So what is the new Youth Supporter Section?

So what is the Youth Supporter Section?

Fans will now have seen the 2024/25 season ticket prices, as well as the new initiatives at The Valley. CAST worked with the club on two ideas within the bumper package of announcements. Here we give a bit more background on one of those - the Youth Zone initiative which the club announced as a youth section for 16–20-year-olds priced at £125 per season ticket- Just £5.44 per game. 

The idea began as a proposal by CAST board member Sam White who had been in Brussels in early December last year as part of a Football Supporters Europe conference on the Future of Football.   Sam was joined by international attendees all of whom were aiming to increase youth participation in sport.  The Scandinavian delegates highlighted the use of Youth Sections and explained how popular they are - a community of like-minded and similar-aged young people who come together to be independent and create Tifos, banners and flags for their section in the stadium. They thus forge a path for their fandom within the sport and their clubs - something that has been extremely hard to do in the UK.

Sam, who has been on the CAST board since November 2022, said: “Having seen how the popular scheme works in Sweden and the buy-in from all supporters, it was something that I knew could be attractive to Addicks. It is also a great opportunity for the club to run with to really build up youth engagement.  It could work so well in collaboration with the new Fan Zone and Valley Central activity zone. There are so many opportunities and directions you can go in which hopefully will realise its potential in the years to come. It must start somewhere”

The Valley sees itself as being the first in The UK to have a dedicated section for young supporters, and likely the first outside Scandinavia too. Affectionately coined with the working title  ‘The East Street End’ it recalls the fact that the club was started by a group of mates of the very same age group the section stands to house. There is a clear nostalgia for the club’s history and the good times but also the notion that we’ve got a lot of potential on and off the pitch.

The inspiration behind the 16-20 section is also the ‘Fan Lifecycle’ of Swedish stadiums and the fans that fill them. Movement around the ground based on your character and age seems to be widespread and could fit very well at The Valley. In Sweden, the fan will start at an early age going with family and sit in the Family Stand before getting to an age of around twelve years old and wanting to be able to go to matches on their own or at least sit with people the same age. This is where the Youth Sections fit in, allowing a space for twelve- to seventeen-year-olds to sit away from parents, with the ability to take ownership of their own area and community, all within touching distance of the “noisy part” of stadia and often the Ultras sections. Fans who typically don’t want to graduate from the youth section to the ultras area will go to other sections of the stadium and find more likeminded friends and fans.

“The great opportunity at The Valley is that we already have these sections almost mapped out -  the family section is in the North East Quadrant, and then you have the Covered End” Sam added, “I feel a lot of us have been there. I certainly have, where you want to be at the back of the North Upper, next to the drums and be able to make a noise and join in without being a lone voice – it’s a big difference from sitting in the Alan Curbishley stand where I attended my first game, back in 2004. Totally different beast!”

What the club has announced this week feels like a positive first move towards something inspired by the Scandinavian model, but Charlton will make its own.  There are of course operational and safeguarding requirements to make the idea work for an extended age group and Charlton need time to do that properly. CAST will continue to engage with the club in the development of this idea. In the meantime, we welcome ideas and feedback on this and further youth engagement email


Supporters aged 16-20 can get their Youth Section Season Ticket HERE