Ipswich Town won’t be re-thinking season ticket price rises, despite fans’ outcry

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town will not be backtracking on their decision to raise the price of season tickets, despite a huge outcry from supporters.

The Blues announced last Friday that the cost of all adult season tickets would be increased for the fourth successive year, this time by 1.5%, despite a disappointing and uninspiring campaign on the pitch leaving Mick McCarthy’s men in a Championship relegation scrap.

In addition, their popular £10 Under-11 season ticket has been ditched and the senior concession band has been raised from Over-60s to Over-65s, The only winners were students, with that concession band having been raised from U20 to U23.

Hundreds of supporters have voiced their anger online. Close to a thousand people took part in a poll run by this paper and 97% of them said ‘no’ when asked ‘as a fan, do you feel valued by Ipswich Town Football Club’.

• Take part in our Ipswich Town season ticket poll here.

Yesterday, we asked ‘should Ipswich Town have a rethink of their season ticket prices?’ and 94% of respondents voted ‘yes’.

We wrote to managing director Ian Milne outlining the above, saying: “We are always conscious that those who shout loudest aren’t necessarily reflective of the general mood, but on this occasion it does feel like a significant number of people have been left angered and disappointed. This is beyond a handful of dissenting voices.

“Supporters are upset by the principle of any sort of rise at a time when there was already a fair bit of disillusionment surrounding a diminished product and sense of stagnation. A recurring comment we have received is that the price rise has been a tipping point for them not to renew.

“Given the strength of reaction, will the club be reconsidering the prices?”

Milne, who has also responded to several supporters’ e-mails, replied: “There is never a good time to increase prices or make pricing adjustments. Nobody, including myself, is going to vote in favour of a price increase. It is coincidental that the club continues to have a difficult time on the field at the same time as it has to consider how to fund next year’s budget.

“The facts are the club’s playing squad spend for the past three seasons has continued to rise – three seasons ago playing squad spend went up by 17% on the prior season, two seasons ago 7%, and this season it went up a further 8%.

“Playing squad, coaches and academy costs as a percentage of turnover is now running at 91%. I am pleased to say that all non-playing squad costs remained static by saving costs and efficiencies.

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“To expect the owner to not raise ticket prices when he continues to support an ever-increasing playing squad spend is not reasonable.

“It is regrettable to have to raise prices, and the club has no desire to do so, but we have to face economic reality of running a financially sustainable club if it is going to survive. The owner is doing his bit with the increasing costs and we need the fans to help.

“As you know we have announced a new pricing restructure for Under-23s that we have received some excellent feedback on – they will be able to watch home games next year for between £2.17 and £10 per match. I feel that it is unfortunate that this has not been raised in your e-mail.”

Town currently have around 12,000 season ticket holders, having seen around 1,000 not renew last summer. The club have said that if they sell 12,750 season tickets before by August 4 then all those who have purchased will receive a 5% refund.