Thursday, 16 October 2014

What's needed to give AFCB's home crowd a boost?

"Wins! Wins! Wins!" I hear you say. But is it that simple? My good friend Michael Dunne has mentioned on his All Department's podcast that the numbers have been significantly lower than might have been expected at recent home matches. It has been noticeable and yet few reasons have been given for the modest home gates of late. 
Take a seat - anywhere you like.
We would all like the home form to be better, but bigger crowd numbers might help those performances. One usually goes with the other. AFCB now sit 11th in the table and while that is a good position, it has not been the home performances that have been the main source of points to elevate them to that position. AFCB have W2, D1, L2  at home in the Championship, but it's early days and you won't win every game.

You would think that playing in front of an away crowd would be more difficult, but that's not been the case for AFCB so far. It is the quietness of Dean Court that has become a bit more of a hazard for the players who have struggled to reach last season's heights at home. I wonder if already some fans have become a bit over expectant on what the team can do in games and may have forgotten that they need to play a part, as they have done so well in the past to give the team that extra momentum to succeed.

Winning has become a bit of a habit in Eddie Howe's two year second reign as we have all seen. The figures speak for themselves - 52W, 22D and just 29L. But if we want that record to remain as strong or get even better it is important that we all continue to come to home games and gives as much vocal support as we can to the 11 players on the pitch.

The club still has a massive disadvantage compared to the financial clout of the fallen Premier League sides in the Championship and the kind of gates that they can attract. If people have been staying at home because of finances I can understand, but with record shirt and merchandise sales I can't see that being the whole story. Topping the league at the start of the season saw attendances well over 10,000, but since then they have fallen to a low of 8480 for the visit of Rotherham, and even the last match at home against Wigan only pulled in 8754 fans, last season that fixture saw a crowd of 9097. I don't believe that fans are tiered of the Championship, and you can't really blame it on the weather as it's only been of late that winter has started to come in.

Last season, it was the Tuesday night match at home against Huddersfied that saw the lowest gate for one of AFCB's league games at 7258, but only that match and the Barnsley Tuesday night fixture fell below 8000. All Saturday games last season were higher than 9000 with the one exception of the Doncaster game that was 8983. So Saturday fixtures are not as strong as they might be this season, but it is the sound that I notice has been quieter. I am sure some big home wins and a climb up the table would raise the statistics, but if they do not start to rise, then it could bring into question how much the club really does need a permanent and bigger stand at the South End?

At least Charlton fans are coming down in numbers for this next match. They sold their allocation of 1424 tickets several days ago. We can't blame the away fans if the gate is not full on Saturday, but the price of watching football is out stretching the cost of living as the BBC's report revealed this week.

What do you think about the attendances at Dean Court? Are they down because of results or are prices really starting to keep people away? Get involved in the discussion with the MatchChat comment tool below. 

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