The Club has announced season ticket prices for the 2019/20 season. It's time to renew.
Or is it?
These prices show an increase of between 3% and 4% on the current season's prices. It means that the top price (Zone One, in the middle of the East and West Stands) is in excess of £500, coming out at over £22 per game. In contrast, the Club continues to offer very affordable League One football at less than £10 per game in the Lower North Stand and the corners. And, of course, there is the possibility that it might be offering very affordable Championship football next season.
These prices are the "early bird discount" which is due expire on Monday, 6th of May - two days after the close of the regular season. The Club has not announced what the price increase will be after that but at the March Fans' Forum meeting it was suggested that the increase would be in the region of 10% on current season prices.
It is difficult to review these prices in isolation. The desperate frustration that Charlton fans feel under Roland Duchatelet's ownership and the diminishing hope that sometime soon the club will be sold cloud every decision we make when supporting the Club.
But ignoring the bigger picture for a moment, even at a normal period in the club's history it would be difficult to justify an increase that is getting on for twice the current rate of inflation. And that's the "early bird" price! It cannot help but appear fans are being played, with a disappointing lack of transparency and trust.
Of course, we cannot ignore the bigger picture for long. Asking fans to swallow significant price increases is difficult at the best of times... and let's face it, this is far from the best of times. There is no certainty about what the situation will be next August. We currently have a highly successful and popular management team, the key members of which are out of contract in the summer. Add to that, Lee Bowyer's comments that the contract he's been shown has no relation to anything he has ever seen before. No comfort there.
The situation on the field is no better. A number of key players will be out of contract and we have been heavily reliant on our excellent loanees during this campaign. As an innocent supporter, it would be difficult to begin to predict what the starting line up will be for the first game of next season ... or who will be in the dug out.
So what to do? We recognise a wide range of views amongst fans ranging from those boycotting until Duchatelet sells to those who will continue to attend games whenever possible. For the latter, buying a season ticket is the most cost effective way of doing so.
We certainly would not presume to tell fans what to do, but let's just say it becomes ever more challenging to build any sort of compelling case to buy a season ticket right now. No doubt many fans will ignore the attempts to force them to buy early and will hold on to their hard-earned cash until they have a better idea of what next season might look like.