We have become used to the sight of around five thousand or more Arsenal fans not bothering to use their tickets for anything but the most high profile matches.
Sadly, a case of people who are rich enough to pay for season tickets or longer term deals, just so they have the convenience of going to the odd match that they fancy, whilst thousands of other Arsenal supporters would love to be inside the Emirates but are locked out.
However, we now have a club slagging their own fans off for buying tickets to matches and then not using them.
Brighton say that things came to a head on Tuesday night at Bournemouth.
Despite putting a reserve side out, Brighton fans bought up a respectable 1,235 tickets.
However, Brighton say that only around half the tickets were actually used.
The reason being that, like Newcastle, the Seagulls use a ‘loyalty point scheme’ for away tickets, with a point added for each away game you attend…buy a ticket for.
On Tuesday night, around 600 Brighton fans bought tickets with seemingly no intention of going, the cheaper League Cup pricing making it more enticing – Adult £10, Over 65s and Full-time students £7, Under 21s £3.
With younger fans tending to obviously have fewer loyalty points, if you were say a 20 year old who fancied adding another point, the £3 was maybe a no-brainer to spend.
Newcastle fans have often debated the merits of NUFC’s own loyalty points scheme and the fact that especially for younger fans it is generally tough to build up points – older fans with more points then being able to get tickets to all the most attractive matches, whilst often younger fans without a high total of loyalty points miss out AND fall further behind.
However, I have never heard of Newcastle fans actually buying tickets with no intention of them being used, just to build up loyalty points, although it is pretty widespread for Newcastle supporters to buy tickets to get the loyalty point, knowing that they can then sell on the ticket to friends and family.
Interesting to see what Brighton will do about the problem, will those 20 year olds who allegedly bought a loyalty point for £3 have to produce a letter from their mam to prove they were ill and couldn’t make it…?
Brighton and Hove Albion official statement:
‘Brighton & Hove Albion would like to thank all those supporters who travelled to last night’s Carabao Cup match at AFC Bournemouth.
Your support of the team is, as always, greatly appreciated by all at the club.
The club is aware that of the 1235 sell out away attendance, almost 50% of those who purchased tickets chose not to attend the match.
It is extremely disappointing to see so many supporters purchasing tickets and not attending the match, the majority in order to gain loyalty points.
The loyalty point system is, by definition, about rewarding loyalty of those supporters who travel and support the team up and down the country.
Buying low-priced tickets simply to gain points is against the spirit of the system and, as bad, does nothing to support the team.
Furthermore, this practice not only prevents supporters who wish to go and support the team from attending the match in question, but it also stops those same fans from gaining valuable and deserved loyalty points to allow them to go future matches.
This practice reached unacceptable levels at last night’s match and as a result we have now requested the attendance data from Bournemouth and will be reviewing this information very carefully over the next few days.
Going forward, it is clear that changes need to be made to the club’s terms and conditions where they concern loyalty points. The club will also take the opportunity to review the process of loyalty point allocation and, where possible, will also seek to reconcile the sale of ticket to away matches with attendance data from host clubs.
It is sad, once again, we find ourselves committing considerable time and club resources to dealing with individuals abusing the club’s ticketing system for their own personal unfair gain.
To those supporters who did attend last night’s match and supported the team, once again, the club would like to thank you for your attendance.’