Financial Stability Key To Charlton Athletic’s New Owners Plans

LONG-TERM sustainability is a key objective in the newly completed takeover of Championship outfit Charlton Athletic by East Street Investments. Tony Incenzo reports.


Rather than throwing millions of pounds at the club in an extravagant bid to gain Premier League status, East Street Investments (ESI) want to build up revenue streams in order to bolster the playing budget. In fact, the new owners are very much aware of the financial problems that have come to the fore at other Football League clubs in recent months.


Speaking at a press conference on Thursday to launch the takeover, Charlton’s new executive chairman Matt Southall told fcbusiness: “For us, sustainability is the priority. There will be no boom and bust. I’ve seen football clubs go through financial turmoil. The problems at Bolton Wanderers and Bury for example have affected the whole of their local communities.


“So if we are going to increase financial outgoings at Charlton Athletic by making new signings, then revenues must go up too. This won’t happen overnight. I cannot just move our wage bill from one of the lowest in the Championship to one of the highest if that situation is not sustainable or sensible.


“We need to improve all our income streams such as hospitality, commercial revenue and matchday ticket sales. We have previously been under-performing in every one of those aspects.


“But we have a great history, heritage and tradition as well as a magnificent stadium. So the club has all the fundamentals that we feel we can build on and develop in a positive manner.”


Aside from playing matters, ESI also plan to invest heavily in the infrastructure of the club. In particular, their Sparrows Lane training ground will undergo a major revamp.


Southall said: “All the important work for a football club takes place at the training ground. From the Academy players, the Under-23’s right through to the first team building up to the matchday action on a Saturday.


“Therefore this is where investment is vitally important. We have just had planning approval to totally redevelop Sparrows Lane with state of the art facilities. This will help us to achieve Category One Academy status.”


Charlton Athletic’s head of recruitment Steve Gallen added: “All of the club’s football staff are very pleased that this takeover has gone through. The new owners are decent people who want to help us and move everything forward.


“I am particularly excited about the plans to renovate the training ground. It is such an important environment for the players and the staff on a daily basis.


“The dimensions of our site at Sparrows Lane and the number of pitches are really good compared to several other clubs in London. But we need to improve the main building to house larger dressing rooms, gym facilities and a restaurant.


“We want the young Academy and schoolboy players to feel like it is a second home. And for the senior footballers and staff, the training ground should be somewhere with an atmosphere that points towards a winning mentality.”


Image: PA Images – from left to right:Steve Gallen, Matt Southall and Lee Bowyer during the press conference


Words by Tony Incenzo. Follow on Twitter: @TonyIncenzo