Managing director Ian Milne says Ipswich Town are working on a project to attract young fans to Portman Road

Young supporters at Portman Road. Picture: Steve Waller

Young supporters at Portman Road. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne says the club is working on a project to win over the next generation of fans.

Following relegation from the Premier League, the Blues saw their average league attendances at Portman Road steadily dwindle year-on-year from 25,455 in 2004/05 to 16,654 in 2013/14.

The sixth-place finish of 2014/15 saw that figure climb back up to 19,603, but last season it dropped slightly to 18,989 and, following around 1,000 season ticket holders not renewing in the summer, the official average attendance for the 11 home league games so far this campaign is 16,788.

And that does not take into account the number of season ticket holders who, judging by the swathes of empty seats, are choosing to stay away.

Asked what the club was doing to try and buck this trend, Milne, speaking at Wednesday night’s PLC AGM, said: “There are regulations that we have to follow. If we want to reduce the prices we have to reduce the prices for both clubs. And you have to prepare a number of weeks ahead when you want to do these offers.

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“We are looking at our away supporters going to other clubs and how we can make things better for them, as well as improving the numbers of away supporters coming here.

“The other big project we’re working on is looking at the prices for young people, the under-23s, who are a very important audience.

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“It’s not just about the quality of football, it’s also about the overall experience and the prices. It’s a project we are still working on, so I can’t go into the details now, but we know it is very important to win the young back and get them on seats.”

Town have offered a £10 season ticket for Under-11s for the last nine years. The cheapest adult season ticket costs £417 and the cheapest adult on-the-day ticket is £30.

Ipswich often have promotional matches where season ticket holders can bring up to four friends for £10 each.

Milne continued: “We know there are a lot of season ticket holders not coming at the moment and that’s because of the play. We’ve got to win them back and that’s a discussion we’re having with Mick (McCarthy).

“But we’re also looking at other things we can do off the pitch with promotions and improving the match day experience.”

McCarthy said: “I don’t really agree that it’s been ‘garbage football’, but results have been poor and I am sorry I’m disappointing you.

“I didn’t hear any complaints during my first, second and third year that ‘Mick McCarthy’s football is s***e’. Sadly I’m hearing quite a bit of that this year and I’m going to try and address that and make sure that at the next meeting like this people are far more amicable to my style of play and me in general.”

Town host Fulham on Boxing Day (3pm) then welcome Bristol City to Portman Road on Friday night (7.45pm).

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