Tuesday 29 September 2020

We're in the money - but can't spend it

Charlton are now in the money under Thomas Sandgaard, but are constrained in how they spend it because of the new salary cap says Lee Bowyer.  Most clubs were able to do their spending in the summer before it came in: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/charlton-athletic-boss-lee-bowyer-weve-got-money-now-but-spending-it-isnt-easy/

The club was close to having to sell a key player to pay wages until Sandgaard took over: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/charlton-athletic-boss-lee-bowyer-we-were-close-to-having-to-sell-a-player-to-pay-wages/

Sunday 27 September 2020

Friday 25 September 2020

It's a done deal!

In an open letter to Charlton fans, Thomas Sandgaard said he wanted them to know before anyone else that he had completed his acquisition of the club.   This is now available on the official site: https://www.cafc.co.uk/news/view/5f6dd60385c8a/an-open-letter-to-charlton-fans-from-thomas-sandgaard

Sandgaard has confirmed that he has passed EFL's OADT test and that he expects official confirmation that the transfer embargo is gone - adds "it kind of is already".

Richard Cawley reports: 'Sandgaard's deal has seen him increased the lease on The Valley and TG to 15 years. Says costs on that side have risen as part of deal with Duchatelet. It buys everyone peace of mind that we'll keep playing at The Valley and have the training ground."

Thomas Sandgaard: "There won't be any drama. There is nothing to be nervous about going forward - we can focus 100% on the club and getting back to the Premier League."

Thomas Sandgaard describes it as "an entirely clean deal of everything - versus before when things were interconnected in some way. That is totally undone, otherwise we couldn't have done deal."

Sandgaard on the lease of the land: "It might be the right time to negotiate on those then [at some stage towards end of the agreement]."

Four signings are ready to go, one of them Adam Matthews, reports Richard Cawley. The first signing is Ben Watson: https://addicksdiary3.blogspot.com/2020/09/first-signing-of-sandgaard-era.html Akin Famewo is the latest addition: https://addicksdiary3.blogspot.com/2020/09/another-new-signing.html

Thursday 24 September 2020

Update from Sandgaard

Thomas Sandgaard has discussed the latest position with the takeover: https://addicksdiary3.blogspot.com/2020/09/property-is-problem-with-takeover.html

And a later statement: https://addicksdiary3.blogspot.com/2020/09/sandgaard-its-tearing-me-apart.html

Richard Cawley of the SLP analyses Charlton's financial situation: https://addicksdiary3.blogspot.com/2020/09/charltons-financial-plight.html

All stories are now posted on the Third Division Diary.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Monday 21 September 2020

This blog is now suspended

This blog is suspended until Charlton return to the Championship, hopefully next year.

All stories will appear on Addick's Third Division Diary, links will be provided for the next few days: https://addicksdiary3.blogspot.com/2020/09/no-acceptable-bids-for-bonne.html 

Saturday 19 September 2020

Valley of Frustration

It was a frustrating afternoon for the 1,000 fans let into The Valley as Doncaster Rovers secured a 3-1 victory over Charlton.

I went to have my flu jab this morning and my GP asked me, 'Are Charlton still crap?'  Well, on this performance, not quite good enough, but also a little unlucky.

Those of us watching remotely once again had to struggle with a failure of the audio.

On eight minutes Washington broke into the right of goal and his shot ran across the front of goal, Gilbey was just unable to connect to nudge it in.  On 11 minutes a low shot from Gilbey was tipped wide for a corner.

On 13 minutes Morgan put in a cross, Bonne was wide, but was offside anyway.

On 24 minutes Gomes put in a snap shot out of nowhere from distance, Amos was wrong footed and the visitors went 0-1 ahead against the run of play.

Just past the half hour, Amos spilled a Doncaster free kick, but Morgan came to the rescue.  Doncaster were playing with confidence and Amos had to make a good save on 40 minutes.   Pratley had to put in some good defensive work as the half came to a close.

Half time: Addicks 0, Vikings 1

There was a change of formation for Charlton at the break with three at the back.  The ball was given away sloppily in midfield and Barker scored an own goal to make it 0-2.   James was given a yellow card for a foul on Barker.

Washington drew a save and then Amos had to save smartly from Forster-Caskey.   On 60 minutes Williams replaced Baker.

John-Jules made it 0-3, it was way too easy.   The defence didn't have a great day.

