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TNT CAS Trust News

WINTER EDITION

www.castrust.org

NUMBER 5 FEBRUARY 2014

ACV

INSIDE: CAFC UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP: Exclusive Belgian article VALLEY IS ACV: How it all happened, What it means WHAT DID TJ & Co. DO FOR CAFC?

SPECIAL VALLEY GOLD PROMOTIONAL ISSUE


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Welcome

to the FIFTH Edition of CAS Trust News Welcome to the fifth edition of Trust News, which will also for the first time be available as a preview e-edition to members. Here is just a short preview of what is in these pages. WE ARE very happy to have a special flip-over back cover section promoting the efforts of Valley Gold - the subscription organisation that runs Charlton’s prize draws every week and which gives thousands to Charlton’s academy. It was set up 25 years ago this year to help get us back to the Valley. We want to support Valley Gold as much as possible. Also coinciding with this edition is our mini celebration of the achievement of Asset of Community Value (ACV) status for the Valley. This recognises the stake fans have in the future of our beloved football club both symbolically and legally. So I hope you’ll agree with me it’s worth celebrating. As part of a number of collaborative projects with CAFC we are running a Match Day Experience survey supported by a great prize draw www. castrust.org/survey5. Please do take part as this is a great way for fans to have their say. Charlton have been drawn away to Sheffield Wednesday on the 15th of this month in the FA cup 5th round. An opposition fan in the form of England Cricketer and Ashes winner Michael Vaughan was keen to join in the fun, and in the end was persuaded to phone in to Charlton Live. We have tried show what benefits a cup run can bring, as well as some suggestions on how Charlton’s finances may pan out generally. You may have heard the small matter of the takeover at Charlton by Belgian millionaire Roland Duchatelet. He also owns a number of other clubs in Europe, the most well known of which is probably the Belgian club Standard Liege. Welcome Roland. We have seen some of the ben-

efits of his network in loans and transfers recently and are waiting to see the impact of that approach on Charlton’s fortunes. I am very pleased to hear that he is committed to improving the match day experience while keeping it affordable to fans and to keeping our youth products for longer, as well as on the pitch success of course. Richard Murray is also still at Charlton but now as non-executive Chairman. He is of course a fan and therefore sympathetic to the fans’ point of view. He is also joined by Katrien Meire, who we also welcome to SE7. (Richard has just agreed to a fan Q&A in February, see our website for details.) As a result we have said goodbye to former owner and chairman Tony Jiminez and Michael Slater. I read Tony’s blog recently and his nice comments about our fans. I never got to meet him personally however. Their legacy is up for debate, but they gave us an abiding memory of the League 1 championship which happened to be the first match I took my son to. It’s a shame that success seemed to elude them after that, with restricted investment in playing staff, contracts allowed to run down and the pitch in serious disrepair, but I would like to thank the administration that took over for that early success. Finally, popular striker Yann Kermorgant left in the recent transfer window. In my view football is about heroes - players aren’t merely commodities - and he has been a hero for Charlton on many occasions. So thanks for all you have done for Charlton, Yann. I hope you enjoy the read. Barnie Razzell CAStrust Chairman

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The Duchâtel Douglas De Coninck: Journalist at De Morgen, Brussels writes for us exclusively.

WHEN MILLIONAIRES buy football teams, fans expect money and top players to arrive. I have known Roland Duchâtelet since his early years as a politician. I met him as a journalist and coïncidentally – a lifetime fan of Standard de Liège. Let me say this: Mister Duchâtelet is not Roman Abramovich. He’s the opposite of a traditional football patron. At the age of 67, Roland Duchâtelet seems to collect clubs like others collect Ferraris. His family owns Sint-Truiden and Standard de Liège in Belgium; Ujpest in Hungary; Carl Zeiss Jena in Germany; Charlton Athletic in England and Alcorcon in Spain. Why would a man own more than one club? Buying cheap and reselling fast with huge profits? Most certainly not. 15 years ago Roland Duchâtelet wanted to change the world. He created his own liberal democrat movement - Vivant. He invested lots of time and money in an attempt to get elected to parliament and put his controversial economic ideas on the agenda. He wanted every Belgian to receive free money. Just like that ! Do you want to spend your life watching television or playing videogames? That’s fine. Do you want to create, to work and to have more money? That’s more than fine. He wanted to get rid of taxes and he wanted society to be run by basic free market and referenda. He dreamed of a society free of taboos. He’s deeply convinced that his ideas will become reality one day, but he’s impatient. So he decided to review his big plan. Forget about society, let’s change football. Mister Duchâtelet doesn’t like agents. He doesn’t understand what they might be useful for. If club A wants to buy player B from club C, there’s no reason why there should be an agent telling everyone how great the player is and taking 10 per cent of the deal.

In his view, agents are professional liars. He once said: “If the money spent on agents could be kept in the teams, football would reach financial health.” Mister Duchâtelet is a nice person. There’s just one sentence that freaks him out. “It has always been like that.” He wants change. He believes in synthetic pitches. He believes that male and female football will be equal one day. He believes that clubs should develop their own talent rather than buying it. He believes that if you have 25 professional players in your squad, you burn money by only using 10 of them to complete the team poster. This is why we saw Standard de Liège starting the 2013-14 Belgian competition with a “rotation model”. We saw a different team composition week after week. We saw young players getting opportunities.We saw our most experienced players staying on the bench.We saw analysts shouting that this is crazy. We can see his model working today. Standard de Liège is leading the Belgian competition with its youngest team ever. With just 19 games to go, great players like Yohann Thuram, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Anıl Koç and many others leave the mothership. Instead of being frustrated and have their careers blocked, they will develop their skills and contribute to the future of their new teams. They change teams with no agents needed. With six clubs you can offer many more opportunities to your youngest talent. Being part of the Duchâtelet network means that fans need to accept that there will be a hierarchy. There will be a top team and there will be one on the bottom. As you may have heard, he’s thinking about selling Standard de Liège after supporters’ riots last summer. Hierarchy can change. If he would win the Belgian championship with Standard de Liège, that would bring in millions in a few months from the Champions League. If a part of this money is invested in further incoming talent and promotion plans for, let’s say, Charlton Athletic and

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let Empire

Alcorcon, then Spanish and English tv money is on the horizon. This appears to be a growing scenario for each of these teams and there’s no reason to believe why Mister Duchâtelet would stop buying new teams. This man, often criticised, wants to prove that his views are right – ie. that football teams can make money. Mister Duchâtelet has a weak point - communication. Don’t expect too much dialogue. He doesn’t really care about traditions. He believes in statistics. At Standard de Liège we were sad when this man arrived two and a half years ago. We had witnessed an unprecedented exodus of top players: Marouane Fellaini (Everton), Steven Defour (Porto),

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Axel Witsel (Benfica), Elaquim Mangala (Porto), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Milan Jovanovic (Liverpool), Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), Mehdi Carcela (Anji). Since Mister Duchâtelet dislikes agents, we had each of them replaced by strangers and youngsters. Today, Standard de Liège is leading the Belgian competition with a 7 point lead. Amongst the actual stars of the team we have Michy Batshuayi (20), Paul-José Mpoku (21), Imoh Ezekiel (20), Dino Arslanagic (20), Julien De Sart (19) and Ibrahima Cissé (19). It has, by far, the most succesful Belgian youth academy ever. I hope he won’t actually sell Standard de Liège.

