It’s been over a fortnight now since Chester FC ’s 2016/17 Vanarama National League season was wrapped up.
A season that had at one stage promised so much ended up finishing in miserable fashion as Chester, as high as seventh at Christmas time, ended up in 19th place and two points above the drop.
Last week we launched our end-of-season survey and had a massive response from Blues fans who had their say on what has been and what may be to come. The results will be announced throughout the week and in full in this week's Chronicle .
With home attendances down on the 2015/16 season, we asked what the club needed to do to get back onside - and your answer was pretty comprehensive.
We had over 450 responses to our survey and 55% of you said that the only thing that would see the crowds flock back to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium would be winning football, something that, with Chester winless at home in 2017, was badly lacking this past season.
A distant second was the need to increase the club’s presence in the city centre and the surrounding areas, which polled 15%.
Reducing ticket prices (12%) was third while an enhanced match day experience and better ticketing incentives both registered 6% of the total vote. Better communication with the fan base came sixth with 5%.
We also had plenty of anonymous feedback left via the survey. Here’s just a few.
“Pretty much all the above need improving.”
“Form an Ultras style group with fflags, banners and non-stop singing.”
“The main problem is how accessible the club is. No buses, long walk from town. Not the club’s fault but reality.”
“Reduce prices and win football matches. Also can’t believe that a wealthy city like Chester can’t get wealthy investors.”
“Carry on the good work in community and get more school kids in attendance for free or minimal cost with an adult. Look at offers like 10 games for a £10 per game, a £100 offer to choose games or maybe 10 selected games i.e. not derby or local games etc.”
“Treat fans as if they count, not as they do at the moment.”
“Be more proud if itself - not just on social media- and make people feel they want to be part of the action. Fundraising needs to be upped too!”
“Broaden our profile further afield - build a groundswell of interest - hook them in.”
“Improved performances that get fans interested. No one enjoys drab football followed by the same excuses match after match, a simple “we were not good enough” is what I want to hear, and not they followed the instructions.”
“Go full time or relegation to National League North.”
“Instead of offering reduced prices for meaningless end of season games, try and get people hooked at the start of the season, offer season ticket holders a free pint/cup of tea/pie/programme, anything to show they are valued whilst these trials take place.”
“I think the club need to communicate better with the fans advertise the games in pubs clubs and local schools, more ticket incentives.”
“Whilst it is not easy to run ticketing initiatives the only one that seems to offer any revenue is the free tickets for schools. Reducing ticket prices doesn’t appear to attract more or enough fans to cover the cut in the cost. The simple fact is that people want to watch a winning side so more entertaining games where we compete is a must. It is proven by the fact that our average attendance has feel year on year since we have returned to the conference, we were attracting bigger gates lower down the pyramid simply as we were winning games.”
“Winning equals crowds, like at Lincoln or even our climb through the Evo Stik.”