FOOTBALL: COCA-COLA CHAMPIONSHIP
Birmingham City chairman David Gold has promised Blues fans the club is looking at a range of initiatives to entice supporters back to St Andrew’s.
Following relegation from the Barclays Premier League, Gold is conscious of what could be a hangover from the drop with season ticket sales down and seats left empty for Blues’ opening games of the season.
Birmingham announced on Thursday the ticket prices for the opening two games of the season and have slashed the normal cost in some areas of St Andrew’s.
The opener against Sheffield United on August 9 at St Andrew’s which is being covered live by Sky Sports (12.45pm), has been designated their lowest category game, and tickets start at £10 (adults), £7.50 (concessions) and £5 (under-12s).
The next visitors are Barnsley on August 23 (3pm), where admission will be priced from £18 (adults), £10 (concessions) and £7 (under-12s).
Gold said this is the first of a range of initiatives designed to entice supporters into the ground to roar on Alex McLeish’s side as they bid to bounce straight back to the Premier League.
The board came under heavy criticism from a section of the supporters following the 4-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers on the final day of the season, when relegation was confirmed. Supporters chanted for the board to leave and they vented their frustration on a nearby goal post.
Gold and co-owner David Sullivan were appalled at the reaction of the fans and they want to heal any rift between the people who run the club and the supporters before it proves divisive to the club’s bid to get back into the Premier League.
Gold has said on numerous occasions since the end of the season that unity is what is called for, now more than ever, and moves to reduce ticket prices and abandon unpopular schemes such as the away day ticket charges, are designed to offer an olive branch to the disenchanted.
“We are giving due consideration to some issues and we are listening to the supporters,” Gold said.
“We have already done away with the charges for away tickets and we are reviewing a number of issues that affect our fans.
“We had superb support for our last game of the season against Blackburn until the end and we are looking to recreate that next season. On that day we handed out clappers, an idea we got from Fulham the week before, and I think it really added to the atmosphere inside the ground. We will be looking again at such initiatives.
“I know we won’t be playing the likes of Manchester United next season but we still want to generate an atmosphere to give us every chance.
“We will look at every initiative that we think will give us a chance of getting the fans to come back to St Andrew’s. It has been difficult since relegation but we are determined to set a pattern through the season that will give everyone great optimism.
“Going into the first game of the season, we want to build a good atmosphere.”