‘Keane Factor’ reflected in season ticket sales

IPSWICH TOWN: THE Roy Keane factor has been reflected in Early Bird season ticket figures for next season that show a near 2,000 reduction on last year.

The footballing icon has managed to maintain the support of the vast majority of fans despite a mediocre campaign that began with the worst start in the club’s history.

Without his presence the figures are likely to have been much worse as supporters cling to the hope of better times ahead.

In fact, compared to Early Bird discount scheme sales 12 months ago this year’s figures have increased.

It was not until Keane was appointed at the end of April 2009 and the Early Bird deadline extended that sales went up by a further 2,500.

Ipswich Town chief executive Simon Clegg says that he would have gladly accepted the current figures if given a choice a couple of months ago.

The club has processed 12,800 tickets from fans taking advantage of the Early Bird scheme that gives them discounts - and ended on April 10.

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This compares with 14,733 supporters who benefitted from Early Bird discounts for the current season.

“But at this stage 12 months ago we had sold 12,073 tickets,” said Clegg.

“After we extended the deadline the figures went up dramatically.

“In these days of economic stress that is affecting the whole country and the disappointing season we are having the figure of sales shows what loyal and supportive fans we have.

“The figures are incredibly good in the circumstances with the majority of our fans here for life.

“We don’t take this for granted and we don’t abuse it.

“Fans have had highs ands lows and there’s no disguising the low we’ve had this season.

“We expect the figure to rise to around 13,000 by the time every Early Bird application has been handled, and we are anticipating a successful campaign that will see over 20,000 fans at Portman Road next season.”

The actual number of current season ticket sales stands at 15,935.

Clegg wants to produce a situation where fans that did not renew will change their minds with a 10 per cent drop off in renewals the average.

“We’ll have a better start to next season than this one for sure,” added Clegg. “And we want to produce a situation where fans will want to come back.

“The club continues to be ambitious and although it’s great to look back on the glory days of 1962, 1978 and 1981 we want to make 2010/11 into one that fans will look back and reflect on as a great year.

“Even without the discount offered by the Early Bird scheme, season tickets are still the most cost-effective way of watching football.”

Ipswich’s average crowd figure is expected to be around 100 down on last season and around the 21,000 mark.

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