It’s summer, the season starts very soon. What’s going on with away tickets? As the great Brian Wilson says – “God Only Knows”. This is the latest news on away tickets – make of it what you will.
The lyrics of God Only Knows are a very fitting description of what Leeds United means to us. Leeds United is a massive chunk of our lives and has been for some time. I’ll put the snippet in for those heretics amongst you who don’t know who The Beach Boys are: (thanks to google for the lyrics)
I have a love / hate relationship with Leeds United, like so many of us. Whilst it has been the source of much despair, frustration and downright anger over the last 30+ years (longer for others), it has also been instrumental in some of the happiest and most cherished moments of my life. Leeds United has driven me to drink to drown my sorrows, but also been the catalyst to some of the most drunken celebrations known to man. You only have to look at the joyousness in Millenium Square after we got promoted to see the wondrous nature of the good times at our beloved football club. And we are at the good times right now. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
These blogs are just the written views of one, ok maybe two, loyal fans. I’m not the loyalest by any stretch of the imagination, and I don’t pretend to be. I never made it to Myanmar and pre season friendlies are not my biggest priority in life. Leeds United already takes 10 and a half months of my life, I need 6 weeks off for a rest! Running a branch is difficult. You don’t choose it, it chooses you. Bit like a cat really.
The biggest, most stressful part of running a branch?
In a way, it is good that away tickets is such a problem. Why? Well, in the greater scheme of things, it means that Leeds are doing well. No one wants an away ticket when we are crap, look at Villa not so long since, when they were letting you pay on the gate on the night. So, when it comes to the “greater good” – woo hoo the good times are here!
The flipside? How long have we got? I’m going to spare you the argument for loyal v free for alls – everything that can be said, has been said, mostly on this website! Just go back in the annals and you can just enjoy it all again.
So, let’s just get on with it. Let’s digest the away ticketing policy.
Firstly, it wasn’t a surprise that Leeds United decided to change the policy after last season, actually not last season as we never got to see any of the games, so in truth season 2019/20. If I was to be honest, the away ticket issues started after we picked up when Christiansen was still here. Granted, there were always the odd games when we struggled with tickets when we were a bit rubbish. Going down to Division 3 meant a few new grounds, so the ones who just wanted to tick off a new ground, as opposed to the ones who actually wanted to watch us play, were giving us problems then. It happens every time we get a team who we haven’t played before. You turn up and people you haven’t seen for years all of a sudden are there. Salford was a recent one. Paucity of the usual crowd, quite a few long lost faces – who knew?
I digress, what does the new away ticketing policy mean?
Basically, if you have an away season ticket – get in! They’ve not got rid of them and they will be cheaper this year because there is a cap on PL tickets – £30 tops. Bargain! You still have to pay your little bit extra for your Premium product, but for this year at least – NO WORRIES! Slap yourself on the back for having the money and the foresight for getting your away season ticket when you did. For the original 350 of you, well done for holding out as long as you have done. All those years of paying more per game than we, mere mortals did, has got you the bonanza of a guaranteed hassle free match ticket. All you have to do now is worry how long Leeds United let you keep them. If we stay up and get into Europe, no doubt MORE new fans will want to get in on the action and the CEO will get even more emails demanding that all fans should have the right to watch Leeds United away.
The lucky 9.5% of 3,000. O level Maths at A grade tells me that there are 285 very, very lucky people who have been to 100 or more league and cup games since the 2015/16 season. Why they chose 2015/16 season as their cut off point is anyone’s guess. We’ve had worse seasons than that surely? Was that the season we had our worse attendance records? Radrizzani bought Leeds in 2017, so nothing to do with new owners taking over, or was it? Was Andrea already waiting in the wings in that 2015/16 season? Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans shared the managerial hat / sombrero, so can’t be anything to do with that surely? God Only Knows again, Brian. However they decided it, 285 people were in it to win it. 285 people have a guaranteed ticket to an away game this season. Hurrah! Before people start on the “they are all old gippers” etc. I know for a fact that there are a few who are, for all intents and purposes, YOUNG people in that number. Much has been made of the myth that only old people could ever get on the loyalty ladder. Simply put – not true. How do I know this? Because I know one if not more of these YOUNG people – personally. The lad probably didn’t appreciate being dragged up and down the country by his old man to watch us get beat all the time. These young ones may have stood there in the beginning, wondering what the hell they were doing when their mates were sat at home, warm and dry on their playstations and game boys. They may have been there, looking around at the crowd of old drunks, still singing even though we hadn’t had one shot on goal the whole game, thinking “what the heckingbottom is going on?” But look how well it has worked out. Brucie bonus.
