CAST responds to statement from SE7 Partners

CAST has seen the statement from SE7 Partners Limited, the entity incorporated by Charlie Methven and his consortium of investors, published today by the South London Press, and almost immediately deleted.

We do not know why the statement was deleted and we have sought clarification from the SLP in that regard. For present purposes, we have assumed that the statement was released by Methven and that he and his consortium stand behind it and its contents.

It is important to say at the outset that we remain in a situation where fans are being told nothing by the current ownership about what is going on behind the scenes at our football club. We have asked Thomas Sandgaard on numerous occasions to engage with us, and with Charlton fans more widely, regarding his ownership of our club and any prospective sale. In a statement on the day he completed the purchase of Charlton, Sandgaard thanked fans, saying “there is no club without you. We are Charlton Athletic Football Club. From early on, I felt that we were in this together.” Just over two years on, Sandgaard is unwilling to do fans the courtesy of providing an honest and detailed update.

We are aware that Sandgaard continues to engage, in a sporadic and piecemeal fashion, with the fans advisers appointed by him, and we are grateful for their continued and diligent efforts on behalf of fans. Nevertheless, it is perhaps not surprising that it is difficult – perhaps impossible – for them to get to the bottom of what is going on, in circumstances where Sandgaard is choosing to give them selective updates and where matters appear to be moving quickly. Having initially engaged fully with CAST, Sandgaard has, for some time, failed to respond to our private and open correspondence and calls. As the largest representative body of Charlton fans, we think this speaks volumes about his attitude towards the club. It is abundantly clear that we are no longer “in this together”.

The statement made by Methven and his consortium raises more questions than it provides answers. That has been the case throughout the prospective purchase by SE7 Partners of the club. From the outset, Methven was in contact with individual fans via social media and telephone. Notwithstanding that he was directed to more formal means of engaging with CAST, Methven never did so. A letter from CAST to Jim Rodwell in his capacity as COO, sent in early February before the deal broke down, also went unanswered. We have therefore never had the opportunity to ask the questions many of our members and fans more generally would wish us to ask. As with Thomas Sandgaard, we feel that this is a courtesy any football club owner, or prospective owner, owes the fans.

The statement in question makes a number of claims and allegations about Thomas Sandgaard and the consortium’s proposed purchase of the company which owns Charlton Athletic. Sandgaard has made his own comments in the SLP, many of which stand in direct contradiction to the contents of today’s statement. We note that both versions of events contain internal inconsistencies, and it may be that it will be for the courts to decide who is in the right. Frankly, we don’t much care, as long as our club isn’t further implicated in this mess. We cautiously welcome the consortium’s statement that no legal action would prevent Sandgaard from selling the club in the meantime. As we have said for some time, it is imperative that Sandgaard sells to somebody who is prepared to invest in our club. The idea of further stagnation while Sandgaard and Methven’s dispute makes its way through the courts is intolerable.

What we care about is the present and future of Charlton Athletic Football Club. We, and the many other fans and fan groups who contributed to it, have been very clear, by way of the Addicks’ Charter, what we expect from any owner, or would-be owner, of our great club. The White Paper published further to the Fan-Led Review into football governance sets what we consider to the be minimum acceptable parameters in terms of scrutiny of the ownership and running of football clubs. We expect our club to be owned by someone who is prepared to be transparent about the source of their funding and their plans for our club and its future. We want Charlton to be viewed as a fundamental community asset, and not merely a plaything, for a time, for wealthy individuals. We view it as fundamental that the club is run by a competent and experienced team, and that fan engagement is prioritised.

We remain hopeful that Sandgaard will provide fans with an honest and detailed explanation as to his plans for our club’s future and will take the opportunity to repeat our previous questions to him, and to challenge him on his previous answers, in person at the Fans’ Forum on 16 March, if he attends. After all, to paraphrase Sandgaard himself, there is no Charlton Athletic without the fans.


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