Nine games without a home win.

We’re all living through that grim run and we’ll gather in hope again at Vicarage Road on Good Friday when the small matter of new Championship leaders Leeds United stand between Watford and a first home league win since November 28.

Of course for those who can’t get there, or choose not to (as many have of late), then there is always the option of watching the game live on Sky.

But at a time when renewing season tickets comes into the minds of the fans and the club, the numbers who have – quite understandably – chosen not to attend recent matches at Vicarage Road will be a key statistic.

In a year when we will see a General Election, there is a poll at every football club at this time of year where fans can decide whether or not to put their ‘X’ in the box to renew their season ticket.

And as with the General Election, there are polls which might be a barometer to how many supporters intend to renew – it’s those fans who vote with their feet by not turning up at home games in the weeks preceding the renewal price announcement.

To be fair to Watford, and the supporters, the renewal rate over the last few years has been extremely impressive – arguably a lot more successful than the performance of the team on the pitch.

Indeed, referring again to that current run of nine games and four months without a home win: it’s a dreadful sequence but you actually only have to go back two years to find a series of home results even more horrific.

Between them, Claudio Ranieri and Roy Hodgson presided over 13 home games without a win which included an awful 11 consecutive defeats at Vicarage Road.

When Watford beat Manchester United 4-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday November 20, 2021, did even the most negative and pessimistic Watford fans honestly think the Hornets would not win at home again until August 1, 2022?!

Yet a combination of some very fair and sympathetic pricing from the football club and incredible loyalty from the fans has meant that season ticket renewals have remained healthy and buoyant.

It has been relatively easy to criticise many decisions the club have made in the last few years, but you have to repeatedly take your hat off to them with respect to their season ticket pricing.

They are reasonably priced, compare favourably with other leisure activities, very family-friendly and mean the club are absorbing the effects of things like inflation, increased utility bills and increased costs charged by suppliers.

And before anyone says ‘well they have to do that’, you don’t have to search very hard to find clubs who don’t follow the Watford approach.

Middlesbrough are another team who look likely to finish mid-table which would probably be an under-achievement in the eyes of their fans.

How do Boro reward those fans? With a 6% increase for next season that means the cheapest adult season ticket available to those renewing is £510, outside of their Generation Red Family Zone.

While they offer Under-11s a season ticket for £66 in the family zone, there are only concessions for Under-18s everywhere else and a season ticket costs £186.

Like Watford, they offer fans the chance to spread the cost with an interest-free option but only over four monthly payments and not 12 like the Hornets – plus the charges to use the service add about £50 to the cost of an adult season ticket.

Bristol City have also announced their prices are going up for next season, with adult season tickets ranging between £395 and £700.

The Robins have Under-12 season tickets from between £65 and £155, and they also offer a monthly payment scheme but there is a charge of £25 per season ticket to use it.

Millwall have frozen their season ticket prices, with the cheapest adult price not in their family stand being £390.

The Lions have five concession offers for younger fans in all stands: 18s to 21s vary from £200 to £280, while the prices for Under-18s (£185), Under-16s (£100), Under-12s (£50) and Under-6s (£25) are the same in all areas.

They have an option to spread the cost of the season ticket price over four, six or 10 monthly instalments – however there is an ‘arrangement fee’ which adds more than £30 to cost of an adult season ticket.

Obviously not all clubs have announced their prices, largely because many still cannot be sure which division they will be playing in next season.

It will be interesting to see what Rotherham, for instance, decide to do. They increased all adult season tickets by £25 and added £10 to all juniors ahead of this season…

Saturday’s win at Birmingham was a pleasing start for Tom Cleverley, who has made it clear he hopes to use the games between now and the end of the season to send everyone off in the summer feeling excited about the 24/25 campaign.

He has only four opportunities to show the home fans enough to fill them some with optimism come May – the first of those is against Leeds, followed by Preston (currently ninth in the table), Hull City (7th) and Sunderland (12th).

No open goals amongst any of those, not least because all of them are above the Hornets in the league table.

The four remaining away trips to West Brom (5th), Ipswich (3rd), Southampton (4th) and Middlesbrough (10th) are even less appealing.

However, the obstacle for Watford in regard to convincing fans to renew season tickets this time around will be that they have been served only a small portion of pleasure accompanied by a large dollop of dross over the last three seasons at Vicarage Road.

The 68 home league games played since the start of the 2021/22 season have produced just 18 victories – around one win in four.

There have been 29 defeats at Vicarage Road in that same time, and although 15 of those were in the Premier League relegation campaign, home form has not been great in the Championship.

In the 42 league fixtures at Vicarage Road since the beginning of last season, Watford have won only 16 times – a 38% success rate on your own turf in the second tier is not going to warm the hearts of the home faithful.

The Hornets have lost one in three of their last 42 home league matches too.

Watford have averaged 1.3 goals per home game since the start of the 21/22 campaign (81 in total), but have let in 98 – again skewed by the 49 that flew in on the way to Premier League relegation.

Nonetheless, in 42 Championship fixtures since the start of last season, Watford fans have still had to see/hear the corner of the Vicarage Road end celebrating 49 times.

It hasn’t been a fun three seasons at Vicarage Road, and that’s purely talking about results and before you get to the head coach carousel and everything else behind the scenes.

Season ticket revenue is vital as it helps keep the club ticking over between May and August when there are no games at the stadium and income drops.

Moreover, the club will doubtless have budgeted for a certain renewal figure, and then cascaded that figure through the rest of the plans for 24/25.

With no parachute payments left and a weekly loss of £500,000 shown in the last set of accounts to manage, it’s hard to imagine the club will not be looking to trim costs and scrutinising every bit of expenditure.

And that’s if the season ticket renewal figures prove to be what the club budgeted for.

If they are lower, then the budget spreadsheet might have to be run through a mangle a few more times.

A year ago, when any hope of reaching the play-offs disappeared and everyone knew the likes of Joao Pedro and Ismaila Sarr would be leaving, season ticket renewals were still strong.

Now, 12 months and only five home league wins later, these next few weeks will be very telling: off the field as much as on it.