Thursday 24 September 2020

Sandgaard Tweets spell trouble ahead...

After the surging confidence in recent weeks that Thomas Sandgaard has the funds, the team and the energy to acquire CAFC and secure the future use of the Valley and Sparrows Lane, two Tweets early today would suggest he has spotted an iceberg on the horizon and it's Duchatelet-shaped.

Sandgaard made it clear from the outset that he wanted full control of Charlton and of the club's dependence on it's stadium and training ground. He also Tweeted at one point that he would settle for a negotiated extension of the current lease deal if the assets were not for sale or otherwise unattainable. 

Something evidently derailed closure of a deal last week and it's widely suspected that it wasn't Elliott winning an injunction hearing. Sandgaard's early-morning Tweets suggest that once again, Roland Duchatelet is proving the stumbling block.

It looks like a sale of the assets isn't likely and I suspect that's still an issue over the price. In which case, we can assume that Duchatelet is playing hardball over a longer lease. The current lease is believed to be a five year term which expires mid-2024-25 season. A term so relatively short would make it inadvisable to invest significantly in the training ground or The Valley, in addition to handing Duchatelet massive negotiating power next time around. It might also hand the Belgian a ready-made-excuse to possibly fail to extend and thus bring to a head Charlton's tenure and perhaps begin his case for change of use. We know that Greenwich Council are unlikely to support this as things stand, particularly at Sparrows Lane, but the Valley without Charlton playing there would be a different proposition after a year or two of dereliction. There are arguments that the site isn't viable for development for numerous reasons and that may well be the case but it cuts no ice if Duchatelet believes otherwise. 

Sandgaard's second Tweet also confirms that he has players waiting to sign for the club but that failure to sign them would ruin this season's chances of competing in League One. His wording is a little ambiguous but could be interpreted that without accommodation here by Duchatelet, all bets could be off.

Paul Elliott's court wrangling with Panorama Magic have brought the club to a perilous position and without Sandgaard's backing, Administration looks not only inevitable but also quite quick. As I have said before, Administration is not what anyone wants but it may be the only way to wipe the slate clean and give a new owner a fresh chance without Duchatelet's interference. It would be a risky venture but it would break the deadlock of the last four years.

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