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The network & the

Roland Duchâtelet’s family club collection: Sint-Truiden and Standard de Liège in Belgium; Ujpest in Hungary; Carl Zeiss Jena in Germany; Charlton Athletic in England and Alcorcon in Spain.

ONE OF the most interesting aspects of Roland Duchatelet’s takeover is the Belgian’s relationship with a number of other clubs on the continent. Duchatelet is linked with five clubs other than the Addicks, most notably Standard Liege who currently sit first in the Belgian top flight. In addition to Standard, Dutchatelet also has an interest in Sint-Truidense in Belgium’s second tier, Ujipest in the Hungary, Alcorcon in the Spanish Segunda Division and Carl Zeiss Jena in the German Regionalliga. This is reminiscent of the ownership structure of Watford’s Pozzo family who also control Udinese and Granada in Italy and Spain respectively which last season saw a number of loan players join the Hornets from other teams in the Pozzo empire. This time last year Watford’s loan policy made headlines as they reached double figures in terms of the number of players on loan from their sister clubs. Whilst they were within the rules (the limit of five loans per match day squad and a maximum of two from another club did not apply to loans from overseas, which the Football League records as transfers ) it was a situation criticised

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loan rules by, amongst others, Ian Holloway – then manager of Crystal Palace – who described the number of players Watford had taken from their sister clubs as “ludicrous”. The Football League responded to the furore by bringing in new rules which all 72 member clubs, including Watford, voted in favour of in the summer. Under section 52 of the Football Leagues rules now: •Only five players loaned (domestic or overseas) can be included in a matchday squad •Only four players ( plus one under 20) from a single club (domestic or overseas) per season •A maximum of eight players may be loaned during a season. But what do we know about the other clubs in the Duchatelet empire ? Royal Standard Liege From : Liege, population 200,000, capital of Belgium’s French speaking Wallonia region. Current league position

1st in the Belgian top tier Home ground : StadeMaurice Dufrasne (capacity 30,000) Honours : Belgian first tier champions (10), Belgian cup (6), European Cup Winners Cup runner up (1981/82) Colours : Red and white Star player : Michy Batshuayi, 20 year old striker who is part of Belgiums current “golden generation” who has fifteen goals this season already. Attracting attention from English sides.

AD Alcorcon From : Madrid suburb of Alcorcon, population 168,000 Current league position 16th out of 22 in the Spanish Segunda (second) division Home ground : Santo Domingo (capacity 5,600) Honours : No major honours but won the playoff final in 1999/2000 and 2009/10 to earn promotion to the second tier. Beat s strong Real Madrid side 4-0 in the Copa del Rey in 2009. Colours : Gold and blue Star player : Daniel

Pacheco, 23 year old midfielder who spent six years coming through the youth academies of Barcelona and Liverpool representing Spain at every youth level. Újpest FC From : Budapest, capital of Hungary, population 1.7m Current league position 10th out of 16 in the Hungarian top flight Home ground : Ferenc Szusza Stadium (capacity 13,500) Honours : League champions (20), Hungarian cup (8) Colours : Blue and white stripes Star player : Krisztián Simon, young winger who leads the Ujpest scoring chart with seven in 17. Capped at both u19 and u21 level it may not be long before Simon earns a call up to the full side. K. Sint-Truidense V.V. From : Sint-Truiden, based in the Flemish region of Belgium, population 40,000 Current league position 4th out of 18 in the Bel-

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gian second division Home ground : Stayen (capacity 11,250) Honours : Belgian League runners up (1), Belgian second division (3), Belgian cup runners up (2) Colours : Yellow and blue Star player : Veteran Gregory Dufer has been an ever present in the SintTruidense side this year, weighing in with seven goals. The Belgian is also the proud owner of six international caps making him one of his sides most experienced players. Carl Zeiss Jena FC From: Jena – the second largest city in Thuringia (former GDR), population 110,000 Current league position: 3rd in North East Regional league Home ground: ErnstAbbe Sportfeld (capacity 12,990) Honours: UEFA Cup Winners Cup (runners up) 1981; East German champions (3) Colours: white Star player: 21 year old Maxim Banaskiewicz. 6 goals in 10 appearances.

Craig Sloman

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WHAT DID TJ & Co NOW THAT the purchase of the club by Roland Duchâtelet is complete, it seems apt to turn our minds to recapping the events of the past three years under the leadership and control of Tony Jiminez (“TJ”) and Michael Slater (“MS”). The initial takeover of CAFC Holdings Ltd (and in turn its subsidiary CAFC Ltd) was completed on 31 December 2010 via a third entity, Baton 2010. CAFC needed a new injection of funds to avert the looming threat of administration. How close the club was to the dreaded 10 point deduction (and the fact that it would forever remain a blot on the Club`s history) may never be fully known. Perhaps the most telling observation came on 5 June 2011 during a radio broadcast by MS and Peter Varney – a man who had earned a great deal of trust and credit from supporters and whose support for the contention that Charlton were very close to the edge adds weight to the view that the takeover in 2010 was one borne out of pressing necessity. The first public statement post-takeover was made by MS on 31 December 2010 when he pronounced; “‘I`d like to pay tribute to Richard Murray, who took on a huge financial responsibility last summer when he saved the club from almost certain administration while he sought new investment.”

Today’s acquisition brings muchneeded financial stability to the club. Our plan is to run the club on a sensible financial footing and develop a commercial plan to ensure we make progress on and off the pitch to meet the expectation of the fans. What we won’t do is create unrealistic pie-in-the-sky expectations” MS was described as a lawyer and businessman whereas TJ was more widely known in football circles from his time at Newcastle United. Most Charlton fans were open and accepting of the new regime - having seen previous moves to buy the club fall apart at the eleventh hour. However, many were also sceptical about the financial standing of the two men now officially inserted as Chairman and Director. Few believed that either had the requisite personal funds necessary to complete such a deal nor service Charlton’s annual losses. A positive element of the takeover, however, was the retention of Murray, Varney and Steve Kavanagh as Director, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive respectively. Murray also retained a 10% share-holding in the parent company Baton 2010, with the other 90% of Baton held by CAFC Holdings BVI. The retention of these three gave credibility to the deal and optimism for the future. However, perhaps the smartest move in terms of

buying supporter credit was the appointment of Valley legend Chris Powell as manager on 14 January 2011. This was despite TJ and MS apparently supporting manager Phil Parkinson, as referenced by Parkinson on 1 January 2011; “The initial chat I’ve had with Tony indicated that he wants to help me build this squad and get us out of this division so it’s all been positive” Parkinson was then sacked on 4 January 2011 and many suspected his dismissal was already in the planning. What it does demonstrate is the first evidence of mixed messages being sent by MS, who had initially shown sympathy with Parkinson`s mandate of scant resources to build an effective League One side. However, the signing of the league`s leading goal-scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, was a great way to reassure supporters, and BWP was a key factor in retaining League One status that season.

