Thursday 30 April 2020

Staff get paid

Charlton staff have been paid this morning. This normally would not be worth comment and is the minimum you would expect. There have been some reports that the club has fallen behind on tax and national insurance, but I have no confirmation of them.

As for where the money came from, my best guess would be the EFL payment. As far as I am aware, there has been no injection of cash and I do not expect one any time soon.

One concern is that the central payment money had been intended to settle other creditors who still want to be paid.

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Charlton's Polo takeover

Charlton's takeover is like the Polo sweet with a hole in the middle where the money should be. The club risks going the way of Bury: Tahnoon Nimer taking Charlton the Bury way

The article notes: 'Only after Dale got his mitts on Bury did the EFL address funding, and it is the same here. When Roland Duchatelet relinquished control of Charlton, the EFL stood idle. Only once the equally dubious Nimer took charge did it become an EFL matter. Too late. At the point of change of control is too late. Within 10 working days of the takeover is too late.'

'In advance, is when Nimer should have proved he could buy Charlton, before he was given the opportunity to harm a damaged club yet further. No deal should have been passed until that point.'

Johnnie Jackson was featured on Radio 5 this morning singing his pandemic adaptation of 'That's Entertainment' by The Jam. Can strum a guitar, but not too sure about his singing voice. His song has now gone viral and suggestions have been made about Charlton related songs: Lockdown inspired song goes viral

Monday 27 April 2020

Bowyer exit talk is just speculation

Former Addick Paul Konchesky thinks that Lee Bowyer could walk away from The Valley amid the boardroom chaos. It has been very trying for Bowyer, but I see no reason why he should leave in the immediate future. Apart from anything else, there are no jobs available with Luton letting their manager go to save money.

I don't think Konchesky has any inside track on this. It's just speculative journalism, emanating from Talk****: Lee Bowyer

Sunday 26 April 2020

EFL probe worries players

Lee Bowyer is disappointed that the EFL has launched an investigation into Charlton in the middle of the pandemic when there are financial concerns. He thinks it could have been dealt with in January: Timing of investigation disappointing

Bowyer says that the investigation is worrying the players, but good work is going on behind the scenes.

Saturday 25 April 2020

Pardoo pulls it off

It's a footballing great escape. The cancellation of the Eredivisie means that Alan Pardew's ADO Den Haag will remain in the top flight next season, despite sitting in the relegation places seven points behind the next team and without a win since January.

So he won't have to get his well thumbed book of excuses out.

He is, of course, assisted by Chris Powell.

Friday 24 April 2020

The mirage of a cash injection

Charlton director Mirian Mihail has responded to questions put by Charlton fans via CAS Trust: Supporter questions

Whilst the answers are not necessarily very illuminating, the following answer suggests that the cash injection from Nimer is looking more like a mirage: 'Tahnoon Nimer does not want to put substantial funds into the club at this stage. However, he has pledged some financial relief to the club by the end of the month. The initial pledge was of a cash injection, but with the investigation putting in question the entire ownership of the club, I do not know if these funds will turn into a loan.'

It is clear from the answers that there is considerable uncertainty and complexity surrounding relations with the EFL.

Why a fan owned club is not the answer

The idea of Charlton being a fan owned club is being raised once again. I have to say that I am very sceptical about this concept, although it is understandable why fans would want to look at any hope of salvation in the current crisis at the club.

Could fans raise the amount that Roland would want to clear his debts, and having done that could they meet the inevitable losses? I doubt it. The example of Portsmouth is sometimes raised, but they had some wealthy individual backers to start with and eventually had to sell, although one could argue they secured the objective of saving the club.

Many supporters would like to see fan owned clubs. Some Spanish clubs are owned in this way, but Kieran Maguire in comments in his recent excellent book The Price of £ootball,‘The downside of this is that [club] presidents spend a lot of time campaigning for re-election and making populist promises that are not always in the club’s long-term interests.’

In England the history of fan owned clubs is mixed. Even with a prosperous fan base, raising sufficient capital can be challenging as AFC Wimbledon found with their planned move back to a new stadium near to their historic home in Plough Lane.

