Crawley Town operations director Kelly Derham has declared the club’s recent Pay What You Can day a ‘big success.’
Following on from last year’s debut promotion against Hartlepool which attracted 4,266, Reds threw open the doors on April 2, allowing fans to pay whatever they wanted to watch a match.
The minimum payment allowed was £1, but many paid more, knowing the full ticket price is between £16-22 for adults.
It worked well with twice the normal number attending and including a healthy away support, the official totalled 5,008.
Derham said: “It was a big success, it went really well. Most Swindon fans paid a good sum or even full price.
“We were aiming to beat last year’s Hartlepool figure of 4,500 and 5,000 came.
“We were helped by Swindon who brought a good away support and it was a good footballing spectacle; we have had lots of emails thanking us.
“It was lovely many of our own fans paid full price - you would hope our regulars would pay full price.”
Derham confirmed the idea is to encourage a new audience.
She said: “The idea is for people who don’t normally come to pay £1 for a taster. Hopefully they enjoyed it. We have been sending out follow-up emails to those who came encouraging them to come back and we believe it was a great success.”
Derham revealed there were some fans who questioned the need to hold such a promotion.
She said: “There are fans who don’t know why we do this - it’s a chicken and egg situation.
“The more fans we get regularly, the bigger the playing budget we can have and the better players we can attract, which will bring in more fans.
“But we’ve got to get the fans in and you’ve always got to work outside the box.”
Derham explained the stadium can benefit from being filled, even if not everyone has paid the full price.
But everyone has the potential to spend money on match programmes, refreshments and of course can return to the club as paying fans.
She revealed: “It’s quite a difficult one to calculate - to make sure we don’t lose money by doing it.
“It’s about the matchday experience; the food and drinks and the overall experience of watching the football.”
She added: “I just want the club to be a truly family club.”
The Reds chief revealed the club also has a School of the Week programme run by their community department.
This begins with a visit to schools where after a day with a player. Reggie the Red and a game of football played, with coaching, interested pupils are then invited to come to a match free of charge.
She said: “We invite them to come and watch with a parent - we normally get 30-180 coming. You hope they enjoy it and come back again.”
Derham is keen to hear from fans who have ideas to increase the gates and is prepared to try out the most feasible ones and is contactable at the club.
Reds play their final home game of the season this Saturday, April 28 when they take on Crewe Alexandra.
Harry Kewell’s team will be looking to build on a good 2-2 draw at Exeter on Saturday and move back into the top half of the table.
Under-11s pay just £1 and under-16s £4 to come to any home game.
The box office is open 9am-4.30pm weekdays (closed today, Wednesday) and from 10am on Saturday.