Following a fruitful week on and off the pitch, I write to you, our supporters, for the final time this season.
As we expected, there have been plenty of ‘ups’ in these nine months, along with some challenges and tougher times. Now is not the time to fully reflect, as we have a huge two-and-a-half-weeks coming up, and all focus is on this final challenge ahead. I’ve jotted a few updates below covering a range of what has been going on in the last month;
Our exciting retail operations partnership with The Terrace was announced towards the end of March, including the launch of our new and improved online shop as well as a full refresh of the Stadium store.
We have been delighted with the response to the partnership, and the effort and quality of the work that The Terrace have produced so far – the shop is now full of such a variety of items to suit all ages, at a time where traditionally the shelves would have been bare counting down to the end of the season, and the new replica ranges in summer.
Of course, these will still be landing with us in the close season, which we can’t wait to share with you, but I am confident that we will now have relevant and appropriate stock all year round, with special ranges launched at key times in the calendar! There is still plenty to do to keep us moving forwards, but great progress is being made and your support of the shop will be invaluable in our future success.
If you haven’t already checked it out – please do visit either in person at the Stadium, or online via www.shopmorecambefc.com
At the start of the season, we had up to four separate coaches going to each away fixture from various supporter groups across Morecambe. Over the course of the season, for a variety of completely understandable reasons, these have dropped off, with others joining and again dropping off thereafter.
Ahead of the final away games of the season, namely Cambridge United & Charlton Athletic, there were a number of conversations, both in person and online expressing concern that supporters would struggle to get to these games without coach travel on offer.
Following discussions with our friends at the Shrimps Trust, who run coaches to a number of away fixtures across the season, including MK Dons away on Saturday 23 April, it was confirmed that they would be unable to provide coach travel to the Cambridge United & Charlton Athletic fixtures.
Consequently, and most importantly because we all want as many people to be able to attend our fixtures both home and away, the Club agreed to arrange affordable travel to these two fixtures – which we knew would incur significant losses to the Club.
These losses will be covered by donations from our first-team players & staff, Club staff along with the Board of Directors. We are delighted that 40 people joined us on the coach to Cambridge United, and the coach for the Charlton Athletic game should be full this Friday!
We were delighted to launch our ‘In It Together’ 2022-23 Season Ticket campaign last Friday – running in a similar way to this season's, whereby the more tickets we sell, the less each of our supporters will pay!
It was an incredibly successful scheme last time around, which has helped lift our average attendance well over 4,000 this season, and we are committed to maintaining affordable football and an ever improving matchday experience for our supporters.
We are on sale much earlier than last season, so we are hopeful that the word will spread even further and wider this time around, increasing sales and ensuring that our season tickets remain the best value in English football!
We have reflected on this seasons campaign and noted that a majority of the U14 tickets were not used on a regular basis, which has led to spaces in the terraces and particularly empty seats in the stand, which we know there is high demand for!
As a result, we decided to increase the price of an U14 ticket in line with the 14-17 tickets, but we have included an exclusive gift set for our younger supporters, and we will be holding a number of exclusive events which they will receive an invite to! We also intend to run a few initiatives over the season aimed at our young supporters, and give something back to them – again, details will follow over the close season.
We will have plenty of promotional activity going on later this month and over the close season, so keep an eye out for this – along with our brand-new live totaliser on sales – which will be on our website in the near future, so you know exactly where we stand each day!
Further information on 2022-23 Season Tickets, and a link to buy yours now, can be found via www.morecambefc.com/tickets/season-tickets/
Bartercard Terrace Roof
I apologised last month for the delays in getting the roof sorted, following some disappointing developments regarding the certification of the structure.
We have been working hard to find a cost-effective remedy to the existing issues that must be undertaken before any further cladding goes on the structure – which has been far from easy, but we believe we now have a workable solution agreed and will be commencing with the works.
The structure will need to be taken down and off-site to the new contractors’ factory, where the works will be undertaken before being re-erected behind the terrace and the roof installed.
This will now most likely be done in the early close season, but I can absolutely assure you that it will be done, dusted and ready to go for when you return in pre-season.
Again, I apologise for this process being protracted and as a Club we have felt the impact of historical issues and will not be making any similar mistakes in our current and future ground works. One thing is for sure though – we will make sure it will be a great space to enjoy the pre match build up and atmosphere next season!
Play on the pitch
We have circulated our ‘Play on the Pitch’ offer via the website and local contacts, and had a really positive response.
It is a great opportunity for supporters, businesses and local clubs to follow in the footsteps of our first team and play on the Mazuma Stadium pitch.
We are certainly conscious that the cost could be prohibitive to some league, groups or individuals and have worked with all who have enquired to try to get to a reasonable and appropriate agreement.
Some we have managed to find an offer that works for everyone, others we have unfortunately not, but I believe we have been fair with everyone. We are bound by a number of regulatory bodies rules when opening the stadium – even ‘behind closed doors’ – and the procedures that we must follow.
This includes having an appropriate safety and first aid team at every fixture, which has a significant cost, after another minimum wage increase this month – hence the pricing being set at the level it is to ensure this is covered.
We are excited to be offering individual supporters and local people the opportunity to enjoy and take part in a Club run fixture (or more subject to demand!) at the Stadium, by purchasing a place on a team in some additional ‘Play on the Pitch’ games – details will be shared very soon on this!
Portsmouth & Sunderland fixtures
We are expecting two bumper crowds for our final home fixtures of the season!
Portsmouth should bring a strong contingent, and we know now Sunderland have sold out their allocation.
Tickets remain on sale for Portsmouth up to and including matchday on Easter Monday. Sunderland tickets will go on sale in the middle of next week, in line with our usual aim to be on sale 10 days prior to a game, and we expect this will be a sell-out crowd.
Further information will be shared early next week.
There will be an End of Season Awards event following the Sunderland game, which will be a ticketed event as we expect to hit our capacity in the suite. Again, full information on this will be shared very shortly.
I’ve said it in almost every update this season, but your support – home, away and from afar – has been extraordinary, and I know that it can and will have a big impact on us in these final four fixtures – do not underestimate your backing and what it can help achieve!