United-bound Addicks voice concerns for club’s future stability

CAST have issued the following press release:

Almost 10,000 Charlton Athletic fans will be making the journey to Old Trafford for the Carabao Cup Quarter Final tie on Tuesday 10th January. It will be the biggest travelling support for the club for a midweek game in the last 50 years, if not ever. Coming against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis and shortly after Christmas, it highlights the latent potential of the capital club – the last London team in the competition this season.

“I’ve seen us lose six cup quarter finals in my years supporting the club,” says Heather McKinlay, Chair of Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust (CAST). “I’ll be travelling more in hope than expectation of a change in fortune this time! There’s a lot of excitement around the match, especially among our younger supporters who missed out on trips to clubs like this when we were last in the Premier League fifteen years ago. It is light relief for all of us compared to the uncertainty surrounding future funding and ownership of our club right now.”

Despite the glamour fixture, CAST are once again on high alert. The club faced a major crisis in 2020 when fans feared administration or worse. Thomas Sandgaard arrived to widespread relief and was warmly welcomed as the new owner in September 2020. He spoke of lofty ambitions for the club. Just over two years on, though, scepticism and pessimism are back on the Addicks’ agenda. The fanbase has lost confidence in the desire and ability of the present owner to lead the club, which is losing millions of pounds a season while the team languishes in League One. Sandgaard insists he is not selling the club but actions suggest otherwise. A group of investors has seemingly been given a period of exclusivity to do a deal.

“The memory of the shenanigans of 2020 is too raw for us,” McKinlay continues. “The lack of transparency regarding the situation and above all the future financial security of the club are really worrying for fans. Right now we want to enjoy our big night out at Old Trafford, which is what football should be all about. But until the recommendations of the Fan Led Review are fully implemented, clubs remain at the mercy of speculators.”

CAST recently launched The Addicks’ Charter to outline the partnership fans seek with the ownership and to embed the club’s values for the future. In early December, Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) published an open letter to potential bidders for the Red Devils. The two documents have a common purpose, highlighting the ownership values that should be common across all football clubs.

A MUST spokesperson commented: “Football clubs are so much more than commercial assets. It’s imperative that owners commit to the club’s culture, ethos and traditions and engage properly with supporters. That’s what we have set out in our open letter.”

Despite the gulf in relative resources, when it comes to club ownership and future stability, issues faced by fans of many clubs are similar, from the top of the Premier League to the lower reaches.

(The Addicks’ Charter was launched following an open online meeting of around 600 Charlton fans in December 2022.)

On December 15th, Thomas Sandgaard attended the Fans’ Forum meeting via video link and maintained that he is not selling the club: https://www.charltonafc.com/news/fans-forum-notes-december-2022


The Guardian's Ed Aarons offers his view of the club's current predicament here with help from Rick Everitt:

“Charlton is the most underperforming club in the country,”



Meanwhile, Paul Breen is concentrating on the match itself and offers some rare insight into Tuesday's opponents:

"Little is known of Tuesday night's opponents, Manchester United. They are rumoured to come from a part of the city not far from Chorlton. That of course is how those of us who form the ‘Prawn Sandwich Brigade’ in The Valley's West Stand, pronounce the name of our team.

Apparently, this United lot play at a place called Old Trafford. A quick Wikipedia search reveals that to be a cricket ground with a capacity of 26,000. For those not versed in Maths, that's about half the number of Charlton fans setting out to conquer the North as we speak. Stevenage is reported to have already fallen and Newcastle is a reported target after Manchester has fallen.

The conquest of Manchester will not be straightforward. Although we may not know much of them, they are rumoured to have some decent players. Up front, they are said to have a lad by the name of Rashford with a keen eye for goal. That's no mean feat, because a quick Google search also reveals that he seems to have been a part time student. He completed a degree not that long ago but he might have competition in the brains department at Old Trafford. A fellow called Harry Maguire is said to be good with his head. The gossip suggests he must be of Naby Sarr proportions  because just a few weeks ago he kept a Frenchman called Mbappe in his back pocket. A strange thing to do on a football pitch, but there's nothing against it in the rule book. Whether or not he's a match for Stockley and Leaburn only time will tell.

Then further up the pitch, they seem to have someone they borrowed from the World Darts Championship. Let's just hope this Donny van de Beek doesn't hit the Bullseye on Tuesday night. Up on the wing, they have a guy who I am sure I have heard of somewhere before. However, it is possible that the Eriksen lad just shares his name with somebody famous. Our own Lucas Ness after all shares half his name with a famous detective and a Scottish river monster. United appear to have a Lucas as well who seems to have recently broken into the first team. To quote a fans forum, Luke Shaw has recently settled into a centre half position after years of being left back.

The rest appear to be largely nameless or at least half nameless. This was a habit that began with the chronically shy Ronaldo who has now departed for pastures less green. At least he left behind a couple of lads called Fred and Antony to follow his tradition. On the whole then, these unknowns could prove a bit of a handful, which is always a feature of cup ties. But we are hoping for more of a Coalville Town than a Stockport County performance in our Cup adventures.

One good omen is that our opponents played Brighton back at the start of the year in what must have been a pre-season friendly. Brighton won that one 2-1 at Old Trafford, though I am told that no penalties were involved so as not to disadvantage the visitors. If this one goes to penalties, it could be a late night in Manchester. That though should be no concern for the ale hardened legions of Charlton. What the city might lack in famous football teams, it makes up for in nightlife, I am told."


If you are not already among the 2,700 Charlton supporters who are members of CAST, do join today - it only costs £5 annually and helps to strengthen the voice of the Addicks.