Issue Time for Bold Action at Valley Parade

As told by Dave Pendleton

Whatever our thoughts regarding the departure of Stuart McCall, the arrival of Peter Taylor offers the opportunity of a fresh start at Valley Parade. As ever with the arrival of a new manager there is a new impetus among supporters.

As a business Bradford City have a window of opportunity when their core customers are in a positive mood. They should cash in on this golden opportunity, it is time for bold and radical action. In particular the coming days offer Mark Lawn a chance to put the last few weeks, when his stock among supporters fell alarmingly, firmly behind him. To pinch a quote from Tony Blair, City’s joint chairman are ‘at their best when at their boldest’.

The arrival of Peter Taylor nicely dovetails with the reopening of season ticket sales. Though the first offer was taken up in large numbers, and was touted as being only available in its pre-Christmas timeframe, the change of manager has radically altered the outlook of the club and crucially its fans.

Some may well have declined to take up the offer because of Stuart McCall’s position as manager. That has changed, so why not reopen the offer until May and reopen it at exactly the same price as previously offered? Radical times call for radical measures, an opportunity exists to push season ticket sales over well over 10,000 and the club should take it.

Undoubtedly, the club would receive complaints from those who feel aggrieved by the reopening of the offer at the same price, but given the altered landscape in the wake of Taylor’s appointment they should be ignored.

Similarly, an opportunity exists to address the matchday admission prices. Whatever we hear regarding similar prices elsewhere in the division, the fact remains that they are way too high to attract floating supporters.

On an average matchday there are around 13,000 empty seats. The revenue from an empty seat is nil. As companies such as Easyjet have illustrated gaining any revenue from an otherwise empty seat is better than nothing at all.

Of course, with the massive £1.2m overheads to pay each year the club has to juggle affordability and protecting its income, but can it afford ignore the lost income 13,000 empty seats represent? With this season all but dead, why not slash admission prices in half? Offer family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) for £20?

All too often I’ve heard the size of Valley Parade used as a negative, turn the logic around and use the spare capacity to the club’s advantage. The time for bold action has arrived, let’s drive this club forward once more.