The revelations in court that the previous regime of Jiminez, Slater and Cash were trying to sell the club on the basis of a potential Stadium move to the Greenwich Peninsula were already known to me. Nevertheless, the 69 page court judgement against Jiminez and Cash makes fascinating reading. Effectively, they were running around borrowing money from various sources to keep the club afloat until they could sell the club and the sweetener that they were offering to all interested parties was the prospect of a share in the potential £800m profit from a £2bn redevelopment of Greenwich Peninsula to include a new 40,000 all seater stadium for CAFC.
One of the observations from the court documents is that by contrast, Roland seems to be a straightforward and honest individual, if a little naive. The last 5 years are littered with ‘if onlys’ but what a shame he didn’t appoint an experienced CEO and Football Manager who knew what they were doing from Day 1 – surely to heaven – anyone with a quarter of a football brain would have stopped the needless sale of our best player, Yann, and then built a promotion team around him. Richard Murray has something to answer here because he watches the team every week and as a fan he must have known like us that Yann was irreplaceable- the whole point of being Chairman is that you use your experience to stop the Board from making terrible decisions. This one decision alone is probably the most damaging one made at Charlton in the last 10 years.
As for a move to Greenwich Peninsula , well why not ?? I’d be up for it – I’m not wedded to The Valley – let’s be honest , we’ve had hardly any success there in the last 100 years, so maybe a Stadium move would herald a new dawn. An all seater state of the art 40,000 seater Stadium with a team to match, playing in Red & White and called Charlton Athletic FC – where do I sign and how many season tickets can I have ??
Do the barriers to development render the project untenable ? – well I don’t know and I defer to Rick Everitt’s more forensic analysis in the excellent Voice of the Valley but Slater and Jiminez managed to get Blackstone – who are the world’s 5th largest private equity business – to send a team over from New York to investigate – so they must have thought that the project could have merit.
Battersea power station stood empty for decades before all the difficulties and objections were overcome – why not Greenwich Peninsula? What we need is a new owner with deep pockets , imagination and a long term plan to make it happen and I really hope I’m still around for the first game!!!