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NEW ARTICLE: Home and Away.....you still gotta pay

“Your support is f**king sh*t”, “Your ground’s too big for you” and even the introspective “Where were you when we were sh*t?” are some of the familiar songs belted out at grounds up and down the country every weekend without any sense of irony or self awareness.
There’s a lot of debate and oft derision about low crowd attendances home and away amongst football supporters.
If you watch the Pathe films on t’internet or similar sentimental footage that gets reeled out on Football Focus it is common to see packed out stadium full of rattle- waving, rosette- wearing men and women jostling for position in vast crowded stands.
So why the decline? Surely now the average football fan has more leisure time and expendable dough than ever before and certainly more than in the black and white era of rosettes and flat caps?
The difference from those days and now are that back then is that those scarcest of commodities, time and money, are actually rarer now for many than in days gone by.
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Whilst people probably had less money years ago they also generally had less expectations of expenditure and certainly didn’t have exotic foreign holidays, two cars and all the expensive mod cons that a lot of people wrongly feel pressured into paying for in modern life. People have got themselves into debt by getting everything on credit in recent times to satisfy these perceived necessities whereas that was unheard of in previous generations where the common ethos was “If you can’t afford it you cant have it”.
The cost of games has increased disproportionately too. Whilst before ticket prices were more affordable it is the whole package of going to football that has become a pricey affair nowadays.
Charlton has always been good value for money even during our pinnacle in the Premiership yet even following the addicks is a costly duty for many but even so a £300- £500 season ticket is still out of reach for many.

It is not just the initial lay out for a ticket that hits the wallet. There are costs involved before you even set foot in the stadium.
With more people moving away form the areas of their roots and out of the built up inner cities to suburban dwellings clubs now draw a lot of their support from further afield. Whereas before the majority of West Ham followers may have inhabited the East End and other areas a stones throw from the Boleyn Ground many of their faithful now reside out in various parts of Essex. Same with Charlton who now find a large proportion of their fan base travel from the commuter belt of South East London and even deepest darkest Kent. Travelling to home games for many is no longer a half hour walk down the road at 2pm but a train or car journey which isn’t gratis.
I’ve heard and read tales on here that back in the day many South East Londoners would go to Charlton one week and up the road to the Den to see Millwall the next when Charlton were away and vice versa. This practice appears now to be extinct (for a plethora of reasons I would imagine) and many people choose to follow their “one” team around the country which in itself is very expensive.
Once you have bought the ticket, travelled up to whichever Northern outpost the boys are playing at, had a few pints and a dodgy black pudding pie the bill is usually near the £100 mark.
A home game for example may cost £20 a ticket, add this to said beers and travel and God forbid a programme then you are looking at around £40 a game.

So on average with 2 home games and 2 away in a “quiet month” it will cost in the region of £300. In a busier month, for example we are scheduled to play 5 times in September and 6 in November the cost of following Charlton will be around £320- £380 and £420 respectively.
Even if you can afford the initial outlay of a season ticket and therefore null that cost you would still be looking at about £200 to £300 and month on away games not to mention the further cost- incurring cup games that crop up frequently.
Now when you consider the demographic and income of the average football supporter of Charlton, Millwall or Crystal Palace the cost of attending every game their club plays becomes somewhat unachievable without purging themselves further into debt.

Additionally time, or lack of it, is a key factor in the decline in attendances. Many folk are now working longer hours every day than before to secure much needed overtime or just because their jobs have evolved whereby they are wary of leaving at 5.30 on the dot for fear of giving their employers any reason to satisfy criteria for redundancy. Many self – employed football fans have to work 6 or 7 days a week to even keep their heads above the water. And this is all before they fulfil their commitments outside of work to their families, friends and other elements important to their lives.
Traditionally games were scheduled for 3pm on a Saturday allowing the largely working class supporter to finish up their graft on Saturday morning before heading to the pub for a well earned pint before heading on to the game.
Gone are the days when small clubs like Millwall could get dispensation for late kick offs to allow their dock worker support to finish their shifts and make their way down to watch their team. Now the fixture lists are dictated by Sky, the Police and other authorities and the common fan has to fit their lives around it rather than the games being organised for their convenience as before.
Now to attend every away game over the course of a season often involves the use of numerous days of holiday for midweek evening clashes in awkward locations followed by a day of work after a few hours of sleep or negotiating the ever so efficient Sunday service so helpfully provided by the national rail network.

