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!