Generally speaking this ugly old beast doesn’t raise its head from beyond the old shed walls too often during a season, but when it does then boy do we know about it. Of course you guessed it, I’m talking “LOYALTY” points.
So let’s look at the word loyalty first of all:
Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause (Philosophers disagree as to what things one can be loyal to).
So in our case our devotion and faithfulness to Chelsea Football Club is measured on a points scoring system defined by the powers that be at this club.
Whenever a big game occurs generally towards the end of a season and with a possible trophy or two in sight then the club decide on their scale who the most loyal supporters are and rightfully ensure that the most loyal are in attendance come the big match.
Now I can see you all shaking your heads and tutting from behind your computer screen as we all know and have found out again this week that the loyalty point system is flawed and requires changing.
This week saw probably the worst case of disloyalty shown my Chelsea towards the loyal fan base we have with the tickets to our most important game of the season being sold to a member who has been “loyal” by buying a membership before the end of July (5 point bonus) and then one FA Cup/Carling Cup home game. Where as a home season ticket holder who has only been to home league games was denied the chance of the same match ticket.
The way the club split the tickets 60/40 was always going to become problematic sooner rather than later and personally I feel it should be 65/35. You may be sat there assuming which category I fall into so I will tell you, I’m currently an away season ticket holder which means I also have to purchase the home membership package and have 56 loyalty points up to today.
I first feared that this would not allow me to purchase a ticket for next Tuesdays second leg. How wrong that turned out to be! I wonder how many people I will recognise at Old Trafford on Tuesday who were at the Cross Channel trophy match. My father was at that match but being a season ticket holder on 82 points missed out on this game however my son on 10 points could quite happily have made Old Trafford his second game of the season.
So I propose a few things to stop this happening again which some or you may agree with and others you won’t.
- Loyalty points are on a rolling season to season basis starting from the 2011/12 season meaning if somebody has been to all 38 games home and away in 2011/12 season and he breaks his leg and cant get to one in 2012/13 he still stands a chance of getting a ticket to a final or important fixture due to his previous loyalty. This also has an effect if for example most of our away games in premiership were outside London for a season with no west ham, Fulham and them two being replace with Middlesbrough and Carlisle.
- Loyalty points should be awarded at the ground where the match is being held similar to how England award their cap system i.e. if you sell your ticket to the game you cannot gain the points as you have to produce photo ID at the venue to receive the points. Simple system of name on ticket and driving licence or passport being shown to a steward matching then you gain a code which you enter online to redeem a “loyalty” point. Also Viagogo won’t then allow season ticket holders the points if they sell tickets. This would then mean that season ticket holder’s points aren’t added all at once at the beginning of the season so in effect he could have the same points as a season ticket holder. However places such as clubcfcnet would lose out on the spares section as their are genuine fans who cannot make games for genuine reason BUT there are also some who buy all tickets they can just to gain points for the “bigger” games.
- Loyalty points for each home match should be 1 point and should not be increased to 5 or 8 etc as has been done by the club in the past to boost ticket sales. All away matches should be a level 3 points across the board and European games the same.
- The 60/40 split remains in place; however member’s tickets and season ticket holders are reversed so that any unsold tickets from members after a period of say 3 days and quite high loyalty points go on sale to season ticket holders with the same points. This would have helped numerous people for the Manchester United match on Tuesday. To give you an example if after the third members drop this time to 52 points or less the tickets should then go back on sale to season ticket holders. Or if point two is implemented then there would be no need for a spilt as if effect at any point in the season a member can have the same amount of points as a season ticket holder. This would then make tickets available to fans with 80 points or more and all have a fair shot at it.
- For smaller allocations such as Blackpool then the first 2000 fans to reach a level of points set by the club say 50 they then get a ticket to Blackpool and if they refuse the ticket it goes to the next person on the list and so on.
These are just one mans opinion and I know we could survey 45,000 people and all give different solutions to the Chelsea ticket policy problems, but its clear now that something needs to be changed.
At the very least that virtual waiting room needs to be replaced with something similar to other models which can show you which position in the queue you actually are!!!
“Please be patient and let the ticket page refresh on its own” doesn’t quite wash with me!