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Attendance v Barnsley was shocking

With a play-off place still up for grabs Saturday’s attendance against Barnsley (5,185) was pitiful. The visitors brought 1,020 supporters which made the home support just over 4,000 (or effectively just under 4,000 with the season-ticket holders who didn’t attend).

Whether it be cost, train strike or whatever, I know lots of people who have stopped coming & many more whose allegiance to WW has been severely weakened. It’s a pity because WW has always been a family club but you tend to feel more like a customer than a supporter these days.

The Exeter match was refreshing in so far as it was a promotional game for children & families and lots of enthusiastic children help create a good vibe around the club. On other match days the Family Stand has been noticeable for how sparsely-populated it is. Sadly, many of the supporters who used to go in the Woodlands Bar for generations stopped coming when it was upgraded to a premium hospitality area & they were priced out.

The club needs a strategy of filling those empty seats with promotions and free and heavily-discounted tickets. The other option is the 4,000 diehards will be charged more & more until even the most fervent supporter says enough is enough.



  • Strong agree. It's hard to love a corporation.

  • I've only been to one game this calendar year as I work most Saturdays now (from home, so I can still stream), but I don't feel like I'm missing out as much as I used to. But maybe that's just me getting old.

  • Would be interesting to know how many of the kids and their parents who came (free or heavily discounted) for Exeter actually bought a ticket for Barnsley. In view of the attendance number, presumably not many. If that is the case, suggests freebies are perhaps not the answer?

    Apart from the Woodlands Bar, could you give some examples of how you have been made to feel "more like a customer than a supporter" . Honestly not sure what you mean but then I am a rare visitor to AP.

  • Expecting immediate returns from a freebie weekend is unrealistic, these things take time. Regular kids-go-free weeks would give them a chance to get hooked.

  • It's difficult to fathom why the attendance was so low on Saturday. No doubting it was a pretty awful home turnout. The train strike probably did have some impact, but no way it kept away the 1k + extra home supporters that we'd have expected for the game.

    Performances have generally been good and it was a big game, so it's hard to put a finger on just why the attendance was so much lower than expected. Usually we get good crowds in the run in. Looking back to last season, we sold out against Sheffield Wednesday, were close to sell out against Plymouth and well attended for the rest of the games towards the end of the season. Why the drop off in crowds this season? Is it the impact of price increases, coupled with the cost of living crisis I wonder?

  • To be fair to the club though, @drcongo , they have more or less done kids go free with the perhaps ridiculously cheap kids season tickets in the Family Stand. There has been reasonable criticism of that policy on here given the inevitable empty seats that follow. If that doesn't work and you are now telling me that one off freebies doesn't work, honestly not sure what would.

  • Stop trying then eh?

    Just give these discussions a miss, you never offer anything constructive but magically appear within minutes to rubbish everyone else's ideas

  • Part of the problem this season has been the lack of any cup runs. My first WW game was Wycombe v Slough in the FA Cup 1st Round in 1970. Cup success gives you additional press coverage and creates an aura around the club that becomes infectious and brings in new people out of curiosity.

    It has been widely documented this season that WW have pushed the playing budget right out in order to get promotion. The cup competitions have consequently not been given as much priority. Now GA would say he wanted to win every cup game but not in any match did he play his full first XI. No criticism of GA because promotion was his sole objective but it still means the league is the only thing to grab any attention.

    Historically, WW in the Isthmian League would average around 2,500 but as soon as there was an Amateur Cup-tie that figure rose to 5-6,000. A good cup run meant people would come along to a few more league games, especially if it was to buy tickets for a forthcoming cup-tie.

  • Am I correct in thinking ‘attendance’ figures include all season ticket holders if they attend or not? If so that makes the crowd even worse.

    It does all feel a little flat these days. No Gaz? No Bayo? Not ‘little Wycombe’ any more David bs Goliath? Couhigs low profile? All or none of the above?

    Make the playoffs and the ground will be full. Proof of final 4 attendance to secure a ticket?

  • How many are paying a tenner to watch in the comfort of their homes? Might explain some of the loss.

  • Will be a significant amount for sure.

    The problem is if it's say a family of 4 who would have paid £100 all in, paying a single £10.

    Worse still if a lot are using cutprice ways of watching too.

  • I've said it before on here but it's £28 for an adult ticket in the Frank Adams upper, or £27 in the main stand. These prices are simply not going to attract your casual punters, especially in the middle of a Cost of Living crisis. Even if they do, people will have to pick and choose their games. I believe the recent high profile home games against Derby and Bolton attracted slightly larger home attendances, maybe at the expense of this one. That's purely a hunch - although it was true for me at least.

