Friday, 24 February 2017
...'The Customer Experience'
My plans to visit the Valley for the Fleetwood game didn't transpire at the beginning of the month.
However following my decision to step away from managing my Son's junior football team (it's not the children, it's some of the parents that seem to suck the fun out of kids football, but that's a completely different story) I now find myself with a lot more time on my hands at the weekend for all of my family and dare I say it? for Charlton.
My Dad first took me to The Valley in 1981 and I've been hooked ever since. My Son started coming with me and his Nan during the promotion season and was even a match day mascot not long before Duchalet bought the club and began to quite royally bollocks things up.
At the end of last season we decided as a collective not to renew our season tickets and haven't been to The Valley since.
The atmosphere by the end of last season had become pretty horrible. I've heard and read of further division between Charlton supporters over the course of this season.
Despite all of this I find myself pulled back to the club.
This is for two reasons really. One, apathy aside (something that has afflicted my historical love for the club over recent monthes), regardless of results for some reason I want to walk up the stairs and out into the stadium, looking at the pitch and the vastness of the Valley (albeit quite empty these days.) The anticipation before kick off, a few beers with people I've not seen for far to long. And two, to ensure the legacy of Charlton supporters continues within my family. Duchalet is 70 years old now - so blatantly won't be around for ever. The idea of my Son becoming a Chelsea/Arsenal/Spurs plastic does not appeal to me at all.
With the exception of the heady premiership years and our briefer spell in the old first division in the late eighties we have always been a second/third tier club (mainly second) during my time as a supporter. So I don't see why my boy can't enjoy that in the same way I did throughout much of the eighties and nineties.
We are going to try a stand we've not been in before and I have undertaken, that whatever the result, we will be supporting the team, reconnecting with some old and making some new football friends for the rest of this season.
I will be interested to see what the 'match day experience' has become like, and will try and report how I viewed it after the game.