The other 27%. In the 2019/20 season, these people got a ticket to an away game. Seeing as quite a few of the games were done on the old “tracker” system, many of them are and have been for years in the legions of the loyal support. Some may have missed out on the lucky 285 by one, maybe two games. What solace could you seek if you had missed out by one game? And if it had been that Stoke free for all game, or in fact any of the other free for all sale games like Preston or Bolton. Some poor souls might have missed out on the lucky 285 by that one free for all game that loads of the half season ticket holders who bought their season ticket at Christmas got to, but they didn’t. Some in this category may not be though. Some might have just been lucky enough to have a decent T’internet service and been lucky to get on the system. Some have been lucky to get to the checkout phase without the basket emptying or getting turfed out by the website. Some might have been lucky to get time off work to sit in the queue and order their tickets in the first place. Some might have been lucky to have a friend who could order their ticket for them and were lucky as above. Well their luck ended there, didn’t it? Now they will have to see if their luck plays out when they all get dumped in a pot again for a 50/50 chance at getting their hands on just short of 1,000 tickets. Better odds than a free for all sale, but with less tickets to have a go at, so probably worse. It makes no difference if you had done 98 games in five seasons or just got to 5 last season. All in the same boat. Complete loss of your loyalty for the ones on 99 /98 games – perhaps because someone who got a half season ticket at Christmas managed to get in before you that day. Bollocks.
Season ticket holders. The last 27% of the 3,000 max allocation. Another reason to pay the extra tenner to go on the season ticket waiting list. Free for all sale for just under 1,000 tickets. No one knows yet whether you can go for this sale if you have already tried but failed to get one in the last category. Actually, God Only Knows. You’d also be hoping that people in this sale are actually wanting to go to the game, rather than wanting to make a quick buck and flogging their ticket to Scum away for £500 or whatever the highest bidder is willing to give them. At least though, some who have never managed to get to a Leeds away game can go and experience the smoking in the bogs, beer fights, crap view from the aisle seats, overpriced beer and then get crushed when we score.
Gold members. Sorry “MyLeeds” members. “Gold member” always brings up images of the rather unfortunately shaped spaceship in that Austin Powers film of the same name. Never did like that term. But having said that, MyLeeds now sounds far too similar to that terrible “book” by Peter Fibsdale, which he wrote when he did, to capitalise on that really troubled period we were going through. Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore has more morals than Peter Fibsdale. Gold members get the final 9.5% in the final free for all sale. It’s not brilliant , but at least there is a small chance that they might get lucky, get a ticket and not go to hospital after some sweaty fat bloke falls on them on the way up to his seat, because he’s not used to drinking 6 pints before the 12.30 kick off on Sunday lunchtime.
And that’s your lot. It goes without saying that you would hope that anyone who gets a ticket to an away game this season actually does genuinely want to go. You can only hope that the Club are going to stamp down on anyone who is happy to skank a fellow Leeds fan for a profit, or anyone else for that matter.
The fact is now that we are popular again, they’ll be many tickets that don’t actually go to Leeds fans. Jon Bon Jovi is only the first of many. You’re not seriously telling me that if Tom Cruise decides he wants 20 tickets for him and his entourage to the Livarpool game, the Club is going to turn around and go, “No Tom, we are only going to let our proper fans go” , are you? If Coca Cola decide they want to sponsor us and need 100 tickets to the Citeh game, it’s not going to go down too well Leeds United say no, is it? If the 49ers turn up and decide they want to slum it with the fans instead of sitting in the posh seats where everyone falls asleep in the Emirates Library, what’s going to stop them?
It’s a completely different kettle of fish to blagging a ticket for one of the Kaiser Chiefs.
And as for next season, who knows? It may all change again. It depends if Radrizzani is still here. It depends if we stay up. It depends on how many more people decide they want to go. Most of the other clubs in the PL are closed shops. You can’t get an away ticket unless you have been going forever. The same ones go to every game. Loyalty in it’s purest sense. Loyalty is still a dirty word though for some at Leeds United. You know my views on it.
For now, well done to the lucky 285