Sunday 31 May 2020

Happy 92nd birthday Derek Ufton

Derek Ufton is 92 today.  He was one of my childhood heroes.   He had repeated problems with a dislocated shoulder (20 times in all), but in those days you had to play on injured if you could.  

His main role was as a centre half so he scored just 14 goals in 277 league and cup matches for Charlton.

Here is a report of a match between West Ham and Charlton in 1958 when it all kicked off with Ufton as captain:

The report by Peter Lorenzo reads: 'The Quiet Man became a Very Angry Young Man for 90 seconds at Upton Park … and it ended with Charlton inside right John "Buck" Ryan, described by his team mates as "the quietest bloke in the club" being ordered off in the 68th minute of the top-of-the-table clash with West Ham.'

'But I must back Bolton referee Tom Cooper to the hilt. Said dapper Tom afterwards: "Ryan was ordered off for striking an opponent … there was no doubt about that." [Interesting that the referee felt able to explain his decision to the media which they won't do today]. Agreed. I saw tall, dark-haired Ryan aim blows at West Ham left back and skipper Noel Cantwell after they had clashed in the Charlton penalty area.'

'In the corridor outside his team's dressing room, Ryan, a 25-year-old softly-spoken Scot told me: "As Cantwell got up he grabbed a handful of mud and threw it in my face. [The pitch was almost waterlogged with clinging mud]. He was mad and that made me mad. I went to retaliate and the referee saw me. He came over, asked my name [no red cards] and said Off"'.

'Provocation there may have been for the unfortunate Ryan - "I've never even been spoken to before." But the referee had no option, despite the fierce and repeated protests of a pack of Charlton players, led by angry skipper Derek Ufton.'

'Said Ufton: "John never touched anyone. He couldn't. I was holding him all the time. In fact, it was Ryan who was punched."'

'Certainly West Ham's 6 ft. right back John Bond could count his lucky stars he was not accompanying Ryan on that lonely trek to the dressing room. Bond, for once losing his icy-cool, almost contemptuous composure, ran 15 yards to join the scramble which developed while Ryan was being restrained by Ufton. This was a completely unnecessary intervention by Bond who, in turn, had to be dragged away by team mate Andy Malcolm.'

'If the Ryan sending off was unfortunate for Charlton, it certainly gave West Ham no advantage. The depleted Charlton side seemed to find new strength.' The result was a 0-0 draw.

Charlton just missed out on promotion, losing the final home game of the season 3-4 to Blackburn. Under the present points system, they would have been promoted alongside West Ham.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Giving fans a stake in the club

I am an opponent of fan ownership of clubs for both empirical and theoretical reasons.  However, that does not mean that I dismiss the case for fans having a stake in their club, although I think that the Bundesliga model is overrated - and has been evaded by wealthy individuals and businesses.

A well-known Charlton fan (for the avoidance of doubt, not Rick Everitt) made the following comment which I think contains some very good points:  'When it comes to fan ownership, I’m cautious about it. Given the dislike of CASTrust by some fans is shows how fans can’t work together in large enough groups. It can work at lower levels and in an emergency, but you can’t run a business by committee. Having said that I do firmly believe in fans having a stake in their club, and its assets, as a way of at least making it more difficult for owners to take harmful actions like selling off club land for their own profit etc.'

The big challenge is how one might achieve this.   In the longer run, we need a proper regulatory framework for football and I have a book on this theme under contract with Agenda.  Do I have the answers yet?  No.

Charlton was, of course, a pioneer of the 'fan on the board' model which was eventually abandoned.  I remember aeons ago going to see the then fan director with another well-known Charlton fan who had been a key figure in the Valley Party.   I can't remember after all this time what we were concerned about, but all we got was a series of evasive answers.   We tried to console ourselves with a curry in Blackheath.

The particular fan director has gone to join Sam Bartram and I wouldn't want to criticise him personally, because I think the problem was structural.  As it so happened, his occupation helped him to give answers which confused and lacked substance.   Just to clarify, he was not one of the quite substantial Charlton following in a location on Millbank.   If they tell you their name is 'Brian', it isn't.

The structural problem was twofold.   First, Charlton had (and has) quite a complex board structure.  I was challenged to explain it on Radio 5 once and got myself tied up in knots.  However, as far as I could work out, the fan director was on a 'legitimising' board rather than a decision-making one, recalling Bagheot's distinction between 'dignified' and 'efficient' institutions.

