Missing ! Four Thousand Saints Fans
Monday, 20th Sep 2010 10:42
Just under a month ago Saints V Orient attracted 21, 468 to St Mary's, just four weeks later and the visit of Colchester saw 17,857 as the official attendance, for those that want to be pedantic thats a deficit of 3,611 and to be blunt thats a hell of a drop in attendance.
Of course the situation at Saints is a major factor in this decrease but the worrying trend is that the crowd has decreased in each of the four home games so far.
At the end of last season optimism was high and Saints were in an ideal position to capitalise on the wave of support generated by Wembley, however the fact of the matter is we havent done that, but even worse we have actually moved backwards and alienated supporters.
A look at last seasons fixtures showed that Colchester also visited in September last year, back then 17,070 saw the game, yes this years attendance is slightly up on that, but to balance things out, this time last year we had approximately 2,000 season ticket holders less than we have now.
The gate on Saturday would have seen only around 3,500 - 4000 Saints fans buy a ticket for the game after taking into account season ticket holders and away fans and this is a low figure, in life many things are about perception and i feel that in this case the fans are percieving that the extra fees imposed on supporters buying individual tickets for games either on the internet, by phone or indeed on the day are putting fans off.
Whilst I accept that three of the opening four league games have not been attractive fixtures, our average is 19,805 already nearly 1,200 down on last season, to be blunt we have not capitalised on the roll after Wembley and due to ticketing policies both for season tickets and individual sales we are now on a downward curve thats compounded by our lack of corporate seating sales and this cant be good.
The club seem to have looked into trying to arrest this by offering season ticket holders the chance to buy tickets for the Dagenham & Redbridge game for £7.50, we have been down this road before and whilst anything to attract supporters back has to be considered, is it not just turning our season ticket holders into ticket touts ? anmd is it not actually unfair on that season ticket holder to be asked to pay more than the friend he is asking to come along, after all its the season ticket holder that he to buy the ticket so there is issue of time and cost of said ST holder getting the ticket.
Of course if we start winning the crowds will start to return, in football there is for the average fan rarely nothing wrong with his/her club that six straight wins wouldnt put right.
But if we dont win then the trend is downwards and in football once people stop coming on a regular basis, then its difficult to get them to return.
I want to see St Mary's full or at least as full as it can be, sadly I no longer see the buoyant mood of last season in place, in just under two weeks we play Bournemouth, Im sure the crowd will top 20k aided by 3,000 Bournemouth fans, but if we still havent won by that game, I dread to think what the crowd will be for the visit of Tranmere on the 9th October
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Letters from Wiltshire #47 by wessex_exile
Here we are, at the penultimate game of the season, and our last game in front of the cardboard U’s faithful at the JobServe. It has been a long, difficult, and definitely strange season, which frankly I’ll be glad to see the back of. That’ll we’ll be here again in August is definitely going to be something to celebrate, but I suspect we’re facing a summer of significant rebuilding both on the pitch, and possibly off it too. I won’t be the only one, but the biggest oddity for me has been being able to watch every single game – not always easy viewing, but something I’ve never done before, and probably never will again. But it doesn’t really make up for not being there in person, the long train journey away-days, meeting fellow U’s and other supporters, and of course sharing a beer or three. Fingers-crossed we can return to the terraces in 2021/22.
Letters from Wiltshire #46 by wessex_exile
That was quite a week for us all then. In the space of four short but remarkably tense days we have gone from having to take shoes and socks off to check how many more points we need to guarantee survival, or whether we would even achieve it, to breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing we’re almost there. But close of play this afternoon, whether by our own actions or the failure of others, I am sure survival will be confirmed. Of course, Tuesday night not only all but guaranteed it, it also virtually condemned local rivals Southend United to non-league football for the foreseeable. Looking at the host of fully professional former football league sides currently battling it out for the two promotion slots out of the National league (including Hartlepool, Torquay, Stockport, Wrexham, Chesterfield and Notts County), it is not going to be a walk in the park for Southend to return any day soon.
Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
Tonight, Colchester United face Southend United in what may not necessarily be the most important game of our respective histories (though it’s certainly very close), but is almost certainly the most important Essex derby ever. However this season pans out, by the end of it there’ll either be only one team in Essex, or worst case scenario, none at all. If the U’s win, then Southend will be 9pts behind with just three games to go, and a minimum of a -12 goal difference to overturn if they want to overtake us. Certainly mathematically possible, but that would rely on a remarkable turnaround in their form, form that they’ve shown precious little sign of achieving so far this season. The stalking horse is Grimsby, with their game in hand, who have rather belatedly shown an improvement in form, so their match against automatic promotion chasing Morecambe tonight is equally important, particularly if we want to avoid the unthinkable, with both Essex clubs dropping out of the league.
Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.
Letters from Wiltshire #43 by wessex_exile
Well, that has been a lively week for Colchester United in the press, and not least for Robbie Cowling, with not one, or two, but kind of three club announcements in rapid succession to try and put the record straight. First, we had Tribunalgate, which certainly looked very poor according to the initial press reports, but which on closer inspection when some of the ‘fact gaps’ were filled in wasn’t anywhere near the story that some would have us believe. Then of course we had the ‘leak’ that the U’s were about to go into administration, despite all the reassurances we’d been given in previous statements from Robbie. Not so said Robbie again, and particularly angry at what he believed to be the source of the story. Hence statement #3, repeating his assurances, but this time after passing through the lawyer filter to remove his thoughts on the source. To paraphrase Robbie’s conclusion to that statement, let’s hope we can all have a day off from this sort of media shenanigans and enjoy our game at Oldham tonight!
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