Roll up for the Rams

I should say 'another' really big game. They seem to be coming thick and fast just now and this one comes only one week after what was also, rightly, being billed as a big promotion game against Forest last Saturday.

The atmosphere inside Turf Moor was fantastic at times during the Forest game as the fans got behind the players as we stormed into a three goal first half lead, and it remained so other than a nervous few minutes after they pulled a goal back.

The attendance for that game was just under 15,000 and that was perhaps the most disappointing thing on the day, especially when you look at, say, Blackpool, who attracted almost as many for their game against Birmingham, and Bolton, who beat it by around 250 for the visit of Watford.

I think there had been hopes for a bigger crowd given the importance of the game and the club had certainly been beating the drum in the days leading up to the game with chairman John Banaszkiewicz sending out an open letter that was received by the club's recognised media sources.

We'd have all liked to have seen a bigger attendance but should we have expected more?

It's certainly concerning that the average attendance this season, to date, is lower than in any season since 2007/08 despite the fact that we haven't been out of the top three since the end of August.

We pulled in an average of 13,082 in the promotion season of 2008/09 and since relegation from the Premier League our average attendances have dropped season by season. The average was 14,930 in 2010/11, then 14,048 in 2011/12 to 12,928 in 2012/13 and currently 12,545 this season.

Some will say the drop has been inevitable but interestingly Blackpool have bucked that trend and, despite their horror run of results, are attracting more to Bloomfield Road this season than they did last season.

On the field we can do no more surely. We've got a team that is playing attractive and, more importantly, winning football, and you would have expected the average to perhaps be higher than last season at least.

I appreciate that football is not a cheap afternoon out  but the figures certainly point to us having got it badly wrong off the field and maybe the over complicated ticket pricing structure, coupled with the lack of cheaper tickets in the Jimmy Mac Lower, has finally taken its toll.

But now is neither the time nor the place to discuss this. Now is the time for rallying the troops to give the team as much support as possible.

Indications today suggest there will be a bigger attendance than last week. Certainly last night Derby had sold around 2,200 tickets which is more than the 1,900 Forest fans who were here last week.

I've called this article 'Roll up for the Rams' simply because around 12 years ago, when then manager Stan Ternent was bemoaning the lack of numbers at reserve games, we ran the 'Roll up for the Reserves' campaign on Clarets Mad.

The attendance went up about four fold and Stan gave us a treat with the appearance of a couple of foreign trialists in Rick Titus and Giorgious Alexopoulos.

This one is no campaign and I don't expect to see the inclusion of Canadian and Greek defenders in the side on Saturday. It's more an appeal to Burnley fans to come and support the team.

There are never any guarantees in terms of performance but this team of ours is playing so well at the moment and if we can push that attendance figure up it won't half give them some help.

Sean Dyche has often spoken about the one club mentality and he's repeatedly spoken in recent weeks of supporters and players pulling in the same direction.

Last week, ahead of the Forest game, he said: "The fans have come to understand and believe in the players, which is fantastic and we want to keep building it.

"When you align your fans with the players and what they are giving for the club, you can't guarantee the outcome every time. What you can do, though, is show an attempt to win and I think most fans will take that as a marker.

"When you've got the Burnley shirt on, you demonstrate real energy to win the football match. Then, hopefully, the quality of performance and goals will enable you to win the football match."

That was so evident last week and how much better would it be with more fans inside the ground?

This week, a thread on the message board from Goody1975, entitled 'Burnley vs Derby - Ticket Watch' has certainly prompted some to add their names to the attendance list.

IanMcL said he'd managed to persuade his wife to take a trip north while jdrobbo confirmed his parents would be in attendance. M14VAY told us that it would be just his fourth home game of the season (he prefers away games) and he's bringing his son as well as his mate and his son.

Even BigDave48 is making Turf Moor his destination on Saturday, four tickets there with his two sons and grandson and now late news from wickdkewclaret who has made the decision to go.

Every one counts. I would hope we might beat the previous highest attendance this season; that was for the 2-0 home win against QPR in October when 16,074 went through the turnstiles.

Last week John B said: "Sean and the players are treating us to some of the best entertainment we have seen in years and with some big games still to come we want to encourage as many fans as possible to come along and make their voices heard."

John has been working hard this year. He's certainly been responsible for the addition of Terry Crabb to the board and, having been the driving force that raised the money to buy back Turf Moor and Gawthorpe last summer, he was at it again recently and raised money from share purchases during January to cover the signing of Ashley Barnes from Brighton.

He, like the rest of us, would love to see the Turf packed to the rafters.

Some will have already made the decision to go to the game; others will have already decided they won't be there, but if you are undecided then give it some real thought. To cut costs maybe you could share a four match flexi-ticket with a mate to get you into this game and another at a reduced price.

I wrote a feature for a Derby blog this week. Referring to the possibility of promotion and playing next season in the Premier League, I ended it by saying: "It would be brilliant if we could get there again."

If you can get to the Turf on Saturday then do it and let's try and help the team turn in another top performance and push us that bit closer to the Premier League, even without the help of the Canadians and the Greeks.

 

Come on you Clarets.