Lambert prepared to sacrifice transfer funds for a fuller Portman Road

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 March 2019

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert would sacrifice transfer funds if it meant the club sold more season tickets at a cheaper price. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert would sacrifice transfer funds if it meant the club sold more season tickets at a cheaper price. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he would take a hit on his transfer budget if it meant the club sold more season tickets this summer.

Paul Lambert has really connected with Ipswich Town fans since arriving last October. Photo: PagepixPaul Lambert has really connected with Ipswich Town fans since arriving last October. Photo: Pagepix

The Blues will almost certainly be playing League One football next season after last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Reading left them 12 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table heading into the final 11 games.

Town sold just over 10,000 season tickets last summer following a 10% reduction in prices – an adult ticket in the lower tiers costing £381 if purchased before the early bird deadline.

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Lambert, who has been a big driver behind match day ticket prices being slashed to £12 or less on four occasions recently, was asked if he had given his thoughts to owner Marcus Evans regarding season tickets.

Paul Lambert has met with Ipswich Town supporters' group Blue Action several times to discuss improving the atmopshere at Portman Road. Photo: Steve WallerPaul Lambert has met with Ipswich Town supporters' group Blue Action several times to discuss improving the atmopshere at Portman Road. Photo: Steve Waller

“We’ve spoken about the ticket prices but I can’t force that,” he said, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game at West Brom. “I can give my recommendations and what I think.

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“The more people you get into your stadium the better for everybody.”

With Town set to lose around £6-7m in TV revenue next season, gate receipts are set to be more important than ever before when it comes to the playing budget.

“I would rather play in a full stadium and go with the young ones here – guys I know what I’m going to get from, who I can trust and who the supporters can identify with,” said Lambert.

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“That’s important to me, getting the fans in the stadium.”

A crowd of more than 23,000 watched Town’s latest defeat with the buoyant atmosphere at Portman Road regularly described as ‘not normal’ by Lambert.

An Ipswich Town fan at carrow Road. Photo: PagepixAn Ipswich Town fan at carrow Road. Photo: Pagepix

“This club has to get its identity and its support back,” said the Blues boss, who believes the club needs a ‘cleanse’ this summer.

“I could see the whole thing was dwindling and I never felt the connection with the supporters when we first came in.

“We’ve done what we can and you can see the reaction from just reaching out to them.

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“I get so many from letters people saying they are coming back to watch the games now. We might not win but at least it’s exciting and the atmosphere is great. That’s what you want.

“Whatever happens on the pitch, if I’ve paid £30 a ticket I don’t want to just sit there and be negative and not enjoy it. I want to go in the North Stand and jump about like a lunatic because I’ve paid the money for it.

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“To get the young fans in and to get the Blue Action group in is vital. The atmosphere since I’ve been here has been brilliant and I can’t thank them enough.

A crowd of more than 23,000 watched Ipswich Town's 2-1 defeat to Reading at Portman Road last weekend. Photo: Steve WallerA crowd of more than 23,000 watched Ipswich Town's 2-1 defeat to Reading at Portman Road last weekend. Photo: Steve Waller

“I’m pretty sure Marcus will do everything he can to help that side of things.”

Ipswich Town average home league attendances:

2002/03: 25,455. Finished: 7th

Town fans celebrate Gwion Edwards' late leveller against Reading. Photo: Steve WallerTown fans celebrate Gwion Edwards' late leveller against Reading. Photo: Steve Waller

2003/04: 24,519. Finished: 5th

2004/05: 25,651. Finished: 3rd

2005/06: 24,251. Finished: 15th

2006/07: 22,444. Finished: 14th

Town fans go wild as Will Keane celebrates his late equaliser against Stoke. Photo: Steve WallerTown fans go wild as Will Keane celebrates his late equaliser against Stoke. Photo: Steve Waller

2007/08: 21,934. Finished: 8th

2008/09: 20,960. Finished: 9th

2009/10: 20,840. Finished: 15th

2010/11: 19,614. Finished: 13th

2011/12: 18,266. Finished: 15th

2012/13: 17,526. Finished: 14th

2013/14: 16,654. Finished: 9th

2014/15: 19,605. Finished: 6th

2015/16: 18,989. Finished: 7th

2016/17: 16,981. Finished: 16th

2017/18: 16,271. Finished: 12th

2018/19: 17,821. Position: 24th

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