Charlton face AFC Wimbledon this evening and already the gloom and doom merchants are out forecasting that this will bring the home side's winless run to an end and even forecasting a 3-0 victory for them. If I was so pessimistic I would have to stop actively supporting the club. As it is, I encounter more negativity in relation to Charlton than any other aspect of my life.
Wimbledon get very favourable treatment because they are seen as a fan owned club and a model for the lunatics taking over the asylum elsewhere. However, it should be noted that they have a very prosperous fan base and have also sold bonds with a very attractive coupon.
Charlton does have some moderately prosperous fans and when Peter Varney was chief executive tried to get money from some of them. A friend of mine then in the music industry was invited to The Valley for lunch. He was told that for an unspecified sum, presumably five figures, he could ask for something like a five year free season ticket with lounge access.
At my non-league club the approach is more unsophisticated. The chairman rang me up and said that the drains on the training pitch were knackered and could I send over a few k in exchange for shares which I donated to the supporters' trust.
The problem with buying shares in a football club is that there are generally few tax benefits. If I could have found some way of reducing February's one off £40k tax bill, I would have been delighted. (Try and make sure you have not exceeded your lifetime allowance before you reach 75). However, my family would certainly have something to say if I started handing over significant sums to a football club, given that they see my support for Charlton as a harmless eccentricity at best. My father certainly gave me a mixed inheritance when he started supporting the club almost 100 years ago.
At home Wimbledon are draw specialists, having won just two and drawn eleven. My hunch is that a draw will be the outcome tonight. Away from home Charlton have scored just 19 goals, although five teams in the division have a worse record. Charlton are currently mid-table in the form table while Wimbledon are second from bottom.
There is a lot riding on this game for the Wombles and not that much for Charlton even though we are not mathematically safe.