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WWFC are short of money - then how does this happen?

A small playing budget, no money to relay the pitch etc etc. We know that Wycombe are short of money. But I'd love an explanation to the following, especially as WWFC are a Trust-owned club........

Yesterday, Oxford United drew 0-0 with York City in a very low-key League Two game. But I'm astounded nobody on here has picked up the crowd for that game - 9,406. Quite amazing and only 25 miles away. Now how is it that Wycombe struggle to attract 4,000 for a side in the top three and yet Oxford get over double that for a run-of-the-mill game. There is something very, very wrong here. And the old "We don't have the resources to market it" stuff doesn't wash either. Oxford United get nothing from sales inside their stadium and have precious few resources either.

There is simply too much hand-wringing at Wycombe and too much of an insular view of the world. By the end of this week I would hope there would be a meeting at Adams Park to discuss how the hell Oxford pulled in that crowd and look at ways of replicating it at Adams Park. Chances of that - nil. "We don't have the resources".



  • Oxford have been giving thousand upon thousand of free tickets for recent games. And the York Game was to be the biggest give away yet. The free ticket issue has been causing a lot of arguments on their forum.

  • Bring a friend for free day. Available to all season ticket holders.

    Still a good effort.

  • Local businesses (pretty much ALL in the city) were told each staff member could have FOUR free tickets. Season tickets were given free guest tickets too.

    APPARENTLY each and every ticket used was 'paid for' by a sponsor but this sounds fishy to me. Still, interesting to note the uptake on FREE tickets vs 'families only ยฃ30 this weekend' or 'free burger with every ยฃ20 ticket'.

    The only thing our offers have in common with theirs is the shocking performances that always go with them.

  • Andy, usually a big fan of your posts but feel this is wide of the mark.

    Oxford gave away thousands of free tickets for this game and peed a lot of season ticket holders off in the process.

    I know some Oxford fans considering not renewing their STs due to the amount of free ticket initiatives being pushed by the club at the moment.

    I'm not sure WWFC is in the financial position to gamble in this way.

    Incidentally I thought 5,300 home fans on Good Friday was a decent return, and 6,892 a terrific crowd for fourth tier football. Much more encouraging after some of the disappointing gates this season.

  • I'm not quite sure what the problem is here? Why on earth would there be a meeting to discuss how Oxford have managed to get a crowd that big? The club have tried ticket giveaways before and it's never worked to that extent - even that game against Chester all those years ago only pulled in just over 8000 I think.

    The simple fact is that Oxford have historically had bigger attendances than us, for what I imagine are a whole variety of reasons. Just because they are 'only' 25 miles away doesn't mean we should be able to get the same attendances as them by carrying out the same marketing. It's far, far more complicated than that - but you must know that...

  • I think there is a good chance he didn't know about the free tickets. I too would be shocked at a gate of that size for that particular game.

  • Whilst I appreciate that constantly giving away free tickets can be an issue, this is what Charlton did to fill the Valley every week and get their club up to the Premier League. Surely with our last home game v Morecambe and with less than 200 away fans the Hillbottom Road end could be used as a special free or discounted ticket area?

    Although 5,300 home fans v Oxford was an improvement on the disappointing gates this season, I don't think anybody should accept second-best as being acceptable. The question should be "We got 6,892 - what stopped us getting 8,000?". Gareth and the team have done wonders this season which has not been reflected in the attendances. Surely our last home game of the season deserves a really big crowd? What I am saying is that if Oxford United can pull in 9,406 why can't we at least get 7,000+ for our last home league match of a quite amazing season?

  • My girlfriend works in the science park next door to the Kassam. Without fail, her entire company of several hundred people are given free tickets every single home game.

  • I agree with Mr Worboys that the marketing off the Wanderers and any prominent strategy to advertise the club in the town has been woeful for many years. Though i think Oxford United are a poor example, they owe near 10 million, and the present owners have been very reluctant to explain exactly what their future intentions are, although they will service any debt accrued under their watch.
    They are counting all the free tickets handed out, whether they turn up or not.

