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CL Survey Results - Part 1

When we decided to run this survey, we genuinely had no idea on what level of participation it would attract. We were generally thinking along the lines that if we got 100 honest replies, we would not just be able to fulfil our objective, but would be pleased with the level of co-operation. The fact we closed the survey after just a few days having attracted a staggering 726 replies was simply dumfounding.That figure does not provide an answer to any specific question, but it singularly provides us with the most valuable piece of information out of the whole exercise. That is that the majority of people who use this website genuinely care. Broadly speaking, they either feel part of it, or want to feel part of it.

Throughout the existence of Charlton Life we’ve done everything we can to stress the word ‘community’, more so than an inner-London MP. It was one of the key drivers in what we wanted to achieve from the beginning, not just providing a place where people can vent about under-performing players, or another defeat, but something with Charlton at its core. We envisioned something that aided in bringing people closer together, or if it couldn't achieve that, then help them feel part of something.

The results of individual questions fully endorse that remit, so this is the most pleasing aspect of the survey for us. Not that it is seen as all as a good thing; the “clique-ness” angle crops up heavily later, and I’ll cover that in a later post.

So, thank you to every one of you who took part and answered so candidly. Sadly, not all 726 made it until the end; we lost around 70 somewhere along the way, to either boredom, death, or the boss walking past. But that was expected and the level of participation was simply staggering. Thank you.

I’ll try and break down and summarise the key feedback from the survey in four parts over the next week. Please feel free to comment on any parts.


It’s obvious, just from a quick glance at the site, that it is a very male dominated environment. That is to be fully expected from a football forum, though when the figures are set out, it still struck me as a real surprise at the extent. 95% of those replying were male, just 5% (34) female.

I’ve no idea in what the adult male/female split of season ticket holders is, but I would expect it to be a closer match to what we see on here. Women are a lot more interested and involved in football now than they were 20-30 years ago and the level of attendance at games has increased significantly. Charlton Life is certainly not alone in this, the majority of forums I trawl have very low female participation. Is it that females in general are less keen to analyse and debate than blokes, or is it because attending games is something not usually done on your own, but participating on a forum is? I don’t know.

Should we read this as something we should be trying to improve on? Could we make the site more female friendly? What would that even mean? I don’t know, we try to make the forum as welcoming to everyone as is possible. Certainly this forum in its etiquette is a lot less laddish than most other forums I trawl; we’re relatively strict where we can be in terms of acceptable language, aggression, pictures and links, so I think we cover the main bases adequately. The ‘Would Ya’s’ we’ll cover later, and clearly split people on their appropriateness, but they are supposed to be a bit of light-hearted fun rather than anything smutty.

The biggest surprise of the survey was how weighted the response was towards the older generation. The most popular category was 50-64 (27%), while a further 6% were over 65. Effectively, a third of the members of Charlton Life are 50+, which i would assume is against the norm for most football forums, and likely to see us approaching Stannah Stairlifts and Werther’s Originals with advertising proposals. After that, the next most popular category is 41-49 (22%), the 33-40 (16%), 18-24 (13%), 25-32 (12%) and just 4% were under the age of eighteen.

What does that tell us? This can be read in many different ways. Is it a straight forward reflection that Charlton has an ageing supporter base? Is it an indication that the more sensible/adult approach we try and take to moderating the site appeals to the more mature individual? Is it because the younger generation are not made to feel welcome enough by the majority of posters? Is it because writing and reading beyond 160 characters just doesn’t appeal to the younger lot?

There's no right or wrong answer to this. My personal view is that the last one is probably the most realistic. Social networking has exploded in the last five years, and I expect the age groups using Charlton related Facebook groups or Twitter to be hugely weighted towards Under25s, the opposite to what we see on here. Just 32% of those surveyed regularly use Twitter. This is less than i thought it would be given its current vogue-ness, but though from my limited dabbling I’ve found that those individuals that do use it are very committed to it and that it is their main source of social network engagement. Facebook for me feels more personalised and something you can easily dip in and out of, and that’s reflected with a higher usage of those surveyed (54%).

