Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Charlton Athletic Takeover Attempt - The right move?

I noticed the recent article on the Kent Live news that the rumoured Charlton Athletic bid from the Australian Football Consortium (AFC) had stalled owing to a lack of capital raise.

While any move to oust Duchatelet as owner should be seen as a good thing I can’t but help think that if a consortium has trouble in even raising the suggested purchase price then questions must be raised as to their ability to maintain the ongoing financial commitment that is required for a football club.

Let’s not kid ourselves here.  Breaking even is an admirable goal and might be achievable but currently not many clubs do achieve this.  The Deloitte 2016 annual review of football  gave an average annual loss for the 2014/15 season of £1.7m for League One clubs and £0.5m for League Two clubs.

Charlton’s losses run even larger than this and given the term of existing players’ contracts, the commitment made to the training ground and the size of the Valley generally such losses cannot be curtailed immediately.

In fact the AFC’s website states that “A critical component of AFC’s strategy will be to invest heavily into the training facility so that the club can attract and develop local talent and provide them with the opportunity to represent their club at a senior level.”

Given all this, any investor would need a sizable war chest just to allow the club to continue in its current form.  This is just not going to come from a scratch investment company such as AFC. The last thing that fans want is a nervous wait while the company struggles with a whip around in order to avoid bankruptcy.  

Any debt to finance these losses would need to be raised from external commercial lenders such as banks (rather than a benevolent owner) at commercial rates and with suitable security over assets such as the football stadium.

I'm no Duchatelet fan but while I'm sure that the AFC has a board with the necessary football experience (unlike our current CEO and owner) we need to ensure that they have the adequate resources to go along with it.

Kent Live Article
Deloitte Annual Review of Football

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Tour of Deptford's Pubs and Other Drinking Establishments

I’m afraid the football at the Valley has not been much to write about this season and I fear that it won’t get any better with the current owner and CEO in place so I will be joining the protests for the last game of the season this Sunday.

It’s become a tradition of mine to go on a pub crawl with a few friends after the final game and this year will be no exception.  I’ve chosen Deptford this year as its not far from Charlton and has added or refurbished a number of establishments over the last two years.

You can catch a 177 from just outside the Valley or a 53 from near the White Swan pub in Charlton Village, or use the railway.  Either way it’s only a 20-30 minute journey.

Brookmill ale selection
A five minute walk south of Deptford Bridge DLR station you’ll find the the Brookmill on Cranbrook Road.  It was refurbished and opened as a Gastro pub in August 2016.  They have a nice selection of 3-4 usually London ales, from Wimbledon, Bellevue, Twickenham and Brockley to name a few.  It has a high walled garden which is a perfect sun trap in the afternoon.

Returning to the DLR a short walk west just past Deptford High Street brings you to the Royal Albert.  One of the better Antic pubs it has three to four real ales, plus the usual craft ales and a decent menu which is a cut above the standard pub fare.

The Royal Standard on Tanner’s Hill is worth a mention but I have yet to venture there.

Going up Deptford High Street towards the Thames you’ll find another Antic pub, the Job Centre.  It’s been rather quiet the last few times I visited, probably overshadowed by its lack of
There has been a proliferation of new venues where the railway line crosses the High Street.  On the right hand side down Resolution Way there is a trendy bar called Buster Mantis.  I haven’t tried this yet as a little further along is Deptford’s first Brewery, Villages Brewery.  The tap room is open on Friday evenings and Saturday from noon.  I recommend it for a choice of beers different from the usual brewery line ups.  I particularly like the Pontoon, a south pacific red ale which combines citrus flavours with a biscuity caramel malt finish.

Little Nans Bar cocktail list 
On the other side, right next to Deptford railway station is a collection of bars and street food outlets that are all worth a visit.  The area is pedestrianised so you can sit outside and there is a a good vibe to it.  First there is Little Nan’s bar an eclectic mix of cocktails served in tea pots, fresh cake and snacks .  Next door is

Archies that does delicious grilled cheese sandwiches with house made pickles and craft ale to wash it down.  However, my favourite is Frankie goes to Bollywood, an alternative twist on Indian food.  Dining at each is informal with good service, quality ingredients and won’t cost the earth.

Tandoori Fried Chicken and Bhangras & Mash
at Frankie Goes to Bollywood
Towards the top of the high street is Wine Makers wine bar and restaurant.  It’s a small establishment offering wines, homemade charcuterie and a compact but thoughtful and changing menu.  Being fairly new is quite packed of an evening but from the reviews it’s a welcome addition to the Deptford scene.

For a more traditional pub I would recommend the Dog & Bell tucked away on Prince Street, a stone’s throw from the Thames and five minutes north of Deptford High Street.  I would choose this as my local. They always has a great selection of well looked after and constantly changing real ale at good prices (£3.20-£3.40).  The new Landlord has kept up the ale but spruced up the pub and it has a nice friendly local atmosphere.  Don’t forget to try a pork pie with your pint.

A little further afield towards Surrey Quays is the Black Horse on Everlyn Street, opposite the old fire station.  Again a change of ownership has seen this pub transformed with plenty of craft beers and an amazing collection of spirits served by friendly staff.  The freshly made sour dough pizzas are a must try.

Either way there is something for everyone in Deptford.