Since Thomas Sandgaard’s takeover, CAST has entered a new phase in the relationship with Charlton Athletic under an owner who respects and listens to supporters, “gets” football and is ambitious for success.
We see the opportunity to be a genuine partner for the club while championing the cause of our members and the wider Charlton fanbase and community. This is in-line with our Purpose and Objects as a Supporters’ Trust and our stated mission to protect, preserve and promote Charlton Athletic for this and future generations.
In tandem with this new relationship, we are in the fortunate position of having just under 2,800 members, with adults paying a £5 annual fee. Those who attended the AGM will know that this means our finances and level of reserves are healthy.
In the light of these two key factors, the board held a wide-ranging discussion at its January meeting about the future approach for CAST over the medium term from both a financial and strategic perspective.
Given the trauma and uncertainty of 2020, we considered maximising reserves in order to put CAST in a stronger position to “rescue” the club if it falls into future financial distress. This would entail maximising income and minimising expenditure to build up a war chest for the next “rainy day”. After considered debate, we agreed that such an approach would in reality never be sufficient to bail-out a club in crisis without a concerted fund-raising campaign, which we would undertake should the need arise. Therefore this should not be CAST’s overall strategic approach at present.
We also considered a model of spending the accumulated reserves on initiatives in-line with our Objects and operating annually close to breakeven. We quickly concluded that such an approach was not prudent for a voluntary organisation.
Ultimately we agreed that the most suitable approach is to take the mid-path. We will maintain a healthy level of reserves to ensure future stability for CAST, while being more proactive in planning and committing to expenditure over and above current fixed costs and ongoing work. We will continue to represent our members’ views and concerns of fans in general in core areas such as ticketing, pricing and matchday experience. We will liaise with Supporter Trusts and fan organisations of other clubs and lobby via the FSA on football governance reform. And we will make sure we do all we can to make CAST visible, accessible and transparent across the Addicks’ fanbase and wider Charlton Athletic community.
In addition to this, we have a range of initiatives in various stages of development, some of which will require ongoing or one-off expenditure. These include:
- Working with the club and other key partners to restore the Pierre Bolangi memorial garden at Sparrows Lane
- Establishing an annual award in memory of Steve Clarke for achievement by an Academy player
- Hosting more online meetings and webinars such as the Q&A with Thomas Sandgaard to promote an open and accessible relationship between fans and the club
- Holding events for members and fans to build stronger links and engagement across the Charlton community – over time this may even develop into a physical fans’ hub.
- Supporting the establishment of new Charlton fan clubs, such as North American Addicks, Armed Forces Addicks, Charlton Fans in Scotland and more.
- Working with the club to codify what makes Charlton special – the club’s DNA – and ensuring this is both protected and used as the springboard for development.
- Working with the club on initiatives to grow the fan base.
- Working with the club and Charlton Athletic Community Trust on equality, diversity and inclusion.
- Exploring safe standing at The Valley
- Investigating opportunities for fans to have more of a stake in the club in order to protect the long-term future of Charlton Athletic and everything that makes it special.
If you have any comments on the above, further suggestions regarding CAST’s future strategy or would like to volunteer to be involved in making these initiatives happen, do not hesitate to email email@example.com.
The image used to illustrate this article is based on fans' one-word descriptions of how they feel about the club's future under Thomas Sandgaard's ownership, taken from CAST's recent survey.