Tickets, tickets, tickets, it is all I ever seem to be talking about for the last week is tickets. I am getting bored with it, you are getting bored of it. It sure as hell does not get the blog many hits, but it is important we speak about the issues.
I would rather be blogging an important issues, that gets few hits, then joining the rank and file who blog about mindless transfer speculation just to generate hits and therefore advertising revenue. I guess it is called integrity.
The latest issue comes after the release of tickets for the Barcelona home game to silvers. On this occasion, I am not going to mention price, it is all about allocation.
Now, as always when a big game go’s on sale, you all would have been met by the following
After maybe 90 minutes of waiting, you would have realised the following:
Despite the game being Category A and against a team who we have played countless times recently in cup competitions (almost as many times as we have played Hull in the FA Cup – tickets still on sale), it has sold out, in what must be record time. The demand was clearly very high.
What is clear is that almost anyone with a Silver Membership wanted a ticket for this fixture. And this is where it becomes unfair.
I have a mate, let’s call him Dave.
Dave is a silver member. He has been to a lot of home games this season, as well as a few rubbish away’s. He is putting in the hard graft. When Dave finally got through on the system, all that was available were top tier £90 tickets. He has decided not to go.
Another mate of mine, let’s call him Paul.
Like Dave, Paul has also been to a lot of home games this season (but no away this time). Unlike Dave, by the time he got through on the system, the games had sold out. Gone. Finito.
A final mate of mine, lets call him Goldman.
Goldman has not been to a game yet this season. He has a handful of silvers, all networked together, but has not used them. He tends not to buy tickets for himself, more give them to friends to incentivise them to continue using them (ensuring he does not fall foul of the Bribery Act).
Despite not yet using his silvers this season, Goldman got on the system, and bought 4 tickets to be used by his friends, next to each other, in the lower tier.
Goldman is a good friend of the brothers Morgan and Stanley. They also have not been to a game this season. Like Goldman, both Morgan & Stanley own 4 silvers each. They got 8 tickets. They are happy to be taking friends to see Arsenal v Barcelona, even though neither of them are Arsenal fans.
And here is the problem, when it comes to games, all silvers are considered equal.
You will have fans at Barcelona who have not been to a single game this season. You will have other fans who have not yet missed a home game who will miss it.
For away games, there is a credit scheme. The more games you go to, the more credits you get. The more credits you have, the earlier you can buy tickets for.
Bournemouth, with its small allocation, sold out at 50+ credits this season. Spurs sold out at 40+. Where as games such as Stoke City, and the upcoming match at Sunderland, went to, or will go down to 5. Or even less. Some games require no credits.
Surely the club could implement a similar scheme for home silver members?
Upon your card being swiped through the turnstiles, you are rewarded with 1 credit.
Now credits count, like away credits, for the two previous season, plus this season. Therefore, if you have been to every single home game, you get the priority for every single home game. So when the Barcelona tickets, or the Spurs tickets, come on sale, you get to book before someone who has been to no games.
It is a simple procedure, one that is already built into the booking system for away fans, so it will be easy to implement.
By only adding credits once the ticket has been used – rather than bought – will ensure that people are not buying tickets on their silver membership and then not going.
It would create a fair and just procedure to ensure those most loyal fans get the best tickets.
And if successful, could then even be rolled out for Cup Finals.
The club needs to implement this in the interest of fairness for 2016/17.