Eriksson's Man City winning back lost fans

Manchester City are winning the tough battle for the hearts and minds of their lost fans, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Disaffected Blues are flocking back to the cause thanks to Sven-Goran Eriksson's fast-improving side and some clever marketing.

The Blues suffered more than most in terms of crowds last season as they struggled to win home games and the top flight took on an all too familiar look.

They lost around 5,000 season ticket holders and attendances frequently dipped below the psychological 40,000 barrier.

But already this season, with Eriksson's men entrenched in the top three of the Premier League, average attendances are an impressive 3,000 up on 12 months ago.

Head of Marketing Matt Lowery is first to admit that his job of packing the ground is made so much easier by style of play and success on the pitch.

He and his number crunching staff are continually coming up with fresh and innovative ideas to put bums on seats.

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"It is a hard job getting people back into grounds once they leave. If the football is not there for them to enjoy then that is what they base their decision upon," said Lowery.

"Sven has the team playing so well that the football is hard to resist for anyone at the moment. We are riding on the back of that for sure.

"We lost quite a lot of season ticket holders last season because I think they felt uncertain about where we were going as a team. For a while there was a hesitation but once the takeover occurred and Sven was brought in as manager people came roaring back.

"On Saturday there were 7,000 kids in the stadium, the highest number we have ever had for a game and 3,000 more than we have had before. That number of juniors, all with parents or guardians makes a big difference.
"We can't take anything for granted and we do a lot of research on trends and talking to our season ticket holders to try to fill the ground.

"We froze ticket prices for adults last season and drastically reduced them for kids and we also instigated a singing section in the corner which was a fairly controversial thing to do but it has worked terrifically well and has been superb. It has given a new atmosphere to the ground like you get in traditional old stadiums.

"Those guys are triggering off other sections of the ground to make more noise and the atmosphere has improved incredibly and our research shows that many people coming to games rank atmosphere as one of most important things that make the day - behind the team playing well and winning.

"This is a fantastic time for the club. We look at demographics and trends because it is important for us to know who is drifting away from football and who is watching the game.

"The great thing for us is that we have lots and lots of people coming back to what is still a family club."

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