Sometimes the small things matter, as often they say a lot about the bigger picture. And for me, this ‘small thing’ makes me angry (and disappointed). We were recently invited to ‘cement our place in Charlton’s history and become part of the stadium itself’, by purchasing an inscribed stone in Addicks Place, and more recently to view the first stage of its implementation before the Inverness Caledonian Thistle friendly.
Now when I first saw the offer on the club site there was a note of concern. ‘Excuse me, I purchased a brick some years ago, on pretty much the same basis (to cement my place etc). It’s still there, I check it from time to time.’ My concern was based around how the named bricks in place would be treated (would they even be removed?), but I thought ‘no, give the club the benefit of any doubt, perhaps there will be something on the site about the bricks in place, some reassurance, perhaps some offer to upgrade to the new displays’. I’ve heard nothing.
So I took a look yesterday. The new stones do look good and the area well presented (and believe me I have absolutely no axe to grind with people who’ve paid for their new stones and those who intend to have one in the second phase). But did someone at the club not think for a minute that there are people out there who paid for bricks before, perhaps we can spruce them up a bit, give them a clean etc, to make it all look good. If anyone did nothing happened. Some of the bricks are unreadable; some are covered up by a bloody red carpet stretching outside the main entrance. Basically nobody has given a monkeys about the bricks, and those who paid for them. Why care? There’s no fresh money coming from them. Well I care. My brick has the name of my (deceased) father, a lifelong Addick, and I.
A more sympathetic club might have considered the feelings of those with bricks in place. A simple reassurance at the time of the Addicks Place offer that they will be respected would have been nice (if one was added I’m wrong and apologise but I didn’t see anything and was looking). Why not offer a package for those with bricks who might like to upgrade? ‘Oh, forget them, we’ve got their money’. If those bricks are now felt to be in the wrong (or inconvenient) place, by all means contact those who paid for them (the details must still be lying around somewhere, or a general note on the site to ask these people to get in touch) and offer some alternative. ‘Nah, why bother? It will only cost us time and money to contact people, dig up the bricks and put them somewhere else.’
This may be unfair on the club, perhaps an over-reaction. But it outlines how the club made me feel yesterday, angry and disappointed. Charlton doesn’t do that often to me; I’ll always be an Addick and accept being to some degree exploited because of that, it’s a trade-off for the benefits. But as things stand the club said to me it just doesn’t care – unless I’ve more money to hand over.
Please clean (perhaps even redo the lettering) the bricks that are unreadable and please do not show total indifference to the people who paid for them by covering them up with a carpet. Simple, small things, easily avoided with a little thought. I hope this simple, small thing really doesn’t say something about the club I support.