We have just returned from holiday. It was lovely. While away I got some time and WiFi signal so I perused Twitter for a while.
It happened to be on the day the Season Ticket renewals had hit people’s door mats. Many were unamused at the way in the which the club had sent out the information, and even less happy about the 20% price hike.
I decided to wait until we came home before making a decision about what to do. After all, decisions made in haste are often repented at leisure!
The envelope was there waiting. Addressed to The Season Ticket Holders. It contained 3 pieces of paper. One was a direct debit form and there were two application forms. No letter. No introduction. No we hope you wish to join us again next season.
We sit in separate stands. It will cost me £480 to renew my ticket. Last season was my first full season ticket (I had a half season ticket the year before, and attended as and when until then). This will give me priority on big games, it will give me priority for away matches, it will work out to £20 a game assuming I can make all of them. I won’t be able to make all of them, family events and other things will mean that I will inevitably miss at least two games next season. As my husband will be renewing his ticket (he has been a season ticket holder for many years now) we will also be attending away games, so I will get to see games. I attended all the home games bar one, and approximately half or maybe even two thirds of the away games. Not bad for a newbie I don’t think, but, if the truth be told, this past season while I have enjoyed it, I have at times felt ‘footballed out’.
I have at times resented the amount of time and travelling I have done. I have enjoyed the football for the most part, and I have seen some different places I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I have also seen some great football, watched some great teams, seen some rubbish refereeing, and had some great times. Made friends.
I have been disappointed with the way that the Club has started to treat fans, for example, the Legends venue was closed, I along with others would meet there during the week or on Match Days. It felt a safe place for a woman on her own to wait, as opposed to a pub.
I was uncertain about renewing before the prices were released. I am still uncertain. I can fill my Saturdays very easily with other things, I can improve my photography – well, practise more anyway! I can learn how to use Photoshop, I can go to exhibitions, I could buy a new printer, I could learn a new skill, I could do this using the money I haven’t spent on a season ticket. I could even do the housework!
I can still watch the team play, I can still go to away matches, if I want to. I will see my friends from the North Stand at away matches.
I don’t pretend to understand the Financial Fair Play rules. I know we have reported a massive loss, I know we have a small ground, but are the club really expecting the fans to meet the shortfall with a 20% hike in price? The majority of people I know haven’t had a pay rise for years, or if they have it has been a minimal one, while other costs go up. Football will sadly be one thing that goes by the board for many. Jeff Mostyn (the Chair) said that for a family, the cost works out at less than taking the family to the cinema. How many families do you know go to the cinema on a weekly basis? I don’t know any. It is reserved as a birthday or holiday treat. I read somewhere that we are starting to reduce the playing wage bill. Two of the names mentioned were Richard Hughes and Steve Purches. Both of whom have been taken on as part of the staff. Reduced wages? Possibly, probably, I don’t know. I do know that the back room staff seem to be increasing, therefore increasing the wage bill. I hope that the club doesn’t end up with a massive back room wage bill so they end up cutting the staff who face the public in the shop and the ticket offices.
If people pay more, they expect more. They do not expect to have to squeeze past the away team coach to get to where they are going all the while people are trying to do the same in the opposite direction. They don’t expect broken locks in the toilets. They don’t expect to have to squeeze into narrow leg room. They expect a little common courtesy (I am not blaming the rank and file staff, I think this is an attitude coming down from the top – it smacks of arrogance and expectation), they expect value for money.
I think, all in all, my decision is made. I won’t be renewing my ticket next season. I will continue to follow the team, and I wish them luck. I will see you at the games I choose to attend (I may even go into the South Stand – they saw a lot of the action last year!). Now, let’s have a look at a new printer……………..