Obviously it's good news that sales are up 4,000 on the same period last year, even though the circumstances back then were very different. But trying to work out whether sales will eventually be higher than last season is tricky, particularly as the club don't release official figures and the ones given in the MEN are sometimes contradictory.
The paper claims that last summer we 'sold 7,000 on the news that Eriksson had taken over' but last year stated we had sold 22,000 by June 24 - two weeks before Sven's appointment. As the total figure for 2007-08, including half-season tickets, was given as 28,000 then something doesn't quite add up.
But aside from my nit-picking, my guess is that we'll end up with roughly the same number of season ticket holders as last year. Given the current economic climate and the record number of fixture changes we've had to put up with, that would still be a pretty remarkable achievement.
Below are some historic figures for season ticket sales I've managed to dig up, mainly from the MEN. The big surprise is that we now have nearly twice as many season ticket holders compared to the 1970s (the 1975-76 figure comes from this site and was a record at the time).
1998: '3,000 down on previous season'
2001-02: 25,000 (24,000 by Jun 16)
May 31: '35,700 of the 36,000 available sold'
Jun 18: 36,000+
Aug 10: 'around 36,000'
2006-07: 27,000 (almost 28,000 including half-year season tickets)
2007-08: 28,000 (including half-year season tickets)
Apr 1: 15,000 sold
Jun 24: 22,000 sold and ‘City expect those numbers to swell considerably’
Jun 28: 22,500 sold and club 'on course to top the 27,000' sold last year
Apr 1: 19,000 sold
Working to a shoestring budget
News that CoMS if finally going to get two video screens reminds me of this account by Timpsons chief executive John Timpson of how he ended up funding the old scoreboard:
It was great returning to the Premiership but not when we moved to our new stadium. The old atmosphere was missing and my new seat couldn’t see a scoreboard. Some people wonder why anyone needs a big board to know the score, but as well as the goals, it shows the time left to the final whistle.
Irritated, I wrote to the City chairman, who promised to investigate my problem. Nothing happened, so I wrote again and was assured a new scoreboard would be considered at board level.
When nothing appeared next season, I wrote again, enclosing a £25 cheque payable to the Manchester City Scoreboard Fund. That got an immediate response. Their commercial manager called, praised my initiative, and asked for sponsorship towards their community youth programme. “I want a bloody scoreboard,” I replied.
Last July I bought one, a digital screen with “Timpson” written below in 4ft letters. My scoreboard inspired a sparkling start to the season, and after three games we led the Premiership. But it didn’t last. By Christmas, we were a mid-table team usually shown on Match of the Day after midnight.