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Lack of children at Adams Park

Some of the attendances lately at Adams Park have been on the disappointing side to put it mildly! I sit in the old main stand, directly opposite the Frank Adams Stand upper & the Family Stand.

It’s become very apparent that the number of children in the Family Stand really is pitiful these days. On our “family day” v Carlisle United it was great to see so many children at Adams Park but the numbers post Christmas are worryingly low.

It may be to do with cost, it may be to do with not being able to spend their pocket money at the kiosks since AP has become cashless. But, whatever the reason, we cannot afford to lose a generation of youngsters to other clubs or sports.

Adams Park is increasingly represented by an older demographic. There needs to be a balance to be a healthy club. Positive action needs to be taken to regenerate the Family Stand in particular.



  • I thought there were a good number of children there Saturday. I saw a number of families with small children walking to the ground.

  • The Family Stand was really sparsely populated (viewed from the opposite side of the ground). Years ago it was nearly always 75% full. There’s a problem here.

  • u11 are £5, u18 £9 - what do you suggest?

  • The cost of alternative entertainment is far more attractive. It’s not the child ticket prices that are the main issue - adult tickets, food prices, lack of affordable parking.

  • I was in the family stand on Saturday. It's weird the amount of adults who go in there who don't have any kids with them.

    Adult only groups dotted all over the place.

  • Pretty clear he's raising a valid issue and asking others for their ideas. If you've got nothing to contribute just keep schtum.

    I'd be out into schools and football clubs and youth clubs etc and giving away tickets every week.

  • Hard to say why attendances are so low. The downward trend started last season. Even when we were going well under GA we weren't attracting crowds as large as the play off season before.

    Prices I'm sure are having an impact. Anecdotally I've spoken to Wycombe fans who've said they can't afford to attend regularly now. A shame, as apart from a couple of awful months, I don't think the football on show has been to bad. Ok, lower mid table doesn't really draw fans in, but as I say, this started last season even when we were competing near the top.

  • I speak to loads of people about Wycombe and the reason that comes up time and time again, easily the most, is that it's just a pain in the arse to get to. You have to arrive an age before kick off to park anywhere near, and then it takes an absolute age to get away afterwards.

    Us lot on here, by and large, are absolute obsessives, anoraks and will keep going, rain or shine, however well or otherwise the team are doing. We are not normal. There is a far, far larger section of fans who won't bother if the football's rubbish, or the weather is shit, or if they just can't be bothered with the hassle of it all. It's an ordeal.

    Get us a ground in the town centre again and the sky's the limit. That'll never happen though, sadly.

  • I think a factor is also the weather. Taking young children to a freezing or wet Saturday afternoon doesn't tick many boxes when going bowling, the cinema etc is more attractive & warmer!

    I think the club need to look at doing at least 3 club / family events a year. 1 for a friendly / first few games of the season. Next should be around October half-term then last one shoukd be towards the end of the year. Of course, this can change if we are looking at playoffs / promotion but having this base template would hopefully keep the interest going even if the season hasn't gone to plan!

  • When I was at school there was always a flurry of excitement when there was word Wycombe Wanderers were in and dishing "free" tickets out.

    I can't remember now if they were actually free, or an adult buys and kids goes free, but it was a buzz.

    That and quid a kid were great and simple deals.

    But the Couhigs seem to be on file with a "No discount" policy.

    I don't know how much kids would be in the Frank Adams or Family stand, but an adult in the Frank Adams with me midweek was £29.

    What floating fan is going to pay that regularly?!

  • I completely take the points raised: cost, parking, poor form etc. To which I would add the Sunderland play off final as a tipping point. By which I mean it was a huge opportunity missed, not just the failure to return to The Championship but also the failure of the team to show up on the day leading to a really flat experience. Many ‘day trippers’ attended and were massively underwhelmed by the performance and, in comparison to the obsessive passion of the opposition, Wanderers as a ‘brand’.

