Head versus heart decision for Ipswich Town fans over season tickets

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

WHEN season ticket renewal packs hit the doormats of Ipswich Town supporters over the next couple of days, the usual head versus heart decision will have to be made.

This time every year, the loyal Blues fans have had to weigh up whether it’s worth parting with their hard-earned cash following yet another underwhelming nine months of action.

And each year, following yet another managerial failure and a bottom-half finish, more-and-more have decided that they cannot justify – or simply don’t want – to renew.

The average league attendance at Portman Road was 25,351 in 2002/03 as supporters hoped for a rapid return to the Premier League.

Instead, administration hampered Joe Royle’s valiant managerial efforts, while multi-millionaire Marcus Evans’ takeover in December 2007 has seen the club slip further away from the land of milk and honey rather than closer.

A decade on, Town’s current average attendance is 16,891. As recently as 2006, they were the third best supported club in English football’s second tier. Now they are 12th in that table.

An outsider would say it’s a no-brainer. We’re on the verge of a triple dip recession, the team is hardly serving up the most entertaining football (just three goals scored in eight matches) and relegation is still very much a possibility.

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The risk is that you could end up paying out the same amount of money as you did this season to watch Ipswich ply their trade in the third tier of English football for the first time in more than half a century.

And games against Stevenage, Crawley and Crewe don’t hold quite the same appeal.

There are potential rewards too though. Town would be on the verge of a play-off place had the season started when Mick McCarthy arrived on November 1. The side’s home record under his management reads P12 W7 D3 L2.

The style of football may not be fantastic on the eye, but for the first time in years the team – which has kept six clean sheets in nine matches – looks to be organised.

Whisper it quietly, touch wood and all that, but Town look like a side more than capable of grinding out the points required to avoid the drop.

And you could then see McCarthy adding some star quality to his squad over this summer and beyond, just as he did when winning the division with Sunderland and Wolves.

Start to look at it that way and suddenly the three-year, fixed price season ticket begins to look appealing.

<Season ticket information>

– Prices have been frozen for the third successive year and seventh time in 11 years.

– That only applies to those paying online or automatically renewing by direct debit. A small charge will apply to those paying via alternative methods.

– Payments can be spread out over 12 monthly payments.

– Those aged 11 or below can again purchase a season ticket for £10.

– The average price a season ticket holder pays per match is £14.70.

– Season ticket holders in the lower Sir Bobby Robson Stand, for example, will save £200 compared to those buying matchday tickets in that area.

– A three-year season ticket has been introduced. All three seasons will be at the current price, but the entire payment must be made up front by April 12.

<Average league attendances at Portman Road>

2002/03 25,351 (4th most supported in second tier)

2003/04 24,519 (5th)

2004/05 23,015 (7th)

2005/06 24,251 (3rd)

2006/07 22,444 (7th)

2007/08 21,934 (6th)

2008/09 20,960 (7th)

2009/10 20,840 (8th)

2010/11 19,614 (9th)

2011/12 18,266 (12th)