North Stander: Town Season ticket price rise is a bad joke

TOWN loyalist and EADT columnist Northstander is monumentally unimpressed by the increase in ticket prices.

Oh, how I chuckled when I heard the news. “Good old Cleggy,” I tittered, “He’s a right one – straight in with this year’s first April Fool’s joke.”

Except, of course, it isn’t a joke, and no-one’s laughing – especially not us long-suffering Portman Road season ticket-holders.

OK, I know that it’s not an astronomic rise, and prices have been frozen for five years or so. I also realise that the club (like the rest of us) has faced steadily increasing costs, and they’ve been hit by a massive hike in their rent from Ipswich Borough Council.

Presumably that’s another legacy of the financial pressure on local authorities.

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But, even given all of that, I still think it’s absolutely outrageous that the club has the bare-faced cheek to even think about passing on the increased costs to its most loyal fans.

Have chief executive Simon Clegg and club owner Marcus Evans not seen the same rubbish that the rest of us have been watching for the last three seasons?

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Magilton’s last season, and Keane’s season and a half, produced pretty much the dullest football I’ve ever suffered at Portman Road, and that’s going back quite a long time.

We pay our money to be entertained, and Ipswich Town have consistently failed to deliver their side of the bargain for the last three years.

Not only have we been starved of success, we’ve also been pretty short on excitement, too.

Let’s put the financial situation into perspective. The rent increase from the borough council amounts to about �100,000 a year.

Not helpful, admittedly, but we are talking about a football club owned by a multi-millionaire, don’t forget.

Even if Mr Evans doesn’t have to open his wallet to help out, just shaving one overpaid player from the first team squad would save approaching �1 million a year, and would stop the rest of us having to find even more cash to watch our favourite team.

With more than 20 players out of contract in the summer, Paul Jewell certainly has enough opportunities to cut the wage bill by adopting a policy of “quality, not quantity.”

If it means being able to afford players of the quality of Jimmy Bullard, then bring it on.

What will this do to attendances? We’re already seeing crowds dipping to around the 17,000 mark, which in a stadium built for 30,000 can lead to an atmosphere more akin to a library than a football ground.

What if, say, 3,000 people decide not to renew their season tickets for next season? We’ll be getting crowds below 15,000.

Whisper it, but that would be 10,000 below what our beloved neighbours up the A140 pull in for each and every home game at Carrow Road. Embarrassing.

And if we did lose 3,000 season ticket loyalists, that would be the small matter of �1.5 million in revenue out of the window.

How on earth does that make sense? I really do think the club is taking a huge gamble here, and stretching the loyalty of its fans to the very limit. The next few weeks will be very interesting.

PS. Rant over. Now, where’s that season ticket renewal form?

- What do you think? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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