At this point in time, it goes without saying that there is a cost-of-living crisis going on throughout the UK. This has an impact on all things in life and of course, football is no exception to that. Here at Newtown AFC, we have introduced a ‘football for a fiver’ scheme where we will be charging an admission fee of £5 for our home games at Latham Park. We hope this will attract more people through the gate at an affordable rate and in turn raise our average attendance which currently stands at circa 250 spectators. This figure equates to about 2% of the population of Newtown itself.

To find out more about the ‘football for a fiver’ scheme and other things that the club are doing, Gareth Thomas, a member of our media team spoke to the club’s Financial Director, Barry Gardner. We hope that this interview will provide you, our wonderful supporters with a bit more of an insight into what we are trying to do as a club at this difficult time.

1) How difficult a balancing act is it to offer an affordable admission to supporters but at the same time ensuring that there is enough money coming into the club to make it cost effective?

“For us it is all about getting people into the ground to watch live football. All clubs need to get the admission price correct to attract supporters now and in the future. There is no point having facilities like we have at Latham Park if we can’t get supporters in.

The £2 reduction in admission will hopefully attract more supporters through the gate and make coming to Latham Park an affordable day out as we are also competing against other events and games broadcast on television”

 2) Did the £10 fee that the club charged for our recent European games attract the amount of supporters that you thought it would do?

“We felt that this was great value for money, and it gave people a chance to see a game (or two as it turned out) over the summer. The fact that we had to play the games at Park Hall meant that we needed a ticket price to encourage people to travel and having 800 plus for both games showed that there is a market at our level”

3) Have the club ever thought of introducing an offer to supporters along the lines of – entry fee, a drink, and a snack for a combined price?

“I have been overseeing the accounts at Newtown AFC for over fifteen years and it is not just about the gate, clubs need the secondary spend with things like raffles, programmes, tea hut and bar sales. All of these are great revenue sources to clubs but if the entry fee is too expensive then people will not choose to spend more money once they are in the ground.

We are also looking at all options to make people’s expenditure more value for money. For example, we are looking at working with our tea hut and with our sponsors – we plan to give four business tickets for our game against Flint next Friday, so companies can enjoy a game on us. They can then see what we have to offer and in turn reward work colleagues”

 4) Other than the admission to the game and the action on the pitch, what other things do you think can be done, not just at Newtown AFC, but at other clubs to try and ensure that people will return?

“It’s about creating a match day experience where people leave feeling like they have had value for money and want to return. For us we want to try ‘football for a fiver’ – not as a gimmick but to offer people in Mid Wales and beyond good value, especially in today’s world where social events are becoming more expensive.

Football clubs now need to be very proactive on social media and that is an area where we are looking to improve – a winning team helps but creating an enjoyable family atmosphere will encourage people to come with prices set accordingly”

 We thank Barry very much for taking the time to speak to us and we hope that this interview has helped to provide you with a good insight into what we are trying to do as a club to help in this current climate of financial difficulty.

Interview conducted by – Gareth Thomas