Tuesday 31 March 2020

Update on the cash situation

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'I approached Charlton Athletic for a statement over whether they had funding for the next few months. There was definite fears amongst staff that the money would run out by April. EFL have since pushed forward a payment due to the coronavirus pandemic.'

'The response I've got is that Tahnoon Nimer will be investing funds to keep the club running and that the first of those will be in April. The club have also indicated they will be paying existing creditors but will be reviewing all new creditors from the start of this season on a "case-by-case basis"'.

This doesn't sound too hopeful for them and suggests that cash may be in short supply. Cawley has clarified his statement on this point by adding 'I'm surmising that they don't believe every creditor from the start of this season should be paid or has a valid claim to be paid by the club.'

'EFL's stance - as it has been since early January - is that source and sufficiency of funding needs to be satisfied for them to approve ESI takeover.'

Tahnoon Nimer has issued a statement saying he will not sell the club: No intention to sell

Richard Cawley has commented: 'Of course, even if you were looking to sell a club then you wouldn't necessarily shout it from the rooftops. I'd also say that any serious buyers would surely factor in current situation globally. Plenty of wealthy people seen huge sums wiped off stocks and shares.

Autumn relegation for Addicks?

Lee Bowyer has no idea when football will resume, but reckons it won't be any time soon: It's a guessing game

There is increasing talk of the season resuming in August, followed by a truncated competition once this season's fixtures are finished. Charlton could thus be relegated in October.

Monday 30 March 2020

Holding company accounts published

The annual accounts for Charlton Athletic Holdings Ltd, signed off by Roland, have been published by Companies House and can be viewed online here: Holding company

Because they have used the small companies format they disclose relatively little of any interest.

Rick Everitt notes: 'Annual rent of £50k from CAFC Ltd added to amount due; increase of £4m in cash held.'

Friday 27 March 2020

ESI have five year window

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'My understanding of the "legal obligation" for ESI to purchase The Valley and TG is that the six months mentioned is when the option starts. It then runs until 2025. So a five-year window before Duchatelet is able to force the completion through.'

I can only see this being resolved through long and complex legal proceedings. Meanwhile, the club will suffer.

Thursday 26 March 2020

Cawley's intriguing tweet

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'Jonathan Heller interview won't be in tomorrow's paper. Can't explain more at this point. Hope that we will still be able to publish in the near future.'

Make of that what you will. The plot thickens. Possibly legal obstacles?

Richard Cawley has subsequently stated that there is no injunction. 'Just fact we have to have things legally squared off.'

In the latest legal news, Cawley has tweeted:'Laurence Bassini says he is set to commence legal action tomorrow against CAFC and Matt Southall over consultancy fees he alleges he is due in regard to the takeover of the club.'

Richard Cawley further reports, 'Laurence Bassini says he is ready to buy Charlton Athletic and has submitted proof of funds to Chris Farnell. Says he is ready to spend around £40million to purchase the club and freeholds of land.'

In my view he would not be welcome as our owner. He has a chequered history in football.

The accounts for Charlton Athletic Holdings Ltd. for 2018/19 have been lodged with Companies House and are now being processed. They should be available to read online in five days time.

Sad death of super fan

Saddened to hear of the death of super fan Seb Lewis who completed 22 years of consecutive Charlton games. He was 38: 1000 in a row

Referring to 'one of our family gone', Big Dave Lockwood reflected the thoughts of many when he tweeted: 'Charlton won’t be Charlton without Seb. Owners players staff come and go but fans are constant, Seb was the ultimate fan. Everywhere Charlton went he went. It just won’t be the same.'

Matt Wright tweeted: 'Horrendous news that Charlton's most loyal supporter has died due to the coronavirus. A huge loss for everyone connected with Charlton, but most of all his family and friends. When life resumes many things just won't be the same.'

Lee Bowyer has led the tributes to Seb: Super fan

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Nimer may sell club

Tahnoon Nimer could sell Charlton before the takeover is ratified by the EFL. Having paid £1 for the club, he is reported to be asking for at least £2m: Club for sale

It is understood there is at least one “substantial” interested party, while another ended negotiations due to the complexity of the deal.

Richard Cawley has commented, 'No-one from club side has indicated that [a sale is taking place]. Lot of wealthy individuals have their fortunes tied up in stocks and shares - coronavirus has seen a lot of value wiped off in current climate.'

Deadline for takeover reversal has passed

One can usually rely on Richard Cawley of the SLP for an authoritative interpretation of developments at Charlton, but the rapid and bewildering pace of events is making his task much harder than usual.

He has tweeted: 'My understanding is that the ex-directors' deadline for the Charlton takeover to be unpicked back to Roland Duchatelet has passed. The question is what happens next. And no, I don't know the answer to that.'

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has now clarified: 'VOTV has learned that the Charlton ex-directors have received no response to their legal letter and that there is a second deadline next week at which point they will seek an injunction to reverse the sale of CAFC Limited. Source is adamant they will proceed.'

Tweeting from his Ramsgate fastness, the Rickster added: 'Can also now confirm that the three CAFC ex-directors set to seek the injunction are Derek Chappell, Bob Whitehand and David Sumners, whose outstanding loans total £2.65m. They are also likely to seek costs. Others not involved at this stage.'

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Bowyer did not know about his anniversary

With training suspended sombre supremo Lee Bowyer did not realise that Sunday saw him complete two years as manager at Charlton: Wasn't aware of his mini milestone

Charlton have not set a date for the squad to return to training, but all players have individual fitness programmes to follow at home.

Monday 23 March 2020

Nimer to put in cash

Tahnoon Nimer has told Sky that he will immediately inject money into Charlton to see the club through the Coronavirus crisis: Nimer assures club's future

Nimer alleges that Matt Southall took £1.8m out of the club.

