Dear Mr Gold and Mr Sullivan,
I refer to your letter to me on the 19th May when you laid out your ten point plan for the future of the club I have supported since I was 5 years old, and one where for the past 11 seasons I have had a season ticket. At the time, with the season just about to end I decided not to believe your “story” and decline to renew my season tickets.
I put up with almost weekly emails encouraging me to renew my seat despite asking to be removed from your mailing list. Did you comply with my request in accordance with the Data Protection Act? No – you simply sent me twice as many. You emailed me at 3.30pm on Wednesday 23rd June telling me that Scottie Parker was “committed” and why hadn’t I. I remember it exactly at that time as it was slap bang in the middle of me watching England’s game versus Slovenia.
So now with the season ticket deadline passed there are hints that Parker may indeed be sold to finance more overseas “stars” such as Mokoena, Piquionne or Barrera – hang on did you not say in point 4 that you would “clear the debt?” How exactly are you going to do that by bringing in such journeymen? But I know your answer…
Today I decided to buy my tickets for the first games of the season. As a member I get to buy my tickets at a “members” discount before the general public. So I went online, added 1 x Adult seat and 1 x child seat for 10 year old Lolly. To say that I spilt my tea when it came to the “check out” was an understatement. £81 for two tickets…and that is the cheapest tickets in the house. £51 for me, £28 for a 10 year old and then you have the cheek to add £2 for an Admin fee – what exactly is that for? Are you not ripping me off enough? Should I wish to sit in one of the more “expensive” seats I would be paying £69 and £37 respectively. £37 for a child. What planet do you live on? How exactly is it “making it enjoyable to come and watch?” or even point 5 – “member benefits will be improved”
I travel each week to and from Copenhagen – a wonderful city and recently named as one of the top 5 expensive cities in the world to live in. Do you know what I can buy for £37 for my daughter there? Well how about a ticket to the cinema, entrance to Tivoli Gardens theme park, lunch or even a flight to get there in the first place. How can you justify charging £37 for a child’s ticket? And nearly £70 for an adults ticket – you do know that is more than a ticket for the Champions League Final, the Europa League Final and even two categories of seats at the World Cup in South Africa. So I could have got a seat for Portugal v Brazil in the World Cup finals for 20% less than a ticket for West Ham v Chelsea.
Can I ask a simple question? Do you feel that these prices give value for money, or are you simply doing this to reduce the debt? I wouldn’t mind if you came out and said “we need to clear the debt so we have to charge you and arm and a leg” but instead you try and justify it with marketing blurb. I realised last season that despite being a West Ham fan, I actually have a choice. I do not have to pay these ridiculous sums anymore. I have taken the £189 I would have paid for tickets for the three games and bought a season ticket to Lewes FC in the Blue Square South, which includes a FREE child’s ticket and then given the remaining £50 to my wife to spend on a new handbag.
The next generation of football fans are the likes of my 10 year old and you are driving them away from the club with your pricing policy. There will be no one to fill that void in years to come and that is because of the decisions you are making today. But then again, I expect fans like me to be around long after you have moved on to your next project.
I am sure you don’t actually care that you have lost two more fans. I do not spend money in the stadium on the average overpriced fayre you serve up. I do not buy the propoganda match day programme and I do not buy toasters that print WHU on my bread so in that respect I am not your ideal fan. But I am a true fan and you simply cannot see that, mores the pity.
One day you will see the light.
The Ball is Round