  • I think you will find the crowd against Oxford was fiddled as are all our crowds, I very much doubt you would be able to get 3,000 more people into Adams Park than were at the Oxford game, I would think the crowd was more like 7,982

  • Its always easy to critisise, much harder to come up with positive suggestions as to what could be done.

    marketing has its place, however it is easy to overstate what it can achieve. With a normal product, it can persuade a customer to switch from another product, it can persuade a customer tempted to buy to actually do so. It usually cant persuade a customer who is not interested to buy anyway. I suspect its use in football is pretty limited.

    We could put as many posters up in pubs as we wish, I am not convinced it would make a difference. We could offer freebies/ discounts etc but history suggests they merely dilute revenues from existing customers on the day and do not deliver new customers going forward.

    I believe you are in marketing, Mr Worboys. I would be genuinely interested in say your three top suggestions as to what should be done and why you think they would result in increased crowds and therfore revenues.

  • Having seen first hand the demise of the London Monarchs NFL Europe team I am very much against free tickets being used to encourage fans and gain incremental income. The low perceived value of the game means that although people might come back it rarely comes as a full price ticket. They wait for other offers. The Monarchs went from 80,000 gates at Wembley in their first successful season to gates of less than 3,000 at various athletics tracks towards the end. They continually offered free tickets. You never needed to pay but once the initial bounce settled even a free ticket didn't work for many.
    For me it's about creating an environment that people want to experience. Winning football is one thing but for me the dreadful playing surface is the biggest problem.

  • lets just hope we have the money to replace the pitch in the summer, I suspect we don't as the light need replacing also but I would think if these are within the rules the lights should come second but they do seem poor now to what they once were.

  • With respect RITM, blaming low crowds on a poor pitch would appear to be rather simplistic. Are you arguing that if the pitch is fixed in the summer, the crowds will come flooding back in August?

    think the problem goes much deeper than that. Firstly football has made itself expensive and hence lower division crowds are struggling everywhere.

    Secondly (and a message I have banged on about for a while) is related to marketing but not in the sense I think that Mr Worboys means. Each season a significant proportion of regualr crowd will cease attending due to their individual circumstances (go to uni, get married, have kids, change jobs, move out of the area, get ill, die etc etc). Some will just have had enough. These people have to be replaced by new supporters just for attendances to stand still.

    In recent years , the last year or so of Hayes and since the trust took other, the messages coming out from the club have been rather insular - isnt it great that we now own the club, finances are tight, may be a struggle on the pitch, need you the supporters to pay more etc etc. Those messages are fine and perhaps largely understood, some welcomed by existing supporters, they are unlikely to enthuse new supporters to become hooked. In essence to borrow from political sources, the club has focused on its core vote and largely ignored floating voters. i suspect new supporters, replacing those old supporters no longer able/willing to go, have consequently not been attracted.

    The club this season is starting to address those messages. Not only has the product on the pitch improved but the messages off the field are much more positive, "club is now moving forwards again". A far more positive message than previously and perhaps more likely to begin to attract new supporters.

    The old negativity may take a while yet to break down and progress may be slow (particularly if onfield performance is not quite so positive next season) but perhaps at least now we are attempting to go in the right direction.

    And maybe just maybe, there may be a catalyst helping crowds to improve next season. While all will no doub strive to achieve auto-promotion and rightly so, actually the best outcome of all for the longterm health of the club may be a Wembley play-off final, potnetially converting just a handful of one off attenders into long term supporters.

    If we took 15000 (4000 regualrs 11000 new) to Wembley and just 10% were then converted, crowd next season would increase from 4500 (incl 500 away) to 5600,a 25% increase.

  • I am selfish - I would like us to get promoted, and I would like to avoid the playoffs. However I would 100% speculate that our gates, general optimism, and even team character would be significantly improved were we to go up through a Wembley final.

    The reason I am selfish and would like us to avoid the playoffs is that, anything OTHER than a playoff win, would, in my opinion, result in the exact opposite - gates would drop the usual 300-400 for the first few games of the season due to holidays, the team could look drastically different (many players having proved that they could be capable of playing league one football and hence being offered it elsewhere), and there would be a bit of a hangover effect from having come so close this season. The result could realistically see a slow start to the season, leaving us lower mid table, and not encouraging the 300-400 to come back as is the norm in September-October time.

