Aston Villa consultation on away tickets

Following the first meeting on away ticketing, the club held a second consultation on 27th July.

David Michael (AVST national liaison director and editor of My Old Man Said) again represented AVST as well as other members of the Supporters Consultation Group.

Here are the matters that were discussed at the meeting.

6 Fan representatives: John Holder, Mark McFarland, David Michael, Steve Todd, Anthony Willis & Steve Gough

Club representatives: Nicola Keye & Lee Preece

Apologies: John Perks & PC Stuart Bladen

  • First issue raised was concerning disabled supporters and those in the disabled ticket away scheme. There are two matches this season (QPR & Fulham) where the allocation of tickets does not meet the number in the scheme. It has been suggested a ballot would take place to see who gets to go, and the question was asked if it would be fairer to allocate based on the number of games attended and / or those that have sent back the fewest returns. The club felt this would be fairer and will investigate accordingly.
  • The club was also asked to look in to the provision of free travel for personal assistants on coaches (to be in line with ticket policies). Again, the club agreed to look in to this.
  • It was suggested that there should be disabled supporter representation at these meetings. The club will ensure this happens, and will see if anyone in the away scheme would be prepared to represent the interests of disabled fans who travel away.
  • A discussion was held to show how the Sheffield Wednesday allocation had developed from 2,000 to 4,000 and that in an ideal world, we would have known from the outset what the allocation would have been so the sale of tickets could have been planned more smoothly. The club is greatly appreciative of the allocation from Sheffield Wednesday, allowing over 4,000 Villans to support the team at Hillsborough.
  • Potential future allocations identified as
    • Bristol City 2,500 (£30)
    • Ipswich Town 2,089 (£32.50)
    • Barnsley could be 5,700
    • Preston North End could be 5,500
  • The next discussion was around on-line ticketing, and using on-line to help the club cope with the sale of larger away allocations. The club is aware of a number of issues with the on-line ticketing platform, particularly for those looking to book larger groups. It was noted that not everyone had encountered problems with the system and it was working well. There have been more issues the club is working on since the last upgrade. It was suggested that video tutorials on how to book could be useful. It was also suggested that out of hours exclusive booking windows may help ease demand. The majority of internet use is before work and during the evenings, so perhaps having exclusive on-line booking windows for certain criteria would be a good way forward. The exclusive on-line windows raised concerns on account of some of the issues being encountered at present. A further concern was raised that exclusive on-line windows may prejudice those without PC access, particularly when nearing sell outs. It was also suggested that if the club is looking to use on-line sales to help cope with demand, then the removal of booking fees would be a good incentive.
  • The group discussed the conduct of our fans on the road, and how this will be a key element of our continuing to receive larger allocations from clubs throughout the season. Any help from groups or individuals with self-policing has been greatly appreciated, as is our fans media sites helping push messages for fans to behave. Whilst we want the loudest and most vocal away following in the league, it is important that our visits to other stadia respect the facilities and the personnel on duty – don’t risk future allocations and the support we can give the team.
  • The question was raised as to whether any reciprocal deals had been struck yet, and that Newcastle may be a good opportunity as they may be a club willing to participate. No reciprocal deals have been struck as of yet.
  • On the e-ticket information page, it was asked if the option to filter between home or away ticketing appeared on the 1st page. The club agreed this will be looked at.
  • A frustration that had been raised to the group by many fans concerned the request (when calling the ticket office) for email / phone information at the beginning of the call. The club confirmed this practice had stopped three days ago, as it recognised the time being lost with calls waiting.
  • The allocation for Burton Albion was queried – too early to confirm but the club is in contact and monitoring their situation.
  • A query was raised in relation to on the day sales – if we did not sell out would a club sell on the day? The clubs preference would be to ensure all sales are transacted via the ticket office in advance. There are a number of risks involved in selling on the day. For example, there is no control on the numbers who may attend, and on the day sales also offer those subject to banning orders etc. an opportunity to discredit the clubs reputation on the road.
  • With regards to sales criteria, the question was asked if we know that everyone with three or more matches on their booking history, why don’t we go on sale for everyone that qualifies as opposed to selling in tranches. The club explained we know exactly how many fans qualify for each tranche, and by staggering the sale it helps us manage the numbers who can purchase on any one day to give those that qualify the best opportunity we can to use the e-ticketing or call to purchase, and for us to help them if any queries or issues arise.
  • In relation to Blues away, it was raised that other clubs involved in certain matches had arranged coach travel as being the only way fans could access matches, and would this be a possibility for Blues as a means of maintaining order. It is highly unlikely this would happen which was welcomed by the group.
  • Again, the club would like to place on record our appreciation for the fans that gave up their time on Tuesday evening and for their valuable contribution to the discussions.
  • The next meeting will be held in early September.

If there are any specific ticketing issues that you would like to raise with the Club please email [email protected].