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O'Neill: Season Ticket Announcement on Wednesday
Monday, 15th Apr 2019 10:49

Town general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill has revealed that season ticket prices for 2019/20, the Blues’ first campaign in the third tier for 62 years, will be announced on Wednesday.

O’Neill was speaking in an in-depth interview with Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk’s breakfast show this morning (from 1hr 10mins 10secs).

“We’re going to be coming out on Wednesday with that,” O’Neill said. “The club will make an announcement on Wednesday regarding the season tickets.”

Asked whether the news are likely to put smiles on faces, with price cuts of around 15-20 per cent believed to have been under consideration, he added: “I very much hope so, we’ve gone through a lot of consultation, we’ve listened and spoken to a lot of people.

“[Season ticket holders] are really important for us for next season and we need their support more than ever.”

Town had 10,200 season ticket holders this season, a total which was up on the previous campaign.

O’Neill reiterated his March comments regarding the hit the business side of the club will take from relegation which the club expects to total £9 million.

Media money alone will drop by £6-£7 million, which has been about 40 per cent of total revenue in recent seasons, while commercial income, sponsorship and gate receipts are also set to be reduced.

Player wages will be cut in line with clauses included in contracts, while the Blues will have to adhere to League One’s SCMP Financial Fair Play rules, which stipulate that player wages can’t be any more than 60 per cent of turnover, 75 per cent in the first year down from the Championship, although with three-year contracts signed before September of the relegation year and those of young pros aged under 21 not counting towards the cap.

“We will look at all areas of the club,” O’Neill said when asked about how the reduction in income will be addressed. “It’s very unfortunate because we find ourselves in this situation [that] as part of the football business side of the club we will have to look at areas that we might have to streamline.

“And there might be some other sides of the business that might need to make more investment in.

“Any kind of business operating in a situation like we’re in now would would have to look at all of those areas to make sure the club is stable going forward.”

Owner Evans issued an apology to fans yesterday and also outlined his plans for the future with younger players forming a key element.

“I think it’s an important point to make, we’re talking about young players, not just the youth players [coming through the academy], it’s young players in general,” O’Neill added. “Our recruitment policy will be around young players.

“We have got some really good young players in the club, they need time to develop and they need help, they can’t do that [on their own], so that’s where the likes of our senior players will help those senior players in the games and they need to play.

“We’ve already seen over the course of this season when they’ve been given opportunities they underperform sometimes to what they’re capable of and then sometimes they overperform, they excite you and they make you feel proud again. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride with some of the younger players.

“With Marcus, he’s making continuing investment as he’s always done, I think what’s important to highlight is that we are looking really at the next three to four years of those younger players and making sure we have a core of a team.”

O’Neill says promotion in the first year back will be the aim: “That is the plan, we will be doing that and Marcus will be making investments into the areas where we don’t have players coming through or they’re not up to the standard we require. Then investment will be made into the team.”

The former Blues youth player, who still retains his role as academy manager despite having taken on his new position towards the end of last year, had praise for the Blues’ support, who he felt helped delay confirmation of the club’s relegation.

“The situation on Saturday might have occurred a few weeks before that it if it wasn’t for the fans,” he said. “They’ve kept the players going and all the staff and will be a real core part of the club going forward.

“When you look at the season in general, obviously the amount of change that we had from last season, and they’ve stuck by that and the point has been made about entertaining football and them enjoying the games and I think that has been an area that we have tried to make improvements on.

“It’s taken time and unfortunately we haven’t got enough results. And it is a results business, we haven’t got enough points on the board and that’s why we find ourselves in the position we are in today.”

Asked where the season went wrong and whether signing too many League One players was a big factor, O’Neill reflected: “I think it’s difficult to point at one single incident that caused the problem we’re in today. I think it’s a cumulation, we’ve got to look at everything and learn from all of those areas.

“Yes, we were in a situation last year when we needed to look at a new way forward for the club and there was a lot of change. That would be players coming in and players going out.

“I’m not going to comment on the decisions on why players have left the building, but a lot of new players did come in and they take time to settle.”

Too many new players? “A lot of players did come in. But they were needed because there were a number of players who didn’t necessarily want to be part of the new plan going forward.

“We [were] in a situation where we had to bring in some players to make sure we had the squad that could be competitive this year in the Championship.

“If you’ve watched most of the games this year, although we haven’t had the results to win, we’ve definitely been head-to-head and been really competitive with most of the teams in the Championship.

“I think we’ve had something like 16 draws and that’s not good enough. You can’t that number of games we had to get more wins. That’s the difference from being in the relegation zone [and being safe].”