    A repro Liverpool shirt or playing as Barcelona on FIFA or sitting in the family stand on a Saturday afternoon? There are so many more exciting things for kids to associate with these days, sadly.

  • I also think they need to bring back the penalty shoot outs in the actual goals! It got both home & away fans involved & a chance for youngsters to score a goal at AP. Sod the shoot at Bodger rubbish, if it wasn't broken, it doesn't need fixing

  • I'm slightly loath to raise this as I am one of the many that benefits directly - but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a correlation between declining attendances and the relative ease and cost effectiveness of buying a match day pass and watching it on the big screen with friends and family. I felt guilty when I started doing it but the club's Comms - cheeky nods and winks to Vipienne - soon reassured me that this was a switch condoned by the club.

    I hear on yesterday's commentary that from next season we're switching to a four-camera set up. Great for me and those who don't want to travel (yeah, I stayed in London yesterday rather than coming to Adams' Park). Not necessarily great for attendance figures or club coffers .... Unless the cost of the match day pass is going up fourfold as well.

  • I've noticed the apparent dropping numbers of children attending for quite a while, certainly the past two seasons. I had wondered if there was a Bayo effect that had increased the attraction for them to attend. He's gone now, so has their interest gone with him?

  • My nephew lives in Maidenhead. Maidenhead United have multiple kids teams at every age level. Every week he turns out for the Junior Magpies in his full Maidenhead kit, as do hundreds of other kids. A couple of times a season him and his teammates have a turn to be mascots, walking out with the players. He's not their number one fan or anything, but he drags his parents along to a few home games and who knows, may become a fan in years to come.

    I don't live in Wycombe, but I don't think we have anything on this scale which engages local kids and starts building affinity with Wycombe early. It's a massive opportunity missed.

  • I understand your argument about location, access and egress etc but I can only assume that people who use this as a reason not to go to Adams Park don’t visit any other grounds in the country either. I have visited 89 of the 92 EFL clubs and in the vast majority of cases they experience the same problems. Even clubs close to a motorway-Reading, Bolton, Walsall etc-suffer from lengthy traffic jams. We have reasonably good alternatives like park and ride but it seems that people are reluctant to use them.

  • It's not my argument, I'm enough of a saddo to keep going whatever. But it's obviously not us that the club needs to attract.

    I would add that we were very unlucky in that we reached the Championship in a season where no-one was allowed to attend. That would have been a massive opportunity to grow the fanbase and we couldn't do it.

  • my two boys both took part in the Penalty shoot outs on the pitch, both now season ticket holders…it worked!

  • I help out with my daughters team and they play on a Saturday. Yesterday an opportunity come up to play a match, then the kids would be mascots for liverpool feds women v Liverpool u21s. Then at half time a penalty shoot out.

    The day went aswell as it could, the excitement of the kids when they we're waiting to lead the teams out, all the parents recording and taking photos etc it was brilliant.

    Does this mean we'll all start going to watch them regularly probably not but I did buy them all food and the parents would of spent money on refreshments too.

    But most importantly for me is giving the kids happy memories and I think if you invited 2 teams each week to take part in a penalty shootout comp the kids will be made up and for the club I believe family members would want to come and watch them.

    As for kids at the game I bring mine, my 8yo loves it, the 5yo not so much and my 4yo I just like doing stuff with him and hope one day he'll enjoy the games. It can be an expensive gig though, some grounds charge alot more than others and when you add up petrol, food and other stuff unless you're a fan I can see why families don't bother.

  • I think this has been a problem for a few years now. I don’t think we are doing nearly enough in the local community to engage new fans. When I was growing up late 90s/early 00s Wycombe had a fantastic football in the community set up. There was after school clubs and holiday football camps etc, most would involve a trip to AP for a tour or the training ground (bad timing) to meet the players. From what I can see this stuff doesn’t happen anymore. You would also have free tickets in schools and the penalty shoot outs at HT, I’ve no idea why we stopped that?

