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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Tickets for Wembley

Wembley - I thought it was bigger than the old place?

Arsenal have announced the ticket details for the Carling Cup Final. We have been allocated 31,803 tickets for the game. Assuming that Birmingham City will get the same amount that means that 63,606 fans from the two clubs will be in attendance. Wembley Stadium now holds 90,000 people I believe (give or a take a couple of seats). That means that over 26,000 tickets are going elsewhere. Ticket allocation for the FA Cup Final has long been a tale of woe for the teams involved as the "FA Family" taking the largest share of the tickets. However, the League Cup Final has always been for the genuine fans. The move back to Wembley should have seen even more genuine supporters getting a seat for the match. As it happens we will have less "official" Arsenal fans in the ground than we did at Cardiff in 2007. This is an absolute disgrace and it devalues the competition even further in my view. What will happen is that the Club Wembley tier (and the other corporate areas of the stadium) will be pretty much filled with people in Arsenal's colours, though very few of them will be genuinely deserving of their place in the crowd for a Cup Final.

Then, of course, there is Arsenal's own criteria for issuing tickets. Those on the Away Ticket Scheme are guaranteed their tickets ahead of everyone else. Why? There are those on the scheme who don't attend home matches, thus the only money they give Arsenal all year is their £20 registration fee (of course most of those on the scheme attend most matches at home, as well as going away). After that the next group in line for tickets (and guaranteed) are season ticket holders with 3+ away match credits in the past two years (I fit in to this category so I am okay for my ticket). Anybody outside of these criterion has to "register their interest online." What if you don't own a computer (as many do not) but are a season ticket holder? Surely, by virtue of owning a season ticket, you have already "registered your interest." A much fairer system would be to allocate tickets on "seniority" - i.e. those who have been season ticket holders for the longest time get the priority on tickets for Cup Final's. If any tickets remain after that then they should go to Silver Member's with the most attendance at home matches. I shouldn't necessarily be bothered because, as I say, I will get a ticket, but I just don't think Arsenal have got this right.

There won't be a blog tomorrow as I am working a most unsociable kind of shift. I hope to post a preview of the Huddersfield game on Saturday evening.

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