Arsenal need to take FA to task over scandalous ticketing policy

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Tim Payton explains how Arsenal could make the allocation of Cup Final tickets even fairer and also get more people supporting Arsenal at the Emirates

It didn’t take take long for the euphoria (and nervous anxiety) of watching this Arsenal team make the FA Cup final to subside to the frantic concern of how to get hold of a ticket for May 17th . A worry exacerbated by the fact that Arsenal had a record number of fans ever attend an FA Cup Semi final – approximately 55,000 – who would all love to walk up Wembley Way again.

This is Arsenal’s first FA Cup final since moving to the Emirates and this brings a new conundrum.

At Highbury there were only 20,000 Season Ticket holders. Enough for everyone to have a ticket even given the meagre allocation from the FA.

At the Emirates there are 44,000 Season ticket holders including Box and Club level. Clearly something has to give. What are the Club to do?

Well firstly lets give credit to Ivan Gazidis for speaking out on this issue already and challenging the FA’s allocation arrangements.

To give just 50,000 tickets to the two competing Clubs shows a disregard to fans who have followed their team all the way to the final. The FA was happy to take money from Arsenal fans at the semi-final stage but now it’s the final those same fans are being turned away in favour of corporate sales and football insiders. Many of these tickets will only make their way onto the black market.

Ivan Gazidis sits on high powered FA Committees, I urge him to keep an ongoing interest in this issue and work inside corridors of power at the FA to get this corrected in future years so fans don’t continue to miss out or get stung by touts.

We must also hope that other Clubs take the same leadership role that Arsenal have in recent years and hand back the tickets they are given so that more real fans can go.

But for now Arsenal have to decide how to allocate the 25,000 tickets they have been given. No system is perfect and whatever the Club do can’t keep everyone happy. There will be winners and losers.

Rightly in my opinion, Arsenal reward fan loyalty by allocating priority for Cup Final tickets to those who have a Season Ticket and attend the most matches over recent seasons. The snag to this is at present they only keep a record of Away attendance, using the credit system.

In a perfect world, they would also introduce home credits, recording how many times Platinum, Gold, Silver and Red members attended games at the Emirates.

Not only would this system make it easier to reward loyalty, but it would encourage those who don’t always come to games to put their ticket back into the Exchange giving more fans a chance to watch Arsenal. And we know that the fuller the stadium is the more the atmosphere and noise builds and how advantageous this can be to the team.

For this system to work, home credits would be awarded on the seat being used for each game and/or the placing of the ticket into the Ticket Exchange (not necessarily whether it is then sold on which is outside the control of the ticket owner).

Of course this solution isn’t perfect as one person might use their season ticket 28 times and the other season ticket might be used by 28 different people. But it is as fair as you can be until the day we introduce face recognition or fingerprint entry – and that’s a debate for another day!

So what do Arsenal say about this suggestion? In recent discussions they have been sympathetic to the case and say it is under review. The next step is for the Club to make a final decision to invest in better ticketing technology and an upgrading of the ticket exchange so they can make it happen.

Hopefully the debate this year’s FA Cup Final has created will convince them to push ahead, and there will be many more Cup Final appearances by Arsenal and we can look forward to less empty seats at the Emirates and an even better way of allocating those tickets.

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This article is written in a personal capacity.

Tim Payton is a Board Member of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, which seeks to facilitate wider supporter involvement in the club and promotes mutual supporter ownership of Arsenal through the Arsenal Fanshare scheme.

@TimPayton

135 Responses to “Arsenal need to take FA to task over scandalous ticketing policy”

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  1. Bankz

    Heard Arsene Wenger thinks we only need little changes and he wants to sign on for another 2/3 yrs.
    As for the FAcup final, if we don’t win our next 5 games & gather a winning momentum into that Wembley final….I’d not be surprised if Hull City turns us over’.

  2. GHall

    Away support should also come above Home support, we spend our money travelling thecountry and Europe and deserve to be first on the list.

  3. Danish Gooner

    Hull have worse strikers then we do,the only real threat is Huddlestone with his powerful shooting.We wont be facing Shane Long or Nikica Jelavic otherwise it could be dangerous.Sagbo is an older version of Sanogo and misses a lot more then he scores.

  4. Bankz

    Danish.
    If you think Hull have worse strikers than us then you probably believe Arsene Wenger saying SANOGO could be a £50mill striker in 2yrs time.
    I would take Shane long & Jelavic over our 2 french donkeys any time.
    We only have a better midfield. Better midfielders who aren’t properly charged up for the final to deliver 100% would get eaten up by a poor midfield playing on 110% intensity.
    We made Everton & Stoke’s midfielders look like Bayern just few weeks ago.

  5. Rhys Jaggar

    Good sentiments, but my experience of folks in Club Level is that, often, if they can’t go, they give the tickets to their mates, letting them use their electronic entry pass to do so. Of course, that only works for mates who you see outside of match days, unless sending the tickets FedEx is something you’re prepared to shell out for. I probably attended 23 – 25 out of 26 – 30 a season for 5 years, but it would have registered as 26 to 30, as the few times I didn’t go (or did a deal) close friends used the tickets without a need to issue paper ones. In fact, the only time in 5 years I had to use a paper ticket was when I inadvertently dropped the tickets just before the Stadium from my pocket (quite how that happened is beyond me) and, even then, honest Gooners handed the tickets in and we were reunited with our passes before kick off (as it was a Barcelona CL knockout game, this was one I really didn’t want to miss!)

    AS for the FA, well, a lot of the tickets go to referees who work unpaid at junior/lower levels and this is regarded as an occasional reward for their volunteering. It’s a tough one, because the FA have to balance paying fans with members of the football family who are too often taken for granted.

    The big issue with Wembley is Club England, who get 17,000 seats in corporate seats for the FA Cup Final, which reduces actual capacity to 73,000. Then you have about 3,000 FA Seats around the Half Way Line on the lower Tier so it’s probably down to 70,000 in reality. So you’ll only get an extra 10,000 max without changing the Club England scenario. That can’t change before 2017, but I suspect quite a few Club/Box members at the Emirates would happily pay for a day in Club England for an FA Cup Final if offered the opportunity. One solution after 2017 might be to offer such seats to Clubs up to a certain cut-off point and then sell them to Club England members on a new deal post 2017 (cheaper due to loss of Cup Final rights) or to the general public to ensure all seats were sold.

  6. The Noise

    Like anything Tim Payton & the AST say is worthwhile…
    You haven’t represented Arsenal fans properly for years! Just kept the club onside for your lovely little pally perks! If you did, you would be calling for action against the already obscene ticket prices that have priced out myself and countless friends of mine (some 4th generation Gooners) from going to see their football club!

    Shame on you! You are not fit for purpose!

  7. arsenesabellend

    next year you will be back inside that shithole – the Emirates and gleefully handing over your well earned so that Wenger can pick 8.5 mill and shit on you again, fucking lemmings

    why dont you get a large hammer and smash yourself over the head repeatedly?

    Same thing

  8. EnginXI

    I am a gold member and also try to get to as many away games as possible.
    Back in 2011 for the Birmingham game, it was the same.
    You required 3+ away credits. I was lucky as I got a ticket in the ballot.
    Since then I made sure that I didn’t want to take that chance again, so I started off going to shit midweek games that no-one else wanted. I now have plenty of credits, and am guaranteed a Cup Final ticket.
    In all honesty if you haven’t made an effort to at least attend a few away games in the last 2 years, then you should not get priority over the guys that travel to every away game.

  9. vp

    ‘’Ivan Gazidis sits on high powered FA Committees, I urge him to keep an ongoing interest in this issue and work inside corridors of power at the FA’’

    Nice thought.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that people will take this man seriously. He constantly gets undermined and has his powers fettered by the individual (Arsene Wenger) he’s responsible for monitoring and controlling. Don’t see how anyone can take this man seriously…never mind ‘ a committee of high powered corporates’ ?

    He needs to leave his FA responsibilities to one side for now, and get his own house in order first. If he wants to be a CEO he needs to start acting like one. He’s currently receiving the remuneration of a person charged with the responsibility of the role, without any the associated accountability that should come with it.

    Sorry to detract from the numerous good points that you touched upon. Just don’t think we need one of our most employees taking on further responsibilities/roles. As an Exec, his sole focus should lie with being CEO of Arsenal FC at this point in time, and concentrate on moving everyone together in the right direction, for looks like a very challenging few months ahead.

  10. Cyril

    Just a comment on the beer price at Wembley- £9.80 for a pint. Absolute scandal because they can. My mate bought five and it came to £49.00. The trouble was, he had to play it’s a knockout to get back to where we were hanging about. Cursing and cussing he handed over 4 pints less the slops (and it was) that was knocked off him and we stood there nursing 3/4 of a pint for a tenner !!

  11. Jacko

    Apparently Eyemsick isn’t sure if he has a ticket for the final or not, so he’ll be hanging around the gents toilets at the Che tonight, trying to build up his credit.

    The daft racist!

  12. Paddywhack

    Cyril

    Did your mate ever hear of keeping his money in his pocket. If people stopped paying £9.80 a pint, these suckers who are making big bucks would soon bring the price down. Believe me, the consumer is a powerful body when they want to be. It’s just that many are like sheep.

  13. Arsenal2174

    I doubt the story. BUT if Wenger stays and Yawnited get klopp we will be challenging for 5th 6th place until Le-senile one leaves, We will end up like Liverpool talking about how we haven’t won a trophy in over 12+ years

  14. Mads Lindeland

    N5

    Hi, remember we spoke a couple of weeks ago?
    I’m the Norwegian fan that was looking for two FA cup final tickets, and you checked with your father who had no info at the time (not surprising, since we hadn’t reached it yet).

    So, now that we’re actually in the final, I world really appreciate if you could help a fellow Gunner, and check again..? Really want to get to this thing (as anyone else i guess).

    Like I wrote last time, my twitter name is: @MadsLindeland

    Cheers,
    Mads

  15. SpanishDave

    Really looking forward to another summer of Wengerland star purchases. Another Park, Sanogoal, KK, Giroud,Arteta,and uncle tom cobbly.
    The man is a fraud, whats the point of ECL, when we scrap through the qualifiers, scap through the league stage and then loose the knockout first stage.
    Oh yes I remember its money for Stan and Wenger.
    Judge me in May.

  16. John Walters

    This has been well thought through. For red members, ticket exchange is often the only way of getting admission. This would be a huge help for our foreign fans and expat community, students etc.

  17. Trini-Gooner

    Surely there are no more excuses to not spend this summer, right?

    Especially if we make top 4, it is well known that we have tons of money, plus the new puma sponsorship. If there is another summer of dithering and mediocre purchases, I think Arsenal fans would definitely start an organized lobby to make changes.

  18. Arsene's Nurse

    gonsterous April 15, 2014 14:36:18

    Why is it such a slow day in here ??
    ————————————————
    Because there are 2 posts today along with 2 comment sections so the comments are split between articles. It would have been wiser to close one of the comment sections.

  19. Adam Bucci

    wembley holds 90,000 people. ticket priority should go to the fans of the teams, give them 40,000 each

    10,000 is more than enough for the fa to give to corporations, radio stations and newspapers for giveaways

  20. eyemsick

    gonsterous April 15, 2014 14:36:18

    Why is it such a slow day in here ??

    N5 and gamba have “blocked” the pipe of pedro and the flow in this sewage is limited for the time….

    i think normal service will continue once big sam sets them straight

    🙂

  21. Johnty79

    You can tell the whole thing with gazidas about cup final tickets is a diversion tactic to take the heat off of wenger.

    C’mon west ham end our champs league participation next year…I say participation as that’s all we do. We never try to win it just be in.

    Wenger out ….pulis in.

  22. Mike adamski

    £9.80 a pint ?
    Really ??
    I thought it was £5.00 a pint ?

    I know I had had a few before I got the ground but I don’t remember that !!

    Faaaak that’s a rip off

  23. eyemsick

    any of you pondlife creatures going to the game ? bring your black bin bags, get in them , and throw yourselves in the trashcan…where you belong….

    and to further compile on your misery …… Arsene Wenger will stay for at least two more years

    Success story.

  24. Roaaary

    Just saw the extract in pirlos book about barca wanting to sign him. Pep openly telling him they were tapping him up.

    How them Spanish bastards get away with it il never know

  25. stevo

    They should keep a record of the season ticket fans who have attended the most cup games and do it on points basis who have attended most cup games.

  26. BacaryisGod

    This could be the irony of all ironies.

    For years we’ve been complaining about not winning a trophy and Arsene claiming that 4th is like a trophy. Finally this year we might actually win a real trophy and miss out on the Top 4 which would probably be far worse for the club in terms of player recruitment and retention than the other way round.

    If Arsene ever needed an excuse not to spend money, not qualifying for the Champions League will be his best one yet…..

  27. BacaryisGod

    Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta, Rosicky, Kallstrom, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.

    Fabianski, Bellerin, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Sanogo, Akpom.

    There was probably no choice here. Good to have Kozzer and Rosicky back though.

  28. BacaryisGod

    On another note, could this possibly be the slowest team Arsene has ever fielded? Did Gibbs break down again? He’s not even on the bench.

    If I’m a West Ham player, I wouldn’t be too worried about this team sheet. Arsenal without Ozil, Ramsey, Theo, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs and Wilshere are essentially a mid-table side.

    So much for our British core. They are all out or subs and the starting XI is all non-British.

  29. Roaaary

    Neville rightly tearing into arsenal. Very true words which were not spiteful just very clear why we will not succeed under wenger.

    That French pest is talking mental strength again. Taking mental strength advice from a Frenchman must be like is like financial advice from a hobo

  30. 124Toeknee

    There is always the case for A.W. to go. It seems, however, that to bring the club back to where most fans want it to be, a good clear out at the top is needed. It is obvious that since the departure of David Dein, A.W. has been allowed to assume a more all encompassing role at Arsenal. By the time they saw fit to employ Ivan Gazidis as C.E.O. Arsene was complete overlord. Over privileged, and had his dabs over everything, thus becoming a jack of all trades and a master of failure.
    There was always something lacking in A.W.s Utility Belt, and his failure to ever retain the title, or to even flex out results shows that he is not a motivator. We read it here that he doesn’t do prep. I am tired of A.W. He must go , But first it should be Stan. Then A.W. & I.G. could leave hand in hand.

  31. Bergkamp63

    Seem to be half the people on this blog & the other half on the first blog today ? Not sure why we’re having a separate blog for Payton ?

    I’ll head back over to the other one !

  32. jack

    Arsenal fans need to take Arsenal Fc to task for the rip off Ticket pricing policy more like.
    Paying big prices to watch the likes of Giroud is ridiculous.

  33. useroz

    Someone please show wenger where thhe exit is…..

    Fuck off

    The players were even furious about conceding…

    Giroud plays CB for West ham??? Fuck off with wenger.

  34. Craigy

    Fucking typical bull shit, wenger really has to leave this club, we are so fucking easy it’s unbelievable, west gam???? Haaaaa come the fuck on

  35. Johnty79

    Thank you god for finally ending forth place.

    None of those so called fans who go to the emirates deserve it any way the Akb’s turn on us real fans if we dare say wenger out.

    Well done west ham…we owe u won.

    What makes it even worse are the six last seasons have been a complete waste of time. Wenger should of left after the 2008-9 season with a half decent record behind him.

  36. Craigy

    Wonder how it’ll be before wenger subs podolski for scoring?? Get giroud off now, I’d rather see sanogo trot about than that Fucking hopeless giroud

  37. useroz

    Wenger must have been on viagra and cantt stand up…sat there like an idiot after we conceded. Not up once ….till HT. Shocking lack of leadership.

  38. Mike adamski

    Pod is such a good finisher . We should play 4-4-2 with him up front . Guarantee he would be putting hot holes in the onion bag a fuckload more than giroud .

  39. Mike adamski

    If Giroud stays this summer and Podolski leaves then that’ll be a huge cock up!

    Get giroud off he has been shit for months

  40. zeus

    Just seen the Poldi goal.

    Quite frankly, I think we need to move the bloke from the wings. Do away with this single CF, and have a pair play up there. That doesn’t mean 4-4-2, I don’t think that formation works in the modern game, but start playing a pair up there.

    Maybe even move Theo up there with him and get in a couple workmanlike speedy wingers.

  41. Arsene's Nurse

    SpanishDave April 15, 2014 20:28:08

    Why is Ozil seemingly small injury taking so long to heal.?
    ————————————————————————–
    I don’t think it was a “small” injury to begin with. He did his hamstring and reports from the game were he saw the German national physio at the ground who thought it looked bad.

    Physioroom have him pencilled in to return on 20th April. How accurate that is, we’ll just have to see.

  42. BillikenGooner

    I have a bad feeling we are going to put to the test everyone’s decisions in the “would you rather an FA Cup trophy or 4th?” debate over the last few seasons.

    I know I wanted a trophy, but man.. missing out on 4th will suck. but it might be the wake up call the club needs.

  43. Relieable sauce

    Another season a few choice signings might of seen us win the league, champions league, or at least fight it out til the latter stages.
    I find it hard to get excited about another scramble for the 4th placed trophy with yet another summer of BS, PR from a bunch of greedy bankers that are not interested in football, being defended by the AKB, idiots & even the likes of Pedro.
    When will this nightmare end???
    My local team sucks!

    We want our Arsenal back!!!

    WENGER OUT!!!

    GAZIDAS OUT!!!

    KRONKE OUT!!!

  44. Toli83

    Reliable sauce,

    Frustrating isn’t it. In reality the likelihood is;

    Wenger 2 extension and pay rise
    Gazidis gets his biggest bonus yet
    Kronke more revenue from cup win and 4th again plus sponsorship deals.

    Anyone else feel like throwing up?

  45. Ofebs

    …good win, happy for the team, especially after that gruelling game at Wembley.

    That Ramsey assists tells what we have been missing, an intelligent midfielder who can pick a pass. Cazorla dribbles well but lacks that little bit of superlative intelligence to lift him from good to excellent; same with Rosicky, Arteta, Chambo and Wilshere…

    Hopefully the team can build momentum into the FA Cup final. Being out of the champion’s league won’t be so bad if it reminds the Club that they have been negligent in investing in the squad…

  46. Relieable sauce

    Toli 2105

    Your probably right.The offer is there for AW apparently & it seems the fanbase are content enough, its just whether he can handle another 2 seasons of the pressure. Can’t see JM letting up on him & i think some in the press have turned.
    What’s worrying is that some do seem to have jumped to an “oh well thats Arsenal” response, rather than, What is happening at Arsenal?, How did things get to be like this? Is it good for a football club?

    I think we’ll need to finish top 4 for Wenger to sign, he’s ego couldn’t handle uefa cup football : /

  47. John

    Will someone with more football smarts than me please explain why our illustrious manager doesn’t START Podolski over the Giraffe up front? I mean the only thing Podolski does is SCORE and I thought that was the purpose of the match???????

  48. Jake

    John

    Because we’ve tried that and its worse. Podolski is awful as a striker. He’s so bad that you don’t notice how bad he is because you forget that he’s playing. At least when Giroud has a shocker we can all see it because he’s still putting himself about and competing for balls but losing them. Podolski doesn’t even compete for them. He doesn’t move. I can’t wait for the day when this idea of Podolski as a striker dies out. He’s a good LW against lower sides but he shouldn’t be first choice and shouldn’t even be an option for ST.

  49. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    If diaby plays in World Cup ( he won’t)

    His contract should be ripped up

    He is an basil outlet joke but what you expect when the the puppet master is a rap shagging tax avoiding odious French man?

  50. AA23

    Good win, well deserved
    Change your ways or fuck off.
    Even with a limited team he can attack like the best of them
    Get a support staff that know the game or move on

    Your loyal fan
    AA23

  51. Charlie Boy

    Can’t understand the criticism for their first goal, it was a fluke FFS.

    After that, we bossed the game and scored 3 cracking, well made goals.

    Glad the see Ramsey getting back to his sublime best.

    Great performance overall tinged with mental strength.

    Keep it going Arsenal and let’s put those 2 trophies in the cabinet – FA Cup & 4th

    COYG!!!

  52. bergkamplegend

    John : “Will someone with more football smarts than me please explain why our illustrious manager doesn’t START Podolski over the Giraffe up front?”

    John, Wenger will do anything to get rid of poldi this summer.

    And l’Oreal awesome goal last night will only comfort him in his choice : “you saw what goal giroud has scored, and you keep asking me why he’s my favourite striker ???”

    RIP Poldi at the AFC, it will be a sad summer for his fans…