There were 1302 respondents to the CAST annual autumn/winter survey held between December 2nd and December 16th. Here are the headline outcomes:
70.5% (918) of respondents felt very positive about the future prospects of the club under Thomas Sandgaard. A further 28.5% (372) felt quite positive. Of the remainder, 9 were undecided and 3 felt very negative (*see below). This is a dramatic turnaround from our last survey of the Duchatelet era when 94% felt negative.
16% thought that we will gain automatic promotion this season with 71% thinking the play-offs are more likely. 11% thought we will miss out narrowly and 0.5% predicted a bottom half finish. 1 person thought we would be relegated.
We asked respondents to describe in one word how they felt about the club's prospects at the moment. Excited, Optimistic, Hopeful and Positive were the most commonly used words as shown in the word cloud illustration. The award for the most entertaining description goes to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, not least for getting the spelling correct.
Given the pandemic, let alone the rollercoaster ride of Charlton's ownership, we wished to understand the impact on fan engagement with the football club. 44% said they felt keener than ever. 42% said they felt the same as always. However, 10% said their engagement had dropped a little and 3% were much less engaged than they used to be and were doing other things with their time. Given that the survey in itself required a degree of engagement to participate, this indicates that some work is needed to rebuild the passion of the fanbase as a foundation for future growth.
- 99% agreed (71% strongly agreed) that Charlton have massive potential locally
- 60% agreed (9% strongly agreed) that Charlton have massive potential globally
- 76% agreed (19% strongly agreed) that it was realistic for Charlton to be an established top half Premier League club within ten years.
- 62% agreed (28% strongly agreed) that they would find it hard to support Charlton if they weren't playing at The Valley
- 99% agreed (84% strongly agreed) they were proud to support Charlton
- 98% agreed (76% strongly agreed) that Charlton is more than just a football club
We see almost unanimous agreement concerning Charlton's potential within the local community, but some degree of scepticism regarding global opportunities - with this a little more pronounced among 35-64 year olds. Three quarters share Thomas Sandgaard's belief and ambition that we can be established once again in the upper tier before too long. Perhaps the most interesting result is the strength of feeling about playing at The Valley, given Charlton's unique history in leaving then returning to the stadium. Among those under 24, three quarters (76%) agreed that they would find it hard to support Charlton if they were not playing at The Valley. Feeling was also quite strong among those aged 55+. However, among those aged 35-44, a slight majority (54%) disagreed with the statement.
Football during Covid
42% of respondents said they would definitely attend games if allowed and 20% said possibly. Positive intention is higher among current season ticket holders, with 64% saying they would definitely attend. Overall, however, 22% said that, while they were happy for others to attend, they would not do so themselves and 5% said it wasn't appropriate for anyone to attend.
233 respondents had attended the Milton Keynes game and most had been broadly satisfied with arrangements:
- 99% said they felt safe
- 93% agreed that the stewarding was satisfactory
- 96% were happy about arrangements for entering the ground (although there were a number of comments questioning the need for such early arrival times.)
- 98% agreed that club staff should be congratulated on the management of the event.
- 85% agreed that arrangements for buying tickets were satisfactory.
- 70% agreed that arrangements for exiting the stadium were satisfactory.
- 70% would have liked more catering to be available
This information and supporting comments were fed back to the club as they prepared for the Wimbledon game.
55% had watched all or most of this season's games on Valley Pass. 25% had watched a few but there were 20% who had watched none at all. Those frequently watching Valley Pass are more likely to be season ticket holders and/or Valley Gold members. Viewing is also higher among those aged under 54.
90% of responses were made before Valley Pass was upgraded for the Wimbledon and subsequent games. The improvement in the quality of the service is dramatic when comparing the responses of those who commented after the Wimbledon game. 74% of these said that the quality was good or excellent (compared with 55% of earlier respondents). 41% said they were very likely to recommend it (compared to 25% previously). And only 1% said they were very unlikely to recommend it (compared to 12% previously). Some of the post Wimbledon comments include: "miles better", "extremely professional" and "absolutely amazing and just shows the club is going in the right direction".
We asked how many people in each household would typically watch the match on Valley Pass. From the responses received we calculate that, if 4000 passes are purchased, the match is being seen by just under 6000 people.
Of the 1302 respondents:
- 32% were season ticket holders
- 24% were Valley Gold members
- 72% were CAST members
- 89% were male
- 6% were under 24
- 34% were 25-54
- 26% were 55-64
- 27% were 65-74
- 7% were over 75
- 96% defined themselves as white British
- 75% live in London or the South-East
- 20% live elsewhere in the UK
- 5% live abroad
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey. The results will be shared with the club.
*We were intrigued by the three people who said they felt very negative about the club's future prospects under Thomas Sandgaard. It would of course be very inappropriate to reveal who they are but we can confirm that there is no truth in the rumour that their names are Elliott, Farnell and Freeman.