Yeovil Town Supporters Director David Mills spoke to BBC Somerset presenter Claire Carter on Monday 2nd October 2017, about the club's low attendances during the 2017-18 season.
CC: So why are attendances down?
DM: I think it's a combination of things. Obviously towards the end of last season we had a disappointing run of results and we've had lower table finishes over the last few years. But also these days people need to be given value for money on and off the field. So the club just needs to do better, not just with results on the field, but also with the value for money it delivers off the field to supporters.
CC: You liaise with fans as part of your role. What are they saying directly to you?
DM: On the field is important to them. But these days with the economy the way it is, football needs to be value for money, particularly for younger people. I think one of the issues that we've got is that when people get to sixteen, quite a few of them don't stick with our club, and indeed other clubs, and we need to find a way to make younger people stay with the club in greater numbers.
CC: Could some of that be reducing the price of your tickets? An average adult ticket for Saturday's match with Crewe Alexandra is 22 pounds.
DM: I don't think people have a problem with paying 22 pounds, if they can have a good day out and get value for money. If you go out for any day out these days, you're going to be paying that sort of money or more. I think what we need to do is to potentially look at ticket prices for younger people, but make sure that when people come to football, whether win, lose or draw, that they have a good day.
CC: If the team were playing more exciting football or maybe challenging for promotion on the pitch, do you think attendances would suddenly go back up?
DM: Obviously it's football, so essentially it is results driven. But that's not universally the case. I think it is generally the case that we'd need to improve on the field, which we're trying to do, and also off the field which we're also trying to do. I've been having discussions now with the Supporters Alliance about things that we could do off the field to make things more affordable and more enjoyable for fans. One result of that is the ticket bundle system that we introduced earlier this season, which does make it slightly cheaper for fans who attend six or twelve games.
CC: There is also a support ethos here that is lacking, and that is that you support your team, whether they win or whether they lose. What would your message be to Yeovil fans, who have simply stopped going?
DM: I would say come back, and try a match again. I'm positive that the matchday experience has improved, and we're committed to making it get better. At the end of the day, we need the fans. The more fans that come through the turnstiles, the more money that we have, and for the playing budget. Fans are very important, as it's their club, and we also need their financial contribution, to help us get to where we want the club to be.
CC: How worrying is that if you're not getting that at the moment, if season tickets have dropped by what they have done?
DM: I think you can say that it's a long term thing. It's obviously a disappointing start to the season with attendances. But we're looking at it on a long term basis. So you're looking at six months and long blocks. So it's early days, and a disappointing start to attendances, but if we can turn things around on and off the pitch, get those attendances back, then it's not a massive concern. But we do need fans' support and we do need the gates to go up.
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