After a Charlton corner Morgan kept the ball alive well and Washington scored with a header to give Charlton some hope.

The game became very open and end to end, but the skill level was not high from either side.  Doncaster brought on the 39-year old Coppinger.  In a last throw of the dice, Lapslie replaced Morgan on 85 minutes.

In the five minutes added on, Gilbey put in a strong shot from distance that hit the crossbar.

The Vikings could return north pleased with their raid.

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer fears that complacency may have set in among his players, there is no competition for places: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/charlton-boss-lee-bowyer-fears-complacency-may-have-set-in-after-doncaster-defeat/

The arrangements at the game were featured on the ITV evening news, including interviews with fans.

Four changes in line up

Following the midweek Carabao Cup fixture against West Ham United, Lee Bowyer has brought Connor Washington, Alex Gilbey, Jake Forster-Caskey and Albie Morgan back into the starting XI, whilst Charlie Barker makes his second league start for the club.

Ben Amos continues in goal whilst Barker, Deji Oshilaja, Darren Pratley and Ben Purrington make up the defence. Forster-Caskey will once again feature in the centre of midfield alongside Morgan and Gibley with Alfie Doughty operating on the right-hand side. Debut goal scorer Connor Washington will once again take position on the left, with Macauley Bonne looking to open his account for the season through the middle.

Josh Davison returns to the bench for the first time this season alongside fellow academy graduates Ashley Maynard-Brewer, George Lapslie and James Vennings. Erhun Oztumer, Jonny Williams and loanee Dylan Levitt make up the bench, after all three featured at the London Stadium in midweek.

Jason Pearce remains out and will be in the Valley Pass commentary box for today's game, while Chuks Aneke misses the game through illness.  (Unfortunately, Covid-19).

Is this a way round transfer embargo?

VOTV editor Rick Everitt tweets from his Ramsgate fastness: 'Speculation only but one potential way round the transfer embargo would be for Thomas Sandgaard to provide source and sufficiency of funds to ESI1. He’d have to make sure they couldn’t run off with his money and that ESI2 couldn’t get it, obviously.'

The Rickster continues, 'Since he’s applied for the OADT he’s not in the same place as Farnell, who hadn’t applied when made a director of ESI. Unlikely EFL could or would disqualify him as a relevant person. Sequence of events might matter.'

'Note that the money doesn’t have to be spent on Charlton, it just has to be available if needed.'

It's an interesting idea, but I am not sure it is a runner.

Fans in stadium will make a difference

The presence of 1,000 Charlton fans in The Valley this afternoon will make a difference to the intensity of the game, says Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Moore: https://www.doncasterroversfc.co.uk/news/2020/september/moore-believes-fans-will-make-a-difference/

Moore said it will be a tough game for the visitors who have to improve their passing game and show greater fluidity.

Sky News had an item last night on the preparations for the game with extensive shots of The Valley and the reporter leaving through the turnstile.  Lee Bowyer was interviewed, apparently from his gaff.

Doncaster Rivers finished 9th in League One last season and Four Four Two forecast a 8th place this season.  They comment, 'Doncaster appeared capable of breaking into the promotion reckoning at times last season, only to be undone by inconsistency.'

Rovers were once known as the Butterscotch Men, but changed their name to The Vikings. The contributor of the fan file states: 'This season will be different to last because we won't have Kieran Sadler to bring one in from 20 yards in the absence of a real goalscorer up front.  It could be a long season.' He forecasts a top half finish without troubling the play offs.

The CAS Trust preview notes the contrast with the play off semi-final sixteen months ago: https://www.castrust.org/2020/09/doncaster-a-slightly-less-momentous-occasion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=doncaster-a-slightly-less-momentous-occasion

Friday 18 September 2020

Super Hoops bid for Bonne

QPR have made a second bid for Macauley Bonne: https://talksport.com/football/efl/761254/championship-transfer-news-qpr-charlton-bid-bonne/ 

However, Charlton have made it clear he is not for sale.  

Thursday 17 September 2020

Sandgaard speaks out

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports:  'Just spoken to Thomas Sandgaard. He's made it clear still wants to buy Charlton - but also indicating not prepared to make deal with Lex Dominus.. Says it goes against his own "personal integrity".'

"I'm working with some of the smartest people to figure how how we make that happen without dealing with certain people."

