If fans are to bear some of the financial pain, they should share the rewards if and when Chesterfield return to the Football League
If Chesterfield supporters are to bear some of the financial pain from the club’s non-league status, they should share the rewards when the club returns to the Football League.
One of the major reasons given for some not-insignificant season ticket price hikes is the shortfall left by a reduced Football League parachute payment.
This season the club were gifted £600,000 to ease their fall into the National League.
Despite that, and an undeniably competitive budget set by owner Dave Allen, the club still crash landed in their new division.
It was, for the first half at least, another torrid season for fans who have suffered more than most in the English game recently.
Mercifully, the appointment of John Sheridan has improved the mood, the football and, crucially, the results.
And, up until Tuesday at least, there was a heady mix of excitement and confidence swirling around the Proact.
Next season, it is anticipated, will be very different to this.
But that parachute payment will fall by around £300,000.
So when the season ticket prices were announced, that shortfall was given as a big factor in £50 increases to some adult season tickets.
Responses have ranged from disappointment to fury.
Some have said they’re not particularly pleased, but they’ll pay.
A section of the fanbase will consider the prices reasonable, particularly when a promotion charge and more attractive football is expected.
A Kop seat will work out at £13 per game, renewing, or £14 per game for a new buyer.
Many will stomach that.
Not everyone makes their feelings known on social media and the reaction of that group of supporters will only be measured by actual season ticket sales.
There are those, however, who feel they’re being punished for a situation they did not create.
They have a point – it wasn’t the fans who made the decisions that led to relegations.
And this season, whenit was all going wrong yet again, the fans continued to do their bit by turning up in, as Sheridan has said more than once, ‘ridiculous’ numbers.
The expectation of a thank you, by way of a price freeze, wasn’t so unreasonable.
It’s not their fault their club needs parachute payments.
Comparisons with other clubs’ prices are inevitable, particularly when supporters elsewhere are paying less to watch superior football.
Blades fans have been able to renew season tickets for as little as £350, with Premier League football a real possibility next season.
Those comparisons aren’t always helpful when clubs’ financial positions and the size of their support or customer base vary so wildly.
But they do serve as yet another reminder of just how bad life has been in footballing terms for Spireites.
And yet it could still be worse – there are plenty of cautionary tales around right now.
Ultimately, the success or failure of the new pricing structure will be laid bare in the uptake.
There’s no obligation, we’re all free to choose how and where we spend our hard earned.
The club may well be gambling on the Sheridan factor and the expectation of wins, which will bring more walk-up fans, paying more.
For all the complaints, Town may yet shift a healthy number of season tickets.
But if it all pays off, Sheridan masterminds an escape and everyone is celebrating come the end of April 2020, season ticket prices should then reflect the financial rewards of Football League status, in the same way they now reflect the financial struggle of non-league life.