Awful recent home form will hit vital 2011/12 season ticket sale hopes
15:48 17 March 2011
Copyright Ashley Pickering
IPSWICH Town face losing millions of pounds if their depressing home form continues.
If so it could well stump manager Paul Jewell’s desire to strengthen his squad into one that can make a serious assault on promotion next season.
Owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg are poised to announce the club’s package for selling 2011/12 season tickets.
Logistically a decision has to be made within the next few weeks, but timing will be everything.
A slump in home form has seen Jewell’s side gain just one point from their last four Portman Road games, and conceded eight goals in their last three that have all been defeats.
Much of the optimism that accompanied Jewell’s appointment in January is in danger of evaporating, and unless Scunthorpe are walloped on Saturday it would be a brave move by Evans to promote season tickets in the current climate.
Boos rang around the ground on the final whistle of Tuesday’s 3-0 home reverse to Watford – not the reaction to give hope that an increase of this season’s figure of just under 14,000 tickets is going to be achieved.
In fact, if the Tractor Blues continue to misfire at home the figure could be much lower.
Not perhaps at the five figure number that the Roy Keane era was heading for, but still low enough to cut several millions off a hoped-for income during the otherwise barren financial summer months.
Evans has backed Jewell with finance to take onboard proven Premier League players Jimmy Bullard and Kieron Dyer on loan, but the manager’s ability to bring in all the reinforcements he needs may be stifled if season tickets drop to around 10,000 or 11,000.
Clegg remains bullish, but knows the importance of the next few games.
He said in a message to fans: “By finishing strongly this season I am convinced we can put together a credible campaign for promotion next year.
“I hope over recent weeks you’ve witnessed a change in the way the team are performing and certainly much better entertainment.
“We are creating the right environment, the players are enjoying their football, the squad will be reinforced where the manager believes necessary.
“The owner, Paul Jewell and myself are absolutely committed to building a club that can achieve Premier League status and Marcus has advised both Paul and I that he will make the necessary funds available to achieve this.
“During these challenging economic times we do appreciate that for some of you this may be a difficult decision however when we ask you to reaffirm your support for Ipswich Town next season.”
Changes are to be made to the Junior Blues scheme and in the season ticket packs will be details of a new membership scheme with a dedicated staff member and a range of benefits.