HUNDREDS of Year Six children from 37 schools can watch Accrington Stanley for free this season after being handed season tickets by generous club bosses.
The Reds are to hand out a free season ticket to every Year Six pupil in Hyndburn in a bid to increase the club’s fanbase.
Stanley manager James Beattie visited Peel Park Primary School yesterday — the site of the club’s former home — to unveil the initiative.
Beattie was joined by players Luke Joyce, Nicky Hunt, James Gray, Michael Liddle and Will Hatfield to tell children about the offer and take part in a question and answer session.
The Reds had the lowest attendances in the Football League last season, with gates averaging just 1,605 for the League Two campaign.
But Stanley bosses are keen to attract the younger generation, believing they are the future of the club.
The schools will receive letters, allowing eligible pupils to collect free season tickets by returning a completed form to the club. Parents will have to pay for a normal season ticket.
Manager Beattie said: “It’s a great offer. Everyone knows the financial constraints of the club, so to give away free season tickets is a massive step for us. It just shows how eager we are to get people through the gates.
“It’s of massive importance to tap into a new age group of fans for the next generation.
“We probably won’t be the first club they support but if we can be their second club, it’s local to them.
“If we can get them through the gate with their mum and dad and their mum and dad’s friends, then we can boost the attendances.
“That will enable the club to kick on financially and give the support to the lads which they thoroughly deserve.
“They would come down and experience some great football. I said last year that it’s probably the best football Accrington have played.
“It’s essential that we do these sorts of initiatives and make sure these fans of 10 and 11 years of age come back.”
Joyce, who is Stanley’s captain, said: “There are going to be thousands of kids getting free season tickets so it’s great for the club and hopefully the parents come as well.
“You can’t do more than giving out free season tickets and if you do that and people don’t come, it’s not for the want of trying.
“The club are doing the utmost to get people through the doors.”