After many months of deliberation, today Bolton Wanderers announced their season ticket prices for next season and I, for one, am wholly disappointed.
Firstly, let's set the scene here. I'd say the average attendance at the Macron this season has been roughly around 12,000. That's not based on figures, that's based on me going to every single home game and discounting away fans. The word 'roughly' is key. The average attendance in League One, according to various unreliable sites on the world wide web, seems to be around 8,000 - a solid 4,000 less than our estimated average attendance. So, if my maths is correct and our average attendance is 12,000 on the dot, our stadium has 16,723 empty seats on a normal match day - excluding games like Leeds, Burnley and Boro, all of who brought large numbers of fans. Nearly 17,000 empty seats is a lot. Add an extra 4,000 onto that 17,000 and you've got yourself 21,000 empty seats; over two third of the stadium's capacity - not good for Deano & Co., even in the third tier of English football. The solution? Close the top tiers for all games.
"But I've had my seat since the Macron opened, I don't want to move." Firstly, shut up. The seat I sit in is located in the East Upper Stand and it used to belong to my Grandad, a lifelong Bolton fan who sadly passed away in 2007. When he died I took over his seat and I intend to buy it for as long as I possibly can until the club stop me - which I thought would be the 16/17 season. If the club take it away from me then there's not a great deal I can do about it. Yes, I'll be gutted, but I'm not a hormonal teenage girl so I'll just suck it up and sit somewhere else. If this ever happens, sack up and grow a pair if you think your whinging will ever change the club's mind.
I know a lot of people who said they'd never get a season ticket again if the club made them move to a different seat but that's a load of bollocks. This is 2016. Computer systems are more than capable of remembering where you had your old season ticket seat should you be required to move at some point in the future. With that in mind and our dwindling attendance figures on the table, here's what I think should've happened:
- The club close the entire upper bowl of the stadium - north, south, east and west stands
- All season ticket holders in the three home stands (north, west and east) move to the lower tiers (yes, that includes me)
- IF and only if we gain promotion to the Championship this time next season, season tickets for the 17/18 season will be available in the upper tiers once again
- If fans were required to move from their old (and preferred) season ticket seat for our this coming season in League One, they would then be offered first refusal on that seat as part of the early purchase deadline - as I've already said, the computer system at the club is more than capable of storing and processing this information. If it isn't I'd be really surprised.
- So, in short, if we get promoted at the end of next season you can move back to where you used to sit in the upper tiers. Simple.