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Ticket Sales - Fair or Fiasco?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 10/10/2005

IT was bound to happen. Whenever the demand exceeds the supply, there will always be disappointments and, as sure as eggs are eggs, those who were disappointed are going to make the most noise!

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The question is: Are they justified in doing so?

I, for one, would say yes. But only if there had been a change in the rules, which made them lose out, but I have not seen any evidence to suggest that there was in the case of the Newcastle ticket issue.

GTFC have always given precedence to season ticket holders and sponsors before the fans get to buy their tickets. They also allocate a few to the local media for prizes in comps or whatever.

That has been the case in the last 50 years or so I have been a supporter.

Nothing has changed.

That is not to say it could not be better and changes should not be made. Indeed in one particular area, I think GTFC have made a boob.

My understanding is that season ticket holders have still not run out of time, so some tickets must still be withheld. That should not have happened. They should have had their allocation sorted before the remainder of the tickets were placed on general sale.

But apart from that, there can be no complaint.

But after saying that, there will always be the call that 'genuine' supporters lose out to the 'fair weather' supporter and "the club should do something about it."

Maybe that call is valid. But what can the club do? There have been suggestions of a loyalty scheme, which is one solution. But there is the question of costs and the delays at the turn styles if they take up the idea of getting your card stamped at the gate.

My personal choice would be to let the season ticket holders get their allocation, the trust members get the next allocation and the rest on general sale within the voucher system.

Not perfect. What is? But it would sort the sheep from the goats to some degree. (I have no sympathy for those who say; 'I cannot afford to join the trust.' The trust membership fees are very low)

Joining the trust and getting a ticket allocation is one way of proving the call that "I am a regular and committed supporter." At least by joining the trust, there is some evidence of that.

We have discussed before what a committed supporter is. It certainly cannot be measured by the number of games attended. I am a committed supporter but I don't attend matches. Sure the club get money from me but that is not the right criteria either.

But I cannot see 'fair weather' supporters joining the trust. They are only in it for the good times. Those who join the trust are in it for the good and the bad.

Now before you all jump up and down, let me repeat what I said previously. It is only a suggestion or idea. But I cannot see any other idea suggested that brings money into the club (albeit via the trust) or prevents the club from shelling out much needed cash on airy fairy loyalty schemes.

In some things, demand will always exceed supply, and I am delighted it is happening at Grimsby Town Football Club. This season, the extra funds coming into the club have been a great asset and are helping the club to get back on its feet.

That will not help those who are bitterly disappointed in not getting a ticket. It is a bitter pill to swallow. But in this case it has to be swallowed if only in the interests of the club.

It is not a perfect world we live in and no scheme will be perfect whichever way it goes. We have to accept that. Some will always miss out. If you are one of those, you can be assured most people will sympathise with you. What else can we say?

Maybe it will be worth it in the end, if some of those so-called 'fair weather' supporters like what they see and start coming to the games on a regular basis. Then perhaps you can claim it as the greatest sacrifice you have made for the club.

Let us hope so.

Memo to GTFC: Out of town 'qualified' supporters were unable to book their tickets on the telephone with credit cards for the Newcastle game due to 'administrative problems.'

There is no such thing as administrative problems. Just poor organisation.

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