By Rick Everitt
Three former Charlton directors who have a legal charge over the club’s assets have expressed surprise at news that ex-chief executive Peter Varney has tried to enter discussions with current owner Roland Duchatelet about a possible takeover.
Derek Chappell, David Sumners and Bob Whitehand were significant shareholders during Charlton’s spell in the Premier League, which ended in 2007, with Chappell being plc chairman from 2008-09 and Whitehand his vice-chairman. They were then among a group of directors who collectively wrote off £15m of loans in 2010 in order that the club could continue following relegation to League One a year earlier.
Between them the three men are still owed more than £2.5m due on future promotion to the Premier League - part of a £7m liability that would be triggered if the team went up but which is potentially up for negotiation in any takeover. Of the balance, £2.6m is owed to current chairman Richard Murray and £1.75m to other former board members Sir Maurice Hatter, David Hughes and David White.
Whitehand said that he, Chappell and Sumners had not heard about the Varney approach before, but would have been willing to engage in positive discussions about a potential takeover deal, if it related to their loans.
Should the club go down to League One again its residual value would remain offset by sums owed to the bank and to the former directors [including Richard Murray], as they all own charges over the assets.
Lifelong fans Chappell, Sumners and Whitehand told Voice of The Valley on Wednesday (December 30th): “We are not involved in the running of the club now and we are satisfied that our loans are legally secure. However, as fans we are obviously watching what is happening to Charlton with great concern.
"Anyone wanting to buy the club and clear all the debt will need to talk to us individually, as they will to the other three ex-directors and Richard Murray. However, we want to make clear that the three of us are ready to engage in a sensible discussion with anyone coming forward, including Peter Varney.”