Sandgaard saying he will be back in UK on Saturday for the Doncaster match."Right now I've probably got more stubborn than ever. I'm even more determined now."

Sandgaard: "What really matters to me now is we show the world that the fans want this deal done. That might actually have an impact - and obviously I'm hoping the EFL will take notice."

Richard Cawley comments: 'One of the key questions, to my mind, is whether the EFL would approve any takeover while this case is ongoing. [Probably not in my view]. If the answer is no, it would give us slightly more clarity on things.'

Thomas Sandgaard has tweeted: 'If you still want me, @SandgaardThomasas the owner please change your profile picture to the Charlton logo to show your support.' This strikes me as a bit naff and gimmicky, but some well-respected fans have already done it.

Appeal allowed, injunction until November

The appeal has been allowed and an injunction granted until November. The case will be heard on November 23rd,

This is no surprise to me given the evidence put forward and the interventions by the judges.   This is a dispute between two parties and the well-being of the club and its fans have little or no standing in legal terms.

I doubt whether the EFL will move to expel Charlton given the collapse of Macclesfield and problems at Southend, but the transfer embargo is likely to continue and there may be other sanctions.

Rick Everitt has commented: 'The very widely circulated idea that this hearing doesn't matter because Thomas Sandgaard has a workaround will now be put to the test.'

Later he expressed some skepticism, stating 'Pretty clear already there is no oven-ready workaround to buy Charlton and we’re still stuck in the same bind as a result of today’s court hearing. Marian Mihail is hopelessly out of his depth, which considering who appointed him is perhaps no surprise.'

Everitt adds: 'Judge paid tribute to Lauren Kreamer's efforts in his judgement - I think he was acknowledging that she did the best she could against an experienced QC with very inadequate evidence from Marian Mihail and Panorama Magic. No reflection on her.'

Richard Cawley of the South London Press has tweeted: 'If this doesn't get resolved somehow - and very quickly - the player deals Charlton have lined up are gone. There were four ready to go, in terms of incomings. But that pales into insignificance if club goes into administration.'

Court states that Judge [Pearce] was right to conclude that if injunction refused LD will have lost opportunity to buy unique asset. Ownership brings intangible benefits that cannot be compensated in damages. Appeals turns on whether Panorama could be adequately compensated by damages. Rick Everitt comments, 'At first sight, judge's conclusion is counter-intuitive.'

LJ Lewison finds judge's view that it would lose opportunity to sell difficult to understand. Panorama has provided no evidence of impending sale or its terms. Nearest is saying that it is committed to finding a buyer, who would also have to pass EFL tests. "Panorama must live with its decision to remain silent".

Lewison: What impressed previous judge was evidence of Mihail about potential consequences for the club itself. [But my interpretation these are not material to the case].

ESI that has not shown it was not able to finance the club sustainably. Quite unclear how grant or refusal of injunction would affect EFL sanctions. Mihail's evidence depends on scenario that Elliott wins at trial and can't operate club. Should look at what happens if LD fails at trial. Difficult to see how Elliott can fall into relevant person category in that situation.

Hard to see how grant of injunction would put the club at further risk. Embargoes in place before the SPA signed and arose out of ESI, not LD. Mihail does not explain what continuation of embargo caused by injunction. We also know club has begun season.

No explanation of how embargoes would be lifted if the injunction is refused. Gallen's evidence is that would affect transfer windows, but no ability of club's ability to pay for any players if the injunction is lifted.

Gallen gave evidence that performance and income would improve but no evidence that this would happen. Unsafe to assume that loss of income translates pound for pound into share value.

Mihail does not give any evidence about how the issues could be resolved in the time between now and the trial in November. Would be a "bold move" to expel the club while Elliott's OADT its under appeal. Pearce supplied the wrong legal hypothesis.

Interim costs of £25k have been granted.

A game of bluff

As we await the verdict in today's case involving Charlton, VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted: ' Feels to me like there is a game of bluff going on from all sides - PM put forward no evidence of imminent takeover that could be imperilled - are they simply here to try to avoid costs? LD no obvious intention to operate CAFC but want the proceeds of sale.'

'One takeaway was that Elliott claims to have assets of £12m - assuming they are not all liquid that isn’t likely to be enough on its own to get past the EFL. Claims he hasn’t got as far as source and sufficiency yet.'