The second issue was that the fan director was necessarily constrained by considerations of commercial confidentiality.

I'm not saying that the fans on the board achieved nothing and the more accomplished ones knew the value of a quiet word behind the scenes.   But I don't think reinventing them is the way forward, even if we had a board worthy of the name. 

Friday 29 May 2020

Charlton sold to unnamed buyer

Three or four parties are said to have been interested, so it may not be Huw Jenkins.

The Alice Through the Looking Glass World of Charlton Athletic

In the novel Alice Through the Looking Glass logic is reversed.   The good news is that Charlton staff have been paid this month.  The perplexing news is that no one knows who came up with the readies.

There have been no payslips so far and the money may only arrive in accounts later on today.

The latest responses from Marian Mihail are available here:

I need to read them more carefully, but my initial summary is 'I am from Bucharest, I know nothing.'  After a second reading, I don't know much more other than that two of the Range Rovers under the control of Matt Southall are still missing, but three have been returned.

Valley Gold will be able to submit two questions from its members next week.

Gallen fires the starting gun

West Midlands news sources are carrying a report attributed to Steve Gallen, Charlton's director of football.   

I have translated this from Brummie.  Having spoken to the league, he expects the Championship to return in the same time frame as the Premier League, i.e., about four weeks from now.

Gallen commented: 'It looks like it’s going to be four weeks of training.   You would normally do five or six weeks in pre-season. Three weeks did seem a little bit too tight, especially with the first week being non-contact.'

' I think everyone agrees we can manage alright on four weeks.  First week: non-contact. Second week: we’ll go back to contact. Third week: you’ll do more tactical stuff.  And the fourth week: preparing for matches as well as physical training, like you’d normally do during the season.'

Although the source is usually reliable, I didn't find it credible that the Addicks are considering friendlies against Premier League teams before the season starts again.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Ex directors back in the frame

Little has been heard for a while of the threatened legal action by the ex directors who have a charge on the training ground, but it appears they are limbering up for what is termed an 'injunctive remedy' which sounds quite painful.  VOTV editor Rick Everitt, who is evidently well informed about their intentions, gives the full SP:

While Huw Jenkins is interested in the basic offer of taking over the club's name plus an option to buy the stadium and training ground within five years, another interested party wants a complete purchase which complicates matters.   This would involve engaging with Roland on a price which might take some time to sort out.

Three players opt not to come back

Lee Bowyer told Radio 5 Breakfast this morning that three players have decided not to return to training this week.   It is not known which three players have taken this decision, but unconfirmed social media reports have referred to David Davis as one of them.

The serene supremo commented, 'We'll have to adapt and I'm sure there's players at other teams that have also said no.'

Currant Bun journalist Alan Nixon has pronounced on Charlton's finances.   I am not sure that he knows any more than I do: Richard Cawley he isn't.  It is widely known that around £400k is needed for wages and that there have been no sightings of the illusory cash injection.

Be that as it may, the journo stated: 'It’s twisting and turning all over the place. Don’t see admin though. Not aware of any debt that would put you there. Need money for wages though ... I’m told it comes whether there’s a takeover or not. '

Tory think tank backs fans taking a stake in clubs

One has to take friends where one can find them, but I was still a little surprised to see CAS Trust linking up in an approving tweet with a new think tank explicitly linked with the Conservative Party, Onward.  I think that it is better to avoid partisan endorsements of this kind.

Its mission is to revitalise the Conservative Party which it sees as intellectually exhausted and it might as well start in SE7 as anywhere.  It has decided to leap on a popular bandwagon by advocating a fan stake in clubs which is music to the ears of CAS Trust:

It is evident that the Bundesliga model has won favour with CAS Trust.   It is often held up as a shining example of fan involvement by football reformers, although these treatments are always uncritical and the reality is somewhat different.

Charlton was, of course, an early adopter of the 'fan on the board' model, but this did not work as well as was hoped.   I will discuss it in a future post.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Jenkins uncertain about Charlton bid

In an in depth interview with Wales Online, former Swansea City (Dinas Abertawe) chairman Huw Jenkins discusses his involvement in football and his interest in Charlton:

Jenkins is tentative about the Charlton deal and says it needs more consideration.   With wage payments due in a few days, the cash strapped club is edging closer towards administration - which would make it more attractive to some purchasers.

