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Panama and Nicaragua boxes ticked, 14 days of summer holiday over, although any hint of gloominess is lifted by the thought of my son arriving here on Saturday to spend almost 2 weeks with us.

More on Panama and Nicaragua soon, but meanwhile back at the good ship Charlton all is not HP. A disappointing start to the season has been compounded by more lack of transparency from the club’s owners.

Michael Slater took to the programme on Saturday to suggest that they are duty bound to listen to credible buyers that can help the club develop quicker but he “had not told anyone that the club is for sale for £40m,” in reference to a couple of recent newspaper stories. This after denying the club was for sale at all at the end of last season.

Slater was somewhat embarrassingly trumped by the Voice of the Valley sold outside The Valley on Saturday that had well respected Sky business editor and lifelong Addicks fan Mark Kleinman offering that the owners, Slater and Jimenez, are busily touting documents around the city looking for potential bidders in the range of £40m. Awkward.

To help with the ‘prospectus,’ the club’s majority owners mentioned that discussions had already been held with Greenwich Council over selling The Valley and building a new stadium along with a residential development elsewhere in the royal borough!

Also that the ‘management’s’ plans were for the club to sell one of the squad’s more valuable players for between £2m – £3m and meanwhile only add to Chris Powell’s squad with free transfers and loans.

Kleinman, who has no upside to offering his information, but is recognised for breaking some critical business stories in the past, said that he had little faith that a credible bidder will emerge, especially at the premium wanted by Slater and Jimenez.

One can argue that looking at new investment and credible buyers is just prudent management, offering The Valley and a new stadium with better value for non-playing revenues is also a large carrot on a stick and, although it would be nice to know auld enemy Greenwich Council’s view, I would hesitate a guess that this move is no more than white noise to entice bidders.

Nevertheless I, like I would hazard a guess, all Charlton fans, felt a large hole in my stomach when I read the suggestion that The Valley could be sold. Remembering especially that Jimenez is a property developer and Slater a lawyer, perhaps not very good ones, but developer and lawyer nonetheless.

As for player sales, one could argue that apart from Carl Jenkinson, no player of value has been sold since January 2011. Which player is valued at £3m is anyone’s guess, and remember that Jimenez overpriced Dale Stephens, but it is obvious that this is the backdrop that Chris Powell has had to wrestle with this summer.

VOTV’s Rick Everitt obviously has some axes to grind, but this is not his story, it is Kleinmann’s. Slater and Jimenez are going to tell us nothing of course. It is what we have come to expect and with the help of unnamed others they naively bought the club to make a profit, a quick one at that, and seem ready for their return, as they surprise themselves that owning a Championship football club is a loss making exercise.

Nothing is obvious, and there are lots of questions and no real patterns of behaviour except that Slater and Jimenez have systematically got rid of almost all of the old Valley guard, long-serving Paul Ellison being the latest, and replaced them with unknown quantities in a PR exercise that would even have the former Iraqi Information Minister shaking his head!

Interestingly accountant Max Deeley is involved in the sale prosepctus, connected in more ways than one to both Michael Slater and a certain Kevin Cash.

One thing that is obvious, is that whatever happens, we the fans will be the last to know and any deal will only be good for the current majority owners and I have, for a while, been pretty convinced of that.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chris #

    A fair assessment I’d say.

    August 15, 2013
  2. Gary wood #

    Slater has lost plot, telling all not for sale but then chasing buyers like a bitch in heat.
    Club on the edge and with annual running losses of £5mn or more and £30 mn of unsecured and secured debt they will not capture a buyer unless they bump into a stupid or blind man and therefore will never cover their losses.
    Club probably worth £15 to £20 mn at absolute best which means Slater and co ,who don’t own security over Stadium and Training ground as that is owned by Banks and Ex DIrectors has loans that are equal to the equity value of the club in 2010 when everyone lost their money last time club in trouble, so they will in reality sit back be stubborn on price and see debt grow to £35 and then £40mn and eventually lose the lot.
    Moving Club from Valley to Peninsula just adds costs to a potential buyer and has been in discussion by various Boards since around 2007, it’s a lovely slice of sales bullshit.
    Biggest question is why all old staff being sacked and why Richard Murray who employed the majority of them is doing nothing and backing overdraft and sitting back while club sinks further into debt, he only owns 10% of company ,of which Equity is worthless now,but he also is in secured loan with other ex directors so most of his cash is protected unlike new owners, so what’s his game plan? surprisingly quiet for a man that loves the club and has been involved for 20 years.

    August 15, 2013
    • I have wondered about where Richard Murray’s minds at. When I met him in the summer he gave the impression he was supportive of Slater and Jimenez, yet privately he must be concerned about his money and ‘his’ club.

      But still, I would hope that RM would not let it rot and I think we are right to expect that he and his family would take a stand.

      August 16, 2013

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