Attendances


#1

Certainly not criticising those that turn up week in week out because we do have a fantastic core support.

However unbeaten few points off top and we only rustle up 4000 home fans? I was also surprised the previous week with just 490 traveling to Barnsley!

Question is if the team performing well can’t pull fans through the gate what can ?


#2

Bonser selling.


#3

It’s an incurable malaise, if we were top of the Championship, unbeaten,
Ronaldo up front with a rich South African at the helm spending lavishly and improving Bescot so that it had Premiership facilities (even with chips)we would still get a miserly 4K through the turnstiles!
Except of course if we drew Manure or Liverpool at home in the 5th Round of the Cup (what’s a 5th round?) or we were to appear at Wembley, then suddenly 30,000 would be clamouring for tickets, go figure, it’s just something we just have to put up with. Even more galling when gates of 15/16K were regular attendances at Fellows Park in the olden days, mind you it did only cost 2/6d to get in!


#4

Ah, yes, but bear in mind that half a crown (2/6d) would get you a slap up meal in the Malt Shovel, several drinks during and afterwards, and the lady of your choice for dessert…


#5

Plus going to the pictures and having enough for the bus fare home!


#6

Results bring crowds. Always has always will. Takes more than a few early season wins too.

Add in the absurd pricing and Bonsor and there you have it.


#7

Ye agree with that , I always keep raising the pricing as an issue.


#8

Think we snookered ourselves on Early Bird. The leaked figures showed a significant shortfall. This was due to the seemingly hopeless Whitney being given even longer to show he wasn’t up to it.

The bounce that sales could have got after Keates was appointed didn’t happen because Early Bird was done and dusted and the feelgood factor wouldn’t have been enough for previous Early birders to pay full whack.

Then when you’ve been a season ticket holder it does suddenly dawn on you that paying match by match is an expensive past time.

I get why we didn’t reopen the Early Bird window. In reality it is an accounting mechanism to boost revenue in a financial year that doesn’t align with the football year.

But I do feel that we’re a few hundred down on a scenario that would have played out had the Whitney/Keates switch happened earlier.

To get thousands more would take a promotion and even then we would struggle to get 7,000 home fans.

December 2003. Reading at home. We were within touching distance of Championship play offs. Merson, Samways, Osborn, Emblen, Walker, Corica, Leitao. Christmas bank holiday to boot. Just over 8,000 with around 7,000 home fans.

I honestly believe it was at this moment the wheels came off. Jeff had opened his wallet to assemble a squad who could challenge. And yet we still had thousands of empty seats. The drawbridge went up, Lee lost interest because he had taken us as far as he could and his own overtures around investing had been dismissed. Paul Ritchie prevented from playing. So the senior pros lose motivation. Samways can’t be arsed to commute, Merson into rehab etc etc.

I think Jeff expected full houses most weeks that season and in a way I don’t blame him.

Which is why the only bit of Bescot I’d ever consider expanding would be the away endas it is the only bit that can’t accommodate demand a few times a season. And with all Championship clubs on course to average over 10,000 this season, our dreams of sustaining ourselves there look very very remote.


#9

For me when looking at attendance it wouldn’t be a big increase , I think getting 5000 home fans through the gates could make a huge difference.

I would of expected any other season to of achieved this by now off the back of a good start. It just seems the numbers aren’t budging.


#10

It took me over 5yrs to start watching them again,and even though I came to watch the Gillingham game,I wouldn’t say I’m back as a fulltime fan yet.It takes time,everyone has their own reasons for going to the match,they also have their own reasons for not going.It will take a couple of years of decent football to get fans to come back.I don’t think that even if we got in the premier league we would ever need to extend the stadium,unless it was for commercial reasons (i.e the stadium suite)just look at Bournmouth.


#11

Personally I think Bonser has tarnished the club with a reputation that the club is struggling to shake off.


#12

As others have pointed out before, we missed the early 90’s attendance boom owing to the fact that it was a godawful time to be a supporter - moveing from our spiritual home into a biscuit tin and getting financially bent over for the pleasure, a poor team and manager, doing badly in the bottom division etc.

I think even with another couple of Championship years we’d struggle to fill our place. In the modern climate with the way the odious Premier League utterly dominates everything, the way football is consumed (most ‘supporters’ will only ever watch their club on Sky/BT and aren’t seduced by the ‘real’ experience), the way kids growing up just want to be glory supporters (allied with the rise of the people who support ‘the Premier League’) I really do think that outside of a spell in the top-flight ourselves, we’re where we’ll always be gate-wise.

