aholden - I'm one of your average 40+ blokes and have been working for 20+ years. Having said that, I've got much longer on my mortgage than I'd like, and the kids are eating us out of house and home, but I take your point (and agree with a fair few, but not all, of those made by a number of people on this forum and on the other social media sites over the past few days).
Firstly, with regards to yesterday, I think 367 was a pretty positive response to the Chairman's "call to arms" made only a couple of days earlier. I know we've been banging on about trying to get more bums on seats at Llanelian Road for a while, but let's start from scratch, and see were it takes us. I can't imagine there was more than 30 there from Oxford, which is no mean effort considering their average home attendances and the distance involved, weather prospects, just after Christmas, etc, etc. There must , therefore, have been some new faces, and whilst we didn't win, nobody can have failed to have enjoyed the game, or fault the effort of the team, who on another day, could, and possibly should, have scored five or six.
Personally, I think Conference North football at £10 a head is good value. Solihull Moors are the only club in the league that are cheaper (£9), but several clubs do have a reduced rate for students (approx £5 on average), which I think is something that should be looked at. However, I don't buy into the theory that we would get a lot more through the turnstiles if admission was reduced to say £8. Shoot me down in flames if you disagree, but if you can afford £8, you can probably afford £10. Alternatively, if the £2 difference really is too much, why not attend 4 games out of 5 - the total cost is the same.
I've seen some including the price of food and drink in the "cost" of attending matches. Whilst the quality of the food on offer is undoubtedly excellent, there is nothing that say that you aren't allowed to eat before you leave home, and the quality of football on offer most weeks can be enjoyed without the aid of alcohol (or tea or coffee for that matter) if you really try. It really is a poor excuse for not attending. The club could, obviously, reduce prices to next to nothing, but I doubt it could then sustain the level of football we are now enjoying.
A couple of suggestions :
Solihull offer half price admission (to all league matches) to season ticket holders of six of the major clubs in the area (Villa, B'rum, WBA, Wolves, Coventry and Walsall), and it appears to be working at least to some degree. It's crossed my mind that this is unfair on the genuine fans paying full price, but as a one-off, would those "genuine" supporters be happy to see the club trying it out? We are at home to Boston on Feb 15th, and I believe that it's FA Cup weekend, with no Premier League matches scheduled. Man Utd are already out of the FA Cup, and there's a fair chance that either Liverpool, Everton, City, etc will be playing away or on the Sunday, etc. Could that be a good time to try it?
A number of clubs have tried "pay what you want" as a one-off. I'm in the process of asking around those clubs that have tried it, and whilst the board might fear that they'll make a loss, I really can't see that happening, if advertised properly and accompanied by a "Your club needs you" plea. I honestly don't know what the average gate receipts are on the crowds that we've had this season, but I wonder whether the club would be willing to give it a go against Gloucester on Tuesday Feb 4th. If the board need some assurance, could we get a group together to pledge to make up the difference if the worst came to the worst and they took less money than normal on the gate - I'm only guessing, but if we got a gate of 600 paying £2 each, we shouldn't be looking at more than £25-£30 each if we got 20 pledges, and as I say, I'm certain the club would be quids in. Should we have to pledge? Probably not, but if it encourages the club to try it would people be willing to offer to do it?