Results probably suggest that if we were looking to attract a younger age group, the Forum in its current structure is likely not the best place for that, and some other approach/platform would be needed. I would be very interested in the views of some of the younger ones on what they think would appeal to their age group more. It’s essential that if Charlton’s support base continues to grow, those in the younger categories become immersed into the club to the extent that you can’t shake it off like most of the longer-standing supporters have discovered in recent slump years. Getting them through the gates is the first part of the job; getting them further committed to the club is the greater challenge, and engaging in wider Charlton groups such as this away from match day is one way that can help achieve that.

Click here for Part 2 - You and Charlton


  • Interesting... It would be good to see how the demographics on here compare to the demographics of people who atrend charlton matches, though I realise you proabably won't have those stats
  • There have been football league/ FA surveys in the past - though think they date back to when we were in the Prem. Seem to remember the female % attending matches was about 20-25% for CAFC, one of the higher ones among clubs.
  • Good stats and an excellent response, numbers wise. Good work
  • Re: Females. This may sound sexist but I just don't think females tend to endlessly debate football in the way men do. They go, watch, enjoy, come away, get on with other things. In my office the STH female will talk football much less on Monday morning than both the STH and nonSTH males.
  • AKFA You and your team are doing a great job and in your own words you are dumbfounded by the amount of replies. I'm not. This site has got to be the number 1 for any Charlton supporter. OK you are not going to please all the people all of the time but i think you more than half way there.

    I stumbled across this site by pure accident a year ago and it's the first thing i look for when i switch my PC on.

    Just a suggestion if money is a bit tight increase the members by advertising in the Charlton Match programme
    or maybe the club itself may be able to help in some financial way. Potential advertisers on Charlton Life need figures and obviously the bigger the figures the better the income is.

    Please don't give up. We all need you.
  • @AFKABartram I'm under 18 and don't use twitter or Facebook so if you want my view's, opinion's etc just let me know.
  • Sorry to be picky, but the age bands aren't as surprising as it might seem. 50-64 covers 15 years and is 27%. This is less per year than the 22% who are 41-49 covering 9 years. 18-24 which covers 7 years is 13% which is more per year than the 50-64 year olds. I think the data shows that we have a fairly even spread by age. Under 18s may be low for many other reasons - too many old farts on here, too busy on twitter or chasing boys/girls - I can't remember that far back.
  • No more p*** taking from you AFKA about how old the people are at Bromley Addicks meetings

    : - )
  • 726 is staggering, but then we have over 9k season ticket holders. Potential for alot of growth
  • Thanks CV, very kind of you. As for your later points, things don't really work that way so none of those are feasible, but we are pretty clear now in terms of approach to those things.
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  • You are completely right Thai to point out the wider age brackets. However, given that more people in those age groups are more likely to be oblivious to the workings of the internet and participations in forums than those of younger age, I still find it quite a surprise.
  • Maybe the age group thing is not about the ages of those on charltonlife, but rather about the younger lot meaning to do the survey sometime, but not getting round to it, rather than not being on here. Us older folk might have more opportunity and inclination to fill in the survey.
  • Think I am with SP on that point. But that said and I am in the 16% I do get the impression that most of the posters are a little older than me. (That or just far more intelligent, or both!)
  • This is great. Love a bit of simple statistics, whether it's football related or not.

    On the side, I'm nineteen years old and I consider myself to be part of two online communities: CharltonLife and ArcticMonkeysUS (my favourite band). I've seen that forum successfully move into facebook/twitter/tumblr with around 2-3k followers on each form of social media having only been set up for one or two years. If you were thinking of moving into facebook/twitter more seriously and wanted any tips on how to set up a page that might be attractive to the younger generation, I can always pass on a link/message etc?

    Cheers for all the great work you put into this site, it's a pleasure to read and has given me some great laughs since I signed up.
  • I used to regularly attend West Ham and Dagenham and Redbridge matches a few years back, and i can honestly say that you see so many more older people going to charlton than you do at these 2 grounds.

    Infact, when i took some mates to the £5 chesterfield game earlier this season, the first thing one of them said as we walked down Floyd road was, "F**k me, why is everyone here about 90?"

