Charlton Athletic: Former Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins interested in buying Addicks

By Gareth VincentBBC Sport Wales
Huw Jenkins
Huw Jenkins was appointed OBE in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Former Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins says he could buy Charlton Athletic after revealing he is keen to get back into football.

Jenkins left Swansea in February 2019 after a 17-year spell as chairman.

He is now considering a "really, really good opportunity" at Championship Charlton - but says the timing of a deal must be right.

"Over the last year I have had many conversations about different things and different clubs," Jenkins said.

"I have been out of football for over a year and I have been looking for an opportunity.

"Charlton has come about over the last few weeks. Everybody has seen through the media what's gone on there since January.

"Unfortunately the season has been suspended and that has impacted on everybody.

"The current owners of Charlton are looking for somebody to come in and try to change their fortunes around."

Jenkins believes he is one of a number of parties interested in buying Charlton, who were only taken over by East Street Investment in January.

The EFL began an investigation into possible misconduct in that deal in April, while the club's supporters' trust warned last month that Charlton's "very existence" could be under threat.

Jenkins says he had a contract giving him exclusivity over a potential deal but that has now expired.

With Charlton currently in the relegation zone, Jenkins wants to know whether the 2019-20 season will be concluded before committing to a deal.

Given the financial implication, the question of when fans will be allowed back into games could also have a bearing on whether Jenkins presses ahead with a purchase.

"Over the last few weeks we have been talking through things, but until there's some clarity on the EFL moving forward - whether they are finishing the season and what happens next season - to me it needs more consideration," Jenkins told BBC Sport Wales.

"It's been well-publicised how the club is at the minute - they need to bring in some money to stabilise things through until next season.

"But what's happening with this season, promotion and relegation - all these things have an impact.

"I need more time to wait until things are more clear. I am cautious about jumping in there right now, but whether that suits the current owners or not is not down to me."

Jenkins oversaw a remarkable period in Swansea's history after becoming chairman in 2002.

Having come within a game of dropping into non-league football in 2003, the Welsh club won a third promotion in six years to reach the Premier League in 2011.

They remained in the top flight for seven seasons, winning the League Cup in 2013, before relegation in 2018.

For a long time Jenkins was a hero to Swansea fans, but that all changed after the club was sold to Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levine in 2016.

Huw Jenkins (front left), Steve Kaplan (centre) and Jason Levien
Steve Kaplan (centre) and Jason Levien (right) decided to keep Huw Jenkins (front left) as chairman when they bought a controlling stake in Swansea City in July 2016

Jenkins stayed on as chairman after the takeover, running the club on a daily basis, but stepped down last year amid fan unrest, saying his role had been "eroded" under the new owners.

But he says he is now hungry to get back into football, whether at Charlton or another club.

The potential deal with the Addicks involved Jenkins taking charge on his own, but he says he would also consider becoming a part-owner of a club or taking a job at a club whose owners he could "trust and work with".

"I would like to get back into football and put to use the experience and knowledge I have gained," he said.

"The present football climate, where finances are going to be tight, is right up my street when you look at where we started years ago at Swansea.

"I think the way football is going to go over the next couple of years will be really suited to the experience I gained over that time."

Though he sold the majority of his shares in 2016, Jenkins still owns 5% of Swansea.

He says that stake would be unaffected should he buy into another club because he does not "have an influence on decision-making" at the Liberty Stadium, though any deal would need the consent of the EFL.

Charlton have been asked to comment on the possibility of Jenkins taking charge of the club.

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