Jenkins sees it as a club with real potential.  'I have been looking generally for a while to find the right opportunity and over last few weeks I was put in touch with a representative of the Charlton owners. They are looking to move out quickly, for someone to take it on and change their fortunes around.'

'Good academy over the years, decent players, passionate fans. It's ripe for someone to come in and run the club well.  There are problems to overcome, but I still felt I could turn the football club around, get the supporters on board.

"The only thing that made me a little bit cautious is knowing what the EFL are doing.'   For example, will supporters be let back in next season?   That would make a big difference financially.

Bidders emerging out of the woodwork

The apparent low price for Charlton is attracting all sorts of individuals with mixed reputations to say they are interested in making bids for the club.  The latest is Joe Cala who has been a controversial figure at Gateshead:

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has commented on this latest development: 'As a rule of thumb I am sceptical of anyone wanting to pick up Charlton from Nimer without buying The Valley at the same time. It depends on what the existing deal with RD is, but I don’t believe it’s entirely backloaded as some assume.'

The Ramsgate-based fan added: 'The risk is that someone else without sufficient capital takes over, even with the best of intentions, hoping they can raise the cash on the pitch or of it.'

Bassini pulls out of Charlton deal

Laurence Bassini has told Sky Sports News that he has pulled out of a £1.2m deal to buy Charlton from Tahnoon Nimer:

He said that one consideration was the presence of Roland Duchatelet who owns the stadium and training ground.

Bassini is maintaining his interest in Bolton Wanderers.

Because of the lockdown the streets around The Valley remained quiet, but no doubt a few fans were having a celebratory drink at home.

Much now depends on Huw Jenkins.     As I told a fellow Addick this morning, 'Mae Bassini yn twyllodru, mae Jenkins yn ymddangos yn weddus.'

Tuesday 26 May 2020

No, I am not in

CAS Trust has invited supporters of Charlton to sign up to the concept of fan ownership:

No money is asked for at this stage and it is up to each fan to decide what they want to do.  I won't be signing.

I do not think it would be possible to raise the money to buy the club, but in particular to fund the losses unavoidable in the EFL, even more so after the pandemic.

Even if those funds could be raised, I would find it difficult to actively support a fan owned club.  But I appreciate that many are attracted by the idea, although perhaps they should read the comments of football finance experts like Kieran Maguire.

Some Addicks have contacted me to say that they can understand why CAST might want to build up a database, but are not clear why this appears to being undertaken as a subset of their normal activities.

I do think that CAST should have consulted its members before going ahead with an initiative of this kind. The last thing we want in current circumstances is a split among organised supporters.

Charlton need one leadership says Jenkins

Former Dinas Abertawe chairman Huw Jenkins has spoken to Sky Sports News about his interest in Charlton.

He said: 

“Charlton have a number of things attached to the club with the current owners, past directors and past owner. All of those still have a link to the club and cause a lot of uncertainty. I was fully aware there were big challenges to try to correct all of that.

“Those three or four different things that could potentially impact on the field it can be a big hindrance. The quicker those are resolved under one leadership then that will be a good thing for the future.

“It’s not down to me fully, it’s down to the current owners and their need to quickly do a deal. Personally, I need more time to be clear and just move forward cautiously to make sure things are right for myself. The other side I’m not in control of, the need of the current owners and the timescale they need to operate in.”

Jenkins was Swansea’s chairman from 2002 to 2019. His time with the Welsh side ended sourly but Charlton fans will be hoping that he can secure a deal to buy the club to steer them away from uncertainty.

Monday 25 May 2020

Jenkins confirms bid

Huw Jenkins has confirmed that he is keen to take over Charlton for £1 million, but says that his period of exclusivity has expired and he is reliant on Tahnoon  Nimer being willing to sell:

It's a done deal says Bassini

According to the authoritative Richard Cawley of the SLP, 'Laurence Bassini says that he has agreed a deal to buy Charlton. He says he is not involved with Huw Jenkins. "I've made an offer, it's been accepted - the lawyers are dealing with it."'

I must say that I would have difficulty in actively supporting a club run by Bassini.

An element of caution is necessary about the claim he has made in a fast moving and far from transparent situation.   Richard Cawley has commented, 'I wouldn’t be surprised if parties being played off against each other. Would not be shocked if multiple offers had been accepted.'

