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whatever happened to the Wembley Effect?

Over on the original gangsta version of the Gasroom, GasMan has posted the latest L2 attendance stats...and surprisingly attendances are slightly down. We didn't lose any big clubs from the division last season (none of Burton, Shrewsbury, Bury, Tranmere or Cheltenham were ever good for big away gates, Sarfend maybe a bit better but still not huge).

I know losing 119 people per game (which is what the 3% loss translates to in numbers) is not massive, but you would have hoped at least some of the Wembley daytrippers liked what they saw enough to chance a few more games.;article=789620;



  • Considering we've already hosted Pompey and Oxford, with away sell-outs, those figures are a bit disappointing. Hopefully, the recent run of form, including wins at home, will help to raise numbers.

    Don't know if our away attendances are up, but it feels that way; possibly reflective of our better form away from home.

  • edited December 2015

    League Two 2014/2015 » Attendance » Home matches -> 4.044

    League Two 2015/2016 » Attendance » Home matches -> 3.925

    Would be nice to average 4 - 4,500k for home games.

  • Thought yesterday was ok at >4K especially with the disappointing numbers from Crawley.

  • I'm not sure the large gaps between home games followed by a Saturday/Tuesday double header. Losing a Saturday game to international call ups didn't help either.

  • has been a most unusual season, having 1 home game in about 5/6 weeks, then having tonnes together!

    still, you'd have thought the Wembley game couldn't fail but slightly at worst boost the numbers. Disappointing, and shows what we're up against.
    In fairness, I wouldn't want to regularly pay £15-20 for something I wasn't really into

  • Many of the season's larger attendances will normally come at the end of the fixture list I imagine.

    If we're competing at the top end of the table we should be able to get one or two 6000+ crowds. Having said that, the final home game is accrington, preceded by Yeovil on a Tuesday night

  • Orient, luton, rovers and wimbledon should all bring decent followings as well between now and May.

  • Surely a significant, if rather banal, point is that, at least until the last couple of games, we really haven't been very good at home? This has been the case for both the last two seasons, and there must have been a fair few people attracted to AP by our decent league position only to witness a disappointing home draw or defeat.

    Not that, even if correct, this diagnosis helps much. We don't deliberately set out to be relatively poor at home.

  • Very disappointing that we had the third lowest attendance yesterday, even considering that Crawley didn't bring many.

    Oakwood's point about mediocre performances at home is valid, but we seem to be in the situation where we don't seem to have many 'floating' supporters any more. The home portion of the crowd doesn't seem to vary that much, whereas for big games, or holiday fixtures, in the past, we could usually rely on a good number of extra fans. Also, you'd think that at least some of the 1,000 or so regulars who we've lost over the past few years, might have returned by now. I can think of at least five regular season ticket holders near to me, rarely missing any matches, who are now never seen at AP at all.

    Having said all that, I think that the atmosphere at AP, overall, is probably better than it's ever been, even better that in the O'Neill days. It's not just the terrace that creates the atmosphere now - the Frank Adams is more than a match, and sometimes even outsings the standing fans. There also seems to be a bit more patience, and a bit less moaning, when things aren't going so well.

    By the way, does anyone know whether we still include absent season-ticket holders in the crowd figure? My crowd estimates on matchdays always used to be fairly close, or a few hundred under - now they always seem to be a few hundred over.

  • I remember a fair few fans ranting about Hayes and they wouldn't be back until he left.

    And never came back. Easy excuse I suppose.

  • Absolutely. We lost far, far more fans than we gained when he left. Perhaps many more people than generally realised actually wanted the new ground at Booker, and the money injected (loaned) by a sole owner (no puns please)!

  • @NewburyWanderer Do you really think the atmosphere is the best it has ever been? I've only supported since '01 so I find that interesting.

  • I think so, in so far as that now it's not just the terrace that sing and chant. In the earlier days, it was just that. Now, we often have two sides of the ground getting involved (maybe even three sometimes).