Whilst it is inevitable that there is an element of “plastics” who turn up for the big games or when a club is entertaining world class players on opposition teams in the top flight this perceived crowd swell is often deceiving.
Whilst Manchester United and Chelsea may enjoy revenue- inducing sell outs at every home league game it isn’t definite that the 60,000 in attendance each fortnight are the same punters. Success attracts interest and whilst they may be sold out each game I very much doubt that it is the same 60,000 die hard, life long supporters from Salford and Shepherd’s Bush filling those seats each time. More likely is that they have garnered enough custom through their years of success to give the illusion of a consistent faithful but the reality is it us unlikely that the average person could afford to pay the extortionate price of going to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge each week which would surely run into the thousands each year.

Added to this those fortunate souls, many of whom will have only boarded the football bandwagon post Euro 1996, and whose substantial income allows them this luxury are more likely to be drawn to the success and glamour provided by the big clubs rather than parting with their cash to provide much needed income to grittier clubs such as Charlton, Millwall and Palace. If you were a late comer to the game and didn’t have a club “in your blood” like we do then it’s academic that watching Drogba and Lampard battle against Torres and Gerrard is, albeit superficially, a more enticing proposition than spending your hard earned to witness a season of hit and hope affairs against Scunthorpe and Tranmere.
I am currently part way through training to be an accountant. The hours and studying are long and consume a large part of my time and the remuneration isn’t rewarding at present but in two years when I hopefully qualify I will be in a position where I can financially afford to follow Charlton home and away without fail and so the attendance at Huddersfield will increase from 450 to 451.
At present I don’t have that ability and instead spend my Saturday afternoons and many weeknights glued to Charlton Life with the radio on in the corner hoping result goes are way and holding my breath every time the commentator says lets go to X now for an update on the game between X and Charlton Athletic.
As much as I would love to be up among the small number of faithful wherever and whenever we play, to share first hand both the joy of a win, despair of a loss and indifference of a goalless draw, I simply can’t afford it at present.

If that makes me or others in similar situations less of a supporter than those who can afford it or sacrifice other things in their lives to ensure so then so be it. But to say that our support is better or worse than Millwall or Man United is based on numbers and doesn’t give the bigger picture.

Give me those 450 who made the trip to Yorkshire yesterday over a ground full of tourists at the Emirates any day.
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Comments

  • Nice article and every club has fans with their own different circumstances and football is very expensive for all fans
    I suppose someone has to have the poorest away numbers but my gripe is that our away followings haven't increased as and when our home followings increased..... football crowds have increased from the 70s and 80s at all levels as grounds have become "safer" places to go to and football has become trendier maybe we just have a smaller hardcore element than others but why??
  • edited August 2010
    I think people look way to far into it.

    It's all about passion. If the passion is there you go no matter what the circumstances, old or young, you go. Obvioulsy you have the exceptions, but it's all about getting the right mix. A mix that we just haven't got.
  • Oohah I think it is because we are a very unfashionable club.

    We have to compete with Arsenal, Chelsea, spurs and west ham which is a losing battle.

    Many of the hardcore will have kids and other responsibilites that mean they dont have the time to do it or work doesnt allow them to. It is expensive as well so many of us cant afford to do the away games.

