The CAS Trust Autumn survey 2017 has now closed and we would like to thank those who took the time to provide feedback.
We had a great response, with almost 800 fans completing the survey - slightly up on this time last year. Of the responses received, 50% were Trust members. We had a good spread of age ranges, with 17% under 34; 30% 35-54; 29% aged 55-64; and 24% over 65. Just over 10% of the respondents were female.
The most significant change compared to last year’s survey is much more positivity on the playing front. This time:
50% of respondents think we will finish in a play-off position, with an additional 5% confident of automatic promotion. Last year, just 5% thought we would make the play-offs and 1% the top two. This year, only 5% think Charlton will end up in the bottom half of the table – compared with 69% last season - a sixth of whom expected relegation. This year not one person is expecting relegation.
While much-improved performance on the pitch so far this season has resulted in greater optimism, the majority of supporters overall maintain a negative view towards Roland Duchâtelet.
Our first question asked about the future of the club. Overall, 79% of respondents report feeling negative about the future prospects of Charlton under the Duchatelet ownership. The sentiment was even stronger among Trust members (86% negative) compared with non-members (72%).
However, a year ago 95% of respondents felt negative about the future prospects of the club so there has been some movement. 44% of respondents agree that they feel more positive about the owner and management since the end of last season, of which 9% are a lot more positive. Meanwhile, 8% feel more negative and another 48% stated there has been no change in their feelings.
A slight majority of fans recognise that improvements have been made:
9% strongly agree and 46% slightly agree that, “the club's senior management has learnt from its past mistakes.”
70% of all respondents (80% of Trust members) agree that: “fan protests must continue” while over 80% (90% of Trust members) "support the approach and actions of CARD”. Last year 88% of respondents agreed with these statements.
Worryingly, three quarters of respondents agree (47% strongly and 28% slightly) that: “I don’t feel as enthusiastic about all things Charlton as I used to.” This alienation of core support is one of the most damaging aspects of the Duchâtelet era, also evident in attendance figures at The Valley.
Last year’s autumn survey results clearly highlighted that a proportion of fans had actively chosen not to renew their season tickets in personal protest and this was reflected in the overall decline in season tickets sold by the club. This time around, we see this behaviour becoming entrenched. Overall, 90% of respondents reported no change in their season ticket purchasing behaviour year-on-year, in-line with the club reporting a more or less static number of tickets sold. Last year’s volatility means we now have a majority of respondents to the survey who are not season ticket holders.
53% (up from 33% in last year’s survey) did not have a season ticket last season and did not buy one for this season. 58% stated this was in active protest about the club ownership with the remainder citing costs or other/personal reasons. Among the other comments, several mentioned that they had lost motivation/ enthusiasm for attending matches.
37% of respondents who had a season ticket last season also renewed for this season (up from 32% last year). 18% of these did so because it is a habit they're not going to break and 59% because they will support the team regardless of the club situation. An additional 10% renewed because of friends and family, while just 2% (seven people) stated they renewed because they wanted to give the owner a chance to show the progress made. 6% of fans (compared with 34% last year) stated they had a season ticket last time but did not renew for the current season. Half of them stated that this was in protest about the club ownership with the remaining respondents stating other/personal reasons as to why they didn't renew. Finally, 4% of respondents (29 people) had taken a season ticket this year, having not had one last season, with seven of these saying this was because they wanted to give the owner a chance to show progress was being made.
We are very pleased that there was overwhelming support for our policy of continuing to engage with the club management by attending and contributing to the Fans Forum. 94% of members and 86% of non-members supported this position. In addition, 85% of Trust members gave us a mark of 7-10 on a satisfaction scale of 1-10 while only 2% gave us 1-3.
We are grateful for the suggestions made for future CAS Trust initiatives, all of which will be taken on board.
Thanks again to all those who responded to the survey.