Monday, 19 January 2009

Sheffield Wednesday 4 - 1 Charlton

I was a little quiet before the Wednesday game. I was not convinced that beating Norwich (one of the weakest teams in our division) was going to make much difference to our ability to beat a mid table side away. Wednesday have been transformed from the relegation threatened side of last season and currently sit just 7 points behind Cardiff who are 6th. It's no coincidence that they have off loaded one of their misfiring strikers at the end of that transformation. The fact that we have signed him and are bottom of the league hasn't been lost on me.

I have been criticised recently for a less than supportive approach to my posts. I fear that there are some major flaws with our current set up, and until they are changed the future looks bleak. Sadly, for the club (fans, staff, directors), the continued decline in our fortunes has now taken me through the anger and into a state of indifference. That's right, I'm getting to the point where I just don't care any more. This must be the worst thing that can happen to a football club.

Football clubs have the unique ability to treat customers badly while ensuring a loyalty that other businesses in other industries can only dream of. If I shop at Tesco and the prices go up and the quality of their produce falls I will just go and shop at Sainsbury's. I have no real loyalty to either of them. If I want to buy , say, a new TV I look at several websites before making a purchase, then I normally choose the cheapest. When it comes to football, it doesn't matter how high the price is, it doesn't matter how good the product is, I will always be a Charlton fan.

However, I can, if pushed enough, choose to stop being a fully committed supporter and become a Charlton fan that attends occasionally and watches on the tv. I am not about to become a fan of any other team. In that respect Charlton have me for life. I am, however, losing interest in attending live football matches. If I become a 'distance fan' that always looks out for the results, reads the blogs and watches the highlights program on a Sunday morning, I am of no financial value to the club. I'm assuming that I don't bother to buy the home and away shirts that I've done for the last 20 years or so - why would I if I'm not going to the games.

This would mean a reduction in income of say £650. I'm including team shirts, programs, burgers and chips, the odd pint and a couple of cup games. Not a lot bearing in mind we have players who will cost us £1.5m and never make a first team appearance. However, If I'm one of five thousand that make that choice (a real possibility) we are talking about £3.25m a year. If none of us come back for, on average, five seasons we are talking about £16.25m. This is more than the directors are currently owed buy the club.

There are a number of people on the email discussion list that feel the same way that I do. I should point out that there are more that intend to renew, but you have to consider what type of fan they are. We are trying, as a club, to attract many different types of fan to The Valley. Those that spend their weekends emailing on a discussion list are probably more committed, so when they are getting fed up we probably have thousands less committed that have done so already. The statistic that we have had crowds as low as 13,000 in an 'attendance' above 20,000 says it all I believe.

There is little point in me discussing the game as I'm sure I will receive more suggestions that I don't know what I'm talking about. However, having played all the dross that this division has to offer and drawn three out of nine, there is no reason to expect that we will start winning at Wednesday, Burnley or Bristol City. However, before we travel to the last two of those hotbeds of English Football we have the small matter of Palace at home.

At this point I fear for the directors if we lose that one - especially if they give us a good hiding, which we cannot dismiss. I will be attending the AGM the following day. Something tells me that could be a heated meeting.

In the meantime the pressure is off as all my friends are even more embarrassed to talk about our form than I am.

I'm not going to call for Parkinson's head today. Something tells me that there will be more than enough other fans doing so soon enough. A defeat at Sheffield United and a goal or two down at half time against Palace, and there will be no doubt how the fans feel about Phil Parkinson. Sadly the anger will probably also turn on the directors who, having given Parkinson the platform to destroy all the hard work of the last decade, will have no one else to blame.

Up the Addicks!

9 comments:

Braeg Heneffe said...

I feel for you and the other fans, I am a wednesday fan and was there on saturday. You were poor, but it was obviously a confidence thing. I am sure your players are better than that, but they reminded me of our players when we went to league one - there heads are gone and it's hard to get them back. I would suggest another manager again, just do anything to spark a change.

Kings Hill Addick said...

Braeg,

I agree with you about the manager. It is something I've been saying for weeks, but it has been seen by some as not supporting the team.

Also, the time to make the change was in November or December when we looked like we might slip into trouble. Now that we have done so, I am not sure we could attract the calibre of manager that would make enough difference.

I felt for Wednesday when you fell into the 'third division', as I did Forest, but thankfully you have both come back stronger, and we have to hope that at some point in the future we will do the same.

Anonymous said...

