You can tell when things are looking desperate on the ticket front with Latics; they roll out the special offers. You might like to think that £15 a ticket was enough to draw the punters in, but no, Wiganers need more than that to get them off the couch. We’ve already seen the ‘ever popular’ fans’ day rolled out for the Fulham game and expectations were obviously high for the Pompey attendance last week, with the club announcing the opportunity to ‘bring a friend for a fiver’.
Ignoring the fact that we’re all social misfits without any mates, it’s a great way to get people into the ground. The first part of the fixture list has hardly been a marketing man’s dream and attendances have accordingly been low, effectively if every season ticket holder found someone willing to forgo two pints for the sake of Premier League football we’d have almost double our usual good crowd on.
Of course, even that isn’t good enough for some. Irked by the possibility that a mate may benefit at the expense of their loyalty or perhaps that the club has seen fit to ‘reward’ them by giving something to someone else, you get the feeling that a fair few fans aren’t buying into this.
This theory is borne out by the club chucking in one of its more desperate attempts at marketing by declaring Saturday ‘Ladies Day’. Like fans’ day before it, this is essentially a way of saying “we’re not going to shift the corporate seats, so let’s flog them cheap to any old fool”. How many extra tickets will they sell based on the promise of a champagne cocktail and a padded seat? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
I’m not trying to belittle the club’s efforts, these are good ideas, and I assume things that have worked elsewhere, but you have to wonder whether anything like this will ever really work at Latics. If £15 quid tickets aren’t enough to get people through the gate, what is?
I suppose the answer has to be, the football.
With little hope of Latics emulating their first season success any time soon, games against the likes of Sunderland, Boro, Fulham and Portsmouth aren’t exactly going to get the juices flowing. If Latics can’t be the draw on their own then they will just have to rely on the opposition to do it.
As the Liverpool game shows, we can still attract a reasonable crowd when the big boys come to town. Once Saturday is out of the way then the next games at the JJB are against Chelsea and City and there has to be a good chance of 20k plus attendances for those two. If not, then perhaps it’s time to start worrying.
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