They were successful, but other fan owned clubs, such as FC United, started as a protest following the Glazer acquisition of Manchester United, have encountered greater challenges. Despite a one person, one vote constitution regardless of the sums invested, ‘This has not prevented fall outs between the club board and membership, which has resulted in conflict in terms of the future direction of the club' states Maguire. A more general problem he identifies is that fans can’t afford to underwrite losses and this may lead to an overly cautious financial strategy.

Wycombe Wanderers was acquired from the Supporters’ Trust in 2020 with American businessman and sports team owner Rob Couhig acquiring a 75 per cent stake. Manager Gareth Ainsworth later commented about his arrival at the club: ‘The Trust had just taken over and they were as wet behind the ears as I was. ‘ Former chairman Trevor Stroud commented, ‘Without [Couhig’s] contribution [in 2019], we were facing an extremely precarious position and I don’t believe the club would be in the position it is now had Rob not come forward.'

Kieran Maguire commented, ‘Wycombe Wanderers lost £868,000 in 2018/19 and are technically insolvent as liabilities exceed assets. This may further explain why the supporters’ trust sold the club to a private investor.'

Although those with relevant skills in law and accountancy can usually be found in the fan base, they can still be out manoeuvred by sophisticated financial operators. At Swansea the Supporters’ Trust played a key role in rescuing the club from near oblivion and took a 21 per cent stake. When a majority stake was bought in the Trust by two American investors, the Trust claimed that it had been bypassed and other investors made millions of pounds in the process.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Kermorgant hangs up his boots

Former Charlton striker Yann Kermorgant has hung up his boots at the age of 38, most recently having played for his home town side in France. He had been planning to go at the end of the season anyway, but the coronavirus pandemic hastened his decision: Kermogant retires

Letting him go was among the first of a series of depredations by Roland.

What has been happening at Charlton

With the very existence of the club said to be under threat, this detailed and thorough account of what has been happening at Charlton from Sky Sports has been praised by a knowledgeable supporter as the best available synopsis: The recent takeover

Wednesday 22 April 2020

It's not the 1984 show

It's not 1984 again for Charlton Athletic says VOTV editor Rick Everitt referring to the traumatic events 36 years ago that nearly saw the end of the club: Failure would be one man's choice

Everitt points out that football has been transformed since the 1980s. The EFL is not going to risk damage to its reputation through another Bury type situation. The Rickster reiterates his view that there are two serious potential purchasers.

At the end of the day it's down to one man, our Belgian benefactor Roland Duchatelet, and it's not in his interests to put the Addicks into administration.

All parties have now responded to EFL’s investigation into potential misconduct around the takeover of Charlton Athletic. It’ll be discussed at tomorrow’s EFL board meeting.

The EFL asked Charlton's new 'owners' for proof of funds six times before launching their investigation: EFL probe

Posting from his Ramsgate fastness, Rick Everitt has revealed that the three former Charlton directors have now told ESI, CAFC and Roland Duchatelet that their legal action to reverse the takeover is proceeding. Only Duchatelet's lawyers ever responded to the letter before action. In the latest VOTV Everitt argues that the directors' action offers the best hope of a way forward.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Nimer spins a yarn

I didn't hear it myself but apparently Tahnoon Nimer has been on Talksport with some risible remarks. He says he's happy to provide proof of funds 'at any time' - then why hasn't he done so?

If the EFL wants to know source of his funds - 'no problem'. He claims he is “doing his best” to sort out the mess left by Matt Southall including huge debts. Who appointed Southall in the first place?

I am increasingly concerned that we may not have a club to go back to after the lockdown ends or at best one in administration with a points deduction.

CAS Trust have issued a statement on the actions they are taking: Protecting the future of Charlton

Matt Southall has offered to talk to three fans on Zoom on Friday.

Monday 20 April 2020

EFL launch Charlton probe

The EFL has launched an investigation into potential misconduct with regards to the takeover of Charlton Athletic by East Street Investments.

Tahnoon Nimer has still yet to satisfy EFL requests for proof of funds. Matt Southall and Jonathan Heller also being investigated.

The club has until Wednesday to respond: Under investigation

One time fan director Ben Hayes saw it as bad news: 'it may delay any injection of funds to pay wages and creates more uncertainty when we need stability. Also EFL chronically slow to act and make decisions.

