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Is this the permanent decline of Charlton Athletic?
21 July 2016 13:38 Post ID: #1503967
Legend MO
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As you know, I don’t often comment on the goings on over at The Valley.
However, I noticed that they have sold less season tickets than little old Millwall. This is despite our cheapest adult season ticket being £412; and theirs £175.

Next season I imagine if we fulfil our potential as serious promotion contenders we will average around the 11,000-12,000 mark – going on previous League One promotion seasons (one as champions, one as play-off winners).

Last season we averaged 9,108 after the worst two home seasons in the club’s history, relegation to a very northern division, and having been mid-table right up to January. In fact, once we hit the top 6 from the end of January onwards we averaged a decent 10,449 a game – 11,100 if you include the Bradford City game in the play-offs.

If Charlton start off with a relegation hang-over they could be looking at crowds of 7,000 odd.

It looks as if they have undone all their good work of rebuilding their fanbase in the late 1990s and early 2000s with Premier League football for affordable family prices.

More worrying for them is that this has happened at a time when West Ham United are ideally positioned to take full advantage. Many of Charlton’s floating support has traditionally come from families in NW & west Kent – people who can now hop on a fast train to the Olympic Stadium to watch…ahem…affordable Premier League football! But, importantly, at a PL club with ambition and the infrastructure (thanks to us tax payers) to stay a PL outfit & a very competitive one to boot.

The longer that Charlton stay under the yoke of a mad Belgian owner, the more floating fans & potential new fans they will lose to the ‘Appy ‘Ammers.

Back before Charlton made it to the Premier League & just after they had returned to The Valley (1992-1998) the two SE London rivals had very similar crowds, in fact Millwall averaged higher gates in 3 of the 5 seasons the two were both in what is now the Championship – by 1-2,000. In fact, the season Charlton were promoted & Millwall were relegated, the Addicks averaged a modest 1,500 more.

Last year I wrote a piece about how when in the same division, surprisingly, Millwall had recorded a higher average attendance than Charlton on more occasions over time – as someone had asked. I think next season we will extend our lead in this area by once again getting higher average gates than the Addicks while playing in the same division – the first time since 1994.

However, this isn’t what this is really about. I think this is the beginning of a hard to reverse decline for Charlton Athletic football club. Unless they can get back to the Premier League pretty soon (and that seems unlikely under the current regime) they are going to lose a hell of a lot of floating fans to West Ham United.

This isn’t even about the ultimate doom & gloom of them falling through the trap door to League Two – but a best case scenario of falling back into the ‘little old Charlton’ of the 1970s, 1980s & early 1990s. Where, bar the miracle work of Lennie Lawrence, they were a Second Tier outfit struggling to keep their heads above the water, sometimes dropping into the Third Tier. They even became the first senior club in England to become homeless.

What has always sustained Millwall since the docks closed down in the 1970s is the fact that we became a bit of a cult club for SE London. Even when crowds sunk to 3-4,000 in the early 1980s Millwall had something about them & so stayed an important landmark on the London footballing scene.

We have only ever had two seasons of top flight football, less than the number of times the FA has closed our ground, bounced between the 2nd & 3rd tiers & seen our best players sold off for cheap…yet…next season 8-12,000 will still show up & create one of the more partisan atmospheres in the football league and the club will feel alive.

As for Charlton – can you imagine 7,000 odd flask drinking misery guts knocking around that stadium – it will seem like a Valley of Ghosts. If you are a kid from Woolwich etc. and you turn up and see that, are you going to want to come back? No matter how bad Millwall have been…it has always been a laugh for the young lads from Bermondsey, Peckham & nowadays Eltham and Downham. Probably why our away support is better than theirs too.

They’ve lost Premier League football. They will lose their floating support. They are a weird experiment for a Belgian crackpot. The ground will have 20,000 empty seats. They are left with the flask brigade. It is so bleak over there I actually feel for them.

As said before, have always actually liked Charlton Athletic the club. But, it seems that a Belgian owner & West Ham getting a pretty much free stadium pretty much sees them on the same path as Leyton Orient!

Still…they have a derby v us to look forward too!?!



Edited by Moody 21/7/2016 13:41
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21 July 2016 15:30 Post ID: #1503974 - in reply to #1503967
MOjo
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That is a very well written and articulate piece about our neighbours, your specialist subject I think. It will be interesting to see if they can muster a challenge for promotion, or just slowly suffocate in what will be a much tougher division next season.

I have never really hated Charlton, they are just a club that has its moment in the sunshine but has remained anaemic both on and off the pitch.
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21 July 2016 16:50 Post ID: #1503981 - in reply to #1503967
MOaner
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Moody - 21/7/2016 13:38

As you know, I don’t often comment on the goings on over at The Valley.
:
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21 July 2016 17:03 Post ID: #1503984 - in reply to #1503967
MOaner
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i love this stuff you turn out moody, keep obsessing chap.
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21 July 2016 17:15 Post ID: #1503985 - in reply to #1503967
MOjo
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Be careful Moody you might turn into one of them

Edited by JMP 21/7/2016 17:16
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21 July 2016 17:31 Post ID: #1503986 - in reply to #1503985
MOaner
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moody where did you get the stuff about teh season ticket sales?
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21 July 2016 19:38 Post ID: #1503993 - in reply to #1503986
Supreme MO
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Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Nick Pope join Burnley from Charlton

two of their best players gone
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21 July 2016 19:40 Post ID: #1503994 - in reply to #1503967
MOaner
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i still don't think tehy'll struggle. i was surprised at how poor the league was last year. i thought we were good, but not excellent.
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22 July 2016 06:28 Post ID: #1504006 - in reply to #1503986
MOaner
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High Life Street - 21/7/2016 17:31

moody where did you get the stuff about teh season ticket sales?


