It's been said on here time and time again, until most of us are blue in the face probably, but here goes again....
We could do with putting on an offer of really cheap season tickets and matchday tickets for kids.
I wouldn't even mind if Adult prices went up slightly to compensate this, but ideally if they stayed the same, and the kiosk food was reasonably priced, the extra disposable income would probably be spent in there on sweets, crisps and pop.
Now is a better time than any to do such an offer. Raised excitement/expectation, and all signs pointing towards a successful and entertaining season in prospect. If we can get plenty of kids through the turnstiles to witness it, we have them hooked and realising there is a whole new world away from Fifa games and Sky Sports.
We continually get digs thrown at us (and rightly so in a lot of cases) about our poor attendances.....especially from Direites.
However, looking back at when they were playing at Saltergate, were they really that much better than ours now? No they weren't... so what changed?
The new stadium enticed families and people who were floating fans to pop along and have a neb at the new facilities....I'm sure the same happens with most new stadia....remember Brighton's attendances at the Goldstone, and Swansea's at the Vetch for example?
Luckily enough (for them at the time) the new floating fans coming in coincided with what many of them regard as one of their best footballing sides playing entertaining and winning football as they won the league and Paint Pot Trophy. This made their next generation of fans catch the bug, and stay on, even after relegation....but success still continued with another Paint Pot final, another League win, and a Play Off Semi.
That's why their attendances are where we'd aspire ours to be over time.
Recently though, living in Chesterfield, I've heard so many of these floating fans of old now contemplating returning to being just that again. Whereas I saw so many young kids walking around in Direite shirts only a few years ago, they are now being replacedby Chelski, Barcelona or Real Madrid tops. Plenty of adult fans are not renewing season tickets, or they are picking and choosing games, or even waiting to see how the season starts before making a decision on whether to attend or not. A poor start to their season could probably see attendances falling to the Saltergate levels again (here's hoping) and their club falling even further financially as a consequence.
How does this apply to us?
Well we sit on the cusp of something special being built for next season, so we need to do something to get the fans in so that they will witness it, and want to stay for at least a good couple of years afterwards like what happened with them. We can't have a shiny new stadium to do that, and Stags fans of old are a fickle bunch who need a hell of a lot of persuasion. Whenever we've had any form of special promotion to entice them back, the entertainment on offer (Pay what you want being the main one) made their minds up for them.
I don't expect to win them back again in a hurry, but the kids could be a different thing entirely.
A good, stupidly cheap offer to kids could reap dividends with the season we are expecting. Never before has it made more sense than to do it now.
I remember having a season ticket as a kid in the old Bishop Street stand when it was the Family Stand, for £60 for the season, and that was under H**slam, with poor football and a H**lam-esque cheap playing budget assembled squad!! So we can't have any excuse for not doing something at least the same or ideally below that to ensure we have a future generation to follow an ambitious and expanding club.
£18 for a parent and child was and is good. However, I'm sure if it was cheaper to bring along more than one child, most adults would. My Mrs has no interest in football like most women don't. But like an average family size, I have two kids. If I had three, four or five kids, it'd be nice to be able to afford to bring them along. I'm sure there are plenty of folk in that situation.
The Radford's have three themselves, and they claim to realise that the cost of football is hard on families in our area. I know they don't have any financial worries of their own, but surely they realise a typical Mansfield bloke with three kids of his own probably couldn't afford to bring them all?