Ipswich Town season ticket sales down nearly 7% on this time last year

Town fans leaving the stands after their side had conceded a third goal in the Ipswich Town v Brentf

Town fans leaving the stands after their side had conceded a third goal in the Ipswich Town v Brentford (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 09 April 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town could end up with £500,000 less income next season if supporters continue to turn their back on the club at the same rate over the coming weeks and months.

A spirited underdog effort in 2014/15, which resulted in the Blues securing their first Championship play-off place in a decade, saw the feel-good factor return last summer.

Average attendances at Portman Road had risen for the first time in 10 years and Town sold around 500 extra season tickets before the ‘early bird’ discount deadline.

The club went into this campaign with 13,561 season ticket holders and a good run of form ahead of Christmas saw half season ticket sales boost that number to 14,014.

However, having worked so hard to shake their fans out of an increasing state of apathy, a frustrating follow-up season packed with insipid home spectacles – especially since the turn of the year – has got people voting with their feet again.

With the ‘early bird’ discount deadline having passed on Monday lunchtime, the club has confirmed that season ticket renewals are down nearly seven per cent on this time last year. That already equates to around £200k less in the bank and, if the trend continues, they would end up with around 1,000 fewer season ticket holders – that’s around £500k less income – for what looks set to be a 15th successive season in the second-tier.

In short, more fans have been turned off by this season then were turned on by last season.

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Dozens of supporters, young and old, have written to this newspaper to say that the recent home performances against Rotherham, Charlton and Brentford have made up their minds not to renew. It’s a lack of entertainment, rather than the downturn in results or 1% price rise, which seems to be the biggest reason stated.

Liz Edwards, chair of the Official Ipswich Town Supporters’ Club, said: “There was a spike in season ticket sales for this season as a result of our unexpected push into the play-offs last year, so it looks like we will be around, or maybe even a bit above, the 2014/15 number.

“The 93% renewal rate proves the loyalty of Town fans is beyond question. We haven’t had the most successful or the most entertaining of seasons (though fans of Forest, Leeds and QPR would swap with us at an instant), but, as the song goes, we ‘follow the Town, up or down’, and we’ll continue to do so.”

Speaking last week, Town’s managing director Ian Milne said: “We came off a big high last season and expectations rose. I totally understand that people are frustrated.

“It’s up to people to make their own judgements, but naturally I hope they stick with us. I hope they keep the faith.”