Crawley Town will throw open their doors with entry from as little as £1 on Saturday and operations director Kelly Derham has appealed to the town to come as see the talent on their doorstep.
Tickets are selling fast for our the club’s Pay What You Can game in League Two against Hartlepool United this weekend.
Reds have already sold more than 2,000 tickets and are hoping for their biggest gate of the season so far with a target crowd set at 3,000.
If everyone does in fact pay the minimum of the £1 entry price, the club’s projected figures will be hit, but the idea behind the scheme is bigger than that.
With an average attendance of just over 2,000, many former fans have disappeared from the terraces and club bosses want to show off a new ‘approachable’ era and ‘family friendly’ atmosphere to the club.
Hopes are that they can entice those lost supporters back, attract new ones and also capture the support of the town’s children away from the Premier League in years to come.
On the scheme, Derham revealed: “It was actually Bruce’s (Talbot) idea, other clubs have done it previously and he thought it was a good idea to help us. If you look at the attendances, we have lost about 1,000 people over the years.
“If we can do this Pay What You Can day, it might bring some people back to the stadium to see us again and hopefully they will enjoy the game, we will put in a good performance and they will come back again.
“Our true fans will still be paying their original price as they back us 100 per cent. At the minute we are up to 2,000, which is good and we always allow for a normal walk up of 500 on the day, so it will be exciting as there could be a lot more than that.
“We had a big and quick rise in attendance and then we got relegated. Across the board, away support is down also - that’s for all clubs - and it does not help.
“Crawley is very much a London town in terms of support. I moved here from London when I was ten and all my family were Spurs fans and my friends Chelsea.
“We are trying to get kids in Crawley to have us as their first team and take them on board.
“It’s just the way it has always been, walking around town on a Saturday you see Chelsea shirts and that, rather than Crawley.
“We hope we can turn that around over the next ten years, when you walk around Crawley on a Saturday you see our shirts on the kids - they are our future.”
The club are hoping for a gate of around 4,000 the week after when they host Portsmouth due to the former Premier League side’s substantial away support.
Their last bumper crowd was a survival battle against Coventry City when there were 5,744 watching the final game of the 2014/15 season where, under Dean Saunders, Reds lost 2-1 and were relegated to League Two.
From that low, things have picked up and there is a great feeling around the club at the moment - results are generally good, when Dermot Drummy’s full-strength team is available, but things off the pitch are looking as good as ever.
It’s clear the club is trying and succeeding to generate a positive atmosphere across the board from off-field improvements behind the scenes for the future as well as establishing a settled league side.
On her message to anyone considering going, Derham revealed: “Come and see us. It’s a nice family friendly club.
“Everything we are doing here is for all the right reasons and the benefit of the club and we are all approachable.
“We are not going to get everything perfect, but every member of my team in the back office work so hard to see how we can improve from everything from seating to the toilets.
“It’s not just the close season, it carries on throughout the year. It’s never ending and the way it can improve is getting as many bums on seats as possible to get more revenue.
“If we can get 3,000 that would be fantastic, I like to dream big, but sometimes you don’t know. Fingers crossed, if everyone pays a pound, we have lost lots of money, but it’s an incentive for people to come and see us and you have to look at the bigger picture.”
Tickets are on sale from the club’s box office by calling 01293 410000.
The maximum ticket purchase is six per person. Both sets of fans can also pay on the day.
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