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o. DO FOR CAFC ? The next major milestone in the ownership regime comes in the summer of 2011 with a complete overhaul of the playing staff. 16 first team squad members departed and 15 new faces were welcomed by the time of the opening fixture against Bournemouth - a particularly pleasing on the eye 3-0 victory. It appeared that a rosy future was on the horizon. The arrivals were made up of promising young players at League One level such as Rhoys Wiggins, Michael Morrison and Dale Stephens. Another key arrival came in the shape of Paul Hart, appointed as Head of Youth Development .This approach, allied to a focus on homegrown youth prospects, seemed a great strategy. In terms of departures only Carl Jenkinson’s could be said to weaken the squad. The true cost of this overhaul has not been announced to date. Another statement by MS followed that July “We didn`t come to Charlton to run it as a League One club…The world will not come to an end if we are not promoted” As it transpired, this statement was never tested, as, bolstered by the addition of Yann Kermorgant in September, Charlton were promoted as champions with a record 101 points. TJ and MS were paraded on the pitch at the last game of the season as heroes. The Charlton board had led the club to footballing glory in a very

short period of time. It has since become apparent that, in the summer of 2012, the situation at the Valley turned in a radically adverse direction. Varney stepped down on 27 June - earlier than was apparently planned. Kavanagh then followed and Martin Prothero was appointed as a Director. Swiftly following the board changes was a shift in the share-holding of CAFC Holdings Limited BVI (which owns 90% of Baton) with TJ increasing his shareholding from 28% to 47.6% on 12 July 2012 making him the largest shareholder. At the time “no comment” was made by the Club in respect of these changes. Subsequently, both Varney and Kavanagh felt it necessary to begin personal legal actions against the club following their exits. What actually went on during that summer is pure speculation. However, it does appear that, if there ever was a mystery backer behind the two official owners, then it was at this time that he pulled out. In a style seen before, supporters` minds were quickly diverted by the arrival and presentation on the pitch of marquee signing Ricardo Fuller, albeit only on a one year contract. So what was going wrong with a club that MS has previously deemed to be able to break-even at Championship level? It is true that the television rights deal was renegotiated during that summer,

but the actually financial impact of that factor was far less than the quoted £8M a year deficit on overall operational turnover that was revealed by Sky City News Editor Mark Kleinman as being projected by the owners. There appears to have been a complete inconsistency between what was stated at the beginning of the regime and what was being stated internally towards the end of their rule. The season that followed contained two rather unpleasant personal episodes for the owners. First, MS was a victim of assault in Madrid whilst travelling to watch an away tie between his club Manchester City and Real Madrid. Secondly, in March 2013 it was announced that Dennis Wise was suing TJ for some £500K in respect of an investment made in the Les Bordes Golf Complex in France. This case went to the High Court and Wise was awarded his claim on 11 July 2013 in full by Deputy Judge Reed QC. The most revealing part of her judgment was her statement that “I have treated the evidence of Mr Jiminez with extreme caution”. On the pitch, a remarkable end of season run saw the Addicks finish in 9th place. However, the close season again brought little cause for optimism. Charlton failed to strengthen a squad which was arguably too lightweight for the Championship, and had been bolstered only with short term and

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“It has since become apparent that, in the summer of 2012, the situation at the Valley turned in a radically adverse direction.” loan signings. This was accompanied by reports the club was up for sale, prompting MS on 4 August 2013 to comment “Contrary to the reports in the press, I have not told anyone that the Club is for sale for £40M.” It seems that a number of interested parties appeared during the second half of 2013 but apparently the only concrete interest came from American sports mogul and billionaire Joel Harris. The deal is said to have collapsed after the completion of due diligence. So the reign of TJ and MS officially ended on 2 January 2014 with the acquisition of 100% of CAFC Holdings Ltd by Staprix NV, the corporate vehicle Duchâtelet uses to run his various football clubs. It seems appropriate to end by examining Slater`s departing statement that;

“In every important respect we leave the club in a far better state than when we took over three years ago.” This certainly seems to be a stretch of the imagination for anyone concerned with the current debacle that is the Valley playing surface and the disappointing management of the Barnsley fixture. In addition, alarmingly few of the players and managerial staff had been signed up to new contracts. The continuation of the low level of investment since regaining second-tier status has left the Addicks currently in the Championship, but seriously flirting with relegation Off the pitch, levels of fan communication also suffered in the immediate aftermath of Peter Varney’s departure. There was also an outflow of long estab-

lished operational staff from key positions. The Fans Forum did not meet for over a year in the period 2012-2013, nor were any plans made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Back to the Valley in a suitably appropriate manner - memorials of that fabulous day having long being a special custom of the Club. In the end, CAS Trust organised an event themselves with the backing of supporters` groups. It did, however, appear that boardroom communication with the Trust improved slightly during the first half of 2013. By Dion Spikes

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CASTrust. Quotes that have been included are taken from widely available media and the author makes no claim on their accuracy or provenance. “

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WHAT DOES

THE FUTURE We are in the first few weeks after the takeover. Charlton fans are sharing news and views on the web and we have just witnessed a frenzy of activity as the January window closed. Let us look first at the possible scenarios before the takeover.