This blog post argues that ownership by Bassini would be the third episode in a horror movie for Charlton and that doesn't include the so-called 'spivs' (entrepreneurs of the highest probity and integrity - ed)

Sunday 24 May 2020

Former Swansea chairman linked with Addicks bid

Well-regarded former Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins is being linked with a bid for Charlton.  I find this more credible than the Bassini story:

He was appointed OBE for his services to football and also awarded a honorary degree by Coleg Prifysgol Abertawe:

For the avoidance of doubt, my consultancy role in Abertawe does not give me access to any privileged information.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Conflicting stories over Bassini

Laurence Bassini has confirmed his interest in Charlton, but has said he also retains an interest in Bolton and will decide which one to pursue over the weekend:

As noted in our earlier story, whilst the EFL's fit and proper persons test is very elastic, it is doubtful whether he would meet it.

Director Marian Mihail has, however, denied that the club has been sold to Bassini, although some feel that the Romanian is capable of being economical with the actualit√©:

Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt commented, 'there are multiple parties looking at buying Charlton ranging from legitimate and credible to very undesirable. How much Mihail knows about that is, of course, unknown. But I don’t think the shitshow is anywhere near over, sadly.'

Disregard Bassini rumours

I would disregard rumours on Twitter that ESI are on the verge of selling to controversial former Watford owner Laurence Bassini.

As Richard Cawley tweeted yesterday, 'Bassini claimed to have an agreement to buy the club, but there were reasons he reckoned he would not proceed.'

One of those could be that he would have difficulty passing the EFL's fit and proper persons test.

Bassini has form as a football club owner, having been in charge of Watford from April 2011 to June 2012, and his record does not need forensic investigation to assess,  Having previously been bankrupt, Bassini, who stated his business then as property development, borrowed a total of £4.6m from two brothers, Giacomo and Vincent Russo, to help him finance the Hornets.

The accounts for his year in charge, 2011-12, stated that Watford had made a £7m operating loss.In March 2013 a Football League independent disciplinary commission of three QCs found Bassini guilty of dishonesty and deception and banned him for three years from being involved in a position of authority at any Football League club. It followed an inquiry into loans he took out of £2.6m. 

Charlton's first lost season

I wrote about the curtailed Second World War season in the last Voice of the Valley.   As that is still on sale, I cannot reproduce the whole article yet.   However, here are a few highlights.

There were only 8,608 spectators at The Valley for the match against Manchester United on Saturday September 2nd, the day before war with Germany broke out.    Charlton won 2-0 with Bartram keeping goal well.

After the outbreak of war, the Government initially closed all football grounds and places of entertainment to prevent large numbers of people gathering in one place, but this order was rescinded after a few days.

While wartime arrangements were sorted out, clubs played friendly games and Charlton were commended in the press as ‘pioneers’ for organising fixtures on Saturday 23rd and Saturday 30th September.   For the game against Fulham on September 30th Charlton printed tickets numbered one to eight thousand.   These were evenly distributed among the turnstiles and spectators were given half a torn ticket on payment for admission.  Once the figure of eight thousand was reached, the turnstiles were closed. Charlton lost the match 0-1.

Following the outbreak of war, the players were let go, although their registrations were retained. Jimmy Seed was retained as secretary-manager but on a salary halved from £1,560 a year to £780, down from just over £100,000 a year to just over £50,000 at today’s prices.  Trainer Jimmy Trotter was kept on at £5 a week, essentially a decent skilled worker’s wage, £330 at today’s prices.

A meeting of London clubs gave impetus to the establishment of regional competitions on the lines of those instigated in the First World War after the first season had been played on the usual competitive basis.  Travelling to away matches would be restricted to approximately 50 miles.   

Charlton started playing in the South Regional League on October 21st when they lost 8-4 to Arsenal at White Hart Lane, having three penalties awarded against them.   Their first home match at The Valley saw them beat Southend United 8-1 in front of a crowd of just 1,291.   The maximum crowd allowed was 16,000 and the gate fell just short of this for the home match against Arsenal in March 1940.

Why Charlton declined in the 1950s

The fanzine of my non-league club, Leamington, asked me to write something about Charlton so here it is:

I am, of course, something of an oddity at the Brakes as the only Charlton fan.   Having only lived in Leamington since 1974, I do not qualify as a 'townsman'.

