Sandgaard’s overseas vision
I missed tuning into Thursday’s Bromley Addicks vitual meeting with Thomas Sandgaard as I had to work, but it was interesting reading the meeting notes after no more so because of Thomas’ continual referencing of Charlton’s potential brand internationally.
Overseas fans has been a common theme of Thomas’ interaction with supporters and in set interviews. Obviously he is situated abroad himself, so not an unnatural talking point but as some commented in the CL post meeting notes I’d be a little appehensive of how far he will be able to take the ‘Charlton brand’ overseas.
Sure there is a huge and infinite thirst for English football but in my experience of living outside of the UK for almost 20 years that has never really included teams beyond the Premier League, and bluntly, even then beyond the countries largest and most famed clubs.
It is a very romantic notion that soccer fans in the United States or China will become Addicks in the future even if we are mixing it with the top 6. As an example I have a very good friend who is a lifelong Leicester City fan and has spent almost his entire working life in the States, and he knows as many US-based Foxes’ fans than I do Addicks.
Both in Chicago and Bermuda almost every single local soccer fan I’ve met supported one of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool or Manchester City.
The only differences to this were ex-pats or 2nd and possibly 3rd generation supporters of clubs where Grandad’s and Dad’s had done a very good job of genetic brainwashing or a completely devoted student of the English game who had picked a lesser team or two to, as the American’s would say, root for.
Sponsorships, branding et al only follows with success, so with us stuck in the 3rd Division there is certainly a long road ahead to build any kind of reputation abroad. Yet there is absolutely no harm in developing a road map, and Valley Pass, or Charlton TV as it has morphed into is a cracking start.
Even though I am considered an international fan these days, although personally I don’t like that title, for me it should still be about the fundamentals of expanding the fan base out from the environs of SE7.
The world is getting smaller, well at least virtually in Covid times, and I am sure over the next decade the make-up of our support will be different, as it is from 20 years ago, but I hope we don’t lose sight of Charlton Athletic being a community club. Now a club admired abroad, and widely supported locally would be great too.
This also brings me to wishing the very best of luck to new Fan Advisor Lucy Bishop.