Ipswich Town’s attendance against Blackburn Rovers was lowest in league since December 1999
- Credit: Archant
They may have recorded their lowest league gate of the season at Portman Road on Tuesday, but Ipswich Town were not the only ones to suffer a fan shortage.
Manager Mick McCarthy said after the 3-1 win over Blackburn, which saw just 14,953 fans brave the freezing weather, that he was not too concerned about the turnout, considering the visit of Huddersfield Town (this Saturday) and Christmas was just around the corner.
It was the Blues’ lowest crowd for a league game since December 18, 1999 when Town defeated West Brom 3-1, thanks to goals from David Johnson, James Scowcroft and Neil Midgley in front of 14,712.
Town’s cheapest ticket for the category C game started at £21, or £23.50 if you purchased one on the day, which is not out of the ordinary for 2013 Championship football.
But it was a game between two teams that so far have floundered around in mid-table, while the Blues’ recent home record of three games without a win, prior to Tuesday, was hardly inspiring.
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The consensus of some fans is that Town should do more to attract the casual follower and figures revealed in September did show that Ipswich offered the dearest season ticket and matchday experience in the second-tier.
However, quite rightly, Town argued that they were also comparable with other clubs in several areas for tickets, while the current carat to become a Junior Blues member is an attractive £100 worth of offers, including a free home ticket to a game of their choice and a free Family ticket, valid up until February 15 next year.
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The Blues have already run a ‘Kids for a Quid’ scheme this season, the home game against Leicester, as well as offering season ticket holders the chance to buy four additional tickets for just £10 against Barnsley.
Too many offers, however, will alienate those same season ticket holders that often pay a lump sum up front.
Tuesday night’s game wasn’t the most attractive, even with the returns to Town of Jordan Rhodes and DJ Campbell, but the Football League have to take some responsibility too.
The 302 fans from Blackburn that made the game were expected to put in a 500-plus mile round trip for 90 minutes of football which, including fuel and refreshments, is not cheap.
Town were not on their own on Tuesday though.
Birmingham and Yeovil both recorded their lowest gates of the season, against Doncaster (12,663) and Blackpool (5,530) respectively.
Ipswich are likely to attract a bigger crowd at the weekend, buoyed by two successive wins and playing a team in Huddersfield, who have won three games on the bounce. The Terriers travel well and are currently the Championship’s fifth-best supported away team.
As for Yeovil, their lowest figure could be beaten when Town go there in March.
That’s no slight against the Blues, but Suffolk to Somerset on a Tuesday night, three days after a long trip to Middlesbrough?