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Plenty Of Tickets Left For The Manchester United Game
Wednesday, 18th Aug 2021 10:17

Usually the one of two fixtures that always sells out at St Mary's is the Manchester United Game, but this year is different and with four days to go until the game there are still plenty of seats left in all areas.

As mentioned in a previous article back in July an FSA Survey of football supporters (Link Below) suggested that around 25% of fans would not be happy to return to football stadiums on day one of the football season.

https://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/southampton/news/55309/fsa-survey-suggest

In Southampton terms that means that they could expect a crowd of around 22-24 thousand in the ground depending on the size of the away support.

Those predictions were not wholly accurate at the weekend where many Premier League grounds saw virtually full houses, Leicester had a full house for their game against Wolves, and most other grounds were around 90-95% full.

Only Burnley were below that figure the 16,000 attendance V Brighton being around 75% of their capacity, although it should also be noted that Manchester United were around 4,000 short of a full house for their game against Leeds, not a lot in percentage terms, but in numbers it is a significant amount of tickets unsold.

But as I write it looks like Saints will be following Burnley in registering an attendance far lower in percentage terms than the rest of the clubs in the Premier League on the opening weekend.

This is worrying in that Burnley were playing Brighton, this would usually be an attendance of around 18,000, so the drop isn't too drastic from what would be the norm, their fixture against us two years ago on opening day attracted 19,784.

But a look at the Saints online ticketing site does not make happy reading, there are swathes of seats in most parts of the ground and as we stand I would estimate that there are around 6,000 seats available as of Wednesday morning.

This is unheard of for a game against one of the big clubs and it does not bode well when one of the smaller teams in the Premier League visits, if you can't sell Manchester United out then what hope is there for the rest.

It isn't the pricing structure, although the cheapest seats have sold out there are plenty of adult seats available at £45 which is a on a par with the price that most clubs would sell a ticket at for the game against Manchester United, indeed in the family section an adult and under 16 ticket is a combined price of £60.

It should be noted that there are only 3 games in the category A band this season.

Although ticket prices for Premier League games are far too high in general, we can't use this as an excuse, as Burnley aside most of the other clubs have no problems selling tickets at the same prices as this.

There will be some who point to the game being televised and on a Sunday, again in the past this was no obstacle to games selling out and with the Premier League in it's 29th season, most of those going these days will not nothing other that a fixture list that is fluid over the weekend, even someone in their late 50's will have watched football with games on a Sunday and a Monday that they did do when it was always a 3pm Saturday kick off.

The stark truth is there is just a general apathy surrounding Southampton Football Club at the moment, it is hard to find a message board or social media that is not full of rants about the club or at best just a penchant for running it down.

This has been going on since the summer of 2014 when the meltdown started after the sale of some big names, it has continued since even though in all but one season when we did fight a relegation battle in 2017/18 it has been mid table finishes in half of our seasons and top 10 in the other half since we returned to the top flight.

This has all come to ahead this season where it seems that a section of our support can find nothing good to say about the club, even an FA Cup semi final is not seen as an achievement, some see it as something to knock the club about because we had didn't have a shot on target during the game, yet didn't make provision for the fact that Leicester themselves only had one shot and actually won the final with their only shot on target.

Somewhere along the line it has to stop otherwise this club will end up where it did in 2009, back in League One, clubs are nothing without their supporters.

This is not a rant against the majority of Saints supporters, we have a hardcore of around 22,000 who will go through thick and thin, but we will be missing 8,000 from two years ago when we last had supporters in the ground.

You will find plenty of fans at other clubs who have a gripe with the way their club is run, but that hasn't stopped them buying season tickets or going to the games, ask a Newcastle fan what he thinks of Mike Ashley but it didn't stop him going on Sunday.

Ask a Burnley fan what they think about their new American owners who bought the club for £200 million and then leveraged the club to get their money and overnight put £200 million debt on their club.