    There's a reason that the terrace is usually the part of the ground that's most full - because it's cheap. People certainly don't flock there for the view, and rarely for the atmosphere.

    As for what to do about it... I'm not sure, and to be honest, I feel a bit of sympathy for the Couhigs. They've clearly invested in the on-pitch offering and the squad we've got now is as good as we've ever had in my 20 years supporting. They deserve more people through the turnstiles. If they're unwilling to lower the price then they have to focus more on the off-field promises that maybe haven't been delivered - better facilities, catering, access etc. I'd also start with some steps to encourage an atmosphere on matchday which may make home games feel a bit more of an event.

  • I reckon the downpour put a bit of a dampner on the crowd. I am sure there were people who came to see Bayo. It is true that the terrace doesn't seem to make as much noise as it used to, which might contibute to a flat feeling. I am sure that @perfidious_albion is right and we would sell out for the play-offs. Meanwhile we do need an uplift and I know a way of increasing the attendance by at least one.

    There should be no flatness at Wycombe. Chairlift for Uplift! Especially for those who are getting old!

  • 1) fireworks

    2) ummmm.....

  • The Frank Adams stand is overpriced in my opinion. It's my preferred stand when attending games, but I've switched to the terrace this season. Paying our £27/£28 for each home game is just too much. I'd love to have a season ticket, but it's not really viable for me as there's always half a dozen or so matches I can't make and the Tuesday evening games are often tricky due to work/family commitments.

    Possibly with the ticket prices and cost of living, we're increasingly seeing a section of fans who can't afford to attend multiple matches in a month and are picking and choosing to go to 1 or 2 a month instead and perhaps the Barnsley fixture, being the final home game of the month suffered as a result?

  • It was weird to see the home crowd around 900 down on the Bolton match only a month ago, and very unexpected as far as I'm concerned. Don't think you can put it down to any 'on the day' factors, such as bad weather, because looking at the ticketing website during the week, the advance sales seemed already well down compared to, say, the Bolton game.

    One point that I don't think anyone's mentioned as yet - I might be completely barking up the wrong tree here, but how long has the ST subscription model been running for? Around a year? Could it be that some, or lots, of the early adopters have cancelled their subscription after the mandatory one-year period? There could be several reasons for this - people needing to cut back on leisure spending, disillusionment after the departure of GA, a general feeling that, despite our league position, there wasn't enough investment in the first-team squad in January? Plus, as mentioned above, a possible feeling of disconnection from the club.

    I was of the opinion that the subscription model was a good idea, with fans no longer having to splash out a large lump sum during the summer, and the supposition that they would by and large just let the subscription run indefinitely. Perhaps this isn't actually turning out to be the case. If so, then that's something we need to somehow address.

  • I never really understand the disconnection with the club argument? I know many felt that way, including myself during the Hayes era. These days, I'd say it's been a long time since I've felt so connected with the club as I have done in the past few years. We've had and with the appointment of Bloomfield, still have a management team who genuinely seem to love the club and a group of players who give their all week in week out and appear to be a really likeable bunch.

    Everyone has their own feelings of course, but I still view this as very much a golden era in my time supporting the club. It's only a few weeks ago, that we beat Derby County 3-2 in what I regard as one of the best and most exciting Wycombe matches I've ever watched at Adams Park.

  • A combination of lots of factors I suspect.

    As some have alluded to above, did people go to the first two home matches of the month and then not able to afford the last one before pay day.

    Prices in FA at £28 a ticket are just ridiculous. I don't blame the club but the stupid inflated wages players demand at this level due to the enormous wages in the Prem and Championship.

    Mother's Day - did people have to choose between buying a mother's day present and going to the match.

    Energy Support was in theory ending this month or next and the price cap is due to go up on 1st April.

    6 Nations Super Saturday. How many chose to stay in and watch that instead of coming to the football.

  • Having supported since 2001, the peak of feeling connected with the club was under the Trust and fan ownership.

  • edited March 2023

    I understand where cost of living crisis might impact, but as for the other issues, I pay to see football at AP accepting the fact that I will have to put up with whichever manager they put in place and whichever players they do (or do not) open their checkbooks for. I would be quite surprised if people ripped up their subscription because of GA's departure or lack of January investment, but I also accept I am quite shallow. GA era was excellent in my opinion...of which I know others are available.