They're all boycott in the current regime. It's a known fact they've sold a fraction of what they usually sell.
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22 July 2016 10:41 Post ID: #1504019 - in reply to #1503967
MOaner
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Us £412
Them £175

Shows how Millwall continue ripping us off
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22 July 2016 11:02 Post ID: #1504020 - in reply to #1504019
Supreme MO
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yes same old board taking the piss, but then to pay certain parasites wages its the fans who foot the bill.
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22 July 2016 12:15 Post ID: #1504029 - in reply to #1503967
GeroniMO
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Had a scan through the thread on CL Forum about Season tickets. All doom and gloom about their future and not being able to call us 'smallwall' if their crowds are smaller than ours.

I know they are in revolt against their owner, but are cutting their nose to spite their face as they have more chance of getting them out if successful, but the petulance of them is so OTT, anyone would think they are the only club to have a bunch of cunts running them.
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22 July 2016 12:26 Post ID: #1504031 - in reply to #1503986
Supreme MO
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we are all aware they are just spunk droplets, but in fairness to the maggots, at least they are standing up to their board, unlike us we bow and scrape to the board
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22 July 2016 12:30 Post ID: #1504032 - in reply to #1503967
Legend MO
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I have a colleague who is a trainspotter and a ST holder for years along with his son. He has not renewed his ST and plans to only go to the odd game. I am sure there are thousands like him. He thinks they are being taken for a ride with the Belgian owner and the female chief executive and he got thoroughly disillusioned with them last season.
So, I agree with you Moody, they could be in terminal decline. Add to that that they sold the Icelandic bloke and the keeper Pope to Burnley and got £1.2m for Cousins from QP ha ha. It could be another tough season for them and I am seriously not bothered.
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22 July 2016 12:50 Post ID: #1504034 - in reply to #1503967
Legend MO
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I had this very argument with some young trainspotters on twitter Gazza.

That is to say, they argued that they’ve still sold more season tickets than if Millwall were in the same boat.

I asked what ‘boat’ this was – was it the suffering relegation to the third tier, selling off their best players on the cheap, having shit managers and little investment boat? Because we have always been in that boat.

I pointed out to them that this is quite an abandonment of their club really, as they have simply landed in the same boat that we have been in for most of our history. Talk about rats leaving a sinking ship.

It puts it into perspective that they have still equaled our highest EVER transfer fee by buying Ajose from Swindon this pre-season. Yet, the way they go on is as if they are the most put upon set of supporters in the country & deserve a medal for even showing up.

The title I gave this thread refers to their decline ‘back’ to something they clearly thought they had left behind. In fact it reminds me a bit of the shock we felt when we were relegated on the last day of the season in 1996. We felt the days of third tier football were behind us – we had played in the top flight, crikey, we had even been in a title race with Arsenal & Liverpool until the April just 7 years before, and now had a swanky all-seater stadium.

They aren’t ‘boycotting’ anything. What has happened is that the fans they picked up through cheap Premier League football are abandoning them – in droves. This is because the reality has finally hit home – which is that under their current chairman they have zero chance of returning to the top flight & only as good, if not a bit less, chance of little old us of getting out of the third tier.

I would imagine that the majority of their crowds next season will be made up of hardened Charlton fans from the 60s, 70s & early 80s. To which playing in the third tier is no big jolt to the system. I think it is the fans they picked up between 1996 and 2006 that aren’t taking this very well at all. They must feel like they’ve been sold false promises – when they signed up Charlton Athletic hosted the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United & Liverpool, not Gillingham, Oldham Athletic & Fleetwood Town. Perhaps they feel they are boycotting some betrayal of the club they were enticed to support with cheap tickets & promises of glimpse of Thierry Henry?

These types of floating football fans will find a nice home at the Olympic Stadium I am sure. It is time the remaining Charlton fans accepted that 1996 to 2006 was a golden modern age for the club. That the treading water in the second tier (& sometimes relegation to the third) of the 60s, 70s, early 80s & 90s and is the now the norm once again.

I think the opportunity of becoming something more has been lost for Charlton now. Crystal Palace will hoover up the pool of floating football fans of Bromley, Lewisham, Bexleyheath etc that Charlton have always relied upon; while West Ham will do the same in Kent.

It could have been all different if they had just rode out that one poor season – they could be one of the richest football clubs in the world (thanks to Sky) right now, playing in an expanded Valley holding 40,000. Instead, it will be fielding network players in front of 7,000 bored pensioners v Fleetwood Town in a League One fixture.


Edited by Moody 22/7/2016 12:51
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22 July 2016 13:38 Post ID: #1504040 - in reply to #1504034
GeroniMO
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Moody - 22/7/2016 12:50

I had this very argument with some young trainspotters on twitter Gazza.

It could have been all different if they had just rode out that one poor season – they could be one of the richest football clubs in the world (thanks to Sky) right now, playing in an expanded Valley holding 40,000. Instead, it will be fielding network players in front of 7,000 bored pensioners v Fleetwood Town in a League One fixture.


Was always a castle built on weak foundations and once the subsidence began, it would all come crashing down.

Edited by TheOneAndOnlyGazza 22/7/2016 13:39
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22 July 2016 13:56 Post ID: #1504042 - in reply to #1503967
Legend MO
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But they are a HUGE club Gazza!

You mean it was always inevitable that bribing kids to come watch Thierry Henry was never a sustainable business model?

I wonder how long they can carry on charging 175 quid for season tickets too - if no one is even buying those!!

When the curtain goes back in the Wizard of Oz, Oz is wearing a Charlton top!
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