ADMINISTRATION – always unlikely simply because it would trigger a 10 point deduction which would make relegation a near certainty – everyone loses big time A BILLIONAIRE taking over with money no option in a race to the Premier League. This was pretty unlikely too as they tend to buy Premier League clubs. REDUCE THE ANNUAL DEFICIT to zero. Cuts to the playing squad and non playing budget will impact league position. MAINTAIN CURRENT LOSSES and look to improve the squad and the club revenue and in turn aim for higher league position. The final option is the one I favour because there is a single prize for everyone - players, fans and owners. And that is promotion to the Premier League! Improving on and off the field makes a lot of sense and can be communicated to all. The video of the interview with Duchatalet, Katrien Miere and Richard Murray communicated a number of key messages : Retain the club’s Championship status with

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HOLD FOR CAFC?

a clear understanding that the squad will need strengthening if that objective is to be secured. One objective, very clearly, is to run the club on a “sustainable” basis. Richard Murray suggested that with TV money set to increase and player costs likely to decline under the influence of FFP it will be possible to reduce losses There was much talk about the importance of the club’s Academy and it is clear that player development, rather than player acquisition from other clubs, forms the backbone of Duchatelet’s vision. The average age of the squad has just dropped and is set to drop again over the summer.   The new board aim to “improve the match day experience”, whilst ensuring that it remains “affordable” for fans We can see the new philosophy written in black and white by the club’s activity in the window: Entirely as expected the focus has been on signing young players with potential.  Duchatelet’s network has been used for both loan and permanent signings.  Reza Ghoochannejhad has moved from Standard Liege to Charlton on a permanent basis.   Piotr Parzyszek has arrived to bolster our forward line – a player watched by Benfica and West Ham. In Kermorgant’s case we observe that perhaps Duchatelet has a clear view of what a player is worth and then draws a line in the

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News sand. He was an icon to the fans but this is not part of the owner’s calculation. Perhaps Duchatelet dislikes large squads with many “inactive” players. Chris Powell may have been asked to get rid or, as a minimum, loan out fringe players, like Michael Smith who has left. We don’t need 3+1 goalkeepers. Alnwick has been designated as the junior of three and went – some think this was an error – time will tell.   Dale Stephens was never going to sign another deal for CAFC and a fee has been raised – there is a clear challenge to Poyet, Cousins and Adjarovic to fill the gap.   The club has awarded one of its most valuable players - Rhoys Wiggins - a long-term deal Much of the uncertainty over who is in the squad next season has been removed through player sales and renewals. We will all see today what this looks like on the pitch. The point is that there is a very clear pattern emerging and we now have 13, (yes thirteen) players on long term deals. These players have an average age of less than 22 years old.   •The two big questions Is the squad strong enough to pull out of the bottom three ? – we will all know by the end of February what the chances are with key home games . Is Roland Duchatelet completely focussed on reaching for the top six and the play-offs in 2014/15 ? We know that, with the departure of Stephens and Kermorgant, the squad feels weaker to some fans. We will know through the February results whether the new additions and promotion of Poyet and Lennon to the first team squad is enough to see CAFC out of the bottom three. It is a very simple test and it starts today at 3pm – win and we know there is hope; lose and the tension really mounts.  There are now thirteen players up for renewal in the summer: Cook, Cort, Dervite, Evina, Gower, Green, Hamer, Hollands, Hughes,

Jackson, Morrison, Pritchard, Wood. It is likely that less than half will be renewed which will free up squad numbers for academy graduates and players from elsewhere. We will be able to asses reality in just six months with players from other Duchatelet clubs and perhaps from elsewhere? It may seem strange to be looking at the top of the Championship league table right now but we can begin to get an understanding of what the new owners of CAFC have got themselves into: • QPR Forest and Leicester are being bankrolled by billionaires and have only sold players they wanted to – they are cruising to promotion and look like they are ignoring FFP limits. •Forest and Leicester were losing c.£12-14M in 2011/12. If they are promoted they can say “so what ?” and pay a penalty of a few million. But, If they fail to secure promotion, they will be subject to a player registration embargo in January 2015 for new signings AND renewing existing players. •Watford have an arrangement with clubs in Spain and Italy whereby they have competed near the top because they secure the services of top players at cheap rates. •Reading, like QPR, have just come down and are exempt from FFP – they too have not had to sell too many players. In addition, they have a reputation as a stable, well run club. •Burnley (and Blackpool who were up there) are part of a new breed of club who get promoted to the Premier League and do not spend all of the winnings on players and agents. As a result they have no large debts •And then there is Brighton, Ipswich and Leeds up there because of their income and solid mid table performance last season – basically they have the finance to push on within FFP. •On the other hand Boro were overspending a couple of years back but appear to be reining that in… so they have drifted. •The Brighton Chief Executive came out with some very public statements earlier in the season about cuts of £3M to be compliant with

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News FFP and the fact that certain clubs simply will NOT comply – see above. None of the above is looking at the detail of the player ins and outs over the summer. It is simply stating that to compete in the top six, you need to have won ten or more games by now and to have a winning strategy.

taken Standard Liege to the top of the Belgian League – The Championship might be a similar but different challenge. Right squad, right mix, some luck and some communications with the fans and we can enjoy next season huh?! • The business case So CAFC has little marketing value without a chance of promotion. It is therefore rational to conclude that it has little business value. Even if CAFC can avoid relegation and continue to cut costs the club has no NPV… no value on the discounted calculation of future cash flows – because the only cash flow is negative, and that’s before the Valley starts costing serious money to maintain in say 15 years. Therefore, now is the time to evaluate the costs and benefits of reaching up into the top six, albeit with no guarantee of promotion.  Without a 10-20% possibility of that promotion happening each season CAFC has nothing, except an occasional cup run! Sure, lots of middle aged fans going since before we left the Valley in 1985 (and that is half the fanbase!) can say we support a club not a division and its all about our local club… but it is the hope of better times which get us through times like now. “The darkest hour is before the dawn” We have no idea how long this hour will be but it is clear that this season will be a real rollercoaster on and off the pitch. CAFC will still exist next summer – of that there is no doubt. Who manages it and who plays for it is a tad uncertain right now, not to mention what division we are playing in! What is absolutely certain is that this act in Charlton’s history will have been played through and we will all have a much clearer view of what lies ahead for 2014/15. For if the club has survived intact then it shows it is robust and there are higher TV revenues in the Championship in 2015/16. And there will be more time to recruit new players, more time to assess the current squad and award contracts to those who can contribute to staying.

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• What about CAFC - Why aim high? If the Addicks do not accelerate progress and join this group with the goal of promotion within two or three years then they are nowhere! For the gap between this group and the rest will only get bigger. Clubs in the top eight are winning more than they are losing and they average attendances of 21,000. Even if they fail to secure promotion they will continue to improve unless they suddenly fall over. The Trust maintains that, if CAFC cannot break into this group, then there is no hope of promotion – a major angle on the club’s future marketing is burnt! Just look at the drop off in this season’s attendances because the hope is not there – just the threat of watching second tier football for ever appears to be enough to keep 10% of our fans away. And that’s before we dropped into the bottom three. Getting those fans back might be worth an additional £1M to the club and recruiting another 2,000 fans per game would add yet another £1M – reducing the deficit and contributing to developing the club. Basically, costs could come down and revenues go up making the club more sustainable in the long run. But this only works if we stay up. For, if CAFC is relegated, the TV revenue falls by £3M and the matchday revenue won’t be far behind as fans give up after the third relegation in seven years. In short, winning promotion to the Premier League not only stabilises the finances but it is also the single most powerful marketing tool to fill The Valley not only in the Premier League but also after the almost inevitable relegation. Basically the Championship should not be that big a challenge once the squad is developed and the club stabilised. The current owner has