    I would like to think that in GA we have a great, ambitious and eager to learn manager, but we absolutely must remember that we have now reached the very end of our on field benefit from the academy days. Scowens, Stewarts, Hauses, Harrises and Ibes have all moved on, and we will miss the boost of having one or two exceptional 'free' players available to us.

    My general point is that, we may never be in with a better chance of promotion than now, and although the inclusiveness of a Wembley final may be nice, we MUST do all we can to keep third position ours. When we get to league one, we must do all we can to stay there and solidify it as our level. Anything above that is a massive bonus.

    Only then, with a club established as a league one club, will the town start to get behind us. One year, when we fluke a playoff semi in league one, THAT will light up the town. But for now, we just need to cross that finish line.

    We have had a generally great year, with GA's decisions largely paying off, as well as reasonable luck with lack of injuries and suspensions, and the occasional rub of the green with penalty decisions. But we all know how football works, next season's Hayes could turn out to be an Onibuje. Next season's Jacobson could be a Jeffrey. Next season's Scowen could be a Bean... ;)

    The only immediate crowd enticer would be FREE tickets - completely FREE. But this forum, Facebook and fans in general would spend more time complaining about it than enjoying it. And I can't say I completely blame them.

    Let's enjoy the rest of the season and cross that line.

  • Isn't everyone missing the point that 6,900 against Oxford is a tremendous attendance? You can make a direct comparison with Easter Monday 1995. At home vs Oxford, under Martin O'Neill and going for promotion to what is now called The Championship. The crowd that day? 7683. And I could be wrong but I suspect that there were more away fans there that day than last friday as well. That was also back in the days where you could turn up on the day and stand with your mates on the Woodlands Terrace, having paid on the gate. I'd say it was relatively a lot cheaper and affordable back then as well.

    I'm not saying that I wouldn't make changes myself. For a start I'd make all but the centre block of the Frank Adams stand unreserved seating and allow people to pay on the gate. I'd also consider reconverting the lower tier of that stand back to terracing and moving the family stand to the other side. But we're never going to be a side that can regularly attract big crowds, in my opinion. That's why Steve Hayes stadium plan was such a stupid and disastrous idea. Far better in my opinion to start celebrating what we are, rather than try and be something we are not.

  • M3GM3G
    edited April 2015

    @eric_plant Yep well said Eric. People have some funny ideas about what we could realistically achieve on a regular basis. You can look at all the former Non Legaue (not ex legaue)) clubs that have come up in the modern era of auto promotion since the late 80's and You would be pushed to find a club better supported in all that time than us on a consistent level. Only the Pigs from Somerset can have a say in this. Kidderminster, Macclesfield, Boston, Barnet, Cheltenham, Fleetwood, Morecambe, Dagenham, Accrington, Stevenage, Crawley Town, Aldershot Town*, AFCWimbledon, Newport County*, Burton Albion, Maidstone Utd, Scarborough, Rushden & Diamonds. (reformed from original*) All these have probably said the same thing at one time or another. But they are all less supported than us. By the way who has seen Wycombe at all these venues? I haven't been to Stevenage yet.

  • edited April 2015

    @M3G Colchester?

  • edited April 2015

    I just realised from Wikipedia they have been a league club since the 50s. My knowledge of them is not very good.

  • @JS_Watt No my point was Clubs promoted who were former Non League clubs from the start of the 86/87 season when Automatic promotion came in.

  • We had much bigger gates in the conference than those teams also.

    Our gates have dropped significantly over the last few years. I have just done a quick comparison for teams in Lg2 in 07/08 (furthest i could go back) and last season (us helped by two bumper late attendances)

    If figures are right, I think for all teams in same division both years, attendance change
    Chesterfield +53%
    Bury +21%
    mansfield +19%
    Accy -2%
    Dag Red -4%
    Wycombe -23%
    Morecambe -30%

    Take the year after and we are down even more.