Come back, Roland, all is forgiven?

The social media war between Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall is hardly an edifying spectacle to say the least and one can understand why some ex-directors might consider we would be better off with Roland back in charge.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has commented, 'The question people should really ask themselves is, if Southall and Nimer are as dodgy as each implies of the other, why did they ever get involved with each other, and why did Heller get ever involved with either of them?'

Southall is now claiming that Nimer planned to demolish The Valley and build 1,000 flats, using the receipts to pay Duchatelet and moving Charlton to Crystal Palace while building a stadium on the Greenwich peninsula. This sounds like a fantasy made up a mixture of past events and half formulated plans.

Meanwhile, Romanian news website Pro Sport is reporting that Matt Southall is being investigated for 'ordering a murder' on Tahnoon Nimer’s lawyer Chris Farnell. This would imply that being a lawyer is a more hazardous occupation than many of us realised. However, Louis Mendez has 'Just had a quick look through the expenses list leaked by Nimer, but it doesn’t seem to mention “hitman” anywhere.' Whilst I have never had occasion to hire a hitman, I would have thought that they don't come cheap.

The report is in Romanian, but if you know any Romance languages, you can get the gist of it (usefully it includes a link to a service for exchanging confidential documents with lawyers): Hiring a hitman

The rather long and florid headline states: 'Mega-scandal at the club in England taken over by Claudiu Florica. Novel discoveries in Charlton's accounting. Former president is under investigation for ordering a murder.'

Mendez notes that there are 'Plenty of interesting costs listed in there. Modish Decor, a Cheshire based design company being one. No idea if that can be linked to [a] house, currently being refurbished. Also a large payment to 17media is listed - appears to be a company where Southall’s wife Jade is active.'

Some of this borders on the ludicrous and farcical, but it is damaging the reputation of the club at a time when it is already not well regarded by the EFL. It also does nothing to sort out the many challenges we face on and off the pitch.

Saturday 21 March 2020

New board member talks about the funds issue

New board member Marian Mihail has talked to CAS Trust about his role at the club. The analogy the sports lawyer uses is that of a paramedic who comes in to patch up the patient and enable them to survive: Marian Mihail

He stated that 'there was no problem with the sufficiency of funds, just the source. He said that TN had been to banks in Egypt and Abu Dhabi in recent days and had supplied the EFL with further documents (statements and letters of support).'

'He understood the EFL's caution in the light of Bolton and Bury but the problem was that they might require documentation in a form which are not common in non EU countries. Nevertheless, they await feedback from EFL both on the new documents and on the Owners and Directors’ Test, to which both of them have submitted.

He 'is only too aware that there is considerable scepticism among Charlton fans about ESI. He recognises that satisfactory proof of source and sufficiency of funds is a necessary step to build some trust and confidence. He said that this is one of the reasons that the board won’t communicate very often until this is resolved.'

Elsewhere, the EFL has dropped charges against Katrien Meire, although not against Sheffield Wednesday.

Friday 20 March 2020

Nimer claims police interest in Southall

In his latest social media statement, Tahnoon Nimer claims that Matt Southall is subject for a police enquiry for actions which clearly amount to gross misconduct.

Nimer also promises a full and independent investigation into Southall's 'extravagant lifestyle at the expense of the club.'

Louis Mendez has tweeted: 'enjoyable as this social media-based bout of handbags is, I imagine there’s an appetite amongst some fans for this nonsense to be taken behind closed doors and only the issue of securing the future of the club being dealt with forthwith between Nimer and the EFL.'

Romanians join board

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports that the two additions made by Tahnoon Nimer to the Charlton Athletic board are Claudiu Florica, of whom we have heard much already, and Marian Mihail, whom I'm told is a Romanian lawyer.

This would seem to imply a closer relationship with Dinamo Bucharest in future.

Without casting any aspersions on these gentlemen, whom I am sure represent the highest standards of integrity and good business practice, I was involved in an EU mission to Romania in the years following the overthrow of the Communist regime. It did seem to me that corrupt practices were widespread, indeed I was invited to engage in corruption myself.

The club have announced that Matt Southall and Jonathan Heller have been removed from the board: Valete

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'Baffling statement from Nimer. So a priority is to get the transfer embargo lifted - even though season suspended - and no mention of providing documentation needed for EFL approval?? And you can’t sort that anyway without proving source and sufficiency of funding.'

The two Romanians are to meet with heads of departments this morning.

Charlton staff have been told that a chief executive will be appointed. Former Barnsley CEO Gauthier Ganaye has been linked with a role there. When appointed at Barnsley he was the youngest chief executive in football at the age of 30: Gauthier Ganaye

Meanwhile some of the club's ex-directors are ready to take out an injunction to force control back to Richard Duchatelet: Ready to ramp up legal proceedings

Richard Cawley has further commented, 'The EFL definitely take some heat on this too. How can you have people passing the owners’ and directors’ test but not proving source and sufficiency of funding? All three obstacles should need to be cleared before you can get your hands on a football club.'

Cawley asks, 'I know people will mention that lifting the transfer embargo means getting EFL approval - but there is no mention of where Nimer is at in terms of that process. Has he submitted the necessary documentation or not?'

The SLP journalist makes a pertinent point when he says, 'Nimer has said previously that Matt Southall had not passed on documentation to the EFL. Even if that is so - and I can't prove one way or the other - that paperwork is surely good to go? There shouldn't need to be a delay.'

Rick Everitt has tweeted: 'In the light of recent events, not entirely reassured by idea of EFL making future funding available to Charlton as a loan. Have the latest directors passed the owners’ and directors’ test? Has source and sufficiency of funds been verified to EFL satisfaction?'

Louis Mendez has commented: 'In the space of 10 days, both sides have announced the other’s departure on the club website. That goes some way to explaining the farce of it all.'

