Thursday, 8 March 2012

Change Is Coming...

It was very nearly a year ago that I returned home from work to be greeted with a letter from our new Chairman, Michael Slater, urging me to renew my season ticket. I don’t say it easily, but I’m also not embarrassed to admit the letter left me wiping away the odd tear. It was a particularly desperate time to be supporting Charlton and the arrival by post of the renewal forms a week or so beforehand could not have been less timely. Without question, being asked to part with £375 of my hard earned money to continue doing something that was making me so unhappy was tough, really tough. With the greatest respect to Mr. Slater, far tougher than he will ever know as a little known, self-confessed Manchester City fan who was now in charge of my club; a club he would have to learn to love over time.

“Supporting Charlton at the moment isn’t easy. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but please don’t give up on your team” wrote Mr. Slater, before going on to say “I can well understand if your patience has been stretched to breaking point”.

The letter was honest and to the point, but most importantly it offered hope for the future. I wanted to believe every word of it, especially the line “I want to assure you change is coming”.

“I’m confident that next season will be better than this one and that in years to come you’ll look back with pride in the knowledge that you stuck with the club through thick and thin”.

In reality, whether I’d received that letter or not it would have made no difference to me as by coincidence I’d renewed my seat earlier that very same day. There was no question I would do so, but I had never done it before with such a heavy heart.

At the time I wrote a small piece announcing that I’d signed up again, ending with the words ‘now all I ask from you, Mr. Chairman, is that you give me a Charlton team I can be proud of’. Thank you Mr. Slater (et al), a man that appears as good as his word. You have and I am.

Early next week I’ll be signing up for what will be my 16th consecutive year as a season ticket holder and God willing, looking forward to seeing Charlton back in the Championship.

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