Simon Clegg surprised at how well season tickets are selling at Ipswich Town

IPSWICH Town chief executive Simon Clegg admits he is surprised by how well season tickets are selling.

A final placing of 15th in the Championship table – the club’s lowest league finish since the 50s – means the Blues are heading into an 11th consecutive campaign in English football’s second tier.

Fans have shrugged off that disappointment though and flocked to renew their season tickets at Portman Road, the prices for which were frozen for the fifth time in six years.

Season ticket sales – including half- season tickets – reached a final figure of 13,373 for the campaign just gone. Already close to 12,600 have been sold for 2012/13, with 7% of those sales – around 875 people – either new or returning supporters.

“It’s incredibly encouraging,” said Clegg. “We have sold nearly 12,600 and that’s just less than a 2.6% reduction from sales at this time last year. I have to say I was expecting a greater reduction.

“I think it says a lot about the loyalty our fans. Despite a fairly indifferent season, and the testing economic climate, they once again have come back and supported us.

“Falling attendances are a trend across football and I’m not saying we’re bucking that trend, but I do think we’ll be in the upper quartile of Football League clubs.”

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The Blues have seen their average league attendance steadily decrease for the last six seasons in a row, dropping from 24,251 in 2005/06 to 18,267 in the campaign just passed.

That made them the 15th best supported club in the Championship last season, with entertaining home performances against Blackpool, West Ham, Cardiff, Bristol City, Peterborough and Birmingham coming the second half of the campaign.

Around 20% of those who have purchased season tickets did so via the club’s new internet service, while more than half took up the new option of spreading the costs via direct debit over a 12-month interest-free period.

Just under 100 of the new Under-20 concession seats offered in the Sir Bobby Robson Lower Stand have been sold.