Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Harriott Pushes Charlton over the Line

First may I extend my gratitude to Charlton Live commentator Pete Finch for a quick behind the scenes tour of the press room and studio before the game.  It was good to meet Terry Smith, Paul Glover and match day host Dave Lockwood in person, having followed them for sometime on twitter.

Valley Faithful
There were fist pumps all round the room as Mr Lockwood confirmed the team news hot off the press with a 4-5-1 formation with Solly and Wilson both playing down the right hand side.  The omens were good and the game was better with three excellent goals from open play to secure our Championship position for another year.

I was really pleased for Callum Harriott.  Despite deserved criticism in recent games he stepped up when it mattered.  He knows he hasn’t had the best of games at home recently (partly as a result of being played out of position) and the two goals more than made up for it.  He does tend to blow hot and cold and I put it down in part to a lack of awareness of his surroundings leaving him struggling at times when he has the ball.  However, when he gets it right he plays some magnificent football, witness the game at Sheffield Wednesday creating Sordell’s goals with some sublime passing in difficult situations.

Troy Deeney’s goal for Watford was a corker and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is sought by a Premier League club this summer.  However, if the Hornets want any realistic chance of promotion they need to stop this cynical style of football that saw a flurry of yellow cards and a sending off.

Captain Jackson applauds the Fans
When our third goal went in my friend turned to me and said “well you’re safe now” to which I replied “No, this is where Watford score a quick goal and we have a white knuckle ride for the next 15 minutes”.  As predicted the goal did go in shortly after, but was thankfully disallowed by the assistant referee.

I bumped into the lads manning the “fan cam” after the game and was asked if staying up had changed my mind about the new owner.  My answer was that it is too early to tell and we will have to see what the summer brings.  Riga’s contract was just to the end of the season so we don’t even have a head coach after the Blackpool game as things stand.  Although I was sad to see Chris Powell go I would be happy to see Riga’s services being retained.  He seems to “get Charlton” and I do sense a positive connection between him and the players, especially the academy players coming through.  He couldn’t have made this clearer in his post match speech to the Valley faithful. 

We also have a core of key players that are out of contract including Ben Hamer, Dorian Dervite and Michael Morrison.  Poyet too has not signed a contract yet meaning we will get a paltry fee set by the Elite Player Performance Plan if he were to leave.  With seven former academy players in action it is clear that they will form the back bone of the squad in the new season but we will have to see how the rest of the team shapes up during the summer.

Celebratory drinks were definitely in order and the latest edition to the pumps at Old Loyal Britons in Greenwich, Truefit Brewing’s Caldecote Amber Ale certainly fitted the bill nicely.

Here’s to another year in the Championship!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Will it be a Toast to Celebrate or Tears in the Beer?

Kidbrooke Beer and Cider Festival PosterHopefully Charlton's season will be sorted out for the better on Tuesday night when we play our game in hand and final home game of the season against Watford. 

Our form has been such that the outcome is exceedingly unpredictable but as all Addicks know, we're not in the habit of making life easy and I'm preparing to accept that it might go down to the wire in our season finale away at Blackpool, where both teams could be fighting for Championship survival.  With Birmingham, Doncaster and Millwall also in the mix there are plenty of permutations to make it a nervy climax the the season.

So for those of you not making the trip to the seaside for our last game can I plug the following local event that South East London CAMRA are putting on this coming weekend.  Whichever way the results go you'll be in the right place to drown your sorrows or celebrate survival with some fine ales and ciders on tap.

The link for those interested is below

I'm pleased to see that local brewer Hopstuff based in Woolwich is well represented with four of their ales on show and there are a number of other London and Kent breweries and cider makers on show.  Having met a few of the local CAMRA members at Old Loyal Britons in Greenwich I know they are discerning lot and we shouldn't be disappointed with their selection of casks which can be found on their website.

The picture is a poster produced by South East London CAMRA to promote the festival so please do share around.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Charlton Athletic Financial Results - a short analysis

First a big thank you to all of those who read my previous blog piece on the profitability of Championship football Clubs.  Having had a comfortable 200 or so hits to my previous blog pieces this received over 1200 hits.

One of the omissions from that particular blog was the financial report of my own team Charlton Athletic which had not then been published.  The accounts are now available and I thought I would provide a short overview for interested fans.

These are the consolidated figures for the holding company Baton 2010 Ltd to the end of June 2013 and well before the takeover by Staprix NV, Duchatelet’s investment vehicle.

The headline figure is a loss of £5.9m compared to £6.8m last year.  It looks like the club remains on course to continue to achieve Financial Fair Play targets once we take into account that certain expenses are disallowed.

Turnover/Income increased  by about £3m from  TV and broadcasting as a result of the move to the Championship and £0.5m from increased match day income.  There was a dip in commercial income owing to the way the company makes money from the club shop etc following the “Nike” deal which now sees the club receive a percentage of sales as a royalty, rather than account for sales in income and stock purchases in the cost line.  The upshot of this is that on an equivalent commercial income has actually risen slightly.

However, most of the increase in income was swallowed in salary costs which went up by approximately £3m.  Given that the number of commercial and administration staff remained static I assume that this increase was down to playing, training and football management which went up by 17.

Staff costs remain static at just over 100% of turnover which is clearly unsustainable and something which we have seen the new board address almost immediately much to the chagrin of many fans.  The sale of our reputedly highest paid player will go a small way to reducing this in the current financial year but I fear that in order to meet a more acceptable level further unpalatable cuts will be the order of the day, until both clubs players across the divisions realise that things will have to change.

The loss appears to have been funded by an increase in long term loans from the parent company CAFC Holdings Ltd who also appear to have funded the scheduled repayment of bank loans during the year.  The accounts confirmed that this debt has now been transferred to Staprix NV.

However, it appears that the interest free loans from previous directors remain in place, to be repaid if and when Charlton return to the Premier League.  There was speculation that that these might be repaid on the sale of the club but there is no mention of this in the post balance sheet events.

In other post balance sheet news, the club generated £570k from player sales and contingency fees.  I presume that most of this took place in the summer transfer window and does not include the sale of Yann Kermorgant or Dale Stephens as they were both sold after the accounts were signed off.

As expected the accounts are prepared and signed off by the auditors on a going concern basis with the parental support of Staprix NV.  From my little knowledge of audited accounts I believe that this means that as of 17 January 2014 (the day the accounts were signed off), Staprix has agreed to support the company for at least a further year.

In other news it is clear that the board are committed to the Youth Academy and intend on achieving Category 1 status in the Elite Player Performance Plan as soon as possible.  The fact that the New Eltham site has now got the go ahead confirms the new owners intention to honour this commitment which is good news for Charlton fans.

So all in all, no big surprises.  Despite what certain fans might think of them Jiminez and Slater kept the club alive and left it in a slightly better shape than when they bought it but more crucially they did find someone in time to be able to maintain and carry the club forward.

So on we go to the current financial year.  Again, Championship survival is key but other than that I don't expect any great surprises in the next lot of accounts.  Turnover will roughly be in line with the figures above but with the lack of player purchases this season and the sale of a few prominent players losses may come down a little further, again hopefully in line with Financial Fair Play.