Thursday, 12 March 2009

League One Manifesto

How should we prepare for life next season in League One? In between getting on with the rest of my life, I find myself preoccupied with this and here's the Ten Point Plan I'd be advocating with the Board...

1) Remove the seating on the Lower North. Proper standing on the Covered End. We could still sell tickets in advance to prevent any segregation issues, but it would allow a return to the good old days when we could associate freely. It would encourage more singing, more noise and boost support at away games. It would enable the club to offer a credit crunch cheap season ticket whilst not having to discount seating too much. It would cause massive interest throughout the game.

2) Close the Upper tiers in the West and the North for the season to focus support closer to the pitch.

3) Revert to a modern version of the 1980-81 strip that saw us storm out of Division Three. We need to get rid of the associations with this disastrous campaign. Fans will moan about another new strip but buy one all the same.

4) Offer a three year season ticket for the price of two years. This would go some way to satisfying the disappointments and hopes surrounding the freebie deal whilst incentivising sales this Summer.

5) Announce an Open Day at Sparrows Lane in the Summer with a cricket match, beer tent etc. The training ground could cope with the reduced numbers now and it would help bridge the current gap between club and fans.

6) Set-up a pre-season schedule of "proper" friendlies. A mini-tour against seaside clubs including successive Saturday fixtures would encourage fans along and to get into the spirit of the new season before it's upon us.

7) Investigate a one-off return of the Kent Cup. It would be good for community football and we might see some silverware!

8) Re-energise the social side of supporting the club. This isn't a lucrative business but it builds a togetherness amongst the supporters. We have the facilities for this after all. We are just lacking the imagination and determination to make it successful.

9) With number 8 in mind, get the lease on the Royal Oak! It's up for auction on 8th April with a guide price of £85,000 but it should go for well south of that. It would be a no-brainer if the club owned and managed it. A proper club-pub that would provide a seven-day-a-week focal point for fans in a way that Bartrams never can. Low risk too - it's cheap and the lease could be sold on if it doesn't work out. I'll run it for nothing.

10) Clear things with the fans on the last day. The Norwich game gives the club the perfect opportunity to address the supporters in a candid and honest way about the massive  disappointments of the season. It might enable a drawing of a line across what's happened and send people home with some optimism and renewed enthusiasm about next season. Richard Murray is a good speaker and he'll never get a better opportunity to talk to all of our fans than at a game. Derek Chapple and Steve Waggott could also do with standing up and telling the fans how they feel and what they are doing to get the club back on track. If it was publicised in advance, I am sure they'd get 20 minutes attention of the vast majority, especially as it's an early kick-off.

There, that's off my chest.


18 comments:

Chicago Addick said...

Dave, I love it. Excellent. You should be on the Fans Forum, by the way what happened to their meeting. You know?

Anonymous said...

All of these ideas are fantastic, I really think you should send them to the club, or perhaps we all should? We want our Charlton back.

Suze said...

Feeling better after that?

Well, I can see where you're at, and agree with most, but I do, and always have had issues with changes to the North Stand. I sit in the Lower North, and enjoy being there. I don't want to sit in either the East or West stands, but I'm not very tall and always had issues with people standing in front of me...Oh I know I can try to get forward, but that doesn't always work, especially if you bring the Upper Stand people down, and would you close the quadrants too? Family sections? I'd make the away support sit elsewhere, give both ends to the home fans, and give the worst view to the away support, it's done elsewhere, why not Charlton? Maybe a corner of an upper stand. Make it so their voices aren't echoing through the stadium...

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, and yes... I agree with all of that. Can you send these to the club for some serious consideration?

Anonymous said...

Excellent ideas Dave - particularly standing in the Covered End.

This season's kit is my all time favourite, but they'll change it anyway.

More inportantly your ideas for rebuilding bonds with fans is so crucial before the summer starts. Your other ideas help cement that link. Reckon Hastings and Margate for those pre season games?

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

CA - They put the notes up via Forever Charlton but I can't find them. It sounded like it went better than I had feared; the FF were impressed with the sincerity of the Board (isn't everyone) and the answers were all diplomatic and to the point, even if the Board may have felt aggrieved at one or two of the questions!

Dave said...

Suze - I know standing on the Covered End wouldn't please everyone and I am sure there are those who wouldn't want their view from the upper tiers denied either. I hadn't given any thought to the quadrants or the Family Stand - I guess they should stay as they are? I think the away fans are already in the poorest end although I agree the acoustics are better. It wouldn't matter if we had 5,000 fans singing together from the Covered End terrace because we'd drown them out! I can dream - Dave.

Dave said...

PA - Personally I agree re this season's kit but it was far from universally popular. I rarely wear one although I always buy it! Hastings and Margate would be great venues even if their grounds might not be up to it and the quality of the opposition might not test us (maybe it would now?) - Dave.

Pat said...

Excellent - someone being constructive at last. Instead of calling for protests and getting at the Board and criticising each other, this is just what we need. And sorry Suze - but we really do need the lower north to be standing. I used to love standing there and hated it when they put the seats in - so you are never going to please everyone. I hope someone is going to take this list to the Supporters Club forum tonight.

Chicago Addick said...

Dave - the minutes were posted on CL but were taken down soon after and have yet re-appeared. Strange.

This post has been linked on CL btw.

Dave said...

Thanks Pat. I think you'll find I can be just as cynical as everyone else when the mood descends!

Daggs said...

1) If legal, i like it.
2)Not too sure how existing S.T. holders would feel about this.
3) There's two new kits coming whether we like it or not.
4)Good
5,6,7,8) No comment
9)Brilliant idea.
10)I would not be happy with the Chairman making an apologetic speech on the pitch just before a game. If he has anything to say he should use the Fans Forum and club website.

Raoul Duke said...

Excellent suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post 10/10. Agree with all your points. Standing in the lower north would be an ideal way of keeping the noise levels up as upstairs it just gets lost. Close the upper west and both quads and put families into blocks G and H in the east. Might work! Love the idea for the Oak, a proper home pub.

SE7oaks

Dave said...

Daggs - I'm pretty sure there's nothing illegal about terracing once you're outside the PL. Tend to agree that the address to the fans shouldn't be too apologetic, more forward looking and definately after the match, not before (I won't leave the pub early for anything) - Dave.

Suze said...

lol...Oh, I know you can't please all the people, never will...I'll just have to put shorts on and pretend I'm a child or something!

And...the hangover about the sides...when young and I used to go with my Dad, he never ever let me in the north stand, we always had to stand at the side...so I used to shout at Keith Peacock running up and down!

But I think you're definitely right about the rest...a very good piece put together.

Dave said...

Suze - If we could go back to standing, I'd make you a box to stand on down at the front like so many people (mostly kids!) had when I were a lad. I remember them particularly at Millwall and West Ham behind the Cold Blow Lane and Northbank goals respectively - Dave.

Suze said...

Thank you, Dave...if we do, you have an order!