Some of the material in this article has appeared in Voice of the Valley.

The article in the fanzine on goalkeeper Tony Breeden is rather long, but in my mind he rivals Sam Bartram as an eccentric genius, albeit at a lower level.   He is the only keeper I have ever seen score from a free kick in his penalty area or score a penalty against Wolves at Molineux.

Friday 22 May 2020

CAS Trust complain about 'eviction'

CAS Trust say that relegating Charlton a points per game basis would amount to 'eviction' from the Championship:

The Trust says that the four misconduct investigations should be completed before any relegations take place (the one relating to Birmingham City is at an appeal stage and is likely to lead to a small points deduction, if any).   These investigations are well behind schedule and even if they were completed any adverse decision is likely to be challenged in the courts by the club concerned.

Charlton are in no position to mount a legal challenge against any relegation decision.  Whilst there might be a legal case for any club relegated out of the EFL because of their shareholder status, I am doubtful whether any decision relating to the Championship would be overturned by the courts.   If the decision has been taken in accordance with League rules, the fact that a club would be unfairly disadvantaged is not in my view a basis for a legal challenge.

The best hope is that the season resumes.   It seems that there is a contingency plan for doing that, but whether it is implemented remains to be seen.

There is real interest in buying Charlton

Richard Cawley of the SLP comments, 'I know of one interested party in Charlton. Indications are that Matt Southall  is asking for at least a high six-figure fee for his stake in the football club.'

The furloughed reporter also commented, 'I think MS and TN think the club is worth a lot more than the £1 they paid for it.  Worth bearing in mind that no money has been put in since ESI took over the football club.'

In the last VOTV Rick Everitt said that a number of credible parties were interested in the club which does have real potential in the right hands unlike the last three sets of owners.

Big Dave Lockwood has commented, 'Here we go again, the circus is back in town.'

Thursday 21 May 2020

Championship to restart on June 20th

The Daily Express is claiming that the Championship will restart on Saturday June 20th.   With one Saturday game and one midweek game each week, the programme would be completed by mid-July, allowing just enough time for the play offs to be held by 31 July and the expiry of player contracts.

Only Hull City is said to oppose the plan.

The report has not been confirmed by any other source.

EFL looks like scoring another own goal

The EFL is falling behind schedule in its attempt to deal with Championship clubs who sought to get round financial fair play regulations by selling their stadiums and sponsors buying them back.  This is relevant to Charlton in case the season is ended on a points per game basis.

The commission is not expected to sit until late June to deal with cases against Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County and Reading.  It may have to push the cases into next season.   If the season is not finished, then the EFL probably cannot hand out points deductions to clubs, if they are penalised at all.  It may also be difficult to establish a legal case for stating that the valuations of the stadiums were unfair.

Once again the EFL demonstrates that it is not fit for purpose.   Its staff is very small for the range of tasks it seeks to undertake.   Some of these might be better handled by an independent regulatory body which took account of a wider range of stakeholders including fans.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Could a points per game relegation be challenged in the courts?

According to The Athletic Barnsley are one of several clubs considering legal action against the English Football League if they are relegated this season.  However, the report states that Birmingham City, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday will be allowed to start next season in the Championship on minus points because of financial fair play sanctions (the sale of stadiums to sponsors).

Derby are 12 points clear of Charlton in 22nd and Sheffield Wednesday are three points worst off than the Rams.

It is not clear on what basis the legal action could be brought (Hearts are also contemplating legal action given their relegation from the SPL).  Just because something is unfair or rough justice does not mean it is illegal.  Legal actions often succeed on procedural grounds, but I cannot detect any prima facie procedural failures.

With Charlton locked in a civil war and fast running out of money, the Addicks are in no position to launch a legal action about a points-per-game relegation.   I am also doubtful whether any such action would succeed, although I am not a lawyer and just expressing a personal opinion.

Palace are not the world's oldest club

Some Nigels have been claiming that Crystal Palace are the oldest football club in the world, but this nonsensical claim is rebutted by historians here:

I suppose that when one looks at the condition of the main stand at Selhurst one could believe it had been there for ever and a day.

The historical document is rather long so the main points are as follows:

* The Crystal Palace Cricket Club (formed 1857) and the Crystal Palace Football Club (1861) were not subsidiaries of the Crystal Palace Company but their tenants, paying rent for the use of the park.