Things are not great at Saints at present, but they could be far worse, be careful what you wish for as Burnley fans did.

Gao is an easy target, but in truth what has he done that different from Markus Liebherr ? like our much loved former owner he has run the club as a business. But it is much easier to run it as a business in League One than it is in the Premier League.

I will attract the usual people who will read this and tell me I am sticking up for the club etc etc, but not one of them can give me a solution other than a rich billionaire coming in and there aren't that many of them around who want to buy football clubs, most of whom are in far more debt than us due to the Covid crisis.

Essentially I am a supporter of Southampton Football Club, I want it to do well, since I started going in the 1970's I have been aware of the financial constraints we and most other clubs have to work under, there has never been a magic formula, club owners come and go, in the 1990's Blackburn had the richest owner in the Premier League, where are they now !

On Sunday I would love to see a full house at St Mary's I would love to see an atmosphere of passion and support for the club in a difficult time, perhaps I will see that though, back in 2009 we had to get back to basics, back to 20,000 attendances with just the hard core sticking behind the club, perhaps the only way forward will be for that to happen again.

Photo: Action Images



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highfield49 added 11:00 - Aug 18
I can't help but think that a lot of regular supporters just can't face another 9-0, or worse, defeat Nick. Had the team not capitulated to an average Everton side last weekend tickets might be shifting a bit quicker. Agreed, a core of supporters will follow the team regardless but there are an awful lot of fair weather followers who have lost their enthusiasm. When the game allows league competitors to spend £100m plus on one player whilst we're hoping the club can stay afloat if we buy a Championship player for £5m to £10m it's not an attractive package. Sad to say I fear Sunday's game could be like watching a public execution and that's not going to sell tickets to the victims family.
10

wrathoftazz added 11:04 - Aug 18
Gutted me and the kids won't be there (on holiday) but we are there, week in and week out.

With that being said, how do u expect people, fans or supporters to be passionate, when even the players can't be bothered? They turn up (players) cash their chqs and leave again.

Gao isn't the problem... the manager is the problem... how many 9nil defeats can fans be expected to sit through? And let's face it, with Ralph at the helm, anything less than a 9nil drubbing this weekend, will be classed as a great day at the office by Ralph.

Just watch the B team.. you will see the SAME tactics, philosophy and eagerness as the 1st team.. no wonder they also lose. Then, as like clockwork, a player comes out, "we will learns and move forwards".

Fans, no matter how long they have been fans, get bored with the SAME excuses, for the same performances. Fans can see the errors (tactics, subs, etc), fans can see what's going to happen (first half great, 2nd half like watching under 11s) so why is it, its only the manager who can't?

To get the fans back, there needs to be a belief... to keep the fans, we need consistency (positive NOT current). Fans want to be thrilled and get involved... very difficult when you know what's coming. How do u justify £60 for 90mins of utter crud, when you could spend that £60 on a day at Paultons?

Bottom line.. we need Ralph out and a fresh face in. We need an overhaul of the club, we are not going to get a billionaire owner, but will be relegated, unless changes are made.
6

saintmark1976 added 11:06 - Aug 18
Perhaps my own experience may be relevant as to why Sunday’s game shows every expectation of not selling out Nick.

I pay for two season tickets and live thirty odd miles away from the stadium. Toward the end of the “early bird” ticket window I telephoned the ticket office with a view to giving them my card number to pay for season 2021/22. I telephoned on three separate occasions but my calls remained unanswered. I left a message with supporter relations asking for a call back as I also wanted to purchase a car parking space, again no response.

An unnecessary journey was then made to St Mary’s ticket office and I spoke with a very helpful man who took my money for two season tickets and a car parking space. He assured me that all three documents would be with me by early August. To date I have received nothing.

If my experience is similar to others who want to commit to the club then I’m not in the least surprised that they can’t sell out.

