Whichever way you look at it Stoke City FC's initiative, in conjunction with Sentinel newspapers, to get more fans into the match was a resounding success.As a season ticket holder it was brilliant to see the effect the discounted price (seats for a fiver!) had.
An excellent crowd officially set at 23,017,generating a really good atmosphere on the day,and whatever purist detractors might say,lots of excitment and enjoyment for those who came along.Plenty of people there,many of them first timers,many of them youngsters,some of whom - who knows - may be back in the future.An investment in the future and certainly more likely to be productive as more and more clubs take a realistic look at their ticket pricing policies,lowering levels following the lead of Blackburn and Wigan amongst others.
With careful targeting of matches and good promotion,for the club, the economics can be balanced.The club has say 7,000 season ticket holders.They were joined for the Ipswich match on Tuesday by 4,000 x £19 = £76,000 additional income.Yesterday 16,000 extra bodies brought in £80,000 or thereabout.
Pre match the benefits were evident elsewhere in the Stoke community with a lot more people about.The atmosphere and bustle at local hostelries was reminiscent of better times past but also gave a pointer toward good things to come maybe.
The club is to be congratulated, not derided, for its commonsense forward looking approach.We all know that it is preferable to enjoy our matches in a full stadium - with success that will come - but as a stepping stone what they are doing is excellent.