Like Addicks everywhere, I have been following every snippet this week on the latest rumoured takeover. Given the false dawns of last year and the unpredictability and stubbornness of Roland Duchatelet, there are many Charlton fans who are unwilling or unable to fathom that a deal may be just around the corner. However, it looks to me like we may now be close and that something may have finally changed in the buying-selling dynamic to make that a reality.
Roland Duchatelet's recent courting of Talksport's Jim White was 'unprovoked' but the message about ongoing interest and possibly closeness of a deal was clear. Given timing close to another transfer window and lack of any other rumblings, this had a distinct whiff of ulteria motive for Duchatelet. Was it to dampen disappointment of another negative January transfer window? More likely it may have been Duchatelet attempting to pressurise interest in prospective buyers or simply an attempt to fill in time given the lack of any other concrete news of a sale in the last six months.
But shortly afterwards there were positive noises from reliable sources within the club that there was indeed fresh interest and then confirmation that Lieven de Turck had shown a prospective buyer around the training ground on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year. Lee Bowyer too told the press he had been informed of fresh interest and that he hoped it would soon complete for the sake of everyone at the club and its supporters.
Whilst understandably cautious, Rick Everitt was also hearing similar messages either directly or indirectly and was moved to begin to suggest credence to the story whilst being wary of what obstacles might remain in getting a deal completed - price, fit and proper persons test and timing etc - Jim White's optimistic '48-72 hours' passed yesterday.
What seems to be accepted is that it's still 'the Aussies' albeit with additional big investment. This has credibility based upon the interest, commitment and determination they have already shown and the fact that they have pumped in significant sums in legal and other fees associated with the Due Diligence and the buying exercise to date. Indeed, if it is the Aussies, it also suggests that the change in the previous buying and selling dynamic may be price. This would be a huge step forward because it would signal a final acceptance from Roland Duchatelet that he is not going to be better off continuing to fund losses in the hope of someone paying well over the odds for the club. That was heavily rumoured to be the sticking point for the Aussies last time and Alex McGleish also acknowledged that when he said "they want too much money" following his brief due diligence exercise on behalf of a 'British' consortium last year.
Who then is the new big investor? This remains less clear. Initial speculation was that it was a 30-something Aussie multi-millionaire which may be where the names of the two founders of software giant Atalassian popped up. More recently, Rick has suggested Joel MacDonald, the wealthy businessman and former Aussies Rules player. There has been talk of a US connection and MacDonald is based in the States....
The current best view is that a takeover may be concluded on Monday or Tuesday but excitement is mounting and that is likely to be reflected in today's actual and announced attendances at the biggest home game of the season to date when Sunderland visit. If it does get done, it will be a pity we couldn't really cash in for today but there will undoubtedly be a bounce.
In terms of the transfer window, a surprising signing of Jonny Williams, the once Golden Boy of Crystal Palace who has lost his way due to a series of injuries and greater expectations at Premiership Palace. 'Joniesta' was out-of-contract at Palace and has signed as a permanent for six months. This would fit with Roland not having to make an extended commitment but it's a better-than-expected signing and we still have no immediate leavers. Indeed, if a deal is really as close as is being suggested, there is a fair chance that the price will include no further asset sales.
Keep hoping and praying....