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Kevin Messere

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IS THE FA CUP REALLY WORTH BOTHERING WITH? CHARLTON ARE a Championship club with a relegation struggle on their hands. There is a risk of extra games leading to fatigue, injuries and fixture congestion for what is apparently a meagre financial reward in the early rounds. Having said that, because of recent postponements, the club could actually do with an extra fixture or two to keep the team playing, and hopefully some wins. Our league form could certainly do with a confidence boost. Also, as luck would have it, we have been given some winnable fixtures in the FA Cup this season. This instead of meeting a big Premiership club early on (although this, of course, can bring its own immediate rewards). For years, whether they are at the top or the bottom, clubs have prioritised the league simply because the rewards are so much greater. But what about the glory and romance of the cup, I hear you say ? Many Charlton fans will remember the visit to Manchester Utd in 1994 not least because we sold all of our 10,000 allocation. The 4,000 supporters who went to Craven Cottage in 2012 had a fantastic day out and watched a performance to be proud of. And what about coming from 2-0 against Coventry ? One or two stalwarts might even recall 1947.

Plus, to paraphrase what Chris Powell said recently, a cup run may be just what his team (and the fans) need right now.

£600,000 (45% share of the gates guestimated from the 3rd – 6th round matches) Perhaps £800,000 for a share of the Wembley semi final recipts Maybe £300,000 TV revenue (depending on whether there is live sixth round coverage)

But what of the finances of a cup run ? What is it really worth? If you look at the details about prize money and TV money the FA Cup suddenly looks a lot more So we can see that a cup run to attractive. a Wembley semi-final could raise £6,700  for TV highan amount which lights in every round is half the annual - not much, but it’s But what of the club deficit or, to a start look at it another finances of a £67,500 for wining way, a 25% kick the 3rd round on the annual cup run ? £95,000 for winning revenue. Building What is it the 4th round. the revenues is really worth? So about £170,000 much more creaplus a share of gate tive than cutting receipts is in the bank expenditure and already. might be the quickest way to getting the club back on track. Plus, it may even generate interest among Looking a bit further ahead we estimate the club could bank lapsed or new fans which can’t be nearly £3m for getting through the bad can it? fifth and sixth rounds – although A cup run can pay off financially we recognize that this is a feat and cover the cost of our new Charlton have not achieved for a strikers plus the risks involved like considerable time. needing to sign a loan player to cover for injury.. This consists of: The bottom line is that our nearly £700,000 total prize money recent cup record can’t get any for winning all the games up to the worse! Time to book that train to 6th round Sheffield? plus a minimum of £450,000 for a Kevin Messere losing semi final at Wembley

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CAS Trust matchday experience survey

Let us know what you think about your match day experience. CASTrust is working with Ben Kensall ( CAFC Chief Commercial Officer) to improve the match day experience. The first step is to ask you for your opinions through our match day experience survey at www.castrust.org/survey5 All participants will be entered into a prize draw. Prizes are: a 10 match ticket, 2 x 2 training ground experience passes; signed squad shirt

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Cut out and wear

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Be The Gaffer for a Day

Instructions: 1: print this document on an A4 card or strong paper. 2: Cut around the dotted lines and cut out the eye holes. 3: Tie the mask around your head using a pieceof string or elastic. 4: You are the man!

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News

THE TRUST IS

ONE As CAS Trust begins its second year in existence, we discuss some of the key issues we have encountered along the way.

Happy Birthday CASTrust

Trust membership has grown steadily and we now have over 900 full and junior members. How strong a Trust is that? The famous Swansea Trust currently has less than 1,000 paid members despite the fact that membership gives voting rights for a supporters’ director who represents a 20% equity share. What is the Trust’s purpose? Most supporters’ trusts seek to ensure that fans are informed about the overall direction of the club – which means having an understanding of the financial situation. Trusts hope also of course to have an influential voice on this direction. How does a Trust gain such influence? There are many ways but probably the only guaranteed way is a seat at the boardroom table, ideally representing an equity stake. We believe that this should be our ultimate goal. So far trusts have tended to achieve this by being around to help when things go wrong – Swansea fans only had to raise £50,000 which left them with a 20% stake as a consortium partner. If reports of our recent sale are to be believed we would have to raise several million pounds for such a stake, although it’s worth noting that Charlton fans had a supporter’s director without such a stake in the past. In the meantime we have assumed that the fans want a group which can understand and explain the financial realities of the club’s situation, and that the club wants to be able to communicate with a competent group which can help improve it. This position has been described as that of the “critical friend”.

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can survive a change of ownership. We believe our But how critical should we be? How friendly? most important success this year was to have the This is one of main challenges the Trust has encounValley registered as an Asset of Community Value. tered – how to manage our relationship with the (see pages 22-23). The Trust doesn’t have an inbuilt club. Our approach so far has been a very positive resistance to a move from The Valley but it believes one because by and large we are here to help the that the arguments for such a move should be fully club. That approach has been largely supported by explored and the fan base consulted. The pros may fans who completed our surveys. But there have not be as clear cut as was the case for most clubs been and will continue to be areas where we and the which have recently moved, because the Valley has club don’t agree, or where our interests differ. been renewed and appears to be fit for purpose for Clearly if we are overly antagonistic towards the club, a working relationship will prove difficult and we at least the next five years. The financial case for will never get the dialogue necessary to developing an staying put and developing the Valley should also be explored, and it is hoped that ACV status puts the understanding of the club’s situation or the goals of impetus on the owner and Greenwich Council to its owners and management. From our research we properly explain both options. Many in the trust are know that a small portion of fans (3% of those who veterans of Selhurst Park and the fight to return answered our most recent feedback survey) want us home, but it’s worth remarking that there are a to be more overtly critical. All fans can be reassured number that aren’t. Indeed the trust board member that we will remain independent despite attempting who first championed ACV is too to build a relationship with CAFC, and young to have experienced the that we are not afraid to speak out That approach wretched Selhurst exile. once we are sure that the facts warrant We are in the early days of the Duchasuch criticism. has been largely telet ownership and we are all seeking In addition during the year we saw supported clarity about the future. We hope the the re-emergence of Voice of the Valley trust has built sufficient respect with –which often takes a critical editorial by fans who former directors and managers to be line towards the owners. But the Trust completed our able to work well with the new regime. website is not a fanzine, and so has a We started this article by discussing surveys. different editorial approach. It must our membership. We are delighted with focus more on facts and figures. our numbers so far and we have a strong base, but the We believe that we should try to help the club more members we have, the greater our legitimacy. If wherever possible to increase revenue, with one you care about Charlton, if you want it to be there for eye on keeping prices affordable for fans. This is your children and grandchildren to enjoy, don’t sit on the “friend” element. Again research show us that a the sidelines, please join us. And, if you would like to minority of people are uneasy about this. However be active, please tell us how we can involve you. There we believe our activity helps CAFC in the long term, and not just the current owners. We learn more about are already a number of people who cannot commit to being on the board for various reasons, but who are what fans want and we are slowly rebuilding the making a big contribution to our knowledge base and knowledge base which may have been lost with the other work. We would love to have in our active team departure of so many long serving employees. This more fans who have experience with mergers and acwill provide continuity. We have studied the wider quisitions, commercial property and local government, issues around the finances of English football, and how to name but a few areas. other clubs deal or fail to deal with them; this allows And we will be the umbrella under which all true us to make what we hope are intelligent and informed Charlton fans can gather, if the weather turns stormy. proposals for investment by owners in the club. We do all this because our goal is to safeguard Richard Hunt the long term future of CAFC - a future which

