Date:Friday May 4 2007
Swindon Town manager Paul Sturrock has encouraged stay aways at the County Ground tomorrow to come back, and stay!
In just over 12 years Swindon Town went from playing in the Premier League against the Chelsea's, Arsenal's, Manchester United's and Newscastle's to playing the likes of Accrington Stanley, Macclesfield Town, Rochdale and Bury in League Two.
Swindon became the first team to drop from the Premier League to League 2 although 2 other teams have done so since. Bradford who graces the heights of the promised land at the turn of the century will get to enjoy the delights of League 2 football next season whilst, MK Dons have also taken the plunge, although one would argue that MK Dons are NOT Wimbledon F.C. Leeds United could be the fourth team to suffer such a fate next season if they get a points deduction at the start of next season.
Swindon Town manager Paul Sturrock is keen to get the 15,000 or so fans that will be in the stands this Saturday against Walsall to come back to the County Ground and stay.
It is well known that the fan base has dropped dramatically after 2 bouts of administration, dropping throught the football leagues and increasingly high ticket prices. 'This club has lost that potential (fan base) over the years, through administration, relegation, lack of money, we`ve lost them.' Sturrock said.
'Our job now is to bring them back and this (a full house) shows you they`re there and willing, if the team can churn out a top-half finish in most seasons.
'That`s a job in hand for me. I've seen the potential now, I`ve tasted it.' Sturrock said.
There are plenty of football fans in Swindon. When Town have been to Wembley they have never lost and have taken over 30,000 fans to these fixtures. You see many Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United shirts around Swindon, Sturrock's aim is to now turn them into Swindon Town fans and get them coming out to the County Ground to support their local team, week in and week out.
'Let's hope we reap all the benefits on Saturday and that a percentage of those fans will stay with us next season.
'It's Swindon Town's fault that these fans are not sitting in their stadium, there's no ifs, buts or maybes about it. What I`m saying is for this one 'let's have it'.' Sturrock Finished.
Town have gone some way to mend fences. During the 2003/04 season when Town reached the Division 2 (League One) playoffs against Brighton the club were averaging 7,839 fans coming through the turnstyles.
Town decided to up their matchday ticket prices from £21.00 to £23.00 and lost 2,000 fans right away. The following season whilst contending for a lot of the season the club's average attendance had dropped to 5,835.
Now that the club have dropped into League 2 the club dropped ticket prices from £23.00 to £19.00 and attendances have sky rocketed to 7,087. The highest in League 2 by about 2,000. All season Town have had 155,914 come into the ground which is 25,240 better than the second placed team MK Dons.
Town have the potential for great crowds and next season the club have announced that ticket prices will freeze. This is great news not only for Swindon Town FC but for football fans who feel they have been priced out of the game.
Date:Friday May 4 2007
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