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Saturday 11 April 2009
From the Basingstoke programme

Good afternoon and welcome to the fans, players and officials of Basingstoke Town.

We usually publish details of next seasonís season ticket prices in the penultimate programme of the season and send out renewal notices at the same time. This year is different, for reasons which IĎll explain today.

One reason is knowing what prices to charge. At a meeting earlier this week, the Dons Trust board approved proposals by the clubís directors to increase matchday and ST entrance prices if we are promoted.

This would be the second price increase in two years but, if it happens, it will also be because we have had our second promotion in two years. We will need more money to strengthen the team but we are very aware that there is a major recession going on and we donít want to overburden fans with increases. That is why the planned prices would make us one of the cheapest costs for adult terrace entry. We would also be one of only two teams in the league to have concession prices that are half the adult prices. And our under 16 prices would be the cheapest in the league.

Prices will be unchanged if we donít win promotion into the Blue Square Premier.

There are some other reasons we arenít yet ready to issue renewal notices. We are still evaluating the pros and cons of asking holders of terrace season tickets to nominate which terrace they wish to be their Ďhomeí. This would probably only apply for those games where we expect a sell out, and for games where we expect a significant number of opposition fans.

We also want to continue to have our fans behind both goals. Assuming we can do this (and we may not be able to Ė see below), we need to decide where in the John Smith stand we should locate home and away fans. In the past, opposition fans have been directed to the Kingston Road end of the John Smith stand, but when we install the new turnstiles we may find we need to position our fans at that end. We are discussing this with police and safety experts later this month and we will then make a decision in the light of their advice. The issue is further complicated because we now understand that we will only be eligible for a grant towards the new turnstiles if we are promoted. So any plans for building them may well need to go on hold if we arenít promoted.

Another complication is that if we implement full segregation for a game we must provide toilets and refreshment facilities for each segregated area. We have had to remove the temporary burger van from behind the John Smith stand, so to comply with rules for segregated games we may need to put away fans in the Kingston Road end, so that they have toilet and refreshment facilities. If we have to do that, then there seems little point asking ST holders if they want to nominate the Kingston Road end as their base for segregated games. Things are never as easy as we first think in this stadium!

Finally, we are exploring the possibility of offering fans the opportunity to pay for their season tickets by instalments on a direct debit system. This is something that requires more analysis and I stress this is an aspiration, not a promise.

Our analysis and discussions will continue and, as soon as everything is clear, we will announce next seasonís arrangements. At the latest, however, renewal notices will go out in mid May - by which time at least we will know which league we are in!

Enjoy the game.