  • I agree with @NewburyWanderer that the atmosphere at AP is currently excellent. I think it has a lot to do with fan ownership, Gareth's rapport with the fans and even the smallness of the squad. It feels like our club, in a way it never did in the Hayes years.

  • I seem to remember seeing something on the club website saying that we sold more season tickets this year than last. The overall attendance figures although interesting and a little disappointing need to be broken down and a bit of analysis done the 3% could be for instance because the concession policy has changed hopefully someone at the club is looking into this.

  • I doubt the atmosphere has anything to do with fan ownership. Other than a few hardcore supporters who pay into the trust, I doubt many others care either way. I suspect if there's a noticeable increase in atmosphere in the Frank Adams stand it's down to the attitude of the players and the up-and-at-them style of play that can be quite infectious. For that Ainsworth deserves the credit.

    I can't say that the atmosphere is noticably better in the terrace than in previous years. It reached a low point when the Wycombe yoofs were chanting about the size of Trotta and McCoy's genitalia a few years ago and has definitely improved since then. However it's not a patch on five-ten years ago when the chants were more inventive, sung more often and by a bigger proportion of the terrace. I do think the drummer these days is good though. And at away matches the atmosphere is the best I can remember - I think memories of Torquay keep the crowd going and there's always a good party atmosphere.

  • Maybe it's my rose-tinted specs but wouldn't say the atmosphere now is anywhere near that of the early noughties (been going since 2000). We used to sing BEFORE matches had even kicked-off when the likes of Stoke, Bristol City etc came down. No scientific proof but I'd agree that a larger section of the terrace used to sing too.

    Bit sad that we now think any attendance above 4k is fairly decent.

    Not sure what's happened to the floaters.

    On the positive side, would agree that the hardcore who remain are certainly a 'tighter' group, a lot more togetherness for reasons stated above.

    Think the club does a marvellous job mobilising existing fans via Social Media, but while certain pricing initiatives have perhaps helped to attract new supporters, there seems to be a lack of focus on traditional marketing in order to get more locals engaged.

    However, that could be down to lack of time, money and resource.

    Hopefully a few newbies who attend for the visit of Villa will 'get the bug', much like I did when we lost 3-0 at home to Bournemouth and a certain Jermain Defoe scored twice (I think!).

  • I think the "floaters" are satisfied with the almost daily football on the T.V . Manchester Utd probably have more arm chair supporters in Wycombe than there are Wycombe fans . Then you add Arsenal , Chelsea and the rest and hay presto who wants to trudge down to Adams park stuck at the end ow town . Also when we were promoted from the conference (and there was not the accessibility to t.v coverge of football ) we were on the rise and it felt like there was no limit to what we could achieve . We are not continuously reminded of how small a club we are with our tiny budget . Anything we do achieve we are told is an "over achievement " . Like him or not in the Hayes years we still appeared to be ambishious and the town could have been forgiven for thinking we were going places . Our small, underfunded, over achieving club may appeal to the die hards but the "floaters " want success and growth in my opinion . We apparently have a five year plan but I am not aware of any clarity as to whether we will be competing financially at the end of this plan or we will simply be in a position where "at least we have a club " . I will still come to matches but is this really an attractive incentive to out money and success driven youth of today ?

  • Now continuously reminded

  • Anyone who 'likes' Steve Hayes is clearly a sandwich short of a picnic. His 'ambition' is what's led to the current state of affairs - a manager and small squad performing miracles in League Two. It's worth remembering that at the end of his ambitious period we were in no better position than we were before he racked up all that debt (which many thought was a lovely gift).

  • I am coming around to thinking that the club PR as a low budget over achieving side must have an affect on certain sections of our support. It's not really that inspiring to those looking for the odd game of football a year. Not much aspiration to cling on to.
    I wonder at what point the club moves on from this as it's pretty clear the players are getting a totally different sales pitch when they join.

  • How the club markets itself probably deserves a thread of its own but my tuppence worth here... I agree with Bourne and RITM that the strength-in-adversity brand doesn't really do it for the millenials or the virals-obsessed youth. It's all a bit too kitchen-sink, Kes-esque realism. People want escapism, aspiration and a touch of the exotic.

