Loyalty from fans delights manager McInnes ahead of next season
DEREK McInnes has issued a heartfelt thank you to those Bristol City fans who have already bought season tickets for next term.
More than 6,100 Robins supporters have signed up for the 2012-13 campaign, many of them since City confirmed their Championship status by beating Barnsley last weekend.
And with manager McInnes, pictured, intending to strengthen his squad this summer, club officials hope to match last year's season ticket sales figure of 9,700.
"It is really encouraging that more than 6,000 fans have already bought season tickets after what has been a really difficult and testing year," said McInnes.
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"It has more or less been a real battle since the first kick of the ball and it has been a strain on the supporters. They have been through a lot.
"But, hopefully, they will have seen the commitment we've had in the last wee while and will realise there is the bones of a good side.
"Hopefully, with the right recruitment, we can get a really competitive squad for the start of the season and look to challenge and try and kick on. The way we have finished the season should give the supporters encouragement and, hopefully, more will buy up season tickets.
"The support, as ever, has been vital this season and should never be under-played.
"It is really important to us. At a really important time of the season, they backed us and I'm hoping we can have that same backing next year.
"The supporters are here for the club and they are desperate to see the club going in the right direction. So long as they see that the club is going in the right direction, I'm sure they will come out and give us the backing."
Football League officials have warned of an expected 16 per cent drop in season ticket sales across their 72 member clubs next season and City are determined to buck that particular trend. Commercial director Kevin Smith said: "Of those who have purchased season tickets so far, more than 500 are new fans or people who have re-engaged with the club.
"To pick up so many new sales is really encouraging and, given the season we have had, we are delighted to have sold more than 6,000 before the end of April.
"The trend is for crowds to fall across the country and we will be delighted if we can match last season's figure of 9,700. That will say an awful lot about this club and its supporters."
Supporters who buy a season ticket before May 2 will benefit from a special package that includes subsidised travel to home and away games, food vouchers for inside Ashton Gate, price reductions on City merchandise and free access to the Dolman Exhibition Hall.