Robert Osbourn’s “View from the ‘Van”
FOOTBALL FANS BEHAVING WELL!
A newspaper headline which we are unlikely to see, anytime soon, given the apparent propensity of some sections of the tabloid media to seek out the negativity in situations, especially those surrounding the game that we love and support.
However, the past week has, at least so far as the fans of Cambridge United are concerned, been one in which it would have been apposite, I feel.
The Amber Army has demonstrated, once again, that our fans are amongst the best in the land as close to 500 made the longish trip to Blackpool in support of the team, many taking in the game as part of an extended seaside stayover. There was almost continuous vocal support echoing round a Bloomfield Road stadium shorn of a significant proportion of regular home supporters by the boycott of matches in protest to the harsh treatment meted out by the club’s owners.
It is so difficult for genuine football fans to stay away from supporting their team, but when you look at the reasons for it, in this case, our understanding and empathy must be with the Blackpool Supporters Trust and I hope that their actions may ultimately bear fruit, in terms of a change of heart (or maybe, ownership).
Some of our own fans had, in conscience, decided to boycott the Checkatrade Trophy game against Middlesborough U23s in the same week, to show the EFL that its revamp of the competition had, in fans opinion, missed its mark, by some way. With one more match in the mini-league to come, the U’s have already qualified for the knockout stages and further progression and the income that would bring may go some way to justifying things – who knows?
Another example of fans behaving well took place on Sunday when, as has been reported extensively elsewhere, supporters of many local clubs, as well as current and past players took part in the Football Family Day for Shaun and Joey. Willing giving their time for nothing, the teams from Cambridge City, Newmarket Town, Soham Town Rangers and Fulbourn Institute entertained the good humoured crowd, packed with families, whilst raising much needed funds to support the lads in the future. Great to see people waiving aside their change, as I was selling them tickets and programmes, just to add a little extra.
Talking of adding extra, James Cutting (Business Development Manager) has been talking to me this week about how we can improve fans’ experience of the 50/50 half time draw and increase participation, and hence the income generated for the club and the value of prizes on offer to those who buy tickets. For those not yet aware of the draw, half the income it makes from ticket sales goes to the club and half is paid out in prize money, usually with some additional non-cash prizes offered by sponsors.
A key bugbear for people and a reason for not getting a ticket seems to be that they often leave the ground without knowing what the winning numbers are. We are aware that the clarity of the tannoy is not perfect in all areas of the ground and that folk also have other activity to pursue at half time, which means they don’t always hear the numbers called.
This is something which we agreed must be addressed without delay and we also looked at the range of prizes on offer, with a view to making the whole thing more attractive. Look out for some tweaks soon, and let us know what you think.
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