ONE of Wales' top football clubs is doing its bit to help with the cost-of-living crisis - and to try and boost its own attendances - by slashing its admission charges

Newtown Football Club which is based in Powys, where earnings are among the lowest in the country, is introducing £5 admission charges as the new JD Cymru Premier season gets underway this weekend.

From this Saturday the Robins will introduce a ‘football for a fiver’ scheme where the club will be charging an admission fee of £5 for home games at Latham Park.

The club's current average gate is around 250 - representing just two per cent of Newtown's population.

However the club hopes the offer will help increase attendance with football fans likely to be priced out of travelling and tickets for English pyramid club fixtures.

They also believe their recent European campaign has shown there is a supporter base which could mean even a reduced admission charge can lead to greater gate receipts.

Club spokesman Barry Gardner said: "For us it is all about getting people into the ground to watch live football.

"All clubs need to get the admission price correct to attract supporters now and in the future. There is no point having facilities like we have at Latham Park if we can’t get supporters in.

"The £2 reduction in admission will hopefully attract more supporters through the gate and make coming to Latham Park an affordable day out as we are also competing against other events and games broadcast on television."

The club goes into the campaign on the back of a decent European showing which saw them go out of the UEFA Conference at the second qualifying round.

Tickets cost £10 for the club's European games and Gardner insisted the attendance of more than 800 for both home legs justified the cost considering the matches were both played in Oswestry due to UEFA ground regulations.

He said: "We felt that this was great value for money, and it gave people a chance to see a game or two over the summer.

"The fact that we had to play the games at Park Hall meant that we needed a ticket price to encourage people to travel and having 800 plus for both games showed that there is a market at our level."

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With more than 15 years in his position overseeing accounts at his hometown club, Gardner said that admission fee was crucial in enticing the public to games.

He said: "I have been overseeing the accounts at Newtown AFC for over 15 years and it is not just about the gate, clubs need the secondary spend with things like raffles, programmes, tea hut and bar sales.

"All of these are great revenue sources to clubs but if the entry fee is too expensive then people will not choose to spend more money once they are in the ground.

"We are also looking at all options to make people’s expenditure more value for money. For example, we are looking at working with our tea hut and with our sponsors – we plan to give four business tickets for our game against Flint next Friday, so companies can enjoy a game on us. They can then see what we have to offer and in turn reward work colleagues.”

"It’s about creating a match day experience where people leave feeling like they have had value for money and want to return. For us we want to try ‘football for a fiver’ – not as a gimmick but to offer people in mid Wales and beyond good value, especially in today’s world where social events are becoming more expensive.

"Football clubs now need to be very proactive on social media and that is an area where we are looking to improve – a winning team helps but creating an enjoyable family atmosphere will encourage people to come with prices set accordingly”

Additional reporting: Gareth Thomas.

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