A CAMPAIGN aiming to attract hordes of people to get the Ray Mac rocking again has been launched by Salisbury City.
Woeful crowds, averaging between 800 and 900, has had a massive knock-on effect on the club’s finances, which has led to them kick-starting an initiative called Challenge 2000.
The project, meticulously planned for the past few weeks, is aiming to get 2,000 fans inside the home fortress when play-off rivals Kidderminster Harriers visit the city on Saturday, March 29.
By reaching the set target, the city squad, including Mikey Harris, will be paying a visit to primary and secondary schools across Salisbury, Wiltshire College and other institutes.
Harris explains: “Over the past few weeks we’ve been coming up with ideas on how to improve crowds because they’re not where they need to be to maintain our budget in its current state.”
“The idea behind the scheme is it’s a challenge to the people of Salisbury, and surrounding areas, to come to the Ray Mac for a specific game.
“Our target is to get 2,000 people there. We’ve developed a process that we aim to put into practice between now and then.
“We’re aiming to visit every school in Salisbury, and other places, where we will be distributing free tickets, delivering presentations, showing them clips of games, and just raising the profile of the club.”
“We just want to get the city behind us and I believe if we focus on one game, and hit that target, then hopefully a percentage of those people will come back and that will make it a success.
City, now back in the play-offs after sealing their 12th home win, are challenging for promotion to the Football League but the current attendances would scupper that plan.
“Big crowds gives the players such a boost, look at the play-off final when we had more than 3,000 people. The atmosphere was unbelievable that day.
“If we can stay where we are going into the last five or six games, I’d really hope the city would get behind us and cheer us to promotion.
“Why can’t we get to Wembley?
“At the moment we have to create our own atmosphere. The amount of people through the gate has an impact. This club is run on an income, predominantly based on gates. We currently have an issue but are working to resolve it.”
Salisbury go to struggling Southport on Saturday, aiming to improve on their nine away defeats. The game in December ended all square.
He added: “They’ve strengthened recently and have an experienced manager in John Coleman.”
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s a top bloke. He knows what it takes to be successful at this level, following his achievements at Accrington Stanley.
“It’s a long trip for us and let’s hope we get a positive result.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed with our away form but, for me, at times we’ve deserved more than what we’ve got.”