    In terms of time and money an away trip up north takes up your whole saturday or half a day during the week and will cost a fortune. Those who have the luxury of not having responsibilities and therefore have the time to do it may not have the money to do so and vice versa.
  • Oohaa

    Although I have ways noticed our home and away support is not very big

    I just put it down to charlton not being a fashionable club to follow

    And I stick by that thought even when in the premier the support away did not vary to much

    At home more than most the valley was seen as a cheap safe option to see premier league football

    The core fans remained the same.

    We will never have the support you want so you might. As well get used to it.

    405 away to hudersfield is ok and considering we are in the 3rd division and it is a bankhol and school holiday.


    Charltons support might not be huge in terms of numbers but it is good for an unfashionable London club that doesn't attract a large number of people from outside its postcode.
  • [cite]Posted By: CafcAndy[/cite]I think people look way to far into it.

    It's all about passion. If the passion is there you go no matter what the circumstances, old or young, you go. Obvioulsy you have the exceptions, but it's all about getting the right mix. A mix that we just haven't got.

    Disagree mate. If i was minted i would go to practically every game. Anyone who knows me will know I am as passionate as any fan at charlton games and the fact that i have spent more time ranting on here over the years than i would like shows me how much i care.

    Similarly people have other comittments and responsibilites meaning that sometimes time has to get prioritised and travelling away every week isnt realistic.

    Yes there are those who can afford it and have lifestyles where they have the time (or can make the time) to go to every single game home and away but i would say they are in the minority of the Charlton fanbase. Same for Millwall and Palace.

    With the big clubs they attract more supporters due to their profile and success and therefore amongst higher number will be more wealthy people and people with time on there hands by law of averages.

    Even places like newcastle, sunderland and Cardiff who have good away support ....they have whole cities to draw support from and it wont be the same 5000 travelling away each week but a rotation of the big fanbase.
  • edited August 2010
    [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]Oohah I think it is because we are a very unfashionable club.

    We have to compete with Arsenal, Chelsea, spurs and west ham which is a losing battle.

    Many of the hardcore will have kids and other responsibilites that mean they dont have the time to do it or work doesnt allow them to. It is expensive as well so many of us cant afford to do the away games.

    In terms of time and money an away trip up north takes up your whole saturday or half a day during the week and will cost a fortune. Those who have the luxury of not having responsibilities and therefore have the time to do it may not have the money to do so and vice versa.

    I have many responsibilities, but nothing in life is so pressing that you can't sort out an away day to see the team you love.

    Who can complain about 1-20 quid for a coach to any part of England..Who can complain about a 20 pound return group save ticket to anywhere in the country. Lets face it, most of our fans are middle classed kent lads (ladies) that would prefer to catch up on some train spotting or cheese and wine round the in laws. What i spent to get to hudders yesterday, wasn't far off what i spend at a Charlton home game..(petrol, train fair, beer and food ect)

    Lets stop making excuses and start finding a way to advertise how good an away day really is!
  • [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: CafcAndy[/cite]I think people look way to far into it.

    It's all about passion. If the passion is there you go no matter what the circumstances, old or young, you go. Obvioulsy you have the exceptions, but it's all about getting the right mix. A mix that we just haven't got.

    Disagree mate. If i was minted i would go to practically every game. Anyone who knows me will know I am as passionate as any fan at charlton games and the fact that i have spent more time ranting on here over the years than i would like shows me how much i care.

    Similarly people have other comittments and responsibilites meaning that sometimes time has to get prioritised and travelling away every week isnt realistic.

    Yes there are those who can afford it and have lifestyles where they have the time (or can make the time) to go to every single game home and away but i would say they are in the minority of the Charlton fanbase. Same for Millwall and Palace.

    With the big clubs they attract more supporters due to their profile and success and therefore amongst higher number will be more wealthy people and people with time on there hands by law of averages.

    Even places like newcastle, sunderland and Cardiff who have good away support ....they have whole cities to draw support from and it wont be the same 5000 travelling away each week but a rotation of the big fanbase.

