Two years of hard work, reuniting disillusioned fans with the club tossed aside, as our own club applies a Premier League tax designed to hit those most loyal to them.
As blindly opportunistic money grabs go, this one takes some nerve.
With Delia’s cries of “Best fans in the world, they deserve to go to all the big grounds next season” still ringing in our ears, she forgot to add the codicil that while the Premier League itself has softened the gouging of fans by restricting away tickets to £30, our own club would be exacting 50 pounds of flesh for the privilege of the opportunity we apparently deserved.
And for nothing more than a chance of getting a ticket if you’re lucky, or able to get on the phone or website at the time of the day they start selling them. Not helpful for many people who have jobs that don’t allow this or older fans who aren’t internet minded.
When all the decrypting of the new membership scheme is said and done, it’s relatively simple.
Home season-ticket holders still get their tickets, but unless they pay an additional £50 home membership fee and get lucky on the phone or internet early on the day of sale, they’re unlikely to be able to buy a second ticket.
So, dad or mum with a season-ticket bringing their son or daughter to their first game at Carrow Road as a taster to see if they like it is going to be much more difficult, and I would suggest all but impossible if you don’t pay £50. That’s the traditional route in for the next generation jeopardised unless you’re prepared to pay £50 and have a job that allows you to sit on the phone and wait in a queue.
There is a second tier of membership that allows you to follow the £50 mob but get ahead of season ticket holders for £35. These are for people that I assume fancy getting half-pregnant. Just enough to climb the pecking order, probably not enough to get tickets for a lot of games.
The capping of casual home tickets at £30 is being heralded as the big talking point by the club. It is positive and I won’t denigrate this as a decision in itself but I will say that it only benefits about 2000-2500 non-season-ticket holders. And any losses the club may make on reducing prices they would have marked at over £30, are likely to be offset by the fact that everyone buying them will have almost certainly had to fork over £50 to have done so – such will be the demand.
And this is the better side for fans in this brave new world. The away restrictions are far more damaging to us.
Away season-ticket holders are no more. These fantastic people, the lifeblood of our club, those people who are there through thick and thin, through Carlisle and Plymouth, are now Priority Members. As long as they pay £50 for the rebranding.
And instead of having their tickets automatically sent to them, they have to enter into the telephone and internet lottery at the right time on the right day. If they can’t or won’t do that, they tumble down the pecking order for tickets and get fourth or fifth pickings, assuming they exist by that stage.
Not been to more than half the away games last season but been to a handful a season for a good few years? What have you done for us lately? £50 to prove your loyalty or get to the back of the queue.
So, who benefits from this new system designed to “reward loyalty” according to Ben Kensell? Well, the club, to the tune of £50 to everyone who goes along with it.
And the most likely to pay the price? Away season-ticket holders and regular away travellers with over ten games last season. There’s about 750 there, which would drag in £37,500. I can’t believe these people are the main targets of this heist.
After that how many of us season ticket holders who go to two, three, four away games a season will pay it? I wouldn’t suggest a huge amount, particularly as it doesn’t even guarantee you a ticket for those odd games you would choose to go to. Especially as we’re likely to get dragged to the other end of the country on Sunday and Monday nights with work the next day a consideration.
Who will pay it then, if not season ticket holders?
- People with disposable income who like to watch Premier League football regardless of the team.
- People in Norfolk who aren’t Norwich fans but want to see the best players in the world and £50 extra is nothing to them.
- People in London or the North who will be able to see plenty of games close to home even if it means having to put up with watching Norwich play their favourite big teams.
There won’t be an initial rush on these but gradually, as the season drags on, more of these Premier window tickets will go to people who watch one game only, and who end up cheering when City concede while sat amongst real Norwich fans.
Who loses out?
- The fans that have seen the most matches.
- The fans that were there in League One and put money in when the club was on its ar$e.
- The fans that streamed to Wigan and QPR and Middlesbrough last season to see matches they could have watched on TV just so the boys could hear their voices and support, bringing a small corner of Norfolk to support the lads.
Then there are families. Already some on Twitter are saying “it’s only £50, you can pay it in instalments”, but it’s £50 per person, which includes kids. So, if, like myself, you’re a dad who has a season ticket with his nine-year-old son, you’re now looking at £100 a year for what is effectively nothing.
I know a couple with two kids who all have season tickets and have done for years. £200 a year? £17 a month just to have a better shot at getting an away ticket? Do me a favour.
I don’t know how many Premier and Standard memberships the club are expecting to sell, but assuming that the 750 from last season all take them up as a given, let’s assume 3250 more (I reckon that’s a fair guess) stump up for the “opportunity” and they have around 4000. That’s £200,000 for the club’s coffers.
Given the riches of the Premier League, is that all the club’s most loyal fans are worth? Are they that desperate to squeeze every penny from us that they are willing to alienate supporters who have backed them through thick and thin, and limit access to the next generation?
They know it’s wrong. That’s why they failed to consult The Canaries Trust, and in doing so breached the Memorandum of Understanding they themselves instigated two years ago.
Clearly, it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Clearly, fans are only worth something when they’re paying. And those who can pay most are worth more than the rest, regardless of any previous commitment to the club, financial or otherwise.
Make no mistake about it, this was not a considered reworking of ticket allocation procedure, this was a money grab. An opportunity to take advantage of those most likely to comply for fear of not seeing the games they have earned the right to enjoy.
This is a brazen slight on loyal fans, on families, and on those on low incomes.
For the first time in many years, I am utterly ashamed of the actions of my club. I’m devastated for the fans that will undoubtedly feel blackmailed into paying this tax, and even more so for those that can’t afford to. I stand in solidarity with those that refuse to.
You’ve let down those most loyal to you. And for what? Five/six weeks of one player’s Premier League salary? All that positivity and momentum we’d built up. Gone.
The fans don’t deserve this, and you definitely don’t deserve these fans.