Ticketing – doing the best they can

Tickets, or more specifically the lack of them, seems to be the topic of the day. Most of social media comments seem completely oblivious to the fact we have a vital game at Barrow tomorrow night, everyone is focused on our showcase (and partly irrelevant) clash with Brighton on Saturday.

The last time I commented on tickets I got a few private messages effectively saying ‘you would be pro-club wouldn’t you’. I defended the four tickets per season ticket holder, and I stand by that defence. Looking back perhaps ten per average Joe was a bit excessive, but very few people I know missed out on the replay.

This time around the club offered a priority voucher system, and after one day of season ticket holders queuing that system comes into play. Once again, despite this being only our fourth FA Cup 4th round tie ever, some sections of our ‘support’ are up in arms. I’ve seen words such as ‘farce’ and ‘joke’ bandied about today, although they are outweighed by posts praising the club’s approach. I’m going to (unsurprisingly) add my voice to those supporting the club.

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Celebrating a fine win, fifteen minutes before the moaning started

 

First and foremost, if you are a 100% die hard fan, one who works full time and loves the Imps then you should have bought a season ticket in the summer. I didn’t, many others didn’t but a season ticket does give you first crack at one off matches should we have a cup run. I know the past forty years haven’t really seen massive cup ties, and those who did buy tickets have basically won a 40-1 outside bet this season. Fair play for putting their money where their heart was back in July.

I’m not belittling those who didn’t, by the way. Very few young people have £250 to splash out on a season ticket, and therefore they have to buy game to game. I know not every household has the income to buy a season ticket aswell, or some people have work commitments. I appreciate that, but those with disposable incomes and a so-called dedication to City would have benefitted from backing us when we needed it in July. As I’ve said I didn’t, and I’ve learned my lesson. In my defence I was working every Saturday morning and I didn’t think I’d get to every game. Eventually I jacked the job anyway, City are more important. Even that doesn’t guarantee me a ticket.

It seems a lot of the negative comments are from people who are adversely affected by the current ticket scheme. Again, I am one who suffers as I now work full time in (don’t judge me) Cleethorpes and I don’t have the time to sit on the phone either. If I did I wouldn’t get through first time, right? It’s appalling isn’t it, the club not having ten or fifteen dedicated phone lines for tickets?

Well no, it isn’t. Funnily enough an FA Cup 4th Round tie with Brighton might attract a good crowd, but I’m not so sure our run of the mill games are quite as popular. Will we see queues around the ground for Welling away? No? What about Macclesfield at home? The phone certainly wasn’t ringing off the hook when Sutton visited earlier in the season.

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Bringing out the best in our proper fans. Respect.

 

The usual volume of calls warrants the number of phone lines we currently have, only an absolute moron would suggest we install more lines (at significant cost) just so him and his part-time mates can get tickets for the big game.

Similarly why can’t the club sell tickets into the night, right? Well if you do the maths you’ll work out that they can sell the ground out by opening the ticket office during normal hours, so why pay extra staff? It’s okay saying things like ‘I’d volunteer to sell tickets’, but do you know how the ticketing system works? Have you already got intimate knowledge of the computer system the club use? No? Then you’d be as much use as a nun’s ovaries I’m afraid, you’d stand around looking blank while harassed staff tried to serve customers and explain to you for the tenth time what buttons to press.

Everyone has a theory on how the club could ensure ‘proper’ fans get a ticket, but what is a proper fan? I’ve seen faces this season that I haven’t seen in a long while, should they miss out just because they became so disillusioned under Tilson and Holdsworth? Should I miss out because I moved away for eighteen months? What classes as a proper fan these days?

The fact is the club have done everything they reasonably can to try and ensure that die-hard fans get their tickets. No scheme is fool proof, no scheme keeps everyone happy and unfortunately I sense once again some fans will miss out. I dearly hope not, I hope Karl Beech gets a ticket this time, I hope Linda Hodson doesn’t have to wait for a last minute competition win too.

