The views in these blogs are those held by the individual blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton Football Club.
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Whilst we were never going to be complacent about it, as soon as the fixtures were announced, we budgeted for a sell-out on opening day. With 27,500 season ticket holders, Arsenal’s cast iron guarantee of 3,000 away fans, and last season’s fixture still fresh in the memory, we knew we’d kick off with a full house.
Following on from nine capacity attendances last season, the underlying attendance trend is really positive and very clearly a reflection of Roberto’s impact across the whole Club. Footballers have amazing determination, desire and energy. The ones who go on to become managers tend to be the very most determined, most driven and possess the highest levels of energy. Ours is all of that and adds another quality, a positive outlook on every circumstance that’s ‘off-the-scale’. It’s infectious and it’s filling Goodison.
A packed house is also a reflection of the way in which we have made our season tickets accessible for more people, whether that be through extended payment plans or affordable prices. It is obviously a real pleasure to be able to welcome 4,000 new or returning season ticket holders this weekend alongside the amazing 97% of our 2013/14 season ticket base who’ve stayed with us for the next chapter of Roberto’s school of science.
Premier League admission prices are a perennial topic of debate. The League can point to the best occupancy rates in world football with 96 out of every 100 seats full, for every game. Fans can talk about the exploitation of loyalty. And the media can have a field day. I can only really talk about Everton and our commitment to below inflation increases, opportunities to spread payment and exceptionally good junior prices. Never for one minute are we dismissive of the challenge of finding the money to go to the game, but on balance, I think Everton is getting it right.
We’re also creating quite a classroom at the stadium on matchdays. Around one in six of our season ticket holders are still at school and all of them are paying less than £10 per game (just £5 if they’re at junior or infant schools, or even younger!). We all know fans fall in love with their teams at the match and we’re looking forward to a new crop of young Evertonians starting their life-long love affairs come kick-off time on Saturday.
Watching a Sky promo clip recently, it described the 13 or so weeks of the close season as the longest weeks in a football fan’s life. They should talk to our stadium team, our builders, our decorators and our groundsmen. I have to thank everyone at the Club for getting the stadium ready for another season. Goodison looks immaculate.
Of course, the biggest thanks goes to you, our fans. I know you share our optimism and with the power of positive thinking, anything’s possible.
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