Date: 17th May 2013 at 5:46pm
Written by:

A guest article from jayjaybwfc, with a rallying cry and reasons to be cheerfull

When I read the discussion on the Vital Bolton comments page, there always seems to be a divide down the middle: Those whose glass is half-full, and those who drank all their milk long ago.

So I`m putting forward the case of a bit of optimism for the fans and suggesting what we and the club can do to try and get the ‘feel-good factor’ back.

The most crucial thing I think we all need as fans is a bit more faith- not only in the work Dougie is doing but the players themselves. I`m not saying they should be immune to criticism, particularly if they play abysmally for weeks on end. But the first thing that needs to disappear is the booing of players during games.
It`s certainly not just Bolton supporters that boo, it`s become fairly commonplace at clubs up and down the country. But it doesn`t help us win games and we all know winning games is crucial. As a season ticket holder, I understand the frustrations we go through on a daily basis- it`s been a terrible few years- but we need to direct our ire elsewhere: at the opposing players, their fans, the referee, Margaret Thatcher, anyone!
It all comes down to faith – faith that we WILL turn it around, that we WILL challenge for promotion next season and hope Dougie gets the time he needs to do the job right.
We can be the ‘twelfth man’ at home games, and make it into ‘Fortress Reebok` again. If we don`t, the only No. 12 we`ll have is Zat Knight. And nobody wants that!

It`s not just all on us- the fans- to change this. The club only need to take simple steps to help re-engage with the ‘lost` fans; those who we lost under the ‘Ginger Mourinho’ reign of terror, or when we were relegated from the Premier League. The first of those steps the club could take would be to change the club crest, which has recently been whispered about. If it helps to re-ignite the interest of older fans- and get them back to the games- then I`m all for it. A full stadium is crucial to showing support and helping the lads on match days.
The other thing the club can do is lower ticket prices. The fans are out there. We just need to get young people coming to the Reebok before their mates convince them the more popular option would be to support Manchester United or Manchester City. We need to bring back these lost fans, get full stadiums every week, get behind the lads and shout them to Championship glory.

So, what do you all think? Is there a case for optimism? Would the things I have suggested work, or do you think these are the incoherent ramblings of an optimist, driven slightly mad by the last three years of frustration?

Over to you.


13 Replies to “BWFC: Optimism”

  • There’s certainly no case for optimism in the case of reduced ticket prices as season tickets have already been sold – this will not be reviewed until next year’s season tickets go on sale. However, in terms of next season, I’m really quite optimistic – I think we’ll go up automatically, so long as we can keep hold of both Dougie and our better players.

  • I firmly believe that we’re heading in the right direction under Freedman. There is a new found steeliness about the side and a belief that we won’t be beaten. Medo looks like he’s goingh to be some player and with the right signings in the coming months then I think we might be able to do what we and the bookies thought we would do last season.
    On season ticket prices – I did some fag packet maths in the pb the other day with a mate. I had a season ticket last year and am yet to renew it this year (despite the club doing it automatically for me as I was on the DD scheme. Cheeky gets). I will probably end up getting one but think the club is really missing a trick. Last season we had 13,000 season tickets holders, if they pay on average £350 each, that equates to £4,550,000. If each of these people spend a fiver a match (pie and a drink), that’s £65,000 a game or £1,495,000 per season We are in one of the busiest areas in terms of football clubs in the country (I’m sure you can now start naming them to yourself) and as such, we have to start competeing with these clubc. Now we clearly can’t compete in terms of the quality of football – but what we can do is compete in terms of value for money. If we dropped the season ticket price to £200 then we would attract loads more people down there. I can think of 4 of my mates who would. Most people don’t get one because they can’t commit to every week, it’s too pricey, I’ll just go to the games I want etc, at £200 a season, those arguements are blown out of the water. I think it would be fair to say that we would get 20,000 season ticket holders if it were £200. That’s £4,000,000 in season ticket revenue,only 500k down on where we are now, however, if each one of those spends a fiver on a pie and a drink, thats £100,000 a game, or £2.3 million a year.

    So if we were to drop the ticket prices, the club would actually make more money, have a rocking stadium for every game and reconnect with the fans.

    Fag packet maths and hungover logic!

