In the first part of a wide-ranging interview, FC Halifax Town chairman David Bosomworth talks to Tom Scargill about the club’s cut-price season ticket offer and his hopes for attracting more supporters to The Shay.
Town chairman David Bosomworth hopes season-tickets will sell in “unprecedented numbers” after slashing prices for the 2019-20 campaign.
The cost of an adult season-ticket has been cut from £340 to £199, while season-tickets for 12-17-year-old’s have fallen from £99 to £75.
Halifax sold around 440 season-tickets for the 2018-19 campaign, and Bosomworth says the club has done all they can to increase attendances by reducing prices, and that it is now up to anyone who follows them to show their support.
“We’ve been having discussions with fans, trying to get feedback on how we can make football in Halifax more affordable and accessible,” he said.
“We thought ‘how do we make sure we get more season-ticket holders, more people into the habit of coming to watch us and make it easier for families?’
“For two adults and two children, it can be expensive, and for all fans when you have two games in a week or whatever.
“Obviously there’s an element of gamble with it, because if we only sell the same amount of season-tickets as last year and the year before, then we’ll bring in reduced revenues.
“But at £8.65 a game, it’s outstanding value compared to paying on the turnstile.
“We want a total sea change in sales, and for people to think ‘I can’t afford not to buy one’ and they get one for their partner or work colleague too.
“We’ve provided what we believe is a figure nobody expected season-tickets to come out at.
“What we’ve also done is if there’s a couple of children in a family, they can both have a free season ticket, rather than just one as in previous seasons.
“We want the kids to come along, and get them into the habit of seeing their local team.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible. We’re saying ‘we’ve done our bit, but we now need the fans to do their bit and get behind the scheme’.
“If it’s a success, we’ll be able to repeat it in future seasons.
“Let’s get the number of season-ticket holders to unprecedented levels.”
Bosomworth believes there are more potential regular fans in Halifax who can be coaxed to The Shay.
“When we played Chorley, we had six thousand fans,” he said. “When we played Bradford, out of the 8,500 gate, I think 4,500 were Halifax fans.
“When we went to Wembley, there were over 10,000.
“These are the big games, but there are people interested in Halifax. We have over 30,000 followers on social media.
“They are out there, but we have to give them the encouragement to support us more fully.
“Just come and back us, give us a chance. It doesn’t matter if you miss a few games, you’ll still get good value.
“We want to progress the club on the field, and I’m not going to quantify it, but we want to see a wholehearted change in how many people buy a season-ticket.”
When asked what happens if the club doesn’t sell the required number of season-tickets, Bsomworth said: “This doesn’t impact on (our) playing budget. We’re saying ‘this is what we’re trying to build off the field’.
“The stadium becomes more of a fortress with more people in it.
“We don’t have the benefit of food and drink sales because we don’t own the stadium, but we want people engaging with the club, not only people who haven’t had a season-ticket before but people who aren’t as close to the club who might have a punt and come to see what we have to offer.”
The Town chairman also hopes some Bradford and Huddersfield fans will be encouraged to buy a season-ticket.
“You want some cross-over,” he said. “I know some Bradford fans who come and watch us on occasion, as do Huddersfield fans, because they’re interested in football.
“So yeah, why not? We have done season-ticket initiatives for fans of other clubs, to bring people in who otherwise wouldn’t.
“Who knows - if their main team is away when we’re at home, then why not?”
Bosomworth says a strong take-up of season-tickets would make a big difference.
He added: “A family of four can come for about £17 a game if they buy two season-tickets.
“We fully understand even at £199, people can’t just splash out there and then, so they can spread the cost.
“There is a bit of risk, but we’re saying in the nicest possible way ‘look, the ball’s in your court now’.
“We want a total sea change in the number of season-tickets we sell.
“Yes, Bradford have done it in the past and they’ve had upwards of 18,000 season-ticket holders.
“They took the bold step, and while I don’t think Halifax has got that base, there’s enough (potential extra fans) that could make a serious difference to the club, if it’s embraced.
“We can’t do anything more now, it’s down to the fans.
“It will be promoted through all the channels available, and we’re asking businesses to embrace it as well, and buy a few season-tickets to share between their employees or customers.”
Read the second-part of the interview with Daid Bosomworth on the Halifax Courier website tomorrow.