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Burning Platform?

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Interesting article in today's Daily Express. Niall Quinn has gone public over his concerns that some 10,000 Sunderland supporters need to come back to swell attendances or the "vision" he has for the Club will have to be ripped up. Apparently, despite a significant injection of capital for new players, the fans would rather watch the games illegally in local pubs. What this says about Sunderland fans I'll leave to you.

However, Niall's reaction to the problem, is a world away from BS Billy's; he is going on the offensive... publicly... and will be actually seeking out fans in these pubs to implore them to get back to supporting the team from the stands. Aware that revenues are significantly down, he is looking to actually engage with supporters.

Whether Quinn will be successful is another matter, but at least he's out there ? unlike our own Chairman, who is sitting on a far bigger problem, but has decided a cloak of invisibility (and presumably denial) is a better strategy.

On a related note, it did get me thinking that if Sunderland can get that worried from a much healthier position than us, then, should season ticket sales fall dramatically this April / May, what the impact would be ? Especially as my understanding is that we have borrowed heavily against future revenues?

In business it often takes a "burning platform" (major crisis) to bring about real change and a sea change in approach. Falling sales may be our burning platform, but it's risky.
Steve Guy, Harrogate     Posted 18/02/2011 at 14:06:56

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Roberto Birquet
1   Posted 18/02/2011 at 15:05:56

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If I am not mistaken, we could not get another 10,000 bums on seats as there are only about 4,000 that are not taken at most Goodison match days.

I also imagine most clubs have used securitisation (loans against future sales essentially) to pay their way, and from the sound of it, maybe Sunderland more than us.

We need more seats, and pricier luxury seats to compete financially. Hasn't he Echo this week reported that Everton's main problem is £pounds per seat at Everton is half that of other clubs?

Again that brings the same old question - ground move or knock down houses and school around Goodison and start building.
Dan Brierley
2   Posted 18/02/2011 at 15:19:31

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I think the impact is quite simple. If 2,000 per week stop going at £35 per ticket, it is £70,000 a week gone out of the coffers. We'd need to sell Arteta or Fellaini to balance the books.
Nick Entwistle
3   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:14:47

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How can watching TV be illegal?
Ray Robinson
4   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:14:48

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Dan, on average we only have one home game every fortnight but I take your point.

nd Steve, as for BK doing the rounds of pubs to drum up support, well he does have other activities you know - usually in London. For all we know Quinn may be occupied full time with Sunderland with no other interests to be involved with. A poor excuse to have a go at BK really - and I'm no BK apologist.

I think attendances are going to suffer everywhere next season as the cuts bite. I actually see more people watching in pubs rather than going to the match, not less.
Steve Guy
5   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:17:40

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Nick; on the assumption you are not being sarcastic, they are watching illegal satellite broadcasts from anywhere but licensed UK broadcasters. If you were being sarcastic.......hilarious

Roberto: the point is not additional seats meaning more revenue, it's fewer supporters renewng season tickets. Sunderland may well have securitised against future revenue, but they ain't as badly off as us by a long way AND are beIng proactive about sorting it out. Billy BS isn't and it may well prove pivotal come the Early Bird and full-price sale of tickets for next season.
Paul Gladwell
6   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:14:39

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A bigger ground Ropberto with more costly seats! We have a fanbase which must be one of the least well off in the land, you can have as many seats as you like we won't fill them, most of our fans are local and at this present moment are skint. I see it every home game when I leave for Goodison, around ten lads who used to be regular blues sitting in the pub ready for our game in a warm pub, the shout they don't go because of restricted views is shite, I saw many a good seat at the Chelsea home leg.
Steve Guy
7   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:24:21

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Ray. I'm not suggesting BK wanders into the Wilmslow (although he did used to frequent the Rovers Return ! ). It's about pro activity of which there is none, only silence which can only be damaging.
Paul Gladwell
8   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:33:01

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You need to get those lads back the game and you will only get that with good footy or cheaper seats.

Any new ground or stands should try and bring in lounges like pubs with cheap pub grub and ale, this will encourage the average man to get the ground earlier so spending his beer cash on Everton beer.

It's all well and good saying we need exec boxes when they would be empty because not many blues can afford that luxury like southern based supporters

Mark Murphy
9   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:45:34

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I'll tell you what though,< I bet Kenwright, as despised as he may be on here, wouldnt get the same disgraceful treatment that dem yanks got when going in the Anny Arms!