* There are no records of Crystal Palace being affiliated to the FA after 1875, nor did they play any matches or receive any coverage in the press.

* The teams that played just three matches as Crystal Palace in 1895, 1896 and 1897 were made up primarily of Corinthians' players. There are no records of a Crystal Palace club being affiliated to the FA at the time even though the park now contained the largest football stadium in London.

* Attempts by the Crystal Palace Company to form a professional club in 1901-02 failed because the FA considered there would be a conflict of interest if the owner of the FA Cup Final venue also owned a professional football team.

* When Crystal Palace Football & Athletic Co. Ltd was formed in 1905 it was as a separate company under the direction of an independent board and while the Crystal Palace Company invested heavily in shares, they did not control the new club.

Saturday 16 May 2020

The Glory Days under Curbs

Talksport look at the glory days at Charlton in a very full account, talking to Chris Powell and Alan Curbishley:

Discussing his transfer philosophy, Curbs says: 'I wanted a hungry player. Perhaps a little bit angry. Going back to Danny Mills, he was in the reserves at Norwich and I had seen him a few times and was a little bit angry about his situation and wanted to do better and was hungry. I liked to bring in players that could play in a couple of positions.'

Glynn Snodin, reserve team manager and first team coach under Curbs recalled: 'Curbs was 24/7 and that’s all he wanted to do. He loved the club and wanted it to be successful. We were all working as one for the first team. Everybody has to work for the first team and everybody has to work for the manager.' 

Chris Powell commented, 'It was great to be a Charlton player and a Charlton fan at that time.'

Lyle Taylor interview

An interview with Lyle Taylor is available on You Tube, doesn't make for happy listening about how contract negotiations were handled:

One of the interviewers referred to Charlton as a circus and Taylor said in reply, 'I can't see this ending well.'

Friday 15 May 2020

Southall threatens to sue CAS Trust

Matt Southall has threatened to sue the CAS Trust for defamation because of their publication of Marian Mihail's answers to their questions.   Their response is here, together with his e-mail:

In support of Charlton fans football author Martin Calladine has tweeted: 'In my opinion all football fans should deplore this.  Charlton's former chairman appears to be threatening the supporters trust with action for defamation, seemingly as part of his battle with his former business partners for control of the club.  Have the fans not suffered enough?'

100 new supporters have joined the Trust in the past day including Tracy Leaburn.

Without new funds Charlton will run out of money

A lack of new funds this week would leave Charlton unable to pay wages or creditors, Marian Mihail has told CAS Trust in the latest response to supporters' questions:

We are assured that additional options for funding are available, but it is not clear what these might be, presumably borrowing.

There is no sign of the promised cash injection and Mihail admits that its absence may affect the lifting of the transfer embargo and the playing budget for next season, already dented by the pandemic.

I find the explanation of why there can be no more investment before Matt Southall is removed rather convoluted and unconvincing.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Bowyer says PPG relegation would kill Charlton

In a wide-ranging interview with Sky, Lee Bowyer has said that Charlton being relegated on  a points per game basis would kill the club:

It would be unfair to relegate a club which had been in the bottom three for just six days.

Bowyer also expresses his concerns about player contracts with particular reference to Lyle Taylor.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Nimer is trying to sell

Tahnoon Nimer is trying to sell Charlton, says VOTV editor Rick Everitt.   There are a number of interested parties, some credible, some less so.  Apart from Massimo Cellino, there is Watford owner Laurence Bassini who claims that Charlton owe him money.

He has also been banned by the EFL which is increasingly looking like a qualification for taking charge at The Valley.  Read more here:

Cellino to swoop for Charlton?

The Addicks have a record of attracting controversial owners and former Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino could be the next in line according to Leeds sources: Cellino

Should he come we can expect to see a managerial merry go round as he got through six managers at Leeds, earning a reputation as a 'manager eater'.

Cellino was arrested in February 2013 with the mayor of Quartu Sant'Elena, Mauro Contini, and the public works commissioner Stefano Lilliu, for attempted embezzlement and fraudulent misrepresentation following an investigation into the construction of the Stadio Is Arenas. Cellino was held in custody for over two weeks, in a case which remains unresolved.

