Well, it's a lot more than I was expecting and for that I am genuinely happy.
I have already expressed my disappointment with the ticket prices for next season, and I have no interest in covering the subject again, but I am more than willing to hold my hands up and say that with numbers like that (with no doubt more to follow) we are close to maximising revenue while keeping as many season ticket holders as possible. This was, after all, the publicly expressed aim.
Quite what the long term affect of those that have not renewed is, cannot be quantified, and even if it is at some point in the future there is no way to accurately predict today how many of those will come back if/when the club move up the league structure.
I was wrong with my estimates, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise, but I had not counted on the favourable conditions that a take over with a consortium that have deep pockets and a willingness to spend would have. I still believe that in the end there will be no takeover, no money and player sales, but if the PR (or refusal to give any) has boosted season ticket sales then I am, on the whole, happy.
I have always been aware of the potential for misinformation being used to help an outcome. The same happens with the football itself, with managers refusing to confirm if certain players are going to be available for specific matches. Some even deliberately lie to hope to gain an advantage with team selection.
The website explains in great detail how much has changed with the club structure and the budgeting. This was probably needed last season when we failed to win promotion at the first attempt, but is no doubt the correct strategic strategy. What I still keep coming back to is that some, and maybe even all, of these decisions will need to be revisited if a takeover happens. This is one of the reasons I doubt that we are close to any significant change at board level.
The other thing that I would pass comment on is the decisions re the players out of contract, and the plans for the new recruits. The fact that the club is making decisions and talking to clubs, agents and players suggest that the squad for next season is being built by Phil Parkinson. This is another indication that there will be no change in the manager. Irrespective as to the intentions, we have now, I believe, passed the point of no return with Phil Parkinson. Any change in manager now would leave us building a squad after the major players (not players literally) have already made their decisions. It would also leave the new manager with players that he may well not rate.
So it looks like it will be Phil Parkinson, and despite the fact that I don't rate him, and would rather have Gordon Brown managing our team for next season, I accept it as there is nothing I can do about it. The only consolation, if you can call it that, is that should we fail both the club's and Parkinson's futures will be very, very bleak. Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on negatives.
The recent announcement. about ZZ and Holland being offered new contracts suggest that we could be making the offers to appease fans and to help sales. I doubt this as if it were true we would have made the announcements earlier. It could mean that we don't expect them to stay, but are making the offers out of desperation and/or speculation. There must be a real chance that ZZ will move on, and Holland may also think it time for a change. The other two scenarios are that we intend to have six central midfielders next season (unlikely) or that one, two or all three of Bailey, Shelvey and Racon will be moving on.
It is my belief that these three players are the most saleable, and as such could be being bounded about with agents already. Needless to say none of them would have been allowed to say anything in public until 1st June, and probably we would want to see if we have any movement on ZZ and Holland before we make any decisions.
It would seem that the club agree with me with respect to Josh Wright's wages. I do hope that the door has been left open for him to come back to us if he doesn't get offered Premier League money elsewhere, but the combined press I've heard suggests to me that this is unlikely. Oh well, Good Luck Josh.
Something tells me that we will start to see more regular press statements from the club now. As expected, most of these are likely to be players leaving, but I still think that we are a big enough draw for any players that can do a real job in this division. As long as expectations are in line with our current position we should be welcoming the players that we are going to sign in the coming weeks. Any player that is out of contract that has played for a team that finished in the top six of the third division should be considered a good signing.
On the basis that even if we win promotion this season we are likely to struggle in the Championship the season after we can easily justify signing good third division players. Using the same logic we can hardly justify keeping players that are good enough for the Premier League or the top of the Championship - especially if the players in question want to leave.
This is the third division. This is where we are. The Premier League days are behind us, and may well not come back for many years. Hopefully the football will be exciting and we will win a few more games. At the very least our average attendance for next season will be above 7,624. That's a decent starting point, something to build upon.
Up the Addicks!