The only thing I think the club should have done is sent someone into the away end at Gateshead ten days ago and handed out match tickets to the 169 who travelled to that game. I was there, but to clarify I wouldn’t have benefitted as I was in the other end. However, it is those 169 people who should without a doubt get to watch the Imps in 4th round action for the first time in a generation. It’s easy to sit here and write it though isn’t it? Just like it is as easy to write about what a farce the situation is, instead of finding a way to get to Sincil Bank for 5am tomorrow morning, brave the cold and the long wait, and actually get a ticket for the game using your priority voucher, or your season ticket, or your junior red imps members ticket.

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Gateshead away. For those who have only just got on the bandwagon, our away kit is green.

 

If you don’t have any of those, then I’m afraid on this occasion you’re going to miss out. It doesn’t make you less of a fan (unless the only game you’ve been to this season is Ipswich at home, then you’re less of a fan), it doesn’t make the club the enemy, it just means next season maybe you’ll think about getting your arse to a few games earlier in the season.

I’d wager if Danny and Nicky are still around next year, you’ll start seeing priority vouchers appear in the match day programme throughout the autumn. It’d be a great way to shift more programmes, and reward those who go to more game, or who are willing to spend hours on eBay.

When the fourth round draw took place I prayed for an unfashionable match away at either; a club with a 60,000 capacity stadium, or some back water nobody wanted to travel too. I knew this negativity would rear it’s had, I knew my football club would come in for some unjust criticism on social media, and I knew the tie would attract indignant fans who have barely stepped foot in the ground for ten years. Frankly I’ve had enough bad vibes from Sincil Bank between 2009-2014 to last a lifetime, none of us need even more just as we’re getting good. Part of me still hopes that the run ends on Saturday, because maybe then we can concentrate on winning this tin pot league and maybe taking the FA Trophy with us. Maybe then those fans only interested in TV cameras and the romance of the cup can bugger off back to their armchairs, leaving the ‘Carshalton away’ crew to carry on supporting City through thick and thin.

Mind you the red and white in me obviously hopes we stuff the Seagulls on Saturday, and advance to the fifth round for the first time ever in the modern era. Then please, please let us play somewhere like Man United away so half of Lincoln can go without all this bloody arguing.

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14 thoughts on “Ticketing – doing the best they can

  1. As ever – agree with almost all you say – my only twitch came with reference to non season ticket holders as ‘Average Joes’. My son and I don’t have season tickets but I can send photos of me at Welling last time we played at their pitch in the park. (Not much of an Impvasion that night I can promise you!). I’ll be at Solihull next week and I’ve taken time off work to drive 80 miles through the fog to queue at 7 tomorrow morning to use priority voucher I got with Dover tickets I bought even though I couldn’t go to Dover game!
    I think the club are doing brilliantly to handle all the extra work that comes with our success and as fans we should be more appreciative and supportive than some are.
    I have no wonderful suggestions but it would be good if the club could find some way of giving those of us who live a long way away (and probably get to more away games than home games simply because of geography) some recognition – maybe some kind of out of county fan membership?
    Hopefully the success continues so the club can continue to develop experience and fine tune arrangements for these big occasions! UTI – and keep up the great blogging!

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  2. I got a ticket through a season ticket holder for the Ipswich game and it may have been my first game this season (can’t remember) I don’t class myself as a hardcore fan but I always follow the imps (accumulator on bet365 including Lincoln getting promoted proving my point). You know me well enough to know my pedigree Gary and I’d give priority to every member of the 617 for the outstanding support they give!

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  3. Gary, I am one of the people classed as ‘moaners’. I am a season ticket holder and have been for several seasons, I bought mine in May before the Cowleys had been muted and started weaving there magic, which I am highly delighted with. The fact of the matter is yesterday despite being promised priority on all tickets for big games, we were queuing for tickets for 3 1/2 – 4 hours with other fans who had bought Bob’s Bakers Dozen and 6 Pack tickets, so in fact we were not given that priority. In my opinion not for the first time the club has let the season ticket holders down, last time against Ipswich they gave us a couple of days to get our tickets, this time 1 day and a 2 ticket maximum would of sufficed. I know me and you did not see eye to eye on other discussions regarding the FPS but this is another example of the club reneging on deals given to season ticket holders, no matter how you want to try and spin it, it is brilliant we are getting the crowds and results, I like you cannot wait for us to get of this league, which I’m confident and hopeful we will, we want to be encouraging people to buy season tickets, yesterdays events will not.

