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If it’s entertainment you want, look to non-league football

PUBLISHED: 13:12 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:12 20 March 2017

Ipswich Town fans hold up a banner criticising owner Marcus Evans earlier this season. They are  unhappy about a 1.5% increase in adult season ticket prices for 2017/18. 
Picture: Steve Waller.

Ipswich Town fans hold up a banner criticising owner Marcus Evans earlier this season. They are unhappy about a 1.5% increase in adult season ticket prices for 2017/18. Picture: Steve Waller.

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town fan and football reporter WILL RIDGARD gives his view on the controversy surrounding the increase in season ticket prices at Portman Road...

Needham celebrate after their penalty win last week in a game which Will Ridgard says is the best he's ever seen. 
Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com Needham celebrate after their penalty win last week in a game which Will Ridgard says is the best he's ever seen. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

A lot of people associated with Suffolk non-league football follow or support Ipswich Town.

Indeed, I am one of those people.

I would in fact consider myself to be a converted non-league fan/groundhopper, who does like to still experience the odd Ipswich Town game or two!

I have never been a season ticket holder at Portman Road, but over the course of the last 25-and-a-half years, have been to hundreds of Town games.

I have also been to hundreds of non-league games, and fell in love with what I consider to be ‘the beautiful game’, when I covered my first proper non-league match in August 2013.

I have seen people grow frustrated at the increased ticket prices at Portman Road over the years, and cannot blame them.

In my lifetime, or of what I can remember at least, I consider this season to be the most uninspiring.

Quite a statement considering that this is Ipswich’s 15th consecutive season in England’s second tier, as our dear neighbours Norwich City kindly reminded us recently.

Last Wednesday evening, I witnessed the best game of football I have ever seen.

At Woodbridge Town’s Notcutts Park, in a Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final, Needham Market beat county rivals Leiston 4-2 on penalties after a most extraordinary and breathtaking 120 minutes of football that saw the teams finish at 4-4.

Eight goals, injury-time equalisers, comebacks, brilliant saves, big tackles, controversial calls, penalty heroes, penalty villains, my goodness it was entertaining. Adult ticket prices for this game were £10.

I then looked at the 2016/17 adult season ticket prices for these teams, and found that Needham Market offered one for £175, while Leiston offered £175 for the previous seasons’ ticket holders, and £195 for new customers.

With 23 home Ryman Premier Division games in the calendar, these figures equate to roughly £7.60 and £8.47 (for Leiston’s new customers) per game.

The season tickets also allow spectators to attend all Reserve and Under 18 league games, equating to approximately 50 games in total, and therefore £3.50/£3.90 per game!

If entertainment is what you want, and at a good price, I would strongly advise following teams like Needham Market and Leiston.

The region is blessed with plenty of really lovely, accommodating, and exciting clubs.

Food for thought!

What do you think? Let us know!

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