Thursday 19 March 2020

More confusion at The Valley

There has been more confusion after a meeting between Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall with Southall declaring he is remaining as executive chairman: More confusion

Louis Mendez comments: 'Southall refers again to his commitment to secure the long term of the future but makes no reference to the £12.5k pcm flat, Range Rovers and consultancy fees paid to himself and others.'

Rick Everitt tweeted: 'I'm puzzled that Southall says there “shall be no discussion” about him stepping down from his “day to day” role. I think we all saw his “day to day” involvement end a week ago.'

Tahnoon Nimer has offered to have a discussion with the CAS Trust which will have to be by conference call in current circumstances.

Bowyer: I had to make the players believe again

A long interview with Lee Bowyer about how he became involved with Charlton again: The Coaches' Voice

Recalling when he took over as caretaker manager he says: 'When I first took over, they’d won one in their last eight and the players were dented because they thought they were out of the playoffs. My job was to make them believe again. I knew they were good. All I had to do was make them believe that. If they pulled together as one, then that was even better: don’t play as individuals, play as a team.' He talks about how George Lapslie reminded him of Scott Parker.

'From day one, I was honest with them: if anyone wants to play as an individual, they won’t play. I’ll only play people who are going to play for the team. They had to work hard, too. Training became a lot more physical. More intense. I believe that you should train the way you play because you can’t turn it on and off.'

Bowyer also said: 'It’s become the place that I left as a 19-year-old: a family club where the crowd and the players are all as one.'

Bowyer wants clarity from EFL

He may be asking for the impossible, but Lee Bowyer wants clarity from the EFL and guidance on what to do about training. Currently, Charlton have brought forward its resumption from next Monday to tomorrow (Friday): Bowyer wants clear message to clubs

The at sea supremo commented: 'They (EFL) need to step up now and give us some real guidance - at the moment there hasn't been any guidance. There are too many grey areas.'

Jason Pearce and George Lapslie both staying away from Charlton training. Both their partners are expecting. Government have put pregnant women in the high-risk group as a precautionary measure.

Premier League football has been postponed until at least April 30th.

Full sp on takeover reversal

Former chairman Derek Chappell is behind a move that could yet unwind the takeover of Charlton Athletic by ESI, reveals VOTV editor Rick Everitt: Ex-chairman's bid

Writing from his Ramsgate fastness, Everitt gives some hope to fans when he states: 'Duchatelet may not want the club back, but he is unlikely to allow it to slide into administration because that could result in tens of millions of loans from his Staprix NV being wiped out, as well as a likely ten-point deduction which could lead to relegation.'

However, the Rickster also warns: 'Until and unless Nimer satisfies the EFL, the club’s ability to pay its bills – including player and staff wages – is in question, due in part to a spending spree on consultants and lifestyle benefits for Southall and a string of associates since the turn of the year. Voice of The Valley has been told that Southall had already been warned the club was fast running out of cash, despite him telling the playing staff last week that they could be paid until the end of the year.'

Everitt notes that ultimately 'the most stable course may be a reset that invites Duchatelet to engage in serious negotiations with a number of other interested parties. But that will depend on the courts being willing to intervene.'

Charlton to get £800,000 payout

The EFL has set out a package of financial help to clubs: Update on coronavirus

The EFL stated that 'measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50 million short-term relief package. This fund consists of the remaining Basic Award payments being advanced to Clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through interest-free loan facility available to Clubs, calculated in line with the EFL’s Article of Associations.'

Under the terms of the relief fund, Championship clubs will receive their remaining £800,000 award payment from the Premier League on Thursday. In addition, they will be able to apply for a £584,000 interest-free loan. For League One clubs the figures are £250,000 and £183,000, and for League Two sides they are £164,000 and £120,000.

'The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being.' This could involve matches being played behind closed doors.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Legal challenge to takeover imminent

A legal challenge to ESI's takeover of Charlton by former directors is imminent. The South London Press has been told that at least some of the ex-directors are requesting that ESI’s takeover be voided as they did not consent to the sale and that the terms of their charges have been breached.

If they are successful then it could see the takeover deal unpicked and Duchatelet being back responsible for the running of the Championship outfit.

Read Richard Cawley's full story here: Fresh twist in takeover saga

Doubts are growing about the ability of the club to survive this complicated crisis.

Chanpionship clubs want to finish season

The Championship’s clubs are unanimous in the view that a means to finish the season must be found. Representatives from each of the division’s 24 clubs met via conference call on Tuesday to discuss the next steps following the suspension of the competition until 3 April.

That date – as with everything at present – is subject to change given the inherent uncertainty of the pandemic. Indeed, it is unlikely to be fulfilled, although there has been talk of late April or early May. Even that may be optimistic.

Clubs might have to play behind closed doors which would dent revenue streams.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Third party challenge to takeover?

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'Understand that could be a challenge by a third party over the transaction between ESI and Roland Duchatelet in terms of the deal agreed. Only people mooted before as potentially being in a position to do that are the ex-directors.'

According to Rick Everitt, three former directors have first call on the assets and can prevent new charges being added.

Rick Everitt has recently tweeted: 'Ex-directors’ move to void sale to ESI is good news for Charlyon - they are the only people involved who we know have the best interests of the club at heart. No confidence in anyone associated with ESI and no certainty Nimer can put in required funds anyway.

Charlton running out of money?

With no matches until at least April 4th, and probably not after then, there are concerns that Charlton may not be able to pay salaries for much longer: Coronavirus puts extra strain on funding

Although Tahnoon Nimer has won his battle with Matt Southall (although he says that removing him has taken 'longer than imagined') his takeover of the club has still not been approved by the EFL as they await proof of funds.

Nimer's lawyer says that he is currently 'flying', although where to and by what means of transportation is unclear.

