Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Price Of Empty Seats...

There is a bit of talk around today on the Charlton web regarding whether or not we are going to be able to sell out the FA cup quarter final against Middlesbrough, and it's something I hadn't particularly give much though to. The first home quarter final in 59 years, why is there even a concern that we won't sell it out?

Fair enough the game might not look the most mouth-watering prospect to the rest of the footballing nation, but that won't have an effect on the attendance, and we aren't really concerned about what they think anyway. It's a HUGE game for us, and anyone who decides not to attend may just find that Middlesbrough ticket stubs will be useful things to have in the wallet when it comes to prioritising season ticket holders for the best seats in a hypothetical final.

Incidentally, news has been broken by the BBC this morning that the final will definitely be played in Cardiff.

None of us claim to be a massive club, but most of us would claim to be bigger than the likes of Palace, Fulham, Southampton and Leicester, none of whom I could envisage not selling out in a quarter final at home, whatever the opposition. Doesn't the fact that we are even worrying about the attendance next month prove something about the apathy of The Valley crowd? Especially when the club is seriously contemplating spending £10million on expanding the stadium.

The match will be live on TV, either Sky or the BBC, and both broadcasters will point to the fact that it's been decades since an equivalent tie at home. We are supposed to be presenting the image of a club on an upward curve, looking to achieve higher league positions and attract better players. How are we going to look if we can't sell all the tickets for such a big game?

Here are the home FA Cup attendances for the last 2 years -

> Yeovil - 22873
> Rochdale - 13995
> Leicester - 23711
> Orient - 22029
> Brentford - 22098

This gives an average home FA Cup attendance of a shade under 21,000, but that average will be a little bit off because in all 5 of the above cases, the Jimmy Seed stand was packed out, and in 3 matches, the East Stand was also partly filled with away supporters.
Perhaps it's better to look at the last 2 matches for a more accurate reflection of how highly we regard the competition. Take 5,500 (the number of away fans in both matches this season) away from the totals and we are left with the home attendance for the last 2 ties being 16, 529 and 16,598. I assume that everyone who attended the earlier rounds will also attend the quarter final, as will approximately 2,000 Middlesbrough fans, which leaves us with about 9,000 seats left to fill on the day.

Being honest, a good 3,000 of those tickets will end up being sold anyway, whether it's to part time Charlton fans who want to associate themselves with relative success, or by neutral football fans who just want to see a live FA Cup Quarter Final, so although it's a huge game, perhaps the onus is on the club itself to lower the ticketing prices, or at least keep them consistent with what we have paid so far this season in order to achieve a full house.

Anything less will leave me severely disappointed, and writing a depressing article on just how big our true core support really is.


Blogger Kappacino Kid said...

Attendance won't be helped by a Monday or Thursday night kick off (although I would be there for Thursday,but work commitments make it unlikely I can make the other three days).

12:56 pm  
Blogger CharltonChris said...

I understand that mate, in fact I'm in the same position. I work a rolling shift pattern over 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

The sooner the FA can nail us down a date the better. A lot of companies require 4 weeks notice before a days annual leave, and we are already a couple of days short of that..

12:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just about the attractiveness of the game.

I didn't go to the Brentford, simply because I didn't have enough cash.

First cup match I'd missed in years.

Many others are in a similar position. When tax and utility bills go up the way they do, it leaves most people with less or no money for leisure pursuits. And that's a simple, but sad, fact of life.

1:01 pm  
Blogger BC Addick said...

Can anybody shed some light for me on what has happened to our support over the last 3-4 years. It seems that the real excitement and urgency has massively reduced (temporarily I hope). I don't know why...maybe it was more fun winning day in day out in the league below and the euphoria of premiership football has calmed? I do believe though that we so desperatly miss "characters" in our squad. The likes of Di Canio, Robbo, Kinsella, Costa and Deano are so greatly missed. I will always remember Kinsella coming up to the covered end with his fist clenched willing us all on and it worked. Maybe this is part of the problem?

7:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bc addick, you are absolutely spot on mate

10:47 pm  
Anonymous BOB said...

We will sell out - no problem

12:01 pm  

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