Last week the latest Away Fan Consultation group meeting took place at Villa Park, from which you can find the minutes below.
The main issues were the on-going plans for the Blues away game (there was also a fan think-tank meeting with the WM Police for the game the previous week), plans will hopefully be announced very soon. Also, the issues at Barnsley were raised.
The WM Police did say in a prior meeting they had suggested an increase of 10% in away allocations for the derby games, based on good behaviour last season. In the end, Villa increased by 5%.
I did ask specifically what the difference was between 2100 & 2200? As if the 10% increase had been applied (instead of 5%), 100 extra fans would have been happy in being able to get tickets. While no direct answer was really given, there was a suggestion that the 10% was more of a ballpark suggestion. Still, it’s a move in the right direction.
In terms of potential match subsidies from the away fund pot that we have this season, rather than spread it around, we decided to focus more on expensive games, so that fans would feel a real benefit rather than a token gesture £2-£5 off a game).
With this in mind, we put forward taking £10 off the Leeds game, since a) tickets will be expensive, b) it was moved to a Friday night & c) is on TV.
Away ticket consultation 10th October 2017
Fan representatives: Mark McFarland, Anne Edwards, David Michael (MOMS), Tom Cole, Jon Knibb, Steve Gough, Stewart Bladen (WM Police), Antonio Cuscito, Joanne McKibbens
Club representatives: Bromley Davenport, Lynne O’Reardon, Lee Preece
Apologies: John Holder, Stewart Coniff,
Upcoming games prices and allocations
|* The QPR game has confirmed allocation and prices. Other allocations and prices are a guideline only with details to be confirmed by the away club|
Future Game Subsidies
There was discussion regarding future game subsidies and the consensus of the group was that rather than implementing a suggested reduction on Leeds, Derby and Brentford over the Christmas period, we would look to heavily subsidise the Leeds game as this will be more impactful, along with Sunderland (being a long haul midweek fixture).
On Sale Schedule
The club have produced a schedule which will soon appear on the club website which details all the upcoming away games showing when tickets will be going on sale along with the relevant sales criteria and dates for Lions club allocation bookings.
This will allow fans more time to make travel arrangements and give a structured sales window with games going sale on Mondays and criteria changes happening on a Monday and Thursday.
Away scheme members will be charged on the first day of sale and will know specifically when payments will be taken.
Online Sales Window
We have been selling tickets to away games with criteria changing at 5pm instead of 9am for a year now. Everyone was satisfied that this is the best time to change criteria and there were no objections from anyone to this continuing.
There was some concern regarding our fans behaviour at the Barnsley game which resulted in damage to the stadium and injuries to some supporters with objects being thrown from the crowd.
These incidents will affect our ability to obtain larger away allocations going forward for games with late kick-offs which is unfortunate given the excellent behaviour of the vast majority of fans last season.
Birmingham City Policing Operation
PC Bladen ran through the plans that have been discussed for the Birmingham City away game. Last year both the home and away fixtures were great successes in terms of a revised police operation. This in turn has allowed the club to get an increase in our allocation of 5% this season and the hope is that further incident free games will allow this to increase again in the future.
As of today new parking arrangements have been put in place for some of our disabled supporters which will provide easier and safer access to the ground.
More news to follow on the arrangements for the day.
Answers to Supporter Questions from the Group
Moving forward, away scheme members will receive a confirmation email when their payment goes through, beginning from the QPR game.
Disable Supporter Online Access
Disabled supporters will soon be able to purchase tickets online following some development work on our ticketing system.
Coach Departure Delays
With regards to coach departure times where we have experienced some delays with coaches leaving Villa Park late due to some fans arriving late, the club will be writing to those travelling to remind them to ensure they are on the coach in plenty of time to ensure there are no delays.
Current Season Away Attendance
There have been questions asked by some fans as to when the club should focus only on booking history for the current season in relation to away ticket purchases.
This season the change to 17/18 booking history was applied for the 5th away game at Burton given that all previous games went to general sale (meaning that all supporters had the opportunity to buy tickets for the game). There were no objections to this from the group and next season this will be agreed at a meeting prior to the start of the season and communicated to fans.
There currently isn’t scope for the inclusion of non-season ticket holders who have attended a specific number of away matches although this is subject to review going forward. The four week sales window does restrict the number of criteria changes available prior to general sale.
The next meeting will be held in December 2017.