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Attendances are as bad as results
ALTHOUGH the 2013-14 season is still in its embryonic stages, alarm bells are sure to be ringing deep within the corridors of power at Sixways.
On the field, the results have not been great, but it is far too early to worry about that, especially as Warriors have already been pitted against the last two winners of the Aviva Premiership in Leicester Tigers and Harlequins.
The home defeat to London Irish, though, was a set-back as Worcester need to be beating the sides who are likely to be in and around them in the table when they are on home soil.
Dean Ryan admits root and branch changes are needed at Sixways if Warriors are ever to achieve what is undeniably vast potential, but the new director of rugby is at pains to say the evolution will be measured in years rather than weeks.
Speaking of weeks, though, Warriors’ next two matches now jump out from the fixture list as must-win clashes (I won’t refer to these type of games as ‘relegation battles’ just yet).
The trip to Wasps, followed by a visit from newly-promoted Newcastle, are vital for Ryan’s men as they are in dire need of a victory and some momentum. If they remain winless after these two games, the league table - even in such an early incarnation — will certainly make for grim reading.
Wasps and Worcester will go into their clash at Adams Park without a win between them in the opening three outings of the season.
Add to that the reunion with Wasps’ former Warriors favourites Matt Mullan and Andy Goode (not to mention his perennial understudy Joe Carlisle), it is bound to be a tasty clash.
Adams Park is also the scene of Worcester’s last Premiership away victory — not long after Cecil Duckworth had designed his prototype for the combi-boiler — which is another unwanted record hanging round Warriors’ neck like a millstone.
However, while fortunes on the field could doubtless be better, a more pressing cause for concern for the Warriors powers-that-be is the apparent growth of supporter apathy.
The poor attendances so far this season — just 6,994 against Irish and 7,269 against Quins — will be dressed up and explained away by various means, but the bottom line is that not many people can be bothered to come to Sixways anymore.
Obviously, difficult economic times will have played a big role in the decline in numbers coming through the turnstiles as rugby-supporting families feel the pinch and have to make tough decisions on their expenditure.
However, more than that, the vast majority of feedback I am getting on the issue is that the Warriors matchday experience doesn’t offer good value for money.
I know for a fact that the marketing team put in plenty of hard work to increase the appeal of a day at Sixways and the match-day hospitality packages seem good value and well supported.
Yet it is the average punter who is feeling hard done by and, if they continue to vote with their feet, the crowd for the Falcons’ visit on October 5 could be one of the smallest for a league game in Worcester’s Premiership era.
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