Today, tickets for the first home game of the season went on sale. My niece had received her JG renewal and as a 12 year old was delighted to be classed as a ‘young gun’ who could now attend (or so she thought) matches in the young gun enclosure with her brothers.
As the club website states, 12-16 year olds have access to YG tickets, which are in an ‘adult free’ area.
She was aware that the YG enclosure wouldn’t be available for Leicester as Arsenal had received a lot of money from Sky to play the match on a Friday evening and the enclosure isn’t available for night games.
However, we went online to buy 4 child tickets in the family enclosure. Unfortunately, a glitch in the system meant that the computer didn’t recognise all the memberships as valid so I had to call the club.
On asking for 4 child tickets I was asked if all children were over 14. When I said that 3 were but one was 12 I was told that the 12 year old could no longer attend home matches unless accompanied by an adult over 18. I explained that her parents were both season ticket holders who would be in attendance, but I was told that under 14’s must now sit next to an over 18 at all games.
I persuaded the box office to move one of her parents into the family enclosure thus allowing the 12 year old to sit with her other parent in the season ticket seat. I was told that this ‘concession’ was a one off and would not be repeated during the season. I agreed, but when it came to payment I was told I was being charged £26.50 to move the adult (who has already paid £1124 for a season ticket)!
The club never used to treat us like this. I can remember when the north bank was being redeveloped. As season ticket holders we were offered the chance to relocate to the west enclosure. Half way through the following season the club started redevelopment work there. They offered a free upgrade to the lower west seats for the remainder of the season. In future years we had season tickets in the east upper.
When Arsenal required those seats for champions league games, they refunded us the full value of the ticket for that game and then issued us with a free ticket for the upper north bank.
Today, they want to charge an extra £26.50 to move a season ticket holder because they won’t allow under 14’s in alone.
Any season ticket holder with a child will now be unable to (officially) take them to a game until the child is 14 and trusted to sit alone. A 12 year old who sat in the YG last season is unable to attend any matches this season unless they go with an 18 year old silver or red member (and to get a child rate ticket the member will likely have to be a silver member, as the family enclosure is usually sold out before red members have access).
Do Arsenal really care about encouraging the next generation of match going fans? I’m beginning to doubt it.Follow @TheSanreal