Friday, December 31, 2010


So after much deliberation, due diligence, and rumour, we now know who has taken over the reins as Charlton Athletic chairman from Richard Murray.

Michael Slater. Yes, Michael Slater.

No, not the Aussie cricketer who plundered England for runs at every opportunity in the 1990’s and no, not the authority on Charles Dickens who writes books on his subject regularly. This Michael Slater (left), though only 44 years old, is a retired lawyer!

Other than what was released on the official website earlier this afternoon, little is known of Slater, but much more is known about the other half of the new owners, Tony Jiminez. Jiminez name has been linked to Charlton since Murray announced that an indicative and legally binding offer for the club was made in early December. Jiminez is also close friends and a regular colleague of Dennis Wise (spit), but no mention of Wise being involved in any role at Charlton has been made at this stage.

Jiminez , also 44, was recently vice-president (player recruitment) at Newcastle United (where he worked with ex-Addick overseas scout Jeff Vetere), and is apparently a season ticket holder at Chelsea (although so are many wealthy people these days). He also has “a capacity to get things done” which has “helped him to win the trust of prominent people”. He certainly has Murray’s and Peter Varney’s trust it seems in that he will not hurt our club, even though one quote says “He knows nothing about football." It was Jiminez who apparently brokered the deal with Zabeel a couple of years ago, which came close to completion before being scuppered by world economics.

Varney and Murray remain on the board, along with Stephen Kavanagh, Slater and Jiminez, and that can only be a good thing.

Interestingly, the company that bought Baton (Murray’s own take-over vehicle) is Swiss-managed and controlled, and may have been set up in the summer by Sebastian Sainsbury, thereby linking him with this take-over too. Charlton Athletic Holdings Limited is owned by Jiminez though.

Slater has announced his tenure with some nice words about the proud history of the club, and the potential it has moving forwards, though I have to admit that we have heard much the same before parroted from Murray and Varney. Slater says that the take-over brings financial stability to the club, which is great, though no mention of any funds being available in the January transfer window is made. What has been said is "What we won't do is create unrealistic pie in the sky expectations. We will always live within our means and, with a sound commercial approach and the run of the ball on the pitch, our aim, obviously, is to make steady, upward progress and bring success to The Valley."

Sensible words, provided the club remains successful on the pitch.

Slater does seem like a very successful business man from his resume, and with a legal background (he has an Honours Degree in Law), he should know what he can get away with. With Jiminez’s financial clout (he allegedly has links with the middle east?), this pair, along with the football acumen of Murray, Kavanagh and Varney could be just the right people to take Charlton forwards with a sound footing.

It didn’t quite happen before Xmas to give us the present we fans wanted, but this move is a nice way to start 2011. A new decade, with new owners, let’s hope they too last close on twenty years, as Murray has, and can superbly build the club as he did.


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