Corona Virus – Next Season: Fans Focus Meeting With SFC
SFC invited LSSC to take part in a ticketing meeting for next season. Our report from Mick Strickland Chair of London Saints
We thought it was a well controlled meeting with everybody attending given the opportunity to give their views. SFC pointed out that no decisions have been taken as yet and that nothing is set in stone. There were a number of officials from SFC and about 15+ fans. The usual technical glitches (it was a Microsoft Teams meeting) prevented, well me at least, from seeing everybody who was there and indeed hearing every speaker.
SFC said that about 8,000/9,000 season tickets had been sold to date and they were expecting to sell another 6,000. They said that not all these season ticket holders were initially going to get in.
SFC are looking at holding a ballot for season ticket holders, with maybe priority for the second game being given to those unsuccessful first time around. Fans would be able to opt out of the ballot if they are isolating or uncomfortable about attending.
The main theme running throughout the meeting was to reward the longest serving supporters. Not everybody agreed, but surprisingly perhaps, even the newer supporters were happy with this.
At the start, SFC showed us a seating plan. From memory, there were four seats between each person or family group in bubbles. Family groups were placed next to each other. Nobody sat on the end of rows.
- Fans who have attended most home and away matches to be given priority. Some expressed the view that the longest standing and most committed fans should go to all games – others favoured a wider distribution amongst season ticket holders in a ballot
- Some thought tenure would disadvantage younger supporters who would not have had a chance to build up games
- Criteria for entry could depend on the number of years as a season ticket holder, purchase of home/away tickets over past two years or even going back as far as ten years of purchase
- These plans are for the first 4 to 8 games from when supporters are allowed in the stadium which will have restricted attendance
- Entry would be a one way system as in pubs and supermarkets
- Crowd bubbles would be based on 2/3 households, but not for large groups of friends
- SFC are not looking at age as a bar to entry ie at risk people
- SFC looking at possible mobile entry, initially at least
- There will be no match by match access to corporate areas – only access to season long clients
- Probably a test event match in September (possibly U21 game)
- At present Premier League rules state away fans must be allowed in, but this is under review
- Fencing outside the ground could be used to extend concourse areas and checking of tickets
- Unlikely that you will get your actual seat for these opening games
- Do not expect ticket allocations for regional groups
- Disabled fans who get a ticket need to be in accessible seats
So, as we know things can change for the better or worse on a daily basis, but this has been a welcome early opportunity from SFC for fans to share their views. As things stand, I do not think fans will be allowed into stadiums in September when the new season is proposed (hope I am wrong). Hopefully October, with maybe a quarter of the capacity. SFC have some difficult decisions to make which probably will not please everybody.
All of this is subject to the Sports Ground Safety Authority, Government, Premier League and the Southampton City Council.
Thanks to Terry for attending and doing notes and to secretary Gill for also taking notes.