Change of Circumstances
Over the past few seasons MOMS has been actively involved with other club’s supporter groups in the Football Supporter Federation’s campaign to get Premier League away ticket prices down. With some Aston Villa away ticket prices north of £40, something had to be done.
Last season there was a major breakthrough when the Premier League agreed to a £30 cap on all away tickets, starting from this coming season.
Sod’s law, wasn’t it, that Aston Villa then got relegated. So MOMS effort and trips to London for meetings, weren’t even going to benefit Villa fans. Well, not for the upcoming season at least.
The problem is now Villa’s away fans will now potentially pay more this season in the Championship than if the club had stayed up.
Take for example Villa’s first game of the season, the trip to Sheffield Wednesday. Last year, Wednesday charged Bristol City fans £39 for the season opener. The ticket price incensed Bristol City fans to the point of arranging a boycott of the match due to the price.
With Villa effectively a ‘Category A’ club in the Championship, Villa fans will now be charged top dollar by most of clubs they visit.
So what can be done about that and also away allocations?
Away Fan Consultation
Last week MOMS was representing the new Villa Fan Consultation Group at the Away Ticket Consultation group, which was also attended by Lion Club’s reps and other invited supporters, with Nicky Keyes and Lee Preece representing the club.
It was a constructive meeting and another example of the club making a lot more effort now to engage with supporters before making decisions, rather than afterwards, which perhaps happened too much in the recent past.
Here’s the essential EFL rules around away allocations:
- Clubs only required to supply minimum allocation of 2,000 (or at least 10% for smaller stadiums)
- Allocation is on a sale or return basis.
- 5% commission to the away club – selling away tickets brings revenue.
- All clubs had to submit their pricing plan to the EFL by 30.6.16.
- The block order in which our away allocation is sold is dictated by the home club.
The basic equation is obviously to get as many Villa fans to away games (within reason) and at the lowest price possible.
With that in mind, the club have already begun discussions with Sky Bet Championship Clubs, with the aim to work with clubs on a reciprocal basis around price and allocation.
The club have said, any club will be offered 3k at Villa Park if they can reciprocate with 3k for our fans. In some cases, the allocation may exceed 3,000, or be significantly less where grounds have smaller capacity, all subject to agreement with relevant authorities (SAG, Police and Stadium management).
The ball park allocation figures for the first four Villa away games are:
- Sheff Wednesday could be 3,200
- Derby Count could be 3,100
- Bristol City could be 2,700
- Iprswich Town could be 2,009
Aston Villa Away Ticket Pricing
As we’ve already mentioned, due to our great away support who will be excited to visit new grounds, most Championship clubs will see the visit of Aston Villa, as a chance to make some money. With that in mind, the club has set aside a budget to work with clubs on reducing the price for fixtures as was seen in the Premier League.
Rather than it be a global league-wide initiative, as was the previous Premier League away fund of £200,000 per season, Villa have themselves set aside a pot of around a quarter of that amount to use exclusively for ticket prices.
The majority of the group at the meeting felt any budget for such purpose should be used to reduce ticket prices for appropriate fixtures, as opposed to providing coach transport. It’s the most democratic way of doing it and all away fans will receive the benefit.
A suggested fixture to be worthy of a subsidy, for example, would be the Norwich City Tuesday night away trip on the 13th December. For several reasons: Norwich aren’t shy in charging £40 for tickets, it’s difficult to get to, it’s a Tuesday evening fixture and it’s near Christmas when people have a lot of financial outgoings.
House of Commons
Before the Away Fan Consultation meeting with the club, MOMS spoke to the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) about Championship away prices, to see if anything was happening ala what happened with the Premier League supporter groups.
The FSF said that an all-party group of MPs had met with them to push the issue of reciprocal deals on away tickets in the Championship. To hopefully create a culture of widespread reciprocal deals across all clubs in the league. They aim to have the issue discussed soon in the House of Commons shortly.
The FSF asked me to ask Villa, if they were fully behind reciprocal deals in the Championship, whether they would be happy to be put forward as an example in the Commons of a club fully backing the scheme. The club seemed to be happy for this to happen, although they were sceptical to the potential success of it due to some clubs relying on such ticket income. Saying that, ex-Villa CEO Tom Fox, for example, was sceptical of the chances of Premier League clubs agreeing to any away ticket cap, but we managed to get that through.
The club stressed they will look to get as many fans as possible supporting the team on the road. The reality is though, in order to ensure home clubs are willing to accommodate more Villa fans, we will need a reputation of behaving well and respecting the facilities we visit. The conduct of our fans will be a key factor in maximising our allocations.
Smashing up urinals at away grounds was mentioned as an example and these things obviously don’t help the overall cause.
Persistent standing at away fixtures was raised. It was that reinforced that it’s generally accepted as the “norm” at away fixtures.
People stand, so it must be taken as a given and the reality, even if it’s ‘against ‘regulations. With that in mind, the club and fans will try and ascertain any way of helping those who wish to sit to do so, without them having to sit on front rows and have poor views. This will of course be dependent on the stadia we visit.
There will be a further Away Fans meeting with the club in the first week of August, once all the other club’s prices & allocations are known, to further discuss the best way forward on certain games and which is subsidise etc.
If you have any thoughts, ideas and insights, regarding away matters, do get in touch in the comments, via social media or email, because at the end of the day, this is all about you.
Click the next page below for more details of other Aston Villa away ticket matters discussed at the meeting such as away schemes, coach times, Lion’s club allocations, priority etc. Also, you can sign-up to be a free MOMS E-member on the next page too.