Charlton Athletic’s play-off triumph at Wembley on Sunday will have landed thousands across south-east London with hangovers yesterday morning. Now the many fans who have been boycotting home matches in protest at Roland Duchâtelet’s disastrous ownership of the side now face a dilemma – to buy a season ticket for Championship football next season or not?
The Addicks’ run to promotion back to the Championship – three years after a relegation caused directly by the instability caused by Duchâtelet’s calamitous running of the club – brought crowds flocking back to The Valley, with 25,428 seeing the semi-final win on penalties over Doncaster Rovers.
More than 38,000 filled the Charlton end at Wembley on Sunday to see the side come back from a disastrous early own goal, when goalkeeper Dillon Phillips misjudged a backpass from defender Naby Sarr and was help running helplessly as the ball dribbled into his own net, giving Sunderland an early advantage.
Ben Purrington equalised for the Addicks towards the end of the first half, setting up a tense second half. Just as it looked to be going to extra time, Patrick Bauer’s late, late winner saw scenes of pandemonium.
Why not watch it again?
Now season tickets are back on sale for two weeks at last season’s prices. Crowds have slumped under Duchâtelet’s reign, with an average of just 11,846 through the turnstiles last season, compared with 17,402 seven years ago, when the Addicks were last in League One.
Being in the second-tier Championship should make the club more attractive to potential buyers, but Duchâtelet is still reported to be insisting that new owners repay the money he has lost while trying – and failing – to run the club as part of a European “network” of teams. Even now, manager Lee Bowyer, credited with transforming the team on a small budget, does not have a contract for next season, and nor do many of his squad – risking the first season back up being a disaster.
Thousands of Charlton fans will be watching the news carefully in the coming days before deciding whether to commit their hard-earned cash to watch the team next season.
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