Aston Villa Away Ticket Touting, Hammers Criteria and 2020/21 Season Ticket Thoughts

Below are the notes from the recent Away Fan Ticket meeting that took place at the start of the month. Some of it may be academic if this season is voided, but the feeling is with UEFA putting back the European Championships to 2021, they will be potentially room to complete the 2019/20 domestic season.

The Corona pandemic is a fast moving situation, so there are no guarantees, with that said, here’s information below on issues like next season’s season tickets, break down of away allocations, away criteria for what would be the last game of the season (West Ham), and away ticket touting issues, amongst other things.

ACG Meeting – Thursday 5th March 6pm

The Board Room, Villa Park

 Fan Attendees

  • Anne Edwards – AFCG Member
  • Anton Cuscito – AFCG Member 
  • Thomas Cole – AFCG Member
  • Joanne McKibbens – AFCG Member
  • Steve Hollyoake – AFCG Member
  • John Gillett – Lions Clubs FCG Member
  • Mo Razzaq – AV Supporters Trust

AFCG – Away Fan Consultation Group

 Club Reps

  • Lynne O’Reardon – Head of Ticketing Operations
  • Nicola Ibbeston – Chief Commercial Officer
  • Daniel Walker – Ticketing Manager
  • Leigh Bucknall – Assistant Ticketing Manager
  • Lee Preece – Supporter Liaison Manager

 The Agenda

How Away Allocation is Shared Out

 Kevin Pickersgill – Proportionality how many tickets are allocated to players, lion’s club members and corporate (especially when allocations are limited)?

  • Based on a typical allocation of 3,000 tickets
  • Up to 50 Player Purchase Seats for friends and families.
  • Up to 150 tickets for Lions Clubs.
  • Up to 100 Hospitality Seats.
  • Up to 50 Away Ballot Seats which supporters can enter via the Pride Rewards scheme. This was discussed at the last ACG and has proven to be successful.
  • 2 Away Mascot Ballot Seats.
  • Up to 20 Staff Seats. These are reserved for staff members who like to attend Aston Villa away games. 9 times out of 10 these are the same staff members so would normally qualify within the criteria set anyway.
  • Up to 6 Travel Stewards Seats, Number depending on how many coaches travel.

These numbers are reduced when allocations are low, for example with Bournemouth away we did not run an away ticket ballot. Lions club and hospitality allocations were reduced.

Last Game of the Season Criteria

The group wanted to discuss the criteria for West Ham away and for the start of next season. Having 14 away games as the first point for West Ham would mean supporters who have tickets for all but 4 of our Away League matches this season. We know the maximum number it can be because they would have attended at least 11 games already. Based on that number and the expected allocation of 3k there would be easily enough tickets to satisfy these criteria. Next seasons criteria are yet to be discussed and will wait until we know our position.

Coach Pricing

Anne Edwards wanted to talk about the price of coach travel. Aston Villa are in a 5-year contract with Birmingham International. This ends in 2021. We set the price to cover the cost of the coach hire, fuel and the drivers.

Online Ticket Issues

Steve Hollyoake wanted to talk about issues with the online ticket system. There had been a few reports on home and away matches not adding to history in time for Wembley. With Wembley we did things a little differently. With away games, the history is added to a supporters account based on tickets purchased. However, with Wembley we based the 5+ on games attended.

He also wanted to talk about the online system not being locked down at 4.30pm before away criteria change. We talked about how this is done manually and with caution as there may still be supporters with tickets in their basket who already qualify but have left it late to book.

Ticket Touting

Ticket touting was also on the agenda. We discussed how 10 supporters have been caught out online so far and given stadium bans. 25 tickets were cancelled with no refund for our trip to Wembley.

We will be running a forced collection for two of the remaining away fixtures. Supporters will be picked at random and have no option other than to collect their tickets from the away ground on the day of the game with proof of ID. Anyone who fails to provide photo ID will be denied their ticket and then dealt with by the club.

Season Tickets 2020/21

Last on the agenda was the discussion of Season Tickets for the 20/21 season. Whilst there are currently no plans set in place, it was good to find out what supporters are expecting regarding early bird and summer prices. There was a mixed response to having the first home cup match included within the season ticket. We also discussed whether people were happy with having 6 price zones within Villa Park. Everyone felt that this works well.

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