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News

FEEDBACK SURVEY

IN DECEMBER 2013 the trust was officially one year old. We’ve actually been working since July 2012 on establishing it, but, delayed by the summer holidays and a bit of a restart, the official forms and legal work eventually completed very handily on the same day as the 20th anniversary of Charlton coming back to the Valley. This mean the event we organised could also double up as launch - very aptly we felt. A year later and the trust has nearly 1000 members, and a total network of subscribers to all its channels of well in excess of 4,000 fans. We have occasionally debated what might be a realistic target for membership. Just how many Charlton fans would buy the trust idea, and want an organisation to represent their interests in the running of our club for the long term? The traditional view of a trust has been only to rescue a club in time of peril, but our model is different. Rather than to just to rescue the club from disaster we want to be proactive and to become a permanent fixture. This has meant we have had to have a different approach to membership and to work much harder to reach people and convince them to join than it might have been if the club was in crisis. Due to our hard work and relative success in gaining members, we have been able to attract volunteers and donations. This in turn attracts more members. Due to that critical mass of scale and voluntary contributions we find we able to make each fiver go much further than it might otherwise do and provide some great membership benefits, like 4 free TNTs per year, an advert-free website, the fans diary and badges etc. Towards the end of our first year we ran a survey – called “Have Your Say” - to gauge how fans perceived us. We were able to offer some excellent prizes for entrants which included 2 tickets to the Back

to the Valley 21 dinner, and a signed Chris Powell training top. The aim of the survey was to try and establish how people thought we had done in our first year, so we could examine that and plan for coming years. This trust isn’t just for the board - it is for the members, and hopefully all Charlton fans. Of course there must be leadership, but that must be tempered by what the fans think. With that in mind we have continued to float ideas and innovate while asking what fans want and think throughout the process. The survey take up was 340 - 234 were members, 78 were subscribers, 27 were neither. I expect the topic wasn’t that exciting. Hopefully we got all the strongly felt views. Of course there are those who had no inclination to complete it, that apathy could be you’re doing a good job or it could be I don’t care, but I expect those who think we were doing a bad job would be the first to jump in? I’ll leave that to you to decide. The main areas I want to focus on are Satisfaction and Direction Satisfaction How good a job were the trust doing dealing with CAFC? - 88% felt that the trust had done a good job dealing with the club. On recommending joining the Trust to a friend 78% scored this as 8/10 or above (in fact nearly half said 10/10)- given that this wasn’t just people who has already joined we felt that was good. Satisfaction on various services we offer was high overall. The lowest average was “Good”. Top was the Fiver membership fee, followed by ACV, Articles on Finance, Our weekly email digest, website and TNT mag, and lower down were our Social Media output and Stall.

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Direction Positive engagement with CAFC - close to 100% agreed with this approach and 68% strongly agreed. On looking at strategy and asking questions - a similar number overall agreed but strongly agree was lower. Open Criticism also scored highly where clear mistakes are being made Criticising behind closed doors was a much more mixed response however and responses were split 50/50 between those in favour and those against Publish every rumour that came out? this attracted only 18% agreeing and a huge 80% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. Should the Trust should be a critical friend? This attracted 83% support Should the Trust engage with the club to boost Attendance Levels? Around 98% agreed - 68% strongly, mainly on enticing new fans and lapsed ones. Conclusion It has been very useful to see what people want on a survey, and not just listen to those who attend our AGM or express their views on forums, although we do of course listen to these. People appear to like our offerings and we will continue to develop and refine them. The majority also seem to think we have dealt well so far with the club. The overwhelming view supports the critical friend model. How we balance that is a matter of judge-

ment. It’s all about maintaining a healthy distance, and the right mix of friend and critic, and avoiding sensationalism in the way we report our activity. We shouldn’t be influenced by not wishing to upset, but we should perhaps not wish to embarrass the club unnecessarily. This topic came up at the AGM, and my example offered was the way we handled ACV. We gave the club notice and ample opportunity to have their say before we began the campaign. The end result was the club did not oppose ACV, and let us use club land to promote it via our stalls. I think this area and its relation to the football club however is a key challenge for all Trusts and always will be, the balance of positive assistance versus critical questioning, and how the two are balanced. Overall the most telling satisfaction indicator for the trust may be the number of fans who continue to join and of course renew for a second year (don’t forget to claim your free badge). We plan to maintain the systems which mean becoming and staying a member is as accessible as possible - our stall is attracting 20-30 new members per game. On direction, it is clear that by and large people want a positive engagement and support helping to boost attendance for new and lapsed fans. We are also embarking on improving the match day experience. We will continue to listen going forwards as this must be the way the trust operates. Your support in achieving all this is vital. A strong well supported Trust has far more chance of achieving its aims and what fans want.

FEEDBACK SURVEY

The latter may be because our stall hadn’t become established by that stage, and our Facebook page and Twitter being mainly a repeat of our website. Badges, t-shirts, pens and mugs were the most popular choices for merchandise. Website overall satisfaction - a whopping 88% said it was good or excellent

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Barnie Razzell We be publishing the full survey with questions on our website www.castrust.org soon.

