Charlton AthleticSport

Dean Holden on Charlton Athletic contract talks and Thursday meeting to map out some of next season’s plans

Charlton Athletic manager Dean Holden is set for a meeting to bed down some of the club’s plans for next season and has admitted that becomes easier once his contract situation is resolved.

The 43-year-old Mancunian arrived in December on a deal until the end of the League One campaign.

But the club’s owner Thomas Sandgaard has already indicated he wants Holden to stay in the Valley hotseat.

Holden was named as Ben Garner’s successor at a point when Charlie Methven’s group of investors entered an exclusivity period to acquire the League One club.

Since then Sandgaard has terminated the talks and is believed to have started discussions with American businessman Marc Spiegel.

Methven’s party are threatening legal action over the manner in which Sandgaard cut off their talks. Technical director Andy Scott, COO Jim Rodwell and financial director Ed Warrick – brought in at the same time as Holden – left their positions.

Asked for an update on his contract talks, Holden told the South London Press: “We’ve had some good conversations over the weekend. I got asked the question last week ‘is there a deadline?’ – I didn’t want to say ‘yeah, there’s a deadline for next week’ because what does that look like if you don’t come to an agreement in that period of time? What does that do? It leads to more speculation and more uncertainty.

“So I was trying to take away the spotlight in terms of taking away a deadline.

“I think we all agree – myself, Thomas and the supporters I’ve spoken to – that if we can get a swift conclusion to it then it will stop a lot of the rumours and it will provide us with a clearer plan for next season. I’ve got a meeting on Thursday afternoon in terms of planning, even things down to pre-season camps, the renovation of the training pitches and the squad rebuild in the summer is something we speak about most days anyway.

“All of those things can really start to take shape once my future becomes really clear. We would all want a swift conclusion to that, let’s hope we can get something sorted very soon.”

Peter Storrie was appointed as Charlton’s chief executive on February 15.

Peter Storrie at Charlton’s match against Bristol Rovers Picture: Paul Edwards

It’s believed that football agent Jon Smith, now also a broker for parties interested in buying clubs, was instrumental in Storrie taking on his role.

The former West Ham and Portsmouth chief executive was in the directors’ box for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and was sat next to Sandgaard’s son Martin, who is director of analysis.

Holden said: “The easiest thing for me to do would be just to sign the contract and make sure Dean Holden and his family have got some security, in terms of a longer contract. But that’s not really the issue here. I think Thomas has gone on record and said he is looking for some investment to move the club forward. It’s important for me I get an understanding of exactly what that is and how the club is going to operate.

“We’ve seen previously that Jim Rodwell came in and Andy Scott – there was a clear way of working. They were my go-tos for recruitment, with Andy, and anything around the club was to Jim. Now Peter Storrie has come in. I met Peter last week and we’ve got another meeting on Thursday.

“Above that, in terms of the ownership, of course it is important. We all want clarity on that, don’t we? That does play a part and hopefully that will all come to a swift conclusion.”

Picture: Paul Edwards

Charlton’s 2022-23 campaign looks set to fizzle out into a mid-table finish, exactly like it did in the previous season.

Asked if it was vital that the South London club lined up summer transfer targets early, Holden replied: “Irrespective of where we were in the league, even if we were closer to the play-offs and were looking at giving it a play-off run, probably more so than we are at the moment, we’d still be preparing for next season. We’d be looking at players for League One and potentially for if we went up to the Championship.

“Those plans are in place, we’re already  ahead with that, in terms of looking at players. It’s obviously difficult to sign players until the summer because contracts don’t end until the end of June.

“But in terms of targets and how I want the team to look next season, we’re well on with that.”

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