Tuesday 14 July 2009
Sale of tickets for the Luton home game on Saturday 8 August
Our first game in the Blue Square Premier is certain to be a sell out and so we have made it all-ticket. This note explains why we’ve decided on our particular approach to selling tickets for this game.
First, we are not aware of any Conference rule that says what proportion of our capacity (if any) must be made available to visiting fans. For the FA Cup and Trophy, the rule is 15%, which would be 700 tickets, so we’ve used that as a guideline.
We are applying full segregation for this game and the ground grading rules require that segregated areas have their own refreshment and toilet facilities. Until our improvement works are complete later this season, the only way we can do this is to allocate the Kingston Road End to visiting fans.
Despite this, for the first time we face a situation where we can’t provide enough space to opposition fans – Luton apparently have about 3,500 season ticket holders. This is a reversal of a situation we’ve faced in the past, most notably when we played Bromley in a play off semi-final and for the title decider at Hampton and Richmond last season. In both those cases, demand from our fans far outstripped supply and, despite the home clubs’ best efforts, many of our fans obtained tickets in the areas set aside for home supporters.
For safety reasons, and to be fair to our own fans, we must do everything we can to ensure that only Wimbledon fans can obtain tickets for the home terraces.
There are issues which complicate the sale of tickets to our fans:
• We will continue to sell season tickets right up until the season starts. Anyone buying a season ticket is entitled to entry to the game and we need to reserve sufficient spaces for fans who apply before the start of the season. Obviously, it is hard to predict how many applications we will receive
• We have a scheme whereby season ticket holders are asked to return their vouchers for a game they can’t attend, giving us more spaces to sell. But with STs not available until Saturday 25 July, we currently have little feel for how many returns we will get
• Not all our fans have access to the internet and a recurring complaint by those fans is that they miss out on ticket sales announcements
• Many fans are away on holiday, or live a long way from Kingsmeadow, and can’t get to the ground to buy tickets
• We can’t use the highly successful on-line sales system, as we would lose control over who tickets are sold to. There are similar issues with the credit card hot line
After taking all these factors into account, our logic for the ticket sales arrangements was:
• To ensure that as many of our fans as possible have a chance to buy tickets we are announcing the arrangements now and in the FC United pre-season programme before putting tickets on sale. They will then be sold at the last pre-season friendly, against a Fulham XI on Tuesday 28 July, on a one-ticket-per-person basis
• We will demand proof of address or equivalent (for example a DT membership card or a season ticket for someone buying a ticket for a friend) from fans who buy tickets, to reduce the risk of selling to away fans
• Fans who are away on holiday, or who live too far away to get to the stadium can make a postal application for two tickets. They will be allocated any unsold tickets after the Fulham game, plus ST voucher returns. This means that we may well need to call fans late in the day to let them know that tickets have become available, so a daytime contact number is essential
No doubt there will be genuine fans who miss out and we may find that, despite our best efforts, we inadvertently sell tickets to away fans. But, to be clear, any away fans who get into the home areas will be ejected from the stadium.