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News

ACV

THE IDEA of applying for Asset of Community Value status for the Valley was first hit upon way back in May 2013. Inspired by Oxford United (a club with whom we’ve become closely acquainted after playing them three times this season despite being in different leagues!) whose OxVox Trust were the first to apply for, and receive, ACV status for their home ground leveraging the provisions of the Localism Act which gave local authorities the powers to create a list of Assets of Community Value, for property in their areas which were of significant community value. At the time there weren’t many other Trusts using the legislation, other than OxVox Supporters Direct (the umbrella body for the Supporters Trust movement across Europe) were only

able to point us in the direction of Manchester United’s Trust who had also begun the application process. As only Oxford’s application had made it successfully through the system it was by no means a sure thing that any application to nominate the Valley for ACV status would be successful. Initially there was confusion over what ACV status would actually mean

for the Valley, Charlton Athletic, CASTrust and our supporters. Would this stop the club leaving the Valley ? Would they have to sell the Valley to the Trust if they wanted to ? Would this impact on the Valley’s property price ? All reasonable questions which would only be answered after wading through pages of statute, local government by-laws and liaising with our counterparts at other Trusts who were considering taking the plunge too. ACV status for the Valley effectively means that any “wish” to sell the ground by it’s owners would have to be communicated to the Council who would in turn tell us, the fans. We would then have a six month period for consolation and the opportunity to ready ourselves for whatever action was to follow – having the opportunity to ensure that legally Charlton fans had to be

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News at least forewarned of a plan to sell our home seemed a sensible goal. Once we felt confident we knew what we were talking about and more importantly we were convinced it was the right thing to do, it was time to begin talking with both our members and the wider supporter base in general. We were expecting a decision on the application to have Old Trafford listed as an ACV in mid-July, which we hoped would spark debate amongst the supporter base. When this was not forthcoming we decided to push the agenda ourselves and healthy debate was begun amongst our supporter base. The response from the supporter base was positive so on the 18th of July we hand delivered a letter addressed to the previous owners of the club advising that the Trust was considering nominating the Valley as an Asset of Community Value. We further monitored the general receptiveness to the ACV idea online and as the consensus continued to remain positive on the 23rd of July we submitted our letter of nomination (which was based on Oxford and Manchester United’s template) to Greenwich Council to pursue ACV status for the Valley. Legislation allows for an eight week period from the submission of your nomination to the local authorities decision so once the letter was sent the hard work really began. It was key to gain support for ACV from public figures and most importantly from Charlton supporters. We established a regular presence at match days, first outside the West Stand before moving to our more permanent home outside of the Covered End.

We set up a petition which was available for signature both online and at games which would allow us to show Greenwich Council how widespread the agreement was amongst our supporters – the clubs primary stakeholders – that this is what we wanted for the Valley. To ensure we were fairly representing the supporters beliefs the survey had a very simple, non-leading question and the option for supporters to agree with us or disagree. The result was overwhelming support. The three signatures disagreeing with our proposal were dwarfed by the 2,000 who agreed which gave us confidence that what we believed was right for our home was a belief shared by thousands of Addicks. On the 29th of November we received the good news that Greenwich Council also agreed with us and the thousands of Addicks who signed our petition that the Valley really was an Asset of Community Value and would registered as such. It was a moment of relief, joy and vindication. Potentially it could also be a very important moment for the supporters of our club depending on developments over the next few years. The range of opinion on the impact of ACV has spanned from “useless” to “stops Charlton from ever leaving the Valley”. The truth, as with most things, is somewhere in between. ACV does not mean that Charlton can never leave the Valley, what it means is that if the owner of the ground wants to sell the Valley they must now advise the council, who will inform the Trust and we will be given six months to prepare a bid – which the owner

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is under no obligation to accept. The six months would be used for consultation with both owner and supporters during which time the Trust would seek to build consensus amongst Addicks as to whether the proposed move was generally supported or opposed. So the benefit of ACV status is forewarning, an opportunity to do something if the consensus supported it and the right of Addicks to be involved in some way over the sale of their home enshrined in (local) law. That’s much more than we had in May 2013 when we began this process and for me that is worth celebrating. Craig Sloman

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MEMBER BENEFITS Help build a strong representative Trust Ownership of ÂŁ1 share in the Trust E - Certificate AGM rights (including the right to elect the board) Free e version of quarterly Trust News Regular Trust updates Innovative website Access to member-only areas Stylish badge (coming soon) Help support Trust research and campaigns

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ws N Neews

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Membership Form Your Details First Name

Last Name

Date of Birth

Email Address

Address

I wish to join the Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust as a: Junior Member-Under 16( Free)-You must be under 16 Full Member (£5)- You must be over 16 and payment must be enclosed with this form The fee is for 1 years full membership and entitles the member to 1 years access to our members section and includes a Membership e-Certificate, Ownership of £1Share (whilst a paid member) and AGM rights. The fee is non-refundable, but membership can be cancelled at any time

Signature

Date

I enclose a cheque for£

Optional Information Internet How did you find us? Leaflet Are you a Charlton Athletic season ticket holder? Which stand do you normally sit in? North

Word of Mouth Yes No East

West

CAS Trust,c/o The Beehive 365 Footscray Road London SE9 2DR The Charlton Supporters’ Trust is registered in England and Wales as the Charlton Supporters Society Limited. Industrial and Provident Socirty number 31912R

THE CHARLTON ATHLETIC SUPPORTERS’ TRUST Be part of the new era in fan participation at CAFC www.castrust.org/join

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News

Board Chairman - Barnie Razzell Vice-chairman - Craig Sloman Secretary -Richard Wiseman Treasurer -Kevin Messure Press Officer - Math Morrison Liaison - Ken Sinyard Membership - Richard Hicks Jonathan Bangs Richard Hunt David Pearce Web designer - David Hall Editorial - Barnie Razzell, Sub Editor - Richard Wiseman Design, Layout, Photos - Ken Sinyard Additonal photos - CAFC, Getty Images Keith Gillard Except where indicated copywright CAS Trust 2014

Supporters Direct (SD) is an organisation that helps and advises on “supporter community ownership at spectator sports clubs, and aims to create the conditions in which they can secure influence and ownership at their clubs.” On their website, www.supportersdirect.org/ supporters’ trust are defined as a democratic, not-forprofit organisation of supporters, committed to strengthening the voice of supporters in the decision making process at their clubs, and strengthening the links between clubs and the communities they serve. SD have supported and advised CAS Trust. Their guidance has been crucial and highly valued.

Secretary’s report AGM The trust held its first annual general meeting at The Bugle Horn, Charlton Village on Saturday November 9th. The minutes of the meeting are on the member section of our website. In addition to the adoption of the annual report and accounts for the year ending 1st June 2013 there were two other resolutions put to the members and agreed. These were resolutions (permitted under the 1968 Friendly and Industrial & Provident Societies Act) to not require a full audit of the accounts for years 2012/13 and 2013/4. Instead of a full audit, the board is thus authorised to commission an Independent Examiner’s report which, although carried out by a suitably qualified practitioner, does not carry the same weight (nor incur the same cost) as a full audit. This exemption will continue to apply as long as (a) turnover is less than £25k and (b) it is agreed annually by the membership. After the formal business of the meeting Martin Simons (former CAFC director) undertook an entertaining and informative question and answer session. ADDICKS TICKETFUND As a result of a generous donation CAS Trust has also been able to launch a fund to assist people who would like to get to games but who, in these financially

constrained times, can no longer afford to do so. Since December 14th we have been able to make 27 tickets available over 5 games. If you are a CASTrust member and would like to nominate someone for a ticket for a future game please e mail secretary@castrust. org. Apart from their name we don’t need any information about the person you are nominating. COMPETITIONS The members draw for tickets for the BTTV dinner on December 20th was won by Chris and Jenny

Stephens. An additional pair of tickets made available by Andrews was won by George Buckland. Our Junior Members competition was won by Lauren Curtis (above). The correct answers were: (a) 7-6 (b) 7-6 (c) 7 & 6 (d) 0-1. No entrant predicted (d) correctly, but Lauren’s name was picked from the CASTrust hat.

