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How much would you be prepared to pay to watch Millwall?
1:03pm Tuesday 13th March 2012 in Millwall News
LIONS columnist MATT LITTLE this week asks if it is time for a radical rethink on how fans are charged to watch Millwall in the future.
THE last time I popped into the Millwall club shop I asked whether or not they had any of those hip flasks with the roaring lion they used to sell.
The woman rooted around in the stock room for a few minutes before admitting defeat and saying they stopped selling them a few years back because the demand just wasn’t there.
I conceded it was an odd request, but that I had wanted it so I could take milk with me on things like camping trips, or perhaps containing something harder for away games.
And that I reasoned it was better to give the money to the club rather than some camping store or market stall.
You see, I view the club as a sort of charity that I donate money to from time to time, in order to keep them afloat and help out unfortunates like David Livermore and Ben May, who would otherwise starve to death if left to fend for themselves.
If I need some kit for football training I go to the club shop, if I want some casual clothes to lounge around in front of the TV in I go to the club shop, and if I want some snazzy lampshades I… OK, I draw the line there.
But you get my point.
I don’t expect to get anything back from the club, be it a thank you or even a home win, I just want it to keep going and hope that my small contribution helps.
Yet it has only just dawned on me to question why we don’t actually view our clubs as very much charity cases.
In the last 20 years or so football clubs have likened themselves to businesses.
However, if they were really like businesses, then most of them would have gone bust by now.
It is only the fact there is usually some philanthropist ready to donate some of his money to the cause which keeps most of these so-called businesses afloat.
We are no different and thank God for John Berylson and his deep pockets.
But could fans be more proactive in this area too?
It’s funny because it is only when clubs are in really deep trouble you see the bucket collectors come out and fans turning up for a fixture they’d have slacked off the week or so before, just ask the Portsmouth or Port Vale administrators.
What if we had bucket collections throughout the season to raise money for things like the youth team?
Fans could be encouraged to bring and donate their spare change from a night out, a crowd of 11,000 could easily raise £3,000 to £6,000.
Even more radical would be exchanging a donation for a season ticket.
The club could say that for a donation you would receive a season ticket for anywhere in the stadium, as long as you donated a minimum of £300.
The minimum donation of £300 may encourage more of the 12-14,000 active fans we have to become season ticket holders, while also seeing the hardcore fans prepared to put more money into the club.
This is because it would be a complete change in mentality.
If you could afford to donate £600-700 over the season, you just might.
In theory everyone could continually donate to the club, putting in £300 by August to get a season ticket, but donating extra each month, depending on what you can afford, be it £5 or £500.
The match day prices could stay the same, as the aim would be to increase the number of season ticket holders donating to the club – from 5/6,000 to 9/10,000.
A target to aim for and the current amount of donations could be displayed on the score board and fans who donate more could increase their chances of winning things like a box for the day through draws etc.
People may say I’m crazy, but the current business model in football is hardly proving a roaring success is it.
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