Hello one and all. I know its been a quiet few weeks on here and i apologise for that, but i have been a busy bunny elsewhere. As some of you know over the past few months i have been covering the big women's games (two England Women's internationals and the Women's FA Cup final) from the press box for SportsInternational online magazine. I have thoroughly enjoyed this work and its something i look forward to doing more of in the future. I will be doing a blog on my experiences of doing this in the next week or so. It's a bit of an eye opener and a steep learning curve but i like to think i am on the right track with this new challenge.
On to my plans for this season. For the first time in 5 years i won't be purchasing a season ticket at Lincoln City Football Club. This is a pretty big deal for me as before those 5 years i was a steward at the Bank, since the 2000-01 season in fact. Even before then i had had season ticket since the 95-96 season. So this will pretty much be my first time since i first started going that i will be a "pay on the day" type of fan.
Whats the reason behind my decision? Well as in most cases in life its a mixture of things. Firstly i am off to America for ten days at the end of July, and it was just too tempting to use the money i would have spent on a season ticket on the holiday of a lifetime. But it's not the main reason; the main one is simply the cost.
Last year my season ticket in the Stacy West cost me £250 which in my view was fair enough. However the club have decided to shut the Stacey West this season on "cost saving" grounds. This means that season ticket holders or in fact anybody else who sits in that stand is hit with a price hike by making them go in to either the Echo or CO-OP Stands. The cheaper prices are still available behind the South Park end but as anybody who has watched a game can confirm, the view is dreadful so it would be a case of paying the same price for a worse view.
The price rise for sitting in the other stands was an extra £30 on the season ticket. The walk up prices are two quid higher which means that its £18 to watch 5th tier football. Furthermore the club has removed the early bird price and the categorizing of games, so its £18 or bust no matter the opponent. Luton or Grimsby, Salisbury or Alfreton, its 18 of your finest English pounds. And this on the back of another dreadful season where we only confirmed our place in the division on the last day of the season.
I won't be a stranger at the Bank this season, far from it; hopefully the club will reintroduce the "Six pack" deal where you can buy 6 tickets at a discounted rate. If they did, i would help myself to a couple of these giving me 12 games (see i am good at maths me) And that would more than likely be enough. It would also mean that i am not losing money on midweek games (and there are plenty of the buggers in this league) that sometimes i miss due to one reason or another.
I may come across as bitter about the price rise but i am really not. The club have to make a calculated decision on the best way forward for them. As with all changes in life there are winners and losers and on this occasion i am on the losing side. Only time will tell if the club in the long run has made the correct decision on its prices. A poor start and i can't see many folks dashing to pay £18 on a Tuesday evening to watch City tackle Dartford.
When one door shuts another opens. This does give me more opportunities to visit different grounds and get about a bit more. I still hope to get a few of the Imps away days in (mainly new grounds) so its going to be an interesting season. Its only early and i haven't really started planning yet but i have trips to Blackburn Rovers, Lewes, and Pinxton FC already penciled in. Not being committed to the season ticket also means i can see more of the Nottingham Panthers this season and away trips to Coventry and Sheffield are serious possibilities. The beauty of Nottingham is that i can double up the Ice Hockey with a non league game in the afternoon and there is plenty of choice there. Maybe even a Forest or Notts County game if it falls on one of their cheap ticket days. Who knows.
I will still drag my arse around the local non league scene and hope to do a midweek game every week somewhere and a look forward to visiting and writing about old favorites like Retford United, Gainsborough, Lincoln United, and Shirebrook etc. Eating as many pies and burgers and knocking back as many pints as i can. Thank you for reading this website over the years and i look forward to many more journeys around the football world together.