The Verdict: One year on from ‘death by a thousand cuts’ comment, nothing has changed for Ipswich Town
Season tickets are going to be a tough sell for Ipswich Town in the coming weeks and months.
The club’s hierarchy have been working hard behind the scenes to improve the off-field matchday experience this campaign and are still putting the finishing touches to a pricing structure which they hope will attract fans both young and old back to Portman Road in 2017/18.
Unless they plan to slash prices – as Huddersfield did last summer when selling 10,000 season tickets at just £179 to generate a real feelgood factor – then it’s hard to see whatever marketing material that hits supporters’ doormats being well received.
Tom Lawrence’s last-gasp leveller at Barnsley on Saturday extended the Blues’ unbeaten run to eight matches, but the four positive performances at the start of a tough February look to have been an exception to the rule.
Mick McCarthy’s men have been outplayed in their last four matches now. Six successive stalemates is hardly inspiring. Worryingly, there has been just one win in 12 matches across all competitions. Any renewed goodwill has quickly dissipated.
Almost a year ago to the day, Town provided a toothless display in a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff and this writer spoke of the season suffering a ‘death by a thousand cuts’. Coincidently, they head to the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday. What’s changed in 12 months? Nothing. It’s the same old frustrations surrounding McCarthy’s perceived negative tactics and Evans’ perceived lack of ambition.
For the third successive campaign, things have gone downhill at the turn of the year. It’s often been written on these pages that the Blues are a club treading water, but they increasingly look like a club struggling to swim against the tide. Fourteen points from 13 games in 2017 is relegation form. With the gap to the drop zone cut to seven points, the club’s 70-year stay in the top two tiers of English football is not as safe as previously thought. Anything below 16th – their current position – would represent the club’s lowest finish since promotion from Division Three South way back in 1957.
Around 1,000 less season tickets were sold last summer, equating to a loss of around £500k in revenue. Swathes of empty seats suggest many more will simply not be prepared to hand over their hard-earned cash again this summer.
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