The latest statement from Spirit of Shankly:
“Belong". The motto for Liverpool Football Club's new Membership Scheme. Well what if you already 'Belong'? Do you have to cough up £29 or £20, to continue to belong? Or can you still belong, but anyone new who wants to belong, has to pay for the privilege?
The whole idea of someone belonging to a club is fair and right. But to pay for it, where is the fairness in that? We all belong to Liverpool Football Club. From the minute you were born and had your first picture taken with a Liverpool scarf. Or from when your Dad, Mum, Aunty, Uncle, Cousin, started taking you to the match or when you watched MOTD and realised there was only one club for you. The point is, you didn't start belonging, when you paid YOUR club, a certain amount of money, a membership fee, each year. So why is Liverpool Football Club, a religion to most fans, now charging for you to 'Belong'?
The "benefits" of this new scheme mean improved access to tickets, in the form of a Ticket Exchange. What about existing fan card holders? Do we have improved access to tickets, such as Window Sales, an Improved Internet service for buying tickets online, or an improved telephone system for buying tickets? How much access do fans get to tickets via this exchange for their fee? Will those subscribing to the new Membership Scheme receive any priority over existing fan card holders? How will the PTS scheme be affected? Will they still have the same number of tickets available to them?
For your £29 membership fee, you can join the Season Ticket Waiting List. A list that up until this point was free to join. Can people still join the waiting list for free, or do you have to pay to join it? If so what about all those fans presently on the waiting list, what happens to them?
This Membership, is replacing fan cards. You can no longer buy a £3.50 fan card. So any new fans that previously weren't able to go to the match and haven't got a fan card have to pay £29 a season if they want to realistically even consider going to a game, young kids wanting to start going to games, have got to pay £20 a season. This is just for the CHANCE of a ticket, to be able to record loyalty. Existing fan card holders – well no one seems to be willing to say what exactly will happen to them. What we do know is that an S.O.S Committee Member contacted the Ticket Office about this proposed scheme a few weeks ago. We were told that fan cards would be ok for the 2008/09 season, but not for the 2009/10 season. So what happens to fan card holders then? A card that was described as being the only card you will ever need, is it now going to be rendered useless? They said so. It means everyone has to cough up to stand a chance of getting a ticket. Have they decided sensibly against this? Have they any intention of informing us?
The Club’s very own charter says this about fancards:
“The Fan Card is the only card that you will need with Liverpool Football Club”http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/club/charter.htm
See the section on fan cards. It tells you this. So why the change?
Did the club consult with supporters? If it has – and in the charter it claims to on a regular basis – then can it release the minutes of those discussions? Do you know of anyone who has taken part in them on this issue? If it hasn’t consulted with supporters, well, why not? We’re the ones who go through the ticketing rigmarole week in, week out. We’re the ones frustrated by the ticket office, by losing tickets to touts. Is it in any way arduous to actually remember simple values of customer service or to carry out surveys? The club calls upon the twelfth man when it requires it and then casts him aside from its thoughts other than as a minor irritant to be bled dry at all other times.
What about Season Ticket Holders? They currently pay a minimum of £650 per season. Do they get the same benefits of this new membership? Will the receive the discounts and the special offers?
There are so many questions that the club need to answer. So many questions that we, as fans, need answers to. We will be asking the club for these answers, a letter has been sent to Rick Parry, and to the Ticket Office Manager, asking for answers to all these questions.
The only answer we have for definite is cost. £29 for adults, £20 for children. Per season. So a family of 4 must pay £98. Per Season. Just to give themselves a chance of getting a ticket in a season. A young supporter, living in the shadows of Anfield, who might want to attend just one game, as they can't afford it regularly, now has to pay £20, just for the 'privilege' of applying for a ticket. This is even before fans have to consider the rises in ticket prices, of £3 per ticket, per game.
From a one off payment of £3.50 to £29 per season. With an estimated
250,000 people holding fan cards, that is £7,250,000 extra revenue per season.
The cynic in us, might wonder exactly where that money will be going.
This isn't like Barcelona, where they have members, who pay their money and have a say. This is pay your money, maybe get a ticket to take your seat and be happy with it.
We have also learnt today, that the Development Association, who provide tickets to fans (which they pay for) who sell pools on behalf of the club (http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/tickets/devassoc/
), are to lose their allocation of tickets. Supporters Clubs, many of whom have fans who come every week from all over the country, are to have their ticket allocations cut in half. Where will these tickets go? To Corporates. So less tickets for fans who go every week, everywhere. More tickets for those who swell the clubs coffers, and want to turn up for a “jolly good afternoon of sport”.
So we will ask the questions. We will get the answers. And we’ll help the club do what it seems to find so hard – tell supporters what is going on. But in the meantime, why don’t you ask the club. Or if the club ignore us, let’s ask the Liverpool Echo to ask questions on our behalf. Email Tony Barrett - firstname.lastname@example.org. Lets put pressure on them to ask questions to those who make these decisions, and lets pressure the club in to answering OUR questions.
Spirit Of Shankly