Sunday, 29 September 2013

It's Jiminez, not Powell

As tempers rise amongst angry Addicks, the debate is beginning to concentrate around who is responsible for Charlton Athletic's current predicament. For me it's a no brainer - Tony Jiminez. Powell is simply doing the best with what he's been given and is being professional to a fault in getting on with the coaching role and not looking for excuses outside his playing and management staff.

Dumb Jiminez, meanwhile, says nothing because he appears incapable or, more likely, he doesn't see why he needs to explain himself to Charlton fans, the mere punters. Let's face it, he doesn't even support Charlton. The facts are that Jiminez was the broker of the deal to acquire the club. He has sufficient personal wealth to shoulder the club for awhile, if not to run it properly. Slater is merely his lawyer and had taken the limited speaking role of the Board after the takeover and when begging fans to waste their money on a to renew season tickets. 

It was Jiminez who had the personal contacts willing to bankroll a limited promotion push and attempt to inflate the value of the club for ultimate lucrative resale. Slater was the lawyer who helped set the deal up via offshore tax havens and company shells to protect the identities of the other investors. From his previous role at Newcastle, Jiminez obviously fancies himself as a judge of a player and thinks he can perform the illusion of making a club out-perform the investment.

It was Jiminez who fell out with the money men (and nearly everyone else by the looks of it) and who is left with legal responsibility along with the lawyer for the clubs debts and fortunes as majority shareholder. It's that reason why we are now in a bind. He has over-committed on debts to Directors and former Directors and as well as looking to recover the cost of the venture, presumably for himself and the money men backers. The total of that lot (rumoured to be £40m) is far higher than the value of the club and is deterring potential investors.

Instead, they will simply wait until push comes to shove and we have to call in the Administrators. That way the debt will be written down heavily and they will get the club for a fraction of the current asking price and, presumably, have the funds left to play their version fantasy football (don't laugh). The trouble is, Administration incurs a points deficit likely to take a struggling club down a division.

Chris Powell is soldiering on and trying to get results with what he's got. He has a good track record since coming into management as Valley Talk so ably points out. He got us out of that wretched division and has already steered us to within three points of the play-offs. He had no money to strenghten in the Summer and has had to watch Jon Obika and Ricardo Fuller move on (not so convinced Fuller was value for money) but his squad is largely similar to last season. 

One key difference that may be making Powell's job harder, is the negative atmosphere within the club due to high-handed and dictatorial senior management/Board decisions that have been very unpopular with staff and supporters. They have also been embarrassing for those who have taken them as they have been forced to settle civil cases out-of-court and face more to come. Ultimately, Jiminez is responsible for this as majority shareholder.

There is also the bizarre position of the majority of the first-team's playing contracts expiring in June with no apparent urgency to renew them. This may simply be because we have no money to improve what they already have and running them down is seen as an attractive option for prospective new buyers who will have far fewer financial obligations to players they may not want. Solly has had his renewed but that may simply be to retain his value as a saleable asset. Nick Pope's was renewed this week but as a reserve goalie that wouldn't have registered in the scheme of things. If this is causing uncertainty amongst the playing staff, and it's hard to see how it wouldn't, Jiminez is ultimately responsible.

So, what to do? Pointless blaming Powell for the current predicament. He is doing the best with what he's got and there is zero prospect of a better manager coming in and doing any better with no money. No, for me the heat needs to be turned on the Board and Jiminez in particular. His hand needs to be forced and his ego won't like his name being bellowed abusively at home games. He especially won't like it when he actually attends a match, presumably when he's trying to impress any prospective buyers who may be left. That may force him to wake up and smell the coffee, cut the losses and move on. The spectre of Administration looms large, let's not blame Chris Powell for that or the personal struggle I believe he is having in trying to get the best from his increasingly disillusioned side.




14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good read and well said. I still think we need Curbs to step in and "help" SCP get us out of this mess, with the squad we have. We have a really good youth squad and its time to bring some more of them forward into the first team.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more with this article. Have a friend in the industry and he told me Mike Ashley said when fell out with Jimenez he would hurt him financially slowly but surely, and we are the ones now suffering. No way is this SCP's fault, if anything the boo boys should remind themselves we have one of our own in charge, a manager with a great reputation, and I for one would not blame him if something better came along. Sack the board is the line you should be singing and leave SCP to try and rescue something from what will be a long hard season

Anonymous said...

Regarding Powell, if he has any ambitions as a manager he may well feel it in his own best interests to jump ship before his reputation becomes too tarnished at this currently unambitious and declining club. As far as Jiminez goes, read Gliksten in 1960s and 1970s, whose total disinterest in the club let to a decaying ground and dwindling support to levels below 5000, relegations to Div 3 and ultimately bankruptcy and ground sharing. One wonders whether there will be enough interest this time among the fans to campaign for the club's survival.

Anonymous said...

