New owner Thomas Sandgaard set for hands-on role at Charlton Athletic


New Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard says he will install himself as CEO at The Valley.

The Danish-American businessman completed his takeover of the club yesterday and looks set to take a hands-on approach to running the League One outfit.

The role of CEO has been vacant since Roland Duchatelet appointee Katrien Meire departed for Sheffield Wednesday towards the end of 2017. Matt Southall was designated as the executive chairman during his disastrous stint at the club following East Street Investment’s arrival at the start of 2020.

Sandgaard, who is based in the US, told BBC Radio London: “I’ve been looking at a lot of that leading up to this. Getting into it, getting to know it. What I’m seeing is that we have changed the byelaws so that there’s only one member of the board of directors to begin with. I will personally also get in and be the CEO.

“This is the kind of stuff I’m good at, regardless of industry. To come in and simplify things, see what’s really going on and what’s needed. You can probably just add one too many layers of delay and risk of miscommunication. I’ll be in there just trying to work with what we have. Slowly over the next many years, tweak things.

Sandgaard says he will take a hands-on role in SE7

“It’s really just a matter of tweaking the dials to make sure that we remove bottlenecks and miscommunication and get the right kind of philosophy. That’s really my responsibility, to bring a culture that is really the type of culture that I represent. Bring that into the club and make sure we’re all moving in the right direction. This organisation, whether it’s the football side that’s led by Lee Bowyer and Steve Gallen, or if it’s the staff, if we are all running in the same direction we’re going to make miracles happen.

“I have a very clear strategy for how we’re going to get there. It’s going to take about 11, maybe 12 years to get to the point where we’re beginning to play European football. It’s not an overnight thing. And a very clear path in how to get there. The good thing is Lee Bowyer and I, we communicate really well. We are totally on the same page in terms of how to build the team from here to a Premier League level. That’s already out of the way.

“As I’ve mentioned before, the previous owners, obviously Roland Duchatelet had the financial means to invest in the club if he wanted to. He was involved in many other things, other football clubs. I think the strategy when he came to Charlton became a little diluted and muddied. In my case I would have the financial strength and I’ll make sure it’s 100 percent dedicated to building the club. It’s got a fantastic foundation.

“This is not too complicated, I’m not too worried. It’s about focusing on the club and making sure we listen to the fans. If there’s any club in England where the fanbase is very vocal and supportive behind the team in terms of numbers and how vocal they are, it’s Charlton. That’s amazing. We’ll make sure that we listen to the fans. We won’t ignore them. That might be one of the things that didn’t go well here in the past.”

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