by Tony Attwood
As you may have guessed I am not actually a season ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur, but rather I lend my support to a club playing at the other end of Seven Sisters Road.
And it has been interesting to see just what Arsenal are saying in relation to tickets and next season, and compare that to what Tottenham has sent out to its fans.
Arsenal’s statement for fans has been straightforward and to the point, and seems to me, at least, very clear:
“As previously stated, supporters will be entitled to a credit or refund for any match tickets or hospitality they have already purchased for future behind-closed doors matches in the 2019/20 season. Whether as part of a season ticket or for an individual match, supporters will be offered a credit for next season or a refund. This behind-closed doors credit will be in addition to the two unused cup credits already due to general admission season ticket holders.
“The process to credit/refund supporters who have purchased match tickets and or hospitality for these fixtures will begin immediately. Full details and timings will be communicated directly to fans.
“Information regarding season ticket and membership renewals for next season will be updated as soon as we have more clarity on future possible timings of the 2020/21 season.”
So we have the choice of adding credits to our season tickets for the missed home games, or having the money back. Because we paid for two more Cup matches than we got at Arsenal stadium we already have two other credits. Good news all round.
Additionally, as a season ticket holder of the older variety, I’ve had a personal phone call from the box office, asking how I was keeping, which I thought was nice. It is just possible that they were seeking information about whether I’d had the virus, but I doubt it given the way the conversation went, and given that it was early on in the lock down.
I’ve also been given vouchers that have allowed me to watch Arsenal home games on Sky and BT. Again I don’t think they went to everyone, and I know some have expressed annoyance at that, but I’m not sure of the validity of the argument that says, if we can’t all have the free passes then no one should. Isn’t it actually a good thought of the club to help its older supporters? It’s not as if we get a discount on our tickets when we go into a match, and most of us have a lifetime of supporting the club and going to matches. So why not a little reward for a lifetime of going to Arsenal?
The Tottenham process obviously doesn’t affect me at all, and obviously they have many more problems than Arsenal do. The stadium debt is huge, and extra money has had to be borrowed, and of course they have many more people who having been in the ground for a while are now wanting to change their seats for next season.
But what really struck me was their desire to get part of the annual ticket payment for season tickets for next year now, and above all using mobile devices as a way of entering the stadium rather than one’s membership card.
This approach is being promoted as a way of reducing ticket touting. Perhaps because I have been around a long time and my own company has some involvement with the digital industry, I am suspicious.
My phone gives access to a lot of my personal data which I don’t necessarily want to share with others. Using my phone to gain access to the stadium then potentially gives the club access to my personal details, which I might not wish to give them.
Let me give an example. Older people are more likely to be particularly ill if they get the virus, so it is only one step on for a club to say “no one over 60 to attend the matches – FOR YOUR OWN GOOD”. Personally I would sooner decide what is for my own good.
Tottenham suggest that this approach will reduce ticket touting, protect supporters’ health, understand who is inside the ground, and reduce ticket touting outside the ground.
All very laudable, except for one thing. The cheapest mobile phones on the open market now cost under £5, and since touts make far more than £5 profit per ticket, they can easily load the code into the phone. (Plus, buy those phones in bulk and they are under £1 each). What’s more this makes it even MORE attractive for the naive to buy from a tout because they will be saying, “and you get a free phone”.
Additionally the alcohol that you want to buy will be bought through your mobile phone. Will the club pass on details of how much alcohol you bought to your car insurance company? Or your employer?
It might seem unlikely, but personally I like to be in charge of the information that I give out. Having experienced a few security breaches and knowing a few journalists, I just feel safer that way.
After all, if a journalist can make up a totally wild a wacky story about how Santi Caz being a top scorer in Spain, and how if he was still at Arsenal we’d be much higher up the league, just think of what he could make up if he had access to the data on my phone. Or come to that, your phone.
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- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
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- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP