Derek Davis' Football Chatter

WORD reaches me from the Blues' dressing room that I played a significant part in their walloping over Hull City.Apparently Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton was so miffed about my prediction that they would lose 2-1 against the relegation strugglers that he used it as part of his pre-match motivational speech.

WORD reaches me from the Blues' dressing room that I played a significant part in their walloping over Hull City.

Apparently Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton was so miffed about my prediction that they would lose 2-1 against the relegation strugglers that he used it as part of his pre-match motivational speech.

Mind you, for the first 20 minutes or so it didn't look as if the Town players had taken much notice, as they struggled to contain the Tigers, who played with three up front as they always do.

Happily Town changed to a 4-4-2, although I don't believe for a minute they switched because their usual 4-5-1 formation appeared in our paper, and subsequently the Hull local paper, as has been suggested.


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If they did, then it worked because Francis Jeffers and Alan Lee took full advantage of some terrible defending.

So even though Town had Watt Nicoll, their sports psychologist and motivational speaker, with them, it was all down to the Anglian.

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My pre-match predictions have been the cause of some banter in the office, although they went quiet when I got three in a row totally spot-on earlier in the season, and more often than not I get the outcome, if not the actual scoreline correct. For the record, I shall be tipping Town to beat Southend on Saturday.

On the other hand I had better be careful. Don't want to give Steve Tilson an excuse to motivate his players . . .

FRIGHTENING figures revealed in a Guardian story show that the average age of a fan watching Premiership football is 43.

The paper also claims that just 9% of supporters at top-flight matches are younger than 24.

Clearly years of top-heavy ticket prices have had an effect and the culture of football has changed, with the corporate follower edging out the young supporter.

Less than 20 years ago it was commonplace for youngsters going to games with their dads to then start going with their schoolmates and then workmates, and they would then grow into the dads taking kids.

But that trend has ended and clubs are waking up to the fact that their customers are getting older and dying and not being replaced in the same numbers.

Many Premiership clubs are taking a new, and welcome, approach to new season-ticket sales, with Charlton even offering a deal that could see some supporters getting free tickets if they get back into the Premiership - assuming they go down this year.

At Ipswich where 21% of fans are under the age of 20, the club has frozen prices for that age group to try to keep those fans who go into further education or start off in poorly-paid jobs.

Like those at Colchester United and Norwich City, the club's Community Trust works hard at getting the youngsters interested and keeping hold of them.

The big thing that will hurt clubs more and more is that as the younger fan disappears, so the sale of replica shirts also dips, especially as it appears to be going out of fashion to wear them these days.

WHILE hopes of a massive investor taking over at Ipswich Town remain pie in the sky, Coventry City are the latest club ready to work for the Yankee dollar.

The Sky Blues have confirmed that an American consortium is in advanced talks to buy the club.

The Manhattan Sports Capital Partners are the bid vehicle for American investors Sean McDevitt and Philip Harris who, along with US-based English investment advisor Roger Marment, have already agreed a deal to buy the Championship club and take on their estimated debts of £28 million.

Talks are being spearheaded by US-based business consultant Gary Hopkins, who is a lifelong Sky Blues fan and has been putting the consortium together over the last five months.

They are in the early stages of due diligence and could be in place in time for the start of next season.

SUDDENLY Southend's visit on Saturday is one for Blues fans to relish.

The Chatter has a pair of tickets to give away courtesy of Ipswich Town and you can win them by simply answering this question and being the first winner picked.

Who is the Southend United manager?

Send you answer to derek.davis@archant.co.uk. The competition closes at midday on Friday.

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