Last week, we mentioned a unique (as far as we know, anyway) initiative by Blue Square Premier side Mansfield Town to let supporters set their own entrance price for their game against Gateshead on Saturday at Field Mill.
On the face of it, it was a big success. Attendance more than doubled from the previous game, with over 7,000 showing up. Many gave more than the previous standard ticket price, with gate receipts expected to be bumper for the club.
For many fans, it was a reminder of better days at Field Mill, Mansfield’s home since 1909.
The club has a loyal hardcore base, with 2,747 season ticket holders, but this initiative aimed to bring new and old fans outside of this base to Field Mill: the average attendance of the club over the past three seasons has been hovering around 3,000 since their relegation from the Football League in 2008.
Unfortunately, Mansfield lost the game 2-0, but that’s not the point here. Hopefully many of those who showed up feel re-engaged by the club’s effort to get them out to a game, whatever they could afford to give on the day.
This initiative by the new owners should be applauded. Mansfield have been through a lot: the current owners, Mansfield supporters Andrew Perry, Andrew Saunders and Steve Middleton, purchased the club from the deservedly unpopular Keith Haslam a couple of years ago.
This was shortly after Haslam came close to selling the club to John Batchelor, who had an insane plan to rename the club Harchester United after the Dream Team television drama. Seriously (Batchelor also once wanted to drive York City, who he drove into the ground, York City Soccer Club to attract American interest).
From soap opera to sanity, it’s looking up for Stags fans.