Morecambe chief: Fans' feedback will be crucial to matchday operations

Ben Sadler hopes the new season will see Morecambe supporters enjoy an improved matchday experience when they finally come back.

By Gavin Browne
Saturday, 10th July 2021, 8:00 am

Supporters are set to return for the new season and, for the majority, it will be the first time they have watched ‘live’ football at the Mazuma Stadium since the end of February last year.

With the Shrimps playing in League One for the first time, the club has thought outside the box with a creative season ticket initiative for the new campaign.

Prices will decrease in the event of targets being hit for standing and seated tickets as the club hopes to build upon the feelgood factor generated by last season’s promotion.

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Morecambe general manager Ben Sadler wants to hear from supporters

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In the second part of his interview with the Visitor, Morecambe’s new general manager outlines how the club hopes to work with supporters and improve the facilities on offer.

“I’ll be sitting down with the Shrimps Trust (supporters’ trust) to develop a relationship there,” Sadler said.

“The supporters are very important and we want to communicate better with them.

“Their feedback shapes how we move forward on a matchday.

“With season ticket prices, the club has looked at things a bit creatively and tried to make it the most affordable football in the EFL.

“We aren’t looking to take money off the fans, we’re looking to improve things in their experience around the ground.

“We’re looking to get the roof built (behind the Bartercard Stand) and we’ve got some concession kiosks coming from Anfield (Liverpool FC) in time for the new season.

“We want to have more areas for service, so if people were having issues before, they shouldn’t now.

“We want the opportunity to be there for supporters to come down earlier: the bars will be open and they will have more places to get a pie and a pint.”

It’s anticipated supporters will be back in numbers at the start of the new season as the country takes another step forward following the pandemic.

Only one game at the Mazuma Stadium last season was played in front of a crowd.

The play-off semi-final second leg against Tranmere Rovers attracted a limited attendance, as did the final with Newport County AFC as part of the roadmap out of lockdown.

With clubs up and down the country planning to welcome back fans, Sadler is looking forward to their return - pending the final go ahead from those in charge.

He said: “How exciting will it be to have a full stadium again?

“We’re waiting to hear from the EFL about what it’s going to look like but the news from the government has been positive so far.

“We would love to have full stadiums back. There’s the financial aspect of that and the social aspect, as well as the lift that gives the players.

“As we saw against Tranmere and Newport, that’s immeasurable, and that’s what’s going to help drive us on.

“Football has been missing it massively and, fingers crossed, we can get full stadiums again.

“There will be a lot of preparation behind the scenes for that. Toby (Greenwood, stadium manager) and Graham (Brennan, safety officer) have spent a lot of time managing to get a robust plan in place.

“While we’re excited about getting crowds back, we’re aware there will be a lot of people accustomed to certain ways of living over the last 18 months and we want everyone to feel comfortable in coming back.

“Even though everyone’s going to be really excited to be back in the stadium, we have to be considerate of everyone and make sure they have an enjoyable time.”

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