Representatives from the club met with supporter group representatives at the club’s quarterly Fans’ Forum on Thursday.
A variety of topics were discussed and full meeting notes will be published next week.
The below topline notes prioritise the key subjects selected by the club and fan representatives and have been approved by fan representatives in the meeting.
Topics detailed below include:
- Social media rumours about Marc Spiegel’s takeover
- Summer recruitment
- Takeover update
- Plan B if a takeover doesn’t happen
Social media rumours about Marc Spiegel’s takeover
PS (Peter Storrie – Charlton Athletic CEO) began the meeting by reading out the below statement on behalf of Marc Spiegel (MS).
Having been notified of social media comments concerning my co-funders, I wanted to be clear that the process to acquire Charlton by our team is proceeding well. Initially, there were some third-party legal challenges which of course we had to respect. We have not lost any of our investment partners.
We very much look forward to the challenges ahead starting with the transfer window this summer and working with the supporters to help Charlton Athletic have a successful and secure future.
Christine Lawrie (CL – Reminiscence Group) said Charlton fans are sick of uncertainty and want an ownership that cares about the club and wants it to be successful. She said the club have had 10 years of ownership issues. She asked why MS wanted to buy the club and what he knew about English football.
PS said that was a question for MS and one that he will likely answer once any takeover is complete. He said having gone through three takeovers in six months before, they are often a long and drawn-out process. He said that Deloitte are carrying out the due diligence for MS. He said he has been working with the finance team, who have done exceptionally well dealing with hundreds and hundreds of questions going back two to three years. He said the process is going well but is not completed yet. He said once that process is completed and the due diligence is signed off, you then go through the EFL which takes time, especially for people outside the country where it is a longer process. He said takeovers take time but he’s hopeful it won’t be too long, though putting a timeline on it would be impossible.
CL asked if TS would remain involved if MS takes over. PS said that his role is running the day-to-day of the football club and he’s not involved in what the deal, price or structure is.
IW (Ian Wallis – Bromley Addicks) asked who would be coming in with MS. PS said he didn’t know.
IW said he understood PS has passed the Fit and Proper persons’ test. He asked if anyone else had been put through. PS said no and explained the reason he had to pass the test was because he is in a position of influence within the club.
JP (John Perkins – Valley Express) asked if the club will spend money on players.
DH (Dean Holden – Charlton Athletic men’s first-team Manager) said he’s had conversations with TS and MS. He said he had committed his future based on conversations he’d had with them. He said the club wants to push on to get top six, which is what he wants to hear as a manager. He said he had a meeting earlier in the day with PS and Steve Avory (Academy Director) on academy and first team plans for next season.
DH said the club have to be thinking about next season but that he won’t forget about the last nine games. He said he wants the team to finish strongly.
SL (Simon Ludden – East Kent Addicks) asked if that means targets have already been lined up. DH said yes. SL asked if they were the type of players that could not only help us push for promotion next year but might help us if we were to get promoted. DH said yes. PS said his planning is to set the club up for the future. He said whoever the ownership may be, he has had discussions with both parties [MS and TS] and the target is top six and that the planning is focused on that.
SL asked about DH’s view on what went wrong this season. DH said when managers take over clubs, particularly during the season, they often say things publicly to buy themselves time like, 'the squad isn’t fit enough'. He said he won’t do that and will focus on today and the future.
He said the squad next season needs to be robust and resilient to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday. He said look at Derby, Bolton Wanderers, Plymouth, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, looking back at Burnley under Sean Dyche, Sheffield United under Chris Wilder – you could pretty much pick seven to nine players from the group playing every week. DH said he thinks there is a big part of that which leads to a successful season. He said that too often the frustration is not being able to have players playing every match. He said he wants players than can play 40 to 50 games a season.
HA (Heather Alderson - Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust) asked what happens if the Spiegel deal doesn’t go through or takes too long and the club is still under the ownership of TS in the summer.
PS’ plan for club going forward, wherever the ownership will be, will be to put a squad together to push for a top-six finish next season and move forward. He said the plan will be the same whether under new ownership or TS.
HA said that was a revision for TS’ plan for break even. She asked if that meant it would it be a revised plan.
PS said yes. He said it is public knowledge that the club is losing money. He said the only way to get close to break even is a sale of players. He said you can’t make up the losses in any form of income or cost cutting. He said getting close to break even would therefore have to be done through player sales, which would be completely against the objective of targeting the top six.