    A little too complacent to say there is not a problem.

  • @DevC FFS we have just had one of the worst seasons in our history and some real upheaval behind the scenes recently. WE are still averaging over 4,000 this season, the last three gates I think will all be over this mark, Morecambe significantly I think. Things are on the up, if we do go up the gates wont go down will they!

  • @Right_in_the_Middle I don't think we can lay too much blame on the state of the pitch. The pitch was far worse in our penultimate season in the Conference, and crowds were going through the roof around that time.
    I do think sometimes that we suffer from a slight image problem. To other clubs' supporters, and other locals (non-supporters), we may well be perceived as a 'nice little club, but with supporters who perhaps aren't too passionate'. Witness the regular comments from fans of clubs such as Oxford or Luton. In the past we have actively targeted families. All very well, but families don't tend to turn up on a cold Tuesday evening during term-time for a match against Accrington, when Chelsea are on the TV - or to a lesser extent, on Saturdays in August and September. For a number of years now, our gates at the start of the season have been very poor. I'm not so sure that this happens as much at other clubs.
    How about moving some Tuesday evening home games to Thursdays, if Champions League football is on the TV, and we also have a home game on the following Saturday, which consequently could be moved to the Sunday?
    Also, on a loosely related note, if we're going to give away cheap tickets, how about aiming for Premier League season-ticket holders on days when their clubs are playing away (or not at all), or non-supporters with Sky Sports subscriptions?

  • Kick off must ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be on a Saturday at 3PM.

  • @AttitudeEra Even during the week? Have we seen the re-emergence of Eddie Monsoon at last?

  • I made a point to my fellow travellers on Monday at Burton. April the 6th 1985 we played Leytonestone/Ilford at home and we won that 1-0. I seem to remember that days after this game we announced that we would at last we going to seek promotion to the Gola League. The attendance that day was below 450 mark. five years later we recorded the highest single attendance in the Conference for the season when 4,890 turned up for the Kettering game. I didnt ever think we would see gates above 1,000 again let alone that sort of level. Success breeds gates. Cup run's Promotions will see the crowds come back. But only to a previous level I suspect. Just keep it priced for the working man pocket. This is also the best football for around 8 years.

  • @DevC I agree with the need for positivity but still believe in a change in emphasis in 2 ways.

    1. Engage the community with an honest stance - we are a fan owned club who have existed for over 125 years to serve this community. We NEED your support, give us a go - get the name of the club out there in the local area and get in people's minds again. I do believe that WWFC can benefit from "Co-operative added value" - fan ownership can be an attractive message to fans and local businesses alike.

    2. Involve the supporters in doing this - we need genuine engagement and buy in from the supporters, particularly the Trust members in marketing the club. If costs are a problem then a grassroots approach can address this - a lot of fans putting a tenner towards costs for a particular campaign can work if there's a drive and enthusiasm for it.

    We can say that a Wembley play off final will answer our prayers or that results will be bring bigger crowds but the reality is football has changed and lower league (and non-league) clubs have to work 3 times as hard just to maintain crowds, let alone increase them.

    It really is a case of selling the club 1 person at a time, so while you might not think posters in pubs will make a huge difference, we don't know until we try.

  • Sadly, there is no easy answer. I feel the location of AP and the attendant transport problems make it tricky for those casually interested to just toddle along and buy a ticket. As for the play-offs...finishing fourth...however fantastic after last year...will leave the players it always does. The momentum would be with the teams creeping into the play-off spots...we would not make it to the final.

  • No easy answers indeed. But just take joy in the questions we are asking compared to those this time last year. And I agree with wendoverman that if we don't make the top 3 we'll really struggle in the playoffs- especially as Pierre will probably be suspended for them

  • Urban myth re finishing position and momentum.

    In the last ten Lg2 playoff finals, team winning it has finsihed fourth 3 times, fifth twice, sixth twice seventh three times.

    it would appear there is no correlation at all between league finishing position and playoff success.

    Similar figures for lg1 are 3421 and champship 5122

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