BY RICHARD CAWLEY
The Australian consortium looking to buy Charlton Athletic will not have a majority shareholder – with four or five wealthy investors set to make decisions on the club’s future.
The only person to be identified in the group is successful businessman Andrew Muir, who made at least £480m when he sold The Good Guys – a retail business – in September 2016.
But the South London Press has been told that Muir, who is on the board of Aussie rules outfit Essondon Football Club, always wanted to be a minority shareholder – with no-one owning 51 per cent which would see them enjoy a controlling stake.
It also appears unlikely that Muir would take on the role of chairman.
There has been talk of Gerard Murphy becoming chief executive, with Paul Elliott – a former Addicks defender and on the FA’s inclusion advisory board – set to also be handed a role.
Charlton Athletic issued an update yesterday morning that detailed a meeting which Lieven De Turck – representing the club in takeover talks – had with a select group of Charlton fans on Wednesday afternoon.
He cited one of the reasons for delays on historical loans – some of the club’s former directors are due £7million which is payable if the SE7 outfit regain Premier League status – but also said the Australians have the funds to do a deal with wantaway owner Roland Duchatelet.
De Turck added that some documents which need to be lodged with the EFL were still outstanding.
He also confirmed there was a mechanism in place to cover player sales while talks continue. Prize centre-back Ezri Konsa was sold to Brentford in mid-June for a fee of around £2.5million.
Caretaker boss Lee Bowyer has met the Australians – and once again made clear that he will only stay on if he stays in charge of team matters.
“I spoke to them a while ago now,” Bowyer told the South London Press.
“It was before I came back to work. They basically said: ‘We’re looking at taking over – everyone knows we are ambitious’.
“That was it really. It wasn’t a really long conversation. I was just honest with them. I told them: ‘When you come in, I don’t want to be pushed back to assistant – I’ll either be the manager or I won’t be here’.
“It was like I said at the end of last season. Nothing has changed. But I just wanted to make them aware of it as well. I’m just working to get the lads ready for that first game against Sunderland.”
But Bowyer would expect to lose the caretaker tag by August 4 when the League One campaign starts rolling.
“I think it has to be changed before Sunderland – either way,” he said. “Whether new people come in, or it is the current owner. He [Duchatelet] has already said if nothing changes by August then we’ll have a chat and sort something out.”
Bowyer has 12 months to run on his current terms and he is not set to demand a bumper long contract.
“All I want to do is just win games. If I don’t, that’s my fault.
“You can have a three-year deal – but if you don’t win games then you get the sack, simple as that.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.