A 12 point deduction could result: 40 year setback

Sunday 19 April 2020

Players in talks to defer wages

Charlton players have taken part in talks to defer wages to help the club through the current crisis. Lyle Taylor has taken a prominent role in the talks along with Chris Solly,Jason Pearce and Darren Pratley: Talks to save the club money

Saturday 18 April 2020

Bowyer's interview on Charlton revolution

Lee Bowyer had a long interview on Talksport last night which you can hear here (a couple of minutes of adverts first): Bowyer on Talksport

He admitted that being Charlton manager had been 'challenging'. He had to deal with crazy stuff behind the scenes facing issues in two years that most managers wouldn't have to deal with in ten years. With some understatement, he said it could have been 'handled a bit better'.

Roland could have sold Lyle Taylor for a lot of money in the summer, but realised that Charlton could not score goals without him. Under the new regime he had been told he had money to spend but it had gone the opposite way.

As for restarting the season, Bowyer thought there were too many obstacles and hurdles in the way. There had been too many details that hadn't been thought about. For example, would players want to risk long-term injuries?

He would like to finish the nine games, but there was no right way of doing it.

Bowyer said he would rather be at his fishing lake, but that was not possible.

Friday 17 April 2020

Director answer fans' questions

Director Marian Mihail has answered fans' questions submitted via CAST: What is happening at our club

It is quite a long piece, but here are a few highlights. 'The club is in discussions with our players and the PFA about potential wage deferrals and we are grateful to the players who have been very supportive and constructive in our discussions.' A minimum of four weeks would be needed to get players match fit after the end of the lockdown.

On the registration embargo, 'The club has submitted documents for EFL approval to demonstrate the source and sufficiency of funds. Conversations with the EFL are ongoing and the EFL remain supportive and have informed us what remains outstanding.' In other words, more needs to be provided to satisfy the EFL.

Over 100 people have joined CAST in the last week taking membership to just over 1200.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Staff furloughed without pay top up

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports, 'Charlton have furloughed a number of staff - including backroom and medical department - and my understanding is that they won't be topping up the final 20 per cent of their pay.'

That's what happens to loyal staff who are not necessarily well paid in the first place at a cash strapped club.

Cawley added in relation to the pandemic, 'Charlton were in what can be described as a financial pickle before all this. Too easy to use that as an excuse for what has gone before.'

Rick Everitt says that the new Voice of the Valley has been printed and will be delivered to his Ramsgate fastness tomorrow for posting out tomorrow night.

Charlton's talent factory

According to a study by the CIES Football Observatory, Charlton lead the way among London clubs when it comes to producing talent for top tier clubs: Best producer at top level

Just a shame we haven't been able to hold on to some of them a bit longer or get a better price for them.

Monday 13 April 2020

Bowyer told club's future is secure

Lee Bowyer has been reassured by conversations with majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer in recent days. He has told Bowyer he will have the financial backing he needs. It would be nice to see the actual readies, though: Club's future is secure

Bowyer is pleased that with the way that the squad has pulled together. He commented: 'It may be hard to sustain if we still don’t know if and when we will play again. And it is tough mentally to keep running to the park. But they are good lads and they are getting on with it.'

When Charlton beat France

The remarkable and largely forgotten story of when Charlton, described as a 'great English team', played France in Paris and won 5-2: Dash to Paris

Friday 10 April 2020

Limited edition of VOTV to go on sale

A special limited lockdown edition of Voice of the Valley will be on sale at the end of next week. It will be posted out to subscribers as usual but it can be ordered as a single copy for you to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your own home at Voice of the Valley .

Satisfied customer Mr A.B. of Selhurst says: 'It always comes under plain cover in a brown envelope and my postman has never suspected I am an Addick.'

As well as full coverage of the ownership shambles at The Valley, it also contains the nostalgic meanderings of the usual suspects.

Missing the football

Photographer and VOTV contributor Kyle Andrews talks about missing the football, but also about what Charlton has meant to him in terms of changing his life. Nice to see Luke Young get star billing. I can see in my mind's eye his opening goal in the 2-0 evening victory against Liverpool at The Valley: Kyle Andrews

Thursday 9 April 2020

56 day finish to season

The English Football League thinks that games, including play offs, could be played in 56 days with two matches a week once it is safe to resume. Games would be played behind closed doors: League plan

If it started at the beginning of June, the season would then finish in mid-July, followed by a short break before the new season.