Our day in court

Proceedings have started on time in the latest case involving Charlton.   Lauren Kreamer is representing Panorama Magic, with Paul Chaisty for the applicant, Lex Dominus, as before. Judges are in. Lord Justice Levison and Lord Justice Males.

Chaisty is arguing that Steve Gallen evidence is not relevant, reports Rick Everitt. Respondent has produced no evidence whatsoever to explain state of negotiations with third party in any sale - the current state of play - says Chaisty.

Chaisty: "There is no evidence from the respondent as to what it might lose in terms of financial consideration if an injunction is granted until November. There is total silence in respect of that. No evidence from respondent to show what the position is going to be if an injunction is refused." (reports Richard Cawley)

No evidence as to what contract, price or date of completion or identity of third party, says Chaisty. Extremely important if respondent says irremediable damage if injunction granted. No evidence third party would disappear either. Mihail's evidence is speculation about what risk to the club is in injunction grated, but nothing to show what happens if it isn't - Chaisty (via Rickster)

No evidence put forward to show club has spoken to EFL about the position which might prevail in a range of scenarios. Doomsday scenario disproved by the fact that the club has started the season, says Chaisty. Court left with speculation about potential consequences but with no evidence to form a view as to likelihood.

LJ Lewison says Mihail sets out hypothesis that injunction is granted and LD succeed at trial then ties consequences to that scenario. So to determine whether damages are an adequate solution for Panorama is that injunction is granted by LD loses at trial.

LJ Lewison says that Judge Pearce's ruling may be based on the wrong hypothesis. Chaisty says that MM assumed that Elliott's disqualification is final ruling, which is false.

Elliott pursuing right of appeal with arbitration panel, says Chaisty. EFL disqualification based on misleading evidence provided by Elliott about the SPA. MM's evidence has no foundation because there is an appeal process.

Chaisty saying Paul Elliott pursuing an appeal to overturn the EFL decision on August 7 relating to the OADT ruling."If he succeeds at trial we know damages will not be an adequate remedy. Panorama is a company based in Abu Dhabi with no money."

LJ Males says more fundamental point is whether Mihail has given any evidence about what will happen if injunction granted and claim ultimately fails.

Chaisty saying Mihail's evidence that Elliott can no longer appeal the EFL verdict is "totally misconceived". Basically MM saying that SPA agreement alone wouldn't be enough to push through a deal for CAFC. Chaisty making point that individual can appeal OADT test.

Both judges have wanted Chaisty to focus on Mihail's witness statement, that's why we're on that subject now.

No evidence put forward that EFL embargo will change if the injunction refused, says Chaisty. Mihail suggests club will be expelled if Elliott owns club but cannot be a relevant person under EFL rules. Chaisty says this ignores commercial position for LD.

CAFC Facts and Stats comments, 'Mihail getting hammered again.'

Only statement re third party is that Nimer remains committed to finding a buyer. Court unable to find evidence from Mihail that ESI would suffer any harm from injunction, says Chaisty.

Steve Gallen's evidence criticised for making statements as if they are based on fact. Gallen not now a director of the club, Chaisty tells judges. Gallen explains reason for embargoes, and suggests that cause of them remaining is Elliott's disqualification.

LJ Lewison says not down to Elliott, underlying documents show that ESI has failed to satisfy source and sufficiency of funds. LD hasn't reached that stage with the EFL. LJ Lewison making clear that EFL embargo is down to ESI not passing the governing body's criteria.

Chaisty - source and sufficiency of funding for PE has not been dealt with yet. "Mr Gallen is confusing my client with ESI when he says they've had seven months to provide EFL."

LJ Males asks what happens if Panorama does suffer damages by losing sales, what evidence do we have that LD would be good for any damages? Not a difficult question. Does it have any assets?

Chaisty says difficult to understand. LD dependent on the support of Elliott. Chaisty says that Heller offered £100k for the shares of ESI at one point. Elliott offered guarantee of £50k, presumably against damages.

LJ Lewison suggets proceeds of sale could be frozen to protect LD's interest. Chaisty says hypothetical and we don't know what deals might be struck, including independently with Nimer, by which funds might be channeled.

Chaisty: over-emphasis on seriousness of consequences, not to Panorama but to the club, but no evidence as to the likelihood of those consequences coming about.

Chaisty notes that Pearce said history of the club is something he can take into account. No precedent for taking into account third party interests, he says. Not a public interest case, just parties interested in the outcome.

