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AFF

A Note To The Chairman [47] : Admission Prices

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A difficult topic to raise in view of the quality of the football at present, well described on another thread. [incidentally, does that Match Secretary chap still ghost write The Chairman's, The Managers' and The Captain's programme notes? He was at a different game than me last Thursday. I don't know anything about football but, setting the elbow on one side, I thought that we were given a lesson in football by Aldershot. As for 3-0 flattering them, if Eamsie had set the cross-bar 8" higher it might have been double figures.]<p>Admission prices. It has been £7 for 2 seasons now, so up to £8 is likely to be the standard next season. Concessions down to £4 seems fair subject to any further initiatives that The Board come up with [Free entry to selected youngsters when accommpanied by an adult, Yoof F.C. etc.]<p>However, the age limit for the £4 admission is reduced from 16 to 14. It seems a bit steep to charge £8 for 15 & 16 year olds.<p>I appreciate that there should not be too many alternatives but there is an arguement that students and unemployed persons should receive a concession, say £5? 'Family' ticket for one adult and 2 children, say £12?<p>A discounted admission price for season-ticket holders of League clubs when their team plays away or doesn't have a game is an interesting thought. £4? Might get a mention in their match-day programmes.<p>There was no reference in The Chairman's Notes to the availability of season-tickets for next year. I heard a whisper that we have sold 60/80 in each of the past several seasons save that this year it was 14.<p>I have one alternative which is unlikely to find favour. Spectators could be allowed in for free, and invited to pay whatever they like on the way out subject to the level of entertainment that they have enjoyed. It would only work if the players accepted that their wages would be calculated as a direct proportion of that income. An interesting idea.<p>We have to get a lot more people in to The Park next season. I really don't know how great a bearing on the attendance is the price of admission. Someone will comment, no doubt.

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I would happily pay the going rate for the quality of football on display, which at the moment is about £4.50p worth. There is very little to get excited about the present team, Martin has his moments, Wilmot is a good goalkeeper, Moran is always sound at the back, Smith occasionally does something quite good but that's about it. Where are the quality players we have had in the past? I know we can't just go out and buy a load of top players (we've already tried that and look where it got us) so why not give some youth teamers a go in the last four games. Mackail_Smith, Deacon and Attwood should all be given a couple to games to try and prove themselves and it might shake up some of the senior players too. Oh, and Corey, get yourself fit for Christ's sake, we need you back now.

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Maybe non-league football is expensive in part because top level football is so expensive. If it is, then the chickens are really starting to come home to roost - crowds at many non-league clubsare noticeably down (if you don't believe me, have a look at the average crowds in tomorrow night's programme). People are voting with their feet, and simply not bothering to pay 7 pounds (n not inconsiderable amount of money) to watch what has felt too many times this season like little more than glorified Sunday League football. <p>It's an interesting idea to have people paying according to the entertainment they get, but I can't see it being given any consideration. Many people I know are complete tightwads, and wouldn't have the scruples to pay (even amongst the regulars). There are enough who don't pay as it is - some go to ridiculous lengths not to - and in any case, there would have to be some sort of indicator for those of us that don't always pay 100% attention to the match. In this case, might I suggest one of the following?<p>1. Ice skating style scoring boards - a selection

of Z-list celebrities and messageboard regulars giving marks out of ten for artistic and technical merit.<p>2. Make the players walk round the terraces and through the bar with a pint glass in their hands, pub stripper style. How much do you think they'd have raised on Saturday?<p>You never know - one ofthese might catch on...

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Interesting that the board is proposing a 15% increase in admission charges when inflation is hovering at around 2% and has been for some time. Mr. Gibson, I'm afraid that I cannot see any justification in increasing your admission prices. A successful team and good football will be bring the crowds (and therefore the money) back, not charging more to get in. That will simply disuade more and more. For £8 I can watch Stevenage and for £10 I can go and see Luton. If it were me, I'd reduce admission to £5 for adults and £3 for kiddies and the oldies. Also what about Friday night or Saturday night or Sunday matches. Just a thought.

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I personally think that it is not unreasonable to have:<p>Adult: £7

OAP, U-16, UB40: £4

U-6: free

Family ticket: 1 adult, 2 children: £10<p>

The idea raised by AFF that League Club season-ticket holders can get in for a discount, or for free, sounds like a good one as well. It will attract more people to the park.

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Thank you all for your comments relating to admission prices for next year.May I however make the following comments :-

1) The Chairman has his own style of writing and I doubt very much whether anyone could copy it. So no bonny lad, Steve Eames is not my Ghost writer !!

2) We do need to get the kids and the pensioners

into the ground with lower admission prices. I

don't think an extra pound will break the bank

amongst the adults, bearing in mind that the plan is obviously to strengthen the team for next year.

3)I accept the point about the 16 year olds having to pay £8 and this will be looked into.

Please note though that it can be infuriating when some of these great hairy monsters have just drank every pub in St Albans dry, having claimed to be 18 !! Joking apart, I am sure that you all know what I mean and I am sure that in any event the guys on the gate will use a little discretion.

