CHRISTMAS is a time for relaxation and enjoyment, but there will be no let-up during the festive season for Steve Waggott.

Charlton’s chief executive will be experiencing Christmas in his new role for the first time after being appointed to takeover from Peter Varney during what is always one of the busiest periods in the football calendar.

It has certainly been a baptism of fire for Waggott during his brief reign at The Valley with a proposed takeover from Dubai-based Zabeel Investment falling through, an unwanted relegation battle on the pitch and the sacking of Alan Pardew.

Despite the Addicks’ present predicament, though, Waggott remains upbeat about what lies ahead for Charlton in the coming 12 months.

He said: “I’ve been doing the job since the beginning of May and it has been an interesting journey.

“I spent the first two months working alongside Peter Varney, the next two working closely with Alan Pardew before the transfer window closed, we’ve had the potential takeover by Zabeel Investment, the loan window and we are still on the lookout for new investment.

“It has been a phenomenal time and so much has happened in the space of eight months.

“When you take up a new role you always start out being optimistic and even though it has been a tough time on the pitch, I’m still very optimistic about 2009.”

He added: “Football is an ever changing industry which never stands still, but ultimately everything comes down to what happens in the 90 minutes at the end of the week on the pitch.

“Although we have hit rock bottom in terms of our position in the table, there was a different attitude in the Derby game.

“It has been a challenging time in terms of results and that puts pressure on other parts of the business.

“We’ve got to turn it around to breed some confidence in the playing side and this will cause a ripple effect throughout the club.”

Charlton have already been forced to sell a number of key players since being relegated from the top flight in attempt to balance the books.

The parachute payments from those Premiership days run out at the end of this season, but Waggott says the club are prepared for life without them and also believes it would be premature to write off the Addicks’ hopes just yet.

He explained: “The business has to go on and the club has to go on.

“It is well documented the parachute payments are worth £12m and even though there has been an increase in the Championship money, we are still talking about a difference of £10m.

“We still hope in the second half of the season to go on a run. Crystal Palace have gone on one recently and pushed themselves right into play-off contention, so things can change very quickly.”

Charlton came agonisingly close to being taken over by Zabeel Investment in October, but the proposed deal failed to materialise when the Dubai investors withdrew their interest.

Waggott recalls: “It all came about very quickly. They were looking for an investment for their portfolio with a London club, but the current economic climate meant they decided to concentrate their search for investment in Dubai.

“They came in quickly and went out just as quickly too.”

Despite the disappointment of losing out on the Zabeel deal, Waggott believes Charlton remain an excellent investment for potential buyers.

He said: “We are ideally located in London in a 2012 Olympic borough. We’ve still got interest but people are looking at how we perform on the pitch in the coming weeks.

“Phil Parkinson has got a different approach and it came across against Derby when the fans responded by supporting the team from the start to the 95th minute of the game.

“We have to carry that forward into the Christmas period, which everyone knows is a crucial time in the football calendar.

“There are some tough games against QPR on Boxing Day and Sheffield United away two days later, but hopefully we can get a few points on the board and keep moving up the table.”

Charlton’s traumatic season on the pitch also led to the departure of Pardew last month after almost two years in control in SE7.

Despite enjoying a close working relationship with Pards, Waggott concedes something had to give after the 5-2 home defeat by Sheffield United on November 22.

He said: “We are in a results driven industry. The results just didn’t stand up, so the club felt a decision had to be taken to turn things around.

“It is always a difficult when that decision is taken and we wish Alan well in the future.

“He has decided to take some time out to recharge his batteries because football can be an all-consuming game, but I’m sure he will be back soon.

“I’ve got a very good relationship with Phil Parkinson, who I obviously knew from his time working alongside Alan.

“He has got a different approach to Pards in terms of the type of players he wants to bring in and hopefully the players will respond positively to this over the Christmas period.”

And what is the most important thing the new chief executive has learnt since he took on the role?

“How dynamic this business is and how quickly things can change,” he said.

“The game has just ended and it comes at the end of a long week, but in reality the game is the start of the new week.

“There is a real intensity about the job and it is a 24-7 business. It obviously helps a lot if things on the pitch are going your way too.”