Not since I was a free and single young man when my brother and I would be chief connoisseurs of Little Chef’s Olympic Breakfasts on the countries motorways have I watched as many Charlton games than I did this past season all courtesy of course to Charlton TV and a global pandemic.
Charlton TV or Valley Pass as it started the season as, has been a godsend for Addicks and after Thomas Sandgaard invested in it and upgraded the service in December to a full blown show presented by Scott Minto it has been essential viewing even if the 90 minutes inbetween sometimes wasn’t!
As my mates and I would often say as we got home after going to a Charlton game: “What a top day at the football, only ruined by the football.”
Charlton TV managed to re-create the whole match day experience led by Minto, but superbly supported by Alan Curbishley and joined match to match by a variety of Charlton legends each giving wonderful insight as well as taken us on a journey down memory lane.
Minto is quite frankly brilliant, a consummate professional, and a natural in front of a camera and mic, and whilst I’m extremely grateful he is presenting to a few thousand Addicks each game, it is beyond belief how Sky Sports ever dispensed of him in the first place.
Then there is Steve Brown, who acts as in-game analyst. Brownie does not stop for breath but I personally love the way he dissects tactics, formations and play offering sharp and shrewd scrutiny, as well as anecdotes from when he played at The Valley.
Throw in Terry and Greg, both unashamedly biased, but each offering different perspectives. These two lads tell it to you as if you were there yourself, and for many years have been company to me on a Saturday afternoon.
As an overseas fan I think I could first watch games live back in early 2018 on iFollow. Duchâtelet had no interest so we were only able to watch away team’s pictures, and then there was no running commentary.
Even then I would always prefer to listen to the CAFC Player commentary in isolation as the picture quality was poor at best and awful at worst. Football radio commentary always makes me feel very sentimental to my childhood.
Last season after lockdown the EFL showing live games served a purpose of course, but there was no individualism nor any sense of belonging but Charlton TV has far surpassed any previous experience, even of that offered by Sky.
It does not beat the real thing, Being at The Valley, being cramped in a corner of an away end singing and shouting until you lose your voice with fellow fans is a special experience, but I do wonder what the future is of Charlton showing live streamed games.
We may find out tonight when Scott Minto presents an end of season special, but I like to think that Charlton TV still has a place for those that can’t get to games for whatever reason.
Pre spectator-less stadiums there were some very strict rules around football games and television coverage, but in so many different ways the global pandemic has accelerated many changes to our lifestyle and the way we interact with each other, work and our leisure activities.
I somehow think live streaming of football and other sports is here to stay.
Getting fans back into stadiums, safely, has to be the priority though, and it is heartwarming to see us sell over 7,000 season tickets already. So live streaming must not be to the detriment of spending money to go and watch live games and the atmosphere and memories that creates,
As I said earlier overseas fans have had the ability to pay for live games for a couple of seasons, reasonably priced as well. With the re-opening of grounds I would pay the price of a match ticket to watch a streamed game or the cost of a season ticket for a season pass.
Easy for me I know as to go and watch a game runs into the thousands each time I do it, but Charlton TV has been something to treasure and I hope Thomas and the club can find a way for it to continue to be part of the Addicks’ match day experience.