Charlton Athletic’s women’s team is to be bought by Thomas Sandgaard, the Danish-American businessman who took over the men’s team last September.
Six months ago, 853 reported how Charlton Women were appealing to fans for donations as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with their finances. Now the team’s future is secured with its purchase by Sandgaard, which will bring it under the same ownership as the men’s side for the first time since 2007. The deal is awaiting league approval.
The side had been one of the biggest in the women’s game in the 2000s, winning both the FA Cup and the League Cup, but it was disbanded as a cost-cutting measure when the men’s team were relegated from the Premier League. It was rescued by the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, then taken over by by lifelong Charlton fan Stephen King, the chief executive of health and safety consultancy PSHC.
Under King’s ownership, the team have reached the second-tier Women’s Championship – one promotion away from the high-profile Women’s Super League. However, they are currently bottom of the league, although with three games in hand. They play at Oakwood in Crayford, a ground shared with the eighth-tier men’s side VCD Athletic, with occasional matches at The Valley.
Sandgaard said: “I am looking forward to being able to complete the takeover of Charlton Athletic Women. I have loved my first few months in charge of the club and people will have probably seen that I’ve been bitten by the Charlton bug.
“One of the first things I did when I was in London after the takeover was go and watch Charlton Athletic Women play and I knew then that I wanted to bring the two clubs back together.
“Women’s football is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and you can see that a lot of the big clubs are investing in their women’s team. My long-term aim for Charlton is to reach the highest levels with both the men’s team and the women’s team, so I’m looking forward to getting started.”
King said he was “delighted” to be able to place the side in “such safe hands”.
“There have been very difficult periods, none more challenging than the current pandemic,” he said. “Women’s football is growing at pace, and so are the demands on those running these clubs. I am pleased and relieved that Charlton Athletic Women have been able to come through it, and I am convinced the club now has a very positive future to look forward to under the stewardship of Mr Sandgaard.”
Charlton Women’s origins lie in a breakaway from Millwall Lionesses in 1991, playing as Bromley Borough. They then became Croydon after linking up with the non-league men’s side of the same name, before being taken over by the Addicks in 2000.
The team are still playing behind closed doors, and face Liverpool Women at Oakwood in Sunday.
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