The imminent trip to Liverpool's historic Anfield stadium this weekend has once again brought the club's stance on away ticket allocation to the forefront of people's minds. Those who are fortunate enough to have been lucky in the new ballot system will no doubt feel justifiably excited about the top 6 clash, however are they really deserving of such a precious ticket? Let's try and take a level headed look at the problem of ticket allocation.
Away Direct members are guaranteed tickets for each and every game this season, and so they should be. Any supporter who commits to purchasing every away ticket, without even knowing the price or match date, should be placed in the first tier of ticket distribution. The problems arise when some members sell on their tickets for games which they do not fancy going to. They already have the option to return 3 tickets during the season and the unfortunate "unsporting behaviour" of a minority ruins what otherwise is an exceptional system. The chairman has already hinted at this particular scheme coming to an end. Is that a fair way to look after those who have loyally supported the club though?
Corporate members getting priority seems to be an issue with many supporters. I understand it to a certain extent. Why is it fair for those with higher disposable income to have a better chance of gaining tickets for the "bigger" matches? The flip side of the coin being that without the corporate cash injection, City may struggle to pay the wages of Premiership class players. Lesser quality players could equate to relegation. Not an option for the chairman to consider, surely.
The database in the ticket office could hold a solution. It must hold the records of those who have travelled to away games year after year. Where do you start it though? Does supporting the Tigers away from home last season make you a loyal dedicated, seasoned traveller? Should it start 3 years ago, or maybe 8?
Another scheme suggested is the points system. Harder to get to games earn the supporter greater points, with tickets distributed to those with the highest points to the customer number. This system is just too flawed to work effectively. Again supporters can purchase tickets to their own number and then sell them to anyone. It also potentially prevents the newer generation of Tiger Nation from following the side on away days. The newer supporters have to be encouraged to stay; this system does the opposite.
I personally believe that the chairman has scored an own goal in disbanding the 5 away games from last season rule. The rule was not the brightest idea in the world to start off with, as in my opinion, going to 5 away games last season should not give any priority. It just does not represent loyal dedication. However, having stated that it was the method going to be used, it should not have been removed mid-season.
Interestingly, although many people complain about the ballot system now favoured by the club, no one has yet come up with a solution. Like it or not, Mr Duffen has more important things to worry about, and so far all City away games (barring Blackburn) have sold out.
I don't have the answer to the problem and it would appear that the club doesn't either. It would be fantastic for the loyal supporter to be rewarded. I would estimate that there are around 4-500 who actually really deserve the club's recognition. However, life is not a level playing field and the success we as fans have craved for so long, brings a new set of problems to be overcome.
One thing's for sure: the long trips to Exeter and Torquay are all but a memory and that can only be a good thing!
Do you have the answer to the ticket problem? If so, let your thoughts be known on the message board. You never know, the club may listen to realistic answers.