    It's about putting the money you do have towards Charlton. I know at least 5 money strapped (and i mean seriously money strapped) west ham fans that do whatever it takes to see the team week in week out. Im not saying this is right, but it's something we don't really have.
  • Me again, Andy...That middle classed Kent lady who goes to all but a couple of away games every season.....
  • edited August 2010
    Yes Andy but can you afford to do it every away game week in week out?

    I will go to a fair few away games this season as i did last but not EVERY one. That will be the same for many people and they will go to a handful. Because we only have a small fanbase we wont have the illusion of good away support of the tens of thousands of geordies who will between them go to away games over the course of the season making it appear that it is the same 5000 doing it week in week out.

    Obviously those like me will probably go to the games like Millwall, Leeds etc that are more attractive as even though i should see a clash against Tranmere as important in reality if i had to choose between the two id go for the Millwall/ Leeds over Tranmere....hence why we do sell out for these ties.

    As for your other post im sure if we had a fanbase the size of west ham (an established prem team who basically have 80% of Essex's support) there would probably be a fair few like your mates doing the same for Charlton.

    I dont think that there is any difference between the passion of those 5 for west ham that couldnt be found amongst 5 people who probably do the same for charlton.
  • [cite]Posted By: nth london addick[/cite]
    I just put it down to charlton not being a fashionable club to follow
    This is very true, not only as a club to follow but as a club to watch your team go and play...

    Just look at any old away programme and look at the attendances, Charlton nearly always drew the lowest home attendance for that season...
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  • Thing is CafcAndy, those of us that are 'middle classed kent lads' have to work for our money, and after spending every waking minute of your children out of the house Monday to Friday you are reluctant to spend another whole day away from the family. Home games for us in Kent (me, anyway) means leaving at 12:30 and getting home after 6:30.

    Even if the money is irrelevant, which it isn't, I'm guessing the club coach would leave before 9am and get back after 10pm, and even in the car (much more expensive) it would take 4 hours each way. By the time you've left an hour for lunch and an hour to get parked and into the ground, you would need to leave by 9am (earlier if you were stopping to pick others up) and wouldn't get home before 10pm - much later iof you stopped for a meal on the way back.

    Maybe you don't have anything in your life that is more pressing than going to Huddersfield, but I do, and, clearly, do so many of the 9,000 season ticket holders as we only took 450 yesterday.

    It's not always an excuse, it's a reason, it's a choice. I love away games, but I also love my family. I think we need to respect the fact that some of our fans have different pressures on them to attend both home and away games.
  • Id rather be a Charlton, Millwall or palace fan supporting my local team and be amongst similar people even if there are only a couple of hundred of us than being amongst thousands of plastics rocking up at Liverpool, Man united and more recently chelsea having just jumped on the fahionable bandwagon.

    It makes us more exclusive and somehow means more celebrating and comiserating with a few like minded people who all share the same passion than an army of hangers on going through the motions in their facepaint, wigs and brand new replica shirts.
  • [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]“Your support is f**king sh*t”, “Your ground’s too big for you” ....
    About the only part that was true, the rest is just a mish mash of garbled cliches and factless truisms that I just can't be arsed to comment upon...
  • edited August 2010
    .
  • [cite]Posted By: RedZed333[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]“Your support is f**king sh*t”, “Your ground’s too big for you” ....
    About the only part that was true, the rest is just a mish mash of garbled cliches and factless truisms that I just can't be arsed to comment upon...

    Why comment then. If you disagree with my opinion then just ignore it or put across your argument.

    When you start contributing more than derisory self interested ramblings I'll start taking your critiuque to mind.


    Odd ball
  • [cite]Posted By: RedZed333[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]“Your support is f**king sh*t”, “Your ground’s too big for you” ....
    About the only part that was true, the rest is just a mish mash of garbled cliches and factless truisms that I just can't be arsed to comment upon...


    I believe you have just strengthened your position as the current no 1WUM on this board. Congratulations !
  • [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]Why comment then. If you disagree with my opinion then just ignore it or put across your argument.

