BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Thomas Sandgaard says he is absorbing a loss of £1million every month to run Charlton Athletic.
And the American-based Dane reckons there is “zero” to worry about Paul Elliott’s claim that he is the rightful owner of the League One club.
Sandgaard has put one of the club’s company Range Rovers – worth £90,000 – up for grabs in a competition for one fan to win. People need to purchase a stream of the Addicks’ matches to stand a chance of driving away with it.
It is also a dig at the way the club was run before he took charge in September.
Elliott issued a statement a week ago in which he claimed his legal case – to determine his claim on Charlton – had been settled in his favour last month after Tahnoon Nimer failed to provide court documentation before a deadline.
Elliott’s company Lex Dominus obtained an injunction in mid-September blocking East Street Investments selling the club before a court case on November 23. He claims to have put £500,000 in to keep Charlton running over the summer.
But Sandgaard passed the EFL’s owners’ and directors’ test and announced he had taken control in September – with the governing body also lifting a transfer embargo which had been in place since the start of 2020.
Asked if he disputed that money had been injected before his arrival, Sandgaard said: “There was some money which changed hands. We’re still working on finding out exactly what that was and who was the source of the funds – what happened. That’s one of many things we’re discussing with Chris Farnell, as he is representing Paul Elliott.
“There are a lot of disputes going back with Chris Farnell. As far as I can tell it is just another element in that to entice me to settle some claims that I shouldn’t.”
Elliott told talkSPORT that sealed court orders had gone to Sandgaard’s legal team.
He added: “Come and talk to me. If not we carry on with court action – the club doesn’t need that. It doesn’t need to be dragged through more legal wranglings on ownership.”
But Sandgaard responded: “If you talk about sealed documents, it makes it sound way more serious than it is to any lay person – no matter what the content is.
“In terms of the ownership issue, nothing has changed and there’s nothing to worry about- zero per cent. From a legal point of view this transaction is watertight. I’ve worked with, and I’m still working with, some very good attorneys.
“I’m not worried at all.”
ESI splashed out on a fleet of top-of-the-range Range Rovers in January – despite the fact they never invested any money into the football club and never saw their ‘takeover’ approved by the EFL.
Nimer did not satisfy source and sufficiency of funds.
It was Sandgaard’s brainwave to put one of the high-end vehicles – which cost a total of £700,000 – up for grabs.
“I spent the last couple of months re-possessing six Range Rovers and a Mercedes from those characters who felt the cashflow in the spring justified them to have nice cars to drive,” he explained. “It’s why the club had to sell so many players in the spring and face relegation, because all of these bills need to get paid. I’ve auctioned off these cars – except for one. Rather than save a little money on that, why not let all the fanbase enjoy the possibility of maybe winning this car? Somebody will.
“You take some huge losses when you auction these off. I haven’t got an exact figure but somewhere between £100,000 and £200,000. I’m losing probably £1m or more every month on running this club, mostly because of Covid and the fact we don’t have fans in the stadium. It’s something I’m perfectly okay with. I knew I was facing it when I got into this. I know long term it is going to be worth it.
“I’m cleaning up many things which are going on and people are still trying to grab some of the money I’m putting into the club. It’s not just Farnell. Nearly all of them are associated to each other. It’s pretty aggressive.
“There is a lot of legal expenses, other than just running a football club.
“I already put £12m over into Charlton’s bank account. It is sitting there and being used up on a daily basis.”
Sandgaard wants the competition to highlight the need for change in regulations for owning a club – and says the EFL have already partly done that. He said: “I hope to work even more with the EFL to keep making changes so that we clear up this kind of noise and devastation for fans.
“Look at a club like Bury, who had to go under. It was a few days from happening to Charlton – going into administration and possibly not getting out of it again.”
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