    In my view this comes down to marketing a particular player that people can get behind and feel a natural affinity to. The big clubs do this brilliantly. Ozil is Peak Arsenal; Kane the barrow boy done good at Tottenham; Aguero at Man City; the trident at Barca... Each of these clubs tells a story about who they are and where they're going through a player or set of them.

    We used to do this pretty well at Wycombe. In the golden days it was Jesus, then Brownie, Scottie... reached its peak with Sergio and it continued all the way through to Ainsworth when he arrived. Then it sort of petered out. Last year we kinda had it going with Mawson but he was never our own and it's never going to be easy with a central defender.

    However there is one player in the squad we really could and should be marketing to the town. Sido Jombati. He has everything. Portuguese flair. Distinctive style. Ravishing good looks. An ability to excite, enthrall and frustrate on the pitch (in equal measure). You never quite know what he'll do with the ball at his feet but you know he can do brilliant things. He looks, sounds and occasionally plays like he's an exotic Premier League star.

    He's already a fans' favourite, for good reason. He's exactly the sort of player people would be interested in coming to watch, he projects an image of style and sophistication that counters our current image of grunters and hoofers. With some care, attention and effort he could be marketed properly and become a real asset in projecting an image of the club as fun, stylish and aspirational. Sido is the man to get the Wycombe bums on seats.

  • I would push Matty Ingram as "one of out own" if any.

    However reading the above posts I'm hoping someone can roll me one of what you are all smoking please.

  • What happens when they leave?

  • Then it's someone else's turn. In our case, Luke O'Nien - the YouTube clips of his training ground trickery could be much better promoted. Get him on a long-term contract and start building a brand. Plus he has the added advantage of looking like a 12yo so the youngsters will be able to relate...

  • I struggle a little with the club spending time and money on building the brand of players over the club. I guess in the short term a bit of promo and school visits etc wouldn't go amiss, and I'm not sure this is what you're saying but focusing on a single players could be counter productive if say that player moved to another club, say Luton or Reading, still local.

    I like the current 5 year plan, this is what happens in business as part of the strategic planning process and then everything the club does, publicity and branding included must be directed in support of, executing against and ultimately achieving this plan. Pushing player brands could be a part of this but has to ultimately benefit the club and support the 5 year plan.

    I'd still get Matty doing a roadshow of local schools, "local boy, supporter of the club and captained his childhood club on Saturday" type of thing.

  • Don't get me wrong, the idea wouldn't be to ignore the football club in favour of the players. It would be to use the players as symbols of how the club was an exciting place to watch football and root for your team.

    It would be implicitly asking people to rethink their impressions of the club. Instead of hearing a manager they had no affinity to praise his plucky underdogs for a hard-fought victory, they would instead see a club that had among its midst a cosmopolitan and stylish international, a trick-shot loving young pup... and, yes - a heroic local boy made good between the sticks with a big future ahead.

    What young chap or chapess wouldn't want to drag their friends and their family down to Adams Park knowing they'd see exciting, aspirational players they could truly relate to like that? If they can relate to their new heroes they're much more likely to want to return as well, even if we did play shite the day they turned up (a strong possibility).

    I'm not a professional marketer but even I know you need to tell stories, create stars, allow people to feel they know and can relate to their heroes, build narrative arcs, etc. Ainsworth's story works for most of us but the club may need to get out of its comfort zone a little to build relationships with the Premier League-obsessed young of today.

  • Great stuff @aloysius. Just look at this man:

    A marketer's dream.

  • Incidentally, can anyone confirm or otherwise if the start of our poor home form coincided with the narrowing of the Adams Park pitch?

  • I don't think that's true, without putting any effort into looking whatsoever I think we've been worse at home than away for a long time. The Gormania era was particularly noted for being worse at home, but I don't think AP has really been known as a fortress since the Sanchez era (obviously prior to LS losing the plot).

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