BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer has pledged to stay at Charlton Athletic – despite a jaw-dropping all-out war at boardroom level.
Majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer has pulled his financial backing of the Championship side, claiming he will not make his funds available until executive chairman Matt Southall is removed from his post.
Southall has indicated that without new investors the Addicks only have the funds to run until December.
Huddersfield pushed hard for Bowyer earlier in the season and he was also firmly in the running for Cardiff City following Neil Warnock’s exit.
The EFL have confirmed this week that Charlton were under a transfer embargo in January because East Street Investments, who took over control of the club from Roland Duchatelet the same month, are yet to satisfy their source of funding.
The Addicks dropped into the relegation zone last weekend.
“I could have gone,” said Bowyer. “Everybody knows there were approaches for me. But I want to stay and try and keep the club in the division. I said that was the target at the start of the season and nothing has changed.
“I’m not going to walk away. I’m going to stay and fight even though no-one really knows what is going on.
“Myself and Steve [Gallen, director of football] were getting criticised that we haven’t signed any players but what they didn’t know was that we didn’t have money. I would have loved to have spent. Everyone knows to give us a chance of staying in the league we had to strengthen the squad.”
Charlton’s playing squad and other staff at the club’s Sparrows Lane training ground had a meeting with Southall on Tuesday afternoon.
“The players are not happy now and I’ve got to try and pick them up,” said Bowyer. “That is not going to be easy. We have got nine games to go and this couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“We’re in a relegation fight and now I think players wise that we’re in a bad place. Not football wise but in terms of their futures. It could go one of two ways. I’ve got to try my hardest to galvanise them and persuade them that everything’s going to be okay.
“If there is anything that I will say, it is if there is one thing that this football club is good at then it is fighting when their backs are against the wall and when we get pushed into a corner.
“The fight for the Valley years’ ago and last season when no-one gave us a chance of getting promoted -What happens is that we all pull together. The fans and the players, we pull together and we fight.
“If any football club can come out of this situation and remain in this league, I think it’s us. But it does make the job harder, because there might be a few that ain’t happy.
“But if there is a time for everybody to pull together, this is it.
“There are pros and cons to it all being out there – everyone knows now what has been happening. That needed to happen a long time ago, from the beginning.
“Everyone has a right to know that we had an embargo.”