Nimer has recently posted on Instagram thanking staff for their efforts last week and their 'admirable behaviour and display of character'. He states that he and his team are focused on Charlton's future. The reaction of supporters made him forget about backing out of the deal. Once a new board of directors is appointed, an announcement will be made (I know of one fan who has been sounded out).

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'For those in doubt about what has prevented the EFL from approving the deal - it's been the same sticking point from January. Source and sufficiency of funding. What isn't in doubt is this situation can't continue without it having serious consequences for CAFC. My understanding is that no money has been put into the running of the club since the back end of November.'

Monday 16 March 2020

Training starts again on Thursday

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports: 'Charlton back at it on Thursday. Five-day break at the moment while the training ground is deep cleaned. First-team, U23s and U18s will all train at different times.'

Presumably training will take place without the motivational presence of Matt Southall.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Cullen's future is not with Charlton

Josh Cullen's future is away from The Valley even if Charlton avoid the drop. David Moyes wants to take another look at him and a number of clubs are interested: West Ham set to give Cullen a chance

Out of the frying pan and into the crossfire

That is the headline in the Football League Paper this morning and this is the accompanying cartoon.

Chris Dunlavy writes: 'Charlton are rarely far from a crisis. Never, though, has optimism dissolved into despair so rapidly. Hailed as savours when they deposed the reviled Roland Duchatelet in November, owners Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall are already making Addicks fans feel nostalgic for the Belgian miser.'

'Duchatelet, while reluctant to put his hand in his pocket, was demonstrably loaded. As Nimer and Southall's spectacular public spat demonstrates, it is increasingly unclear whether the new owners have any cash at all.'

Saturday 14 March 2020

What happens if the season isn't finished?

FA Chairman Greg Clarke thinks it can't be. Given the sums at stake in relation to Premier League broadcasting contracts are eye watering, I would have thought that some way would be found to complete those matches, even if it means playing behind closed doors. In addition, what would one do about Liverpool? If they weren't given the title, their fans would be furious, but if they were, many would regard it as a fake title.

But what about the EFL? One could simply declare the season null and void and have no promotion and relegation. However, that would result in law suits from a number of clubs, not least Leeds United who see the Premier League in sight.

Another solution would be to accept the tables as they stand in which case Charlton would be relegated. Harsh, as they have not been in the relegation places until recently, but that would be typical Charlton bad luck.

Another idea that is being touted is that promotion/relegation play offs would be brought back. As third from bottom team Charlton would play the team in third place in League One, no less than Gobby's Oxford United! Any such games would be very tense affairs as some fans can remember.

Cancelling matches will deprive Charlton of much needed revenue. The central payment from the EFL is also at risk because of an inability to meet television contracts.

As far as player contracts are concerned, it should be possible in principle to make short-term extensions if matches were played in July.

As for the club, I understand that arrangements are being made to appoint a new CEO and management team, but this may take some days. There is contact with individuals in the UK prepared to provide assistance.

As for the expensive flat, I like the idea of stays there being offered as a Valley Gold prize!

Nick De Marco QC of Blackstone Chambers discusses some of the complicated legal issues such as force majeure here: Sport law, frustration and force majeure

He comments: 'The only certainty in these most uncertain times is that Covid-19 is likely to generate a plethora of future legal disputes which will shape our legal landscape, especially in the world of sport.' One might add that lawyers are likely do well out of these disputes and indeed our own dispute at The Valley.

Friday 13 March 2020

CAST ask for meeting with His Excellency

CAST have asked for an early meeting with Tahnoon Nimer. I can't imagine he would travel to the UK in current circumstances.

However, discussions I have had this morning lead me to believe that we will know in a few days whether the readies are going to be made available. Meanwhile, other developments are taking place.

Probably the best course of action is to relax and go and enjoy some non-league football. That's what I will be doing.

Lockyer may not get a chance to make his point

Tom Lockyer reckons that the current boardroom crisis at Charlton could be turned to the team's advantage: Other sides will say we are done for in survival battle

Lockyer is back in the side after serving a two game ban. His dad told him that he was letting decisions by referees affect him too much.

Lockyer admits that players with families and children have been more affected by the prospect of the money drying up, but he commented: 'There are no more reinforcements coming in but the team all believe in each other and believe we’re capable of staying in the league. We’ll pull together, stick together and ignore everything off the field. Like I said before, it’s easier for some to do than others.'

He added: 'If anything it makes you want it a bit more – you look at everything going to pot, so why not say: “Eff them all, let’s do it for us’."'

He may not get the chance to make his point as the EFL are meeting this morning and Richard Cawley thinks that all games this weekend may be called off. It is being suggested that games will be suspended for three weeks.

All matches have now been suspended until 3rd April, meaning that our first home game would be against Millwall if there are no further postponements.

You can read my assessment of the postponements here: Football and coronavirus

A crazy week at Charlton

A long review of the week's events by the highly respected SLP journalist Richard Cawley: Crazy week at Charlton

Cawley points out that the last time Charlton were relegated to League One they had assets to sell which helped to offset the £8m financial hit. That is not the case this time.

All the indications are that the EFL is exasperated by events at Charlton and is considering a points deduction. The EFL view is that the competition is being brought into disrepute.

As Cawley points out, the long-term viability of Charlton must now be in question.

Thursday 12 March 2020

Mr Robin has left the building

It is being reported that a senior Charlton employee received an instruction to remove Matt Southall. The latter responded by calling the police. Southall has since left The Valley.

Southall made no comment as he left. His present status is unclear.

An eye witness account reveals: 'Legal papers were served suspending Southall, Heller and McHugh. Of course they didn't go quietly and MS told Olly Groome, Tracy Leaburn and Mick Everett they were fired.

