Non regulars turn up the volume
There has been a lot of talk about the atmosphere at Thursday's game, most agree it was the best for some time. Maybe Tony Christie takes some of the credit, but it has to be noted that a lot of the people who probably attended the match weren't regulars.
I don't how may season-ticket holders took up their tickets but obviously our friendly affordable Premiership football first and Charlton second supporters don't appear to all be as turned on by our historic cup run (first semi-final draw in 59 years) as some other longer suffering Addicks. In my day the Cup was special, and Curbs and the team have rekindled that this year.
The profusion of non-regulars on Thursday definitely added to the atmosphere and as us older-timers will know, the 'old boys always come out for the big games.' And these are almost certainly not the Arsenal and Man U glory games, they are probably more likely to be a critical relegation battle or a midweek Cup replay or a local derby.
Word amongst Addicks seems to be that there could be a fair turnout up at the Riverside, and credit to the club on the offer of free coach travel
Whilst I'm patting the board on the back, further kudos goes to them on the announcement of 2006/07 season-ticket prices
. In nearly all cases the cost will be cheaper than currently, and it is a wonderful idea to heavily reduce prices for under 21's. And as a Dad, £99 for an under 11 is very affordable.
The board have come in for some flak recently, some of it deserved, although posting a £5.1m loss after trying to "kick the club on to the next level,"
shows ambition they sometimes get accused of not having. The new pricing structure has also rekindled some of their listening abilities and although affordable pricing isn't the only thing to bring the crowds in, they deserve some recognition for doing as much as they can control.
In contrast my local Major League Soccer team Chicago Fire
also announced their season-ticket prices last week and they are astonishing. For an equivalent seat to where I used to be in block E of the East Stand, where Charlton want £525, Chicago Fire are charging $820 (for 20 games), which using the most favourable exchange rate is £470. Behind the goal and
away from the corporate driven customers it's only £183 compared to The Valley's £325. But give me Kish over Diego Gutierrez
The MLS season starts next Saturday
and I hope to take in a Fire game or two. One of the reasons for the price hike is that they begin at a brand new stadium, Bridgeview
(right), after sharing the monolithic Soldier Field. The stadium in the south-west of the city will hold 20,000 and has been completely financed to the tune of $155m by the local council, although it is said that the FBI are currently investigating how the land was financed in the first place.