CAS Trust member Richard Read laments the circumstances that have led to him cancelling his Charlton match day sponsorship.
I have been the Charlton match day sponsor numerous times over the last few years. It really has been an enjoyable day with my family. In recent years I have coincided it with my younger son’s birthday in April. Great memories of my son playing keepy uppy with Yann Kermorgant's son with a balloon for an hour after the game and when my older son was with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Giggs, etc. After the third goal went in at The Cottage a few weeks ago, my son said: "Dad I just don't want to come anymore. I would rather be asleep than watch any more of this!" Trust me - from him that is one big statement! On the train home he said "Dad -Is it me, am I a Jinx as I never see them win?" (he has not missed many games this season at all - three I think). The last win he witnessed was April last year - 10 months ago.
His best memory this year was ironically against Fulham at The Valley when Jacko and Cousins done the biz, when Fulham blew it frankly. His worst? - Colchester and MK Dons Away. He has had a season ticket for 5 years; he is part of 4 generations of Charlton Athletic support; he has every CAFC kit going; he plays CAFC on PS4; he has all the stuff from the Club shop; he has been a mascot on too many occasions for me to remember; he knows all the players names (which I struggle with the merry go round of it all). Oh, and his favourite player this year was Tony Watt...
He is generally a really happy upbeat kid and nothing really fazes him. He loved it in League One funnily enough - he didn't know any different. His favourite match day memories are the 6-0 Barnsley away win and the Danny Haynes wonder goal at Leicester. We were on the way to the Valley a few weeks back and he asked "Dad is Jose Riga still our Manager?" - it was his 2nd game! - Sums the last two years up really! Last night he could not name me a favourite recent Valley memory other than being a mascot until my oldest said "leaving" was his favourite matchday moment which we all had a laugh at 🙁
I know that this can all sound like - "he only wants to go when you are winning" but how much resolve have you got when you are nine? As adults we find it difficult to be enthusiastic so is it any wonder that he isn't engaged anymore? I have forgotten what it must be like for a nine year old but he must be ribbed at school every week with the Chelsea, Arsenal and Palace shirts on at school football, as he wears his Charlton shirt constantly. Ironically he has been going to The Valley early on match days recently as he has wanted to get involved with B&W campaign and CARD (he is always around the Club Shop/Ransom Walk area giving out leaflets, stickers, masks, scarfs, etc), as he looks forward to this and the protests. It certainly isn't for the excitement of the football.
I really hope this is not the beginning of the end for him but how can you keep going when your son doesn't want to? - life is too short. So this year I just cannot sponsor a game. I will not pay the regime £2000 plus for a day out and I have just cancelled this morning. I will donate another £200 to CARD today instead. I am now arranging for my son to have his party at Bromley FC and he will be the mascot. I will probably be match day sponsor there the same day. I still go every week to The Valley as we have four season tickets (myself, 2 sons and my dad) but is this the beginning of the end? Will I be going to Bromley every week next season? I can walk there and they are showing real ambition as a Club. If he gets bored (not my Dad!) he can have a kickabout on the astro pitches next to the ground. I know and have known for ages that I will not be renewing my season tickets next year. The dilemma...I cannot leave my youngest son at home on a Saturday but my oldest will still go to CAFC, I think. If I do not go then my dad will probably go to Dartford as he lives there and has supported the Darts all of his life along with CAFC.
Is this the beginning of the end of an era?????...ARRRRRGGGHHHH.
Thanks Roland and Katrien. I am sure there are thousands of stories like this, for those that have been through this - any advice welcome! Cheers.