Season Ticket Sales Hint At What Makes Lincoln City Great

The phone lines are closed, the numbers have been counted and verified and I can now reveal that the term no longer in use at Lincoln City FC is…….. ‘plastic’.

I think that’s the feeling amongst many fans after the closure of the first renewal window for season tickets saw record numbers commit to Michael Appleton’s journey. Over 4,000 tickets have been sold at frozen prices, far more than many imagined and a 15% increase on the same time last year. I believe the club was expecting to match last year’s figure, or at least that was the aspiration, but instead, fans have stood up to be counted. Chatting to a senior official at the club this weekend they made an off-the-cuff remark about figures and said ‘we’ll not get to 4,000, but sales have still been great’.

Well, now they’ve been bloody brilliant.

Season tickets are always an emotive subject. I recall when we had fewer than a thousand, any club initiative to get more supporters through the door usually led to complaints (and rightly so) about ST’s not exactly being attractive. This season, the pricing structure has got a few worked up, with the second pricing window not yet known to lead to the odd poster on social media claiming they feel held to ransom. Plus, those who were 59 and expecting concessions at 60 have been hit with the age now being moved to 65, another emotive subject. I acknowledge these concerns and am not going to shoot down other people’s opinions on something that doesn’t affect me. It is easy to be content when my own ticket has remained the same as last season and my budgeting allowed for early renewal, but for others, it is not so easy and I respect their right to their opinion.

That’s why this is a huge landmark day for the club. Being brutally honest, we’ve been called a lot since our rise from the National League. Plastic is a term thrown around and there was a deep feeling that sales would be down on last year, given the supposed lack of success and the issues some have with the renewal window, prices etc. This is the first year since 2016 there will be no silverware in the cabinet, yet fans have picked up early bird tickets in greater numbers than ever before.

Fans – Making Lincoln City great (Courtesy Graham Burrell)

Why? I can see a few reasons, but one is that the vocal minority calling MA and his squad are just that; a minority. It would seem a silent majority, 4,000 in this case and more likely to want to pay on the day because of circumstance, are more than enthused with the direction the club is going in and more than willing to commit financially to another season at Sincil Bank. Accusations of fans only being here for the good times, or following the manager not the team over the last few years, seem wide of the mark. Michael Appleton’s journey is one plenty of fans are invested in and I’m sure the performances of Tayo Edun and Anthony Scully, amongst others, have hinted at an exciting future direction.

There’s always expected losses in ST renewals too. Sadly, people pass away, move away or circumstances change. Retention is always likely to be around 85% at the very best, which makes this figure even more surprising. It’s a really good day for Lincoln City as a club, to know the fanbase is as committed as ever, but it is also great to be able to look fans of other teams in the face and say that although we’re losing games and going through transition, our superb fanbase are still committed to the cause.

Yeah, this is a happy-clappy article. So what? I thought we’d see ST sales top out at around 5,000 this season, a wonderful number when you consider there were only just 6,500 fans at the so-called Lincolnshire Derby this week, but I wonder now if 6,000 is achievable again. I’m not saying we’re a massive club, that would be ridiculous, but it does look as though the fans that have come back or arrived since 2016 are here to stay. It gives me a satisfying feeling that chants of ‘where were you when you were shit’, can almost be met with one word: ‘here’. I was here when we hung on to a 0-0 draw with Shrewsbury, when we lost 6-0 to Oxford, when we surrendered to Portsmouth 2-0 and you know what? I’ll be here if the same happens next season too. Me, and at least 4,000 like me, feel the same.

I don’t try to be a ‘superfan’ as someone suggested those who announced ST renewals were. I don’t think that just because I can stretch to a season ticket and have free Saturdays I’m any better than anyone who cannot. What I do feel is that for 4,000 people to be in a position to renew and to want to do so underlines the real strength this club has. It turns out that despite all the recent heroics, idols like Matt Rhead, the Danny Cowley effect, FA Cup runs, even the title wins were not what made this club great again.

We are. 