4)With regard to the Aldershot game, the point that I was making in the match notes was that whilst they may have been the better side, they

could have had a player sent off early on for use of the elbow and two of their goals were debatable.In simple terms the result could have varied substantially from the eventual outcome.

Apologies but I must go back to work !!!

John Gibson

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I had to pay a fiver for my 5-year old nephew to get in on Saturday and it pissed me off, to be honest.<p>At that age, they have no real interest in the football (mind you, my interest is waning), and I took him along to take him off my sister's hands for the afternoon and to give him an introduction to football.<p>Couldn't believe he wasn't allowed in for free. The club would obviously make money with the packets of crisps/chocolate bars/burgers/drinks they demand every five minutes.<p>How are we going to interest young kids in coming along and supporting the Saints when it costs a FIVER to get in??

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why noy let adults in for free and charge 10 pounds a pint? that would increase revenues massively... or even better charge 20 pounds to get in and have free beer... i can see crowds of 2,000 17 to 45 year olds and a galatasaray style atmosphere!!.. we would do the same at canvey but i seem to remember that you lot pushed our bar over

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Work, Mr Chairman. Work? You need to re-prioritise!<p>I've just had another thought.<p>Regular fans can ease the burden by the purchase of a season ticket which comes at a discount. If the usual season ticket is in respect of the 21 League games, then why not sell a "half" season ticket at a discount giving entry to half the League games. That may be of interest to Watford/Luton season ticket holders for example.<p>Oh, by the way. If any of my ideas are adopted, Mr Chairman, I'll waive my usual fees in your case.

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I have bought a season ticket for the last 4 years, can anyone tell me what the price has been set at for next season? or is it still under review?

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I meantioned a few weeks ago to Mr Gibson about letting in cheaper season ticket holders from say Luton and Watford. The impression I got was he thought this would backfire and saints fans would buy Luton and watford season tickets instead for a cheap entry, seems a bit unlikley!<p>Mind you we don't talk anymore!

Prehaps exciled Newcastle supporters could get in for free!

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And while we're talking about the quality of football, I think we're just playing the season out, from talking to Robbo on Saturday night he has a large number of top quality signings planned for next season, if they come off we'll be very good next year!<p>And no I'm not going to tell you who they are!

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I don't ghost write the chairman's notes and only factually report what Corey, Steve and Gary tell me. What's that about not shooting the messenger?

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I must say I'm more inclined to agree with the majority of people. I have to agree with GHA. £7 is enough to pay for a non-league ground. Like someone mentioned before, if the football gets better, then the crowds will increase of their own accord. <p>I know people who moan just the the mention of having to pay £7 to get so increasing it to £8 is just pushing it. There must be another way of pulling in revenue. Just think of the many times we go to away grounds and have to pay £8 to get in. Some people are less likey to spend any toher money. <p>Its just not fair. What about student prices as well? Most grounds do them and this would attract a lot more of the 'teenage' people. Most youngsters have a great interest in football but cant always afford it. <p>Think about it Mr Gibson. We dont all have as much money but want to support the Saints to the full.<p>Thank you!

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I agree with all the prices above (2 threads) how about some additional schemes!<p>Season tickets holders from leauge clubs - £4/5<p>fairweather season ticket (for the suppporters who maybe can't get down to every game £60 for 10 leauge games and you get to choose which 10 as and when!<p>Season ticket holders allowed to bring 1 fan down a season for half price to a lower intrest game (thats your Croydon's, Heybridges etc.)<p>I know we dispise them with a passion but the fact is St.Albans is infested with commuters so why not a deal with Thameslink discounts for train season ticket holders (unless they have a 1st class to City Thameslink then they pay double).<p>Prehaps the kids for a quid or free kids people who come down could buy a discounted ticket for the next game when they won't be free or a £1 in order to sustain intrest, think how many people take a freebie and never come back!<p>Any thoughts?

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Also, I know the chairman wants attendences to increase before the budget can but the simple fact is that success breeds crowds, so without doing a Harding prehaps we should look at speculating to accumilate!<p>3 years ago we were getting crowds of 900/100 for run of the mill games against Purfleet and Walton and the like, I can't belive all these people have sold thier houses for vast profits to gullible yuppies!

the crowds traditionally start pretty well, they go up with sucess, down with failure!

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You're not wrong about the student prices Helen. I have amended my list accordingly. I still think the £8 adult price isn't that unreasonable, though and I wouldn't mind betting a fair number of the away grounds we go to next season will be charging the same.

