Plans almost complete for pre-season friendlies

Words John Edwards | Pictures Jonathan Moore

THE build-up to another eagerly-awaited campaign for Altrincham is already underway, with plans for a series of pre-season friendlies taking shape and close to completion.

The Robins are putting the finishing touches to a programme of warm-up games aimed at ensuring Phil Parkinson's squad are fully prepared and ready to hit the ground running when the starting pistol sounds for the 2024-25 Vanarama National League season.

The list is almost complete, with some exciting opponents pencilled in for home and away friendlies, and full details will be released as soon as we have them.

As the fixtures are slotted into place and agreement is reached with each opponent over the timing of an announcement, the club would like to make it clear that admission prices will apply to all spectators for these games, including season ticket holders.

It was a decision that was not taken lightly and only arrived at after some discussion and consideration, but the feeling was that the club had little choice in the matter.

Rising costs of hosting friendlies, for stewarding in particular, have been such that the club would incur losses if free entry was extended to season ticket holders.

Additionally, in many cases involving Premier League or EFL teams, the proceeds are split between the two clubs, thereby further reducing takings for Alty for friendlies at The J.Davidson Stadium and increasing the need for as big a turnout of paying spectators as possible.

Season ticket holders are intrinsic to the club's continuing prosperity, and their importance was acknowledged when the key topic of a pricing strategy for 2024-25 came up for debate recently.

The Early Bird offer naturally remains the most affordable and appealing way of securing your place at every home league game, as well as benefitting from the many other advantages that come with it.

But anyone buying a season ticket after the Early Bird expiry date of May 31st will find that prices have been pegged at the same rate as last year as a gesture of appreciation from the board for this crucial income stream.

"The backing we receive from those who choose to buy a season ticket every summer is invaluable and enables us to plan and prepare for the season ahead as we would want to and, indeed, need to, if progress is to be maintained," said Co-Chairman Lawrence Looney.

"We would never take that support for granted. Season ticket holders are integral to our continuing success, and we are forever grateful for a level of commitment that helps us set the most competitive playing budget we can. It's why, in our deliberations about pricing, the emphasis was on freezing the cost of season tickets.

"But our position on pre-season friendlies is dictated by practicalities. If we don't charge admission for everyone, we make a loss, and having to factor that into our summer calculations would only have a harmful effect on how much we could spend on the squad.

"I hope supporters will understand and see where we are coming from with this, and I trust everyone will enjoy seeing the team back in action again in an exciting batch of warm-up games for what promises to be the most eagerly-anticipated season any of us can remember."

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