"Worried" "Fearful" "Embarrassed" "Precarious" "Nervous" "Uncertain".
These were the predominant terms chosen by Charlton fans when asked to describe in one word their feelings about the future of Charlton Athletic over the next twelve months. A small number opted for "hopeful".
Just 7% of 1369 respondents to the CAST annual season ticket intentions and attitudes survey expressed themselves to be positive about the club's future prospects under East Street Investments. 68% said they were negative (42% very negative) and a further 25% didn't know what to think.
The percentage (25%) of respondents who had already bought or would definitely buy a season ticket for next season was the lowest in the five years that CAST has run the survey. 25% compares with 40% last year, 31% in 2018 and 29% in 2017 and 2016.
31% said they were unlikely to or would definitely not buy a season ticket but the largest group (44%) were undecided.
Covid-19 restrictions were cited by 20% of those not yet committed to buying. 10% were waiting to see what division the team would be playing in and 2.5% cited price as a deterrent. But the main reason (68%) given for holding back was uncertainty about the club's ownership. Typical comments were:
"Why would I buy a season ticket? The club is in turmoil. There is no leadership. Roland still owns The Valley and the training ground. Matches will be played behind closed doors. I don't trust the new owners"
"I don't want to pay good money when the club could feasibly fold in the near future"
"I want to be sure the club isn't owned by criminals before I give them my money"
When asked to define from a list what the three priorities for East Street Investments should be Charlton fans voted as follows:
- Open and honest dialogue between club owners and fans: 81%
- Transparency re source and sufficiency of financial backing: 61%
- Shared and sensible ambition for the club: 56%
- Football club and assets under common ownership: 54%
- Feeling proud to say supporting Charlton: 18%
- Achieving Category 1 Academy status: 10%
- Family friendly match day experience: 8%
- Including all parts of the community: 8%
- Making marquee signings: 4%
Perhaps the comment which best encapsulated the current mood among supporters was:
I won't buy a season ticket "until the ownership of The Valley and Sparrows Lane are held within a competent, trustworthy, supportive and transparent business organisation".
The survey was completed by 1369 respondents between July 2nd and July 11th.
- 65% of respondents were CAST members, 35% were not.
- 29% were under forty five; 44% between 45-64; 26% over 65.
- 87% of respondents were male.