By Eddie Chikamhi
Zimbabwe international striker, Macauley Bonne, endured a bitter end to his debut stint in the English Championship after his club, Charlton Athletic, were relegated on Wednesday.
Charlton’s hopes for survival went up in smoke, on a dramatic night on the final day of the season, following the side’s 0-4 drubbing by champions Leeds United.
The defeat meant they finished the season third-from-bottom with 49 points and joined Wigan Athletic and Hull City on the way down into League One football.
This relegation should be a huge heartbreak for Bonne, who signed from Leyton Orient in June last year for £200 000.
At that time, Addicks manager, Lee Bowyer, made it clear Bonne was a long-term project who needed development.
But, following the team’s relegation, the 24-year old has not yet revealed his plans for the future.
The Zimbabwean had some encouraging statistics, after finishing level on 11 goals, with the club’s want out chief marksman, Lyle Taylor.
Bonne also had two assists to his name.
Seven of Bonne’s 11 goals gave his side the lead, while his other four were all been equalisers.
But, it was a sorry ending to a very difficult season, on and off the pitch for Charlton, who have also been embroiled in ownership controversies.
The Addicks, who were promoted from League One last season, had made a good start to the campaign after going unbeaten in their first six league games.
However, things fell apart, along the way, and they won just once between October 20 and January 31, to drop into relegation trouble.
Bonne also faced his challenges, in front of goal, during the time.
He was criticised by Bowyer, in recent weeks, for missing good chances against Reading and Birmingham City.
The forward responded to the criticism by scoring his 11th goal of the campaign in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Wigan.
This game give them a fighting chance to beat the chop. Bonne has netted three times, in his last five matches, but he knows he should have done better to help keep the team in the Championship.
“I’ll criticise myself — I’ve got to be scoring them. But, as long as I keep getting in those areas (is the key thing),’’ he said.
“Like, at the end, if I wasn’t there I wouldn’t be scoring. I’m happy with it but I know I’ve got to score more goals.
“It’s my job to score goals and keep us in the league.” Bowyer admitted he hurt after the Addicks suffered a cruel relegation.
The manager revealed this in an interview with the club’s website.
“I’m not happy, we’ve been relegated. I just said to the players that it isn’t because of tonight’s game,’’ he said.
“It’s because since coming back from lockdown we’ve been the better side most of the games and that is what has cost us.
“We should have been safe before we came here tonight but we weren’t, so I’m disappointed, obviously, getting relegated is never a nice thing to happen.
“I’m not in a good place at the moment.
“I’m hurting because I don’t like losing games and the way we’ve gone down, the way we’ve been relegated, that hurts me even more.
“We should have won games, we should have had enough points to keep us in the division easily — that’s what hurts me.’’
He said, at times, the distractions at the club made his job tougher. The Herald