Charlton Athletic fans have had enough of their club’s current situation, and have attempted to take matters into their own hands by occupying The Valley’s stands and boardroom.
East Street Investments (ESI) controversially bought the club for just £1 in January from Roland Duchatelet, and a consortium run by businessman Paul Elliott recently took control of ESI. There is now a legal dispute over the ownership of Charlton Athletic.
Despite recently failing the EFL’s Owners and Directors Test, Elliott is seeking a court injunction to try and prevent the sale of the club to rival Thomas Sandgaard.
#SaveCAFC #ESIout #Elliottout #cafc simple message!!! CHARLTON TILL WE DIE! pic.twitter.com/iPnzDTd5MT
‘We have occupied this building and will not be leaving until the current owners of Charlton Athletic Football Club formally request, in person, that we vacate the premises with immediate effect,’ says a statement from supporter group Fans4Fans.
Addicks fans are furious that their football club was allowed to be sold for £1 and then sold on to another buyer for more money. They have accused the EFL of having ‘flaws in the Owners and Directors Test.’
Some supporters brandished £1 coins or left them around club legend Sam Bartram’s statue outside the stadium, while a banner was brandished saying: ‘Our pound is bigger and better than yours, #ESIOUT.’
There have been reports of several hundred fans gathering outside the stadium, while a smaller group made it inside the boardroom and in the stands.
Charlton Athletic fans protest against their owners today. They are in the stands and are refusing to leave until the owners turn up to meet them #CAFC #CAFCquid #ESIOut#SaveCAFC pic.twitter.com/xSCYzclpCS
‘We also request an extensive update on why Paul Elliott has been able to formally lodge an injunction preventing the sale of Charlton Athletic Football Club and when this case is to be heard,’ the statement continued.
‘In addition, how can a man who has failed the owners and directors test, appeal the sale of a business he will not be able to sufficiently control or finance.’
The statement then went on to issue a threat to take things further: ‘If this direct action does not bring about change for football clubs then we are left with no choice to attend the English Football League Headquarters and its sponsors offices and in turn take direct action against them.’
Proud to be here. #SaveCAFC pic.twitter.com/BesgPUOopF
Fans of other clubs have also been invited to take part in this protest, with the letter citing similar tumultuous situations at Bury, Bolton, Wigan, and Coventry.
The group is suggesting that: ‘funds should be proven and placed into an EFL club allocated account prior to completion of the purchase of a football club,’ and that ‘no club should be sold for £1.’
The statement concludes by saying: ‘Football only exists because of fans. I has been taken from us by crooks, cheats and conmen. If has been officiated and regulated in a way that benefits these types of people, this needs to change, with immediate effect.’
According to Sky Sports, the protesters in The Valley’s boardroom have spoken with Sandgaard by phone, and the businessman has said that he believes a deal can be done to purchase the club ‘by the end of this week.’