Charlton have a 100% record this season against clubs which have sold their stadiums to themselves to avoid breaching EFL profit and sustainability (formerly FFP) rules. In fact we have yet to concede a goal against these flagrant opportunists, having won 2-0 at Reading and seen off Derby County 3-0 at The Valley.
It is of course the case that Reading and Derby have broken no EFL rules by selling their grounds to themselves. Sheffield Wednesday, however, seem to have taken this cunning wheeze to a new level by apparently including the income from the sale (to owner Dejphon Chansiri) in their accounts for the year before the sale was concluded. This meant that they avoided a £39m loss over the three seasons to 2018 which would have meant a breach of P&S rules and a probable points deduction. They have been charged with misconduct by the EFL who, having reviewed "a large number of documents", believe there is "sufficient evidence" to justify issuing the charge which will be heard by an independent disciplinary commission.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire comments:
"The timing issue does concern the EFL. They might be concerned that the transaction was accelerated into the 2018 accounts, which would give them cause for concern. The next unusual thing was that normally, if you sell a property, you get the proceeds from the buyer straight away but, according to Wednesday's accounts, it's going to take a period of eight years for the full payment to be made. The one final issue is the valuation of the stadium itself. Given that Reading sold their stadium for £27m and West Ham sold theirs for £40m, it does seem unusual for Sheffield Wednesday's stadium to be sold for £60m. The geographical location would suggest that it's not in a property area which is significantly higher than London or the home counties."
Meanwhile, on the pitch, The Owls have made an average start to the season and arrive at The Valley in 10th place, which is one place lower than when Gary Monk took over in mid September. They have beaten some poor sides away (Reading, Huddersfield and Boro) but have lost at WBA, Blackburn, Hull, Preston and Millwall and it would only take a ten point penalty to drop them into the relegation places.
It is very likely that Morgan Fox will be in their line-up, having forced his way into the team in October after starting most games before that on the bench. He even scored what seemed to be a 91st minute winner against Swansea a couple of weeks ago, only for Swansea to equalise three minutes later.
There were no obvious new injuries for Lee Bowyer to cope with at Luton on Tuesday but he will be without Conor Gallagher on Saturday because of suspension. A rest might not be a bad thing for the nineteen year old who looked jaded in the first half before seeming to find new inspiration later in the match. We really need Erhun Oztumer to be fit for this game as it is likely that Bowyer will again struggle to fill a bench.
The home crowd has a vital part to play this weekend in inspiring our young team and boosting their confidence if things go wrong.