    He's a tool.
  • edited August 2010
    [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]Yes Andy but can you afford to do it every away game week in week out?

    I will go to a fair few away games this season as i did last but not EVERY one. That will be the same for many people and they will go to a handful. Because we only have a small fanbase we wont have the illusion of good away support of the tens of thousands of geordies who will between them go to away games over the course of the season making it appear that it is the same 5000 doing it week in week out.

    Obviously those like me will probably go to the games like Millwall, Leeds etc that are more attractive as even though i should see a clash against Tranmere as important in reality if i had to choose between the two id go for the Millwall/ Leeds over Tranmere....hence why we do sell out for these ties.

    As for your other post im sure if we had a fanbase the size of west ham (an established prem team who basically have 80% of Essex's support) there would probably be a fair few like your mates doing the same for Charlton.

    I dont think that there is any difference between the passion of those 5 for west ham that couldnt be found amongst 5 people who probably do the same for charlton.

    No i can't afford it every week, far from it. But that's what makes the best away days. I work for my money, im a kent lad..But i can't think of anything better to spend my money on..Anyone would think there wasn't 7 days in a week. If all games where moved to a Sunday, would that sort the problems of kids ect?
  • It's that type of attitude that is the reason our away support is pony Rodney.

    Not once have i said it's a bad thing, just saying it's the reason.
  • [cite]Posted By: kings hill addick[/cite]Maybe you don't have anything in your life that is more pressing than going to Huddersfield, but I do, and, clearly, do so many of the 9,000 season ticket holders as we only took 450 yesterday.

    It's not always an excuse, it's a reason, it's a choice. I love away games, but I also love my family. I think we need to respect the fact that some of our fans have different pressures on them to attend both home and away games.
    I would say that one of the reasons we have so many season ticket holders is that supporters have done their pre-season sums and realised that supporting Charlton from the Valley is going to cost more than enough already and that going to most away games is going to be financially prohibitive for the majority of our support...

    I reckon if you asked the club management where would you rather supporters spent their money they'd say by going to home games where the money goes in our pockets...

    In an ideal world where time and money were irrelevant we'd all go to every game, that would be great but it ain't, so we don't/can't....
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  • Family, work, distance and finances are all serious considerations once you leave the parental nest and have to fend for yourself and even more so when you have children of your own.

    Speaking purely for myself I do not wish to spend my precious leisure time being herded like an animal or searched by security guards when I am a hardworking, lawabiding respectable member of the community. Sadly those virtues, or seemingly vices in this day and age, count for nothing and I am treated like a common criminal if I travel to the away end of another football club or use public transport. Why should I subject myself to such indignity at my time of life?

    I mentioned finance higher up. I struggle, and I mean struggle, to afford to purchase seaon tickets for home games. I may or may not be alone in this. If I was to find extra money for football then I would rather give it to Charlton by way of Valley Gold or similar than line the pockets of the other teams in Charlton's division.

    Yes if by some miracle Charlton got to Wembley I would go. As a season ticket holder for some years I consider that I have earned the right irrespective of whether or not I travel away.
  • Wigan only took 63 to WHL yesterday, the bubble is about to burst.

    Great article by the way!
  • edited August 2010
    [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: RedZed333[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]“Your support is f**king sh*t”, “Your ground’s too big for you” ....
    About the only part that was true, the rest is just a mish mash of garbled cliches and factless truisms that I just can't be arsed to comment upon...

    Why comment then. If you disagree with my opinion then just ignore it or put across your argument.

    When you start contributing more than derisory self interested ramblings I'll start taking your critiuque to mind.


    Odd ball
    [cite]RCT said[/cite]If you watch the Pathe films on t’internet or similar sentimental footage that gets reeled out on Football Focus it is common to see packed out stadium full of rattle- waving, rosette- wearing men and women jostling for position in vast crowded stands.
    So why the decline? Surely now the average football fan has more leisure time and expendable dough than ever before and certainly more than in the black and white era of rosettes and flat caps?
    Ok, let's take it point by point...