KH
I think if I was one of the Directors who had shovelled cash into the club for the last 10 years, I would be a bit annoyed with your post . Basically , the way to look at it is that somebody else has been subsidising your fun for a decade , a bit like a bloke at the bar who buys you 4 of your 6pints every Saturday night until he runs out of money. Theyve made a few mistakes in selecting managers for sure , but look at how many managers Wst Ham, Tottenham, etc , etc have had over the same period . The only difference is that their owners are richer and they got away with it (mostly). The current directors have tried really hard to find someone richer than them to take it on , but are stuck with it.
We will just have to grin and bear it ( and you & I don't have all the stress of that money worry) , carry on supporting the team and in 2/3 years , we will have a decent Championship side again, but until then stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with it.

New York Addick said...

KHA, please continue to write your honest thoughts without fear of negative comments.

I used to consider Charlton a 'special' club in the way that its fans, Board and players had a unique bond, and everyone was moving in the same direction.

This helped to explain our incredible growth in attendances (perhaps 5-600% in a decade or so).

Much of that is clearly being lost, and not merely because we are bottom of the Championship. If we become 'just another' football club, our attendances will fall sharply for the reasons you refer to.

The Board had a chance to repair some of this broken bond after it sacked Pardew.

Even if they honestly believed Parkinson was the best man for the job, they appointed him in such a ludicrous fashion that it made all of the ongoing problems of low confidence, lack of motivation etc.. even worse!

This season is now a foregone conclusion, but it didn't have to be like this. Just as the club wasted precious time in 2006/7 by giving Les Reed the job, they are repeating the mistake this time around. However it's not too late for some contrition and to begin building a promotion campaign back to the Championship now.

Kings Hill Addick said...

Anon,

I am not feeling sorry for myself. I never have, and even if I had I would be well past it by now.

I probably have more sympathy for the directors than most do, but I don't believe that the majority of the fans have much left.

I'm sure that with the right direction the club will come back, and be stronger than they currently are, but in the meantime the nucleus of the supporters are becoming very restless, and the less committed fans are losing interest.

I accepted the logic in appointing Parkinson, I just believed that on balance it was a bigger risk to appoint him than to replace him, not to mention the farce that was played out insisting that it was results based, not performance based.

If the directors are unhappy with my thoughts then so be it. Under the circumstances I think their sensibilities are the least of our problems. I will not take part in any demonstration neither verbal nor physical against the board, but I would be lying if I said I thought we won’t see one if things don’t improve soon.

As for the pints analogy? I am grateful for what their money provided, but maybe on reflection they should have only bought me 2 pints and I’d have gone away happy after drinking four. It does, with hindsight, look like we spent our dinner money on beer and now we have no food.

P.S. Why is it that all the comments that are critical fail to come with a signature? Not that I mind, but I would have thought that you would want everyone to know who you are.

Anonymous said...

I agree with KHA and NYA, they both talk a lot of sense. The Club WILL be relegated and are 1/4 on to fall into League One. At the start of the season we were 18/1 against!! We need to start rebuilding confidence sooner rather than later, let's try and establish that confindence so that when we start the 2009/10 campaign we are in the upward move not downward. I wish I knew the answer, but a change of management DOES appear to be the best start. It's a shame that "Parky" is tarred with the same brush as Pards and nothing seems to be able to change that. The Board need to look at the likes of Sheff Weds and Nottingham Forest and even Leicester for inspiration as to the way forward, there must be something "common" in their approaches to rescue their Clubs.

Anonymous said...

I have to chuckle , apparently its not very PC in blogging terms to comment as anonymous , but its OK to be King's Hill Addick or New York Addick .
You can call me Mr Fed up like all the rest , but since I can't help the club financially resigned to it Addick or FUA for short

Daggs said...

I said, before he got the job permanently, Pardkinson was the wrong man. But he got it. I then decided to show my support and attend the Home game V Forest. It seems nothing changed.
Sadly we are now stuck with Pardky.
I just hope the Board have written in to his managers contract 'if we are relegated (when)you will lose the job and no compensation will be paid'
Somehow i doubt it though!

Anonymous said...

I made the comment on your last blog which seems to have caused concern. I regret having done so if it has offended you and would suggest you just ignore it. I was simply expressing my frustration in a different way to you and perhaps shouldn't have done so. I don't think Parkinson should have got the job either, but did feel that Charlton were the better side against Forest and that the criticism of him was unfair given that he is a decent man trying his best. I also have some sympathy with him in trying to show/say that he cares and I thought you were a little harsh. Just my opinion that's all. Don't worry about it. Your blog is a good read.