  • As I have said elsewhere I agree that we all should have grounds for optimism. We have a good manager who does seem to have set about righting the corporate wrongs aboard the good ship BWFC and seems to know what he is doing on-the-pitch-wise. We have a decent squad of players, especially if we can get the long term injured back to fitness and into the team. They now have the experience of a season in the Championship and possibly with a loanee or two we will definitely be at the right end of the table. As for admission prices, football has been doing its damnedest to price younger fans out of the game. The combination of ever-rocketing ticket prices, the games all being on TV and the availability of moody feeds has meant that the age demographic at most clubs in the higher echelons is constantly rising. This will inevitably result in younger generations falling out of the habit of live football and there will be nobody to replace the older fans as they stop going. This probably does not apply to the five or six teams at the top of the PL who play to full stadia every week. It will, though, apply to the tiers of teams below them reaching right down into the Championship. Surely the sensible response would be to lower prices so that you have a full stadium all of whom have paid less rather than a half full stadium of exorbitant price payers. The revenue would remain more or less the same (dependent on clubs doing the sums properly) but the advantages to the clubs would be the legacy for the future of embedding match-going in a new generation of young fans plus the encouragement for the players of a full, raucous stadium which would spur them on to more victories thus ensuring the club greater revenue in the future. Win-win situation methinks! (PS for a better analysis than mine read “The Beautiful Game” by David Conn – it’s so good that my mother just read it at the age of 80!)

  • I would like to see all kids, say 13 and under, get free admission, your breeding the next generation just like a fish farm our gardening plot. As for faith in next season, great, we all belief but does divine intervention win games? ,the shot suddenly swerved into the net, the ref awards you a 50/50 penalty, the opposition score an own goal, our offside goal is allowed to stand – is someone above looking after us ? Will DF be wearing sandals, a white sheet, long hair and a beard next season, faith comes in many guises.

  • Yardinhio – can’t really argue with that! I know there are a handful of clubs trying to be more creative with ticket pricing especially aimed at getting younger fans in. With the restricted financial times that we are living through, it is surely time for all clubs to take a long, creative look at this issue. Think you should get down the boozer more often! Actually a few years ago I wrote a whole series of ICT lesson plans to do with teaching kids basic computer programming in the pub and still use them today (that’s me planning alone in the pub rather than teaching the kids in there – OFSTED take a dim view of that kind of thing these days!)

  • What wins games, Mike, is good management, good coaching, players with skill who can implement a plan and a decent helping of good fortune. The hope is that next season we have all these and won’t need the intervention of supernatural beings. Anyway DF would look a right chump in sandals in the depths of winter!

  • I have a season ticket and obviously pay for my 15 year old and 10 year old who have them too. I didn’t have problem last year as the family stand price for 1+1 was reasonable and the extra junior ticket was £50 for the season. This time around however I am not too happy as the powers that be have decided that the family stand will be the north stand upper only. This means I lose my discount if I want to stay in the west lower(which I do) plus the prices have risen and also my eldest is now £70 instead of £60 as he fits in the older junior band. I think making the family stand up there is a big error as my kids love being close to the action and would feel disconnected from the match if they were too far from the pitch. The younger one would have stopped coming before now if she wasn’t able to wave to lofty and the players and receive waves in return. I can see the reasoning in reduced season ticket prices but I don’t see it happening, as an alternative I would like to see some more added value for those of us who stick with the season ticket and shell out every month. Maybe free tickets to reserve matches and special events. Maybe exclusive merchandise or discount in the club shop. Finally if three are other events on at the ground either free or discounted tickets for some things and priority booking for others.

  • As for the optimism you may already be aware my cup is always at least half full and on occasion runneth over. However I see nothing but a positive outlook. I agree with the sentiment of this article and was making the same anti booing overtures last season. Can anyone say they didn’t enjoy it more at the match once we were all pulling in the same direction?

  • The very least they should do is give season ticket holders free access to Wanderers Player – for decent highlights and interviews etc

  • Off to the Boozer Fred – I’ll let you know when I’ve figured out how to sort the Middle East out and might have a go at cracking Syria

  • I note the poll is asking for votes on our biggest threat next season, would have thought the answer was ourselves

  • My glass is about three quarters full just now. The progress on the pitch, the approach of the manager and the organisation he’s getting together backstage have got me more excited about the club than I have been for years and it feels as if decline and bad management has been turned around towards progress and promise for the future, immediate and hopefully long term. Don’t think this requires a new badge, but the club should certainly build on the groundswell of enthusiasm out there and embark on a more forward looking pricing policy. We sit in the most intensely populated area of football clubs and must compete for fans – especially young ones – to come to the reebok regularly and get the bug. As mentioned above this isn’t going to happen re season tickets this year but the club should take every opportunity to offer discounts and try and fill the ground for cup games and less attractive fixtures. Hopefully a successful season on the pitch combined with incentives to people who can’t afford STs or want to bring kids etc can help to build a momentum off the pitch too.

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