Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Cheap Thrills in the Economic Downturn

 Oldham Athletic have just announced a move that will have their season ticket-holder's knickers in a reet twist.

An offer of a "golden ticket" for 5 home matches in exchange for the princely sum of 15 quid.

Now being of the grumpy and old persuasion, I am very much of the opinion that no football match (whatever level) should cost much more than 20 quid, so to my ears, this is something of a bargain - 3 quid a game! But should the long-suffering season ticket holders, who will have paid much, much more than that be upset about the move to entice a bunch of fair-weather, johnny-come-latelys at bargain-basement prices?

Restricted View - Spongebob Squarehead
(not Oldham, by the way - brownie point for a correct guess from all except Hippo who provided the shot and looked like a right "twit" in the process)

My first thoughts are - damn right they should be annoyed - spending hundreds a year out in one hit at the beginning of a new season with all the bright hopes and possibilities laid out on the road ahead. A few months in and most fans desires are scattered along the boulevard of broken dreams - but they have done their bit for the club, helping them with that initial cash boost to budget (hopefully) wisely along the course of the year.

They have provided such loyalty and then the club is offfering highly cut-priced deals to all and sundry. It's like all the best deals for insurance or mobile-phones or broadband going to new customers only and the long-standing customers plodding on.

My wife commented at this point, with the rather melancholic view that loyalty is never rewarded in this life....that could be with reference to a recent advertisement in her subscription magazine offering a wonderful gift for new subscribers only - it could, however, more worryingly be a thinly-veiled attack at the fact that after many years of sticking with me, her non-present on valentine's day was all she had to show...

However, chairman Simon Corney says he is going to reward the season ticket holder's loyalty in another way - so we can reserve judgment on that one.

He said: “This gesture is done for the club and for the fans, It is of no benefit to me personally as I will take a big hit financially.”

A recent blog post on the excellent "The Two Unfortunates" site then sprung to mind, where they were discussing the idea of reimbursing fans for poor performances.The loyal fans would be attending in any event - their loyalty and support is not for sale - they would support through thick and thin, and just have to put up with a few "noobs" for a small number of home games.

Click her for view on why loyalty and support is not for sale - from The Two Unfortunates website

They are going to have to look at the whole situation thus: this* could give team short term boost and make them a few extra fans or even bring some back in process - they would certainly be in a position to sell a few more pies.

Oldham are one club that will have it hard - there are lots of other small towns nearby with their own professional clubs, suffering the same difficulties - Rochdale, Bury, Huddersfield, Stockport - but within 12 miles or so are the giant Manchester clubs and then Bolton, Blackburn, Burnley and even the Merseysiders or Leeds not too far away. They need to entice locals that may never have thought of going at the usual price, but for the price of a pint a game....

Youngsters would be most targetted by this (and hopefully interested in it) - which can only be a good thing - cos there ain't no future without the yoot.  Clubs need to get the local kids following the local team somehow - even if it is with one lusty eye on another club higher up the scale (but geographically distant)

I think that season-ticket holders need to bite their tongue and endure the interlopers for possible good of club in long term? Perhaps they can assist in persuading them to continue attending - create a barnstorming atmosphere, make them feel welcome and who knows?

Unfortunately, as much as we like to keep things to ourselves, to think that our hometown clubs are a much better place to be without the noobs and day-trippers that are believed to plague the premier league - now is not the time to be all "grunge" about football. The game is in dire straits outside the sugar-daddied few....with even the likes of Rangers going in to administration, but Portsmouth, Coventry, Nottingham Forest, Darlington etc etc all suffering. (almost endless list..)

However, whilst there is a real need to try and come up with ideas to create more revenue and fight against the ever growing behemoth of the premier league big 4 or 5, there also comes the necessity for the money men in football to behave sensibly with the finances, live within means and safeguard the future.

Oldham's offer is not the first venture of its kind, it just happened to catch my eye this week, but the future of our game as it currently stands is in a precarious position - and deals like this, to try and capture even just one or two new regular fans, will probably have to become much more prevalent.

Click here for more info on the Oldham Athletic website


( * can I use thus: this in my writing?? - not entirely sure that it is in any way correct, but I like the way it looks - could be the name of an 80s electronica album? )


  1. The photo looks like the shit-tip that is Goodison to me - where as an away supporter you have the pleasure of watching the game through what is effectively a letterbox due to the pillars and roof! If the ball goes more than 5 metres in the air you have no idea where it is.

  2. Very disparaging there about a fine old stadium!

    I once went to Barcelona on the wrong weekend and took in a game at the Olympic Stadium - Espanol-v-Las Palmas. The place was enormous and empty. The two ends were covered with giant espanol flags, leaving fans just along the sides - the seats had no incline from the pitch, there was a running track to contend with and then massive advertising boards all around the pitch.

    If a player ran with the ball within 5 yards of the near touchline, you completely lost sight of the ball and saw not much lower than the winger's shorts!


Please leave a comment!