Although the exchanges, legal threats, rumours etc continue, we are as much in the dark about the takeover/fresh investment situation than we were with the surprise announcement almost a month ago that Sandgaard had terminated the prospective deal with SE7. Information is sporadic and only forthcoming when someone or other wishes to make a point, using media outlets of their choice (ie supporters are not being treated as stakeholders). Anybody hoping for some inside info here will as usual be disappointed, but perhaps it’s worth underlining a few points, in the vain hope that someone takes them to heart.
The January transfer window is a dim, distant memory, we are not going up or down, so on the face of it there might appear to be no rush to get anything sorted out. Certainly if I was a potential investor (which thank the Lord I’m not sir) I would be inclined to take my time. What is the possible benefit of shelling out to cover operating losses for a period of time when you can really do nothing except plan? On the other hand, if I was Sandgaard I might be starting to think that the pressure to do a deal is only going to rise, in the interim I’m losing money, and the longer the process goes on the more likely it is I will end up having to compromise (on the amount and/or whatever stake I may be left with).
After all, last year season ticket renewals went out in April 2022. If nothing gets resolved before this time around, what chance a campaign to boycott renewals? Or just a decidedly poor response to the first applications sent out? If I was a possible buyer of the club I’d be reacting to any such news by trimming the offer price.
I think the plea is just get it done and dusted, quickly. Perhaps Sandgaard and others don’t fully appreciate just how bloody miserable being an Addick has become. Sure, these things go around, sure, this was always going to be a very tough season to get promoted, given the others involved. But we haven’t come close, face a fourth consecutive season in the third flight (I knew it was never before in my lifetime but seems it stretches a bit longer than that), in fact it will be the eighth out of the last nine for crying out loud! We might talk as if we ‘belong’ in the Premiership (‘if only we can sort things out …’) but many others not in it have a stronger claim and most others simply don’t care. We have gone from being a model club for overachievement to the most obvious underperformers in the Football League (just try to find a ‘bigger’ club below us).
To add insult to injury, Palace in the Premiership? Millwall possibly joining them? To say that would hurt is something of an understatement. In practical terms the chances of attracting new supporters are flying out of the window and right now the chances of The Valley being full and rocking next season are considerably less than those of a significant erosion in real attendances. We (and Sandgaard) have got a little lucky with Holden and his approach for good reason getting a positive response from the fans; without reason to believe in next season that will not last.
It simply has to change, quickly, if an increasingly poisonous atmosphere is not to develop. There have for sure been three distinct phases which could lay claim to being the worst for an Addick: the Selhurst Park years (which of course top the list but included four seasons in the top flight and a first Wembley appearance in my time, which helped sustain our hopes alive of getting back to The Valley), the Duchatelet years, and now. I don’t equate Sandgaard with Duchatelet (of course you can draw similarities if you try). Duchatelet had no interest in football and was ultimately trying to prove a point; he couldn’t handle it when he failed and when it was clear nobody loved him. Sandgaard has tried, but failed, it is obvious that the enjoyment and enthusiasm he had at the start has gone, with I’d imagine it highly unlikely to return.
Barring some Damascus moment (involving a plea to supporters to start anew accompanied by a realistic plan for next season), the last, decent thing Sandgaard can do for our club is to pass it on to good new owners. The acid tests on that front are their track record(s) and a credible plan and related investment to get us out of this bloody awful division next season. If they are amenable to him retaining a minority stake, that is their choice. But neither that, nor the asking price, will make any difference to us supporters, our interests relate to the success of our club on and off the pitch, and there will be no sympathy if the takeover process drags on because of what for us are just details.