Charlton’s new owner Paul Elliott is looking to bring some much-needed stability back to The Valley.
The 50-year-old businessman, whose background is in property, purchased East Street Investments earlier this week and is looking to make his own impact at Charlton once the EFL approve the change in control at the club.
He said: “I’m excited to get started and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ve been looking into buying a football club in the past but it has never quite happened. I know there has been a lot of boardroom problems at Charlton but the club is an unpolished diamond, with a talented manager and a big fanbase. The staff have been working hard for two years with little support and the fans have been calling out for an owner that can provide stability and I’m hoping if we can provide that then we can help the club move forward.
“I’m not going to make any big promises about where we want to go as the focus has to be on the next nine games and maintaining our place in the Championship. Once that is done we can start looking at the future.”
Elliott plans to visit The Valley next week and is also set to attend the Addicks game against Hull City on June 20th. On purchasing the club he made speaking with Lee Bowyer a priority.
“I thought speaking to him was one of the most important things to do,” he explained. “I had a chat with him on Monday over the telephone and I’ve exchanged a couple of texts with him since. My view is that, as with any business, it is only as good as the staff you have got and from what I can see Charlton have good, hard-working staff both on and off the pitch.
“I would like to come down to the stadium next week, to meet Lee, the players and a few other people. I do think it’s nicer than impersonal video screens and if it is possible with social distancing, maybe I can go to Hull and watch the team in person.”
Elliott, who resides in Manchester, is well aware of the recent turmoil surrounding Charlton and is adamant he hasn’t bought East Street Investments to make a quick buck.
He said: “I would like to make clear that I got involved in this as a business venture. I’m not one of these people, which other clubs have experienced as well, who jump in, get hold of a club, draw money out, take salaries and cars etc. I can assure everyone that I will not be taking any money out of the club until it can afford to do so and is sustainable.
“It means I will be putting money in, which I already have done, not taking money out. I’m not asking for a salary and I won’t be, I don’t need to take expenses out. Moving forward from that, anyone else who comes in and gets involved with us at this club, I’ll expect the same from them.
“For example if there is a CEO that is great for the job then good but no-one is going to come in and take a big salary out of this business, it’s not there, so let’s not be under any illusion that that is going to happen. At the end of the day, we can run a business successfully, we can make sure we’ve got support moving forward and if someone comes along that is in the best interests of the fans, the club and the staff then I am open to it, 100%.”
There were fears over staff being paid wages in each of the last two months but Elliott was clear that staff wages wouldn’t be a concern under his ownership. He said: “I made sure there was money going forward for wages to be covered, I’ve made that clear to senior staff on a call yesterday that the most important thing is stability for the club and the staff. If you are worried about your wages, you aren’t going to be able to perform, no-one can.”
Elliott confirmed that in taking control of ESI, that he’s inherited the existing deal they signed with the club and said his focus was on bringing Charlton back to an “even keel”.
He did say he was open to further investment in the club: “If someone wants to come along and put money into the club as an investment, then the door is open and we are willing to speak to people because it is what the club needs. If someone can do a better job, then I am happy to work with other people.”
The deal is still subject to the approval of the EFL and Elliott and lawyer Chris Farnell are working with the league on the final details to satisfy their Owners’ and Directors’ Test.
For now though, Elliott's focus is Hull City: “I’m not a Charlton fan but obviously now I’m going to be rooting for them 100%. Everyone that I know, my friends, will be looking out for the club now. People follow football with a passion and I’ve got a passion for Charlton now, as I am heavily invested and I want to make sure the club does well. My heart is going to be in my mouth in that first game against Hull.”