The thorny issue of accurately reporting attendances is one that is not unique to just Estonia or Ireland for that matter but rather one that is symptomatic to every league outside of the top ones. And the reasons for this can range from not having enough manpower, financial resources to put in a proper ticketing system or in some cases just not wanting to for other reasons! When I started with Sligo Rovers back in 2009 I used to have a running battle with the club about our attendances. I used to always believe that they were higher than reported but really it used to be a matter of perspective. I would stand in the middle of our main stand and look around and it would seem full whereas if you stood across from it you would see pockets of empty seats. Still like with many clubs, our system for working out attendances wasn’t ideal as there was no proper ticketing system in place. Supporters paid cash on the gate and between gate receipts and guesstimating how many season ticket holders were in the ground the crowd was worked out and to be fair it was usually accurate give or take!
As we got more successful the need for a proper system became more apparent and gave the club what it has today which still isn’t fool proof but works. Now whenever a supporter goes to a game they are given a ticket as they pay and these are broken down into three categories:
The club retains the stub and works out the attendances on that and can ensure that the gate receipts tally, there is still an issue over accurately accounting for season ticket holders but again the differences would be minimal. From my experience in Ireland the club with the best system was and is Cork City’s who developed one in association with Ticketgroup. Everyone who attends one of their games is allocated a ticket which is scanned from ball-boy to supporter to season ticket holder and they can sub divide these into different categories. It was expensive to install but well worth it as they can account for everyone in the ground, I would love to see the FAI make clubs in Ireland roll out a similar system because there are still clubs who apply a lot of guesswork to their attendances and that shouldn’t be acceptable in this day and age.
Anyways on the pitch it was a special weekend for Sander Puri who scored his first league goal for Rovers in their 1-1 draw with Derry City in the Brandywell. He took it well timing his run so that as he controlled a long ball out of midfield he found himself in behind the defence and he went on to round the keeper before shooting into the empty net. Unfortunately Rovers lead lasted less than two minutes! This week they take on non-league side Crumlin United in the second round of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup. That game is on Sunday in the Showgrounds and kick-off is at 7pm Estonian time and as always Ocean FM will have live commentary which is available to listen to Worldwide through their website www.oceanfm.ie.
Until next week,