THE SUMMER lull seems to be lasting a bit longer for Saints fans this year.
Season tickets not yet on sale, new signings still to come and not even a new shirt for supporters to buy if they want to.
St. Mary’s is very much in holiday mode.
In a way, I quite like the fact that we have been able to forget the trials and tribulations of the football season.
Perhaps it’s a sign I’m finally growing up or maybe the constant barrage of football hype has ground me down somewhat.
But for others the light is certainly burning brightly. Twitter and the comments on the Echo site are full of fans bemoaning the lack of football or transfer activity.
The U21s didn’t seem to quench their thirst and I suspect the Women’s World Cup won’t quite help them through the lean spell of domestic football action.
As for Saints, the lack of transfer activity hasn’t overly worried me thus far, but I’d like to think a few new faces will appear soon to provide them with the longest amount of time possible to settle in and get accustomed to how Adkins likes to set up his team.
Of course, the flip side is the risk of losing players when bigger clubs come sniffing – and we all know the player at the centre of that speculation. Sadly, my gut feeling is that Chamberlain will be on his way, although I was wrong in January, so don’t put your house on it just yet.
I’d much prefer him to stay, but if we are to lose him I would prefer it happened early on so we have plenty of time to do a deal for a replacement. No one wants to be scrabbling around on deadline day, when the only thing that rises faster than desperation is the asking price.
The only thing that has really irked me is the club’s approach to season tickets. We used to be able to renew tickets from March onwards, with new season tickets going on sale sometime about now. With promotion and the feel-good factor that swept the city, surely the time to release the tickets would have been straight after the Plymouth match, to cash in on the euphoria (and relief) that we had finally left League One.
Instead, we now have just two weeks to renew our tickets and two weeks to buy new ones. I just can’t see how it benefits fans or the club – surely maximising the time to buy tickets and making it as easy as possible to buy them can only result in more people and more revenue?
It’s almost as if Saints don’t want to attract season ticket holders, which surely is not the case.
Either way, I’m sure there will be plenty of people looking forward to signing up for the season. Off the top of my head I think we had around 12,000 season ticket holders last term so I’d expect a similar number, even with the price rises.
Pompey have so far sold around 8,000 while Brighton sold the last of their 17,000 season tickets over a month ago. With the Amex holding just 22,500, they can look forward to full houses every week. Of course, I’m sure the excitement of the new stadium at Falmer has stirred up a lot of interest, but it does make you wonder how many Saints could sell if there was more than two weeks to do so.
We all want to see St. Mary’s packed to the rafters, which would be a tall order week-in, week-out in the Championship for most clubs in a stadium this size - especially so long after the more casual fans from the Premier League days have drifted away.
So let us just hope Saints haven’t missed out on the buzz caused by promotion and that enough people still remember how much they enjoyed that feeling to ensure we get the biggest crowds we can this season. The atmosphere of a packed St. Mary’s cheering on a successful team is second-to-none, and the ‘12th man’ will certainly be a welcome addition this season if Saints are to do well.