HA asked to clarify that, should TS remain owner, he would put aside the objective of break even in favour of the objective to get into the Championship as fast as we can. PS said yes. He said his role is for TS and currently he owns the club and unless it changes hands he’ll own it next season too. He said his role is to increase income, hold cost and reduce it where viable because the number one priority is for the first team to have as much money as possible to put the squad that he and DH want. He said his understanding is that would be the case whether it is MS or TS and he wouldn’t be at the club, and nor would DH, if he thought it was any different.
Additional on recruitment
JW (John Whitfield – Fans4Fans) said the club has been through the mill and back. JW said he is sick of the b***s*** supporters have heard and that at the moment supporters don’t believe anything they are told. PS said there is nothing more the club can do other than prove it on the pitch. He said the first part of the rebuilding has begun. He said stage one was Dean Holden signing a contract to be here for the next three years. He said stage two was making sure Ashley Maynard-Brewer was signed up. He referenced the contracts of Corey Blackett-Taylor and Richard Chin have been extended. He said that is part of the rebuilding programme. He said he understands fans have heard things in the past that haven’t come into fruition. He asked that he and DH be judged on what the club is doing now and moving forwards.
JP said the problem is that the plan is reliable on TS putting his hand in his pocket, which he said he hasn’t done since he has been at the club. PS said TS has put a considerable amount of money into the club. JP said he didn’t doubt that but that to get into the top six more money needs to be spent.
DH said the likes of Ipswich, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday, salary-wise, are way above what is being spent in the division. He said the club know what it is going to take.
DH said he understands why it is difficult for the fans to trust what is being said and he has experienced the same thing with staff at the training ground when talking about plans and little upgrades for next season to make it a better environment. He said there is a bit of a feeling of we’ve heard it before. He said we have two options; we either give up or we do believe in something. He said it is hard to believe in something when things have been taken away in the past and he gets that.
JW explained that the fact supporters are still sat in the meeting is because they belong here and support this club because the supporters are very loyal. DH said the club don’t, and won’t, take that for granted.
PS said all we can say is we’ve started the rebuilding programme and we’ll be judged by what happens in the summer and next season. He thanked the supporters for their loyalty and asked them to be patient and see what happens.
CL said if the club get it right on the pitch then everything will follow on. PS agreed.
JW asked, with player contracts and recruitment, if DH will have the final say in the club’s recruitment process going forward.
DH said the timing of the meeting, with nine games to go, made things awkward. He said he can’t say the players he is looking to keep or let go as he has to have players focused on those nine games.
DH said there is a team of people identify players, like every club. He said we then go through individual players, the targets for each position and try and get number one target and if not the number two. He said it is very time consuming. He said the biggest thing for him is looking at the background and the type of person the club is bringing in. He said like working anywhere, and it is no different to working in a pub or a warehouse, each person has got to be at their best as much as they can every day and try and help the people around them. He said he’s very much aligned with the 'no dickheads policy'. He said, 'don’t get me wrong, we don’t want angels coming in, we want winners'. He said he wants people that are really committed to Charlton Athletic for the right reasons and not coming here because we’re paying more than another club. He said he wants players that will run through brick walls. He said there needs to be a group of players on the pitch that fans can relate to. He said the final decision will be his in terms of a player coming in. He said he has to meet with a player and understand their situation. He said PS will try and get the right deal for the club and then try and get deal done.
CL asked if ownership issues will impact players coming to Charlton.
DH said it would be black and white to say yes or no because players are individuals. He said for some players it might impact their decisions and others it might not. He said Charlton is a big pull. He said the club has gone through turmoil and tough times but it still is a big pull. DH said once the ownership is resolved it does change things a little.
IW said he is not naive to expect any manager to have complete control of players signed. He asked if he could block a deal if he didn’t want a player. DH said it is a group discussion but ultimately his neck is on the block and he has to work with a player coming in, but if it is not the right fit then he won’t accept it.
JP said an owner will always have the final say. DH said an owner has to ok any player coming in, but a player won’t come in if DH doesn’t want the player.
PS said he is focused on building a team on and off the field that supporters are going to be proud of. He said he believes the process is starting and only time will tell. He said he hopes fans will sit in the next meeting and that supporters will see further actions have taken place.