They are NOT fired. They were acting on the express wishes of Tahnoon and as MS et al are all now suspended the "sackings" are meaningless.

McHugh called the police saying there were trespassers. [Another account says that the police that arrived knew Everett from match days]. After trying to dodge the bullet for 2+ hours police finally got the now suspended directors to leave. Doors locked, passwords changed. Legal process to remove them completely now commences.'

Nimer slams Southall

Tahnoon Nimer, speaking on Talksport, has said: 'Mr Matt Southall is not right to be chairman, his priority is his lifestyle. He misuses the club for his lifestyle. It’s impossible to have any trust in Mr Southall. He’s cost us a lot of money.'

It's difficult to see how Southall can stay in post.

It has been estimated that the total amount he has received from the club is £98,676 (including parking fines).

Southall is at the training ground today watching the first team train which will no doubt be a morale boost for them.

Club issues new statement

Charlton Athletic has issued a new statement reaffirming their support for Matt Southall as chairman: Statement

As far as one can judge from social media polls, this confidence is not shared by the majority of fans. Moreover, Louis Mendez has tweeted:' Who “the board” even refers to now is up for debate but I know that Southall doesn’t have the backing of the majority of staff within the club.'

Perhaps the one interesting point in the statement is that the club is seeking legal advice on further sanctions that may be applied to Charlton by the EFL. These could include a points deduction.

It should be noted that 65 per cent of the shares in Charlton Athletic Holdings belong to a company controlled by Tahnoon Nimer. These are A shares and the remaining 35 per cent of shares are B shares, although at first glance the rights of the two classes of shareholder do not appear to differ significantly.

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'To be clear, Lee Bowyer isn't going anywhere. Made it clear that had approaches this season and opted to stay. He won't be walking away.'

Lee Bowyer is concerned about staff not getting paid in the future and thinks that EFL regulations have to change: How can it be right?

Wednesday 11 March 2020

CAS Trust meet Southall

CAS Trust have provided a detailed and informative report on their meeting with Matt Southall: Meeting report

Some fans on social media have expressed the view that nothing new was learnt, but it is useful to have certain points confirmed. They also felt that Southall could have been pressed harder, particularly on the so-called 'corporate' flat. Outspoken Ramsgate-based fan Rick Everitt is now referring to the 'Charlton lie machine' in his tweets.

I agree that the situation at the club is alarming and may only be resolved through the courts. There is, however, enough money to keep going until December.

CAST is calling on Southall to resign. 'After a lengthy meeting yesterday, we have no confidence in the future of CAFC under his leadership and lack of funding.'

Southall made it clear that he has no intention of resigning.

I do not agree that there are no prospective investors. One such person talked to me by phone and had been in contact with persons in Abu Dhabi. Duchatelet did not reach out to prospective investors. Other fans are aware of others in the frame.

Owner's lawyer gives assurances

Lawyer Chris Farnell has given an update on Talksport on behalf of his client majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer. He said that investment will take place as required and not at the whim of Matt Southall. Proof of funds has been given to the EFL. 'It's been quickly found out that there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.'

A fuller report on the Talksport interview here: Talksport

According to VOTV editor Rick Everitt Farnell was Southall's lawyer until he defaulted on his fees, as reported in the Boxing Day edition of Voice of the Valley.

Companies House have informed me that the required annual accounts for Charlton Athletic Holdings Ltd. have been filed. It normally takes about three working days for them to appear online at which point I will analyse them. I remind fans that all documentation relating to the various Charlton companies is available to be viewed online free of charge.

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'Not been a public statement on this by either party but have been told that Tahnoon Nimer's claim of "disadvantageous contracts" was not in relation to Charlton manager Lee Bowyer's new deal.'

The club has announced that an investigation has revealed no wrongdoing by Chris Parkes and he has been reinstated.

Bowyer tried formation change

Excuse me for leaving the bling aside for a while, and talking about football, but spinning supremo Lee Bowyer has been doing just that. After two bad results, Bowyer tried a formation change against Boro and it clearly didn't work: Thinking on formation change

Asked about Purrington's costly mistake, Bowyer said: 'Maybe it was nervousness. He has been out for a bit, so maybe it was lack of game time. It could be a combination of things. But you can’t be giving a goal like that away – it’s hard enough as it is to win games without giving teams the lead.'

At least the turmoil of the club has given the 'Bowyer out now' crowd something else to think about.

Matt's flat

Matt Southall's flat doesn't seem to have been a bargain. According to VOTV editor Rick Everitt, 'Matt Southall’s Cafc flat in numbers - £300k commitment for club over the two year lease; £400 a night; equals wages of five staff costing £30k a year; at least £1 in every £15 received in season ticket revenue; about ten times a basic rent in SE London.

The consultancy fees were very tasty as well. I was phoned by a wealthy individual yesterday to ask about Charlton, and I gave my advice for free (which is probably all it was worth).

Tuesday 10 March 2020

EFL issues statement

The EFL has issued a statement on Charlton making it clear that the owners' and directors' test has not been met and that a transfer embargo is in place. The League is clearly unhappy with events at Charlton and is consulting its lawyers on further actions open to it: EFL statement

Charlton players have expressed concern that their wages may not be paid, but it is thought that there may be enough money to pay them until December.

Parkes is latest victim of turmoil

Long serving Charlton club secretary Chris Parkes suspended by Matt Southall over contact with EFL on behalf of Nimer.

I assume he was simply doing what he saw as his job. Parkes is widely respected by fans and is almost 'Mr Charlton'.

One fan commented on social media, 'Everyone at Charlton loves Chris and they know he’s Charlton through and through and would only ever act in the clubs best interests!'

ESI has undergone a spectacular implosion

ESI has undergone a spectacular implosion says VOTV editor Rick Everitt in a special online article on recent events: Takeover implodes

The Rickster says that substantial day-to-day funding may not be required in the short term, but there may be doubts about whether the club can trade over the summer, particularly if Southall remains in charge.

