Pools chief knew drastic action was needed

POOLS chief executive Russ Green today revealed the moment he realised the club had to do something drastic to halt the falling attendances at Victoria Park.

A combination of issues, including mixed form and clashes with high-profile games on TV, resulted in attendances at Victoria Park being the lowest in League One last season.

But this summer’s record season ticket sales should help guarantee a healthy atmosphere at The Vic next season.

Mr Green said: “We were playing Charlton on a Tuesday night in February. It was a real bleak night and we had a crowd of under 2,300. I said ‘we’ve really got to do something to address this’.

“It really struck home that night. But to be fair, a lot of clubs are in the same boat.

“On a wet and windy Tuesday night when there’s an attractive Champions League game on the TV, people would stay at home. We were victims of that.

“We then thought about doing packages where people could go to three games for a set price. But that wouldn’t be fair to those who bought their season tickets year in, year out.

“We came up with this idea and thankfully it has paid off.

“After having average crowds of about 5,600 a few seasons ago, we knew the support was out there. We’ve tapped into that again and there’s a real buzz about the place.

“Even after the offer launched and we had that great start, we continued to get feedback. People were telling us they were waiting until we got to 3,000, so amending the deal and guaranteeing tickets would cost no more than £150 helped kick-start it.

“Some people have been coming in to buy a ticket and when we’ve asked them where they want to sit they’ve said they’ve never been before.

“There are a lot of first-time ticket holders and I think a lot of people have the attitude that Pools will be their second team this season. Hopefully they’ll like what they see.”

Mr Green revealed that away from the season ticket sales, there has also been an increase in the amount of corporate activity over the close season.

He added: “The season ticket offer has been well publicised and the corporate side of the club has been boosted by that.

“If someone has an advertising board at pitchside they have more of a captive audience now if there’s a bigger crowd.

“People have upgraded their packages and we expect higher sales of refreshments from the kiosks and the matchday programme.

“We’ve looked at the bigger picture and hopefully we will reap the benefits because this has been a fantastic gesture from the owners.”