Ticket sales reveal fans’ faith in new era

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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The terrain of modern-day football is awash with those who try to influence how we feel about the game.

There are the marketing types who want to tell us what is fashionable to think.

Rebranding club crests, colours and even club names are all fair game in their efforts to catch the eye and re-write history.

Then there are the PR gatekeepers, operating largely in the upper echelons of football, who often take it upon themselves to restrict the flow of information to fans.

And don’t forget the pundits, analysing football to the Nth degree, who can make a beautiful game mundane with their clichés.

The one sure-fire way in which to gauge our thoughts on the sides we follow, however, is when fans vote with their feet.

Attendances and, in the summer, season-ticket sales are the perfect barometer to assess the attitude of fans when it comes to their side.

And the news out of Fratton Park’s ticket office this week makes for some interesting reading on that front.

As of Monday, Pompey had sold 4,300 season tickets ahead of the new campaign in League Two.

That is well over half-way towards topping last season’s total of 8,050 bought in the English game’s third tier.

The fact that figure has been hit just three weeks after going on sale is a revealing insight to the Fratton faithful’s current mindset.

But not as revealing as the fact the season tickets purchased are 40 per cent up on this stage last year.

And, perhaps most telling of all, 30 per cent of those buying tickets are classed as new customers.

So what is convincing those who had previously refused to stump up their hard-earned cash to watch their club in League Two.

The pubs, clubs, offices and factory floors of the city are delivering a recurring response on the subject.

Supporters have been heartened by a new dawn down at PO4 following the Pompey Supporters’ Trust takeover.

Likewise, extremely reasonable and sensible ticket pricing along with some bright initiatives have had the desired impact.

Guy Whittingham’s quickfire transfer policy has given supporters a clear idea of what to expect in their team’s first season in the fourth tier of English football for 23 years.

Whittingham has landed 12 players to date, with captain Johnny Ertl promising his return to make it 13.

The marquee names may be gone but there is belief in the plans being put in place on the playing side and, importantly, the frugal philosophies underpinning it.

Supporters will also look to a squad containing the likes of David Connolly, Patrick Agyemang, Ertl and a swathe of young, hungry players and have a quiet conviction about what it can achieve.

That spate of signings has maintained the feelgood factor which began in the High Court on April 10 and continued once the Trust ensured Pompey became the biggest fan-owned club in Britain.

But those cataclysmic events have also provided supporters with the belief the money they graft for is being put to the best use for Portsmouth Football Club once it’s put over the counter.

The significance of having that confidence cannot be underestimated.

Like with the sharp upturn in pledges to the Trust witnessed after their takeover, we are seeing fans part with their hard-earned cash because they have faith in Pompey again.

They really believe they can be part of a journey which will see the feelgood factor return to following the club they love.