Firstly I admit it, I’m pro-club. I support their initiatives wholeheartedly, and although I can see where they do things differently to what you might think, I appreciate that the sudden burst in popularity has caught them by surprise. Managing the interest and demand at this stage of the season isn’t easy by any means.
On February 6th just under 12 months ago we beat Eastleigh 3-0 at Sincil Bank. James Caton scored a stunner, but just 2085 fans witnessed it. Last night we took over half of that away to Solihull Moors, and I wouldn’t expect anything less than three times that for the rest of the season at home. To put it into some sort of context, when compared to the Eastleigh game our attendances look set to have grown by 200% in a year.
If you ran a garage fixing cars, and you were doing ten a day can you imagine the pressure on you if you suddenly had thirty a day to try and repair? Would you immediately spend on new equipment, or would you fear that the slower times might come back, and cautiously see where the wave of new business led you? Demanding the club employ more people and new systems is al well and good, but for all they know we could be back down to 2085 fans in twelve months time, and that fancy new ticketing machine would be redundant, just like those new staff.
I’ll accept that they haven’t got it spot on at times with tickets. I am a firm believer that season ticket holders should get priority for all games, home or away. I’m not a season ticket holder myself, so I’m not coming at this from a selfish angle. I think that an investment in July of a few hundred quid up front should entitle you to as many benefits as possible through the season. It’s like a gamble, you’re sticking your money up front hoping we might get a big FA Cup third round tie. Or fourth round. Or fifth round.
I think the announcement today is another positive move on the ticketing front. The club have announced a special ‘eight pack’ of tickets, marketed as the ‘final strEight’ (I would have gone with the ‘final str8’, but each to their own). There’s a small saving on the cost of entry, but more importantly you’re guaranteeing your seat for all of the remaining games.
I’m going to buy one, and I don’t even benefit from the savings. As a Fans Player Scheme member I’d be eligible for three ‘free’ tickets over the coming three months, and if they’re taken into account then I’ll actually lose out. I’ll be out of pocket to the tune of £45 ish, and I couldn’t care less.
I’ve been beating myself up a bit over not buying a season ticket. It’s partly because of the priority for the likes of Ipswich and Brighton, but also because I feel in some way that I let my club down. I did Poacher occasionally back in July though, so realistically I didn’t think it was viable for me, which is why I went down the FPS route instead.
I’ve never had a season ticket, I had sixteen great years coming and going as I pleased as Poacher, and I moved away in 2013 to Cambridge. I only returned midway through last season, so there’s never been a call to purchase one. I’m definitely getting on the final str8 (mine is better, I’m sticking with that) offer though, because I can see by the end of February we might be attracting bumper crowds for the visits of teams like Bromley and Torquay. I can’t even imagine what it would be like not to be able to bag a ticket for what could be our last National League home game against Macclesfield.
The offer won’t be for everyone, and like me there will be a large number of people who will not benefit from taking advantage of the latest offer. You can’t please all of the people all of the time and whatever incentives are put together, someone will feel excluded. Unfortunately that is the nature of life, and I think at some point this season every section of the support has had some sort of benefit, be it £10 cup games, junior Imps offers or priority for the big matches.
This is a great time to be a Lincoln fan, and if we’re to hold off our challengers until the end of April then we’re going to need as much support down at Sincil Bank as possible. Ever since I was tall enough to spit in a toilet, my Dad has been filling me full of stories from 1976, names like Freeman, Booth and Ward reverberate around my head as if I’d seen them play myself. Every single achievement in the last forty years has been measured against that great side by fans up and down the county.
Don’t miss out on the chance to tell your kids, and their kids, about the glorious final few months of 2017. It’s your duty as an Imps fan, and as a decent human being. If you have the dollar sat around, invest in the final str8 and ensure your place at the table of success: we haven’t dined there for far too long and you don’t want to be going hungry come April.