BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Karl Robinson has defended Richard Murray – insisting the former Charlton Athletic chairman has been put in a “very difficult” position in terms of the club’s takeover talks.
Addicks fans have demanded that Murray, a director since Roland Duchatelet bought the South London outfit in January 2014, provided updates on what stage a sale was at.
But Murray has received criticism from some quarters after the club was not in new hands by the end of February – which was a timeline he thought was achievable when he sat down with representatives from Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust.
He provided another update towards the end of last week, reporting that two separate parties had agreed financial terms to buy the League One club and that a transfer of ownership could be just a matter of weeks away. “I speak to Richard every single day,” said Robinson.
“I’m asking him ‘is it happening?’ In terms of where it is at, no-one can quite give a definitive answer. What I will say is that Richard has been put in a very difficult position. Fans were asking for some sort of voice or constant contact.
“In trying to do the right thing for people, when it doesn’t fall quite that way you want it to then people point the finger. That is quite unfair.
“You are in the midst of something where so many things can go right, wrong or indifferent. “We’ve all read a price has been agreed. Now it is down to the lawyers.
“As far as it goes for me and my players, we just have to keep doing what we are here to do and that is to play football.”
Robinson has previously claimed that a new owner would be likely to see a managerial change. He only spent a minimal fee to sign Billy Clarke from Bradford City. The Addicks also agreed compensation for Tariqe Fosu, who was coming out of contract at Reading but was not a free agent due to being under the age of 24.
The takeover talks also prevented the Liverpudlian from making permanent signings in the January transfer window.
When asked about his previous fears, Robinson said: “You just don’t know. In my time here I have spent hardly any money at all. I’ve probably spent the least of any manager in the past 10 years.
“I was watching the Blackburn-Wigan game at the weekend and you see the money they have spent on players and the fact they have kept their best players. Not only have we spent less but we have also lost the likes of Ademola Lookman and Ricky Holmes [sold to Everton and Sheffield United respectively].
“From my perspective, we are all very proud of what we have achieved. I’m so proud of my staff. Everyone has got their heads down. Inevitably it is a very difficult time, but we have conducted ourselves in the right way.” Charlton’s game at AFC Wimbledon last weekend was called off due to a frozen pitch.
The Addicks are two points behind sixth-placed Plymouth Argyle but have two matches in hand. They go to Peterborough United, immediately below them, on Saturday. “It is a massive game,” said Robinson.
“Everyone is looking at 71 points being the target for sixth.
“Everyone said how well Millwall did last year [gaining promotion] but they only sneaked in right at the death. It just shows how late these things can go and how things fall in your favour or not in your favour.
You can be instant heroes or an instant failure due to the width of a post. We’ve got to stay positive.”