Ticket sales down despite ‘amazing show of commitment’

Fans at Fratton Park last season
Fans at Fratton Park last season
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Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey are heading for 8,000 season ticket holders.

That is likely to be around 1,200 down from last term as the new era under Convers Sports Initiative gets under way.

Regardless, fans’ outstanding loyalty has resulted in 7,648 season tickets so far being sold for 2011-12.

That does not include corporate hospitality seasonals or those currently being processed which were reserved.

And it is a tally which has drawn praise from David Lampitt and Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

By the start of last season, there were 9,200 Fratton season ticket holders.

There are still 46 days left before Pompey’s curtain raiser at Middlesbrough on Saturday, August 6.

The fact remains, though, the Blues are going to be down on last term.

As it stands, prices are £499 for adults, £225 for juniors and £330 for seniors and young persons.

For some fans, though, Pompey’s activity in the transfer market will dictate when they renew. If at all.

Others still resent the way their club has been run in recent times and have pledged to continue staying away.

The vast majority have renewed, however. In total, there were 7,234 renewals during the ‘early bird’ period from March until the end of May.

And Ashley Brown, who sits on the board of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, believes that is testament to fans’ incredible loyalty.

He said: ‘I think the numbers are higher than expected.

‘It is quite an amazing show of commitment from those who have renewed and the people at the club should be honoured that many people are willing to fork out that amount of money up front.

‘It is very clear that with the pricing structure, the vast majority of people going to take up tickets would have done so under the early bird.

‘I think the sales would have been catastrophic had the early bird not been extended and payment methods improved upon.

‘For the club, it is obviously difficult to change any policy at this stage but they need to think very carefully about match-day pricing for next season.

‘But, barring an incredible run of high-profile signings, I don’t think the numbers will budge.

‘Having said that, new signings and knowing we have a squad that can compete will be encouraging people through the turnstiles on a match day.’

Brown was part of the Fans’ Conference which met chief executive Lampitt last week.

He was among representatives who presented views on the ways season ticket costing has been handled and on match-day ticket pricing for next year.

In the meantime, Lampitt has praised the season ticket response.

He said: ‘It has been a difficult process for us but we are incredibly pleased with the response of fans, which never ceases to surprise me.

‘To get to where we have got to on season ticket sales is a massive show of support for the club.

‘We very much hope between now and the start of the season the numbers can be increased and we are still looking at ways of offering incentives.’

With the club in administration last summer, season tickets didn’t go on sale until May.

It meant 3,275 had been told by this time last year.

At this stage ahead of 2009-10, Pompey had attracted 11,119 season ticket holders for what would prove to be their final Premier League campaign.

When the Blues reached the top flight in 2002-03, they possessed around 16,000 season ticket holders.