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All of these are very fair points, but we are overlooking a couple of crucial factors. Firstly, the league used to (and I presume still does) set a minimum admission price for league matches. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was 7 pounds this season, and if it's 8 pounds next season. That's certainly the case for FA Cup/Trophy matches, when the price is dictated by the FA.<p>Secondly, I am rather of the persuasion that the two biggest factors behind rising attendances are having a successful team and marketing the club effectively. People will come and pay more if the team is doing well, and they're more likely to come if they know where we are. Clarence Park is very well hidden, and I daresay that there are a lot of people who don't even know they have a football club on their doorstep. Once you've got them to the turnstile (the most dificult part), getting them to part with an extra pound or so isn't too much of an issue. <p>How about this - just as a trial. Students get in for a fiver, and the club arranges (just as an experiment) a mini bus from, say, Aldenham or Hatfield campus to get to the ground an hour before kick-off and to leave an hour or so afterwards. Free of charge. Get them in the bar before and after the game and (crucially) make them feel at home. If we turn a profit on it, make it permanent. More money through the bar, more people in the ground. Easy money, provided it's advertised properly. I could even avocate the club having a stall at next autumn's fresher's fair, but that might be a little radical for some people. <p>It's really not much use sitting back and moaning about commuters in St Albans. We have to accept the sort of town that St Albans has become, and work around that.

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This is a difficult one.<p>The 'hardcore' home support is back down to 200/250. I know it's that time of the season. I know that we are playing a lot of games but we have to find ways to double that number next season. It's no good saying 'play winning football and we will have 600+ people in the ground'. I want to see us playing winning football with 1000 in the ground.<p>So how do we do it?<p>The recent 'free kids when accompanied by an adult' scheme was very successful with, I believe 63 free tickets collected at the first match. That's, say 50 new/casual adults. Very good. That sort of initiative has to be developed and expanded. And there are other ideas that can be tried.<p>The Supporters Club are working really hard, and achieving success, with the internal fund raising. If we double the gate, we sell double the amount of raffle tickets, double the amount of merchandise, double the number of programmes. Sell more beer [in the clubhouse, of course!]<p>Professional marketing was non-existent prior to The Resurrection. A number of fund raising projects fell into dis-use during the Harding years. I'm sure that Michele and her team have lots of good ideas for next season and they will be successful. The more people in the ground, the better is the atmosphere for the benefit of all, and there is the customer base.<p>Do casual spectators have a good time when they come to The Park? What is the quality of the entertainment? How many who have come once or twice in the last 8 weeks have gone home having had a 'good' afternoon/evening out? I assume that The Board are thinking about pre-match and half time entertainment. That's another issue for another day. <p>What is the difference between £7 and £8 admission? [Don't say £1]. On the face of it £250 or so each home game. If there is a public 'perception' that the cost of admission is tooo much, it's counter-productive. Good marketing and fund-raising ideas are wasted. With more people in the ground, we can raise that level of income from the increased customer base.<p>I'll pay £8 and so will the people on this board who are urging caution. We are existing Saints fans and we will probably buy season tickets anyway. Do we feel that the proposed prices will deter the newcomers that are desperately needed?<p>I'm beginning to think that they might.

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I Spoke to people who used to play football on a Saturday so not attend CP, but came down for midweek games before their interest died. All were of the opinion that £7 was too much for the level of football and were not inclined to watch City at that cost. We will not attract them down by increasing the cost.<p>Canvey had the best team in the league but attendances were poor compared to the levels City achieved when doing well, they charge £8 to get in this year.<p>I have heard more than one group of visiting supporter moan about the cost of OAP / Junior admission. How much would it have cost a Father & 2 Kids for admission for 3 successive home games,

£51 if my maths is correct and a lot of money in 8 days.<p>Opinion appears to be firmly for family tickets and I would suggest keeping the £7 but reducing concessions.<p>Let the team increase attendances. Give them & the management bonuses for levels of attendance.

They are there to attract people to the Park after all.

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Hi Trev.<p>Your Mother told you never to bet!<p>The Ryman League minimum admission charge for the Premier Division this current season is £6.<p>Always pleased to assist.

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You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you that I was a bookie not so long ago (hence not going to many Saturday games for a couple of years). The biggest bet I ever paid out was 16000 pounds, by the way. Took me half an hour to count. But anyway... <p>I think that the matter of a pound here or there matters considerably if the team isn't playing very well. It's an issue because we've been having to do two matches a week since February and the football isn't very good. We wouldn't hear so many complaints if we were top of the league. <p>I'm looking forward to hearing of schemes that get more people down to the Park. Certainly, no-one took too much interest in my "family discount bulk ticket" offer to join the firm...

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I would like to repeat my plea (see earlier thread) for cheaper family rates. I have a wife and three kids to support, all of whom (kids not wife) love football. <p>I too was one of your much derided commuters. Honestly we are not a different species and in our past most have followed some football team or other. you just need that hook to catch them for your club - usually its the children. Every Dad loves to take his children to football and not many can now afford the traditional teams (Spurs Arsenal etc) and increasingly not St Albans City.<p>I choose to go to watch a lower division team it is far cheaper I cannot guarantee that I would watch St Albans if the prices were lower as I now follow the other team (home and away). I suppose this is one family that you have lost, but there are many others in the St Albans area. <p>Good Luck Mr Gibson

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