Looking to the future, he states: 'The question, ultimately, could be whether Duchatelet will finally hand over the freeholds for a more realistic £25m-£30 [unlikely in my view], whether he is willing to see the club go out of business as a consequence of his intransigence and try to redevelop The Valley, or if someone will pick the club up and potentially call his bluff by moving matches and training elsewhere.'

Everitt concludes: 'The EFL must take its share of the blame for having failed, once again, to intervene effectively, even though it has now confirmed the deal was never ratified. Regardless, it has presided over yet another sorry mess.'

For its part the EFL points out that it is a trade association running a competition and cannot control what happens in individual clubs which are individual privately controlled businesses rather than American style franchises. Sources close to the EFL are indicating an increasing sense of exasperation with Charlton.

Unsurprisingly, Simon Jordan has put his oar in on Talk Sport. Surprisingly, what he has to say is quite sensible: 'The dynamics of what's going on here concerns me. There's a lot of inconsistencies. Nimer has got a significant background. This is not a fool.'

Confusion reigns with club under transfer embargo

Tahnoon Nimer has published a long statement on his Instagram account saying he has not resigned from the Charlton board as stated by the club.

He has retained his own legal counsel so the matter may have to be resolved in the courts which may take some time, time we do not really have if we are to survive.

Nimer, whose company is the majority shareholder, wants to remove Southall and says that the club is under a transfer embargo: Wants Southall out

The EFL have made it clear privately that they cannot prevent a club changing hands, but they can impose sanctions, including a transfer embargo.

Richard Cawley of the SLP has stated, 'I've seen a letter from before all this properly blew up where he states he wants Claudiu Floricato (Florica?) be the new chief executive officer responsible for running the football club.' He is a somewhat controversial Romanian businessman who has been associated with Dinamo Bucharest which many have thought is the new mother ship.

Southall statement

Executive chairman Matt Southall has issued a full statement in response to overnight developments: Southall statement

In particular he says that not a penny of the money promised by Nimer arrived and this constrained activity in the transfer window.

There should be enough money to pay bills for now, but playing behind closed doors would hit the club hard. It is also a big distraction from the relegation battle.

Monday 9 March 2020

ESI ownership in peril

Now confirmed reports are saying that ESI's ownership of Charlton has collapsed. It is a dangerous situation for the club which is now in real jeopardy. Richard Cawley has said there is no reason to believe that the Instagram posts are not by Tahnoon Nimer.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted: 'Have heard that Southall promised and failed to raise other funds. Also points to another gross failure of due diligence by Duchatelet. Which shouldn’t be a surprise.'

Everitt added: 'Concern would be that the club goes into administration and Roland will still be demanding £50m for the freeholds, which no one in their right mind will pay. Puts Valley at risk.'

'Have been questions on recent days about whether EFL ever approved takeover. Big questions for them here regardless if this is as bad as it looks.'

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'Worth remembering that Nimer was the financial backer on the ESI bid. So not clear where this leaves the club financially if he has withdrawn his support.' The judicious journalist added, 'Lot of accusations flying around - legally have to be very careful! One thing that isn't in dispute - what an absolute mess.'

A club statement was anticipated by 11pm, but the website is now undergoing 'essential maintenance'.

Nimer has said that he discovered that the club's resources had been exploited in a wrong and immoral manner and therefore he has withdrawn the purchase. 'I wish you all the best.' Jolly decent of him.

Tahnoon Nimer has now resigned as a director. The club has stated, 'Following the events of March 9, his position is now untenable and the board has no option but to accept his resignation.'

Pratley lays it on the line

Fans' favourite Darren Pratley has told Charlton players to get off social media and focus on the job in hand: Focus on survival push

Was he hinting at disagreements within the camp when he told the SLP's Richard Cawley, 'I’ve been in this situation before – when you don’t stick together and you start pointing fingers, get in your groups and start slagging each other off is when things go wrong. The boys need to stay focused for the next nine games and if they are on social media, maybe stay off of it. That would be my advice.'

'If you go home and are going on the internet, you’re not going to find nice things when you’re down the bottom.'

Saturday 7 March 2020

Valley of Gloom

Charlton slipped into the relegation places in the Championship this afternoon after they lost 0-1 at home to Middlesbrough. It was another poor performance with defensive weaknesses gifting Boro their goal. The midfield was unimpressive and Boro's debutante goalkeeper had only one good save to make.

The Addicks started off with a 4-1-4-1 formation with Williams and Green out wide. It was a nervy start for Charlton with Boro winning corners. McNair put the visitors ahead on 17 minutes after Purrrington surrendered possession, allowing the cross to go in.

Charlton continued to find themselves under pressure. Shortly after the half hour mark jittery journo Richard Cawley tweeted, 'This has been really poor. Boro hungrier and sharper to the ball. Charlton all over the shop. Not sure this shape is doing them any favours either.'

Shortly afterwards Charlton did switch to 4-4-2. I was at home battling a heavy cold and Steve from Petts Wood messaged me at half time to say, 'A dreadful first half so far, worst I have seen this season.'

Bonne replaced Lapslie at half time. Taylor was booked for simulation after he was hauled down, upsetting the player and the Covered End. Williams put in a cross, but the Oshilaja header was saved. Steve messaged, 'Just started to improve, but not sure it's enough.' Pratley fired wide.

Doughty replaced Williams on 66 minutes. Taylor fed Bonne, but his attempt was weak. Purrington was replaced on 83 minutes by Hemed. Phillips made a key save two minutes later to keep Charlton in the game.

In five minutes added on, a cross from Oshilaja was headed just over by Bonne.

Attendance was 18,080 with 1,750 away fans.

