Thursday, 14 July 2016

New Ticket Farce

I knew it wouldn't be long before Katrien Meire made another characterisric faux pas. Her inability to understand football supporters is quite staggering. As bad as, well Margaret Thatcher, as I wrack my brains. She just doesn't get it and keeps applying a unique business logic which doesn't work. In fact, it may be the work of that other cretin, Tony Keohane, but she will have lapped it up nonetheless.

What am I on about? Well they have clearly been scratching their heads about two worrying, but connected problems, the dramatic season ticket sales slump and the increased ticket office costs next season as many of those who refuse to handover lump sums in advance, pick and choose their matches and buy game to game. The business genius answer is to disincentivise game to game purchasing by charging a £2.50 handling fee if you want to buy tickets involving human interaction - collecting or buying in person at the Valley. For Meire it also has the delicious added bonus of financially penalising all those protesting bastards who won't renew their season tickets. It is also likely to inconvenience less tech-savvy fans like the 50% of ours who are over 50, you know, the old ones she would rather weren't here. Untypically the website information is incomplete and ambiguous so it's unclear whether this will be £2.50 per transaction or per ticket. I think I know the answer to this question because she will be looking at how Ticket Touts like Ticketmaster, Viagogo, See Tickets, Get Me In and the others now routinely rip us all off at events.

Oh, and they have added an extra penalty. Faced with busier matchday traffic in the ticket office, they have thought of a similar ruse for that too. If you can't be bothered turning up early enough to purchase your match ticket two clear hours in advance of kick-off you will asked for an additional £3!

In short, if you are a casual fan or decide to go at relatively short notice and get down to the ground at 1.05pm, you will be mugged for a £5.50 handling fee on top of what I expect will be pricey League One ticket cost. Call me a miserable old git, but that is not a progressive, foward-looking, welcoming, inclusive or friendly way to approach prospective customers, let alone your own supporters. It's a small-minded, short-sighted, road-to-nowhere policy that will drive already disgruntled supporters to tell them where to stick it. Casual fans and neutrals will suffer it once only.

What's more, there's a load of added complications they haven't worked out yet. Will this also apply to away fans? Will they do it for Cup matches (if we get a home draw this season)? Will it apply to away games? What about Valley Express ticket purchases?

Yet another half-baked policy that could only ever be dreamt up by naive non-football fans and authorised with an air of spiteful satisfaction. It is in perfect keeping with the Roland Duchatelet-Katrien Meire vicious-circle that continues inexorably to shrink our club further and further. If you were beginning to get a flutter of excitement that this season may be different on the ownership and club mismanagement front, stand easy, nothing's changed.

My bet here is that this one is guaranteed to be one of their enforced U-turns because of widespread insult it will generate and the corresponding decline in attendance and associated revenues. If only they would talk to their fans or actually listen to what they say. They even have a Target Somecompletelyunrealistic number focus group they could have consulted, but no, they know best.


Mark leadbeater said...

I've been a casual fan for the last 7 years through work and familu commitments. Being in the lower leagues meant I didn't need a season ticket and I could rock up on the day 5 minutes before kick off.
These charge won't make me buy a season ticket, it'll just mean I won't go at all.

Dave said...

Thanks for the post Mark and precisely why this is an important issue. I am sure they will do an about turn but not before they switch off more Customers. It's criminal really.

Hungry Ted said...

Well said, Dave. Great piece.

I've already had comments from some suggesting we're making a fuss over a few pounds and it's another example of the negative Charlton fan of the moment. I've even seen some justify it by saying 'other clubs do it'. What the Regime apologists and those fed up with the negativity surrounding the protests fail to appreciate (there is a difference) is the principle behind this.

I'm fortunate that I can afford a few pounds more each game, but out of principle I will not pay it. Given the deep chasm between club and fans Charlton should have deferred this surcharge until the relationship was considerably better. Ironically, when the relationship is better more people will renew ST's and their matchday ticket office costs will fall...

I fully intended to be a walk-up fan next season after not renewing my ST, but I won't be taken for a mug. Slade's appointment is a plus, yes, but I, like you, firmly believe we are a million miles away from a shift in attitude from KM and RD. The leopard has not changed it's spots just yet.

My guess is the club are stupid enough to think a few good results and they'll be forgiven: heat off.

What a bloody mess!

Graham Sutton said...

I am 43 and 3rd generation Charlton supporter - also ex-season ticket holder because of work commitments. I also buy tickets on match day when I am able - this won't force me into buying a season ticket I simply won't go I will just watch the highlights on the TV.

Dave said...

15th July - matchday ticketing pricing announced £17-29. They have taken the opportunity to say that it will be a £2.50 surcharge for in person purchase or collection and an extra 50p if bought less than two hours before kick-off. Rather than acknowledge the ambiguity if what was previously stated, they have the cheek to say "contrary to reports" - typical.

Dave said...

25th July, official U-Turn on this idiotic policy. It was unsustainable even from this lot.

Dave said...

Oops, they've not conceded altogether. I see they are sticking with ripping off matchday purchading less than two hours before kick-off the with a £3 penalty. That will cost us another few hundred fans before they realise the error of their ways. Sad but now laughable.