Good Post. About as long as my university dissertationI have to say that I think the idea of championship football is a bit of a pipe dream. Football is a broken business that seems to operate outside all the usual conventions of business however, despite this, there doesn't look like there's any liklihood of that changing, so it's difficult to see how we could ever sustain life in the championship.
In my lifetime and indeed the club's, only once have we managed to survive longer than 3 years in the third teir, and doing that now is harder financially than its ever been, so a target of achieving that should be our main focus.
I have to admit that in purely football terms I'm not really that ambitious, football for me has always been about the experience, and I'm not sure that has changed much whatever league we've been in. My ambition for our club is centred far more in becoming as professional and well set up in terms of facilities and structures, and the progress towards that over the last few years has been nothing short of incredible and will go a long way towards giving us the best shot at establishing a sustained L1 position. By becoming an established L1 side, I mean that we are in a position where it is most likely that we are unlikely to drop down a league an generally a top half team and were we to drop down would be one of the favourites to go straight back up again. But where were are more like to be challenging near the top of L1.
As I said, football for me is about the experience and full stadiums play big part of that and I'm aware that the product on the pitch plays a huge part in achieving that. For me the standard in L1 is generally good and provides good entertainment. So were we able to maintain our position over several seasons, I don't think it's unreasonable for us to be able to regularly bring in home crowds of around, 8000, which isnt currently realistic in terms of capacity, so I feel we will need to do something about this.
It doesn't appear that a new stadium is really a realistic possibility, so I think we would need to look at ways to increase capacity at SJP by a couple of thousand. I feel there are possibilities for this by utilising the whole footprint of the away end and building higher, plus looking at ways of filling in the 3 corners that don't have railway issues. However there are enormous obstacles to achieving this, and aside from the nightmares involved with agreeing planning consent, would be vastly expensive and well beyond achievable at present. The ground would no doubt look very bitty as a result, personally I don't mind this, I've never been overly wedded to uniformity, but it would produce the kind of polished bowl type stadium that appears to be in favour generally. If we were able to overcome the many challenges involed make any of the changes I mentioned, it would obviously have to be done in several stages no doubt over many years though, so I think quick progress towards the goals is simply not going to happen.
So for the moment I think we need to get our feet back on the ground, forget about the championship, and concentrate on establishing ourselves on the first of these goals, which is being a stable L1 side, something we have never previously achieved.