The sale of Ezri Konsa and the continuation of the appointment of Lee Bowyer as caretaker manager gave rise this week to increased anxiety that the imminently expected sale of Charlton Athletic is to be yet further delayed.
Supporters have expressed concerns about the prospects for a club which, three weeks ahead of the first pre-season friendly, has no chief executive, no permanent chief finance officer, no permanent manager, only one senior goalkeeper, no goalkeeping coach and last season's influential loan players back with their parent clubs.
We contacted Richard Murray to see if he would be able to shed any light on current events.
Richard reiterated what he told us back in January - that he is not party to the details of the negotiations. He was however able to tell us that the two parties (one Australian; one British) who were negotiating with Roland Duchatelet in January are still in negotiations and have invested a good deal of money in the process so far. He said that Duchatelet met both parties this week and there is no doubt in his mind that Duchatelet is committed to selling the club. He said he assumed that on going negotiations must be about the sale value of the club and that the sale of Konsa would no doubt be reflected in the final agreed price. He was clear that he didn't know how long it would take to sort out and for obvious reasons he was reluctant to speculate.
In the meantime Richard stressed that the club has to be run and that people on the ground are working very hard to keep things going. He wanted to reassure fans that the club is not a total lame duck. He said that Lee Bowyer is talking to potential signings and that Bowyer feels he needs four new players to have the makings of a challenging squad and that he is looking forward to Billy Clarke being available again.
Richard stressed the financial demands of owning a football club, particularly in The Championship. He said that Charlton are currently losing about £1m per month (£13m loss before transfers last season) and he noted that 23 of the 24 Championship clubs were loss making, and cited the case of Aston Villa's current financial state. He stressed the amount of finance that any buyer would need for a sustainable future - he reckoned £100m over a five year period.