Pearce did not take account of £500k put in by Elliott in June, says Chaisty. Ruling outside reasonable disagreement, factors including fate of CAFC given unreasonable weight, failure to consider absence of evidence on key points from Mihail.

Kreamer takes the stand

Lauren Kreamer is now addressing the court. She argues that appellant court should only interfere between two imperfect solutions when judge has exceeded generous ambit within which reasonable disagreement is possible. The focus is now on technical legal arguments so report will not go into them. Kreamer told to get on with her 'substantive submission'.

LJ Lewison asking whether damages would be adequate to Panorama Magic if Lex Dominus obtained an injunction but lost the case.

I'm getting the impression that the judges do not think the fate of the club is the issue in law here. LJ Lewison says that first risk MM described is of club not being able to start season. Second is points deduction. LK says they are continuing risks, not gone just because the season has started and the EFL has not imposed sanctions yet. LK saying those punishments (points deductions) can come "a considerable time" after the event.

Also discusses the likelihood of redundancies being made. Wants this court to take it into account.
LJ Lewison asks about liberty to vary any injunction if PK was "oven-ready" deal on table. LK says court already has evidence from Elliott on this point about press releases showing Thomas Sandgaard's intention to take over ESI.

LJ Males asks why court is forced to rely on "rather unreliable" evidence from journalists and not from the respondent. LJ Lewison asking why have to rely on press reports [Louis 'Unreliabke' Mendez] and social media for that information. LJ Lewison says doesn't say anywhere in evidence that "we've got a buyer, here are the terms of the deal." No evidence provided that a particular deal will be lost if an injunction is granted. [Judges apparently not too impressed with evidence base].

LJ Lewison: no challenge to evidence that £500k has been put into the club. LK says no evidence it come from PE. Could have put evidence before the court about the provenance of those sums and hasn't.

LJ Lewison says that Judge Pearce was relying on Mihail's hypothesis which is not what the court should be looking at. LK submits that Pearce does refer to the consequences of an injunction being granted, not simply the outcome of a later trial.

LK: significant liabilities in respect of which personal guarantees have been given by both the respondent and CAFC. So PM and club stands to lose a lot more if a willing buyer is lost. LJ Lewison didn't know about these liabilities. All new to him, he says. LJ Lewison says that he would have liked notice of these points. LK says that it shows CAFC as first guarantor and PM as second guarantor for these substantial amounts. LK: £1.7m or more due depending on net property valuation and deferred contingent payments on status.

Kreamer making point that Panorama not just in for £1. That they have liabilities. That includes performance related payments in terms of the team's performance - for example promotion to the Premier League.

Kreamer essentially making case for why Judge Pearce's initial ruling - not to grant an injunction - should be upheld.

LK: Chaisty said undue consideration was given to Charlton Athletic, but LK argues that court may have regard to other connected parties. Chaisty argues that CAFC is at heart of dispute but then says it should not be given such weight, she says. [His argument is that the case is about the dispute between the two litigating parties].

Nothing in Judge Pearce's ruling goes outside deciding between two imperfect outcomes. Not the role of the Court of Appeal to revisit that. Kreamer finishes her case, not up to Chaisty to respond if he wishes.

Chaisty responds

He says considerable reliance placed by LK on Gallen's evidence. Concerned about that if appeal is rejected. Gallen has sought to explain what Mihail was saying. PM shouldn't be allowed to rely on evidence that should have been before court below.

Chaisty: "For some reason or another her client has chosen to remain absolutely silent over where negotiations are with a third party." Says LK cant get over MM's silence about state of play of negotiations and actual position that it is in with third party. LD only produced press reports to request short term relief in respect of this appeal.

Chaisty says Elliott's evidence is clear that he has put £500,000 in. Net assets of £12m.' I haven't seen anywhere his statement has been challenged.' Unreasonable to do so now.

Court adjourns for lunch

LJ Levison saying court will adjourn and resume again at 2pm. "I hope by then we'll be in a position to give you an answer."

Proceedings after lunch will be the subject of a separate report.

Kreamer has put her case vigorously, but on the basis of interventions by the judges, I am not sure how well it stands up legally.

Rick Everitt has tweeted: 'Personal opinion would be that the judges appeared to more sympathetic to LD there. Mihail's weak evidence looks to have left LK with a difficult case to argue.'


Chaisty arguing that Gallen evidence is not relevant.