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      • Gary, this game has been treated differently to the Ipswich game, hence my complaint and suggestion of what should of been done. We were given priority for the Ipswich game and 2 tickets is enough for me.

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    • James, I hear what you are saying and I have no problem at all with season ticket holders getting priority – they show their commitment and so they deserve their reward.
      The point I would ask you to consider though is that being a season ticket holder is not the only way to show dedication. I’ve travelled160 mile round trip starting at 5 this morning and queued 6.5 hours in the freezing cold today (and am very happy to have done so – no moaning from me) and stood with hundreds of non season ticket holders to get our priority tickets. And most of us have perfectly valid reasons for not having season tickets but are still life long dedicated Imps fans. Talking in the queue this morning, loads of us work weekends (or gave partners who do so we have to take our share of childcare). Lots of us (like me and the guy earlier in the chain) live many miles away meaning it is impossible to get back for every game, (although I bet most of us who live away go to more away matches than most season ticket holders)
      And that’s before we starting talking about financial priorities.
      As I say, no problem with priority for season ticket holders – but other fans do what they can and matter too!

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      • Gary, in your blog you state that if you buy a season ticket ‘you get first crack of the whip’, this is not the case and my reason for ‘moaning’ as you put it. I queued up alongside Bob’s Bakers Dozen and Six Pack holders, if you look on the redimps.com, whilst it is stated on the ST details you get priority, it does NOT state it on the others, so please if someone has a genuine reason for complaint like I do, don’t label them mnoaners, also maybe check the facts before writing your blogs.

        Julian-I would not question any fans loyalty if they do not have a season ticket, I go to a lot of away matches myself so also travel to watch us, but a deal is a deal, if the club says we will get priority we should get just taht.

        As I correctly stated before, once again the club has let season ticket holders down.

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      • You had a complaint three months ago James, you’ve just been waiting for a scenario to fit. I got bored with your negativity last time, and I’m getting there again. I’m labelling people who moan as moaners, which I think is fair. You have a right to moan, but by doing so you become a moaner. I was aware the Bakers Dozen and Six Pack purchasers were queuing as well, whether that was right or not…. Maybe not. However, one person who had an issue with what I wrote personally messaged me for a chat. That person hadn’t moaned earlier in the season about the FPS which is what you did. Moan once, it can pass but moaning twice really does make you a moaner.

        I don’t want to fall out as I didn’t earlier in the year, but my blog was fact checked. You did get first crack of the whip (as you did for the two Ipswich games), but on this occasion it wasn’t exclusive.

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  4. I’ve lived in and away from Lincoln and was unlucky enough to be able to make almost all home games during a stretch from 2011 to 2014.

    These were, I’m sure we’ll agree, not good years to be able to do that.

    Now I live down in London and manage most away games in the south east and a few home games. I obsess over every minute piece of news that comes out of the club. So I’ve done my fair share of moaning about bandwagon jumpers. Where were THEY for Gateshead at home in 13/14?

    They weren’t there of course, because it was terrible. The football was awful, we regularly lost to teams I’d never heard of until our relegation, it was not fun, there was no hope. There was no reason to go.

    So I can’t get that annoyed about all this. If you think it’s annoying having to queue for tickets, imagine how much worse it’d be if we’d beaten Ipswich last week in front of national, free-to-air telly and the same 2,500 people who’ve always shown up to games. It’s actually great that you’ve got to fight for a ticket now, it means something is happening.

    See you all at SB on Saturday. And at Welling the week after.

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  5. Well if you are labeling me a moaner Gary Hutchinson then you are an ignoramus, even when the point is proved you simply chose to ignore the facts put in front of you. Three months ago I explained myself and proved myself right with facts and figures and once again I refer to the club website and you chose to ignore to make your story look good, point proven.

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  6. I am stating the facts Gary, you are the one ignoring them, I have only met you once as well Gary (long time ago) so actually I’m not your ‘pal’.

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