Ashley’s false pretence over away tickets?
Posted on August 23rd, 2011 | 39 Comments |
I’ve been thinking about Newcastle United’s membership policy on away matches.
Now, I’m sure you remember our first match of pre-season, where a few morons decided to invade the pitch at Darlington, inciting trouble between both sets of fans. If you can’t remember what I’m referring to, check out Thump’s piece from July, when United announced the membership policy.
There was much debate at the time, as to whether this was the right thing to do. “The minority have spoiled it for the majority” was the cry from some fans. Now I understand there is no excuse to invade a football pitch and cause trouble, but I think this membership policy has many flaws and I’ve been questioning why the club have sanctioned it.
I’ve recently returned to the UK after travelling, so obviously I’ve not been able to see any matches while I’ve been busy enjoying the wonders this planet has to offer. I’m situated in Sheffield at the moment, where some of my family now live. While I’ve been away, Newcastle spent a season in the Championship, meaning certain members of my family could catch the local Newcastle away game.
Being down in Sheffield meant they enjoyed games such as Doncaster, Sheffield Utd, Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest. They also made a few trips up to St James’ Park also, but getting the chance to see United close by really does help considering not everybody can afford to travel across the UK to see every away game. It’s not that they don’t want to see them all, it’s just that there is a financial crisis going on, we live in a country where every penny someone earns could well be the last and many people’s jobs are not as secure as they used to be.
I’m sure some of you reading are situated further away and coming up to Newcastle is something that you simply cannot afford. So I’m sure many of you, like my family, catch the occasional away game when you have the chance.
The reason I’m bringing this up today is because of what I’ve been told recently by my Dad, after he spoke to the Newcastle United ticket office. Newcastle are scheduled to play away to Scunthorpe in the league cup on Thursday night and my Dad has been enquiring about tickets for the match. I’m sure some of you know the score with this policy, but I’ll relay on to you what I’ve been told.
It costs £26 to have a membership for one season and you can only get one ticket per match. There are alot of tickets available for the game at the moment, probably due to it being a non-glamorous tie and on a Thursday night. My Dad had a conversation with the ticket office where they informed him he would have to buy a membership and so would anyone else who wants a ticket. The conversation between the ticket office and my father ended with him stating that this whole policy was “ridiculous” and the lady on the other end of the phone agreeing with him, stating most people will head down the pub instead and watch the game as Sky Sports are televising it.
Newcastle’s best asset has always been the loyalty of it’s fans. There are thousands who shell out for season tickets and follow the Magpies across the land. We have fantastic supporters and this whole membership policy is purely taking advantage of that. It would not surprise me if Newcastle were going to announce this policy, regardless of the Darlington trouble occurring. Some people may only have chance to catch one match this season due to location, or if they are a member of the Toon Army from abroad, they may be visiting the UK for a few weeks and can’t make it up to Newcastle so they’ll look for a game a little closer to where they’re staying.
Now I apologise for bringing up ‘old’ news and if you feel I’ve wasted your time with this article. I just happen to see this as money making exercise and nothing more. Many believe all Mr Ashley cares about is money and couldn’t care less about what the fans want, or the hardship they endure to be able to get to matches and be able to afford their tickets. He tends to ignore the fans, so I assume even if people protested against this policy it wouldn’t make much difference. I don’t think this has anything to do with the trouble at Darlington, but this is obviously my opinion and you may differ from it.
That ten year season ticket price freeze sounds a bit odd as well doesn’t it? I’m aware you can cancel the season ticket policy, but it still seems strange don’t you think? Maybe you think it’s a brilliant idea? Let me know below…
Also the club increasing the cost of season tickets for disabled fans by a whopping 30% from £207 to £287. Personally, I think targeting the disabled and increasing the prices by 30%, completely lacks class from the club and Ashley. To me, it looks like he’s trying to get in as much money as possible. I’m not even going to start writing details about the lack of spending on the playing squad, that warrants an entirely different article!
Deep down, I think Newcastle United are still very much up for sale even as we speak. Think how attractive the club will look if it has 40,000+ season ticket holders signed up for ten years and thousands of memberships from people who don’t live locally, or probably even in the country! It’s the perfect example of how loyal our fans are.
As if some figures on a piece of paper need to show anyone how loyal the Toon Army are. The only thing Ashley seems to understand is money, he doesn’t take notice of the loyalty shown when thousands turn up to a match and sing their heart out for the lads. Well actually, he probably does notice and thinks about ways he can exploit it further. I’m also sure he probably takes notice at the ‘fat’ jibes during our matches, but he doesn’t seem to do anything about it. He still possessrs a weight problem.
With all that said, What do you guys honestly think of this policy, do you think it’s justified due to the crowd trouble at Darlington, or do you think the club probably were planning on doing something like this anyway? What do you think of the disabled ticket prices and what do you think the real reason is for the ten year season ticket price freeze?