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Ticket Prices & Attendances at Bolton Wanderers

Something needs to be done

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Wanderers' fellow Championship side Charlton Athletic welcomed a crowd of 25,545 to the Valley on Saturday to watch their comprehensive 3-0 pasting of Huddersfield Town.

Bolton Wanderers welcomed a crowd of 14,115 at home to Brighton on the same day. A paltry 12,795 saw Wanderers draw 1-1 with Reading on Tuesday night.

Bolton and Charlton clubs are only two points behind in the league table, with fairly comparable seasons to date.

The difference in attendance can be explained in the fact that Charlton ran their once-a-year 'Football for a Fiver' promotion, and ended up being rewarded with a bumper crowd. Put it this way - their last home game brought in a crowd of just over 14,000.

Why can't we do something similar?

An adult ticket for Wanderers' game against Reading will set you back anything from £25 to £32, depending on where you sit. Under 18s pay a tenner for the same privilege. Under 18s counts as anything from two years old all the way up to 18. That's right - the club charges a tenner for a child's ticket.

I've been to the game with my daughter, who is three, and had to pay a tenner. She sat on my knee the entire game and didn't take up a seat. A tenner. It's ridiculous.

Surely the concept is to bring about a new generation of Wanderers fans. This is made all the more difficult by the club's ticketing stance.

Coming back to Charlton - imagine how many kids will have been to the game and witnessed a great crowd with presumably a great atmosphere inspiring the team to a great win.

They'll be fans for life.

Come on Bolton, it's not hard.

A fiver a ticket is perhaps a bit extreme, but if we adopted that same scheme the club would surely make the difference back in the spending of those fans who have saved money on tickets. Hot dogs, crisps or tat from the club shop - the difference would still end up back in club coffers.

Something needs to happen, because crowds of 14,000 or so have become the norm, and that is a massive shame.

With ticket prices set to rise in 2015/16, there is every possibility that a poor end to this current season could see a drop in the number of season ticket holders, and this obviously will be a dire situation for one and all.

So what can be done?

Obviously the £5 ticket scheme has a short-term impact, but that has the problem of upsetting existing ST holders who hand over their £350 odd at the start of the year.

Free tickets for ST holders into Cup games has long been mooted. It would boost attendance from those who resent the extra cost, and in turn that would help club funds with the abovementioned hot dogs, pies, merchandise etc. The club deserve credit for going so long with a freeze on prices, and for introducing the direct debit schemes of recent years, but more needs to be done.

Away season tickets have also been proposed, but that obviously doesn't impact upon home attendances.

Other clubs offer schemes where schoolchildren are handed complimentary tickets on a weekly basis - this is a fine idea as it would both introduce new fans to the club and secure future revenue streams. Dad-and-lad tickets were all the rage when I first started coming to Burnden Park in the late 80s, and they seem to have disappeared almost completely.

High ticket prices coupled with over officious stewarding have been cited in various places as being a problem for Bolton Wanderers supporters. We have a very loyal fanbase, of that there is no question.

I just worry for the future.