The week has been dominated by the continuing ownership wrangles which were dramatically played out in the Civil Court in Manchester on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The position this Friday morning is that:
The legal ownership of East Street Investments (and thus Charlton Athletic) is still disputed between Panorama Magic (Nimer/Southall) and Lex Dominus (Elliott). On Tuesday, Lex Dominus were refused an injunction to stop Panorama Magic selling the shares in East Street Investments to a third party. However, on Wednesday they succeeded in gaining a seven day injunction to allow them to submit an appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision not to grant the injunction.
In short, the outcome is that the club cannot be sold to anyone before 4pm on Wednesday September 9th.
The original application for a (not time-limited) injunction was refused because a court case to hear the matter properly would be unlikely to take place until November at the earliest. The judge recognised that, by that time, it was possible that Charlton Athletic might have been expelled from the EFL because of East Street Investments' inability to pass the EFL Owners and Directors Test and /or prove source and sufficiency of funds. He took the view that the outcome of a seven day delay would not be so drastic.
Fuller details of how the story unfolded in court can be seen here:
Panorama Magic were represented in court by Lauren Kreamer. Lauren has been a member of the CAST board since March this year although, in order to avoid any perception of conflict of interest, she stepped down temporarily in mid August when she took on the case.
On Wednesday (before the granting of the seven day injunction) the club website published a statement from club Director Marian Mihail.
We note that Mihail talks about “conversations with prospective buyers”.
However, there can be no doubt that Thomas Sandgaard remains in pole position and he was typically optimistic in this brief interview with Sky in which he says he is 99.9% certain he will complete his takeover of the club.
On Wednesday a new company was set up - Clear Ocean Capital - owned by Sandgaard Capital LLC (a company incorporated in Colorado, USA). The sole director of Clear Ocean Capital is Thomas Sandgaard. We anticipate that this will be the vehicle through which he purchases the club if / when it happens.
Nothing has been heard about the status of the appeals which we understand were submitted to the EFL when Paul Elliott and Chris Farnell were disqualified under the Owners and Directors test. CAST has therefore written this week to the EFL asking for information about the expected timescale for rulings to be reached.
It is now just over a year since Bury were expelled from the EFL. Damian Collins MP, former Chair of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, remarked on the Price of Football Podcast on 27 August 2020 that, "The sad thing is that a year on there is nothing that has happened since then to stop it happening again."
The club has published some information about seating arrangements when football returns to The Valley:
Meanwhile Lee Bowyer and Steve Gallen struggle on with their attempts to put together a competitive squad for the new season which begins in eight days' time, while still hampered by the terms of the EFL transfer embargo. Although the departure of Tom Lockyer to Luton appears to free up space for the signing of Adam Matthews, Bowyer confirmed that Matthews is currently assessing his options:
In addition, as Dillon Phillips is not willing to sign a new deal, he is no longer considered first choice goalkeeper and the club are open to offers for him.
Over 1500 Charlton supporters have joined CAST in the last four months - no doubt motivated by the parlous state of affairs at our club. This has pushed our total membership to over 2700 making us one of the largest supporters' trusts in the country. That's also over 10% of a full Valley. Together we are stronger. You can join here for just £5 adult, free for U16s:
If you are concerned about the future of our club sign up to the OUR CLUB campaign here. At the moment, we aren't asking for money, just your details, though we may need to fund-raise soon: