Forest have seen sense and reversed their plans to relocate season ticket holders in the Bridgford Upper after apparently overestimating the popularity of housing home fans in the Bridgford Lower.
I suspect they probably failed to appreciate the subtle different between the following two statements, the first of which is most certainly likely to be true of many Forest fans, the second it would appear is less universally adhered to (and that’s before you consider the planned price of £549 a year to do so!)
“It would be great to have the Lower Bridgford end for home supporters to generate an atmosphere”
“I would like to sit in the Lower Bridgford end”
Without properly ascertaining not only the will of those fans they would have been uprooting, but also determining the actual demand for tickets in that area and performing the necessary calculations to work out the financial impact, this has been an exceptionally good example of the kind of impetuous and ill-prepared decision-making that Fawaz runs the risk of getting a reputation for if he’s not careful.
Certainly taking fans views on board is a great plus – and I’m sure the intention is to please – but it needs to be conducted in a more robust fashion. To say most fans didn’t want the change would be just as inaccurate as those when it was proposed who said that most did – it needs a proper piece of research with season ticket holders. Forest have the contact details of all concerned, it wouldn’t be that difficult to arrange.
As they continue to consult over what to do about the away supporters hopefully the lessons they’ve learned from annoying their loyal customers will be built into any future plans. Football fans are the dream ticket in terms of a loyal customer base – they aren’t likely to switch allegance any time soon, so you have to really mess up to see them walk away as a fee-paying customer. Forest came close this time for many.
In an era when companies are able to manage millions of customer records then Forest really have no excuse in not wrangling the few thousand records they have to get a proper view of what people want. At the moment that doesn’t exist – so people, self included to a degree, simply upweight their own preferences and state them as a ‘for the good of the fans’ statement. Which is a ridiculous stance to take regardless of what you think, when it’s based on a sample of a few people you know – basically, ignorance.
I’m sure it won’t be the last mistake Forest makes with a relatively new regime in charge – but they should be applauded for pausing what looked to be a ‘done deal’ and taking on board the extent of opposition to their choice and backtracking. Hopefully they can learn from the danger in assuming what a few hundred relatively anonymous emails or Tweets represent the views of all those who actually swell the coffers of the club in the form of season ticket sales.
Plus it sounds like we will have Forest fans behind the goal in the Lower Bridgford end anyway, so from the point of view of the original campaign everyone is a winner.