Cornish Pirates chairman wants 10% rise in attendances

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Ian Connell
Ian Connell took over the running of Cornish Pirates after millionaire owner Dickie Evans stood down in July 2014

Cornish Pirates chairman Ian Connell says he wants to increase attendances at the club's home games by 10% when the the season begins next month.

The Championship club averaged around 1,550 supporters at league matches at the Mennaye last season.

"We've budgeted for similar numbers this year," Connell told BBC Sport.

"But realistically I would certainly be looking to increase our average attendance this year for Championship games by between 150 and 200."

The Pirates' home ground currently has a capacity of around 4,000 and the club are hoping to move to a new stadium in Truro in time for the start of the 2017-18 season.

"There will be certain games, Bristol for example, where I would hope this places sells out and we have 3,000-plus spectators.

"But if we can start this season with a win and around 2,000 people here at the Mennaye that would be a tremendous start."

But Connell's aim could be thwarted after close rivals Plymouth Albion were relegated to National One in April.

"There was no-one sadder than myself, other than the Plymouth guys, when Plymouth were relegated last year," Connell told BBC Sport.

"It was derby game, but it was one of our games where we would always target 2,500-3,000 people.

"We've got to replace that now, but we replace it by improving our marketing and improving the match-day experience for the supporters that come down here."