Monday, 18 March 2013

The R Word

No, I don't mean relegation. I mean renewal of season tickets. I haven't got round to doing mine yet, although I will before the discount period expires. But two other blogs - From Hill to the Valley and Drinking During The Game have expressed well-founded concerns about the renewal rate.

There are two big factors at work. One is that incomes continue to be squeezed while inflation carries on, especially for energy bills. If anything, inflation is likely to increase as the pound weakens and inflation targets are relaxed (it's one way of reducing the debt burden in real terms). So people will have less discretionary disposable income.

The second factor is dismal home form. To see the Addicks at their best you really need an away season ticket. I suspect that this trend is becoming self-reinforcing: the players feel more confident away than they do at The Valley.

It also doesn't help when the club seems more remote from the fans than in the past. At one time there was a feeling of 'we're all in this together', now we don't know who the ultimate funders are. Some of that was a hangover from the Back to The Valley days, reinforced by an earlier than expected ascent to the Premiership.

The worry is that once someone drops their season ticket, they don't come back very much on a casual basis. In a sense, coming to the game is all about habit. For example, I get the same train from Coventry for each home game, read that morning's FT between there and Euston, follow the same route to The Valley and get my programme from the same seller. I am almost on automatic pilot.

I know someone (we still exchange Christmas cards) who was a keen supporter. He and his wife had season tickets. He lived near Sparrows Lane, so didn't have far to come. He even sponsored players and bought the occasional table in the lounges. Then he dropped his season ticket and the last time I saw him at The Valley was at the play off against Swindon.

When you are in a league where a lot of teams have generous parachute payments or wealthy foreign owners, you need all the gate money you can get. The worry is about a vicious downard spiral in which there is not enough money to acquire players who are competitive at this level (in fact we don't have many as it is).

I once gave a talk about football when a well-known sports historian was in the audience. He said that I hadn't emphasised suffering for one's team enough. Well, I have certainly experienced it over the last sixty years.


Jack said...

However depressing Saturday was, we've had depressing and poor performances before. I've already renewed my season ticket and will continue to cheer the addicks on this season. Its certainly a roller coaster ride, but no more so for than other clubs, looking at the likes of Coventry (and now Wolves) and look at Plymouth,Bristol Rovers etc. We stuck with them on that dire season coming 13th in League one and had a great season last year.

We haven't been totally outplayed this season, except when down to 10 men against Forest, but seem to lack concentration at times at home, it's still that any team in this division can beat any other, but consistency has been our downfall and constant changes in the line up as SCP searches for a sound formation.
I don't think at the moment we have a four man midfield, Pritchard plays his best when one of 5, not sure why Green isn't given a run out at home, he is creative and can put a decent cross in, Wilson seems to be struggling but still gets to play. Dale Stephens had a few nightmarish games but is still one of the few who can make things happen. Hopefully Gower might change things for us.

Wyn Grant said...

I didn't expect us to be any higher up the league, I think my season forecast was 57 points. As for Green, I just think that he is another inconsistent player, a good cross is followed by a poor one, he has pace, but does the skill level match? I agree that Pritchard plays best as one of 5 and that Stephens can sometimes make things happen, but often enough?

Jack said...

Wyn, That looks like a spot on prediction,the euphoria of last season went rapidly.

The lack of a central play-maker has been key in our lack of consistency, Jackson works hard and finishes well when opportunities arise and on the left I'm not sure Harriott offered anymore than Wagstaff. Will we get a revelation in Gower?

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