I’m late with this but a couple of weeks back Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard put forward a proposal to bring together supporter groups at home and abroad.
It’s been many a year since the club had any interest in working with supporter groups. A few co-exist, some active, some not, but during the Duchatelet and ESI era’s most fan groups were only chartered and fuelled for demonstrations and to grow organized opposition to the owners. They were the polar opposite of celebratory and affiliation.
Recently a couple of international groups got started. I got invited to join the North American Supporters Group, which I did happily. It began life as a Facebook group, but they are excited to become part of an official affiliated group.
A few home grown ones were incorporated as well such as the Armed Forces Addicks. Each was highlighted on the OS, and it is really no surprise that Thomas wanted to use them as a foundation to attract supporters and attention to the club, especially with his financial commitment to Valley Pass Live.
I’m not sure there is any real critical mass to build large groups of supporters outside of the UK. There are 64 of us in the North American one. Last count Bermuda has 6 Addicks, but it shouldn’t matter and the club have stated the requirement is 3 to 5.
Organized groups can bring politics and ego’s and many Addicks around the world are happy to belong to no groups other than family and mates, which has pretty much always summed me up.
Yet, it is another positive rebuilding initiative from Thomas as he looks to shake the club from it’s previous reputation, grow it’s stature and boost the positivity surrounding it….off the pitch at least!
He also clearly sees the home and abroad commercial carrots as well. Living in the United States Thomas will be very aware of what sports teams’ commercialism can bring.
The initial web story talked about collecting fan data, but that was dropped later, which perhaps shows this idea wasn’t suffuciently thought through. The North American group did try to engage with Wayne Mumford, which was unusuccessful, but with the announcment of the club seeking a fan advisor I am sure all of these pieces will begin to mesh together to take the club off-field to a much better place.