|[Blog] Bums on Seats or Cash in the Bank?|
Written by DurhamTownFan on Monday, 26th Mar 2012 17:00
Is our football club being run as a business? Can anybody ever actually make any money from running a football club? If not, then are fans being treated in the manner with which they might deserve?
I thought about these two issues a lot on the way home from the recent game with Peterborough and thought about writing a blog there and then.
However, I was a bit too worried that it was going to sound like a flat moan after we’d just won a thoroughly exciting victory. Thankfully, today’s announcement regarding ticket pricings for the future home match with Millwall seems to have provoked much discussion, and has now persuaded me to complete the following blog!
As my username suggests, I live in Durham in the north-east. Work commitments and travel times mean that I only get to watch Ipswich around four or five times a year (often away). My prolonged absences from Portman Road do, however, mean than I might sometimes notice things that more regular fans take for granted, or might come to accept.
The one thing that struck most firmly during my recent recent trip, was the ‘business-ification’ of visiting Portman Road (excuse this terrible word I just made up), and there are several angles to this; all of which are relevant to the recent Millwall announcement.
Firstly, it cost me £62.00 to buy two tickets to watch Town against Peterborough. That’s sixty-two pounds, to watch two mid-table Championship sides. On top of this, it cost me a shocking £4.20 to get a cup of tea for myself and my girlfriend at half-time!
I’ve done a bit of research while watching regular games around Durham. For £74.00, two people can watch Newcastle against Chelsea. Not only is there a heightened sense of glamour about this fixture, but the football on offer was pretty good, too.
For £50.00 you can get two seats for Sunderland at home to Tottenham on 7 April. A friend of mine has a season ticket there, and recently got me two FREE tickets to watch Sunderland stuff the Canaries, 3-0 (and I did not only enjoy this because I hadn’t paid!).
I compare this with the situation at Ipswich not to moan, but to gain a bit of perspective. While Sunderland give tickets away for free, Ipswich season ticket-holders must pay £7.50 for extra seats against Barnsley, although this is still a pretty good offer in my book.
What about the Millwall game? Well this, and the Boro match are being offered for £20.00, and I have certainly read plenty of comments below both TWTD stories on this, that some fans think this is too high a price to pay for either fixture.
I think it should be said that any football club are totally at liberty to charge whatever they like to get in and watch the team. However, the situation at Ipswich worries me. One comment on the Millwall story righty noted that our average attendances have fallen virtually year on year since 2004-5, from over 25,000 in that year, to below 20,000 last season.
Against Peterborough, just above 17,000 came in-that’s only just over half of the total capacity of the stadium. The conclusion must be reached, that while the team stagnates on the pitch, the situation off it does not bode well. The club is losing the loyalty of its fans. Prices continue to rise, which will only result in fewer and fewer bodies through those magnificently-painted new blue turnstiles.
‘What is all this moaning getting at?’ you might ask. I very strongly believe that Ipswich Town FC is losing its appeal. Although you might argue that this is an isolated case, I bring the example of a close friend who recently exchanged the seat that he’d held at Ipswich for 10 years for one at the nearest club in the Ryman League Division One. He now won’t go to Ipswich a) because it’s too expensive and b) because the games are nowhere near exciting enough!
Ipswich fans (and I among them) may be fairly criticised for harking back to former glories, but I remember when I could go and watch Town as a kid for £5 with my Dad who paid £20. This same trip would now set you back £42, and even more if you want to just turn up on the day: this is quite frankly out of range for most families in the current climate, as shown by the emptiness of the ‘family enclosure’ at the recent Peterborough game, with parents and children seemingly choosing to spend that particular Saturday elsewhere.
Commentators below stories on TWTD’s website are right in arguing that our attendances were only so high 10 years ago because the team was in the Premier League and that once the team improves, the fans will return in numbers. However, I would argue that based on where we are right now (an established mid-table side with a proud history but showing inconsistent form for five years now), those in charge of the club need to do more to show that they care about their fan base.
If they can reduce tickets to £20 and make a profit for one home game, why not do this for ALL home games, and expand our core following? If season tickets have to be cheapest of all the options, why not lower them and get bums on seats?
At Sunderland, you can get one for £400: at Ipswich you can’t get one below £390. Although at Ipswich this gets you four extra home games, based on current form, opposition and entertainment value, I would suggest that this is optimistic, to say the least!
Why not keep this year's kit on for next year, and sod the rest of the clubs who change theirs each season? Why not reduce the sale price of this year's kit to something reasonable below the £21.99 that it currently costs? (Let’s face it, if you were going to pay that much you’d have gotten it earlier). Last year’s kit can still be bought online, but who is going to rekindle those glory days for £10 per shirt?
In today’s world, almost every football club is run like a business. However, in order to do this successfully, some perspective is needed. Ipswich Town are not Manchester United, hell, we’re not even Sunderland, Newcastle or even Norwich City right now (shame to admit!).
I’m very sorry if this sounds like another moany blog when the form of the team is picking up considerably, but I’m very interested to hear what people think about this, as its an issue current season-ticket holders will be facing soon, if not now.
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
Blogs by DurhamTownFan
Blogs 286 bloggers
A Curious Hat-Trick by JC62
I’ll straight away advise you that the following might not be what you’re used to reading on an Ipswich Town website. I have to confess that I’m a lifelong Fulham fan and my usual scribblings are carried on the Fulham Focus website. However I achieved a curious hat-trick by attending Saturday’s game and thought my own little trip down memory lane might be of interest.
The Swinging Sixty by ElephantintheRoom
Sixty years ago this year Town won the top division, so if you look upon your relationship with Ipswich Town as some sort of marriage this year marks the diamond jubilee of that remarkable achievement.
Five Reasons to Be Optimistic and Five Reasons to Remain Cautious by adamisablue2
Just after Conor Chaplin crashed home his penalty and Town's fourth against Gillingham on Saturday, I turned to my friends in the stand and uttered the [probably] famous last words of “the road to Wembley starts here boys!”
Big Club, Little Club by ElephantintheRoom
When I first started regularly going to Portman Road, Town had recently won the league as ‘upstart country cousins’.
Moans About Loans by ElephantintheRoom
Christmas came early for Town supporters with the surprising appointment of a manager who may actually have a future in the game.