Barnsley and Huddersfield both lost, Wigan and Luton drew 0-0 and Hull went down 5-1 to Stoke. Even a draw would have kept Charlton in the mix.

Match report from Louis Mendez here: Into the drop zone

Meanwhile, it looks like network time again. Louis Mendez tweeted: 'ESI majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer has Instagrammed his arrival at Romanian club Dinamo Bucharest. He’d been linked with a takeover of that club for a while.' Abu Dhabi Business Development first signalled their interest in an acquisition January as part of their development strategy. It is not yet known how Charlton's relationship with Dinamo will develop.

Shattered supremo Lee Bowyer said: 'I'm frustrated and disappointed again. We can't keep gifting teams goals. We are not good enough to give teams one-goal leads. We had three clear-cut chances. We have got to take at least one of them. The message to supporters is this - just stick together. We have got nine games to go and we have to keep fighting together.'

As some fans flood social media calling for Bowyer to go,Jonathan Woodgate says he hasn't been backed properly at The Valley: My pal hasn't been backed

Friday 6 March 2020

National press homes in on Bowyer v Woodgate clash

It's a crunch game against Middlesbrough tomorrow (well, they all are now) and Lee Bowyer is looking to Charlton fans to play their part: Fans role in Championship safety puh

The Guardian has produced a special feature article on the game, noting that 'this campaign was always going to be a struggle for a Charlton side with the second tier’s lowest budget.' They say that contrary to widespread expectations, Boywer has matured into an impressive coach. But it is his relationship with Jonathan Woodgate that particularly interests them: Bowyer and Woodgate set friendship aside for relegation showdown

George Lapslie has obtained his sports science and coaching degree and aims to go into management with his older brother who plays for Colchester United. However, his greatest test for now is to keep the Addicks in the Championship: Lapslie's agenda

Up on Teesside, they are seeing it as a David v. Goliath class with Charlton having been 'in a state of civil war' for years: The financial gap

Boro have a tendency to be draw specialists away from home: won two, drawn six, lost nine.

When we beat Boro 8-1

There are some Charlton matches you wish for ever that you had not missed. First and foremost for me was the 7-6 victory over Huddersfield Town. We were Christmas shopping in Woolwich! A close second from that period was the 8-1 victory over Middlesbrough on 12 September 1953 in my first season supporting Charlton.

We weren't alone in not going as 23,790 attended the match, while I was among the crowd of 31,258 that saw Charlton beat Liverpool 6-0 a fortnight later, in the interim having beaten Tom Finney's Preston North End 2-1 away and West Brom 3-2 at The Hawthorns.

Attendances at Charlton were attracting some attention. Writing in the Yorkshire Post Richard Ulyatt commented, 'Charlton Athletic officials may ruefully comment that quality of football does not count for much in public opinion: popularity depends upon a whim, a name, or the colour of the players' shirts.

They have every reason to grouse. On a fine night last night only 18,000 watched the home match in which by beating Preston North End 2-1, they became the highest placed London club in the First Division of the Football League, just above Tottenham on goal average, and handsomely situated compared with Chelsea and Arsenal, whose desperate meeting at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday was watched by 80,000 people.

In the provinces First Division clubs need at least 25,000 spectators to pay their way: in London the figure will be higher. The other three clubs are wealthy, but for Charlton every season is a struggle, though none as seemed as quite as bad as this. Even the visit of Tom Finney, one of the two most brilliant wingers in the game, Baxter and the other clever Preston players could not attract a paying attendance.'

Using the British Library online newspaper archive I was unable to track down many accounts of the win over Boro, other than of the 'Elsewhere, Charlton won 8-1' variety. However, I did find an account in a Birmingham paper of the first half which gave no indication of what was to come.

'Middlesbrough went ahead after five minutes when from a fine through pass by Fitzsimons centre forward Spuhler set in a shot which Bartram touched but could not hold. Charlton gradually gained more of the play. Midway through the half O'Linn equalised with a header from Hurst's corner.

Near half time O'Linn with a fine run on the right and a fierce shot, put Charlton ahead. Half-time: Charlton 2, Middlesbrough 1.'

It was 64 minutes before Firmani scored the third goal, but Boro then collapsed. Hurst scored three minutes and later and then again on 80 minutes to make it 5-1. There were then three goals in as many minutes: Firmani, 82; Leary 84; Firmani, 85.

Jimmy Seed said afterwards: 'The forward were rampant and towards the end they were unstoppable.'

Thursday 5 March 2020

Good news on Pratley

Up in Middlesbrough, they're try to boost morale through a discussion of Charlton's defensive problems: Injury crisis

The good news is that Darren Pratley has been training all week and will be in the squad. Whether he starts is another matter. If he picks up another booking he will miss two matches.

Naby Sarr will not be available. He is still 'struggling' according to Lee Bowyer.

The shell shocked supremo put Pratley's back spasm down to an inability to rotate him during the season, but he made clear how much he values Pratley describing him as a 'leader' on the pitch: Key reason for Pratley's absence

Wednesday 4 March 2020

Number of bookings could get Charlton relegated?

Given how tight the relegation battle could be, the Stoke paper reckons the fact that Charlton players have received more bookings could be the decisive factor: Relegation rules

I certainly wasn't aware of some of these rules, but it doesn't suggest much confidence in what Stoke can achieve on the pitch. Final positions will almost certainly be determined by points and quite possibly by goal difference.

Bowyer calls for realism

Supremo Lee Bowyer has called for a degree of realism about Charlton's relegation battle. Bowyer thinks that 50 points rather than 47 will now be needed for survival. 'The teams that are winning have all got to start playing each other – so both can’t win,' he told the SLP's Richard Cawley. 'People can say our run-in looks easier on paper but all the teams are fighting for something. There are no bad teams in this division.'

