Athletic can't get bums on seats

Last updated : 07 September 2006 By The Chairman
The owners of Athletic have tried all they can to get bums on seats at Boundary Park but have resigned themselves to the fact that there isn't much more they can do. Athletic have a fantastic army of travelling supporters, sometimes up to 50% of the home gates, but getting people down to Boundary Park is a tall order.

Simon Corney makes no bones about the fact that the figures reflect to a general apathy towards professional sport in the town. He said, “We've come to accept the situation because it seems to be happening year on year. We will keep trying to get people back in the ground but, in all honesty, there isn't much we can do about it. A lot of people seem to prefer watching Manchester City a few miles down the road, and they seem to have little affinity with Oldham Athletic. We have a superb hard core of about 3,500 who keep the club going and are fantastic, but there's no point flogging a dead horse when it comes to those who stay away."

"Some people say the problem is admission prices, but I don't accept that. We've reduced admission this season and crowds are still falling. And I don't think there's much difference between, say, £16 and £19 because people will either come or they won't. There's the old question of whether we should throw money at the team in order to attract more support, but that isn't the solution either. We have to run the club on sensible lines and just hope the stay-aways come along and give us a try."

"Oldham Roughyeds have had a similar problem with getting people through the gate, and I do think there's an apathy in the town towards both clubs. I'm sure there are many reasons, and the stadium itself isn't helping matters, but it still disappoints me.”

Corney emphasised that he and his fellow investors were still as enthusiastic as ever about the club. A new 16,000 seater stadium would go a long way to creating a better experience and would attract off the field business to help the coffers but local businesses are slow on the uptake. Mr. Corney went on, “There has been a small amount of interest, but we could do with a few more people pushing in our direction.”