Charlton Athletic: Thomas Sandgaard says it will take time to earn fans' trust

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Charlton Athletic
Charlton are one point above the Championship relegation zone

Prospective new Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard expects it to take "a couple of years" to gain the trust of the club's fanbase.

Sandgaard says he is in talks with various elements of Charlton's complicated ownership structure in an effort to bring all the strands of the club together as part of one deal.

Manchester-based businessman Paul Elliott and Chris Farnell, who was ousted as the club's solicitor last week, believe they have a legally-binding agreement to buy the club, which remains the case even though they failed the English Football League's owners and directors' test.

Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall bought the club for £1 from Roland Duchatelet through their East Street Investment company in January.

However, Duchatelet still owns The Valley and Charlton's training ground, while majority ESI shareholder Nimer has fallen out with Southall and the pair no longer speak.

It has left Sandgaard, a Danish businessman based in Colorado, with a lot of unravelling to do and many Charlton fans are wary of anyone who speaks publicly about their intentions for the club.

"What I see in all the people I am communicating with and what I am reading on social media is disappointment that goes beyond losing a game," Sandgaard told BBC Sport.

"It is a disappointment like someone who has been left alone and ignored for many years. How things have been dealt with by the board of directors has done so much damage to the whole fanbase.

"There is going to be a lot of work to do to bring that together. It is probably going to take a couple of years to bring stability and trust from the fanbase."

Sandgaard also spoke to the administrators at Wigan about potentially buying the Latics.

The two parties had two lots of communication before Sandgaard eventually walked away, even though he accepts Wigan would have been a far easier deal to do.

"It had all been cleaned up," he said. "But I find much more potential in Charlton."

BBC Sport understands Elliott and Farnell's appeal against the EFL decision about their ownership remains active but has yet to be heard.

Elliott is also seeking an injunction that would prevent Nimer selling the club to Sandgaard, or anyone else.

However, Sandgaard says he believes Nimer and Southall to be the current owners and that "on some fronts we pretty much have agreements in principle".

"On other fronts we are discussing which model is the best moving forward," he added.

"My starting point is to bring the club, the ground and the training ground back together. If I have to take it in multiple bites, I will do that.

"How long it takes is hard to say, whether it is days, weeks. I certainly don't believe it to be a process that takes months.

"But I am not worried about it. Charlton is the perfect situation for me. The entire foundation is there."

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