Worrying attendance trends

#1

Our away following yesterday was 124. We are in the bottom 10 clubs in the whole of the football league for away followings, which considering we used to be at the top of the league for % of home crowd that travels, this is pretty disappointing - away followings have fallen off ridiculously quickly over the last decade.

Our home crowds (minus the away attendances) would also comfortably be in the bottom half of League 2.

From the stats provided across the protest threads its clear that we are losing a lot of fans at a rapid rate and the fanbase we do have is ageing. If, as expected, little ambition is shown by the board and they refuse to work with supporters on ticketing issues, matchday experience etc I can see us becoming one of the poorest supported clubs in the football league.

Again, using the graphs provided by @SuperGabor, the only time that our attendances have spiked has been when Bonser has made an inspired (or lucky) managerial appointment. If there is a further fall in numbers I don’t believe this board would have the first clue how to address things.

Great result yesterday and all that!! But yeah, this club is sleepwalking into an oblivion.

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#2

They have to get more supporters into the ground. Which in turn lifts the the players and fans by creating a better atmosphere . I have said before they should do a trial for one season with let’s say 35% cheaper season tickets. And say 25% off all matchday prices. If it does not work out and the club loses to much money and it’s not sustainable Then at least the club can say they did try.

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#3

They do, but Bonsers track record in this department when there is no tangible success on the field is abysmal. They don’t seem to have the first idea of how to take advantage of an industry that has been booming for 15 years.

Here’s a little reminder of how hopeless they are;

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#4

I do wonder how much the ability to stream matches is having on away attendances, which is an expensive day out. When the performances on the pitch / league position are good people are more likely to shell out, however, given the current malaise at the club it is no wonder. Saying that, 124 is ■■■■ for us, even for a long trip to Gills. I imagine there would be a few southern Saddlers in that number as well.

Tuesday is a good example - £10 on ifollow compared with £50-60 to freeze your nadjers off, plus a late night back.

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#5

Another thing to think about is cost of travelling people are just getting over Christmas and new year and probably don’t get paid until the end of the month me personally I work nights so a 3hour + journey is out of the question plus 2 long awaydays in a week is asking a lot.

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#6

Yep. I’ve noticed amongst my friends how we are all feeling fed up with Walsall at the moment and we are in our 20’s. Out of about 10-15 of us, some didn’t bother last week, those that did only four or five of us made an afternoon of it as usual meeting beforehand at the pub, even then we didn’t meet until later than usual, and all agreed it was a chore to get out.

Yesterday, not one of us made the trip to Gillingham. Nearly all of us went last season.

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#7

Would’ve gone yesterday with a +1 if I’d known they’d have been a roof provided so would’ve been bumped up to 125 at least if correct information had been posted on the website.

Anyway Coventry and Burton coming up soon so that decline should be stopped a bit.

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#8

They don’t even need to take a big risk to do this. They could do a scheme like Hartlepool did a few years back where the more that are bought the cheaper they are. As long as the total revenue (which they can largely control) matches previous years then they lose nothing and we get more fans through the gates.

You can have a threshold at 3000, 4000 and 5000. So we’d have to sell 3000 before we get a ‘discount’ and after 5000 it levels off so any more sold than that is just extra revenue.

Of course though this takes some effort and consideration and I doubt the club can be bothered to figure it out or market it properly.

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#9

Walsall (ie Bonsor) gets no income from away league matches so their is little or no incentive to get fans to travel.

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#10

Fans are getting wise , people are now refusing to invest their money in following the club.

Almost like the club have refused to invest in players , it’s almost a stand off… something has to give!

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#11

The hierarchy will just claim “we offer free season tickets to under 18’s, what more can we do”.

But, regrettably we are reaping the rewards of absolutely no marketing engagement with the football loving demographic of our town over many previous years.

I’m talking about engaging with groups of blokes who love footy, but would rather sit in the pub watching SKY rather than be tempted to watching their local team. Unfortunately they don’t appear to be our ‘target market’.

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#12

Similarly, young adults aren’t even factored in to our pricing structure; unlike every other club I have looked at who make this area a priority.

I would love to know what our ‘target market’ is. Single mums?! Do we even have a target market?

