A late goal at Cambridge by a Cheltenham striker (born in Gravesend) saved us last week from equalling our worst finish since 1926. It is therefore hardly surprising that our annual survey has revealed a growing level of disenchantment among supporters. It is good news that 70% of respondents stated that they still feel positive about the future prospects of the club under Thomas Sandgaard but the survey also demonstrates that optimism is waning and disillusion is increasing.
1100 supporters responded to our season ticket and attitudes survey which was conducted between April 19th and May 5th. All but four responses were received before the news of the sacking of Johnnie Jackson. The survey asked fans about:
- their expectations for next season
- their intention with regard to buying a season ticket
- their thoughts on the current state of the club
- the women's team
- their views on the Fill The Valley and Her Game Too campaigns
- the Fan-Led Review of football governance
- what they thought of the performance of CAST.
We are reporting this week on supporter expectations for next season and intentions about season tickets. We will report next week on the other areas surveyed.
How positive do fans feel ?
70% of respondents reported that they felt positive (13% very positive) about the future prospects of the club under Thomas Sandgaard. Although this is a high percentage it compares unfavourably with this time last year when 99% felt positive (79% very positive). There are now 15% reporting feeling negative (1% very negative) and a further 15% who say they do not know.
Prospects for next season
4% of respondents think that Charlton will gain automatic promotion next season and 50% think that we will reach the play-offs. 39% envisage a 7th-12th place finish and 7% bottom half but not relegated. No one is predicting relegation. This time last year 51% thought we would gain automatic promotion and 47% predicted the play-offs.
Season ticket intentions
70% of respondents had a 21/22 season ticket and 30% did not.
Of those who had a season ticket in 21/22, 65% say they have already renewed or will definitely do so. A further 22% say they will possibly buy (14%) or are undecided (8%), with the remainder unlikely to buy (8%) or definitely not buying (5%).
Of those who did not have a season ticket, 2% have bought one already and a further 18% say they possibly will or are undecided.
On the basis of these survey results, we estimate that season ticket numbers are likely to drop by 10% to 20% on the season just finished, although a lot will depend on the reaction to whoever is appointed to take over as manager/ head coach and progress made on player signings.
The top three reasons for buying a season ticket were:
- Because it is the habit of a lifetime. It is what I do (cited by 64%)
- Getting together with family / friends (cited by 45%)
- To secure my preferred choice of seat (cited by 44%)
(Last year the most popular reason was to show support for Thomas Sandgaard - cited by 70%. This year only 30% cited this as a reason).
The top three reasons for not buying a 22/23 season ticket were:
- Not value for money with so many freebies and offers (cited by 32%)
- Live too far away (cited by 31%)
- Disillusioned with the ownership / direction of the club (cited by 29%)
Those who are still undecided about whether to buy a 22/23 season ticket said they would be more likely to buy if:
- New signings/ belief in the squad and management (cited by 84%)
- Cheaper prices / special offers for season ticket holders (cited by 52%)
- Commitment from the club to fewer match-by-match offers / freebies (cited by 29%)
The following are typical comments:
"I am fan of over 40 years, attending my first game at the age of 7. I just want to have a reasonable belief that Charlton will be able to mount a sustained challenge for promotion. I'm not normally an overly critical fan however this season has been awful. The team's perpetual inconsistency has pushed me to the point of not even attending numerous matches in the past couple of months. Overall, the team's performance this year has been as bad as I can remember."
"I will buy a season ticket when there is investment in the squad and a new manager. I won’t buy in the lower north again- It has become really unpleasant on Fill The Valley games, with a definite increase in anti social behaviour - usually from people that don’t normally attend - it’s not a pleasant atmosphere and the perpetrators are not interested in football."
"Thomas Sandgaard needs to show the fans that he has every intention in pushing us for promotion by getting the squad fit and all transfers completed before pre season kicks in. If the match day team can prove they can play football and look like we can win the league then more fans will return back."
Analysis of respondents is as follows:
- 66% were CAST members
- 27% were Valley Gold members
- 74% have supported CAFC for over 3o years
- 88% were male
- 4% were under 24
- 20% were 25-45
- 43% were 45-64
- 33% were 65+
- 95% defined themselves as white
- 85% live in London or the South-East
- 13% live elsewhere in the UK
- 2% live abroad
If you would like to join nearly 3000 Charlton supporters and become a CAST member you can do so here: