Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday November 2 2006
Even with the best intentions you often come across a catch 22 when you take action.
This is one of those times as Villa have offered lapsed season ticket holders free tickets to the Blackburn game in order to try to lure them back to the Villa revolution.
Now to me, it makes good business sense when you aren't selling Villa Park out, to offer these incentives because even if they only tempt 5% back into the fold, it is 5% gained for no cost. Lets face it the seats would be empty and non-profit making anyway and in fact it would be 5% for a small profit with the giveaway because a) the noise at Villa Park would be louder with the extra fans cheering on the team - that can only help drive the team on b) those having free seats will still be buying programmes, drinks or food.
However, there are those who pay every year and some who struggle to afford it but never give up the faith. There are also those who follow the club no matter who is in charge, no matter what division they are in.
I'll hold my hands up - (did it for five minutes but then realised I couldn't type whilst my hands were in the air, so have had to put them down again now) - I am firmly in the camp (in the camp, not firmly camp you understand) of giving the tickets out for free to tempt customers in or back. I've suggested it before and although I can see the counter argument as below, I just think it makes pure economic sense to entice customers back, get people used to a once again full Villa Park and I enjoy the match day experience far more when we are full to the rafters. I guess the onus is now on the team to perform on Sunday because it is all well and good having those lapsed season ticket holders back for one game, but if they aren't shown that things have changed, then they'll still not be tempted to return again.
I got this sent to me the other day, I've removed the names but this was their argument which they sent to the club in complaint:
Me and my son have been season ticket holders for the past15 yrs, and last season was a bad one but we still stuck by the club, and renewed this year but we have been told that season ticket holders from last season that have virtually abandoned the club this year have been GIVEN free tickets for the blackburn game, this is totally unfair we have paid a lot of money to support the club through good times and bad, these people who pick and choose when to see the team play and this season they have not renewed are getting to see them FREE ,while we have to pay????
Villa v blackburn non loyal supporters entrance fee FREE,,,,, VILLA V BLACKBURN loyal supporters ,full price season ticket purchased ,so it stands to reason that all season ticket holders will get full refund for this game,or some sort of compensation NOT HAPPY
It certainly makes for interesting reading and I can see where his resentment comes from, but in my ever so humble opinion, I think us season ticket holders have just got to accept that in order for Aston Villa to move forward, we are going to have to try to pull back the disenfranchised and if that means we have paid and some haven't then I can live with that, I'd not really want to miss games like the lapsed season ticket holders have anyway, I like my seat too much for one thing (although my request to RAL for a cushioned seat, drinks dispenser and pop up umbrella STILL hasn't been heeded, I mean, what is with these guys!!!!?).
Lets face it, there has been scant reward for Villa fans over recent years and although I always go down there have been times where I've wondered why and I wouldn't lambaste any fan who decided enough was enough after the poor displays on and off the pitch last season. I have been disappointed with some of the attendances this season and as people have said numerous times, the main way to attract fans back is to buy the top quality players and start winning, I did however think with Martin O'Neill in charge and Randy Lerner et al at the helm, there would have been a leap of faith.
I have to be honest, I would go one further, I'd give tickets away to local schools, cub scouts and definitely local cheerleader training school students (bear with me, I live in my own world, but at least I know all the people and have a good time) as long as they all had to sit in the Lower Trinity C5. In fact, I'd go so far as to share my seat with one such cheerleader, as long as that seat was cushioned, had my drinks dispenser and afore mentioned pop up umbrella surely that isn't too much to ask?!
Date:Thursday November 2 2006
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