From the moment executive chairman Matt Southall walked through the Fans’ Bar at The Valley on November 30th he realised just what his new job meant.
That was the day after the initial announcement that a deal had been agreed for East Street Investments to purchase the club, a deal finalised on January 2nd.
On that sunny November day in the Fans’ Bar he received and incredible reception from the Charlton fanbase.
Speaking in his first interview in the new role, Southall’s face lit up thinking back to that moment.
He explained: “Can I just say I honestly wasn’t expecting that, I saw on Twitter that we were having a FIFA tournament, so I said to Ravi [Patel – Commercial Manager], let’s go down and I’ll have a game of FIFA.
“We went in and it was George Lapslie was having a game, so Ravi said ‘I’ll show you the rest of the bar’. So, we walk through and you kind of see people taking a second look and we got to the end and this young lad came up and he said ‘Mr Southall can I get a picture with you?’ And I said ‘yeah, of course’. Then the next thing you know there was more and more people and you saw what happened! It’s not something we expected. But I guess given that the previous regime never really came to The Valley, it’s only natural.
“I’ve brought my family; my daughter because I’m a football fan myself, I enjoy coming to the games and I enjoy supporting the team.”
In the interview, which premieres exclusively, for free, across Charlton’s website and social media channels at 7pm, Southall talks about the importance of the club’s community trust, why ESI bought the club and the plans moving forward.