ACCRINGTON Stanley boss James Beattie spent yesterday afternoon knocking on the doors of Hyndburn residents in a bid to boost the attendance at tomorrow’s home game against Mansfield Town.
Beattie was joined by the entire squad as Stanley toured the streets promoting a ticket offer for the 3pm Good Friday fixture – with under 12s receiving a free ticket and Easter egg for every adult ticket purchased.
Stanley’s average attendance this season is only 1,568, a figure that includes an often considerable percentage of travelling supporters.
Beattie said: “We went back to basics, knocking on doors, and hopefully it will create a bit of interest in the town.
“There’s a great offer on, anybody buying an adult ticket receives an under 12s ticket for free and a free Easter egg as well, which I think is a huge pulling point on this.
“There are 80,000 people in the borough of Hyndburn and I think we average just around 1,100 per home game, so we need to tap into a new fanbase, maybe a younger one.
“With the offer of a free child’s ticket, if we can get them in at any early age watching Accrington Stanley, they’ll be coming to watch good football and to a club who are very receptive to families.
“Everybody goes on about us being stuck in between Blackburn and Burnley, but I think there are enough people in the borough to be able to bring a few more in.
“If we can get a few hundred more people through the gates supporting the boys, which they richly deserve for their efforts this season, then that’s what it’s all about.
“The concept of knocking on doors is a little bit out there, but we’ve got to try to think outside of the box.”
Stanley launched season tickets for 2014/15 last week, with prices increased only slightly to £200, and fans having the option of paying just half up front. Around 100 have been sold in the first week.
The Reds are not quite safe of relegation but sit four points clear of the bottom two with only four games remaining, and Beattie is holding discussions with chairman Peter Marsden about the budget for next season.
“The more season ticket sales we get, that will hopefully allow us to plan for next season,” said the manager.
“We need to finish the job now, cross that line and then we can talk about all the good things and the bad things in the knowledge that we’re safe. That was the major stipulation made to me by the chairman.
“If we can push things forward and maybe get some more money next season, then who knows what could happen?
“The lads have done tremendously well this year, being part of the lowest budget in the Football League.
“Three quarters of the Conference probably have a bigger budget than us as well.”
The likes of Joyce, Nicky Hunt, Tom Aldred, Piero Mingoia, Kal Naismith, Rob Atkinson, Andrew Dawber and Ian Dunbavin – currently on loan at Chesterfield – have contracts for another season but a number of players see their deals expire this summer.
Beattie will make decisions over their futures once Stanley’s Football League status is confirmed and a budget is finalised.
“There are lads who are on two-year deals, which I’m happy about,” said the Reds boss.
“For the other lads who are coming to the end of their contracts, I’ll probably have to wait for the nod from the chairman about how much money we’ve got going forward.”