  • With you on that. I am a long distance supporter having moved away from Wycombe in the mid 80s. I agree the Hayes era was a dark period but thereafter and most definitely since Covid I have never felt so connected with the club. I attend more games each season, albeit primarily away games and I don't miss a game as a result of Wanderers TV. That said for me nothing beats being there in person especially at Adams Park

  • edited March 2023

    Freebies definitely do help ! I personally know of 2 families that are now all season ticket holders that originally only came thanks to some freebies at school

    I personally think a lot of the problem is price. Times are hard atm and it's not exactly cheap to go now is it ? And don't even get me started of the cost of food and drink

  • I too feel quite sorry for the Couhigs. They've assembled the best playing squad we've ever had at Wycombe, and despite some heartbreaking moment this season, it's the end of March and we're still in the playoff picture. By any metric, this is one of our most successful seasons ever. Their reward for all this is to be constantly nitpicked by people who really should know better. You'd genuinely have a better time setting fire to big piles of cash than investing in a football club.

    I think the reasons for the poor attendance have been covered on this thread. Among our current run of home games this, and FGR in a few weeks are definitely the ones you'd miss if you had to. I'm not sure its a sign of wider malaise.Although ticket prices are way too high.

    As for those who don't feel connected with the club, i'm not sure what you want. Sadly, it's painfully obvious that for a club our size the choice comes down to being owned by the Trust, but running the risk of only have eight players on the first day of pre-season and local derbies with Sutton and AFCW, or completing at the top end of L1 but under private ownership.

  • I started coming as a result of my daughter getting free tickets at school. We were ST holders for about three years after that before I took a break for financial and work reasons. I have no idea what will work and not work in getting people in though..and no idea why the food and drink is so poor!

    Even the little cafe they had in what is now the shop used to be able to rustle up a decent beverage!

    For older Gasroomers, what was the normal attendance when you first arrived at Adams Park?

  • Not sure if food quality would put people off coming would it? That said, I speak as someone who hardly ever buys food at a football stadium. The offerings outside the stadium in the car park always look good!

    @Wendoverman to answer your question, I've supported Wycombe all the way through the Adams Park years. Think attendances were around 3-4000 for that first season and had increased to over 5500 by the time O'Neill left. Our best supported seasons were under Sanchez following the FA Cup run. Think we got up to 6600 the season after the semi final. Certainly a good cup run is a proven way to boost local interest.

    When I first started watching Wycombe in the mid 80's anything over 1000 was considered a good turnout. Was under Jim Kelman that we started to attract back fans who's stopped going in the late 70's early 80's as well as attracting a new generation of fans to Loakes Park.

  • I've barely been to Adams Park this season, despite being a season ticket holder. Partly down to laziness / commitments / family / distance etc., but also down to the fact that the much fabled "match day experience" has been an absolute shambles when I have been. From lack of edible food, to having to leave the ground to buy a bottle of water at half time, coupled with my seat being given to opposition fans, it's honestly not easy to persuade myself to drive an hour and a half, pay through the nose for parking and then have a shitty afternoon before driving an hour and a half home again. And when I have done, I've come away feeling like a right mug. If I ran a cost/benefit analysis on wether to attend Adams Park or not, it would lose every time.

  • @drcongo oh dear. I'm amazied you make it at all. Makes my eating lunch, 20 minute drive, fifteen minute walk from school parking and picking up a reasonably priced bottle of Coke Zero and Snickers from Headbutt Tesco for half time look like a breeze. I can see why Fireworks might not cut it for you. Mrs W wants us to retire to Dorset that would finish me at Adams Park for the reasons you give above.

    I'm hoping that by then technology being what it is they will be able to inject the full stadium experience directly into my brain...with @bluntphil commentary...for my subs.

  • That would be great if they could do that @Wendoverman . Similarly, we are giving serious thought to in a few years time to relocating to Cornwall for our later years, we already have family down there which helps. Would definitely rule me out of attending most home games !

    I really feel for you @drcongo espc the having to move for away fans ! Hopefully we'll never see that again

  • @drcongo presumed you were local for some reason. 90min one way, where's that, South coast direction, or far end London or somewhere?

    As per @Wendoverman , fair play for turning out at all. I'm technically a walkable distance (well, quite a long walk, but did it once when the car failed on Boxing day!), and even sometimes I'm half hearted about it!

    £28 for a single game is utter madness isn't it?!

    Season ticket takes it down to a bit more reasonable £21 or so though.

    What I do find quite often, is that if I'm trying to shift my pal's ticket for a game, it's very hard to, even at say half price.

    The people who want to go will be going, hard to find as many on the day types as it probably used to suit.

  • The way A.I. is going, that experience may indeed become a reality at some point! They already have plenty of virtual gigs, I think?

    Also, instead of banning people for verbal abuse, there could be a permanent mute button...

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