    I seem to remember before the FA Cup semi final we had a big banner up by the train station promoting Wycombe and that game, we now have no presence in the town centre. With the amount of people moving to the area for commuter links I’d say something at/near the train station would be perfect for attracting a few new people down to AP.

    Lastly, I think the atmosphere plays a big part. It’s got very quiet at AP over the last few years bar the odd game. I am no longer in the terrace but I’m not sure the 1887 group has made any difference to the atmosphere yet, maybe this will come in time. I appreciate they probably need some help from the quality of football on show too which is improving dramatically.

  • The 1887 is a load of tosh. The heavily involved just wanted a bit of online clout. The drab atmosphere definitely contributes to lower attendance. There hasn’t been much to shout about this season though.

  • We usually have quite a reactive crowd at Wycombe, generally we need to be playing well for there to be a good atmosphere. Credit to the fans on Saturday though, even after a pretty dire 1st half, they got right behind the team in the 2nd half and made a great noise and I think the players reacted to it and lifted their game. Quite unusual that, so credit to the Valley End who really gave the place a boost and got their rewards with a much improved performance.

  • To be fair, the terrace (and whoever was drumming) did a great job of lifting a dead atmosphere on Saturday before the subs and the team sparked into life. Northampton's travelling support was like a painting - you could only tell they were real when they started sneaking out before the end.

    Even the Woodlands did a bit of clapping and now we're moving out of gloves season, the noise levels will soar!

  • I think the loss of highly charismatic figures in Gareth and Bayo has a lot to do with the current subdued atmosphere at Adams Park. We no longer seem to have any leaders at the club.

  • Location is the main issue but crowds have dwindled generally as the football has been poor for years and the cost is just a bit too much now. As has been mentioned the Sunderland game at Wembley when lots of floating fans turned up just confirmed what they had thought previously about the football. When you go back to the 90’s we were generally 6-8000 crowds so what has changed to lose 50% of the crowd. I’m guessing like most towns large portions of those fans no longer live in the area and the newbies show no interest because of the reasons i gave.

  • edited March 18

    That statement about the 90s simply isn't true

  • Yep, the largest crowds we ever attracted were in the 2 season after the 2001 cup run. I think 2 seasons ago in Ainsworth's final full season, was amongst the highest average crowds we've ever had. The worry is the drop off from that season. We had a couple of sell outs, and a few other matches which were close to selling out, but last season the crowds were much lower, even when at times giving the away team extra tickets. And again, there's been a significant drop off this season. I think that can only partly be attributed to league position and the dreadful form on November/December.

  • @Wycombe85 Not quite true, last season was the largest home average attendance since 2002-2003, albeit with an increase in away fans. What's undeniable though, is that this season will see a big drop.

  • edited March 18

    To be honest, these reductions all came about as a cost-cutting exercise from the Trust and when the club ran the summer school football camps, they often used some of the coaches from the youth squads. Once the club closed the "academy", those coaches needed to find other work and relocate and Wycombe would need to go through the hiring, paperwork and running of those schools, all at an extra cost that they couldn't afford at the time.

    When I was growing up, I did experience the penalty shoot-out and scored all of my attempts! Another thing that the club did well was an end of season party / get together with several of the playing squad being there. I remember going to Handy Cross & Bisham Abbey where everyone was assigned a team with a first-teamer as captain / leader and they led their team through a full day of activities. It brought all of the younger supporters together with the squad. I don't understand why this stopped? I think a single day of activities shouldn't break the bank while building those relationships with the fan base again. The club had the children's details either from their season ticket details OR having a kids club. This gave children a membership card and it meant that on their birthday, they were sent a 'signed' / pre-printed birthday card by the playing squad.

    One other thing that the squad did was events with other local teams. I do recall Wycombe Wanderers playing a game of Cricket against Wycombe Warriors and they also had a short game of touch rugby against the Rugby team too. I know these were well attended and they was often a raffle for a few prizes that includes a signed shirt.

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