Over to you Jim . . .

THE onus is on Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton improving the club's Championship position over the next seven weeks.Otherwise there could be a severe drop in season ticket sales - and club revenue - for the 2007/08 campaign.

By ELVIN KING

THE onus is on Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton improving the club's Championship position over the next seven weeks.

Otherwise there could be a severe drop in season ticket sales - and club revenue - for the 2007/08 campaign.

If fans are to benefit from a below retail price index 4% rise in tickets they must commit before April 13.

But if Town's current losing run continues and they are in the midst of a relegation fight, a large percentage of current season ticket holders are likely to sit tight.

They would not want to pay extra cash to watch a season of lower grade football in League One.

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Around 95% of season tickets for this campaign were confirmed prior to the 'Early Bird' cut-off last spring.

And Ipswich are anticipating a similar ratio this year - with fans able to again take up a three-cheque interest free payment plan spread over four months.

Fans who purchase tickets before the cut-off date will see the cost go up by 4% on similar figures for this season.

But if they leave it until after April 13 - waiting for confirmation of what league Ipswich will be playing in - the rise will be near 8%. There is a prize freeze on tickets for fans under 20, giving an overall increase of 2.8%.

“Our costs do increase,” said Town chief executive Derek Bowden, who confirmed that of the current 15,800 season tickets over 15,000 were confirmed in the 'Early Bird scheme.

This figure is 3,000 down on last season.

Magilton said: “When things are going well we all have loads of friends.

“Now we must keep faith in what we are trying to achieve. I am convinced our fans can see what we are trying to achieve and we need them to show the support we received in the FA Cup at Watford and in the home match against Wolves.

“The future looks encouraging and we are all committed to get things right.”

Letters to season ticket holders will be going out over the next few days, with Ticket and Call Centre manager John Ford said: “We took on 1,000 new season ticket holders this season and would like to anticipate a similar figure for 2007/08.”

Next season a typical North Stand supporter, who paid £354 last year, will have to fork out more than £14 extra.

Town's news comes after Championship rivals Southampton - the clubs meet at St Mary's tomorrow - announced they were slashing prices across the board.

But Bowden said: “Southampton's prices are still higher than ours.”

Supporters who take advantage of the 'early bird' deadline will receive the equivalent of six free games.

Town's younger supporters will benefit from a new free junior club membership scheme.

The current Portman Road average attendance is 2,000 down on last season and the club, struggling to cope with the burden of a £36 million debt, can ill afford a further slump next time round.

Bowden confirmed that there will be no smoking allowed at Portman Road next season.

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