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CEO James Rule calls for bigger Vikings backing
5:44pm Monday 4th March 2013 in Sport
Vikings CEO James Rule has spoken of his delight at the fantastic atmosphere generated within the Stobart Stadium on Saturday night, in what was not only a great game for those in attendance but also those watching on TV.
The Vikings out-scored their visitors Hull FC 36-16 in front of 5,541 people and whilst the victory has given everybody with a Widnes affinity an almighty lift, Rule has voiced his concerns that attendances must increase, stating; “Saturday night was a glowing endorsement for us as a Club. A fantastic on-field performance and an inspirational atmosphere generated by our passionate fans.
“The only disappointment of the evening was the level of attendance.
“A gate of just over 5,500 makes it very challenging for us to grow the club and indeed sustain it in the longer term.
“I’m very grateful for the passionate, committed and loyal fans that we have which equates to circa 5,000 regular attendees. However, the simple fact of life as a Super League Club is that we need greater crowds in order to grow. Without greater crowds we will not be able to retain our top stars and recruit more in the future.
“The RFL believes that in order for a club to be sustainable (a break even operation) they need to be generating an average attendance of 10,000 per game. Whilst that may be a difficult challenge for many Clubs and particularly for us in year two of this Super League journey, it has to be our aspiration and the reality is that average crowds of around 5,000 means our focus has to be on survival rather than growth and development.
“I recognise that our fans will want to see ambition and I believe our recent signings demonstrate that. They will also want to see effort and entertainment from the players. With regard to performance, anybody who has witnessed our start to the season and particularly the St Helens and Hull FC home games will be delighted with our performances.
“I also believe that fans of any Club in this tough economic climate need to find an affordable way to support their team. With the Viking Stronghold Membership we are one of just a few clubs who offer a Direct Debit scheme to allow fans to spread the payment of supporting their club and we also have significant discounts for anybody who wishes to purchase a 12 month membership in advance. We need the combination of the above factors, combined with the extensive work we are now doing developing a wide ranging community programme, to attract more fans to our organisation.
“I accept and appreciate that when a fixture is broadcast on television it can affect attendance and indeed, we lost over 1,500 Widnes fans from the St. Helens game to the Hull FC game, most of whom I can only imagine were watching on TV.
“For our fixture against Bradford Bulls this Friday it will be a pleasure to see those 1,500 fans return to support their team. I would also urge our existing passionate and committed fans to work as our ambassadors, not just this week but throughout this season and bring their colleagues and friends to witness the entertainment that our players are supplying, here at the Stobart Stadium.
“Your support can and will make all the difference!”If you would like further information about our Viking Stronghold membership which is payable in either a Direct Debit or advance 12 month discounted option, please call the club directly, on: 0151 495 2250.