Hopefully games could be shown on Valley Pass, free for season ticket holders and at a nominal fee for others.

Loans and contracts would be extended.

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Two new directors appointed

A third Romanian - Andrei Mihail - has been appointed to board of Charlton owners East Street Investments, together with sports lawyer Chris Farnell, reports VOTV editor Rick Everitt.

Farnell, who previously acted for deposed Charlton chairman Matt Southall and has recently represented majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer, was Bury's lawyer in the run-up to their expulsion from the EFL last year. Among other deals, he was involved in the 2014 takeover of Leeds United by Massimo Cellino.

Monday 6 April 2020

Other clubs that I quite like

Whilst in lockdown and deprived of football I have been having various random reflections. I was thinking the other day about teams I quite like. It doesn't mean I don't want Charlton to beat them when we play them, but I am quite well disposed to them.

Top of the list comes Brighton and Hove Albion. Their rivalry with Palace qualifies them, but they also have links with the West Sussex branch of CASC of which I am a member. Indeed, after a Charlton victory at Huddersfield one Christmas I went with Brian Cole to see them play at Rotherham.

Going along the south coast, Southampton have to get a mention. My son-in-law is a season ticket holder as are two other good friends.

Carrying on along the south coast, I always look for the results of Exeter where I once lived. Torquay United have to battle against the indifference of an incoming retired population. I admire the dedication of Plymouth Argyle's Green Army with their long trips to away games.

Elsewhere in London I quite like Brentford who seem to be a similar club to Charlton. A good friend is a season ticket holder.

I find it difficult to identify a club in the Midlands as it is too close to home, but if pressed I would say Leicester City where I went to uni.

Heading further north, Tranmere Rovers are a friendly club embedded in their community. Burnley is a traditional club that punches above its weight. A good friend is a supporter and I went there to watch a game against Hull for his 60th birthday.

Last but not least, there is a special link between Charlton and Sunderland and I am looking forward to watching the Netflix series 'Sunderland till I die.'

What would be your nominations?

Saturday 4 April 2020

Millwall can't beat us today

We should have playing Millwall today. Apart from disappointment at missing out on their usual win, Millwall have been making big efforts to move their supporter base up market - with some success as the picture shows.

Friday 3 April 2020

Charlton losses total £70m

Reviewing Charlton's accounts, football finance guru Kieran Maguire notes that the Addicks have clocked up losses of £70 million over the years and are reliant on owner loans for survival.

The club paid out £133 in wages for every £100 of income. This is way above the recommended Uefa recommended maximum of £70, although such figures are not unusual in the Championship. The accounts, of course, relate to League One where it is a high figure.

Maguire thinks that the £21m of loans converted before the transaction with East Street suggests that he is owed about £48m. He comments, 'Still unclear whether ESI has 100% of the shares of Charlton and whether Duchacelet could end up with control if payments are not made.'

Thursday 2 April 2020

Field returning from injury

A recovering Sam Field could yet play a part in Charlton's campaign if the Championship season is not cancelled all together. The loan player chose to have an injection rather than an operation for his knee injury: Break in fixtures helps midfielder

Lewis Page is running again, but is some way off fitness.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Charlton owes Roland £67m

Charlton's debt to Roland Duchatelet stood at £67m last June, newly published accounts for 2018/19 state, reports VOTV editor Rick Everitt. Usual caveat - this includes what he paid the previous owners for the club in January 2014. RD left that sum on the books as debt and charged the club interest on its own purchase price.

Operating loss for 2018/19 was £11.9m compared to £13.3m in 17/18, mainly the result of additional income from play-offs and reduced operating expenses. Turnover was £7.9m, up from £7.3m. Staff costs were £10.4m from £10.2m, probably reflecting player bonuses.

The club reports it has received £4.2m for player disposals since June 30th last year and paid out £221k. This is up to date as the accounts were not finalised until March 24th. Profit on player disposals was £2.9m in 18/19, down from £4.0m in 17/18.