These are the rough numbers. 6000 crowd against Plymouth, of which 5000 are home fans. 3100 crowd against Morecambe, of which 3000 are home fans.
To the 3000 who supported us against Morecambe - thank you. Not only did you come to our second home game back in the Football League, which doesn't have such a ring to it as the first, but your support was magnificent. I think you appreciated the efforts of our players, felt their frustration at the tactics of our opponents, understood how well we played and realised that we created enough chances to have won more than one game. Your reaction at the end of the match and your vocal backing throughout was testament to the bond that has grown between you and the players. It's important we don't lose that.
To the 2000 who came to the Plymouth match but weren't here against Morecambe - we need you. There may be some people out there who think that a return to the Football League is mission accomplished. Richard and I disagree. We see it as the first part of our mission to drag the club as high as we can in the football pyramid. Last season's achievement was a massive and very difficult step. But that's all. One step. Our job is to ensure it's the first of many. But we need help.
In the Football League, every club has to conform to the Salary Cap Protocols (SCP). That means each club can only spend a certain percentage of their turnover in direct player costs. As I explained last week, we have one USP, which gives us a competitive advantage against all the other clubs in this league: our youth system. Not only does it provide the club with a financial surplus each season but it increases our turnover, which therefore allows us to increase the playing budget. However, there are only two other ways in which a club can increase turnover: commercial activities and gate receipts. Everything else is bonus income for which you cannot budget, such as player transfers or cup runs. The only other model that takes all those factors out of the equation is when an individual bankrolls a club. It's more common higher up the football pyramid than League Two but it is a way that clubs without a huge fan base can quickly climb through the leagues. Financial fair play dictates that in the Football League, the financial inputs must be equity and not loans to qualify for SCP.
For a club like ourselves without that investment, in an antiquated stadium with very few facilities to generate commercial revenue, it makes the income through the turnstiles absolutely crucial for what we are trying to achieve. The difference between crowds of 3000 and 4000, let alone 5000 and 6000, is massive. We do not want to hit a ceiling that is lower than the potential of our football operation but that is what will happen if we can't consistently attract larger crowds.
I will be honest, I thought we did enough against Plymouth, as well as the away games at Birmingham and Portsmouth (where the support we received was fantastic), to encourage more of the 5000 fans from the opening day of the season to come back to the R Costings Abbey Stadium a fortnight later. Despite the result last week, I hope that we haven't lost any more of our support. In fact, let's hope that our performance not only encouraged everyone to return this afternoon but the reports also encourage a few of the missing 2000 to return! Either that, or if they have all been away on holiday, we hope they are back in time for this
If you are reading the article on the website - please realise what an important role you can play in helping us to develop and grow the club. We never want to return to where we've been in the last nine years and we want to aim far higher than survival. If you stand still, you go backwards.
If you are reading this article in the programme - thank you again for your support and enjoy the game.