Bowyer is in doubt that the team missed Naby Sarr and Tom Lockyer. Lockyer is still suspended for Saturday's game against Boro and Sarr is still having problems with a calf injury. Read more of the interview here: If we're not completely at it we get found out

Polls on Twitter organised by fans suggest that more blame Roland than Bowyer or the players for the relegation battle, although the 'Bowyer must go' crowd are vociferous. Roland still has a financial stranglehold on the club.

Anyone who doubts this should read the documentation online at Companies House. It is quite complex as is the company structure (including Baton 2010 Ltd), but in very simple terms ESI own the club, but not the real estate. A statement for Charlton Athletic Holdings is actually due today, but even if it is filed it may be a few days before it appears.

Some people are reviving property play rumours about Duchatelet. It was the group of businessmen who were the previous owners who had that in mind with a new ground on the peninsula. The designation of Sparrows Lane as a sports ground means that planning permission would never be given for it. There would be major planning issues with The Valley, not least access for those living in any development. One could not realise the sort of return that was possible at Highbury because it is a much less fashionable location.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

You can read Boro result how you like

A last minute goal by Nottingham Forest secured a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough last night. This left Charlton one point above the drop zone, although on the same number of points as Stoke.

Unfortunately, the 4-0 defeat at Huddersfield eroded a favourable goal difference compared to other relegation league clubs. We remain above Stoke in 20th because our goal difference is -9 against -10.

Pessimists interpreted the result as another condemnation of our January transfer strategy (for which there may not have been any money). Always looking on the bright side of life, some of the many Charlton doomers pointed out the last time we beat Sunderland in a play off final, we came down the following season.

I think this is just superstition, like so many things in football where rationality seems to go out of the window (which is perhaps one of the things people like about it). There are so many variables that it is difficult to forecast the outcome. For example, will Hull keep dropping like the Titanic?

Unlike some times in the Curbishley era when we seemed often to do better away, our home form is marginally better in the sense that we have won more games than we have lost, or to put it another way, we have been defeated in a third of all games. Away from home, we have lost in 61 per cent of all league games played. Although the role of the crowd as 12th man can be overstated, it can make a difference in tight matches.

Unfortunately for Saturday's game against Middlesbrough there are no trains to or from Charlton. One wonders what thinking, if any, goes on at the operator. They have also dropped the post game football special to London Bridge which means there can be a long wait to get on a London bound train.

Whether corona virus concerns will affect attendance on Saturday remains to be seen. There are plans in place for matches to be played behind closed doors in which case one would presumably be able to watch on Valley Pass (or any other means you can find). Match day revenues would be lost. In that eventuality season ticket holders should be allow to watch free on Valley Pass.

CAS Trust has issued a clarion call against negative thinking: Now is the time for unity

Monday 2 March 2020

Football finance guru runs rule over Charlton

Kieran Maguire of the University of Liverpool is probably the country's leading football finance expert and in his latest podcast he answers a question from a Charlton fan: The price of football

The Charlton segment is about 8 mins, 50 seconds in and I could only get it to play on Chrome. The interlocutor is a Crystal Palace fan, surprisingly called Kevin rather than Nigel, and he has to get some weak jokes in about the Addicks. They thought that ESI was named in that way because of Bruce Springsteen!

The biggest revelation was that Maguire was asked to value Charlton by a prospective purchaser in the summer and he provided a figure of £25m. That seems to realistic to me, but Roland wanted his money back.

Asked whether it was a case of 'be careful what you wish for' with ESI, Maguire said that only time will tell. However, one should be careful of jumping to the conclusion that because someone came from the Gulf they were wealthy. They clearly owed Roland a lot of money in loans, but at least they had a business plan.

Maguire is the author of the recently published book The Price of £ootball which I will be reviewing in the next Voice of the Valley.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Ratings by the FLP from Huddersfield

I am puzzled that some fans are asserting we are already relegated given that 20th is not a relegation position, nor are Charlton in a relegation position in the form table. Middlesbrough are claiming they will 'do a Charlton' at Forest on Monday, but I am sceptical. Even if they win, the Addicks would still not be in a relegation place.

Against that, yesterday's performance was woeful but with Charlton it is always difficult to read off the next result from the preceding game. Clearly, the game against Middlesbrough next Saturday is another crucial one. Well, they all are from now on. With the smallest budget in the Championship, Charlton were always at risk.

Desmond from Deal has challenged me to publish the ratings and comments from the Football League Paper this morning, so here are the 'best' and the worst:

  • Jason Pearce 6 'Made several telling interventions, before crumbling under late assault.' [It was ever thus].
  • Alfie Doughty 6 'Did a decent job of keeping Willock away from the box. Passed well too.' [Dismissed as National League standard on social media].
  • Dillon Phillips 5 'Exposed for the opener and kept his side in it with great save from Willock'.
  • George Lapslie 4 'Careless passes gifted Terriers the opener. Never recovered confidence.'
  • Erhun Otzumer 4 'Offered little either side of the diamond and got the hook at half time.' [We should give the diamond the hook and revert to 4-4-2].

As for Lyle Taylor he was 'forced to scrap and forage for lack of forward support. No sight of goal.' Andre Green 'committed several needless fouls and final ball was poor.'

EFL told to get on with points deductions

At a meeting at St. George's Park on Thursday Championship clubs urged the EFL to get on with sorting out points deductions, given the approach of the end of the season. One reason is that the EFL are being cautious is that they have to ensure that they have followed proper processes as Derby County have threatened action in the courts.

Birmingham City are expected to get just a three point deduction for further breaches of FFP, but Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday could each get a 21 point deduction for selling and leasing back their stadiums to avoid FFP rules. Aston Villa are also in the frame, but are currently beyond the jurisdiction of the EFL.