03/01/2014 09:38 GMT | Updated 05/03/2014 05:59 GMT

Why I Sold Charlton - The Inside Track

It is nearly three years to the day since we took control of Charlton Athletic Football Club - and the time has come for us to step aside.

The decision to pass the baton to someone new has not been taken lightly.

Our position at the club has been the subject of huge speculation over the last few months, and that has been borne of several offers from various parties.

As custodian of Charlton Athletic, I felt a great responsibility that we should only relinquish control to someone in whom we have faith and feel can make a positive difference to the football club.

This has taken some time, and patience. The majority of interest and offers received has come from timewasters - or people who we did not feel adequately fit those criteria.

Of course, it's not all been plain sailing. But ultimately, the role of any owner is to make the tough decisions, and that can sometimes feel like a thankless task.

As the old saying goes - "you can't please all of the people, all of the time."

Since we took control of the club back in 2010, the role has brought me great enjoyment, tangible success and immense pride.

Football is a fickle game, and, in these transient times, I believe that it is important to leave a club in a significantly better position than you found it.

I am certainly proud of our legacy as we step aside today.

When we arrived at The Valley, Charlton Athletic was languishing in 13th place - well below expectations - in the third tier of English football. The club was also just days away from slipping into administration, which would have meant certain relegation to League 2 that season.

The enthusiasm, intelligence and passion shown by club legend Chris Powell made a real impression on us all, and we moved quickly to appoint him as manager within just two weeks.

It would be reasonable to say that, from the outside looking in, handing Chris his first job in management posed something of a risk, but any doubters were soon silenced - and in some style.

The following campaign, he led us to the League One title in a record-breaking 101 point haul which saw us secure the most points of any team in Europe - and that is a season which will live long both in the memory, and Addicks' folklore.

That Chris currently finds himself the longest serving manager in The Championship is a real achievement - and I hope that it will encourage other football clubs to give young talent a chance, in an age where it seems that failure and improvement are rarely allowed.

Although results could have been better for us this season, I am confident that the coaching staff and players will see the club to safety this campaign.

I'm sure that Chris would be the first to admit that his success at Charlton owes as much to the efforts of staff off the pitch as the blood, sweat and tears shed on it.

Academy Director, Paul Hart, possesses a wealth of experience at all levels of the game, and, since we appointed him in 2011, he and his Head of Coaching, Steve Avery, have assembled an Academy set-up to be proud of.

It is testament to their hard work over the last few years that Charlton Athletic is seen as a high-quality environment for future pros to develop their potential and learn their trade, and they have enhanced an already excellent reputation for producing talented, home-grown players.

I'd like to personally thank Chris Powell and all of the backroom staff at the club for their dedication to success, and wish them all the best. I know that they have what it takes to lead Charlton back to the Premier League.

I'll also take this opportunity to thank my fellow Directors, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we leave the club in a much more prosperous and stable financial position than we found it.

My gratitude goes out to Richard Murray, who will remain on the board with the new owners. His presence and efforts since I arrived at Charlton have been of huge benefit to the club, and are much appreciated.

Owners, managers, coaching and playing staff. Eventually, they will all come and go.

But the fans - the heartbeat of the club - remain.

Let us not forget that Charlton Athletic was founded all the way back in 1905 as a community football club. It is important that those traditions, ethos and heritage are preserved.

So, finally, I'd like to thank the fans for their unwavering support of the team and the manager during my time at The Valley, and for all of the kind messages and emails.

I am sure that they will provide the new owners with the same levels of warmth and support that we have received during our tenure.

Charlton Athletic Football Club has been in existence for well over 100 years, and will be around for many more years to come.

It has been an honour to be so deeply involved in this great club for a short but significant time in its history.