This is a general ramble about a few different things with one thing in common. Tickets.
WBA away has sold out at 30+ credits. I was surprised at this. WBA away was one of the first games I went to. It often went to General Sale. Was very rarely at 5+.
Whilst the £26 away ticket is brilliant for away fans who want to go to every game, it has also created a scenario where people are credit hoarding.
Last season, Everton away, on the same weekend, sold out at 20+. Crystal Palace started off at 40+. I have no idea what the upcoming game against Spurs will end up selling out at. Probably 45+.
The idea of the credit system is simple. It rewards people for going to games. The more games people go to, the more credits they obtain, the better games they go to. You start off with your Stoke’s, WBA’s and Sunderland’s, games that people do not want to go to so the amount of credit’s drop.
But the £26 ticket, alongside the rise of social media, has meant people are now buying tickets for games that they have no wish to go to in greater numbers than previously.
At £26, you can buy an away brief, knowing that if you are unable to shift it, you are not taking a big hit to the bank account. But with Twitter and Facebook, shifting those tickets is often easy.
I am a member of the away scheme. I have to buy tickets for every away game, so have made use of selling tickets on social media for games that I can not make. It has its advantages. But I have never bought a ticket with the plan to sell it on straight away.
Recently I had a moan about our current away support. One of the fans I moaned about (who spent most of the game getting excited when Sadio Mane got on the ball) responded to my blog. “One of the four of us in the stands is a Millwall fan”.
How has a Millwall fan bought tickets for Liverpool v Arsenal?
Unsurprisingly they are students, and it really highlights the dilution of our away support.
People are buying tickets online, then selling them on to students who do not regularly go to games (and often support other teams) who go to universities near to where we are playing. When we play Man U, the away section is filled with fans who go to a university in the North West. These fans just want to go to the football, tell their friends they are going to the football, more interested in selfies then cheering for the team.
They are getting their tickets from people who have bought their ticket with no interest in going. Tickets going to fans who have never been to a game, rather than those who have done the hard miles.
I was added to a Whatsapp group not too long ago. It was to buy and sell tickets. When Arsenal drew Southampton in the FA Cup, one chap put in a request for 50 tickets. He was involved with an Arsenal Supporters Club and wanted 50 tickets so that his members, mainly students at South Coast universities, could go to games.
50 tickets. And he got them all.
That means there were 50 people who bought a ticket for an FA Cup game who had no intention of going. And instead they were sold on, then sold on again, so that people could have a day out at the football.
The club have recently cracked down on fans selling on Twitter. Some innocent fans trying to sell their tickets to games they can no longer make have been incorrectly caught in the net, but the club need to do more, and stop the credit hoarders from staying above 40+ credits without actually going to a game themselves, selling to local students, selling to Millwall fans.
On a side note, I laughed at the Spurs fan who tried to shift his Millwall ticket for £125 who then got his ST cancelled. Boy did he cry on Twitter. That’s what you get for selling for profit. Maybe he should have contacted our Liverpool going Millwall friend?
Real fans who have done the miles are missing out on tickets, whilst Arsenal fans hoard credits and sell to people who see football as a day out rather than a way of life. It’s not right. And there is no easy solution.
My second thought surrounds Under 23 games.
Arsenal are set to play Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in a Premier League 2 fixture.
Tickets are available for £4 adults, £2 children. A brilliant deal and well worth going to see some of our youth. For many of those who feel priced out, who can no longer take their lads football, the game next Monday – kicking off a 7pm – could be a great opportunity. But my thought is why charge at all?
I imagine the price covers the cost of opening and running the stadium for that day. But Arsenal could easily absorb this.
The club could curry a lot of favour by offering tickets for all U23 games for free to all fans, no matter if that game be at the Emirates or at Meadow Park, in Borehamwood. I imagine there will be a lot of fans who would be happy taking their kids to a youth game for nothing.
The club could easily absorb the cost no matter the venue, and it would be a good way of giving people who don’t go down The Arsenal on a regular basis to go to a game. A chance for kids to get the bug at an early age. I imagine many of the dissatisfied fans who no longer go to the 1st team game due to Wenger, Kroenke, Gazidis et al would also go to the U23’s as a way to keep backing The Arsenal.
There is no need for Arsenal to be charging for U23 games. Make them free. Let anyone go. It will be a stronger future for our club.