For the last couple of years I've been a little underwhelmed about the season ticket offering. There have been a number of reasons as to why I've not felt truly satisfied in recent seasons but I have discussed those in detail already, and it never does any good to repeat yourself, especially in writing.
Anyway today we were advised of the deal to renew before 5th April (or maybe a day or two later to account for the post) and I'm impressed and more than satisfied.
Interestingly the main reason I'm so happy is that the current board have already shown that their genuine ambition is every bit as much as the talk that they have given.
One can understand why a football club (or any business) would set out to use their PR machine to maximise revenues, and when you are selling a annual subscription to anything you only need to 'sell' it once a year, so you can make statements that fail to come true and you have a whole year to 'fool' your customers before asking for their money again.
I'm not saying that the club has done this intentionally in the past, nor am I saying that they've done it by accident, but the truth is that the ambition (or rather the success achieved) has fallen very short of the published aspirations at the time of asking for fans to commit to season tickets.
So, taking nothing away from the previous board members and Richard Murray, this new regime has delivered both in terms of providing support and resources to the manager, but also with success on the field. I mention the previous board (and, of course, Richard was involved previously and still is) because it now appears that they were doing everything they could for the club, but just ran out of money or didn't get the breaks or made a few misjudgements.
Anyway, all is very rosy in the Charlton garden right now so it is a very good time to be asking the fans to commit to another season. Clearly we are not likely to have as much success on the field next season in a higher division, and if we fail to go up now it will be because the wheels have come off and most fans will be disappointed.
Weirdly the relative comparison between this season and next and last season and this makes for a interesting debate. Based on how terrible last season was, particularly the recent form when the club invited sales of season tickets, you could argue that the improvement constituted a better deal. Of course, very few of us realised how much better this season was going to be over last season. I mean we finished on 59 points last season - one less than we have now with 20 games to go.
On the assumption that we will be in a higher division next season we are likely (and I'm not being negative here, just realistic) to win many fewer points and we might even be in a relegation struggle, yet we are all probably more keen to commit now that we were twelve months ago. I waited until June last season as I thought I wanted convincing by the board that they were going to do more than bring in a handful of free transfers during the week before the season started, which is what we've seen in recent seasons.
I would go as far as to say that the transfer activity this (2011) summer was as significant as I can ever remember. Sure we didn't break the transfer record like we did in the Premier League a few seasons running, but the squad rebuilding was much more more comprehensive. The fact that the squad gelled in time for the season is a magnificent achievement. Clearly it was helped by making early signings. This is, however, not a new revelation, but it is something that we (and many other clubs) have failed to do in the past.
So what I'm trying to say is that the board, and Chris Powell, have gone about their business in the way that we wanted them to, and they have made good judgements where they suggested they would. There is absolutely no reason to question their motives or judgement, even if the undisclosed nature of the transfer activity means that we don't know how much money they have invested. Having said that even if they've put little money in (after the sale of Jenkinson) they can't be knocked as they have managed to put together a squad that is clearly good enough to hold it's own in this division - and this is the only division that we could compete in this season.
I never intended for this to be a review of the season, and it's not, but it helps to give the background for me to make the bold statement that I think the club has delivered this season and, despite the nice comments about how our support has helped and is appreciated, I believe that this season the balance is in the club's favour. I believe that the price we paid for our season tickets was not only better value than recent years, but under price for what we have seen.
There I've said it. I think that I should be grateful for what has been provided for the £400 I paid for my ticket last June, and with a price of £375 for next season (I didn't buy early enough for that price last year) I can't believe my luck.
Needless to say I will be renewing by the 5th April deadline.
Up the Addicks!