The Masthead July 22

Page 26

The Big Interview

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robably not many, but the club's name is indeed engraved on the famous trophy having won it in 1946/47. There have been other high points too. In the mid-1990s and early noughties Charlton Athletic more than held their own in the Premier League. However, since 2006 the club have struggled both on and off the pitch. In 2020, the club was sold to Thomas Sandgaard a Danish businessman based in Colorado. Sandgaard’s is the owner and founder of Zynex, a medical devices manufacturer. So, what attracted a successful businessman in the US to Charlton FC and the stresses and strains of football club ownership? As Sandgaard explains it was not a straightforward route to South-East London. “I looked at a number of clubs including Sunderland, Coventry and Wigan. But none of them ticked enough boxes in terms of long-term potential and then I looked at Charlton and saw massive revenue potential due to the huge fanbase the club has”. The size of the challenge in boosting revenue and bringing top-flight football back to The Valley (Charlton’s home ground) is not lost on Sandgaard but he is convinced the club is now heading in the right direction.

Danish owner planning

Charlton Athletic’s route to the top

If you were asked to name London football clubs that have won the FA Cup – how many people would include Charlton Athletic in their list? 26

“Charlton had been mismanaged for two decades and it had been sold so many times. In many ways a football club is just like any other business. Charlton FC is a turnaround challenge and in business I have been involved with many turnarounds before – it is about getting the right people on board and ensuring the right culture is in place.”

Local talent spotting Bringing in the right players is clearly a priority, though as with all clubs this can only be done in specific transfer windows during the season. Alongside astute transfer business there is the opportunity to spot and develop young talent – especially in the local area.