The Thundercliffe Files: a five-point plan

Cod Almighty | Article

by Paul Thundercliffe

18 February 2021

New owners offer Town the chance to rebuild its relationship for the benefit of supporters and the community. Paul identifies some priorities

 Thundercliffe Files

With the club takeover due within 10 days, there will be a palpable sense of relief, mixed with anger at the outgoing board and state of the team and frustration at not being able to physically celebrate the new dawn down at the BP. It's what the majority of fans have wanted after years of tumult - it would be pure Town to ceremonially christen a new team at the helm in the icy waters of the Conference. 30 more points from 19 games should just about avert it.

Off the pitch it will be fascinating to see how the club will be run for the benefit of the supporters and the community. It will surely be hoped that the age old "We've always done it this way" system of not really giving a shit is replaced by a lean and mean machine capable of dragging the club from the 1980s into the modern day.

For the discerning Town fan there are many changes that would be welcome - some big, some smaller - but all important for the experience of a Mariners supporter. Here's my five-point plan:

1. Modernise the ticketing arrangements. This has been mooted without any concrete evidence of it happening but we have to move to an e-system that allows fans to buy tickets quickly and enter the ground promptly. Have the price of tickets and season tickets looked at to encourage more uptake. I've always thought the Bradford model of selling season tickets for £150 in the spring a decent shout. Get more concessions (teen/student/unemployed/shift worker/65+) and match bundles.

2. You can't beat Matchday with the Mariners. Make the day of the game pivotal, crucial to the supporter with the fans at its heart. Show the football - old Town, current Premier League - get some live music in the corners, get the food and drink offers in. Games for the kids, programme fairs, real ale sessions (amazing at Ebbsfleet) - there can be a theme for every game.

3. Food and Drink. Docks Beers, Steels, Greek Shack, Beast Burger - some amazing local companies who know, literally, how to sort a piss up in a brewery. We currently pay over the odds for shite. If the product is good, people will pay. We can have different food outlets linked to the Matchday experience.

4. Loyalty Rewarded. A modernised ticketing system can be the backbone of a loyalty scheme with limitless scope for reward. Points from tickets, points from merchandise, points from beer and food, massive points for season tickets, points for programmes, points for iFollow... You get the idea. Points then can be redeemed on merchandise, tickets, away tickets whatever. Make the fans feel their black and white blood is important.

5. The club shop. Stock the shop with a wide variety of merchandise, the bigger the range the more people will buy. Make it customer-friendly and don't double up as a ticket collection point so the matchday experience is akin to queueing for the tip. In fact with point 1 you wont need to collect tickets ever again.

There are loads more from exile schemes to hospitality to community work and the use of social media including getting big on Youtube.

I know the Trust are involved in getting similar ideas to fruition but now the shackles are off we really need to start the new season - wherever we may be - with impetus, galvanizing the support, and making waves on and off the pitch.

Oh, and get the team playing in proper black and white stripes, with red trim, numbers and socks.

What do you think of Paul's five point plan?