By Tony Attwood
You know that great thing that Arsenal do with the league cup – charging just £10 and £20 for tickets. It never gets coverage in the press, no one points out what a great deal it is…
Now compare and contrast with the much wealthier Manchester United. They insist that season ticket holders buy tickets for every cup match whether they want them or not. If you don’t pay up then your season ticket gets suspended.
At the same time Man U has teamed up with Global Forex and Online Financial Trading (for reasons that escape me, but they have)
Manchester United said in a press release that the company was chosen because of its “shared values of transparency and trust”, offering customers “the ability to take their finances into their own hands”.
Hmmmm. An interesting comparison with Arsenal, and one that has not really made the headlines much. Or at all. One or two papers have covered what Man U are doing. None has contrasted with Arsenal over the issue of cup matches (where we have the choice of whether we buy them or not after the first six that are included in the season ticket price.)
So Manchester United warned its season-ticket holders that they had to buy a seat for the FA Cup replay against Cambridge United. If they didn’t their season ticket would be suspended and their seat sold to someone else for the next home match.
Now this approach is not secret. The terms and conditions that the club impose clearly says it can do this, just as clearly as Arsenal’s says that league cup matches are not included in the season ticket price.
Of course Manchester United has a defence. Which is, “we’ve been doing it like this for two years.” And it is in the terms and conditions.
While the press like to contrast the cost of season tickets at Arsenal and at Man U the fact is that Arsenal’s ticket prices includes cup games, but not the league cup, and there is no obligation to buy other cup matches.
Worse the ticket office phone line at Man U is one of the old style where you can hold on for half an hour or more. Of course as a season ticket holder at Arsenal I don’t have to call them, but when I did call earlier in the season to get tickets for an away game, I got through on two rings. Can’t say that is always the case, but it was impressive on that day.
Contrary to popular belief I don’t believe that everything Arsenal does is right, and there are a few battles I am involved in with the club to try and get it to change. But I do think we ought to accept that sometimes Arsenal does do it better than others.
Anniversary of the day
15 March 1884: Birth of Leslie Knighton – one of Arsenal’s least successful managers, and the man who for sixty years led historians astray with a stream of wholly inaccurate claims and false tales about Sir Henry Norris in his autobiography.
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