Often Partisan

Queues

As Birmingham City’s date with Arsenal at Wembley Stadium draws closer, the eligibility required to purchase a ticket becomes less restricted and the queues get longer. Today saw an estimated four thousand plus tickets sold for the Blues trip to North London, and the queues for tomorrow’s sales have already begun.

I must admit, I’m not envious of the ticket staff at St Andrews at the moment. Hours the last few days have been incredibly long and no doubt tempers have been frayed and stress levels raised when problems occur. The club has without doubt tried their hardest to make distribution of tickets as fair as possible, and whilst there have been some complaints I think that they’ve done their best to ensure everyone who deserves a ticket will get one.

With another home cup tie in the FA Cup Quarter-finals against Bolton, there is a possibility that for the second time in six weeks Blues will be making the trip to Wembley. If that happens, I believe the club and the fans must do their best to ensure that ticket sales for that match are smoother than this time. I thought I’d outline some ideas below for you guys to shoot down.

1) At the start of the season, the club told the supporters forum that it was important people got their tickets logged to the right reference number – this was originally with regards to away purchases so that people were banded correctly for the 2011/12 season. However, it applies for Wembley too; if you’re going to games it’s important if you don’t get tickets for yourself that the person who does makes sure one of the tickets is allocated to your reference number.

2) With that in mind, a suggestion from @kristoff1875 on smallheathalliance.com would be a good idea. A small card with a barcode issued to fans when they purchase a ticket for the first time to be topped up every time they buy a new ticket. Thus purchase history will be much clearer for the club to see; and the onus is very much on the fans to ensure that their card is topped up properly to show when they’ve been to a game.

3) I think it would also be wise for the club to work out what will be the busiest days people will be purchasing tickets (first Season Ticket Holder day etc); ensure that this doesn’t a) fall on a match day and b) doesn’t fall on a Sunday (trading laws being a pain) and maybe if it’s a stub holder day spread it over two days. For instance, with the current sales the Gold/Silver/Bronze could probably have been done in one day; likewise the 5/4 stub holder; whereas 2 days eligibility for the 2 and 1 stub holders would have made queues a bit shorter.

4) A separate phone line purely for tickets for Wembley would be a good idea; people were maybe put off from calling about problems because they couldn’t get through. Likewise, dedicating a temp or similar to handle email queries from a script mightn’t be a bad idea; the majority of email problems could probably be resolved quickly which will give the club more goodwill.

Sarah Gould, Wendy Monks and the Ticket Office staff have done well the last week; and rightly can feel proud of their efforts. I hope the club could maybe have a think of how to make it easier for them and the fans in the future as Blues get more used to success!

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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