Former Charlton chairman Matt Southall attempting to retake control of club

The Valley Stadium

Former chairman Matt Southall has moved to try to retake control of Charlton Athletic.

Southall and another former director Jonathan Heller have launched legal action to remove Chris Farnell and four other directors of East Street Investments (ESI), the company that owns the club.

Southall has told Sky Sports News that himself and Heller are working together in the legal action to remove Farnell, along with Romanians Claudiu Florica, Andrei Mihail and Marian Mihail, who were appointed by former owner Tahnoon Nimer in March.

At the same time, Southall and Heller were removed from the board by Nimer - a process that both maintain was not legal.

Farnell, Florica and both Mihails have been served a notice under the terms of the original takeover by ESI, which went through in January, and all four have been officially removed from the board at Companies House, where all UK businesses have to be registered.

The Valley
Image: Off-the-field issues look set to continue at Charlton as former chairman Matt Southall attempts to retake control of the club

Currently Southall and Heller are the only two directors officially registered on the board of ESI, the holding company that owns Charlton.

In a statement issued to Sky Sports News, however, the club say the filings at Companies House are "unauthorised and they are investigating".

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"The club is aware of the recent, unauthorised filings at Companies House relating to East Street Investments," a statement said. "The club is investigating the matter and will take the necessary action."

And Marian Mihail told Sky Sports News he was "very surprised" by the changes, stating "directors of ESI have instructed lawyers to file for an injunction if these unauthorised alterations to the company's public records will not be retracted by Monday, end of business day".

"As we have all been made aware, there is a clear agreement with a clear schedule set in place for the sale of the club done by Panorama Magic to sell the entire shares of ESI. This agreement has now reached its final stage, the approval for the English Football League, so I cannot understand why Mr. Southall is now making public statements on behalf of the entire ESI ownership since he does not have this authority."

Lee Bowyer says he wants more time with his players before the Championship season resumes
Image: On the pitch, manager Lee Bowyer is attempting to keep Charlton in the Sky Bet Championship

Southall, meanwhile, has also told Sky Sports News that he is only taking control of Charlton alongside Heller for a transitional period, and they plan to open talks with potential buyers of the club next week. They hope to be in a position to conclude a sale within 28 days, and in the meantime the club will be run by the senior management team.

It is the latest twist in a long-running ownership saga that has been ongoing since January when Roland Duchatelet concluded a deal to sell the club to ESI for £1.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that Charlton announced last month that Nimer had ended his ownership of the club by handing it to a Manchester-based consortium led by Paul Elliott.

This takeover was put together by Farnell, who was also acting as Nimer's lawyer at the time, with the club officially confirming the new ownership on June 10.

An official statement from the club also confirmed that they had been in touch with the EFL to finalise the process, and to satisfy the Owners' and Directors' Test. But that change of ownership has not - to date - ever been registered at Companies House.

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