    First of all, there is no decline in football attendances, in fact it is the complete opposite, look at this link Football attendances since 1947 and click on any club and you'll see the average attendances have inevitably improved or are at the level they were in the 'old days'...

    Practically every club went through a decline in support from the 60s to the 80's but nearly every club has enjoyed quite a large increase since then, if you look at the more detailed attendances from the past 20 years they have in fact almost doubled...

    Don't forget that recently many clubs had their crowd capacity drastically reduced due to enforced crowd safety measures, as the brand new all seater stadiums arrived interest started to increase as the attendances prove, and don't forget most of the new stadium's seating capacity nowhere as near as the previous capacity of the terracing, Charlton is a prime example of this, this means that many fans today are actually 'locked out' and some clubs actually have waiting lists, never had that in the old days.

    And quoting Pathe News as an example of how large the crowds were is not really indicative of the state of attendances overall, I think you'll find that they usually only covered the high profile matches like cup games and high level league matches, have you ever since a Pathe News reel of Hartlepool v Accrington on there...?

    Guardian report highest football attendances for 50 years...

    If you've got a link to show attendances have actually declined put it up, I'd be interested...
  • Relax. I never said my posted was a factually solid account of the exact reasons why we have low support. It is more of my interpretation of why we and clubs our size have small support today particularly away.
  • thanks for the article Rodney.

    Well written and structured piece in which your passion comes thru load and clear.

    Good to see a longer article and a different voice on CL. More please.
  • [cite]Posted By: CafcAndy[/cite]
    I have many responsibilities, but nothing in life is so pressing that you can't sort out an away day to see the team you love.

    Out of interest, what responsibilities do you have exactly Andy?

    For example, do you have a wife, kids, a demanding job that involves working late/weekends, a mortgage, overdraft, bursting credit cards, ageing parents who might not be around much longer, illness in the family?

    When I was younger I probably would've done the same as you - never missed any home games and rarely missed an away game. Then I got older, grew up a bit and realised that life isn't always about doing what YOU want to do all the time. Other things HAVE to take priority.

    Then I come on here and have some jumped up wet behind the ears youth telling me
    [cite]Posted By: CafcAndy[/cite]
    It's all about passion. If the passion is there you go no matter what the circumstances, old or young, you go.

    and
    [cite]Posted By: CafcAndy[/cite][Lets face it, most of our fans are middle classed kent lads (ladies) that would prefer to catch up on some train spotting or cheese and wine round the in laws.

    Now, I should at this point be quite rude and tell you where to go, but in the interests of maintaining board harmony I wont - this time.
  • I have only done one away in the last five seasons - disgraceful!

    Watching the PlayStation Premiership yesterday on Match of the Day, I was struck by just how many Chelsea fans were kitted out in their replica kits & how little passion was on dislplay, so much plastic support in that stadium......
  • [cite]Posted By: RodneyCharltonTrotta[/cite]Relax. I never said my posted was a factually solid account of the exact reasons why we have low support. It is more of my interpretation of why we and clubs our size have small support today particularly away.
    And I was just about to post a piece about 'scarcest of commodities, time and money, are actually rarer now for many than in days gone by' being not factually solid either, no need to bother now...

    Wouldn't want to look a tool or WUM...
  • [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]Wigan only took 63 to WHL yesterday, the bubble is about to burst.

    Great article by the way!

    63?!

    Wow. I know they're not the most popular club in Wigan and that they took a hammering last year at WHL, but 63 is something else.
  • I've collected info on league attendances of every professional team since records started in 1888-89.
    I have the averages of all the teams until 1991-92, and their highest gate of the season since.
    I can safely write that nearly all the clubs have had an increase in gates since 1992.
    Anyone requiring information on attendances - will gladly oblige.
    This does'nt answer the question of our away following, but you've provided the answers when you mention passion
    and means. Remember our following when we were offered free travel to Vale Park, Goodison and Ewood Park !
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