Takeover update from last night's Fans' Forum

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A takeover specific Fans’ Forum took place at The Valley last night. This followed the last takeover update at the full Fans’ Forum in March 

The Fans’ Forum meet every three months and is made up of fan representatives. To find out more about the Fans’ Forum and contacting your fan representatives click here

Since July 2018, takeover specific Fans' Forum meetings have taken place in-between each meeting to keep fans updated with progress. Notes on the previous meetings can be found here.

Last night's meeting was attended by members of the Fans' Forum, the club's Head of Communications Tom Rubashow and Lieven De Turck (LDT), who is representing the club in takeover talks. The below notes were produced by the club and approved by fan representatives following the meeting.

LDT updated on the five parties mentioned in the previous meeting. 

First party (Groups linked to the Australian consortium)

LDT said that they still haven’t lodged the documents with the EFL. He said during the last two weeks he’s had questions from them asking about budgets.

Second party (British)

Since a fan asked in the last Fans’ Forum meeting, they have provided a new proof of funds document. They still, as of today, cannot bring the money to the table. He said this means they have funds to do the transaction but they haven’t done it. He said both himself and Richard Murray are in touch with them. When asked, LDT said he is still convinced they can do the deal.

LDT said party three and party four have been silent since the last meeting and for him that means they are off the table. 

Fifth party (International)

LDT said that as mentioned previously Roland Duchatelet (RD) has met the the fifth party. Since the last meeting he has received an offer and agreed a price. The party have begun due diligence and are coming to the final stages of that process. The next steps after that are with the lawyers and sorting the contract. He said it is clear the party have the money and a previous experience in English football.

LDT said he has had conversations with other parties but no NDAs have been signed. 

He said in his opinion RD will not own the club next season. He said that all three parties want to complete the deal before the end of June so they can prepare for next season.

Ben Hayes (Bromley Addicks) asked what had happened with the request from the EFL to buy the club. LDT said the EFL request was sent. He said they have replied, including in public, that they won’t buy the club. He said since then a party contacted the EFL to bring them into conversation with Charlton about buying the club but not much moved on from there. 

When asked if RD still wanted the EFL to buy the club LDT said the reply of the EFL was clear that they will not buy it and that the club has to accept that.

LDT said he is meeting the EFL next week. BH asked if this is in relation to the investigation into the unpaid bonuses and the press comments which began earlier in the season. LDT said he believed so.  

BH said he felt the demand to sell to the EFL came about because the EFL were not supporting RD on the topic of staff bonuses. LDT said from his point of view, the bonus topic is closed.

Steve Clarke (Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust) said the British and Australian parties have been around so long one has to question their credibility as buyers.

Tony Garrett (CADSA) asked if the club is successful in the playoffs and gets promoted if there be a change in price. LDT said the three prices agreed are not the same but they are all in line and will not change whether Charlton get promoted or not.

Christine Lawrie (Reminiscence) asked why in LDT’s opinion the club has not been sold. LDT said he thought six months ago it was sold to the Australians. CL asked what the issue was then, LDT said he felt it was with the group’s complexity.

LDT said RD bought the club in 10 days but it can also take a long time as he has seen. He said RD wants to step out of football and last month there was an article in Belgium where he said getting into football was his mistake.

BH said the first two parties have been around so long then the fault has to be with the seller. He asked why LDT believes they are credible buyers. LDT says the people he speaks to are not working for free and that they won’t work if they aren’t working for a credible buyer. 

BH said he didn’t believe a price has been agreed. BH said he had information the club is for sale at £65m and he thinks the price is unrealistic. LDT said it is not £65m but he will not discuss price. Barnie Razzell (City Addicks) asked why he won’t share the price of the club as this might encourage other interest. 

SC said the Trust have been looking at options in buying the club. He said they’ve spoken to a former owner of a football club. He said the person they spoke to said the club is worth £20m with the land in its current use. SC said everyone believes the club is overpriced and if speaking with a consortium, which appears to be the case, then some will not want to pay a large price even if some are happy to pay the price. SC said he doesn’t think there will be a sale until the price is reduced. 

LDT said RD doesn’t want to lower the price.

Alan Dryland (German Addicks) said he feels sympathetic towards RD, he said the club are losing £10m a year and that still 10,000 turn up to hate him. He asked what the attraction is? He said no-one is winning from it.

LDT said costs have been reduced this year and the club is in a much better situation making the club more attractive to potential new owners. He said the club is no longer losing £1m a month. 

BH said the £10m losses were because the staff were incompetent. LDT said he thought that was unfair and that he didn’t think the staff were incompetent. BH said he didn’t think the staff were but that senior management were incompetent. BH said that LDT, Katrien Meire and RD were incompetent. 

Les Herbert (LH) said potential new owners must know that the club have boycotting fans, fans who won’t buy merchandise, he asked if they would they be concerned that they have to prove (themselves) to these non-attendees. He asked if they are they worried about boycotters? LDT said they are not worried. He said they feel the boycotting is linked to the current ownership. BR said he thinks there is a certain amount of drift that isn’t boycotting. SC said people will get used to not attending. 

BR said the club have missed out on second place as they can’t score goals. BR said damage has been done with Lee Bowyer not backed when he needed a replacement for Karlan Grant that would have helped Charlton to second place.

TG asked what the latest is with Lee Bowyer. LDT said negotiations are ongoing, he said as LB said last week in his press conference, negotiations are ongoing but it will happen. 

BH asked why LB was offered something he and Richard Murray didn’t understand. LDT said they explored a route which didn’t work but they have since had a positive conversation and the two parties will find each other.  

SC said he felt signing LB up would help with player contract negotiations. 

TG asked if LDT felt personally disappointed and frustrated that the club has not been sold. LDT said he’s not frustrated. He said he hoped it would have happened by now but that frustration will not help him sell the club. 

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