Walsham-le-Willows are hoping to entice fans back to the club with an unusual ‘donate what you like’ offer for the visit of Wivenhoe Town.
With attendances dwindling across local football and fans’ wallets being hit hard by the rising costs of living, the Willows are hoping to help bridge the gap by offering everyone the chance to decide their own entrance fee for tomorrow’s Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division encounter (3pm).
Although the initiative may not seem like good business sense to some, club chairman Mike Powles is hopeful its success may benefit the Summer Road-based outfit in months to come.
“The thinking behind the scheme was to try and encourage an extra few people to come along to the game,” he said. “Non-League football is crying out for more supporters and I think a lot of fans who support the bigger clubs in the area don’t realise how good the football can be.
“Although some people may pay what is considered next to nothing, if they then buy a drink and some food it is extra revenue for the club.
“A few clubs around the country have tried it with great success and it is something we hope will do the same for us.
“We don’t see many people opting to pay full price, but the hope is that if we can entice them in then there is a chance that they will come back again in the future.
“We have noticed a drop in attendances this season, but I think that says a lot about the state football fans find themselves in.
“Fans don’t have as much money as they used to, which is the case across society, and this is just our way of looking out for those fans while trying to entice them back into local football.
“There is nothing like having a full house with the bar buzzing, it will always create a better atmosphere.
“ We will see how it goes but it is definitely something we will consider doing again and possibly a few times a season.”
Meanwhile, Thurlow Nunn Premier rivals Mildenhall Town will be aiming to halt a run of four games without a win when they return to action for the first time since January 11 with a visit from high-flying Haverhill Rovers tomorrow (3pm).
A 4-1 defeat was the outcome of their last match at home to table-toppers Hadleigh United, but manger Christian Appleford is confident his side can put a torrid time behind them and finally start reaping the rewards their efforts deserve.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back to playing,” he said. “We are on a difficult run but we have played well without getting the rewards, we just need that bit of luck.
“It has not been reflective of how we’ve played and hopefully we can get back to winning ways soon and start going on a little run.
“We were very unlucky at Haverhill earlier in the season in a match we really should have won.”