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PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD

Cover inset Photographs:Danny Green,Harry Lennon,Callum Harriott

Main photo: Joe Piggott


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25 YEARS OF VALLEY GOLD As I’m sure many of you are aware, although it’s always worth reiterating, Valley Gold is a fundraising lottery that was originally set up in 1989 to support Charlton’s return to The Valley.

most encouraging is that in his first interview he stressed his commitment to the academy and the development of young players. As well as this, his financial input will hopefully allow us not to sell our best young players to other clubs, Jonjo Shelvey and Carl Jenkinson being two recent examples. Finally, I would like to welcome our new director Katrien Meire to the football club. Obviously, I was delighted that another woman had been appointed to the new board and given the important role of managing the football club on a day to day basis, as there are not enough women in positions of power in football. I wish her every success in her new role. by Wendy Perfect

PHOTOGRAPH KEITH GILLARD

Following the club’s homecoming on December 5th, 1992, it was repositioned to underpin the Addicks’ renowned work in developing young talent. As a result, players like Richard Rufus, Lee Bowyer, Paul Konchesky, Scott Parker, Jonjo Shelvey and Carl Jenkinson have all come through Charlton’s ranks with the financial assistance of Valley Gold. When you look at today’s senior squad the importance of our youth policy is there for everyone to see, with Chris Solly, Lawrie Wilson, Danny Green, Callum Harriott, Jordan Cousins, Joe Pigott, Diego Poyet and Harry Lennon all playing some part in Charlton’s first team games this season. The Charlton Club committee, the organisation responsible for Valley Gold, is always looking at ways it can increase the scheme’s membership as the more members we have the more money we can donate to the academy. Therefore when the opportunity arose to work more closely with the CAS Trust we jumped at the chance. To us it makes sense as we recognise that there is a crossover between those supporters who join the CAS Trust and those who are Valley Gold members – generally speaking they are more committed to CAFC than the average fan. Furthermore, it is clear that the Trust has a pool of skills that we could use to promote Valley Gold. For example, the way it has been able to communicate with numerous Charlton supporters over such a small space of time is very impressive. As well as this the Trust has actively sought supporters’ views by conducting research through surveys and have helped us identify people who are interested in joining Valley Gold. We are keen that this very productive relationship should continue for the benefit of both groups. It’s a new era in Charlton’s history with the club being bought by Belgian businessman Roland Duchatelet and everyone hopes that he is able to work successfully with Chris Powell to bring success on the pitch. However, in terms of Valley Gold what I found

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WEIVRETNI TRAH LUAP 1

Ken Sinyard interviews CAFC’s Paul Hart exclusively for Valley Gold and Trust members on the Acadamy

THE HART BEAT OF CHARLTON AS I drove in to Sparrows Lane last Tuesday to meet Paul Hart the skies were darkening and yet another deluge of rain was threatening. The training pitches, although in a far better state than The Valley mudbath, were clearly struggling to cope with the saturation. Later that day the first team were to be thrashed 3-0 at Doncaster and have Lawrie Wilson sent off. Their performance was variously described as “spineless”, “pathetic” and “abysmal” by those who watched it. Furthermore, there was a lot of anxiety in the air about the transfer window. Overall, Tuesday 28th January 2014 was not a good day to be a Charlton supporter and there was a desperate need for some good news. At St. Mary’s Stadium twenty four hours later Charlton’s under 18 team beat the highly rated Southampton 3-1 in the FA Youth Cup to earn a home quarter final tie with Arsenal in the next round. They did so by playing assured, one touch football. They were patient

– building from the back. They supported each other and were quick to see opportunities. They kept the ball on the ground most of the time - only hitting long balls when it was advantageous. They were strong in the tackle and confident on the ball. It was reminiscent of Brian Clough’s Forest team at its peak. It was a joy to watch. I felt privileged therefore to be meeting the man ultimately responsible for this uplifting performance - Paul Hart, who has been Charlton’s Academy Director since 2011. In a playing career spanning fifteen years Paul most notably represented Blackpool, Leeds and Nottingham Forest. He then went into management at Chesterfield before finding his niche in youth development at Leeds and Forest. His Leeds team won the FA Youth Cup in 1993 and 1997 and formed the backbone of the team which reached the Champions League semi final in 2001. At Forest he was instru-


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PHOTOGRAPH: KEN SINYARD

mental in bringing through young players such as Andy Reid and Jermaine Jenas. At Charlton he oversees twenty staff working with 160 young players from ages 8-21. He has already the achievement of Category 2 status for the Academy Paul stressed that, although it is performance on the pitch which ultimately matters, the Academy’s task is to develop its youngsters as fully rounded people. He works closely with the Greenwich Harris Academy to ensure high levels of educational attainment – last year there was 100% achievement in the 2 year B Tec course – and Paul’s admiration for Executive Principal Chris Tomlinson was very evident. He recognises that his players’ development as young adults starts at home and therefore The Academy also runs a three day course for parents which focusses on diet and lifestyle issues. He is very aware of the many distractions which threaten his charges and he noted that, although there are plenty of good people in football, there isn’t the same level of discipline as there was when he started out. Paul also stressed the importance of match preparation. He remembers how as a player he learnt to spend time before every game visualising the opposition and the situations which might arise in the game. He has ensured that Academy players have access to a sports psychologist to help them with this vital area of mental awareness and preparation. One example of the holistic approach to personal development taken by the Academy is the series of visits planned for later this year to First World War battlefields in France with the club Chaplin Matt Baker. Some of the cost of these trips will be funded by Valley Gold, and Paul is very conscious of how crucial Valley Gold’s financial contribution is to everything the Academy is achieving. He has a lot of praise for all his staff and is quick to stress that the achievements of the Academy are

very much a team effort. He noted for example the magnificent job that Paul Senior – Head of Academy Recruitment – has been doing on very limited resources. When I asked him what he thought his own legacy as a youth team coach would be he modestly replied that I would have to ask the players about that. I didn’t need to – their performance at Southampton spoke volumes.


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CAS Trust News 05