‘Goosebumps’ – Imps ST Announcement Analysed

Credit Graham Burrell

The Imps yesterday released news of the season ticket deal for next year, and it wasn’t short of surprises.

The first surprise was probably the video that accompanied the pricing, a lovely one-minute of nostalgia that had a few fans welling up. I’m made of sterner stuff, you need the roar of the crowd against Ipswich in the FA Cup to get me holding back the tears, but it was a nice pre-cursor to the actual announcement.

In the past, the club haven’t always got the ST announcement right. There was widespread dismay at the early window a couple of years ago, and whilst pricing has rarely been off, there was massive potential for this to go wrong. It would be easy to clumsily handle the announcement, given how delicate it could be for some. People have left money in the club, not for discounts but rewards, and any big rises could feel like a slap in the face. Those who took refunds could have felt slighted if the announcement weighed against them for any reason, fans might have felt punished for suffering financial hardship through the pandemic. Payment methods have been a contentious point too, as have renewal windows. Dammit, just writing this now makes me wonder how the club managed to get it right.

Membership and Tiers

Credit Graham Burrell

They did get it right, and I confess I had reservations when I first read it. ‘Membership’ isn’t a word I felt comfortable with, maybe because I still remember Thatcher, membership cards and the like, despite not attending games at the time. I understand why the club might have done it and I won’t go as far as to dissect it here, but I thought it might put some off. The same goes for the tiers within the tickets, gold tiers, gold plus… it all seemed confusing at first. Of course, it isn’t, I just don’t always take quickly to change. I didn’t like the home kit this season remember, but eight or nine months on, I have one and associate it with success. It’s grown on me too, which is great as I reckon I’ve put on half a stone since January.

I’m delighted the Gold + has hit the mark with fans. It’s not for me, I like a physical programme, not a digital one, and I’m hoping after two stellar performances from Dad and Mo at Christmas and birthday that I won’t have to buy a home shirt or away shirt (I’ll come onto the third shirt shortly). Of course, the club don’t make their announcements just to suit me though, and I do think they’ve done well putting this together. The Imps Rewards scheme is worth more than it gets credit for too. I’m too disorganised to regularly log in myself, but I reckon the thriftier fans out there could save a couple of hundred quid a year, if they use it right.

Pricing

Credit Graham Burrell

I’m a bit lax, so I thought that my season ticket cost me £369 quid last year. Clearly, it didn’t, but I got a real surprise when I saw my standard admission was £359. That’s just over £15 per game, and when you consider we might be playing Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and QPR next year, it is an absolute steal. Hell, if we were still playing Southport, Bromley and Solihull Moors it wouldn’t be bad, would it? £15.61 per game is great value, and a real show of commitment from the club to us. Clive said as much in the press release: “I’d like to thank our fantastic supporters once again for sticking by us during this pandemic. Your support has been unrivalled, and for that, we are truly grateful. We have had a brilliant season on the pitch and cannot wait to welcome you back to LNER Stadium to cheer on the team. In launching the new membership structure, we hope you feel we have listened to your feedback provided directly to the club, via the fans survey, the supporter’s board or even through the two supporters representatives we have on our board.”

My Dad’s comes in at just over £11 per game, and seeing as I drive him to most games, I think that ensures the first drink (Coke, obviously as I’m driving) is on him. Maybe the breakfast should be too (just testing to see if he reads this….). Of course, there are other prices for lounges, kids and all that, all of which seem very reasonable.

Payment

Credit Graham Burrell

Here’s where the club really do prove that they get it: “In recognition of the extraordinary times, for this year only, we have introduced a secure now, pay later method for our supporters to secure their season membership(s) ahead of the 2021/22 season.” Finding it a bit tough right now, but know things will ease come June? No problem, the club have you covered. You can secure your ticket now and pay later. You can pay via finance should you wish, or lump it all up right now. They’re trying to make it easy for you and me to secure our seats given the short notice we’ve been handed, something I consider to be a PR success.

The renewal window opens on Wednesday at 10am until Friday 28th May 2021 at 5pm. If you’re not a fan of the ‘I’ve renewed’ posts and like to label those who put them up as ‘superfans’, I’d steer clear of social media before the EFL blackout this weekend, because they’ll start at about 10.05am on Wednesday, and I will love to see them all. Just don’t tag me in them, I get enough notifications on Twitter already (cheers Cornell).

Join Up

Credit – Me

Don’t forget, when buying your ST you can also join any or all of the FPS, Red Imps Community Trust and L.I.S.A. I have lots of time for all. I’ve worked with andy and the Fans Player Scheme ever since I started the site and will continue to do so, and for a tenner you can go in their prize draw. It’s well worth it, and I’d urge you to sign up. L.I.S.A is a fiver and is open to all, especially those celebrating and welcoming women to support the Imps and Lincoln City Women. Again, good people doing good things for the club. The Trust is also a strong presence now, with Rob Bradley a real driving force behind it’s continual development, and it should also be considered when buying your ST.

Rewards

I haven’t really covered this, which is criminal of me, but the club are producing a third shirt next season bearing the names of anyone who has chosen to put their refund for this season into a reward, rather than hold it as a discount from their current ST. I thought this might be emotive, but I think the club are doing their best to just say thanks, not to make one group of fans feel better than another. I love the idea, I loved it when it was done back in the 125 year season, although I’m sure it will be executed for better! It is exciting to hear it will be themed around one of our greatest ever away kits, Now, if I am to assume their taste is as good as yours, and our kit world cup has been considered, then you would imagine something from this lot would be the basis? One would assume it won’t draw from this year’s kits, so anything green or black is ruled out, but that blue third kit from a couple of seasons ago was criminally underused. The yellow of the 2003/03 play-off final, or the dark blue of the subsequent years are both big hits too, and would work well. All I hope is it doesn’t look as clumsy and artificial as the previous ‘names on shirt’ effort, which I bought anyway.

Reaction

It’s fair to say, on Twitter at least, reaction has been good to the announcement. To round the article off, I’ve got a selection of tweets from people replying to the club’s message.