Agree 100%, this Board came in with lots of hope and lots of talk, initially spent good money getting team into Championship and staying there last year and clocked up nearly £20mn of new debt doing it.
But suddenly lost their appetite, realised they have no fixed assets as owned by Banks and previous Directors and that move to Peninsular is pipe dream.
So we now are back to £30 million of debt same position as when Murray owned club on his own, one division higher and financially screwed, and what has never been explained is why they have given up investing beyond annual losses,after all their early promises to take club to Premiership, why did they stop? why all Debt and no equity? Board needs to explain.
Where is Richard Murray in all of this ,he is very quiet,he has loans and investment in the secured and unsecured camps,is he hedging his bets and waiting for them to cave in and then he steps in with a new backer? wouldn't be the first time.

Dave said...

A Curbs return is surely wishful thinking. There's nothing for him to come back for. It would be a backwards step for him and there is no financial incentive. I also don't think he has a strong emotional connection to Charlton in perhaps the same way might do for West Ham, although even that has probably been tested by his court case and financial settlement against them.

Dave said...

I remain a huge fan of Richard Murray. His attempt to sell the club was long and frustrating. He rejected other possible suitors who he was unsure about, in the sense that he suspected they din't have the finances and he didn't want that responsibility on his conscience. His deal with Jiminez and Slater was concluded in the knowledge that there was significant funding available at the time of the sale. He retained a 10% holding, probably out of concern as much as anything else, although he wasn't making any money selling and was only securing his loans, so perhaps he had to hold a minor stake because he couldn't effectively sell it. With hindsight, that has tied him to the current debacle and is rapidly tarnishing his image. He simply doesn't have the clout any longer to dictate play and I would be staggered if he were to appear again as a larger shareholder. The man did 20 years in the hot seat and helped many of fulfil our dream of watching Charlton play top flight football at the Valley. He has been seriously ill and has had personal tragedy in his life. In his 70's, we should remember his part and avoid tarnishing his reputation unnecessarily because of the actions of the new majority shareholders.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find that most of our success was because of Curbishley and Varney keeping Richard Murray on right path.All I am saying for a guy that loves Club and only has 10% which means he has no control over Jimenez whatsoever , why is he hanging around and getting sucked down with them and tarnishing his image as you say. Smart thing would be to resign, he has security over his loans,which they don't and then he could find a better backer and come back in untarnished,thats why I ask question why is he condoning their actions by sitting on Board as a lame duck,watching him sack Varney et all that he was close to for years.
All seems a little strange to me as he keeps liability based on their actions.

Dave said...

Anon - agree Curbs and Varney were instrumental but he gave them the financial support and helped shaped the club. I suspect he might like to cut his ties but he is a supporter like us and maybe feels he would rather know what's going on than not. Like you, I suppose, I am disappointed that he has not been more public in distancing himself from Jiminez but suspect he doesn't see that would be in the club's long term interests.

Anonymous said...

But he has nothing to lose,he probably has no clue who real owners are or what real structure is,they treat him like a mushroom in a dark room.
He would be very powerful on outside as has supporters ,and what a statement if he resigned,Banks would not be happy as I understand he guarantees overdraft,but staying only leaves questions as to what he does know and condones.
Old Directors loans that hold charges over assets after Banks include him, if he left Jimenez has club but no control at all over financing, unless he buys back Bank Mortgage and Loans of Old Directors.
This is gonna be a long road before everything falls into place and maybe threat of relegation and Admin will be only thing to flush Jimenez out.

Dave said...

Anon - the owners are Jiminez, Slater and Murray. RM knows who the financial backers are, or at least, who they were. He told us they had "significant" funding at the time of the sale and that they were credible. This supported the Kevin Cash connection. RM doesn't want Administration as he will say goodbye to most of his loans. It's why he's kept putting his hand in his pocket. We appear to be in a Catch-22 that only Administration will unlock.

jonathan acworth said...

of cause its powell he picks the team he buys the players ffs get a grip!if we keep powell and dyer were heading towards league one faster than the titanic went down.We need a change quickly and that must happen if we lose at home to forest tomorrow night.The ideal manager replace powell would be clough then again u wont print this as your tongue is full of chris powells ass!

Nick Gray said...

Too many Charlton fans are confusing their baffling ardour for Chris Powell with their long term concern for CAFC. No one person should ever be bigger than a football club. Strangely enough, the same fans are very quick to criticise the Jiminez regime, but were right down the trousers of the equally useless Murray one. Why is that? Answer....their noses were put out of joint and their little privileges ended after the last takeover.

The owners are culpable, but the manager has made too many mistakes this season. The 200-300 who worship CP are not representative of the 10,000 fans still bothering to turn up to watch Powell's hoof ball every week.

Times up, Chris.

ChicagoAddick said...

Ah, Jonathan Acworth and Nick Gray, the most representative of the Addicks fan base....

Dave said...

Nick Gray - agree no-one is bigger than the club and I have never quite got the Sir Chris Powell bit, although you have to acknowledge that the man was a brilliant servant who was capped whilst playing for Charlton Athletic. Don't accept the "useless Murray" comment. You either weren't around or have chosen to forget the contribution he made in our Premiership story and the redevelopment of the ground. The man downsized his home in order to continue financing Charlton. Sure, things went wrong with successive managers but we all make mistakes. He paid for his, literally. Not sure your view of 200-300 Powell worshippers is correct. There may be that many for whom he can do no wrong (I am not one of them) but there are thousands of others who can see very clearly that there aren't many better plausible options at the moment.