premiership - will go into the pot on June 4 hoping to be one of the lucky sides drawn out for the two slots available.

Dowie declared: 'It would be incredible if it happened. That is another challenge and I would love to have a small part in seeing how far they can go in Europe.

'We will wait and see how it pans out, but it is something I would really embrace and it would also give an extra zest to the club.'

As well as making sweeping changes to the coaching staff, Charlton brought in former agent Andrew Mills earlier this summer in a new role as general manager.

Mills will assist chairman Richard Murray in contract negotiations once Dowie has selected the players he wants to sign.

The new Charlton boss commented: 'Mine and Andrew's relationship is going to be very, very key because we have got to structure the club in terms of acquisitions and on how the club is run on a day-to-day basis.

'As long as people are like-minded I have got no issue with them. Trust me - if I did not think it was someone who was like-minded I would not have embraced it.'

Murray insists it will be business as usual in terms of how the club deals with transfers.

He said: 'For 15 years, we have run it this way - I do the transfers and I do the contracts. Andrew has come in to help me and to help Iain, so there has been no change.

'Alan Curbishley never did the contract negotiations or the negotiations with the opposition club - it is just the Charlton way of doing things, and we have carried on the same way.

'Iain likes the system - he will always identify the players who he wants to come in and come out and I, with Andrew, will do the transfers.

Les Reed, former assistant to Curbishley and one time director of technical development at the Football Association, steps up to a senior coaching role, while ex-Addicks winger Mark Robson will become development coach and continue to oversee the reserves.

Dowie has signed a three-year deal, but will not look to relocate his family down from the north-west to south-east England, with his boys settled in school.

He added: 'Of course it is a tough balancing act, but it is one I have decided to do.

'At no time has it affected me in the past and at no time will it affect me in the future.

'If it does, then it will be time for me to go to the chairman and say 'look, it is not working' - but that has never happened.'

Charlton tonight instructed their lawyers to defend Jordan's action.

Addicks chief executive Peter Varney told the club's official website: 'Iain and our club have acted with the utmost integrity throughout the recent interview and appointment process.

'What we witnessed today was nothing more than a sad and pathetic publicity stunt.'