The Valley could host large concerts next summer, Charlton Athletic owner says

Rainbow at The Valley
Thomas Sandgaard hopes concerts will bring crowds to The Valley

Charlton Athletic’s owner Thomas Sandgaard has revealed that The Valley could stage large concerts next summer – the first since 2006.

The Danish-American businessman revealed his plans to put the stadium back on the musical map in an interview with Masthead, a magazine published by the South East London Chamber of Commerce.

The Valley’s last big gig was a performance by Elton John 16 years ago, but back in the 1970s, the stadium – which then boasted the vast East Terrace – hosted two huge shows by The Who, drawing tens of thousands of fans. The second concert, in May 1976 with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Little Feat among the support acts, was recorded as the world’s loudest, with the sound reaching 120 decibels.

Any new show will not be as big and is very unlikely to be as loud – but Sandgaard, a rock musician who has written his own song for Charlton, Addicks to Victory, told the magazine he was looking forward to hosting the shows.

“This fits in with my background and I am really excited that we will stage some great events at The Valley,” told the magazine.

Last year the club revealed plans to host a Queen tribute show for 1,700 people, but nothing came of the proposal.

Sandgaard bought Charlton nearly two years ago after a turbulent spell under the eccentric Belgian businessman Roland Duchâtelet, whose botched sale to the East Street Investments consortium nearly put the club out of business. Duchâtelet still owns The Valley as well as the club’s training ground in New Eltham.

With the club still languishing in League One, Sandgaard’s ownership has come under scrutiny after his decision to fire team manager Johnnie Jackson in May.

Jackson was replaced five weeks later by Ben Garner from Swindon Town, who has brought over key staff and players from the League Two club, with Sandgaard demanding a more attack-minded style of football.

Sandgaard – who owns the hospital equipment company Zynex Medical – told Masthead that he saw Charlton as a “turnaround challenge”.

“In many ways a football club is like any other business,” he said. “I have been involved with many turnarounds before. It is about getting the right people on board and the right culture in place.”

Fans will get a chance to see Garner’s team at The Valley on Saturday when they play Swansea City in a friendly, with tickets on sale now.

This season The Charlton Champion will carry reporter Kevin Nolan‘s dispatches from selected home games, beginning with the match against Derby County on August 6.


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Queen tribute show for 1,700 set to come to The Valley in September

The Valley
The Valley is set to host a Queen tribute show in September

Early plans for a Queen tribute show for 1,700 people to take place in September have been outlined by Charlton Athletic in a letter sent to local residents.

The show would be the first concert to take place at The Valley since Elton John played there 15 years ago. This would be a much smaller affair, with a far lower crowd than most football matches there.

While there are a number of Queen shows doing the rounds, the club have told The Charlton Champion that this will feature a West End cast and be produced by Squareleg Promotions. The event would run from 5pm to 10.15pm.

The club has set up a Zoom call on Wednesday at noon to discuss its plans with local residents – to join, email events[at]cafc.co.uk.


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Charlton Athletic saved from the brink – but Duchâtelet still owns The Valley

The Valley
Charlton fans now have something to celebrate

Danish-American businessman Thomas Sandgaard has bought Charlton Athletic, ending months of uncertainty about the troubled club’s future – but The Valley remains in the hands of its eccentric former owner Roland Duchâtelet, whose botched sale of the side brought it to the brink of administration.

Sandgaard has bought the club from East Street Investments (ESI), which in turn purchased it from Duchâtelet nearly a year ago. However, the ESI deal unravelled in March after a public falling-out between its principals Matt Southall and Tahnoon Nimer, with the two trading insults on social media and promised investment not appearing, contributing to its relegation last season. It also emerged that, contrary to statements at the time of sale, the pair had not bought The Valley or the club’s training ground in Sparrows Lane in New Eltham.

ESI was then “sold” to Manchester businessman Paul Elliott, however, the English Football League blocked the deal and the club’s future was then dragged through the courts. Last week, an injunction prevented the sale of ESI while the ownership wrangle was resolved. The club would have run out of money within a week if the deal had not been done; in July it was effectively been warned it risked expulsion from the league.

Floyd Road graffiti - Save CAFC, our club, not yours!
Fans had left ESI in no doubt of their feelings

Sandgaard – who owns hospital equipment company Zynex Medical – emerged as a potential bidder for the club last month, and this morning dodged the injunction by buying the club itself rather than ESI.

The Valley and Sparrows Lane, however, remain with Duchâtelet. Sandgaard said he had agreed to extend the lease on them from five to 15 years. The EFL, which had put a transfer embargo on the club, has agreed the deal.

“When I started negotiating with Duchâtelet, I wanted to buy the stadium, but the conversation quickly turned into a rental agreement and it seems for now that is the best for all parties,” he told Talksport radio. “I’m renting the stadium and training ground for 15 years and have got rid of all the weird side deals so everything’s cleaned up.”

Ownership of The Valley is a sore point with Charlton fans; not having control of The Valley led to the club’s disastrous seven-year exile from SE7 in 1985.

He added: “This is one of the best days of my life, it’s up there with when my two kids were born. The support I’ve had from fans during this whole process has been unbelievable.”

Sandgaard said on his own website: “With the club about to run out of funds this month, it was important that I moved quickly to complete the acquisition and put funds in to the club to ensure its survival.

“I have always had two passions – rock music and football. I was a bit of a nerd when I was 13 so decided to go out and buy a guitar because I loved music and wanted to be one of the cool kids – and become a rock musician. I ultimately ended up playing in lots of rock bands in the seventies and early eighties.

“My love of football started when I played at an amateur level in Denmark and then really fell in love with the English game when I watched the FA Cup finals on Danish television in the 1970s. In the last few years, I’ve reached a point financially where I can really do something like this. Four months ago, a friend asked, ‘Have you thought about owning an English football club?’ And I thought, wow, that could be one of the most positive things that I could ever be a part of.”

Charlton fans' protest
About 500 fans held a protest at The Valley five weeks ago

Fans held a protest against Elliott’s “ownership” last month, while a group invaded his solicitor Chris Farnell’s office in Hale, Greater Manchester.

Local MP Matt Pennycook said the takeover of the club was “outstanding news”, while Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe joked “a freedom of the borough is in order ASAP!”

Greenwich borough’s Conservative opposition leader Nigel Fletcher said the news was encouraging but wanted to “seek assurances on some key outstanding issues”.

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