ISL 2017/18: NorthEast United FC to arrange buses for fans, provide discount on tickets to students
NorthEast United FC the sole representative of the Northeastern part of India (the hotbed of football in India) in the Indian Super League are one of the most followed and supported teams in the ISL, but this season they have been seeing abysmally low attendance figures for their home games in Guwahati.
During the last three seasons, Guwahati had a mad rush for tickets with brawls occurring for tickets, but this season we have seen a very poor demand for tickets and the attendance has been low. Last season the team had an average attendance of around 22,000 whereas this season they have breached the 20,000 mark only once, and we have seen the attendance drop with every passing home game for the Highlanders.
The main reasons for the low turnout for this season have been an amalgamation of a few factors like lack of proper transport at the end of the game, high ticket prices compared to last season and poor performance from the home side.
The club has started working on getting the problematic factors sorted so that the fans can come in numbers to support their favourite team.They have already sacked Joao Deus and replaced him with Avam Grant the ex-Chelsea Manager. They have also replaced their injured foreign player Adilson with Helio Pinto the ex-Benfica man and the Portuguese is available for selection for the game against Chennaiyin FC which is a sort of do-or-die match for the Highlanders.
Even after Grant’s appointment as the manager, questions were raised about the transportation facilities and the high ticket prices.
The club on Wednesday decided to introduce night buses and fifty percent student discount on all tickets for students, keeping in mind their 'fans first' policy.
The club and its transportation partners, the Assam State Transport Corporation has decided to introduce night buses from the Sarusajai Stadium to strategic locations within the city after the game is over. The major strategic location to where the buses will ply are Jalukbari, Paltan Bazar, Chandmari, Six Mile, and Khanapara which eventually covers most parts of the city and will be big boost for the fans as at the moment they are left with no other option but to traverse by private cabs which charge astronomical prices after the game is over.
The price of tickets this season was something which the fans were complaining since the start of the campaign as the lowest ticket price is Rs 250 which when compared to last seasons Rs 100 is a steep increase. Given that most of the fans of the Guwahati based franchise are students it was difficult for these students to shell out Rs 250 for every game, now it seems though that the club has recognised their problems and have decided to provide fifty percent discounts on all tickets provided a valid student ID card is produced while purchasing tickets from outlets.
Northeast United FC have four more home games to play against the likes of Chennaiyin FC, FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos and if they are to qualify for the knock out stages, they need to win those games.
The players need all the support from the fans and this step might go a long way in helping the team in the long run.