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Edmundo added 14:15 - Apr 15
I would come back as a season ticket holder if it was £250, and if there's super cheap kids' STs I'd get them too. We have to look long term: already lost thousands of young fans due to poor price structures. Take a leaf out of Huddersfield Town''s book from a few years ago.

essextractorboy93 added 14:19 - Apr 15
Would expect a reduction in prices of anywhere from 10 to 20%. I think we will be getting similar crowds next season to this season. Considering its one of the worst season's in our history and we must have averaged about 16,000, I think we have a solid core support.

If we start winning games and doing well the crowds will get bigger, just how it works, doesn't matter what league youre in.

Steve_D added 15:21 - Apr 15
can see ticket prices frozen , they will say this is technically a reduction , the happy flappy lot will defend it

JohnyJohnson added 15:27 - Apr 15
Edmundo agreed, so many fans simply staying away due to financial pressures of real life. Hate that football is all about greed and while I see the point that higher ticket prices are possible better for the clubs coffers, is there any guarantee they will make more money? A risk to reduce prices by 40% but fans need reward for the last 18 years. You never know reduced prices may bring in more revenue, but even if it doesn’t the atmosphere will be immense. Coyb!

therein61 added 16:26 - Apr 15
While interested as to how much my renewal will cost my main interest is to see how many off field jobs will be lost due to a squad of well paid underperforming players and the highest earners who in particular should show some compassion towards these poor people if as expected job losses occur

warkyisgod added 17:15 - Apr 15
i for one will be renewing next season no matter what as i am an ITFC supporter it doesn't matter what league we are in Ipswich is my club my only bug bear will be if they do what they did this year and reduce a game once a month as much as i want a full stadium i really don't think its fair on the fans who commit to the club season in season out to have this done to them. i really don't see them reducing the tickets by much but i hope they put some sweeteners in with cup tickets being thrown in for the first couple of rounds. i think the club also needs to take into consideration the away support it gets mainly for the fans who travel to every game not sure how this would work but there are a lot of people who spend a lot of money supporting our beloved club which again i think should be rewarded in some way. ITID

happybeingblue added 17:33 - Apr 15
25% off tickets and a big clear out of players who are not going to help our cause going forward,knudsen, adeyemi,huws,spence harsh but they would be the first 4 i would get off the wagebill,all the loanees gone too,should not be risking big wages on players who have a history of injuries

Bluefish11 added 17:43 - Apr 15
6 wins in 50+ home games! I am looking for my 2 x £500+ tickets to be substantially reduced before I reinvest again. That said, I am looking forward to next season and to seeing a youthful attacking team with a sprinkling of experience, but don't take the piss out of us with a measly 10% discount or I for one will not be renewing. Get out of our club Evens because we have gone home depressed for 45 of the last 50+ Portman Rd matches.

Saxonblue74 added 17:51 - Apr 15
Bluefish, you've paid around 1k for a season you haven't enjoyed. You're looking forward to a brighter, more exciting season driven by our youth next season but want to pay less for it?

Dissboyitfc added 21:28 - Apr 15
well said blueboy, cant believe you were marked down for suggesting true fans get behind the team.


we need to get behind the team and the team need to give us back in return!

Saxonblue74 added 23:17 - Apr 15
Dissboy, one of them is Bluearmy 81, anything positive will get a dose of his negativity whilst his "campaign" is gathering pace!

PMK added 07:53 - Apr 16
I’d rather have 20,000 people in my Stadium paying £15 who can maybe bring their kid(s) for a fiver than have 10,000 people paying £30.

This club has served up nothing but dreadful dire football for the last 5 years with pretty much zero entertainment.

Get the fans in, get the kids in and make it affordable. The more people in the ground the more match day revenue you will make. More beer sales, programmes, food and clubshop revenue.

Let the away fans in on the cheap aswell, get the atmosphere going and do everything you can to get people in the stadium. Again some of the smaller clubs will only be bringing a few hundred to visit Portman Road at £30-£40 a pop.

For once I hope a correct decision is made. I somehow doubt it tho.

blueboy1981 added 11:46 - Apr 16
Dissboyitfc .......... I can believe it - you only have to look at who they are, that's the logic of the beast -unfortunately.

blueboy1981 added 11:48 - Apr 16
Some would be better served with a Canary on their breast pocket - that's if there isn't already...... !!!

nathitfc89 added 13:11 - Apr 16
i have heard its 10%, i hope i am wrong. should be a set price for where ever you sit. £250/£300 maybe. this is the clubs chance to repay the fans. lets see what happens

Gazelle added 13:31 - Apr 16
Any idea what the ticket prices at Colchester are compared with ours.

Gazelle added 13:36 - Apr 16
Message to the morons who want Evans out after saving our Club from going bust and pouring in £millions every season.
Replace him with who..........?

Bert added 14:00 - Apr 16
Colchester's cheapest adult price is £353 and the dearest £461. Very dear for League 2 . Lots of other price categories for casuals and walk ups . The matchday expnerience is poor compared to PR.

ITFCsince73 added 21:03 - Apr 16
Must be bad....

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