All the years that we used to lord it over Shrewsbury regarding numbers; they now get over 1k more at home on average (with smaller away followings) and take comfortably more away - unless we take 2k to each of the Cov & Burton games we will still be in the bottom 10 clubs in the whole football league.

Talking of the sheepshaggers; they also have safe standing and a bigger playing budget…just shows you don’t need success on the pitch to grow.

Everyone around us, slowly but surely, is bypassing us.

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#13

We actually target the market that we appeal very little to …

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#14

I know it won’t be for everyone, but the new independant saddlers supporters association, of which I am chairman, is offering discounted travel to away games, via membership,
Example Burton away is £12 50 with the official club coach,
With us £9
And that is with a small profit being made per seat, the profit is then used to further discount, future travel
We hope to be in a possistion at some point next season where members wold in fact travel free to one or two selected games,

Would point out tho that this new association would be much more than just a travel service and has many plans in the pipe line ,

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#15

Worst away following in League One yesterday and only Cheltenham taking 14 less to Carlisle kept us from being the worst in the whole league.

So many signs. Our board should be aware of all of them, what is driving them and have a plan to address them. Whilst our away following has no direct influence on the club’s coffers, it is yet another sign that we’re just - well - we’re not ourselves. Something’s wrong.

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#16

I firmly believe that fans have just fallen out of love for the club, because of bonzo and his henchmen,they are like a cancer spreading through the club, fans have finally come to realise that we are being mugged off, and NOTHING will change while he is still at the club, the day he leaves we will see our attendances steadily double, because for every fan that still want’s to go to games there is one that hates him, and stays away.

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#17

I was one of that 124 yesterday along with a mate. It was worrying to look around and see the average age of our following. I know it was Gillingham away in January, a time where most haven’t been paid, I know that our form was poor going into the game and the prospect of driving a 320 mile round trip to stand in the freezing cold to watch yet another ■■■■-show wasn’t exactly enticing. But other clubs of a similar size face the same situations at this time of year and do better… Our away following is suffering massively.

The guy I was with yesterday is actually a West Ham fan. Kent-based himself, he’s been to probably 15 games with me over the last 6 years home and away (an interesting side note to that is that he’s only seen us lose once out of all that - the JPT final at Wembley - and was at two games where we’ve scored 5 goals away from home!). What you would term a very ‘casual’ fan, dragged along by me - but he’s enjoyed the ‘traditional’, proper, old-fashioned football experience offered by the lower leagues and genuinely enjoys coming to games now.

There’s a market out there that we simply aren’t capitalising on. There must be loads of fans in the Walsall region whose only experience of football is through Sky TV. Yet we make it as hard as possible for the floating casual supporter to turn up on match day and get in.

As we all know, when you’re a kid it only takes a few matches to get hooked and become a fan. In my opinion, we’ve missed out on 10+ years of new supporters through complete neglect.

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#18

Has the poster who gave the attendance figures for early 80s and 90s that will hopefully be used at the meeting tomorrow got any comparison figures for Gillingham away in say the late 90s or even early 00s in the meetings in the championship.

It’s always going to be one of the poorer attended aways of the season due to it being a bleeding long trip, January and the prospect of sitting in an open stand to the elements (although that obviously didn’t happen in the end! Did you all just ask to be moved to the side stand?)

I agree away support is slowly declining but real alarm bells would be taking just 500 or so to likes of Coventry and Burton. Sloppies aswell. The three local aways of the season haven’t actually occured yet.

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#19

According to one site I’ve just found 113 went to Gillingham in 14/15.

Edit: That was a Saturday in September. A tuesday night at Yeovil later on in the season “attracted” 149 fans.

Apologies for speaking like Stefan Gamble btw.

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#20

Great post. I’m sure other oldies on here will back me up but when I used to go everywhere in the 80’s it was a minimum 350 everywhere. Four official coaches was the very least, often bolstered by a couple of unofficial coaches and half the people on those coaches were teenagers, early 20’s at most with a few old timers (especially Kitty and co) keeping us in check.

The hundred that go everywhere now (and you wonder whether we’ll actually manage three figures on Tuesday) I can visualise virtually all of them. I reckon 60 of them go back to those days in the 80’s and before.

Stanley took 50% more to Charlton yesterday. A harder trip. Accrington Stanley.

The club just isn’t connecting.

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