13

stmichael added 12:02 - Aug 18
The club is so disconnected from the fan base at the moment.
I predicted this a while ago and hate to think what the season ticket sales are.
Most of us haven't even got our tickets yet for Sunday - shambolic.
I expect nothing but pain on Sunday but am prepared to go through it.
Thousands obviously are not..
6

SanMarco added 12:02 - Aug 18
There may also be the issue that non-regulars do not expect to get a ticket for this one. Perhaps this article will spread the news and sales will take off.

I am not surprised at a certain air of pessimism and world-weariness among the fans. This calendar year has been awful. Last season was nearly a relegation struggle (and the display in the semi was hardly uplifting) and we have now sold what many neutrals would say were our two best players. Also, it was unfortunate that the Everton defeat was so like many of last season's displays. We all hope a new season turns a new chapter but Saturday felt like the same old.

Others can play the blame game - I remain a life-long fan but a fairly subdued and pessimistic one. Maybe a free prozac with each ticket sale?? (apologies to sufferers of real depression.)
6

barry_sanchez added 12:42 - Aug 18
People quite simply have better things to do, if we were winning in a lower division we'd have great attendances, people like winning football irrespective of results, we've lost so so many games the last few years and especially at home it would feel like constant purgatory so an away game is at least a chance to see a new place and get on the ale.
Add to the club has been run down over the last 5 years on the cheap, been playing crap football and have set out no plans or goals people/fans/customers will watch it on the balg with cheap and stick 2 fingers up to the club, if they're not arsed why should the fans?
1

PaleRider added 14:56 - Aug 18
Put very simply - watching Saints just isn't enjoyable at the moment. I've supported Saints for over 50 years but I struggle to remember such a gutless performance from the club both on and off the pitch over such a sustained period. In addition I feel increasingly disconnected from PL football - maybe I'm just getting old and grouchy.
4

Colburn added 15:47 - Aug 18
I agree there was some scepticism after the departure of Koeman. We dropped 15 points with the unknown Puel, who was negative and took us backwards finishing with 48 points. Yes a final and at least we had some organisation but also had Fonte and VD. Neither he nor the following two managers filled the fans with hope or expectation and it appeared the club was losing its direction. Enter Ralph and there was some optimism given his recent track record. With Rohl it looked like we had a plan, a style and passion with the gegenpress looking exciting and attacking. We then lost Rohl and since then, have not looked like we've had a clue with how to attack teams or adjust tactics mid-game. Ralph is trying to find solutions blind as the gegenpress has holes in it if you don't have the right players for it. The big names have gradually lost faith and even a Saints fan being offered the best club contract ever wanted out ASAP and settled for a move to Villa, also a selling club.
The phrase 'we win or we learn' has not applied since the Utd home game last year as we did neither for the rest of the season.. Continually making the same mistakes without proactivity or at times reactivity. Last week was a snapshot of this last 10 months of failure and the key positions we need to strengthen have not been addressed. We've in fact become weaker at centre back with no ideas it seems of how to rectify the issue.
When you add the abject failures in achieving simple aspects of running a club, tickets, replica shirts etc, it is of no surprise that we have 6,000 seats unsold. I'm surprised it is that few.. Maybe all the local Utd fans will buy them up. The club are clearly very disconnected with the fans currently and they need to resolve it quickly.
6

felly1 added 17:09 - Aug 18
SaintMark 1976 we had similar issues getting through to the club on the phone and we gave up in the end and had to go down to the stadium.
When do we win at home??
Very occasionally is the answer and it's been that way for a number of years now. It's not like the old Dell where we were virtually invincible. Yes we were poor on the road but at least we went home happy for the home games.
It's terrible to admit this but I go up there with my son with a sense of defeat and despair even before the game has started as the outcome has become so predictable.
Love to see a way out of this depressing reality!!
6

mattthelegend added 17:30 - Aug 18
Sad to say it, but he has lost the dressing room and this is has been reflected in our performances, maybe it’s time Ralph left. Really wanted him to succeed but doesn’t look like he is going to.
3


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