Having originally stalled on buying my new season ticket, I’ve been engulfed by a sense of positivity about the forthcoming campaign. In part, it’ll be nice to have a season where the championship is a realistic prospect. But more than this it’s down to the fact that if you look at football as a fun thing to do rather than something that defines your status in society; there’s a lot of fun to be had next season. There’s a whole ‘Old School’ vibe about The Conference, The FA Trophy, qualifying for the FA Cup, players wearing 1-11 on the pitch, visiting Burton (where I was born) and Tamworth (by brother-in-law’s team) and being a Big Club albeit in a relatively small pond. If approached with the right frame of mind, next season could be OK.
It’s not arrogance that leads me to conclude we’ll be a big club. It doesn’t presume we’re going to walk the league, or question the worthiness of others in the division. We will be a big club and teams will look to their visit to the Kassam and the U’s visit as a highlight of their season. During our Division 1 days, the visits of Manchester City, Birmingham and Nottingham Forest were always exciting, it will be like that for other clubs.
The club are claiming that we’ve sold 1000 season tickets in a fortnight, which prompted me to see what Conference average attendances are like. Our season ticket sales outstrip Altrinham and Forest Green‘s season average alone. Last season we were 7th best supported team in League 2 (5,442) some 1,652 more than Exeter; the biggest team in the Conference. With the current bonhomie around the club and some good early season form it’s unlikely attendance at the Kassam will drop dramatically.
Although its interesting to note that five teams in the Conference have better averages than League 2, all of them are recent League clubs, there’s a clear cabal of League wannabes all desperate for promotion. We’re going to be the biggest of the lot and clearly the ones to be there to be shot at. The up side, of course, is that the wage cap that operates in the Conference means that we should have considerable spending power in comparison to others. In short, there’s no excuse but to make a good fist of the season.