The Widnes paying public
Nothing personal and I have every respect for those Runcornians (?) who trek across the river for games. I can well remember many years ago travelling in the opposite direction going to the Scala and the New Inn and the Linnetts Club. Maybe the club market the game on both sides of the river if they don’t do so already. I think the ever changing day for games didn’t help over the years.
No offence taken I assure you! But the ease of connection these days maybe should prompt a southern push for new fans. As I said, there is little live sport in the town(s) these days and I can't believe that many enjoy the never changing TV offering. Having said that I have been involved with club style entertainment in the past and it is like pulling teeth these days. Whatever you try to provide interest is very poor. Just what do people want?
I totally agree that everchanging game days were certainly a no-no for many with other commitments. Here's hoping anyway!
Super League came too late for us.1992 would have been great but by 96 we were a pale shadow of the team we once were.
Very true this. Our team needed either a few Wembley trips or a tv deal in order for us to sustain it. St Helens was made for SL, their team peaked the year SL was created.
The lockdown should point to a hunger for outdoors live sport but it remains to be seen if that actually works. A good season start and a regular game time should help encourage support but we'll wait and see.
From the games I've seen so far we look to have a more organised attack but haven't really been tested in the hard graft yet. Most teams, SL included, seem to be suffering from injuries due probably to the long layoff.
Just hope that we can stay out of trouble!!
The other issue with 2012 was the monthly Stronghold nonsense – which effectively meant there was no marketing to sell season tickets in the build up to the Super League return, because we didn’t have them.
Stronghold was a waste of time, didn’t increase attendances if anything made it more complicated to buy a season ticket. James, would you consider an interview with Neil Kelly, his time at the club is largely undocumented? also, I agree success doesn’t automatically equate to attendances but I do wonder the dominance of saints, Wigan and Leeds has had on smaller teams attendances. For example, those teams mentioned, will always attract fans, however, imagine if Wakefield, Salford etc had 6 or 7 years of success. For Rl to grow, you need the small teams to attract higher gates, the big teams you can’t take for granted.
Good idea about Neil Kelly. I've had some good chats with him in the past, largely after interviewing him when he was Dewsbury coach. Will have to see if I can get hold of him.
There was a mention earlier in this thread about making it difficult to buy tickets, I notice a Twitter post out of the blue last night saying there’s only 7 days to renew your season ticket. I’m sure there’s a lot of
people who would be waiting until it’s set in stone that we can get in to the ground, or maybe even waiting until the end of the month when they get paid. Seems odd to announce that there’s only 7 days left to renew. Surely they should be available right up until the season starts?
Well the first home game is in 9 days, so that will be why the deadline is in 7 days time, because once the season starts the benefits of getting a season ticket will depreciate, as theirs less games and the price of the season ticket is the same.
True that FV, I didn’t even realise that to be honest!
Not sure if this thread was inspired by the same comments I heard on the Sky repeat of our game with Leeds last week, but I had made a note of the quotes from Eddie Hemmings to put in an article, and just got round to writing it. https://widnesrugby.com/blogs/skys-eddie-hemmings-bemoans-lack-of-support-for-widnes/ I think ultimately, you can only do the best you can. I’m not sure there’s always a correlation between success and attendances; shown by the fact that our average crowd was higher in 2005 than in 2002; and the fact the likes of Huddersfield haven’t increased their crowds even when top of the league. I do think had our fan engagement and marketing been better between 2014-2016, then we really could have kicked up above the 7,500 average. The problem is previous custodians of the club have been very “we need more fans to make the club better on the pitch” which just isn’t the way forward. They were guilt tripping existing fans, rather than attracting new ones. It was also very difficult at times to be a fan, no cash turnstiles etc. We clearly have a (albeit relatively small) die hard fanbase, which some clubs would kill for. One of the challenges we have is that floating or casual fans, are perhaps now more likely to go and enjoy a game at Warrington or St Helens, rather than come to Widnes. It’s a shame that the ideas of using the iPitch for activities after a game never came to fruition – or nothing was ever done to explore utilising the car park more. The Sports bar idea, maybe a bit expanded, should have been a good way to get people in. Free tickets etc is largely a waste of time – yes you might get some take up, but you do it too often, and people ultimately just wait for the freebie. I spoke to some parents who had basically got sick of coming, and the novelty of their kid going out and waving the flag and playing on the pitch had worn off, because it was happening so often.
This is an exceptional article, certainly expresses the frustrations I feel. I know the typical response will be “yeah, but we are a small town” but fundamentally, for every Widnes fan who goes the game, I say there is 3 or 4 who don’t. When I say fan, I mean people who like rugby and have been to games in the past.
Maybe it’s the same in other towns but there is a strange relationship between rugby league and the Widnes the club in the town, there certainly is a substantial amount of negativity aimed at the club. Also, there appears to be people in the town who take the club for granted, they supported us through our admin in 2019 but still wouldn’t attend the games.