Cellino's arrest warrant called him a man of "marked criminal tendencies ... capable of using every kind of deception to achieve his ends". Cellino has two prior criminal convictions, for deceiving the Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of £7.5m in 1996 and for false accounting at Cagliari in 2001.

He has been banned by the Football League on two occasions. Fuller details of his career here: Massimo Cellino

The news of their prospective new saviour has not gone down well with Charlton fans, one tweeting, 'Why do we attract such frauds?'

CAS Trust have issued a detailed statement on the steps they are taking to protect the future of the club: < CAS Trust statement

Friday 8 May 2020

Funds remain a distant hope

The weekly round of questions posed by CAS Trust to Marian Mihail hardly provide illuminating or reassuring answers, but it's worth the attempt: Response to supporter questions

He said: 'I appreciate the uncertainty of when money will be injected into the club is very tough for fans. Unfortunately I can’t provide a date because I don’t know when this will happen. What I can say though is that Tahnoon Nimer has said he will inject funds into the club to keep it going when the club needs it. I am also aware that injecting large additional funds is not viable for Tahnoon Nimer at the moment with uncertainties around the EFL investigation, the ex-directors potential unpicking of the takeover and the presence of Mr Southall.'

The line is that Southall hasn't stepped down and has put in another bill for £2m. The question that then arises in my mind is why can't we get rid and, even if we can't, why is that an excuse for not coming up with the readies?

Club cannot afford to test players

Lee Bowyer has warned the football authorities that Charlton cannot afford to test players every two days for coronavirus.

The shell shocked supremo is reported in the South London Press as saying that Charlton do not have the cash flow to meet some of the preconditions for playing being discussed by the Premier League as part of Project Restart.

Bowyer said, 'If we are expected to buy kits for every player to be used twice a week we cannot afford it - not every two days. Those tests are not going to be an option unless the EFL pays for them.'

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Police swoop for Southall Range rRvers

Lewisham Police are recovering two Range Rovers being used by Matt Southall. Allegations have been made of misappropriation of £1.8m of funds by the former chairman: Police seize Range Rovers

It is implied that one of the vehicles was being used by Southall's partner.

Monday 4 May 2020

Bowyer can't see season restarting

Lee Bowyer cannot see the season restarting. The safety of players has to be a key consideration. At the moment they are on a slow schedule: Bowyer interview

Friday 1 May 2020

Abu Dhabi funds remain a mirage

CAS Trust have published the latest set of answers to supporters' questions: Milhail responds

The opening paragraph from Marian Mihail gives grounds for concern: 'We all thought funds were needed in April, which is why Tahnoon Nimer said he would put funds into the club by then. However, we were able to get through the month without an injection or loan. This was very close and funding will definitely be needed in May. Tahnoon Nimer knows this and remains committed to injecting funds when the football club needs it.'

Mihail continues, 'I mentioned last week, injecting large additional funds is not viable for Tahnoon Nimer at the moment with uncertainties around the EFL investigation, the ex-directors potential un-picking of the takeover and the presence of Mr Southall.'

How long is it going to take to deal with Southall's depredations (although it is claimed he is still submitting invoices)? As a CAS Trust question notes, this looks likes an excuse for not injecting funds. I hope a blame game isn't being started with the ex-directors who may offer us a lifeline.

The news that Claudiu Florica has a qualification in avionics engineering reminded me uncannily of Dowie's degree in rocket science. However, apparently the Romanians are only here temporarily to clear up the mess. Marian Mihail appears to have met Tahnoon Nimer just once.

As one fan has commented on Twitter, 'You can't money into a football club when that money doesn't exist in the first place.'

Louis Mendez notes, 'They don’t comment much about Shaun McHugh (the Finance guy) but he was one of the guys lead out of The Valley on that night of the Southall stand-off and is currently suspended.'

VOTV editor Rick Everitt comments: 'Interesting that Mihail claims to know nothing about Van Seventer and Hirst. Bear in mind these were long-term ADBD associates of Nimer and the former, at least, was at the O2 with Florica and Nimer on February 1st.'

Relegation fears fade

It looks as if the EFL is not going to relegate any clubs, but promote the top three clubs (presumably on a points per game basis). This will produce a more crowded fixture list given that it's not clear what would happen with the Premiership.

There is talk of playing games behind closed doors until Christmas which would hit EFL clubs hard. Charlton are particularly vulnerable because of the cash injection mirage.