Food vendors, replica shirt deals and going cashless – Ideas for your non-league club in 2024

Maidenhead United fans at the home fixture with Wrexham. Photo: Darren Woolley /
Maidenhead United fans at the home fixture with Wrexham. Photo: Darren Woolley /

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Judging by the number of ‘signings’ and pre-season fixture releases flooding social media, thoughts are already well on the 2024/25 season.

So here are a few ideas noted by the Football in Berkshire team from last season your club might want to think about.

Season tickets with friend passes

Slough Town have the right idea with this one I reckon. You’ve got a season ticket at the Rebels, and you spend hours boring your mates with how good an afternoon at Arbour Park is – 3pm Saturday football, no VAR, pint for under £8 (I hope – I should fact check that). But they always baulk at having to pay entry.

Well, if your season ticket comes with say, 10 freebies for your mates and family – you’re sorted. And when they have a brilliant time they can fork out for their own next game.

Replica shirts at cost

What better way to advertise your club around your village/town/city than all your supporters decked out in club colours? But with the price of replica shirts these days, what are the chances of you selling enough to make a difference?

Depending on the size of your fanbase, replica shirts aren’t the money spinners they would be even in the Championship. Sell shirts at cost (or cheaper with the shirt sponsor incentivised on the number sold) to get as many as you can on supporters out and about.

These days you can go big brand or design your own fantastic kits with the likes of Serious Sport. Reading City took the initiative a couple of seasons ago with very low-cost to consumer Adidas replica shirts which seemed like a very smart move from a newly rebranded club.

Online club shop

This one requires a bit of manual labour, but if you’ve gone to all the effort of designing a fancy shirt – or picked out the latest Nike effort for your club, wouldn’t it be great to be able to sell it 24/7?

When you look at how Caversham United – who started out solely as a Reading & District Sunday League team – have managed to sell shirts far and wide, it always felt like a missed opportunity with those Windsor Union Jack shirts (love them or hate them) that you couldn’t go to an online store and get one.

Food vendor

A slow burner, but a lot of clubs are getting known for their catering options – just look at the nominees for this years Match Day Experience award at the Berkshire Football Awards.

So what if you added another option? Slough Town have been doing this all year with a rotating street food vendor. Okay not everyone gets the crowds the Rebels do, but charging a pitch fee for a regular additional vendor in a different part of the ground might be a way to supplement your club’s match day income and build a bigger following.

Card payments on the gate

I still get regular correspondence on an article I wrote for BristolLive in 2018 about a bar going cashless.

You might not like it, you might disagree with it, or like me, it might be weeks since you last used cash, but being able to take card payments at the gate is better than turning people away – and you’d suspect once people are in they’ll spend money in the ground.

End-of-season sponsors match

Something I spotted Didcot Town did recently, was a match on the ‘hallowed turf’ between your sponsors and a club XI. A way to reward those who’ve supported your club with cold hard cash during the season and certainly a way to engage them for the following season.

This is assuming the reserve team coach doesn’t go in two-footed.

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