A letter to supporters on the Fill The Valley initiative

Please see below a letter to supporters from Commercial Director, Wayne Mumford.

The letter includes:

  • An explanation of why Filling The Valley is important to the club, to bring new supporters to The Valley to help the club's growth
  • An understanding that the first team playing winning football is vitally important to Filling The Valley
  • A recognition that some of the Fill The Valley activity has caused frustration for season-ticket holders and an apology for that
  • An explanation that the club is listening to supporters and adjusting activity accordingly
  • Details of increased consultation with supporters around the Fill The Valley initiative and how they can get in touch with the club
  • Information on additional activity being undertaken by the club to manage and support the initiative

Dear Charlton supporters,

When our Fill The Valley (FTV) initiative began back in November against Plymouth Argyle, we extended an invite to our season-ticket holders to bring friends and family to join us at The Valley, and we saw an incredible response. We had our largest attendance of the season. The Valley atmosphere was incredible and played an important part in helping us pick up three points. 

Since then, we’ve continued the initiative, and implemented several new ideas to engage new fans, as well as activity that has been beneficial for the club in past campaigns. As we've all experienced, some of the actions implemented have been more successful than others. 

We would like to sincerely apologise for any frustration that supporters, particularly our loyal and dedicated season-ticket holders, have experienced with our FTV activities. We are listening and giving attention to ensure any future ticket allocations are managed closely so there is no disruption to our valued supporters’ matchday experience.  

A few images on social media recently gave the impression that FTV is about dumping tickets at random locations without any intention of engaging people who may eventually become Charlton supporters. It was unfortunate to see how things unfolded so negatively on social media. We presented a series of 200 tickets to a community group that we have worked with for many months. These were intended to enable 200 residents in the local Nepalese community to come to a game to introduce them to a matchday at The Valley. The attempt to distribute these tickets through a social media post, was well-intended by them, but we are working with them to find methods that ensure the tickets are provided to specific community members who they were intended for, in hopes that many of them might return and purchase tickets for a future game. The community group who received the tickets have since apologised, as they didn't expect the post would draw such negative attention. With more guidance from us and controls around ticket distribution, this should not be a concern going forward. We have also assured this group that we will continue to support their community during our FTV initiative, as we would like them to be part of our fanbase.

We've worked with a couple of schools and grassroots football clubs to help with more control around the ticket offers to new students, teachers and athletes to prevent tickets from being shared with people who may not actually attend the game.  

We all recognise that Filling the Valley will be much easier as things improve on the pitch and that is a top priority for the club – our first team playing good, exciting, winning football. We also know that it is still important to our growth and future as a club to bring in supporters who are new to Charlton. We are intently focused on becoming a club that is stable, successful and sustainable. 

This season, we've seen that bigger crowds can and do help the galvanise the team. Supporters create a great atmosphere and it makes an incredible difference. The more supporters in the stadium, cheering on the team, the more the whole club benefits.

Season-ticket holders were an important part of our initial steps to FTV, but we mis-stepped by not continuing to engage you more fully in recent weeks. We want to assure all season-ticket holders, we want you to play a role in rebuilding the club and building our domestic and international fanbase. 

With all of this in mind, as a club we are immediately implementing the following:

• We will hold a series of meetings at The Valley with season-ticket holders to hear your concerns, thoughts and ideas on Filling the Valley. To register your interest in attending please email fans@cafc.co.uk

• We will send out a survey to all season-ticket holders, so all have the opportunity to share feedback even if they are unable to attend a meeting in person 

• FTV will be a topic that we cover during our club’s next Fans’ Forum, which is set to meet on Friday, March 18th. Click here for information on contacting your supporter representative

• We are reengaging the FTV working group, which met once last year and was influential in the initial success around the Plymouth Argyle game

We have also undertaken the following steps to implement all future FTV initiatives:

• Consulting with individuals with years of ticketing expertise and experience at a variety of clubs to help with the club’s FTV ticketing strategy

• Expanding our marketing department staff, to help us engage more directly with supporters

• Capping the number of tickets allocated for FTV. Ticket distributions will be targeted to select schools, universities, grassroots football clubs/camps, key workers and local community groups

• Adjusting the seating areas where these tickets will be offered, so they do not directly impact season-ticket holders and fill areas of the stadium that have previously gone unpurchased

• Putting processes in place to ensure direct follow-up with those attending to engage future interest in purchasing matchday tickets

More consistent communication with supporters and working collaboratively with fans is something that is important to the club owner and staff – it is something we will continue to do and we will make it a top priority. When there is a concern or idea, we invite you to share this directly with our fan adviser fanadviser@cafc.co.uk, or email the club directly at fans@cafc.co.uk

We are also setting up a Fan Engagement Twitter handle, to help with our responsiveness on social media. However, if you have issues that need to be resolved, contacting the club by email, allows for more in-depth back and forth, allowing us to remedy situations that arise. Your collective support for the club and for Filling The Valley is very much appreciated.

Wayne Mumford

Commercial Director

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