  • As a 16 year old. I find this site extremely good. It is very informative and interesting. Maybe to attract more youngers we can somehow create a link with the Young Addicks. I don't know how this would become financially viable for us but it may help to create a younger demographic for Charlton Life.
  • Maybe the age group thing is not about the ages of those on charltonlife, but rather about the younger lot meaning to do the survey sometime, but not getting round to it, rather than not being on here. Us older folk might have more opportunity and inclination to fill in the survey.
    yep. that's me. i've been far too busy chasing tail to fill in the survey.
  • Really appreciate the effort that has gone into this. Whilst I have followed CharltonLife for some time I only became a "Lifer" last year; being at the other end of the age spectrum to Callumcafc, it takes time to appreciate what the site has to offer. You and the "team" are doing a great job accross the whole fanbase. Thanks
  • the first thing one of them said as we walked down Floyd road was, "F**k me, why is everyone here about 90?"

    Because we're Charlton till we die!

  • I think what I glean from these findings is that the forum should be renamed "Charlton End-of-Life." As a 48 year old I feel rejuvenated and refreshed to know I am still in my prime on here!
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  • Thanks CV, very kind of you. As for your later points, things don't really work that way so none of those are feasible, but we are pretty clear now in terms of approach to those things.
    What i should have said earlier was you have 726 brains at least to keep this site going. If we Charlton fans can keep a whole football club alive then a website has got to be a piece of cake
  • Having been on cafc-fans, netaddicks, here and admin on, I don't think there is a way to attract younger posters.

    Conversation/topics are the only things to attract younger posters, but if the majority of current posters are of the older persuasion, their conversation/topics are going to be the main ones on here, and the younger ones may refrain from posting in these as they don't interest them. There is an active Charlton area on Facebook where there the members are mainly below 30. I know there a lot of younger readers on here, but most refrain from posting as they feel that CL is full of a lot older, opinionated members (not exactly their words!).

    Whatever you do AFKA and Lookie, don't try and change things on here that will annoy the older posters. I may only be 23, but I enjoy the layout of the site, the ease of being able to read through threads, and most importantly the absence of signatures/big avatars. A small avatar and a username is all that is required imo.
  • Your doing a great job AFKA and co, and to echo what AFL said im under 18 so willing to answer any questions regarding....anything really.
  • edited February 2012
    Great response to the survey AFKA. Many thanks for all you do and like many people have said, this is the first site I check everyday. It is uplifting and rewarding to follow the threads and debates (CAFC and other). I must admit I thought that there were more younger posters so just goes to show that some Lifers are ageless. In terms of female posters, I am not surprised there are so few but a little disappointed. As a female CAFC fan I am keen to post and discuss like anyone else. COYR!
  • Just a suggestion but to increase female participation how about a weekly 'Hunks In Trunks' thread where existing male Lifers post saucy pics of themselves ala Beckham's undies ads.

    Tho with the age of a lot of Lifer menfolk that might not be much of a draw admittedly :)
  • Ugh! Sorry addickupnorth, a no brainer!
  • It wouldn't be brains we'd be trying to stimulate my friend!
  • Well done AFKA . I'm one of the female minority on here and really enjoy this site. I find it a great source of news and views on Charlton and have become quite addicted (no pun intended!). I log on a few times a day and consider it one of the best sources of up to date news.
  • As one of many long distance supporters the site is a great way to keep in the loop for all things Charlton. We don't have the luxury of fellow supporters at work, friends and relatives etc. Nor do we have the chance to socialise in the locality of Charlton in pubs and clubs etc and I must confess that although my friends consider me to be a Charlton fanatic, my interest levels and attendance of matches has increased since joining the site, get carried along by the euphoria. So assuming there are others like me your doing a big service to the club.
  • I'm 25 and imo this forum doesn't reach out to younger readers primarily due to the layout and content. The layout is dated and very text-heavy (yes, I know this is a forum!). Furthermore as has been pointed out above an existing older membership is already in place which generates more 'mature' content.

    Having said all of that I do really enjoy the site in its current format and I would be reticent to change anything without serious prior consideration.
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