I think those great years from 1998-2004 made a lot of new younger fans for us, myself included. I worry what might happen in the future as the chances of promotion upwards slip ever further into the unlikely.


#13

You can’t fault the core support the club has but like the club has alluded to before ie the free season tickets, we have an ageing support and not many younger fans who, understandably are willing to pay more to watch Walsall than they would have to to watch our neighbours

Think the pricing structure is poor and could do with enticing these younger fans a bit more - we have no student category and like most clubs no 18-21 category, not to mention the junior tickets being considerably more expensive than most other clubs junior tickets


#14

Ticket prices are an issue , £24 for the upper on a match day . Very hard to drag a friend along with you with such prices.


#15

I’m sorry I simply don’t buy this attitude. It will never improve so why try?! That is nonsense.

If the football alone doesn’t get the supporters through the turnstiles it is another job of a proactive board to engage with the local community over a period of time and work on matchday offers that actually increase the attendances.

It can be done, there are a number of clubs that historically had less fans than us and they now double our attendances because of their marketing. Our pricing has always been fairly competitive but that isn’t enough, especially considering local competition.

Safe Standing was another missed opportunity that could have tempted a few more back - anything that costs them too much in the short term they are not interested in.


#16

As others have mentioned the price puts people off. But I don’t think we are unique in this.

I cant go regularly enough to justify buying a season ticket and then the cost of around £25 per game probably limits the amount of times I go even more.

Going to Oxford with my son Saturday and that was almost £40 before you factor in travel and food etc.


#17

I was watching a report on the BBC news about the gambling addiction and advertising during footie games. Some guy was saying the only way to feel involved was to bet during the games. I was screaming at the telly “GO AND WATCH YOUR LOCAL TEAM”
Don’t think he heard me though.:frowning_face:


#18

No amount won can beat your centre back thunderf***ing one into the roof of the net from a scrappy corner to make it a 2-1 win in the 93rd minute. Fact.


#19

Regards pricing I often have the conversation with my son (in particular) about how going to football used to be an incidental cost. I can never remember when I was younger, either as a boy or a young man (working, student, dole) ever having to hum and har as to whether I could afford it. The year I left school I was still paying a quid to get in at Fellows Park, and was earning about £100 a week. A program was 10p, pie about 50p, and a pint was about 50p. The whole thing cost a couple of quid, or if you wanted to go mad on the drink, a fiver. So that’s approximately 2-5% of my wage. All of my mates went to football regardless of whether they were on a YOP scheme or the dole, and most of them went to Villa or Wolves. It was cheaper to go to the match than to sit in the pub watching the racing with the old codgers.

Nowadays I earn about £400-450 a week (bit below average but not starving) and literally find it difficult to spend less than £50-100 on a match day no matter whether its Walsall, non-league, or premier league (and I regularly attend all 3). It gets to the stage like this week when I’m looking forward to having a week off so I havn’t got to find the cash! Daft thing is I can’t remember when this sea change occurred. All-seater stadia don’t help, but I think a lot of it is just the rip-off culture we live with that has just crept in and been thoroughly embraced by football clubs, and put up with by fans. I’m even suspicious of clubs that appear to make an effort, if its cheap to get in you can guarantee they’ll get you back by not allowing your kid to take his own pop and crisps in and the stewards will have been to the Adolph Hitler school of empathy etc. Its the same going to gigs, race meetings, same with train fares etc…crappy modern world!


#20

I probably bucked the trend and after 33 years of watching Walsall, I purchased my first season ticket a day or two before Keates was appointed (when it was obvious he would be). I can’t get to too many matches but thought the nagging loss of cash would force me down even if we did end up still being rubbish!

The Reading example however is perfect, footballing life was pretty rosy around then and we were still some way off filling the ground - i don’t even think a Bradford type reduction on ST’s would massively increase the gate - I always struggle to give away freebies I get hold of throughout the season, whether to Walsall fans or not!

I don’t know if it’s a Marketing thing or the being surrounded by big clubs, the antipathy of the Walsall population, or if it is indeed Bonsor (or a combination), but I don’t think there is an easy answer to the attendance conundrum.