Fellow Reds fan
I am writing to ask for your continued support for our team by renewing your season ticket for the 2009/2010 season.
Being a Barnsley supporter is not an easy journey as I know full well.Over the 50 years that I have watched the Reds, I have seen us play in all the divisions.I have seen some seasons with great promise fulfilled and many more where we struggled throughout. So why do I do it, and why do you?I suggest that we support Barnsley not just out of a passion for football, for there are clubs much better placed than we are in terms of football tradition, but because we are proud of our town and its surrounding villages, and the unique heritage that belongs to our part of Yorkshire and the people who live here or originate from these parts.
Barnsley Football Club is the rallying point for that pride.For those who support us who have no origins in our town, but have formed a connection to become supporters, you are nonetheless our brothers in the cause of keeping alive something precious, something more than a commercial brand name - Barnsley Football Club is part of our identity as a town, and continues a lineage of fans that started with the Norfolk-born Reverend Tiverton Preedy in 1887.
Sentiment and history are important, but not everything in the modern world.As fans we want to see a prospect of our team rising in the Championship and challenging for a return to the top level of the English game. Every season we start a new challenge to create a side that can compete and thrive on that competition. Key to success is a strong support base, which not only provides a financial platform for player recruitment, but also an attraction for top players, particularly in Britain. It is fans that bring status for a club and not anything else. For our club to make a breakthrough we need your loyalty without conditions. It's a lot to ask, but without it our progress will be slow and stuttering and our future insecure. The financial order in football is changing, which creates a chance for our club to make progress against some of those competitors that carry heavy debt burdens that must be serviced. Our club is relatively debt- free and so every season ticket renewal can be used to improve the quality of our playing contingent and make us more competitive. Please renew for the 2009/10 season and encourage others to do so to help our player recruitment.
Last season the club launched the Stronger Together initiative. Some fans interpreted it as a kind of customer charter, but it was nothing of the sort. It was simply a rallying cry to all our fans to unite in support of the team on the field, irrespective of how much we might criticise them after the game. The fans played their part and got behind the cause despite a disappointing season in terms of league position, which owed much to the team's failure to close out games when we were ahead, and some seriously bad decisions, beyond the ordinary course of football, on the part of match officials. Our fans deserved better for their support which was outstanding right to the last match at Plymouth.
The Stronger Together campaign was backed up with season ticket price reductions and free season tickets for U11s. The result was that our cumulative crowds over the 2008/09 season topped 300,000, a 15 per cent increase in support over the previous season in which crowds had fallen by 10 per cent. Our gates averaged comfortably over 13000 last season, the highest since the 2001/02 season when we were relegated along with Crewe and Stockport to Division One.
This year the financial pressures on our fans are more pronounced with the advent of the credit crunch. It is incumbent on the club to recognise this predicament and find the means to reduce season ticket prices, even though its own costs of operation are rising. To do so means that the club must look to cut costs and channel any savings towards reducing ticket prices. Fans should expect to see the playing staff reduced from the current 27 full-time professionals (including loanees) in favour of a smaller, but better squad. This means that Barnsley FC will not play in the reserve league this season, and will instead organise reserve fixtures to coincide with the need to bring players back from injury, test the progress of our academy players and assess trialists. We are also aware of shortcomings in some administrative areas of the club, but we will be making few inroads into improvements in this area in the 2009/2010 season, because our primary responsibility is to respond to the issue of attendance affordability for our season ticket holders.
For the 2009/2010 season the costs of adult season tickets will be reduced by £20 in all areas of the ground. Other season ticket prices will be reduced pro rata to the cost of adult season tickets with the exception of the additional juvenile ticketwhich has been extended by a further year to cover the under 12s. The free season ticket for U11s with the purchase of an adult season ticket will be extended to cover U12s. Match day tickets will remain at the current prices, which means that the reduction made during last season in response to the lowering of the VAT rate will be continued.
Please renew your support for our team and I look forward to seeing you next season.
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