Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Better the Devil you know

Well, I said back in May that I was sceptical that there was going to be any takeover at the club. In fact I believed that the only credible explanation for us to keep all of the players that we had was for new investment, and lots of it.

There were many suggestions that a takeover was imminent over the summer. I was always reluctant to believe these 'rumours', and have seen too much over the years in various businesses to ignore the benefits that such a 'leak' can provide. "Shall I renew my season ticket?" "Well, if there's genuinely going to be a take over and we will be able to keep our former Premier League stars in the third division then maybe I will!"

I have been accused of paranoia, probably rightly so, but I never really believed that we were going to have new owners that would bring in a top manager and spend millions on new players.

It would look as though I was right. We will never know what actually happened; we will never know what the truth was; but we do now have confirmation that there is no takeover imminent, and there are no ongoing negotiations.

So where does that leave us? Well the club has sourced £7m of extra investment. That sum is not broken down into what the club has already spent. For example, if the c. £2m that was going to be raised from the sale of the training ground and the two houses behind the East Stand has already been put into the club then that might mean that the coffers will only receive a further £5m.

The finer details are somewhat irrelevant, and by the time the accounts for this period are published we will have moved on so that it becomes old news.

You could be forgiven for thinking that I am not happy or impressed by this development, but you couldn't be further from the truth. Life is full of examples of people thinking that the grass is greener, and ultimately wishing that they'd been satisfied with their lot rather than getting greedy.

I would love to hear from any of those fans that were demanding major change at The Valley back in 2005 when we were not pushing on for UEFA Cup qualification. I wasn't writing my blog then, but I was often in a minority with friends (not Charlton fans, by the way) when I said that success was avoiding relegation. "But you need to move forward or you fall backwards". This suggestion ignored the fact that all the other teams were moving forward at the same time. The increase in average pounds spent per point won in the Premier League has continued every year. Charlton were spending less than many of the teams that we were competing with.

You don't need to see detailed accounts when you see that Middlesborough were spending £20m in a summer when we spent £5m. Fulham sign £11m players and we sign £4m players. I suspect that if one were to calculate the actual price paid per point in the Premier League Charlton would be one of the best sides. This cannot realistically go on for ever, and it didn't.

I have always trusted Richard Murray. Sure, he's made mistakes, haven't we all? During his time in charge we enjoyed some of the best football at Charlton, ever! Clearly it wasn't all down to one man - and if it was that man would be Curbishley.

What I'm trying to say is that just as I would have taken 4th from bottom in the Premier League every year rather than gambling the club's future for a chance of European football, I would rather have the club being run by a Charmian and a board that I believe in, even if that means that they don't have huge resources to throw at it.

Liverpool were bought out by a couple of Americans and they were going to conquer the world. In reality they have less relative spending power now than they did under the previous owners.

Better the Devil you know!

Just a short note. As happy as I am to have Richard Murray back in charge - I've met him a few times and I like him and believe that we will do well under him - I want to confirm that I do not hold Derek Chappell solely responsible for the disaster that has happened on his watch. His time as Chairman was a disaster, but I believe that was more about timing than it was about him personally.

The club has had a traumatic time since Curbishley left and I can't help feeling that pressure to appease the fans would have had an impact on the selection of the new Chairman. In all likelihood the good start to the season has helped, but having Richard Murray back in charge with an assurance that we don't need to sell any players this season has really lifted my spirits.

Welcome back Mr Chairman.

Up the Addicks!


Anonymous said...

Agree wholeheartedly KHA, definitely better the devil you know...

PP was introduced to two separate potential buyers, he spoke about them at the Q&A session last week. Firstly, there were those who told him how much money he would have to spend on players and secondly those who told him to stop thinking about purchasing Jason Puncheon as he'd have enough money to buy better players. PP's opinion was that there weren't any more suitable, better players. The transfer window closed and JP went elsewhere. Interestingly, PP didn't say this second deal had fallen through, although he did state that he'd been assured that he would not need to sell any players he didn't want to in January (this obviously last Thursday, before this week's investment news).

These potential takers over weren't pies in the sky, invented by the Board to placate supporters or to encourage season ticket take-up, nor were they Chinese whispers. We don't know who they were and those who do are keeping quiet.

The upshot of it all is we're jolly lucky to have a Board that care and is comprised of true fans.

Anonymous said...

My initial reaction to this news was that it was nice to have my old Charlton back. The potential backing of a large foreign investor has been the only glimmer of hope since last autumn, but it didn't quite seem to fit the Charlton profile.

But I wonder how I would feel if Charlton were in 19th place, and playing to 13000 fans? I'd probably feel hacked off that we had no immediate way out of a football nightmare.

Everything feels sort of right at the moment. What I hear of the Parky Q&A (only wanting blokes who want to play for Charlton etc) is right where I think we should be. This latest reinvestment seems to be in line with the slow and steady strategy that characterised our rise in the 90s.

My only concern at present is the rumour we have the highest wage bill in League 1 - it sounds like the twist and bust policy of the last two seasons.

As a few others have remarked its nice just to get on with the football bit. I can't control Charlton events so just bask in the league table and current form; unless of course this Trust malarkey gathers pace..

Pembury Addick

Pat said...

Pembury - PP mentioned the 'highest wages in the 1st division' issue at the Q&A and said it was nonsense. He said it depends what you are looking at - basic salary, bonuses, other payments (?what are those)- and he didn't know where the press had got their figures from. No-one cross-examined him about it though.
I really do think the management and Board have learnt their lesson, even if other clubs haven't yet.

Anonymous said...

cheers Pat - I feel a lot happier!

Pembury Addick