In the fourth part of my five point plan to fix Bolton Wanderers, we look at the matchday experience and it's role in re-engaging with the fans.
4) The Match
It's pretty shit isn't it?
From having to traipse out of town to Horwich, to having to pay through the nose to do so, to having to listen to those bastarding drummers - going to the match has become a chore.
It's so easy to fix.
Fan disconnection with the club encompasses many different dimensions. As mentioned before, distrust of the top brass, the state of modern football etc all contributes to people's isolation from the game that we all love.
Wanderers, in their defence, have tried their hardest to make the matchday experience as family friendly as possible. The introduction of the Fan Zone, the conversion of the North Stand into a creche - all factors that have been brought into play in order to encourage the casual supporter into the stadium along with the next generation of fans.
Speaking from a personal standpoint - whilst I'm used now to the stadium being where it is, and as handy as it is when I nip down the M61, it's still not quite home.
Arsenal, as shit as they are, have attempted to infuse their soulless corporate wankbox stadium with a sense of the past. This is something that Wanderers have attempted this summer with their graffiti-style efforts in the North Stand. This sort of endeavour should be repeated throughout the ground. It's a minor touch, but one that would garner goodwill as well as educating newcomers on famous names from the past.
Inside the ground and on the walls is one thing, but the utterly scandalous prices of concessions furthers the sense that those paying customers are there to be milked. Nigh on seven quid for a pie and a pint? You're pissed. Well you're not, because you can't afford to.
'Meal deals' and other such schemes are all well and good, but when the food and concessions are so damned overpriced to start with then even the slightest reduction isn't going to touch the sides - so to speak.
Heaven forbid you might want to purchase some Bolton Wanderers merchandise. If you do then better bring your wallet. Best part of £45 for the new (admittedly smart Macron shirt? Blimey.
I appreciate that Wanderers probably have little say in the pricing structure of the merchandise - especially that which has been produced in conjunction with other manufacturers, but it sticks in the craw when during times of economic hardship - let's not forget that Bolton is hardly Chelsea - such luxuries as a replica kit can set you back the best part of fifty sheets.
Goal music, the drummers - the fucking drummers.
It's football, not American High School 'soccer'. We don't need cheerleaders. We don't need 'I Feel Good' every time we score. We did perfectly well without them for generations. We don't need them.
The fucking drummers. Get rid.
Simple things that might seem minor in the grand scheme of things, but bearing the fan in mind when deciding on the price of a pint, or a pie, or a kit, can all help to reconnect the fan with his/her club.