We'd fill the ground if we played attractive football ? that's blindingly obvious!
Ian McDowell
10   Posted 18/02/2011 at 16:50:34

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Apparently, despite a significant injection of capital for new players, the fans would rather watch the games illegally in local pubs. What this says about Sunderland fans I'll leave to you.

Have you been to the pubs in Liverpool on matchday? I watch most games in the pub 3pm and the pubs are packed in Liverpool.
Jeremy Benson
11   Posted 18/02/2011 at 17:11:05

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People watch in the pubs because watching football live in the stadium is fast becoming out of reach of working class fans. Especially during such pressing economic times. It's not a reflection on the loyalty or "type" of fan. It's not rocket science...
Nick Entwistle
12   Posted 18/02/2011 at 17:11:56

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Steve, I wasn't being sarcastic... or was I???

To be fastidious, watching would not be illegal, though the showing of it would be. The image of Sunderland fans in a pub watching the football with a pint and the old bill rush in nicking them all is a funny one, but certainly wouldn't happen... or would it?!?!?!?
Alex Kociuba
13   Posted 18/02/2011 at 17:29:34

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Agree completely with Jeremy #11.

Also agree with Nick regarding the "illegal" football. It is absolutely NOT illegal to watch foreign channels. What should be illegal is massive media companies having ludicrous monopolies in 'free markets' which are supposedly governed with competition and anti-monopoly laws.

It's the average, working-class (although soon a good proportion won't even be working) who are getting screwed by big business. Always has been and hopefully won't always be (and reading the Daily Express won't do much do much to help).
Ian Campbell
14   Posted 18/02/2011 at 18:13:16

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If this landlady in Portsmouth gets her way ? which is looking promising ? then it will open the UK market up to foreign competitors at cheaper rates and will see an end to Murdoch's monopoly.

We have seen the same with music and films where top performers now earn less from sales etc... maybe these lower attendances will force club's hands to act within their means and over the long term see a reduction in ticket prices and player earnings!

Won't hold my breathe though.
Tom Hughes
15   Posted 18/02/2011 at 18:07:01

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I have a few friends/colleagues who are Sunderland fans. I think their season tickets were roughly half the cost of mine.... I also think they have quite an aggressive marketing strategy, with lots of tickets given to local schools etc to help secure future generations. They don't have the excuse of thousands of obstructed views either. Their gates have been quite good for such a small city, but the average is boosted by quite a lot of surplus capacity.
Nick Armitage
16   Posted 18/02/2011 at 19:54:39

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There is a burning platform at Goodison, but Kenwright & Co don't have the resources, capability or will to sort it out.
Dick Fearon
17   Posted 18/02/2011 at 20:28:08

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Ian #14, You took the words out of my mouth and I hope that landlady wins the case.
Number one problem is the unreal wages.
Solution, Make it compulsary that lions share of TV income goes on ground improvements and lower entrance fees.
This would make going to the game more attractive for the fans, this in turn improves the in ground atmosphere and at the same time make the game a less attractive proposition to foreign takeover sharks.
Other benefits would be a greater emphasis on developing our own youngsters plus closer affinity between players and their local community.
David Hodgson
18   Posted 18/02/2011 at 23:18:39

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Without sounding stupid but correct me if im wrong and if this landlady in Portsmouth gets her way and Premier League footy becomes virtually free to the masses than surely that would create a detrimental effect towards the money that Murdoch and Co put into the the Premier League clubs as they wouldnt have 'exclusive' rights to it anymore, if you know what I mean?!
Garry Martin
19   Posted 19/02/2011 at 08:01:59

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For me, EFC's problems are simple & quite clear. There is a series of reasons behind our demise at the moment. Sadly, they won't go away quickly either.
a) Lack of buisness accuemen by our off the field personnel.
b) Directors un willing to either support or loan there money to EFC.
c) Rising out of control wage bills' both at EFC & at other clubs.
d) Current financial climate.
e) Dwindling fan base support.
f) Greedy agents.
g) Dis illusioned existing season ticket holders.
h) Lack of leadership comments or direction.
i) Continued blundering on ground issues.
j) Lack of transfer activity, unless you mean 15, 16 & 17 year olds.Or, players going out.

The list could go on and on, little wonder being a blue is so depressing !!
Mark Molloy
20   Posted 20/02/2011 at 11:06:17

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And Sunderland's total turnover for the last year was £10m less than Everton's.

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