Price reduction was a disaster - and here's the proof

Josh Barrett was mobbed by his King's Lynn Town team-mates after scoring against Nantwich

King's Lynn Town fans at the FA Trophy clash against Nantwich - reducing the price of admission proved costly - Credit: Ian Burt

Sadly, our Boxing Day game against Notts County fell victim to the weather and it denied the club a large festive crowd.  

The game has now been rearranged for Tuesday night, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we must deal with a tricky Woking side who visit The Walks today.

Jamar Loza tries to get Lynn on the front foot Picture: Ian Burt

Jamar Loza looks likely to be back at The Walks with Woking this weekend - Credit: Ian Burt

Jamar Loza, who once plied his trade at King’s Lynn Town sandwiched between spells at Woking, will be returning for the Cards and after an impressive display away at Chesterfield on New Year’s Day where a resilient King’s Lynn team were beaten by a solitary deflected shot, we will go into the game confidently and hope that the fans come and give the team the support that they need.

We have experimented with different pricing structures recently to try and swell the gates and on the catering side, prices have also been reduced. The results of the experiment have been mixed. On the positive side, by reducing all drinks prices to just £3 a pint until 2pm and continuing the discount straight after the game, numbers have swelled. This price reduction has improved the atmosphere no end in the bar before the game as fans prefer to arrive early, watch the pre-match game on big TVs and not have a mad scramble into the ground just before kick-off. We have decided to continue the deal until the end of the season.

One ‘fan” - I use the term very loosely (as to my knowledge he never comes through the turnstiles to support the club) suggested on a forum this week that our ticket prices for concessions were just £2 less than those being charged to see Crystal Palace v West Ham.  

Clearly the Premier League relies far more on TV money than it does on gate receipts, but I thought it worth checking out, nonetheless. Palace are selling concession tickets for their next two home fixtures against Liverpool at between £32 and £45 and against Burnley for between £28 and £35. Our price for concessions on today is £16 to stand and £18 to sit, so this particular fan seems to have his wires somewhat crossed.

We did reduce prices for the visit of Nantwich in the FA Trophy, which saw our second successive home victory, to £10 for adults and concessions and £1 for children. I am often told by future budding economists that if we hugely reduce prices crowds will double and then with secondary spending the club will be in nirvana land.

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What happened was that the gate increased by just 52 fans and financially it was a disaster. Very few clubs ever give out specific financial information which makes it very hard for fans to understand the strange economics of football, and so I will try to rectify this faux pas now.

Our attendance numbers include everyone in the stadium, so we count complimentary tickets, visiting directors, scouts; in essence everyone other than the players and stewards. That is, after all, who is present at the game. The crowd was 643 and total admission receipts were just £4,445 which after deducting VAT left £ 3,704.17.

The visitors are allowed to claim £3 a coach mile as travel expenses (I have never managed to book a coach yet at £3 a mile) but these are the rules, so that gave Nantwich £876 towards their travel. The match officials took £601.40, floodlights are allowed to be claimed at £75 per game, stewarding/staff accounted for another £861.40, first aid an additional £100 with the result being that after deductions just £1,190.37 was left to be split between the two clubs. 

Therefore, I was left with the princely sum of just £595.18 to put towards the players' wages. Had we charged a more realistic £15, once VAT is removed, we still would not have hit £2,000 each.

Whilst this would probably be okay for Nantwich, it cannot sustain a club in the National League. When we visited Chesterfield, more than 6,000 fans were in the stadium, and Wrexham are averaging more than 8,000 fans a game – that is the enormity of what we are up against. We somehow must find a way to compete with clubs that have players who should be playing in League One, but find that they can be paid more by dropping down two levels to the National League. Nearly every visiting director has told me that this is the hardest they have ever known the National League to be. My guess is there are more ex-league teams in the league now than at any point in the past.

We continue to pull in lots of scouts to all of our home games and there is always interest in many of our players who are steered brilliantly by Tommy Widdrington who himself has seen not only the inside of a dressing room but the inside of a board room, so he knows the issues from all sides.

I would urge any of you who are looking for a way to spend this afternoon or Tuesday evening to come down to The Walks and enjoy the beautiful game as it should be played.  

We should be proud that so many ex-league clubs are having to look at a road atlas to see where King’s Lynn is, but this can only continue with your support. Whilst the odd “supporter” may be an empty barrel, the ones that actually come to matches are a different, more welcoming breed and if you have a spare couple of hours it would be my pleasure to show you what you have been missing out on up to now!

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