Chair’s Blog – May24

13 May 2024 | 0 comments

The Trust is starting a new feature today, a monthly blog on issues affecting the club and football more generally. As always, your thoughts as a reader are welcome so please feel free to comment on the views expressed.

Blues sadly find themselves in the third tier for the third time following relegation earlier this month. Enough has been written about the reasons for this and, instead, it’s time to turn our focus to the future.

On the field the summer will be an exacting one for the club. There is a need to shape a team that is capable of challenging for an instant return to the Championship. This is easier said than done. Blues have 9 first team players out of contract in the summer, plus 5 loanees returning to their parent club. Additionally, some contracted players may not want to play in League One. It’s probably worth noting though that the last time we made an instant return to the second tier, under Barry Fry in 1994/95, the core of the successful side were players who were part of the team that were relegated the previous season.

Transfer targets will also doubtless have be revised to take account of our new status.

Off the field a key element will be for the club to continue to reconnect with the fans. One of the things that has been remarked on about Ipswich Town’s rise back to the Premier League is the unity of the club, players and fans. This is something that Blues should surely aspire to.

There are a couple of things to mention here around getting a united and growing fan base. The first is season ticket prices. The club mentioned at the recent Open House it was looking at additional revenue streams that may be available, including the development of purpose built fan zones. Whilst these new and improved facilities are admirable and a potential source of extra income for the club, it is hoped that basic season ticket prices are frozen at the very least (as Huddersfield have done). This will surely help in the drive to get fans back on board, especially given the reduced circumstances that we find ourselves in. Allowing an affordable entry point for season tickets would seem vital in trying to broaden the Blues fan family.

Secondly, the club has set up Official Supporters Clubs which will start charging for the first time this coming season. Again, whilst the development of OSC’s is a positive move, it is hoped that the club will find ways of also engaging with the wider fan base to help ensure a degree of unity amongst all fans. Of particular concern is the provision of away tickets, which will be under greater pressure given some of the smaller grounds in League One. The loyalty tiers have generally worked well in the past, and it is to be hoped that the club adopt a policy that is fair, open and transparent to reduce some of the controversy that was apparent in the fan base around the Huddersfield game.

The club has done some great things off the field during the first year of Knighthead’s ownership. It’s to be hoped that it builds on this, both on and off the field, to give us the greatest possible chance of starting our rise back up the leagues at the very first attempt.

 

Neil Cottrell

Chair, Blues Trust

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