15 Comments

    • The article to which you refer was a question, aimed at supporters who were going into Block 7 as atmosphere tourists. It was not a dig at any new fans, of whom I have always been supportive. I find it utterly incredulous that you are so keen to have a dig at me (which you have done now ever since the blog started after we had a Facebook spat) that you refer to an article over two years old, erroneously, to justify something….. I’m not really sure what. are you suggesting some sort of double standards? Genuinely, I do miss your point, much like you missed the point of the original article back in 2017.

      For those who want to see what James has dragged up, here is the article, Do read beyond the headline, which I’m not sure James did.

      https://staceywest.net/2017/10/09/are-tourists-ruining-the-sincil-bank-atmosphere/

      • It wasn’t a dig? I simply asked if the ‘tourists’ are now accepted as being proper fans as I dare say quite a few of them still go, I also stated that the article was a few seasons old. Maybe you need to ‘chill your beans’ as the young uns put it.

  1. I had serious doubts about the amount of renewals, never thought we would surpass last seasons figure. Great show of loyalty and support. The board must be overjoyed. UTI

  2. I’m not surprised that renewals are ahead of last year. LCFC are providing the best performance, entertainment and excitement for 2 generations. So we are in transition and have had a poor run of results – the crowed at the Burton game was as noisy as ever and pushed the team to give a good performance.

    There are a lot of the 4000 who are older supporters, like me, and we’ve never had it so GOOD!

    Its part of being a football fan to bellyache about something most weeks – its part of the experience – but most just moan to the person sitting next to them or to their partner – that’s what I do! There are a few – less than 5% – who are professional bellyachers – they seem to get a kick out of the blame game. Its the same in any business or organisation – but its only 5% and they don’t represent any sort of majority or even significant faction.

    Up the Imps!

    • Excellent post Richard… as one of the elderly the excitement for
      me is not expecting to win but can we win! And equally important is the quality of football on show… great days under the Cowleys but they chose to move on. These are equally different days but the product is better and the opposition more so! Brilliant times….. 🙂

  3. Thank you Gary. An uplifting article. The people I travel up with from King”s Cross are such committed supporters. Some live as far away as Devon and West Sussex. Those who can be are season ticket holders. Win, lose or draw, consolidation, losing runs….this season has still been great value.UTI

  4. A fuller picture will be presented when season tickets go on general sale. Despite the obvious incentives to renew, 4,000 out of 6,500 have taken the offer. That’s more than a third of the customer base not renewing even though they know, for certain, that to do so later will cost them a lot more money. That suggests to me a lot of those who didn’t renew have no intention of doing so.

    • A fair point Carlos but not everyone can afford to buy at this time of year so I would think going forward many will renew even though it will be a little more expensive…..Along with new business I would hope we are not far off the Club’s target.

  5. I’ve been buying tickets game by game when I can get this season having still only missed 4 games I will be buying a season ticket for next season when they go on general sale so you can add 1 to that 4000 Carlos

  6. I am a bit baffled. The term plastic is pejorative for fans who don’t know the history or culture of a club. In the use at Lincoln is based around glory. How we went from 1k ST four years ago to 4K now at renewal is based on glory. Are we saying that fans buying their tickets again is a sign they are now real fans and that this is hardship? This is likely to be our first time in over four decades of spending two seasons in league one. Getting a season ticket for this is expected.

    Also there is absolutely no mention at the anger that came in February last year that there were articles on last year. Renewal details were released and basically said either get your new ticket or there will be someone else to fill your place. This is along with the Zebra finance issues. And we were not guaranteed league one football by any stretch, this year it is a lot more certain.This year we have sold as many tickets as you would expect. Great.

    Let’s talk about plastic or not plastic, reductive as it is (you started it) when the club have been relegated once or twice or the club need £500k to survive and come to the fans begging for money (remeber that the same fans going now while we are in the highest placing for 30 years were asked for money to save the club at our lowest point for 30 years and turned their backs leaving Bob to save it). Renewal of two thirds of the season tickets after our first ever season in three decades in league one is not a huge turning point. Or do we laud those Bournmouth fans who have once again renewed their premier league season tickets with record sales and can’t be plastics when they were no where to be seen 2008? Perhaps we do.

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