I got my first chance to review the details of the 2015/16 season tickets this morning whilst crammed like a sardine on my train into London. I would be very interested to hear how the early sales are going, especially with so much talk of fans not renewing; some in favour of buying match-to-match whilst the uncertainty remains around the direction of our club, others suggesting they will not return until Mr. Duchatelet goes.
I remain hugely concerned regarding the true intentions of Mr. Duchatelet going forward, but I will not try and offer any bravado to this situation. I will renew around the start of April, both for me and my boy. I am in no way enough of a wordsmith to articulate the void that would be left if I just decided not to go to the football anymore. In reality, I am a million miles away from that. It's what I've done regularly since I was 8 years old and the thought of Saturdays spent being dragged around the shops or doing DIY means my tolerance in times of uncertainty will hold firmer than my desire to work out how to fill the void if I gave it up.
Just over a month ago I sat in a Greenwich pub with friends before the Brentford game feeling as low and fed up as I can ever recall in nearly two decades. At that point I was convinced we was going down and doomed off the pitch. In four weeks things have changed on the pitch at least and in the most dramatic fashion imaginable. So much so, with the pressure of relegation lifted, I can honestly say I enjoyed my day out with my young son last Saturday against Blackburn, even in defeat. Spending the day with my lad means everything to me.
If you can find something better to do with your time on a Saturday afternoon, then good for you. I'll continue to take the rough with the smooth. I've spent the last two decades doing that anyway.
Concerns about Roland's masterplan aside, there's something that bothers me more at this point anyway. As an East Stander who sits in the most expensive Block E, zone 2, I find it very hard to swallow the fact that anyone buying the cheapest adult Valley seat in zone 6 of the same stand could, without any resistance whatsoever, move to a free seat in my block. That means there could be people around me on a matchday that will have paid £300 less per season for the same view. I've seen nothing anywhere to suggest the club even recognizes this potential problem, let alone have something in place to stop it happening. Very disappointing.
A word of caution to those intending to buy 'match-to-match' next season. When I was much younger I can recall doing the same thing. The Valley back then, as it is today, was not remotely full on a matchday, so tickets were easy to come by. I felt I didn't need to commit to a season ticket. That was until we got drawn at home to Liverpool in the League Cup in '96 and despite not missing a home game for two years I failed to get a ticket. Gutted was not the word. I stood outside the Valley that night pleading with people to sell me their tickets, but to no avail. It was that disappointment that lead to me purchase my first season ticket, which I've held every year since.